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Being Forearmed For Allergy Safe Holiday Eating!

Person #1: "I didn't know food allergies could kill people?!

Person#2: "That's what 'life threatening food allergy' means.

Person#1: "I just remember you saying blah blah blah food allergy, blah blah blah. :()

(Who's been there? )

It's the time of year for holiday pies, cakes, cookies and multitudes of other goodies to be consumed and enjoyed with friends, family and co workers! But for those of us with food allergies this can be a challenging time if we're not prepared with our own arsenal of celebratory treats to enjoy! The temptation is very REAL when dishes all too familiar, that we've grown up on and connect to warm memories or traditions to want to just toss all caution into the wind and eat what you want. [ Not that I've ever done that...He He He!! ]

However, we don't have to fall victim to those enticing but harmful treats or meals. We are living in a time when there are so many choices for allergy friendly foods and ingredients to make them. Perhaps too, what it boils down to is discipline. I speak from experience dipping in and out of that allergy safe zone isn't worth it no matter what I've told myself! LOL Not to mention the physical repercussions of stressing my immune system from food that my body recognizes as foreign invaders! :() [But honestly speaking, I have thrown a few internal temper tantrums because of this!!! >() ] Most holiday foods are prepared with at least one or more of the top 8 allergens;

Eggs * Milk * Shellfish * Peanuts * Tree Nuts * Fish * Soy * Wheat. So it's our responsibility to keep ourselves safe by making smart choices.

[ A few well informed conversations PRIOR holiday events results in everyone feeling welcomed and included in warm celebrations. :) ]

One of the most important rules for keeping on track with safe eating is to, first keep your Epi-Pen and prescribed inhalers and asthma meds with you [ at all times

really ] next, prepare (or buy, whatever's best for you) your own food ahead of time and bring it with you. This will save you from having to feel left out or having to make excuses as to why you can't partake in the food being served. Of course having a conversation with the host (family/friend etc...) prior to dining with them will avert any confused, hurt or offended feelings that often DO happen! But the alternative is a sudden trip to the emergency room! :o

[ Gluten free cookie recipes have come a long way, who's to say that everyone won't enjoy your 'special' treats? Gluten free pasta is hard to tell from the wheat based; particularly Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta brand, my hubby can't tell the difference! Who doesn't love a good all in one pasta dish? :{} ]

If you bring a dish along to your event, it can be helpful (not to mention) filling to create an all in one meal so all your bases are covered [ though it may serve as one of the side dishes for an event filled with multiple dishes]. Hand washing before and after food handling is another way to avoid cross contamination especially with finger foods!

[ Some of the LivingThruGrace ladies got together to discuss food planning for the up coming holidays. Many of them are living with food allergies and sensitivities and pre planning ensures everyone's needs are met! ]

Of you are hosting an event don't be afraid to ask your guests to list the ingredients of their prepared meals. Remember this is no time to be self conscious because you are your OWN advocate for your health and food safety! In the case of those who can't be bothered or have brought store bought dishes without their labels, its best to avoid those altogether. Food from bulk bins, or from the prepared foods areas, deli's and such are highly possible contaminants so if there's no ingredient label just say no. If you're the host keep all allergy safe dishes {Separated} from the ofter dishes ( we don't want any contaminants dropping into da' food! :) ) We're already prepared remember; so WE don't have to look on while others enjoy their holiday treats because we have our tasty treats too! :()

[ Remember to use separate cooking pots and pans or wash THOROUGHLY the ones used in-between prepping food allergy safe dishes. ]

Cross contaminating of utensils, and other dishware can be avoided buy utilizing plastic ware [ I know, not classy but helpful LOL! ] or having SEPARATE flatware and drinking glasses for those with food allergies. Gently remind your guests that if they choose to sample some of the allergy safe [and yummy!] dishes to be mindful of using the proper flatware for safety purposes. You can even create decorative little signs with those gentle reminders right on your table!

[ "Food labels, I can't even read yet!!!" LOL!!! ]

Reminder cards are especially helpful with kids as it gives them a guide so they don't have to guess, and so they won't rush through as kids do. Take the time to explain [ and have your guests do the same for their kids] to young guests and family why these steps are being taken and their importance. In fact for younger kids you can place colored ties or stickers on their flatware such as green for allergy safe red for all other dishes!

[ Who's missing out on luscious creamy coffee, not me!! ]

One thing I've learned to do over the year's living with food allergies is to eat BEFORE I attend an event, a light meal with a couple bring-along safe snacks. I even bring my own coffee creamer [ Being the coffee addict that I am! ] in a travel bottle so I can enjoy without having to go without!!

[ Water doesn't have to be plain, toss in festive fruits, herbs or spices and turn your water into a party drink full of flavor and nutrients from the additions!! ]

Drinking lots of water will keep our immune system working efficiently. Water brings oxygen onto the blood and to all the cells of our body and aids the kidneys to flush toxins out of our system. Water helps the body to digest food and helps to chase away constipation. Many holiday treats [ especially if they're not made with whole unprocessed ingredients; this includes allergy safe foods too because there's plenty of options that are less than stellar for our body! LOL ], can result in inflammation that effects the joints and arthritis, and other conditions if you're not careful. Water helps to combat this issue because it lubricates the joints. So get to slamming' those water bottles along with some of that nog! :()

Staying informed and fully prepared will make your holiday events relaxed and enjoyable. It doesn't need to be difficult with just a few actions you and your guests can have a smooth gathering where no one feels left out!

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