Inclusion is the New Black

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I can still feel the tears rolling down my face when the doctor told me our son likely had Celiac Disease.  ” Anything over a 40 we consider to be a positive for Celiac,” he said, ” and I know this might be hard to believe, but your son tested at over 2,000.” Our handsome little guy, who went from being the happiest baby in the world to the shell of the boy we once knew in 4 months, finally had answers.  My husband looked at me, confused by the tears, and said ” This is good, right? We just have to remove bread and other things from his diet?” 

Compared to the other options for what could have caused his decline, this was great.  We were so thankful that all we needed was dietary changes. But I had done the research before we got the diagnosis, and I knew what this meant for our son. A life of exclusions, big and small.  

For two “go by the flow” parents, removing gluten from our house and lifestyle was a lot bigger challenge than we expected. It took a little trial and error in our home, but the most stressful part of being a Celiac parent is when you are out of the house and lose control.  Care-free road trips swinging through whatever drive-through we see first when hunger strikes? NOPE.   Relaxing holidays where you get to eat all the goodness and just relax? Yeah, right. I now yell “You can’t have that” and “Don’t let Hudson touch that” more times than I can count. Having us over for a barbeque? Just know I’m going to interrogate your garbage like an FBI Agent to read ALL the labels you threw away. 

But I know this path is just beginning for him. Birthday parties, sleepovers, traveling sports dinners, and let’s not even talk about College keg parties yet (Sorry bud!)  It already makes my head, and my heart, hurt thinking about all the exclusion coming his way. 

So when I heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project again this year, I was so excited that people are taking initiative to make this holiday a little more safe and inclusive for everyone. Many of our favorite Halloween candies have nuts, milk, egg, soy, and wheat- some of the most common allergens. Not only that, but the mini versions of candy can contain different ingredients than the full-size version, making it nearly impossible to know if they are safe for kids and adults with allergies. The goal of the teal pumpkin project is to raise awareness for all food allergies while promoting inclusion of all trick-or-treaters. 

All you need to do to participate is find some awesome non-food treats to hand out on Halloween, sign yourself up on the project map, and place a teal pumpkin outside! Our 4-year old enjoyed hand painting our pumpkins teals this year, but you can also buy fake teal pumpkins to reuse year after year!

Here are some easy ideas for Teal Pumpkin houses: 

  • Glow bracelets
  • Stickers
  • Erasers/pencils
  • Spider rings
  • Bouncy balls
  • Noisemakers ( Sorry in advance on that one!)
  • Mini slinkys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The options are endless, and this is such an easy way to make a difference in those around you managing food allergies every day! To add yourself to the project map and become a teal pumpkin project home, Click here!  My son, my family, and all families struggling with food allergies thank you!