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Food Allergy Anxiety

Food Allergy Anxiety

strategies for food allergy anxiety

I know the heart jumping out of my chest feeling while my mind is clouded in panic. I understand how hard it can be to not let my nerves take over and prevent me from enjoying myself because of fear. However, it is rare that I experience anxiety from food allergies due to my multiple anaphylactic allergies. 

It may sound crazy, but I actually look forward to being social, dining out, and traveling with food allergies, especially to countries where the language and culture are so varied from anything that I have experienced. A large part of this is due to how I was raised, a curious nature, and my love for exploring the world.

Prior to the pandemic, I traveled frequently and ate out often. I live in Philadelphia, which has an incredible restaurant scene. I would excitedly anticipate trying a new restaurant with friends. But like many in the food allergy community, I’ve certainly battled moments of anxiety from food allergies. 

Allie Bahn - Zestfull Contributor

Dealing with food allergy anxiety 

Instead of working my life around food allergies, I’ve always worked food allergies around my life. It may not always be easy, however, food allergies never prevent me from doing what I want to do. I like challenges and puzzles, and that is how I think about food allergies; a puzzle piece I have to consider when putting together the overall plan. I recognize that this lack of food allergy anxiety is unusual in the allergy community and I’m here to share the strategies that have helped me along the way.  

Over my twelve plus years of blogging at MissAllergicReactor.com, I’ve received countless messages from people wondering how I deal with allergies and anxiety. I’m certainly not anxiety-free due to other challenging areas from my past, however anxiety from food allergies have been rare. I’ve only been more aware of my food allergies because of my experience writing to help empower others in the food allergy community. 

Allie’s Food Allergy Anxiety Strategies

Below are some strategies that I’ve used over the years that have helped me when I feel anxious. I’ve found these strategies are something I do subconsciously because they are ingrained in my head since childhood. I hope that you will find these tips useful to combat your own food allergy fears. 

allergy anxiety tip 1: trust your gut

Trust your gut

Something that has guided me when I’ve felt anxiety creeping in is my gut instinct.

If something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t and as individuals with food allergies we are more aware than most about our own instincts. 

allergy tip: breathe

Breathe

Growing up, my mom taught me breathing techniques that I use to calm myself down when I feel anxious. 

Learning a few breathing techniques will bring calm back when your heart is racing due to fear of the unknown. Re-centering yourself will help you to better determine if there really is a threat to your safety.

allergy anxiety tip: Focus on what you can control

Focus on what you can control when it comes to anxiety and food allergies

Focusing on worry and danger is not helpful and only brings about more food allergy anxiety. I never really consider that I am in danger unless I feel like whatever I am doing could be truly compromising my safety. 

Instead, focus on these food allergy safety tips:   

See Also

These are some things I focus on to keep my anxiety from food allergies in check and precautions I take to put myself in the best possible position to be allergy safe.

  • Epinephrine auto-injectors are with you in your anaphylaxsis kit.
  • Wear a Medical Alert bracelet
  • Emergency contacts are saved on your phone.
  • Eat what you trust is safe 
  • Practice good hygiene by washing your hands before eating or touching your face
food allergy tip: Be an independent thinker

Be an independent thinker & decision-maker when it comes to your food allergy safety

I’ve made my own decisions throughout my life and many of them have not been the same as my friends. 

When you are self-confident, worrying about fitting in isn’t an issue. This can be more challenging in middle and high school and even moments during college. However, my own food allergy safety was always what I put first and took priority over fitting in. 

At the end of the day, your true friends will understand and if not then you should find more empathetic friends. As you get older, you realize how much better off you are to make decisions for yourself and not because of peer pressure or societal expectations. You do you.

food allergy and anxiety tip: Follow your own rules for dining out

Follow your own rules for dining out with food allergies 

If I feel uncomfortable for any reason, I’ll leave. There is no shame in leaving a restaurant if it doesn’t feel allergy safe. I’ve walked into a restaurant after calling ahead and feeling like it would be okay with my allergies, to arriving and leaving because I could tell by the in-person interactions that it didn’t feel right. 

A few tips to lessen food allergy anxiety when dining out with food allergies:

  • Use a laminated allergy chef card
  • Double-check everything
  • Only eat when you feel you’ve been heard and all your questions have been answered in a respectful way

Final thoughts on living with anxiety from food allergies

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with anxiety from food allergies. There is no right or wrong way. Each person is different. Some strategies may or may not work for you. Most importantly, I hope you realize that food allergies and anxiety does not have to take over your life. You are the leading lady, not your food allergies! 


Inspired by Allie? Check her adventures in Iceland:


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