Noreen Okarter, Food Allergy Coach – Founder of Food Sitch, Allergic to Tree nuts, peanuts, sesame, coconut, wheat and grew up with an allergy to eggs.
I have had food allergies since babyhood. While I outgrew my egg allergy in my twenties, my allergies to tree nuts, peanuts and sesame turned anaphylactic in my twenties too. I grew up during the early and mid 80s when the concept of a food allergy was relatively unknown. I also was usually the only person in my class to have a food allergy. As a result, I had to constantly educate people about what a food allergy was and the full implications of having a food allergy life. I learned to explain my food allergies to others at school and college, at the work office, at parties, while travelling, etc. As my allergic reactions became more severe in my early twenties, I took charge of my health. I began to take inventory of what foods I was putting into my body – even those to which I was not allergic. Determined to feel confident about my body’s strength after multiple emergency room visits, I began working out and eating healthier foods. These lifestyle changes led to me to lose 40 pounds and to become a 5 time marathon runner.
My challenging experiences managing my food allergies and having to go through scary emergency room visits have motivated me to take my coaching skills and passion for helping me in order to become a food allergy coach. As a certified health coach and wellness coach, I help people with food allergies manage everyday life, build confidence in living a food allergy life and make sure they accomplish their health and life goals along the way.
What you hope to see in the future as fat as inclusive snacking or food allergies as whole?
I would love to see a change of consciousness in our society where people are open to including people who eat differently than they do. My dream is to have people with different dietary preferences eating at the same table and establishing connections with one another. With an open heart, open mind and preparation, this dream can happen.
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