Sunday, May 23, 2010

Packable, Easy to Find Individual Items

I'm going to list :
Minute Rice "ready to Serve" rice (2 pack; microwaveable)
Motts Applesauces
Jello cups
Cranberry (in raisin like packages)
Enjoy Life cookie packs (2 little cookies each, but eminently packable for lunch)
Cereals in a cup: Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops-- many 7-11s have them (convenience store in NE)
Instant cereals: Oatmeal and Grits-- makes for a great snack and most hotels have coffee pots that one can use for making hot water
Baby Food in jars-- don't laugh, they are terrific for older kids as well-- lots of nutrients and easy to carry around
Rice Dream in individual "juice" boxes-- protein in a box, plus a drink
Rice cakes
Enjoy Life Protein bars

Oh-- and I recently went "shopping" at a chain drugstore that has some food items: We can't eat yogurt, but they had, in their refrigerator section:
  • fresh salads in containers
  • individual containers for cut up vegetables
  • containers of cold Jello cubes
  • deli meats in packages

I did very nicely!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

School Trip preparations

yup-- my kid's off to Shelter Island for some rest and relaxation in the form of kayaking and hiking and cleaning up a camp for summer use--Class Trip!
These juniors could use the time off, but the kitchen--although extremely cooperative--cannot feed my son, so I am sitting here thinking of what I can make and pack and put into ZipLocs and label--stuff that won't taste gross after two days, and stuff that at least approximates dinner and lunch. They'll all be too sleepy to care at breakfast.
So I figure lunch on the bus is easy; then steak strips with some sort of cooked veggie and those individual RICE CUPS by Minute Rice--BTW Delicious and EASY and PACKABLE!!
Protein bars (Enjoy Life-- although more like dessert than protein bar) rice cakes, fruit leathers, individual applesauces (thank you Motts)
and .... ask me tomorrow when I finish cooking.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


headline on the front page of the NewYork Times yesterday(5/12)--
"Doubt Cast of Many Reports of Food Allergies"
I'm REALLY frustrated.
In that one headline, years of hard work getting people to believe that food allergies exist--Zip-- out the door.
No matter that the article says the doubt is cast on SELF-REPORTS, not diagnoses. Nope, most people glancing at the paper will say: "see, all those people complaining about peanuts are really just overreacting, like I thought..."
even though:
  • Not one researcher connected with any of the major food allergy medical institutes: Jaffe Center in New York, Duke University, Johns Hopkins... was quoted or even spoken to
  • title of original JAMA piece was called "Diagnosing and Managing Common Food Allergies"
  • Recent study from PEDIATRICS citing increase in food allergies was never mentioned
  • CDC studies which demonstrate statistically signifigant increases in food allergies in children never cited

oh so frustrating!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

the FAAN conference in Tarrytown was great-- so many people who GET IT and great people to meet and exchange stories with. Didn't hurt that my 17 yr old rocked the place with his presentation on how to eat out at restaurants--even with his laundry list of allergens.
Met people who make the walks happen, support group leaders, funny parents and scared parents, all sorts of folk who want to make this work.
heard about Daiya "cheese" a vegan product which actually melts!
felt great being among friends and community and all the amazing people from FAAN--you know who you are.
look for more on : small packable prepackeaged foods... question I got and wasn't on the top of my game to answer.

Monday, May 3, 2010

FAI(Food Allergy Initiative) food allergy luncheon last week was phenomenal-- lots of money raised and real hope offered for lowering risk of anaphylaxis and food allergies in general. Some items are already in FDA human trials (phase 2 clinical)
So wow --lots of energy and wonderful people to meet-- movers and shakers from the midwest who are getting Epis on the ambulances there. The HUGE Ming Tsai poster-- to be put in restaurant kitchens etc-- so at least servers and restaurant workers will have heard of food allergies!!!
so much great stuff.
This weekend is the FAAN conference in NY area-- again, lots of community and good resources and information abound. More later.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

S t r e s s

I realized recently that it is stressful to have a food allergic child. Now, don’t think me naive, I have known this all along as I pack up food to send to our vacation destination. Or wonder if the class trip will provide refrigeration or whether the new packaging of some item means the recipe has changed.

But I am not the type of person who admits stress easily. Nor am I the type of person to catalog my woes to other people. I blindly go where no man has gone before.

Except there are a lot of people out there who have “gone before.” There are others who are in the same situation, who can give you support and vice versa. Maybe it’s an occasional phone call with a new suggestion for packable lunch. Or a friend who notes she’s heard a particular product is good (thank you Rebecca!).

I will never forget when my son was first diagnosed with food allergies and I was in a state. I was probably in many states: denial, shock, panic, Ohio (just kidding). But I will never forget one friend’s advice. She told me: Make a list of the foods you CAN eat. This advice was golden.

Starting off with a positive plan makes everything else flow more easily. Of course I knew what our family had to avoid, but what could we enjoy? Shifting the focus –widening it really—allows the bigger picture to become clear. I think that stress happens, for me at least, when the focus narrows and all I can see is the one droopy flower and not the whole bouquet.

Back then, after I got off the phone with my friend, I picked up a pen to make the “CAN EAT” list. I immediately felt better: More in control. More able to make everything work. More able to smile. Our list grew from baked chicken and rice to a full-size cookbook of Italian favorites!

That’s not to say that I don’t still freak out sometimes. I do. I still stand in front of the refrigerator, feeling dazed, thinking “now what?” I still get anxious when a school trip looms or a favorite product is taken off the market. Stress happens everywhere, and especially around food allergy where the stakes are so high—even forgetting safety, there’s everyday nourishment, new situations, and the everyday challenges of going out with friends..

So I repeat: It is stressful to have a food allergic child. And I vow I will try to practice what I preach: I will ask for help. I will reach out to others—friends, food allergic pals, brothers and sisters.
Shift your focus. Widen your vision. Open up and let in someone else’s advice and experience.