author of Feeding Eden

Food Allergies and Anxiety in Real Time

Food allergy families tend to repeat what works - restaurants, vacations, recipes - often, safety is more important than a better unknown.

So for the last three years my family has vacationed in Naples, Florida during our children's spring vacation. The first year, we rented a house and cooked meals far more often than not. The second year, we stayed in a small hotel on the beach. There, I had a small kitchen in our suite where I cooked breakfast and some lunches and dinners. We ate in the hotel facilities as well. I had devised safety rules and menu options for Eden in advance with the hotel Food and Beverage Manager.
The third year we took a significant leap and we stayed in the "sister hotel" of the previous hotel. It was larger and had better facilities. The same wonderful Food and Beverage Manager helped me navigate Eden's food safety. But (and this is a big but) this hotel did not have full kitchens in their suites. We had a mini-fridge and a stash of dry goods like cereals, snacks etc.
Why did we take change our formula? The second hotel had huge pools with slides, more comfortable rooms, a fabulous beach and . . . I had never ever gone on vacation with Eden without shopping and cooking for most meals. Since I'm amidst edits on my upcoming book about living with food allergies, I was hoping it would be welcome break for all of us.
The good news is that Eden ate more restaurant meals than ever in his lifetime and he stayed completely safe. (Quite a feat for a child with multiple food allergies.) And yes, I liked being able to swim with my children until 6:00 pm knowing that I didn't have to worry about washing vegetables and boiling water. But as the week went on, Eden became more and more anxious about eating out. Although we repeated all our restaurant options, he started to fret about his food choices and his safety well in advance of each meal.
Ironically, mid-week, I received an email from TheMotherhood asking me if I would be interested in co-hosting a class on "How to Manage The Anxiety Often Associated With Food Allergies." The class is live tomorrow, Tuesday April 5th at 1:00 pm EST. None of us manage food allergies perfectly. But join me as I share what I've learned in real time.