Feb
06

Pizza Girls

I recently clicked over to a blog I had never read before, Believer in Balance. This mom has just discovered that her daughter has a peanut allergy. I remember feeling overwhelmed at first, so if you live with food allergies, please go offer her some support and tips!  Check out the other great information at the Food Allergy Carnival!

When you first discover a food allergy/Celiac disease, it is so hard to cope with the realization that your child is the 1 in a 1:100 possibility.

We have several of those 1:100 condition here, and each diagnosis took a lot of emotional and practical adjustment. Your heart breaks a bit for the things your child can’t do, and while we all learn to cope, it’s still hard. I can adapt almost any food so my kids can eat it, but that doesn’t always make life easier. There’s a lot of prep work that goes into living with kids who have food allergies, which can turn a simple birthday party into a challenge. Additionally, there’s so much emotion tied to food, visits with grandparents and other relatives can be difficult to navigate.

We’ve been living with food restrictions for about 9 years now. For folks who are new to food allergies, I’d suggest visiting my recipes (of course), which are all allergy friendly. I’d also suggest visiting the The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, there are wonderful books and helpful cards to carry around for checking ingredients grocery shopping. (Their focus is on the top 8 allergens, so not as great a resource for unusual allergies) For personal support, tips, tricks, resources and stories, the folks at Kids With Food Allergies are incredibly helpful and empathetic, and they have some great recipes. You might also want to download this guide to anaphylaxis, as well – keep yourself informed! If you are receiving a Celiac Disease diagnosis, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has a lot of information.

We have found two books especially helpful for our family and friends, in addition to the FAAN books.

If I could give just a few tips to a parent of a child newly diagnosed with a food allergy/intolerance/celiac disease/etc it would be:

  • Don’t be shy. Be the parent who asks others to accommodate your child. They may be mildly inconvenienced for a few hours out of their day/week/year, but it’s important for your child. I’ve tried “compromises”, and they either blew up in my face, or my kids got sick. Neither one was pretty. Stick to your guns – keep your kid safe.
  • Read every label. And then read it again. Perhaps one last time? Too often product ingredients change (one of the girls’ favorite potato chips now have dairy) or a store’s supplier has changed (the roasted chickens at our store are from a new company which adds dairy) or you might miss a word (when reading “cocoa butter, butter”; I’ve missed the second “butter”).
  • Climb every mountain! Or, call every company. The food allergy labeling laws have made life a bit easier, but I’m still skittish about “natural flavors”, unless I know the company’s stance on labeling or if I have called the company for that item.
  • Better safe than sorry. If a food’s ingredients are unclear, it’s best to pass up the treat. My kids might miss out on several treats that are labeled “naturally flavored”, but there are plenty of other treats around! They know if they can’t have something, they’ll get something great later.

(At the top left, you can see my girls eating a store-bought pizza! Amy’s Kitchen is now making a larger line of gluten-free and dairy-free products, which is wonderful. Many of their products are free of other allergens as well. More companies are making allergy-friendly foods, which is a good thing for everyone! It’s great for relatives to be able to buy something to have at the house for visiting kiddos with allergies.)

Comments

jody2 on 6 February, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

I remember label reading when Cory had milk allergies. It was tough because milk protein had many disguises.

Teh Milk Allergy Network really helped.


Joy on 10 February, 2008 at 11:03 am #

Thanks for providing an excellent reference for people who are new to the food allergy arena. Having dealt with food allergies for over 13 years now (my 15-year-old daughter is allergic to milk & peanuts), I have offered counsel to many “newbies”, and just giving them this link will be a lot easier. I’m also going to include a link on my own food allergy forum (http://wheyoutforum.proboards51.com/index.cgi)

And of course, please also let these people know that they can get treats that are safe for people with food allergies and celiac to eat at Whey-Out Chocolate, http://www.wheyoutchocolate.com


Believer in Balance on 12 March, 2008 at 8:32 pm #

Thank you so much for your support and encouraging others to come see me and offer their support! I’ve bookmarked this post because it has a lot of great resources in it. Thank you! I’m so sorry it took me this long to find this post!


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    • A Gaggle of Girls


      About Me: I'm a Mom living a busy life with 3 girls (11, 9, 6) who have just started school for the first time, Celiac Disease, , Chronic Lyme Disease which acts like Fibromyalgia, job-hunting, 1 cat, 1 puppy in exile, and a lot of books as we stay with family in New England. We eat great, homecooked, allergy safe food due to our food allergies & sensitivities.


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