31 Jul Allergy-Friendly Living
Sarah Smeenk, one of our directors, shares a bit about her experience with allergies and her tips on how to navigate them in & outside your home…
“My husband, Jeff, has had severe allergies his entire life and after we were married he was open to a new and healthier way of eating (since I did all of the cooking, he had no choice!). I grew up in this industry and with Jo Anne being my grandmother, I have used many of these products throughout my life. We took dairy and gluten out of his diet and right away he saw a vast improvement in his breathing. After that we got him allergy tested and realized that food allergies are a strong trigger for his asthma. We know that there can be a genetic component to allergies and once we had children we were VERY mindful of how we introduced foods into our children’s diet. We were determined to give our kids the best chance possible of avoiding the same fate as their dad and his severe struggle with asthma. Both of our daughters do have food allergies/sensitivities, however, we are happy to say – no asthma. Our girls are also allergic to dairy and gluten (to a degree) and we are thorough with monitoring what they eat and how much of it. Both of our girls had eczema as young children and our naturopath told us that often disease/conditions can manifest on the skin first, such as eczema and if left untreated can become asthma. We had both of our girls allergy tested as well and adapted our lifestyle accordingly. I am a strong advocate for healthy eating and we were both willing to do whatever it took to ensure our children lived the best, most healthy life they could.”
What are some tips you can give moms who have children with allergies?
“Don’t panic – there are so many resources out there to help you with this journey. If you are someone who loves to bake and cook yourself, there are tons of products that can be substituted into any regular recipe that your whole family will love. If you are not a cook or baker – then there are SO many products on the market to help accommodate almost any allergy or sensitivity. Visiting your local health food store is a great place to start. Allergy awareness is growing more and more each day and with that the number of products and resources available. Dairy free – use almond or coconut milk. Pea milk is also great, and there are many butter substitutes and dairy free cheeses Nut free – use seed butter or soy butter (if there are not allergies to that). I make my own protein balls with seed butters so they can be taken to school Gluten free – there are gluten free breads, buns, bagels, cakes, waffles – and many flours that can be used in any traditional recipe.”
What is some advice can you give people who want to make their home or event more allergy-friendly and safe for children to attend?
“Adapting an event or your home to accommodate a child with allergies comes down to the type of allergy and the severity of the allergy. Products that are free of common allergies such as nuts, dairy, eggs and gluten are great to have on hand if you are having a child over that has any of these allergies. Having dairy-free ice cream, sorbet, gluten-free cupcakes or cookies on hand to offer at your child’s birthday party will truly make a world of difference. Check out our newest recipe video to learn how to make your own delicious allergy-friendly sundaes this summer!”
What are some of your favourite “allergen-free” products?
• Freeyum bars – free of all major allergies as well as nuts so they are school safe
• Enjoy Life products – cookies, bars, chocolate bars, chocolate chips – these are all free of the top eight allergies
• Earth’s own almond milks
• Earth balance dairy free spreads
• Silver hills breads – vegan and therefore egg free
• Quinoa or rice pasta – gluten free
• Earth island – dairy free cheeze slices
• Daiya products – dairy free
*free of: wheat, dairy, soy, sulfites, lupin, fish, crustaceans, peanuts, tree nuts, casein, egg, sesame, mustard, shellfish
*free of: wheat, dairy, soy, sulfites, gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, sesame, shellfish
With over 40 years of experience, we’d love to show you all the great options we have here for allergy-free living! Visit us today!