Food Allergy Living Blog

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21 Allergy-Friendly Recipes and Activities to do this Valentine’s Day

Posted 2.11.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Valentine’s Day is just 3 days away, do you have your game plan ready? We’ve got you covered with allergy-friendly Valentine’s Day recipes, treats and activities to make sure it’s a Valentine’s Day your special one won’t forget!


Candy hearts aren’t the only tasty treat to pass out these days. Here is our list of our best non-candy Valentine’s Day snacks:

Neocate Chocolate-Raisin Taffy Treats

A fun treat option that offers unique texture and mimics a piece of coastal summer nostalgia for family members with allergies. 

Chocolate Peppermint Smoothie

A festive smoothie combining the delicious wintery flavors of peppermint and chocolate in a yummy smoothie form that all family members can enjoy. 

Neocate Chocolate Nutra Pudding

Who doesn’t love pudding for dessert? Now even those in your family with food allergies can enjoy this delicious chocolate pudding recipe! 

Neocate Junior Brownie Bites Recipe

A delicious brownie substitute that will make your little ones be coming back for more. 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Slushy

The delicious taste of chocolate covered strawberries in a slushy form is sure to be a winner for your special someone. 

Strawberry and Apple Nutra Popsicles

The delicious summer treat that you can make all year round!

Neocate “Strawberries & Crème” and “Chocolate Covered Strawberries”

Two delicious strawberry themed treats! One with a hint of vanilla, the other with chocolate, ratio tested to perfection.


 While these recipes are delicious, it’s also fun to do Valentine’s Day crafts to show your appreciation for someone.  A recent Popsugar article shares 48 non-candy Valentine ideas for kids.  Friendship bracelets, Valentine joke notes and bookmark valentines are some of our favorites from this awesome list!


Is your little one’s class having a Valentine’s celebration? Brought to you by Kids With Food Allergies, here are some alternate goodies and activities to keep you kids in the holiday spirit!

·         Exchange Valentine-themed pencils, stickers, pencil sharpeners, and other trinkets. (Look in dollar stores, local pharmacies and big box stores.)

·         Allow children to design and create handmade Valentines for classmates, teachers and family using construction paper, paper doilies, glitter, glue, stickers, lace and other craft materials.

·         Make paper flowers from tissue paper and pipe cleaners.

·         Cut out paper hearts and attach to string to make garland for the classroom.

·         Allow children to decorate a mailbox or paper bag to use to collect their Valentines.

·         Have the class work together to decorate a bulletin board or the room door for Valentine’s Day.

·         Create origami hearts.

·         Make small heart stamps out of erasers.

·         Make friendship bracelets for classmates to share.

·         Make little critters from pom-poms, felt, pipe cleaner and googly-eyes.

·         Create thumbprint or hand print Valentines.

For more fun activities, be sure to check out our Neocate Pinterest page. We have an entire board dedicated to Valentine’s Day fun, including heart wreaths, Valentine’s Day card ideas, Valentine’s games for kids and more!

Whatever you and your LO decide to do for Valentine’s Day this year, be sure to upload pictures to our Facebook page. We would love to see how you spent your special day with the ones you love! 

Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2016

Posted 2.8.16 | Nutrition Specialist


Stanley the PumpFebruary 7-13, 2016 marks the 6th Annual Feeding Tube Awareness Week!  This year’s theme is ‘The Power of Tube Feeding.’ Awareness Week is a joint effort between the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation (FTAF) and The Oley Foundation.

We at Neocate  are excited to once again help spread awareness and educate on ways you can get involved and support Feeding Tube Awareness Week this year. As of 2012, more than 30,700 people are living at home with feeding tubes.

Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation

The FTAF is dedicated to providing information and support to families who have tube-fed children. View the FTAF Feeding Tube Awareness Week Page, which FTAF launched in 2011

The page includes some great materials to guide you in asking your local media to help. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness of feeding tubes in your community to promote greater acceptance and understanding. You can read more about Allie and Esmé to understand why this is so important! The Foundation was able to reach more than 2 million people last year alone! If you’re new to FTAF, please visit their inspiring stories page and FTAF’s facebook page.

The Oley Foundation

The Oley Foundation is dedicated to sharing information and supporting families who deal with tube feeding. They partnered with the FTAF on Awareness Week in 2012, here’s a list of ways they suggest you can get involved this year:

1.      Share photos and or videos of yourself with the Oley Foundation

2.      If you are active in media, share your story in a press release

3.      Have your own blog? Dedicate a post about your experience with tube-feeding. (If you don’t have a blog but would like to share your story, you can always contact the Neocate team and we will share your story on our blog!)

4.      Join tube-feeding groups on Facebook and other forums

5.      Talk to your fiend and family, school or church groups.

Over the past couple of years, the Oley Foundation has put together video about tube-feeding. This year they are once again for photos and video clips for this year’s Feeding Tube Awareness video. Check out the video they produced last year, The Truth about Tube Feeding:

If you’re new to the Oley Foundation, please visit their support community to connect with other tubie families. You can also visit the Oley Foundation’s facebook page.

Let’s all give thanks to these great organizations for helping educate people in the community about feeding tubes. Please inform others about how many precious little ones’ lives have been improved and saved with the help of feeding tubes.

What will you do this year to help promote Awareness Week?

-          Ellen

Ellen Sviland Avery joined the Nutricia team during the summer of 2014. She has extensive experience in pediatrics, metabolics and tube feeding. Prior to coming to Nutricia, she worked in home infusion. She has been a registered dietitian for more than 12 years. Her passion in pediatric nutrition started when she was in Birmingham working with children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and has continued throughout her career.

FEEDING TUBE AWARENESS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation, Inc. and is used here under license. Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation, Inc. is not a sponsor of Nutricia North America or Neocate.

The Roller Coaster– Don’t Let Stress Take You for a Ride

Posted 2.2.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Life can be like a roller coaster ride. Here’s a small description from ‘Parenthood’ – a classic movie - that might help you understand:

Life is thrilling, but can be stressful at times. Challenges of day-to-day activities combined with juggling food allergies can be complicated. If you struggle to juggle food allergy anxieties regarding your kids as well as your own ‘on-edge’ feelings, you’re not alone. Below are some stress buster ideas designed with you in mind.

Anxiety Relief Technique for Your Kids

Fire drills. Remember these from your school days? They provided everyone need-to-know info and action plans for ‘in case of fire’ situations. We learned by rehearsing. As a step-mom of 2 daughters, I’ve found the best way to help them (and myself!) prepare for life’s ‘what if’ situations is to practice them by role playing at home. That really helped de-stress all of us. You may want to employ this technique with your child in a food allergy scenario.

When practicing food allergy ‘fire drills,’ consider including 3 key elements in your role-playing: situation assessment, system checks, and back-up protection plan verification. Role playing with older kids? You may consider pushing the proverbial silence button and make talk-time with your teen happen- engage in label reading of teen-typical food, and give them ‘what if’ questions to answer. Take a look at this blog on Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids About Food Allergies. It’s full of creative ideas for teaching and de-escalating allergy anxiety with kids. The bottom line is practice the ‘what if’ and you should be fine. WHEW!

Not quite…. What about YOU?

Anxiety Relief Techniques for You

What are you doing about your feelings? Did you see the blog Irina posted a few weeks ago about stress and how stress can impact not just you but your entire family?

After reading this, you should consider the following as not self-indulgences, but self-necessities to combat stress.

  • Action. It’s amazing how physical activity can de-escalate stress levels. There’s a shift change in your body’s chemistry profile (endorphins) for the better. Kendra talked about this in her post, Tackling Your Daily Stressors…One Step at a Time, and I say ‘Hear, hear!’ Any activity and any amount of time is fine. Hear a favorite song? Bust a move! Office job? Consider some chair yoga that’s not embarrassing.
  • Breathe.Who hasn’t heard someone say, ‘just take a few deep breaths and you’ll be fine’? Why is this? When we breathe slowly and elongate the exhale, we trigger the relaxation response of the parasympathetic system.  The opposite of this is shallow, rapid breathing that signals stress, or the sympathetic system. By regulating our inhale and exhale, we can maximize relaxation and absorption of oxygen. The diaphragm is used more effectively and it increases our ability to better manage stress. I teach yoga, and breathing is deemed the most important element to practice. We use Ujjayi breathing (ooh-jy-yee), as it is a way to connect our mind and body. Ujjayi is an audible, rhythmic breathing, equal inhale/exhale coupled with an ocean/Darth Vader breath sound.    Here’s a quick video that explains Ujjayi breathing technique in a bit deeper detail:

    By using this technique during times of stress, you can help quiet your mind and your nerves. I use this breathing technique throughout the day- not just on my yoga mat.
  • HEE HAW! This is MY word. I say this to myself when I feel my heart beating faster and my breath becoming shallow - an escalating stress situation in the works. I say ‘hee haw’ to myself and it’s my cue to stop and ask, ‘where am I RIGHT NOW on the stress meter?’ If I’m honest with myself and find my number to be 7 or greater on a 1-10 scale, then I take time to BREATHE, MOVE, and/or PAUSE. Saying a word that triggers internal analysis is a self stress assessment, referred to as verbal de-escalation (though I say it silently). There is a lot of information available on de-escalation strategies. The Crisis Prevention Institute offers a list of 10 tips for de-escalation a situation,  which you may find useful. We need to remember that we are all in charge of how we react. Knowing how you can monitor and help YOURSELF de-escalate can help manage your stress levels.
  • Support TEAM. Do you have some go-to peeps with big ears for listening who don’t mind being a sounding board for you? Call them. Bend an ear. Are you a member of a support group with other parents of children with food allergies? National organization websites are a good source of direction to these. Check one out. These folks can relate to your situation and perhaps your feelings and frustrations as well. There can be power in numbers and knowing you’re not alone in the allergy plight. Sharing with kindred spirits may give you reassurance and new perspectives. Social media sites can be sources of support too. There are forums and Facebook groups to consider that may include information from professional organizations, subject experts and parents that have ‘been there, done that.’ Take our Food Allergy Living blog for instance! Offerings are usually free and available 24/7. 

Children’s food allergies are challenging, and being a parent role model who projects ‘cool, calm and collected’ isn’t always easy. So how does your roller coaster ride look? Are you making the bumpy parts manageable so you, like Grandma in the Parenthood movie, can be glad you rode the coaster? Do you have any good ideas for stress busting you can share with others? Let’s hear them!

By Jody Long-Benitz, M.S., RDN

Your Neocate Mixing & Storage Questions Answered!

Posted 1.28.16 | Nutrition Specialist

When it comes to preparing formula for your little one, we’ve heard every question in the book! If you have a question about mixing Neocate, you’re almost never the first person to ask us. We’ve pulled together some of the most common questions we get from parents, often several times a day! See if some of these aren’t questions you were secretly wondering yourself.

The Neocate Infant label says to use “cooled, boiled” water. Do I really need to boil the water? Does it have to be sterile? Really?

Great questions! Yes. (This applies to Neocate Infant).

First, it’s important to know that young infants are particularly susceptible to infections. Their immune systems have a lot of developing to do, so it’s best to take all steps to avoid them getting sick.

Second: we really care about the health of children who use our products! The best way to ensure that infants don’t pick up a nasty bug is to boil the water that you use to mix formula. This ensures that any bacteria in the water – especially a concern with well water – are killed before you give the water to your baby. Boiling the water first is our recommendation, and many healthcare professionals agree.

If you aren’t happy to boil the water, you can always check with your little one’s healthcare team if you want their advice on the topic. Be prepared that they may tell you the same thing we do, but they may feel differently. They may also become more relaxed with their opinion as your infant gets older and starts putting everything within reach in her mouth!

If I use nursery water or bottled water to prepare Neocate Infant, do I need to sterilize it?

Good question! Still yes.

We understand the urge to save some time and a few steps by using water that’s in a bottle. After all, bottled water should be safe, right? Well, we recommend boiled water (see above question and answer) because boiling sterilizes the water. And bottled water is not always sterile. In fact, it’s rarely sterile. Bottled water usually comes from a spring or a municipal water supply (read: tap water). If you buy bottled water, it isn’t sterile unless it is clearly labeled “sterile.” Reverse osmosis, filtering, and purifying are all great, but they don’t make water sterile. If the bottled water you use is not sterile, we recommend that you boil it. If you don’t want to boil it, ask your healthcare professional for their advice.

Looking high and low for sterile bottled water, but not having any luck? Try an online medical supply company, but be prepared to pay a lot!

What temperature water should I use to mix Neocate? Is it bad to use very hot water? What if I pour it straight from the kettle after it’s just boiled?

All good questions! Here are a few important things to know about the water temperature when you prepare powdered Neocate products:

·         For Neocate Infant, use boiled, cooled water (see above)

·         For all Neocate powders, water can be ice cold, cold, cool, room temperature, tepid, lukewarm, or warm

·         In general, the warmer the water, the better Neocate powders will dissolve

·         DO NOT use boiling water to prepare Neocate powders. The powder will dissolve REALLY well in boiling water, but you’ll also destroy a lot of important nutrients

·         The warmest water you should use is 122° F (50° C) to ensure the nutrient levels are not affected

Can I give Neocate to my little one warm or cold if they prefer one over the other?

Of course! We usually give infants bottles that are close to body temperature. However, some children prefer Neocate cold, which may be because our taste buds don’t taste cold things as much as we do when they’re warm. (Next time you have leftover pizza, compare a cold piece to a warm piece. Weird, right?) Just make sure if you’re warming cold Neocate from the fridge that you don’t heat it beyond 122° F (50° C) to ensure the nutrient levels are not affected.

How can I warm Neocate if I can’t use a microwave, and you also say I can’t boil it?

I do love a good riddle! First, here are ways you should NOT heat Neocate:

·         Don’t microwave: Microwaves heat unevenly and can create hot spots. A hot spot can cause serious burns, which would be a very, very bad thing.

·         Microwave hot spots can also affect nutrient levels, and nutrients are in formula for a reason!

·         Don’t boil: Boiling Neocate would be bad, because the extreme temperatures destroy nutrients.

·         Don’t heat on the stove: Heating Neocate in a pan on the stove would expose it to direct high heat, which will destroy some nutrients

That said, there are some methods you CAN use to warm refrigerated Neocate. They all involve gentle heat. Just make sure you don’t heat Neocate beyond 122° F (50° C) to ensure the nutrient levels are not affected.

·         Use a bottle warmer (designed to gently warm formula)

·         Place a bottle in a warm (not hot!) water bath for a few minutes

·         Hold a bottle under warm, running water

How long can I refrigerate freshly prepared Neocate?

If you put prepared Neocate in the fridge right away, you can keep it for up to 24 hours from the time you prepare it. It’s important to put it in the fridge immediately though. Really important! Bacteria love to grow at moderate or warm temperatures, and we DON’T want bacteria to grow! While you’re at it, get a thermometer and make sure your refrigerator is keeping temperatures below 40° F (4° C).

How long can refrigerated formula stay at room temperature once I take it out of the fridge? How long can freshly made formula stay at room temperature? Once a bottle is made, how long do you have before it has to be consumed?

The answer to any of these questions is 4 hours. That’s a general rule for foods, too. Think about a buffet at a restaurant. Would you want to eat food that had been sitting out all day? Then why would you give your infant formula that’s not fresh?! We still recommend that fresh is best, but know that if you need to bring a bottle from the fridge to room temperature, or want to mix it while your baby’s asleep, you’ve got up to 4 hours before you should discard it. Read on, because the time is shorter once they start to drink it.

Does warming a bottle from the fridge change the amount of time it’s good for?

No, but that’s a good question. Some bacteria grow better in warm temperatures, while others grow better in cooler temperatures, but most don’t grow fast in the fridge. Because of that our recommendation is the same for unrefrigerated Neocate. Four hours fresh from the fridge. Four hours at room temperature. Four hours warmed. Either way you slice it, if it’s been unrefrigerated for four hours, get rid of it. And in case you missed it: fresh is best. Don’t leave a bottle of warm formula on the counter for four hours just because we say you can – that’s just reckless!

How long is a bottle good for once feeding has started? Once my baby has touched the nipple on the bottle, does it have to be consumed within an hour?

Yes - One hour. Again, we really care about your little one’s health! While we’d love to think that all babies are clean and pure, that’s simply not true. Babies have just as many germs in their mouths as adults. Once your baby starts to drink from the bottle, start the clock and toss whatever’s left after an hour. Safety first! And don’t try to pull a fast one on us and put the bottle back in the fridge halfway through the feeding. There’s no wiggle room here, just like there’s no crying in baseball.

For tube feeding, how long can I let Neocate products hang?

Good question! We consider tube feeding to be like leaving a bottle on the counter, and our advice is four hours. We know that for overnight feedings, this means getting up in the middle of the night to start a fresh feed. However, just to reiterate, we care about the safety of our customers! Keeping formula at room temperature, no matter how clean you think the feeding bag is, makes it easier for bacteria to grow.

If getting up in the middle of the night to change feeds really presents a problem, discuss this with your healthcare team. Some healthcare organizations provide different guidance, but we recommend no more than 4 hours. Some healthcare teams may be able to provide you with guidance to keep the formula refrigerated during a feeding to extend the feeding time, but we cannot recommend this.

What other questions do you have about mixing, preparing, serving, or storing Neocate?


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Tackling Your Daily Stressors…One Step at a Time

Posted 1.26.16 | Nutrition Specialist

As a working mom of two (three if you count my husband!), I could always benefit from stress management advice. Let’s face it, we could all benefit from stress management advice. Whether you’re the CEO of a company, a full-time college student, or a single parent, we all face some sort of stress on a daily basis. As mentioned in some of the most recent blogs, being a parent of a child with food allergies can add even more stress. In today’s blog post, I’m sharing some of my favorite stress management tips that I have personally found helpful in avoiding that moment where I just want to run away to a deserted island!

1) Get moving!

I know what you may be thinking…”How am I going to have time to exercise when I’m already stressed out because I have too much on my plate?” This does NOT have to be an hour-long workout in the gym. Whether it’s a 10 minute walk or a quick yoga session, research has proven time after time that physical activity can improve alertness, decrease fatigue, and produce endorphins (just to name a few benefits). Check out this quick 6 minute video from the Mayo Clinic which provides a quick yoga session to help relieve some of that stress!


2) Eat right.

I am living proof that I perform at my best when I eat right (and I’m not just saying this because I’m a dietitian). Trust me; I have the same temptations as everyone out there (truth – ice cream is my all-time favorite food). I can certainly feel the energy difference I have when I eat a balanced diet vs filling up on those empty calories.

3) Get organized.

If I schedule an appointment for myself or one of my daughters, I immediately enter all the details into my calendar on my iPhone (along with an alarm reminder so I don’t forget that I entered this information later on). If I need a reminder to bring something into work the next day, I set an alarm to remind myself to pack it the evening before. When the weekend comes and I have seven errands to run, I make sure to create an old fashioned pencil and paper list to make sure that all of those errands get done (plus crossing things off your to-do list is an awesome feeling!). Whichever organizational technique works best for you, go with it. Just know that staying organized will help reduce the stress that comes with the feeling of being unprepared.

4) Talk, talk talk.

Sometimes just talking things out can make you feel so much better. Even if you’re talking to someone who can’t relate, just having that set of ears can be helpful. Develop your own support group so you know who you can go to if you need to vent. Check out Irina’s most recent blog post on how to build a support system.

5) Take care of yourself.

Have you ever listened to the flight attendants while they are discussing what to do in the event of an emergency? If so, you’ve most likely heard them say, “Parents, put your oxygen mask on before assisting your child with theirs.” This can be applied to so many things in life, yet is so easily forgotten. In order to take care of your children to the best of your abilities, you also need to take care of yourself. Whether it’s finding a quiet space for an hour to catch up on your book that’s been sitting there or taking a day trip with your best friend…find time for yourself! I promise, this will be a life changer.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers some other great tips for dealing with stress that you may find useful.

Even with all this said, I still face stress on a daily basis, and it’s likely that you will as well…it’s inevitable. It’s how you deal with that stress that makes the biggest impact. Next time you find yourself in a stressful situation - go out for a 10 minute walk, call your best friend, grab some apple slices with sunflower butter and remind yourself that “every little thing is gonna be alright.”

What are some ways you’ve dealt with stress that you’ve found helpful?

- Kendra Valle, RDN

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Your Most Common Neocate Questions Answered

Posted 1.21.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Whether you are new to Neocate, or your child has been on it for a few years, it is natural to have questions about the formula, and how it works. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions we have been receiving lately, and are using this blog post to answer them. We hope that after reading this post, your questions will be answered!

Here are some answers to our most frequently asked questions:

What makes Neocate different from the formulas at the grocery store?

Neocate is a specialized elemental nutrition product. The formulas you find at the grocery contain whole proteins or protein fragments (hydrolysates), which are derived from cow milk or soy. These formulas have more potential to cause an allergic response than nutrition products made from free amino acids.


How long will an open can of Neocate last?  When does it expire? Is it good past the expiration date?

Neocate is good for 30 days after you open the can.  You can find the expiration date on the bottom of each can. We do not recommend using any Neocate product after the expiration date.

How long can Neocate be kept once it has been prepared?

Neocate can be kept at room temperature for four hours. If your baby has fed from the bottle, you should discard any remaining formula within an hour to prevent spoiling. Prepared Neocate can be kept in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Visit Neocate’s mixing instructions for more information.

How long can Neocate hang for tube feeding after being mixed?

Four hours maximum. Discard any remaining formula after four hours and prepare a new batch.  

The instructions on the can say to use sterile water. I don’t know what sterile water is. How can I get it? Can I use bottled water?

To make sterile water, bring water to a rolling boil for five minutes and allow it to cool for 20 to 30 minutes. You can store sterile water in sterile glassware with a clean lid. Sterile water should be used within 24 hours. Many parents find it easiest to boil water in the morning to last for the whole day. Most bottled water is not sterile, unless the label specifically states "sterile" on the label. Please check with your healthcare provider if you have questions about the need to use sterile water to prepare Neocate Infant DHA/ARA.

When will I see an improvement in my child after starting Neocate?

Some children show improvement quickly while others may take a little longer. Severe food allergies can cause inflammation and irritation. As with a cut or burn, this takes time to heal.

Controlled clinical studies with a food elimination diet and Neocate showed improvement in diarrhea, blood in stool and vomiting in as little as three days in infants and children with diagnosed cow milk allergy. Improvement in gastroesophageal reflux and skin irritations, such as eczema and atopic dermatitis, were reported in 14 days.

For children on an elimination diet, it’s important to stick to your doctor or dietitian’s instructions.

  • If you’re trying a maternal elimination diet and still breast-feeding, eat only the foods your doctor or dietitian suggests. 
  • If you’re trying an elimination diet with your child using Neocate, do not introduce any other formula or foods until directed by your doctor or dietitian. 

My baby’s bowel movements have changed since beginning Neocate. Is this normal?

Yes, this is perfectly normal and common. Stools can change in consistency and color when a child is introduced to an elemental formula such as Neocate.

The reason for this is that Neocate is a very simple form of nutrition. The change in color is due to bile. Bile helps digest food in your intestines. Since the nutrients in Neocate are already broken down, the bile isn’t used and is excreted, giving the stools a greenish color. It’s a natural effect of taking Neocate and does not affect your baby’s health—that’s why our motto is “Green Is Glorious.”


Still have questions? Call our team of nutrition specialists at 1-800-365-7354, or email us at

Why Neocate Dropped the Soy Oil

Posted 1.17.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Loads of parents and caregivers, and even some healthcare professionals, contact us asking about the various ingredients in our Neocate products. Here are some common questions we receive:

  • Why do you include ___ as an ingredient? (It provides nutrition is almost always the answer.)
  • Does Neocate use GMOs? (Nope!)
  • Do Neocate products contain soy? (No way!)   

That last question is one of my favorites, because our answer is so unique. Many of you may be aware that a lot of infants with a cow milk allergy also are allergic to soy. This is sometimes termed milk soy protein intolerance (MSPI). For many, many years Neocate families have asked us over and over if we could remove the soy oil from Neocate Infant. They told us that, while the medical community told them soy oil was okay, they were still wary. On top of requests from parents, some healthcare professionals also asked us if it would be possible to remove soy oil (more on that below). I'll tell you the history behind removing soy oil from Neocate Infant, and I'll also try to answer some questions from a medical perspective about soy oil for those with a soy allergy.

Why did Neocate use soy oil in the past?

For about 20 years, Neocate Infant products in the United States contained soy oil. The oil was very highly refined, and the refining process is designed to remove all of the protein, which is the part of food that the body responds to in an allergic reaction. The soy oil was essential because it provides special types of fats that human infants need to get from their diet. If a baby can't breast feed and drinks formula instead, the formula is required by law to contain these essential fats.  For many years, soy oil was really the only good source of essential fat that was also permitted for infant formulas. In fact, every infant formula in the United States uses soy oil to provide essential fats.

What changed?

I mentioned that Neocate Infant used soy oil, but other Neocate products for older children did not. That's because those products contain canola oil as a source of essential fat instead of soy oil. Canola oil is an excellent source of essential fat, and can be used in foods for children and older people in the US, but had not been able to be used for infant formulas. You know what's really weird? Neocate Infant products in other countries used canola oil instead of soy oil for years! 

At Nutricia, we thought it would be great if canola oil were suitable for use in Neocate Infant too, but there has to be a lot of evidence for the ingredients that can be used in infant formulas, and the evidence has to be given to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Basically, nobody had ever told the FDA that they would like to use canola oil in an infant formula as a source of essential fat. We decided that we wanted to do what we could to replace the soy oil with canola oil in Neocate Infant, because it was important to our customers. This involved working with experts and compiling loads of research and information to provide the FDA to support the safety of canola oil.

Ultimately, we were able to provide the FDA with the available research and with answers to all of their questions. Based on the long history of safe use in other countries and the fact that canola oil is a great source of essential fats, we were able to remove the soy oil in Neocate Infant DHA/ARA! In 2013, we finally launched an improved version of Neocate Infant DHA/ARA. Among other nutritional improvements, soy oil was not in the formula. The formula contained canola oil instead, and had higher levels of essential fats.

What does the medical community say?

As I mentioned above, soy oil is recognized by the medical community as being suitable for patients with soy allergies. The soy oil used in infant formulas is highly refined, whereas some grocery oils labeled "cold pressed" or "unfiltered" are not. Professional allergy organizations have published guidance for allergic patients indicating that refined soy oil is acceptable for most patients. In fact, the FDA exempts highly refined soy oil from being labeled as an allergen, due to the available research indicating safety.

Despite this, many healthcare professionals told us that it is confusing for families who find it easy to avoid products with "soy" on the label. They informed us that many families are inherently suspicious of infant formulas that contain soy oil if their infant has a soy allergy. It can be very difficult for healthcare teams to reassure parents that the soy oil used in infant formulas is "safe" for an infant with a soy protein allergy, especially if the family has been through many allergy symptoms and unsuccessful formula switches. Families want the greatest assurance possible that a formula is "safe." 

Many healthcare professionals have thanked us for removing soy oil from Neocate Infant. They know that the soy oil was safe, but felt it would be much easier to provide a parent with an infant formula that didn't contain any ingredients derived from soy, regardless of the inherent safety of the ingredient. The fact that the improved Neocate Infant formula contained higher levels of essential fats was an added nutritional bonus. To this day, Neocate Infant is the only infant formula available in the U.S. that does not contain soy oil. We feel it was worth the time and effort to remove soy oil from Neocate Infant, and we're glad to say that there is no soy oil in the entire Neocate product line.

Do you find it reassuring that Neocate products do not contain soy oil?


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Is Your Stress Impacting Your Family? Importance of Caregivers Managing Personal Stress

Posted 1.14.16 | Irina Kabigting

As parents and caregivers, we might not always make ourselves a priority. Daily pressures can add up, causing us to stress out.  When you do start to stress out, are you able to not only recognize it, but also take steps to de-stress?

A New Year signals a new beginning, so in 2016, let’s slow down and take a look internally at what we can do to understand and lower the levels of stress we experience.

What is Stress?

Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When we are stressed, our bodies release chemicals that signal us to react.

Good stress on our body, to a point, increases productivity. However, negative stress can cause the opposite effect on our bodies. In essence, we have a breaking point after which our bodies start to signal that it’s time to pull back and relax:

The Human Function Curve

(Photo Credit:


What Causes Stress?

Stress can be brought on for a number of reasons. It’s also important to note that some instances might impact you much more than the person next to you and vice versa.  For example, think about that popular ride at the amusement park. You might freak out and be scared to death about going on a ride. Your palms might sweat, your heartbeat might start spiking and maybe even your breathing becomes intense. However, your friend might be excited, laughing and having the time of his life going on the same ride. Same stimulant, different reaction.

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association identified the most common causes of stress in Americans. Between 2007-2010, the top three causes of stress were money, work and the economy.

Causes of Stress

(Photo Credit: American Psychological Association)

Why Should You Care?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it is estimated that up to 75 percent of all visits to physician’s offices are stress-related. There are some studies that are starting to look at the potential relationship between stress and increased susceptibility to infections and various other diseases. There’s already evidence that caring for children with food allergies can cause parents to miss more work and experience more financial stress. Ongoing research is finding that family quality of life may be affected by food allergies.

Scary right…

Our stress as parents and caregivers doesn’t just impact us alone. As a caretaker, we have to be cognizant of the impact stress can have on our families as well.

The same study from the American Psychological Association quantified the impact of the stress we feel as parents, on our children. The study showed that younger children tend to feel more worried and frustrated when their parents are stressed out.

Impact of Stress on Children

Additionally, more parents than nonparents say they are not doing enough to manage their stress (31 percent vs. 20 percent). Parents are more likely than nonparents to report engaging in unhealthy stress management techniques, such as drinking alcohol (18 percent vs. 12 percent) and smoking (17 percent vs. 10 percent).

Such staggering data show how important it is to take the time to take care of yourself, not only for you, but also for your family.

Signs of Stress

The first step in managing your stress is to learn the signs of stress so that you can recognize when you need some “you time.”

There are many signs of stress. They can be mental and/or physical. Here is a list of potential stress-related signs our bodies might feel one or combination of the following:

  • Irritability/Anger
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of interest, motivation or energy
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Headache
  • Feeling depressed or sad
  • Feeling as through you could cry
  • Upset Stomach or indigestion
  • Muscular tension
  • Change in Appetite
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Teeth grinding
  • Change in sex drive
  • Tightness in chest
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Change in menstrual cycle
  • Increased heartbeat and faster breathing
  • Increased perspiration
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Other
  • Nothing

What Can You Do About Stress?

There are numerous resources and techniques available for managing stress. Later on this month, we will devote a blog post to diving a bit deeper into stress management techniques, so stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, take an honest look at your surroundings and think about your stress triggers. What is stressing you out? How do you currently deal with stress? Is it a healthy approach? Is there anything you can do about the sources of your stress?

If you need more ideas today, check out this list of 13 Tips to Ease Stress, provided by WebMd.

What stress management techniques work best for you? Share below; it might help another caretaker just like you.

New Year Resolutions and Food Allergy Awareness - Make 2016 The Year!

Posted 1.11.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Happy 2016!  A New Year brings a new opportunity to create change that will help improve the quality of our lives and the lives of others. 

When making your resolutions this year, don’t forget to keep Food Allergy Awareness on the top of that list! Our children and community need our help to keep them safe and healthy. This year let’s resolve to continue spreading the word on food allergies.

Need some ideas for inspiration? No worries, I pulled some ways you can get involved and help:

In the Community

  • Talk to your child’s school system. Find out what safeguards are in place for food allergy children within the school. Bring school staff information on State and National recommended guidelines for handling food allergies at school:

CDC's National Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools

National and State School Guidelines

If you need some inspiration on how to get the conversation started with your school of choice, Neocate has a lot of resources you can review:

Helping Families Manage Food and Allergies at School

School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act

Additional School Resources from Neocate

  • Organize, volunteer and/or help fund community programs that bring awareness to food allergies, such as a community walk/run or family fun day.
  • Encourage and support local restaurants to educate their employees on food allergies, and participate in programs such as the SafeFARE program:

SafeFare Dining Out with Food Allergies For Restaurants

Within our families

  • Help siblings and extended family members understand the seriousness of food allergies. Educate siblings on signs and symptoms of allergic reactions, and what to do if they notice their sibling is in trouble.

Recognizing Symptoms of Allergic Reaction

  • Use tools such as FARE “Be a PAL (Protect A Life from Food Allergies)” program to help children take an active role in helping family members, and friends, with food allergies
  • Teach family members the importance of not sharing their food.

How to Explain Food Allergies to Relatives

  • Make the time to have a direct conversation with family members about your child’s allergy and explain how important it is to take it seriously. Be prepared to help educate family members.

How to Develop a Food Allergy Action Plan for Your Family

With our children

  • Identify your child as someone who has a food allergy. When not in your care, make sure the caregiver is aware of your child’s allergy and consider using a form of medical identification, such as a Medical Alert Bracelet or something similar:

Allergy Apparel

  • Tell your child about their allergy. Help them understand they need to help protect themselves and take care of their body. Encourage them to tell people about their allergy.
  • Teach your child how to read food labels.
  • Let them know that you are there for them. Help your child cope with any fear and/or anxiety associated with their allergy.

As a parent/caregiver

  • Educate yourself on your child’s allergy.
  • Familiarize yourself with signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis.
  • Put together an emergency care plan.
  • Join a community and seek advice from others in similar circumstances. Build a support system.
  • Ask for help.

Find a Support Group

Connect with Food Allergy Community

Now that you have read the list, how do you plan to get involved in 2016? If you have any other suggestions that were not listed below, share them for others to see. You never know who might come across and adopt your suggestion!

~ Rachel Miller

Our post today is a guest blog entry from Rachel Miller, Baby E’s mom. Read Rachel's story.


Neocate Blueberry Scones

Posted 12.31.15 | Nutrition Specialist

This recipe, developed by a professional chef who also happens to be a Registered Dietitian, is one of our favorites! As always, please check all ingredients to ensure suitability, and consult your doctor or dietitian with questions or for advice before you bake with Neocate, as cooking can affect some nutrient levels.

Neocate Blueberry Scones

What You Need:
• 1 ¾ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour substitute
• ½ cup of sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
• ¾ cup non-dairy margarine (or allowable fat substitute), cold and cut into pieces
• ¾ cup blueberries, fresh
• 1 Tablespoon of egg replacer
• 2 teaspoons imitation vanilla extract
• Preheat the oven to 400°F.
• Line baking sheet with parchment.
• Whisk together the flour substitute, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and nutmeg.
• Work in the cold margarine till the mixture is crumbly with a pastry cutter or fork.
• Stir in the blueberries.
• Whisk together the E028 Splash Tropical Fruit, egg substitute, and vanilla till frothy.
• Add to the dry ingredients, stirring till well blended. The dough should be cohesive and very sticky.
• Drop dough by using rounded tablespoons onto the baking sheet. Let the scones rest for 15 minutes.
• Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
• Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes or so before serving. 
For drier scones, use less of the E028 Splash mixture. Sprinkle the scones with sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.
Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 1 Scone
Servings Per Recipe: 24
Amount Per Serving
Energy 136 kcal
Protein 1.2 g
Fat 7.3 g
Carbohydrates 16.1 g
Fiber 0.9 g
Vitamin D 1.5 IU
Calcium 45.2 mg
Iron 2.2 mg
Zinc 0.2 mg

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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.