When she was faced with choosing a project to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award, Amanda Beck knew that she wanted to follow her passion. Already an active supporter of FARE and the food allergy community (Amanda walks in the FARE Walk for Food Allergy in Baltimore), she knew she wanted to choose a service project related to food allergies. We asked Amanda to tell us more about her project and how she hopes it will benefit those with food allergies:
- What are your food allergies? What’s it like having food allergies?
I am allergic to shellfish and tree nuts. My little brother is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, chick pea and shellfish. Needless to say, cooking in our house is a challenge, and eating out is even more difficult. Still, we manage.
- Tell us about your Girl Scout project.
When I set out to do my Gold Award for Girl Scouts, I knew I wanted to do something to help families with food allergies. This 100-hour project is the girl-equivalent to the Boy Scouts Eagle Award, intended to make a real difference to a problem faced by many people in the community, country and worldwide.
I decided to create an cookbook app that offers recipes based on individual users’ allergies. My app, Allergenius, allows people to set up custom profiles for themselves and their family members and generate recipes that are safe for them and delicious. Users can save their favorites, rate/review recipes and forward them via email. And because the app was intended to be a cookbook for allergy sufferers BY allergy sufferers, users can even submit their own recipes via our website to share with other users.
- Why did you want to do it? Why was it was important to you?
I have grown up around food allergies all my life and it is something I feel passionate about. There are a lot of allergy cookbooks out there, but nothing that allows people to create a custom cookbook just based on their allergies.
Food allergy sufferers can enjoy delicious food, too—there are recipes that are truly delicious out there that exclude the top allergens. I was able to find them, gain permission to use them, and offer them to the food allergy community.
- What advice would you give a kid or a friend who was just diagnosed with food allergies?
Don’t feel like you are alone—there are a lot of people with food allergies that don’t have to give up eating great food. It’s just a matter of being careful, reading ingredients, carrying your epinephrine auto-injector, and communicating with others.
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To learn more about Amanda’s Allergenius app, visit allergenius.net. Allergenius is offered on Apple App Store. Normally, the app costs $3.99 to download. However, in recognition of Food Allergy Awareness Month, they are offering the app for free until May 31, 2016.