March, 2013

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Be Suspicious of Everything

If you have a food allergy, then it may be easier to be less suspicious. If you must eat it to get sick, then you’re doing ok as far as I can tell. However, if it can get to you via touch or smell, then Houston, we have a problem. I’ve had to go through this problem, and I’ve had to learn the hard way to be suspicious. For example, I was told by the grocer that pineapples were not gassed, and were grown naturally. When I called headquarters, I was told the opposite.

For the sake of our health, we can’t take everything at face value. It would be nice if we could however.

Here’s the kicker… Depending on the severity of your allergy, you have to be suspicious of your loved ones too. Unless you trust them with your life (or personally provided them with ingredients) you should decline to eat food. Personally, I have to decline water as well.

I’m not saying you have to be a hobbit, I mean, a hermit. Rather, find safe ways to be around those you want to spend time with. That way, you can leave the suspicion at home. Or just invite them over to your house, then they can meet your good friend, suspicion that is.

In all honesty, I wish someone would have told me this a year ago. It would have saved me from a lot of physical pain. I also learned this lesson the hard way when I watched someone (allergic to beef) break out in hives after cooking their “safe” food on a grill. The previous user hadn’t cleaned the grill after using it, and none of us thought to be suspicious.

Think About Sponges

So, this may not seem like a big deal. If you have a dishwasher, then this may not even apply to you. However, sponges aren’t clean, and they love to hoard allergens. If you live in a house where there are multiple allergies, or even single allergies, you need to designate which sponge will clean which items. Now, this assumes that you haven’t eliminated the allergen from the house all together. There are times when only one person has a dairy allergy, and no one else does. Well, have different sponges, preferably of different colors so people know what’s safe and what’s not. Now, the level of sensitivity will also determine if this step is necessary. In our house, it’s an absolute must.

There are lots of little ways to arrange the kitchen to be more helpful to those with an allergy. Keep a separate pile of dishes for them, especially if you don’t have a dishwasher. Also keep a separate dish towel for them to use when in the kitchen.

If you are in an extreme case like our house (the house of allergies as we like to call it) you should invest in separate cookware. For example, we have 2 toaster ovens (we hate microwaves). This allows the people with dairy and gluten issues to steer clear of allergens. We also have separate cookware in my case where my food is prepared in dedicated items.

Each kitchen is different. You will have to assess where you’re at. However, sometimes there’s this nagging symptom that won’t go away, and sometimes it’s from cross-contamination.

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