As another part of my Silver Award, I assisted a woman who is in charge of a food allergy support group that meets about once a month. Last week I went to one of the parent meetings and talked to the parents about living with food allergies, and today I talked to their kids at Kid’s Day. She created Kids Day as a party for kids with food allergies that didn’t involve food! So we made crafts, read stories, played games, and even had a piñata that was filled with toys that the kids could play with! Overall, it was a great day for kids with food allergies because they could see that there are other kids out there in the same situation. I know I had fun meeting these really cute kids and I hope they had fun too!
Over the summer, I feel like everyone with food allergies gets a break. You mostly eat at home and don’t have to worry about eating at school or any cross contamination’s from your friends’ food. But in a little over a week, school is starting up again, which unfortunately means our break is over.
When preparing to go back to school (elementary school in this case), make sure you talk to not just the nurse, but your teacher as well. The nurse may be the one you give your medication, but you are more than likely to be with your teacher when you start reacting. Make sure your teacher knows the symptoms of an allergic reaction because you might not notice it at first. Just a suggestion, but see if your teacher can get trained in how to use an Epi-pen, it could always come in handy if the school nurse isn’t available.
This year, I’m going into High School. I’ve known how to use an Epi-pen since third grade (check out my previous post CBS Family Interview), but it was last year that I was officially trained. In my high school, we are allowed to carry around a bag, so I’ll be carrying around my own Epi-pen, Inhaler, and Benadryl, and I suggest you do too. Its still a good idea to give your medication to the nurse, but if there ever comes the time where you need any of it, its easier and safer to you have it on you.
When it comes to lunch time, I highly suggest that you bring your own food. It is definitely safer than eating something in the cafeteria, because there is always the risk of cross contamination. However, if you feel that your cafeteria staff is really good and it will be safe, go for it! HOWEVER, make sure you talk to the cafeteria staff before school starts to tell them that you have food allergies and they can help you figure out what you can and can’t eat. I never risked buying cafeteria food, but occasionally one of their packaged snacks that I could read the label of.
Well, good luck on the first day of school! If you have any questions, just ask!
Milk, Egg, Peanut and Nut free
2 Sticks of milk free, soy free margarine
2/3 cup sugar
Egg Substitute for 2 eggs: 3 T. water, 3 T. veg. oil, 2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
Mix all ingredients together.
Drop by teaspoon-full onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
These cookies are delicious! Credit goes to my mom’s friend Donna who gave my family this recipe and credit goes to my mom for changing this recipe to be allergy friendly!
So you’re going to a party, and of course…there’s going to be food. Some people are only allergic to one or two things so they are able to find something allergy friendly, where as me, its the whole shebang. I have to bring all my own food. At a party, maybe I can eat the chips, but that’s about it. So how do I make bringing a meal less awkward? When I’m invited to a party, I ask what they are going to be having. If they are having pizza, I make sure to bring some Italian-type food like pasta. If its a barbecue, I bring a turkey burger or chicken dog. This way, my food blends in. People are still going to ask you about it, there’s no avoiding it, but it will be slightly less awkward. Don’t let your allergies control your life. Don’t decide to stay home instead of going to the party because you know you won’t be able to eat anything! You can still have fun at a party with food allergies, so enjoy yourself!
Milk, Egg, Peanut, and Nut Free
3 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup orange juice (or soy milk) & 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
3 T. water, 3 T. oil, 2 tsp. baking powder mixed together
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (with shortening) and flour cake pans. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Using an electric mixer, beat until well mixed, approximately 4 minutes. Pour batter into cake pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks. Frost when completely cooled.
My family has been using this recipe for forever! Whenever my friends come over for my birthday they love it as well! They tell me it tastes exactly like regular cake! And if you want to make it a funfetti cake, just add sprinkles into the batter while mixing. This is a double layer cake recipe and you can use two different cake pans of your choice. With the cake to the left we used two different sized pans to make it layered. All props go to my sister Claire for decorating!
Please remember to double check all ingredients for your food allergens.
Okay, we all know it. When it comes to explaining your food allergies to someone, they never understand it, especially at first. Someone offers you something to eat, and you are given two choices.
Option One: Simply say “No Thank You”. There’s no explanation necessary-they just assume you do not like the food offered or are not hungry.
Option Two: Give the full out “I have food allergies” speech. Tell them no thank you and explain that if you eat something that you are allergic to, that you can become very sick. Try to make the situation light, add a joke and speak in a care-free tone. This will get the point across that food allergies can be dangerous, but you’re not worried about it.
I know these situations can become awkward-trust me, I’ve gone through plenty of these talks. Sometimes they start to apologize repeatedly and to us, it just becomes annoying, but to others that don’t understand, they probably are truly sorry. These are the conversations that you just have to muddle through…because in the end, its important that people know that you have food allergies so you can stay safe when eating around them.
So when it comes time to give the “I have food allergies” speech, don’t be afraid or embarrassed and do it confidently!
This is a picture of me and my brother when my family was interviewed for a CBS news segment. One of our neighbors and family friends Jen Singer (her blog is mommasaid.net) is a friend of the producer at CBS news. When the producer went to Mrs. Singer looking for a family dealing with food allergies, she gave them my family’s name. CBS came to our house at the end of the same week and recorded us for 6 hours for a 5 minute segment called Living on Edge with Food Allergies. To watch the segment, click this link:
This was about 7 years ago when i was in 3rd grade, now I’m entering 9th and my brother is entering 6th. We still help each other to, in his words, “Stay Stafe”.