publication date: Mar 6, 2014

Don’t make a’s no big deal

I’m often amazed at other peoples’ attitudes to allergies and the children who suffer from them. It’s as if kids with allergies are fair game for all manner of insinuations. Nobody would treat a diabetic child with the same sort of distain that allergy sufferers often come across. Nobody would deny that diabetes exists, or that it is ‘attention seeking’, or that no accommodation should be made for a diabetic child. Being allergic is one of the last conditions that it’s acceptable to ridicule and joke about.

So...for all of you who think ‘it’s no big deal’, or that it’s ‘just teasing’ or that ‘the world can’t revolve around your child’. Here’s the thing. All children like to be included, part of the fun. If you have a child that is regularly excluded, or unable to eat what’s on offer then you do have to make accommodations and it helps if those around you are supportive. It’s not an option to let your child go hungry while everyone around them eats. And it’s not fun for your child to watch everyone else dig into pizza, fries and ice cream at parties while he or she opens up their food tub to eat what you’ve brought. But it’s better than not having the option to eat, which is what we risk if we go out unprepared. So please don’t roll your eyes, ask if they can have ‘just a bit’, tell allergic children that it really doesn’t matter that they can’t eat the cake or ask in an exasperated tone of voice ‘what can she eat?’.

If you think that I’m being unreasonable please do the following for three months and let me know how you get on...

1.   Allow your child to eat nothing that you don’t know exactly what the ingredients are. Nothing – every cafe you go into, every friend’s house you visit, make sure you understand all ingredients of everything your child eats.

2.  Ban all foods from two of the following: dairy, egg or gluten. Taking one out is easy – it’s the mix that’s a challenge. If you’re feeling really up to a challenge throw in nuts or celery or maybe a random herb like Oregano.

3.    Provide no ‘like for like’ alternatives for your child. So they have to sit and watch other children eat cakes, biscuits, lasagne, cheese, pastries, Chinese food, pizza etc without there being an equivalent for them.  Don’t worry – they can get by on carrot sticks, some fruit and a nice tuna sandwich made with egg free mayo.  After all it’s good for them.

4.     If you want to know what life is like with reflux, then add in no sweets, jelly, crisps, fried foods. Impose a low fat, low sugar diet on your child. Grill that fish and steam those vegetables. Tomatoes are out as they trigger reflux – so nothing with tomato in it can be eaten.

5.      Allow your child to drink only water – juice is a no-no with reflux, as of course are all sugary drinks. Weak fruit tea is fine (not tinned iced tea as it has a tonne of sugar).

6.      Abandon ordering from kids’ menus – all items like burgers, battered fish/chicken tend to have eggs as a binder, so that’s out, and they are high in fat, so bad for reflux and of course anything battered has milk.

7.      If you make a mistake, and let your child have something that’s...say been cooked in butter then please set your alarm for...oh, midnight and then again for...oh...say 4am. If you’ve an allergic child, or a child with reflux and you make a mistake you’ll be up with a vomiting child in the night. Or maybe not vomiting...maybe just curled in a ball with stomach cramps. Or maybe covered in a rash...or having trouble breathing, so you need to get the inhalers out and sit up with them. Stay awake for at least an hour each time please.

8.      If you go for the gluten free option, do remember that’s all baked goods (cookies, pies, cakes, bread, wraps, anything in batter or crumbed), pasta,  soya sauce, most noodles, most cereals.

9.      Do not tell your child that this is a trial for a few months only.

10.   Enjoy trips to the park but don’t forget – no ice creams or ice lollies please. Both are way too high in sugar and while the dairy is obvious a lot also have egg.

11.   Wave goodbye to chocolate (milk) or anything with cocoa if it’s reflux, as the caffeine triggers a reaction.


       12.   To make things easier for you, I’ll leave it to you to decide if you follow the same diet, or if you eat normally around your child and tell them to just accept it and DON’T MAKE A FUSS BECAUSE IT’S NO BIG DEAL.
 your new food bill, the one with all the ‘free from’ items to your normal shop. The phrase you’re looking for is ‘insult to injury’.

Oh...I’m sorry...did I hear you correctly? You think I’m being unreasonable?  Ah....





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