I don't have food allergies or even any food restrictions. However, I'm a care provider for not one or two but five individuals with food allergies. Those are my four young kids ages 5, 7, 9 & 11 and my husband who's recently diagnosed.
Over the years of managing my children's food allergies, I have learned that food is not the most difficult to deal with. Though it is the major cause of our worries, I have to admit that it is way easier to control. I know its effects can be detrimental and on occasions even can take lives. But then, there are ways on how to prevent reactions, antihistamines to take care of the hives and itchiness and even epinephrine to fight the allergens.
The most challenging part of food restrictions I have to say is the psychological issues a child has to deal with. I know you've heard it before --- bullying, low self esteem, paranoia and even depression. Feelings that are brought about by our basic need as human beings to belong.
To be honest, us parents, no matter how much we try to compesate, can only do as much to protect and encourage our kids. Even without them saying it, our children are looking for answers and inspiration on their own. Though information can be readily available to them, issues or individuals whom they can relate to are not readily publicized. In fact, it is only recently that people are more open to talk about food allergies.
When our family first learned about food allergies, I told my children that they are way more than their food restrictions. They may not be able to eat the same food as most kids do but they can still do the same things children like them do and more. In fact, I didn't pull them out of any activities after we found out about their specific needs.
Whenever they feel down about being the only kid not being able to join a certain event, I would go through arms and legs just to find stories that would cheer them up. After hearing the many stories from other children with food allergies, my kids gave me an idea to blog about them. They said other kids might find it good to read too.
That's when I decided to personally contact parents and children with food allergies and ask them if they want to be featured. To my surprise, they are more than happy to share not only their struggles but their accomplishments as well. Thus, the Faces of Food Allergy was born on my blog. A collection of inspirational stories from real life regular children and teens living with food allergies.
For this month, I would like to introduce you to Jake, The Taekwondo Champ.
You can read his full story here. http://bit.ly/1kPi5yb