Before and After

Food allergies are life altering.  I should know as I developed an allergy to tree nuts as a teenager.  I have had many types of reactions from rashes/hives, upset stomach, swollen body parts, and the dreaded anaphylaxis requiring epi-pen injection, an ambulance ride, and a visit to the ER.  This post isn’t about my allergies, though.  It is about my son’s.

I only mention my own brief history to point out that this wasn’t always the norm.  Just like with my son DR, we had a period where food allergies did not affect us, were non-existent.

I hated to cook, and my husband, Justin, worked long sporadic hours, so it was easy to just order out:  our options only limited by who was open or willing to deliver.  I complained when we couldn’t agree on food or when an item I wanted was out.

Our diets were that of the typical American.  I never looked at fat, triglyceride, sugar, or caloric values.  Ingredients (other than my tree-nut avoidance) didn’t matter as long as we enjoyed the flavor.  We did try to adhere to a healthy diet for DR, attempting to avoid sugary foods and things that could rot his teeth or lead to obesity.  Grandparents would call us uptight for limiting him to only three cookies or bags of gummies.

Holidays and family get-togethers were plagued with vast amounts of foods. Christmas was my favorite time of year.   From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, we ate until we were sick.  My grandmother’s holiday baking was beyond compare.  Homemade cheesecakes, reese cups, cookies, brownies, fudge, and puff balls (different types of snack mixes dipped in melted chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter.  She would call me weeks in advance to ask what my heart desired and would spend hours baking.

I look back on all of this now with mixed emotions: sadness, frustration, acceptance, relief…the list goes on.  Our life is completely different, our food choices carefully examined and deliberated.  We eat out very little and cook much more.  Processed foods are a thing of the past, and fresh ingredients line our cabinets and refrigerator.  Holidays are a nightmare, and I am now a baker.

~ Lacey

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