Living with food allergies should be treated with more respect. The simple fact is, if you’re a foodie, something like a nut can’t only put your physical health at risk; it can harm your mental wellbeing too. Anyone who has had to put up with a difficult waiter or establishment while dining out understands the pain.
The thing is, eating doesn’t have to be a if you’re a food-lover and a picky eater in one. Sure, your circumstances are more challenging, yet they are obstacles to overcome. After all, hundreds of thousands of Brits have them, and 7.5% of Canadians are affected directly by food allergies, which goes to show it’s a global phenomenon.
Still, it also highlights that you can do it if others can do it. So, with that in mind, below is a selection of the best tactics for enjoying food when you have allergies.
Learn All The Names
Usually, the first tip out of a person’s mouth would be “to read the label.” Thanks, I never thought of that one! The problem with product packaging is that the ingredients can be labeled under different guises. As a result, it’s not easy to spot the food groups and allergens that you know causes intolerance.
Cow’s milk is a prime example. Whether it doesn’t sound flashy enough or it’s the technical term, it is sometimes found on bottoms and packets as “casein.” If you don’t know this little secret, you might find yourself in a tricky spot after dinner. There are plenty of examples – pesto is made from pine nuts and tahini sesame seeds – which is why it helps to be studious.
You can’t hope to know every name on every label, so you can use Google to find the answer if you aren’t sure. Thank God for technology!
Prep With Precision
Shopping or going out to eat is one thing, yet cooking at home is another. On its face, staying in and eating should be the simpler option since you control the ingredients. When somebody else prepares a dish, it’s impossible to guarantee an allergen isn’t in the food. You know this because cross-contamination does happen.
The kitchen is no different. As such, it’s important to prepare food with precision to limit the potential damage. The best trick is to use separate chopping boards and pans for everything, almost like you’re cooking raw chicken. Different utensils for stirring and tasting are also essential, as is a strong hand-washing routine.
If you’re a mother, you can’t expect the kids to eat what you do as they are fussy. That means you might have to handle allergens, making a hand-washing routine afterward incredibly important. Plus, you should cook your meal first to avoid accidental cross-contamination.
Top-Up On Essential Ingredients
Nobody wants to suffer due to an intolerance, and you don’t have to if you’re organised. Take pasta. Pasta is eaten by millions of people worldwide, from Italy to Argentina, and it’s one of your favorites. Thanks to wheat and gluten-free creations, they are accessible. Of course, if you don’t have any in the cupboards, it’s not as if you can pop to the shops.
Non-traditional varieties are less common than wheat and gluten pasta, so you might be out of luck. However, there’s an excellent loophole – prescriptions. People with food allergies can get certain foods via their local surgery! You can order your NHS prescriptions online and get them delivered to your door with zero fuss or hassle. All you need to focus on is tallying up the amount you have left and ordering a refill.
That way, you won’t have to deal with an unscratchable itch when you want something you can’t have.
MIY – Make It Yourself
The worst position to be in is to be out and about and suddenly feel hungry. It’s an anxious time for many people with allergies as there’s never anything quick and easy. Whether you go to a sandwich shop or fast-food restaurant, you have to be thorough before you choose something, and it leaves you feeling empty.
Make it yourself is the answer. Again, you must be organized, yet if you are and plan your day accordingly, you can lean on a packed lunch or a suitable snack. An excellent tip is to find non-perishable snacks you love and put loads in your bag. Then, you’ll always have a backup plan.
Other than that, you can carry around a salad, a piece of fruit, and a drink. Allergy-free and healthy!
Are you a food nut with intolerances? How do you enjoy your meals and stay diligent?