Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Food Alergies by Jessica Scofield

Being an athlete is one thing, but being an athlete with food allergies is another. Most athletes already have a fairly strict diet, but when an allergy is locked into this equation, one can often feel like there’s no options left in terms of food diversity and enjoyment. Not only that, you can also feel deprived of the social aspects food entails, such as going out to eat, which could lead one to feeling disconnected from spending time with loved ones. So how do you move from dealing with allergies to embracing the opportunities they offer? Here are five steps to (guide you) living well with your allergy.

1. Learn your labels, know your alternatives. Reading food labels gives you more insight than just the major ingredients you’re looking for. The ingredients listed act as a guide to show you how foods are made and what additives are included. Knowing your food helps you make smart and mindful decisions.

2. Speak up – whether it’s a business dinner or a wedding, it’s always good to call the restaurant ahead of time, informing the manger and the cook of your allergy and its severity. If they can’t cater to you, ask kindly if they will let you bring in your own food. When you arrive, let the greeter know you called and introduce yourself to your waiter, informing him/her that you spoke to the manager.
Lesson: Advocating for yourself and being personable gives you practice to be more outgoing and personable in general.
Your mantra when eating out: “keep it simple.” If you ask, some restaurants will actually bring out packages so you can read the labels. Not only will you know the ingredients of the food, but this ensures that your diet remains clean. There’s nothing like food in its basics to help you enjoy meals with others while staying on track!

3. Organize your time and make a weekly schedule. By picking a day or two to cook your weekly food not only helps keep your diet on track, but it also eliminate extra time it takes to cook food daily. This method will also help structure your daily routines, and as busy woman, this will save you a lot of time.

4. Hide a stash – Keep a bunch of dry foods that you enjoy hidden in the trunk of your car. Protein and granola bars, nuts, concentrated tubes of protein won’t go bad and can be a savior for the times where food is not available.

5. Do your homework – Research your options to reduce stress. Whether you’re going on vacation, moving, or travel for work, the internet is a source that tell you what options/stores are in that area. If you’re traveling and your allergy is severe, ask your doctor for a prescription that states the allergy and that you need to carry your epi-pen, Benadryl, and food with you at all times. You’re allergy then won’t be an issue when traveling.

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