Looking at the Positives of Food Allergies
Last updated: December 2022
Dealing with food allergies is difficult and overwhelming. Figuring out food substitutes and diligently staying away from culprit foods can feel like a full-time job. Worrying about cross-contamination can feel daunting; honestly, there are days when I wish I didn't have to deal with these stressors. Let's face it: having food allergies can be a challenge.
Focusing on the positives of allergies
But life is challenging, and we all have our issues to deal with. So let's get past the negatives that come with food allergies, and how about we shift and look at the positives? Surely there must be some good things that can come out of having food allergies, right?
Understanding food labels
A positive aspect of having food allergies is that you will probably become an excellent reader of food labels and ingredients! Until I was plagued with food allergies, I never ever read the ingredient list on foods. I barely even knew where they were located. Now, I am great at reading ingredient lists and understanding many ingredients, food label terms, and claims, which for most people, can be confusing.
Becoming a master at finding food substitutes
Because of food avoidance, you may be able to find wonderful food alternatives and substitutes after some trial and error. For example, I have to stay far away from wheat products. And, of course, all the tasty American-made packaged foods contain wheat, like bread, pasta, cookies, and cereal. Well, due to my allergy, I am forced to look elsewhere to manage these cravings.
I now use chickpea pasta or brown rice flour pasta whenever I crave pasta. The selection of substitute products available now is pretty amazing, and the average consumer probably isn't aware of all the options.
Crafting a more interesting food menu
Due to the new knowledge of food substitutes, your food menu can actually broaden from the standard meals, and you may start eating foods you never used to eat. I also eat a broader range of vegetables since I can't rely on what I used to eat before allergies came into play. I have broadened my menu to new things I would have never tried. This is a definite positive!
Paying more attention to nutrition
Overall, I am more health-conscious than I was due to food allergies. It's important to figure out how to get the proper amount of nutrients each day despite your allergies. Now, I am a smarter food consumer and check product labels before purchasing or consuming. I understand all kinds of labels and have started to cook from scratch more often.
I know about good cooking oils versus bad ones. I have realized that cooking from home is always the best option because, unfortunately, restaurants use lower-quality cooking oils and ingredients to keep costs down. I've learned to enjoy cooking more due to my allergies, and with each day continue to learn more about making new meals and trying new things that comply with my food tolerances.
What is your food allergy experience?
How about you? Do you see any positives in dealing with food allergies? I know positivity isn't the first thing that comes to mind, but I'm sure there are things you can also add to the list. If so, share below!
How often do you connect with others who have food allergies?