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When we think about food allergies, we often think of children – avoiding allergens at school, at kids’ parties, and trick-or-treating at Halloween. So you’d think that if you’ve managed to avoid any allergies in childhood, you’re pretty well covered when you’re an adult, right? Wrong! Just when you thought you were safe to go back in the supermarket, SURPRISE! A first-time food allergy rears its ugly head. It’s a lot more common than you’d expect. But there’s no need to worry.

The funny thing is, we don’t really know what causes allergies to appear. We know what happens when they do – your immune system overreacts to something you’ve been exposed to. But why does your immune system suddenly decide “actually, I don’t really like shellfish”, and go into overdrive? Some studies have found that eating common allergens like eggs as a young child may reduce the risk of an allergy developing later on in life, but there’s little to no solid proof of this. However, having allergies in childhood may mean that you get different allergies in adulthood. This is called cross-reactivity. So if you had a peanut allergy as a child, you might find yourself getting a cashew nut allergy as an adult, even if you don’t suffer from your peanut allergy anymore.

The good news is that most people don’t get more than one food allergy at a time. If you do think you are suffering from a new allergy, it’s important that you go and get your symptoms checked out by a doctor before you come to any conclusions.

If it does turn out that it is indeed an allergy, don’t panic! There are bucket-loads of resources available for allergy sufferers, and with awareness on the increase there are lots of new foods, restaurants and café’s offering allergen-free options to the masses.

The most common advice for food allergy sufferers is to prepare your own food from scratch. This way, you can be exactly sure of what ingredients make it onto your plate and into your mouth. But what if you don’t have the time to make your own fresh food every day? That’s when Gosh! comes to the rescue! Gosh! is free from the UK’s top 14 allergens, including cereals containing gluten, eggs, milk, soya, nuts, peanuts, celery, mustard, sesame seeds, lupin, sulphur dioxide, crustaceans, fish & molluscs. Even better, you just cook them in the oven for 15-20 minutes (check the packet for individual cooking times) and they’re done! You have a delicious, nutritious meal that’s ready in minutes, and won’t flare up any of those nasty allergy symptoms. Win, win…win! Click here to discover lots of marvelously mouth-watering Gosh! recipes to whet your appetite.

If you’d like more information on allergies and intolerances, Allergy UK and Coeliac UK have a wealth of free tips and advice to get you started.