Safe and Sterile: Educating friends and family about your food allergy this holiday season

Vis-a-Vis with Victoria

Finding out that you, or someone you love has a food allergy can be life-changing, and sometimes very frightening. Depending on the severity of the allergy, it may call for a diet change for the entire family, sterilization of the home, and even getting rid of tainted appliances (silverware, etc.). Finally, once the home is decontaminated – phew! We’re safe, right? Well, until you leave the house that is.

Personally, I do not suffer with this severe of a food allergy, but I have friends and loved ones who do. And although I am well aware of their allergies, there have been times where I have had a lapse of thought, and handed my friend with a tree-nut allergy a bowl of trail mix from across the table. I quickly realized what I had done and snatched it back. Luckily, he would have known to check the snack before ingesting, but that’s not what matters. As friends and family members of those suffering with food allergies, we must also take the responsibility of being conscious 100% of the time. No matter the severity, food allergies are a serious health matter, and when someone with a food allergy is present, it’s a communal effort to make sure that individual is safe and comfortable. With this in mind, it’s a good assumption to make that most people aren’t aware of how serious food allergies can truly be, and that’s when education comes in.

No matter what you’re connection to the food allergy community is, spreading awareness is the most powerful way to create a “safety first” mindset around food. In my University food science class, we had a lab in which we dealt with all kinds of foods. To my surprise, there were no questions asked about food allergies during the class introduction (I just assumed I missed that part). It wasn’t until the first or second week of lab that the instructors found out one of my fellow students was allergic to peanuts. I couldn’t believe it.

So I guess the bottom line for two categories of people in the world (those with food allergies and those without), is that this is a two-way street, requiring actions from both sides. To the food-allergy savvy community, let it be known! Share your story - your voice is your greatest tool. And to those of us who got the long end of the stick, be aware. Ask questions. Don’t assume that everyone is as lucky as you. With that said, I wish everyone reading a very happy, and safe Holidays.

Not-so-eggy Egg Nog

2 frozen bananas

¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce

1 Tablespoon of ground flax meal

1 teaspoon of gluten free pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

2 Tablespoons of honey

1 - 1.5 cups coconut milk

cinnamon stick to garnish


ContentChecked, West Hollywood, CA, United States