As we come out of lockdown we have the opportunity to eat out more than we have in this last year. However, this can cause problems when you suffer from allergies, as Julianne does.
She has multiple allergies, and a reaction to any one of them can set off anaphylaxis. This means she has to be very careful to only eat foods that are free of the allergens that cause her reactions.
Julianne challenged each of us in the team to live a day in the life of someone with an allergy.
We hadn’t realised just how hard this would be!
*Ellie works in Design and Marketing for Creative Nature. She was challenged to live a day in the life of someone with a dairy and tree nut allergy.
“I found this really difficult, and being a vegetarian I found this especially difficult as getting protein that was also free from milk and nuts was virtually impossible!
I genuinely was very glad to be working in the Creative Nature Office where there were plenty of Top 14 Allergen free snacks around because I don’t know what I would have done without them!
Having allergies means you can’t have even the tiniest traces of the allergen or it could be fatal. So even my vegan products that had a “may contain traces of milk” warning, they were a no-go zone!”
*Josh works on the Sales team for Creative Nature.
His challenge was to live a day in the life of someone with allergies to Dairy, Sesame, Gluten, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Lentils and Chickpeas.
“Finding pre-made food and snacks in the shops was virtually impossible. After searching the shelves for at least half an hour, I successfully left Sainsbury’s with a bowl of salad leaves to last me until tea. I was starving but I didn’t have time to find anything else suitable.
I picked up some non-dairy yoghurt and cooked a curry from scratch for my dinner, which meant it was a lot easier to control what went into my body.”
*Gayathri works in supply chain and operations for Creative Nature. She was challenged to live a day in the life of someone allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame and lentil allergies.
” This is hard because a lot the traditional recipes I use contain Tree nuts and / or lentils in particular.
I often make allergy-free adaptations of my favourite foods for Julianne to try in the office, so I have had practice before cooking from scratch allergen-free, but as a vegetarian I do normally eat plant-based protein like lentils.
Before coming to the UK, I never realised how serious allergies can be! Now I am good friends with Julianne and have witnessed her allergies, I am always super careful around others and make an effort to teach others how serious allergies can be.”
*Dale work on the Sales Team at Creative Nature. ” I’m normally always up for trying new and delicious foods, but being given these allergies to egg, tree nuts and soya for the day made things really challenging!
My biggest challenge was the fact that i am always in a rush and don’t leave myself time to prepare and read labels.
I grabbed a sandwich without realising it had egg in it so luckily, I had Gnawbles to keep me full on my train journey.
There was definitely a lack of choice in the supermarkets, not just from allergens being used in ingredients, but in the may contain section too.”
*Daisy works as a warehouse and marketing apprentice at Creative Nature, and her challenge was to live for a day with an allergy to gluten, wheat, eggs, tree nuts and sesame.
“I survived most of the day on items that I found in the Tesco free-from section. They were nowhere near as tasty as the ones I would normally get, which has made me glad that I don’t have these allergies.
The Tesco free-from noodle pot was not that great and not filling at all! I would definitely need to be better prepared if I lived with these allergies every day.
All in all, today was a huge eye opener into what it’s like to have to read labels on everything and how time consuming it is to find something.”
*Ryan is a warehouse apprentice at Creative Nature. His challenge was to live for a day with allergies to Gluten, Dairy, Wheat, Peanuts & Tree Nuts.
”I had to make a lot of swaps for my meals today and this was really frustrating when I got free-from milk and realised it had an allergy warning on the pack after I was already home! The smoothie still tasted good though.
I had to go to a lot more effort to meal prep today then i would normally, and buying free-from products, reading the labels took me a lot longer. I definitely think that products could be better labelled in the supermarkets.”
*Trudi is the head of the Sales Team at Creative Nature.
“I did my shopping all online and with my challenge allergies to milk, sesame, chickpeas and tree nuts, I did the logical thing of using the free-from filters to avoid my allergens.
Because these filters did not work (filtering for a milk free actually offered me a pizza with milk in it?!) my shop took me a whole lot longer than it would normally.”
Why don’t you take the challenge for a day, see if you can find food that avoids the allergens?