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Sure, there are challenges out there in the world that are tougher than handling food allergies, in theory. You could be living in a war zone, or maybe you got lost in the jungle, or perhaps a man-eating shark is chasing you. However, when you're living in the midst of the craziness that comes with food allergies, it really doesn't seem as though anything could be harder.
Between keeping dangerous foods away from your children, cooking every meal from scratch, shopping all over the planet for unusual foods to use as substitutions, trying to keep the kids from boycotting the foods that are safe for them to eat, making sure the non-allergic members of your household are happy at mealtimes... it's no surprise that we moms can be found throwing tomatoes at the neighbor's cat, or sitting on the floor next to the pantry eating cashew butter straight from the jar because we can't dredge up one more ounce of energy to cook something healthy for ourselves.
What's a mom to do? While I can't claim to be handling our food allergies particularly well, I can share with you the tips and tricks I've found while researching on the Internet. Perhaps one or two might work for you? Or, you can just join me out by the mailbox with a bin of moldy squash and we'll see if we can hit the garbage truck when it goes by. (You know I'm kidding, right?)
Ways To Handle The Stress of Living With Food Allergies
1. Learn everything you can. There may be solutions out there to the problems you thought were insurmountable.
2. Be prepared. If there does come a time when you just can't cook one more thing, you won't feel so guilty if there are a few "safe" foods in the freezer and pantry to fall back on.
3. Lower your expectations. No one will die if you don't put a completely different dinner on the table every night this month.
4. Find a friend or two who has a similar allergy issue at home. Even if she's an online friend, at least you have someone to commiserate with.
5. Help your kids find a friend or two with food allergies as well. When your child is happy, your stress level will automatically decrease.
6. Take a few minutes for yourself. Stepping away from the stress can help you rebuild the inner resources you need to tackle it again later.
7. Focus on what you (and your family) CAN eat as opposed to what you CAN'T eat. Try new and funky foods in whatever food group you can eat safely.
8. Practice your polite shutdown for those difficult people who may cross your path. Unfortunately, there are those who would spread negativity, but you don't have to get sucked in. Here's a great site with suggestions about what to say to a variety of uneducated people.
9. Look out for signs of burnout and get help as soon as you can. Don't let depression spiral out of control, and don't feel too embarrassed to ask for medical assistance from your primary care physician.
10. Try not to let your allergies become the focus of your life. Food does not define you. Regardless of how much time and energy you put into keeping your family safe, you can still be an art lover, or a mystery writer, or a runner, or Disney fan... let those things you love be who you are, not the things you are forced to deal with.
What do YOU do to keep the stress of dealing with food allergies from overwhelming your life? Please share your tips with us in the comment section...
Shared with Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and the Gallery of Favorites at Premeditated Leftovers and Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks and Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and the Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Whole Food Wednesday at Beyond the Peel and Allergy Free Wednesday at The Tasty Alternative and Pennywise Platter at the Nourishing Gourmet.