Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holiday Stress Management for Nut-Free Parents, Part 1

Ah, the holidays. They're meant to be relaxing and enjoyable and for the most part, they can be. But food allergies add another dimension to these joyous times, and most of us find our stress levels on the rise as they approach.

There are a lot of reasons for this but namely it's because the holidays involve so much FOOD! Yes, that's part of the fun but for us it also can cause major stress as we dodge those food allergy bullets that make life so interesting for us all year long. Oh dear, is that pine nuts in the stuffing? Did Aunt Mary make her famous pecan powdered sugar cookies and Oh My Gosh, did you say you're serving the cousins peanut butter at the sleepover??? Like many of you, I'm the one breaking out in hives at the thought of all of this stuff and I don't even have a food allergy myself.

Luckily, we're not alone. I recently received my wonderful FAAN newsletter and they cover all the ins and outs of what parents may be feeling as they get ready to deal with the stuffed turkey and cranberry sauce. So here is Part 1 of their excellent tips for dealing with holiday stress management, by Lisa Provost, M.S. N.C.C., L.M.H.C.

In a section entitled "Anticipating the Expected" she suggests the following tips:

- Role play with you and your child how to handle
any difficult situations you foresee

- Talk to an uncooperative family member
if you fear they won't be diplomatic

- Prepare a favorite allergen-free dish so
you're sure there will be something safe to eat

- Monitor an event at school so you can be
sure your child eats only safe foods

Good advice, all of it! I'll have more to share in future posts. And of course, I'd love to hear from you about your holiday stress tips!


Debbie said...

Since my allergy boy (milk, eggs, peanuts, and most tree nuts) just turned one, we have decided that we can't go to the traditional Thanksgiving celebration this year. He is walking all over, into everything-- especially the garbage, and there is no explaining to him the dangers of putting everything in his mouth. We were feeling quite guilty about it, but everyone has been pretty supportive so far-- at least to our face :-). This arrangement won't last forever, but this year, it's the best solution we have. So sad.

James Thomas Klotzle said...

I have a ton of food allergies myself... they trigger my ulcerative colitis if I eat just a little.

So, I've had to learn to cook and navigate the world of restaurants without gluten grains, dairy or sugar.

My loving wife is so supportive and patient with me.. I'm very thankful for that!

All the best,

-James T.

Destress Yourself said...

This blog is a great idea. You are an angel. When I was a medic I remember running 911 calls on people who have nut allergies and it wasn't always pretty. I commend you.

Elaine at Matters of the Heart) said...

Thank you for part 1 and part 2. I am just now catching up on reading, these were great. Thank you for all you do to make my walk easier... You are the greatest.

Poker Chick said...

We've had an issue with pecan pie. The family is good about keeping Thanksgiving "nut free" but they refuse to give up the pecan pie. So we keep it in a separate room and anyone who wants it eats it in that room and washes their hands after.