Food Allergy Living Blog

Nutrition Specialist Column

About Neocate

Posted 8.27.15 | Nutrition Specialist


Have you ever wondered what makes Neocate different than standard nutritional formulas? This is a very good question and definitely worth sharing.

All of our Neocate products are “elemental” formulas, or to be more specific “amino acid-based” formulas. The term ‘amino acids’ may bring back some memories from high school biology or chemistry class. Amino acids are essentially the building blocks of protein. The reason free amino acids are so important in some medical conditions is due to the fact that intact protein, in most cases, is what is responsible for triggering a food allergic response. Neocate is considered to be a hypoallergenic formula, as it does not contain any intact protein. In addition to the hypoallergenic nature of an elemental formula, the free amino acids make digestion and absorption easier as the protein is already in its most broken down form. It’s also important to mention that our bodies are able to use the amino acids in the same way that they use intact protein for healthy growth and development.

There are a number of reasons why an individual might need an elemental formula such as Neocate, such as:

  • Cow milk allergy (CMA) and/or soy milk allergy
  • Multiple food protein allergy
  • Short bowel syndrome (SBS)
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)

This isn’t a complete list. Neocate products are sources of essential nutrients, and are often used as a sole source of nutrition (meaning they are used to meet all of an individual’s nutritional needs with no other source of nutrition). Of course, the amount of a Neocate product needed should be prescribed by a healthcare professional to ensure a patient consumes an amount needed to meet specific nutritional goals.

What makes Neocate products unique? Many reasons, but one that stands out to me the most is that Neocate powdered products are made in our own, dedicated facility that is 100% dairy-protein free. We also know that none of the ingredients in the Neocate products are derived from wheat, barley, rye, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, or eggs; removing the risk of cross contamination with those allergens.

If you would like to read a little more about what makes Neocate products different, check out a page on our Neocate web site that I think you’ll find to be pretty helpful: http://www.neocate.com/about-neocate/breastfeeding-and-formulas/how-neocate-is-different/

The various types of formulas available can be overwhelming and definitely cause some confusion. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below!

- Kendra Valle, RDN


Neocate Mixing Videos Round-Up

Posted 8.25.15 | Nutrition Specialist

A few weeks ago, we posted a simple ‘How to Guide’ for mixing Neocate (http://www.neocate.com/blog/mixing-neocate-a-simple-how-to-guide/). This blog included basic steps for preparation as well as various recipes. Being a visual learner, I thought it may be beneficial to highlight our mixing Neocate videos developed by my colleagues. All of these videos are available on our NeocateUS YouTube page; however to save you a step I have included the direct links to these videos below. Happy viewing!

Neocate Infant DHA/ARA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9G2Tuh45Qo

Neocate Infant DHA/ARA in Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_21MH8wiDc

Neocate Nutra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2GVJ-euCOA

Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Strawberry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K4F9pFMJZc

Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Vanilla: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si7qs3dVdlc

Do you have any helpful preparation tips that you want to share with other Neocate parents and caregivers? If so, we’d love to hear them!

-Kendra Valle, RDN


5 Questions with Rob McCandlish, Medical Affairs Associate

Posted 8.19.15 | Nutrition Specialist

Say hello to Rob McCandlish, a veteran blogger for the Food Allergy Living team! He has worked for Nutricia for more than 5 years. Rob is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and at Nutricia is a Medical Affairs Associate. He serves as a resource to parents/caregivers, dietitians, physicians, nurses and other individuals who have nutrition-related questions about Neocate products. 

We sat down with Rob to find out what his day to day looks like working at Nutricia, and learned about what drew him to medical nutrition. 

Why did you choose to work in this field? What do you find most interesting about medical nutrition?

I think for me it is the fact that our products are specific to uncommon disorders and that they touch a different aspect of health, because they fall somewhere in between food and pharmaceuticals. I enjoy having a positive influence on families who manage unusual disorders and who need specialized nutrition.

How have severe food allergies impacted your family?  

My nephew (who is going to turn two next month) developed symptoms of a cow milk allergy around 3 months of age. After he was diagnosed he was on Neocate Infant for close to a year, and luckily he grew out of his milk allergy. It really brought home for me the difficulties parents face when their infant has a cow milk allergy, and the difference Neocate can make.

What is your favorite part of working at Nutricia?

I love going to conferences and connecting with patients who use Neocate products. Getting to meet them in person and hearing about how much of a difference the products have made in their lives helps add meaning to my work. It is very rewarding to personally hear about their transformation and success stories on Neocate.

What was your favorite nutrition course in college and why?

My favorite course in college was ”Experimental Foods.” I got to spend a whole semester manipulating a recipe – I think it was green curry chicken - to develop a healthier version. The challenge at the end of the semester was a blind tasting panel, and results were measured on whether or not tasters could tell the difference between the original recipe and the healthier recipe. I’d say that course is where I found my love for food science, and the experience in manipulating recipes has helped me in developing recipes that use Neocate products.

For some of Rob’s famous Neocate recipes download our food-allergy recipe book.

If you had one piece of advice for parents with children who have a cow milk allergy, what would it be?

Time and time again I hear frustration from parents who have gone through multiple doctor visits with few answers. Some doctors rarely see patients with EoE, FPIES or even a cow milk allergy, which can make it difficult to recognize what’s contributing to the child’s symptoms. Therefore, I suggest that parents go to their medical appointments armed with a logbook or diary of what they’ve been experiencing. That can help the medical team to link the symptoms to the condition. And never be afraid to ask questions! Asking your doctor the right questions can make a big difference in finding answers.


The ABCs of Back to School with Food Allergies

Posted 8.13.15 | Nutrition Specialist


‘Tis the season for back to school. While this can be exciting for many students and parents, there can be added anxiety for those dealing with food allergies. Besides the typical hustle and bustle associated with getting school supplies ready, food allergies require some extra preparation to assure a smooth and safe school transition. Assembling a variety of care plan documents, Bringing allergy-related supplies and Communicating with school administration, teachers and other students is essential for making this process as easy as A-B-C .

A is for Assembling of care plan documents.

It is a good idea to notify the school prior to school starting and ask to meet with school administrative staff and the school nurse to discuss and develop care plans to ensure food allergies and health are well managed while at school. These should identify the types of responsibilities, training and services required for keeping school safe and addressing emergencies should one occur. The three most common plans used for food allergic children are known as Emergency Care Plans (ECP), Individualized Healthcare Plans (IHCP) and 504 Plans. The following are good sources for becoming educated on these and offering sample templates as well.

Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) offers both video and print resources related to care plan topics.

  • This resource addresses four sample plans: protocol and procedure for allergy management in the classroom; ensuring trained individuals for epinephrine administration; defining the allergy disabilities; and food policies for classroom and cafeterias.
  • This two part video series includes both a Parents Need to Know video
  • …and a Question and Answer video
  • … along with additional tips, resources and links for parents on the website

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) worked with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in creating comprehensive guides and resources for both the school communities and parents.

B is for bringing allergy awareness supplies to school.

Besides hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes to reduce the risk of surface allergen contamination, other items might be worth consideration too. Here are some suggestions for allergy-related gear and allergy-safe foods.

Safety tattoos may be a good idea, especially at the beginning of the school year and for younger students until the school staff becomes familiar with your child’s food allergies.

Medical alert bracelets are a good idea for those with severe food allergies as they are helpful for EMT personnel if there is an emergency.

Re-usable wraps that hold a sandwich and then unfold to become a place mat while eating are offer by Wrap N Mat

Lunch boxes with food allergy information printed on them as well as tags and stickers can be found at Allergy Apparel

Snack ideas that are food allergy-friendly.

C is for communicating food allergy information to everyone.

Parents need to know as much as they can about their child’s food allergies in order to share this with school staff. It’s also good to work with your child so she knows her food allergies and can self-manage them when you feel she’s ready. Having information to share with your child’s classmates can help friends understand and be supportive. Here are some resources to help in these areas.

The following books are good for teaching younger students about allergies.

The Food Allergy Resource and Education (FARE) website has age-specific materials for kids of all ages with food allergies.

University of Utah Medical School offers an online program called A Shot to Live geared to teachers; this is also good for others too and includes videos on use of epinephrine auto-injectors.

The extra time, effort and energy of preparing for child with food allergy to return and/or start of school can make a world of difference in avoiding food allergy mishaps. It’s a matter of your ABCs.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Finally, here are two more resources related to heading back to school with food allergies worth considering:

FARE is a great go-to organization for multiple helpful resources. Need an allergist? Newly diagnosed with food allergies? Need materials in Spanish? The information here is downloadable and can be distributed as well. Check here for assistance on what to do on field trips, extracurricular activities and transportation issues too

KFA offers a guide containing a list of food allergens that can be found in unexpected places such as food used in science or math lesson plans, crafts, and cooking classes. Alternatives and precautions are suggested. Take note that ingredients may change so it is best to contact and verify these with the manufacturers.

What tips do you have for other families managing food allergies as they prepare to head back to school?

-Jody L. Benitz, MS, RDN

Image from Shardayyy


8 Questions with Kendra Valle, Nutrition Specialist

Posted 7.24.15 | Nutrition Specialist

We are happy to introduce Kendra Valle, our newest addition to the Food Allergy Living team! Kendra is a Nutrition Specialist in the Medical & Scientific Affairs Department, and serves as a resource to parents/caregivers, dietitians, physicians, nurses and other individuals who have medical- and nutrition-related questions about Neocate products. 

We sat down with Kendra to find out a little more about how being a busy mom of two daughters helps her to advise parents of children with a cow milk allergy (CMA).

Why did you choose to work in this field? What do you find most interesting about the medical foods industry?

There are so many areas of nutrition that a dietitian can be a part of. I chose to become a member of the Nutricia team because Nutricia sincerely believes in providing best care. We are able to help so many through nutrition while providing specialized medical foods that people actually enjoy!

How often do you draw from your own experience as a mom to help Neocate customers?

Pretty often.  I talk to many parents and caregivers on a daily basis who often share their personal situation with me. I put myself in their shoes and think, “If this were me, this is what I do.” I ask myself what I would do if this was one of my own kids. I believe that when providing the best care possible, empathy is a huge factor.

What was your best pregnancy memory?

My best memory was when the baby was moving around and I could feel life inside me for the first time. It was a pretty awesome feeling.

Provide an example of what you do when one of your daughter’s does not like a certain type of food (i.e. getting them to eat broccoli)

If they don’t like something that I offered, I do not force them to try it—instead, I encourage them. I found that the more I force them, the more they resist. In order to encourage healthy eating, I model healthy eating.

For example, my four year old daughter is a very picky eater. She started to see me eat a spinach salad on a daily basis, and eventually asked if she could eat it too. She loved it and soon was asking me to pack spinach in her lunch. I realized that by modeling healthy eating habits, she too would engage in healthy eating habits.

What are your children’s favorite Neocate products?

Neocate Junior chocolate—they love chocolate!

If you had one piece of advice for parents with children who have a cow milk allergy, what would it be?

If your child has been diagnosed with CMA, it is essential to keep their diet interesting. Drinking the same flavors  or eating the same foods everyday can become very boring for a child, so try to play around with foods they can tolerate. For example, you can vary recipes by mixing Neocate into a smoothie, or even into pancakes. I have written a blog post with allergy-friendly recipesthat any parent can use as a guide. 

I have also found that peer relationships matter when a child has food allergies.  So whenever your child is with their friends, try to come prepared with something that is similar to what the other kids are eating. I have a friend whose son has CMA and she always asks beforehand what will be served when he goes on an outing with his friends. That way, she can prepare foods for her son so he is still eating what other kids are eating and won’t feel left out! 


Guidance when Cooking with Neocate

Posted 7.23.15 | Nutrition Specialist


We get emails and phone calls almost daily from parents, caregivers, patients and clinicians asking questions like "What happens if we cook with Neocate?" We know that there are a lot of creative ways that some families use Neocate, such as a replacement for cow milk in baked recipes. We've developed a handy one-page document to answer the most common questions that Neocate families want answers to. You can find your own copy of 'Cooking with Neocate' on the 'Recipes and Guides' page of the Neocate website, along with lots of other helpful materials.

As always, we recommend that you check with your healthcare team, because some forms of cooking can affect some nutrient levels in Neocate.

How have you gotten creative in using Neocate products in recipes?

-Rob


Enriching Your Family’s Food Allergy Journey

Posted 7.1.15 | Nutrition Specialist

By Kimberly Pellicore, The Food Allergy Mom 

Kimberly has celiac disease and is a proud mom to two children, one of whom has severe, multiple life-threatening food allergies and asthma.  After years of being largely dissatisfied with the lack of credible online and local support systems, she established thefoodallergymom.org to offer parents and caregivers of children with celiac disease, food allergies, and asthma a POSITIVE support network. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

THAT day— the day before I took my child to the allergist and they sent us home with an epinephrine autoinjector and a food allergy diagnosis— I was a regular mom kissing boo-boos and inciting laughter.

The next day, life looked and felt different…for me and my son.

Food allergies?  No one in my family had food allergies, or my husband’s that I was aware of.  How was this possible?  Could the test have been wrong?  What on earth was I going to feed my child from this point forward?  Would this diagnosis affect his growth?  How would these new dietary restrictions impact his nutrition?

Do these thoughts sound familiar?  For me, it signaled the starting line.  Like it or not, I was running a marathon and it was time to start thinking strategy.

Here are 10 proactive strategies to employ in your food allergy journey:

1.       Breathe:  You and your child are the exact same people you were before this diagnosis.  Your love for each other has not changed.  Give your child a warm cuddle to make sure he/she knows it.

2.       Set Boundaries:  Food allergies absolutely cannot define you, your child, or your family, unless you allow them to. 

3.       Make A Food Allergy Action Plan:  Be sure the plan is approved and signed off on by your child’s allergist.  Keep the hard copy for yourself and make additional copies for other caregivers of your child.  Not sure where to start?  Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) has an excellent example here.

4.       Learn To Read and Understand Ingredient Labels:  Learn how to scan and read ingredient labels so you can buy and stock up on safe foods.  Not sure how to correctly read a label?  For a clearer explanation, visit FARE’s website.

5.       Educate Yourself:  When looking for information, it is crucial to find accredited, credible, and positive resources.  A few of my favorites are Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), Kids With Food Allergies (KFA), Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), and Allergic Living Magazine.

6.       Get Familiar With Your Child’s Prescriptions:  Now that you’ve filled your child’s prescriptions, learn how to properly use them and make sure others who care for your child know how to use them as well.  Some companies even offer instructional apps for your mobile devices.

7.       Get To Know Your Allies:  If you find a product that plays a major role in your food allergy journey, take time to visit the company’s website and social media outlets as they often offer additional tips and recipes.  For example, you can buy Neocate formula at the store, but only if you visited their website would you find that they offer a food allergy cookbook.

8.       Be A Role Model:  Your child, no matter his or her age, is watching your reactions closely. This means it is okay to show some frustration, as long as the child also sees you resolve it.  It means remaining calm (or at least faking calm) in a food allergy crisis situation so the child does not experience additional panic.  It means living life with a smile, even on the hard days.

9.       Find A Confidant:  Every parent and caregiver needs and deserves a caring support system.  Enlist a friend to lend his or her ear when you need to regroup and talk things out.

10.   Repeat:  The food allergy learning curve is forever changing and a caregiver’s education is never complete.  This is not a burden, but a gift, as scientific breakthroughs often change our food allergy journeys for the better.

I’ve been utilizing the above steps for more than 10 years and I continue to walk the food allergy journey daily with my son.  So, how has life changed?  It hasn’t…not really…thankfully.  I’m still just a mom who loves her sweet son- a boy who loves Legos, lives life to the fullest, has a great smile, and, oh yeah, lives with food allergies.


Allergy-Friendly Birthday Party Recipes and Activities

Posted 6.11.15 | Nutrition Specialist


Are you hosting a birthday party for your food-allergic little one, or maybe you’re expecting food-allergic guests? No need to reinvent the wheel! In this blog, you’ll find links to several blogs we’ve previously created which include a number of allergen-free party activities and recipes/snacks!

Recipes

We like some of these recipes so much that we’d even serve them to non-allergic guests. Nobody would know the difference!

Here’s a delicious alternative to your traditional birthday cake:

Is your child receiving his/her nutrition via a feeding tube and unable to eat by mouth? Check out this “foodless birthday cake” that our colleague Mallory created for her sister:

If you’re a parent to a child who does not have food allergies, however would like to learn more about food allergies in order to host a “food-allergy friendly party”, try reading this blog:

This post has it all, including information on hosting a party with guests who have food allergies, sending your food-allergic child to a party, and various recipes:

 

Non-Food Activities

In our society, we tend to center most of our celebrations around food, however this does not have to be the case! We can enjoy our birthdays (and any other celebration) without involving food at all! Check out these links for non-food related party activities:

These web sites suggest party activities for school celebrations; however these ideas can easily be adapted for home celebrations as well!

How have you celebrated your little one’s birthday in an allergen-friendly way? We’d love to hear your ideas!

-Kendra Valle, RDN

Description: C:\Users\valleke\Pictures\Birthday Party _ Explore ND Strupler's photos on Flickr. ND … _ Flickr - Photo Sharing!_files\3855680283_a29f17f771_b.jpg

Image by ND Strupler


Preparing Your Child with Food Allergies for Summer Camp

Posted 6.4.15 | Nutrition Specialist

Summer camp season is right around the corner! For the nearly six million children in the U.S. with food allergies, it is important that camps have established food allergy policies. We understand that it takes a little bit more prep and work to send your child off to camp when they have food allergies. Therefore, we are here to make your life easier and have provided some tips and information to help ensure that your cutie has a safe and fun camp experience.

·         Consider enrolling your child at a camp that is designed specifically for children with food allergies.  Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) provides a thorough list of 2015’s “Food Allergy-Friendly Camps.”

·         Notify the camp of your little one’s food allergies by filling out and providing them with FARE’s Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan.

·         Watch Kids with Food Allergies’ free educational webinar called "Off to Camp with Food Allergies", which includes information on: 

·         How to choose a camp

·         Questions to ask the camp staff

·         How to store epinephrine at camp

·         Food allergy management at camp

·         Educate your child on how to properly manage their food allergies at camp and ensure that they are aware of:

·         Safe and unsafe foods

·         Strategies for avoiding exposure to unsafe foods (i.e. NEVER trade food with other campers)

·         Symptoms of allergic reactions (i.e. NOT to go off alone if symptoms are beginning);

·         How and when to tell an adult about a possible allergic response

·         How to read a food label (if your child is younger, plan with the camp how to handle this)

·         How to use epinephrine 

Feel free to share with us any other resources that you have used in prepping your little one with food allergies for summer camp!

Have a great summer!

-The Neocate Team 

 


Satisfied YOU, Happy US!

Posted 6.3.15 | Nutrition Specialist

For more than 25 years, we’ve been working to meet the changing nutritional, developmental and social needs of children with food allergies. We have always encouraged our community to be strong and not let food allergies get in the way of everyday life. Neocate has stepped in, and tried to make this journey easier for kids and their families with food allergies.

We wanted to reach out to all the members of our community and extend a huge THANK YOU for all of your love and support. We receive messages from all around the world that thank us for being the only age-specific range of amino acid-based products which has proven to be effective in the nutritional management of food allergies and associated GI conditions. 

Your testimonials positively encourage us and reinforce the strong support Neocate receives from the food allergy community. By sharing your little one's success story of how Neocate has helped with their food allergies, you can help raise awareness about these conditions that still remain unknown to a few. Parents need to be informed that diagnosis and relief are possible. Most of all, it will give real hope to other families who are facing similar difficulties.

 

 

We promise and assure you that your story will be treated with respect on our Neocate website, our Food Allergy Living blogFacebook page and other public education materials. We would also love if you shared fun photos of your little ones with us and our community. Pictures help other parents like you see the difference Neocate can bring to their children.

Please submit testimonials and your cutie's pictures here. We can’t wait to hear and share your Neocate story! 



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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.