Easy allergy-free (top 8 allergens) cupcakes

For almost two years we have discovered that our 3 year-old, DR has developed new and increasingly difficult-to-avoid food allergies.  His first was eggs, so I had to learn to bake a lot the foods that we once could purchase pre-made from the stores.  The second was peanuts, which limited us further in items we could bake with that were not processed with peanuts.  The third and most recent, milk, sent us reeling again.  It’s only been 6 days, but my research and experimentation led me to the most amazing and easy cupcake recipe that is completely free of the top 8 allergens.

lp

While all I wanted to do this weekend was keep DR next to me and hover over him while he ate, I knew it wasn’t possible.  As 3 year olds go, he’s very independent and active.  He hates for me to tell him what to eat, and he most definitely does not like to be confined to our house when he’s done nothing wrong.  So when it came to a family get together on Monday for his cousin’s first birthday I had to make a plan.  There were no bakeries in the area that could make dairy, egg, and peanut free cupcakes on short notice (not that I have the ability to trust anyone to do that right now).  So I half-heartedly started my research expecting to have to go out hunting for weird ingredients like xantham gum to make somewhat decent cupcakes.  However, in all of my research I found an amazingly easy combination of ingredients with the only “weird” one being vinegar.  The cupcakes turned out moist and springy like you want and the frosting was easy to make and apply.

7

So here is the ahhh-mazing recipe:

Cake:

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In one bowl whisk together sugar, coconut* flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a second bowl whisk together butter, coconut* milk, vanilla, and vinegar.
  4. Pour the second bowl contents into the first bowl and mix until just combined.
  5. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Fill the liners two-thirds full.
  6. Bake in oven 20-25 minutes.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. Frost as desired.

Frosting:

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Using mixer, beat butter until light and airy.
  2. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and coconut* milk and mix until smooth.
  3. Beat on high for another 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

 

*While coconut does grow on trees it is not typically listed as a tree nut.  It is considered a botanical nut and placed in a fruit category.

~Lacey

 

The beginning: a very good place to start – part 1

13658998_10153805995505292_4974060221091461732_n

It has been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to blog.  I sit down at the computer when I have a few minutes and I start to type, but I haven’t been able to make sense of the past couple of months. So I’m going to break it down into several parts to better explain and, hopefully, understand and come to terms with it myself.

My three year old, DR, has been diagnosed with both egg and peanuts allergies.  He also has some pretty severe eczema.  However, over the past year we have worked to maintain a healthy and safe environment for him, so his skin was clearing up and he hadn’t had a reaction in months.  We were going out more, had found some great sitters who understood his needs, and our daycare was on board and on top of all of his food intake while he was in their care.  We were feeling pretty good about our allergy-restricted life.

The second weekend of July, I took a trip with DR and his one-year-old brother JN from Savannah, GA to Burnsville, NC.  Because of other medical issues, it had been months since we had seen my family, and that weekend was much needed.  We enjoyed the fresh mountain air, took a dip in a local river, played outside in the breezy summer heat, and ate to our hearts content of my grandmothers amazing food.

We stuck to our food guidelines the entire time, even when my grandpa made himself a peanut butter sandwich.  He is on a diet, so peanut butter is one of the few nutritionally valuable items he can eat.  Because of this, his contact with DR was limited for about 8 hours after the sandwich, all surfaces were cleaned several times, and he ate it outside in an area where DR would/could not go.  The plate and other utensils were disposed of in a trash can outside and isolated from the rest of the house. This was two days before we left, and all seemed fine.  I had prepared for instances like this, and we came through it without any issue.

As we got ready to leave on Monday we noticed DR had a small rash.  We assumed that it was the difference in weather and the fact that he had been in the river the evening before.  Little did we know that the rash was just the tip of the iceberg and far from over.

From that moment on the next 4 weeks would include 5 scary hives outbreaks, an anaphylactic reaction, an ambulance ride and hospital stay, a unexpected but necessary allergist change, a new allergy diagnosis, and a potentially delightful surprise.

~Lacey

 

The Depth of Food Allergies

As with many issues that people may not deal with, food allergies can be viewed as a simple diagnosis and treatment.  For those of us who have children with food allergies, it is far from simple.  I repeat, it is not simple.  There are many aspects to consider:  testing for all possible allergens (food and environmental), changing diets, changing routines, educating others, constant preparation, hawk-like observation of all events and outings, managing doctor’s appointments and medication costs…..The list goes on.  Even though we’ve been dealing with food allergies for almost two years, I know I cannot finish the list as everyday presents a new obstacle to add to the depth of the issue.

As an example, I suggest you take note of the fact that the two mothers running this blog have not had time to update lately.  The reason being, so many issues going on in life that we barely have time to hold ourselves together, let alone share it with the world.  But today, I need to release some of the anxiety smothering me.  Hope knows what I mean, as do many food allergy moms and dads (and parents of children with other medical issues).

 

My most recent issue started last Monday as we were traveling from NC to GA.  We had a relaxing and much needed weekend visit with my family.  As always, I kept a close eye on my son, DR’s diet.  Since my grandparents do not have sunbutter (our favorite peanut butter alternative), DR ate almond butter and jelly sandwiches.  My grandpa who is on a special diet still had to eat some peanut butter sandwiches during the day, but we took big precautions, and DR was able to avoid any contact.

Twelve hours after we returned home, DR had a small rash developing on his legs and belly.  We rubbed him down with his topical steroids like normal, and in the morning he was looking much better.  Then it happened.  Daycare called and he was covered head-to-foot in hives.  We followed our protocol for this type of reaction by dosing him with oral antihistamines and topical steroids, covering him in clothing to keep him from clawing his skin off, and watching him like a hawk praying for the best, but expecting the worst.  The next morning he seemed better.  The next 9 days included a cruel repeat of the events three more times.

The second event was after dinner at my mother-in-law’s house.  This time it started on his legs and arms.  He screamed in pain at the itching in his legs.  We repeated our protocol, and I slept (laid awake and stared at him) in bed with him that night.  When our power went out due to thunderstorms, I just surrounded the bed in flashlights. As I laid awake, I went over the possible triggers.  He was nowhere near peanuts or eggs, but he did have exposure at least two times to almonds.  Maybe that was the cause.

The third event occurred two days later at daycare right after naptime.  This time it started in his arms.  He had only eaten the food we had supplied for him, food that he had eaten before.  My sister-in-law drove to daycare and gave him his prescription meds.  My husband picked him up early from daycare, and by the time I got home at 6:30, he was out.  This boy, who normally  only sleeps for 8 to 9 hours, was out until 7am this morning (minus a delirious 4am sleepwalking/talking event).  At this point, I had hoped that he was just experiencing a biphasic reaction from the second event.

Then came the fourth event today, just one day after the third.  He had not had lunch yet and his class had only been outside for 3 minutes.  He immediately started turning red and the hives appeared.  The daycare reacted by giving him the prescription meds (which are now in the directors desk) and calling me.

I know many people will read this and think, why doesn’t she call the doctor.  That is a story in itself.  He was already scheduled with his allergist sometime late-August.  At his first reaction, I called and asked to move the appointment up; unfortunately, his doctor is on vacation until the first week of August, and they couldn’t test for anything anyway until he has been free of antihistamines for a week.  So we scheduled him for August 5th.  After the second reaction I called, but nothing could be changed.  The day of the third reaction, I called his pediatrician’s office.  For some reason, all of the doctor’s are out of the office (is July doctor vacation month???) and they scheduled him an appointment with a Nurse Practitioner who told me she was uncomfortable seeing for him an issue like this and thought he should see an allergist (well, duh!).   So with his fourth reaction today, I called the allergist office and demanded he be seen by a different doctor.  We now have an appointment for tomorrow afternoon and wonder if they will be able to do anything to help him.

Throughout all of this, I also have to coordinate and care for everyday issues:  our 1 year old is teething, previous doctor bills are due, work schedules, vacation schedules, bosses who get mad for you changing the work schedule, family visits, household chores, other doctor appointments, meal planning, not crying in public when I see the daycare’s phone number, only to name a few.

And emotionally, I feel like I’m being buried further and further from a solution, from peace-of-mind, from sanity.  But I have to hide it, because if I break down, who will handle this?  My husband probably, but he’s currently dealing with same stressors and more.  So if you ever think that food allergy parents are overly-dramatic, overly-sensitive, or overly-complicate situations, first think about with which we deal.  Your judgement only adds to the depth of our problems, but your support (especially the emotional support) can help digs us out of the pits of despair.

~ Lacey

https://fromsouptonutsallergyfree.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/the-depth-of-food-allergies

The 5 stages of food allergy grief: a child’s emotional reaction

DR was originally diagnosed with an egg allergy at 18 months old, at which time it was easier to limit his exposure as he only ate what we gave him.  A couple months after his 2nd birthday, we discovered his peanut allergy.  It was a little more difficult to avoid this allergen as peanut butter was one of his favorite foods.  We quickly replaced all of the peanut products in our house and finally found a suitable alternative to peanut butter.  Now that he is older and is learning to eat things for pleasure/taste he starting to go through his own stages of food allergy grief, making the exposure more difficult to avoid.  As a parent, only able to watch from the sidelines, his reactions can either add to the stress or help with the overall learning process.

Denial:  To keep him from feeling left out or isolated from other children, we tried to find as many alternatives to normal foods that looked or tasted similar.  For a while, we thought we had it made.  However, in the instances that we cannot predict when food will be brought to school for surprise parties, special events, or impromptu outings, it is difficult to have equivalent alternatives.  For example, one day last week, a child in DR’s class had a birthday.  Up to this point, no parents had brought in treats for other birthdays.  On this particular day, the other child’s parents decided to bring in special cookies.  Of course DR could not have one.  The cookies looked just like allergy-free cookies I had made before, so he could not understand why he couldn’t have them.  This led to a meltdown.  At 3 years old, he cannot understand why some items have eggs and others do not, and while I try to explain it to him, I am at a loss right now.

Anger:  Before his first reaction to peanuts I would allow DR to pick out a candy treat when he was good in the grocery store.  Due to having to read all ingredients for his egg allergy, grocery trips could be 2-3 hours and his compliance was key.  After his peanut allergy was discovered, this reward system disappeared.  Even though I offered him other rewards like stickers or books, he still wanted his candy.  One day, as we were checking out after a long grocery trip, he grabbed some candy off the shelf (of course it had to be Reese Cups), and tried to open them with his teeth.  As I wrestled them away from him, he was screaming and crying angrily at me, “I WANT THEM!!!”  I tried to explain from the store to the car, on the ride home, and even after carrying all the groceries into our kitchen, but his poor little 2 year old mind could not understand why this had changed.  He was used to not getting his candy when he misbehaved, but he had been perfect during this trip (except for the angry tantrum).  Since then, I try to avoid food as a reward, giving him other options at the beginning of our trips, so food is not an option in the end. 

Bargaining:  Bargaining has a very literal meaning here.  Despite all of my preparation,  extra snacks, and explanations to DR and others, I still have to keep a close eye on DR as he eats.  I have caught him in many instances swapping food with other kids, sharing his special snacks.  When he realizes he is caught, he claims that he is sharing. I have to start my explanations all over again.  Then there are the times he sneaks foods that he KNOWS he cannot have.   A couple weeks ago, we caught him eating his dad, Justin’s donuts.  As we panicked looking for the first sign of a reaction, DR kept saying “I fine.  I not itchy.”  Unfortunately, within minutes the rash started, and again we had to explain the dangers to him. 

Depression:  Halloween was a rough time for us this past year. I was extremely vigilant in keeping him away from candies.  I purchased allergy-free snacks to switch out when he went trick-or-treating.  I donated allergy-free options to local trunk-or-treats.  I literally prepared a month in advanced for this event.  In our town, Halloween and Fall festivals spanned several weeks, so we had a good pattern going.  Unfortunately, by the time Halloween actually arrived, DR was so burnt out from all of our special treats, activities, and precautions that he didn’t want to go trick-or-treating.  It was then that I learned that there should be limits to how concerned or scared we adults appear to children with allergies.  He was beginning to mimic my depression, and this was what I had been hoping to avoid

Acceptance:  I am amazed at how quickly DR can grasp this concept.  I think because his allergies developed at such a young age, we are avoiding some of the worse emotional reactions.  I love that at 3 years old he asks if food that is presented to him has eggs or peanuts.  And most of the time he loves his special foods.  I wish that my own acceptance of the issue could come as easily.

I am very much aware that as he ages DR will repeat the cycle of food-allergy grief, but I feel hopeful that he remain the spunky, wild, vivacious boy that I love.

~Lacey

 

 

 

Perfection

As a mom I have, at times, striven for perfection.  Especially in today’s society where our lives are broadcast on social media, and judgement abounds around every mishap.  The past month, I have seen as the world has sought to “crucify” parents who have made unintentional mistakes (the gorilla and alligator incidents):  critics call them careless and avoidable.  Of course these situations can be deemed avoidable now.  As it’s always said “hindsight is 20/20.”

I have experienced several of these moments in my own three years as a mom.  Many of these experiences were due to my son, DR’s food allergies.

Since I found out, he had these allergies I have blamed myself for plenty, even things that are beyond my control.  First, I blamed myself for the fact that he even had allergies.  I am allergic to tree nuts as well as other environmental elements, so I assumed that my genetic make-up was the cause of his allergic tendencies.  It took me a very long time to realize that I had no control over this.  I could not have predicted in a million years that he would develop his peanut and egg allergies because of my biology.

Then came the guilt when he would break out for no known reason.  I would scour ingredient lists and pour over food diaries to find the culprit, only to be disappointed when it was something I had missed earlier that caused the reaction.  I would beat myself up for days after he had healed, determined to overcome my own stupid, fallible, human nature.

Finally, I felt less than human when he would catch me eating something he couldn’t have.  I was lowly, unworthy of his love because I expected him to go without when I couldn’t.  I would vow not to give into the cravings.

So as you can see, I alone have placed this blame; unfortunately, this is not the end of it.  I have been on the receiving end of unsolicited and cruel comments about my parenting by many others.  When we had to rush him to the Urgent Care because of a reaction to peanut butter months before his diagnosis, the doctor basically accused us of feeding him an egg product to which we knew he was allergic.  When he breaks out it his eczema rash, people constantly comment like we aren’t trying to fix the situation, like we are the reason he has this issue.  When he ended up in the hospital (non-allergy related), a close friend called to inquire that perhaps his illness was a punishment for the fact that his father and I lived together before marriage.  All of these comments were unnecessary and unwanted.  They did not help us.  In fact, they caused more issues.  They made me doubt myself as a parent, made me work harder toward an image of perfection I could never reach.

I couldn’t bear it anymore, so I stopped.  I stopped striving for perfection, and instead focused on those things I could do to protect my son.  I spent less time listening to others and more following my intuition.  Had I continued listening to and caring about these comments, I would have lost everything:  my self-confidence, my mind, and my relationship with my amazing son, but by accepting my imperfections, I now have everything.

~Lacey

Beach: a fun vacation getaway or food allergy mom’s worse nightmare?

12042607_10153265855500292_5631802409958966945_n

Going to the beach, spending a day in the sun, waves and the sand, and digging for sea shells is typically a fun time even for those who live there.  My son, DR, loves the sand.  Living in Savannah, Ga, we are 20 minutes from the beautiful beach of Tybee Island.  On family days, we drive down to allow DR the freedom of running through the sand, splashing in the waves, and looking for buried treasure.  One on trip he even found this perfectly preserved dry seahorse.

Unfortunately, one trip to the beach ended all of our fun.  During this last trip he was digging through the sand and came across a mound of peanut shells.  My heart fell into my stomach.  We snatched him up and left immediately.  I have seen hundreds of people eating peanuts at the beach, and never thought anything of it.  But now I realized that it is a very common occurrence to just throw the empty shells on the sand.

Peanuts are a natural product, and the shells will eventually deteriorate over time.  For a while after this beach trip, I assumed that this was not considered littering since it was a natural item; however, the fact that we could not visit the beach because of this  bothered me.  So I recently reached out to the city council of Tybee Island, just suggesting that they post signs asking people to be thoughtful of those with food allergies and not just throw their food items on the ground.  The council’s response was quick and enlightening:  Peanut shells ARE actually considered a form of littering and warrants a ticket if caught.

I did some online-digging of Tybee Island policies, and nowhere did I find anything actually saying this is a form of littering.  The most detailed description of Tybee Island Beach Rules and Regulations* comes from Savannah.com*.  It does list food and fruit peelings as litter items which should make people think of peanuts as trash and litter, but like I pointed out before, even as a mother to a child with a severe peanut allergy I thought it was perfectly common and acceptable to throw empty peanut shells on the beach.

So what needs to be done to correct this false mindset?  I believe Tybee Island City Council is working towards a solution, but I think us moms of children with food allergies need to help.  Not just in this instant, any opportunity that presents itself to be an educator and advocate for the food allergy cause.  If we want to stop living in fear of food allergies, we need to take a stand and put into place policies and structures in our communities to make life safer and fun for everyone.

As I work with Tybee Island City Council toward a solution that benefits all I will post updates.

~Lacey

*Permission granted to link to Savannah.com

The 5 Stages of Food Allergy Grief

Just as with any major change or loss in life, we all go through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  The development and discovery of food allergies can be a big blow to any lifestyle and diet.  When we began our adventures with food allergy avoidance, our journey was not smooth, but learning to identify the stage we were in and overcoming the grief was as important as identifying the allergy itself.

Denial: The day we learned of DR’s egg allergy, my stomach dropped.  How could he be allergic to eggs?  I had never heard of this as an allergen.  No one else in our family had this allergy.  He had been eating egg products for months.   He loved cheesy scrambled eggs.  Besides, our pediatrician said his eczema was due to environmental factors like trees, grass, weather, etc.  They only reluctantly referred us to the allergen because they did not believe he had a food allergy.  I was so confused and just could not believe that this was happening to him, to us, to ME!  I loved eggs and could not imagine a world without them.   I was pretty much stuck in the stage for a while.  Even now I find myself sliding back into the denial mindset at times when all I want to do is order an omelet or a waffle.  I am at times tempted to just slip him some benadryl and hand him a cupcake anyway.  Once his reaction begins, though, I know without a doubt that this is real.  This is his life, our life, MY life.

Anger: Once I realize that this is our life, this anger swells up inside.  Why is this happening to my child?  Why is this happening to ME?  What did I do to deserve this?  At times I get trapped in this stage and find myself ranting.  I get angry at the world for not being more understanding, angry at family and friends for not being as angry as I am, angry at myself for not being able to end this.  The anger eats at me, tearing away any resolve I may have had in order to combat the food allergy.  Anger sometimes causes me to make mistakes.  For instance, I was so wrapped up in a comment made by a friend about how much my child inconveniences get-togethers, that I was careless in packing my son’s lunch.  Had it not been for the careful eye of his teachers my child could have eaten a food item he isn’t allowed.  That was a huge wake-up call for me.

Bargaining: As I learn to cope with DR’s food allergies, I find myself slacking at times.  During these periods of time, I am over the amount of time that goes into preparing for meals.  Typically, a grocery store trip takes me 2-3 hours due to having to read all ingredient list several times.  When I’m feeling pressed for time, I sometimes skip reading items I have seen before or getting items that say “May be processed on equipment with peanuts and eggs.”  I got lazy and stopped reading the ingredients of some of DR’s favorite Kroger brand fruit bars.  I figured this was worth the gamble.  It nearly cost us DR.  Within a month’s time the company started using eggs in their bars.  We were lucky his reaction was only hives, but I have since learned that there is no easy way out of this mess.

Depression:  This is probably the most difficult stage for me.  I have tangled with this stage many times.  I catch myself thinking that this may very well be how our lives are forever:  constantly worrying that something will happen, that someone will be careless.  In these moments, I want to hug my son closer, never let him go, and stay locked up at home away from everyone.   This is craziness, I know, but the dangers lurking around every corner are enough to drive anyone to tears.

Acceptance:  This stage has been more difficult for me to grasp. As you will probably learn from other blog posts, I am a fighter and a pusher.  I believe in advocating for anyone who cannot do it for himself.  I work to protect my son by calling ahead to any restaurant, event, or party we may go to in order to see what options are available.  I learned to cook (somewhat) and bake in order to know what he is eating.  I prepare all friends, family, teachers, and sitters for what he needs and what responsibilities they have.  However, the other stages can bog me down, and I forget everything I’ve already learned.  What I have found is that taking care of myself and finding practical strategies to cope will not only help me, but my son as well in the long run.  I recently came across an amazing blog post detailing the Top 4 Tips* for coping with food allergy stress.  These are simple strategies and take very little time or effort.

As with anything else, life with food allergies is fluid and always changing.  Remembering to take care of yourself is important and be the factor you need to turn everything around.

~Lacey

*Permission granted by Emma W. to link to “Feeling Stressed?  Top 4 Tips :)”

 

 

 

10 phrases allergy moms “love” to hear

  1. How allergic is your child?  When I tell someone my child has a food allergy, I’m telling them so that my child can avoid the allergen.  It doesn’t matter “how” allergic he is.  He doesn’t need the food, and we don’t need the agony of an allergic reaction.
  2. Is he really allergic or do you just not want him to have sweets? Of course I don’t want to constantly shove sweets down my child’s throat, but just because he can’t have certain foods does not mean I don’t let him have sweets.  Besides, why would you ask a mother (whether or not she has a child with food allergies) if you can give her child sweets?  Why can’t you offer my child an apple or even better a non-food item like stickers?
  3. I feel bad that he can’t have the same food as other kids.  I don’t want him to feel left out.  Most moms of children with food allergies come prepared with alternative options for their children.  While the children may feel a little left out from not getting to eat certain foods it is far better than the alternative of them eating the foods and having a reaction.
  4. Ugh…my life is so inconvenienced by your child’s food allergy.  Why do daycares, schools, airplanes and public buildings have to be peanut free?  First, if you seriously can’t wait until you get home to eat your peanut items, then maybe you have a bit of an issue?  Second, the severity of some allergies like peanuts differ from person to person.  Some people react just by touching an item that someone who had peanuts earlier touched.  It’s like with the flu.  If you have the flu virus you shouldn’t be bringing it out into public where it can hurt others.  Just keep your peanuts and your flu at home and to yourself.
  5. How long has it been since your child has tried this food? Maybe he’s built up a tolerance.  Yes, some people may grow out of their food allergies, but some of them may get worse.  Currently, there is no way to know either way.   There are some research efforts underway to see if there is a cure for food allergies.  No, we will not test his tolerance right now in a non-medical environment without his doctor’s consent just because you want to see if he reacts.  I can tell you that I am probably losing my tolerance for you.
  6. You must have eaten too much of that food during your pregnancy or while you were breastfeeding! You must be ignorant. Thank you for blaming me for my child’s medical condition though. Bless your heart. Do your own research and know that we blame ourselves enough for our children’s reactions without others trying to blame us too.
  7. Giving them a little bite won’t hurt. Right, and neither will letting them hold a rattlesnake. To allergy moms those two things are equal. Both could kill our child. Let me say that again to make it clear: ONE BITE COULD KILL MY CHILD. I’m not willing to take that chance. You shouldn’t be either. Killing people is frowned upon last time I checked.
  8. Oh, they’ll grow out of it. We actually want this. We desperately want our child to grow out of their food allergies. For them and for us. Unfortunately we don’t know if that will happen. Neither does my child’s allergist. I’m so glad you know though.
  9. It was processed in a plant/on a conveyor belt/on a counter top with the allergen, but it doesn’t have the allergen in it.  It should be safe. If it wasn’t potentially dangerous, then why do the products have to tell you they were processed near the allergen?  What if your favorite food item said processed by someone who had the flu or TB?  Would you feel comfortable chancing contamination?
  10. This one we will never hear said to our face. We’ve heard others say it about other allergy moms when they don’t realize we are listening or don’t realize we are also allergy moms. They’re just doing it for attention, I doubt their child even HAS a food allergy. Don’t be this person. This person is not a nice person to be. Please know that we are not seeking attention. Most of us HATE having to ask what ingredients are in everything when we are at a restaurant, a person’s house, on vacation, etc. I don’t like inconveniencing people. I hate it. I’m a southern girl to my core and I love making people feel at ease. I’m way out of my comfort zone when I have to seek people out to ask questions. I will do it for my child’s safety EVERY SINGLE TIME no matter how uncomfortable it makes me. I can assure you if I could take it away from them I would in a heartbeat.

This post is not intended for people who genuinely care about our children’s safety. If you are asking us questions that are intended to really help our child or if you are wanting to know details so that you can make them or give them a safe treat we welcome that. We always know your intentions as soon as you speak though. We can tell when you are a caring person and when you’re just trying to be a busybody or a tush.

~Hope & Lacey~

image

 

It’s not always a death sentence

Much of the time I feel like food allergies is such a negative part of our lives.  I spend the majority of my time checking food items, planning meals, and worrying about situations beyond my control.  However, food allergies don’t always have to be a death sentence.

My son JN just turned one in May.  For months I dreaded it, after witnessing other children who react after their first bites of birthday cake, not with joy and excitement, but with itching, hives, and the inability to breathe.  Since his older brother DR is already diagnosed with both an egg and peanut allergy we knew that we could not go the traditional birthday route with cake and candies, but we still wanted to make it fun.

For DR’s first birthday we did the traditional smash cake photos and did not want JN to be left out.  So our alternative to the traditional cake smash was a  watermelon smash which gave birth to JN’s “One-in-a-Melon” themed birthday.   Click the link to view the photo gallery by the amazing Ashley Brown of E&J photography: One in a Melon. We had so much fun planning and implementing this party and photo shoot.  All of it was allergy-free.

We did end up making cupcakes, but they were of course allergy-free (except for wheat, which could easily be done).

cupcakes

~Lacey

 

“D”

imageAfter Z grew out of his milk protein allergy and his allergy induced asthma we put him on lactose free milk to keep his digestion running smooth. We thought that things were FINALLY normal for us!!! After four years of craziness our lives calmed down for the most part. We still have to keep him away from horses and cats but he’s totally normal now.
During this calm normal food period my kids enjoyed peanut butter and jelly for lunch often without a single thought. We enjoyed eggs for breakfast and sometimes for a quick dinner when my husband was working. I baked with eggs every single day. I have always loved to bake. I still love it!
I never had to put any thought into what I was feeding them other than making sure they had proper nutrition. I’m a meal planner, it saves my family a lot of money and aside from making the menu itself and cooking the food that was all that I had to do. Yes, it was a pretty big job for me as a ( then ) mom of three but it was enjoyable. Then I had “D” right before MB turned 2. His birth was scary. He had distress towards the end and the doctors thought he had swallowed some meconium. We had to wait on a team of specialists only to have them walk out the door as soon as they heard the very loud cry he was belting out of his perfectly clear lungs. Up to that point all of my labors and deliveries were very nice experiences with only one small cord issue during Z’s delivery. After he came his life was simple and sweet. We enjoyed having our wild and stubborn little man! I waited until after he was one to feed him any nut or egg products and after he had them he was fine. No issues! Then one day when he was about 15 months old during a snacky lunch when we had veggies, nuts and popcorn, D started breaking out in hives. At this point aside from my own grape allergy as a kid I had never dealt with a food causing this type of reaction. I did know what it was right away because of Z’s animal allergies though, so we gave him Benadryl and he was fine. Cashews were the culprit. A few months later pecans caused another reaction. Peanuts never bothered him. So we still had peanut products in the house. His allergy to tree nuts is a hives only reaction at this point but we always stay away from them to be safe. When D was 8 months old we found out we were expecting baby number 5!!! She was born when D was 17months old. She is our whirlwind baby. With her, things have always been crazy, scary and fast. Her story will take more than one post. MH turned 2 on the 22nd of May. Her short two years have been more eventful than most people ten times her age. She is my fighter.

~Hope