According to the FDA, 6% of children under the age of 3 have food allergies. Perhaps you are the parent of one these children and you already know what kind of impact that can make on your entire family. If not, there’s a good chance someone in your child’s class or on their sports team has a food allergy.
Before I had kids, I thought a food allergy was just a bad reaction to a certain type of food. Unfortunately, for some kids and adults, food allergies are much more serious. For some people, exposure to foods they are allergic to can be dangerous and even deadly.
Allergies can cause anaphylaxis, which is when someone has trouble breathing and their blood pressure drops suddenly. These people have to be vigilant about checking labels and not eating anything unless they’re absolutely certain of its contents. Many wear medical bracelets and most carry epi-pens as they could go into anaphylactic shock and even die if they have a bad reaction and aren’t treated immediately.
(Epi-pen is short for epinephrine auto-injector. The definition of an epi-pen is a medical device used to deliver a measured dose of epinephrine using auto-injector technology, most frequently for the treatment of acute allergic reactions to avoid or treat the onset of anaphylactic shock.)
I am very grateful my kids don’t have any severe food allergies. In fact, my only experience with food allergies is at my kids’ school, where they have to sit at a different table if they take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Naturally, this is a big deal for the kids when they are young and not able to understand the full danger that food allergies can pose. While it can be confusing for kids that don’t completely comprehend food allergies, it’s even more challenging for the kids that have them and have to check the ingredients on everything they eat. It takes a village when a child has allergies. The children have to be careful, the teachers and schools are on high alert and parents can’t ever let their guard down.
Last week I was asked by a friend to make a donation on Indiegogo.com to help save a bakery. If you’re like me, every penny counts so before I donated to the campaign, I decided to find out more about the bakery. Turns out this isn’t just “any bakery”. It’s a Mom owned bakery that specializes in cupcakes, cookies and sweet breads for people with specific food allergies. The bakery is called Sweet Alexis and I think the owner’s story is worth sharing.
The company was started by a woman named Michele Fellows. Opening a bakery wasn’t her life-long dream. She was a mom on a mission when she learned that her daughter Alexis was born with multiple life threatening food allergies. By life threatening, I don’t mean a rash or other minor irritation. I’m talking about several hospital stays, and even crashing at some point.
Alexis was unable to eat any treats that were brought in at school by her peers, so instead of complaining or continuing to have her daughter feel excluded, she decided to do something about it. Her cupcakes and cookies are all dairy free, egg free, peanut free, and tree nut free. What’s even more impressive is her treats are safe to serve at school or other kid friendly events. (You can find Sweet Alexis on the Safe Snack Guide at www.snacksafely.com.)
I love it that if a child does have an allergy, they can eat the treats without feeling different or excluded, which often happens because these kids constantly have to question every ingredient in everything they eat.
When I heard about the Sweet Alexis bakery, I knew immediately that I wanted to help because I can always understand when a mom does something to help her child. As moms, we are warriors when it comes to our kids. If there is an issue that our child faces, nothing can stop us from trying to conquer it. As parents on a mission, we can be unstoppable.
If you would like to learn more about Sweet Alexis or see the variety of yummy treats that are available, check out www.sweetalexis.com . They offer a great classroom package if you want to buy treats for your son or daughter’s birthday.
The Sweet Alexis campaign on Indiegogo is still active so if you want to support a great cause and try some of their delicious cookies, visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-save-the-sweet-alexis-bakery/x/6599168