As Mom’s we have all heard the, “I don’t like that” or “That’s gross” more times then we care to count. In our home its always been you have to try it three times and after that you are free to pass on that item. At first it wasn’t a big hit with our kids but we live on a farm and I tell them that someplace a farmer worked hard and may have missed dinner a time or two with their family to raise or grow what’s on your plate. It hits home with the kids as we raise livestock and my husband is a professional sheep shearer – there are days its four at the table instead of the five.
Our youngest Paul, we joke, has been a food challenge since he started table food. I actually thought it was the “It tastes gross” syndrome! In August we found that there was truth behind his not wanting to eat or try stuff. He has been going to Children’s in Omaha since he was a little baby. We knew he had acid reflux issues and when his Dr. suggested in August we have him tested for food allergies I had no clue how that afternoon would change our meals. Paul can not digest soybeans or milk. To that little boy it was a sentence of no good food! Oh how his eyes (and mine) have been opened. As you know looking at labels is something we all should do but now I do it to everything I pick up and put in my cart.
I had a Mom ask me if I was embarrassed by this, a little confused I asked what she meant. She knows I talk on the radio about farming everyday and she thought I wouldn’t want producers to know my child can’t eat what they produce. I told her just the opposite. I am grateful to them because research has allowed for new products to be developed out of other items that he can enjoy.
Let me explain…someplace a farmer works hard to grow rice. That rice isn’t just going to end up on a shelf in a plastic bag, its going to be turned in to mozzerala and cheddar cheese that Paul can have on his homemade pizza. Its the almond grower that raises top quality nuts that will be poured into a glass of chocolate “milk” for him to enjoy at the dinner table. From the moment the product leaves the farm it is destined to be a product that someone can enjoy. At the age of 7, Paul can tell you that sorbet is the best “ice cream” he has ever tasted and that he does get special foods that no one else in the family can eat-because-in his words, “I get to eat this because a farmer worked hard to make it.”
It has been a journey so far that has expanded my cooking and label reading, as milk and soy is in just about everything, but its also made me grateful to live in a country where research can be conducted and not looked down upon to create food that tastes close enough to the real stuff that it fools the pickiest of taste buds that belong to a little boy named Paul.
Here are some resources for moms with kids who have specific food allergies:
Diet for Milk & Soy Allergies