"Hi! I am River! I am a Vegan. My precious children and I avoid gluten, corn, soy, nightshades, sugar, peanuts, unethically farmed coffee and chocolate, and plastic!*"
I will be honest. I have been guilty of thinking, "Dude, just get over yourself" I mean, how could these people possibly be allergic or intolerant to that many food items/groups, right? Evolutionarily speaking, it puts them at a huge disadvantage! What is life and food but to be enjoyed?!
I am becoming that person. This is what happens when you have uncharitable thoughts. Karma.
To date, our family's allergies/intolerances look like this:
Mr. F.: corn, soy, walnut, raw peaches, barley, hazelnut, rye, plus a need for a low-sodium diet.
Lady Susan: gluten (not really an allergy but whatever)
Finn: corn (possibly? Not conclusive.)
Enna: strawberries, peanuts, and tree nuts.
It turns out that strawberries and peanuts (both!) caused Enna's chapped cheeks. So at least temporarily, those two foods are out. (I guess there is a chance that she might grow out of them?) Then, the other day, I decided to give her a cashew piece to eat. She is either going through a picky eating phase or a teething phase. In any case, she doesn't really want to eat. I would love to be all, "Whatever. You will not starve. You will learn that this is the food available, and you will eat it as your hunger dictates, yadda yadda yadda." But then, she is up for hours during the night unhappy and not sleeping, until I give in and nurse. I will admit. I am less cavalier about my own sleep. So, like it or not, I have found myself pushing food at bedtime so that she will sleep better (and, truthfully, I will sleep better.) Although it is technically too early to introduce nuts, we eat a lot of them around here. I also thought that it would be a good source of fat and protein since she goes through periods of shunning meat. So, what they hey, I gave her a piece of cashew. She ate it. She started to eat another piece (1/2 nut total) and then started fussing and grabbing at her mouth. At first we thought that the sharp pieces of nut were hurting her gums, but then we noticed a blister forming on her bottom lip. Next, she started rubbing her face and that broke out in a red contact rash from the nut oils on her hand. Her face started swelling too. Luckily, her breathing was never effected and Benadryl was able to counteract the itchy mouth and swelling. Later, as I was putting her to bed, she threw up her dinner.......twice, until all the cashew pieces were out. I say we have a pretty clear cut allergic reaction here.
|"Thanks for this really unflattering cell-phone picture of me all swollen for the masses to see, mom."|
So yay! Tree nut allergy. I guess it isn't too surprising since Mr. F. is mildly allergic to some tree nuts as well. I was just hoping that they would be the same tree nuts. Too convenient, obviously. Currently, we are avoiding all nuts around here until we get her tested for allergies and determine which nuts are problematic. Even then, we might need to keep her away from all nuts depending on her sensitivity due to cross contamination, shared equipment, and all that jazz. I won't say I am not COMPLETELY BUMMED, because that would be a lie. We eat a sizable amount of nuts in this household.
I met a lady at the farmer's market this past week, and she mentioned in passing that someone in her family had to avoid gluten AND dairy. She made it sound like the greatest of all burdens. Did I know that there was no place local to get good gluten- and dairy-free products?! She had recently moved from California where she had THREE stores in her neighborhood that she could shop at and find all of her needs. Obviously, I have not learned my lesson, because more uncharitable thoughts came to mind. I felt like schooling her saying, "Dude, I have FIVE major allergies represented in my household. YOU KNOW NOTHING!" Just for that, I will be struck down with another major dietary adjustment.
(But seriously, we have had a major change every year for the last 4 years. I am constantly having to revamp everything. Tell me I am justified in a bit of self pity here.)
*Not a real person