Food Allergy Field Guide, A Lifestyle Manual for Families (by Theresa Willingham)

2 replies [Last post]
By Gail W on Thu, 04-11-02, 23:56

I haven't seen anyone comment on Theresa Willingham's book titled, "Food Allergy Field Guide, A Lifestyle Manual for Families" on any board. I'll admit that I haven't read every word, but I have some big concerns about several things so far.

The book's title lead me to believe it was about food allergies, but the majority of the book refers to "sensitivies" (tho it does make the distinction). It mostly seems to focus on wheat as her son is "wheat sensitive". Very little about peanut, tree nut, fish or shellfish allergies.

As one example, I'll quote from page 93 from a section called "Keep it in Perspective" basically warning the reader about imposing on others:

"Now you certainly don't want to go the other way and insist that everything revolve around your child. One allergy fact sheet suggested: 'For class parties, you may want to request that all parents avoid sending foods containing substances that may cause an allergic reaction (this may be a permanent request for school lunches).' You can certainly try to make such a request, but you have to ask yourself if that's a reasonable request. There could be a myriad other food sensitivities in your child's classroom besides your child's alone. And is it fair to the other children? Will that create resentment in them and their future treatment of your child?"

OK, these are good questions, but I felt sick when I read it. The problem is that the book doesn't balance these statements with information about children such as my daughter (and perhaps your child)who has had several contact reactions. Not to mention smell sensitive individuals.

The author didn't follow her own advice to "educate, educate, and educate again..." but acquiring a very thorough education for herself. I'm distressed that she represents herself as a member of the food allergy community and by doing so, I feel very betrayed.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts~

Gail

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By momjd on Fri, 04-12-02, 06:44

I agree completely. I was livid when in the first few pages of her book she explained that it was actually about "food sensitivities" which include intolerances and allergies. If that's what the book's about, why isn't that the title of the book? Hmmm to make more sales I'm guessing. There is some good information hidden in there- I think I tabbed about 8 pages. BUT, it's all about how giving up *just* wheat isn't that hard, all the examples are how you can live without wheat and how normal her son can be without wheat. He's not ALLERGIC to wheat. He has celiac's, a serious disease but not an allergy. Trail mix is her favorite *safe* snack to send to class- how thoughtful. (insert sarcasm here)

Of course, now that I've learned that MY son is allergic to wheat I find the book more useful. BUT, I would have preferred to have purchased it now that I need it, not when I was trying to find a way to work around milk, eggs, peanuts, etc. (Since her ds LOVES all these foods)

In an effort to live up to the "allergy" title, she does pay passing attention to some of the major allergies, but only as a single food allergy. I think she says something like, "Oh, if you are allergic to more than one food you'll have to be even more careful"

Oops, did that sound like a rant. Sorry, I've been fuming about this book for weeks and just hadn't found the right forum to vent.

So, maybe the book's not that bad. I just think it's rather deceitful to call a book a guide to food "allergies" if you then have to spend 2 pages explaining that it's really about something else.

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By Corvallis Mom on Fri, 04-12-02, 22:38

Exactly.

This is precisely what left me fuming every time I picked up a "food allergy cookbook" especially those meant for kids!

They all seemed to revolve around eliminating one substance that the author clearly wasn't even really dealing with a hard-core allergy to (one advocated replacing dairy cheese with soy cheese, for example....DUH!!! check the label for casein, please!) And NONE of them ever seem to have much to say about multiple food allergies or about dealing with life threatening allergies in children under five.
Guess what- that's MOST PA kids, not the minority!

I recall reading an elimination diet that said "tuna fish" and "nuts" were OK for the test period. Hmmmmmm...
After a while I learned to ignore the advice and just use the recipes I liked.

Sorry- wanted to jump in and rant a little too. Glad I didn't waste my cash on this one to go with the rest... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

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