Challenge Accepted – School Camp

Ah the good old school camp. As parents of kids with intolerances, allergies and/or behavioural challenges doesn’t it just make you want to run screaming?

You’ll either get a laugh out of this latest one or be horrified that they can feed children this kind of sh…stuff. I was both. The good thing was they provided examples of the food which is more than I have had in the past. But more about this later.

School camps are just the next level of parenting for allergy kids after the nice old days of Birthday party catering when you just had to supply a cupcake and maybe some other treats. Each camp it always starts out the same.

Me: How is the camp going to cater for the many intolerances my daughter has?

Teacher: The camp’s catering staff are experts at catering to any allergy. Just make sure you list it on the sheet.

Me: Some of her allergies are a bit obscure. Could I have a look at the menu just to see if there are any substitutes I need to send with her?

Teacher: They have assured us they can cater for allergies. I don’t have / can’t provide you with a copy of the menu. She’ll be fine. You cannot send food. None of the students are allowed to bring food.

Me: *submit form detailing intolerances*

Teacher: What are sulphites?

Me: Could I please have the contact details of the camp?

Teacher: We cannot give them to you. If every parent called because their children didn’t like something it would make it too difficult. (I seriously got this answer once!)

Me: *Googles and calls camp* *Repeat conversation*

Camp: We are experts in catering for allergies.

Me: What kind of milks do you have?

Camp: Trim, Lactose free and soy

Me: My daughter is intolerant to dairy and allergic to soy.

Camp: Maybe you should send some with her.

Me: *Bangs head on wall!*

So now I’m a lot more proactive. I start with the camp and immediately ask for the types of milk before I go any further. Once I point this out they will usually provide me with a menu and I do my best to replicate it.

Back to the horrifying ration pack for my daughter’s latest camp. This is my triumphant effort to replicate it.

It is not perfect or necessarily healthier by any means but it does cater for the main allergens of wheat and dairy. I could have made it healthier by packaging up our cereal and reducing the sugar by replacing things like the drinking chocolate, fruit bars, peanut butter etc (as my friend had to with a fructose malabsorbing son) but at 12 years old we are getting into social acceptance territory.

Not eating the same food as everyone else is very socially isolating. I’ve been there for the last 10 years and it is not a common consideration when catering for people with intolerances. You imagine serving a kid fruit while all their friends are eating chocolate cake around them! Adults can cope with this but kids find it very hard.

So I have included things that normally wouldn’t be allowed in our house. It is a fine line between dietary restrictions for their own good and teaching them to deal with being different, tempered with social inclusion. Hence picking my battles.

Sugar isn’t great for her particularly in these amounts but it is something that causes consequences I can generally live with for the three days after she comes home. My fructose malabsorbing daughter on the other hand would be in meltdown territory during the camp. The anxiety and meltdowns would cause her to miss out on all the personal growth activities these camps provide in turn causing social isolation. Again pick your battles.

I replicated the entire pack as I did not want her to have excuses to even enter the supply tent as the temptation would be too overwhelming. That said I can pretty much guarantee contraband will be consumed but I’ve done my best.

The next bit is probably overkill but crazy people like me get a kick out of organisation. I divided it into individual bags for each day. Problem was all my extra large ziplock bags had been used so had to leave out the meals but you get the general idea. Next step would be to make it more environmentally friendly by not using ziplock bags but hey give me a break – I’m doing this while starting Radiation therapy at the same time 😉

So my advice for school camps:-

  1. Open and honest communication with the school.
  2. Talk directly to the kitchen staff at the camp.
  3. Team up with parents of other allergy kids. This is where strength in numbers really helps.
  4. Ask for the food component of the camp costs to be removed from the invoice if you are supplying your own food.

My passion is to shine a light on food intolerances and allergies and make life that bit easier for parent, kids and all those concerned. If we all speak out together we might bring about the change that is required for the majority of society to think more about what they are consuming and not make us feel like social pariahs.

If you liked this article, share it within your circle so we can make a difference. I’d also love to hear about your experiences below.

Big thanks to my friend K as this was a joint effort. Strength in numbers people!

Advertisements

School Cupcakes

img_7245

Any allergy Mum knows about the ‘School Cupcakes’. These are the cupcakes you have to keep in the school freezer for when other kids bring in birthday cakes to share.

Be it empathy or guilt over restricting their diet I hate when my kids have to miss out on some yummy treat that everyone else is eating so I do my best to substitute. That’s why there’s sprinkles on top. Not that they can compete with western diet over-abundance of all things sweet but it’s my little way to make it a bit special from the norm.

I got a bit lazy at 10pm last night when I finally got the chance (spied them on the cooling rack before bed and thought crap I need to ice them for the morning) to ice these cupcakes. In comes the good old Pure Harvest Chocolate Spread! It’s not nutella but as it is gluten/dairy/nut free my kids can have it on their sandwiches for school!

The cupcakes are the Orgran Chocolate Cake Mix and sprinkles are Hopper brand. Even I can tolerate the Hopper sprinkles! Unfortunately for the failsafe kids these cupcakes aren’t an option but you could use my Vanilla cake recipe and a simple icing sugar and water icing.

Mast Cells Don’t Go Crazy for No Reason! 5 Things You Must Address if You Have Acquired Mast Cell Activation Disorder

This is a great starter article for those delving down further into histamine and inflammation. I wish I could get my head around this stuff and come up with a treatment plan! If anyone knows a professional in Brisbane who can put all these pieces together for me that would be fantastic!

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Hubby’s favourite dessert is apple pie so for his birthday I made an everything free apple pie, custard and ice cream. (Sorry to the Failsafe people it is moderate to high Sals).
It was categorised as a baking fail as the pastry was too crumbly and hard. I just used an old fashioned short crust pastry from my ancient cookbook. It really needs gluten to hold it together I think so you could play with Xantham or Guar Gum to replace it. I tend not to use these too much as they don’t sit well with me. Please feel free to comment if you have any tips to improve this.
I think I used nearly 2kg of apples as my pie dish is pretty huge. I first did 1kg but it was nowhere near enough. As with all my recipes they are not perfect and sometimes need a bit of a play.

Apple Pie

  • 1.5-2kg Apples stewed in a little filtered water with 1t cinnamon (omit cinnamon to reduce Sals but keep it in if you can). I have included a step by step pic for making the pastry from my cookbook if it helps.

Double quantity of short crust pastry

  • 4c GF SR Flour
  • 250g Nuttlex (ghee, butter if not DF)
  • 4T Cold water
  • Pinch salt
  1. Sift flour and salt into a BIG bowl. Cut the nuttlex in cubes and rub them into the flour.Method
  2. Add the water a bit at a time and mix through with a butter knife. (I actually used the water from the apples so this could have been some of the problem). It should be just wet enough to pull it together into a dough.
  3. Lightly kneed the dough on a floured board. The trick with pastry is to not play with it too much.
  4. Divide the dough in two – one for the base and a one for the lid
  5. Roll out the dough using firm quick strokes. As it is GF it will be really crumbly so take care!
  6. I roll the dough out on baking paper dusted with a bit of flour. This makes it easier to flip the dough into the pie dish.
  7. Place the base in the pie dish. Add stewed apples and put on the lid.
  8. Using a fork (or just your fingers) press the edges of the lid into the base. It doesn’t work as well with GF pastry as with normal wheat based pastry so just do your best.
  9. Brush the top of the pie with a bit of egg in milk (rice, almond, whatever you drink). If you can’t have egg just use the milk.
  10. Bake in a moderate oven for 20-30 mins.

Serve with Orgran custard and dairy free ice cream.

Apple Pie, Custard, Ice CreamOrgran Custard

I guess tradition says I should open with Hello World?

Someone said I should start a blog. I don’t know exactly what it is going to be about but I guess it will evolve over time?

I have a pretty crazy life and fucks me when I’m going to get time to write but maybe putting down my many life lessons may help someone else.

My blog will most likely contain subjects around health, parenting, allergies, food and recipes (even for those who don’t think they can eat anything!) and just an insight into the crazy world of Selena Ellen!

Sorry Mum there may be “Strong Language” and some viewers may find some content disturbing (though I can’t guarantee it)