This story of mine is unfortunately all-too-common. A heartfelt family meal that quickly turned into a very real, very scary life-or-death situation. One well-meaning relative who refused to heed my plea, and one famous pecan pie.
With the snow crunching under our feet, we herded our kids into the car, loaded with presents, protein pumpkin pie, sugar-free cheesecake bites and a side salad in tow for Christmas dinner at my mother's house.
Our kids love spending time at Nana's house, and I always feel safe knowing she makes sure not to have nuts or ingredients that aren't nut-free around the kids.After lots of hugs, laughter and joy at seeing family we hadn't seen in ages, I went into the kitchen to see if I could help, and Mom pulled me aside. You see, a relative had brought a pecan pie. Not just any pecan pie - her famous pecan pie - a longstanding family tradition of hers.
"Just don't eat the pie."
As a mom who lives with the threat of deadly allergens every single day, I knew it wasn't nearly as simple as it looks from the outside.
Over 50% of all children hospitalized for anaphylaxis were exposed to allergens from ingredients they didn’t even know were there or weren’t listed on the label.
Look, I truly believe kids are pretty smart. Like my two with allergies, most kids carry their EpiPens, they don’t eat homemade food from friend’s houses, they check labels, they ask questions.
If you’ve ever struggled to breathe while your own body suffocates you, if you’ve ever faced the cold stare of death, you know that you never, ever want to experience that again.
Kids aren’t getting accidentally exposed because they ate food that clearly had nuts in it. They are getting exposed because the food they thought was safe was ‘cross-contaminated’ or had come into contact with allergens.
Cross-contact — or cross-contamination— happens when food comes into contact with another food containing an allergen and their proteins mix. The amount is so small it usually can’t even be seen, so many well-meaning adults don’t realize its there. This tiny amount of food protein can be deadly for a child with allergies.
Let’s return for a moment to Mrs Pecan, and her famous pie innocently sitting on the counter in a bustling kitchen with a buffet-style feast. Children and adults of all ages are using one serving spoon for one dish, and then another.
Let’s think of the young child who stuffs a piece of pie into their mouth and then reaches their sticky little hands across the table to grab a cookie. Or the great-aunt who is helping Grandma load her plate and uses the same fork.
Or the teenager who ate all the ice cream deciding to head back into the kitchen to add another scoop, not realizing the spoon already touched the pecans, or noticing the crumbs that fell off his plate.
Or the finger smudge on a spoon that looks clean, the handle of the water pitcher everyone has shared, the napkin that was touched but not used, the chair pushed back into the table with unwashed hands.
Even the smallest trace of food on a spoon or spatula that is invisible to us can cause a deadly allergic reaction.
Now, if you don’t have children with allergies, you might be thinking, “Melanie, just tell her your children are allergic and ask her to leave her pie outside.”
For the rest of you with children who have allergies - you’ve likely experienced the emotional tightrope of managing family members who just don’t understand the risks:
Too often, it’s just not that simple.
In our family, Mrs Pecan has known for years two of our children almost died from a nut-exposure. She was asked not to bring a dish to ensure all the food was safe for everyone.
Yet she honestly believed her pie was perfectly safe on the counter. After all, our children are old enough to know not to put food in their mouth that isn’t safe.
She’s a good person. She would never intentionally harm anyone. Why should she be deprived of her family tradition?
For most families who live with allergies, reading labels, checking ingredients, ensuring your kids have their own food, navigating sleep-overs and birthday parties, eating out, school lunches and saying no to your kids are all a part of the daily reality we are prepared to deal with.
But some of the most difficult situations we must manage are well-meaning family members who feel we are accusing them of trying to hurt our children when we ask them not to bring food that is unsafe, or when we try to explain why our child cannot eat the food they just prepared.
How do we convince family members who sometimes believe allergies aren’t real or are over-blown?
How to do we deal with the pressure to ‘let it go’ just this once so everyone can have a nice Christmas?
How do we balance protecting our children with keeping family peace?
My most important job is to protect my children.
As a mother, my job is not to protect your feelings. It’s not my job to convince you that allergens you can’t see can still kill my child.
I want every parent to feel confident they are doing the right thing when they refuse to take the risk of cross-contact ‘in stride’ or just ‘let it go’ this once.
Cross contact kills.
You aren’t hysterical. You aren’t overreacting. You aren’t taking things too far.
I quietly asked my three children to skip the meal, visit with family in the living room, and we’d leave a bit early and have dinner at home.
And that’s exactly what we did.
Melanie Wildman, CEO & Founder of Nutracelle, is a mom of three beautiful children. Two of which have anaphylactic allergies. Creating Nutracelle has been a labour of love for Melanie as she wanted to ensure her family had safe, healthy, delicious foods that they could trust.
Melanie's mission is to bring back what our grandmother's knew: that the heart, and health, of our family is in the food we make.
Melanie seen below with her son Raine.
To learn more about Nutracelle & our 100% certified nut-free protein powder, check out our article here.
To learn about our story and how Nutracelle came to be, check out this awesome article.
To see what people are saying about Nutracelle, check out these testimonials.
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Love this flavor! Definitely appeals to my sweet tooth!
When I opened the bag I couldn't believe how GOOD it smells! It really smells just like fresh picked strawberries. And there are REAL Strawberry flecks in it!!! I watched Melanie's webinar and she said there were dried real strawberries in it, but I didn't realize she meant actual strawberries in it!! omg! I was kind of worried that it would taste like that nestle strawberry milk syrup but it doesn't - it just tastes like you are eating real strawberries. I love that it's not too sweet too. Anyway, if you are thinking about trying it and you like strawberries, you will love this one! I'm changing my monthly order now to make sure I get a bag every month along with the natural I use in everything I eat. I've lost about 7 pounds in the last two months and I just fit back into my favourite jeans again so I'm pumped to get to keep the weight off with strawberry now too! Thank you Nutracelle (and Melanie and Tracy!)
I absolutely love my new cookbook! Such a great selection of recipes and so far every single one I've made is fantastic! Thank you Melanie
The old nutralean was so good and the new blend is even better. Did not thing protein nutralean could get better man it’s better!! And my 2 & 1 year old know what I’m drinking and take my drink all the time for themselves. Love It!!!!
Absolutely loving the new formulas. They mix beautifully with water now... and they taste amazing!
I have trouble finding protein powder I don’t hate. I bought the cafe mocha and chocolate dream to try and didn’t expect to love it but I do!!! It was amazing! No weird after taste or texture. It also came with a shaker cup! I love that the ingredients are all things that I know. Plus it’s made in Canada!
Love these protein powders. Love the recipes...easy and quick!!!
So happy with my product. It’s a great product for anyone who’s on the go and always busy. I can rest easy knowing I’m getting good nutrients, that also taste yummy!
WOW!!! I’m sipping a Pumpkin Spice Smoothie as I’m typing this review. I received my order of the new formulas today and was excited to try it! I’m so impressed with the smooth, creamy consistency and the ease that it blends! 2 thumbs up from me!!!
This will hands down always be my go-to choice for anything protein related. I am glad it does not even taste like i am having a protein supplement. Since I don't enjoy eating meat often, this is the best alternative!
I love the taste! Even when you mix it with just water it has a creamy taste. You can do so much with the variety of flavours, you can not possibly get bored with Nutracelle!
Absolutely the best shake i have ever tried. Such great flavors... I love it! ☺
Product works when you follow guidelines. Always weighed at Doctor's office
believe it or not i've lost 51 lbs in 9 weeks. 30lbs to go...
My whole family loves Nutralean! Great taste and quick shipping.
Nutracelle products are great! Mixes amazingly! No grittiness like those other whey powders. Naturla Nutralean prebiotic protein for baking works awesome to make not just baking, but also make shakes and protein balls. The plain flavour allows incorporation into food without tasting that there is protein powder in it! I would recommend this product to those looking for a good quality protein powder!!
I can literally put it everywhere, whatever food i make i can add some natural protein in it, soup, bake goods, protein balls, pizza dough, etc.
Its amazing and so tasty
I have been in a stall between 208 and 202 for 5 months....in one week of being back on Nutracelle I am now in ONEDERLAND!
The taste and quality of nutracelle is absolutely unparalleled in the protein market. I recommend it to all my friends and family and having been using it daily for almost 2 years now. And still in love!
The Vanilla Cream is a great flavour added to any of my favourite smoothie recipes! Also makes a nice tasting pancake recipe.
Natural Nutralean from Nutracelle is the perfect protein to add to your food!! There is no added taste!! I made a zucchini meat pasta and added 2 scoops of Natural into my meat sauce!! Not only did it give me and my family all the protein we needed for dinner, but it cut back our portion sizes because we felt fuller faster! We have leftovers now for lunches!! I am so happy with my Nutracelle!
The Vanilla Mocha from Nutracelle is to die for!!! If you are like me and need my coffee every morning to function...then this is for you, as it will give you all the energy you need!! It even taste just like something I can get from Tim Horton's but this is good for you to drink every morning!! This is a must for coffee lovers!!!
The Chocolate Dream Protein from Nutracelle is soooo good. Chocolate is my all time favourite snack and with Nutracelle I am able to make these delicious desserts that are actually good for you! This is a must flavour to have!!
Meal plan is realistic and absolutely manageable. My coach checks in post every workout to see if there is any area I struggle in or if maybe the routine was too easy. He is quick at answering any questions I have and is very knowleageable with nutrition and what my body needs to eat and can explain it to me in various ways to make sure I understand as well. I have never worked with someone who is so passionate about fitness and proper nutrition as well as someone who is on top of everything. App is also very user-friendly; super easy to log everything in with a few click so that you dont have to do it urself on paper. Absolutely thrilled to be working with this team to better my fitness life. Highly recommend joining the team!
Nutracelle's Weight Loss kit has made such a huge impact on my life! I was a junk food junky before I found Nutracelle, and now I don't even think about it! It's been months since I've had any kind of junk and I've never felt better! More energy, tons of weight loss, and I've dropped 2 clothing sizes too!! AMAZING!
The weightloss kit has enabled me to wake up each morning knowing that I've got this!! For the first time in my life I've found something that allows me to feel full and satisfied and I can bake and cook with it to curb cravings I have for junky foods! In my first two months I'm down 15 pounds and dropping. Almost everyday there is a decrease on the scale I couldn't be happier!! I'm looking forward to continued success THANK YOU NUTRACELLE!
Nutracelle is the best product I have ever used for protein. All the flavours are fantastic, can't taste the protein. Since I started to take Nutracelle I have consistent energy throughout the day, it keeps me full and satisfied. My recovery from my workouts and running is fantastic. Recommend this product to anyone wanting to lose weight, athletes or to increase your protein intake daily.
Shakes are amazing. I just mix them with (sugar-free) milk and have no problem drinking them. Like at all! I even love the chocolate. I never ever love chocolate protein shakes haha
This Whey protein powder is the most amazing and the most delicious that I have ever tasted.....with it having 30 grams of protein and 10 grams of prebiotic fiber in one serving, not many meals have that so a great way to get that into your diet.....It mixes very well with no clumping and doesn't have the chalky after taste. I find that is is very easy on my stomach as I am lactose intolerant and I have no issues what so ever, it has actually helped with my stomach issues....Love that it mixes very well with just water! I also Love that it is so versatile that I am not just limited to the shakes, that I can use it in my baking and cooking . If I could give it 10 Stars I would.
I have been on nutracelle since January 2017 and absolutely love it!
I'm losing weight and inches, I have so much more energy and it makes me happy! Nutracelle is giving me my life back! #ilovenutracelle
Nutracelle has been the one product that has kept me on track with my weight loss journey. So easy to incorporate into my daily routine and it tastes amazing! Almost all of my immediate family all use and love Nutracelle too!
It tastes amazing & reduces cravings! I'm breastfeeding and was finding my cravings worse than when I was pregnant. I needed something to eat with my meals to help me stay full, be nutritious and curb cravings. This is it!