Nut Free Wok: Allergy Aware Asian Fare

Nut Free Wok: Allergy Aware Asian Fare

By Sharon Wong

I am proud to share with FAACT my new blog, “Nut Free Wok: Allergy Aware Asian Fare." As a food allergy mom since 2006, the one thing I kept hearing from fellow parents is, “If there is one thing I really miss, it’s Asian foods!” As an Asian-American, it would be terrible if I had to give up an entire culture's cuisine indefinitely. But since I have found ways to prepare Asian foods at home as well as eat out on special occasions – and even travel to Hong Kong and avoid the allergen tap dance – I wanted to help others do the same.

Friends encouraged me over the years to get my tools and guidance out there in the world, but the ideas came together at the inaugural Food Allergy Blogger Conference in Las Vegas this past November.  Again, I heard a familiar lament of, “I miss Asian foods!” And when I shared my idea of starting this blog during a recipe development workshop, people gasped in response and I could sense the excitement. Throughout the rest of the conference, I devoured every morsel of information so that I could do this – fill the void and make a difference.   

I have been pleasantly surprised and deeply touched by the outpouring of love and feedback from our community.  I never thought I would end up as a mommy-food-allergy-advocate-educator-blogger, but all of my volunteer, educational, and professional experiences have led me to this point in my life.  It has been a long path discovering and diagnosing the extreme multiple food allergies and other atopic conditions in my family with the help of our medical experts.  Over the years, I felt at peace by finding ways to work with schools and other organizations to keep my children safe. When I ran into some problems that I could not fix by myself, I turned to advocates such as Eleanor, Yael, Nicole, Brian Hom – all now with FAACT – and other allergy community leaders for help and support. It is through my personal interactions with members of the FAACT team that I am thrilled and know that when these incredible advocates come together as a team, they will be accomplishing amazing things on our behalf and support families like mine and yours.

No one likes to go through challenging times. That is when I realized that much more food allergy awareness and support for allergy research are needed.  This empowered me to work closely with Brian Hom and our local Food Allergy Walk for the last two years and support Dr. Kari Nadeau's research at Stanford Alliance for Food Allergy Research, where my son is a peanut patch trial participant. I collaborate with many local food allergy parents to pursue legislative changes in California on behalf of food allergy sufferers.

The “Nut Free Wok” blog is a delightful outlet for me to reflect about my family’s culture and recipes and have fun with my children as we prepare allergy-safe meals together whenever possible. Since I most likely will not stop advocating awareness until there is a food allergy cure for all, I hope that my blog will spark a new level of food allergy awareness among Asian food manufacturers, the Asian-American community, and those who are interested in Asian foods and culture.

I launched “Nut Free Wok” on January 1, 2014, and within the first week, there were thousands of visitors to the Web site and more than 500 “likes” on the Facebook page. I am so grateful for the outpouring of love, support, and interest and I feel extremely motivated to keep writing because I am fortunate to be able to share with an engaged audience. It truly makes me happy to encourage other food allergy families to believe that Asian foods are within their reach.

Get started with the “Nut Free Wok” Web site.