The question I am most often asked when people learn my daughter has 15 food allergies is: "What DO you eat?!"
I used to smile and answer "We're living on love." Or, "There's a lot of creative cooking happening at my house." These were my answers. They were true. And they effectively stopped the line of questioning. Truth be told, I often felt overwhelmed by our restrictions when I was learning how to work with them. It was hard to answer because many days I struggled to figure out what to eat.
Over time, I began to acclimate to our challenges. It got easier. (Most days.) It has become clear to me that these answers ARE true, to this day.
The amount of creative cooking at my house would intimidate many people. By the time I've studied a recipe and altered it to fit our needs, it has undergone a major metamorphosis. Every single creative concoction, of my own invention or alteration, was cooked from a place of love. Love that fuels determination to allow my children to taste things they see others eat, or see in the bakery window. Love that drives me to make sure their nutritional needs are being met while their taste buds are being satisfied. There is creative cooking, and it's become a good thing. I enjoy the challenge of crafting foods that are tasty and safe, and that we could serve to guests without feeling bashful about the difference.
Some day I hope my children realize that there is more than dinner on their plate, more than balanced nutrition. There is heart and soul and the profound love of a mama who wants more for them than a view of restrictions and limitations, but is gently steering them to a focus on what CAN be, with just a bit of creativity combined with love.
Now I understand that there are so many foods that we can still eat. They are delicious. It used to be easier to avoid the question because I felt burdened by how differently we eat. Now When I say "We're living on love." it has a totally different meaning. My kids are living on food made with love, and we have so many options open to us that I find it easier to list what we don't eat.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
To kick off the week I'd like to post my agenda for Food Allergy Awareness Week. This week my goal is to do something to grow awareness each day. My focus is on growing awareness at the school level, as many more children currently have food allergies than adults.
Monday: Hang allergy awareness posters. I plan to hang one in the stall for each teacher bathroom. Captive audience+education= WIN. This year I chose an infographic from FARE.
Tuesday: Put a food allergy bookmark in each teacher's mailbox. Thanks to FAACT for providing them!
Wednesday: Put up a trifold display in the teacher's lounge with a 10 question allergy awareness quiz. (self check, of course.)
Thursday: Put a copy of 10 Things Every Allergic Kid Wishes You Knew in each teacher mailbox.
Friday: Provide allergy friendly cupcakes (free of 7 of the top 8). A demonstration that allergy friendly can be tasty is always a good thing! It's also my way of saying thanks for letting me bombard the teachers with allergy information during the week.
One simple, quick thing for each day. Lots of wonderful activities to pick from being posted around the web! What are YOU doing to grow awareness this week?