Eating out with Food Allergy
No, I am not picky.
At least not by choice.
It kind of gets very difficult when something like food, which one needs for survival, becomes something that threatens one’s survival. The occasions where one is drawn to a restaurant are many and it is not always easy to turn it down. This becomes particularly a problem for the unfortunate group of people suffering from food allergies.
Understanding Food Allergy
Food allergy is an unpleasant, or in some cases a dangerous reaction of the immune system to certain food items consumed. Like in the case of any other allergy, it is very important to identify the cause of allergy. Now, one can be allergic to any kind of food item. But there are certain food items that most people who have food allergy are allergic to such as egg, milk, nuts, soy, wheat, peanuts, fish and shellfish to name a few.
Symptoms of Food Allergy
The symptoms of any allergy depend on the nature and the type of allergy that you have. Some common food allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, headache, red itchy eyes, hives or rashes, stomach cramps, vomiting or diarrhea. In some severe cases, the effects can be much worse. Even a miniscule amount of a food item that one is allergic to can cause a serious or life-threatening reaction called an anaphylactic shock wherein there is a sudden and sometimes deadly drop in the blood pressure. The shock can have the potential to stop the heart or obstruct or completely close air passages, leading to death by suffocation.
Sounds scary, right? Well to be honest, it is scary. But that does not mean you have to say goodbye to the mouthwatering delicacies served in your favourite restaurants.
Keeping a few important details in mind can help you get the best of both worlds.
Tips to Eat Out With Food Allergy
Learn About the Place In Advance
These days information is available at the tip of our fingers. Read up about the place in advance or ask people you know who have been there before so that you can be sure the place is sensitive to people with food allergies and can serve dishes as per your specific requirements.
Keep the Staff Informed
It is very important that the manager and the people serving you at the restaurant are well aware of your food allergy. Ask as many questions as you need to. While placing your order, emphasize very clearly on the ingredients you would NOT want to be included in your food. Let them know the possible reactions you may suffer from if those items are included in your food. Understand from them if they have any basic remedies for allergies, particularly food allergies.
Don't Hesitate to Leave
After the inquiries if you get the feeling that you may not get what you’re looking for and don’t feel confident about the food you may be served, don’t hesitate to leave. It is a matter of your health and it is not worth the risk.
Double-Check Your Food
Don’t just go by what the waiter has said about the food. Check your food well yourself before starting to eat and reconfirm the absence of the specific ingredients, in a friendly manner, with the waiter as well. Better safe than sorry!
Simplicity is Key
The simpler your dish, the lesser will be the ingredients used in it. It will be easier for you to ascertain if the right ingredients are used.
Choose Non-Peak Hours
The staff at restaurants might not have the time or patience to answer all your queries about your order during peak hours as there may be many people they need to cater to. They might not even take it too well or worse too seriously during those hours and you might end up paying the price for it. It’s better to go at a time when there isn’t much crowd so that they can give you the time and attention you need to place your order.
Choose a Restaurant Chain
This can be helpful especially when you’re travelling. Restaurants operating in a chain usually use the same type and quality of ingredients across their different outlets, thus making them a safer option for people who have food allergies.
Be Prepared to Treat an Exposure
As good and careful the staff might have been and as thorough you may have been in your instructions, the possibility of a mistake or an accident cannot be avoided. It is of utmost importance whenever you decide to eat outside, to always carry your prescribed medicines to counter a possible attack and aid in allergy treatment.
Homeopathy for Food Allergies
The symptoms of food allergies differ from person-to-person based on the individual reaction of their immune systems. Homeopathic treatment for allergy involves identifying and treating not just the allergy but the underlying symptoms of the allergy as well. As food allergy is a reaction of the immune system to certain foods, homeopathy allergy treatment focuses on improving the immune system and the overall health of an individual. It is also completely natural and free of side effects.
It’s not easy to live with food allergies but it is not impossible. A few steps in the right direction can help you share a jolly time with your loved ones at your favourite restaurant.