Thanksgiving is a time when people gather together as family and friends to celebrate abundance and joy together.
When large groups of people informally gather like this, however, individuals with allergies can become nervous about what’s being served. The ingredients themselves may not list allergen items, but the allergens may have mixed with the ingredients at some point.
So how do you enjoy an allergy-free Thanksgiving? Here are some tips.
First, avoid certain foods, even if they seem allergen-free. Cranberry sauce, for example, may contain nuts or may have been processed in a facility that also processes nuts. Gravies often have dairy, corn, soy and other products mixed in as thickeners and fillers. Remember that margarine is not necessarily dairy-free. Food that is fried or pan-cooked may have been mixed with seed products, such as sesame oil, that could trigger some nut allergies – the same goes for that traditional stuffing. Finally, pumpkin pie is obviously going to contain several potential allergens just by its very nature.
To avoid these problems, you can either bring your own food (if your allergies are severe enough) or bring some foods, such as dessert, that are safe for you to eat and minimize exposure to other foods already made at the gathering.
Since you are getting together with friends and family, it should not be a problem to let them know beforehand what your allergies are and to inquire about ingredients before eating. If your allergies are severe, be sure you have your injector with you at all times and that others around you know where it is and how to use it should the need arise. Again, since these are friends and family, this may already be taken care of through prior contact.
Most importantly, be aware of what can or cannot affect you or a loved one and try to work around that. A peanut allergy is relatively easy to work around if everyone involved is prepared.
An allergy doesn’t mean missing out on the joy and feasting of the holiday. So have fun!