By: Kristen Kauke
Valentine’s Day is the ancient rite of celebrating love by exchanging romantic expressions with the person who embraces your heart. Gifts such as cards, candy, flowers and other tokens attempt to convey your utmost adoration and affection for your Valentine.
If your Valentine has food allergies, you might find traditional attempts at cherishing your Valentine challenging as many candies, chocolates and flowers could trigger allergies instead of sparking romance. However, by following simple tips for couples who navigate food allergies, romance can reign!
- I believe in the motto “no askin’, no gettin’.” Sometimes you need to direct your partner on how to best meet your needs. I’ve found sharing those “subtle hints” to not be so effective. I have no shame in clipping pictures from catalogs, circling the price and where to purchase. And be sure to let your loved one know about websites that sell your favorite allergy-friendly treats so they can order you chocolates, cupcakes, or other goodies that are safe for you.
- Sometimes the most memorable tokens of affection are homemade! Don’t underestimate the power of the handwritten note! My husband won me over with the first Valentine’s card he ever gave me. It was made from yellow construction paper, with a lopsided heart drawn on the front. Inside he wrote, “To set the record straight, I swear I did look for a card, but nothing sounded like me.” His own words proved personal, sentimental, and superior to a store-bought card. Another one of my favorite gifts from him was a mix tape. I know, I know, mix tapes are basically extinct. So update the idea; just think of how touched your Valentine might be by a virtual video slideshow.
- Priceless gestures might actually be priceless! Do something for your Valentine that eases their burden – run an errand, clean the bathroom, take their car for a wash. The task might even be mutual like walking the dog or trading backrubs.
- If you’re heading out for a romantic meal, be sure to follow FARE’s tips for dining out with food allergies. Selecting the right restaurant, calling ahead, and remembering to bring a chef card and medication can help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable night together.
- Cooking is a labor of love! Cooking together can be a very romantic experience. Additionally, nothing says “I’m into you” better than when you take the time to plan and execute an allergy-free dinner for your Valentine. My husband makes great milk-free, egg-free, soy-free, peanut-free pumpkin & chocolate chip pancakes.
- If you’re hoping for a kiss from your Valentine’s Day date, you will want to ask your date to avoid your allergens as well. Have this conversation prior to the day of your date. The (unattractive) hives and wheezing that erupt are way more awkward than just saying, “Dude, if you want to be with me later, don’t be with peanuts now.” You can learn more about the findings of “The Kissing Study,” which was specific to peanut allergy, on FARE’s website.
- Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to involve food at all! Some of my favorite dates involve hiking, playing pool, or even rock wall climbing.
Kristen Kauke is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who also happens to parent two boys with life threatening food allergies, as well as live with food allergies herself. She will be facilitating free educational webinar with FARE on February, 12 at 1:00 p.m. titled, “Safe and Sound: Relationships, Dating and Intimacy Challenges Associated with Having Severe Food Allergies.” Register to attend here: http://www.foodallergy.org/tools-and-resources/webinars.
Happy Valentine’s Day!