Food Allergy Awareness Week kicks off today with the theme React with Respect. As I began thinking about this theme, it reminded me that respect ultimately requires understanding. I feel incredibly strongly that there isn’t enough understanding or education about what it means to have and live with a food allergy. Did you know that a food allergy reaction sends someone to the ER every three minutes? Food allergies are serious, and need to be treated with the respect they deserve, as someone’s life can be put on the line if they ingest their allergen. My journey with food allergies has been long and complex, but ultimately the more I've learned, the more I'm able to truly react and act with respect.
Let’s time travel back to 2007, the year before I met my husband. I didn’t know anyone with food allergies, nor did I have the faintest idea about what to do if someone near me had an allergic reaction. At that time other than trying to be healthy in my food choices, I ate without caution. I never turned over a package to analyze the ingredients of packaged food, and didn't have to ask a waiter if a dish contained this or that. Fast forward to 2016, where food, both eating out and at home, is a completely different story. I think about every ingredient of everything I eat, both for myself to ensure I’m not eating gluten, and for my husband’s allergy. Read more here.