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Warning: People Have Food Allergies (and Other Dietary Restrictions)

Currin Berdine / AdminSecret

Some People’s Bodies Cannot Process Certain Foods

Imagine it is a hot day and your office brought in a special treat – ice cream! You take a big bite of the delicious sweet dish and it is cool and satisfying. Then you go back to your desk to continue your work when all of a sudden your skin starts itching all over. Next, you keel over in pain as your stomach is hit with sharp pains. You are allergic to eggs, and you didn’t know they were a hidden ingredient in the ice cream…

Living with a food allergy is a daily reality for approximately 11 million Americans. Reactions to ingesting certain foods include skin irritations (red, itchy, rashes), stuffed up nose, eyes tearing up, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, drop in blood pressure (which leads to loss of consciousness and shock) and in severe cases death. As an Administrative Assistant, you must make it your duty to be aware of who in your office is allergic to what common foods. The most common food allergies are from:

-Fish and Shellfish
-Milk and Lactose
-Peanuts (and other nuts)
-Sesame Seeds
-Sulfite Sensitivity
-Wheat/Gluten Sensitivity

Remember: it would be impossible to coordinate and cater to everyone. Just try your best to be sure every person will have something to eat at each meal. In addition, be conscious of restaurant menus’ notes when ordering foods. For example, when ordering pad thai chicken, the menu will probably indicate “*This item contains egg and nuts.” If you are aware of these common ingredients, you make it a point to tell the appropriate people, or even attach a note next to the dish that warns diners. Better safe than sorry.

Some People Choose Not to Eat Certain Foods

Thousands of people in the U.S. choose not to eat certain foods for health, moral or religious reasons. It is important to respect these decisions just as you would want someone to respect your choices. The most common group identify with being vegetarian, vegan, or something similar. See the definitions below to be well-informed of people’s dietary preferences:

-Pescatarian – Eats fish but no other animal flesh
-Pollotarian – Eats poultry but no other animal flesh
-Semi/Pseudo-Vegetarian – Occasionally eats animal flesh but not often
-Ovo-vegetarian – eats eggs but no dairy or animal flesh
-Lacto-vegetarian – eats dairy but no eggs or animal flesh
-Vegan – eats no animal products whatsoever; no flesh, dairy, eggs, honey, gelatin, by-products, etc.
-Kosher – follows a set of Jewish dietary laws, such as no meat with diary, certain parts of the animal are forbidden, etc.

More extreme restrictive diets include Raw foodists, Macrobiotic diets, fruitarian, etc. These are rare to find and if someone in your organization follows these guidelines, AdminSecret suggests having a one-on-one meeting with them to discuss their choices and how you can accommodate without wasting food, money or time. They might provide great insight and suggestions that you would have never thought about!

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