Training Camps and Food Allergies


When I was younger, I competed regionally and provincially in sprint kayak. Now, I am coaching athletes, here on Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia. I was recently invited to join the provincial team for their training camp, over on the mainland, which I attended this past weekend.

This camp was the first one I have attended as a coach. When I competed in kayak and cross-country skiing, I attended numerous training camps. Planning food for these camps became almost second nature for me, as I attended so many of them. Attending this camp, even though I was not an athlete, brought back memories of when I used to plan out meals, how to keep my food safe and away from others who ate peanut butter and other nuts as protein, at these camps. Being an athlete with life-threatening food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and lentils, means you are constantly surrounded by those allergens.

Often times I would bring my own coolers and keep things out of the fridge. If we had a kitchen, I would bring a separate sponge, my own cutlery and have a separate drying towel, so I did not dry my cutlery with a towel that may have some peanut or other residue on it from an improperly washed plate or other. There are many things to think about when you are in a different environment, surrounded by others that live off of the foods that can cause anaphylaxis for you. My first camp, I was terrified. I quickly learned ways to stay safe and learned the best ways to communicate my food allergies to my fellow athletes. The coaches always new, however it was hard to get other teens to understand how serious it was for me…

I’ll be writing more on this topic soon. I figured it was time for a post and thought this topic may spark some conversation.

Have any of you been to training camps? What have you done to stay safe, or how have you helped your children stay safe if they went to training camps away from home? Whether it be a day, two days, or a week, there are many similarities in planning, communication to fellow athletes and coaches. Are there challenges you have faced when trying to communicate the severity of food allergies?

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