Family Ties

An Eye-Opening Food Allergy Conversation

by Allergy Free Kitchens on March 25, 2014


While visiting a doctor’s office recently, my mom happened to pick up the Fall 2013 issue of Allergic Living magazine.  As she flipped through the pages, she settled upon the article “It’s All Relative” by Parenting Coach, Gina Clowes.  In the article Gina described six risky behaviors of family and friends when they are around individuals with food allergies.

  1. Newbies
  2. Diagnosis Doubters
  3. The Rescue Squad
  4. The Pity-Partier
  5. Fright Club
  6. Creatures of Habit

I must confess, I’ve encountered all six at some point or another, but it was interesting to hear my mom’s take on where she felt she fell in the group – the fright club.  This surprised me. I know she’s cautious, but frightened hadn’t entered my mind.  I would have picked the pity-partier. (Sorry, Mom. Love you! xoxo)  That’s not an insult to my mom.  You’ll see what I mean.

The pity-partier described in the article would be someone who expresses their sympathy with statements like, “I feel so bad she can’t have an ice cream cone with the other kids” or “I just wish she could have a little something.”  My mom does that, but I understand it is spoken from the heart of a grandma.  She would love to whisk her little granddaughter off to the DQ for a cone or sundae, or sneak her off to the store for a hot pretzel and frozen Coke, but we don’t have that freedom right now.  Instead, we stick closer to home and grandma keeps a stash of safe treats handy.

But back to the fright club.  Part of the definition Gina gave in the article was this:  “Fright club members understand severe food allergies to the point of paralysis.”  The fear of making a mistake holds them back from even trying.  That’s how my mom felt; she was afraid to try.  That revelation forced me to stop and take a look at myself and how I have communicated with my family over these past six years.  And you know what?  I did a pretty good job peddling fear.  How could I not?  I was filled with it myself.  My husband was too.  We were fierce protectors and poor communicators. Fear tainted everything we said or did.  We’re much better about it now, but that’s the tone we had set.

To make things all the more interesting, I had read that same article months ago, but kept it all to myself.  I guess you could say I was having my own little pity party identifying who fit in what category.  After all, it’s a magazine called “Allergic Living” so only people with allergies have any interest in it, right?  Wrong. My mom was thrilled with her find.  She talked as much about the recipes as she did the articles.  What did that teach me?  She wanted to help more than I knew; I was the one holding her back.

What about you?  I wonder if you have some family members and friends in your life who feel like my mom did.  It’s worth a conversation.  You may find you have more help available than you realize.

As this blog post reveals, magazine articles can be great conversation starters.  At you can see what Allergic Living has to offer, sample/view a free issue, try some tasty recipes, subscribe, and more!

Here’s to livin’ the free life,


Disclosure:  I do receive a free one-year subscription to Allergic Living.  However,  this post is honest, factual, and I would have posted it regardless. 🙂

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