First Date

rose

I figured with Valentine’s day around the corner I would bring up the conversation of dating again… particularly first dates. i have been asked many a time from parents what dating looks like for me. Well, its been a little while since I’ve been in that scene though thought I’d chime in. 

When it comes to dating, it has always been a big concern for me because all of a sudden I am putting my life in someone else’s hands. My action has always been to discuss my allergies and the Epi at the very beginning of the relationship. Even before the first kiss. I’ve never had anyone reject me or turn me down because of my life threatening allergies and asthma. Believe me, if a guy or girl likes you they will ask questions and want to know how they can help keep you feeling safe. 

Where to go on a first date? Some place where food is not part of the game,  or a picnic where you offer to get the sandwiches. I’ve gone to coffee shops or for a walk on the breach or to a park, or done something active like gone for a bike ride. There are sooo many things you can do that do not involve food.

In leaving food out of the first date you can focus on getting to know each other and not worry about the food or stress about having to ask the waiter about your allergies in front of your date. 

Allergies Abroad = Another Great Resource!

Do you like to travel? Are you worried about your allergies or perhaps those of a loved one? I just found out about Allergies Abroad today, and they have a “LifeCard” that is translated in different languages that you can take with you! Check them out.

Have you become a better cook as a result of having food allergies?

If you are anything like me, having severe food allergies and sensitivities has made me healthier. Living with allergies has made me much more aware of what I eat. I must say, most of the credit can go to my soy allergy as it seems like there are preservatives in almost everything these days! The soy allergy has kept me far away from any processed foods and cold-cuts at the deli as well as the marinated meats and most sauces you would find at the local grocery store. As a result, I have  spent a fair bit of time looking up recipes, getting ideas from others and trying new ingredients that I had never heard of before, and hadn’t the slightest clue how to pronounce!

I absolutely LOVE to be in the kitchen and try new recipes and spice blends. The aroma in the kitchen when cooking curry, or when a tasty soup is on low and simmering is AMAZING! Preparing the vegetables is usually a little time consuming, however it is always worthwhile. There is nothing like a home cooked meal! And all of ours are just that. If you don’t cook much and the idea of cooking more from scratch seems like one that is not going to happen, I highly recommend sitting down, brainstorming a list of the meals you enjoy most and the “comfort food” meals. Then, have a look online, as there are so many variations and some a lot easier than others! Finding recipes from someone who lives with allergies, or even a gluten-free diet is an added bonus, as they will likely have suggestions for substitutions and such ( ie: milk, eggs ).

A few sites I really like for recipes are;

My Gluten-Free Goddess

All Recipes

Living Without

Allergic Living

I learned how to cook fairly young and am very thankful to my parents and grandparents for that. If there’s one thing I would recommend, it would be to teach your kids how to cook. :)

If you are eating out with food allergies, one of my best tips is to keep it simple! Remember, the more different ingredients in the meal you order, the more risk. This is just something I have learned through experience. I’ve would also rather eat out with friends and socialize over a simple dish so I am not fearing a reaction. In my mind, there’s no point in risking it. However some restaurants, you might feel confident that they have you covered and truly “get it” and in these situations you might be more confident trying something different. I have asked for fancier dishes in a few restaurants where I had a really good talk with the manager and chef and felt confident that they were being as careful as they could possibly be in the kitchen to avoid cross-contamination. More on this train of thought to come in another post!

And, if you are interested here is an article about just this topic; “How Food Allergies Have Made Me a Better Cook”

Join the conversation on Facebook!

If you are on Facebook, like my page and get daily links to stories in the news and articles. www.facebook.com/LivingwithAllergies

Where to Eat out in Victoria, BC

Check out the “Resources” tab as I will be adding more local businesses to this tab over the next few days. If you live in Victoria, there are many great options for eating Gluten-free and great stores to shop at. As always, I can only post about what I know, so if you’ve been to another restaurant or cafe that has wheat-free or gluten-free options, please share! :-)

Willing to share your story?

Have you ever had an anaphylactic reaction? The Youth Anaphylaxis Panel in conjunction with Anaphylaxis Canada have a special section on their website dedicated to opening up the floor for sharing. Perhaps someone will learn from reading your story, or become more cautious about the dangers of cross-contamination. There are many stories on their “Reaction Registry” http://www.whyriskit.ca/pages/en/resources/reaction-registry/browse-reaction-registry.php

Even if you don’t feel like sharing yours, it’s a great place to skim through a few stories of youth and young adults who have been through similar events as you. Their site also has great resources for youth, including podcasts and videos! From dating to dining out and travelling with food allergies.

It’s all about community and awareness. :)

 

Tips for teens when eating out, a short article I wrote..

A short Article I wrote for the AAIA in 2007… from the following link on the Allergy/Asthma Information Associations website: http://aaia.ca/en/tips_for_teens_when_eating_out.htm

Tips for Teens When Eating Out

by Erika Ladouceur, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC

There are a number of different ways of approaching different situations from eating out, to going to a friend’s house etc. These are a couple things I keep in mind when I eat out. Precautions are a good thing.

  • If you or an adult is calling the restaurant ahead of time for a reservation, you might want to mention your allergy then. This way the staff/chef will know in advance and possibly set up a meal for you and if not, they will be more prepared when you go for supper etc. (Less to worry about the night of, especially if it’s a birthday party or celebration.)
  • Make sure that you carry your epinephrine auto-injector with you.
  • When you arrive at the restaurant, you can mention to the waitress who is serving you about your allergies, so it doesn’t come up at the same time as all the other orders. (Simply means the waitress is more likely to find out from the chef immediately because he/she doesn’t have to place other orders etc. You have their attention…)
  • Make sure you use the words “fatal” or “deadly” or “anaphylactic” when specifying your allergy. This will have a bigger impact then if you simply say: “I have an allergy to peanuts…” They will be more likely to understand the situation better.
  • Ask for sauces or salad dressings on the side… That way if you see you can’t have the dressing or sauce, you won’t have to return the entire meal. They can just give you vinegar or oil or something else.
  • When in doubt STAY AWAY! If you don’t think something is safe even though the waiter or waitress seems to think it’s ok, avoid it. We know and understand our allergies as well as the foods that usually contain them..
  • Double check, even if you have been told prior that the food is safe.
  • Stay calm if you’re not feeling right, but tell someone right away even if you’re not sure if it really is relevant.

There are a number of different ways of approaching different situations from eating out, to going to a friend’s house etc. These are a couple things I keep in mind when I eat out. Precautions are a good thing…