A big thank you to Megan for your beautiful answers to my questions, I have learnt so much and some very interesting facts that I didn’t know.
1. What are you/your family allergic/intolerant to
I am not allergic to anything. My husband is gluten intolerant. My oldest has food allergies to: wheat, dairy, egg, peanut and tree nut (minus hazelnut)–though that may seem like a lot to people, due to his EOE he actually only had ten safe foods at one point, so he’s outgrown many and has come very far. My second son is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts (minus almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts). My two daughters are not allergic to anything. Random, I know!
2. What made you want to set up your Instagram page and write a cookbook?
Several reasons: I had just left corporate America to take care of my son and had a background in marketing and journalism. I wanted a way to still be creative and express myself and this seemed like a great way to do it from home. Also, I knew the pangs and the sadness of feeling like you’re the only one dealing with food allergies, or the sheer frustration of a recipe not turning out. I figured if I could save another person from feeling that way, then that would be pretty meaningful and help make our painful journey feel more worthwhile.
3. Could you give us your Top 3 tips/advice as a mum to kids with allergies?
I just love that you say “mum”. I don’t ever hear that here in Idaho, USA! My top 3 tips would be:
1. Give yourself time to grieve. Feel those feelings and then pick yourself up.
2. Find your tribe! Find other food allergy moms, even if only online, and friends and family members who will be supportive.
3. Believe in yourself. You can adapt, you can learn and you got this!
4. What has been your biggest challenge in relation to allergies?
Oh geez, there’s been lots. I think the emotional aspect is pretty hard. Feeling left out, feeling scared of a reaction, the worry, the PTSD when you do have a reaction–basically, food allergies can all take a heavy toll on mental health. The lack of options, the food freedom when eating out, the expense and difficulty it can be to get specialty ingredients all rank a close second.
5. If you were to have 3 of your own recipes for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Oh! That’s so tough because I HAVE to try new recipes constantly. I get bored so easily. I probably try a new recipe at least once a week. But, it would probably be my DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies (because what’s life without dessert?), my homemade bread, and my chicken noodle soup for comfort food (sorry no link–only in my cookbook).
6. What is the most interesting non-allergy related fact about you?
I’ve tobogganed down The Great Wall of China.
7. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Man, traveling anyway is pretty awesome and I wish I could do more of it. #SomeoneSendMeOnATrip I’d love to go to Paris, anywhere in Italy or Bora Bora–don’t make me choose!
8. What has been the hardest thing when navigating allergies?
Learning to advocate for myself and my son has probably been the hardest. I grew up feeling like I shouldn’t rock the boat, and that asking for special accommodations was being too “extra”. I’ve had a lot of personal growth because food allergies have pushed me way outside my comfort zone and while it’s been so hard, it’s also been my greatest silver lining.