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.
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.
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....