On day 6 of the A-Z Challenge, F is for Food Allergies
A follow-up appointment to the allergist confirmed a dairy allergy. Testing also revealed and egg, peanut and tree nut allergy as well. As I was pregnant, the doctor told us to assume the same allergies for the unborn baby until he/she was tested. There was NO family history of food allergies.
Ultimately, both boys were diagnosed with dairy, egg, peanut and tree nut allergies. David was very picky as a baby. He would eat most fruits and cereals, but for dinner, would only eat hotdogs and baby sweet potatoes. Eventually he added spaghetti and chicken fingers to his menu. I was constantly checking labels to make sure he would be able to eat certain foods. During this stage, my husband and I never went out to eat. I never bought peanut, dairy and egg products, not even for my husband and me.
For nearly 10 years, the boys never even went to a restaurant. If we went away for a weekend, we had to stay at a place where I had a kitchen. As they got older, we would take them out to eat with us, but I would bring food for them and they would play on their iPads while we ate. A couple of years ago, we took a chance and they had dinner in Gemma's Restaurant in NoHo (NYC). It was a basic spaghetti with grilled veggies. They were so excited to finally eat out and it was great to enjoy a family meal together.
We were at the 204 Bistro in Sharon Springs, NY (near Cooperstown) and Norm the chef cooked them a pasta dish with grilled chicken and veggies which David and Michael loved.
I was at a Red Robin and while speaking with the waitress discovered that they accommodated allergies. So we took the boys there and they were able to eat a salad, burger (without the bun which had egg) and fries.
At Christmastime, I met a friend for lunch at Not Your Average Joes and discovered they too accommodated food allergies. We have taken the boys there several times. They love the food there and love to eat out with us!
During our month at the beach, Dan at Salty's Landing will clean off a grill for them and make the boys burgers (I bring the buns).
The allergies are a scary thing. I know several kids that have had serious reactions and my sister-in-law's brother died a couple of years ago from a peanut reaction. The doctors told us that if David had another reaction, it likely would be much worse than the one that brought us to the hospital. So we are vigilant almost to paranoia with taking precautions.
I adapt a lot of recipes so that the boys have a variety of foods to eat. They love pasta and meatballs (made with no egg and no cheese). I was able to adjust some cookie recipes to make them Christmas cookies. S'mores are OK with allergen free chocolate chips. They adore BBQ ribs, chicken marsala and meatloaf. There is just a lot of ingredient checking while grocery shopping. And David still loves hot dogs!
We are hoping at some point they will outgrow at least the dairy and egg allergies. The nuts are not likely, but hey, one can hope. In the meantime, what seemed impossible in the beginning has been manageable and knock on wood, we haven't had a return trip to the hospital.