Most people with food allergies will be put on an elimination diet (one from which foods suspected of causing an allergic reaction are removed). It may be difficult to stop eating some foods, such as those made with wheat or milk. Fortunately, there are many foods on the market that substitute for the more common allergy-provoking foods.
For help in restricting your diet after a food allergy diagnosis, consult your doctor or a registered dietitian. Dietitians can help design a food plan, suggest alternative foods or ingredients to replace forbidden ones, and provide instruction on reading food labels.
You may find it helpful to use an allergy-free cookbook, which gives recipes that omit common food allergens. Prepared allergen-free items, such as rice bread and soy beverages, are available at health food stores and some grocery stores.
It is not always possible to avoid the offending food. Your physician may give you medication to treat symptoms resulting from food allergies.
Need To Know:
A special note: individuals with wheat allergy are being told that they may eat spelt grain products. However, if you have true wheat allergy, you will react to spelt as well, and this is an unsafe substitution.
Need To Know:
A word of warning about elimination diets
They should not be too restrictive and they must be nutritionally balanced. Sometimes people allow their food restrictions to reach such extremes that they develop food aversions verging on eating disorders. Proper diagnosis and counseling by an allergist and a dietitian are crucial in maintaining a nutritionally complete diet.
Despite precautions, people with histories of food reactions sometimes unknowingly consume a food to which they are allergic. This can happen when the person is unaware of an ingredient in a dish someone else has prepared. Or perhaps the offending ingredient is not on the label or is expressed in a term that does not clearly describe the ingredient.
People with severe food allergies need to be aware that tiny amounts of allergens left on pots, pans, and cooking utensils can contaminate other foods (cross-contamination now also termed "cross-contact"). To avoid this kind of danger, people with severe food allergies are advised to make certain that pots, pans, and cooking utensils are carefully washed with soap and water after each use to remove any traces of forbidden foods.
How to avoid allergy-provoking foods
Read all food product labels.
Ask about ingredients.
Ask about preparation.
Don't take a chance.
Protect your child.
Bring your own food to parties.