Back in October I decided to take on a new challenge. I wanted to improve my self-control by giving something up. Being hooked on coffee all summer, I was averaging three cups a day. I figured this would be an easy thing to give up for the month. I was very wrong! Within the first week, I caved and had a single cup but luckily it tasted terrible, which helped get me back on track.
After finishing the rest of the month without coffee, I began to think of how similar this experience had been to the year I was diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy. I was diagnosed later than most receiving positive allergy tests at age nine. At that time my self-control with junk food was, well, non-existent. Try telling a nine year old, who had been eating donuts, cookies, chocolate, ice cream, etc. that he can’t eat those foods anymore. I did realize there were still many foods that were nut-free and safe to eat, but now the infamous “May Contain” label taunted me in every grocery store! At the time, I felt like I couldn’t eat anything! However, as time went on I began to find bakeries that produced nut-free pastries; I discovered nut-free chocolates that tasted even better than any I previously ate; my mom found recipes that were more delicious than anything I could buy at a store; simply put, life got easier.
I know it seems like I don’t have a point and my message may be slightly stretched so let me try to break it down. A new allergy isn’t the end of the world. It’s a new challenge! There is a learning curve and a few life adjustments needed with a new allergy diagnosis, just as my self-control experiment had its own challenges to overcome. But once you learn to adapt to life without that food, or without coffee, you will learn to appreciate the small things that you can still enjoy safely!
Visit www.whyriskit.ca for more tips on living safely with food allergies.