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    How to Eat Out With Food Allergies

    By By Kara, selected from Mother Nature Network
    February 21, 2014, 5:42:51 AM EST

    Food allergies are common, and they can be incredibly serious. But just because you’ve been diagnosed with food allergies, doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying food. These days, even eating out at restaurants is getting easier for people with allergies, with more restaurants and food industry professionals making efforts to cater to customers with specific dietary needs.

    If you or someone in your family suffers from food allergies or celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder that is caused by a reaction to a gluten found in wheat and other grains), these simple tips can help you enjoy eating out without sacrificing your peace of mind.


    Know your allergy

    It may seem obvious, but the first step to keeping safe is understanding the allergy. What causes it? How severe are the symptoms? What should be done in the event of a reaction? It’s also important to understand hidden allergens, as many common allergens may be included in the ingredient list under a different name. Talk to your doctor about your allergy and, whenever possible, seek the advice of an allergist as well.

    Do your research

    Before eating out, take some time to find restaurants that are accommodating to food allergies. Fellow allergy sufferers are a good source of tips, as are allergy specialists and medical professionals. You can also check an online searchable database like AllergyEats, which features peer-to-peer restaurant reviews and ratings, and allows you to search by address and by specific allergy concerns. Perhaps surprisingly, many allergy specialists recommend chain restaurants over independent eateries — unless you have personally vetted the independents — because chains often have corporate policies in place regarding allergies, as well as a standardized set of ingredients and preparation methods for every item on their menu.

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