Known for being a bit of a health nut, actress Gwyneth Paltrow came under the media's glare for being overly strict with her son Moses and daughter Apple by restricting them from eating carbohydrates. Paltrow
cleared the air later by explaining that the dietary restrictions were because of her son’s allergies, not militant parent rules.
“What it is,” she said on the Dr. Oz
show, “Is that my son has very bad eczema and he’s allergic to gluten and she’s allergic to cow dairy. I try at home to make everything gluten-free for him because the difference in his comfort is unbelievable when he’s sticking to what he’s meant to be eating.”
So you see, there is no need to panic if you find your kid has food allergies. There are so many ways you can deal with your child's allergies to help your him or her lead a normal life.
Here are a few essential steps to guide you through this journey.
1. Learn About The Disease & Educate Your Child Too
Learning all you can about the allergy is the key to staying safe and living well. Since there are no medications to prevent it, avoiding allergy-causing foods is the only way to prevent a reaction. If a reaction does occur, there are medications such as EpiPen to control the symptoms, which should always be carried around.
Actress Holly Robinson-Peete shared with POPSUGAR some of her discoveries when her kids were diagnosed with food allergies. She said, “My particular way was, as soon as they could talk, they had to learn what foods they needed to avoid, really trying to explain the seriousness of their allergies, trying to explain to them what anaphylaxis is and not being afraid of saying the word death.”
You can visit the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)
, which offers remarkable support and guidance.
2. Read Ingredients Now
Nevada, an eight grader in Kentucky school shares her experience of living with food allergies on a popular online site. She says: “My mom has always included me in reading ingredients since I was little for food and other products. It is good practice. I have the confidence to ask friends and adults who offer me food if I may read the ingredients before I eat something. My advice is to practice reading labels at home so when you become older you feel comfortable protecting yourself.”
Get into the habit of reading ingredient labels. Teach your partner and children what to look for and what to avoid
. Or better yet, take your kids to the farmer's market and teach them them to eat real fruits and vegetables!
3. Manage Food Allergies In Different Environments
You can protect your child at home, but how can you ensure his or her safety outside at school or play dates? This is where you as a parent have to step in and have a conversation with teachers at school and kids' parents to inform them about the disease and how it can be managed best by avoiding allergens.
Robinson-Peete took such a step and was taken aback by how kids at school showed such sensitivity towards the disease and, in fact, started feeling proactive and involved in their schoolmate’s health, which helped tremendously in ridding the un-comfortability and stigma attached with children suffering from food allergies.
4. Do Not Let Food Allergies Stop Your Child From Enjoying Food & Extracurricular Activities
Just because your kid has developed allergies does not mean that they should be robbed of their love for food. There are scores of delicious recipes that you can prepare for your kid to enjoy which steer clear from food allergens. Try Safe Eats
, which has an amazing collection of allergy-friendly recipes. Nevada, who loves to cook and bake also loves participating in extracurricular activities. She says, “When people ask me to tell them about myself, I say, “I am an archer, a singer, and I love to dance. I am not just the girl who is allergic to nuts.”