You really cannot ever be fully prepared for what comes along with motherhood. When my first baby was born, we noticed that he was not a happy camper, and he was later diagnosed with a milk allergy. If milk was in anything he ate or drank, he would have a reaction within the day, and it could take up to three days for the inflammation to subside. Due to this, our entire eating habits changed. Over the years, our family has transitioned from no dairy, to vegetarian to plant-based. This was initially to help our son, and he soon was quickly able to recognize the foods he could or could not eat. He knew to ask at parties if foods had dairy in them, and if he could not get a definite answer, he’d stay away.
I knew this was something he got used to over the years, but it wasn’t until his 6th birthday party that dealing with allergies took a unique twist. Our son wanted to invite a friend of his from school to his birthday party, however he had a very long list of severe allergies, so he was usually unable to eat at friends’ parties. My son was set on us making him an allergy friendly party, right down to the cake so his little friend could partake in the entire party. So we did.
This meant a few things. First off, we had to prepare our kitchen for the food. Ensuring that there were no allergens and we did a thorough clean. We checked all food labels, and even went further to make sure if there was an ingredient that we were not quite sure of, to look it up. We have learned over the years that milk and milk derived ingredients can be hidden in unique names such as:
Casein & caseinates — ammonium caseinate, calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed casein, iron caseinate magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate, sodium caseinate, zinc caseinate, Hydrolysates — casein hydrolysate, milk protein hydrolysate, protein hydrolysate, whey hydrolysate, whey protein hydrolysate … just to name a few.
So after we did the “triple check” -- once at the store before buying it, once when you get home and put it away, and again before you serve or eat the product, we were off to the races. We made some yummy treats that all of the children could enjoy, and a cake with non-dairy icing! Yum!
As a mom of a child with an allergy, I am constantly trying to learn new recipes to keep meal time fun. But what is equally important is to be aware of how to keep my kitchen safe for my son and his friends with food allergies. Recently we had the chance to join expert home cook and allergy awareness advocate Thea Vanherwaarden and Team NASCAR driver/ Food Allergy Canada ambassador, and NASCAR driver Alex Tagliani to learn some new allergy- friendly recipes and tips, which as a fellow allergy advocate, I wanted to share with all our mom-tribe today.
Melissa’s favorite safety tips when dealing with a food allergy:
Read food labels each and every time you buy something. Manufacturers can change their production process and alter their products at any time
Cook meals that are free of the person’s allergens first, using separate cookware and serving utensils. Keep the food covered in a space where it will not be splashed or come into contact with other foods.
Use two different cutting boards: one dedicated to allergy-safe meal preparation.
Wash hands often with soap and water
*Note: Even with all your kitchen precautions, you may still come in contact with your allergen. Be sure to always be prepared by carrying an epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times.
Disclosure: Epinephrine auto-injectors are indicated for the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis. This product may not be right for you. Always read and follow the label.
A refreshing addition to breakfast or any meal, easy and quick to make. The fresh fruit and seed toppings are simply gorgeous. Download this recipe!
Inspired by west coast culinary fusion, this sushi calls for chicken instead of fish. Let your creativity loose for inspiring additional filling ideas. Download this recipe
These chicken tacos will have any guest asking for more. A pop of spice from the chicken is cooled down perfectly with a creamy chickpea and avocado crema. Serve with a side of traditional black beans and you have yourself a Mexican fiesta. Download this recipe!
If you know of a mom who has a little one with an allergy or you are a mama trying to cook for someone with an allergy, share this blog and head to foodallergycanada.ca/SummerofTAG for more allergy-friendly recipes and tips on how to stay safe in the kitchen.
This post is sponsored by Pfizer Canada. All views and opinions are my own.