Moving Out on Your Own When Living with Allergies

Leaving the family nest is an important milestone for young adults, especially for those living with food allergies. 

Well, this is it! You just signed your first lease. You’ll soon be moving into your first apartment and officially starting your adult life. You’re extremely excited, and you can’t wait to become more independent… even if you have food allergies. 

You have already learned how to make good food choices and know how to identify products that contain or may contain allergens you need to avoid. You know how to limit the risk of cross-contamination when preparing meals. You have a well-established emergency plan in case of an allergic reaction. All this goes without saying. But for the first time in your life, you will be entirely responsible for your own safety. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind, to make the transition towards this new chapter in your life a little easier. 

Groceries

If you live with food allergies, food is of particular importance in your daily life. Once you are out on your own, you will need to take the time to plan your food purchases as much as possible. This will help you limit the risks of an allergic reaction, but also limit the risks of busting your budget on groceries!   

  • Take the time to plan your meals 
    This is one way to reduce your grocery bill. Decide in advance what meals you want to make during the week. Then, make a list of ingredients that you will need to create these mouth-watering dishes! If you’re lacking inspiration, feel free to visit websites that offer allergen-free recipes. Ricardo Cuisine , Recettes Québec as well as the Allergy Quebec website are good examples. 
  • Focus on the ingredient list 
    In Canada, manufacturers of prepackaged foods are required to mention the presence of priority allergens and gluten when these ingredients are added to their productss .

    It is also recommended that they add a label with the words “may contain” on any prepackaged food that may have come into contact with a priority allergen during manufacturing. It should be noted, however, that the presence of a “may contain” label is not mandatory. 

    When grocery shopping, pay close attention to ingredient lists. These will help you avoid products containing food allergens. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer directly. 

Follow this link to know more about how to read food labels .

Roommates 

Have you decided to share an apartment with a roommateMaybe a couple? If so, remember that the people wholl be part of your daily life will not only have to be informed of your food allergies, but also understand them and be willing to take certain precautions. 

  • Talk about your food allergies with your roommates 
    It cannot be said enough: food allergies are not to be taken lightly. Your roommates will therefore have to be informed of your reality and of the dangers associated with your food allergies. The more those around you know about the subject, the more they will be able to limit the risks of an allergic reaction and intervene when necessary. 

Establish clear rules as soon as you move in 

When you share an apartment with others, communication is key! If you want to avoid unpleasant surprises in your pantry, take the time to set clear rules. These will play an important role in the management of your food allergies. Also, be sure to explain to your roommates the importance of these rules, so they understand why they must be respected. 

Here are some questions to think about when setting up rules that you all will be comfortable with on a daily basis:  

  • Make a list of the allergens you need to avoid. 
  • Can foods containing these allergens end up in your kitchen? 
  • What about foods that may contain these allergens? 
  • Are your roommates able to identify allergens in the foods they buy and eat in the apartment? 
  • Are your roommates aware of the reality of food allergies? 
  • Do your roommates know the basic hygiene rules to avoid cross-contamination? 

Just remember, the best way to decrease the risk of an allergic reaction is to share information and make others more aware of your day-to-day reality. 

Now, sit back and enjoy your new place!  

Additional reading:  

Priority allergens: cow’s milk 

Priority allergens: peanuts 

Priority allergens: nuts 

Priority allergens: fish, crustaceans, and molluscs 

Priority allergens: soy 

Priority allergens: wheat 

Priority allergens: sesame seeds 

Priority allergens: eggs 

Priority allergens: mustard 

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Join the allergic community

To get the latest news and benefit from free services, subscribe to  Allergy Quebec’s newsletter. By doing so, you will automatically become a member of the association free of charge.