Like many parents, when my son’s food allergies were confirmed, I was devastated and scared. Every day I quickly learned all the food items containing a milk product, or which may have been processed on the same equipment as peanuts or tree nuts. It also didn’t help to learn I had skeptical relative’s who claimed food allergies weren’t real. Each and every day I felt guilty thinking his allergies were a result of something I did. When it was time for school, of course there were more issues to deal with. None of it was pretty. It took a long time for me to come to terms with his many food allergies. I made small alterations as needed to accommodate my son’s allergies.
Over the years, these small alterations grew into a huge change for my family. One day I felt smacked in the face, or maybe it was a kiss on the lips? What was this sensation? The realization of knowing my son’s allergies had a positive affect on my family. How you ask?
Since I have to thoroughly read ALL labels, I have become more enlightened to what my whole family is eating. This prompted me to learn about all sorts of things like food additives, chemicals, GMO’s, etc. So that’s a plus, isn’t it? My whole family benefits now from eating cleaner, healthier food. More specific than that, is making the switch from regular butter, to non-dairy Smart Balance Butter. Generally speaking of course, plant based fats are healthier than animal based fats. When making mashed potatoes, instead of throwing in fat, and cholesterol infused butter, I use the Smart Balance. You might be thinking, well, what about the milk? That’s easy…a small tip of the Coconut Dream (or Rice) milk container, and we’re all set!
After learning a lot about food allergies, I learned about food intolerances. It turns out a food intolerance can easily be overlooked because symptoms are less severe. My other son suffered chronic headaches, which no medical doctor could find a cause. I decided to take out the top allergens one by one from his diet, and discovered he had a gluten intolerance. My husband, loved eating Mexican food with me, until he developed stomach pains afterward. Can you imagine we narrowed down his pains to an intolerance of avocados? The last thing I want to do is come across as being indifferent or excited about food allergies. But, seeing the good with the bad makes things better. My son’s food allergies helped discover his brother’s and father’s intolerances. It also showed us healthier food options.
Life with food allergies is scary, and you must always be prepared by reading labels, and carrying epinephrine. Food allergies certainly pose serious threats to my son’s safety, but we educate and prepare him as best we can. It is a daily battle, but surely everyone can think of one positive change it has made for you or your family. Think about it. There can’t be darkness without a little light.
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