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Beyond the Label

As a person with food allergies, you are thrilled by the thought of finding a new safe food or brand.

You do all the research and spend far too long on hold with the manufacturer to find out the plant is free of your allergens and there’s no risk of cross contamination.

That’s only half the battle. Now comes the harder part, which may be even more time consuming. Getting yourself or your child to actually eat it.

When you’re very young, some parts are easier, the kid will blindly trust the parent. Both good and bad. The child trusts you to eat the food. As the parent, you sit there eyes glued, focused on any change in the next three hours. Were they sneezing an hour ago? Was that red dot on her cheek before she ate? Kids, especially young ones can’t really communicate what they’re feeling, which makes this whole process even more difficult.

Once you get older, you’re able to run through all those terrifying questions by yourself.

In both situations, the thing to remember is you were thorough in your research. You contacted all the companies and they read you the prepared allergen statement that others have heard hundreds of times. The food in all likelihood is really safe for the allergens you asked about. Yet, you pause while she reads in her monotone voice.

Doesn’t she understand this is my life?! You hold your breath before her prepared statement makes or breaks your relationship with this brand. And then that's it. Your trust lies in the sentences read to you over the phone.

Something I've realized is I'm still trying to gain that trust. I think this is because my life is so literally in the hands of others with anything I put in my mouth, especially when deciding to trust a new brand.

It’s a tricky way to live and as I get older and feel more in control of my allergies, I try to eat different things that I know are safe. There are some foods that I am limiting myself from even though I know they’re fine just because it can be scary to try a new company or product.

It’s about weighing the pros and cons, and often becomes a whole production. No new foods the day before any big event and stick to the basics when I’m sick. It’s become comfortable and safe, and accidentally limiting.

I have started trusting more, especially when it comes to allergy friendly companies. So many of them exist now, and they take their protocols very seriously. It's companies like those I've realized I don't need to second guess.

With proper labeling and their allergy protocols, I am able to confidently and comfortably try new foods without worrying. I'm not going to lie, I still get a little nervous when taking the first bite of something new, but I realize these companies want an allergic reaction to their product as much as I do.

There is no reason for them to lie, and while there are still issues to be handled regarding allergen labeling, doing thorough research puts you on the safest path, and makes it so you can enjoy something new.

Some of my favorite allergy friendly brands!

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