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Allergy Girl Eats!

Kortney Kwong Hing, Allergy Girl Eats!

Coping with food allergies and eating deliciously? Allergy Girl Eats!

What is most difficult for you now that you are an adult?

Since I've had food allergies, my whole life nothing is ‘difficult’ because I don't know another way of being. If anything, I would say my lack of spontaneity is hard. It can hinder social outings and can be stressful because you don’t want to be the bore or have the evening become about your allergies. I have found that the key is to surround yourself with friends who understand what food allergies encompass.

You love visiting restaurants - which precautions do you take when eating out and what’s your advice for others?

Recently I have found calling ahead really helpful. You can see if the restaurant can accommodate you, feel out how they will potentially handle your allergy, and you prepare them for your arrival. The worst is when you go out and can only have a salad or plain pasta. The fun of eating out is having something you wouldn’t make at home!

And always bring an allergy card (chef card) because it makes it easier for the waiter to communicate with the kitchen. I will let them know about the allergy card when I call ahead.

I also really trust my instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, I won’t eat it.

How about travelling – is there a certain strategy you are using for picking the “right” destination? Are there allergy-friendly countries or “no-go”- areas?

In the past, I only wanted to visit countries where I or someone travelling with me could speak the language. With an allergy card, I have a little more confidence in travelling because I can get it translated into the language of where I am going. Otherwise, I don’t have a strategy; I am not too adventurous.

Most of Asia is currently a no go for me because I have an airborne allergy to sesame (anaphylactic) and have a soy, tree nut, and peanut allergy. I am worried because of language and their understanding of food allergies.

How do you go about creating your multi-allergen-free recipes?

Have no fear in the kitchen! I love to research ingredients, read lots of different recipes for the same dish, and play with similar textures to my allergens. Most of the time I go with a gut feeling.

Which is your favourite recipe?

My favourite recipe is top-8-free protein balls. Protein balls were so popular for a while but are made with nut or seed butter. I can’t have either, and I was desperate to try a protein ball, so I had to find a way to get a smooth binding texture and protein. This was my first 100% original recipe, and I am really proud of it. 

What are your recommendations for multi-allergic anaphylactic people?

The biggest takeaway for multi-allergy people is to own your allergies and not feel burdened or embarrassed by them. Sometimes it can feel like a lot to deal with, however taking control of your food, like finding joy in the kitchen, is really satisfying. Also, learning about your allergies is very empowering.

Thank you very much, Kortney, for talking to me!

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