· By Jessica Defreitas
#OhhMoments: Chef and mama Martha shares how her daughter's food allergy diagnosis led her to discover her own
In today's #OhhMoments, chef and mama Martha Morgan shares how it was her daughter Kara's food allergies diagnosis that led her to explore the possibility of her own food allergies as well.
"Hello, my name is Martha Morgan of the blog Allergy Dragon. I am a chef, YouTuber, blogger, and allergy Mom. If I had never become a mother, I am not sure I would have ever had my Ohh! moment! I would also not know everything that was wrong with me or any of my food allergies.
Kara, my youngest had her first allergic reaction as she was starting on solid foods. She was almost nine months old when she had an anaphylaxis reaction to eating strawberries. With this started our journey into food allergies, intolerance's, and Celiac disease. None of which I knew anything about, but just like any allergy Mom I was going to dominate this issue!
So starts the journey of going through being super careful under doctors orders on introducing other foods. We had not been directed by the doctor yet to see an allergist. As we introduced foods and had yet another anaphylactic reaction this one harder to pinpoint what it was. We then on our own went to see an allergist.
Kara had her first scratch testing done, and we confirmed three food allergies at that time peanuts, tree nuts, and strawberries. After speaking with the Allergist, I also had testing done, and yep she gets it from her Momma. So then I became an expert at reading labels, and mind you this was before 2005 in America. We did not have any FDA laws on having the eight major allergens labeled. Companies at the time only did so out of courtesy.
The first trip to the grocery store took three hours just reading labels. I decide to make everything from scratch, and in my mind not only was it safer, but more comfortable. We had a few times where my family would not believe, or not think about how life threatening these allergies are for Kara. In a whole, we had not dealt with food allergies that we were aware of as a family.
When Kara was almost four years old, my mom was babysitting her one day. She had given her one cashew, and Kara at first was okay. I came home from work and found Kara running out of her room with hives all over and that her mouth feels fuzzy. I injected her with her EpiPen and called 911. My Mom was in shock at what had transpired in front of her and was upset because she had caused this by letting Kara have one cashew.
It was all it took for my Mom never to do anything like that again. Sometimes seeing is believing, and I know my Mom meant no harm. It would be the story she would retail in horror whenever she would be in public, and she would here another family member complain by how overprotective us allergy parents are.
So by 2009, I thought I had most of this mastered in my mind. I was feeling better not having reactions, and Kara’s reactions were under control for the most part. We had even went for two years with no anaphylactic reactions.
So at this time, I had been able to lose some weight. I was 400 lbs and after I found out about my food allergies (the chocolate allergy is the one I was in denial of actually existing), I was able to lose close to over 50 lbs. I was still very sick, but in my mind, the only thing that mattered was Kara being able to eat safe foods.
My Mom was watching a show, and it said the gluten-free diet was supposed to help people on the Autism spectrum and with ADD. My oldest son had both of these, and I pick up a book about the diet. Before I was even done reading chapter 4, I was convinced this is what is wrong with me. Unfortunately, I was right and shared this with not only my oldest son Adrian, but with Kara as well.
I am a chef with Celiacs disease and food allergies. I am a Mom with two kids that have Celiacs disease, and Kara that has the bonus of 33 confirmed food allergies.
With good news, she did grow out of her peanut allergy! We are more than our diseases and food allergies. Kara is now 16 years old, will be starting her first job this summer, and be a Junior next year in high school. I am so very proud of her plans to be a software engineer, and going to college in just a few years. The constant daily challenges she must face with her food allergies she handles like a champ. She has great friends that understand, and support her.
I want to think that with her growing up in the kitchen with me focusing on what she can have versus what she can’t have, helped with her overall mindset that she can do anything.
The reason why companies like Ohh! Foods are vital to our future of people with food allergies is freedom and inclusion.
Freedom of not having to plan every single snack out, and confidence you will be safe to consume the product. I hope with companies like Ohh! Foods, and all of us with food allergies can work together for inclusion, and confidence to snack with indulgence." - Martha