Food Allergies, Anyone?

Recently, I had lunch with a colleague at a popular upscale Asian-inspired restaurant  and was very surprised when  the waiter asked, “Do you have any food allergies we should be aware of?”

In over five decades of going out to eat at least once or twice a week, that was the first time I had been asked that question. Now, while growing up, I suppose I knew that some of the kids in my school had random allergies, like to strawberries or to shellfish. But the idea that eating a peanut could kill someone – let alone by being kissed by someone who had eaten one – never crossed through my consciousness. And I remember eating daily peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as our main staple food in camp without any fatalities. How is that our food supply has become such a potential liability, that restaurant kitchens want to be on alert?

I could have responded to the waiter with probably a lot more information than he (and my dining companion) might have liked to hear about my food allergies and sensitivities, but it’s something that I’ve been aware of for quite some time and have learned to modify my eating accordingly, especially when I stick to a high raw foods diet.

Food allergies are becoming quite prevalent in people of all ages. While most of what are defined as “allergies” are acute and abnormal reactions of the body’s immune response, there are also food sensitivities and intolerances, such as gluten and lactose intolerance, which have become more commonly known but are often overlooked in traditional diagnoses.

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