Psycho-Social Impact of Food Allergies

Eating at a Meeting Podcast Episode 139

Food Allergy Awareness Week 2022

Smiling woman in blue top standing outside. She handles the psycho-social impact of food allergies

Having a food allergy can create a heavy burden for individuals — children and adults alike — constantly having to think about and managing EVERY bite, spill, and crumb because a single mistake — a morsel, a touch, or inhalation of a food protein — can be deadly. It can really impact the psycho-social aspect of someone’s thoughts and behavior.

Listen as Tracy talks with licensed clinical therapist, Lisa Rosenberg, about the psycho-social impact of food allergies, the BEST part of having food allergies, and the advice she would give to someone who is just starting their food allergy journey?

With current standards of care being 1) avoiding the allergenic foods, 2) carrying epinephrine auto-injectors, and 3) seeking emergency medical care if epinephrine is used, just worrying about having an allergic reaction “is sometimes more serious than the food allergy itself,” says Charles Feng, an allergist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Mountain View, California.

Learn how to help reduce stress, panic attacks and the bullying some food allergic eaters have about eating out and relying on someone else to order and prepare your food.

Guest Introduction

Lisa Rosenberg is a licensed clinical therapist who specializes in working with caregivers and individuals struggling with food allergy anxiety and disordered eating patterns due to their food allergies. Lisa is also and adult living with food allergies and a food allergy parent. psycho-social

What do safe, inclusive & sustainable food and beverage experiences look like to you?
— The host inquiring about food allergies prior to the event and making it EASY to connect with someone to discuss your dietary needs prior to the event.
— Ingredients are easily accessible and/or noted on all food/beverage items at the event. (and not “just for the top 9 allergens…).

Do you have an example of a situation that negatively effected you and/or other individuals or groups’ food and beverage experience?
I was at a multi-day conference where I did not know who to connect with or even how to find out who to connect with regarding my dietary needs. I had to take a significant amount of time out of my trip to figure out if I would be able to have my needs met only to find out they were unable to safely accommodate me. I ended up eating safe pre-packaged snacks that I had put into my bag prior to leaving home for the entire trip which consisted of carbs, carbs and more carbs.

What is a best practice you use/or have seen to create safe, sustainable, and inclusive F&B experiences?

Great question! I would say the best practice I have seen used is that ALL ingredients were listed on a card in front of any prepared food/beverage. And that there was a known “point person” readily available who was in charge of answering any/all questions regarding food allergy needs any time food/beverages were served. It makes life SO much easier for individuals living with food allergies!

What do you wish people knew about what you do?
It can be exhausting, stressful, and time-consuming to plan any “outing” outside of your home environment(s). Any food allergy accommodation that is “standard protocol” at an event makes our lives SO much easier, and we are grateful for others’ efforts. Food allergies are a difficult medical condition to manage and different from other medical conditions in that we so often need to rely on OTHERS to help keep us safe and included, and it can be challenging. But…the more support we have, the easier it is to be safe and included in ALL aspects of life!

What is your favorite food and your favorite drink?
Favorite food: anything that I don’t have to cook!! lol… (but if you need 1 food it would be my mom’s homemade spinach lasagna)
Favorite drink: coffee in the AM; adult beverage in the PM (?!).


Connect with Lisa —   Website  |  LinkedIn  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Check out other featured guests on the Eating at a Meeting podcast.

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