May 8-14th is Food Allergy Awareness Week. It’s time to get some education!
Is it an allergy, or is it an sensitivity? There is a HUGE difference between the two, especially when it comes to specific allergens. Food allergies and sensitives are both illness that can affect certain people when consuming a variety of foods and ingredients. In almost all cases, the most common form of treatment to this is to avoid the food or ingredient that causes the reaction. However, sometimes it’s just not that easy, especially when dining out or even packaged products.
The top 5 allergens are as follows: all nuts, eggs, dairy, shellfish, and gluten
Now, how do you know if you have an allergy or a sensitivity?
Most people who suffer from allergies tend to have a reaction immediately, or within 2 hours.
Where do these allergies occur? They can appear on the skin in forms of hives or a rash, through digestion, and in most serious cases your airway.
Most people who suffer from a sensitivity tend to have a delayed response after consuming the food. It can take up to 72 hours sometimes for any symptoms to show!
What are these symptoms?
Now, it isn’t impossible to dine out with allergies or sensitivities, but sometimes it can be difficult, especially with a severe allergy.
Tip 1: Do your research. Most, if not all, restaurants will have some sort of an allergen menu online for you to look over.
Tip 2: Call ahead. If you can, place a call ahead of time to let them know that you will be dining with them. Once you arrive, notify your server about your allergies.
Tip 3: When in doubt, order plain. If you’re still worried about what you’ll be eating, BE VERY SPECIFIC! Make sure to tell them how to prepare your food (ie. no spices, no oils, butters, NOTHING). Ask for broiled or steamed, it’s the easiest way.
Tip 4: With severe allergens avoid buffets or places that could cross-contaminate while preparing your meal. A prime example of this is fast food chains or “create your own” places. If you’re lucky, they will have all of the “allergens” in the same area away from the other items. In most cases, places like Chipotle, if you tell them that you have an allergy, they will change their gloves and pull your ingredients from the back in sealed containers.
If you have a sensitive or may not fear the cross-contamination, places like Whole Foods offer a food bar with all the ingredients AND allergens labeled.
For the most part, as long as you have what you need incase of a reaction, you should be okay. Dining out shouldn’t be stressful or worrisome.
So whether or not you yourself suffer from allergies or know someone who does, remember those tips and enjoy dining out!
Did you know we specialize in food allergies?
There are an array of packages we offer such as meal plans, guided grocery tours, and even education on all kinds of food allergies, none too big or too small!
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