When I found out I had been nominated for an Allergy Blog Award, I was moved. “The Allergy Blog Awards recognise allergy bloggers across the UK including all allergies, eczema, asthma, hay fever & food nutrition.” (Twitter)
‘Le Coin de Mel’ has been shortlisted in 3 categories: Parent Allergy Blog, Free From Recipes & Environmental. I would love it if you could spare 2 minutes to vote for my little blog HERE. It is really quick and simple. All you have to do is enter your full name, email address and choose a blog in each category.
If you are not sure who to vote for in other categories, here are the names of the blogs I read regularly and who are in the shortlist too: The Intolerant Gourmand, The Free From Fairy, Free From Farmhouse, Allergy UK, Allergy Lifestyle and The Gluten Free Alchemist.
The plan to start this blog started forming in my head when I was at my lowest. My 6 month old baby was covered in angry patches of eczema from head to toe. She was so uncomfortable and itchy she barely slept. I suspected she might have food intolerances or even allergies. A violent allergic reaction saw us rushing to A&E and on that day, I decided to start this blog. It would not be solely about Jumpy and her allergies. It would be about our adventures as a family, living a normal life despite allergies and eczema.
My blog has evolved. It has been my creative outlet for the past couple of years, my way of sharing the fun I have with my four beautiful children. It has also been a recipe resource for myself and a few of my friends, with dishes and treats that are mostly allergy-friendly and for a large part gluten-free. It has given me confidence to innovate and introduce my little girl to a wide range of tastes, and not limit her dinners to plain, flavourless meals.
Allergies are scary. When your child blows up like a balloon and is covered in a mysterious rash, not even crying because she is struggling to breathe, you have experienced fear like never before. Forget about monsters hiding under beds, the Bogeyman, the Big Bad Wolf… Let me introduce you to Allergies.
Allergies are not my fault, your fault, their fault. They are there and we just have to live with them.
Allergies are not catching. Adults should not mention them to young, malleable minds in a hushed voice. “Why isn’t she allowed my birthday cake, mummy?” The good old “Shush darling, she has allergies…” mumbled in an quiet voice with a red, embarrassed face does not help.
Allergies are a mystery. They came out of nowhere for us, for Jumpy. We have no history of allergies in the family.
Allergies need not dictate your life.
Allergies are frowned upon. If I had £1 for every time someone said to me: “There were no allergies when I was growing up, now it seems everyone has allergies.”
Allergies are taken a bit more seriously when an Epipen is in sight or an action plan mentioned. You can see the person you are speaking to starting to focus as soon as you mention these two, especially if it is someone who is about to look after Jumpy. I sometimes wonder whether people even noticed my “she is allergic to wheat, eggs and nuts” before mention was made of the adrenalin auto-injector. Does it make allergies real? Definitely not! When Jumpy was allergic to milk protein, her allergy was very much real. It was not anaphylactic, but the symptoms were excruciatingly painful for her, the allergic response instantaneous and violent, her tummy in pieces for days after exposure to the allergen.
Allergies can leave you feeling isolated, especially when you are eating something different to everyone else.
Allergies are welcome in our house, despite all of the above.
Allergies taught me that yes, allergies are real and they no, they are not always just another way for fussy people to explain why they do not eat this or that (I am so sorry for ever thinking that!).
Allergies can be managed.
Allergies do not mean you are never allowed to eat anything.
Allergies are not a sentence to eat at home only forever and ever. We live, we go out, we eat out. There are more and more restaurants that accommodate people with intolerances and allergies.
Allergies do not mean eating bland, cardboard-like food.
Allergies and allergens must not to be stigmatised. One of the wisest things our little girl’s paediatrician always tells me is to keep Jumpy moderately exposed to allergens, because if we were to remove all wheat, eggs and nuts from our lives completely, not only wouldn’t we be going out much, but she would risk a violent reaction when eventually exposed to those.
Allergies are not that bad, really. In a way, I think they make my little girl stronger. She is a fighter, my little warrior.
Here is my favourite photo of Jumpy and I, when I first felt relaxed about her health. Her eczema was under control, I had a list of foods to avoid, an Epipen in my bag and I had emailed all my family and friends her action plan.