Cook Up a Thanksgiving Dinner Free From Food Allergies

What if you could keep your food allergies off the Thanksgiving dinner menu this year? If this sounds like an appetizing idea, read on to see how to minimize your risk.

You know all too well the dangers food allergies pose on a daily basis. When you socialize at holiday time, the problem can be magnified. Perhaps you're planning to visit someone else's house for Thanksgiving dinner, or you may be hosting the meal yourself and family and friends are bringing foods they've prepared. If you don't take steps to protect yourself, either scenario can expose you to allergens that could make you sick.

Thanksgiving Dinner Risks

You may not think that turkey would cause a food allergy, right? But in fact, some self-basting turkeys can contain soy, wheat, and dairy. These are three of the top food allergy offenders and can often be lurking in foods where you wouldn't expect them. If you're allergic to any of them, you'll need to read ingredient labels before you eat. Your best bet is to shop for an all-natural turkey without any extra flavors.

Other common allergens you'll want to watch out for in popular Thanksgiving side courses and desserts include eggs, fish, peanuts, and tree nuts.

Food Allergies and Cross Contamination

You'll also need to worry about the danger of cross contamination. This occurs when particles from one dish come into contact with another one being cooked at the same time. For instance, even if the stuffing doesn't contain nuts, the cook may have been making a pecan pie at the same time and could have used the same spoon for both recipes. For people with severe allergies, something so simple can cause a life threatening reaction.

Be Your Own Advocate

The best way to protect yourself is to let your host (or if you're hosting, then your guests) know in advance about your food allergies and what things can make you sick. When you're in doubt about the safety of a dish, always pass on it, rather than take any unnecessary risks.

It's also a very good idea to provide your own allergy-free foods, dishes, and utensils, so you can avoid contact with any possible allergens.

Prepare for the Worst

You should also make others at the table aware of your food allergies and the potential danger. This way, they'll know how to respond if you do have a reaction. Stay on your guard as you eat and look for any warning signs that could signal your immune system is going into overdrive. Some of symptoms can include itching, hives, running nose, tightening of your throat, trouble catching your breath, stomach trouble, and a drop in blood pressure. And always carry your EpiPen with you, just in case you need it.




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