Friday, January 21, 2011

A New Food Allergy Outlook

Food Allergies For DummiesI have reached the point in this food allergy awareness lifestyle that no one else really cares.  And that’s okay.  I’m not going to worry about everyone else and making them aware of what is around them.  I was always the coach/mom who asked if any of the kiddos had food allergies before my own child actually had them.  Looking back, I realize the only reason I asked then was because of my own trials growing up.  I grew up in a town even more rural than where I currently live and I had a ton of food allergies.  I remember having the allergy shots everyday after school; I was always allergy aware.  Now that I have a child of my own with food allergies I am even more aware and a lot more educated and up-to-date on our options.  I am still currently looking to advocate within our school system for at least one allergy-friendly meal per week; perhaps vegetarian.  But I am not going to be the person to rise upon my soap box preaching to the mere, unrelenting, uneducated mortals.  Okay, maybe I won’t go quite that far.  There are a ton of options out there for our family.  We made the transition as a family, you see.  I only cook for the whole family, no separate meals here.  My son still has pizza rolls in the freezer and regular whole wheat bread, but my daughter has her Rudi’s sandwich bread in the freezer along with her Udi’s frozen pizza crust.  I naturally pack her lunch daily for school along with her snacks for after-school activities.  Her teacher notifies me of any parties or upcoming events in the classroom so that I bring her food comparable to her classmates.  This way, no one feels left out.  I don’t worry about how other people feel about it anymore.  My daughter is now comfortable enough with her allergies that she doesn’t eat anything I did not bring her and no longer feels as if she misses out on anything.  Unfortunately, she has not been invited to a birthday party all year because of the other parents’ fear.  How ridiculous for them.  I don’t think my daughter notices because she is luckily very busy with year-round soccer and her horses.  There is actually only one parent within the class who bothers to even recognize her dietary restrictions and we are thankful to her for it.  Luckily, we went to high school together and our girls are within a month apart.  For the Halloween and Christmas parties this year; she brought goodie bags for the class and had stickers, necklaces, toys, etc. in my daughters’.  She felt special for having a bag a little different.  Thank goodness for those parents.  Thank goodness for the ones who make a point to recognize their child’s friends and lifestyles.  I have also tried to always be that parent who remembers “Tommy” doesn’t eat meat or “Abby” doesn’t like cake, etc.  The problem at our school is that it is always the same group of us parents who do everything at the school from the book fair to field day.  One parent once made the comment that a lot of parents don’t get involved because they are too busy being a kid themselves; I’ve found it sadly true.