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Food

Founder Friday: Food Allergies vs. Food Sensitivities

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As a person who grew up all my life with food allergies and birthing two lovely children with food allergies, environmental allergies, and food sensitivities, I have made myself aware and learned how to care for myself, my children and for the guests coming into our home, therefore, we have never had an issue in our personal space, for us, only when out of our homes a few times. 

Yes, it can be rather alarming and unsettling. Usually, because they are simple errors that can always be avoided. (Like airlines serving and allowing nuts 37,000 from the ground, where is that logic?) What I have personally experienced while navigating through life like this is, it is more of a challenge not for me, but for those that do not have food allergies. Restaurants can improve in this area too in my opinion so all diners can eat with safety at the forefront.

If an item has nuts or any of the main known food allergens in an offered dish, list it. Make it known not hidden or a surprise, ex.  when the dish is presented and it is sprinkled with nuts on top. That is a serious food faux pas.

Did you know food allergies can have different reactions for all individuals?  Some people may have severe food allergies where they are deathly ill (pass away) to one or more foods, or they may have a mild food allergy or may not have an actual allergy, but more of a sensitivity to one or more foods. I speak more of this in my first book, The Thriving Child. 

Many of us have food sensitivities but do not connect the dots. (Gluten is a popular food sensitivity, but I too think we may be reacting to the toxic chemical known as glysophate that is sprayed on the grains). We are not equating some of our health issues to what foods we are consuming.

Food sensitivities can be milder in reaction depending on the individual because some are more sensitive than others, it may not be as noticeable, can cause but not limited to, rashes, eczema, inflammation, bloating, headaches, joint pain, tummy discomfort, and more. I suggest omitting certain foods based on how it makes you feel and how you react to it. You’ll be surprised how this tweak may make a huge health difference.

One of the many things I am sensitive to is Wheat/Gluten, it bloats me up (inflammation) and irritates my digestive system.

I forced myself to learn to cook and create healthy, delicious recipes that sustain us, and that would not make us feel yucky that I wanted to share with the world to help someone somewhere. That is what led me to write my books. (The Thriving Child and Shut Up and Cook!) 

While we prepare for holidays or just a simple backyard gathering, educate yourself when serving food. Do you want your family member or guest potentially requiring 911 assistance while in your personal space for something you served to eat? 

What can we do to be more mindful and implement safe eating for all? Learn more below.

Learn common known allergen foods, but not limited to this list:

  • Eggs
  • Milk (also casein protein)
  • Tree Nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazilian)
  • Seeds (pine nuts, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin)
  • Peanuts (legumes)
  • Wheat (could be the glysophate causing allergy/sensitivity)
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish (crustaceans ex: shrimp, lobster, crab, etc..)

*Note when I was growing up, coconut was never considered a nut, nowadays some inconsistencies out there say it is. (It is more of a fruit, seed, but nut at the end of the word confuses many.)

Pine nuts are not a nut, they are a seed. I have nut allergies and not allergic to either one of these. 

Implement Helpful Suggestions:

Before creating your menu, ask your guest if they have any known food allergies or dietary restrictions they must avoid. This assures comfort for you and them. 

Read ingredients and if you are fortunate to have a chef or someone else prepare your meals for you, be sure the chef is knowledgeable by reading labels and not cross-contaminate foods.

Keep in your home some type of life-saving device like an EpiPen. (remember, today you may not have a food allergy, tomorrow you can wake up with one.) I think we all ought to be carrying one nowadays because we simply do not know when we may become a first-time food allergy patient.

Benadryl (it is an antihistamine but it is not known to save a life, it may settle some symptoms, but may not help 100% when someone cannot breathe).

Keep foods out of the home that others are allergic to. Make a home that one safe place to eat for all. 

Get tested yearly: You never know which foods you may have outgrown (in our case, and what worked for me and my family is, we cleaned out our guts and got rid of most food allergies) or became allergic to. One place I recommend for food testing is Hudson Allergy in NYC. Or ask your doctor for a specific food allergy doctor referral in your local area.

I have cried and reached out to families I have seen on the news or read about losing their child because they digested a single food that took their physical life. Use empathy and compassion as it is a health challenge. Education is one of the best-served medicines.

Always use with caution and seek professional medical testing if any uncertainty with any suspected food allergy or health concerns.

Resources:

https://www.laurenshope.com/who-should-wear-medical-id/food-allergies

https://allergytranslation.com/

Much love and to safe eating,

Certified Holistic Health Coach

Certified in Gut Health

Author of The Thriving Child, Shut Up and Cook!

Erica Reid, Founder of nécessité
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