I don't know about you, but I don't believe I met a single person with a food allergy I was aware of until after college. Now, a recent study suggested that 1 in 12 kids may have a food allergy (click here for a report on the study). What gives?
No one knows for sure, but like most parents who deal with this on a daily basis, I have my suspicions. Mine lean to two primary things:
First, the way we grow and process foods in this country has changed drastically from when I was a child. Pesticides, chemicals, additives, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, genetic modification of crops, mass production of meats on animal feed lots, feeding animals things they were never meant to eat, etc. There is no possible way that these "advances" in food production are not having negative effects on us.
Second, the chemicals we encounter everyday in our lives. Our hair products, lotions, soaps, lawn care products, household cleaning products, plastics, etc. How can things with such a long list of indecipherable ingredients be good for us?
Now of course I have absolutely no proof of this. But, I do believe these two things are in some way affecting children in ways we were never affected as children, and in ways we are not affected in our adult bodies (though I believe this happens too, just not as drastically as it affects little bodies).
I bring this up not to start a debate on where allergies come from, but if you are a reader of my blog, to help you understand why I focus on certain things. Why, for example, I will constantly post coupons and deals for only certain brands of foods, personal care products, cleaning products, or household goods when (perhaps) cheaper alternatives exist.
Over the past couple of years, I have focused on ridding our home of items where I felt safer alternatives existed. I have done this slowly and given myself time to research, find out where to obtain the best prices, and also to do things little by little as the budget allows.
I started with plastics, eliminating plastic food storage in favor of glass. Any plastic children's items like sippy cups that remain in our house are BPA free. Then I swapped out my non-stick cooking set in favor of enameled cast iron.
From there I moved onto cleaning products, then personal care products. Food has been an ongoing thing. I am constantly re-evaluating food choices and really just recently began focusing on the "dirty dozen" to buy organic and also buying only pasture-raised beef and poultry (and with the cost means we are buying much less meat!). We do try to cook mostly fresh meals and I try to rely on convenience foods at most once-a-week.
Don't get me wrong, I still have times when I eat horribly. I'll always sit closest to the buffet line and don't ever try to keep me away from a potluck. In either, I will nearly always choose the most unhealthy options. I have always had a horrible time trying to kick the soda habit (I still haven't). I use plastic from time-to-time, and I buy "dirty dozen" produce that's not organic sometimes because convenience does count and I don't always want to run all over town just to save a buck. And, I get frustrated by the constant barrage of "what will kill you today" news....especially when the next day the same news will report that something will "save your life tomorrow!" Who do you trust and how do you not lose your mind in the process?
There are PLENTY of foods out there that do not contain dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts. But, there's only so much time in a day so on my website you'll only see me post coupons for products I purchase or for brands I believe in. I try to focus on foods that cater specifically to allergies, or organic/specialty foods where coupons will make the item more accessible to the average budget. Likewise, you'll see me plug certain lines of cleaning products or personal care products that I believe are more natural and make you aware of deals that make these items less expensive.
Also, I'm also not trying to make anyone feel bad for their Rubbermaid food storage or their Lysol. To each his/her own! But blogs are about sharing personal experiences, and part of my personal experience is how allergies have affected our home, and the choices we have made moving forward.
Hopefully, if you already are or have been thinking along the same lines as me, I can help you make the transition a little cheaper, a little less time consuming, or maybe just a little less painless. And if you think I'm crazy, that's ok too! Just as long as you keep reading!
Cascadian Farm Coupon! We buy their Oats and Honey granola and their Clifford cereal. They also offer organic frozen fruits and vegetables and granola bars (though none are safe for my son).
$0.75 off any one product
*you should be able to print 2
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