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Book Review: "Flourishing with Food Allergies"

Posted Feb 03 2009 12:59am
One of the most beneficial things I have found about dealing with Tyler's peanut allergy is connecting with other parents who live with many of the same realities that I do. Oftentimes that is done through blogs and online forums.

Sometimes, however, I am lucky enough to stumble on a book that is written by a mom that thinks like I do. Flourishing with Food Allergies: Social, Emotional and Practical Guidance for Families with Young Children by A. Anderson is one of those books.

I find that nearly anytime I meet another mom with a child with food allergies, we share "our story." We all have a unique story to tell that connects us. This book starts out with the author's story of her not one, but two children with multiple food allergies, including peanut. I could relate to so many of the emotions she and her husband experienced in those early days. Then, she talks about many things along her journey as she has learned more and accepted her family's reality.

After her personal story, Anderson shares the experiences of 14 other parents. Some of these stories were from families that are dealing with other factors like autism and ADHD, in addition to food allergies. Three of the stories are from families that are outside of the US.

The book then talks about some of the research about food allergies. It discusses some possible theories of why food allergies are on the rise. Then she discusses some of the complicating factors of managing food allergies (like asthma) in some children.

The most fascinating part of the book to me (other than the personal stories) was the "Perspectives" section. It is the interviews of two pediatricians, an allergist, a naturopath doctor, a clinical psychologist and, most interesting, the author's husband (a food allergy dad).

The medical professionals' sections were particularly intriguing because there was not a total agreement on where these allergies are coming from. That is refreshing since we don't have any definitive answers. I like, however, reading the different theories and drawing my own conclusions.

My absolute favorite line in the book, which I have copied into my own personal journal for inspiration, came from Dr. Roman Adler, a pediatrician:

When a child has food allergies, he or she is forced to become disciplined and assertive in order to survive... These qualities of discipline and assertiveness can serve the child well when he is an adult in the professional world. He is more likely to be successful.

The book then discusses different allergens and the unique aspects of managing each allergy. One part of this section discusses the benefits of probiotics in managing food allergies. This has sent me researching this much deeper, as I believe these supplement can also help treat Tyler's eczema, which has been flared up terrible lately. (I hope to write a post on my findings in the future on this issue after I learn more about it and discuss it with our allergist.)

The last section in the book discusses handling the social dilemmas that the food allergy inevitably brings. These are things such as birthday parties, play dates, and school. These are issues all of us face. It is interesting to read another mother's perspective.

This book was an excellent read. It was chock full of useful information. The scope of the information is very diverse. I came away feeling like my knowledge of Tyler's food allergy was truly deepened. I also left with a lot of hope that it truly is manageable.

I highly recommend this book for your food allergy library. Even if you are only interested in a couple of the sections, it is definitely worth the read.

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