Alicia Woodward, Editor-In-Chief Of Living Without, Talks About The Dangers Of Dating With Food Allergies And The Best Ways To Reduce The Risk Of Allergy-Related Reactions.

When getting pretty for a date, most women worry about their hair and outfit, but a growing number of women are having to consider the impact of a date on their health due to food allergies. Alicia Woodward, editor-in-chief of Living Without, talks about the dangers of dating with food allergies and the best ways to reduce the risk of allergy-related reactions.
When getting pretty for a date, most women worry about their hair and outfit, but a growing number of women are having to consider the impact of a date on their health due to food allergies. Alicia Woodward, editor-in-chief of Living Without, talks about the dangers of dating with food allergies and the best ways to reduce the risk of allergy-related reactions.

Dating and diet restrictions collide

When you're dieting to lose a few pounds, you may fret about going on a dinner date that will likely derail your diet. Women with food allergies fret about possible allergic reactions which can be embarrassing, uncomfortable and, at worst, turn out fatal.

"Inevitably, dating and dietary restrictions collide. Whether it’s dinner at a restaurant or popcorn at a movie, food's an unavoidable part of dating," empathizes Woodward, who is also a licensed therapist specializing in emotional and social aspects of celiac disease and food allergies. "Allergy management can seem embarrassing to discuss when you’re just getting to know someone, but you can date confidently with food allergies."

Featured in Woodward's magazine Living Without, the following tips can help you enjoy a night out.

Plan ahead

Take an active role in planning the date, suggesting allergy-friendly restaurants that can safely accommodate your special dietary needs.

Consider "non food-related" activities

Visit a museum, go bowling or take a hike. Getting to know someone without the pressures of having to eat a meal together can reduce the pressure.

Communicate openly

While food allergies don’t define you, they’re a part of who you are and you should be open about them, particularly if there’s risk for anaphylaxis. You'll learn a lot about your date by their reaction to your "news."

Set the right tone

If you're nervous or make your allergies sound scary, you’ll make your date nervous, too. If you’re relaxed and confident about your allergies, your date will feel the same way. The message is that food allergies are serious but manageable.

Kiss carefully

Research shows that food allergens may linger for several hours after a meal or snack - enough to potentially cause a reaction from kissing. It may seem awkward (and forward!) to ask your date to forgo your allergens so your goodnight kiss doesn't trigger an allergic reaction. Use whatever tactics work most comfortably for you - try humor, drop hints or be upfront. Your date will likely do whatever's necessary to kiss you (safely)!

Have fun

Don’t let allergies steal the spotlight. With the right allergy management skills, you can enjoy the fun and spontaneity of a date, even when there’s food involved. Bring your medicine, be prepared, and then focus on your other worries - like your outfit - instead of your food allergies.

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