Food sensitivities not only change a person’s diet, but also their budget and social life.
While some people go their entire lives without a single issue, others develop food sensitivities in college.
‘What do I do?’ is always the first question that is asked.
With any food sensitivity, the most important thing to do is to research which foods are harmful.
The internet is the easiest way to find this information. However, not every website is reliable, so it
is important to use multiple sources.
Then determine which foods the websites agree on and create a list. This list will become the foundation of a food-sensitive diet.
Next comes the difficult part – how to eat.
Keep in mind, this food will not taste as good at first. However, after two or three years it will be hard to remember the taste of ‘good food.’
The grocery store is usually a hit-or-miss, ranging from a large-to-small selection.
Grocery-store food is separated into two different categories – foods that are naturally safe to eat and foods that are made for food sensitivities.
Foods specifically made to be free of a certain ingredient are always more expensive and can often be made at home for less. Other foods, however, cannot be replicated and are worth the extra money
There are also foods that are naturally safe and can take the place of specially-made foods. These are great to save a quick buck and can even taste better.
However, it is always important to read the nutrition label before buying food because packages can be deceiving.
Major allergens, such as gluten, dairy, nuts and eggs will almost always be bolded on the nutrition label. However, others are hidden in a long list of ingredients. Therefore, it is always good to read the label all the way through before purchasing an item.
Learning how to cook with food sensitivities is also difficult.
Regular recipes can require substituted-ingredients – which ultimately changes the taste – and good recipes are difficult to find.
The internet is the best and easiest resource to use for any recipes. However, make sure that recipes are highly-rated and relatively-simple. A complicated recipe with a long list of overpriced-ingredients is not worth the time or the money.
Restaurants are the most difficult place to buy food.
Menus are not only difficult to navigate, but there are also heavy reliances on servers and cooks who may not understand everything about certain food sensitivities.
Therefore, there are a few rules to abide by when ordering at a restaurant.
First, always ask for an allergen-menu. Allergen-menus are the best way to find out if a menu item is safe for common food sensitivities.
Second, don’t be afraid to ask questions and make complicated orders. It is better to ask a server questions and make a complicated-order, than to get sick.
Third, clarify with the server that a food is an ‘allergen’ not a ‘preference.’ By stating that food is an allergen ensures that both the servers and the staff are careful not to put it in the dish.
Third, always check to make sure the order is right before eating. Oftentimes, things can get mixed up in the kitchen and a customer may not receive what they ordered.
Fourth, if a dish tastes too good to be true, then it probably is. Dishes without certain ingredients will not taste the same. If an order tastes the same or better than it should without a certain ingredient, then there is probably something wrong.
Fifth, it is never wrong to send food back or get a refund. If an order is wrong, it’s wrong. There is no point paying for food that can’t be eaten. Either send the food back or politely ask for a refund.
Finally, always be polite to the server and cooks. While it may be frustrating to get the wrong order – once or multiple times – don’t vent it out on others. Orders like these are not common and mistakes can happen.
Social events are another hurdle because of social pressure and food.
While it may seem rude to decline food at a party, it is not worth getting sick over. Instead, prepare ahead of time.
The easiest thing to do is eat before the event. It makes declining food easier and there is no concern of going hungry.
If the host is a close-acquaintance or family, alert them of these food sensitivities. The host will either prepare food in advance or food can be brought from home.
The last thing to keep in mind with any food sensitivity is to stick with the diet.
The temptation to stray from it is everywhere, from food around us to the TV screen. However, getting off that diet can have dire consequences and can leave a person feeling ill for weeks. Take it from me, it’s not worth it.