Managing My Son's Food Allergies at Home and Away

So this happened!

We took the little guy to the allergist for his check up and were sent for an allergy test again because he kept getting watery eyes and other signs of an allergic reaction. We already knew that he was allergic to nuts and shellfish so we wanted to see what was causing the breakout.

To our surprise his results came back that he can’t consume wheat, eggs, shell fish, sesame seeds and milk. Well that was not expected and now my head is on a swivel. It’s not as if I wasn’t already struggling to create meal plans for him with him not wanting to eat any meat. I now am struggling to find milk-free, wheat-free, nut-free, egg-free everything that he used to eat. Let’s just say he didn’t eat much.

I have been researching what items are available that he can eat and where to get them. I have been on the run to specialty grocery stores and have found there is NO one store that have all or most of the items that’s needed. I narrows it down to 5 grocery stores that will be the source of his food items needed for his survival (smh). What used to be a 45 minute grocery store trip to one or 2 stores has turned into a 4 hour trip on average to go to 4-5 grocery stores for a full grocery run at least twice a month and then it’s about 3 hours twice a month for 2-3 stores depending on what I need to restock.

The funny thing is that one of the main staples for what he ate included wheat, milk and eggs of which are ingredients in most of the foods that he would barely eat in the first place. So this change has turned his meals upside down. No more lite/zero yogurts and hard boiled egg (no yoke) for breakfast. No more Jamaican bun/bread (one of his favorites) no more popcorn with butter, no more anything at this point.

I have been getting creative in preparing foods. It’s going to be an interesting task to prepare school lunches. The one item he could eat on the lunch menu was pizza. Now that’s out of play where just buying a pizza and going works for us because of course no milk, no wheat and no eggs. So let the fun begin.

One of the new realities is that when he is invited to birthday parties it’s going to be as if I am hosting the party. I have been able to find gluten free cake and cupcake mix, frosting and sprinkles. I was also able to find pancake mix so that’s a plus. The good thing is that I located a Gluten-Free Bakery that can be the go to option when there are birthday parties in his class and he is not able to eat the cake or cupcake they provide. I had my first go at baking the cupcakes and took them to a birthday party he was invited to by his classmate. It was the most hilarious thing walking in to the party with his bag of snacks and his cupcake holder so he wouldn’t feel left out.

I also had my first experience of literally baking a cauliflower pizza and taking it in for his class party. That was the funniest thing to see the look on his face and the kids when I walked in with his pizza. One of his little friends told me that they made sure he didn’t eat anything so he wouldn’t get sick. That is so sweet and shows how kids show consideration for each other. RJ is very aware of his allergies so he will not eat anything that he knows I didn’t give him or prepare at home. He has a fear of getting shots so he has no interest in me having to use the Epi Pen.

The great thing is that his teacher is amazing. She has allergies so she is very aware and guarded whenever there is food in the classroom where they would share. I stay on alert and in a state of paranoia with his allergies so I provided a box of his snack items that she can have in the class for any surprise celebrations.

I am on edge on days we’re out in trying to balance our time out and how much of his food to take because stopping at a restaurant was hard before and now it’s just impossible. Unless he just eats salad with olive oil, vegetables and apple juice or water. It makes packing his food bag a priority so we don’t have episodes of “I’m just hungry, can we just stop at every restaurant and ask if they have gluten-free foods”…this is going to be hard and I’m struggling but this will work out. It has to work out because there is no bypass or way out. Wish me luck in this journey!

XOXO

Sandra Ann

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