Friday Finds: Allergen Free

I do not claim to be avidly healthy. I love my chocolate and my coffee and I really have no desire to give them up. The past three years have been quite a journey for me, though. My youngest has some severe allergies that cause severe eczema. Her worst food allergy is nuts and but she has a sensitivity to eggs, dairy, and recently I've discovered she can't tolerate dyes found in ALL KINDS of foods. (really, why do they put yellow dye in pickles??!) She also has some severe environmental allergies and is on meds for that. I want to eventually eliminate the meds but for now we are sticking with what is working. (one step at a time!) I know what you are thinking...poor kiddo. Well, yes, it's rough for her...but trust me, she can hold her own. If any kid was born to conquer the world (or allergies) it is her. She is a four year old ball of fire that cracks me up at every turn. Trust me, she is gonna be just fine. :)
It is just amazing how many people have allergies these days. Adults and kids alike. I honestly don't think my situation is unique anymore. More people have issues with allergies than not. So, I feel like it is important that I share about this little part of my life as well as every other part. Hey, maybe this will help someone on their allergy free journey!

I remember when I finally found out what was going on with my daughter. I felt two things: relief and confusion. I was relieved to finally know what NOT to give her...but I had no clue what TO give her. I felt like my world was reduced to a little telescope full of options and I just didn't know where to go next. Thank God for other bloggers who have been down this road. Slowly, my fog began to lift and I started thinking I might be able to manage this. I just had to change the way I had always done things.

Change is good, right?

So, the first thing I did was become a label reader. I read EVERY label. I have to. If my baby eats nuts, we will end up in the ER...I can't afford to miss something. Thankfully, allergy information is posted in bold letters at the bottom of all ingredient lists. That does make life a little easier. :) It was in this reading of everything that I began realizing how much fake stuff is in my food. My goodness, they put stuff I can't even pronounce in almost everything. I learned that "modified" is NOT a good word to read in your ingredient list. I also learned that if I stick to the outside perimeter of the store, I stand less chance of picking up something on my "no-no" list. By outside perimeter I mean the produce, deli, cold...etc. Those things always line the outside of the store and the aisles are where you find the...fake...food. Now don't get me wrong here, WE EAT GOLDFISH. :-D I don't want to give you the wrong impression. We are a busy family, always on the go, and I've learned that guilt should not part of my feeding structure. If I am in a crunch and I have to give my kids goldfish...I give them goldfish...and move on with life.

Second, I've gotten in touch with my inner baker! I've always loved baking but obviously eggs and milk have been key ingredients for all of my baking ventures thus far. As I said earlier, eggs had to go from our diet right away. How in the world do you bake without eggs? Well, it's not that hard! The only reason I didn't think it could be done is because I had never done it, never seen it done, never heard of it being done...but it can be done!! It's just a matter of changing your frame of mind. Instead of grabbing the eggs, (which isn't too hard since they aren't in my fridge!) I grab the applesauce. Yep, applesauce is a great replacement for eggs. Instead of grabbing milk (which isn't in my fridge either!) I grab rice milk or coconut milk. I have learned that all recipes are not created equal and that some things work well together while others don't. That's the fun part though....learning! Sometimes I completely flop, other times I am a success....live and learn.

Third, I've made a point of teaching my daughter about her allergies. I do have peanut butter in my house for my older daughter. I want it there so that my younger one knows what it looks like and smells like. It actually makes me happy when she questions me about something I am about to feed her. She will ask me almost every time she eats if there is nuts in her food. She asks the teachers at church, her friends, everyone! She doesn't eat anything without checking...and she is only four. I have to be able to trust her as she gets older to watch out for herself because, as we all know, mommy can't be there all the time. Every now and then I will ask her if she remembers why she can't have nuts and she will tell me, "They make me sick and I can't breathe." Yep! She gets it! Of course we have precautions in place for emergencies, but I am making sure she grows up fully equipped to deal with this. I also make this a conversation about faith in our house. Just the other day, I was talking with my daughter about her allergies and I looked at her and said, "Mommy is praying that Jesus will take these allergies away from you one day." Yes, we have prayed that prayer before. We pray it all the time. We are not going to stop though. Just because the timing hasn't been in ours doesn't mean God is not listening. One day, he will heal my baby. I believe it.

I have plenty more I can share on this but I just wanted to open the door for conversation. If you have this struggle in your life, I get it! If it's all new to you, be encouraged! You can do it!! If you have questions, I will be more than happy to answer them. I asked questions when my journey began. I asked lots of questions! God was so good to send people my way, articles, recipes, all kinds of things that helped me get on the right track. He will do that for you too if you will rely on Him for help! With God's help you can do it!


Happy Friday!

Comments

  1. Your can buy Claussen pickles which have no dye. They are in the refrigerated section close to the sandwich meat usually.

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