*For my Writing for Interactive Media Class I picked Food Allergies as my topic. I’ll be re-posting my assignments here for your enjoyment. I’m not an expert, this is just me trying to learn more and share what I learn. Here are some tips*
If you have any type of allergy then you know that there are steps you must take in order to be prepared for an allergic attack. I am allergic to trees, dust, and mold so I know to always have a packet of Kleenex and some allergy pills in all of my pocketbooks. This way I am prepared for occasions such as entering a dusty home surrounded by a moldy forest.
Carrying some Kleenex and living in a city with few trees is how I cope. What if you have a food allergy? Food is unavoidable, and you probably enjoy eating out sometimes. There are some steps to take to help ensure you have a pleasant dining experience.
Avoid certain restaurants
Right off the bat you can eliminate some hazardous choices. If you are allergic to shellfish, please don’t go to a seafood restaurant. With peanut or tree nut allergies you might have to avoid Asian restaurants, since many dishes feature peanut oil, peanuts, and other nuts.
Know what’s in common ingredients
Cinnamon, a common and versatile spice, is not always gluten free. When it is packaged ground instead of whole, there is a chance that flour was added to prevent it from caking. For people with mild gluten intolerance this won’t be an issue, however if it’s severe – such as with celiac disease – then you need to be more careful.
Don’t be afraid to be obnoxious
I have a tendency to be very quiet, and I dislike telling chefs or waiters what to do. If I had a severe food allergy though, I would be the bossiest, most obnoxious person you’ve ever met. Do not be embarrassed to tell your waiter that you have a food allergy, and make sure you make a point to ask questions about the food and how it’s prepared. You can also call ahead and talk with a manager about the menu choices and make them aware of your allergy.
Bring a chef card
Type in the ingredients you need to avoid, print it out, bring it with you, and give it to the manager or chef. Since it’s something you can print out at home, you don’t need to worry about not getting it back.
Have your epinephrine on you
If you were prescribed epinephrine, then you should have it on you at all times, especially if you’re going out to a restaurant. It would also help if you know how to use it.
When you find yourself asking a plethora of questions, you might want to just order something else. Pick a simpler dish that doesn’t have as many ingredients. Maybe the Spicy Thai Green Curry Ramen isn’t for you. Try the Garlic Ramen instead.
Be a regular customer
If you have found a restaurant that is accommodating to your needs, has good food, and is a place where you have never had any allergic reactions, congratulations! You can now be a regular, and always have a go-to restaurant when you don’t want to deal with all the fuss of calling ahead and asking about ingredients.