Pizza Fusion

Two of our three kids have food allergies. It has been about four years now since we first began this adventure into the world of avoiding certain, very common foods. It has become a way of life. People say, "I don't know how you do it?" But really, I haven't known it any other way for so long that I don't give it too much thought. I'm used to sending special snacks in for school, packing lunches, bringing our own cupcakes and pizza to birthday parties, preparing separate meals and carrying an EpiPen everywhere we go. We have one child who is severely allergic to eggs, dairy and peanut and another who is mildly allergic to eggs and wheat. Breakfast is a challenge - no scrambled eggs, no french toast, special pancake mix. Baked goods are also an issue. We can't do grilled cheese, mac and cheese, dairy yogurt...we eat very little of what are considered childhood staples. But it is what it is. It makes life a bit inconvenient for mom, but I can handle inconvenient. I worry about their safety when they aren't home and that can be hard. But the times that are unbearable are those times when the kids look around and realize they are different. For example, attending a birthday party with a really fun cake - and not being able to have a piece. Or Halloween and Easter, when they have to come home and trade in all of the chocolate candy to mom and dad to be replaced by something without milk. Or when they look longingly at cheese and ask what it tastes like. Moments like those are so painful. Any mother knows that when their babies hurt, mommy's ache may be even greater. My Luke prays each night that God will take his allergies away. Every night. And each time, I almost bursts into tears for his sweet, precious, hopeful soul. So in most instances, when I bring up food allergies I am usually venting about the situation. But last night, we had a great "food" experience and I just thought it worthy of mention.

We went to a place called Pizza Fusion for dinner. It is a franchise and there are several of them around the country. The concept is great...organic, environmentally-friendly dining. But for us, it came down to the pizza. They have all the regular items, but they also have allergen-free foods. You can get vegan pizza or soy cheese or gluten-free crust...the options are endless. This was the first time that we have ever been able to sit at a restaurant and eat pizza as a family. The excitement on Luke's face was priceless. He couldn't sit still, he was talking so fast and his enthusiasm was palpable. He has eaten frozen (rice crust, soy cheese) pizza at home and it tastes like frozen pizza...but that is all he has ever known. To see his face when they brought out a bubbly, gooey pizza that he could actually eat...my husband and I almost wept...at the dinner table. It was such a simple thing, but it was so special to him. I've recalled that image many times today - of him enjoying his pizza - and it just moves me.

I don't know why so many kids are getting food allergies. I have some
suspicions and I believe that we'll know a lot more in five to ten years. It is always hard to watch our kids hurt and as moms, we'd do anything to take the pain away. But for a few minutes, I'm going to remember my little man's sweet face as he savored his soy cheese, egg-free crust pizza...when it comes to food, he doesn't get many of those delicious moments that so many of us take for granted.


Brandy said...

What a wonderful experience for your family. It's a shame what the rest of us take for granted. Andrew is ADHD and I wonder what changing his diet would do for him. We are truly blessed and I am so glad that the kids had fun. I can't imagine what you worry about when your kids are at school. I love your blog! :)

foodiebuddha.com said...

Unfortunately, I think Pizza Fusion is a failure. To each his own I guess. That said, you should definitely check out Dynamic Dish! It gets a lot of love from foodies (myself included) and they have pizza night on Saturdays ... http://www.dynamicdish.net/ It's pretty slammed most nights so reservations are a must. I'm sure they will try and accomodate your unique situation!

I'm darn impressed, if I had any food allergies I'd have probably poisoned myself long ago due to negligence. :-)