Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

Be sure to check out this video, "Eating Safely with Food Allergies," from Anaphylaxis Canada.

Preparing to Live With Food Allergies

by Sarah. Age 15. Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and soy.

 

I was diagnosed with a peanut, tree nut, and shellfish allergy when I was very young. I do not remember it, but my parents have told me how hard it was at the beginning. We were very careful, and I only had a few reactions. However, I have had four reactions in the past two months, and I’ve been really sick. A few days ago I was diagnosed with an allergy to soy and peas. So I know what it feels like to have a newly diagnosed food allergy.

When I first found out, I was very upset. I kept thinking of all the things I could no longer have. I went through my pantry, reading all the labels, saying to myself, “I can’t have that, I can’t have that, and I can’t have that.” Then, later that night, I went to the FAANTeen website. I read other teens’ stories, and I saw that many of them were allergic to soy. It made me feel better knowing that other teens were going through the same thing I was.

I would tell someone diagnosed with a new food allergy to read other teens’ stories and maybe even talk to other teens with food allergies. It helps seeing how they deal with their food allergy, and it helps knowing that other people are going through the same thing as you.

I also know that with a new food allergy, it is hard to go to the store. It seemed like everything I wanted, I couldn’t have. But as I kept looking, I found safe foods that I had never even considered before. I missed not having my old food, but I found new food that I liked just as much. So if you have a new food allergy, I would say that at the beginning, keep at it, and you will find alternative foods that are just as good – if not better!

I also found it was hard to read labels. I wasn’t used to looking for soy; I was used to looking for peanuts and tree nuts. So sometimes I would read something and I would think it was all right, but when I read it again, I would see soy. So if you have a new food allergy, make sure to read and reread labels. It is easy to skip over things that you are not used to looking for.

The most important thing I would tell someone with a new food allergy is that while it is very hard at the beginning, it gets a lot easier. For four weeks, we did not know what I was allergic to, and I kept ending up in the hospital. So once you have a diagnosed food allergy, at least you know what you are allergic to, and you know what you must avoid. Remember, it is hard at the beginning, but as time goes on, it gets easier.
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