My name is Jennifer and I am the mom of two incredible children. Our life as a family has taken a few changes throughout the years- graduate studies, moving, moving again, growing… but none of those experiences changed our lives the way food allergies did.
When Penny was only 7 months old, an unexplainable rash started covering her body. It was at that same time that she was being introduced to the wonderful world of solid food. Although most of her baby food was homemade and she was still breastfeeding, that rash was always there. Appointment after appointment, we couldn’t figure out what was going on. The only explanation was eczema, which according to her doctor, seemed to be common in children her age. After Penny turned one, we gave her a cup of milk, and minutes after, her face was covered in hives. It was then that I realized that Penny is allergic to dairy (milk protein)- now it made sense, I had dairy in my diet and was passing it to her through my breast milk. After seeing her doctor and then an allergist, we were told that Penny is not only allergic to dairy, but also severely allergic to peanuts and needs to avoid most tree nuts.
Penny’s diagnosis changed our world. At first it was overwhelming because we had no idea what having food allergies really meant and we didn’t know how to handle them. What can she eat now? Dairy, peanuts and tree nuts seemed to be ingredients found in almost every food that we eat. Reading labels became everything. It was exhausting in the beginning, but nevertheless a necessity. It has taken hours of asking doctors, searching online, reading books and articles, and talking to other moms of children with food allergies to know what we know today.
It was right after the winter break of 2014 that Paulo started showing gastrointestinal symptoms when he consumed dairy products. After a hospital admission, in which doctors thought he had gastroenteritis and a few other doctor visits, he was diagnosed with an intolerance to dairy products. At this point, we know how to avoid dairy completely which has made his diagnosis easier to understand.
Giving up dairy, peanuts & tree nuts wasn’t easy at first, but with hard work, patience and dedication we were able to achieve it. After that, our challenge lies in finding people around us that are understanding and empathetic. This lack of understanding comes, I believe, from a lack of awareness. After two years of Penny’s diagnosis, and searching for a local support group without success, the idea of creating this blog came to my husband’s mind. It is our intention to create more awareness through this blog. We intend to share news, recipes, recalls, organizations, other blogs, and many more resources concerning food allergies.
I hope that as you join us in our journey, our experiences serve as a way to create awareness for more people going through the same situation.