social activities that don’t revolve around food

We are a society of food-centric social gatherings: dinner dates, potluck parties, appetizers after work, pizza-and-a-movie nights, banquets with buffets. When you have a food allergy, these events can be more stressful than enjoyable, as you can never be completely sure whether food is safe unless you’ve prepared it. I’m the type of girl that’s beyond happy to just sit somewhere, sip cherry coke, and chat while my friends eat, but some people get put off by that. Sometimes I just take a rain check when my friends are planning to go somewhere I’m not comfortable eating. But usually, I propose an alternative activity – one that doesn’t revolve around a meal. And there are plenty of fun things that don’t, so in honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week 2011, here’s a list of some:

  • just getting coffee
  • attending a concert
  • going to the beach
  • going to the park
  • bowling
  • ice skating
  • going out dancing
  • going to a sporting event (football game, hockey game, etc.)

To learn more about food allergies, see this blog post or visit the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.

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food allergy awareness

Today is the first day of Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 9-15, 2010. Food Allergy Awareness Week was started in 1997 by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). It is now officially recognized by twenty-seven states, as well by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

As someone with a severe food allergy, this is an issue near and dear to my heart. Over 12 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a food allergy and the prevalence continues to increase. Ninety percent of these food allergies are due to eight major allergens: eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy.

Food allergies can be life-threatening, but there is currently no way to prevent allergies, nor is there a cure. The only way to manage an allergy is by strict avoidance of the allergen. In acknowledgement of this, the Food Allergy Initiative encourages people to give up a favorite food for Food Allergy Awareness Week.

The theme this year is Respect Every Bite, because even trace amounts of an allergen can elicit a reaction. Food allergies are a daily threat that have to be taken seriously.

For more information on food allergies, please visit: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000817.htm

For more information on this year’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, visit: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2010/Pages/FAAW10.aspx