Did anyone else read the report that came out a couple of weeks ago stating that many people ignore food-allergy warnings despite receiving a food allergy diagnosis? Initially after reading the article, I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would knowingly risk an allergic reaction. Then I thought about it. If, for example, I had a non-life threatening chocolate allergy and someone told me that I could no longer eat chocolate, could I really eliminate chocolate completely?
If I’m being completely honest, I would probably have to weigh my physical allergic reaction against the quality of the chocolate in question taking in to account the emotional response I get from really good chocolate so, as you can see, it’s a little more complicated than I initially thought.
Perhaps most interesting about the article was not just that food labeling can be confusing but more so the notion that we are far more likely to heed warning labels when preparing food for others with known food allergies. According to the research, we are much less diligent when it comes to addressing our own food issues. The obvious reason is that we don’t want to be responsible for making someone else sick. I think there is a deeper reason: we don’t want to be deprived. We don’t want to be told that we can’t have what we want, when we want it, even if it makes us sick!
Suzanne Robertson talks about the psychology of food and specifically addresses the very issue of food deprivation on her Food, Mood & Attitude blog in relation to her journey to gluten-free. There is a link between how we perceive food and how we interact with and react to what we put in our bodies. Just because you’ve gotten a food-allergy diagnosis such as gluten-intolerance, for example, doesn’t mean you have go in to full deprivation mode anymore. There are so many alternatives on the market today. I personally love the line of gluten-free pasta options from Jovial Foods and New Planet is a local gluten-free beer company here in Boulder. Of course, I’m partial to Outrageous Baking Company products 😉 but there are no shortage of wonderful gluten-free substitutions to stop the feeling of deprivation!
Bottom line? Know your body and know your own limitations. Research the alternatives and consult with your medical professional about your individual needs and challenges.
Check out this gluten-free beer bread recipe from Living Without.