On September 14, it will mark 3 years since Jack had his first severe reaction and led to him being diagnosed with several food allergies and anaphylaxis. It should not be a surprise how limited the selection is to meet his needs. Unfortunately, I didn’t really pay attention to how limited the selection is until I’ve started following his diet. I had to pick up a couple things at Walmart and wanted to get some snacks for work so naturally I went to the granola bar aisle. Living in the United States in 2019 is a wonderful time merely for the simple fact that you can go into a store and have well over 150 different types and flavors of granola, breakfast, protein bars. Again, these are things that I have taken for granted my entire life. I always had an idea about the ingredients and the need for milk and eggs to bake and act as binders in these products, but not to the extent that I realized today. I pulled almost every granola bar off the shelf and quickly scanned for the “contains: (fill in allergen)” at the bottom of the ingredient list. (Disclaimer: I quickly look for that only to rule it out a product. However, if an allergen isn’t listed, then I still read the entire ingredients list. There are many products that have allergens that are not bold at the bottom). With exception to the Pop Tarts, which are “safe” and always a great option for Jack (and myself), there were only 3 boxes of snack bars that were “safe” for Jack to consume. The picture above shows just how many options there are, and I circled the approved items. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars have always been a great option that Jack, and all the kids, really enjoy.
Like I said, living in the United States in 2019 is an amazing time. No other time in history or in the world could you go into a store and find 150 snack bars. Creativity, capitalism, and a desire to provide a product to people across the country has led to so many choices for a consumer. I go back to comments I’ve made before, that I cannot imagine how much more difficult it would have been 10, 15, 20 years ago to have food allergies. The opportunities were not there. The innovative products were not there. Sure, Jack doesn’t need snack bars, no one needs them. There are plenty of wholesome, non-processed foods that would probably be a better option. In today’s world of constantly on the move, even something as simple as a snack bar can be taken for granted. The time that it affords you to grab a pre-packaged bar, put it in your bag, and have it when you’re hungry is a great convenience. When you hear, “appreciate the little things”, you don’t realize what all the little things are until you can’t have them. Even if it’s a snack bar.