Yesterday I read something on the internet that made me livid. Most people who don’t have kids with allergies would not think much about it, perhaps my old self, a food writer who “ate everything” 6 years ago, before my oldest was born, would have not thought much of it but this “stupid” sentence haunted me through the night. Quaker published in a recent article: “The kids will be home soon, and they’ll be hungry. Are they bringing the friend with all of those allergies? I really hope not, I like her, but come on.” ( They actually erased the insensitive part of the article but this is what it said)
The last week, I haven’t slept much because I have been haunted by a story of someone who ate a doughnut that accidentally contained milk and she fainted and was hospitalized. In other words, she almost died. Every time I hear a story like this my sleep is disrupted, I hug my son a little tighter and I get a little more hysterical. Making jokes about allergies is flat out stupid. My son is allergic to nuts, all tree nuts, that means if he ingests nuts he can go into anaphylactic shock and die.
I know you all worry about your kids running in the streets, falling and getting into accidents. I worry about those things too but I also worry every time my son goes to a friend’s house, I have to explain to the parent how to use the epipen and what symptoms to be aware of, I have to invent a persona with a combination of careful and cool, because a lot of the time other parents will say “Oh wow, maybe we should shift the play date to your house”.
Every birthday party is scary. My son begs to try the birthday cake and I have to ask the baker a million questions and then decide if he could have some. Store bought is almost out of the question. I am a food writer, so my son is no stranger to good food. We make our own cookies and bread, even our own pasta at times. Overall he really wants a packaged granola bar or some packaged cookies like every other kid in his class. Many of our friends have stopped asking us over for dinner, because nobody wants to take the risk. Restaurants feel like Russian Roulette and play dates at other houses are often just too complicated. So these words, this time, they stung. And yes, there was an apology but it still hurts. Because people aren’t taking this issue seriously. It is as funny as a joke about your kid crossing the road and getting hit by a car. Stop joking about allergies, allergies are a serious problem.
Making everything at home is the best way to keep our son safe.This was him 3 years ago.
This really feels close to my heart because I am a food writer and an avid recipe collector. For years, I’ve searched online for recipes. I worked independently for the longest time then finally a year ago I joined Kitchenbug, an online recipe platform that provides nutritional information for any recipe online. When I started working there, I was excited about the fact that you could search for specific health concerns, like diabetes, sugar-free, dairy-free etc within all the recipes in the system. The cool part about working at a start up is that your voice can be heard and your feedback is taken seriously. After sharing our own personal story of living with allergies, we decided to come up with an allergy plan in the system. .This will be out in a few weeks. You will be able to put in the search: nut-free or sesame-free and related recipes will come up. This will change the way we find recipes for allergies. My friends are always asking me for nut-free recipes and cakes because they want to host us and this is an easy way for me to provide them with nut-free recipes. Kitchenbug recently got a Bcorp certification acknowledging its positive influence. I couldn’t be more happy about this! It’s amazing that with today’s tech that there is a solution for everything. I am really happy to be a part of this.
3 responses to “Allergies are No Laughing Matter”
I feel you. I am wondering whether food allergies are officially considered a disability? that would probably be much easier for people to comprehend. people in general are very kind and accepting to people with disabilities nowadays, and for some reason food allergies have some sort of a bad rep, as if it were that person’s choice or their fault. people are just not educated.
Giving someone a safe recipe is far from ensuring that your severe food allergic child will be safe. I don’t get this at all. It’s so blase’. As if this solves or changes anything. Weird. If it keeps you up at night, maybe you should spend some time thinking further than the recipe.
I know what you are going through. When my Great Granddaughter was one year old her parents discovered she is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Her Dad had eaten a peanut butter sandwich, kissed her and her face and eyes became very swollen. Of course, she was rushed to the emergency room and the next day was taken to an allergy Doctor. This has changed the entire family way of eating. I did away with all my nuts. and never give her anything without reading the entire label. She’s four now and the Doctor doesn’t think she will outgrow this because it’s so severe. She can never go anywhere without her epipen. This is something the entire family lives with every day and thank God they are all very concerned for her. This is not something to be taken lightly!