Food allergies frame, but don’t control, student’s life

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Living with food allergies is a battle many people are unaware of. When most people want a snack, they can make anything they want or get anything they want. But for someone with food allergies, constant anxiety and stress over what to eat, the surface on which they’re eating, and cross contamination are continuous worries that never leave.

Constantly reading food labels before making decisions on what to eat is tiring, itself. The preparation of food is just as difficult as deciding which ingredients are safe to consume. Constantly making sure countertops and utensils are clean before and after making food, while persistently looking over your shoulder to make sure no one has food you can’t consume around you, is exhausting work.

Emily Ehardt is no exception to this lifestyle. Having a gluten allergy, mixed with natural and artificial flavoring allergies, makes her life trickier than she wanted. She spends a good chunk of every day planning, preparing, and thinking about what she wants to eat that day, tomorrow, and the rest of the week. Restricted to only two or three restaurants at which she feels comfortable eating, Ehardt will make herself food for nearly every meal.

“After a while, you get used to knowing you have to prepare yourself food, but the anxiety and stress never go away,” Ehardt says.

Many people around the world are blessed and fortunate not to have food allergies, while many people face this uphill battle each and every day of their lives. With a strong support system, people with food allergies are able to live healthy each and every day, which should be everyone’s goal.

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