Wednesday, May 02, 2007

More of Mabel

Linda from Mabel's Labels contacted me after reading my comment below on creating a label for veg*ans based on their Allergy Labels:
"Mabel is thinking we might be able to modify the Allergy Alert Label. Why don't you give me the text you'd like to see on a vegan label and we'll see if we can make a prototype."
How about it? Does anyone have some wording they would like to suggest? Would there be a demand in the veg*an community for a label like this for our children? Would you buy them?

Some of you have criticized my comment that the "I don't eat" list should be modifiable, because individuals have different ideas about what veganism or vegetarianism means to them. For example, some vegans would add white sugar to their list, others would not, and the same is true for honey. More controversially, I know scores of "vegans" and "vegetarians" who eat eggs, fish, chicken, etc. I'm not saying this is good or bad, I'm just saying it's true in my experience.

I understand that there is one set, proper definition, but in practice each family is different. I think allowing people to design their own "don't eat" list would be nice. Also, some parents might wish to add other items like "food coloring" or "wheat" to the list if their son or daughter is sensitive.

Perhaps leaving off the "I am a x" and just writing "Please don't feed me:" would be the best way to go.

More thoughts for Linda?

53 comments:

Jennifer H. said...

This is sooooo difficult.
"Please don't feed me:" seems best though it worries me slightly, it allows my child to be fed the items that aren't listed... eeek. Once at daycare I instructed the caregivers that my son was allergic to dairy and eggs and he was given mayo and tuna!!! Hello?? DUH! The tuna was my own fault but even if my kid was omni I wouldn't give a 1 year old tuna!
Our family is vegan now (as you mention all veg*ns are different, i.e. we eat honey) and I would definately buy Mabel's Labels both in the allergy and veg*n form.
I think maybe text reading,
"I am {Write in your child's name here OR the word "vegan" OR "allergic"}
Please DON'T feed me products containing:____"
This may help clarify thing a bit more while leaving room for parents to determine the specific products? It also is a bit more formal and sort of insinuates allergy which is often taken more seriously at daycares, playgroups etc.

Mia said...

I agree that "Please don't feed me:________" is the best option, or to be more firm, "I can't eat:_______". Not only would they be more versatile, it removes the mess that verbal labels create. Maybe where it now says "NOTE!" it could say "PLEASE!" and then the " Don't feed me:__" or "I can't eat:__"

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yeaaahtoast said...

I love the ideas of these labels, not only for kids, but for me to distunguish my tupperware from my meat eating boyfriend's (i swear that ground beef when heated soaks into the container).
I am so on bard to buy them, especially after seeing the before and after wash-through. I really like the "Please don't feed me products containing:_______" because not a lot of people remember simple things, like mayo being mostly made of eggs.

Conscious Cookery said...

I have a button that I put on my kids' backpack that says: "I am a happy, healthy vegan - please no meat, eggs, dairy, or honey - thanks!"

Solitare-Renaldo Family said...

First, let me state three things:

1) I like and use Mable’s Lables for tracking my son’s belongings
2) My son is being raised vegan
3) He’s only 11 months old – so I may be out of touch with the norms of school-age issues

Anyway …

I don’t think having a vegan label for “things” – food containers, cups etc. is a very effective way of communicating what not to serve.

I am assuming that if those containers have come from home that they only contain things that are “safe” for the child to eat.

I guess the benefit would be to have a more constant visual reminder for the teacher of your child’s dietary needs.

I don’t know what parent’s of kids with allergies do … but I think they 1) notify teachers/staff and 2) have the child wear an allergy bracelet.

As a vegan mom, I would not be very likely to purchase "vegan" labels.

Daily SAHM said...

I like the idea of a label saying "please do not feed me foods containing..." I think the word "containing" is key... the story about the child being allergic to egg and dairy and the daycare feeding him tuna with mayo is a perfect example. People just don't get the fact that foods contain dairy, eggs, meat products (gelatin), etc.

I'm not so on board with the label actually saying "I am vegan/vegetarian" for the reasons already given... it's just too broad of a definition for some people. For instance, we're lacto-vegetarians, that's a label that most meat eating people would never understand, at least in my experience anyway.

I would definitely buy these type of labels. (Of course, this will create a whole new argument with my meat-eating family!)

Susan said...

The lables are avery nice idea- it would make people who notice them think to ask the child and/or parent "can he have this?", but unfortunately, a significant number of people don;t think.We have had to institute a "Don't feed me unless you ask my mom" policy with my child. She has multiple food allergies and sensitivities. My next door neighbor constantly gives her red fruit punch (which aggrevates her) and ice cream (allergic), etc. The labels are a very nice idea, but I am afraid that most people either don't read or don't think. Many people don't even realize that cookies contain dairy and eggs. Or that bread has sesame seeds. My daughter's friend is also allergic to peanuts and her grandmother gave her a jelly sandwich made with the same knife that was used to prepare her brother pb sandwich!

Sarah said...

I'd like the labels to be framed in a more positive tone. Instead of "I can't eat. . . " I'd want more positive instructions to be given to childcare workers such as "I'm vegan/vegetrian. Please feed me filtered water and locally grown, organic broccoli."

Just kidding.

I'm more with Solitare. If the labels are on containers, they are likely to be coming from home with approved food in them. Also, I think the best idea is to communicate with your child's daily care provider/teacher directly what your child's dietary needs are. And be explicit. My family isn't vegan, but I'm familiar with the general taboos of a vegan diet. However, the sugar prohibition would have really been a new idea for me. It would be a good idea to provide a written list of foods that have "lurking" ingredients that aren't in your child's diet.

Sonia said...

I *love* the idea of using the labels for veggie kids! I will be making my daughter her lunch when she starts school this fall, but when I worked in daycare (both hourly drop-in and regular, class-type) it was really hard for us to keep track of who ate what and who didn't. I know my daughter was fed meat and products containing gelatin on more than one occasion (grrrr!) and I was EVEN IN THE BUILDING, just in a different room. And no one consulted me. Anyway.

I think some kind of button for a kid's shirt or backpack would be great, but also labels for at least cups would be good. At the hourly daycares where I worked, the younger kids (i.e., the ones too little to be able to tell you what they ate and what they didn't) all had their own cups that had tape with their names on them. When giving a snack we would find their cup to give to them at the same time as their snack/meal, and therefore would have been able to see the label on the cup at the same time. This would have saved me a TON of confusion and time, since instead I had to look up each kid's individual card each time I fed them until I got to know that kid.

So, yes, I would buy these for my daughter if she were in an environment where food was being provided (daycare or a private school that could provide her vegan meals), and I like the idea of just "Please don't feed me products containing:" so that everyone can customize their own. Thanks so much!!

TrueEpicure said...

I like the idea of a "Don't feed me unless you ask my parental unit(s)." label/button. With my allergy (corn) there are SO many things that aren't obviously corn or corn products (including but not limited to): glucose, dextrose/maltose, dextrin/maltodextrin, sorbitol, baking powder, confectioner's sugar, caramel/caramel coloring, xanthan gum...

Fun time for me and FH when we have kids (he's also lactose intolerant).

madeinalaska said...

My daughter is allergic to dairy and we found these pins

http://www.vegetarianbaby.com/store/pins.shtml

and put them on her coat- It really helped when we would be out and about say Costco/ or the store where the nice people would be trying to push food on us...

I agree that the labels would be on containers that are coming from home and already contain approved foods but, a nice visual reminder.

I also agree w/ Sonia that they could be really helpful for babes and toddlers in a daycare situation.

My daughter has been in pre-school two years now and it is our routine to check snack everyday together and if there is nothing she can eat (oh you would be surprised how many gogurts, cheese and goldfish appear) then she has a bag of snacks in the cupboards. At four she is very aware of what she can and can't eat and when to ask. I have found that her teachers or her friend’s parents have all been extremely aware and cautious as well(we are lucky that way!).

wronskian said...

while i can appreciate the fact that parents want to make sure their kids aren't being fed certain things, i'm a little confused.

how does putting a sticker on a child's tupperware make sure they aren't going to be fed certain items?? aren't you sending your kid to school with lunches already packed in these containers?

when a child is offered certain foods, are they supposed to pull out the tupperware and show it to their friend/teacher and say "read this: i can't eat certain things"?

maybe i'm missing something, but i really don't see how this label thing would help much, unless you are giving the containers to someone else to pack your child's food. it doesn't make a lot of sense as to how this would be useful in a setting where your child brings a pre-packed lunch.

wronskian said...

also:

instead of saying "i can't eat ____ " i think it would be better to say "i don't eat ____ ".

by saying that you "can't" eat certain things, you are just reinforcing peoples' opinions that veg*ns have restrictive, boring diets. you know, like how people are prone to say "ugh, those vegans- they can't eat ANYTHING! they have to live off rabbit food." if you say that you can't eat something, as opposed to saying that you don't eat something, you're just reinforcing the idea that veg*ns are deprived.

i know it may sound like merely an issue of semantics, but i actually think it's kind of important in changing the way people view veg*n diets. it's not about can and can't- it's about a conscious choice to make a difference.

Solitare-Renaldo Family said...

Just wanted to add something about my son's daycare ...

In each classroom, there is a bulletin board. For each kid, there is a photo of the child, photo of the parents or other person authorized to pick up ,,, and then there is MEDICAL WARNING ... and for my son it says: Vegetarian -- no meat, fish, cheese or dairy.

The funny thing is ... I never asked them to put on the medical warning. They did it all on their own, having learned about his veganism from talking to me.

Alexis said...

Even though I and people I care about who are vegetarian/vegan are mostly not kids, I love this idea. It reminds people to be aware.

I prefer the "I can't eat" because "I don't eat" invites the "but you could, right? it's just a choice" response. Even in adult life many people do not take your food choices seriously unless they think you might get ill or die from eating something. Sad but true.

I don't think writing in the blanks would be very durable compared to the labels, so, as nice as customized labels would be, if they are going to mass produce them they should just go with the most common ones.

I like the "containing" wording because so often people don't stop to think about what foods are hiding.

Ingrid said...

I'm sorry, but I'm failing to see the usefulness of veggie labels for kids. Like other people have pointed out, it seems pointless to put them on the lunchboxes/tupperware that the parents pack their own lunch in. And buttons and signs for the children's shirts and backpacks?
I'm a vegetarian who plans to raise her kids vegetarian, but I would never send my kid to school with a sign on them that said, "Please don't feed me_________"
It just baffles my mind. Children, vegetarian or not, shouldn't have to carry a badge of their diet. I can see making exceptions for life-threating food allergies (why so many of those seems to be around these circles, I'll never know...)
Kids should be kids, not advertisements.

Roxy said...

I personally don't understand the need for these vegan stickers. My feeling is that they single out vegans by advertising that we have "special needs" and this conveys that we are abnormal or strange. Not that there is anything wrong with getting the vegan message out--I just don't see the reasoning behind this method.

Jennifershmoo said...

I think we need to keep in mind that these are designed for young children in school, daycare, summer camp, etc. Even though you pack your child a lunch, the labels are designed for those times when there is a shared snack, or a birthday with cupcakes, or popcorn and soda during a movie, or someone brought donuts or candy to share, etc. etc.

If you are not a parent, you might be shocked to discover just how often caretakers in these situations are giving the kids extra food (usually junk!) well beyond what you pack for lunch.

wronskian said...

one more thought-

slapping stickers/labels/badges on kids or their stuff kind of seems like you're implying your kid is an inanimate object that can't speak for him/herself.

in the case of allergies, i do understand how it can be important,
but if kids are raised veg*n, aren't they able to articulate that on their own?

for example, if a veg*n kid is a served a meat hot dog or a tuna sandwich, isn't that kid able to say on their own that they don't eat that?

if a kid is school-age, they can obviously say what their likes and dislikes are. as such, i think they'd be able to say that they don't eat meat, dairy, etc (in obvious forms) as well.

also, i agree that it seems a little unnecessary to do anything that will single out your child as "weird". kids can be cruel, especially where something different and "strange" like veg*nism is concerned, and i don't think any kid needs to have that fact advertised.

if they actually want to broadcast their veg*anism of their own accord, that's something totally different though!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>aren't they able to articulate that on their own?

No, not if they are preschool to kindergarten age; I think that is the age group that these labels are aimed at. At my own son's age he is able to speak for himself, but a three year old, on the other hand, definitely is not.

(Heck, unless you are the parent, sometimes you can't even tell what a three year old is saying even when they do speak! LOL)

Agent Provocateur said...

I don't have children yet (and I may never) but I don't see the problem with making it obvious that your child is a veg*n.

This whole "my kid has to be like all the others to fit in" is, IMHO, so destructive. It teaches children that in order to fit nicely in society they have to be like everyone else; it puts a damper on personality and creativity.

Here's a thought: ask the kid if they would like stickers or a button to alert people to the fact that they are veg*n. If yes, then order them up and if no, then teach them to be alert to what is being served and to articulate what they do not eat.

I hope that didn't sound to rant-y. I just feel like in this day and age parents are bubble-wrapping their kids and it is a huge disservice.

And for the record, I would like some of these stickers for me! :-)

Linda L. said...

Thanks so much everyone for all the feedback and comments! Very interesting and helpful. Yes, the Allergy Alerts are really for babies/younger kids (or perhaps older kids who because of any number of conditions are unable to advocate for themselves). Jennifer hit the nail right on the head: it's to remind caregivers at eating time. Regular caregivers should not need reminding but substitutes, parent helpers, and irregular carers - like at a day camp -can use the hint. Of course the food packed at home is appropriate but having a preschooler and 10 yr old myself, I know how ridiculously often the kids get extras. One of my current goals, personally, is not to make EVERYTHING about food, so when I celebrated Chinese new yr with my daughter's preschool in Feb. I purposely did not bring in food, just did a craft and show and tell. The teachers thanked me - didn't need food - they were still serving leftover red-frosted cupcakes from Valentines day!!!!! There is a difference for sure between an anaphlactic kid and a vegetarian but it is still yours (and eventually you child's) right to say what goes into their bodies and if the vegan or vegetarian labels help, great, if not, great too. We are not vegan but I'm in the middle of reading The China Study so we may be before too long. I'm even wondering abut Kosher, Halal labels, whatever...
Keep those comments coming. Thanks!

Shan said...

I was not offended by your comments at all about the sticker, i thought it was amusing.
The people that complained need a sense of humor
Shan from oz

R2K said...

You are the best.

Jennifer H. said...

The China study is great Linda!
My husband was predominantly vegan but rarely ate organic cheese and reading The China Study he is hardcore vegan now LOL!

The people who don't have children and are commenting have NO IDEA what "rules" and "lack of rules" schools and daycares provide.
My 2.5 year old asks for "MILK"... he is allergic and vegan!! But he doesn't know the difference! He's 2! We are working on calling, "soy milk" but the point is this could be very confusing to a daycare worker and a label would be like insurance! The label is not meant in lieu of communication with school/daycare workers, just as a reminder!


LINDA or Jennifer: Please let us know when the new veg*n labels are ready. I'm holding off on my other label orders until I can get them all at once.

Jennifer H. said...

BTW, After reading more comments, I still think
"Please don't feed me food containing: " is best.

In response to another comment about wording and making vegans seem like we "can't" eat certian things.... We are vegans for health reasons ONLY and it is not my job to worry about what other people think of my child's diet (i.e. "that poor kid can't eat anything... he only eats rabbit food") Advertising how fun and versitile a vegan diet can be is not my mission when my son is in other peoples care, my only job is being sure that animal proteins do not make it into my dairy/egg allergic & vegan 2 year old who doesn't know what he needs.

VeraLee said...

What's up with the asterisk?

Appliejuice said...

I am not a vegan or a vegetarian. I just wanted to say I agree with Solitare-Renaldo Family. If the child takes the food to school, then you are sure it is the right food for them. Letting the teacher's know you are vegan or vegetarian, will help.

I love the labels and plan to order a few for our family before next school year. :)

nyisutter said...

As a church child care worker, I agree that these kinds of labels would be great. Kids often come with their own cups, but we feed them snack during service. Whenever a kid I am not familiar with is there, I am hunting up cards on them. Sometimes I can't find a card and the kid gets no snack. It would be GREAT to have it right there on their cup!

We also have a little toddler who calls everything "milk", whether it's water, juice or milk. Wouldn't trust her to tell me what she could eat/drink.

I think the confusion comes from the fact that this is a "lunch box" blog and people are assuming that the labels are going on a lunch box. The name labels are for the lunch box. The allergy labels are for a different situation.

Ashley said...

I understand the no honey thing for vegans, but why not white sugar?....even if the sugar was made from sugar beets?

Abigail said...

About sugar: a lot of the cane sugar sold in the U.S. is filtered through charcoal that is made from animal bones. Even though there is no animal product in the sugar itself, many people prefer not to eat anything that was produced using animal products. There's a similar issue with wine and beer -- some brands are filtered using a product made from fish.

Sonia said...

I just wanted to comment on a child being old enough to be able to tell teachers/care providers what he or she eats.

I know that by the time my child is at the end of kindergarten/beginning of first grade she will be completely able to ask for herself what's in the food she is being offered and make the decision whether to take it or not herself. But when she was in a daycare where I worked when she was 18 months old, she was not able to do that.

Right now she's 3 (almost 4) and still doesn't know to ask what's in the food she's being offered. An example: we were at my parents' house, and they were eating tuna salad sandwiches. They offered her a bite and told her it was really, really good. As she's reaching for it, I told her, "Baby, that has fish in it. You can eat it if you want, but it has fish in it, so it's your decision." She immediately responded, "EWWWWW!! FISH?!?!?!" (one thing we're working on is not putting down other people's choices...obviously not our strong suit at the moment). She would have happily scarfed it right up and then felt horrible when my parents told her there was fish in it (which they would have done as soon as she was done eating it...sigh...they're not bad, we just disagree on this one issue). The poing being, she's three years old and had never seen canned tuna fish before and didn't know what it was. And mommy's cupcakes look exactly like the ones her friends have at their birthday parties (thanks for the recipe, BTW!), so why would she want to eat a different kind? And her milk looks the same as the other milk...what's the difference? If she were going to daycare or a private school that provided her meals (which we're looking into for this fall), this could turn into a real issue.

As much as I like the "Please don't feed me unless you talk to my parent" idea, I just think that in a day-to-day setting this might be pretty problematic. No, this is not a substitute for good communication with care providers, but it would sure be helpful when a daycare provider has twelve 3-year-olds all clamoring for their lunch and is scooping everything assembly-line style (like we did at one daycare where I worked), but has their cups all right there with the plates. It's not appropriate for all situations, but boy could it be a lifesaver in some.

Amie Dianne said...

I'm not a parent, but I've worked as an aide at a small daycare. I agree that the labels can't sub for good communication between parents and caretakers, but they're a great reminder about what a child can and can't eat. A sticker on a cup clarifies things when the parent is gone, and provides a visual aid to remind the caretaker each day. I've had a wheat and dairy sensitivity all my life, and am currently vegan. In my own experience, it's been very confusing for others to grasp what I can and can't eat, even after telling them several times. (And I AM old enough to articulate that now!)

One day at daycare, my employer informed me that a 2-year-old boy was allergic to dairy and couldn't eat the cheddar goldfish given to the other kids, so she bought him a package of pretzel goldfish, and had been feeding those to him. It was a nice thought, but when I read the package, I noticed even pretzel goldfish contain nonfat milk! Oops!

I don't know the best answer to getting around all the mealtime snafus, but a customizable label with enough writing space would be helpful. A RED label with "Note! I don't eat meat, fish, eggs, and dairy" will fit most people who call themselves vegan. The customizable part could then say "Please don't give me:_______" (list honey/sugar/food allergies if needed + other "no-no" foods the daycare serves: ranch dressing, tuna, cream cheese, goldfish, pizza, etc.). There could be an optional GREEN sticker, purchased separately, that says "I DO EAT_______" (list acceptable foods daycare serves: carrot sticks, raisins, Rice Chex, strawberries, orange juice, etc.). That takes care of the "veganism is restrictive" issue and gives the daycare some options. I know some might say this idea is confusing because too many foods are listed, plus allergies can be life-threatening and need to be listed separately. Again, no solution is perfect. A general red food warning sticker (not just for vegans) could simply say "Note! I don't eat:_______", which involves only a minor change to the current Mabel's allergy label, and makes it friendly for vegans or anyone else with special dietary needs.

Also, I think it's perfectly acceptable to ask that no pre-packaged foods be given to your child if you feel the daycare won't have good judgement. Limiting daycare-provided snacks to fruits & veggies is a safe bet if they'll comply. Just pack plenty of natural/vegan cookies and crackers for your child like Jenniferschmoo does, and they won't feel "weird" or left out. Maybe they'll even feel extra special—in a good way. :-)

emma said...

Slightly off topic:
This is not just for kids, but for anyone who is maybe traveling.

Menudata translates diet info on over 30 languages and you can get it printed on a card that goes to your wallet. You can send the card to the chef or give to a waiter if there's a language issue. I got one when I was traveling a couple of years ago.

https://www.menudata.com/index.php?page=home&mdlang=7

The translations are free though, so you can get the text without the card and just print it out.

foodiemama said...

these labels are a wonderful idea!

kaivegan said...

Jennifer,
This is OT, but...

My 10-yr old daughter was reading the May/June 2007 issue of VEGETARIAN TIMES last week, and as soon as she saw your name, (p. 48, Packin' It In) she immediately knew who it was. Talkin' about famous people...

.letting go said...

As an aside, when I've worked at big summer camps I've seen (homemade)labels for kids with allergies and kids who follow kosher and halel diets. VERY helpful. Labels said something to the tune of "I eat kosher! Please respect my beliefs by_________. I enjoy eating: __________"

It was just something to help counsellors and kitchen staff get a handle on the food choices of a LOT of kids. Detailed labels for veg kids aren't a bad idea at all.

And buttons? Hell I'm in my twenties and I could use a button.

Becky said...

I don't know whether anyone mentioned this yet since I read about half the comments but not all of them, but I wonder if putting a button on your child's shirt/backpack, etc is not the best idea? It's like labelling the child as 'different', and we all know how kids can be mean to people that they perceive as different. Is it not best to find a more subtle way to inform the care giver/teacher that the child is vegan/vegetarian or allergic? It just strikes me that the kid might hate wearing the button as a constant and very visible 'symbol' of how they are different than most of their classmates.

Ellie B said...

Here in Oz they have cute tee shirts which have cartoon cows or peanuts or eggs on them with a big cross (like a no smoking sign) and sayings like "I can't have a cow man" or "i'm a no nut" on them for pre schoolers. Mostly designed as an allergy thing rather than for lifestyle choices but a cool idea.

I am not at all vegan or vegetarian but with my 13 month old daughter I have a 'ask before she eats' rule because I am very fussy about preservatives, colours and sugar and salt levels. So if I leave her with anyone they only give her food I have sent with her.

Some labels would be very confusing with their length if they listed every food containing meat/dairy/eggs etc..

Roxy said...

After reading all the comments, I can see how the veg*n labels would be helpful. If I had a child in daycare or school, I would want to do everything possible to make sure they are not fed meat, dairy, eggs, white sugar, or any other nasty substance kids get fed on a daily basis. I like the suggestion of the label saying "Please respect my beleifs, I'm vegan and don't eat:_____________"

I also think that "labeling" your child is not the worst thing. Someone said that being a conformist just so you don't have to stick out is not good--"bubble wrapping" our kids is not healthy. I totally agree. Veg*n kids should be proud--I'm sure Schmoo can attest to that!

deirdre said...

Hello! This question is unrelated to the original post:
My son began T-ball tonight and I am already obsessing about what to bring for the team snack when our turn rolls around. I feel pressure counteract all the high fructose corn syrup in a positive way. What have you done in the past? Any ideas? Thanks!

.letting go said...

chilled orange wedges, girl. Throw em in the fridge and then throw them in tupperware for the game.
My mum brought them to innumerable T ball games, and they were always a hit. Refreshing, natural, easy and yummy.

Sonia said...

Deirdre, I was thinking fruit, too...grapes, orange wedges, strawberries...easy to eat with fingers, cool, refreshing, and not complicated for you to make, either. Popcorn can be super easy, healthy, and yummy, too.

Rebecca said...

I hear all your concers and comments, if labels are needed, I was thinking more like.. "ATTENTION: Please no Animal products or manufactured sweets"

Amanda Sevall said...

Love the idea and I look forward to seeing what comes from this discussion! Thanks for taking up a very worthy cause :)

micky said...

I do am an every-eatarian. But it will take some time for me to analyse your under-rated recipes(Never mind).
May be this is the new idea. But 1st shall try.
Mick @ development mysql php web

Sweet_Carolina_Dreamz said...

Hi! After reading this post and all the comments, I feel compelled to leave a footprint of my own.

First, I enjoy your blogs.

I am not Vegan. I do have multiple allergies and choose not to eat many food ingredients that our "food" is plagued with, too. I think these labels are part of "knowledge is power" to those who need to know and have their "plates full" with life of many children, in these environments our children need help with..

The last two times I was hospitalized, I had put "aspartame" and "MSG/Monosodium Glutamate" on an allergy card. Aspartame was crossed out and "blue packet" was written next to it.

The verdict? My plastic/condiment package had a "pink" sugar substitute packet, but my food all contained aspartame and MSG in the ingredients no one cared about.

There was nothing I could eat in my "liquid diet". I had broth with MSG, diet carnation instant breakfast, coffee (I don't drink coffee, either.) and sugar-free jello.)

If a hospital can do this.. anyone can innocently do it, too.

I answered my children's requests for items in the market with, "what does the label say?" to teach them how to read the labels and learn for themselves. This, of course, only works when they can read and talk, for themselves.

We avoid many foods for many reasons in our lives.

As parents, it is our responsibility to give our child voice when they can not give it themselves.. and no matter how we try to accomplish this.. its a good thing!

I made my own "medic alert" tags. It is a printed metal luggage tag from those machines that make pet id tags. I use them as zipper pulls and bag charms. They are not all medical information related..

My own is personally attached to a handled eye glass case, that hangs on the outside of my purse/bag, that contains printed/laminated cards with health, medication, allergy, medical contact info, etc. on them.

I call them "about me"'s. I have my cell phone number on the one's my children carry with them. This easily allows the "I can not eat" and "I enjoy" foods to be listed and I taught my children to show them, like ID, at meal times, when away from me or our home.

Sometimes "containing" does not help because I know many people who have no idea how to read a label or what is in pre-manufactured foods. (Mayo is the classic example, but corn syrup, by itself, tells the whole story, too.)

(These tags can easily be sewn onto stuffed animals a child carries, too!)

I LOVE the comment abt red and green. I am going to see how well colored tape will stick to the metal tags now!

Thank you for allowing my footprints.. ~Heidi

Rebecca said...

I am a teacher for kids who are severe/profoundly disabled. I have many autistic kids who are on different diets. To help those of us on the other end, it's helpful to know. I have labels for allergies including latex written all over because new people come in all the time. I have asked the parents of the kids with allergies/parents choice not to have their child eat certain foods send in snacks that we keep at school. They have also given me a list of things their child CAN eat so we can include them as much as possible because we do include functional skills in the classroom which includes cooking.

leighs said...

I find this discussion interesting, with many giod suggestions. But a label saying "I can't eat" is misleading, becasue unless there is a food allergy, the child CAN eat that. I really like the "Please respect my beliefs" one, it seems somehow less bossy or dictatorial than the others adn invites mutual respect from caregivers and other parents, And possibly opens up some questions in a friendly, non-judgemental way. I have bought Mable's Labels int eh past and loved them, one is still on a water bottle for 3 years!

Laura Kennedy said...

i seriously feel that people who dislike what this blog is written about shouldnt bother reading it. i can definetely see sending my sister to school with these labels. shes six and i highly doubt she can remember, 'please dont give me eggs milk meat or honey'. i think the labels are a good reminder and kids can take their containers out to show what they dont want to have. i also agree with the 'dont' instead of 'cant'. its not that we cant eat these things, we dont want to! ^^ overall i think at the least, the labels are super cute and if it makes kids excited about being vegan, more power to them.

Web design and Web development said...

I also think that "labeling" your child is not the worst thing. Someone said that being a conformist just so you don't have to stick out is not good--"bubble wrapping" our kids is not healthy. I totally agree.
Regards
Sai BPO Services (UK) Ltd.
Web design and Web development

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