Blogging Since: I have been blogging for more than a year. My blogs include www.foodallergybuzz.com and www.peanutfreebaseball.com. On Twitter, I’m FoodAllergyBuzz.
Occupation: Owner of FAB Snacks, Inc (www.fabsnacks.com), a snack store specializing on food allergy friendly snacks.
Volunteer & Advocacy work: Local food allergy awareness activities and the PTO for my children’s schools.
How were you introduced to the world of allergies?
My first introduction to food allergies was through my 5 year old son’s peanut allergy. He had always experienced mysterious hives, had a bit of reflux, and also had eczema. It was not until he was more than 3 year that we bought him a hot fudge sundae, decorated with a face made out of Reese’s Pieces that we discovered his allergy to peanuts through a startling combination of gastrointestinal, skin, and respiratory reactions.
What made you decide to start blogging?
I wanted to start writing about something in which I am very interested, and food allergies are the thing I feel most passionately about. Once I began writing, I discovered I had more to say than I ever realized.
Besides your own, what is your favorite health related website?
I have so many favorite websites, it is hard to choose. I do have a few places I visit almost every day. Among my daily stops are http://allergicgirl.blogspot.com/, http://nut-freemom.blogspot.com/, http://allergy.hyperboards.com/, but this is by no means my whole list!
What is the one thing you wish someone would have told you when your child was first diagnosed with allergies?
I wish people would have said it is okay and normal to be afraid, to be worried. I felt pressured to “get up to speed” and relax. It took months to get comfortable with the idea that I knew enough about peanut allergies, food allergies, and cross-contamination, to adequately protect my son.
What has been the hardest part about dealing with allergies?
To me, the hardest part is finding food that I feel confident about. There aren’t a lot of foods that I can pick up in the supermarket and feel 100% sure that it is not just free of peanuts, but that it is also from a facility that does not handle peanuts.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of how my five year old handles himself in situations involving food outside our home. He asks all the right questions to determine if a food is safe, and he understands when he cannot have a food due to his allergy. He remembers his reaction and is very careful, even at his young age.
What is the main goal that you have as a food allergy health activist?
My main goal is to help make the world a little more food allergy friendly by focusing on food allergic individuals and families as consumers. I want to discover and share food allergy friendly “food finds” and support food allergy conscious businesses. The more options that are available, the easier life will be for food allergic people like my son.
When you think of the future and the work you are doing, what gives you a sense of hope?
The increasing numbers of options at the supermarket and online, and the accomodations at schools and ballparks, give me hope because I can see even in the short time we have been dealing with a food allergy, that people are becoming more aware of the danger of food allergies and we as a society are adapting to meet those challenges.
To learn more about Jennifer and Food Allergy Buzz/FAB Snacks visit her WEGO Health profile page.