Our Webazine JUNE/JULY 2017 | Page 12

Michelle Beard owner of ‘Ecomonkey’ and blogger at Pumpkins in Trees’ talks about allergies and food intolerances and why it is important to be mindful of everyone’s food choices when dealing with allergies, intolerances and food sensitivities.

When my child was diagnosed with an allergy at around 3 years old, it was a long and annoying journey of trial and error, prick tests and blood tests, but we nailed it down to a bug… a crushed-up bug… that seems to be in everything from lollies to biscuits, from paints to playdough. It is used as a colouring and it was difficult trying to find out the exact ingredient, but we are glad to finally know what it is and to eliminate the vomiting, eczema, hives and emergency A&E visits from our daily lives.

When I joined a Facebook allergy group I was amazed at how little I knew about different types of allergies and reactions. It was certainly an eye opener… and I truly felt like a dummy.

In a lot of ways too I felt like a fraud having only one kid with only 1 little allergy that can be treated with antihistamine and a few of us in the family with intolerances to wheat, fructose and lactose that is easily managed by… well… just avoiding it.

It is annoying at parties when Scarlett can’t eat much, but it’s not life threatening, it is frustrating repeating the same thing to people when I say my kid can’t have the cheerio sausages they are offering, but she doesn’t have to wear a t shirt with the words “I am allergic to eggs and nuts”.

It’s hard to have to bring our own food somewhere when I know there will be food offered, but, I don’t have to carry a $200 dollar epi pen wherever I go, paid for out of my own pocket because the government doesn’t subsidise life threatening anaphylaxis in babies and children.

There are children and adults allergic to not only the top 8 allergens… eggs, dairy, tree nuts, soy, peanuts, crustacean, fish and wheat. You can be allergic to ANYTHING! Spinach, rice, meat, apples, chickpeas, food colourings, bananas… water on your skin!

You can have allergies to the environment, dust mites, cats, pollen, the gold on your rings, the leaves of a certain plant, the smell of perfume, washing powder, your own woollen carpet.

Pesticides, sulphites and preservatives can be an allergy to some, it’s an endless list.

Allergies, intolerances and food sensitivities can manifest in, behavioural reactions, eczema, asthma, hives, vomiting, diarrhoea, to the extreme cases of anaphylaxis.

Allergies, intolerances and food preferences for dummies

-A guide for the allergy ignorant.