A little about us…

As there are so many new faces amongst us and with so much going on, we thought that we would give you a quick background and update into why we started our ‘Oliver’s Choice’ FB page

We are an Australian family… well actually Oliver’s father is Swiss and our boys were born in Cyprus… but I am Australian and we now live in Australia… well sort of… we are currently living in Utah but our home is in Australia… but more about all that later… as you can see our life is a little complicated 😉

We have 2 sons. Our oldest has no allergies and our youngest, Oliver, has had anaphylactic reactions to dairy x2, wheat, egg, rye, and x1 to unknown airborne allergens. He is also severely allergic to peanuts and some tree nuts.

When Oliver turned 8 yo (he’s now 11 yo) he really wanted us to share our journey of all things food allergy related to help make other people’s journey in this just that little bit easier than ours was… hence the name Oliver’s CHOICE… Oliver, after our son Oliver and CHOICE… after all the choices Oliver makes day to day living a happy and safe life with severe allergies.

Our hope is that in sharing our journey we can in turn increase awareness, create knowledge, foster hope and through all of this save lives.

We have a ‘free-of’ dairy, wheat, egg, rye, peanuts and tree nuts household and have been living this way for almost 11 years. This is a personal choice and after Oliver’s first near fatal anaphylactic reaction at only 7 months and having 2 children under 2 living in a non English speaking country at the time, it was soon proven that this was the only safe option for us.

When living with severe food allergies to more than 4 allergens, although we make it work, life is extremely difficult and it is somewhat like a ticking time bomb. When the only option you are given is ‘to avoid’ you know in your heart that although this is the obvious, ‘avoiding only works until it doesn’t…’

Your world slowly shrinks smaller and smaller within the safety of the walls that you have created and built up to protect your child and eventually it becomes very isolating. Or… where the very time consuming, in depth planning, of every single outing or excursion or holiday causes so much stress that it all becomes too much and you question whether it is all worth it… it always is of course and we have amazing times creating wonderful memories but it comes with a toll…

Our page has changed and evolved over the years from sharing our ‘recreated’ food favourites, to tips on how to stay safe while doing everything that you want to do that everyone else is so freely and unconsciously doing… We campaign through our page for things that we believe in from increasing allergy awareness, to our latest petition for EpiPens in Public Places, to increasing the awareness of “NO EpiPen NO EAT’, to informing others that there are adrenaline auto injectors in the rest of the world that are more ‘carry-friendly’ that we should also have the choice of here in Australia, to our latest life changing journey towards food allergy freedom through the treatment of Oral Immunotherapy (OIT).

OIT was introduced to us after watching a 60 Minutes report in Sept 2013. A fire was lit within us to research, investigate, ask questions, make contact, create connections and build a rapport with any specialist in the world that was practising this treatment and was willing to take on Oliver’s case. And through all of these actions we are where we are today…

We are currently in Utah (Layton) in the USA in our 12th week of OIT. Going from not having a single allergen in our home to actually feeding Oliver microscopic amounts of all four of his most severe allergens under the strict guidance of his amazing specialist and allergist Dr Jones at Rocky Mountain Allergy Asthma Immunology, has been nothing short of mind blowing…

Our allergy journey has not been an easy one to date and with IgE levels through the roof… were we that wrong to believe that this might also be a difficult road? But with the quality of life that Oliver was living and the continual stress and anxiety that we all were experiencing we thought that it was worth a try no matter how difficult the road might be… That became especially obvious when Oliver asked one day, if he saved all of his Christmas, birthday and chore money, would he have enough money to go to America to get rid of his severe food allergies… We knew then that we had to give OIT at least a chance… Oliver was ready, we were ready and the time was right…

The OIT protocol has been practised in the USA for more than 10 years. Currently the USA has over 100 board certified allergy specialists offering this treatment and that number is growing fast. This treatment is life changing not only physically but also psychologically for the allergic individual and their whole family. It is currently the only option for a safer life other than avoidance. So if this is all we have to choose from at this exact point in time, it didn’t sound like a bad option especially as our specialist currently has a 98% success rate with over 400 OIT graduates! Two of these graduates are families that have taken this journey successfully before us from Australia and are now living a life free of severe food allergies back home.

We would love for others in Australia to be aware that this treatment is actually available and safely offered not only in the USA but in other parts of the world and that there are 1000’s of severe food allergy children’s lives being changed through this treatment. In the passionate words of our amazing specialist we are not only ‘saving lives but giving life back’…

So with that we hope that our page also gives you positive hope on your journey living with severe allergies in whichever road you choose to travel…

Waffles – Egg-free, Wheat-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free

We make from scratch most of our food. We never thought that we would be able to recreate a waffle that had the same taste and texture as the original. Up until last year we didn’t have to… we were able to buy a really great tasting, frozen waffle that was free of dairy, wheat, egg and nuts. Just over a year ago they disappeared off the shelves and we thought that it was just an importing problem and with time they would be back on the shelves. We enquired and found out that the little company that specialised in these yummy frozen waffles had been struck by a typhoon and their little factory destroyed. Unfortunately it was a small family owned business and inevitably the typhoon destroyed them… this left us with the dilemma that we were probably not going to eat waffles again… with the continual requests from our boys we went to work on trying to recreate a waffle recipe that would taste great and have the right consistency that all waffles must 🙂 hope that you too enjoy the Oliver’s Choice waffle recipe!

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Heading to School with Food Allergies

The new school year is almost upon us here in Australia… this can be a highly anxious time for both parents and children with severe food allergies… whether you are just beginning school or going into a new year level. Risk minimising, planning and communication are key factors in making this transition a smooth one. We have also learnt, that with a few firm rules, school can be a safe place for all involved… including happy kids with severe food allergies.