Yup, it’s been a year (give or take) since I first launched AllergyBites. My intention was to seek out allergy-friendly restaurants in Toronto and share my findings with foodies and families like mine.
A lot has happened in a year. And I’d love to tell you about it. (Don’t miss the big announcement near the end!)
On the personal front…
At the time of launch, my little guy had 3 confirmed allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, egg). I was on an extended mat leave trying to figure it all out. Don’t tell my husband, but I think he was still in the denial stage. (Shh.)
Since his first lick of peanut butter (and the resulting diagnosis), my son added 3 new allergies (sesame, soy, sunflower) to the list. The good news is, he recently passed his oral challenge for soy at Sick Kids. So we’re down to: peanuts, tree nuts, egg, sesame, sunflower.
My request to return to work part time was denied, so I decided not to go back and at all, and jumped into the AllergyBites project full force (while doing a bit of freelance work on the side).
When it comes to managing my son’s multiple allergies, there are good days, bad days, and some reeeeally bad days. But I’m mostly keeping it together.
Oh, and my picky Irish husband has actually learned to like some allergy-friendly products. Give this post a read to find out what they are. You’ll note he has a bit of a sweet tooth.
On the blog front…
My very first blog post, Death of a Dream, Birth of an Idea, got 600+ views within 2 days of being published. At the time, I was encouraged to keep going and, I admit, somewhat comforted that it resonated with so many of you.
I was just starting to research allergy-friendly restaurants / bakeries / cafe in the city, and I seriously had NO IDEA that so many accommodating eating spots actually existed.
I was just starting to connect with other allergy moms in the community, and was quickly learning just how wonderful this #tealvillage could be.
With the help of the food allergy community, I’ve compiled a pretty comprehensive list of allergy-friendly restaurants.
Last but not least, I was honoured to see AllergyBites named #25 in the Top 40 Food Allergy blogs.
On the business front…
Like many entrepreneurs, I’ve been sidetracked by all of the crazy (and not-so-crazy) ideas that are constantly running through my head. It probably doesn’t help that I’m a writer. (Oh, those creatives!) There are so many things I want to do, but (as the saying goes) so little time. So as the 1-year birthday of my passion project approached, I decided to think long and hard about why this blog was born, what the original mission was, and how I can continue to make my dreams a reality.
And I’ve decided that, since I can’t clone myself, it’s time to devote the majority of my time and energy to the reason I started AllergyBites in the first place. My dream is for AllergyBites to be the go-to spot for foodies and families with food allergies on the lookout for safe (or accommodating) eating spot in the city. We’re definitely not there yet. But by assessing what really matters when it comes to reaching those goals, I think we’ll be a lot closer by the end of this year.
Top 3 priorities:
- Publish more allergy-friendly reviews in Toronto (and beyond).
- Re-visit old reviews to make it clearer which spots are free of which allergens vs. which spots are allergy aware and super accommodating, but not necessarily marketing themselves as such. (I’m looking at you, Drake Commissary!)
- Work on creating allergy-friendly itineraries for travellers to Toronto. (I love eating and I love travel, so I’m SOOO excited about this new adventure.)
- Organize #allergyparent meetups at allergy-friendly eating spots around the city. (Monthly? Quarterly? I haven’t decided yet.)
- Possibly organize a Canadian version of the Top 8 Challenge. (My interview with ausEE Inc. founder inspired me!)
So where does that leave the AllergyBites discount card program? Well, for one, I won’t be spending as much time actively reaching out to allergy-friendly businesses. (But that doesn’t mean I still won’t be adding new companies as the year goes on.)
Here’s the good part: I’m going to start reducing the price of the card by $1 every month until the year is up. Recall that I was selling it for an Early Bird price of $15 prior to the October launch. So let’s start with that amount and do a bit of math: Minus $1 for every month that has passed since launch. We’re in March now, so you can grab it for $10. In April, it will be $9. And so on…
If you already bought the card at a higher price, think about it like this: You’ve had quite a bit longer to take advantage of the deals. Plus, I will happily donate the difference to Walk for Andrea, if that is your preference. Just drop me a line!
Food. Community. Fun. That’s the heart of the AllergyBites project, and that’s what the remainder of 2018 is going to be all about it.
Friendly. Supportive. Encouraging.
Want to join a community of like-minded food allergy folk?Join the AllergyBites Community on Facebook.