Living with a Rice Allergy
In today’s day and age, it is not surprising that you or someone that you care about has some form of food allergy. From common yet minor reactions to shellfish to rare rice allergies, more and more people are being inflicted with these problems. However, with advances in medicine and alternative eating options, having a food allergy no longer seems like a diet death sentence.
What Does It Mean?
As its name suggests, a rice allergy means that the person inflicted with this problem has to avoid rice. Not only that, they are also advised to avoid all products within the rice family. As rice is a type of grain, it is safe to say that anything within the grain family could be a trigger. Rice comes in many shapes and forms. Brown rice, glutinous rice, basmati rice, Arcorio risotto rice, and the common short grained rice should be avoided. However, you have to remember that staying away from rice alone is not good enough. You also have to educate yourself on the myriad of rice byproducts on the market. Some examples are rice cereals are Kellog’s Rice Krispies, rice cakes, rice syrup, rice vinegar, rice wine and sake. More often than not, rice and its products are found in Asian cuisine, particularly Japanese and Chinese. Hence, if you love feasting on oriental delights, it is always best to inform the chef that you have a rice allergy before digging in.
Symptoms of this Allergy
From mild discomfort to severe reactions, the symptoms will vary depending on the individual. Typical allergy symptoms include, but are not limited to, a bloated stomach, rashes, diarrhea and vomiting. Other symptoms are stomach aches and an itchy mouth. Some people may go into anaphylactic shock in severe cases of rice contamination, so ensure that you speak to a doctor as soon as you suspect that you have this allergy in order to know how to combat it.
Tips on How to Live with It
Living with a food allergy has never been easier. People are more aware of what they put into their bodies and have come up with various alternatives on what is good and bad for them. The same can be said for those who are allergic to rice. Although you cannot throw caution to the wind, you can still indulge by heading out to restaurants and trying new foods if you stick to several basic rules.
1. Read Labels
Nothing is more sacred to people living with food allergies than the packaging labels. It lists all of the ingredients that make up the product, allowing those with allergies to make informed decisions when grocery shopping. You have to verse yourself in the scientific names of rice and its counterparts to avoid making a fatal mistake. It is advisable to arm yourself with a list of ingredients to avoid so that you can double check what is safe and what is not.
2. Always Inform the Chef
Even if you are confident that the dish does not contain rice or any of its byproducts, it is very important that you inform your waiter and the chef about your food allergies. This is to ensure that they do not use the same pans and prep space to prepare your meal. They will also know not to use ingredients that contain rice such as rice wine, rice syrup and so on. You will be surprised at how easily contaminated a dish can be when the kitchen staff are not careful, so be sure that you make it very clear that you are allergic to something and to always double check before feasting.
3. Amass Cookbooks and Recipes
Avoiding rice and other foods within the grain family does not mean that you are not able to eat anything and everything ever again. On the contrary, there are plenty of healthy and fun alternatives available to you. For example, instead of rice and rice flour, look for flours made from tropical tubers such as white sweet potato, yam, cassava, lotus and malanga. You can find most of these flours in specialty health food stores. Although the tastes and textures of the finished product may take some getting used to, there is no denying that they are a delicious, healthy and safe alternative to rice.
4. Read Blogs
You will be surprised at the number of people out there who suffer from food allergies, particularly rice. Although this allergy is considered rare, the internet has made the world a much smaller place, and the worldwide exchange of information is making life easier for many. Blogs offer people a safe and communal outlet to share feelings, tips and recipes. Fighting a rice allergy is now simpler than ever. With restaurant recommendations, alternative food options and many other informative tips and tricks circulating around the web, even the biggest hermit allergic to rice will be able to garner enough information to live a long and palatable life.
5. Consult a Doctor
If you suspect that you or someone under your care has a rice allergy, immediately seek medical advice, particularly from someone who specializes in allergies. He or she will be able to give you the most concise advice and medication based on how severe your problem is. For example, your doctor will be able to prescribe an epinephrine syringe to you. Commonly known as an “EpiPen,” it is something that you should carry around with you at all times in case of an emergency. Epinephrine will prevent you from going into severe anaphylactic shock should you accidentally consume rice or anything derived from it. This will give you enough time to head to the hospital for immediate treatment.