What do those allergen symbols mean on restaurant menus?
How to find your food intolerance and enjoy eating out every time
On our new Restaurante Christopher’s menu, you’ll notice that we’ve included new allergy symbols. Most are straightforward to understand – a picture of a nut, or a milk bottle, an ear of wheat, a fish… and so on. If you aren’t sure which applies to you, we’ve included descriptions in our menu.
If you have an allergy or an intolerance to certain foods, the allergy symbols should help you decide on a delicious dish that won’t bring you out in a rash or cause stomach cramps. In this post, I’ll tell you what each symbol means, and you’ll learn the difference between an allergy and an intolerance.
What can you eat if you have a food allergy?
Most people have an intolerance to at least one type of food. Most would describe themselves as being allergic to that food. So, they cut it out altogether. They don’t suffer the side effects of eating their favourite food again, but they also lose a little of the enjoyment of eating.
The thing is this: if you are intolerant to food, you don’t have to cut it out altogether. A little of what you love doesn’t have to make you suffer. The rule is simple:
- If you are allergic to a foodstuff, cut it out.
- If you are intolerant to a foodstuff, eat in moderation.
How do you know if you are intolerant or have an allergy?
Knowing whether you have a food allergy or a food intolerance is vital to eating healthily when you dine out. A food allergy could be fatal. An intolerance may make you ill, but it won’t kill you. Here’s how the two conditions differ:
Why you might not be intolerant to the food you think you are intolerant to
Often, people think that they are intolerant to a certain food, when they aren’t. The reason for this is the amount of food it takes to make you ill, and the length of time it takes to take effect.
If you become ill in the afternoon, you might think that it’s something you ate at lunch time that has made you ill. In fact, it could be something you ate three or four days ago.
How do you uncover your food intolerances?
If you have a food intolerance, it’s likely that you already have an inkling of what it is. For example, “Too much cheese gives me indigestion”, or “When I eat bread my stomach bloats”. But it might not be the cheese or the bread that produces these symptoms – you might be intolerant to lactose or gluten.
The way to discover what food you are intolerant to is to take an intolerance test and follow this with an elimination diet.
What is an elimination diet?
An elimination diet is one which prohibits you from eating the food to which you believe you are intolerant. Then:
- Once your symptoms have disappeared, add the food back into your diet in small amounts
- Gradually increase the amount you consume, until the symptoms start to return
- By doing this, you discover your unique intolerance level
- Now, providing you limit your intake to below this level, you can eat whatever is on the menu without fear of embarrassing repercussions
Eat out and enjoy every time
One thing is certain: the more you consume a food to which you are intolerant, the worse your symptoms will become. But everyone with a food intolerance will have their own safe level with every food. Find this, and you will be able to eat out and enjoy every time.
What do all the allergen symbols mean?
Here are the symbols we use on our menu at Restaurante Christopher. Each indicates that the dish may have traces of the foodstuff depicted:
We are continually innovating and improving our menus. Our new menus make it easy for you to enjoy a delicious three-course meal in beautiful surroundings, and served by award-winning front of house staff. Just a few of the reasons why we are rated in the top ten best restaurants in Torrevieja (TripAdvisor).
To book your table, call us on (+34) 600 01 28 24.
Neil and Sergiy