Amanda Orlando and Joella Almeida, decided to make a difference together and create a lifestyle site for adults and teens dealing with food allergies. Keep reading as Amanda shares the story of how they are inspiring confidence in people living with food allergies. Also be sure to give them some love on their Instagram: @EverydayAllergenFree
Article written by: Amanda Orlando, Co-founder of Everyday Allergen-Free
When Jo and I moved in to Woodsworth residence at University of Toronto together, two complete strangers, we had no idea what the future had in store. I was a 17 year old allergy girl who felt compelled to hide my food allergies even if it was bad for my health, like avoiding eating or not participating social situations involving food. Jo had just relocated to Canada from Dubai and had never heard of food allergies before. She thought it was so cool that she had this “exotic” roommate (LOL). We bonded over her concern and consideration for my invisible disability, and I grew to trust her as one of the only people I’d let cook for me. We lived together again the next year, and almost ten years later we’re still best friends.
And we also run Everyday Allergen-Free, a site that aims to inspire confidence in teens and adults living with food allergies. We started the site together almost a year ago after a few key events fell into place. First of all, Jo has always felt that I need to communicate about my allergies more and stand up for myself when negative comments are made or provisions are not considered. She doesn’t like me to be excluded, and I appreciate that.
Second, I had been blogging casually leading up to the release of my book, Allergen-Free Desserts, in early 2015. And then one day I had an anaphylactic reaction to some bread that was improperly labelled; it contained dairy. My relationship with food was entirely changed. Somehow this reaction, as an adult, had a different effect on me than ones had as a child. So I started writing about it; the experience, my anxiety, how I learned to navigate the world all over again.
Last June, Jo and I decided it was time for EAF. Our energy was bursting at the seams. We launched the site with a clear vision in mind. We’d inspire confidence in our readers, we’d be a place of comfort and trust. The site has allowed us to connect with some truly wonderful chefs, writers, and businesses that are all working to support a common cause. One of the best things about starting EAF with one of my closest friends is that we not only work to inspire confidence in others, but it has undoubtedly inspired confidence in myself too.