For many parents, eating their child’s allergen is a source of great guilt. They struggle with whether or not to have the food in their home, with whether their other children should be allowed to enjoy the food, and the terrifyingly large grocery bill for the allergy safe meals. When parents are balancing their allergic child, with their own wants and needs as well as those of their other children, they can often find themselves stuck with no right answer. We have taken a look at some of these issues and have tried to come up with creative solutions. After all, we all do the best that we can, and can still find ourselves stuck with impossible dilemmas.
One of the main reason’s parents worry with having their child’s food allergen at home, is because of the potential danger it can pose. An allergic reaction is a parent’s worst nightmare, and that reality should not be taken lightly. However, with larger families and other people involved it can be difficult to cut food groups out entirely - e.g. dairy. So, what is the right answer? Should yogurts and ice cream be allowed in the home? Or should the home stay strictly vegan?
Well, the right answer is that there is no right answer. There is so much pressure from parent’s to be perfect, but it is important to remember that we are all human and nobody is perfect. The key is to find something that works best for you and your family. If avoiding dairy is the answer you feel most comfortable with, then avoid it. If keeping the dairy ice cream out of reach of your allergic child is what works best, then that is also fine. The most important thing to remember is to have an open conversation with your child and make sure that they know the dangers of their allergies and how best to keep safe.
Picture this: one of your children is allergic to fish, your other child won’t eat anything other than fish sticks. What do you do? This is obviously an extreme example, but the idea remains. How do you choose between your children? Many parents feel a lot of guilt over this. They fear that by taking away their children’s favorite food, their other children will feel ignored. On the other hand, by continuing to have the food in your home, parents are worried about their food allergic child getting into the wrong foods.
Again, the most important thing to remember is that the decision you make does not reflect on how much you love your children. We are all looking to do the best that we can, and sometimes that means making decisions that hurt one of our children. In this situation we recommend keeping the lines of communication open. No matter which child you end up appeasing, it is important that the other child knows how important they are to you and that this decision in no way reflects your relationship with them.
For many families, their grocery bills are one of their biggest bills. For parents of children with food allergies, this only increases. Allergy safe food is significantly more expensive than other food, and it doesn’t cook as well – which means the potential for more waste. So not only are you spending three times the amount on that vegan cheese, but you’re risking your children not being willing to eat it. Given this, many parents struggle with whether or not to cook with allergy safe foods for the whole family or only for their food allergic child. On the one hand, parents don’t want to single out their child for being different, but on the other hand, the price of feeding an entire family on allergy safe food is astronomical.
Here is where we reiterate for the third time that there is no right answer – only the right answer for you. This situation truly depends on your child. Some children would feel ostracized with being fed a different dinner every night, others wouldn’t even notice. For some, allowing them the freedom to choose what they want instead of having to eat what everybody else is eating, can even feel like a treat. Know your child, know yourself, know your family and you will be able to make the right decision.
For parents of children with food allergies, there is a lot of guilt. On top of all the regular pressures that come along with being a parent, they are also forced to deal with the added pressure of the food allergy community. But that is why we are so adamant about there not being one right answer. Sometimes that mom that seems to have it all together, wouldn’t survive a day in your home. Plus, social media has a way of making things seem more perfect than they really are. So, give yourself a break, because you’re already doing an amazing job!
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA