Friday, December 10, 2010

Tis the Season....

To be honest with you, I have been struggling this holiday season with working around the food allergies. It seems that so many activities center around food, which of course I love, but it does create some stress when trying to avoid allergens for my two-year old son.

In the past week, Brody has had two reactions due to cross-contamination. Not life-threatingening, but enough to scare us and have the epi-pen in hand (thank goodness for Benedryl, we don't leave home without that or our epi-pen). It is stressful when you think you are keeping your child away from the potential "dangers" and they still have reactions and you are not exactly sure how it happened.

We are preparing to go on a Polar Express train ride with my family a couple hours away. This will be the first time that we have traveled somewhere that wasn't to family's house where things were bought and prepared that were safe. We are not going away long, but I have felt anxiety as I have been getting things ready to go. It is in these times, that I feel sadness that I can't just pack up our clothes, etc and eat out at any restaurant we want and just enjoy being away from home. As a mom who has a child with food allergies, I have to think about what I can pack for him for meals, etc and feel as though I can't just fully relax.

On the Polar Express train, they will be serving the children cookies and hot chocolate as they ride to the "North Pole" in their pj's. This is great for my four year old, but Brody is now at the age that he understands and wants to have what his big brother is having. I have to make sure that I deliver very close to (or better than) what everyone else is having.

I went on a mission yesterday to find some non -dairy hot chocolate (also without partially hydrogenated oils, which is trans fat). I know I could probably make homemade mix, but things have been so busy that I do not have time to buy a ton of ingredients and it turn out bad. Hot chocolate is not complete without marshmallows, so I was also looking for some that do not have dyes in them (we try to avoid dyes).

The last special item that I that I wanted to find was safe candy canes that didn't have dyes (red #40 in them).

Whole Foods delivered with all three items!

I almost cried as I saw the non-dairy hot chocolate mix...I don't know if it was the excitement, or the price :) I have learned that it is necessary to splurge on some items so Brody can feel included and be a part of what we are doing.

-I am having a cup as I write this blog, and I will tell you that is not as sweet as other dairy-filled brands, but what a wonderful option to have, and I fill much better about the ingredients list (even for the rest of my family).
Besides being non-dairy, it is also wheat and gluten free.
-It is made in a facility that processes peanuts, sesame, dairy, eggs, fish and soy.
(for my family, I have been comfortable that it is made in a facility with....I am not as comfortable when it is made on shared equipment and there is not a note stating that the venders follow good manufacturing practices to segregate ingredients to avoid cross contact with allergens). Make sure you do what makes you feel comfortable.

-In my opinion, I think they are better than regular marshmallows. They are sweeter so you might not need as many. They come in small sizes for hot chocolate and baking and larger sizers for making smores, etc.
They are Gluten Free, Kosher and Parve (dairy free), but they are made with kosher fish gelatin, which would not be appropriate for someone who is allergic to fish.
-the red stripe on the candy cane is not as pronounced, but there are perfect!Fruit juice is used instead of the dyes, which I LOVE!
They are gluten free, vegan kosher and also organic and corn syrup free.
Produced on dedicated nut-free and gluten-free equipment in a segregated area of a facility that also processes diary, eggs, peanuts, soy, tree nuts and wheat.

I hope that these simple items can make it easier for you to make memories with your family and allow you or you or your child to feel included :)

Anyone else feel more stressed around the holidays in regards to food allergies?

Tis the Season....SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


  1. I completely relate to how you feel. I love to make things from scratch, and I feel like I need to make even more than I used to because I don't want Sophie to miss out on anything. I do feel it's gotten easier as she's gotten older, because at least she understands when we are surprised by something and I don't have a treat on hand.

  2. I can understand how you feel. Although my sons reactions are much more mild than your sons certain foods and topical products seem to cause his eczema to flare up. This week my pediatrician had me take him to an allergist. The good news, nothing tested positive. The bad news, now everyone thinks the flood gates should be opened on feeding him anything. I still feel his gut is telling us it doesn't like certain things yet but try telling that to other family members and non-holistic doctors. For the past year I have been making his meals whenever we go anywhere. It is a lot of extra effort and inconvenience. I always feel guilty when I complain about it because I know it could be so much worse (as in your case) but just wish we could walk out the door without so much preparation. Sorry for such a long post. I just recently discovered your blog and have been really enjoying it!

  3. You are a good mama Emily to make Sophie things from scratch so she doesn't miss out :) It is healthier that way anyhow

  4. Hope P. No don't feel guilty sharing how you feel. Even "milder" cases make things inconvenient sometimes and I know feel bad complaining because I know there are kids who are deal with much worse situations (ex: cancer) than my son. I try to think about that when I get down. I am thankful my son can eat :) It is a big deal in my little, but in the grand scheme of things....not so.

    You making food for your son is so much healthier. Great job. It is inconvenient but I find my boys are open so many more foods than other kids their age ;)

    I am so glad you found my blog. I hope that it is a blessing to you!

  5. Hi Rachel, I can relate with every word you wrote in this post. My son is three and has been diagnosed with milk, peanut, and tree nut allergies. I understand the anxiety around the food at events and the desire to just go to a restaurant and order food for my son without worry. It is a struggle everyday to keep him safe from reliving reactions he has had in the past. I've had to remove him from preschool and other "normal" children activities, but try to find ways to keep up with his social interaction. It's nice to see we are not alone in this battle and that there are those who can relate. Thank you for your transparency.
    I am new to your blog and have added you to my rss feed......

  6. Editor, thanks for sharing your story. You are not alone :)


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