What I Learned at the FAAN Conference

Sunday marked the beginning of Food Allergy Awareness Week and I’ve seen a lot of great information out there: FAAN’s page dedicated to this week MSNBC Video featuring Nicole Smith and her son A Twitter party on Monday evening – search #FAAW to see what people are tweeting about this week. I’m planning a few more posts of my mine own this week but, today, I’d like to share what I learned at last month’s FAAN conference in Baltimore. It was my first FAAN conference and I found it to be very informative. It featured Dr. Robert Wood, Dr. Eyal Shemesh, Gina Clowes of Allergy Moms, chef Cybele Pascal and Eleanor Garrow and Chris Weiss, both from FAAN. Here are some of the tidbits I took away from their presentations: *A genetic predisposition to allergies can indicate a tendency towards developing an allergy but not necessarily point to a specific allergy. In other words, just because I was allergic to milk as a child doesn’t mean my child will also be allergic to milk (although in … [Read more...]

When A Child Begins to Understand Food Allergies

We were at my sister’s house for dinner. My nephew asked for a glass of chocolate milk. So my son, who is allergic to milk, asked for one as well. Before we could respond, my three year old nephew said this to my two-and-a-half year old son. “You can’t have milk. It will make you sick.” My sister and I looked at each other with proud parent eyes. After two years of us frantically making sure that the two boys – just eight months apart – didn’t switch sippy cups, her son understood that there were certain foods my son couldn’t have. And then the moment was gone. My nephew kept repeating himself to the point of toddler taunting. My son replied “don’t talk to me like that,” which is what he says when he’s told something he doesn’t want to hear, usually when he’s being reprimanded, only in this case it was appropriate and a little bit disheartening too. Up until this incident we haven’t really explained to our son that he has food allergies. We didn’t think he understood. We gave him a … [Read more...]

For the Love of Elmo

My son has fallen in love with Elmo! I took him to a children’s concert recently and his red furry friend was there greeting everyone. I thought my son would be afraid of the adult size Muppet but no, oh no. He was infatuated. I literally had to hold him back so the other kids could take a turn. Afterwards, the rusty wheels in my mommy brain began to turn and I thought it might be fun to plan a family trip to Sesame Place for his birthday. I went online, gasped at the prices, and then checked the menu options for my food allergic boy. I was disappointed by what I found online. We would be permitted to bring our own food (my preference) if it was medically necessary, which it is, but did I need a note from his allergist as proof? Ugh. And if I elected to buy food at the park (their preference), the employees were happy to help with menu selections. I’m not sure how much faith I want to put in the teenagers working there for the summer. My experience has been that people who don’t … [Read more...]

Treeting Myself

Saturday was all about taking time for me. I planned it that way. Weeks ago, I booked an appointment at a local day spa to use a gift certificate my husband gave me for Christmas and I RSVPed for the second Momz Share event. What’s Momz Share,  you ask? Its an initiative started by Jennifer Gerlock and Lara DiPaolo to create networking events for bloggers – essentially an opportunity to meet fellow bloggers offline. It was a fabulous opportunity for this newbie blogger to meet other women with a similar passion, like the event’s hostess, Jessica. I was also delighted to meet Theresa Luongo Pinelli, the chief sweetness officer (don’t you just love that title?) of Treet.  Theresa is passionate about using fresh ingredients from local farms to bake miniature cupcakes and other sweet treats. She also makes gluten-free and vegan (i.e. no milk, no eggs) goodies to perfection – a skill this food allergy mom/wannabe baker greatly admires. But if you’re not into baking and looking for a … [Read more...]

Going Dairy-Free

At the close of Food Allergy Awareness Week, I’d like to share my experience eliminating dairy from my diet. I went cold turkey from milk on New Years Day 2009 to determine if my son was allergic to it. I did a little research beforehand (www.kellymom.com is an excellent resource for breastfeeding moms facing any bf challenge) and knew that it would take two to three weeks for the milk proteins to work their way out of my body. Those two weeks were extremely difficult. I felt like there was nothing I could eat because, as I began reading food labels, I discovered that milk hides in a lot of foods. I distinctly remember making dinner one night and, just as I was adding in the last ingredient, realizing that the gravy I was using contained milk. I cried. I screamed. I thought about throwing the dish I had just made against the wall. What was I going to eat now?!!! This new diet was extremely frustrating. But, alas, it was necessary. My son’s symptoms improved and he was diagnosed … [Read more...]