Welcome Back to “I’m Most Thankful For My Food Allergy Community” Series!
The month of November always brings about thoughts of thankfulness. Just hop over to Facebook and I’m sure that some of your friends are participating in the “30 Days of Thankfulness.” Many people talk about being thankful for their family and friends. I’m no different. I’ve been incredibly blessed by my husband, little men, extended family and countless friends. However, this month I want to focus on something else that I’m incredibly thankful for…My Food Allergy Community.
No matter how much my family and friends rallied around me after my little mens’ severe reactions and food allergy diagnosis, without the support, friendship, and help from my food allergy community I would still be lost and struggling. My food allergy peeps are the ones that truly “get it!” They’ve been there and understand the crazy thoughts that go through my head and the worry that I experience on a weekly basis. Following our first reaction, I so desperately tried to find other moms like me. But I couldn’t find any, nor could I find a support group. I would spend countless nights awake at the computer googling food allergies hoping that I could maybe find someone in the virtual world that was like me. Over the years I’ve met some pretty incredible women who also happen to be food allergy moms. Their friendships have been life-giving and many are doing some incredible things within the food allergy community. Throughout the month of November, I want to share a few with you.
Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Keeley McGuire. Keeley is a fellow food allergy mom and blogger. Just like Cindy, I first met Keeley at the 2013 Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo in Chicago. We had so much fun bonding over yummy gluten-free food, wine and sharing food allergy stories about our kiddos. We’ve been GFBFF’s (Gluten Free Best Friends Forever) ever since. Yes, it’s a thing! 🙂 Keeley is an incredible food allergy mom who has a blog featuring her incredible allergy-friendly lunch designs! I’m not kidding, when I get in a lunch rut for my little men, I hop on over to her blog for ideas and inspiration. I’ll let her tell you a little bit about herself via a brief Q&A below! Please put your hands together for Keeley…
Q&A with Keeley
- Who has allergies in your family and what are they allergic to?
My daughter, Little Miss, she is anaphylactic to peanuts and avoids tree nuts & gluten due to an intolerance. I also suffer from an autoimmune disease which keeps me on a restricted diet free from dairy & gluten.
- What drew you to the Internet to share your story?
My sister – she encouraged me to begin blogging & sharing our “fun lunches”. Little did I know my creative outlet would become such an inspiration to other families struggling to come up with creative lunch ideas & ways to make food more fun for their children, even on restricted diets.
- What’s the biggest challenge raising a child with food allergies?
The unknown. The times I’m not there.
As she continues to grow older and gain her own independence, while also being more involved in activities outside of school, play dates, parties, etc. it’s scary… I’m so proud of her and how well she manages her allergies, but as a food allergy parent you never fully exhale. There are always “what if’s” that play through your mind.
- What’s your favorite allergy-friendly product?
We love King Arthur Flour’s Gluten Free line of mixes and flour. They’re Top 8 Allergen Free and taste better than mixes that have wheat/other allergens! (Seriously, the muffin mix and chocolate cake mix are so amazing!)
We also love Enjoy Life Foods products. Their bars are so great to keep in my purse when we need a quick snack and nothing around is safe. The Plentils curb my chip addiction 😉 and the chocolate chips we usually eat straight from the bag… err, I mean, we bake a lot with them. *ahem*
- What’s your best advice for a mom struggling to cook for her food allergic child?
I was that mom. Before food allergies/ restrictions, I couldn’t cook. I knew how to make two things, seriously. DON’T BE SCARED. Experiment! Practice makes perfect… just find some recipes on line that meet your needs and have fun! By getting your child involved it also makes it a great bonding experience and lets them know it’s okay – they can still eat delicious even with their allergies. It will get easier. I promise! You will learn what your family likes, brands you trust, and what tastes good. Seek advice online to help answer questions. Pinterest is also an excellent (drool-worthy) resource!
- Share one interesting fact about you that may or may not be related to blogging?
I am a sports junkie. When I’m not working, baking, or blogging, Little Miss and I are usually screaming at the television watching the NFL, Nascar, soccer, cycling, or tennis.
- What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?
My food allergy community. I have learned so much from fellow bloggers, mothers, and medical professionals through our website and different events we’ve attended. I am so blessed to have that knowledge and share it with our readers, friends, and family.
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Keeley and her heart for food allergy families. Keeley is one of my most favorite people and her Little Miss is as sweet as can be. We had the privilege of getting our kids together back in June. My little men instantly took to her and still talk about the pictures that she drew for them. As mentioned above, Keeley has an amazing blog filled with tons of lunch ideas and so much more. Check out her blog and follow along. It will soon be one of your go-to websites!
If you missed the previous “I’m Most Thankful For My Food Allergy Community” posts, click here to read the stories.