For people who have severe food allergies, the holidays and social gatherings can be extra stressful. It can feel unsafe going to company holiday dinners, out to eat with friends, or even dining at family members’ homes. While the most obvious reason is that they don’t want to chance getting ill by accidentally eating something contaminated with an allergen, many people also don’t want friends or family to feel obligated to cook or eat their special diet.
This topic really hit home for me this year. One of my son’s teachers has severe gluten and dairy allergies. She doesn’t make a big deal of it, but the other teacher in his class encouraged her to tell me, knowing I love to bake as a way to share my love with others. So I followed up with an email asking about her allergies, in hopes of baking some holiday treats for her. Little did this teacher know — clearly reluctant to burden people with her dietary restrictions — that I host a YouTube channel called “That’s What I Do, I Bake and I Know Things,” where I emphasize making healthy, tasty, hypoallergenic foods.
When you are baking hypoallergenic foods, you have to make sure your workstation is completely clear of any possible allergens. It almost feels like you are making the kitchen hospital-operating-room clean. All my baking utensils have to be thoroughly cleaned from any gluten or dairy contaminates. I scrub down my mixer to make sure I have no traces of wheat flour on it from my weekly cinnamon roll baking. The care one has to give to make sure there is no cross contamination is just unimaginable to some.
When you have someone over and there is both gluten and gluten free food, the serving utensils of the gluten free food and gluten food cannot touch one another. The same is true for dairy free. All of this needs to be taken into consideration when you want to have friends over who do have severe food sensitivities. This is one reason why many who have these severe sensitivities or allergies simply do not eat out or feel comfortable going over to a friend’s home for a meal.
In 2010, I was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease along with a host of other health issues. The doctor who took on the challenge to heal me — and in my opinion, save my life — had me do a food allergy panel, and discovered that I was severely allergic to dairy and eggs. I was then put on a very hypoallergenic diet to help heal my gut and my body. My new diet made it very hard to go out to eat with friends. It was even difficult to know how to eat at home. One gracious couple took all of my dietary restrictions into consideration when they invited me to dinner. They made a lovely meal and we had a fabulous time. Their kindness and generosity is something I still cherish to this day.
I share this to encourage you to show extra consideration for your friends and family who have food allergies. They think they’re being kind by not imposing their restrictions on you. I ask you to show them the same kindness and make the extra effort to serve foods that fit their dietary restrictions. It could be the best gift they receive this holiday season — and it really isn’t that hard. Check out my blog and YouTube channel for some great allergy-friendly recipes. I will be putting out a video later this month sharing my hypoallergenic holiday bakings.
If you are curious to know more about food allergy/sensitivity testing, please feel free to email or call me. Starting in the new year, I will be offering a 21-day cleanse for anyone interested in helping reset your body. It involves a very hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory diet — which helps many people realize for the first time that they have food sensitivities — followed by some blood tests. For more information, please reach out to me on Facebook, where I will host a private group for those doing the 21-Day Reset in 2021. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call me at 970-549-4241, or find me on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/drgochee