I am super picky when it comes to protein shakes. I cannot stand to have a meal replacement that tastes like total ass. Not to mention spending anywhere from $5-10 on these shakes can really break the bank. I am not a nutritionist. I am not trying to sell you anything. Just thought I would share my latest protein shake recipe that also happens to be allergy friendly and amazing. One more side note before I tell you what is in it.
Allergy Friendly means it is free of the Top 8 Allergens Wheat, Eggs, Dairy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, Fish, & Shellfish.
I do not want to contaminate my blender or chance my little nugget exposed to any kind of deadly food allergens. So I decided to try out some vegan protein powders, most of which are disgusting in my opinion. But after trying several and doctoring my concoction I actually look forward to my protein shake meal replacement. I use VEGA ONE All in One Plant Based shake in Chocolate. To make taste even better I use chocolate coconut milk, the SO Delicious brand is awesome and easily available. I was so scared and hesitate to try Sunbutter. Call me crazy but after knowing that peanut butter could literally kill my kid I avoided the aisle completely and did NOT want to even try this alternative.
After meeting with my friend Allergylicious she encouraged me to rip off the proverbial bandaid and try it. Thank God I did because now we are hooked! Sunbutter is also school safe and encouraged as a peanut butter alternative. She has been such a HUGE inspiration for me to continue to cook with confidence, while keeping my baby safe & eating healthy.
Add 1 scoop of the powder, 12 oz of the coconut milk, a heaping spoonful of Sunbutter and blend that in my Ninja blender until smooth. The final ingredient is ice. Add as much or as little as you like, blend and serve. Also I love these larger straws for smoothies and shakes. Like I have said before eating is supposed to be enjoyable so switch it up. If you like whey eat that, if you like almond milk use it. I am just sharing what is SUPER safe, easy and delicious for me and my family.
Hope you enjoy! See the links below for easy ordering and reference.
I talk to my college bestie non-stop thru text nearly everyday and usually one the phone at least 3 times a week. We talk about everything and anything under the sun. Somehow we always end up talking about food. She said “2 of my favorite words are ‘chips & dips.'” And without a doubt I agree! We love us some chips & dips. We will eat pretty much anything associated with the snack.
We are going on family vacation together next month and I am always looking for new recipes to try out. Knowing our love of chips & dips I wanted to test out some allergy friendly recipes so that our younger son could enjoy and participate.
Like I explain in my “Food Is a Gift, Eating is a Celebration” post, food is a BIG deal for me, my family & friends. Her husband is a fabulous cook. We actually go to the grocery together when we are at the beach. Since we do most of the cooking with as much bacon as possible 🙂 Anyway onto the YUMMINESS!
My mom has always made what we call “Pink Dip,” since I was a little girl. And what once was a treat around Christmas time is now a constant staple in my family. Traditional “Pink Dip,” is made with Pace Picante and light sour cream. Easy peasy, stir and serve with your favorite chips. Corn tortilla or Reduced Fat Ruffles are our personal faves. Our younger son LOVES, I mean LOVES salsa. He cries for salsa. He eats salsa with a spoon at Mi Cocina.
Just another reason he is the cutest little bad ass I know.
“Chippys & Salsa!!!!”
So since he is dairy free I have been looking for some allergy friendly cheese options. Most of which taste pretty gross to be honest. Thankfully I decided to try this Daiya cream cheese which is actually very sweet since it consists mostly of coconut ingredients.
VEGAN PINK DIP
Daiya Cream Cheese
Stir until pink. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy with Chips.
And so it was made and devoured. Since we LOVE salsa I usually have Trader Joe’s salsa, Pace Picante, Rotel, Hell on the Red, Herdez etc. My boys do NOT like chunks so I do a LOT of blending. I also love the unsalted organic corn chips from Trader Joe’s. You can really do a lot with this. I think next time I am going to try and add some crumbled bacon or pork sausage. Obviously this would make it NOT vegan and add some serious fat content. But it would add more protein to the dip which both my boys need.
I did NOT stop there. Once my kitchen is a mess and the sink is overflowing with dishes, I just keep on cooking! Anyone else do that? So I have been adding some new Pins on Pinterest and I saw this idea for a black bean dip. Um yes please! Again keeping this allergy friendly and waist conscious this was right up our ally.
BLACK BEAN DIP
1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
water or favorite salsa
(personal preference to thin it out or spice it up)
1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
1 clove of fresh garlic
juice of 1/2 lime
Himalayan pink salt & black pepper to taste
Blend, scrape & lick the bowl.
I just threw it all in my blender and adjusted the taste. I do not measure ingredients unless I am baking. I just kinda wing it. I added the salsa instead of water and preferred it. The ginger can be very powerful so if you do NOT like ginger , don’t use it, if you have powdered or minced garlic adjust accordingly. Again we ate this with the unsalted organic white corn tortilla chips from TJs but any chips will do. My mom and sis got me into the new hint of jalapeño chips from Tostitos.
Finally is a combo dip. It is often called cowboy caviar here in Oklahoma. BUT mine is allergy friendly and KID APPROVED! The base is black beans, corn, salsa, vegan cream cheese and then you can do whatever you like after that. I love cilantro, my family, not so much. I have added chopped up jalapeño (remove the seeds & wear gloves), onion, tomatoes, adios the cream cheese, add some shredded Monterey jack etc. It is a free for all kind of dip so have fun with it. I love to pair it with some red cabbage on corn tortillas with steak or shrimp. Since trying these dips out I have made this for dinner 3 times. MMMMMM perfecto! I planned on taking pictures of this dish but honestly it was gone in 2 shakes of lamb’s tail. If you follow me on Snapchat I am sure you see all of my daily cooking adventures. @justhappymommy
So that is all for now! Now go pop open a cold Corona Light and share the gift of a good meal with your loved ones.
I am always cooking so look for more allergy friendly and healthy recipes coming up! Also I have some fun & exciting news to share with you all soon!
My latest food obsession is Acai Bowls. They are amazing! There is a local shop here in Tulsa that I love called Ediblend. This is where I had my first Acai Bowl and OMG I have been hooked ever since.
There are only 2 things I don’t like about them: 1) they cost around $8-10 and 2) they are NOT allergy friendly for my little guy.
Soooo I did a little research and decided to go for it and make my own Acai Bowls at home! A few things I found out is that not all bowls are created equal. Some have a @#$% load of sugar in them which I do NOT want or need. Obvi fruit has natural sugar but I did NOT want to add more. Some people may use acai berry juice or extracts, which is fine, but I wanted all the power from the super food and not the extra calories.
Next, I went on Pinterest and checked out some healthy and low sugar acai bowl recipes. Besides the powder, I normally have all of these ingredients at home, so it really is cost effective for us to make them vs. going to buy them. SAVING MONEY HONEY!
The coolest part about acai bowls is that you can decorate them. It is like making art with your food. I do believe we eat with our eyes first. Here are all the ingredients I used to make our family acai bowls. These are all vegan, allergy friendly and delish! This recipe can be changed based on what you like and what you have available.
NO RULES! JUST YUM! Since we cannot have gluten or oats or nuts I use different items for crunch.
Adding granola and a handful of almonds would be ideal!
ACAI BERRY SMOOTHIE
1 tbsp Acai Powder
1/2 cup Vanilla Coconut Milk (substitute coconut water)
2 cups frozen mixed antioxidant blend fruit (substitute any frozen berries)
BLEND until super smooth and a gorgeous purple color
Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries
Again a “traditional” bowl usually has some kind of granola and or nuts which is the best but keeping it allergy friendly.
Like many moms out there ESPECIALLY Allergy Aware Moms we go to any and all lengths to get our kids to eat safely & healthy! This is a SUPER FUN way to get kids cooking and excited about eating healthy. I am going to encourage my boys to “design” their bowls next time with whatever toppings they like. A girlfriend of mine said she treats herself to an acai bowl instead of ice-cream.
I hope you all like my version and be sure to share, comment and like my posts! Thanks for reading!
Just Happy Mommy
PS I got most of my ingredients from Target and Trader Joe’s
So many of my most favorite and vivid childhood memories stem from food.
Whether it be holidays, birthdays or Sundays.
I love food & my family more than anything.
I come from a long line of cooks, chefs if you will. I literally grew up cooking. My dad would wake up with me on the weekends to give my mom a break, and we would watch Julia Child on TV together. The joke is, that is where my love of cooking started.
Around age 5, I was fortunate to spend afternoons with my dad’s mom, Nana, and we called them “Nana Days.” She would pick me up from 1/2 day kindergarten and we would go to Braum’s. Then we would watch soap operas and I would watch her prepare dinner for Papa.
Our Nana was one of a kind. She was especially known for her baking skills. Nana made the best, badest breakfast foods ever! We would come over after church on Sunday mornings and she would have 6 dishes! ALWAYS biscuits, sausage, bacon, eggs then she would have fried potatoes, waffles or cinnamon rolls.
She followed the motto the more butter the better and she cooked with love.
She even had a butter warmer. It was magical having melted butter always on the table next to the salt, pepper and syrup.
“People who love to eat are always the best people. – Julia Child”
We all value the importance of steak, butter and a good glass of wine.
My aunt & uncle are both AMAZING cooks! They both have a gift for cooking and a love for food. My cousin is also an incredible chef. She knows how to run a kitchen in a skirt and she has a killer smile with a don’t mess with me attitude. The title of this post is a quote that they say, “Food is a gift. Eating is a Celebration!”
My mom and her mother are also fabulous cooks. Our favorites on that side include Mexican food, pizza and italian and American classics. MeMaw had lots of practice cooking, seeing how she had 12 mouths to feed including herself!
My MeMaw is the strongest, sassiest and smartest lady I have ever known.
Her smile, her strength and effortless & stunning style impress me daily.
They would have one BIG meal on Sundays and the Hasty Bake was the star. BBQ chicken and hamburger steak. We were always outside playing on the trampoline and swing set. Her au gratin potatoes, pot roast and chili are legendary! You can always count on 3 staples at MeMaws; oyster crackers, sweet tea and coca cola.
Writing these memories down makes me so grateful for my family and how lucky I am to have these moments in time with such amazing women and people.
My mom brings us full circle today. She incorporated the health aspect to our family meals and I am always craving one of her famous dishes. That will be a post in and of itself someday.
I love making safe treats for our little boys. I have had some successes but more epic fails when it comes to baking with out the “normal” ingredients.
Baking without real butter, eggs and flour was something almost sacrilegious in my family.
Well things have changed drastically for our family in the last 2 years and letting go of my way of cooking was one of them. I used to LOVE to watch the Food Network or Cooking Channel. So much so that I would watch cooking shows after work and even while in the hospital after giving birth. Cooking gives me a sense of calm, happiness and accomplishment. It also makes me think of my Nana and how much I loved cooking with her. I miss her so much.
Since the boys are at home with me Tuesdays and Thursdays I try to have at least one day a week that I devote to whatever they want to do within reason. Our outings include but are not limited to going to Target, the carwash, Kids Club, the bagel shop, Meme & Poppy’s, the park and cooking! I started cooking with our older son very early on and he still loves to help me in the kitchen. In fact, he is very territorial.
We make a mess, laugh and listen to jams and usually 3 of the 4 of us like the result. I will be posting some more recipes soon but I want to make sure I have them correct, because let me tell you it is weird. Seriously say this sentence out loud I am not going to bake or cook without butter, milk, eggs, flour, pasta, cheese, nuts or anything that is in the gluten, dairy, egg, or nut family, trust me it is like the upside-down face emoji!
My new slogan for the month is “IM NOT COMPLAINING IM EXPLAINING.”
Just because I tell people about our sons allergies does NOT mean I am complaining.
I am explaining the complexity of the situation and it is hard.
It is like a disability really. It may not be a terrible one to some but non the less it is so sad to see the look on children’s faces when they feel different & excluded. As I have said before we are educating and empowering our son to understand his allergies and own them not to let them own him. BUT we still have to be careful. Sometimes I am cool as a cucumber and other days it gets the best of me. I am SUPER grateful and BEYOND thankful to have such sweet and understanding family and friends.
So to end this post I am so excited to share some of my favorite “Allergy Friendly” Recipes with you over the next few months. Some are simple changes that you can make. Others take a little more effort. I really want to do a “Grocery Haul” video to show you what all we buy and where. Food is expensive, eating out is even more so. We rarely eat out as a family but that is another post entirely. Ok please let me know if you have questions. I love you all for continuing to stick with me and read my blog.
The holidays are now upon us with a week until Thanksgiving and 40 days until Christmas. We are all busy. We all have plans. The hustle and bustle, have to and have nots, the should I or should nots? We all want to act like we have our shit together but come on. Christmas is a bitch and can you believe this weather? Don’t get it twisted. I am not blasphemous, tho you might say, because Christmas is not what it was back in the day. Thanksgiving is the forethought, like a shower or party before the BIG DAY! Some people may not feel it, but I certainly do, to make everything pretty and perfect without showing how I do what I do.
Ok enough rhyming. I suck at it I know. But somehow iambic pentameter was on my mind. I scroll through my feeds like we all do and I see all these things that we are supposed to do. Be thankful. Be Grateful, and Be Blessed. Well aren’t you sick of it yet? I am guilty per usual but I must say that sometimes I want to scream FUCK at the end of the day. I pour my self a ginger ale HA who am I kidding a stiff vodka drink to share with my honey. We look at each other and say “wow aren’t we lucky?” or “not it!”
The reason I bring this up is because of how I am reeling on sharing how I am feeling. I really cant stop the rhyming now. LOL. I hesitate to post about my goings-on because of the judgement and heartache we have taken on. By starting my blog I felt so empowered but somedays I feel like a coward.
To say that we all have stress is a truth, but it is how you respond and process it makes it a weakness or strength. I want to spread love and not hate. I have written so many things that I have wanted to post but I choose the high road and pray for the future.
This morning we went to the Emergency Room. Perry had an allergic reaction. Thankful. Grateful. Blessed. He is ok.
I had made Roman some chocolate milk to go with his breakfast. For anyone who follows me (especially on Snapchat) knows that I make breakfast EVERYDAY as well as lunches and most dinners, most of which are allergy free.
Daddy took Roman to school and Perry woke up late as per usual and was a cranky and demanding two year old. “Chicken & Fries. Chicken & Fries,” he screamed through his paci. I said “Ok, If you eat it I’ll make it.” As I turned around from making my second cup of coffee I looked and I saw it like slow mo from a movie. (Seriously I can’t Stop Rhyming BAHAHAHA.) He took a big gulp from brothers cup which contained cows milk. We both looked at each other and we knew it was bad. His mouth started to water and he started to gag. We ran to the bathroom and he tried to vomit but he just cried “hold you mommy.”
I prayed maybe this time will be different. Maybe he wont react. Maybe his allergies aren’t really true. But before I could pull out the syringe I knew it was happening all over again. I felt so guilty, so terrible, so scared. I told him he had to take his meds. I gave him the Benadryl and he spit it out immediately and we tried again and succeeded.
Thank God daddy came home because he give us a calmness that we needed. Next was the prednisone steroid. He took it like a champ but I could soon see that he had hives all over his lips and was getting sleepy.
I called my mom out of fear and advice she said call the allergist and I did with devise. The nurse was much nicer than the 911 operator and helped guide me to decide what was next. She told me to give him the EpiPen Jr. and I said do I have to I really don’t want to. She said that he was showing several signs of anaphylaxis. I knew she was right but I hated to do this. NO ONE wants this to happen. It was an accident. IT was my fault this time but what happens next. I know how to react. I know the dosage. What if it happens and he doest get the right help. I can blame myself all day long and thrive on mommy guilt but its not about me its about the village we have built.
The village that helps me day and night and especially the people I don’t see everyday were there for me. I know I am a good mother but sometimes you crave the extra praise and reassurance that we all need. Thank you to those who were there for me without prejudice or question.
I am obsessed with my babies, although they are not babies anymore. Boys, 2 and 4 are hard to handle even with the best intentions. I love them to the moon and back. They love their mama more than anything. It brings a smile to my face when they fight over me until I get a black eye or c-section gut punch.
Coming full circle it comes to this. Am I thankful, grateful and blessed? Of course I am. Are you kidding me? But is it harder than it has to be? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. True Empathy is lost among our culture. A mom is a mom is a mom is a mom.
I have said it before and I will say it again I am a mama bear and I know what is best for my cubs. My husband agrees with me. It is hard. It is wonderful. It is love. Love knows no bounds. Until you know the true meaning of love then you will never understand. No one wants to admit they have issues. It shows weakness. But in admitting our weakness we find strength. Strength in the truth, love, prayer and honesty. I hope this does not fall on deaf ears.
Even tho I am absent from posting does not mean my mind and fingers are not firing on all cylinders. Relying on those who love me the most and my tribe of honest caregivers makes me question, revise and relate to all those who may be reading my posts.
Thank you to all who read, understand and believe. We are all #Thankful, #Grateful and #Blessed in our own lives and mind.
We all get down on ourselves. We are tired. We look at the to do list and get overwhelmed. With a new school year starting I have been so emotional. Seeing my baby grow-up and walk into his first day of PreK really hit me hard. He was so happy and excited and I lost it as I was leaving the drop off line. Teaching him has been my job until today. Granted he has been going to school since he was 10 months old but now it’s different. It is real school with a drop off and pick up, packed lunch, a cafeteria, recess and all new faces.
He beams a smile and waves good bye, excited for his new adventure. Meanwhile, baby brother and I lose our shit in the car on the way home. (Yes I’m driving. I know I should not use a phone while moving a motor vehicle.) also I’m an ugly crier and turn the volume down ????????????
I felt so happy, sad, proud and afraid all at the same time as I drove away. Will he be ok? Will he make a friend? Will he eat his food? Will someone bully him? Will he even think about me? Did I do a good job?
So do my emotional episodes mean I have a mental issue? Yes! It is called being a parent! We are all losing our shit at some point. It’s called having a heart beating in your chest. Life is made of peaks and valleys, happy times and sad times. It is not just in parenting. There are ups and downs in marriages, work, friendships and hell even the economy. Point is that we all experience things differently. The only person who can judge us is The Lord.
Yes I know my life is not over because my baby started PreK. I know, trust me I’m getting over it as I find myself writing this post, because I haven’t had a moments peace in 3 weeks since summer camp ended. But, I just care about my child and I want him to be happy, healthy, thrive and glow. I have been praying for him to have a good day and get in the car with a smile on his face full of stories.
When you question yourself as a parent it is a natural thing. It means you care. I struggle with my confidence as a mom and then other days I am like “Hell Ya I am a kick ass mom.” “Pound it dog! Booya! and Holler!”
So here it is the first day of school and as I stare at my to do list, laundry, calendar etc. All I want to do is take a shower and a nap before I go get in the HORENDOUS pick up line 30 minutes before I’m charged a $14 fee.
I know things change. I knew this was happening but actually living it is hard for me. All the new rules, my baby being so independent and being on time is really hard for me LOL. BUT it is good! We thrive in a routine so I am happy that I am being challenged to change. I know its not the end of the world but I do know I’m going to miss this.
I’m gonna want these hard ass F^&* days back. When no one eats what I make for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When no one listens to me to stop splashing and flooding the bathroom. When I need to kiss the boo boos. When my baby crawls up in my lap and says “Mama hold you.” When the boys no longer let me dress them alike. And when we have rainy days cuddling and doing absolutely nothing and they let me kiss their heads and smell their hair.
Trust me I am taking note to cherish this time. We don’t get a lot of time on this Earth so we have to make each day count. But damn it is hard to be a parent in todays world.
For now I tell myself.. The monograms can wait. The perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner cannot be made everyday. The organizing, the cleaning and everything I keep talking about will have to wait.
As “THEY” say “The days are long, but the years are quick.” As I see the calendar fill up I have to stop and think these are the days I will miss. But for today I will sit and write my babies a letter telling them how much I love them. I will take a shower. I will lie down and day dream in my quiet bedroom. The greatest gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones is time. Unapologetically I will proudly give myself sometime “Because If Mommy Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy.”
Since pickup this afternoon he had a great day, made a new friend and learned a song. We had a special afternoon snack, played trains and he helped me cook dinner. After slaving away on dinner, it hits, here comes the meltdown. “I don’t want to eat it! Yuck!” As he’s screaming crying and running around the house losing his exhausted mind. Meanwhile baby brudder is enjoying his special allergy free (gluten, oat, egg, dairy, nut free) lasagna and breaks out in hives.
Daddy walks thru the door as I’m finishing baby boys bath and dosage of Benadryl. Big boy still whining and saying “eating dinner is so hard and I’m not tired.” I look around at the dishes piled high, laundry covering both couches, toys, cups, trains, Chex and blueberries all over the rug…
There’s my exit. I poured myself a glass of wine and I’m hiding out in the bathtub right now adding this to the post.
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, shit is still gonna happen. Just depends if you are gonna pick it up, move on or just sit and cry about said shit. I’m gonna leave this one to daddy.
Just Happy Mommy
My editor was not able to correct all my grammar, run on sentences and cussing. Once again if you don’t like my blog don’t read it ????????????????????
A lot of family and friends wonder what does someone with this many allergies eat? Well at first not that much. A very simple, strict and repetitive meal schedule. Slowly we trying new things that “state” they are safe but I am always weary.
This is what works for us. I’m not an allergist. I’m hoping this list can help other moms or people navigate their food allergies. Cooking and cross contamination are also very serious! Washing pans, cups, utensils etc is important.
Slowly we have started to eliminate the “bombs” in our house. Obviously we are a nut free home. Snacks and other crackers that contain 3-4 of the allergens are what we consider “bombs.” One example is cheese crackers, they have wheat, milk, egg, cheese etc. So when he has one of these its BAD! We have to be very aware and careful if we let our older son have something we are trying to avoid. (like cheese and chocolate milk are very hard.) Not only do we have to keep the house safe for our baby, our older son is like many kids and can be quite a picky and specific eater. We pick our battles. The great news is that our 4 year old is on top of it and knows what is safe and what is not. What big brother doesn’t like to tell their little brother “No!”??? LOL
Also just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s Gluten or NUT free! We say that he’s a combo of paleo and a MEGAN a meat eating vegan LOL. Allergy free or allergy friendly means it doesn’t contain any of the top 8 allergens.
Free from wheat/gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish.
Some are also made without casein, potato, sesame & sulfites.
Here are some of the brands and foods that we often eat. You can get them at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, Amazon or websites. I have included links. On some sites you can enter your zip code and see which stores carry their items.
Enjoy life Foods Enjoy Life Foods
Thankfully he enjoys any and all fruits, vegetables and proteins!!!
He lives on these pouches (read labels some can say contains milk or wheat when you don’t think they do) these are his favorites
He eats anywhere from 4 to 8 pouches of fruits and veggies a day plus a cut up fruit and vegetable at every meal. LOTS of real fresh food. You name it he likes it. Strawberries, grapes, peaches, nectarines, blueberries, raspberries, apples, green beans, corn, carrots, potatoes etc.
(We have NOT found a gluten/oat free pasta that does NOT cause his eczema to flare up so we just don’t do pasta.)
Again he eats a fruit and vegetable at every meal.
These are just a few that I know work for us and our child. Please feel free to comment below with more ideas and suggestions. Again I am not a dietician or an allergist. I am just a mom trying to navigate this life called motherhood and help my children eat healthy foods.
What do you think of when you read those words? Food Challenges
Do you think of an eating contest? A diet? Allergies? Picky eating? Sadness?
As a mom of a child with food allergies it is a roller coaster. Sometimes it’s easier and then it can be harder.
Our little angel is starting to notice, understand and get upset that he is eating different food from those around him. When GiGi comes to visit we usually go out to eat which is dangerous to begin with. She and big brother chose to go to Hideaway Pizza, a family favorite! When the food arrived he looked around at his plate and then at all the pizza on the table. He reached for bubba pizza and we all yelled “NO!!!” His little bottom lip folded over and tears started streaming down his face. He is beginning to notice. He says “I try it.” “Peeez!” Looking at me with such a sad and confused look, it made me hug him tight, carry him away from the table, and burst into tears myself.
It’s happening. We have been pushing it and we need to stop taking him places that are unsafe. This sucks because it starting to get harder and more cruel. We have to make a change but it is so hard. Once you see your baby in pain you want to protect them at all cost. Going to restaurants is an easy go to for all people and Mom’s are no different. So it’s a little more complicated when your child can’t order anything.
Since it’s summertime and we have lots of celebrations, the allergies are at the top of my mind. Bubba and I make special allergy free food and treats so he can participate and feel included. We found out that shaved ice is allergy free!!! (be sure to ask.) Squints and YaYa.
Easy & common things you don’t think twice about until you are a parent of a child with extreme allergies include: cheese sticks, yogurt, Cheerios, pizza, cake, cupcakes, cookies, chicken nuggets, gold fish, and peanut anything etc.
We really do NOT expect anything to change or for anyone to make crazy accommodations for us. This is the world we live in. It’s up to us to protect and teach our kids what is safe for them. But should that include not taking them places out of fear? NO! He just started at a little nursery school and we love it. They take his allergies very seriously and I feel he is safe, comfortable and happy there.
Anytime he has something in his hand that is not safe we used to scream “NO!!!!” Out of fear and now it scares him to tears. We are trying to be calm and say “no baby that will make you sick,” I reminded him that he can’t have those treats or he will get sick and have to go to the hospital. He says “k.”
Food is a big deal in American culture. Sometimes we affiliate it with family, celebrations and even love. When I think “ok I can do this,” then I slip and think,” but I want pizza, ranch, cheeseburger, or queso or a donut.” All terrible food choices I know, but man they are delicious and cheap. I love the idea of becoming paleo and vegan but seriously the execution in Oklahoma is hard and expensive! Yes I am complaining. It’s really F-Ing hard when you can’t have wheat, oats, eggs, dairy or nuts. I go to 3-4 different stores to get all the things we need and like. But I’m starting to not mind as much it’s the new normal.
Today I saw new items from one of the safe brands he can have.
I was so excited I called my mom and almost burst into tears. Sounds absolutely ridiculous but I have been waiting for this brands pizza crust and brownie mix to come to Oklahoma for 10 months. They are “Allergy-Friendly”
This is huge! It’s the little things in life that matter and being able to let him experience them not only brings him joy but all of us as well. When I showed him and big brother all the new “safe” foods bubba said “oh mama that makes my heart go up!!” As he beams his smile and hugs me tight. He is so protective, aware and helpful when it comes to baby brothers food and safety. For that, I thank God. When baby sees his food boxes he is thrilled, claps, smiles and says “Yay!!” It’s the little things that matter.
Of course we hope and pray he will outgrow some of these allergies. But how will we know?
Needless to say I was afraid to take him to get his skin tests. He was scared but he did amazing! I’m so proud of him! He’s mama’s tough, beautiful boy! Please read the next posts for more photos, videos and recipes.
Teaching him that things will hurt him and make him sick is crucial to this process. Empowering him to know he is feeding his body with the best food possible is important for his self esteem. Remember he is only 20 months so our allergy journey has just begun.
We aren’t promised tomorrow or next week or even next year.
Plans make me happy and plans make me cringe.
“So what’s your plan?”
We have been hearing this question for a majority of our lives.
“Where do you plan to go to college?”
“What’s your plan after college?”
“Where do you plan to live?”
“Do you plan on getting married?”
“Do you plan on having kids?”
“Do you have a retirement plan?”
“Health care plan?”
And it all comes full circle again when you are a mom… “Where are your kids going to school? What’s your plan?” We all have a calendar full of activities, events, parties and obligations.
I always had a plan. I was a go getter as long as I could get sleep and some cocktails. As a young journalist you take any job you can get in tv. Then you fake it till you make it. In my case the job was assignment editor. What you ask? Exactly. Think of it like the air traffic controller of a newsroom. You don’t care about them until they F$&@ up or until you have to fill in for them. Basically you plan the news for a living. I made it my plan to master this position and I ended up making it my bitch! RIP deuce desk
I knew I was going to get married at 25 and I did. I wanted to have kids at the exact same ages my mom did 29, 32, and I did. Who knows maybe we will have #3 in 5 years hubby LOL! He’s done I’m still open to the plan. I knew I wanted to be a mommy and raise my family in Tulsa. Always liked the idea of moving away but it’s never gonna happen.
So Here’s the deal. Plans are bullshit. We plan and plan and then plan the plan. Since becoming a mom I have started to sometimes loathe plans. Simple example, kids get sick. Can’t plan that. Although I can usually predict it because we will have some BIG plans it could potentially ruin. Case and point this week. We are leaving for the beach at the end of this week. We have planned this for months and it is a much needed getaway for all.
Come on robbers hope you like stealing dishes in the sink, clothes from old navy and mountains of laundry. My husband always says I should not post that we are out of town for fear we get robbed. But I say the most valuable things we have is our kids and yes we are taking them to the beach too! It’s a family vaycay.
Our little boy has a compromised immune system (for any new readers) and has extreme allergies to food and the environment. So today I took him to see our sweet pediatrician because he has been coughing and breathing rapidly, congested and feverish. We decided since we are leaving town and our deposit is NON refundable, we better check everything off the list.
So we took chest X-rays, nasal swab for flu and throat swab for strep. NO fever, no flu, no strep. Chest X-ray not so good. She called it fluffy. Possibly the start of pneumonia. If you have never experienced a child getting a chest X-ray it is like a mid evil torture device. The tears stream and baby cries mommy until it’s over. As a mom this is one of the worst sounds.
This evening daddy comes home with a bag full of drugs (costing more than my car payment) and we begin our new plan. Our new normal. I will be administrating breathing treatments everyday even after he is done being sick and finished the antibiotics.
A mother never plans for her baby to be sick. A baby who is sick has got to be the saddest and most painful thing. And for a mom who helplessly tells them it’s going to be ok and begging to God to help her child or take their place, it is exhausting.
I see this in my own mother. She shows so much grace and strength while helping me and telling me it will be ok. All the while I know her aching heart yearns for her baby girl to get better. Your baby is your baby. Whether they are 18 months or 31 years they are still your baby after all. Our health is our wealth.
Please click below to learn more about food allergies.
As people we are taught to follow a plan. We thrive on plans. We have safety plans.We have goals. We have agendas. We have tasks, events, celebrations and expectations and obligations.
I kinda hate the saying “it’s always something.” It comforted me until recently. I know we all have pain, triumphs, struggles and things going on. But when someone says “it’s always something,” isn’t that just a nice way of saying tough shit move on?!? Or am I my usual sensitive Sally?!?
I think I have fallen short on some of my promises I made in my first blog posts. I promise to keep it real. Well here’s the real deal I can’t do it all. I can’t be a super me! Everyday I try to get up and be the super mom and a super wife and super friend and super daughter and super sister.
Thing is I’m exhausted and need to realize over and over that
I am enough.
Just me being me.
I can’t plan for everything that gets thrown in my way.
I really admire other moms and bloggers who really have their shit together. Pretty Instagram pictures, lighting, poses and real posts. I have ideas and try, but fail miserably.
I want to keep hustling my blog, my brand and make extra money for my family. That’s why I took this picture tonight. If you can’t plan your posts to promote yourself and your business then do it all in one. I’m a wife, mommy, writer, hustler and swag lover! I hope this makes you chuckle ???? links below
Like I planned on posting about my 60 day beach body reveal well here is the reveal!
I didn’t change shit and I look the same. Chips and salsa erryday! Mommy pops, donuts, smoothies and currently a big bowl of spaghetti! ????????????????????????????????
I wanted to do a cute pinteresty post about how to perfectly pack the family for a beach vacation. At this point we will be lucky if we get to go. I’ve gotten this far… I love this plan from Pinterest and
Stop and think about what you ate today… Cereal? Oatmeal? Eggs? Protein shake? Sandwich? Soup? Quesadilla? Chips? Yep can’t have any of that…
As many of you know our little nugget has severe, life threatening food allergies. He is allergic to wheat, oats, eggs, dairy and peanuts. His reactions are hives, breathing problems and anaphylaxis. They are brought on through contact with the air, skin and ingestion. We are all learning this new way of life and most people do NOT realize the affects and tolls it takes on a family. I do not post this to get sympathy but to bring this to light. Food allergies are real and affecting more and more people.
I did not misspell fair on accident. FARE stands for Food Allergy Research & Education. Over the last few months I have been doing extensive research and educating myself about food allergies and this is the best source of hope for him and our family. FARE is a non profit organization that works towards advancing a cure and funds the Food Allergy Resource Initiative. Some of the statistics are alarming and the stories of these families are heartbreaking and inspiring.
“How Many People Have Food Allergies?
Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies.
This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children (under 18 years of age) in the U.S. That’s roughly two in every classroom.
The economic cost of children’s food allergies is nearly $25 billion per year.
While progress has been made, this potentially life-threatening disease has no cure.”
Let that sink in for a minute. That is just astounding to me.
As a new mom I admit being annoyed and rolling my eyes at the new rules at our older son’s school. No homemade treats. NO nut policy. Everything had to be store bought, cut up and washed in the classroom. The extensive rules and guidelines that once inconvenienced me are now at the forefront of my mind as a parent to a child who could die if exposed or ingests trigger foods.
Like many of you growing up I do not remember knowing many people with food allergies. I recall an email my dad sent me before I was a mom. Its something like how did we survive the 70’s and 80’s? We ate white bread, butter, white sugar, water from the hose, bologna and cheese and soda pop. Hey I love me a good butter and sugar sandwich! Martin Lawrence standup! Mama gonna work it out! LOL
“So why are food allergies on the rise?
According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.
The number of people who have a food allergy is growing, but there is no clear answer as to why.
Researchers are trying to discover why food allergies are on the rise in developed countries worldwide, and to learn more about the impact of the disease in developing nations.
As a mother you obviously never want to harm or hurt your child but with food allergies you feel like its your fault. It started early on with my breastmilk. He had terrible eczema, rashes, bloody mucus stools, gas and severe discomfort passing stools. So I changed my diet, no dairy, no nuts! My supply dropped and we started to introduce bottles and supplement with formula. We had gone down this same road with our first son so I was not surprised. We tried all the expensive formulas until some friends told us just go straight to Neocate. Thankfully that worked and he was ok. Once I started introducing him to his first foods was when I new something wasn’t right. He projectile vomited and was lethargic after his first introduction to baby’s first cereal and oatmeal. Call it God’s grace and mother’s intuition but I never gave him any direct dairy, eggs or any nut butter. But it started to get more complicated when he would have reactions to fruit and veggie pouches that contained wheat, oats, milk and others even if there was a trace of the ingredient. It was not until 9 months that we had his blood tested for food allergies. He broke out in hives from eating spaghetti with red sauce.
The results were tough to swallow. Sorry I could NOT resist that pun. The scale is 0-6, 6 being the highest. These are his Allergy Lab Results:
Class 5 very high positive
Class 4 very high positive
Class 3 high positive
Class 2 moderate
Class 1 low positive
Now that we know what he can eat I prepare EVERY SINGLE meal for him and go to the grocery at least twice a week. He is underweight but he is happy. He loves food and being outside. It is a scary thing to be allergic to food and even the world around you.
Food Allergy Reactions & Anaphylaxis
Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department – that is more than 200,000 emergency department visits per year.
A reaction to food can range from a mild response (such as an itchy mouth) to anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially deadly reaction.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that food allergies result in more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits a year among children under the age of 18.
In the last 6 months we have taken our sweet boy to the ER twice, once by ambulance. He has been in the Pediatric ICU not to mention countless doctor visits and trips to the allergist.
We went to the fair the night before his first birthday with some friends. We left him in the stroller and did NOT let him out or eat anything new. Our older son LOVED it he rode rides and ate tons of sugar. At 11pm I woke up because I heard something on the monitor. My baby wasn’t crying but he was sitting up. I went in to check on him and he was struggling to breath and gasping for air. When he tried to cry all that came out was a horrible barking cough. Needless to say that is one of the worst sounds a mother can hear.
I immediately called 911. I got out the epipen thinking maybe he had a reaction to something in the air at the fair. Waiting on the fire and ambulance to arrive was the longest 6 minutes of my life. Talking to the dispatcher he suggested to follow our action plan and give him the epipen. Daddy was holding him and when I went to give it to him in a state of shock, panic and fear and it went the wrong way, thru my thumb! Yep I stabbed myself with an epipen! @#$% Screaming from pain, shock and adrenaline I was cussing like a sailor and out of my head.
The paramedics finally arrived and we loaded him into the ambulance in his car seat and administered an albuterol breathing treatment. Walking into the ER I saw the same doctor that had helped us just weeks before. I was so thankful to see a familiar face and someone who knew our history. They monitored him, did x-rays and an epinephrine treatment and after 3 hours they decided he needed to be admitted into the pediatric ICU. As we were taken to our room the clock struck midnight and our baby boy turned one year old.
Watching the nurses taking vials of blood and giving him an IV was one of the saddest moments daddy and I have experienced. He was screaming, crying, coughing, and looking at me to help him and all we could do was cry with him. I held him, slept with him in the crib and never left his side. He was traumatized to say the least. Thankfully we had an amazing team of nurses and doctors and an overflowing amount of love, prayers and support from family, friends and social media. We only had to stay 2 nights and continue his treatment at home. I hardly left his side that week. The doctors said it was not allergy induced but something still told me that the air at the fair and all the food and smoke from the midway had something to do with it. About a month later we would find out that he does in fact have airborne reactions to food.
Babies are resilient, parents are not.
Knowing how to react to a reaction is just the beginning.
We are blessed to have this beautiful child who lights up the world, yet he is cursed with these allergies. I pray for him constantly and for strength to continue to help him lead a healthy and safe life. I wake up several times a night and I am on high alert. Just when you think you have got it down, he has another reaction and it is so hard to watch. We cannot take him to certain restaurants anymore for fear of a reaction. So NO Starbucks, Mexican, hibachi, ice cream, or anyplace that has a smelly or steamy environment. And because it is mean to eat all the foods he cannot have in front of him. When we do go to a restaurant I alway bring his food with us. I think next time I will ask the waitress bring it out to him when our meal comes out so that he feels included. We choose not to send him to school, daycare or MOD because I am not ready to trust anyone.
People may say these are extreme measures and they are. Once you witness your child in distress, struggle to breath, stab them with an epipen, ride in an ambulance, and help 4 nurses hold him down and watch them stick his little body over and over with needles, kicking, screaming, crying and looking deep into your eyes saying “help me Mommy,” you take extreme measures and DO NOT apologize for it.
With these struggles comes great triumph. Some days I feel so exhausted and my nerves are shot, but I know that I am a strong, bad ass mom because I can deal with this despite how f-ing hard it is. God has been testing me in different ways to prepare me for this part of my journey. I will not fail Him or my family but these changes are rocking my world. I go back and forth with “everything is going to be ok” and then other days I don’t think it will. My baby doesn’t know he is missing out. He doesn’t realize that he is different. But I do. I am sensitive for him. The simple things we all take for granted. I want him to be able to have a piece of pizza at a sleepover or a cupcake at at birthday party.
We are all having to learn a new life to protect him. We will stop at nothing to protect the ones we love. People say oh well he will grow out of them. Well maybe yes and maybe no. It is not like we will get an email someday saying he is no longer allergic to certain foods. We will have to continue on and challenge him as he gets older. Everyone says they want a healthy child and I know how important health is and how we take it for granted. No my child does not have cancer but the world around him can kill him. We have to educate people and bring awareness to the epidemic that is food allergies.
I challenge anyone to try and eat like our son. It sucks! It is so hard, frustrating and expensive! Eat dairy free, gluten free, egg free & nut free for one day. See if you can do it.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Thank you so much to our family and friends. Thank you to other allergy moms who have listened to me cry and given me hope. Finally I must thank the Lord for everything He has given us. Even though I do not understand the path I have to trust Him and remain Just Happy Mommy.