Thursday, July 8, 2021
This is an area that is very near and dear to me. My son and I both struggle with this. It is a detailed challenge that just seems to keep evolving with time. No matter how down pat you seem to get it, there is always the risk of a brand changing manufacturing processes or ingredients without any warning or label updates. Whenever you do see a new label on a familiar product you inwardly panic and scan the ingredients list for changes. At times, it comes down to trial and error and you have to take a chance to see if you will react allergically or not.
This is the reality of my everyday life. And the reality of millions of others who deal with multiple food allergies on a daily basis.
Avoiding gluten used to be my biggest challenge, and then food allergies hit. It is like a curve ball being thrown at you while you are still trying to catch the last ball. It is like you are caught in between two pitchers, and they are both throwing towards you simultaneously. Never a moment to rest and lay down your defenses. Never a day that you can "cheat". Never an option to simply go out for dinner.
That's multiple food allergy reality.
For caregivers as well as the one who is allergic, it can be a source of frustration, anxiety (rightfully so), and exhaustion.
But how do we handle this constant reality in a world full of exposure to allergens? Cleaning products, hand sanitizer, air fresheners, medicines, food packaging, foods, drinks, etc. There are SO MANY ways to get into allergens.
Going to the grocery store where everything has been "sanitized" requires avoiding touching carts which have residual corn from cleaners or wipes. A constant thought in the back of the mind about what is on the packages knowing that so many people fail to wash their hands after eating, or use hand sanitizer thinking it is "clean" when in reality it is loaded with chemical toxins and corn derivatives. Being careful not to stand to close to someone who may be wearing hand sanitizer so as to avoid getting asthma from it. And I could go on and on...
Later at home the challenge continues. Washing hands or even showering upon returning home helps prevent some exposures. Then there is avoiding eating any food without first rinsing off the package. For instance, cheese packages, canned goods, and so much more.
The reality follows you everywhere. It goes with you to the doctors office, to church, to family gatherings, to birthday parties, to the post office, the library, or any other place you may go, even the Emergency Room. Your life at times feels dictated by this reality.
But the truth is, a multiple food allergy sufferer or caregiver is a special kind of strong person. Someone who is always carrying a load but refusing to bend. Constantly protecting, providing comfort, and experiencing close calls. This special kind of person is a great source of inspiration to many out there who face smaller battles on a daily basis.
You never know who is watching you push on, and wondering if they can do it, too.
You may be one of those multiple food allergy warriors, and you are reading this right now thinking, "Yup, this is so true." Just remember you are stronger, you are braver, and you have what it takes to continue pushing on!
A fellow Multiple Food Allergy Warrior,
~Gluten Free Em
Since 2012, Em has been blogging about the Gluten Free diet, and multiple food allergies. Her recipes and words of encouragement have brought hope to many on this journey. You can get your copy of her cookbook, "Cooking Gluten and Corn Free with Gluten Free Em" on Amazon here: