The following article was written by Patricia Biesen and posted on Jen’s Gluten Free Blog. It is appearing here in the Sacramento Gluten Free Food Examiner as valuable information for the many readers with children not only adhering to a gluten-free diet but having to deal with multiple allergies..
“Sometimes I feel like the Cat in the Hat with a fish and a rake on the top of my hat as I hop on a ball. Juggling my family’s multiple food allergies can be quite a circus trick. Today we have a guest blogger who can empathize with my situation and has some fantastic tips for dealing with multiple food allergies as well as gluten-free living. She also provides links to some very useful websites that I for one intend to make use of.
Patricia Biesen started out in life as a visual artist and then one day discovered her multiple food allergies. She writes, “I had to use my creativity in order to well . . . eat . . . and now I’m hooked. I love the creativity of food. Food is similar to art with its shapes, color and textures. I love the challenge of finding foods that are yummy but also allergy safe.” Anyone who can claim that they love the challenge of finding allergy safe foods has my complete attention. And so, without further ado, here are Patricia’s tips:
1. Eat real and natural food. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where the healthy food (produce) is, not the center aisles where there are more manufactured products and labels to read.
2. Have an emergency protocol in place. Initially this takes time but having a plan will also help cut down on time spent worrying or panicking during an emergency. First, know everything there is to know about your child’s medication and how to use it. Make sure the entire family knows exactly where it is kept. Assign one family member the task of calling 911 when there is an emergency. For more information contact the ELL Foundation.
3. Make meals out of a slow cooker such as simple meats and veggies. Stephanie O’Dea (a.k.a. Crockpot Lady) has some great gluten free recipes.
4. Go Tech! Gluten Free Passport app is available for moms on the go. You can personalize these allergens for yourself and others. Choose from 176 menu items customized to your allergens.
5. Write it down. Keep a list of foods your child can eat as well as recipes that work well. You may want to invest in a separate recipe box and journal. Also, keep a list of good foods and bad foods in your purse so you always have a quick reference. I even had my list printed on a business card and laminated at Kinkos.
6. Break out the blender. Smoothies and protein shakes make a nice quick breakfast. Blend an allergy free protein powder (like brown rice protein), your favorite non-dairy milk, add some agave or fruit and you have yourself a nice quick breakfast. One quick recipe is 1-2 cups of almond milk, 1 tbs of brown rice protein, a frozen banana and 1-2 TBS of soy nut butter (if there’s a peanut allergy), and a dash of cinnamon. You can even make a big batch and keep a shake or two for later.
7. Get to know your local restaurants and develop a relationship with them. Initially this takes time but eventually it is worth it because they will know Mrs. So-and-So’s kid has a peanut allergy and you won’t waste time (or energy) worrying about your order.
8. Keep allergy free quick snacks on hand: Veggies with hummus or guacamole, cut up avocado, fruit, applesauce, lettuce wraps (use big lettuce leaves instead of tortillas and wrap your meat leftovers) and of course there are plenty of allergy free granola bars and products on the market.
Here are a couple of terrific gluten-free food manufacturers to check out:
Enjoy Life Foods
Larabars are sold at Trader Joe’s at reasonable prices.
9. Invest in a few new threads. Allergy Apparel is a clothing line that speaks for your kids when you cannot. Plus, the t-shirts and hoodies are really cool.
If you need to send your child to a school party and you will not be present, a shirt that reads “No Nuts or Milk” can really be a lifesaver.
There are a bunch of great food allergy sites that offer support and information:
Food Allergy Mamma
While this is not a food allergy site per se, it does offer a lot of great advice on managing a successful household. Fly Lady
Without Wheat or Gluten by Jules Shepard
Go Dairy Free by Alisa Fleming
In addition to writing the Chicago Eats Allergy Free blog, Patricia is a PAC (Protect Allergic Children) consultant with ELL. ELL is a non-for-profit organization that stands for Eating, Living and Learning. She assists families, schools, and daycare centers in their quest to thrive in an allergy safe environment.”
For more info: Jen’s Gluten Free Blog
Patricia Biesen at Chicago Now