Food Allergies: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed
Around 15% of patients with food allergies are diagnosed later in life. I am included in this percentage. For most people, discovering an allergy after living for so many years without one is scary. When I was diagnosed with an anaphylactic allergy to cashews and pistachios in 5th grade, I thought my life was over. I wish when I found out about my allergy, someone told me that it is not the end of the world and that having an allergy really does not affect day-to-day life very much.
Having an allergy does not change how pretty sunsets look, how your stomach hurts when you laugh too hard, or how the sun warms your skin. Having an allergy only means you have to be a little more careful about what you eat. For me, it is really important to eat before I leave my house and pack snacks in all my bags. Protein bars are my personal favorite because they are more substantial than eating carbs, like Goldfish. I put protein bars in my lacrosse bag, school backpack, car, and sometimes my purse. One protein bar I recommend is Kubeba, and you can find these at Walmart or Walgreens. Kubeba does not include the top 8 allergens, as well as sesame, gluten, and mustard.
Remembering to read food labels and informing people of your allergy is crucial. In the first few weeks of being diagnosed with my allergy, I forgot to read the food labels and had a severe reaction. Most likely, if a label says, “made in a facility that contains (insert your allergen),” it is still not safe to eat.
Lastly, having a food allergy does not mean you cannot go out to eat at restaurants with your friends and family. Many restaurants are willing to accommodate you if you inform them of your allergy. Mitchell’s ice cream and other ice cream parlors will open a fresh tub of ice cream for you if you inform them of your allergy and that you cannot have cross-contamination.
Ultimately, having an allergy will not affect the joys of life. The accommodations you may need to make now with an allergy will take less than seconds to complete, and there is nothing to be worried about.