I always felt we had a “healthy family”. We didn’t eat horrible compared to others and we were relatively active. Working out really wasn’t a priority unless I was wanting to get back to shape after having children. I am sad to say that my oldest two children , Zac and Cayden, ate the SAD Diet (Standard American Diet) but shortly after Xander was born, something had to change. He seemed to be the most serious of babies, just never really content. He also was very congested and covered with eczema, always had an upset tummy with spitting up and by month 2 we had this “Poltergeist-like” vomiting after his feeding. Needless-to-say, his doctor shifted him to a soy formula which helped with this possible milk allergy. Over the next few months we kept milk out of his diet as a precaution, but no one ever recommended having him tested at this point.
When he was 10 months old, we attended a friends birthday party and immediately after he ate something, his face, lips, and eyes swell and get puffy. We assumed that there may have been trace amounts of dairy in the food that he reacted to. It wasn’t until a month later, immediately following another swelling episode after getting a trace amount of peanut butter, that he was allergy tested. It was conclusive that Xander had life-threatening food allergies to Dairy, Eggs, and Peanuts in addition to a list of others that he was highly sensitive to. Talk about our life changing. Food was no longer something to just eat, but it was a matter of life and death.
I cannot begin to describe the pain and heartache I felt for him. Not only could he never eat what everyone else did, he couldn’t even touch those items as it would also send him into anaphylaxis. All these questions started swirling in my head. What could I feed him? How would he go to school? What about his 1st birthday which was right around the corner? How could he never know the taste of a cake, cupcake or a chocolate chip cookie? What about mac & cheese or scrambled eggs, or even peanut butter! The world I knew was closing in but little did I know at that time a whole new, bigger and better one was opening up for us.
Over that first year, I spent endless hours baking and baking. Tweaking recipes that our family use to love and ended up creating a cookbook of desserts, called Sweet Cheats, as a result of not wanting my son to be left out. I then went back to school become a Board Certified Health Coach and have been working with helping families make healthy food choices as well as teaching them how to live with food allergies. Writing this blog and working as a contributing writer for Oh So Very Vegan also helps get the resources in the hands of many on how to eat and live to the fullest. My youngest likes to brag that it is all because of him that I now work to help people, and that is so true! It is because of him that our lives have changed for the better and that is why I want to share that with you.
As you follow my blog, you’ll learn more about our family and this journey we continue to make. I cannot wait to share it with you and I hope that it encourages you, supports you and gives you hope when you are facing food, health or lifestyle challenges. Know that we didn’t get there overnight, but we did get there and you will too.