Some food allergies, such as those to peanuts and shellfish, are relatively common in the United States. However, some people are allergic to much more than this. In fact, there are cases of food allergies so severe that those afflicted by them can only safely eat a few specific foods. Take, for example, Mia Dollman. Weeks after she was born, she began having severe allergic reactions. Now, she eats just five foods: bananas, rice, soy, strawberries, and blueberries.

Her parents, Jennifer and Gary Dollman, knew something was wrong when Mia was just six weeks old. Mia’s reactions, which included rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting, kept getting worse. With a family history of allergies, the Dollmans suspected that their daughter may have been reacting to food, even breastmilk. “She was failure to thrive by 12 months. She was losing weight, and wasn’t gaining anything,” said Jennifer. While still a baby, Mia had a G-tube surgically implanted in her body to provide nutrition, because the foods she is able to eat don’t provide enough.

As a six year old, Mia now carries her feeding system in a backpack. Even though the foods she is able to eat don’t provide her daily nutrition, her parents make sure she eats solid food each day. Doctors haven’t been able to pinpoint her food issues, but for now she’s been diagnosed with Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis. Jennifer and Gary have worked to teach their daughter about their condition. Already she’s comfortable telling adults what she can and can’t eat, and knows how to work her feeding system. She also understands that she may not outgrow her food sensitivities, and that this may be a lifelong condition.

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