Who doesn’t love to see someone rocking it? One thing about the food allergy community that I hope will never go away is how we can all celebrate each other’s wins. Like how Noreen is an allergy adult who is just killing it right now.
Noreen met bumps in the road during her transition from the teenage years into adulthood; managing allergies impacted her social and professional life, and her health. But she didn’t let that bring her down. She took those hardships, learnt from them, grew, and is now using her experiences to inspire others in the food allergy community.
So to kick-off November, I will let Noreen guide you with her beautiful inspiration reminding you that you are not going at it alone. We are a community here to support you and to help celebrate those wins, however big or small they may be.
Name: Noreen Okarter
Allergies: Peanuts, All Tree Nuts, Sesame, Poppy, Coconut, Wheat and grew up with an allergy to eggs
When were you diagnosed: Babyhood
Allergy Struggles and Overcoming Them
Biggest food allergy struggle as a kid & advice you would give to help overcome it:
Feeling excluded at parties, especially birthday parties, because I couldn’t eat the same food that my friends were eating. Advice I would say to someone else in my situation, “You are not alone. There are other kids out there going through the same situation you are, and they understand how you feel. You will meet others who understand you and support you.”
Biggest food allergy struggle as a teen & advice you would give to help overcome it:
Not feeling cool enough because I couldn’t do the same things as my friends, like eat certain foods or go to certain restaurants. Advice – I would say to that person: “You are really cool in so many ways. What you eat (or cannot not eat) does not determine how amazing you are.”
Biggest food allergy struggle now & advice you would give to help overcome it:
Healing from past wounds of exclusion and scary emergency room visits. Advice – I remind myself of how far I’ve come, and I turn my hurt into gratitude. Those hurtful experiences gave me the opportunity to develop more depth as a person and to become an empathetic person who wants to help others. I am proud of myself for mastering the food allergy lifestyle and dedicating myself to the craft of helping others as a coach.
Noreen’s Allergy Inspiration
What was the best piece of advice you got? Rejection is God’s protection.
What is your food allergy motto? No Label, No Go – if I don’t see a label, I don’t eat the food.
Quick Fire Round
Favourite food: Apples or carrots
Favourite allergy friendly snack or product: WoW Butter
Texting or talking? Talking!
What’s for dinner tonight? Kale salad with apples, pumpkin seeds and homemade viniagrette
Last picture you took on your phone: A selfie for Instagram
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Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!