Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Food Allergies and Fearing Separation

I have a huge fear of leaving Bee anywhere, with anyone.  I am fearful when she goes to Sunday school or participates in any other event.  I am terrified to leave her.

We have a policy around our house.  One of us is never more than 5 minutes from wherever she is if we're not at home.  If she's at an event, we are somewhere nearby.  We might not be in the same room, but we are on campus or in the same building.

When Bee was small I didn't drop her off in the church nursery or leave her anywhere.  I stopped going to Gymboree classes and music classes.  We stayed HOME and she stayed in my sight.  As she got older, we continued keeping her right with us.  If she participated in something, we were volunteers and we were right there.  I provide the snacks, I organize, I help, I clean up, I volunteer.  I don't leave.

Now that she's older, we've actually dropped her off in a Sunday school class.  We have great communication and clear expectations - and I provide the snacks.  However, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I am anxious the entire time.  I enjoy our class so much less knowing that she's in a room full of other children with someone else watching over her.

We have actually left the kids with a sitter once.  That was our first time to be more than just a few minutes from Bee.  Date night is not as fun as it used to be.  I kept my phone on the table the entire time, just waiting for a phone call.  I left instructions, set out her medicines, and wrote down all the important phone numbers.  Bee was at our house which is the allergy free zone, so I shouldn't worry.  But I do.  I am so fearful when she's not with me.

I have a hard time when I'm not the one who's watching her.  I worry that someone will forget about her allergies.  I worry they will make a mistake.  I worry that they will miss the first signs of a reaction.  I worry they will forget how use the Epi or wait too long to use it.  I worry they won't call me right away.  I just worry!

If I could, I would never let her out of my sight.  I would hover.  I would watch.  I would never be more than a few steps away.  I fear being separated from her and placing the responsibility of caring for her and managing her allergies on the shoulders of someone else.  It's not my kids who have separation anxiety, it's me!!

Monday, April 29, 2013


Do you know how difficult it can be to explain food allergies to others?  My conversations often sound like this:

My daughter has food allergies.
Ohh, to peanuts?  We don't have peanut butter in here.
Well, she is allergic to peanuts and to many, many other foods.
Like nuts?
Yes, and more.  Here's her list.
She's allergic to all that?  What does she eat?


My daughter has food allergies.
We won't give her any of that food.
Well, she can't even be around those food items.
What do you mean?
She can't be in the same room.  It's not just eating the food that gives her problems.
Blank stare...........


My daughter has food allergies.
So, what happens?  Does she get itchy or something?
No, she goes into anaphylactic shock.
Blank stare.............

When you try to explain food allergies people immediately assume that peanuts are the one and only culprit.  People refuse to believe that just by being around the allergen, Bee can have a problem.  (Hello!  It's called a contact allergy!)  Or they assume that allergies = itchy.  And everything itchy can be cured with some Benadryl, right?

I am so fearful that people will misunderstand the severity of Bee's allergies or the extensive allergy list.  All it takes is one little mistake or one small miscommunication and Bee is served the wrong food or is in a room with one of her allergens.

When I'm misunderstood it can mean a trip to the ER and can mean that Bee's life is in danger.

I need people to actually listen when I'm describing the allergies.  They need to understand that her allergy list is unique to her and they should never question it. They should understand that food allergies can be life threatening.

Is it that people don't understand or refuse to try to understand?  Sometimes I wonder.........

It's become clear to me that there are so many people who are simply ignorant regarding food allergies.  I was one of those before Bee was diagnosed.  However, I'm happy to explain about our allergies and educate them.

There are others who refuse to understand.  Food allergies are an inconvenience to them - they find it an imposition to change their plans just for the sake of your food allergies or the allergies of your child.  Other parents are angry that your child dictates what snacks can be had.  People are angry when they have to change the menu to accommodate you.  Some are offended when you don't come to an event because of the food.  They refuse to understand the gravity of the allergy situation.

We're just misunderstood over here.  We aren't trying to be difficult or a pain to deal with.  We don't try to complicate things.  We don't try to suck the joy out of celebrations and get togethers.  We don't come up with these crazy allergies and allergy action plans.  We don't make things up.  No, this is serious and this is someone's life.  Clear communication is so important.  Bee's safety requires that everyone understand and be on board with our plan.  I hope that others will listen not only with their ears but with their heart so they can show a little compassion and understanding for our situation.  Please don't misunderstand, don't misjudge, just listen.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Food Allergies and Fearing Doctors

We have seen a lot of doctors in the past 4 years.  We saw quite a large variety of doctors and specialist when we were searching for a diagnosis for Bee and we saw even more doctors after she was diagnosed.  And let's not forget the ER doctors and EMS we've met during allergic reactions.

We haven't always had great doctor experiences.  And.........I've come to fear going to the doctor.  They will either misdiagnose Bee, scare me to death, or completely brush me off.  So, I've found many of them to be more of a hindrance than a help.

Let's recap:
Our first pediatrician thought I was nuts - huge brush off there
Dermatologist - We saw a total of 15 after presenting at grand rounds at a medical center.  They were no help!
Pediatrician #2 - Finally did allergy testing - no good news there!
ENT - This doctor told me that Bee wasn't old enough for any medications he wanted to put her on and then he told me our crazy diet was impossible to follow.
Immunologist # 1 - not a fan and it was mutual.
Immunologist # 2 - equal parts helpful and depressing.
Immunologist # 3 - Finally helpful

I'm afraid that the doctors will not help us.  I'm afraid of doing this on my own without helpful resources and someone who encourages me.  I want to know that we are doing what's best for Bee and it give me a sense of relief when the doctor and I are on the same page.

With doctors, I first feared that they would not know what was wrong with Bee.  It was obvious that they didn't know what was going on as they continued to misdiagnose her.  But I also feared that they would refuse to listen to me.  I began to research on my own after talking with several doctors who refused to examine the root of her issues.  What I found frightened and overwhelmed me.  I was afraid that the doctors would think I was overreacting.  I was afraid they would not take my questions seriously.  I was right to fear these things because I had some doctors who were quick to dismiss Bee's skin problems and one doctor who outright laughed in my face when I ventured to suggest food allergies and fungal skin infections.  (I later learned that I was correct on both counts....).  It was scary to strike out on my own and begin questioning the doctors.  Several times I told them a bold, "NO" when it came to treatment options or certain tests or medications.  In my heart I believed I was doing what was best for my daughter and I took on the medical community on my own.  I battled so much fear and doubt as I would disregard medical advice and continue searching for an answer to satisfy me.

I did find a satisfactory answer with one doctor and with another doctor we agreed on a plan of treatment that was satisfactory to both of us.  We finally found a doctor who correctly diagnosed Bee and started us on the path to discovering her multiple food allergies.  It was the answer I had been looking for but when those test results came back I knew a completely different kind of fear.  I had a strong suspicion that Bee had food allergies but looking over her test results was devastating.  At that moment I realized just what a battle we had before us.  I had been right and the doctor validated all my fears.  But at that moment, it wasn't what I wanted to hear.  I now had the answer and I knew the results were correct but it's not what I wanted.  No, I did not want these food allergies.  I knew I was right but I so did not want to be right.  At that moment, I wanted everything to go away.  I wanted to believe the other doctors when they brushed me off and told me it was nothing more than severe eczema......nothing else wrong with Bee.  It was just eczema - not the life-changing diagnosis of food allergies.  Funny how my fear shifted and I was now more afraid of the doctors confirming all my fears and suspicions.

I still have moments of fear and of wondering if we're doing what's best for Bee, but I do have peace about our path.  In the end, I was right about the diagnosis and I'm comfortable with our treatment plan.  Currently, Bee is on zero medications, her skin is clear, and she's very healthy.  I never thought we would get to this point during those few years of searching for a doctor who would truly help us.  But I'm grateful we found someone who listens and who cares about Bee.

What do I fear most?  I'm not sure if I'm afraid that the doctors will be unhelpful....Or, if I'm more afraid the doctors will actually be helpful - and in so doing, tell me news that I don't want to hear.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Food Allergies and Fear of Traveling

Our home is our little safe place.  Here we have allergy safe food, we have medicine, we have Epi-pens, we have local health food stores that carry our specialty foods, and we have a few fall-back restaurants where we know we can eat.  This is our little bubble.  I don't like to go too far from our allergy-free home.

So, how do you travel with a food allergic child?  Very carefully with extensive planning!  And with a lot of fear and worry!

We've never flown with Bee and I don't plan to step on an airplane with her anytime soon.  Did you know some airlines still serve peanuts on their flights?  And the gluten-filled pretzels that other flights serve aren't any better.  I can't imagine being trapped in a tightly-packed airplane with passengers munching on peanuts.  There's no doctor, no hospital, and no way out of that place.  I'm terrified to fly with Bee.

Instead, we take road trips.  But those still pose all kinds of problems for us.  When we plan little vacations, I spend just as much time worrying as I do actually planning.

I fear that I'll forget an important medicine.
I fear that there won't be a local health food store that carries her food.
I fear that I'll forget to pack enough food for us while we're on our trip.
I fear that we won't be able to find a safe place to stop or pull over.
I fear that our vacation spot won't have a medical facility equipped for Bee or a staff trained in how to treat anaphylactic shock.
I fear that our hotel will somehow be contaminated and that Bee will react to something in the room.
I fear having any type of problem and being far away from friends, family, and our little safety net of home.
I just fear the unknown that comes with traveling to a new place.

Traveling with our food allergies causes me so much anxiety and fear.  It's also a massive headache to plan for every meal, research every restaurant, call local grocery stores and health food stores, carefully select our hotel, and thoughtfully plan each activity.

The minute the car is loaded and we back away from the driveway I feel fear try to creep in to ruin our time.  Then I have to push that aside and focus on having a wonderful time as a family and trying to enjoy the memories we can make. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Allergy Free Black Bean Chili

Our weather has cooled off just a little bit so we've made a few soups and some chili before the true summer weather hits.  I'm just not ready to give up my fall favorite foods!  Here's a simple meatless black bean chili that my kids loved with chips.

Black Bean Chili
1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes (I put mine in the blender)
2 cans (4 oz size) diced green chilies 
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika

In large saucepan, saute onion in olive oil until translucent.
Add garlic and saute for a few minutes, being careful not to burn.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
Turn to low and simmer for 30 minutes.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Food Allergies and Our Restaurant Experience

Last week I blogged about how we fear restaurants.  Well, consider this part 2 of that post.........

I had the chance to head out of town overnight for a homeschool convention with just Punkin.  So, I took it and we headed out on Friday morning.  My hubby was in charge of the 4 oldest kids while I was gone.  He took them to ice skating and violin, made all the meals, read to them, and even did some schooling.

On Saturday night he decided to take all the kids to a new restaurant that has many gluten free options.  Basically, this place has "weird food" and we thought Bee would be able to eat there.  He talked with them about the allergies and the restaurant staff felt that the Teriyaki chicken would be something they could alter to make for her.  My husband specified that it must be soy free.  They were going to prepare the chicken with the coconut aminos "soy" sauce and cook all the chicken in olive oil rather than soy oil.  It sounded perfect.

He called me while I was driving home, telling me about the restaurant and the Teriyaki chicken that they were preparing for Bee.  My first reaction was to completely panic.  I asked him how they were making Teriyaki chicken if it didn't have soy (I didn't know about the coconut aminos).  He couldn't remember at the moment and was going to ask the server again what was in Bee's chicken.

He called back a few minutes later and told me they had used the gluten free SOY SAUCE!  There had been a "mistake" in the kitchen and they used the wrong ingredient.  I told him to pack up the kids and leave the restaurant to take Bee home and be closer to a hospital.

I spent the next hour crying as I tried to drive home as fast as I could.  My hubby called me every few minutes to give me updates on Bee and how she was feeling.  He kept a close watch on her for the next 4 hours.  Bee never showed any sign of a reaction: she was never itchy, cranky, wheezing, or felt sick.  I made it home just in time to tuck her into bed and check on her.

So, on Saturday she ate soy sauce (the gluten free kind) with no reaction that we could see.  We never planned to do that food challenge (and I don't advocate doing food challenges at home), but it seems that she passed a food challenge.  We will be discussing this with our doctor when we go back!  Maybe she has outgrown her soy allergy (or never was truly allergic to soy in the first place).  Her numbers were always low on soy so I've always wondered how allergic she was.  Now I guess I know.

This little restaurant mix-up turned out ok for us in the end.  Bee had no major reaction and was fine.  However, this is what I fear about restaurants.  They can make a mistake.  They are either that disorganized and lack good communication between servers and chefs or they are just too cavalier to care about following strict protocols and double checking orders.

I did make a phone call to the restaurant because I was absolutely furious.  They had assured my husband that they would be able to accommodate Bee and her allergies and they let us down big time.  I very nicely but firmly told them about what had happened and about the seriousness of allergies.  They apologized but it was clear they still did not understand the severity of the situation.  We won't be going to that restaurant ever again.

There may be a few good things that came from this situation:  
  • We discovered that Bee's reaction to soy is minimal if she even reacts at all.  It doesn't look like this allergy is remotely an anaphylactic one.
  • I have more motivation than ever to cook at home.  Time to get back in the kitchen and create new recipes. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Restaurants and Food Allergies

I'm terrified of all restaurants.  With the number of Bee's allergies (and the severity of many of them), eating out is very rarely an option.  It should be obvious - but restaurants scare me to death.  We often don't find it worth it to eat anywhere.

We once tried to eat at a little gluten free, earthy, health food type place.  That didn't go well at all!  They seemed so knowledgeable and accommodating over the phone.  We ordered Bee some gluten free spaghetti with some veggies and they put cheese in her pasta!  It was a miracle that I was the one who cut up her spaghetti and that I actually noticed the little strings of melted cheese that had been stirred into her pasta.  When I confronted the staff they were totally apathetic.  They asked me, "Ohh does she get itchy or something?"  I'm not sure I was even able to answer them.  No, she doesn't get itchy.  She could die.  We didn't eat out for months after that experience.

When we do feel brave enough to eat out, I always call ahead and talk to the manager and, if possible, the chef.  You can usually get a pretty good idea of how allergy-friendly a restaurant is by those conversations.  Once I had to explain to a restaurant manager that butter is in fact dairy.  Another time I had to explain that gluten was not glucose and that our allergies had nothing to do with diabetes.  And these are people in the restaurant industry!  Crazy!  We didn't eat at those restaurants.

Thankfully, many restaurants are rolling out a gluten free menu and are becoming more aware of food allergies.  We have had a few experiences eating out that made me relax my death grip on the EpiPen just a little bit.  Some of the managers, chef, and staff were so sweet to listen to all our allergy concerns and work to find the safest option for Bee to eat.  So, in the past 3 years, we've eaten out a few times - not many but I'm hoping that one day most restaurants will be able to accommodate those with multiple food allergies.  I'm always encouraged when I talk to a restaurant staff member who is educated about food allergies and the severity.

But, when we need an emergency meal we usually drive through our local Chick-fil-A and order the same meal every time.  Bee eats a grilled chicken filet (no bun) with fries and a lemonade.  It's not exactly healthy but it helps when we're short on time or if we're out of town.  Our new restaurant stop is our local Chipotle where Bee can eat the burrito bowl (taco salad) with rice, beans, chicken, and veggies (if only she'd eat the veggies!).  Those are our two allergy safe restaurants that we've found.  We haven't branched out much beyond those two.

For now, we'd rather just eat at home.  Then I don't have to worry about cross-contamination or any mix-up in the kitchen.  I know exactly what's in the food and where it's been and who prepared it!

Restaurants also bring out the irrational fears in me.  The last time we went to a restaurant these were my top 2 worries - that the bathroom door handle would be contaminated or that a server would drop a tray, spilling food on Bee.

I was afraid for her to touch any of the door handles.  Bee is an independent little preschooler and she wants to "do it myself" so that's a problem sometimes.  I tried to jump in front of her before she opened any doors.

And then at our table I sat her in the middle away from the walkway where the servers passed by with trays of food.  I almost had a heart attack when we walked near the kitchen entrance because I was so worried something would be spilled on her.  Wow!  I need to relax but I don't see that happening anytime soon!

Restaurants are scary places!  I think we'll stay home as much as possible for now!  I'll take the dirty dishes and messy kitchen if it means safety and peace of mind.........

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Allergy Free Lemon Cherry Muffins

We've branched out and tried cherries and they are another safe food for Bee.  Here's an easy breakfast idea with dried cherries and lemon.

Lemon Cherry Muffins
2 cups flour blend
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp egg replacer whisked with 4 T rice milk
1 cup original hemp milk
1/2 cup olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup dried cherries

Dice the dried cherries.

Combine flour blend through salt in a large bowl and whisk well.
In a separate bowl combine the egg replacer mixture through the lemon juice and zest.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened.
Gently fold in the diced cherries.

Pour into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.
Let cool on wire rack.

*Makes 18 muffins.


I Heart Nap Time

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Epi Pens and Fear

I am terrified of the EpiPen.  The only thing that terrifies me more than an EpiPen is a Twinject.  Why?  It is impossible to tell which end to use and then you have to take it apart for the second dose.  If you're in a panic because your child is going into anaphylactic shock and you're not sure which end is pointed at your child - you might inject yourself.  Not that I've done that or anything (it was Prince Charming who did........his thumb hurt for weeks)!

Ok, so the EpiPen scares me.  It can mean only one thing - that my child can't breathe.  I am scared of everything the EpiPen represents.

There are few things worse than seeing your child struggling to breathe.  I know the Epi is life-saving, but who wants to stab their kid in the thigh for ten seconds while holding them down? 

To be honest, I'll do anything to avoid using the Epi.  I have steroid cream and Benadryl tablets.  I always try those first and then I sit and wait for them to start working.  Using the Epi means an automatic trip to the ER and that is an all-day ordeal with steroids, IV's, and argumentative doctors.  Even though our doctor has encouraged us to use the Epi whenever we feel it's necessary.  If in doubt, use the Epi she says.  But I don't want to!  I don't want to ever admit to myself that the reaction necessitates the use of the Epi.  

I don't ever leave our house with Bee unless the Epi is along.  The few times I've forgotten, I've turned right around and headed home, heart pounding the entire way.  I check and double check to make sure it's with us.  I've gotten downright paranoid about it.  Every time we're out as a family I end up asking my husband, "Do you have the Epi?" about a hundred times.  And every time my heart stops until he says yes.  I can't stand living in this type of fear. 

But I think I fear the Epi most because it's a reminder.  Everywhere we go I have our bright pink Epi bag tagging along.  I'm never free from it.  Sometimes I live in denial that we even need an Epi.  Surely Bee's allergies aren't that bad, right?  Do I have to cart our meds everywhere we go?  Seeing our little medicine bag snaps me right out of my denial every time.  I don't want the Epi to be necessary.  I remember life before this kind of fear; I want that life back. 

I'm terrified of the EpiPen but I am more terrified of being without it if we need it.  It's become a very unwanted part of our lives and each time I see our bright pink Epi bag attached to our diaper bag, my heart breaks a little bit.  I think of Bee and how I want her life to be free from the constant fear and worry, but that's not possible with the Epi as a glaring reminder that there might be a time her little life depends on that EpiPen. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Food Allergies and a Fearful Life

When you parent a child with life-threatening food allergies, you are often crippled by fear.  I go through a never-ending cycle of emotions.  I battle fear to break through and experience a small ray of hope, to have it crushed by sadness, to despair in frustration, to arrive back to a place of fear.

I have an entire list of things that I fear.  Yes, I've made a list and it's not even an exhaustive one!  I plan to blog through each item on my list:

Fear of the Epi-pen
Fear of restaurants (and when that fear is realized)
Fear of traveling
Fear of doctors
Fear of being misunderstood
Fear of separation
Fear of emotional damage
Fear of exclusion
Fear of the unknown
Fear of failure
Fear of the future

I have a feeling I'll never be off this emotional merry-go-round of the allergic life, but I've worked to accept our life.  I'll always have a little fear, some sadness, and maybe frustration as I search to find hope.  But the one thing I can have right now, the one emotion that can pervade my thoughts and remain constant, is peace.

I can have peace because I know the One who is peace.  I have no idea what tomorrow holds, but I can keep slowly walking forward with the assurance that I will never walk this route alone.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ultimate Blog Party

I'm joining the tail end of the Ultimate Blog Party and linking up with lots of other fun bloggers!

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

Welcome to the Hive!

What's our story?

We are a family with 5 small little people who keep us busy every waking moment.  Our middle child has multiple severe food allergies.  For the first 8 months of her life she was undiagnosed.  She had constant rashes and skin infections and she began to lose weight and many of her developmental milestones.  I knew something was very wrong with her but the doctors brushed me off and we were left with unanswered questions.  Our daughter stopped sleeping and eating and started to lose weight rapidly which added to our fear that something was wrong with her.  I kept searching for answers and after 15 different doctors we had a diagnosis of severe food allergies.  That day was such an exciting day to have an answer but it began our very overwhelming and sometimes scary adventure of caring for a child with life threatening allergies.

Our daughter, Bee, is allergic to multiple foods (and a few other things).  Here is her current list:

wheat (and all grains containing gluten)
sesame seeds (and all other seeds)
nuts (especially almonds)

I started this blog after she was first diagnosed.  Hives in the Kitchen was my outlet when I was feeling frustrated or discouraged about the allergies.  Then the blog became a way for us to keep family and friends updated on Bee's condition.  And now my blog is a way for me to connect with other members of the food allergy community for mutual support and encouragement.

I share our stories and frustrations, new products we have tried, and some of the recipes we've created for our kids.  This blog is my place to chronicle the challenges we face as well as the ways we've learned to cope with the allergies and to keep our daughter safe.

We have a houseful!  Meet our crew:

Curly - age 7 - She is our oldest and is allergic to dairy and eggs.

 Tiger - age 5 - He is the only boy in our house and doesn't seem to have any significant allergies.

Bee - age 4 - She is the reason for our blog and is anaphylactic to many foods on her long allergy list.

Ladybug - age 2 - She is our busy little toddler who also seems free of any allergies.

Punkin - age 5 months - She is our newest addition who has severe eczema but tested negative to food allergies.

Our family resides in the Texas Hill Country where we homeschool, spend our summers at the pool, have competitive family game nights, and cook up allergy safe treats together.

To read more about Baby Bee you can click on the Baby Bee tab at the top of the blog.
The "Honey Pot" page lists all the recipes found at the Hive.

Some of my most popular posts are:

Allergy Free Soft Pretzels
Ants in My Pants
Food Families
Allergy Free Lemon Zucchini Muffins
Interpreting our RAST Results

Our current favorite recipes are:
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
Baked Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes
Mediterranean Chicken and Lemon Soup
Creamy Chicken Pasta
Dijon Maple Chicken
Chocolate Granola Bars
Pea Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies
Maple Glazed Oatmeal Cookies
Carrot Cake

And a little disclaimer:
I'm just a food allergy mom and everything posted on this blog is my own opinion and should not take the place of medical advice.  The recipes and ingredients mentioned on this site are safe for my family and have worked for my allergic daughter.  They may not be safe for everyone with similar allergies.  Please consult your doctor before trying a new ingredient or a different recipe.

Happy Birthday Bee!

Guess whose birthday it is?!  Yes, Baby Bee is turning 4 

Our little imp is so excited for her birthday!  She ordered a cinnamon bundt cake for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and chicken and wild rice for dinner.  Ohhh, and she wants chocolate cake for dessert!

Every year on her birthday I think back to the day she was born and the excitement of our tie-breaker child.

Then I remember her awful first year of life when she was sick and miserable and we were exhausted, frustrated, and without answers.

Year 2 began with a little more hope as we had a diagnosis but we were so overwhelmed with her allergies that we barely knew how to begin.

Her 3rd year was full of exciting breakthroughs as she had less allergic reactions and her skin rashes lessened.

Today she is clear of the rashiness of her eczema, she has gained weight, and we feel a little less overwhelmed and a little more at peace with her diagnosis and with our daily challenges.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Allergy Free Oatmeal Pancakes

Here's an easy weekend breakfast!  I've had so much trouble with pancake recipes but this one was a success so we have a new weekend tradition!  
These are really hearty pancakes that have a great texture.  I love the oatmeal flavor!

Oatmeal Pancakes
1  1/2 cups quick oats
2 cups original hemp milk
1 T lemon juice
2 T maple syrup
1 cup flour blend
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 T baking powder
1  1/2 tsp egg replacer whisked with 2 T hemp milk

Mix the oats through maple syrup in a large mixing bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

Stir together the flour blend through baking powder in a separate bowl.
After the ten minutes pour the flour mixture and egg replacer mixture into the large mixing bowl and stir well.
Let rest for 3-4 minutes and then cook on a greased griddle.  I used the 1/4 cup to scoop the batter onto the griddle.
Flip the pancakes over once they start to bubble and form a light brown crust.

*I double this recipe for our crew*


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How Donuts Ruined My Day

Did you grow up in church?  If you did, you just might associate church with donuts.  At our church there were donuts in nearly every room on every Sunday.  You could not escape the stickiness! 

I used to simply ignore the donuts but now I view them as a threat.  Who knew that church would become such a scary and dangerous place in light of food allergies?!

Thankfully our church does not serve donuts every single week.  For that I am very grateful.  But we did recently have a disastrous donut experience.

For daylight savings Sunday, our church served donuts in the children's ministry to help out all the poor parents who were trying to get their kids out the door on time that Sunday.  We were one of the many families who were running a little behind that morning.  I didn't remember about the donut policy and I just assumed that the allergy free room was just that - allergy free or donut free. 

Can I just stop here and send out a little reminder?  When you're a food allergic parent, never never assume.  Always be prepared and just plan for the worst.  It's just much easier (and less disheartening) that way.

Anyway, we walked into the children's department and headed for Bee's allergy free classroom (they serve Rice Chex which is a safe snack for all the kids in the room).  We were stopped by one of the workers that morning.  She informed us that the class was already eating donuts. 

I went through several emotions in just a few moments. 
Shock - What on earth?
Fear - What if Bee had been dropped off in that room?
Anger - What is wrong with people? 
Discouragement - Does no one take this seriously?

Bee went to our class with us that Sunday because I wanted to keep her as safe as possible.

But it totally ruined my day and I had to leave our class early because I was starting to cry.

Yes, the food allergy stress still does get to me.  Sometimes I'm just blindsided by the flood of emotions and the hopeless feeling.  It's isolating and lonely.  It's a life of fear and worry.

I'm not really sure what happened that Sunday.  I don't know how or why this "mistake" happened.  But it could have been life-threatening.  It served as a reminder that I am always on duty as Bee's advocate and that I can never become complacent in being proactive.

Now I'm struggling with a solution.  I will never feel safe their again if such a huge mixup could happen.  I feel that Bee's condition was not respected and I feel very misled.  The allergy free room was anything but on that morning.  So, I don't know how to proceed.  I am tired of being the allergy free broken record - "Is that safe?  Is food served?  Did you wash your hands?  What are the ingredients?  Are you sure there won't be any food?"

We have food allergies.  I know you forget.  I'd love to forget.  But Bee's life depends on remembering.  Those annoying safety precautions - they are life-preserving for the food allergic kids. 

I'll never look at donuts the same way again.  Who knew something so small could absolutely ruin my day?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Food Allergy Funny - Hey Girl....

This is so true of me!  I needed a laugh today!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Allergy Free Pea Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

We made a slight variation on our granola bar recipe and it was perfect!  These might be even better than the original chocolate version.  The kids have asked to eat them for breakfast!

Pea Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

1  1/2 cups GF rolled oats
1  1/2 cups Rice Krispies or Crispy Brown Rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup pea butter
2 T Earth Balance Soy Free
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (and more for sprinkling on the top)

Mix the oats, cereal, and salt together and set aside.
In saucepan melt the brown sugar, honey, pea butter, and Earth Balance until it just begins to bubble.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Then pour over the dry ingredients and stir well.
Add in the chocolate chips and stir.
Press into greased jelly roll pan.
Sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on top and press in slightly.
Put into freezer to chill until mixture hardens.
Remove to slice and then store covered in fridge.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Oral Immunotherapy

Yea or Nay?

Here's what Katie Couric learns..........

Here's what the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology says.........

Here's what I learned from our doctor.........she's not confident in the treatment.

And here's what I'm going to do about it.............nothing.

I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing because it works and Bee is safe.  I'll keep watching the research reports; I'll keep asking questions of our doctor; I'll keep praying for healing and for treatment.  But I don't think I could bring myself to put Bee through that treatment and the risks. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Allergy Free Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes

I decided I wanted something salty and sweet.  The first thing that came to mind was chocolate covered pretzels.  So, since we can't eat any chocolate covered pretzels (unless I make them), I decided to make a cupcake with chocolate and pretzels!

These cupcakes have a pretzel crust on the bottom and are so rich!  They were a really unique blend of salty and sweet and were a big hit at our house.  They sure are messy though!!

Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes

Pretzel Crust
3/4 cup Earth Balance Soy Free, melted
3 T brown sugar
2  1/2 cups crushed pretzels (I put mine in the food processor)

Spray two muffin tins.
Mix ingredients together and press 1 T of mixture in the bottom of each muffin tin.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes

2 cups sugar
1  3/4 cups flour blend
1/2 tsp xanthan
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1  1/2 tsp baking powder
1  1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp egg replacer whisked with 4 T rice milk
1 cup original hemp milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Whisk together dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
Add egg replacer, hemp milk, oil, and vanilla and mix on medium speed for 1 minute.
Stir in the boiling water.  (This batter is super thin and runny-this is the way it's supposed to be!)
Pour into muffin tins on top of pretzel crust.
Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.
Cool completely on wire racks and then frost.

*Makes 24 cupcakes

These cupcakes are awesome but if you just want your chocolate fix you can make them without the crust.  Just use 1 tsp of salt in the recipe.


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