When it comes to preparing food for a large crowd, it is important to consider people’s taste, as well as their health. This means creating menus that include both tolerant and allergy-free foods. People of all ages can suffer from food aversions and intolerances; and the severity of their condition can range on a wide scale, from very minor and uncomfortable, to very serious or fatal.
For the sake of safety, liability, and consideration, it is always important to prepare menu spread with everyone’s needs in mind. The first place to start is learning the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. This knowledge will help you better understand your potential menu options. Continue reading to do just that!
A food allergy is perceived as a toxin in a person’s body. It triggers an exaggerated immune system response that affects multiple organ systems in an attempt to alert the body of the toxin. This can trigger additional physiological responses that overact and cause serious or fatal symptoms.
Food allergies are serious because some can lead to severe injuries or death. Even microscopic particles of food can cause an allergic reaction, even a fatal one. The most common food allergies include peanuts, shellfish, cow’s milk, soy products, wheat, hen’s eggs, and tree nuts like almonds, Brazilian nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. These are called the “big 8” in the culinary world, and are the most familiar food aversions known to the general public.
Food Allergy Symptoms:
- Red Skin
- Swelling (face, eyes, cheeks, hands, feet, etc.)
- Anaphylaxis (difficulty breathing, dizziness and loss of consciousness, etc.)
- Respiratory Symptoms
Food IntolerancesIn contrast to food allergies that affect the immune system, food intolerances affect the body’s digestive system. When a person consumes food they are intolerant to, the digestive system has trouble breaking it down. This can be caused by a number of reasons, primarily a lack of essential enzymes, sensitivity to food additives, and reactions to naturally-occurring chemical in food (i.e. mycotoxins). Food intolerances are not life-threatening, but they can cause major discomfort and illness. In minor cases of food intolerance, people can consume small amounts without experiencing any digestive issues. The most common intolerances include glucose, lactose, Tyramine, food preservatives, and food additives.
Food Intolerance Symptoms:
- Fluid Retention
- Abdominal Distention
- Difficulty Breathing
When preparing food for a crowd, whether yourself or through catering services, be sure to keep both food aversions and intolerances in mind. There is a wide range of menu options that can do just that, so you won’t have to sacrifice variety and flavor!
Those who suffer from allergies may also suffer to varying degrees – quite a few need to take some kind of medication for it. In the United States for example, allergies such as rhinitis (inflammation of the nose) tend to affect 40 to 50 million people.
Food allergies are probably one of the most common and are often the first that many people will think of. Sufferers tend to be allergic to a wide range of foods, and the intolerances themselves can be quite specific. Celiac disease, for example, is an intolerance to gluten. However, this is also another rarer allergy in which a person will be allergic to most processed cereals – meaning that they are unable to eat bread, wheat, oats or anything else that has been processed by modern agricultural farming methods.
Allergies to Grass and Pollen
Grass pollen also tends to be quite a common allergen for a lot of people and the symptoms of this will usually manifest during the summer time. Those with a grass allergy will often try to avoid places where there is a lot of grass, which can sometimes have a serious impact on a person’s quality of life depending on what kind of outdoor activities they do. In cases like this, certain types of medication will be taken.
The most well-known symptom of a grass or pollen allergy tends to be rhinitis when the nose gets inflamed and starts to cause a significant build-up of mucus. While this can be a nuisance in many cases, some people find that symptoms can get so bad that they end up being unable to work, go to school or even sleep.
Skin allergies can be quite varied as well. The most common symptom tends to be a hives and eczema, which can have a range of different causes. Eczema, for example, is often caused by contact with specific substances such as perfumes or latex. Other conditions may also be present which can exacerbate it, such as to have particularly dry skin.
What To Do If You Suspect You May Have An Allergy
If you feel that you may have allergic reactions to certain materials or substances, then it is best to first of all try and stop using them and see if there is any improvement. However, the best thing to do is speak to your doctor and try to get an appointment with an allergy specialist. If you suspect you have a skin condition, an appointment with a dermatologist is also a good idea.
Allergic reactions have been escalating in recent years, especially among children. When curing allergies, it is essential to understand their causes. There are many known factors that lead to reoccurring allergic reactions such as underlying infections, genetic predisposition, emotional trauma, a weak immune system, a yeast infection, and parasites.
Allergies can be of different types. Environmental allergies, for example, include pollen, ragweed, mold, and other elements found in the environment. People are also allergic to pets and medications. Food allergies can range from lactose intolerance and gluten sensitivity (often reactions to hormones and antibiotics in milk or pesticides contained within wheat), to known foods such as shellfish and peanuts.
If it seems to you that food allergies have a high profile, you are not mistaken. Supermarkets, restaurant chains, and websites offer a variety of allergen-free products. There is even a law that requires that potential allergens be listed on food labels. Schools are especially affected, as they have to accommodate the specific needs of highly allergic children and prevent the potentially serious health threat exposure to certain allergens can precipitate. Having an epi-pen on hand at schools is now required, in case of an anaphylactic occurrence. The tripling cost of epi-pens has distressed parents across the country.
There is no group in the population that is more affected then the youngest amongst us. Recently, there has been a 400% increase in the incidence of food allergies, stated in the book Unhealthy Truth. Private insurance claim lines with diagnoses of anaphylactic food reactions rose 377 percent from 2007 to 2016. Allergies are the 5th largest category of diseases. Author Robyn O’Brien states, “food allergies are not a niche, it is a growing epidemic that is challenging how we think about our food and how it is made. Genetic factors don’t change this quickly, environmental factors do. Are we allergic to food or to what’s been done to it?”
The Journal of the American Medical Association states that the costs of food allergies, from medical care to food to pharmaceuticals is $4,184 per child per year, costing our economy $25 billion, including lost productivity. Emergency room visits due to food allergies are estimated at 40,000 a year and account for at least 300 deaths annually. This statistic doesn’t not include the convenient neighborhood Urgent Care centers.
Many children who suffer from food allergies sometimes present a variety of different symptoms that are often misdiagnosed and mistreated. This can lead to repeated unnecessary rounds of antibiotics and even surgery that do not resolve the underlying issue, which is an allergy. I’ve seen many children with a mold allergy be diagnosed with asthma. This often leads to unlimited use of inhalers and medications. While any item can cause an allergic response, the main food culprits are milk, wheat-gluten, peanuts, shellfish, soy, and eggs. Typical symptoms include breathing difficulty or wheezing, recurring infections, nasal congestion, swelling, nausea, and pain. When you see a child having an allergic reaction, is gasping for air, and you feel helpless to stop it, then you understand the seriousness of allergy.
If you experience symptoms that do not have an explanation, chances are that you might be reacting to a food in a delayed matter. Often the pain symptoms don’t appear until the next day! Food allergies can have serious consequences. They can co-create autoimmune problems and chronic conditions such as eczema, ADHD, asthma, as well as digestive system damage. There are over seventy auto-immune diseases and gluten in wheat is linked to everyone.
Currently, there are no medications or shots that address food allergies. The official prescription requires that the patient avoid the intake of the food item, usually for the rest of his or her life. This can be extremely difficult.
I utilize a holistic technique that works to effectively eliminate food allergies. I have successfully used this technique for over twenty years in treating infants, toddlers, children, adults, and seniors. My natural approach to allergy elimination is safe, gentle, and most importantly it works.