When you have food allergies like me – travelling and eating food on the go can be a nightmare.
We are still not at the stage in the UK for people like me – with severe anaphylaxis brought on by allergies to all nuts, sesame and lot more – can trust snack food from random food outlets.
Those of us who have lived with food allergy for a long time have developed strategies to minimise our exposure to dangerous foods. After all we don’t have a neon sign over our heads saying ‘Danger – Allergy Sufferer’.
If you’ve just been diagnosed, or your child or close family member, then this world can suddenly become a scary place.
I hope these ten tips are useful:
- Plan your journey and ensure you take safe snacks, food and drinks with you. The longer the journey the more food you need to take. This reduces your stress and also the stress of those around you.
- Let any travelling companions in a car, hire car or hired transport know you have a severe food allergy which can be impacted by what they This might mean talking to friends before a car journey so they don’t bring anything with nuts, for example.
- When asking others to not eat certain foods in your company, do this gently with a tone of ‘would you mind if…’ rather than ‘you must not do this or that’. Your tone really matters, however when you do ask them to avoid certain foods around you, be sure to make it clear this could be life or death.
- Prepare your food yourself – don’t let anyone else do this for you. Even a friend. I have complex allergies so a friend may know I’m very allergic to nuts however they won’t necessarily know I’m allergic to sesame, chickpeas and other ingredients. You may wish to go even further and offer to do food for your whole party (perhaps in return for a financial contribution) that way every one can be confident the food is safe.
- Choose where you are going – having a plan about where you are staying and perhaps stopping for a meal en route will enable you to take precautions. You can call the planned stops to find out how they cope with someone like you. What their policy is around someone with severe allergies? This may give you confidence to take less of your own food – or might lead you to pack more.
- Take your medications and ensure you have enough for the journey and to cover the period of time while you are away. This must be planned ahead however take a copy of your prescription in case of emergency.
- If you are travelling by other means with strangers eg. coach, train or plane. Check the allergy policy of the company you are using. This is a high risk situation because you will be travelling with strangers. What is their policy if they have someone like you on board? Do they issue a warning to other passengers asking them not to bring certain foods? Do they not allow these foods anyway? This will give you confidence or may even cause you to reconsider your mode of travel.
- Take handwipes. Washing your hands frequently with food allergies is a MUST to limit the risk of contamination. If you haven’t got access to soap and water, handwipes can help. Look for those which are ethical and bio-degradable.
- Carry some kind of medical ID –emergency services can then react quickly and appropriately in case of emergency.
- Talk to strangers about your condition if you need to – one of my hates about my allergies is I can feel it makes me stand out, or makes me appear to be a ‘pain’ to others. However you’ll stand out a lot more if you go into anaphylaxis. I often explain to strangers I have severe allergies. In most cases it breaks the ice and they soon forget about it.
How can Creative Nature help you?
My company, Creative Nature Superfoods, caters for people like me – and you. We offer free-from snack bars, baking mixes and safe ingredients which can all help with preparing safe food on a long journey.
Click here http://staging.creativenaturesuperfoods.co.uk to see the full range.
You could try our new snack bar subscription boxes to ensure you’ve always got snacks handy.
We can deliver weekly, fortnightly or monthly and each box costs £4.99. You can order here – http://staging.creativenaturesuperfoods.co.uk/product/5-bar-box/