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Studying Abroad with Food Allergies

April 20, 2017
by Summer Selden
Before coming to Buenos Aires, I knew that I would need to figure out how I was going to keep myself healthy. I knew that it was going to look a lot different for me in another country to maintain my health!
 A natural foods store I came across!

I can’t eat gluten or dairy. And let me tell you, I would love to dive into some dulce de leche or a loaf of bread, but it would not be worth the pain. My host mom is an amazing cook and prepares my meals with great care, and I have found a place to keep myself active!

A friend of mine here also has some allergies: nuts, fish, some specific oils, and fruit. Just know that you are not alone in your dietary concerns! And so, we embark on finding healthy foods for our needs together.

 Restaurant near my homestay
had some great juices!

It has been a priority for us to find foods that make us feel good. Your body is already adjusting to the time difference, the water, and its exhausting to be traveling so often. Being sick abroad is never fun.

Here are some tips to keep yourself healthy!

Communicate your needs

Tell your study abroad program all of your allergies before leaving. Let them know how much of a priority it is for you and they will put you in a host family that is accustomed to cooking for your specific needs.

My host mom is absolutely wonderful! She goes above and beyond to make me feel comfortable and makes me great meals. I am very thankful for her.

If cooking is your thing and you feel more comfortable making your own food, you can talk with your host family or try living in an apartment! There are ways to work it out.

  Your health is important. Many times I feel guilty having someone make me something special and doing more work, but I know how my body reacts to gluten and dairy. You know your body better than anyone else!

 Check out some different stores

Here in Buenos Aires, there are quite a few smaller shops with gluten free options. Just on my walk to school, I can pass three of them depending on which way I go! There are options at the supermarkets, too. One store that I really like is about a 10 minute bus ride away.

I haven't had much trouble at restaurants either! If you express your concern, they will be able to help you.

Listen to your body

If you know that a particular food doesn’t do you good, you will have to make some sacrifices. In the end though, you will only be doing your body a favor.  Just because you are abroad doesn't mean you have to change how you take care of yourself!

 Apple slices with some peanut butter and granola! Great afternoon snack.

Stay active

Eating the right food is important, but so is staying active! Some like to run (I am not one of those people), others like to bike, lift weights, or swim. I got very lucky and managed to have a gym right across the street from my home stay. With a pool, large workout area, spinning room, and other rooms for specific classes, I have had so much fun trying out different forms of exercising!

 The gym I go to right across the
street from my homestay!

Overall, listen to your body. Don't be afraid to express your concern. Do some research! Find some places that offer foods you know will be safe for you to eat. Try cooking your own meals. Keep in mind that just because you are abroad doesn't mean you cannot maintain your health in the best ways you know how!

Summer S. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is currently a Junior studying Education & Spanish at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

Summer Selden is the Spring 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in Buenos Aires, Argentina in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is currently studying at University of Wisconsin- La Crosse.
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