Amazing and Atopic

A blog by a mother to a daughter who amazes her, daily, and who also happens to be "atopic", having food allergies, eczema and asthma.

Selena is a winner of Top 25 Food Allergy Moms - 2012

What's your best advice for a mom struggling with cooking for children with food allergies?

First, take a deep breath! There are many great resources online and you can make substitutions for pretty much everything! Start with simple ingredients and work your way up from that point. Luckily, my daughter is not a fan of "mixed foods", so I don't have a need for fancy lunch or dinner recipes. As for baking, there are so many allergy-friendly cookbooks available, but a wonderful place to start, when stocking your kitchen cupboard, is Cybele Pascal's book, The Allergen-free Baker’s Handbook.

Remember that there are plenty of children in the world that eat the same food all the time, so don't feel too bad if your child eats the same rotation of foods. If you feel like you're in a rut, cut the foods into fun shapes or arrange them in entertaining ways on the plate.

What's your favorite allergy friendly product?

Sorry, I can't name just one...

I am a big fan of Spectrum Organic Shortening. Ener-G egg replacer is great for baking, as well.

I also appreciate the Enjoy Life brand, for having products that are free of the Top 8 allergens and also free of casein, potato, sulfites and sesame!

Ian's is another great allergy-friendly company with frozen foods like Alpha Tots, which my daughter loves.

What's the biggest challenge raising a child with food allergies?

I think one of the biggest challenges is raising awareness and getting others to understand the severity and reality of life-threatening food allergies. I believe, as we ask for their compassion and understanding, we have to reach out to them with the same compassion and understanding, as they are simply unaware of the gravity of things and it's hard to comprehend something so life-altering, unless you live it. Even we that live it, can sometimes be overwhelmed by the far-reaching effects of life with food allergies, so it should not be too surprising that it can be hard for a non-affected person to comprehend it all.

However, we must continue to educate and advocate, one-on-one and group-by-group, so we can whittle away at the lack of knowledge and understanding until everyone can empathize with the most basic compassion and realize that all we do is for the wellness and safety of our children, which is always our ultimate goal.