Any prepper that is serious about getting ready for rough times is going to accumulate a store of food that they and their loved ones will be able to rely on when conventional means of obtaining food, like dash into the grocery store, are no longer options.
In the aftermath of a society toppling event or some other crisis you won’t be able to rely on GrubHub, drive-thrus or any other convenience options.
That is sound reasoning and indeed prudent, but there is one catch that is rarely discussed on our side of the “house” here in the prepping-sphere, and that is the increasing prevalence of food allergies among adults and children.
Body response to food allergens can range from discomfort and inconvenience to straight up life-threatening conditions, and so food allergies must be taken seriously. If you or someone in your group has known allergies their dietary requirements must be accounted for.
For the vast majority of food allergies all that can be reliably done, especially under emergency conditions, is the total avoidance of those foods or any foods containing that particular ingredient.
Accordingly, we are bringing you a list of the most common foods that cause allergic reactions that you should avoid stockpiling in case you or someone else suffer from this condition.
Living and Surviving with Food Allergies
As mentioned above, food allergies are no joke, and depending on the allergy sufferer’s sensitivity to a particular food or the quantity of the allergen ingested the consequences can range from aggravating to severe.
If you don’t want to deal with a major medical crisis when you can least afford to deal with one you had better brush up on all the lore concerning food allergies and those who suffer from them.
Although the specific biology behind what constitutes a food allergy and the body’s response to it is indeed interesting it is also highly complex and beyond the confines of this article.
The “back of the napkin” version is that the body’s immune system recognizes a protein present in a given food as harmful or dangerous, though this recognition protocol is in this case sadly unwarranted as the offending protein is not, in fact, a dangerous toxin.
The result is an immune system response that results in a host of self-protective actions, including inflammation on a massive scale.
The symptoms of a food protein allergic reaction can range anywhere from diarrhea, hives and a nasty, itchy outbreak of rash to vomiting, difficulty breathing and severe swelling of the face, tongue and mouth.
The most severe symptom is anaphylaxis and low blood pressure. Severe allergic reactions to food can be fatal!
What’s worse, though some food allergies begin in childhood and are outgrown others can be lifelong and some are more likely to surface in the middle of adulthood with no prior known allergy.
Though rare overall across all domains, the amount of people, both children and adults, that suffer from food allergies is slowly increasing over time and that means you can never be totally sure that you or someone you know won’t wind up experiencing them. Plan accordingly!
The No-No List
An allergy to eggs is one of the most common food allergies, and is particularly present among children. Happily, most will leave this aggravating allergy behind by the time they reach their mid-teens. It’s a good thing, too, since eggs are extremely common in all sorts of other foods.
Egg allergies are tricky because it is possible to be allergic to only the egg yolk, only the egg white or the entire egg!
Further complicating matters is the fact that cooked eggs can break down or alter the cellular shape of the offending proteins, meaning that the body will let them pass normally without having a Grade-5 freak-out and all of the accompanying symptoms listed above.
This makes preparing for and living with an egg allergen sufferer challenging because there are certain foods that might be okay while others (or the same food prepared a different way) might trigger a reaction.
Egg allergen sufferers also must be on guard because the reaction is so highly variable, with some people only experiencing mild discomfort and diarrhea whereas others have the full gamut of bad reactions.
- ❌ freeze-dried egg food
- ❌ powdered eggs
- ❌ freeze-dried powdered eggs
An allergy to wheat is another insidious food allergy because wheat, as you likely know, is extremely prevalent in all kinds of foods, and also because it can easily be mistaken for a food insensitivity, an entirely different ailment.
Anyone with a wheat allergy or a suspected wheat allergy must be watched closely because potential reactions can range from mild to extremely severe, including anaphylaxis.
To make matters worse, there are dozens and dozens of different proteins found across the spectrum of different species of wheat, and wheat allergy sufferers might be sensitive to only some of them, one or two or all of them.
This makes tracking down, identifying and isolating the particular offending wheat extremely difficult, and any dietary modification short of the complete elimination of wheat often a fool’s errand since most ingredient lists do not list the species of wheat in question.
Those who suffer from a wheat allergy must pull double duty, too: Aside from its entirely common appearance in various foods many cosmetic, beauty and hygiene products also contain wheat or wheat proteins.
More than most other allergies, a wheat allergy means the sufferer must be fanatically devoted to inspecting everything that they eat or that comes into contact with their body on a daily basis.
- ❌ wheat berries
- ❌ wheat flour
- ❌ couscous
- ❌ barley
- ❌ rye
A peanut allergy is among the most common of food allergies for both children and adults, and unfortunately is one that is most likely to cause severe, even fatal, allergic reactions.
People who suffer from a peanut allergy in childhood may see it resolve as they move into their teenage years, though this is still statistically unlikely. This will obviously rule out common prepper-centric staples such as peanut butter, trail mix and other commodities.
There is no known treatment for peanut allergies that proves reliable except the total avoidance of the peanuts themselves and any products containing them.
Processing or cooking of the peanuts does not seem to have any effect on whether or not the body will recognize the antagonistic proteins. An allergic reaction can be arrested by the use of an EpiPen in severe instances.
Since peanut allergies are so prevalent many off-the-shelf food items and other products will clearly indicate the presence of peanuts on their ingredients list or elsewhere on the package.
Also, it must be said that a peanut allergy is not a “true” nut (tree nut) allergy as peanuts are legumes, not nuts. We will be talking about tree nuts just below.
- ❌ peanut butter
4. Tree Nuts
Another extremely common food allergy is one to “true” tree nuts and seeds.
This is another troubling allergy because it is so likely to be so widespread, and an allergy to any protein found in tree nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other true nuts will mean that byproducts such as oils and butters made from them will trigger the same allergic reaction.
Further complicating matters is that an allergy to even one or two types of tree nuts seems to indicate a susceptibility to developing an allergy to other kinds of nuts, and indeed exposure and subsequent reaction to one may increase the chances of spontaneously developing attendant or adjacent allergies to other nuts and seeds.
Sadly, this means that sufferers must avoid all tree nuts and products made from them even if an allergy to only one specific species is indicated.
This is easier said than done because all kinds of nuts are commonly encountered as ingredients in a variety of foods and other products.
This is regrettably necessary because more than many other food allergies an allergy to tree nuts is extremely likely to induce a severe reaction, including anaphylaxis.
Tree nut allergy-induced anaphylaxis and other severe symptoms are responsible for approximately 50% of all food allergy deaths.
For this reason, sufferers of tree nut allergies must keep an EpiPen or equivalent device with them at all times. This is one allergy that suffers are highly unlikely to grow out of.
- ❌ trail mixes
- ❌ almonds
- ❌ almond milk
5. Cow’s Milk
A cow milk allergy is one that is typically suffered by children and the vast majority of sufferers will leave the allergy behind by the time they reach adulthood.
Mercifully, this is one allergy that is rarely present in adults although it is not unheard of. Also happily, an allergy to cow’s milk rarely results in the most severe symptoms attendant to a food allergy.
Allergic response to cow’s milk will likely result and vomiting, diarrhea, outbreak of rash, hives and sometimes swelling. Anaphylaxis is thankfully rare. A cow milk allergy is also difficult to accurately ascertain and is often confused with other, less serious conditions.
Regardless of the diagnosis, any known or suspected sufferer of cow’s milk allergies must be especially diligent in policing what they eat as milk and any form or dairy products made from it will trigger an allergic reaction.
So many of the foods that people enjoy as well as items that are staples in a well-rounded survival pantry or properly functioning homestead will be off the table.
Cheese, butter, yogurt, cream and even powdered milk must be avoided assiduously to prevent an unhappy outcome. One should also keep in mind that breastfeeding mothers who consume cow’s milk may transmit the offending proteins to their allergic babies through their own breast milk.
- ❌ powdered milk
- ❌ milk protein powder
- ❌ cottage cheese
- ❌ freeze-dried macaroni and cheese
An allergy to soy is comparatively rare and children who suffer from it are likely to outgrow it but it is also relatively likely to persist in and through adulthood, and it is not unheard of that a soy allergy emerges later in life with no prior suffering or evidence of other food allergies.
Young or old, a soy allergy is a problem for a prepper because soy and its byproducts are increasingly ubiquitous in all kinds of processed foods, beauty products and other healthcare-related items.
One who suffers from a soy allergy might very literally encounter the stuff everywhere they go in the modern world.
Somewhat more happily, an allergic reaction to soy is rarely particularly severe and the most common symptoms are minor, including itching, numbness or tingling in the mouth, rash, minor breathing difficulties and only rarely anaphylaxis.
Is also worth noting that those who suffer from an allergy to cow’s milk are disproportionately more likely to also suffer from a soy allergy, so make sure you read those labels and look for the presence of soy just in case.
- ❌ soy milk
- ❌ soy beans
An allergy to fish is another common food allergy and one that is particularly common for emergence later in adult life.
Like tree nut allergies, an allergy to fish is also likely to result in severe symptoms, including intense gastrointestinal distress and anaphylaxis. Known sufferers of fish allergies will typically carry an EpiPen just in case they are accidentally exposed or ingest fish.
A fish allergy is particularly bad for preppers since it completely eliminates more common prepper foods that we will stock our pantries with, such as canned or pouched tuna, mackerel and sardines.
This is an allergy you’ll always have to be prepared for since some estimates mark up to 2% of all adults as being sufferers of fish protein allergies at some point in their life.
Tragedy often results when an occurrence of the allergic reaction is mistaken for food poisoning or toxins commonly present in certain species of fish.
Seconds count when emergency action must be taken in dealing with any allergic reaction to a food protein but particularly when dealing with fish.
However, those who suffer from an allergy to fish might find that it is only a certain species or a few species that triggers a reaction, and that other fish species may be eaten safely. This may be of some comfort if a sufferer thinks they can reliably eliminate the offending product from their pantry.
Note that an allergy to proper fish does not indicate an allergy to shellfish, and vice versa as the pertinent proteins are completely different.
- ❌ tuna cans
- ❌ long-shelf life pink salmon
Food allergies are a serious health complication that must be attended to with exacting care less the suffer experience a reaction that could imperil their life.
The list above details the most common food allergies and what preppers can do to better prepare themselves and their loved ones for dealing with them, either as a known condition or as an emerging complication in the middle of a long-term survival situation.
Planning your food reserves around such an allergy might be extremely challenging but it nonetheless must be done.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.