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?