Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Father's Day and Food Allergies: Readers Share Their Stories

This site is called "The Nut-Free Mom" but I am happy to say that many dads read it, too. Dads, grandfathers, stepdads and anyone who is "like a dad" to your child can make a huge positive impact on your child. So many dads are happy to take on this challenge and it truly helps lighten the load -- for everyone.

For example, some dads start businesses to help their nut-allergic kids, such as Brian Walker of Nutphree's Cupcakes here in the Chicago suburbs.

Same goes for Skeeter Snacks--a company started by two dads of nut-allergic kids.

AllergyEats is a site run by a dad, Paul Antico, who has kids with food allergies. The site helps you choose restaurants based on allergic customer's feedback. I've used it--it's a great tool for travel!

And did you know that Vermont Nut Free Chocolates is a family business, too?

Just day to day support can make a difference in the family's life, whether it's a dad calling a restaurant (my husband often does this for my daughter) or just being there so a child can attend an event or birthday party.

It can be difficult to get everyone on the same page, something I discuss in my e-book, including ways to help improve this situation.  But in honor of Father's Day, I asked readers to share some positive stories of how the dads in their life have helped them and their kids manage food allergies.

The following are a just few stories from readers (the rest are on my Facebook page for Nut-Free Mom.). Share yours at the end of this post if you like -- we'd love to hear. And if you're a Dad yourself, stand up and be counted. We appreciate you and your help!

Nicole Smith of Allergic Child had this to say about her husband's role in helping manage her son's food allergies: " My husband flew across the country to cook safe food for our son, Morgan, while he attended the Boy Scout National Jamboree in 2010. The Jamboree lasted 10 days and my husband shopped, cooked and delivered 30 meals for Morgan, hauling it in for miles over dusty roads in coolers."

Reader Allie S. said: "When eating at restaurants my husband always makes sure that my little girl handles talking to wait staff, showing her chef card, meeting the chef, etc-on her own with his guidance. He also reminds her to bring her first aid backpack and carry it herself, so she'll remember on her own and get used to it for when we aren't there. He's so good at teaching her what to do, how to be confident, and to advocate for herself. Oh and he used to love cashews, but only eats them if he's on another continent!"

Jerri K. said: "My husband goes on field trips with our son and cooks every night. He also is showing our son how to use the grill in hopes of capturing his interest for future love of cooking, which will be an important life skill. He also has instilled a great motto...Eat to live, Don't live to eat!"

Reader DM K said that her husband advocated for his daughters in the grocery line--apparently someone was complaining to him about the restricted diets at school and he set them straight in a very respectful but compelling way.

Emily H.: "Dad gave up his favorite night time snack, a spoonful of peanut butter."

Thanks to all who shared a story. Come back on Friday for a nut-free recipe that Dads (and kids--heck, everyone) will love.


Nicole said...

Hello! I am a 15, and I have a severe peanut and nut allergy. I happened to stumble upon your blog, and I love it! I got so many cooking ideas from your blog!

Anyways, I wanted to bring this to people's attentions, because I ended up having an allergic reaction in a Mexican restaurant. My family and I go to the same Mexican restaurant every few weeks or so for dinner, and I would always order their enchiladas. The enchiladas were covered in a mole sauce. Every time I ate them, I went home, extremely tired with a stomach ache and an itchy throat. However, this one time, I ate the enchiladas and I felt extremely sick and ended up throwing up in the restaurant's bathroom (It wasn't pretty). I talked to the waitress, and she brought out the can of mole sauce they use. It said on the label that there was a trace of peanut in the sauce. I was bummed. My family and I didn't know about the sauce until then, and through your blog, maybe we can prevent such happenings to other people? I just don't want other people with nut allergies to go through the surprise reaction. Thank you for reading!

Jenny said...

Nicole, thanks for sharing. I'm glad you're OK and I'm happy that you like my blog and the cooking ideas you get. That's great!

I will re-post the Mexican mole sauce warning on my FB page. I speak about Mexican food being high risk for nut allergies in my e-book, too. Mole sauce--the chocolate kind plus others -- often has ground up peanuts and tree nuts such as almonds.

Best, Jenny