Do you know how to S. A. V. E. a life?

Here is a short, but very important message from the doctors at Mercy Children’s Hospital:

Do you know how to S. A. V. E.  the life of a food allergic child?

SSupport Other Kids! – Never share food with friends with food allergies.

A – Ask An Adult! – Ask an adult for help if a friend feels sick.

V – Vow To Wash! – Promise to wash your hands after you eat.

E – Earn the Title! -Earn the title “Food Allergy Action Hero” by learning all you can about food allergies!

And, if you have been prescribed an epinephrine autoinjector…ALWAY CARRY IT WITH YOU!

Flying with Food Allergies?…5 Tips For Staying Safe

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Are you planning a last get away before the school year starts?

Whether you are heading to the beach, plains or mountains there are extra things to prepare for when managing childhood allergies.  Unlike driving where you are able to pull over to handle an emergency, flying with food allergies leaves less room for error.  You need to plan ahead to keep everyone safe.

Here are my top 5 tips for air travel with food allergies:

1.  Be sure to check your airline’s allergy policy.

It is usually found on the airline’s website.  This will tell you just what the airline employees are able to do to help.  Keep in mind that airlines cannot guarantee a peanut or nut-free flight because they cannot restrict the food brought on board by other passengers.

2. Book a morning flight.

Most planes are only cleaned at the end of the day, so booking the first flight of the day will minimize the risk of crumbs or food residue from the last passenger in your seat.

3. Pack your own safe food when traveling.

Getting sick away from home is no fun!  It’s better to leave nothing to chance.  Be sure to check the regulations before heading to the airport.  Any coolers will be thoroughly checked and items that are not allowed must either be eaten at security or disposed of in the handy trash cans.  (My daughter had a full scale meltdown when they made us throw out a single serving cup of mandarin oranges because it was considered a liquid.  It’s not a fun experience.)

4. Wipe down your seat and the area around it to prevent contact reactions with food particles or spills.

Eating food off a contaminated surface could lead to accidental ingestion of allergens as well.  Some airlines will allow you to pre-board so that you have more time to do this.

5. Carry your Emergency Care Plan with all your medications, including your epinephrine autoinjector.

It should be safe to pass through the x-ray machines and visual inspections may increase the risk of accidental activation or damage.  The Trasportation Security Administration allows passengers to bring their epinephrine on board the aircraft, but you should be prepared to show the printed prescription label from the pharmacy and a note from your doctor that confirms your food allergy.

 

Back to School Shopping List for Kids with Food Allergies

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It’s back to school shopping time!

I’m sure by now you have checked out your school’s list for the pencils, notebooks and art supplies that your child will need this year.  Have you added any additional supplies that your child will need to safely manage her food allergies while away from you at school?

Here are five things you might want to add to your back to school shopping list if your kids have food allergies:

1. Allermates lunchboxes and epipen cases are cool and stylish and specifically designed to help others identify that your child has an allergy.  This one is really cute in purple and is also available in blue.

2. This neat belt from Waist Pal is designed to carry two epipens discreetly…perfect for your older child who doesn’t want to carry a separate case or boys who don’t want to carry a purse.

3. This book will help you explain to your younger child all the things they need to understand to stay safe while away from home.

4. For your younger students (who wouldn’t be too embarrased by it) a bold T-shirt might be a great wardrobe addition for those first weeks in a new setting.

5. An alert bracelet that your child loves and will wear!  There are all kinds on the market now.  Here is a really cute one for girls.

 

Anaphylaxis: Do You Know How to Recognize and Treat It?

What is Anaphylaxis?

Most people experience mild allergy symptoms like a runny nose or itchy eyes.  But, some people experience a much more severe reaction known as anaphylaxis.  This means that exposure to a common item, such as food, latex, or a medication can send them into a state of shock or even kill them.  Do you know how to recognize the signs of anaphylaxis?  It could save a life.

Signs and Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

The symptoms of anaphylaxis occur quickly and worsen rapidly.  According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Hives or swelling
  • Tightness of the throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Cardiac arrest

If you experience these symptoms

If you experience these symptoms, you should use your epinephrine auto injector and call 911.  If you have experienced these symptoms in the past, be sure to talk with your doctor about whether you should be carrying epinephrine.

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An Australian Take On Food Allergies

Do your friends and extended family understand you when you try to communicate your kids needs?  If not, this video from Australian Food Allergy Awareness Week may help them!

I can relate to so many of these as a parent of 2 children with food allergies…and my children do not have a severe anaphylactic reaction!  It’s hard to let them go places where they might be exposed.  It’s important to balance safety with living a full life.

How To Throw An Allergy Friendly Backyard BBQ

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What’s more fun in the warm months than grilling out? It’s grilling out with friends.

Host your own allergy friendly backyard BBQ and invite all your buddies over for a tasty meal and some backyard fun. Here are some tips to get that party started right.

When dealing with food allergies, there is more to think about to make sure that everyone stays safe.  Be sure to have your supplies ready and available to protect your food allergic kids (or guests).  I like to keep small foil sheets on hand.  This lets me prevent cross-contamination on the grill itself.  Also, if other people are bringing dishes be sure to communicate any special needs that should be considered.  And, be prepared to have a back up plan in case they “just don’t get it.”

The biggest complaint I have about throwing a barbeque party is that the I end up doing more cooking than enjoying the company. Last minute preparations mean that the food is not ready when the guests arrive. It is hard to entertain and fix the appetizers at the same time. People seem to eat in shifts as the food gets ready.

Let’s avoid that bit of that nonsense this year. If you are going to have an allergy friendly backyard BBQ get-together, plan ahead so that it is easy on the guests and the hosts.

  • Know your menu. Decide the week before what you will serve for the meal. Appetizers or finger foods of some sort allow guests to munch while they wait for the main course to finish on the grill.
  • Appetizers should be small especially if you plan on serving a variety of grilled meats and vegetables. Try a veggie or fruit tray with some low calorie, allergy-friendly dip. This is easy to make—you go to the store and pick one up! Okay, you can get the veggie part pre-made and just whip up a yummy dip!  The name of the game here is to have fun and to do as much as you can ahead of time.
  • Sweet iced tea is a good idea for a party where there will be children as well as grown ups. You could also serve punch.  If your punch is meant to be sparkling (adding soda), chill the punch first without the soda and add it just before the guests arrive. That way, the punch won’t lose it’s kick while in the fridge.
  • If the guests were told to bring their appetites, you may want to eliminate grilled chicken from the menu. Chicken takes a long time to cook depending on the parts of the bird you are grilling. This alone will cause some people to get their food ahead of others. So no guest is left with an empty plate, choose other meats or pre-bake your chicken before grilling to reduce cooking time.
  • Remember to always preheat the grill. When people come in and see smoke rising from the grill they expect that you have already put food on it. Don’t surprise them with the smell of smoldering charcoal. Forty-five minutes before the party, start the gas or charcoal grill so that the coals get hot and are ready for grilling once the guests arrive.
  • As for the side dishes and cold salads, prepare those at least an hour (for the side dishes) or two (for the salads) before the party. This cuts down on the work of the host and hostess. You can sit with your friends and await the goodies from the grill. Better still, everyone can watch the grill master at work and nibble on appetizers.

The allergy friendly backyard BBQ should flow smoothly when you take the time to prepare. When the work is done early, the fun can begin as soon as the guests arrive.

So get out and enjoy your summer allergy friendly backyard BBQ season!  And, tell me what else you do to keep everyone safe when you barbecue…

Can Immunotherapy Change Our DNA and Reverse Food Allergies?

Just found this interesting video on YouTube. Researchers at Stanford have found that immunotherapy can actually alter a part of a person’s DNA and reverse allergies! It may even offer some protection for the children of people with allergies. Sounds exciting to me!

According to WebMD immunotherapy is:

“When you get allergy shots (immunotherapy), your allergist or doctor injects small doses of substances that you are allergic to (allergens) under your skin. This helps your body “get used to” the allergen, which can result in fewer or less severe symptoms of allergic rhinitis.”

This particular study looked at Oral Immunotherapy which is somewhat controversial because it carries a greater risk during the treatment phase.  But, this kind of discovery may lead to more research and, eventually, a way to make this safer.  So take a look below and see what you think!

Your Kid CAN Eat This!…Really!

Have you recently been told that your child has a food allergy or intolerance?

I have been there.  Both of my daughters have a food intolerance to both milk and soy.  I remember those first days after finally figuring things out.  I had spent the last 9 months holding a screaming, puking, baby trying to soothe and comfort her.  I tried and tried to get her to eat something.  But, everything she ate…well, I think you get the picture.  Now, we finally had an answer.  I headed to the grocery store to buy food so that I could come home and feed her….

I quite literally stood on the brink of tears in the local grocery store because I could not buy anything that would not make her sick!

I felt that desperation all over again about a year ago when we moved to a new state.  I had to figure out new grocery stores.  And, while I felt a little better because we have been doing this for almost 7 years now, I still felt that panicked feeling my first trip to the grocery store.

This time, I had a secret weapon!

Several years ago, I created a simplified menu that my kids love to eat.  I kept it stored on my computer hard drive and used it when we traveled, or when it was just a really crazy week and I didn’t have as much time to spend in the kitchen.  It made a very stressful time just a bit easier for our whole family as we transitioned to a new living situation because we ate our favorite meals.

All I did was print out the shopping list and head to the store.

I came home knowing that I had everything we needed to prepare our food for the whole week – and it was all allergen-free!  And, everything was available at the new grocery store.  Sure, we ate the same meals for several weeks in a row, but nobody minded.  It was comforting to eat what was familiar with so much change going on all around us.  And, now that we are settled in, I am back to including more variety in our meals.

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Today, I am giving away this exact meal plan, complete with recipes and shopping list to you!  Visit my Your Kid CAN Eat This page to get your copy today!

Milk-Free, Soy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Milk-Free, Soy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Does your child like to have a special treat when their friends are having one?  Do you need an option for chocolate chip cookies that are both milk and soy free?  Do you want a recipe to make with your kids so you can participate in your family’s holiday traditions?MKHW_141211_00132.jpg

 

I grew up eating the best cookies.  My Grandmother made them.  Every year we would visit her for Thanksgiving, and then, the day after, when most people were shopping, she and I would bake the Christmas cookies.  They were the best cookies.  We made several different kinds.  She always used butter, so I had to play with the recipe a bit to make them come out right so that my girls could enjoy them as well.  These days, I make the Christmas cookies.  And, it’s not always the day after Thanksgiving.  Today, I am going to share with you my adaptation of her Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

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  • 1 cup milk-free, soy-free margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cup milk-free, soy-free chocolate morsels (I used Enjoy Life) or chopped up chocolate bar

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1. Beat margarine, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla with electric mixer.

2. Add eggs and beat well.  Gradually beat in baking soda, salt and flour until well combined.MKHW_141211_001-7

3. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

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4. Refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.  (You can also go ahead and drop the cookie dough onto cookie sheets and freeze as dough balls to bake later.)

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. And drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

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6. Bake 9-11 minutes, rotating halfway through.

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7. Let sit on cookie sheet 1 min.  Then use a spatula to move them to a towel to cool.  When cool to the touch, you can stack them.

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8. When completely cool, store in an airtight container with a piece of bread to keep them fresh.

I hope that you and your family are able to participate in this holiday baking tradition.  For more allergen-free holiday baking ideas, be sure to check out the Freedible cookie exchange.