You Might Live With Food Allergies If …

curtis_sittenfeld_fare_conferenceLast month, attendees at the first FARE National Food Allergy Conference were treated to a heartfelt, warm and witty keynote speech, “Finding Your Food Allergy Voice,” by bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld, whose daughter has food allergies.

Curtis’s riff on comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s popular “You Might Be a Redneck” routine was met with appreciative laughs. With many food allergy parents exchanging knowing glances at some of the familiar scenarios Curtis mentioned, we were not surprised we received requests to reprint her speech. We are happy to share this excerpt from Curtis’s speech.

  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you develop a strategy for attending a four-year-old’s birthday party with the same precision you’d use to invade a small country.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever been with a group of people singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame and you’ve wondered what you should do when they get to the line “Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks…” Should you keep singing? Should you go silent? Should you hum?
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … someone says milk, and you think, “Can you be more specific? Like cow milk? Almond milk? Soy milk? Hemp milk? Rice Milk?”
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever worried about what will happen when your child attends a slumber party … and she’s 2!
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … if you’ve ever worried about what will happen when your child goes to college … and he’s 9!
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever accidentally lost weight.
  • You Might Live with Food Allergies If … your greatest fear on Halloween is not witches, zombies, ghouls, or haunted houses.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever wondered if your child has food allergies either because you did fill-in-the-blank or because you did the opposite of fill-in-the-blank. Like, is it because you ate TOO MANY shrimp when you were pregnant? Or is because you didn’t eat ENOUGH shrimp?
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever been given extensive advice about how to handle food allergies by people WITHOUT medical degrees.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … before leaving home, you think to yourself: Keys, cell phone, sunglasses, wallet, epinephrine.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever stood inside a grocery store, reading ingredients on a package and thinking, wait, tricalcium phosphate—that doesn’t have milk in it, right? Thank goodness for smartphones, huh?
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever been to a party where the hosts tells you there won’t be any nuts in the food and what they mean is BESIDES the cashews in the pasta salad and the walnuts in the cookies. But yeah, besides that, there won’t be any nuts.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever been at a playground where someone’s else toddler was staggering around with a baggie of crackers and you’ve watched him as intently as if you were on a criminal stake-out.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’re not that into Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray but you just love Kelly Rudnicki and Cybele Pascal.
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’re no longer on speaking terms with at least one blood relative either because they think you take food allergies too seriously, or because you think they don’t take them seriously enough. (An alternative to this is, if you wish you were no longer on speaking terms with at least one blood relative)
  • You Might Live With Food Allergies If … you’ve ever made a recipe from a vegan cookbook because it avoids milk and eggs but then you’ve added real bacon to it. I’m speaking from personal experience with that one—I have some great vegan cookbooks and I’ve thought to myself ‘I wonder if the person who wrote this would understand that I’m working within certain restrictions or if they’d just think I’m a corrupt, disgusting carnivore.’ We’ll save that question for another day.

Do you have your own “You Might Live With Food Allergies If …” to share? Post yours in the comment area!

Thank you, Curtis, for a great speech in Chicago and for granting permission to reprint excerpts here! 

2014 Regional Food Allergy Conferences

In 2014, FARE provided funding for five regional conferences, which are managed by local support groups and volunteers. These events are made possible though FARE’s Community Outreach Grants Program, which gave nearly $23,000 in support to these important education and community gatherings. If one of these events is in your area, we encourage you to attend!

 

Michigan Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Conference

Saturday, Aug 9, 8 am
Kresge Hall Auditorium
Madonna University
Livonia, MI

http://www.foodallergymiconference.com

 

NY/NJ Food Allergy Education Conference

Sunday, Sept 14, 9 am–12 pm
Saddle Brook Marriott
Saddle Brook, NJ

http://www.tinyurl.com/FARENJ

 

Utah Food Allergy Conference

Saturday, Nov 15, 2 pm
University Guest House Hotel
Salt Lake City, UT

http://www.utahfoodallergy.org

 

Washington FEAST Regional Conference

Fall 2014 (date and location TBA)
Washington State

http://www.wafeast.org

 

Eosinophilic Esophagitis in the Spectrum of Food Allergy

Saturday, Nov 15
ForeFront Conference Center
Waltham, MA

EGID@childrens.harvard.edu

The next FARE National Food Allergy Conference will be held in Long Beach, CA on May 16-17, 2015. Save the date!

Spotlight on Conference Keynote Speaker Curtis Sittenfeld

sittenfeldWe are delighted to have bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld, who has written about food allergies in The New York Times and Slate Magazine, delivering the keynote at the FARE National Food Allergy Conference on Saturday, June 21. FARE caught up with Curtis to talk about food allergies and what she’s most looking forward to about the conference.

Tell us a little bit about your background, and what your next project is:
I’m a writer—I’ve written many reported articles, including a profile of Michelle Obama for Time magazine and a profile of Mindy Kaling for The New York Times Magazine, as well as personal essays for places such as Real Simple, Allure, and The Atlantic. These days, I’m primarily a novelist and am working on my fifth book. My earlier books include “Prep,” which is about a girl from Indiana who goes to a fancy Massachusetts boarding school; “American Wife,” which is a fictional retelling of the life of Laura Bush; and “Sisterland,” which is about twin sisters, one of whom garners national attention when she makes a prediction that a major earthquake will occur. My next project is a contemporary re-imagining of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” The British division of the publisher HarperCollins initiated a project in which different writers are writing their own versions of Austen’s six novels. When they asked me to be involved, I found the
invitation irresistible. I sometimes joke that I’m basically writing Austen fan fiction.

What’s your food allergy connection?
I have two children, the younger of whom was diagnosed with multiple food allergies just before her first birthday (she is now three). She’s allergic to eggs, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, and, more randomly, flaxseed.

What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of managing food
allergies?
Hmm, it depends on the day! Being a “food allergy mom” has definitely forced me to plan ahead and also to be vocal if I feel there is a danger to  my daughter (I always try to be polite, but it’s pretty much impossible to pretend to be easygoing). But I’d probably say that I find the anxiety the most challenging—the need to be very alert whenever food is around, and food is
around in most places.

Why did you choose to speak up about food allergies?
For people who haven’t been exposed to them, food allergies and the ways
they affect daily life can be hard to imagine; also, of course, there are some
unfortunate and inaccurate stereotypes about what kind of people have food
allergies. As a writer, I hope that I can get beyond these stereotypes and
convey some of the unique challenges of food allergies in a direct, honest way.

What are you most looking forward to about the FARE National Food Allergy Conference?
I’m really excited to attend various panels and to exchange tips with other
people for handling food allergies. And as a chocolate fiend, I’m hoping that
Enjoy Life will be offering samples!

To see Curtis speak at our National Food Allergy Conference, register today!

Read some of Curtis Sittenfeld’s articles and essays about food allergies:

 

Five Things to Know about FARE’s National Food Allergy Conference

Thinking about joining us at our first FARE National Food Allergy Conference? Here are five essential facts to know about the June 21-22 event, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill., just outside of Chicago.

  1. Your conference registration may be eligible for reimbursement under your Health Care Flexible Spending Account.
  2. FARE is working with the Hyatt Regency food and beverage staff to provide allergy-friendly breakfasts and to help ensure attendees have safe options for other meals.
  3. Our conference hotel is conveniently located near O’Hare International Airport and has a free airport shuttle. Additionally, public transportation (the “L”) is across the street and there are many sightseeing options if you plan to make a long weekend out of your trip.
  4. FARE members receive a $25 discount on their conference registration. To obtain the discount code, members must log in to our website, click on “Membership,” and then go to the “Members Only” section.
  5. No matter what stage you are in life – a seasoned veteran of food allergy management or newly diagnosed – there is an educational conference track for you! Our tracks this year are organized into beginner, intermediate, advanced and teen categories.

We hope to see you there! Check out our online conference schedule and register today by visiting www.foodallergy.org/conference!

Food Allergy Bloggers Come Together in Las Vegas

Last week, FARE staff had the privilege to participate in the first ever Food Allergy Bloggers Conference (FABlogCon) and connect with dozens of food allergy bloggers, health care professionals and community members. FARE is a proud sponsor of this event, which received support through our community grants program.

The weekend brought together bloggers and other advocates from across the nation – some with food allergies, some with children who have food allergies, and some representing the celiac disease and food intolerance communities – for a weekend of learning, support and inspiration. Conference attendees discussed some of the major challenges facing the food allergy community today, shared personal experiences, and learned about important ways to advance the community’s messages about life-threatening food allergies. This remarkable group proved that although our community is spread across the country and diverse in many ways, we are all united by a common cause: to make the world a safer and better place for those living with food allergies.

FARE is also grateful to the bloggers who joined us at the FARE Walk for Food Allergy in Las Vegas. Their team raised $3,500 to support FARE’s mission!

Thank you to all of the organizers, sponsors and attendees for making this event possible, especially conference organizers Jenny Sprague (Multiple Food Allergy Help) and Homa Woodrum (Oh Mah Deehness!).