Allergies invite a mitzvah from a stranger

Last Thursday, we got some important news. We found out that my son who had been struggling this fall with many stomach aches has multiple food allergies including eggs, wheat, dairy and citrus. It was quite a revelation and one that impacts our entire family. Since I am the chief shopper and cook, I knew that I needed help. The initial shock wore off after 24 hours and I realized I would need to find replacements for many of the daily items we were used to eating. Luckily, I like to cook and instead of letting the initial discovery overwhelm me I decided I should try and have a “can do” attitude as my naturopath doctor suggested.¬† I put out the call to friends and family and solicited their help.

Facebook post, dated January 29th: Just found out my son has several food allergies including eggs, wheat, citrus and dairy. Wow, the reframes how I cook in a big way! Need websites, recipes, support and hand holding.

The help came in many ways. The customer service representatives at our local New Seasons Market gave me their undivided attention as we walked through the store  discovering suitable replacement options for items I was used to buying and cooking. Friends from Facebook sent me names of websites and cookbooks. A business colleague even connected me with one of his associates who has auto immune problems and has had to cut out many of the same things as my son. She sent me several detailed emails with information about tasty brands she recommends, several insider tips as well as a few websites.

I could not be more thrilled. Initially, I felt like I had walked into a familiar world where the rules had all changed. My initial anxiety has turned into possibilities and gratitude. I am grateful for the friends and strangers who are there to offer help and advice. I am also grateful that it’s only a food allergy and while it’s complicated, it’s not the end of the world.