The photo's a bit blurry but it used to be the stuff of my nightmares--peanut butter! No, my son has not grown out of his allergy, not yet at least.
I've been away for several days on a family road trip and decided to take a break from posting on Food Allergy Buzz during that time. It seems like I haven't written a post in months! Many families new to food allergies wonder how they'll ever go on vacation or eat out again. To be sure, things change when you or a loved one have a life threatening food allergy. I think it is fair to say that the more foods you are allergic to, the more challenging eating away from home (and at home!) becomes.
I always feel fortunate that we only have to avoid nuts and peanuts. I think we may have it easier than some of our food allergic friends. As the years go by, I have noticed time away from home is less and less stressful because I feel increasingly confident in my ability to protect my son. At the same time, however, I am aware that my trust in others, especially restaurant staff, is even lower than it used to be.
We stayed at a Marriott Courtyard and ate breakfast in their lobby dining room. The main offering is a breakfast buffet--clearly not an appealing option for those with food allergies as there are far too many opportunities for cross-contamination. You could also eat a la carte, and we were glad to discover unpeeled whole fruits, packages of yogurt and individual packages of cereal. The cereal worked perfectly for our purposes and the rest of the family was content too. My non-allergic son pointed out packages of peanut butter (like the one in the blurry photo above) in the jelly, jam and sugar caddy on our table. I almost don't like to touch the package since it contains our "arch enemy", peanut butter. The little packages were nestled so neatly beside the jellies and jams. They look so harmless and yet every time we eat out, peanuts and nuts are on my mind during the entire meal.
Do I enjoy eating out the way I used to before life with food allergies? No, I don't. I'd be lying if I said I did. I think I am getting better at it, though, because I really want my son to enjoy it and not be afraid. I want him to be informed and live life to its fullest. I don't want food allergies to stop him from enjoying going out or going out of town. They do make us much more careful about what we eat, where we eat, and who prepares our food. When you think about it, given all of the problems in the U.S. "food supply" over the last year, being more careful is not such a bad thing. We eat much better than we used to, so much so that my cholesterol level is better now in my late 30's, than it was in my mid-20's!
We made it through the annual family road trip and now we are barreling toward the start of the school year! Time to get our safe snacks ready for those unexpected school celebrations and start thinking about those birthdays. Where did the summer go?! Hope you have a wonderful rest of your summer.