The most satisfying work as a journalist springs from things I observe in my everyday life, among my own friends and family, and I consider myself fortunate to be able to delve into those issues that impact those in my own community. One of the things I’ve noticed over the past few years is the increasing numbers of young kids with food allergies. Not just lactose intolerance or a rash from eating certain foods (although that can be a sign of more serious problems), but severe panic-inducing — sometimes even life threatening — reactions. Over the past year, I’ve met and interviewed several families in the Bay Area and beyond, of various East Asian and South Asian ethnicities, who are struggling with these challenges and working to find solutions. At the same time, I also had a interviewed several leading researchers who are studying the impacts of this epidemic on AAPI patients. Are they more common among certain races? Are Asian Americans allergic to different foods than the general population? What data is available for food allergies and Asian Americans? And is there any hope to reverse this trend?
The results I found were surprising. Read my article Dangerous Bites: Cultural Implications of Food Allergies at the Center for Asian American Media or KQED. My work is part of the Off the Menu series commissioned by CAAM in conjunction with the Grace Lee documentary Off the Menu, a delightful film investigating food traditions among Japanese, Sikh, Native Hawaiian and Chinese communities around the United States.