If you’re like us and have an egg allergy in your house, you may be looking for safe alternatives to dyeing eggs for Easter.
We all know that you can buy plastic eggs for candy, but dyeing eggs was always half the fun when I was growing up. It was something I wanted to do with my kids too, and with my oldest, I didn’t think twice about it. Then my second daughter was diagnosed with an egg allergy and I began wondering what I could do with her to continue the tradition of dyeing eggs. This year I found two great alternatives!
First, I found these fun craft eggs at Target. These can’t be dyed, but they can be decorated with crayons and stickers! They even come with some stickers in the package. Best part, these can be found in their Bullseye spot for only $3!
Second, my husband found these DIY eggs at Walmart and these can be dyed! So cool! They look just like real eggs and can be dyed without having to worry about an egg allergy!
Hope these help you include your food allergy kiddos in the traditions that we’ve all enjoyed throughout the years! Happy dyeing!
*Please note that you can find a lot of things like this online for delivery as well so no need to leave your house during this time! Stay safe everyone!
If you’ve ever read my blog before, you can probably tell that I’m a fan of banana breads and finding new ways to spruce them up! I stumbled across a banana crumb cake on Pinterest and adapted it to be vegan and allergy-friendly! It’s perfect for anyone with milk, egg, peanut, or tree nut allergies!
Ingredients for Bread:
2-3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup vegan butter softened (We love Country Crock Plant Based Butter or Earth Balance vegan butter)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer (or another egg replacement of your choosing) – need the equivalent of 2 eggs
Ingredients for Crumb Cake Topping:
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray a 9×13 pan
Combine the softened butter (for the bread) and sugar in a bowl and beat until well blended (I just used a fork to do this but you can also use a mixer.) Add in mashed banana, egg replacer, and vanilla, and mix to combine.
Add flour, baking powder, salt and stir until combined. You will have a thick mixture – don’t let that scare you!
Pour into the bottom of the greased pan.
In another bowl, combine all ingredients for the crumb cake topping. Work the mixture together using a fork to form crumbs. You don’t need to overdo this – picture a typical crumb cake – the lumps are a good thing!
Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the entire bread mixture. This will be a pretty thick layer of crumby yumminess!
Bake for 35-40 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean).
My son turned 6 months old about a week ago. He’s the final piece of the puzzle to our little family and has been such an amazing blessing! He’s rolling, laughing, and sleeping in his own crib in his own room. He’s growing up and it’s so fun to watch. Every milestone he hits makes me proud and emotional. But there’s one milestone that I’ve been secretly dreading…
I’m terrified of starting to try foods. Up until this point he’s been solely breastfed. As we begin to try solids, my nerves about food allergies start to rear their ugly heads.
We didn’t discover his big sister’s food allergies until she was almost a year old. (To see how we discovered her allergies, click here.) She had also been exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months and she had a hard time learning to eat solids at the beginning. She was a little behind physically for awhile which made eating harder for her. (We got PT for that and it was AMAZING! But that’s a different story…) Because of that, we didn’t introduce allergens super early on. I also had basically no understanding of food allergies at the time so I had no idea about the research about how introducing early can help prevent allergies.
This time, I’m a little more well-informed. There is a lot of research about the benefits to introducing top allergens like peanut and egg earlier rather than later. (For some great links and articles, check out this page of the Food Allergy Research and Education’s website.) When we took Ezra to his 6 month appointment this week, his doctor recommended that we try peanut butter soon.
On one hand, I’m thankful for a progressive doctor that is trying to watch out for him! On the other hand, I’m terrified. I know that we need to do it. And in some ways, I feel more prepared this time around, but I can’t shake the anxiety and fear that comes with it. I’ve wondered since I was pregnant if he would end up with food allergies just like his sister. I’ve wondered what it would be like to have to worry about BOTH of them daily. I’ve wondered what we would do if he ended up with different allergens than Asa and we had to change our lifestyles once again.
Food allergies are one of those things that you don’t really understand until you’re faced with them. As least, I know I didn’t. I knew about them, but only in a hypothetical way. I didn’t know the reality of them. And the reality is plagued with lots of fear, frustration, inconvenience, and sometimes even anger. You wonder why this is happening to your child. You deal with the fact that not many people will understand the daily struggles you face. You pray that one day your child with grow out of their allergies or that a cure will be found.
I will most definitely update after we begin to try foods with him, but in the meantime, please be praying for us as we face a fear!
People often think that cooking with food allergies is daunting. But it doesn’t have to be! I have a super yummy banana bread muffin recipe that I love to spruce up with things like chocolate chips or blueberries! Today I’m going to share the chocolate chip banana bread muffin recipe that is totally vegan! (So it’s perfect for dairy and egg allergies!)
3 ripe bananas (mashed)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Nestle Simply Delicious semi-sweet morsels this time!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately (minus the chocolate chips)
Combine the two bowls together
Add in chocolate chips
Put batter into baking cups in a muffin/cupcake pan. Bake for 23-25 minutes. (You can also make as a banana bread loaf for 55-60 minutes, but I think the muffins cook a little more evenly!)
Like I mentioned above, I love to make these with blueberries as well (this is how my husband prefers them), but my oldest daughter and I LOVE the chocolate ones for a sweet treat 🙂
I wanted to highlight the vegan chocolate chips we used! They are Nestle Simply Delicious Semi-Sweet Morsels. We bought these at Target. There are a wide variety of dairy-free chocolates out there now so I encourage you to go seek them out! I highlighted another one of them on a different blog here. You seriously can’t tell the difference between “real” chocolate chips and these!
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it!
The past two weeks have been rough. We spent a week in the hospital with my son who had RSV. Thankfully, he is all better now, but that week was hard. There’s not much worse than watching your child in the hospital and feeling like you have no control. The day after we got home from the hospital, I got a call that my grandpa (PawPaw) was in the hospital. It quickly progressed to a critical situation. I was able to visit him in the hospital just hours before he passed away. Our new year was off to a really rocky start.
Right after learning that he had passed, we had to take the kids to the doctor so that my son could have his follow-up appointment from the hospital stay. I didn’t want to miss it, so we sucked it up and went even though I wasn’t in the best place mentally. After we returned home, I loaded up my arms and unbuckled my two-year-old daughter like I always do since she sits on the passenger side of the van like me. I had her in my left arm while I also tried to balance my purse, her diaper bag, and my coffee cup from that morning. All of the sudden I heard her say, “I take a drink of Mommy’s cup!” I looked over, and she was sipping from my straw!
I immediately jumped into panic mode. I had coffee in the cup but I also had creamer in it – creamer that contains traces of milk – milk that she is allergic to…
I yanked the cup away as fast as I could and started talking loudly… “No! Asa you can’t drink that! Oh crap! Ryan, help me! She drank from my cup! No!” I ran up the stairs and into the house as fast I could while still balancing everything in my hands. I threw everything down and started examining Asa immediately. I knew that I had finished my coffee already before the appointment, but it was iced coffee, so the ice had melted leaving some watery-coffee at the bottom of the cup. I asked Asa if she actually took a drink. She said yes. I asked her is she actually tasted it in her mouth (trying to clarify is she REALLY took a drink). She said yes. My husband ran for the Benadryl as I stripped off her clothes so I could keep an eye out for hives. I started asking if she felt itchy and she said no. Then I started lecturing her. “Asa, you can’t drink out of people’s cups, baby! Remember that you have allergies? Remember? Like the BugaBees?” (see my previous blog post to understand what this is…) She could sense my fear and tension and she started crying. She didn’t understand what she had done. Why was I lecturing her? While I did want to explain and help her understand why she can’t just grab someone’s drink, I shouldn’t have acted mad at her. It was myself I was mad at…
After we gave the Benadryl, I held her close to me. I felt bad that she was crying and then went into Mama Bear protective mode. I wanted to comfort her. I held her close and apologized for scaring her. I kept asking if she felt ok and she said yes. I kept watching her skin but it stayed clear. I asked if her throat felt ok and she said yes. Once I started to settle down, I began crying…
How could I let that happen? How was I so stupid? Why did I have that cup anywhere near her? How could I have put it right by her face without thinking? Why wasn’t I more careful? Why was I so irresponsible? How could I do this to my baby? I couldn’t even think about another hospital visit – not after the week we had just had. Two hospital visits were enough. The thought of another one was enough to make me cry. But the thought that I would have been the one to send her there was so much worse. The thought that she could need an epipen because of me was horrible. And the thought that she could die… well… I couldn’t even let myself go there.
After the shock and severity wore off and after I knew she was ok, I had time to think. I was still beating myself up pretty hard. The anxiety and fear that parents of kids with food allergies face is so real. It’s hard to explain to anyone that’s never had to deal with it. The pressure that a parent feels when they have a little one with food allergies is so intense. Your child relies on you for everything. They rely on you to feed them, and they rely on you to keep them safe. One small mistake can be catastrophic to a kid with food allergies. You have to be vigilant at all times, and that can lead to constant anxiety. The fear is tangible all the time. It never goes away. Even those of us that are really cautious, and yes – even those of us that run food allergy blogs and long to help educate others – even we make mistakes. The problem is, it only takes one mistake to possibly end in tragedy.
We were lucky this time, but not everyone is.
To those of you that navigate this food allergy world like we do, I see you. I feel your pain. I know your anxiety. I feel your fear. And I’m here if you need to talk, vent, cry, or complain.
To those of you that have never had to worry about this before, I hope this helps you get a glimpse of the pressure and anxiety that we feel every single day. We aren’t crazy. We are just scared – and you probably would be too if faced with the reality that we are daily.
A year ago today I had to administer the epipen for the first time.
My husband texted me while I was at work to tell me he was going to try peanut butter with our daughter for the first time. About 3 weeks prior she had officially gotten diagnosed with a milk allergy. They sent us home with a ton of papers about food allergies, an epipen prescription, and anxiety. I was still trying to wrap my head around what a food allergy really looked like. No one in either of our families had ever had a food allergy before. They told us to slowly try some of the other major allergens throughout the next couple months and to keep the epipen on standby when we did. In my mind, there was no way we were going to have to use it.
My husband was texting me while feeding the peanut butter to her and said it had seemed fine. No reaction! I left work and headed home. When I walked in the door I greeted my baby girl like always by picking her up and giving her hugs and kisses. After just a couple of minutes at home, I noticed what looked like a small hive. I asked Ryan if he had seen it. It had been over an hour since he had given her the peanut butter. No way it was from that, right? We continued to watch her and check over her body. Hives began to spread. I called 911. While I was on the phone with them explaining what was happening, the hives got worse. They were EVERYWHERE – even in her diaper. It was worse than any hives I’d ever seen. I told the 911 dispatcher I was going to administer the epipen. She agreed I should. An ambulance was on their way to our house. With Asa sitting in my husband’s lap, I took a deep breath and gave the epi. She cried. I was on the verge of crying too. Within a minute of that, EMTs were walking into our house. Her hives slowly started disappearing. They checked her lungs. The epipen has worked!
We took Asa to the emergency room at the direction of the EMTs. You should always go to the hospital after administering an epipen just in case there is a rebound reaction after. Thankfully, she stayed well and we were sent home a few hours later.
Suddenly the realization that we may not be done discovering her food allergies hit me. I was even more scared. I wasn’t prepared for this. There was so much I didn’t understand.
I was instantly thankful for the epipen. I was thankful for modern medicine that kept my daughter safe. I don’t wish having to administer an epipen on anyone. It was scary. But it was also very quick. Sure, Asa cried… but her tears were short-lived after the initial shock of what had just happened to her wore off. And the relief that she felt almost instantly made the fear of giving her the epipen disappear quickly. People are often scared or hesitant to give the epipen. But the safest thing you can do at the sign of a reaction, especially if two or more allergic reaction symptoms are present, it to give it! The person will not be injured if given epipen when it wasn’t truly needed. But the consequences of NOT giving it can be life-threatening. Always error on the side of caution. It could be the difference between life or death.
It wasn’t the last time that I’d have to give her the epipen, but I’ll save that story for another day.
*For a general overview of how to administer an epipen, click here. There are other brands that may vary slightly, but the basic rules for administration of them are the same!
Yesterday we had our last family Christmas of the season. This was our first holiday season dealing with all of Asa’s food allergies. Group settings and parties are constantly scary and full of anxiety when you are living with food allergies. You’re eating meals that other people cooked, you’re usually surrounded by allergens, and it’s hard to keep track of if people washed their hands or wiped off their mouths after the meal. Kids are running around and you never know what they are going to put in their mouths. You try to watch your kids vigilantly, but even that is daunting when they are trying to play with their cousins and you’re trying to catch up and chat with your family. Food labels aren’t usually available to read when it comes to home cooked meals – especially ones that people have brought with them from home to contribute to the potluck-style dinner. It can be exhausting. Thankfully, we made it through multiple events with only one small skin reaction that we are pretty sure she got as a result from a kiss on the cheek. A little hydrocortisone cleared it up quickly. It could have been way worse.
But as we were driving home last night, my husband and I were talking about how thankful we were for multiple people that we spent time with throughout the holiday season and the way they handled Asa’s allergies. And it got me thinking about things you can do that go a LONG way to people with food allergies or parents of kids with food allergies. So I complied a list of things that you can do to be supportive of your friends and family with food allergies during social events:
1. Ask questions.
Simply taking time to understand their food allergies goes a long way. I love when people ask me questions about Asa’s food allergies. It lets me talk about it without having to bring it up myself; it allows me to get some of it off my chest. And, hopefully, it also educates others during the process! Even asking little things like how we found out about her allergies or how severe her reactions are tell me that you care enough to want to know more. Asking about the things we deal with day to day makes us feel not so alone.
2. Be inclusive with your food.
We were super lucky to have several family members make things just for Asa or bring alternatives for her. Yesterday we had someone bring a salad but also bring along all the ingredients individually so that we could check the ingredients and give her food accordingly. She even brought vegan dressing for the salad! (It was delicious by the way.) At Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law literally brought the container for every single ingredient she used! It was a good thing she did since one ended up containing an allergen (see my former blog post called “Every Label. Every Time” for that story). We had both of our parents cook with alternative ingredients to accommodate her at all the holidays this year. My mother-in-law even went as far as making a dairy/egg free pumpkin pie from scratch that included evaporating her own almond milk (like… what?). It was awesome. There is nothing that makes you feel more valued and loved than when people take the time to make you and your kids feel included.
3. Help keep the person with food allergies safe.
This one may sound like a no brainer, but doing everything you can to personally keep the person safe is huge! Wash your hands. Don’t double dip. Be cautious. My mom made an announcement before the meal at both Thanksgiving and Christmas with extended family to remind them of Asa’s allergies and ask them to wash their hands and mouths after the meal. This took a lot of stress off of me. When you have a kid with allergies, it’s easy to feel like a nag who has to constantly lecture people about what they need to do around you. Someone else making that announcement for me meant more than my mom knows (Shoutout, Mom!) and it helped keep Asa safe during the festivities.
4. Don’t feed anyone’s kids without asking!
I’ll say it again for the people in the back. Don’t feed anyone’s kids without asking! In general, giving snacks and treats to kids that aren’t yours without asking probably annoys more parents than you think. But to a kid that has food allergies it can be deadly, especially if not caught in time. So please, just don’t do it.
5. Talk to your kids about food allergies.
This one can be huge. Kids just don’t always know better. They share food without thinking. They don’t always wash their hands unless we make them. They constantly share germs without even knowing it. But they can also share allergens without knowing it too. So talk to your kids about food allergies. Make sure they understand that they can be deadly. (We don’t shy away from this word in our house. I need everyone to know the severity of it!) Make sure they wash their hands after eating. Keep snacks that contain another’s child’s allergen away when you are near them. One of the kindest things that my friends or family have done for me is to only pack “Asa friendly” snacks when they know we are going to be together. Eliminating the allergen from the kids means there won’t be any accidental mishaps. And it takes away the fear and anxiety that a parent has when they know other kids are snacking on things that could send their child into anaphylaxis.
By no means is this list exhaustive. There are a lot of other things you can do to be supportive. But it’s a great place to start! Again, never be afraid to ask questions! There are no stupid ones, and like I said earlier, just asking lets us know you care!
On November 27, 2018, we found out that my 11-month-old daughter was allergic to dairy. I suspected she might be after two strange incidents. The first incident involved vomiting violently after eating a new baby puree. When I checked the ingredients of the tub of baby food, I saw that it had pineapple and milk – two things she had never had before. I wondered if that could be a cause but I quickly dismissed the thought and returned to life as normal. A month or so later while eating out at a restaurant, my daughter got ahold of a butter packet on the table. She chewed on it, busted it open, and made a mess. I didn’t think much of it – after all, my kids have done much worse before. But about 10 minuted later, I noticed that she had a swollen upper lip.
At first I thought she must have hit it when the packet exploded. Then my mom brain kicked in – what if this was the milk in the butter? Could she be having an allergic reaction? Again, I sort of dismissed my thought but her lip was only getting worse so we decided to be safe and head to urgent care.
The doctor said that it did, indeed, look like an allergic reaction. My head started spinning. There’s no way she’s allergic to milk, right? Not my kid. We made a follow up with our pediatrician who referred us to an allergist just in case. Two weeks before my daughter’s first birthday (you know… the one where they are start drinking whole cow’s milk…) we found out that she had a dairy allergy. What did this mean??? They ordered us an epipen, quickly taught us how to use it, gave us about 20 sheets of information about allergies, asked if we had any questions and sent us on our way. Did I have any questions? Um… yeah… about a thousand. I couldn’t even wrap my head around this food allergy. No one else in my family or my husband’s family had ever had a food allergy. I had no idea what it really meant. But boy, was I about to find out.
Within a couple months, our allergist had us try a few other foods – soy, egg, peanut. Soy didn’t produce an allergy. Thank God! One down! When my husband tried peanut butter one day while I was at work, he thought we had made it through that one as well. She was acting fine. But the moment I walked in the front door after work, I saw a tiny spot on her skin. We started checking her and the hives literally started spreading before our eyes. We called 911. I had to give the epipen. My daughter was crying hysterically. I was putting on a brave face but inside I was terrified. We went to the hospital to be monitored. Thankfully, the epipen worked and we were discharged within a few hours.
Another month went by and we introduced egg. This time, we were both home when we did it – we were scared to do it alone. Her reaction to the egg was scarier than anything we had ever experienced. She broke out in hives. BAD hives. So bad that they spread to every inch of her body. I called 911 to be safe. I wanted them to check her lungs. While on the phone with them, my daughter started wheezing. My husband and I looked at each other and knew that the epipen was needed. I once again slammed the needle into my daughter’s leg. She once again cried. We were once again terrified. We went to the hospital, as you always should after administering an epipen. But this time was worse.
The hives started spreading again. She was crying and lethargic. She was laying on me and not letting go. I was praying – literally. The doctor said they were going to have to do another round of epi. They went to place the order. I was filled with fear. Why wasn’t this working? Why was she so lethargic? Was she going to be ok? I prayed again – literally. Right before the doctor came back in the room, her hives started subsiding. She started acting more like herself. Thankfully, we escaped having to administer more medicine, but the fear remained.
My husband and I went home that day more scared than ever. It was the first time we had REALLY seen the potential danger of her food allergies. This was more than hives. This had effected her breathing, and that’s something you never want to see your child go through. From that moment on, we became more vigilant than ever. Throughout the past year, we’ve learned a ton. We still mess up. Food allergies are really difficult to navigate. And out of that, this blog/site was born. My goal is help provide support, educate others, and share some tips and tricks along the way! Like it or not, I’m a food allergies mom. I hope this will help some others out there like me!