If you’ve ever witnessed a serious, life-threatening food allergy reaction, then you know that food allergies are something to be taken seriously. In the United States the eight most common food allergies are milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy.
A food allergy happens when your immune system overreacts to a protein from a food. According to foodallergy.org, food allergies tend to be hereditary and follow a progression throughout a person’s lifetime: eczema, food allergy, allergic rhinitis (runny nose) and asthma. Not everyone will follow this progression, or experience every condition.
A food allergy is not the same as an intolerance; it’s important to take an allergy seriously and have an evaluation by an allergist medical doctor.
There is no cure for food allergies; one must avoid foods with allergen ingredients. There are laws in place to protect consumers. Food companies must be transparent about ingredients and their derivative.
If any ingredient contains one of the eight main allergens listed above, it must be listed either behind the ingredient in parenthesis or at the end of the ingredient list, using the common allergen name. Managing a lifetime food allergy means reading package labels of food every time it’s purchased. Food manufactures can change ingredients; you want to be sure the problem food/ingredient is not present.
Here’s some good news: There are companies that make products that are free from the most common eight allergens. Brands sold at Hy-Vee include Enjoy Life Foods, Made Good Foods and Namaste Foods, to name a few. Allergen-free food choices have improved in the past 10 years: There are dairy-free, gluten-free macaroni & cheese options and several wonderful gluten-free foods.
Shop in the HealthMarket section of Hy-Vee for foods void of allergen ingredients.
Reach out to your Hy-Vee dietitian for help and make time to attend one of our Allergen-Friendly Virtual Events this month. To contact a Hy-Vee dietitian, go to hy-vee.com, click on the “Health and Pharmacy” tab, then click on “Dietitians.” Enter your zip code in the search box, click on the dietitian’s name to connect.
Set up a time to chat about your questions and schedule a virtual store tour highlighting allergen-friendly foods and tips to navigate the grocery aisles.
Try this Dairy-Free Yogurt Bark for a treat. For more food allergy recipes, go to Hy-Vee.com. In the search bar, type: Recipe Solutions for Common Food Allergies.