Saturday, August 20, 2011
Are Food Allergies Isolating Your Family?
We all want to protect our children, especially those who run a higher risk of serious illness on a daily basis. We can also appreciate the desire to preserve our precious family units as long as possible, as those dear children grow up so fast.
Unfortunately, the world in which we live has not yet become reliably food-allergy friendly, and as a result, those of us who deal with this particular challenge tend to drift past protection and preservation into ever-increasing isolation.
While there are times that we choose to remove our families from dangerous situations, there are still far too many times when food-allergic families are excluded from events and activities because those in charge are not yet aware of the changes that must be made to make them safe. Even worse, a disturbingly high percentage of non-allergic people still believe that "it's not fair" for a group to make adjustments to accommodate one or two sensitive individuals, and lack the empathy to see the inherent boorishness of their attitude.
Eating hot lunch at school, having snacks at a friend's house, joining in the fun at birthday parties, eating out at restaurants, visiting relatives for holiday meals, having friends over for dinner.... depending on the breadth and severity of your family's allergies, some or all of these common social pleasures may no longer be possible for you. Must we resign ourselves to a reduced quality of life?
What do you do? Do you pour all your energies into making your child's school lunchroom a safe environment, leaving nothing left for you to spend on purely social eating occasions? Do you send your child to parties with his own food packed in a "special" lunchbox, and silently curse those other parents for making your sweetheart feel left out?
Do you decline to attend holidays at other homes, and instead spend days planning elegant allergy-free meals for your relatives, secretly hoping they'll take up the challenge and try a few new recipes next year, thereby giving you a break from the constant hosting? Do you travel long distances just to try a new allergy-friendly restaurant, or have you given up on eating out altogether?
What can we do? A quick scan of the internet shows that there are many, many of us out there with similar issues....why haven't our voices been heard?
Drop me a quick note about your personal challenges, your frustrations, and any victories you might have had (however small they may be!) We all know there is strength in numbers, and by sharing our strategies, we can make life a little better for the allergy-free family a little at a time! Thanks for stopping by... I look forward to hearing from you.
Shared with Family Time Tuesday at Celebrating Family and Pennywise Platter at the Nourishing Gourmet.
Labels: Life with Food Allergies