Food Allergies: A Personal Experience
- 11 months ago
Did you know food allergies occur in about 2% of adults, up to 8% in children and 10% for infants in Australia and New Zealand? We know these figures are too high and more awareness can be spread to prevent children and adults from suffering with food allergies. Food allergies can be surprising, especially when you haven't experienced a reaction in your lifetime. A food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts poorly to a type of food or ingredient which can be harmless or fatal. But, when it’s happening to your child - that’s when things get tough. In this article we talk to Bri, our Head of Marketing, about her experience with food allergies, her children and how it has impacted her day to day life.
What experience have you had with food allergies?
None until I had my first baby. He was 100% breastfed but would scream during feeds, we’d try to express milk through a bottle and he would just scream in pain. We were seeing a paediatrician weekly because there were just so many symptoms including no weight gain, vomiting, screaming in pain and rashy skin. Nothing we tried was working – I felt helpless and so sad for our little man. This went on and on. Eventually a girlfriend of mine who’s daughter has allergies prompted me to make a direct appointment at an allergy clinic. It took a while to get into the allergist so, after this conversation, I’d gone on my own elimination type diet to see if there was any improvement. I cut out – dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, and gluten. Within 2 weeks we saw a HUGE improvement. Less crying, better sleeping and rashes beginning to look better . Then after testing we found out he was allergic to dairy and soy which were some of the key things I was eating.
How has this experience impacted your life?
It was a lot at the time. But I genuinely feel like this experience has made us so much more conscious as a family of what we put into our bodies and the impact allergenic foods play on the gut. After going through our intro to allergies I delved so deeply into the role of great quality fats, probiotics, quality food down to the soil it’s grown in, we switched to grass fed, pasture raised and organic produce. My husband says all the time that although it was a stressful experience, it has genuinely shifted our mindsets around health and wellness for the better. We are all healthier because of it. And I totally agree, our kids are all healthy and so aware of what they put into their own bodies – we are always having conversations about how foods make you feel. Our goal isn’t to restrict the foods our kids eat but more so educate them on how they might feel later. We don’t eat preservatives, added sugar or fillers and are super conscious about getting great quality foods into our bodies.
What do you do to make nutritious, allergy free food decisions without compromising on taste and enjoyment?Honestly I feel like it’s so easy now compared to how it was 5 years ago when we first began this journey. There are so many great options and substitutes. It’s becoming so common for people to be aware of fillers and preservatives that are included in foods. Some tips I have for parents of children with allergies:
- We always go everywhere prepared – every party I will take a cake alternative that they boys will be so excited about!
- We never frame it as ‘you cannot have that.’ We say ‘remember we don’t really like to eat that because it makes your tummy feel like X, or makes you feel yucky – how about we try this instead’
- We do have very special ‘treats’ instead i.e. a matchbox car if the situation is going to be really difficult for the kids. If there is a pinata at a party and everyone is picking up all the lollies when the boys bring them over to us we’ll say ‘oh my gosh well done! Would you like to make a swap – I have a very special new car you can have instead!’ That way they don’t feel like they miss out and still get to participate.