Bravely Seeking Safety

I love this post from Momastery, “This is What Brave Means”, so much and, of course, it feels so familiar.  Take a minute to read it if you haven’t seen it yet.  It’s time to redefine “bravery” for your children and for ourselves and to realize that physical danger is not the defining characteristic of a brave action.

For people with food allergies, who get pressured all the time to take risks, bravery is not eating something you’re unsure of or taking risks with your precautions.  Bravery is standing up for yourself, asking for precautions, and risking being different because you aren’t eating the food at a party or other social event.

Children are often expected to take management of their allergies into their own hands, which sometimes means defying adults who don’t fully understand their allergens. THAT is brave.  Bravery is the second grader I heard about recently who gave herself an Epipen after her teachers told her she had to wait for the ambulance to arrive, because she knew she needed it.  Can you even imagine?  A child was told by grown ups that she could not have the medicine she knew could save her life until an ambulance arrived, which could easily be too late.  A second grader, grabbed her own Epipen and injected herself in the leg, defying the adults around her , and possibly saving her own life.

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My own 5 year old daughter also exemplifies bravery to me, although to others, she might seem fearful and overly cautious.  Bravery is when she decided on her own to skip Sunday school because she found out they were passing out donuts and goldfish.  Bravery is when she walked calmly to sit in a chair so I could inject her with an Epipen because she realized she had eaten something she shouldn’t have.  Bravery is standing up for herself and suggesting to her brand new kindergarten teacher that she should wear gloves and collect chicken eggs with her class, despite her allergy.  Bravery is marching into almost every party she has ever attended with her own cupcake or meal and her bag of epinephrine auto injectors, because she knows that when it’s time to eat she will be surrounded by allergens and will need to act differently from everyone else to keep herself safe.  Bravery is when we eat out and she takes it upon herself to tell her server all about her allergies and what all she is allergic to.  Bravery is when she has to go to the Dr’s office for a food challenge and spend 4 hours taking bites of food she knows could make her sick, could require her to need Epinephrine, and that she has spent her entire life trying to avoid at all costs.

My child may be cautious, but she and all of the others like her are the most BRAVE little beings I know.

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Elena and her friend, Blake, share allergies to the same four foods.

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Soup Recipe

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Ingredients:

10 cups chicken broth

1 lb sausage (details below)

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 large red onion, diced

1 large bunch of kale, chopped

1 ½ tsp. sage

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Before I get too far into these “directions”, I want to emphasize how easy and flexible soup can be.  You really have a lot of wiggle room with ingredients and quantities.  As long as you have enough broth to cover your solids, you will probably end up with soup.

For this recipe, I combine all of the ingredients, except the kale, in the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Just make sure your broth covers your ingredients.  Add extra if needed.  About 30-45 minutes before you are ready to eat (or turn it off) stir in the kale.  That’s all.

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For the sausage, I used Wild Turkey Farms fresh polish keilbasa.  This is not like the highly processed keilbasa you find in the grocery store that is precooked and has to be sliced.  It is fresh sausage in a casing that gets soft and crumbly when cooked, so it breaks up easily in the soup.  If you don’t have access to fresh local keilbasa, italian sausage also works well in this.  You can buy it with the spices added or just buy fresh ground pork or turkey and add your own (I usually use fennel, paprika, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper).  You can brown it before adding, or just add it to the broth and break it up near the end, after it is cooked through.

As far as salt goes, take into consideration how salty your broth and meat are.  Remember that these things will season the soup too, so you might not need any additional salt.  As always, using your own homemade broth takes this soup up about 10 notches, and since you know exactly how much salt is in it, it’s easy to know how much to add.  If you haven’t made your own broth yet, please try it.  Then leave a comment below about how life changing it was 😉