Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You Can Do It!

When I first meet people and tell them about my daughters allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, sesame, cats, dogs, mold, dust, maple trees and kentucky bluegrass, they will usually have a sorrowful response. They will begin by saying, "Wow, that must be really hard!"

Following the initial response, they then ask the question, "So, what does she eat?"

If you were to meet my daughter, you would not say she is starving by any means. On a side note, she is a very outgoing and bubbly child who loves many hobbies. Her first love is writing songs, learning to play the drums and she enjoys eating great food.

I have to admit that I was not a person that baked very much eight years ago. If you have ever had a friend who seemed to ruin every dish they were assigned to bring to a party, I was that friend. I have even ruined the famous Robert Redford cake which has layers of whipped cream, pudding and tons of chocalate. I ended up with Robert Redford soup cake.

Instead of instant pudding, I used the "cooked" pudding in the cake. And even twenty four hours was not enough time to fix that cake. Oops.

Needless to say, my dessert assignment ended up in me bringing two bags of Reeces cups to the party. It seemed like the most horrible thing at the time, but I can assure you it wasn't. Everyone survived and life went on anyway.

I have so many funny failed recipes, I could write a book. So trust me when I say that I was not a baker when my daughter was just 10 months old. But you find the courage to do whatever it is you need to do when it comes to the safety of your children, don't you? In my daughter's case, it meant life or death. Because her food allergies were life threatening.

When Carlese was first diagnosed with food allergies, her allergist in Denver recommended a great website to check out. I cannot begin to tell you how invaluable it was to me. It helped give me the knowledge and support I needed.

Knowledge truly is power. The more you read and understand about food allergies, the stronger you will be.

The website I was directed to was the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) which you can find at faanallergy.org. They will email alerts about foods that have been pulled off of the market due to traces of nuts, cross-contamination issues and more.

You can also find some great recipes on the FAAN site. I have really enjoyed trying these recipes in the past eight years. After taking the initial baby steps in cooking safe foods for my daughter, I have since graduated to making the most delicious cheese cake which is now requested at family events.

Believe it or not you can make a milk, egg and peanut free cheesecake that is out of this world yummy!

Getting connected with local food allergy support groups in your area is a great way to stay connected as well. It may take a little research to locate these, but it's worth it. You can start by calling some of your local hospitals for information.

Trust me, I have come a long way. And so can you. Just start off with baby steps and small recipes. Pretty soon you will be venturing off on your own like I did and your confidence will build.

Don't forget to check out the FAAN website for more information.

Stay well and trust me...YOU CAN DO IT!

Debra Denhart

1 comment:

  1. Deb,
    Your cinnamon rolls are OUTRAGEOUSLY delicious!!