2019 and Beyond: Living Proactively with Food Allergies

2019 and Beyond: Living Proactively with Food Allergies

Over the last 6 months I was unsure where I have been taking the blog and podcast. It got to the point where I was falling out of love with it.

The purpose and driving force behind Eat Allergy Safe has always been that allergies aren’t about missing out, they are about doing things differently. Since starting the blog in 2015 and the podcast in 2016, I have found there are SO many inspirational allergy bloggers and people out there.

Unfortunately, these inspirational people can often get drowned out by a few negative vocal voices and newspaper stories. (I have definitely felt pressure from these negative voices and haven’t always known how to respond…) The fear mongering encourages others to believe they are victims and that the world owes them something because they have a food allergy. I believe this is wrong and destructive and does not allow each person to find their innate strengths.

Food allergy deaths have become popular topics for newspaper articles. Although the frequency of allergies being in the news is great for awareness, they serve also to fuel fear, anxiety and stress about living with allergies everyday. They have forced people to pay attention out of fear. This serves an initial purpose, but I believe only in the short term. If allergy education and awareness is to be a long term plan, we can’t go at it from fear because that just builds resentment. Not to mention, being an allergy sufferer I don’t want to depress myself by reading about a death that could have so easily have been me. For my own mental well being, I want to take action.

Through learning about my allergy I know I feel more in control of my life and ability to manage on a day to day basis. The more knowledge I have acquire I find I can understand more than just my own views, and that gives me perspective on the actions of others and helps me manage my emotional response to negative news articles or opinions.

Things Are Changing…

This said, things are changing on the blog and podcast. As some of you may have noticed if you follow me on social media, I’ve been posting very sporadically. This is going to continue and I have made the decision to log out of many of the accounts. I have an auto-poster app that I will use to share blog posts, but I will no longer be active on the accounts. This is for my own well being and also because I have come to dislike some of the bad human traits that social media encourages in general. (I’ve found over the last year that negative and angry posts get the most interaction and are promoted the most by social platforms – that is not what I want to promote at Eat Allergy Safe and it is not what Eat Allergy Safe is about.)

Instead I encourage you to comment on a blog post or, even better, send me an email through the contact form! I want to encourage actual communication rather than the fleeting comments or ‘likes’ on social media that we often make and forget so quickly.

Proactive, not Reactive: Information & Education

Content in 2019 is going to be focused on information and education about all aspects of living with food allergies so that we can make informed decisions.

If you are an allergy parent, your time will come when allergies won’t be a big part of your life. That is good and the natural order of things, but your allergy child will always have allergies. Allergies won’t go away, and the best protection you can give them is to arm your child with knowledge and confidence so they can own their allergy. 

I will look for your input over 2019. What information do you wish you could find? What practical information do you want? What are you curious about? The science and psychology of allergies? or food manufacturing? 

I want the content to be proactive rather than reactive, so that living with allergies is proactive rather than reactive.

What do you think?

Leave a comment below or send me an email, I’d love to hear from you.

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An Open Letter to Allergy Teens From a Grownup Allergy Kid

An Open Letter to Allergy Teens From a Grownup Allergy Kid

Dear Allergy Teens,

You have compelled me to write this letter after seeing an instagram post the other day. It stated:

“At 16 I hate my food allergy more than ever. It sucks!!”

My first reaction is to ask how can you hate what you can’t change? That doesn’t make sense.

I know it can suck, I’ve been there. I’ve been labelled the allergy girl my whole life. I’ve had an allergic reaction. I’ve been terrified to eat. I’ve felt left out at parties and school trips when I can’t join in with everyone else, eat the same as everyone else, be the same as everyone else. You can sit there only drinking water feeling completely sorry for yourself. At these points I’ve thought why me?!

When it’s that time of year when school, college and university are starting again. The reality of starting coursework, exams, having to actually sort your life and meeting new people hits you. The last thing you want is to be singled out, to be labelled ‘different’…

Mark Twain put it perfectly: “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” It’s true we all worry sometimes about what other people think, and it’s true, people judge you, but they do it based on many more things than an allergy…(and those people who you worry are judging you, aren’t you just as guilty of judging them..?)

Having an allergy is a challenge but you can use it to make yourself a better, more confident, and a cooler all round human being. Not many people get the opportunities you do by having an allergy.

Not many people get the opportunities you do by having an allergy. Click To Tweet

At this point you must be thinking, “what on earth is this lady on about?! opportunity?!” Yes thats right, allergies are an opportunity. You have an opportunity to be a better version of yourself.

Let me break it down for each of you guys and girls:

 

Guys, do you want to be cool and sought after by the girls? I’m pretty sure your answer is going to be a yes. What do you think girls want? They want a confident guy who knows his own mind and is willing to stand up for what he believes in. Not someone who is insecure and lets everyone walk all over him. Well, your allergy seems like a pretty good challenge to develop your confidence because if you don’t you will probably end up hospital. So, don’t let your allergies hold you back, don’t let the anxiety over your allergies control you, you control it. Own your allergy, do what’s necessary and don’t apologise for it.

food allergy dragon tamer guy

Girls, you never have to feel embarrassed about having an allergy. People will say what they like and some of it isn’t always nice, but you always control how you feel about it. It is your life, your mind and your body. You have a responsibility to look after yourself and that means your allergy too. However that doesn’t mean your allergy should control you. You are in control and strong enough to advocate for yourself, even if you don’t feel like it. Just remember your life is more important than other people’s feelings and if someone can’t respect your allergy needs they are not worth having in your life, full stop.

food allergy dragon tamer girl bow arrow danger

So allergy teens, it comes down to this: life is more than your allergies. Allergies are only a biological fact of your body. They don’t define who you are. I mean everyone is allergic to rat poison but you never hear anyone complain about how their life would be better if they could only eat some without consequences. You have an allergy, but that’s just a fact. Facts do not equal feelings because you control how those facts get processed.

If you start complaining or feeling sorry for yourself, that is your decision. But have think, does it actually solve anything? No. It’s fine to have a 5 minute time out, get up set and feel it all, but then you need to decide how you are going to solve your problem. How you feel and how you handle your allergy, how you teach people to think about allergies is completely up to you. If you handle it with calmness and confidence, everyone else will follow suit. After all, when a ship is sinking everyone looks to the calm and controlled person for direction.

To end:

The bad news (that you already know): You’ve got a life threatening allergy, looming over you like an angry dragon.

The good news: The best people in life are those who’ve grown stronger from overcoming personal disaster. Your allergy is a wild dragon that must be tamed, and who doesn’t like a dragon tamer?

You are probably going to have this allergy for life, so you best get over it, get on with it and own it!

Sincerely,

Nina, grown up allergy kid (anaphylaxis: peanuts and tree nuts)

P.S. Fellow dragon tamers, if you have any comments, queries, rants, raves, questions, likes or dislikes feel free to leave me a note in the comments section or send me an email.

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5 Things Food Allergies Are Not

5 Things Food Allergies Are Not

When you have a food allergy, there are misconceptions. But they are exactly that misconceptions. Here are 5 myths that I’m going to set the record straight about.

 

1

Food allergies cannot be cured with probiotics.

An allergic reaction is an autoimmune response in the body to a protein. Allergic reactions can range from mild too extreme. The extreme form of allergic reactions is called anaphylaxis which in the worst case can result in death. The research for the link between the gut and allergies is still very new. Food allergies cannot be cured by simply taking probiotics or those good bacteria yogurts you can get at the supermarket. Always talk to your doctor or a medical professional about allergy treatments.

2

Food allergies are not a fad or phase.

They are a bodily reaction to a protein that your immune system sees as a foreign invader, it is an autoimmune response. Allergies are not in your head, they’re not something you’re dreaming up. Food allergies are serious and need management so that you can stay allergy safe.

3

Food allergies do not make you weak.

The beauty about allergies about you know what makes you sick. This means is really easy to avoid those foods that make you sick. You are healthy just long as you avoid those allergens.  It does not affect your ability to have friends. It’s your choice how you think about your allergy and what it means in your life.

4

Your food allergy does not rule your life.

Just because you or your child have an allergy does not mean you will miss out. You are the one in charge of your allergy, you are the one who can take ownership and you are the one who doesn’t need to let it define you.

5

Having a food allergy does not mean the world has to cater to you.

There are lots of people with allergies some with multiple severe allergies. Restaurants hotels and catering companies do you not have the responsibility to ensure that you have safe food to eat. These are privately owned businesses meaning they can do what they like. This will sound harsh but it’s true. Your allergy is your responsibility. Don’t give up the control over your life.

So what next…?

Sometimes when you don’t know where to start, it’s good to rule out what things are not. When you’re first diagnosed with a food allergy it can feel like the end of the world. The simple task of going food shopping is now a maze of the potentially deadly. Just starting out is frustrating but it wont stay that way.. Living with allergies is a constant process of education and like anything the more we practice the better we get.

Living with allergies is a constant process of education and like anything, the more we practice the better we get. Click To Tweet

Tomorrow’s blog post is number 2 in my Allergy Awareness Week series, I share the 4 most important things you can do to build confidence in your food allergy kids, a question that comes up regularly in coaching sessions.

Make sure you sign up to the newsletter to receive it straight to your inbox. (see side bar on the right)

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6 Quick Things You Can Do To Deal With Allergy Anxiety

Start conquering your food allergy anxiety with these 6 quick steps:

  1. write out what your anxious about
  2. google the stuff you don’t know
  3. buy health/travel insurance & an allergy translation card (be sure to call and confirm your allergy is covered)
  4. always have your medication
  5. tell someone about your allergy
  6. keep practicing!

The more we practice managing our allergies, the more we figure out what we can do to own our food allergies, the more control we’re going to have over our allergy anxiety.

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EAS 053: Kids With Allergies – Amanda & Joella, grown up allergy kid and friend (Everyday Allergen Free)

Have you ever wondered what kids think about their food allergies? Is it as scary as we allergies think it is? Or is there a silver lining? Over the months of September and October I will be publishing the Allergy Kids Mini Series. Each week I will be talking to kids with food allergies about what they really think about having allergies and how they live with them everyday. These allergy kids range from as young as 4 years old all the way up to the grownup allergy kids. The aim of this mini series is to give you an insight into the thoughts, likes, dislikes, worries and celebrations of allergy kids and how it changes over the years. Many times allergy parents can worry that their child with allergies will miss out and will have a worse quality to life, but I know this isn’t the case and these allergy kids will show you how they don’t miss out, they just do things differently. Enjoy!

Today’s Grownup Allergy Kids:

Amanda, grown up allergy kid with multiple severe food allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, legumes, dairy soya, chicken and some fruits) and her best friend Joella.

In the penultimate episode of the Allergy Kids mini series we have reached our grown up allergy kids. For many kids, we are going to have our allergies for life. We are going to have to navigate the world and do all those normal things like school. But when you’re at school, you’re still living at home. You still have your parents hounding you with “have you got your medication with you?” “have you told your friends about your allergies?” “don’t forget to ask about ingredients!” But what is life like with allergies, outside the home bubble?

Nowadays, most teenagers head off to university, or college if you’re in the US. You have to then meet all these new people and tell your brand new flatmates that you have life threatening.

Amanda and Joella met at university, a time when they were “learning to adult.” Amanda wasn’t confident with her allergies. In the beginning she told  her new housemates by leaving a note on the fridge with the list of things she was allergic to. She didn’t want to feel a nuisance by telling people. Interestingly, Joella and Amanda’s boyfriend wanted to know why Amanda didn’t tell people, because it’s kind of important.

”As Click To Tweet and accepted it. – Amanda @EAFLifestyle” username=”eatallergysafe”]

To Joella, Amanda wasn’t living in a way that means she was missing out. Joella forgets that she has allergies because her cooking is “amazing” and whenever they meet new people this is her introduction of Amanda. Joella describes how delicious the kitchen smelled when they were in university, Joella found it amazing and surprising that even though she had so many restrictions that she could make such delicious meals you would never guess where allergen free.

””[having Click To Tweet “no it’s not sad!” – Joella @EAFLifestyle” username=”eatallergysafe”]

University gave them a birds eye view that having allergies is a who lifestyle and this is what brought Amanda and Joella to start Everyday Allergen Free. What are the challenges that adult and teens facing and how can we look at these challenges and make a positive place to address these issues.

Allergy Kid Top Tips:

Joella Top Best Friend Tips:

  1. Take that extra 10 minutes to think through how to be allergy safe
  2. Communicate about your allergy! (If you’re nervous about it: tell people before, call the restaurant before)
  3. Show people that you can look after your allergy, because you are responsible for your allergy

 

Amanda’s Top Tips:

  1. Surround yourself with good friends who care about you
  2. Just own your allergy: the earlier you start the better for you
  3. Get in the kitchen and start creating
  4. Don’t be shy about your allergy, because there is always someone out there like you even if you don’t realise it

 

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING

To get more EAS content sent directly to your device as they become available, you can subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio!

One of our little goals we would love to achieve for is to get into the iTunes “New & Noteworthy” Section, it means we get free front page advertising on iTunes, how great for allergy awareness! But we can’t do it without you. Please subscribe, rate and review on iTunes so that the people at Apple will take notice of our podcast

And lastly, if you have any questions, thoughts, or guests you want to see on the show, please contact me via the contact page.

Chocolate Recipe Book: want the first chapter free??

For those of you who have been following my blog and podcast for a little while you’ll know I’m writing a Gluten Free, Nut Free, Dairy & Egg Free Chocolate Recipe Book. It is the ultimate guide to working with dairy free chocolate with an amazing array of cakes, cupcakes, cookies, biscuits, sweet morsels and other delights.

I am hoping to have this e-book published at the end April. But don’t worry, if you can’t wait until then you can get your hands on the first chapter including 2 recipes. (There are also 2 bonus recipes you get sent later….)

To get your free copy and get the latest info on my recipe book launch, sign up with your email address below.

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EAS 052: Kids With Allergies – Juliet, 21 years old (No Nuts New York Blog)

Have you ever wondered what kids think about their food allergies? Is it as scary as we allergies think it is? Or is there a silver lining? Over the months of September and October I will be publishing the Allergy Kids Mini Series. Each week I will be talking to kids with food allergies about what they really think about having allergies and how they live with them everyday. These allergy kids range from as young as 4 years old all the way up to the grownup allergy kids. The aim of this mini series is to give you an insight into the thoughts, likes, dislikes, worries and celebrations of allergy kids and how it changes over the years. Many times allergy parents can worry that their child with allergies will miss out and will have a worse quality to life, but I know this isn’t the case and these allergy kids will show you how they don’t miss out, they just do things differently. Enjoy!

Today’s Allergy Kid:

Juliet, 21 years old, anaphylaxis to tree nuts

Juliet is a 21 year old college student with a tree nut allergy, but not a peanut allergy. Her parents discovered her tree nut allergy when she was a little kid. As a kid her family used to go out to dinner a lot, but then one accidental cross-contamination incident at a trusted bakery rocked her confidence. Juliet didn’t want to eat out any more. She stopped eating out at restaurants for fear of cross-contamination. Then something changed. Juliet went to University in New York City and wanted to eat something different. She tried googling “nut free restaurants in New York,” but couldn’t find anything! As a 21st century young woman, this “kinda offended me,” says Juliet so she decided to make her own list. This is how her blog nutfreenewyork.com started.

Connect with Juliet on Instagram @nutfreeny

Allergy Kid Top Tips:

  1. Get out there and try new things
  2. Don’t get complacent
  3. Don’t trust everything a waiter says, trust your instincts

 

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING

To get more EAS content sent directly to your device as they become available, you can subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio!

One of our little goals we would love to achieve for is to get into the iTunes “New & Noteworthy” Section, it means we get free front page advertising on iTunes, how great for allergy awareness! But we can’t do it without you. Please subscribe, rate and review on iTunes so that the people at Apple will take notice of our podcast

And lastly, if you have any questions, thoughts, or guests you want to see on the show, please contact me via the contact page.

Chocolate Recipe Book Preview

For those of you who have been following my blog and podcast for a little while you’ll know I’m writing a Chocolate Treats Recipe Book. It is the ultimate guide to working with dairy free chocolate with an amazing array of cakes, cupcakes, cookies, biscuits, sweet morsels and other delights all free from the top 14 allergens!

To get your free sneak peak of what’s in store plus 2 bonus recipes sign up with your email address below. You will also get updates of the book launch in November.

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