In honor of Food Allergy Awareness week, I would like to dedicate this post to all who suffer from food allergies, and to those who strive to raise awareness, educate others and inspire action of allergies and anaphylaxis. The current statistics show 15 million Americans with food allergies, including those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This affects 1 in 13 children in the United States, or roughly 2 in every classroom. FARE is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2012, a merger between the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and the Food Allergy Initiative. The link below to FARE is devoted to sharing knowledge, research and education about food allergies and anaphylaxis. There are tools and resources available to learn about allergens, symptoms and ways to get involved by learning how to manage and treat reactions.
I am a mother of a child who has food allergies. Learning to adapt and live without certain foods has been a struggle and a challenge. Children's birthday parties are stressful when your child can't eat the pizza and cake the other kids are enjoying. Going to school, restaurants or having dinner with others can be a nightmare with the risk of potential exposure. We can't leave the house without the EpiPen, Benadryl or our rescue inhaler. My son is 5 now, he is smart, strong, and fully aware of his food allergies. I have taught him to ask about food, inquire what is in it and advocate for himself. He inspires me to continue to research ways to create delicious food without harm, and to share our experiences with others.
Although any food is capable of causing an allergic reaction, there are eight foods that account for 90% of all food allergic reactions in the United States.
My son has 2 documented allergies in the above list, this is not counting the other allergens of pollen, dust, mold, and animal dander which trigger his asthma symptoms, I'll save that post for another day. A couple years ago, these allergies presented a constant state of fear in me and my husband. With so many questions, we were forced to seek help and inquire with other families and friends about food allergies. Eventually, the connections were made, support systems secured and the information gained has been invaluable. I love to share what I've learned and ease the hearts and minds of others dealing with these issues, in an effort to find a place of confidence and empowerment.
Recently, I was acquainted with another mother whose son has 4 documented allergies in the above list, along with 2 more potential allergens to rice and oats. My heart went out to her and a kinship developed. How do you create wholesome, nourishing meals when recipes call for ingredients that can't be consumed?
You get creative and find another way.
A stranger in another state, a neighbor down the street, a child on the bus, we are all connected, we all share in the bounty of this world. Sharing food is a way for people to come together, it is one of the most defining forces in all societies. Every celebration and joyful occasion is enjoyed with food as a central point. If you are lucky enough not to have food allergies, I am sure you know someone who does.
Here are some simple offerings in the form of recipes, that I have found success with in my own home.
As with any known allergen, read all food labels and look into cross contamination on shared equipment. Use all your resources, be prepared and trust your instincts.
|Banana Blueberry Crumble Muffins|
|Vanilla Cupcakes with Piped Frosting and Fresh Strawberries|
|Banana Cupcakes with Frosting and Sprinkles|