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What People With Food Allergies Want You to Know

What People With Food Allergies Want You to Know

Food allergies are on the rise. A 2013 Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, announced that food allergies in children increased by 50% between 1997 and 2011. People are also developing food intolerance in adulthood, often because of digestive issues which develop slowly over a lifetime.

There are a lot of theories as to why food allergies are increasing. Some believe there is a link between the highly processed foods Western countries consume. This belief is founded on a higher intake of foods with lower nutritional value, and even synthetic food products which our bodies see as foreign, causing inflammation and a host of other issues depending on the individual biology, immune system, and environment of the person.

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Processed foods also typically contain some of the top offenders such as milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, and wheat. A person’s body may never develop the immunological and mechanical barriers to fight off allergens, or a low level of tolerance can be worn down over time when the immune system is constantly overburdened.

The only way to deal with food allergies is to strictly avoid trouble foods, which can be a complicated and difficult endeavor both strategically, logistically and emotionally. If you know someone who suffers from food allergies, or if you are an allergy sufferer yourself, here are some things the allergic would like you to know.

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1. We don’t wish you had food allergies too

It can be tough being “the allergic one.” As annoying as it can be for us to have to tiptoe around ingredients and play 20 questions with the waiter, we really don’t wish the same on you. So don’t feel self-conscious for your love for gluten-filled pizza, or ice cream brimming with lactose. Eat what you like. We’re not looking down on you, or resenting (too much) your ability to digest whatever your fully functioning stomach desires. We’ll be fine.

2. We don’t want to cause a scene

There are times when we wish we could just spin the Yelp globe and blindly pick a restaurant based on its ratings and originality rather than its allergy-friendly options. But as it is, it’s hard to drop in just anywhere. So many restaurants come with pre-made ingredients laced with allergens, or even freshly prepared menu items include seemingly innocuous ingredients that could send our bodies into a fit. We’re not trying to be dramatic, we don’t like having to be picky, so please bear with us in the extra-long search for somewhere to grab a bite.

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3. We wish we could partake like a normal person

A lot like the desire to be low key when our allergies make us stand out as “weird”, we wish we could be normal and take part in what everyone else is doing. When we pass along the peppermint bark at the company gift exchange without securing a piece for ourselves, or pass on your open box of cronuts, still crystallizing with sugar coating, we don’t mean to disrupt tradition or look down our noses at anyone who does partake. Please don’t take our abstinence as a reflection on you.

4. An allergy or sensitivity is different from “being good”

We’re not avoiding certain foods to “be good” or because we’re “health nuts.” It’s not a matter of naughty or nice, it’s a matter of healthy or sick, or in some cases life or death. It’s not like being on a diet and allowing yourself just one tiny sliver of a triple fudge cake. If we indulge, we get sick. The repercussions are a far cry from putting on a few holiday pounds.

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5. We could use some help preparing foods

Since most allergic reactions come from eating in restaurants, where controlling or even knowing what’s in certain foods can be nearly impossible, that means eating at home a lot. Obviously cooking at home takes a lot more preparation, planning, shopping and chopping. Just keeping up on the dishes or helping with the meal prep can really go a long way in making life easier.

6. Food Allergies Can Be Alienating

You might not even realize just how closely linked food, social norms, and festivities can be. For the most part social events and even simple workplace interactions revolve around food. When you want to catch up with someone, you might ask if they want to grab dinner or coffee sometime. Business meetings are often held over the lunch hour. Family gatherings and parties generally revolve around the snack table.

When we have to be picky or even pass up the offerings altogether, it’s uncomfortable. We’re aware and we wish we didn’t have to. Please don’t make it weirder by commenting on how “sensitive” or “healthy” we are.

Food allergies can be frustrating, but with a little creativity and support they can be managed and life can be just as fun, sweet, and varied as it should be.

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Hannah Glenn

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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success

How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success

As playwright Wilson Mizner supposedly said all the way back in the 1930s,

“Be kind to everyone on the way up; you will meet the same people on the way down.”

The adage is the perfect prototype for relationship building in 2020, although we may want to expand Mizner’s definition of “kind” to include being helpful, respectful, grateful, and above all, crediting your colleagues along the way.

5 Ways to Switch on Your Relationship Building Magnetism

Relationship building does not come easily to all. Today’s computer culture makes us more insular and less likely to reach out—not to mention our new work-from-home situation in which we are only able to interact virtually. Still, relationship building remains an important part of career engagement and success, and it gets better with practice.

Here are five ways you can strengthen your relationships:

1. Advocate for Other’s Ideas

Take the initiative to speak up in support of other team members’ good ideas. Doing so lets others know that the team’s success takes precedence over your needs for personal success. Get behind any colleague’s innovative approach or clever solution and offer whatever help you can give to see it through. Teammates will value your vote of confidence and your support.

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2. Show Compassion

If you learn that someone whom you work with has encountered difficult times, reach out. If it’s not someone you know well, a hand-written card expressing your sympathy and hopes for better times ahead could be an initial gesture. If it’s someone with whom you interact regularly, the act could involve offering to take on some of the person’s work to provide a needed reprieve or even bringing in a home-cooked dish as a way to offer comfort. The show of compassion will not go unnoticed, and your relationship building will have found a foothold.

3. Communicate Regularly

Make an effort to share any information with team members that will help them do their jobs more effectively. Keeping people in the loop says a lot about your consideration for what others need to deliver their best results.

Try to discover the preferred mode of communication for each team member. Some people are fine relying on emails; others like to have a phone conversation. And once we can finally return to working together in offices, you may determine that face-to-face updates may be most advantageous for some members.

4. Ask for Feedback

Showing your willingness to reach out for advice and guidance will make a positive impression on your boss. When you make it clear that you welcome and can accept pointers, you display candor and trust in what opinions your superior has to offer. Your proclivity towards considering ways of improving your performance and strengthening any working interactions will signal your strong relationship skills.

If you are in a work environment where you are asked to give feedback, be generous and compassionate. That does not mean being wishy-washy. Try always to give the type of feedback that you wouldn’t mind receiving.

5. Give Credit Where It’s Due

Be the worker who remembers to credit staffers with their contributions. It’s a surprisingly rare talent to credit others, but when you do so, they will remember to credit you, and the collective credit your team will accrue will be well worth the effort.

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How Does Relationship Building Build Careers?

Once you have strengthened and deepened your relationships, here are some of the great benefits:

Work Doesn’t Feel So Much Like Work

According to a Gallup poll, when you have a best friend at work, you are more likely to feel engaged with your job. Work is more fun when you have positive, productive relationships with your colleagues. Instead of spending time and energy overcoming difficult personalities, you can spend time enjoying the camaraderie with colleagues as you work congenially on projects together. When your coworkers are your friends, time goes by quickly and challenges don’t weigh as heavily.

You Can Find Good Help

It’s easier to ask for assistance when you have a good working relationship with a colleague. And with office tasks changing at the speed of technology, chances are that you are going to need some help acclimating—especially now that work has gone remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much of relationship building rests on your genuine expressions of appreciation toward others. Showing gratitude for another’s help or for their willingness to put in the extra effort will let them know you value them.

Mentors Come Out of the Woodwork

Mentors are proven to advance your professional and career development. A mentor can help you navigate how to approach your work and keep you apprised of industry trends. They have a plethora of experience to draw from that can be invaluable when advising you on achieving career success and advancement.

Mentors flock to those who are skilled at relationship building. So, work on your relationships and keep your eyes peeled for a worthy mentor.

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You Pull Together as a Team

Great teamwork starts with having an “abundance mentality” rather than a scarcity mentality. Too often, workers view all projects through a scarcity mentality lens. This leads to office strife as coworkers compete for their piece of the pie. But in an abundance mentality mode, you focus on the strengths that others bring rather than the possibility that they are potential competitors.

Instead, you can commit relationship building efforts to ensure a positive work environment rather than an adversarial one. When you let others know that you intend to support their efforts and contribute to their success, they will respond in kind. Go, team!

Your Network Expands and So Does Your Paycheck

Expand your relationship building scope beyond your coworkers to include customers, suppliers, and other industry stakeholders. Your extra efforts can lead to extra sales, a more rewarding career, and even speedy professional advancement. And don’t overlook the importance of building warm relationships with assistants, receptionists, or even interns.

Take care to build bridges, not just to your boss and your boss’s boss but with those that work under you as well. You may find that someone who you wouldn’t expect will put in a good word for you with your supervisor.

Building and maintaining good working relationships with everyone you come in contact with can pay off in unforeseen ways. You never know when that underling will turn out to be the company’s “golden child.” Six years from now you may be turning to them for a job. If you have built up a good, trusting work relationship with others along your way, you will more likely be considered for positions that any of these people may be looking to fill.

Your Job Won’t Stress You Out

Study shows that some 83 percent of American workers experience work-related stress.[1] Granted, some of that stress is now likely caused by the new pandemic-triggered workplace adjustments, yet bosses and management, in general, are reportedly the predominant source of stress for more than one-third of workers.

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Having meaningful connections among coworkers is the best way to make work less stressful. Whether it is having others whom to commiserate with, bounce ideas off, or bring out your best performance, friendships strengthen the group’s esprit de corps and lower the stress level of your job.

Your Career Shines Bright

Who would you feel better about approaching to provide a recommendation or ask for promotion: a cold, aloof boss with whom you have only an impersonal relationship or one that knows you as a person and with whom you have built a warm, trusting relationship?

Your career advancement will always excel when you have a mutual bond of friendship and appreciation with those who can recommend you. Consider the plug you could receive from a supervisor who knows you as a friend versus one who remains detached and only notices you in terms of your ability to meet deadlines or attain goals.

When people fully know your skills, strengths, personality, and aspirations, you have promoters who will sing your praises with any opportunity for advancement.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it is “who you know” not “what you know.” When you build relationships, you build a pipeline of colleagues, work partners, team members, current bosses, and former bosses who want to help you—who want to see you succeed.

At its core, every business is a people business. Making a point to take the small but meaningful actions that build the foundation of a good relationship can be instrumental in cultivating better relationships at work.

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Featured photo credit: Adam Winger via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The American Institute of Stress: 42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics

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