What was the one experience that completely changed your life?

Asked: What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

 

Oh… well this is the essence of my entire blog. An experience that not only led me to the highly under-appreciated world of food allergies, but also to the lifestyle that will surely leave me and my family living a healthier, longer life!

I remember standing in the pediatricians office when we got told that our boy had indeed had an allergic reaction to dairy. We gave him a seemingly harmless food. – He was just starting to eat solids and so we did as most parents do and ran to our local grocery store to see what fun foods we could buy and try. Trying to keep it “safe” we picked out some sort of yogurt bite from the baby food section that was easily dissolvable. Yes, this highly used company made a dairy based nibble food and advertised it for “supported sitters”. Since we had a “sitter” we thought, for sure, this would be a great start! – This seemingly harmless food landed us an emergency visit to our pediatricians office and, after that day, introduced us into a whole new way of thinking, eating, living.

As the doctor went on about the ins and outs of what I would need to do from here on out my head was spinning. I think if you were standing there looking at me you could probably see it! I was going through, like a list, all the stuff about my life/our lives that would have to change. All the food that was no longer allowed in our home. All the foods that I consumed on a regular basis that I couldn’t. I thought about all the foods I ate all my life that my child wouldn’t be able to enjoy.  The list was endless.  I let my thoughts go from there on to worries about the safety of my child. I wanted to know what the worst case scenario would be. The best case. How long would this last? …Like I said… endless!

This, of course, led to endless hours of research.  Feeling rightly obligated to protect my little one the best way I knew how. I was bound to outsmart the cruel world of allergies and make my best attempt at giving my child a normal life. Even as dramatic as it was when we found out, it didn’t beat the troubles we would have to face as our baby got older. He is still only a toddler now, but even with just a little insight to living with food allergies your eyes are opened to all the future challenges we are bound to face. Is there going to be a daycare that is going to be safe for my child? Is he going to make friends easily or will he be the kid in the corner that everyone is afraid to touch? Will he be responsible enough to avoid his allergens or will he, like many school age kids with food allergies, succumb to the pressures that come along with trying to fit in.

Weeks after we found out and things were settling down I went back to doing my normal research on my laptop: How to lose your after baby belly! Not being a huge fan of exercise I read just about everything I possibly could that would give the most results with the least amount of effort…{Don’t laugh because I am NOT the only person that tries to succeed by this angle!} Most of my research led to me the same answer… get off my lazy ass and work out. So I did. Slowly, of course. It also lead me to joining a program that teaches you the ins and outs of actual healthy eating. Not like the western diets that are believed to be healthy. This was another life changing moment that would alter how me and my family thought about and consumed food.

With out getting into too much nitty-gritty about the whole discovery process on what we would keep in our diets and what we wouldn’t,  I will bring you to where we are today. We have learned to eat our foods as close to the “caveman” style as possible while still making it enjoyable. First off, its super healthy. We also feel better. I have to admit I successfully lost all my baby weight and then some! Resulting in a very happy me! Second, when it comes to Blake’s allergies {which is what led us down this road to begin with} it is the safest lifestyle we can live. It is the second BEST thing I could do for my son besides offer him unconditional love! When I took out all the overly processed junk food we were eating and replaced it with whole foods and meats, I not only starting promoting a healthier path for my child but I made the transitioning stage non-existent for him. He wont have to break himself of bad habits and toxic foods and learn to like healthy foods because he will already have a grand appreciation for them. They will be his normal.

So back to the question I was asked…

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

The cruel discovery of food allergies led me to the beautiful life me and my family live today. I guess it is safe to say that when one door closes another door opens. We have learned to take all the good out of an otherwise crappy situation. I feel truly blessed to have learned all I have.  Learning to embrace this whole new way of life will, no doubt, be an experience I will appreciate for many years and hopefully my child will do the same. 

-Jennifer

Dining in with some friends!

Do any of you know of a family with allergies? Have you ever noticed a hesitation when you invite that family over for dinner?

Our family, and I’m sure so many other allergy families, has been in that uncomfortable situation! Torn between wanting to join in on the fun and social gatherings, but scared because you have to look out for anything and everything allergy.

My awareness to how many people really didn’t understand allergies didn’t hit me until I was an allergy mom myself. I was among those who didn’t know a thing about allergies and would have never even thought twice about it. So don’t feel bad or beat yourself up for not stressing about it! Just be aware! And maybe my blog will help in those situations!

That hesitation you may get after inviting someone over is not meant to be offensive… At least not in my mind. That hesitation is more likely that person trying to find a way to tell you about the allergies that they have to avoid and ask if you would be willing to change your entire dinner menu to suit them. That hesitation is more than likely a person afraid to inconvenience you! So do we politely decline…?

There is no way of knowing if a family you have invited over has a food allergy unless you ask. And let’s face it… Unless you have experience in the situation that question isn’t likely to cross your mind! But when you do come across a family who will let you know, it’s always appreciated when you make an effort to let them know that you are aware! And open to talking more about it! Here are a few tips for both parties:

If you are inviting-

Ask what foods to avoid
Ask if they have a favorite meal that they know is safe {who doesn’t like a new recipe?}
Ask them to bring a dish { Either a side or desert, maybe?} – why not make it a group effort!
Ask what they do to prepare allergy free meals and if they have any tips
Finally, reassure them that you will be cautious while making the meal and that you are happy to have them over!

If you are invited-

Don’t feel bad about making it aware that you or your family member have to avoid certain foods
Ask if maybe they would like to do dinner at your house to avoid any inconvenience
Offer to help with the meal {Maybe you can incorporate clean eating too!}
Offer to bring a dish
Offer to bring food from home for the person with allergies- this may help you relax a bit;) and alleviate any stress on the ones who extended the invite
If you use a certain website for allergy free dishes- pass it along
And always keep a stash in your purse/bag for those moments you may need them

These are just some of what I consider to be helpful tips. I hope they help both parties and I want to extend my gratitude to those who don’t have to deal with allergies, but are kind enough to make the effort for a friend:) Thanks for checking me out and thanks even more for following me! Happy Wednesday!

-Jenn