Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: Are Food Allergies Isolating Your Family?


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. 

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, I came over here from the Nourishing Gourmet. I do admit to having faced some of these feelings from time to time (my son has significant food allergies and I have some things it is better for me to "avoid".) Yes, it is hard to eat out, but we have a few places we can go, and that we love. BUT food allergies have made me a better cook. Yes, it is challenging to go to another place for dinner, BUT it has made us much more eager to host at our house. And when folks ask if they can bring anything, I can say "No, please just enjoy the evening off". Frankly, hot lunch at school I'm rather glad he can't eat - though pizza parties would be nice if he could join in. Fortunately our school has been allergy friendly, though I do have to send "special" food and he is isolated at snack time. We had a milk reaction at school the second week (another child blew milk on my son and he ended up with hives in the nurses office - terrifying!) but since then they are much more careful. I also enjoy finding things to eat / cook for others who have food issues, even if they are different from ours, because I know how nice it is to have someone prepare a meal for you. Fortunately my inlaws have been AMAZING, my mother in law researched and prepared quinoa before I had even tried it! and is always checking that things are safe for my son. I am so thankful for that. Traveling is always difficult. Always. I'm always stressed when we eat away from home. I do send special food to birthday parties. I have to educate other moms when the situation arises. Again, I've been lucky and most have been supportive when they know the particular situation. I know things will be more difficult in some ways as my son gets older (he just started school this year) ... so I probably should read your blog more often. :) thanks for letting me go on and on.

    And the community of others going through the same issues does help tremendously.