Not as easy as it looks, but it can be done.
The day we found out Nat was allergic to peanuts, we immediately came home and emptied our kitchen of everything containing nuts. Yes, we included ALL nuts by the advice of our allergist at that time. So you are probably visualizing us opening the pantry door, grabbing the peanut butter jar, chunking it in the trash and Voilà. Done! Right?….Well,…..not exactly. Plus, having a husband who could eat peanuts in any way, shape, form or fashion made it just that much harder!!
We had already been “briefed” on reading food labels, and so we began glancing some packages and realized…..Oh My Gosh!!! For real? We ended up throwing out every cookie, every granola bar, boxes of cereal, all my husband’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a few other items. It was quite an experience. You wouldn’t believe the food labels that say “May contain Peanuts or Tree Nuts”, or “Manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts”. Yep, it doesn’t just have to say, “Contains Peanuts”, you can’t risk that chance of the food containing it or the risk of cross contamination.
So where do you go from here you ask? Well,….you just GIVE IT UP!! No More Peanuts or Tree Nuts!! And that goes for EVERYONE in the house!
So we then began wondering if there was anything out there that we could substitute for what was gone. Don’t forget, we also had a 15 year old and a 12 year old in the house (Can you imagine what they were thinking). So on the next trip to the grocery store, we came across Soy Butter, which was a great alternative to peanut butter. So we brought it into the house. Once we had the jar in the pantry, I had a “What if” moment (as I like to call them). The jar of soy butter looked very much like a jar of peanut butter, only a different label. We knew she was still quite young, but we were trying to think ahead. “What if” she was at someone else’s home, and they had peanut butter and she saw the jar and assumed she could have it because it looks like her jar of soy butter at home? Not that this “someone else” wouldn’t know of her allergies, but we didn’t want to take that chance of her thinking that she could have it or just having her get confused by thinking “I can have this at home but not anywhere else”. (I hope that wasn’t too confusing. Tried to explain the best way I could. 🙂 So the soy butter was also thrown out. Now, not saying that you couldn’t keep a jar of soy butter in your kitchen, it just wasn’t the right idea for us. I just wanted to share that example to show you that it’s going to be tough and that situations can differ from household to household.
My recommendations on How to live the nut free lifestyle:
- Search the internet. I do a great deal of shopping for Nat from the internet. Enjoy Life Foods is a great site for buying snacks for poeple with food allergies. The Vegan Store also has a great variety of allergy friendly foods to add to your kitchen.
- Plan ahead. From here on out, you have to think about restaurants you can safely eat at or order from and events you may be attending – Will there be any kind of nuts in the vicinity or being served?
- Reading food labels. Get comfortable with food labels and understanding what all the “jargon” means. Labels say more than “Contains”. They also say “May contain” or “Manufactured in a facility that also processes…” and “Manufactured on equipment that also processes….”.
- Informing those around you. Not only does your household need to conform to this way of living, but it may mean that others outside may also need to take heed. My mother was (and still is) her daily caretaker. Nat is there a great deal of her time. My parents household also became Nut Free. Other family members had to be informed and remember not to bring or have nuts around them when they were around her.
- Find Support. Whoever it may be, family members, co-workers, friends, your church pastor….find someone that you can confide in and share your frustrations.
Whatever you do, Giving Up is never an option! ~AllergyNat~
I hope this post assists you in learning how to adapt to a nut free home.
As always, thanks for reading and don’t forget to leave a comment. Love hearing from you.