TIPS FOR TRAVELERS WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
I t would be great to go abroad and taste every food you find without putting too much thinking. Unfortunately, this is not always possible: it’s the case of people traveling with food allergies or intolerances.
Is this your case? Well, it’s mine too.
As a kid, I’ve never had any allergies or food intolerances.
The moment I turned 25, I developed a seasonal allergy caused by exposure to trees, grass, and pollens(which I inherited – thank you, Daddy), that turns every spring into a nightmare of sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, and itchy throat.
As that wasn’t enough, one year later, I was diagnosed with a rare syndrome called cat-pork: I have such a strong allergy to cat serum albumin that it cross-reacts with albumin in pork when I consume it and can lead to severe allergic reactions. That means I must avoid pork meat and everything containing pig-related products such as gelatin, pig fat, etc.
Moreover, last year, I found out I’m also lactose intolerant, so now, I’m not only forced to avoid pork but also all lactose products (say goodbye to cheese and gelato)
All that impacts my traveling since I have to be extremely careful, especially with hidden pig products.
When I travel to Muslim countries such as Indonesia, Egypt, Morocco, Malaysia, UAE, etc., I am pretty safe since religion forbids the consumption of all pork products.
On the opposite, when I traveled to Vietnam, I had to be extra cautious with everything I ate and always make sure I wasn’t served dishes containing pork. For instance, traditional Vietnamese spring rolls are made of veggies, shrimp, and a few pieces of pork meat; or, again, the famous Pho soup is vegetables and cow meat-based, but the broth contains pork meat and bones.
HOW TO BE SAFE WHEN TRAVELING WITH ALLERGIES AND INTOLERANCES
In all the other destinations, I usually try to make the trip as safe as possible by:
- finding out the typical local food and more common ingredients used in a specific country beforehand
- always asking restaurants to explain the issue
- informing hotels in advance
- If I’m not comfortable and really want to play safe, I eat things that cannot contain the problematic ingredient (e.g., a salad, seafood, fish, vegan food)
- I always bring with me cortisone and antihistaminic.
Am I going to give up traveling because of allergies? NEVER. I just need to be extra careful when choosing what to eat and enjoy food 100% anyway. And what about you? Do you suffer from allergies? And how does it impact your traveling?
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