When you or someone in your family has developed or is living with a food allergy, everyone in your household needs to learn how to adapt to the condition as well. Just being in contact with certain foods can potentially cause life-threatening harm if you are not cautious. Unfortunately, there is no cure for food allergies but there are ways to help you manage your allergies and replace the foods you enjoy with healthy alternatives.
Always Read The Labels
Whether it is over the counter medication, vitamins or supplements, you need to make sure that you always check the label and warnings first before purchasing the product. Since most supplement products are made with natural ingredients, there is a good chance that some contain allergens that may be harmful to you. Using helpful sites such as Review Critic will provide you with insightful information about the ingredients and potential health risks of most natural supplements.
The most common foods that trigger allergies are milk, eggs, wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, and shellfish. There are many food chains and brands that have accounted for these factors and have designed healthy replacements to ensure you still get the same taste and satisfaction from the things you enjoy eating.
If you have milk allergies, try replacing animal dairy products with substitutes such as rice, almond, coconut or soy milk that are fortified with calcium and vitamin B. Since animal dairy is an essential source of vitamin D, B12, protein and calcium, it is important to include foods such as broccoli or spinach in your diet to ensure that you are replacing the nutrients that you are not getting from dairy. Avoid foods that include ingredients on their food labels such as casein, lactoglobulin, whey, lactoferrin, and lactalbumin.
Avoid ingredients in foods such as albumin, lysozyme, meringue powder, ovalbumin, and surimi if you suffer from any allergies caused by eggs. Some foods may also contain hidden egg products that you may not be aware of. Always double check with your waiter or the label when ordering or buying foods such as ice cream, marshmallows, nougat, lecithin, pasta, and pretzels. If you enjoy baking, you can substitute eggs in most recipes with apple cider vinegar, bananas or applesauce.
Wheat is the most commonly grown food source in the world and forms part of most of the populations staple diet. Wheat is high in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals. Opt for healthy alternatives such as rice, potato, or tapioca flour when purchasing any baked goods or certain kinds of pastas. Arrowroot is a perfect replacement for a thickener in sweet and savory sauces.
If you have soy allergies, lookout for foods that contain the following ingredients:
- Soy protein
- Textured vegetable protein
Soy is part of the legume family but it does not necessarily mean that you may be allergic to any other legumes such as beans or peanuts. Be sure to always read the labels and avoid purchasing foods or products that contain hidden traces of soy such as cereals, infant formulas, sauces, processed meats, moisturizers, and creams.
Peanuts and Tree Nuts
Be sure to avoid brands that have been manufactured in a factory that contains traces of peanuts and tree nuts. While peanuts and tree nuts are different, the chances are very likely that you are allergic to both. These are ingredients you should be sure to avoid:
- Arachis oil
- Beer nuts
- Hickory nuts
- Monkey nuts
- Peanut protein hydrolysate
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
Fish and Shellfish
If you are allergic to fish or shellfish, it is important that you avoid any food products that contain these ingredients or are manufactured in a factory that may contain traces of shellfish. Rather stick to poultry or beef products instead, however, you may find that some foods do contain hidden traces of shellfish or fish such as barbecue sauce, bouillabaisse, caesar dressing, and eggplant relish.
Wear a Medical Bracelet
Wearing a medical bracelet helps to inform any medical personnel of your allergies in emergency situations. Make sure that your information and allergies are clearly marked on the bracelet and that it is always kept up to date. Your healthcare provider will advise if you need to mention that an EpiPen should be used for your condition.
If you or your child have any food allergies, make sure you pre-pack lunches for school and work every day. This will help you avoid having to search for allergy-free food during your lunch break and it will prevent your child having to eat food from the school canteen or sharing lunch with other kids. Be sure to inform your child’s school of their allergies and make sure you explain to your children the importance of not eating any food from the canteen or other students.
If you are planning an outing for dinner, make sure you plan ahead. Do an online search for restaurants that cater to individuals with food allergies. Call ahead of time to find out any relevant information you need to make sure that the food you are served has not been in contact with any other food that may trigger your allergies.
Mistakes can happen and you may find yourself in a situation where you or your family members may require medical attention from eating foods that contain allergens by accident. Make sure you are prepared for these situations by carrying important documents such as identification documents and emergency contact numbers. Be sure to carry the medication that has been prescribed to you at all times. Keep your emergency package where others can find it and make sure that it is with you when you leave the house. Simple steps and information can help to save your life or the life of a family member in these situations.