What is it like to live and care for two young girls who have severe allergies? The good news is that it is manageable. We have a very compassionate group of friends, classmates and family. In addition, we are part of an extremely supportive online community which offers us many resources to help manage their health.
The bad news? Well, it is not always easy. You have to manage their health everyday. Our youngest child, Aleena has contact and multiple, anaphylactic food allergies to all tree nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds/tahini and a host of other seeds. Keeping Aleena safe requires constant vigilance. Our eldest daughter, Saira has cold-induced asthma, eczema and seasonal allergies. She is prone to frequent infections and illness. Both of my girls have been in and out of the hospital on multiple occasions.
When your child is given a diagnosis for food allergies, eczema and asthma, you are sent home with reading materials. The doctor recommends a few online resources. That’s it! It’s as if they are told their clothes are on backwards. But allergy life is so much more complex than being handed a few reading materials and changing your clothes.
Aleena has had anaphylaxis multiple times. The first time we were unaware that she even had food allergies. The second time was through trace contact of sesame seeds. The experience of watching your child struggle for her life, changes you forever in a way that hurts beyond measure. A new level of anxiety sets in.
But like any new health condition that requires an adjustment, my husband and I realized that we needed to snap out of our funk and take control. We quickly realized that the only way we could keep both of our daughters safe was to know exactly what was in their food. So I started cooking everyday which gave me peace of mind because there was no more second-guessing ingredients in our food. We were the ones controlling their health by cooking with organic, whole foods. This was how My Berkeley Kitchen came to fruition; a place to share my recipes and love of all things food related, with an allergy-friendly focus.
Allergy life is still not perfect. With any ongoing health condition, it is a work in progress but we now know that living with allergies means you must always be prepared and not paranoid. Living by this motto helps us manage our anxieties on a daily basis.
There are so many great online resources out there today. When we started our journey, it was very limited. Please feel free to email or follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more allergy-related recipes, articles and resources.
Much love to you all,