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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stressed About Navigating Food Allergies?


Stressed About Navigating Food Allergies?
Knowing Your Needs Will Help You Figure Out Your Resources

Are you the proud parent of a child with food allergies? I hope you take comfort in knowing your child has joined the ranks of 1 out of 13 kids managing food allergies, and the numbers are ever increasing.

Smart Allergy~Friendly Education Tips for Managing Food Allergies
Between the advise you receive from pediatricians, allergists, nutritionists, those who know, those who have NO clue, and all of your on-line resources, navigating through this personal journey can be overwhelming. Newborns, pre-school, elementary ages through high school... every stage is worrisome for different reasons.

From a mom who is navigating her own food allergy journey, I want to share a few small pieces of advise I offer to others traveling the same path.

KNOW YOUR NEEDS... then FIGURE OUT YOUR RESOURCES.

TOP 5 NEEDS OF ALLERGY FAMILIES

1. Networking and Support
Are you looking for something where you can learn from others and have more intimate discussions such as weekly/monthly meeting groups? Or do you prefer on-line forums and chat rooms?

Many local support groups have fantastic networks in place which offer activities and fun, especially during holiday events, such as Easter. UFAN, Utah Food Allergy Network, has a strong community network and on-line site.  Here in the Treasure Valley, we have TV-FAN, which you can find on facebook.  If you prefer finding information on your own time, check out Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) , Kids with Food Allergies (KFA) or MANY Facebook groups catering to YOUR specific allergies.  

2. Being Familiar with Local/National Allergy~Friendly Businesses
Start asking around, and I can guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised. Many local chain grocery stores carry a multitude of foods for those with specific dietary needs. 

Locally you can probably find a local COOP, Smoothie Shop or Pizza place which carries many of the alternative foods you need.  Jake's Gluten Free Store, Huckleberry's and Natural Grocers are great places for shopping for alternative products.

Don't be afraid to see ask to see ingredient lists at your local businesses. That's how we found out that Little Caesars' dough and sauces here locally in Boise are milk, egg and nut-free. Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria has NOT only gluten-free pizzas, but their regular pizza doughs and sauces are also egg, nut and dairy free.

Allergy StoreAllergic Solution are helpful national on-line businesses where you can shop.

3. Knowing what On-Line Medical/Product Options are available
Are you someone who doesn't mind doing the research on your own, but just need a little headstart on where to begin? Check out medical resource groups such as: 


  • American Academy of Asthma and Immunology
  • American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
  • Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics
  • the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Looking for on-line Product Resources? There are a TON! Check out FoodASCBest Allergy Sites, American Medical ID, Allerbling, Allergic SolutionEpi-Essentials and Rescue Shot Case just to name a few!

4. Recipe Options, Product Alternatives, Blogs AND Websites
Cookbooks and Product resources on-line are limitless. SunButterAllRecipes, About Food Allergies.com and Google are fabulous resources. Want to eat out but don't know where? Check out AllergyEats. Just type in 'dairy free ' OR whatever YOUR need is and you will be amazed at what turns up. Once you get the hang of gluten, dairy and egg alternatives, you will be able to transform ANY RECIPE!

Looking for bloggers or websites to follow? Type in 'food allergy bloggers', and lists will come up. The hardest part for you is going to be figuring out who you want to follow. I can't even give suggestions here for fear of leaving out one of my favorites!

5. Creating Allergy~Friendly Toolkit for Visiting Family and Friends
Prepare Your Friends and Family so they CAN'T FAIL. Get your allergy~friendly supplies in order. Create an allergy~friendly cabinet or pantry shelf - HANDS DOWN, one of the easiest ways to put your caretakers and your children at ease with you gone. Load up this designated area with your allergy~friendly snacks! 

Mark SAFE packaging with color coded stickers. I travel often with my flight attendant job and these were LIFE SAVERS in my own home.  I even trademarked and designed my own SAFE Food Allergy Labels.  You can't MISS these brightly colored labels which make knowing what is SAFE or NOT SAFE easy to discern.  

Get some great cookbooks and experiment with friends and family. And, don't forget to buy some allergy books your kids will enjoy reading and sharing with their loved ones, over and over again!

So, there you have it. Five basic areas we all manage. Take the time to figure out what is your greatest NEED at this moment, and start discovering what RESOURCES are available to you! You just may be surprised how easy it will be to get your allergy arsenal in order!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES? Would love to hear!

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I agree, great advice! It can be overwhelming and you've provided a lot of great tips especially for those newly diagnosed.

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    1. Glad you found the info helpful! If I can help one other family handle their food allergies worries, I'm thrilled~

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  3. Great way to conceptualize a toolkit and preparing people for appropriate accommodation! Thank you for submitting this post for the blog carnival!

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  4. Thank you for taking the time to put together so much helpful information! Our family is just starting our allergy journey and you described it perfectly. Stressful, overwhelming and really scary. I'm glad to find your blog and read through your tips!

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    1. Jessica.. thank you so much for taking time to post. I am glad you have found this site helpful! I believe in taking a positive yet honest approach. I know how difficult it is to be at the beginning of this journey with NO guidance~ I hope you will find comfort in knowing you are NOT alone.

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