Wednesday, June 16, 2010

That's Nuts!

After Miss M's successful food challenge this morning, we went grocery shopping.  I had a few things on my list, but I also wanted Miss M to pick out something special - something she'd never been able to eat.  As we walked down each aisle, it dawned on me how much has been 'off limits' to us over the years.  When we were checking out, I told her to pick out any candy she wanted.  She picked Skittles (nope, not M&Ms or peanut butter cups!) and a snack-sized box of Goldfish for her brother.  (I never buy the 'snack size' of anything since we pack waste-free lunches, so this was an exciting opportunity!)

For those who live with food allergies, this post probably won't contain many surprises.  For those of you know don't live with food allergies, I just thought you might be interested in seeing the grocery store through my eyes.  I am accustomed to ignoring entire sections of the store because very few (to none) of the items is safe for someone with peanut and/or egg allergies.  That's what was normal - and now we are learning a new normal. 

Since Miss M's diagnosis, we have always had to read labels very closely.  Candy, desserts, and cereals are some of the the biggest 'offenders' when it comes to items that 'contain' or 'may contain' peanuts or tree nuts.  And then there are the 'made on equipment that also processes' or 'made in a facility that also processes' warnings, too.

The candy aisle - full of peanuts or potential cross-contamination

The cereal aisle - the organic section, which happened to have a big empty shelf today.  Even the 'healthy' cereals are full of nut warnings.

The cookie and ice cream aisles.  Even snack crackers (cheddar crackers, for instance) and popsicles (the fruit kind) can carry nut and egg warnings. 

Because so many items were off-limits to Miss M - and therefore our family - I began cooking more from scratch. I found that I really love baking.  So, baking from scratch should solve a lot of the problems, right?  Well, there are a lot of things on the baking aisle that are off-limits, too. 

And this has eggs.

Another tough thing to give up - and find a substitute for - was my favorite on-the-go snack when Mister J was a toddler.
The granola bar section.

Every corner I turned was an eye-opener today.  Y'all, even pretzels can carry a nut warning.  Until you read the labels, you really can't imagine....

So, what will change now?  Well, we'll put a few things back into our diets that haven't been there for quite a while.  I'm excited about having peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs back in our diets.  We splurged on candy and yogurt-covered raisins (potential cross-contamination warning!) and fruit snacks today, but those will continue to be special treats as they always have been.  I do think that I'll continue to bake, because once you are reading labels for nut and egg ingredients, you notice all of the other, less-than-healthy ingredients, too.  Soy butter will still be a lunch-time staple, especially during the school year.  Miss M's classmates will all be together again in the fall, which means she'll still be in a nut-free classroom.  I'll still read labels, I'll just be on the lookout for different things.  And tomorrow, I think we'll have scrambled eggs for breakfast.


Heather said...

Sounds delicious! I'm so happy for Miss M. If only our diets were like hers sometimes (by choice of course). We would all be much more healthy.

Ann Kroeker said...

Freedom! We dealt with lactose intolerance for a while, but the daughter who had it seemed to grow out of it.

So my kids have had the blessing of freedom, and if faced with a wall of candy, I think they would choose Skittles, too!

Those must be very inviting candies!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. I don't even remember how I was linked to your page. But what I can say is, this is the 2nd "congrats" I wrote tonight to fellow bloggers regarding to the outgrowing of peanut allergy. We are, here, still keeping up our hopes and prayers.