Society’s Food Obsession Wreaks Havoc on the Food Allergic

I’m beginning to think that we’re a society that is food obsessed.

It’s evident every time I turn on the television where food shows proliferate whether you get cable or Netflix.  It’s at the checkout stand where 90% of the magazines have pictures of food or offer recipes for the newest and best creations inside.  If you’ve been on Pinterest at all, you’ll know not to go looking there when you’re hungry.  And most of all, you’ll see an explosion of all of the above when there’s a special day on the calendar.

We’ve always equated food with family and comfort particularly for major religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter when it’s more likely that family will get together to celebrate.  But it seems to me that in the last few years, we’re beginning to create a food extravaganza around days which typically haven’t been very food related in the past.  I’ll use St. Patrick’s Day as an example given that we just had it last week.

In the weeks leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, there were green recipes everywhere.  And, I’ll admit, I shared a recipe for black bean brownies with naturally green avocado icing.  At one time this wasn’t a food holiday at all unless you count green beer, yet this year the grocery store bakery aisle was awash in green goodies in the same way it was awash in pink and red a month earlier for Valentine’s Day.

What does this mean for those of us with restricted diets?  One more time where we or our children watch the goodies pass us by at school, work and extracurricular activities.  Just a little extra salt in the wound.  It was after Valentine’s Day when my allergic daughter was in grade 4 that we had the most difficult time with her.  We had to coax her to go to school for 3 weeks after watching her normally safe classroom become awash with unsafe treats that her classmates ate in front of her.  Not a good time.

So why do we seem to be intent on using every minor holiday as an opportunity to eat treats?  It would be simplistic to blame it all on the businesses who create goodies, decorations and tv specials for the day in question.  That can’t account for the social media sharing that gets done around the food for that day – we’re doing that.  And if the green (or pink or yellow or…) goodies didn’t sell, the companies simply wouldn’t be making them.  Quite simply, our society votes with its wallet and we’re voting for food in a big way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of great food which my weight can attest to.  I take pride in my creative allergy friendly cooking and the recipes I’ve created for my companies.  But I can certainly live without every slightly special day on the calendar being made into yet another day that my food allergic child watches pass her by.

Alana Elliott is the Founder and President of Libre Naturals (formerly Nonuttin’ Foods), a gluten free and allergy friendly food company she founded in response to her family’s many food allergies and immune disorders.  Please check out Libre Naturals at: