Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25
Like Tree3Likes

Thread: Attitude to food allergies?

  1. #1
    Новичок
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    8
    Rep Power
    6

    Attitude to food allergies?

    Hey all,

    I didn't know where to put this but I chose this because I was wondering about cultural bias.

    I'm going to be going to Russia here soon and I am allergic to milk, wheat, soy, and corn. I'm fine with and understand the fact that there will be a lot of things that I can't eat but I was wondering... what is the cultural opinion on allergies? Like would I offend someone if I went "I'm sorry but I can't eat that". I know in the US for example a lot of my friends understand, but the older generation - like my grandparents - don't get it at all.

    I'm going to assume that it would be the same anywhere but am I wrong?

    Much thanks!

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    5,076
    Rep Power
    22
    I think you should not worry too much about other people's opinion. Some people won't get it, mostly because they've probably NEVER HEARD of things like this - these kinds of allergies are not very widespread here and they don't get too much media attention. But I doubt anyone will think worse of you because of that. If someone keeps insisting on treating you with potentially deadly food tell them a horror story about "almost dying" after trying it... if it does not impress them just refuse firmly. Culturally speaking there's nothing offensive about not eating something that you can't tolerate, if you are polite about it. Even famous Russian "force-vodka-drinking" (which you can encounter among a certain kind of people) can be avoided by claiming that you can't do it because of health issues.

    What can be much more inconvenient and troublesome is finding acceptable products and foods, especially if you are eating out. Russian eating establishments are pretty traditional in this regard, meaning that special menus for people with "exotic" allergies are rare. You should be extra vigilant reading labels and menus, and stressing the importance of avoiding certain ingredients if you are eating with a family.

  3. #3
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    904
    Rep Power
    0
    You probably will not find "contians milk/wheat/soy/corn" signs on the products packages

    From what I remember about Russian products only two signs are widely spread "contains phenylalanine" and "contains nuts" (probably because these allergies are deadly)

  4. #4
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    295
    Rep Power
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer View Post
    You probably will not find "contians milk/wheat/soy/corn" signs on the products packages

    From what I remember about Russian products only two signs are widely spread "contains phenylalanine" and "contains nuts" (probably because these allergies are deadly)
    I have seen "contains nuts" only on imported products. There is no such allergy known in Russia.

    Wheat allergy is even less heard of. I think people may not trust you if you say you have an allergy on wheat. On the other hand I seen Russian people (mostly women) who were confident that they had allergies on anything you can imagine (actually they had not but they ascribed any illness to allergy).

    Anyway I suggest you to take anti-histamine drugs if you eat something which you suspect may trigger allergy. They are very cheap in Russia.

  5. #5
    Hanna
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Corteo
    I'm going to be going to Russia here soon and I am allergic to milk, wheat, soy, and corn. I'm fine with and understand the fact that there will be a lot of things that I can't eat but I was wondering... what is the cultural opinion on allergies? Like would I offend someone if I went "I'm sorry but I can't eat that".
    I spent quite a fair bit of time in the Ukraine, Belarus and Latvia and I noticed that rice milk and soy milk was almost impossible to get hold of. It's the same in other Eastern European countries. They have less allergies.


    • You can't get a soy latte or similar, and you can't get substitute milk in hotels.
    • Milk is used in Russian type cooking a lot, so you really have to be careful with what dishes you eat.
    • People are not used to food allergies at all, and I genuinely think it's quite unusual in the ex USSR countries. They are not being insensitive, they just don't know what you are talking about, or the inconvenience of being sick for a day just because you accidentally had some milk.



    Quote Originally Posted by "Anixx
    I have seen "contains nuts" only on imported products. There is no such allergy known in Russia.
    Strange as it seems, you may be right.

    I come from Sweden, and I remember a very big media story and campaign, in the 1990s. There had been a massive comparative study of the health of kids in the Baltic States, compared with Swedish kids. Things were not good in the Baltics at the time, just after the breakup of the USSR, peoples lives were not easy. But yet, the Baltic kids were healthier in almost every way! And they have very similar genes to ethnically Swedish kids, which was supposed to make the study more relevant.

    The most important finding was that the Baltic kids almost never had allergies!

    They tried to figure out the reasons and it was something about the pregnancy care of mothers, how infants were looked after and how hospitals and peoples houses were cleaned (!) that was thought to be the reason. I suppose the situation in the Baltics in the early 90s was similar to Russia, so they probably would have had the same results if they had compared with Russian kids.

    As a result of the study, the state (in Sweden) had a big campaign telling people to clean differently - avoid certain "modern" American/British style cleaning products in favour of "traditional" cleaning products, similar to what they were using at the time in the Baltic states.

    The modern cleaning products kills all germs, and babies who are not exposed to real germs develop more allergies! Plus they contain all sorts of perfumes and things that are unhealthy for babies.

    Oh, yes - the Baltic mothers breastfed their children more than the Swedish mothers. This makes a difference too, for allergies.

    But if Russians start living exactly like people in Western Europe, then you will soon have allergies too!


    It wouldn't surprise me if small kids, born 2000 and onwards have just as much allergies as Western Europe and the USA.
    gRomoZeka likes this.

  6. #6
    Почтенный гражданин Dmitry Khomichuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Belarus, Hero-Fortress
    Posts
    308
    Rep Power
    11
    There are little people with food allergies in Belarus. And many food contains milk or wheat. Soy is hard to find.
    Structure of the food is always written in small print on food package. But there are no special signs for food containing milk/soy/wheat/corn.
    If you will buy something in cafe you should check all. Milk and wheat can be used in food you never think it is there.

  7. #7
    Почтенный гражданин Dmitry Khomichuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Belarus, Hero-Fortress
    Posts
    308
    Rep Power
    11
    When Hanna was here I said to her, that I have never seen rice or soy milk. But now I see it almost in every shop.
    «Беллакт» soy milk for example

  8. #8
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    5,076
    Rep Power
    22
    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    It wouldn't surprise me if small kids, born 2000 and onwards have just as much allergies as Western Europe and the USA.
    Nice observation! That's why I said earlier that allergies are not "very widespread" (instead of saying they don't exist). Among older people, say over 20, they are basically unheard of. Almost the only ones who are aware of wheat/soy/milk allergy are mothers of young kids who have them (but it's kind of a new thing).

  9. #9
    Hanna
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Dmitry Khomitchuk View Post
    When Hanna was here I said to her, that I have never seen rice or soy milk. But now I see it almost in every shop.
    «Беллакт» soy milk for example
    Yes I noticed that eventually - it is a powder, so it needs to be blended with water.
    I think it is for children but it worked to make an excellent latte from!
    And cost about 5% of the cost of soy milk in Western Europe. Good product.

    (while milk is price subsidised in the EU, soy and rice milk is not...The price for one litre of rice milk in Sweden is over 2 Euro. One litre milk is perhaps 0.70EUR)

  10. #10
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    295
    Rep Power
    6
    But if Russians start living exactly like people in Western Europe, then you will soon have allergies too!
    I think that before late 80s allergy was a non-known word. But then there was a large campaign in the press about allergies. Sometimes it was claimed that allergies are behind virtually all dishealth.
    The campaigns though lacked any details: they did not mention specific allergies, rather they claimed that allergies may be for anything. I think attributing anything to allergies became rather popular in those times. But the main reasons for allergies usually were named air polluted with exhaustion gases, pollen, domestic dust, domestic animals, pillow fluff, cockroaches, synthetic food. So the stereotype is that healthy natural food cannot lead to allergies.

    And cost about 5% of the cost of soy milk in Western Europe. Good product.
    I think that any soy products are regarded non-healthy in Russia. Many think about them as about cheaper "ersatz" substitutes for normal products, invented in the USA to feed the poor negros. They are usually much cheaper, otherwise nobody would buy them. Also soy products very often include genetically-modified soy, and many people fear such products.

  11. #11
    Hanna
    Guest
    Many think about them as about cheaper "ersatz" substitutes for normal products, invented in the USA to feed the poor negros.
    That's not correct about Soy milk. They are not like that in the USA.
    The problem as I understand it, is the opposite. Many uneducated people (often black) choose unhealthy food and ruin their health with fatty fast food and sweets. The question about race in the USA is quite complicated and I don't fully understand it. But I can tell you one thing: You should not use the word "negro", it is considered racist and people get *really upset*, including most white Americans.

    You should say "black" which is acceptable in the UK, or I think in the USA, the ideal expression to use is "African - American".

    However, it is bad to drink too much soy milk, particularly for men.... it contains female hormone "estrogen". Rice milk and Oat milk are better alternatives!

    And about prices in Belarus: The stuff that is made locally is really cheap and absolutely decent quality. Not the top end stuff obviously, but there is such a big difference in prices there, that it makes a lot of sense to buy local products unless there is some strong reason not to. I think many people have no other choice than stick with local products. I imagine they have a lot of traffic of Russians and Ukrainians who simply go there to by basic products cheaply!

  12. #12
    Новичок
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    8
    Rep Power
    6
    Thank you everyone for the insight! It's very very helpful. Since I mainly have a mild intolerance (It makes my hand split like a bunch of tiny paper cuts all over and try out really bad.) perhaps the lack of processing will help. It's true that we over process everything here.

    On a side note

    You should say "black" which is acceptable in the UK, or I think in the USA, the ideal expression to use is "African - American".
    As an American I personally prefer "black" when an identifier must be used. I dislike the term African-American because black Americans, and any other ethnic group, are just as American as I am. And I don't call myself a German-American, British-American, etc. I personally find sticking X in front of American make it almost sound less "American" if that makes sense.

    I like the British way better. xD

  13. #13
    Hanna
    Guest
    I know that Russians find all this debate about race etc a bit silly, and like to call people what they are.... I actualy find this sympathetic and I think racism lies in how you treat people, not in which word you use.
    But this is no joke in Western Europe - you absolutely cannot say "negro" about a black person at work, or you'd be in serious trouble. People are prosecuted for calling someone "nigger". This happens quite a lot in the metro in London where many employees are black, from the Caribbean. People get angry because there is some problem in the metro, they fight with the staff and eventually a customer says something racist to the staff member at which point he can be sued.]

    In Sweden, there is a very popular snack sold in cafes that has the word "neger" (negro) in it. It has gone by the same name for 50 years or so. But recently the dessert had to officially change name, because the old name was unacceptable! I did not know this, because I had been in the UK and the cafeteria staff member was totally shocked because I accidentally used the old name.



    The snack that had to change names

  14. #14
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    5,076
    Rep Power
    22
    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    In Sweden, there is a very popular snack sold in cafes that has the word "neger" (negro) in it. It has gone by the same name for 50 years or so. But recently the dessert had to officially change name, because the old name was unacceptable! I did not know this, because I had been in the UK and the cafeteria staff member was totally shocked because I accidentally used the old name.
    I guess, it's a bit of a stereotypic name for chocolate based old-fashioned desserts. There was a popular cake in the USSR called "Negro in foam/suds" ("Негр в пене"). It still goes by that name even if commercially produced. They'll probably change it eventually too.
    Here's the picture:

    For those who don't know any Russian, I'd like to stress the fact that the word "негр" ("negro") in Russian language was (and still is, to some extent) absolutely non-judgmental and neutral. It was an official and acceptable term for a person of African decent, and only for a decade or so it have been actively eliminated from usage, since it's considered offensive on the other side of the globe. The irony is that it was never used as an insult until people were repeatedly told that it can be used like that.

  15. #15
    Старший оракул
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    837
    Rep Power
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka View Post
    and only for a decade or so it have been actively eliminated from usage, since it's considered offensive on the other side of the globe.
    What do they say, then? Афро-американцы? I'm asking because I don't really watch TV, and people around me still say негр as a neutral word.
    I suppose, "black" (черный), is out of the question.

  16. #16
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    295
    Rep Power
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by E-learner View Post
    What do they say, then? Афро-американцы? I'm asking because I don't really watch TV, and people around me still say негр as a neutral word.
    I suppose, "black" (черный), is out of the question.
    Indeed, we cannot use "black" because it is reserved for the people from Caucasus. We can use "чернокожий" "black-skinned" instead, but this sounds more pejorative than "негр" to me.

  17. #17
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Phx, AZ, US
    Posts
    336
    Rep Power
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Corteo View Post
    Hey all,

    I didn't know where to put this but I chose this because I was wondering about cultural bias.

    I'm going to be going to Russia here soon and I am allergic to milk, wheat, soy, and corn. I'm fine with and understand the fact that there will be a lot of things that I can't eat but I was wondering... what is the cultural opinion on allergies? Like would I offend someone if I went "I'm sorry but I can't eat that". I know in the US for example a lot of my friends understand, but the older generation - like my grandparents - don't get it at all.

    I'm going to assume that it would be the same anywhere but am I wrong?

    Much thanks!

    Many here know more than me, but I've read that in Russia and surrounding northern-lying areas the tendency toward lactose reactions (intolerance, allergy, etc.) is somewhere near 1% - which is close enough to nonexistent to think people/vendors/hotels/etc maybe won't make a big effort for that small fraction.

    I hope you have a great trip either way)
    luck/life/kidkboom
    Грязные башмаки располагают к осмотрительности в выборе дороги. /*/ Muddy boots choose their roads with wisdom. ;

  18. #18
    Властелин
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    The peoples state of New Jersey
    Posts
    1,137
    Rep Power
    17
    In the USA "Black" or "African-American" are used and are polite. I myself never use "African-American" because I went to school with a girl from South Africa but she is white. Unless you want to be offensive, the word "негр" is never used here now.


    Scott

    Quote Originally Posted by E-learner View Post
    What do they say, then? Афро-американцы? I'm asking because I don't really watch TV, and people around me still say негр as a neutral word.
    I suppose, "black" (черный), is out of the question.

  19. #19
    Hanna
    Guest
    Many here know more than me, but I've read that in Russia and surrounding northern-lying areas the tendency toward lactose reactions (intolerance, allergy, etc.) is somewhere near 1% - which is close enough to nonexistent to think people/vendors/hotels/etc maybe won't make a big effort for that small fraction.
    Well if you count Scandinavia as "surrounding northern-lying areas", actually lactose intolerance is really common. Every supermarket has lactose free milk, yogurt, kefir, cream etc, as well as milk free substitutes.

    Allergies are a relatively "modern" phenomenon and there have been some differences in lifestyle, although I am not quite sure on exactly what sorts of factors make the big difference. But Russians clearly suffer less from allergies.

    The study that I was referring to was saying that certain cleaning products are to blame. British people are more allergic in general, than Scandinavians - asthma is really common in the UK. They use modern cleaning products even more frequently, and there is more pollution. But it comes down to lots of factors that affect people in childhood. I think that Russians use more or less the same products as peope in Western Europe now, so they will probably affected just as much. Pollution and eating habits also come into it.

    This said, there are some seriously polluted places in Russia. It is quite possible that people in such places suffer more from health problems, like asthma, allergies, cancers etc.
    kidkboom likes this.

  20. #20
    Hanna
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka View Post
    I guess, it's a bit of a stereotypic name for chocolate based old-fashioned desserts. There was a popular cake in the USSR called "Negro in foam/suds" ("Негр в пене"). It still goes by that name even if commercially produced. They'll probably change it eventually too.
    Here's the picture:

    It's true - why should all of the rest of us change our languages just because Brits and Americans engaged in slave trade.... Russia for example never did anything to Black people, quite the opposite.

    The cake looks a bit like Schwarzwald gateau! (black forest cake) Schwarzwald is simply the name of an area in Germany. Only that usually has some fruit or jam in it as well as the chocolate.


Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Russian Food
    By thatguy in forum Society
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: August 13th, 2016, 07:40 AM
  2. How is food in Russia?
    By Zombie Acorn in forum Society
    Replies: 39
    Last Post: February 9th, 2010, 06:34 AM
  3. Food :)
    By strawberryfynch in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: May 26th, 2008, 04:08 AM
  4. what's this food?
    By dcunited11 in forum Culture and History
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: September 28th, 2006, 04:25 AM
  5. Food
    By ranark in forum Travel and Tourism
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: February 2nd, 2004, 07:56 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary