A few days ago, I wrote a post about my emotions around food allergies and how I have learned to from my experiences. I shared with you that I cope with fear by asking for help. I am not afraid to ask for help and know that if I don’t feel safe, then I don’t challenge or question that feeling. I have learned to trust my gut. There were a few comments shared around people who truly understand your allergy, or that of a loved one. About trust. These comments had me thinking… I am very fortunate to have the friends I have, who I can trust with my food allergies. They are the ones who will go out of their way to make sure I am safe and feel included. These are the friends we all need to keep really close.
I little while back, a good friend of mine invited me to her child’s birthday party. My friend knew I would not be able to eat the cake and asked me what cookie or muffin would be safe for me so she could get it for me. She went searching for the one brand of cookie I completely trust; Benjamin Bites. Little did I know, she had driven to several different grocery stores to try and find the cookie which they sell in individual packages, because it was not sold in every store or was out of stock. She is one of the friends I trust with my life. A friend I know will take every possible precaution when having me over for dinner to ensure that the meal is safe. A friend who will wipe down every single surface before I arrive to make sure that there wasn’t any peanut butter from the day before on the table, or a counter top. A friend who is not afraid to pick up the phone to call and double and triple check ingredients with me and precautions to take.
I have several friends that I often think might even take more precautions than I do; and I love that. I always feel safe. Even though I feel safe when these friends cook, I still ask questions, as I never want to let my guard down. That’s when accidents happen, accidents which could cost me my life. If my friends prepared the food without me in the kitchen, I ask about the prep, I ask about the ingredients that went into the meal, if there are labels, I re-read them all. Good friends never judge. They never question. They never feel that you don’t trust them because you want to re-read labels or feel uncertain about the utensils used to make the food. They want you to feel safe, and have a safe meal. They want to make sure you feel relaxed, and are not stressed. These are the friends we need to keep close. The friends we need to send thank you cards to out of the blue, just to let them know that their caring means so much to us. Openness, gratitude and appreciation go a long way.
Which friends would you trust with preparing food for you, or a loved one? Do they “get it”? How do you know when you can trust someone?
How were your Holidays? Were you able to eat delicious food surrounded by those you love without a reaction. Thanks to wonderful friends and family who truly understand my allergies, I had a reaction free Christmas. Even my environmental allergies were well controlled as I avoided any environments which might have triggered a reaction.
If you and your family went to friends and family for dinner, did your hosts understand your food allergies? If they had pets, did they understand how your asthma and allergies would be affected?
Hopefully you had great safe holidays and that New Years will also be a safe one for you. If you are going somewhere, please prepare ahead and communicate your allergies and the level of severity. Better to be safe.
Please share with those that do not have allergies and may be hosting this holiday season.
Christmas Eve is just 10 days away and many of you may already be on holidays already or very soon. Christmas and New Years is a very busy time of year for parties with friends and family. Holiday parties usually involve some kind of food, whether there is a meal, or h’ourdeuvres. If you are hosting a dinner with family and friends this holiday season, here are a 4 tips for you to ensure your loved ones can have a fun time while feeling safe.
Before I get into the tips, one very important note; COMMUNICATION is KEY! So please do not be afraid to ask questions or share if you feel uncomfortable preparing food for the person with the food allergy/allergies.
Ask if anyone coming to the party has any food allergies. You may not be able to cater the food that is to be served to completely avoid their food allergens, especially if they list is a long one, however it is nice to feel like we are being considered in the planning. The smallest of gestures; like not placing bowls of bulk nuts out because we have a life-threatening food allergy to peanuts and tree nuts means so much to us.
Ask the severity of the allergy. If you are aware of the allergy, and severity, you can discuss the next steps with them. You do not want to find out when you are serving dinner that someone has a life-threatening allergy and
Ask if they plan to bring their own food and let them know that if they prefer to bring their own food that is perfectly OK. I know I often feel uncomfortable bringing my own food to dinner parties, however I always feel better when I know that the hosts or other guests know about my allergies and thus understand why I have my own food.
If they do not plan on bringing their own food, it is up to you, as the host, to discuss with them if you are worried about what you plan to serve or how to make it safe. Perhaps they would like to help in the preparation of the food or can bring a dish that would be safe for them and that others would also like to eat. Maybe they can give you tips about what they can eat which will help put you at ease.
On Wednesday, I will be sharing tips on what to do once you get the list of food allergies or perhaps sensitivities like wheat and gluten. I’ll discuss ways to make your kitchen safe before preparing the food and how to minimize the risk of cross-contamination in your kitchen.
December 1st has arrived and I keep asking myself where the time has gone. This year has flown by! In any case, December is a fun month filled with Christmas parties, friends, family and lots of joy and laughter. Have you been invited to any Christmas parties this year, or perhaps in the New Year? Are they organized by your work or your partners work? Are they hosted by friends? These are all questions that will often distinguish the approach you take before hand to ensure you can have an enjoyable time without worrying about having an allergic reaction.
Are they organized by your work or your partners work?
Communicating with the person organizing the Christmas party might be very different for each scenario. If your company is hosting, you may be able to speak to the catering staff because the company you work for will want to ensure you are able to eat and have a good time. If the Christmas party is organized by your partners work, you may have to jump through a few more hoops to try and speak to the caterer. I always say that if you don’t get all the answers you need and speak to the people you want to speak to, like catering staff etc. it is much better to simply eat before you go. That is my plan this year.
Are they hosted by friends?
If your friends are hosting a party, you might feel much more comfortable discussing your allergies with them and they may already have your list. You might even be able to help in the food planning as well as in the kitchen. I know for me, if a friend is organizing a party with food, I always see if I can help with the cooking and prep that way I can ensure I will be able to eat safely. If for some reason you are unable to help with the prep, make sure you feel very safe before you eat anything. If someone else has brought the food and you aren’t certain it is safe, do NOT eat it. Be safe. Do not take chances with life-threatening allergies.
Please tell someone if you feel sick after eating something. Even if you are not sure it is an allergic reaction. It is important that others around you know what is going on especially if you were to react. Safety first.
Many of you either live with severe food allergies or have friends or loved ones who do.
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This afternoon, I decided I would try a new recipes I found for a dairy free mint/chocolate chips ice cream and decided I would try it! I headed off to the grocery store with my list of ingredients and returned home, extremely excited to attempt this ice cream. Here’s a before picture with the ingredients the recipe called for… It’s my very first time making ice cream with avocados! I love avocados so am VERY excited.
Once I’ve tried the recipe, I’ll be tweaking it a little before sharing, to make sure it’s the tastiest it can possibly be!
One of my readers is wondering if any of you have FDEIA and would like to chat with others that do have this. Please read her message below and add comments below or contact me if you would like to be connected.
“Hello, like you, have been living with asthma and anaphylaxis related to peanuts and nuts since birth. I have no issue with any of these; I am so used to them they don’t bother me anymore. Since grade 8 I have also had sensitivities to something which was first assumed to be soy or legumes, but which I now believe to be some chemical or additive in processed foods, in particular meats. This doesn’t bother me too much, as it only causes uncomfortable but not life-threatening reactions. For the last few years however, I have a new one to add to the list (new ones aaalll the time – such a blast!). I have diagnosed myself with food-dependant exercise induced anaphylaxis. This is based on (so far) 6 different episodes. I know my body and I listen to it by now. All my symptoms match, but when I tried to explain this to emergency personnel or to two different allergists, they dismiss me by saying I must have come into contact with nuts. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that after a lifetime of avoiding our allergens and living in my own apartment which is completely allergen-free, this is not a possibility. I always have an Epipen and also a very attentive husband who always exercises with me. I’m just wondering if you have contact with anyone else who has this condition, diagnosed or not? I’d even consider some doctors who would be interested in studying my case, not necessarily for my own benefit but maybe they could learn something about it. Thanks!”