So you’ve just discovered you have a food allergy or need to cut some foods out of your diet, where do you start? We know this feeling, that overwhelming sense that you’ll never eat any of your favourite foods again, you’ll have to throw everything out of your pantry, and you’ll have to spend hours and hours at the supermarket checking every single label on everything you buy to see what is in it. Any allergy or change in food options feels overwhelming at first, but we guarantee it gets easier! Here are our top tips for getting started with a new food allergy.
- Go Back to Basics
Fresh fruit and vegetables will become your best friend, especially in the early days. You don’t have to read packets or worry about cross contamination if you are eating whole unprocessed foods. As you become more familiar with your allergy and new food needs you will slowly and surely be able to add more flavours and tastes to your food.
- Get Your Friends and Family on Board
It can be really hard for friends and family members to understand new allergies, especially if they haven’t had any experience with allergies themselves. So sit down and talk to the people who will be cooking food for you about your new food requirements.
- Find Cafes and Restaurants Close to Home
Finding places you can go for Sunday brunch or Friday night dinner is really important. Look out for places that can accommodate your allergy and have staff that are knowledgeable about preparing food for people with allergies.
- Join Online Communities
Online communities will be a saviour for you, they have been for me! I am a member of the Coeliac Disease New Zealand group on Facebook; this group is full of people posting about new products they’ve found and recommendations of cafes and restaurants around the country. There are groups for all allergies online and joining them will help throughout your allergy journey and will be invaluable while you are adjusting to your new food requirements.
- Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
You will at times accidently or not, eat something you shouldn't, don’t be too hard on yourself! Changing the way you eat is a huge overhaul of many parts of your life so don’t forget to give yourself a chance to adjust.