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Strict Avoidance: Caregivers of Food Allergic Children is a support group in Saratoga Springs, NY.  I, Christina Davis, began the group with a handful of local moms. We are not affiliated with a food allergy non-profit nor a medical practice, we are more of a safe place to scream/cry/laugh/vent: share recipes, stories and tips and tricks about caring for a food allergic kiddo in your life. This blog is an extension of the meetings; a place to share resources, recipes, tips and trick.

If you live in the area, and would like to join the group-

{Miles & Christina, Carousel, July 2010}

Finding her true calling, connecting people to their local foodshed, Christina is the CSA Coordinator for Kilpatrick Family Farm. At the homestead, she is the Chef de Cuisine, Master Baker & Head Food Preservationist to her husband Charles and their 2 year old son, Miles Jae. Although always a supporter of local, sustainable, humane and whole foods, Chris is now on a serious mission to bring those principles into her kitchen due to Miles Jae’s multiple food allergy diagnosis, asthma and the rare disease, EE. All of her recipes are dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, gluten/wheat, pea, corn & sesame free. Besides being the Founder of Strict Avoidance: Caregivers of Food Allergic Kiddos she also is the Founder and Editor of the popular blog, From Scratch Club.

My Food Allergy Story:

We are a family of three humans and three felines in Upstate NY. Our only child, Miles Jae, was diagnosed with severe allergies to dairy, soy, tree nuts and peanuts in January 2010- during his 12th month on the planet. I should be clear, he has had an anaphylactic reaction to milk protein but due to his age and his skin and blood testing he has not had food challenges to soy, tree nuts and peanuts. So we simply don’t know what his reaction will be to these foods. In the same month he was diagnosed with asthma. During 2010, Miles developed a SEVERE anaphylaxic allergy to sesame and pea protein. In addition, Miles has a sever intolerance to wheat/gluten (growth and development) and also will probably be diagnosed with EE in July as a endoscopy is scheduled.

Unknown to us at the time, we had been battling his food allergies since he was 3 months old. By 3 months old, Miles was covered in blistering oozing sores all over his body. After a few months of topical antibiotics, trips to a useless dermatologist and back again to our Pediatrician, she suggested I go off all dairy. The word “food allergy” never came out of anyone’s mouth, just a suspicion that he had an intolerance. So I went off dairy- bye bye yogurt and stinky cheese. His skin began to get better; about 70% better. We tried a bunch of techniques which did keep him eczema at bay- we bathed him in spring water from a working spring down the road from our house. I found expensive soap and lotion combo that didn’t make his skin worse. But again, his skin was only 70% better most of the time. What was it?

Fast forward to his 11th month and I stupidly gave him a teaspoon of plain organic yogurt. I wanted to see if he had grown out of said intolerance. Instead he started yawning every 3 seconds, breaking out into all-over-body hives and his face swelled to double its size. This began our road to find a pediatric allergist and the testing began….

We love food, all kinds of food, and we love to cook. But since January 2010, we’ve had to take many cherished foods out of our home. Miles has contact-sensitivity so we now have no allergen-laden food in our home. We have had to learn to cook and enjoy food without greek yogurt, tofu, soy sauce, peanut butter, almond milk, peas, sesame, corn and stinky cheeses.. wait, did I mention the cheese? We also can not rely on take-out if one of us is running late or doesn’t “feel like” cooking. We also can’t purchase many pre-made processed foods because of either the ingredient list or the fear of contamination. You know what I mean… you’ve seen that sentence on boxes “This product was made on equipment that is also shared with tree nuts, soy and dairy products.”A whole new way of looking at food, where it comes from, how it is made for the SAFETY of our child. Our life is not just an exercise in sustainable or local or whole or clean food but one of life and death.

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