Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Food Allergies







On day 6 of the A-Z Challenge, F is for Food Allergies 


Food has always been an issue here.  When David was 8 months old, I had a friend over for lunch. I had been giving David different baby foods for about a month.  This particular day I was giving him Gerber baby food, Lasagne.  He seemed to be enjoying it, but after the small jar was about half empty, he began crying.  I took him out of his chair to change his diaper and his entire diaper area was red.  I called the pediatrician and they said everyone was out to lunch, call back after 2:00.  In the meantime, the redness was spreading.  I knew something was wrong, but couldn't imagine what.  My friend Valerie rode with me to the hospital which was 5 minutes away.  Valerie rode backwards in the passenger seat, watching David.  By the time we got to the hospital, David was beet red from his head to his toes.  He looked like a cooked lobster and as soon as we walked in, staff in the ER took him right away.  They suspected an allergic reaction. and administered steroids to him.  That poor baby threw up for 4 hours.  My husband met us at the hospital and we ended up spending most of the afternoon/early evening in the ER.  The doctor told us he was surprised with the severity of the reaction that David didn't have breathing problems and go into anaphylactic shock.  We were lucky that day.

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.





8 comments:

  1. My sister's youngest has peanut allergies, and it is so scary. He's the first in our family to have food allergies. My middle son suffers with environmental allergies (every single one of them: mold, dust, pollen, cats, dogs, cockroaches, you name it!), but he was lucky to have NO food allergies. It's certainly hard to find things they can eat. Love all the photos!

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    1. Hi Lauren - yes food allergies are scary. No one in our families had food allergies before my sons. Now there is more awareness as to the seriousness of the allergies. But some still think food allergies are like seasonal allergies, just take a benadryl and they'll be OK. But it's totally different and can be life-threatening. Thanks for stopping by! xoxo

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  2. I'm fortunate I don;t have food allergies. I can eat pretty much everything.

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    1. Me too! thanks for reading! xoxo

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  3. Definitely challenging for anyone. It's sad that allergies are on the rise across the country. I have allergies to several things, but nothing so extreme that would put me into the hospital. Luckily, the boys are not allergic to wheat and soy on top of the other allergies.
    Maui Jungalow

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    1. You are so right Courtney - I have said many times that if they were allergic to wheat (gluten) as well as the dairy, egg and nuts, I would just put a bullet in my head. (not really), but I feel really bad for people with gluten allergy especially when combined with others. Very very difficult to navigate. thanks for stopping by!! xoxo

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  4. The food allergies a e such a scary thing. So glad you have found places you can trust to be accommodating.

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    1. Hi Andrea - thanks for stopping by. We are still very cautious, but because so many people have food allergies, some restaurants are offering accommodations. It is nice to get a night off from cooking every now and then. xoxo

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