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Road Trip with a Peanut Allergy - Part 3: "A Safe Alternative"

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:46pm
On the second day of our trip, we visited Macinac Island. If you have ever lived in Michigan or anywhere near it, chances are you have heard of it. The island is famous for their fudge. I've had it before and it truly is delicious. As we walked around from shop to shop, I kept seeing the word "peanut" everywhere!! I knew extreme diligence was so important for the few hours we were on the island.

The fudge on the island is legendary and for good reason. Although we knew there was no chance Tyler could enjoy it, we wanted to buy some for ourselves. Before Tyler's peanut allergy diagnosis, I was a nut fanatic. But I no longer eat them to keep him totally safe, even from residue on my shirt or hands.

Since every store had peanut butter fudge advertised, I took Tyler souvenir shopping while my husband and my other son went to buy some nutless fudge. I explained to Tyler we were not going in the fudge shop because they have peanuts in each store. He was excited to have some special "Mommy" time.

My husband was very impressed when he bought the fudge. The cashier asked if we had anyone in our home that was very allergic to nuts. When my husband said we did, she told him the nutless fudge was cut in the same area that the nut fudge was. He assured her our nut allergic child would not eat it.

Now my first thought was, "Why would anyone think a nutless fudge in a place like that would be safe in the first place?" But then it occurred to me that this demonstrated something very important: PEOPLE ARE BECOMING MORE AWARE. If the teenager at a fudge shop knows the dangers, word is getting out. That is excellent news.

In the end, while my husband and I indulged in our fudge, Tyler thoroughly enjoyed a Hershey's chocolate bar. I warned him beforehand that he had special chocolate and he was actually excited about his special "treat."

There is always a way to make avoiding peanuts fun for a child. Instead of focusing on what Tyler can't have, I try to make him excited about all of the "special" things that are just for him. What child doesn't want to feel like they are special?

While I don't at all advocate eating peanuts (or tree nuts, if you avoid them) around your allergic child, my husband and I don't even eat them away from him. This ensures we will not unintentionally bring in some residue and harm him. However, it is possible (on the road or not) for everyone in the family to enjoy some fun treats once in a while.

Honestly, I think Tyler enjoyed his special chocolate bar more than if the fudge we were eating had been safe for him. It came down to my planning ahead and playing it up to him as something truly "special" just for him.

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If you missed parts one and two of this series, click here.

Tomorrow I will conclude our travel adventures with a review of the restaurant "Red Robin" that has a special "Peanut Allergy" menu.
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