Childrearing

Stop Being An A**hole And Have Some Sympathy For Kids With Food Allergies

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One of my best friends has a daughter with Celiac disease. The constant hell her whole family goes through makes me filled with gratitude everyday that I have been lucky enough to escape this fate. I really can’t understand it when people exhibit zero compassion for such a tough situation.

There are minor food intolerances, there are fad diets and there are actual life-altering conditions. It would be great if everyone could get on the same page about the differences:

Celiac disease is triggered by consumption of the protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the finger-like villi of the small intestine. When the villi become damaged, the body is unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnourishment.

This is serious. This isn’t some parent saying “my special snowflake can’t have bread because Gwyneth Paltrow says it’s bad.” When trying to diagnose what was wrong, my friend shuttled her daughter to countless doctor and specialist visits and put her through dozens of diet changes. She watched her daughter drop weight, writhe in pain and constantly wonder what was wrong with her and why she was different.

Last week I read a post titled, Why Do Your Kids Allergies Mean My Kid Can’t Have A Birthday? The title alone made me wince – because immediately I knew she was talking about school protocol. It’s not like someone is going to be coming into her home, invading her child’s birthday party and telling everyone what to eat. This woman is upset about the food she’s not allowed to send to school with her child for a class party:

We can’t bring in homemade cookies or snacks; we’re asked to buy commercially prepared goods. Even if you agree to bring in commercially prepared snacks, you’re asked to make sure they’re “gluten, nut, and egg-free” or some other combination of scary food exorcism.

Let’s just be clear, this woman is complaining because kids with food allergies shouldn’t be expected to have the iron will of adults and know what foods to avoid and ignore. She resents the school for understanding that may be torture to a child. It makes her more upset to think of her child skipping a cupcake, than to imagine a child totally left out – or made sick by something his body can’t digest.

“To a certain extent, I get it. When I was in high school, a girl in my town died from eating a few bites of a Twix bar that happened to contain traces of peanuts.”

 

Wait, someone died in your high school from this very thing – yet you still can’t grasp how serious and important this issue is for some parents? Umm… yeah, I got nothing. You’re terrible.

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