August 26, 2013

It's A Small World

Tristan had three allergic reactions during our three week summer getaway.  (Don't worry, he was treated and fine each time).  We learned the hard way to look at every label every time and to take the "shared equipment" disclaimers seriously. Very seriously.  Every time.  I must admit we've been loose about the disclaimers in the past.

In our defense, since Tristan just turned nine, we have probably read 14,600 labels = (365 days x 5 labels x 8 years)!  Just for him just to make sure that what we were about to give him wouldn't make him sick.  And that's a conservative estimate, and includes labels for new foods as well as labels for foods we regularly eat.

Happy Birthday to our big guy!
So now that we are being overly cautious about ingredient labels and cross contamination, I feel like our world just got a lot smaller.  Our safe product world, that is.  I never wanted to be the kind of mom to stress and fret every day about how few foods are available to my son, but the fact is, this new development has gotten me to a heightened state of awareness.  Meaning my stress level went through the roof.

There is enough worry associated with the first week of school: new teachers, new kids, new classrooms.  On day 1, Tristan found out that his teacher has a cat.  Tristan is severely allergic to cats.  Oh yeah, and he was sneezing all day with a runny nose, and is now taking a daily antihistamine.  And thus is the life of an allergic child.  But I digress...

What I wanted to say was that my discovery of homemade bread and my mother-in-law's breadmaker actually helped to save my sanity.  Yes, I just said my mother-in-law just made me more sane.

Bread and other bakery items so commonly are made on shared equipment with several ingredients that my son is allergic to (egg, dairy, nuts, etc.), so I decided to try my hand at homemade bread.  We were on vacation and had no machine, but I tried it out and the bread was incredible, hot and fresh.  It was likely the best bread my son has ever tasted, as we are usually forced to buy from a short list of breads that are dairy-free.

The kids loved making the bread.  Definitely a great activity for a rainy day.
I googled "easy vegan bread" and found the recipe for the Easiest Simplest Vegan Bread Ever. Obviously, I made that one, and am officially experiencing a homemade vegan bread obsession. And I must say if you find a breadmaker with a timer feature (which I'm sure they all have by now), there's nothing like the smell of hot bread to wake up three sleepyheads during their first week of school (and one sleepy mommy who hasn't yet had her coffee).

So even though my world got smaller this summer, a few things opened up for our family in our food world.  Managing my children's food allergies has always been a journey--this is just another turn in the road.


  1. So sorry to hear about your son's reactions during summer vacation! Glad to hear everything is OK. Nice to have a small victory with the homemade bread. I agree - the smell of bread can make everything seem a little better and brighter sometimes. :) Best of luck with the new school year. -Heddi

  2. Sarah, I'm so glad T has ended up being okay after the three reactions. We think of him and you guys often. Do you have any idea what the reactions were from? Packaged foods or bakery items? Boo...

    Homemade bread sounds like an excellent idea. I should give that some thought myself. If you are ever in need of a market bread, products from Alvarado Street Bakery (with the exception of its pizza bread that is made in an entirely separate facility) are completely free of dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts. They may not the tastiest of breads IMHO but they are safe.

  3. My gosh he has grown. I guess he's the same age my Cupcake? What a lot we take for granted in this world. I'm sorry your safe food world has shrunk but your openness to share your struggles and your discoveries are so eye-opening and educational for us all. So thank you for that.