Food Allergy Living Blog




Page 1 of 70 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›

Tips for Going Back to School with Food Allergies

Posted 8.28.14 | Mallory West

It’s hard to believe that summer is over and the kids are heading back to school. When your child has food allergies, a new school year can be a little more complicated. In today’s post, we’ll share some tips and resources for a smooth transition back to school.

First and foremost, it’s essential to educate the new teacher and classroom aides about managing your child’s food allergies in the classroom since this is where your child will spend the most time. You also need to educate the school nurse and cafeteria staff. If possible, arrange a meeting with the new teacher, school nurse, and the head of the cafeteria staff prior to the beginning of school to discuss what is required to keep your child safe. Even if the staff has not changed from the previous school year, after 3 months away, it’s still a good idea to refresh them about your child’s needs.

If you don’t already have one in place, develop a food allergy action plan and ensure that everyone who cares for your child during the school day is aware of it. This includes not only teachers, nurses, and cafeteria staff, but also bus drivers, after-school caregivers, etc. Food Allergy Research & Education provides a template form that is very useful. If you already have an action plan in place, be sure to notify everyone about any changes or updates since last year.

If your child requires an Epi-pen, make sure to provide one to the school nurse, along with any other medications that may be required. Be sure to check the expiration date on the Epi-pen.

For more tips and resources on going back to school with food allergies, visit these links:

School planning for food allergic children

Safe@School™ with Food Allergies: Back to School Guide for Parents

Food Allergies 101: Back-to-School Safety  

Tips for keeping your food-allergic child safe in the classroom

Back-to-School is the Best Time to Get Allergy Ready

 

We hope everyone has a happy & healthy school year!

-Mallory

 

 

Photo: Flickr


Hypoallergenic Peanuts: What are they and what does it mean for parents of allergic children

Posted 8.19.14 | Mallory West

You may have seen recent reports in the news about newly-developed “hypoallergenic peanuts”. In today’s post, we’ll talk about this new technology and what it means to parents of children with peanut allergies.

An estimated 2.8 million Americans suffer from peanut allergies. For those with peanut allergies, peanuts can cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis.

Researchers at North Carolina A&T University developed a first of its kind food processing system that reduces the allergenicity of regular peanuts. Regular peanuts are treated with special enzymes, which the researchers have found reduces the levels of allergens in the peanuts by up to 98%!

At this point, only the science has been discovered, so you won’t find allergy-friendly peanuts and peanut products in the grocery stores just yet. However, North Carolina A&T State University researchers have teamed up with a company that hopes to commercialize the new technology, so you may see such products in the years to come.  

Although the idea of hypoallergenic peanut butter is exciting for those with peanut allergies, it’s important to remember that hypoallergenic does not mean non-allergenic. Although the special processing reduces the allergens in peanuts, it is still possible to have an allergic reaction to a less allergenic peanut because it only takes a trace amount of an allergen to trigger a reaction in very allergic individuals. When these products become commercially available, it’s important to consult with your child’s allergist before trying them. If you decide to trial them, be sure to do so under close medical supervision in case an allergic reaction occurs.  

-Mallory

Reference: http://www.ncat.edu/news/2014/08/peanuts.html


What Do Allergen Advisory Labels Mean?

Posted 8.12.14 | Rob McCandlish, RD


Have you ever picked up a packaged food item and seen one of the following statements?

  • Made on shared equipment with peanuts
  • Made in a facility that also processes wheat and dairy
  • May contain tree nuts
  • May contain traces of egg

Confusing, right? I always wonder if manufacturers use such statements just to cover their behinds. Any one of these statements is completely voluntary and unregulated. These types of precautionary labels cannot be used to assess the risk of an allergic reaction. In fact, research conducted in 2007 found that many individuals with peanut allergy ignore these advisory statements.(1) The researchers tested 200 products with a peanut advisory statement and found that most (90%) did not contain detectable peanut protein. Of the 10% that did contain detectable levels, 65% had a "clinically significant" amount of peanut protein. This translates to ~7% of the 200 tested products (all carried a peanut advisory label) being found to have a detectable amount of peanut protein that would likely pose a risk to most peanut-allergic individuals, and about 4% with a detectable level that was deemed "not clinically significant."

Because these advisory statements aren't regulated, an expert panel has recommended avoiding any foods labeled with a precautionary statement related to your food allergens.(2) If you or a family member has a food allergy, you should ask your healthcare team whether you need to rely on these advisory statements. When in doubt, it can help to contact the manufacturer to ask what they mean by the statement they use. It is also wise to err on the side of caution and contact the manufacturer even if the product doesn't have an advisory label related to your food allergen, just to be safe.

For an even more in-depth discussion, please turn to one of our trusted resources, Kids with Food Allergies. They have a great article here that does a better job of explaining this topic than we could! Sharon Wong also offers an explanation on a page of her website, geared toward peanut-free recipes.

What sort of food allergen statements have you seen during your recent grocery trips?

-Rob

1. Hefle SL, et al. Consumer attitudes and risks associated with packaged foods having advisory labeling regarding the presence of peanutsJ Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007

2. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States. 2007.

Image

 


Web-based Food Allergy Resources

Posted 8.7.14 | Rob McCandlish, RD


This is a guest post from Leslie Stiles. Leslie Stiles received her BS in English Literature at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and obtained her Masters in Human Nutrition from University of Illinois in Chicago. She works as a Senior Clinical Nutritionist at a children’s hospital in Chicago, IL.


A diagnosis of a food allergy may come as a shock to your family, and that shock may continue when you go to the grocery store and start to look at nutrition labels. You might find yourself asking “What can my kid eat?!”, “Will they be able to eat typical kid food like birthday cake and pizza?”, or “What will I pack them for school lunches?” The list of questions can be endless and overwhelming to say the least. Luckily, thanks to the world wide web, there are some accessible resources that will both educate and inspire you about allergen-free cooking and shopping.

This blog post is intended to present some tried and true resources that I often share with families. I encourage you all, as readers and family members of children with food allergies, to share your own tried and true resources in the comments section. It’s important for us to share information and help each other stay informed.

For all things allergy-related, the Food Allergy Research and Education organization (FARE) website is chock full of useful information. I recommend spending some time exploring all it has to offer and bookmarking it to refer to later.

Allergy Free Recipes

The Kids with Food Allergies website has created an easy-to-use, searchable recipe database. You can search for recipes that are free of the top 8 allergens and corn.

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology website has a lot of great information about food allergies, in addition to some tasty allergen-free recipes. Each recipe is marked with a key stating which allergens have been omitted.

Recipe Substitutions

If you think your child with a dairy and egg allergy has to miss out on your Great Aunt Mildred’s famous banana bread, think again… You may be able to substitute other ingredients for the butter and eggs. The Kids with Food Allergies website gives a good overview of the function of each allergen ingredient in a recipe and provides suggestions for good substitutions. Unfortunately, not all allergens have substitutions that will function in the same way, so the end product may not turn out exactly the same as the original, and you may want to find a new recipe.

Allergy Friendly Manufacturers

We are lucky to live in a time when there are more allergy-friendly manufacturers than ever before. Children’s Hospital of Orange County has created one of the best resources I’ve come across thus far listing all allergy-friendly food manufacturers. You can check it out here.

Eating out at Restaurants

Want to find allergy-friendly restaurants in your area? Then Allergy Eats is the place to go! You can simply select your food allergy, type in your address, and voila - you have restaurant options. Each restaurant receives a rating, both overall and per allergen. You can also rate a restaurant yourself. To make it even easier to use, Allergy Eats has created an app that can be downloaded onto your smartphone.

Again in the food allergy community, we rely on each other for information and to stay informed. Do you have a tried and true online resource that you’ve found helpful? If so, please share it in the comments section.

-Leslie Stiles, MS, RD, LDN

Image source


Common Misconceptions about Food Allergies

Posted 8.5.14 | Mallory West

There are many misconceptions about food allergies out there. In today’s post, we’ll summarize 3 of the most common misconceptions that we hear.

Food Allergies vs. Intolerances

Food allergies and food intolerances are often confused with each other but they are actually two separate conditions with different underlying causes, symptoms, and treatment. Read more about the differences between food allergies and intolerances here.

Testing for Food Allergies

Another common misconception about food allergies is the belief that testing can definitively confirm or rule out an allergy to a certain food. However, food allergy testing is not always 100% accurate. Sometimes allergy tests don’t identify a food allergy even though the patient appears to have an allergic reaction to that food (this is called a false negative). Other times an allergy test suggests a person is allergic to a food that they actually tolerate (this is called a false positive). Allergy tests can be helpful in giving your doctor clues about which foods are causing problems. However, they are not always completely accurate so doctors use them in addition to their own observations and the reports of the patient or their caregiver when evaluating a patient for a food allergy.

Immediate vs. Delayed Allergic Reactions

Many people assume that an allergic reaction to a food always occurs immediately after consuming it. Someone who experiences delayed allergic reactions to a food may mistakenly believe that their symptoms are unrelated to the food, or that they are caused by the wrong food, since the symptoms don’t occur around the time when the food allergen is consumed. It is important to recognize that delayed allergic reactions to foods can occur many hours after consumption. A diet journal and food allergy testing can help patients and their doctors to identify which food is causing problems.

Are you surprised by any of these misconceptions? What misconceptions about food allergies have you experienced?

-Mallory


Could it Be A Milk Allergy: Neocate’s CMA Infographic

Posted 7.31.14 | Nutrition Specialist

One of the things we've learned at Neocate is that many families usually go through a long and daunting process before discovering their fussy and inconsolable little one has a cow milk allergy (CMA). The road to an official diagnosis can stir feelings of confusion. To help educate more parents and caregivers on the symptoms of CMA, Nutricia North America is unrolling our new Could it Be A Milk Allergy infographic. Could it Be a Cow Milk Allergy was designed to highlight the top eight symptoms of a cow milk allergy while providing tips on what parents should look for and next steps if children are exhibiting signs of CMA.

We want more parents, like you, to be prepared. Will you take a moment to share this with your networks? Please spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

To learn more about CMA please visit milkallergysigns.com


Everything You Need to Know About Neocate Junior with Prebiotics

Posted 7.30.14 | Nutrition Specialist

At Nutricia we are dedicated to providing families and caregivers with products that offer the most nutritional while managing their little ones' food allergies. We know that many of you often have questions about the Neocate family of products, so we've created videos explaining each of the products' ingredients and nutritional value.

Below is our first video on Neocate Junior with Prebiotics. Click the image to play the video.

 

To learn more about Neocate Junior with Prebiotics please visit the following links:

If you have questions feel free to give our medical team a call at 1-800-365-7354. You can also follow us on Twitter @Neocate or like our Facebook page Facebook.com/Neocate.


10 Tips to Allergy Friendly Menu Planning

Posted 7.29.14 | Nutrition Specialist

Today's guest blog comes from Ellie Sears. Ellie is a wife of 12 years and a stay-at-home-mom to a beautiful three year old girl.  Ellie and her daughter both have food allergies.  Ellie enjoys homemaking and trying new food allergy friendly recipes. She stays active in advocating for food allergy awareness through her blog and in her hometown.  Ellie blogs about life with food allergies at blessedlittlefamily.wordpress.com.

What's for dinner tonight?

A year ago, I could not have answered that question.  We ate out a lot and would bring something "safe" for SG, our then two year old who is allergic to dairy and eggs.  It became very expensive.  I also became hesitant to exposing SG to allergens in restaurants as she sometimes broke out in hives from restaurants even though we brought her own food, her own booster seat, wiped everything down, and she had her own plastic mat for food.

But planning dinner and cooking every night.  That seemed insurmountable. Then I remembered reading something that suggested for anything to become a habit, I must do it every day for a month.  A month of cooking and no eating out?!?!  It seemed impossible but I decided to give it a try.

After a month, I was successful (mostly!).  So I kept on.  And on.  And I'm still doing it!

Not a big menu planner?  Does it seem overwhelming?  Start with planning a few days of meals for the week.  Once you accomplish that, try planning an entire week.  Work your way up from there.  You can do it!

Here are some tips to menu planning and stretching your grocery budget at the same time.  These are all things I do:

1. Look for sales and couponed meat.  My local grocery store periodically puts chicken drumsticks and chicken thighs as low as 69 cents a pound and the chicken breasts as low as $1.69 a pound.  Another grocery store discounts its meat with up to $3.00 off each package on the day before the sell by date.  I take advantage of these deals and buy as much meat as my budget allows.  I store the meat in freezer bags, as that takes up less space.  It's important to always label and date the meat.

2. Prep the meat before it goes in the freezer.  Sometimes I have time for this.  Sometimes I don't.  I always appreciate it when I defrost the meat and I've already trimmed it and it's ready to go.  Taking steps beforehand saves time later.  I try to always have some cooked and seasoned ground beef portioned in our freezer.  It makes spaghetti or taco night a breeze!

3. Menu plan around meat in the freezer.  I make a list of all of my meats and plan my menus around that.  It's a great way to save money in the grocery budget and get organized!

4. Vary the menu.  I try not to have too many meals back to back with the same protein.  I like to also make a few meatless meals a month.

5. Repurpose leftovers.  I make a delicious pork tenderloin in the slow cooker.  We eat the pork one night with side dishes.  The next night it gets repurposed into burritos, tacos, nachos, or a barbecue sandwich.  The family gets variety and I get away with only cooking one protein for two meals.  It's a win-win!

6. Use dried beans.  Soaking and cooking beans is beneficial in so many ways.  It takes time, but it saves money.  One bag yields a lot of beans.  It is much cheaper than canned beans.  The beans are perfect for meatless meals in the menu.  (Nachos, rice and beans, soups, meatless taco bake, etc.)

7. Keep frozen vegetables in the freezer.  Nights when I'm plain exhausted, steam in the bag frozen broccoli florets save the day.  Frozen or fresh vegetables are mainstays in our diet.

8. Use the internet.  I've found some great blogs and new recipes online.  Pinterest is my go to for finding and organizing allergy friendly recipes.

9. Try new recipes.  Know that some recipes (especially ones that are adapted because of food allergies) might fail.  In that case, laugh, enjoy a sandwich for dinner, and keep trying.  I've had my share of cooking failures.  I've had more successes, though, and that's the important part.

10. Make a list of favorite recipes.  When planning, refer to this list.  Plan a few favorites and pencil in some of those new recipes that were pinned on Pinterest.  Add new successful recipes to the favorites list.  After a few weeks, the list will be longer and it will be easier to plan a varied menu with all of these recipes right at your fingertips.  This works well for me.

I do every single one of these steps and it saves us time and money.  Living with food allergies can be expensive and stressful.  Meal planning doesn't have to be either.

Do you menu plan? Please share your tips below.

 

 


Money Saving Tips for Grocery Shopping with Food Allergies

Posted 7.23.14 | Christine Graham-Garo

We all know the cost of food is not going down any time soon. Costs can go up so suddenly that it can catch you off  guard financially.  I came across this article from Yahoo Finance which had 8 steps to help soften the costs of food allergy friendly foods. A few of the tips were to use loyalty programs which can help the grocer track your purchase habits and send out targeted coupons. If you buy allergy friendly foods, most likely you will get allergy friendly coupons. Checking websites for coupons can be helpful too. Websites such as Allergy Free and Food Allergies…on a budget offer coupons on their site for you to download.  Another tip to save on grocery costs is to choose more fresh products such as fruits and vegetables. You could save lots of money by buying fresh. In order to minimize spoilage, you can freeze berries before they turn bad and use them in a shake for a nutritiously rich snack.

Another resource I found and thought was really interesting to listen to was this free webinar from Kids with Food Allergies.  Sarah Roe, also known as the Money Saving Queen, gives a very personable 1 hour webinar on how to save while grocery shopping with food allergies. It’s very practical and she gives so many tips, you can utilize at least one she shares to save some money.

What tactics have you used to help save money on food?

We hope this helps!

-Christine


What You Need to Know About Neocate Splash, Unflavored

Posted 7.22.14 | Nutrition Specialist

Last week we announced the launch of Neocate Splash, Unflavored and we hope that you are excited about the unveiling of this new product as we are. Our team understands that you and your families may have questions about Neocate Splash, Unflavored so, we wanted to give you a closer look at our newest product offering.

Here is what you need to know about Neocate Splash, Unflavored:

What is Neocate® Splash, Unflavored?
Neocate Splash, Unflavored is a hypoallergenic, amino acid-based, ready-to-drink product designed specifically to meet the nutritional needs of individuals over one year of age. It is unflavored with a mild taste and can be given in a tube feeding or consumed orally. Neocate Splash, Unflavored is gluten- and casein-free, has no soy oil, and provides 30 calories per fluid ounce. Neocate Splash, Unflavored is indicated for use in the dietary management of individuals with cow and soy milk allergy, multiple food protein intolerance, eosinophilic esophagitis, short bowel syndrome, and other conditions of gastrointestinal tract impairment and malabsorption requiring an elemental diet (e.g.gastroesophageal reflux, enterocolitis, and Crohn’s disease). Neocate Splash, Unflavored is intended for use under medical supervision. 

 
Why isn’t this product called E028 like the other Splash products?
Neocate Splash, Unflavored has a nutritional formulation that is based on Neocate® Junior, Unflavored and comes in different packaging from E028 Splash. With the launch of this new product we simplified the name.
 
I already use Neocate Junior for tube feeding– Can I use Neocate Splash, Unflavored too?
Ask your healthcare team for guidance. Neocate Splash, Unflavored is ideal for on-the-go tube feeds, as it does not require refrigeration (if unopened) or mixing. The drink box is easy to open and pour, which is great when you’re away from home. Neocate Splash, Unflavored can be used for tube feeds given by bolus, gravity, or with a pump and it has a mild, pleasant taste, which may be helpful for tube-fed individuals who experience reflux or who are ready to introduce
formula orally.
 
Those who already use Neocate Junior, Unflavored might also like to have Neocate Splash, Unflavored on hand for tube feeds away from home, when a ready-to-pour product would be more convenient.
 
How does Neocate Splash, Unflavored compare to Neocate Junior, Unflavored?
The nutritional profile of Neocate Splash, Unflavored is based on Neocate Junior, Unflavored – both are nutritionally complete. For most children, both will meet 100% of vitamin and mineral recommendations when consumed as a sole source of energy. For guidance on how much Neocate Splash, Unflavored your child needs to meet her/his nutritional goals, contact your healthcare team.
 
The amounts of carbohydrate, fat, amino acids, vitamins and minerals in Neocate Splash, Unflavored are very similar to those in Neocate Junior, Unflavored: most are identical or within 2%, caloriefor-calorie. The full nutritional profile is available on Neocate.com.
 
Is Neocate Splash, Unflavored nutritionally complete for adults?
Like Neocate Junior, it will meet 100% of most, if not all, vitamin and mineral recommendations for teenagers and adults, depending on energy needs. For guidance on how much Neocate Splash, Unflavored would meet nutritional goals, please contact your healthcare team.
 
What does Neocate Splash, Unflavored taste like?
Neocate Splash, Unflavored has a mild, pleasant taste. Many tasters are surprised that this is an unflavored amino acid-based product. It is slightly sweet compared to Neocate Junior, Unflavored, as some of the carbohydrate is sucrose. Some tasters describe it as having caramel flavor notes, and some perceive it as slightly creamy, though no ingredients used in the product are derived from dairy. No artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners are used.
 
How do I transition my child to Neocate Splash, Unflavored from another product?
When the transition to a new formula involves a change in flavor or nutritional differences, some parents and clinicians may prefer to transition over the course of a few days. You should contact your child’s pediatrician or healthcare provider to discuss this transition. We have provided helpful guidance for this on www.neocate.com/help-for-parents/guides/download-guides. As with all medical foods,Neocate Splash, Unflavored should be used under medical supervision.
 
Can I get a sample?
We can provide samples of this product to your healthcare team. It is available for purchase at Neocate.com, as well as also available through a variety of channels, such as a pharmacy or medical supplier. Contact your healthcare team for other options.
 
How does this product compare to E028 Splash?
E028 Splash and Neocate Splash are different products that have similar names. E028 Splash is commonly used as a nutritional supplement in food elimination diets. Neocate Splash, Unflavored has a nutritional profile based on Neocate Junior, Unflavored. This means it has higher levels of vitamins, minerals, protein and fat than E028 Splash, and a lower amount of carbohydrate and lower osmolality. The main sources of fat, carbohydrate, and amino acids are the same between all Splash products.
 
The packaging for Neocate Splash, Unflavored is a sleeker design with modern graphics. It has a peelable opening with an optional straw. Both products contain 8 fluid ounces of formula providing 237 calories, and come in a case of 27 drink boxes.
 
Are you making any changes to E028 Splash products?
At this time we have no plans to make any changes to any of the flavored E028 Splash products or packaging and they will remain available.
Neocate Splash, Unflavored is a new product - it is not replacing any other product.
 
What is the price of Neocate Splash, Unflavored? How does its cost compare to E028 Splash and Neocate Junior?
(As of July 2014) The online cost of Neocate Splash, Unflavored at Neocate.com is identical to E028 Splash – both are
$132 per case of 27 drink boxes. This is less than 2% more than Neocate Junior, Unflavored, caloriefor-calorie. We offer free ground shipping and a 5% discount for automatic reordering on Neocate.com.
 
What is the hang time for this product?
Hang time refers to the use of the product in tube feeding (“hang” because the feeding bag often hangs on an IV pole). This refers to the amount of time a formula can safely remain at room temperature once opened. We recommend a hang time for Neocate Splash, Unflavored not to exceed four hours. Clean handling techniques should be used in preparing tube feedings to help avoid contamination during preparation and delivery. Talk to your healthcare team about clean handling techniques and how Neocate Splash, Unflavored can be used in your tube feeding regimen.
 
If you have any further questions, or would like more information on Neocate Splash, Unflavored Our team of Nutrition Specialists is more than happy to help. Please contact them at 1-800-NEOCATE (Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm EST).


Page 1 of 70 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›


About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.