So, you suspected your child has a food allergy, you had him tested, and were told your child has food allergies. Great. Now what? Well hopefully your experience was better than my introduction, which went something like this:
Clutching my list, a photocopied photocopy of the FAAN printable forbidden ingredient list http://www.foodallergy.org/files/media/food-allergy-action-plan/FAAP.pdf given to me by my allergist: I went to the grocery store, and stood in the health food section, completely overwhelmed and reading every label of whatever foods I thought my son would eat, or checking the labels of all the things we usually bought only to find one, two or more, of his allergy-foods on the label. At this point I am pretty sure I was crying. (Is this sounding familiar to you?) A few of the employees did come to help, and even better, an Angel, in the form of another mom of 2 girls with multiple-allergies! With her help, we found some foods, got introduced to some good brands, some meal ideas, got a website name to check out, and gained the confidence that this is hard, but doable!!
You will need to learn how to safely shop and prepare meals for your child; discovering what products are safe, and which can pose a serious risk. You will need to advocate to make sure everyone else has the knowledge and compassion required to help keep your child safe. My goal is to provide tips, hints and products under these categories and to help you find sources and resources that can help guide you along this journey!
The Allergens that I need to be aware of when I shop and prepare meals for my boys are: Peanuts, Treenuts [ALL], Nutmeg, Dairy, Soy, Wheat, Oat, Rye, Barley, Lentil, Pea, Rapeseed- Canola, Strawberries, Eggs, Yeast, Corn, Sunflower, Sesame, Flaxseed, Cottonseed, Safflower, Olive, Beef, Pork, and Beans.
So needless to say it makes the whole idea of a “family meal” QUITE challenging!!~ but NOT impossible!! The more you read and learn about the allergies, the chances are you will learn of some poor mother whose child has even more allergies than yours do! ~ or of another allergy that is equally hard to avoid, [like to Corn or Rice]! Getting newly diagnosed, or new foods added to your ‘forbidden’ list can be overwhelming. It is ok to feel sad, or angry, and frustrated about it; but let me share a secret with you. My sons food allergies have been a true gift in that they have transformed both me, and our lives. More than just changing how we eat, they have been the catalyst for meeting amazing people, learning so much that I simply was never aware of, it led me to starting this blog, so that I could be here to try and help you. ~Jenny
Some places to start: read Caleb’s diagnosis for great advice & introduction to food allergies; and be sure to read 504 Plan post for sending allergic child to school. Then check out Recommendations page, and your individual food allergen pages for dietary options.
Be sure to download a copy of the Anaphylaxis Action Plan to keep with your Epi-devices, on the fridge, etc-