Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Food Allergies and World Hunger---It's a Guiltfest

Like anyone who's been following the news, I've been horrified by the news coming out of Myanmar and China in the aftermath of their terrible tragedies.

By all accounts, the survivors, many of them children, face starvation if supplies cannot reach them in a timely manner.

And they're not the only ones. Just today, while munching my nice, warm bagel I read about a mother in Ethiopia who is desperate to feed her 3-year-old daughter--the child weighs less than 10 pounds.

10 pounds! That's approximately what my large-sized and thankfully healthy babies weighed at birth. Suddenly, I had lost my appetite.

What does all of this have to do with food allergies? Just that it makes no sense that our well-fed kids can suffer a fatal allergic reaction if they die from eating certain foods, while other children can die. from want of food at all.

I thought about all the efforts I make to ensure my daughter avoids certain foods. And then I thought about the mothers in Myanmar, China, Ethiopia and the world over who strive to make sure their children get just enough food to barely stay alive. And for some reason, I felt guilty.

Food is such a huge part of life. That's what makes food allergies so difficult. When I was growing up, I was told how lucky I was to have enough to eat, a home etc. The message was that to be "picky" was to be impolite. When you consider the plight of the world's hungry people, to be "picky" seems immoral.

Only food allergies aren't about being picky. They're about survival, too. I guess the guilt stems from my ability to negotiate specific foods for my daughter, when so many mothers can't negotiate food at all.

The only good thing about guilt is that it can motivate you to help others less fortunate. Which is what I'm going to do.

Also, I'm thankful for what we do have. And thankful that I can choose the foods my family eats--even if I also have to deal with food allergies.

Has anyone else ever thought about this? Or am I just having one of those days?


Sisters with Style said...

I have been so convicted lately to do something worthwhile. That is one reason why I started my new blog.

Have you ever looked at the World Food Programme site. I am going to be blogging about the "feed bag" tomorrow. If you want to check it out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,

I have been thinking about that exact issue in the last week.

Coping with no food or shelter or clean water or clothing puts into perspective the issues of dealing with food allergies.

Life threatening food allergies are very frightening, but when compared to basic survival they seem manageable.

Its hard to know what to do to help people in need. I try to donate when tragedies occur, and we also sponsor a child.. but even then it doesn't seem in any way enough.

Modern Allergy Mom said...

I think about this type of thing frequently. Especially when I see the amount of food we waste when our kids "do not like" what we have prepared. I know it is cliche to say "there are children starving who would love to eat what you have", but I feel like I need to get my kids to understand that not everyone has a home with a nice bed and 3 meals a day.