February 5, 2011


Welcome to our journey toward becoming allergy-wise moms! 

We are two mothers of food-allergic children who met many years ago as college students.  We stayed in touch through mutual friends and later found ourselves both with children with severe food allergies! 

Living with food allergies has bonded us in a unique way similar to the bonds that new parents or soldiers in combat share.  There are many daily challenges that people with food allergies face that would otherwise go unnoticed: Your son’s class is having a Halloween party.  Will he feel left out because he can’t eat most of the treats and when can you make those homemade cupcakes?  Old friends just called and want to meet for pizza tonight.  Can your sensitive daughter get through dinner rash-free and tantrum-free or should you just pass on dinner?

What our blog aims to do is to be a place for getting tips, gaining insight, and airing our personal struggles with food allergies in a mostly non-allergic world. From modified recipes, to must-have products, to stories of food adventures outside of the home, we’re giving you a glimpse of our lives in the hope that it will make your lives a little simpler and a lot safer.  We strive to inspire families with the confidence that we can manage this well and that we aren’t alone.  We also hope to spread valuable knowledge to people new to food allergies so that we can all work together to provide a safe and inclusive environment for everyone.  

Our most important job is to raise our children to be the best they can be, and we strongly believe that it definitely takes a village to do this.  So we hope that as you read our stories and share our lives that you will consider us your village.  

Irene & Sarah


  1. Hi Irene (and Sarah), Thanks so much for launching this blog. It is going to help a lot of families, I know it. We're just at the very very beginning stages of learning about what Xavier is allergic to. I had a feeling that he may have problems when he was born as Dennis has shellfish allergies and eczema and my younger sister has had severe eczema all her life, so it runs in my side of the family, too. X has mild eczema, which come and go. I am hoping that as he gets older, he will have the chance to grow out of it. While we thankfully have not had a severe emergency, we've had several instances of vomiting after trying out a new solid food, mainly dairy.

    I look forward to reading and learning from you. As a new mom, I'm overwhelmed by the amount of information out there and just very happy to know of this source I can trust.

    Maria Bumatay

    P.S. Irene, Ryken and Callan are so adorable. I am a horrible at being X's social media manager for his Facebook account, but I saw the Xmas photos of the boys and they are so grown up. Hugs to them and Jarvis from me.

  2. Hi Maria,
    I'm so sorry to hear about Xavier's eczema and possible food allergies. I know how scary and frustrating it can be to see your little one uncomfortable and sick, and not know exactly how to stop it all.

    Kudos on already suspecting what is going on and connecting it to your family history. Once I suspected Ryken's dairy allergy, I avoided giving him the other top allergens he hadn't yet tried (nuts and shellfish). This was recommended by our pediatrician and a pediatric allergist who said it is fairly common for kids that are allergic to one allergen to be allergic to another. (Ryken was allergic to egg until 13 months. At 2 years, he tested positive for peanuts. And earlier this month, he had a reaction to walnuts.)

    We found the Seattle area, with UW leading the way, to be at the forefront of care and education regarding food allergies. Let me know if you need any recs for allergists, pediatricians, or restaurants/grocers. In the mean time, definitely think about not giving Xavier any dairy, arming yourselves with cotton clothes, blankets, & car seat cover and infant antihistamine, and checking out the FAAN and Kids with Food Allergies sites. Keep us posted. Much love to you guys!

    Mom to food-allergic kids,
    Ryken (5.5yrs, dairy, peanuts, walnuts) and
    Callan (2yrs, dairy)

  3. Hi Irene,
    I'd love to get your recs for pediatrician, allergists and restaurants/grocers you frequented while you were up here. We just switched to UnitedHealthCare insurance and can now go see UW doctors.

    Keep up the great work! BTW, I've been trying to catch up on some past posts and was reading the comment section and I think one of your commentors used to work with Dennis in California. Small world!


  4. Hi Maria! Sorry for the delay in my response. Been solo parenting for the past week so it's been extra challenging to muster the energy for coherent email replies. :)

    Ryken was a patient of Dr. Tilles of the Northwest Asthma & Allergy Center in Redmond. While we only saw him a couple of times since our time in the PNW was so short, I felt like Dr. Tilles had a great bedside manner, very supportive of me as a parent who was trying to do her best but was scrambling for answers.

    In general, Jarvis and I had great experiences with all the doctors we encountered (whether peds or docs for ourselves). Everyone who saw us was very family-oriented. We have never seen anyone from UW but it is supposed to have an excellent medical school and pediatric department.

    Are you happy with X's pediatrician? If so, you might want to ask him/her for a recommendation for an allergist. If you're part of a Seattle moms group, you might also want to ask for a recommendation. Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center has locations in Seattle, too, so it's probably easier for you to start there instead of trekking to Redmond.

    As for groceries, we lived near a PCC Market -- great for special diets and for on-the-go, prepared foods to take with us on the airplane. The market also has some recipes online that are searchable by the allergen you are avoiding. PCC is pricey but I think we joined as co-op members which allowed us to use a 10% or 15% discount once a month. Perfect for stocking up on must-haves.

    And Trader Joe's has a lot of options at affordable prices. TJ's foods are often less processed (the less processed the more sure you can be able what is really in them).

    We have really changed the way we eat -- a lot fewer processed ingredients or sauces. Our cooking is dairy-free; we do veggie/meat/tofu stir-fries, whole-wheat pastas, lots more vegetables (especially sneaking in frozen chopped spinach into every noodle dish), garlic, ginger, and sesame oil for bolder flavors. We try to limit vegan/dairy-free cheese and other dairy substitutes, too, to keep things as natural as possible. Not totally possible (especially if you want to make pizza!) but trying my best when we can. I bake all our sweet treats -- lots of great dairy-free or vegan recipes online. We snack on fresh or frozen fruit a lot and have cut back on crackers and other processed stuff. For me, it makes sense to try to make every meal and snack super-healthy since my guys are so skinny and small. They need all the helpful nutrients they can get. :)