3 Tips for Living with a Food Allergy or Sensitivity
If you have just been diagnosed with a food allergy or sensitivity, you may be experiencing conflicting emotions. On one hand, you might be relieved that you finally know what has been causing you pain or discomfort while eating. Meanwhile, you might also feel overwhelmed about how to readjust the way you shop, cook, dine out, and live your daily life.
One important fact to keep in mind is that your diagnosis doesn’t have to mean the end of eating out or consuming some of your favorite foods. What it does mean, is that you must be more careful about what you are putting into your body and how you cook in your own home. You might even need to find alternative recipes to some of your go-to, home-cooked meals.
With this in mind, there are plenty of online food blogs and recipes for people with various food allergies, sensitivities, or dietary preferences. If you want to find new and innovative ways to make your favorite dishes without any of foods that are causing you discomfort or serious health problems, you might consider seeking out some of these websites. Before you begin this new journey, however, here are a few tips about how to shop, cook, and dine out with care:
1. Being Careful When Shopping
You must be extremely diligent when shopping for groceries in light of your new diagnosis, which means you need to get savvy about reading food labels. Many food products today must clearly display relevant allergy information, such as if their products contain milk proteins, wheat, or nuts, though they don’t have to advertise if other less common allergens are included.
Even if you are fairly positive that something doesn’t contain the food or foods you are trying to avoid, check the label anyways! You never know if the item is produced in a facility where there may be cross contamination or if the manufacturer recently changed up their ingredient list. Consider shopping more local at farmer’s markets or at a health food chain that may have more, less processed options for you.
2. Being Careful When Cooking
If you’ve been diagnosed with a serious food allergy, it might be a good idea to go through your entire kitchen and pantry, getting rid of potentially problematic condiments, spices, and more that you can no longer consume. Additionally, you might want to deep clean all your cooking and eating utensils to avoid further contamination.
Meanwhile, if no one else in your household is suffering from the same or similar food allergies or sensitivities and you want them to be able to eat these food items, you must be diligent about avoiding any cross contamination, whether in the cooking or eating process. Make sure all dishes and utensils are thoroughly washed after each use.
3. Being Careful While Dining Out
Your diagnosis doesn’t mean you can never eat out again. However, some restaurants and dishes might now be off limits for various reasons. Though many chain restaurants already include information about common food allergens on their websites or menus, not all restaurants advertise about less common allergies, which is why it is always best to let your server or the chef know about your food allergies or sensitivities before you order.
Most restaurants are happy to accommodate your dietary needs and inform you about any potential for cross contamination in the cooking process. If a restaurant is being difficult about accommodating your needs or the menu isn’t easily adjusted, you might consider going to other restaurants that won’t be as much as a risk to your health and general well being. Thankfully, there are plenty of options in most cities for you! Keep a positive attitude and use this as an opportunity to explore new recipes, cuisines, restaurants, and more.
To learn more about common or uncommon food allergies, check out our blog this month, as we will cover everything from common allergens to how we take care of our patients with the Dunwoody Test.
Find relief from your food allergies and sensitivities today! Call us at (865) 769-9685. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or subscribe to our Newsletter for more information during Food Allergy and Sensitivity Month.