Being a digital nomad allows you to live in and experience new places in ways that you could never imagine. But for those of you who experience food allergies and sensitivities, the idea of living and eating in a new place can be terrifying. Here are some thoughts on how to handle food allergies while you’re living and working abroad.
Learn Some of the Language
If nothing else, learn how to read and say the things you are allergic to in the local language. You’ll want to be able to kindly communicate that you have a food allergy and to ask about the ingredients. In cities, this is easier, because restaurants encounter more people with complex food needs than they do in rural areas. In rural areas, it’s probably best to stick with whole foods such as meat, rice, and vegetables without any sauces or seasonings.
Cook Your Own Food
When shopping at the grocery store or local food markets, buy things you know are single ingredient items. You can easily purchase crushed herbs, salt, and other seasonings as individual items. This can reduce the risk of a filler being added to make it easier to flow. Additionally, there are great deals to be had on fruit, vegetables, and meat in a local market. Take these foods home and cook them yourself. You can easily make allergen friendly sauces that taste like the locals when you make it at home.
Order Things Online
It can be hard when you’re used to eating gluten free bread from the grocery store and suddenly there is none to be had. But you can easily purchase something like gluten free bread mix online and have it shipped so you can make delicious bread no matter where you live. The internet has opened up a world of options that allows people with allergies to enjoy the nomad lifestyle without compromise.
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Go to a Country With Staple Foods You Can Enjoy
If a region lives on wheat bread for every meal, it may not be the best place for you if you have a gluten allergy. Likewise, if peanuts are a staple, you may want to look elsewhere with your peanut allergy to enjoy your nomadic life. Everywhere has options. Just do your research before you go to ensure you will have plenty of options when you get there. Again, in the city, more restaurants are familiar with food allergies versus rural areas.
Bring Medication With You
Depending on the severity of your allergy, it’s important to bring the proper medications with you. In the event of an accidental exposure your medicine can save your life. Whether you just need to carry extra Benadryl or you need something more heavy duty like an epi-pen, always bring extras just in case. In major cities, they can treat allergies, but rural areas will be limited for medical access.
Keep Safe Foods With You at All Times
Digital nomads get to roam wherever they can connect to the internet. This means you could spend time near a rural village or backpacking through the rainforest. If you can keep safe to eat foods with you, you’ll always have something to eat. This can be as simple as pieces of fruit that travel well, grains you can cook up, or even pre-packaged snacks.
Get a Gluten Tester
Technology has come a long way. If you have a gluten allergy in particular, you may be able to test a food before you eat it to see if it contains any gluten. Additionally, these testers can detect the presence of other allergens which can literally save a life. Human error is expected. Someone could forget to tell you an ingredient or not realize that another ingredient was derived from what you’re allergic to. These testers are powerful for people with food allergies.
It’s easier than ever for digital nomads with allergies to live wherever they want. It’s important to do your due diligence and even find a doctor who specializes in allergies in the city near where you plan to live. With the right planning and preparation, even the most allergic nomad can enjoy a life roaming and working in beautiful places.