How to be a helpful host to your friends with food allergies this holiday season

The molasses cookies were delicious, soft and chewy. But then my lips started to feel weird, tight and stinging.I noticed they were swollen and my mouth itchy and burning. I was allergic to one of the ingredients.

It’s time to bake cookies, it’s time for big holiday gatherings, usually focused on food — gatherings that I sometimes fear. yes i love it There is no need to specifically consume it and cook it. Unfortunately, I have also developed allergies and sensitivities to multiple foods, including wheat, rhubarb, and common wheat substitutes such as rice and buckwheat. I’m afraid this is going to put me down. Everyone else sitting awkwardly and hungry at the table is just enjoying the food I crave and stare at.

But I am not alone. About 32 million people in the United States have food allergies. The most common foods that cause allergic reactions include milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, soybeans, fish and shellfish. Although you may associate food allergies with childhood, the ones a child may “grow up” to, nearly 11% of adults in America have food allergies. Although less severe than the immune system reaction of allergies, it is still an unpleasant physical reaction.

Allergies can change at any time, including food allergies and sensitivities. Due to hormonal changes, my allergies really got worse post-pregnancy, which is not uncommon. Don’t count them. Consider some of these tips and reminders to help everyone eat together.

trust people with food allergies

Want some Christmas cookies? Yes, a million times Yes. Can you do it without getting sick? No. Respect what someone tells you about what you can consume. I don’t do it on purpose. We are not doing this to make you feel uncomfortable. One thing I hate about food allergies and sensitivities is the unwanted attention they attract. I just want to go off the regular menu or eat what other people are eating. But my body reacts differently, no fault of mine. We have no control over it, just like an allergy to ragweed or dogs.

Are you allergic, intolerant, hypersensitive, or just a preference? It really doesn’t matter. If someone says they can’t or don’t want to eat something, you should never pressure them. Even though I did my best. Even if they think they will like it. Personally, I love your strawberry rhubarb pie. But it would also send me into anaphylaxis.

listen without guessing

You have to find yourself wheat-free foods, but you can eat a lot of foods that contain other common allergens, such as milk. may take a one-size-fits-all approach. cereals, sugar, When For example, dairy-free.

Being allergic to one thing does not mean you are allergic to everything.

Allergies are not the same. If your holiday meals come with people with food allergies or intolerances, the first step is to ask them exactly what works and what doesn’t. Not all things are allergic. A well-meaning friend kept ordering vegan food when I actually wanted something wheat-free. Butter please!

Offer option

Eating Christmas cookies may be a tradition in your family, but if you have guests who can’t eat those cookies, offer other options so they aren’t the only ones who can’t attend. Fashionable chocolates and sorbets, and after-dinner drinks are just as nice. Do you always have to eat fruitcake? How about a cheese plate too? The best thing about tradition is that it is constantly changing and growing. Which is more important, doing the same thing as usual or getting as many people involved as possible? You can create new traditions to ensure that loved ones with food allergies aren’t always left out.

take easy

Words cannot express how painful it is to not be able to eat pie. Or bread pudding, my favorite dessert. Also, I often have to refuse food, which makes me feel doubly sick. I worry that no matter how delicious it looks, no matter how hard I try, I risk offending people who don’t understand that there are some things that are physically inedible. This is especially complicated because some people express their love through cooking.

My child was born with a dairy allergy. When he was a toddler, when he went to the bakery to buy a cake for his relatives, the kind lady behind the counter asked him if he could get some free cookies. She said sorry he is allergic to butter and her eyes filled with tears. She put her extra cookies in our box. This was very intentional, but again we couldn’t eat them.

it’s not about you. It’s about your guests and loved ones trying to protect their own health and safety.

Your food-allergic friends may bring their own food to your gathering. They may eat before they come. That doesn’t mean you’re not a great cook, or that they don’t trust you. It means you want it to be easier than it should be. It’s not a reflection of your job as a chef. It’s a shame that someone can’t eat what we’ve made, but we’re even more disappointed. it’s not about you. It’s about your guests and loved ones trying to protect their own health and safety.

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Consider social options that aren’t food-focused

I have a best friend with severe food allergies. Dining is central to many social gatherings, but it doesn’t have to be. Take long walks or hikes with friends. When dining together, let her choose a restaurant or bring her own food to eat at home.

Food brings people together, but having food allergies or intolerances can also make you feel disconnected from others. Listen to your loved ones and what they say about what they can and cannot do. Please believe me. From this holiday season onwards, it’s always the most loving thing you can do.

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