Top 5 Perks of Having an Allergy

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“In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision”

-Dalai Lama

In life, nothing is as bad as it ever seems. Think back to the time you discovered that you had a severe food allergy. In all frankness, I remember being very upset and discouraged by the news. I was diagnosed with my life-threatening food allergies at the age of 10. I was a child at that time and I saw my allergy as a massive barrier that would inevitably prevent me from doing the things that I wanted to do in life. Over the past 10 years, my views have changed significantly. I’ve taken ownership of my food allergy, and, in some ways, have found ways to embrace it. Here are my five perks about allergies that you can keep in the back of your mind:

  1. You will be healthier

Living with food allergies means that restaurants are not the automatic go-to for quick-fix meals on a daily basis. As good as restaurant food can be on occasion, eating-out every day may not be the best option for your health. When I dine-out, I often throw caution to the wind when it comes to “healthy” food options. If I’m at a steakhouse, I’m not eating broiled salmon and arugula. I’m ordering the thickest, juiciest steak on the menu. The point I’m making is that the unhealthy option is readily available and easily accessible. You are more likely to buy the steak on impulse for instant gratification, rather than the healthier options available. With food allergies, you are less likely to find yourself in that position on a frequent basis. Often times, I cook what I eat, as it is the safest way to ensure that my meals are allergen-free.

  1. You will learn how to cook well

Eating-out less implies that you will be cooking for yourself frequently. Cooking is an important life skill. Personally, I find it relaxing – it’s a great distraction and de-stressor at the end of a long, busy, and stressful day. Although there is a definite learning curve to cooking, you will begin to hone this skill: you will get better and better at it. After a few months, you will be cooking-up a storm – you can show-off your new skills to your friends and family.

  1. You control exactly what goes into your body

This is a lead-off from the last point. If you are cooking for yourself more often, you have control over the ingredients that you use to prepare your meals. When shopping for these ingredients, you can opt for higher-quality, organic ingredients. Restaurants may boast using these ingredients, but more likely than not, the quality and freshness of the ingredients will not be the same as a home-cooked meal.

  1. You will learn how to become more resourceful

This point is most pertinent to managing your allergies while traveling or dining-out in unfamiliar places. When encountered with these unfamiliar situations, you will find creative ways to manage your food allergy. Over time, you will get better at sourcing out allergy-friendly restaurants or a close-by grocery store, so that you can assure a safe meal, regardless of where you find yourself. For example, if you are booking a vacation getaway with friends, you will know to find hotels and resorts that have restaurants with a thorough food allergy policy. Alternatively, you will also get better at finding resorts close to allergy-friendly restaurants or grocery stores. Having food allergies makes you a great problem-solver, which is a skill that can cross-over into any other aspect of life and work.

  1. You will become a stronger person

One of the most rewarding aspects of living with (and managing) food allergies effectively, is the realization that you have become a stronger person out of it. It means that you were faced with a challenge, found ways to counter the challenge, and came out on the other side a stronger and more resourceful person. Managing severe food allergies are challenging, but they do not have to dictate or control what you want out of your life.

– Saverio M.

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6 thoughts on “Top 5 Perks of Having an Allergy”

  1. Amazingly similar to the article I published in 2006 at http://www.aaia.ca/en/positive_side_of_being_allergic.htm

    The Positive Side of Being Allergic

    It is so easy to focus on the challenges of being allergic, because one has to be constantly vigilant and one is constantly reminded by the pain and symptoms. However, it is useful to occasionally take stock of the good things about having allergies. Here are some that may apply to you. * Food allergies may force you to eat simpler, more natural foods that have not been prepared or processed. These foods are often lower in calories, fat, sugar and salt and have higher fiber content. Thus, what could be seen as a health restriction leads to enforced better eating habits and can stave off other conditions and diseases such as high blood pressure. * Individuals with allergies are different, and in social settings, this can become obvious. There is a certain freedom in knowing you will never be ³normal². It can liberate one from peer pressure and make it easier to march to your own drummer. * The constant need to plan ahead for food intake, be aware of triggers in the environment and determine if any action is required, leads to the improvement of skills that can benefit other areas of life. Such skills include: organization, planning, observation, and risk assessment and mitigation. Allergic individuals are also forced to be more assertive than they might otherwise be and learn to ask probing questions. * Allergies are essentially a heightened immune response. There are indications that this may lead to lower cancer rates among people with allergies (see the article by Dr. Waserman.

    WordPress.com Whyriskit.ca Blog posted: ” ³In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision² -Dalai Lama In life, nothing is as bad as it ever seems. Think back to the time you discovered that you had a severe food allergy. In all frankness, I remember being”

  2. If only this were true. Due to my oral allergy syndrome (i. e., being allergic to fruits and vegetables), I haven’t been healthier. Eating out (at the restaurants I know are safe for me) has been more common because I know I won’t react due to an allergy. Though it does explain why I always much preferred sweets and junk food, because it doesn’t make me feel crappy like fruit and vegetables do. I’m also allergic to nuts, fish, and shellfish, so those healthy foods are also out of the question.

    1. I know that feeling, April! I ate a lot more junk for a while when I just had OAS. Now there’s even more, but I can only rarely eat preprocessed foods… So it’s back to very healthy meals. Start with the fruits & veg you can eat (hopefully your OAS doesn’t cover them all? I have 6 fruits, 6 veggies I can eat)… Have you talked to a dietician? I found a lot were very unhelpful (just printed off the food guide for me) but after searching I did find one who’s been very helpful in helping me ensure I’m not missing nutrients in the long term.

      1. Yes, I do have a select few I can eat so I’ve been sticking to those. I’m still in the process of doing research to get the best nutrition while avoiding allergens.

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