Category Archives: Food Industry

Heaven in Poland…

Nungesser Family

You have no idea how HAPPY I am at this moment.

I know…I may be a year behind this beautiful article, but ah well…As the old mantra goes, “Better late than never!”

So, I have noticed that the need for expanding Max’s diet has changed like CRAZY ever since he actually went to school.  He was no longer home for me to prepare his food.  And the city that we live closest to has a VERY small selection of hardly anything that is Max friendly in terms of cheese or meats or spreads.  Yes, there are always carrot sticks—but, come now!  How many of those can we actually eat?  Enough—but that is usually not all.

Since Max had a horrible reaction once to chick peas, we don’t risk hummus, although it could have been cross contamination?  Who knows.  But, in any case, we avoid foods that we notice he has reacted to before (And, when I say reaction, I mean, “Mom, my mouth is burning!  My mouth is on fire!”) …Therefore, I emphasize again, we could send him with carrots for lunch every day but we sure would like to send him with more!

There is a brand of bacon that is milk free—but cold bacon?  unless you’re serving me a fresh BLT, then, umm…not the same, eh?!

And sliced ham?  Well, much has milk additives for flavoring—not all, but much.  He doesn’t seem to like ham that much, though, but should that really hurt my feelings?

He’s allergic to beef.

He doesn’t like chicken.

He does like items with eggs in them but not eggs by themselves.  Currently ruling out egg-salad sandwiches.  Maybe his taste buds will change in this year for that one???

But, my point is, packing second breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack is getting more difficult as he grows.

I don’t mind that he doesn’t have a huge palate for meat.  I mean, I love meat but what?  Am I going to force my children to eat it?  Not if they don’t care for it.

THANKFULLY he likes cookie butter.  He likes jam.  He likes tons of fruits.

We still gotta work on the veggies—but, hey!  What 6-year-old doesn’t need to expand his veggie palate, eh?!

In the MEANTIME…I am seriously OVER THE MOON THRILLED!

I was desperately Google searching today to figure out how I can make Max grilled cheese and pizza with cheese that is NOT nasty soy tasting when I came upon this beautiful article!

You have to also understand…I found Max a DELICIOUS…seriously, a fantastic cheese once at the grocery store in Germany with a rice/coconut base to it.  Not only that but it melted beautifully.  And, have I mentioned that it was DELICIOUS?  If not…YUM YUM!

And so I thought—I’ll just order from Germany this same cheese.  UMMM?  Euro costs, plus shipping, plus tax?  Yeah.  It was like a $40 could be purchase for cheese for at that time—a 5-year-old.  No, thank you!

But today—in my Mom wants to avoid laundry moment—I began to compensate for “Bad Housekeeping Mom” with “Good Feed Your Son Mom” and the search commenced.

And it led me to this…This beautiful piece of gold:

http://www.mintel.com/blog/food-market-news/vegan-cheese-gets-creative-in-poland

Thank you, beautiful Honorata Jarocka!  You are my new heroine…

After searching all the brands/companies she has mentioned, I have found SO MANY cheeses to order and try for my little man!

And, if they are good enough—I think I’ll just switch the family over in one fell swoop…so that way I’m not busy making two of everything.  Two cutting boards.  Two knives.  Two bowls for two different yet similar meals .

Well, if you are a dairy-free mom of a little and nut free one (too) — well, hey !  You know what I am talking about.  Especially if your kid reacts even to the slightest touch.

And, believe me…prep work is WAY harder than you think…ask my mom.  She kept setting Max’s knife directly on the counter.  NO!  Set it on a paper towel or plastic clean plate, please, while prepping.

Wait!  New cutting board, please!

Yes…My mom is the best in the world…but it is way harder parenting an allergy kid than ANY mom would think.

Anyhow, if you are like I am and live in Poland or perhaps Europe and are having the SAME trouble as I am feeding your little one—may this article lead you to the companies and the search and the FIND for what you need!

All my allergy-momma love to you on your journey,

B (which stands for Brooke—but most commonly known as Mom of Adelyne, Max, and Jo)

 

An article to make one think…

Here I am … one woman responsible for 3 lives. It sucks the very wind out of me. It is hard enough to be responsible for my life—but compound that with the lives of wee ones is overwhelming.

Then add dangers to their lives and there you have it.

A mommy in paranoia.

If you don’t know Max’s backstory, he never was easy. After 10 years of marriage, my husband and I discovered we were pregnant with our 2nd child. Our rejoicing after years of infertility turned to sorrow as we lost our baby near the end of Trimester 1. Max came 2 years after that—in our 12th year of marriage. Just hours outside of his 34th week.

After spending a couple weeks in the NICU, we brought him home only to deliver him to death through RSV turned pneumonia—blood transfusion, coma, congestive heart failure and a stint of being bagged before our eyes.

Saying we miraculously made it through this is truly saying miraculously we made it through it.

Only to discover his life-threatening allergies.

I kind-of feel as if Max has handed me enough—but he threw this on the barbecue anyway.

And now it is my every breath helicopter mommy moment of my waking day.

Keeping him safe. Alive. And yet letting him live.

This young girl’s death is but another reminder to me that paranoia and triple checking to make sure items are safe IS NOT nuts.

It’s life.

And that’s exactly what I want Max to have.

Here is the article of sorrow.

My heart aches for this family: https://medium.com/@Weresquirrel/progress-or-backlash-the-dilemma-of-allergy-advocacy-8046d658502a

Dedicated or Shared? Cross contamination is a VERY real thing.

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If you must know, my children LOVE Oreo cookies.

I mean, I have read the studies that refer to them as #addictive as cocaine (by the way, unsubstantiated).  And I have even blocked a “former” Facebook friend when I posted the first picture of my youngest, Josephine, enjoying with great delight her first Oreo at about a year old.  This said “friend” went on to share my post of my daughter, attached with said articles mentioned above, and then wrote how HORRIBLE I was to feed my daughter these delights.

Needless to say, I wrote this lady a letter that shared my opinion of her exploitation of my daughter and immediately blocked her.

Some people!

But, regardless of this lady’s opinion on my parenting, I love Oreos, my husband loves them, and my children love them.

Best of all, they are “supposedly” allergy-friendly for our Max.

That’s a miracle.  To find a cookie that does not include any sort of nut or milk product?  It’s like finding an oasis in the desert.

When we go to birthday parties?  I always make sure Max has his Oreos to eat while the other kids gorge on cake.  Because of the creamy goodness, Max has never yet complained!  And, thankfully, that has allowed me to not make my kid his own cake for every birthday party he attends.

I mean, I am not a baker, folks!

But there is a big thing about processing, and Oreo just recently had to answer to the calls of it.  It is called “Dedicated” or “Shared” processing lines.

Basically, it means that there are processing lines dedicated to be free of any allergen product to touch it.  Or there are shared lines that mean that allergens touch the processing line.

This may sound like a lot, but, believe me, I have the child that IS the one to respond to cross-contamination from “Shared” lines.

Just the other day, I returned from Torun.  Torun is my favorite city in Poland, and it is where the Polish people claim to be the “home” of gingerbread.  Many parts of Europe claim this.

But it is DEFINITELY the home of Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish astronomer that discovered that the earth revolves around the sun (heliocentric theory).

In any case, it’s a wonderland of science, beauty, history, and GINGERBREAD!

Most gingerbread, my son has been able to eat.

Therefore, when I checked and double checked the ingredients of the cookie I was going to bring him from Torun, I bought it confident of the fact that it contained no allergens.

Max was so excited.

He had his cookie!  It was a bear!  He couldn’t wait!

And then he took his first bite.

“My tongue is burning, Momma!”

An then welting began on his forehead.

Needless to say,  my heart sank.

It was IMPOSSIBLE to give my son ANYTHING!  My heart broke, tears filled my eyes, and I began our allergy routine to care for my son.

I told Max how sorry I was that he had owies, and I was so sorry that I couldn’t buy him a special souvenir.

As is with most allergy kids, my son, used to his fate and greatly disliking pain that comes with eating something “owie”, said in utter graciousness, “That’s okay, Momma.  Next time just bring me some gum or Oreos.”

Most likely, the gingerbread I brought Max was baked on a cookie tray that apparently must have been shared with something that makes Max hurt.

Dedicated or Shared?

This wasn’t the first time Max has reacted to something that was made with allergy-free ingredients.  But it was the most recent time.  And it just reiterates for me the fact that ingredients are NOT enough.

Dedicated or Shared?

Either word carries with it joy or pain.

My son is proof of that.

***

Here is a recent article sharing the “safety” of the plain varieties of Oreo Cookies for those of us living in the allergen-world:

Regarding the Manufacture of Oreos with Respect to Peanuts and Tree Nuts

I would have never listened in the past

You know the saying, “Ignorance is bliss?”  That’s me when it comes to food, the food industry, and the effects.

I was ignorant.  It was bliss.

I mean, I LOVE soda.  Really. Remember how as a child you would say, “I love Pepsi,” and your friends would say, “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?”  Jokes on them!  I would TOTALLY marry Pepsi, if I wasn’t already married 😉

In all seriousness, however, the talk from Robyn O’Brien, formerly from a career on Wall Street, speaking at a TED convention is brilliant and thought provoking and extremely informative about the changes in the American food industry since the 1990s.

I really hope, especially if you have an allergy child, that you take the 20 minutes it takes to watch this video.  I set it up in my kitchen while I was cooking and mostly listened and worked at the same time (kind-of like whistle while you work).  But it was so fascinating that my husband came in from the other room and finished the video with me.

To be fair to ALL of our kids out there NOT born in the United States (like my Max—born and mostly homegrown in Poland)…I understand that even the most brilliant minds actually don’t understand allergies, but that does not diminish the facts that she shares and the history of the change of food and farming that has taken place in the last couple decades.

So, Allergy Mom and Allergy Dad, I hope that you take a moment and watch.  She, too, is an Allergy Mom, so she does understand you and is fighting hard for all future parents out there to help the best she knows how—by speaking out!

Sit enthralled.  I know you will.

God bless,

Brooke