Having food allergies has been so crucial to the success of my clean eating. I know it sounds crazy! How could food allergies ever be a good thing? I used to wonder the same thing, but over the years it has become clearer as to how they are sort of a blessing in disguise. Don’t get me wrong–I’d love to outgrow these allergies anytime now. That being said, I’m not at all resentful that I have this severe condition.
The number one benefit to having allergies my whole life is how reading labels is second nature. I was honestly shocked when I found out that a lot of people don’t do this. What sparked clean eating in me was that I was reading ingredients and realized that I didn’t know what most of the ingredients were and the lists were miles long. If label reading wasn’t in my nature, clean eating probably never would have crossed my mind.
Going off of that, another benefit is that I grew up avoiding a lot of junk. Egg and tree nut allergies basically eliminates all bakeries. When I was younger, it was brutal seeing all those yummy pastries I couldn’t eat, but now I don’t feel like I’m missing a thing! People will sympathize and say how bad they feel when I can’t eat this, that, and the other thing, but I genuinely don’t care. What actually bothers me is people doing this–not actually “missing out”.
Okay, so allergies aren’t all bad, but how on Earth does one go about managing such a life threatening condition? Even with some benefits, allergies are dangerous and are not to be taken lightly. Again, the answer comes down to reading those labels. If something doesn’t have a label, it needs to be avoided at all costs! Even if someone says, “Don’t worry, it doesn’t have [insert allergen here] in it!” it is not safe! What non-allergic people often fail to understand is cross contamination and how dangerous is actually is.
In future posts, I’ll delve a little deeper into each of these topics, but I first wanted to give a little overview on my background with food allergies. These days everything is so confusing with both allergies and sensitivities on the rise and lack of understanding from the non-allergic population is both irritating and life threatening. My hope is to clear up any confusion and raise awareness for those who aren’t familiar with allergies while giving some insight on what it is like to live with food allergies and tips on managing them for those who are.