Food Allergy Week May 14-20, 2017
Australian children have the highest recorded rate of food allergies in the world. One in 10 babies born in Australia today will develop a food allergy. As, Food Allergy Week coincides with Mother's Day this year we are highlighting the awesome work of Aussie Food Allergy mums and advocates.
Australia has the unfortunate title of "Food Allergy Capital of the World". Hospital admissions for severe allergic reactions quadrupled in the last 20 years, while alarmingly the number of allergy-related deaths in Australia is increasing by 10 per cent each year. Food Allergy Week, May 14-20 is an initiative of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia to raise awareness of food allergies in Australia.
In our Food Allergy Mum Interview Series, we hope to promote understanding and insight in to the challenges of parenting a child with life threatening food allergies, along with the need for change to build an allergy aware allergy safe commUNITY!
Lisa Munro, shares her story
What are your child’s allergies? When did you find out?
My son Alex is at risk of anaphylaxis to peanuts, cashew and pistachio. There used to be a few more like dairy, egg, sesame, other tree nuts and soy but we've successfully added some foods back in. Alex also has eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE) and also can't have wheat, rice, dairy, soy, hazelnuts, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, fish and shell fish. The original list of foods we avoided when he was diagnoses with EoE at 5 years was much longer but we had a great allergist a few years ago who helped us add in many foods. We didn't know Alex had any allergies until he was about 3 years old. He was a really fussy child and would never eat egg or peanuts. He cried constantly and was just miserable and I couldn't get anyone to listen to me that something might be wrong. I took him to a different child health nurse in desperation one day and she suggested food allergies. An allergist confirmed this and thus began our long journey!
What would be one of the most difficult aspects of daily living with food allergies? Or one of the biggest challenges raising a child with food allergies?
The constant cooking and always taking food with us is our biggest problem. It takes a lot of my time and we never just get to go to party or out for dinner like families without food allergies. We always have to prepare food to take and it does get tiring.
How important is the support of friends, family, and community?
This is so important not only to keep our kids safe, but it also allows us to have some respite. I don't know where I'd be without the support of my sister and parents who I can leave Alex with and know he will be safe.
What would be one piece of advice for parents who have a child with a new food allergy diagnosis?
Be kind to yourself and kind to your child. It's okay in the beginning to survive on a few more packets than normal, life will soon get back to normal and you'll be cooking and making foods your kids love again in no time. It does take a bit of practice to learn to cook without your favourite ingredients so keep positive and persist.
Do you have a favourite, safe for your family, recipe or meal idea to share?
Thanks for being an amazing, hardworking food allergy awareness advocate and an inspiration. What inspires you?
My aim at Happy Tummies is that no mum goes through the hard time I did when Alex was first diagnosed with food allergies. I got no help at all and I knew no one who had gone through this before. It was really traumatic for all of us! I'm building a tribe of amazing, happy families that are here to help each other - to make hard food easy!
Lisa Munro is a busy working mother of 3 children and director of Happy Tummies, an allergy friendly online resource and food store for gluten free, and allergy safe products. Having a son with multiple food allergies, Lisa’s vision for Happy Tummies is close to heart. She understands the stress many families face when it comes to finding safe food. She is an allergy free cook book author, food allergy blogger and advocate living in Western Australia.