Growing up in the 1980s, I don't remember having a single friend or classmate who was allergic to peanut butter. Today's kids, on the other hand, suffer from food allergies at an alarming rate — more than 6 million children are affected according to The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.
For children, food allergies can be frustrating. But for parents who devote their lives to protecting the health and well-being of those children, allergies can be downright terrifying.
The Thriving Child: One Mom Shares Her Story
When it comes to allergies, Erica Reid is a mom with firsthand experience. After her children were diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies and asthma, Erica learned the hard way — often through trial and error — how to change her family's lifestyle in order to create a safer, healthier environment for her kids.
In The Thriving Child, Erica tells her story, sharing her experiences openly in order to help other parents struggling through similar circumstances. She writes in the book's Introduction:
"I am the first person to say that I am no expert. I'm not a doctor. I don't have a degree in anything related to health ... I've been trained only through firsthand experience and by the information I've gathered while raising children with allergies. I guess you could say I'm an expert in my own life and in what I have done for my own children — and that is the information I want to share."
The information and advice that Erica shares include:
- Her own personal story of learning to trust her intuition and advocate for her children.
- Tips for living with food allergies — including working with schools, dining out, and traveling.
- Concrete steps you can take to make over your child's diet and encourage healthy eating.
- Suggestions for how to eliminate allergens from your home.
- Tips for raising a child who thrives emotionally, as well as physically.
- Easy, healthy recipes that kids will actually enjoy.
A Healthier World For All
If you're looking for a comprehensive resource on children's food allergies, The Thriving Child may not be the book for you. Erica focuses heavily on her own experiences, and too many of the suggestions in the book seem based on her personal opinions. In addition, there are so many different topics covered that it's easy for readers to become overwhelmed.
But while The Thriving Child has its share of weaknesses, healthy living is obviously a passion of Erica's, and she genuinely hopes to help other parents by sharing her personal journey. Her message — that parents already have the tools we need to take full responsibility for the health and happiness of our children — is one that we should all take to heart.
As Dr. Lawrence D. Rosen writes in his review for Kiwi Magazine:
"Reid epitomizes these parents who will go to the ends of the earth to advocate not only for their children, but for all of our children to lead the happiest and healthiest lives possible. We are lucky to have Erica Reid's The Thriving Child as a road map for all of us who work together to create a healthier world for our children."
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Thriving Child for review. While the writing style and organization of the book weren't my favorite, you can't help but admire Erica's passion for advocating for her children, sharing her story, and helping to educate other parents through her experiences.