These 6 techniques can change your approach to food allergies
Updated: Jan 26
Feed your Can is about feeding our possibilities and trashing our limiting beliefs. It’s about stopping us from believing the lies we tell ourselves. Think of the ‘can’ as one part possibility, one part trash can. Put another way, one part emotional, one part practical.
1. Use a whole brain approach
We will balance out practical tips with mental fitness tips. Life hacks and mind snacks. It’s about integrating different sides of our brain to balance out our thoughts. It’s also about addressing the whole human experience of the food allergy struggles and victories. Letting fear drive our lives is not sustainable and it can have compounding negative effects on our health, both mentally and physically. In order to overcome our fears, we need to equip ourselves with knowledge not just about food safety, but about how our brains play a role.
Knowledge is power. Power brings control. Control brings clarity. Clarity brings solutions. Solutions bring joy. Joy brings peace.
2. Apply the 10/90 Rule
If life is 10% of what happens to us, then 90% is how we react (Charles Swindoll). But here’s the thing. Emotions only last for 90 seconds. That’s it! Less time than it takes to reheat coffee! We somehow turn those feelings into thoughts that can really spiral us into dark places.
3. Take back some control
We can be in control! Thoughts are like seeds we plant in our brain. We can plant positive seeds and water them or plant negative seeds and those will grow into weeds that overtake our minds. Scientist Donald Hebb found that our thoughts continuously form pathways as neurons ‘fire and wire’ together. It is an ever-changing process called neuroplasticity and we can guide how these paths are shaped in our brains. Think of these as superhighways for our thoughts as they travel in our brain. We can choose to build new roads if the others aren’t serving us well.
4. Resilience can be trained
Dr. Daniel Goleman also teaches us that our attention regulates emotion. He popularized emotional intelligence and proved what you pay attention to and how you pay attention to it, changes how you think, feel and make sense of the world. Knowing this, we can retrain our brains to pave new helpful roads and drive our thoughts down these ‘roads’ faster towards looking for helpful solutions. If we can direct our fears towards possibilities, then we are equipping ourselves with some major muscles of resilience for whatever life throws at us.
5. Preserve your energy
Our energy is limited and we can either boost it or drain it. Let’s face it, food allergies drain our energy. Does it really, though? Every thought is tied to perspective. Our perspectives are shaped by our experiences, expectations and responses. We do not have control of our external surroundings or when food allergens will pop up as threats. We also do not have control over how our bodies will respond when we accidentally eat a food allergen. However we do have control over where we put our energy. Our precious energy is ours to manage and protect. A few questions to consider since we’re learning together:
How are we preserving our energy?
Are we even aware that we’re in control of that?
Will we use our energy towards productive outcomes?
Do our thoughts serve us well?
What are the stories we tell ourselves?
What thoughts will we carry forward that are not harmful?
What can we let go of that is toxic and not helpful?
How can we protect ourselves and regain healthy control?
6. Grow from experiences
Many of us in the food allergy community have experienced terrifying allergic reactions. Processing it effectively is important as we move through the trauma. When we stay in the fear-based state, we cannot reason logically. We may build resentment towards people who 'don't get it'. Be careful! This negative talk reeks of toxicity, and is highly contagious to every aspect of your life. Guarding our minds as sacred space starts with the thoughts we consume. These thoughts lead us towards developing the right internal monologues. Our thoughts become our feelings. Our feelings become our words. Our words become our actions. That’s a partial quote from the philosopher Lao Tzu. I would also add that our experiences can teach us how to guide our future thoughts and actions.
Messy & Unique:
Feed your Can is not a place where we will provide medical advice as each person’s journey is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all answer but the commonality we all share is that we all have basic needs and psychological needs: we all need to eat and feel safe. That is a shared experience in our humanity. That said, I must disclaim that my approach to food allergies comes from a US point of view. I will try to incorporate global resources and experiences when possible.
Most social situations involve food in some way. When food and social situations equal fear, we have a problem. To overcome these concerns, we’re going to dig into specific topics such as sharing fun facts, debunking common myths, decoding ingredient labels, finding great allergen substitutes, sharing free-from recipes, educating your village, providing nutrition tips, eating safely on the go, participating in social events, navigating tricky life stage transitions, and many many more themes. We'll bring in a variety of experts with helpful perspectives and strategies you can implement in your life right away. The goal is to equip all of us with the right tools to live more fully. We don’t stop at the problem, but instead we look for solutions that drive healthy outcomes.
Ok, I went pretty deep in this post! I promise to also keep it lighter for the future. But we're just getting started. After all, the end goal is to live more fully and freely, and experience F-U-N.
We are untangling a web that is messy and ever changing. I challenge you to stick with us. You’ll find we’ll share quick doses of perspective that help you dig through specific struggles then come out with tangible tools. Shifts take place when we commit our energy to listen and learn. Grow through what we go through, right?