Diagnosing multiple food allergies can be complex, stressful and often very frustrating. For most people it can be a long process of testing and re-testing, taking food challenges to eliminate the allergen(s) and at times guess work to determine the actual cause of allergic symptoms. Identifying allergens will be dependent on your reactions. This may involve keeping a diary of your reactions to each allergen and working with your doctor, allergy specialist and/or dietitian to eliminate these from your diet and work towards a better quality of life.
At the doctors!
I found diagnosing my young children was very difficult as they could not tell me how they felt. I had to check their physical reactions e.g. diarrhoea, vomiting or rashes during testing. My children were tested by qualified child allergists using the ‘drop and scratch’ technique. This assisted in finding some of the causes of their allergic reactions. You can find further information on testing and identifying allergic reactions from these websites:
Choc Fudge Brownies Premix, Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies
Special diets are one of the most common treatments for food allergies. Rotation or Rotary diversified diets are used for patients with multiple allergies. Those foods causing allergic reactions must be eliminated and all other foods should be eaten at intervals of four to five days or longer on rotation. If you have overt allergies to many foods, it is likely that you have slight, subclinical allergies to many other foods that you consider safe. Eating them on a rotated basis reduces your exposure to them and hopefully will help preserve your tolerance for them (1) I would always advise having any allergy testing and monitoring of elimination diets supervised by qualified practitioners.
Elimination diets can be complex and need careful management. If you try and follow them without supervision, you may either be including foods you may be allergic to and/or eliminating foods you can safely eat. I found a number of medical websites and journals who explore, in great detail, multiple food allergies including the use of immunotherapy for treatment. It’s heavy reading but if you’re interested check the credits for links. In the past if you were diagnosed with multiple food allergies your food choices were very limited.
Allergy Friendly Baked Sweet & Sour Drumettes (recipe from Melinda’s allergy free entertaining app)
Thankfully these days many companies, including Melinda’s Gluten-Free Goodies, offer foods that can be made to suit multiple allergies. The only way to expand the market of available foods to suit your diet is to lobby the supermarkets and food manufacturers. Directly contacting food manufacturers lets them know what consumers want and need. Their product development teams will then know there is a growing need for allergy free food products.
The Melinda’s team were contacted regularly by people following a gluten free vegan diet and who struggled to buy good quality, tasty products. Thirteen of our gluten-free savoury and sweet products can now be prepared vegan friendly. You may also chose to join associations such as Coeliac Australia.
To assist the supermarkets in understanding your needs complete a customer feedback form at the service counter of your local supermarket. You may also wish to contact the supermarket company online. Your feedback will inform the health food department of your supermarket company of their customer needs. In turn they may be more open to consider allergy free food products presented by food manufacturers. Remember food manufacturers and supermarket chains are only interested in products that will sell. Creating the demand for more allergy friendly products will mean more of these products on the shelves.
Eating out becomes particularly tricky when trying to avoid multiple food allergens. Refer back to my first blog about eating out gluten free for more details. To summarise:
- Research restaurants in the area
and check their websites or call to discuss your needs. This will also
give you an idea of their level of understanding of your dietary needs.
- Take the lead when going out in a group and ask the
organiser if you can be involved in selecting where to eat. This will make
it easier and more enjoyable for everyone on the night.
- Book a table in advance specifying which food you need to
- Always pack your emergency medication or ‘kit’ in the event
I found it was much easier during food challenges or “rotations” to limit the amount of socialising while you are trying to identify the culprits. If you cannot avoid social occasions then offer to take a plate of food to share ensuring it meets your dietary needs.
Look forward to your comments and experiences,
Credits and resources
It’s great to be able to get yummy multi allergy friendly food. I took in some gluten free, dairy free and sugar free brownies to work and my other chef friend said she ‘they don’t taste like they’ve got nothing in them’ !! Keep the good food coming guys.
Oscar's Mum Says:
I have just discovered your products. My son isn’t gluten intolerant, but has lots of other intolerances, including artificial colours preservatives and flavours. I was very pleased to discover your brownie mix, which was OK for him. I thought you might like to see the cute little cup cakes we made with it:
We will be making them again for his birthday party.
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