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It’s All How You Look at It!

by Erin on April 24, 2012

When I got married and met my new nieces and nephew, I was completely unfamiliar with food allergies…but among them, they had egg, dairy, soy, nut, seafood, shellfish, egg, and corn allergies. Wow!  Talk about throwing me into the deep end! I didn’t cook for them too often, but soon came to realize that my personality LOVES a challenge… and this was a great challenge.

I hosted Thanksgiving my second year married, and made a completely, 100% food allergy friendly dinner. By this time, I’d had a baby girl, and found out that she was dairy-allergic. Since I was nursing her, I had to be dairy-free as well. She ended up being dairy-free for just over 2 1/2 years, and finally is able to have it. Her younger sister was dairy-free (and me again too!) for a year.

I guess the thing for me is to look at it as a challenge, rather than an obstacle. I was fortunate in that I already loved to cook, and felt very comfortable experimenting in the kitchen.

How did I keep my budget in check? We only bought prepackaged food occasionally (Amy’s bean burritos, Annie’s bunny grahams, Eco-Planet’s non-dairy cheesey crackers), and I made do with Earth Balance in sticks and tubs, and Tofutti’s cream cheese. We drank rice milk that we bought by the case at Costco. We didn’t do yogurt or cheese, and since those are pricey substitutions, I know that helped. (I just couldn’t handle the taste.)

Really, it does get better! It’s hard at the beginning, when you’re not used to reading labels and asking for special menus at restaurants, but it does get better. (We ended up walking out of a couple restaurants… and ate at McDonalds more often than I’d like to say.) Six months into your food allergy journey, you’ll look back and say “gosh, I’m used to this by now!”

Thank you for sharing your food allergy story and for your encouraging words! 

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