Quarantine and Food Allergies
I am, like I’m sure many of you also are right now, currently locked up at home in quarantine. I have been trying to keep myself distracted with online dance classes and phone calls with friends, yet it can be kind of hard to think about anything else besides the fact that there is an apocalyptic world just outside my window. So I am forced to wonder how, as a person living with food allergies, will this situation affect the well-being of the food allergy community?
Sadly, if I am being honest, the first emotion that emerges for me is fear. If any time is the worst time to have an allergic reaction, that time is now. Hospital workers are overwhelmed with the monumental challenge of Covid-19, managing not only the health of patients carrying the disease, but also trying to ensure that it does not spread to all other patients, and even themselves. Overall, it is a dangerous time to be in the hospital. You could enter with anaphylaxis and exit with a whole new set of symptoms.
Yet it seems silly to harp on this fear, when the chances of this occurring are so slim. Why waste our headspace on events that are very unlikely to happen? As a younger kid, I spent so much time worrying about the possibility of getting a reaction that I stopped eating out at restaurants completely, for fear that an egg would accidentally slip into my meal and I would have to throw up. What I didn’t realize at the time was that because I was afraid of my body and my allergies, I had stopped living, missing out on so many fun opportunities. Now, just like ever, is an amazing time to combat this fear, and think not about the negative “what ifs”, but the positive ones.
I believe we can combat our worries by seeing this time as an amazing opportunity. We have so much control of what we put in our bodies right now, because all three meals are likely coming out of our kitchen fridges. We can use this time to discover new, delicious, allergen friendly recipes. Cooking with allergies can be so empowering, because it shows you that you are not missing out from being able to eat delicious food. For a food allergic person, cooking is an act of love, and it shows that you know how to take care of yourself and your body. If you want somewhere to start, I am part of another TAG project where we are making an allergen friendly cookbook! Check out the website here: https://faretag.wixsite.com/cookwfoodallergies
Lastly, we can think about how we can use this time to give back to not only the food - allergy community, but also the community at large. If you are passionate about food allergies, maybe start to think about various projects that would make your community more accessible to people with allergies. Maybe learn about the allergy-related laws and bills that your town has enacted! If you want to help the community at large, sewing face masks, writing notes to people in nursing homes, writing positive messages on the sidewalk for your neighbors, and donating food are great ways to start. Thinking of others will help distract you from this Corona craziness. Overall, this is a scary time, but worrying is not the answer. Although it may feel like it, you are not alone. Let’s come together and take care of not only ourselves, but our community at large!