The New “F” Word: Food Allergies

Last updated on September 8th, 2014 at 12:32 am

Two mothers arguingIt seems that food allergies are almost becoming a source of hostility between those who have them and those that don’t. Where have the simple days gone that a screaming match between school mothers was just about where to park in the car line? It’s undeniable that many stories have popped up in the news over the past few years that tell of a school outburst between mothers and miscommunication about a class party. Then it is followed up by outraged crowds of people taking a side, explaining whose child was affected more by the outcome. This has become mainstream- this is our society’s newest form of inadvertently swearing at each other. And for what?

Food is Not the Issue Before you bite my head off for this one, just hear me out. I, too, have found myself asking time and time again why is food always involved – at parties, as rewards, at sports and social gatherings. But food is also something that brings us together and we do use it to celebrate. Food is not the issue – it’s what is in the food or the type of food and the lack of knowledge about how we need to be safe around those foods. Ultimately, yes, it is absolutely safer to have a food-free event but also try to remember that there are so many safe and allergy-friendly foods so why not share those instead? Allow your child to be a child.

Cause and Affect Think about it – what is the root cause of the problem? It’s simple: miscommunication. This is everywhere, all of the time, not just when it comes to food allergies. It can happen at the grocery store when they won’t accept your coupon or when you are driving and someone decides that they need to drive in front of you before you are ready for them to be there. But next time, I ask that you stop and think about it first. Rampaging is easy but preventing the rampage can be even easier.

The Purpose Why take the time to count to ten and try to remain calm? Two words: your children. While you are off ranting and raving (even if it is to be an advocate for them), have you ever stopped to see how it is making them feel? Food allergy mothers tend to be on the defensive all of the time because they have to be – it’s a matter of life and death. But how does your allergic child feel? Do they understand why the argument happened? Are they just as enraged as you are, being pulled out of the classroom in front of all of their friends while you stomp down to the Principal’s office? I am willing to bet that all they wanted to do was stay to play the games that were planned or to see what the craft was. It’s good to be protective but also be proactive.

Protective Vs. Proactive Have you heard the saying “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”?  This is what makes the difference between being a protective parent versus a proactive parent. Stop and think first: does this other parent even understand why you are so angry? Maybe they had a mommy morning just like you; completely spaced and forgot to tell you about the M&M’s that are there today. Maybe they had a reminder note but their other child borrowed it to draw on and it disappeared. Or, maybe they didn’t think it was that important. Why would they? They do not live your life and they don’t understand. Either way, explaining and discussing will be better received than an automatic, high-pitched mommy fit. Find out the facts first.

When in Doubt, Be Polite As angry as you may be, try to stay polite. After all, have you ever heard someone complain about a mother who was just too polite? No. Have you seen a mention in one of those articles where the non-allergic mom states “No matter what I did, she was just trying to be nice and I didn’t like it.” Uh, no! Take a deep breath, swallow your pride and discuss it with them. Educate them and work with them. I cannot guarantee that this will work on everyone but I can guarantee that the children around you will never remember that event as the day that turned into front page news. Make it a day when your child will turn and say to you “Mom, do you remember when so-and-so’s mom brought in those donuts and you explained why it was so dangerous for her to do that?”

Words, just like foods, can be life-altering to anyone. Like foods that we are allergic to, there is no taking it back – once an allergic food is eaten or a word is said, the damage is done. We cannot control every situation and we cannot change what has happened in the past but all of us can make what may still happen better. Be careful with your words just as you are with your foods. Nourishment is not just something for our bodies; words can also nourish our very soul.

“How would your life be different if…You were conscious about the food you ate, the people you surround yourself with, and the media you watch, listen to, or read? Let today be the day…You pay attention to what you feed your mind, your body, and your life. Create a nourishing environment conducive to your growth and well-being today.”
~ Steve Maraboli, The Power of One.

I choose to be a healthier person.

 

About the Author

Tracy Bush is the founder and President of Nutrimom, Inc., also known as Nutrimom - Food Allergy Liason, a consulting business that specializes in providing guidance and support for anyone that has been diagnosed with food allergies. Tracy helps others with simple steps, such as finding safe, wholesome foods to supplement allergenic foods, where to shop and how to maximize their budget while adjusting to their dietary change. You can view additional information about what she does as well as her new e-book "The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies" at www.AllergyPhoods.com. Tracy is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

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