Alicia Woodward: Hi! I am Alicia Woodward, Editor of Living Without, the world's leading magazine for people with food allergies and sensitivities. Today I would like to talk to you about food allergies and dating. We all know that dating involves a certain amount of tension, anxiety, and embarrassment. You worry about your hair, your outfit, what you will talk about. Having food allergies brings additional concerns to the table, particularly when most first dates involve food. Will the restaurant accommodate your dietary needs? Should you tell your date about your allergies? And what about cross-contamination or that goodnight kiss? Here are a few tips to help navigate a first date. Plan ahead. If you are eating out, pick a cuisine that you know is generally safe for you. Check restaurant websites for menu options. Call in advance to make certain the chef can accommodate your special dietary needs. When invited to a family or group event, contact the host beforehand and bring a safe dish. Consider going food free. Suggest date activities that don't directly involve eating, such as ice skating, hiking, or a movie. Alternatively, limit the date to chatting over coffee or a drink. Be prepared, always carry your medication and check expiration dates. And know your emergency action plan. Communicate with your date, talk about your special dietary needs early on. Use humor to bring up your allergies in a casual way, especially when it comes to discussing or hinting at a goodnight kiss. Deliver these cues early, perhaps casually mentioning the many possibly routes of exposure, like direct contact, cross-contamination, airborne allergens, and even a kiss. It doesn't have to be awkward. Present the information as an allergy fun fact and your date should be able to connect the dots. And finally, relax; be calm and confident about your allergies and your date will feel the same. Yes, food allergies make things a little bit more challenging, but it's just one more aspect of getting to know each other. Don't let allergy steal the spotlight. The bottom line is to be safe and to have fun.