Having allergies has never stopped me loving food, but has stopped my enjoyment of restaurants.
Allergies remain misunderstood by many, especially when eating out often creating an uncomfortable experience all round for the group. We hear the headline stories regarding anaphylaxis, however, there are many people with different reactions. I have both asthma and coeliac - nuts can be a trigger, however, these are often used in place of wheat or other flours for gluten free products.
Recently I travelled to Leeds with my husband for a couple of days. The food and drink experience was amazing, as was the city itself! Not just for me but my husband commented on the pure ease of eating out which has rarely happened since being diagnosed with coeliac. Doubly great with not having to worry about looking through the ‘matrix of doom’ as it's commonly called in our house, this matrix is supposed to be helpful to customers and give them responsibility over their choices, from my experience it just creates a large black cloud over the mood of the table. I do understand there are legal requirements in restaurants but I am sure making you feel like you are awkward and shouldn’t be there can’t be good for custom and recommendations.
In addition to matrix fun there are many nuances with eating spaces interpreting the rules differently - nut free items still may contain nuts or gluten free are cooked in the same oil as non-gluten free therefore creating cross-contamination. What is the point of offering products that actually do not meet the needs of the individuals?
With 1-2% of the adult population having a diagnosed food allergy (Coeliac is another 1% as an autoimmune disease ) plus an additional 5-8% of children. (Allergy Uk)
These figures do not include intolerances or undiagnosed allergies/coeliac.
With the figures of Allergies & intolerances continuing to rise, we really need to look at how we as a country consume food especially & our heavy reliance on processed products creating cross-contamination e.g. nuts and grains in addition to the additives to keep our foods beyond a natural amount of time.
However silly it may sound, anyone can be allergic to anything...we do not get a choice.
A simple approach to food is not about denying yourself a treat but knowing what goes into your food.
Enjoy food everyday!
PS This weeks allergy friendly menus, please DM or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order. Happy to answer any questions.