Allergy Awareness Week 2014: Coping with food allergies as an adult
For reasons we are not yet sure of, the number of people being diagnosed with allergies is increasing by an estimated 5% every year1. While half of all those affected are children, the amount of adults developing new allergies is also thought to be on the rise.
This week (28th April - 4th May) is Allergy Awareness Week and in support, Nutritionist Resource looks at the challenges adults face when dealing with food allergies and offers guidance to those who have recently been diagnosed. While some allergies developed in childhood can be outgrown in later life, allergies that develop in adulthood tend to remain life-long concerns.
If you have recently been diagnosed with a food allergy, the following tips should help you adjust to your new way of eating:
1. Clear out your kitchen
First thing's first, after receiving a confirmed diagnosis by a medical professional you should clear your kitchen of any foods that may aggravate your allergy. If you share your kitchen with other people (for example a partner, housemate and/or children), speaking to them about your allergy is important so they know not to bring allergens into the kitchen/house.
2. Rethink eating out
Before developing a food allergy, going out for dinner probably wasn’t something you gave a second thought to. Now you know you have an allergy, it is important to inform the restaurant and ensure there are allergy-free options for you to choose from.
3. Be prepared
If you have been prescribed an EpiPen or other form of medication, be sure to take it out with you whenever you leave the house. You should also ensure you have medication at work and tell a trusted colleague how to administer it should the worst happen.
4. Adapt your cooking
Being allergic to food means you will have to change the way you cook. If you are allergic to something you used to use regularly in your cooking, you may want to look up alternative ingredients or ‘free-from’ recipes.
5. Get expert help
If your allergy requires you to change the way you eat in a big way, seeking help from a professional nutritionist can be invaluable. A nutritionist can introduce you to new ingredients and ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need without compromising your health.
Nutritionist Resource content writer Tamara Marshall talks about the issues she faces with a nut and butternut squash allergy:
"My allergies pose the most problems when I am eating out, as some restaurant menus are not very clear about the nutritional information of their dishes. My tip would therefore be to communicate your allergies with the staff at the restaurant to ensure you are making a safe choice."
Living with food allergies can feel isolating at times, but it needn't be restrictive. Giving more thought to what you eat and how you cook as well as utilising professional support can help you enjoy everything food has to offer in a safe way. To find a professional nutritionist with experience in food allergies, please visit Nutritionist Resource.
1 Statistic sourced from Allergy UK
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kat Nicholls:
Tel: 01276 301239