If you’re one of the many people with an allergy or autoimmune issue, you know how daunting it can be to stay on track to your best health (or healing) when grocery shopping, dining out, eating with family or friends or just finding something to eat on the fly. I firmly believe that having allergies or an autoimmune disorder, issue, problem- whatever you like to call it, has its silver lining: extra accountability to be intentional with your nutrition and lifestyle choices, which means a healthier, happier you. Knowing how to use it to your best interest, gets easier with time, and there are a few ways to keep it simple no matter where you are in your journey of health.
Know Your Triggers and What to Look For
Once you know what triggers your symptoms, create a list of foods and ingredients linked to them while you begin memorizing which ones you absolutely must avoid and which you can tolerate in occasional moderation. As rudimentary as it may seem, doing so helps you grow your confidence when grocery shopping, ordering from a menu and making dining plans.
If you’re out to eat or coordinating with others, don’t be afraid to ask your server or chef questions about what’s in the food, or specifics about ingredients and preparation. You might be surprised which options are or are not conducive to your needs, as recipes vary depending where you go.
Be Open to Alternatives
Being prepared to try alternative options to food and drinks you love helps lift the perceived burden of needing to avoid triggers. As simple as replacing dairy with alternatives like coconut, almond, cashew, rice or flax milk and bases, most of your beloved foods are re-creatable with ingredients that won’t set your immune system into overdrive. If you have a preconceived notion about an alternative, as many people do (ie: gluten free or vegan recipes ‘just can’t be as good as the “real” thing’) – do your due diligence to find options that agree with your taste buds, because many of the once repulsive substitutes have been adapted to taste amazing. Some of my favorite dishes are considered allergy or AIP friendly, and have nothing to do with my own allergies or intolerances. With allergen-free recipes having become so popular, you won’t be without when it comes to option.
Ultimately, I’ve found that keeping things simple by knowing your parameters and being confident within them helps create a positive perspective about having that silver lining of extra accountability when it comes to food. Staying diligent to be healthy and well is worth the effort, and a positive mindset about your personal circumstances always helps.
Kelsey Lee is a fitness and lifestyle personality. Her experience ranges from the aesthetics spectrum of body transformations, to the dynamics of everyday functionality – always including proper and practical nutrition, cardiovascular, resistance and core training. Kelsey Lee creates candid mix and match workouts, v-log and adventure videos. She loves to help people from all walks of life, make fit matter and live more intentionally, and has been doing so since 2005. Follow her on Instagram: @kelseyleedotcom