Food allergies can be difficult to manage at any age. But they can be even more difficult for adults who are newly diagnosed with a food allergy. As a child trying out new foods, discovering an allergy means moving on to another food. But for an adult who has a long history enjoying a food, suddenly learning you are allergic and can no longer enjoy favorite flavors can seem unfair and impossible. Here are some tips to help you adjust to the new limits of a food allergy.
• Talk to your doctor – Just because you have a reaction to a food doesn’t necessarily mean you are allergic. Your doctor may refer you to an Allergist – a doctor who specialized in treating allergies – for testing to isolate the allergen, which is the food you are allergic to.
• Get it out of the house – The biggest temptation to break your diet, whether for weight loss or because your body cannot tolerate a certain food, is hiding in your own pantry or refrigerator. Once you know what you are allergic to, go through the kitchen and get rid of everything that contains the allergen. One of the big dangers with food allergies is cross- contamination. Some allergies are so severe that just touching a refrigerator shelf that has held the allergen or cooking something in a pot where the allergen was cooked can cause a reaction. Reduce the danger of accidental contact by getting it out of the house.
• Look for hidden sources – Depending on what you are allergic to, the allergen may be hiding in places you wouldn’t normally think to look. Research your allergen to find hidden sources, such as makeup, cleansers, or vitamins that you will also need to avoid.
• Ask for help if you need it – Some allergens are easier to avoid than others. Some allergens, like milk and eggs, are so common that they are difficult to avoid. A dietician or nutritionist may be able to help you find ways to avoid your allergen while still preparing the foods you enjoy by using substitutions in your recipes.