Food Allergy Living Blog Tagged Results


food allergy

Spring and Seasonal Allergies

Posted 4.19.11 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

If you or a family member has seasonal allergies, which are triggered by environmental allergens like pollen, you probably know that spring can be a rough time of year, especially if you live in an area with a high pollen count. Here at Neocate, we hear from some parents that their children’s food allergy symptoms seem worse at this time of year. Let’s take some time to review the similarities and differences between food allergy and environmental allergy symptoms.

Seasonal Allergies

Allergies that show up in the spring are also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis. They are usually caused by pollen: the body recognizes proteins in pollen as “foreign” and mounts an immune response, like it does to bacteria or viruses. This causes the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Most of these symptoms are “above the neck” and include sneezing, itchy eyes, or a runny nose. Some folks are allergic to only one or a few types of pollen, whereas others are sensitive to many types of pollen. Symptoms can show up after a move to a new geographic area where the plants, and the pollen, are different. It seems that allergic rhinitis isn’t limited to older children and adults: infants can have it too.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are a response to the proteins in food. When that food (or even a trace amount of that food) is consumed, the body mounts an immune response. In this way, food allergies can be similar to seasonal allergies. Most of the food allergy symptoms fall “below the neck” because the body responds to the part of the body where the food is: the gut. In older children and adults these symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, and an itchy sensation in the mouth, among others. The symptoms are different for infants who have a milk and/or soy allergy than those of older children and adults.

Similarities

Food allergies and seasonal allergies share some of the same symptoms. For instance, both can cause a runny nose, headache, and congestion as a result of exposure to allergens that are foods or pollen. The two are also similar in that their symptoms can both be minimized by avoiding their respective triggers. Here are tips for minimizing symptoms of seasonal allergies and our past blogs for preventing symptoms of food allergies.

Differences

Fortunately seasonal allergies can also be treated with medications. This is nice because pollen can make symptoms persist constantly, often for weeks at a time. Unfortunately, there aren’t any widely used medications to help treat mild to moderate food allergies. The best treatment for food allergies is avoidance. Along those lines, it’s easier to avoid food allergens than it is to avoid the triggers for seasonal allergies. Even if there were a medication that helped with mild food allergies, some food allergies are so severe that the only treatment is to entirely avoid the food in question.

If your child is exhibiting symptoms that aren’t clearly one allergy or the other, ask yourself these questions:

-Monitor the pollen count: are the symptoms worse as pollen counts go up?

-Monitor the diet: has anything new been added that could cause the symptoms?

-Is your child exhibiting new symptoms, or are the same symptoms getting worse?

If your child has food allergies and his or her symptoms seem to get worse at a certain time of year, it may be that new or worsened symptoms could be due to seasonal allergies, which aren’t helped by avoiding food allergens. Ultimately, it’s probably best to see an allergist, especially if your child has symptoms that are making them miserable. Allergists can help by identifying the cause of a seasonal allergy, suggesting ways to minimize symptoms, and prescribing drugs that might help as needed. Check with the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology to locate an allergy center near you.

Did you have a tough time telling what was causing your child’s allergy symptoms?

- Rob

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Allergy-Safe Snacks for Sporting Events

Posted 4.14.11 | Sarah O'Brien

I recently went to one of my 7 year old niece’s lacrosse games to support and cheer on the team. As with most kid’s sporting events at half time and at the end of the game, drinks and snackswere provided to all of the exhausted players to help replenish their energy. As I was sitting on the side-lines watching the snacks being handed out, I noticed that a snack-size trail mix was the snack of the day which included peanuts and M&Ms. I was a little surprised and hoped that the coach checked to make sure all of the team players did not have any kind of food allergies. I then wondered if anyone on the opposing team, who were sitting relatively close, had any food allergies and how peanuts being passed around could potentially cause an issue. Something to think about when you are signing your little one up for their next sports team and food allergies are apart of your life!

Typically the parents take turns providing snacks to all the team players at each game. If your child has a food allergy, a simple solution would be to bring your own allergy-friendly snacks for your child. However, in an effort to help your child feel included and not an outsider, I thought of some other ideas that might help:

  • Coordinate with the other parents to make sure when it’s their turn to bring the snacks, they choose snacks that are allergy-friendly.
  • Make a list of allergy-friendly snack ideas to distribute to the parents on the team and ask if they could only bring snacks from the list.
  • Check out what the opposing team has brought for snacks before the game especially if your child is playing a contact sport.
  • As always, be prepared for a back-up plan and carry a few allergy-friendly snacks with you.Since a popular drink to provide is juice boxes, E028 Splash would be a perfect replacement to bring.

Any other ideas that you would like to share?

- Sarah


Resources from the Kids With Food Allergies Foundation

Posted 4.5.11 | Guest Blogger

Our post today is a guest blog entry from Lynda Mitchell, the Founder ofKids With Food Allergies Foundation. We'd like to thank her for guest blogging with us. 

As the parent of a baby who had multiple food allergies, I truly understand the joys and challenges of parenting a child with food allergies. My baby - now 21 years old - is successfully attending college, living a full life, and managing his own food allergies.

As the founder of Kids With Food Allergies Foundation (KFA), a nonprofit grass roots support organization for families raising children with food allergies, I want to assure you that you are not alone, and want you to know that there is a world of support waiting for you.

KFA offers daily assistance and practical food allergy management help. Reach out to us when you're just getting started. We can help you not feel alone, give you pointers to make your life easier and help improve the quality of life for you and your child. Or, if you've been "in the trenches" managing food allergies for a while, you are welcome to get involved and share what you know with others who are new to food allergies, stay informed with news, or get involved with volunteer work or leadership opportunities.

Our website is rich with resources to help you day-to-day. Most of this information is fully accessible without cost to you. Please check out what we offer, and use what is helpful!

Looking for social support?

Our online support community of 24,000 members is the largest online peer support group focused solely on children's food allergies. Registration is free-so if you haven't already become a member, please join us and participate in sharing support, exchanging information, and giving and getting help with food ideas, recipes and cooking challenges! In addition to general forums, there are places to discuss special issues, like raising children with eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), celebrating birthdays and special occasions (Yes, we can even help you bake your child's birthday cake!), and lots more!

New to food allergies?

Check out our free e-book starter guide, From Confusion to Confidence, and our online tutorial and videos. We also offer a one-page handout with need-to-know information focusing on prevention and preparedness.

Need help with grocery shopping, food ideas, baking, cooking or recipes?

Check out our label reading guides; basic substitution and "How to Cook" information; grocery shopping tips; and Safe Eats Recipe Database. We also offer twice-yearly reports on new allergy- and kid-friendly foods; an Allergy Buyer's Guide; and food and cooking support forums where you can ask other parents for tried-and-true suggestions.

Looking for help navigating holidays, school, travel or special occasions?

Check out our holiday guides, school resources, travel and camp tips! We've got lots more to offer too. So, visit our website soon, become a member and sign up for our free news updates! Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We're here to help inform, connect and support families. I hope we can be of help to yours, too.

Lynda


Food Allergies Around the World

Posted 4.5.11 | Mallory West

We’ve discussed the Top 8 Allergens which account for 90% of all food allergies. These allergens are the main offenders but there are certain food allergies that are unique to certain regions of the world. EuroPrevall was a global research project funded by the European Union that looked at food allergy prevalence and patterns among various countries around the world. EuroPrevall revealed that there are major differences in the types of food allergies that are seen in different countries.

The main theory behind these differences is that people are most likely to develop a food allergy to the foods that are most commonly eaten. Milk and eggs are common foods worldwide so it’s not surprising that these are two of the most universally frequent food allergies (mostly in children).

However, different regions have unique cuisines that are influenced by their geographical locations and their cultural history. As a result, there are some notable variations in food allergy trends around the world.

Let’s look at some examples of specific food allergies that vary around the world.

  • Seafood Allergy: Fish allergy is more common in countries where fish consumption is high, such Scandinavia, Norway, Portugal and Japan. Shrimp allergy is fairly common in Iceland and Spain but almost non-existent in Bulgaria and Poland.
     
  • Sesame Allergy: Sesame allergy is not considered a Top 8 Allergens however; it is common in Israel, where sesame consumption is high[1]. In fact, milk, egg and sesame are the 3 most common food allergies among children in Israel and second to milk, sesame is the second leading cause of anaphylaxis in Israeli children[2].
     
  • Rice Allergy: Rice allergy is rare in most countries and is usually considered one of the foods that is least likely to cause an allergic reaction. That’s why rice cereal is usually the first food we’re introduced to as infants. However, rice allergy is fairly common in countries of Eastern Asia, where rice is commonly eaten, such as in Japan. People who are allergic to rice can have an allergic reaction when they consume rice or when they inhale rice pollen.
     
  • Peanut Allergy: Peanut allergies are quite common in the westernized countries such as the US and the UK but fairly rare in other areas. For example, in Greece, peanut allergies are almost non-existent. This may be partly due to different rates of peanut consumption among different countries but consumption trends can’t completely explain the differences in the rates of peanut allergies. Although peanut consumption is very high in Indonesia and parts of Africa, these areas have an extremely low incidence of peanut allergy.

    There is even variation among the characteristics of peanut allergies in different countries[3]. A study on peanut allergies among children in the US, Spain and Sweden found that there are some differences in the characteristics of peanut allergy among the different countries. In the US, peanut allergy usually manifests in the first year of life whereas children in Sweden and Spain usually develop a peanut allergy at age two or older. The study also found that children from the three different countries react to different components of the peanut protein.

Pollen’s Role:

Certain pollens may influence the foods which someone is allergic to. For example, an allergy to birch pollen can cause a cross reaction to proteins in apples or hazelnut. Therefore, allergies to apples and hazelnut are more common in geographical areas where birch pollen is abundant.

Allergy Trends: A Product of Genetics and Environment

Although scientists are still unsure of what exactly leads to the development of food allergies, it is theorized that the development of food allergies is influenced by infant feeding habits, environmental factors and of course, genetics. Early exposure to the commonly consumed foods and inhaled allergens in a certain region is likely to play a strong role.

I had never thought about how geography and culture might affect food allergy trends so I found this topic especially interesting. I hope you found it interesting too!

-Mallory


[1]> Aaronov D, Tasher D, Levine A, Somekh E, Serour F, Dalal I. Natural history of food allergy in infants and children in Israel. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Dec;101(6):637-40.
[2] Dalal I, Binson I, Reifen R, Amitai Z, Shohat T, Rahmani S, Levine A, Ballin A, Somekh E. Food allergy is a matter of geography after all: sesame as a major cause of severe IgE-mediated food allergic reactions among infants and young children in Israel. Allergy. 2002 Apr;57(4):362-5.
[3] Vereda A, van Hage M, Ahlstedt S, Ibañez MD, Cuesta-Herranz J, van Odijk J, Wickman M, Sampson HA. Peanut allergy: Clinical and immunologic differences among patients from 3 different geographic regions. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Mar;127(3):603-7. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

All About Diarrhea

Posted 3.31.11 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

Here at Neocate, we get lots of questions about diapers. I mean lots! Many questions relate to constipation or diarrhea. We’ve posted about constipation in the past, but I thought it would be helpful to pull together our past comments on diarrhea, as well as provide some more medical information on the topic courtesy of the National Institutes of Health, or NIH.

Defining “Diarrhea”

Simply defined, diarrhea is loose, watery stools. It also means having these loose stools three or more times a day. There are more specific guidelines, but most people know diarrhea when they see it. Diarrhea happens to everyone, usually about once a year for adults and twice a year for young children.

Typically, diarrhea is acute, meaning that it lasts one or two days and then goes away. This type of diarrhea is typically caused by an infection. If diarrhea lasts more than two days, it can be something more serious. Diarrhea lasting more than two to four weeks – chronic diarrhea – may be a symptom of a chronic disease or condition.

The concern with diarrhea, especially when it lasts more than two days, is a risk of dehydration. Our bodies absorb most of the water and some minerals at the end of our digestive tract. When we have diarrhea we can’t absorb those things, leading to dehydration, which can be serious.

Diarrhea in Infants

New parents quickly become experts at several things, one of which is changing diapers. Since infants go through about eight diapers a day, parents easily pick up on anything abnormal. Every baby’s stools are different in terms of how watery they are, which makes defining diarrhea in infants difficult. To keep it simple, diarrhea is typically a sudden onset of frequent bowel movements that are more watery than usual.

The risk of dehydration from diarrhea is much higher in children than most adults, and especially in infants. Since infants can’t tell us what they’re feeling, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration. With children and infants, you shouldn’t hesitate to call their healthcare provider if you have concerns. For infants under 4 months, the recommendation is that you contact the doctor at the first sign of diarrhea or dehydration.

Diarrhea and Food Allergies

Pulling this all together, diarrhea is one of the top signs of a food allergy, especially for infants. In infants with food allergies, diarrhea often lasts more than just a few days and may even be combined with other symptoms. It’s not uncommon to also see blood or mucus in the stool. Diarrhea can also result from lactose intolerance, which is not as severe as a food allergy, but which may also require a change in diet.

Like we hear from many Neocate parents, diarrhea is often one of the first signs to clear up after they start using Neocate. This is because Neocate doesn’t contain any lactose (or any dairy at all!) or whole proteins. These substances would normally cause a reaction in the body that leads to poor absorption and diarrhea. Infants are able to absorb the nutrients they need from Neocate without the bad reaction that often results in diarrhea. Most parents tell us that the switch to Neocate has meant more solid stools and many fewer diapers.

- Rob

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R.J.’s Story – An Update

Posted 3.29.11 | Nutrition Specialist

We've shared R.J.'s story before (and his little brother Ken). As a child he had severe,painful eczema that covered his entire body. His parents tried everything, but he didn't find relief until they switched to Neocate.

We wanted to share this sweet video that his parents sent to us recently. Today R.J. is 5 years old, and doing great! He is still allergic to milk, but Neocate has helped make him a happy and health little boy.

R.J. Happy & Health Video

-Sarah


Which came first: atopic dermatitis or food allergy?

Posted 3.17.11 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

In food allergy circles, we usually think of symptoms and side effects as results of food allergies, not the other way around. In most cases that’s true. Science has shown a strong link between food allergy and atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema. Last month Dr. Jon Hanifin, a respected dermatologist, gave a talk to colleagues discussing the link between atopic dermatitis and food allergies. The research he presented suggests that for some patients it may actually be atopic dermatitis that comes first and acts as a precursor to food allergies.

Atopic dermatitis is often one of the first signs that a parent or caregiver notices in their child which helps lead to the diagnosis of food allergy. As Dr. Hanifin explained, about 6-10% of children are diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, and of those about a third will be diagnosed with a food allergy. Which begs the question: If parents notice signs of atopic dermatitis first, and an allergy diagnosis comes later, couldn’t atopic dermatitis be causing some instances of food allergy?

What We Know:

-In cases of food allergy, offending foods cause reactions in the body which involve the immune system

-Immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) are immune substances which are normally in our bodies at low levels, but are higher with food allergy

-Allergy symptoms often involve the skin (including our digestive tract, which is like an inside skin), an important barrier that keeps most outside “things” from getting inside

-One factor of atopic dermatitis is “holes” in the barrier our skin provides

What Dr. Hanifin Proposed:

In the past it was assumed that food allergies came first, causing both high IgE levels and atopic dermatitis. Dr. Hanifin suggested that in some patients atopic dermatitis is caused by “gaps” in the skin (likely due to genetics), which means that foreign substances can enter the skin and cause adverse reactions. He thinks it may be proteins that get through these gaps which allows the body to become sensitive to certain foods, leading to a food allergy.

What does all of this mean? The biggest message here is that patients with atopic dermatitis, especially those under five years, should be tested for food allergies. While avoiding food allergens may not help improve atopic dermatitis, it could certainly prevent or improve other serious side effects of allergies. The second message is that more research needs to be done into the causes of atopic dermatitis and its relationship to food allergies. Any research that leads to better health, through reducing instances of atopic dermatitis and/or food allergies, is good research! Tell us about your experience: Was atopic dermatitis the first sign that you saw of your child’s food allergy?

- Rob


AAAAI Annual Meeting

Posted 3.15.11 | Sarah O'Brien

This weekend, March 18 – 22, we will be joining the best and brightest allergy and immunology experts at the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) annual meeting in San Francisco, California.

AAAAI was established in 1943 and is the largest professional allergy and immunology medical organization in the United States. With nearly 6,500 members, AAAAI is made up of asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and many others, all of who have a special interest in researching and treating allergic diseases.

Presenting new advancements and findings for allergy, asthma and immunology patients is the main goal of AAAAI and the annual meeting and we are looking forward to learning from the presentations at the conference. Some of the food allergy-related topics this year include:

  • The Food Allergy Guidelines: From Controversy to Consensus
  • What is New in Pediatric Allergy
  • Activation of the Innate Immune System by Allergens: How Allergic Reactions get Started
  • Living with Risk: Quality of Life for Families with Food Allergies

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on all of the fun and exciting things we hope to learn this weekend!

- Sarah


Going Green for St. Patrick’s Day

Posted 3.11.11 | Christine Graham-Garo

Since Saint Patrick’s Day is almost here, we wanted to share some “green” treat ideas for your whole family. Here are a few tasty allergen free treats for St. Patrick ’s Day.

The first two links are green treats for purchase. I also wanted to share our Food Allergy Cookbook to help with some yummy ideas. You can make your own green treats by using these recipes and just adding green food coloring (you can use standard food coloring or you could try natural food coloring such as Chlorophyll or Pandan).

As always, make sure all the ingredients are appropriate for your little one. You could also make some guacamole which is another high calorie, “green” treat J.

As a Nutritionist, I had to include these next recipes. Although they are not intended for this special day, I thought, why not? They are green and ultra-nutrient packed, as well as being allergy friendly!

For Will Foods – St Patrick’s Day cookies

Sweet Alexis – Shamrock cookies

Food Allergy Cookbook by Neocate

I hope you and your family enjoy these fun green treats. Let us know if these or any of the Food Allergy Cookbook recipes were enjoyed by your family! I would also love to hear about your own special St. Patrick ’s Day recipes. Please share!

Christine

Kirstie Alley's Green Soup

From Oprah’s website

Ingredients

Servings: Makes 23 cups

  • 6 to 8 big chunks shallots
  • 8 leeks (Cut leeks just above their white part, about 2 inches. Peel the outer layer off and then slit them open lengthwise, but not completely severed clear through. Rinse them out well.)
  • 1/3 cup organic olive oil
  • 2 big bunches asparagus (cut the hard ends off about 3 inches)
  • 3 big bunches broccoli (cut the stems off halfway up the shafts)
  • 2 big bunches spinach (cut off the tiny part of the dirty ends)
  • 6 containers (32 ounces each) organic chicken or vegetable broth (check with manufacturer for potential allergens)
  • Sea salt (at least 3 tablespoons of coarse grain)
  • Pepper , to taste

Directions:

Peel and slice shallots thinly. Put all the olive oil in a very large, deep pot. Turn the heat to medium-high. Put the shallots into the oil and sweat the shallots. "Sweating" means to cook the vegetables to tenderize them without browning them. Adjust heat as necessary to ensure they do not brown.

Add 1 tablespoon of coarse, ground, good quality sea salt to shallots to absorb while they are sweating. Cut the leeks into thin slices and toss them into the oil with the shallots. Sweat the leeks along with the shallots. Chop the asparagus into small bits and then add them to the mixture and sweat them, along with the shallots and leeks.

When the shallots, asparagus and leeks are fully sweated and tender, break the broccoli into small chunks and throw them into the soup pot. (If the shallots, leeks and asparagus combo gets too dry before they are tender, just add small amounts of chicken or vegetable broth to the mix and keep on sweating.)

Let the broccoli sweat a little while (about 2 minutes) and then add half of your organic chicken or vegetable stock. Cook this for about 10 minutes.

Add remaining chicken/veggie stock and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes. (You want the broccoli to be tender, but not overcooked, and you want the color of soup to always remain a nice, bright green.) Add all the spinach and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the flame off the mixture and season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Transfer the soup into a blender by increments and puree the mixture. Put the pureed soup mixture into one big pot. Then taste and season it to your liking. Only season with salt and pepper. If you desire any other seasoning, create an individual serving, not in the whole pot.

Split the soup into 2 equal parts. Cool the soup before refrigerating and/or freezing. You are basically adding the vegetables in order of their hardness. The spinach is so soft, you would never want to add it too early. If you do, it can make the soup turn brownish…ICK!

Green Soup is 62 calories per cup.
This recipe yields about 23 cups of soup.

Green Soup Recipe with Broccoli, Spinach and Ginger

From Gluten Free Goddess
This easy soup can be thin or thick, depending upon the amount of water you add. It cooks up fast. We served ours with a modest scoop of hot cooked jasmine rice in the middle. Super good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli, cut up 1/2 pound of fresh spinach leaves
  • 3 parsnips, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, trimmed, chopped
  • A handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Fresh water, as needed
  • Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • Lemon or lime juice

Using a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and stir in the garlic, onion, and ginger to season the oil. Add the broccoli, spinach, parsnips, celery and parsley, and stir a bit until the spinach wilts and collapses. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables. Remember the spinach will cook down quite a bit, so don't add too much water at first. You can always thin the soup later, if you need to.

Bring to a high simmer, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to a medium simmer. Cook for fifteen minutes or so until the veggies are softened.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.

Taste test: Does it need brightening? Add a squeeze of citrus.

Options:

To make this a creamy soup add a dash of So Delicious Coconut Milk.

Serve with a spoonful of hot cooked rice in the center of the bowl.


Who Says Mealtime Can’t Be Fun?

Posted 9.29.15 | Nutrition Specialist


Getting kids involved in preparing meals and doing fun activities together before and during mealtimes can help to build healthy habits. Children with food allergies may especially benefit from positive activities centered around mealtime to remind them that food can be fun. Even though a special diet might require a little more thought and planning, it’s important to create these positive experiences.

Description: C:\Users\valleke\AppData\Local\Temp\notesE8B3C6\Capture Blog PIC.PNGInvolving children in preparing meals is a great way to build autonomy and confidence. What better way is there to teach children about food than to actually involve them in the process with their own hands?  Bring them along to the grocery store with you and have them help you choose ingredients. Involve them in the preparation and cooking process based on their abilities for their age. Try turning the TV off and store electronics away during meals, as mealtime can be a great opportunity for families to bond and catch up on each other’s days.

Here are some fun ideas for activities that families can do during mealtimes to have fun, learn about food, and enjoy mealtime together!

Play Restaurant

Children love to play “restaurant” at home. At a family meal, let your child pretend to be a waiter or waitress. First tell your child what is on the menu for dinner. Then give your child a small pad of paper and a pen to take orders from the customers. Let him or her serve the food and then he or she can leave the check. To extend the play, ask your child to create their own “real” menus for the next meal.

Thankful for ABC

What are you thankful for? Even on our worst days, we can still find things for which we are grateful. Go around the table and have each family member share something for which he or she is grateful in alphabetical order. For example, you’re thankful for apples, your son is grateful for bananas, and so on until everyone is feeling thankful from A to Z!

Family Recipe Cards

Your child can create a recipe card for any simple meal, for example “How to make a turkey sandwich.” Give your child paper or index cards and writing utensils and ask him or her to draw each step as you make the sandwich. If your child likes this activity, he or she can make a whole set of recipes.

Taboo Story

Each family member takes turns talking about his or her day, but first picks a letter. Words beginning with that letter may not be used in the description of one's day. The “taboo words” can make these stories a comical vocabulary exercise. Make sure each family member gets a chance to participate.

Theme night

To change up your routine, offer a theme meal night or host a dinner dress up night! Some ideas you can include: International Night, Halloween, Luau, Pajama Night, Breakfast for Dinner, Backwards Day.

Ingredient Race

Pick one of the ingredients from a meal and put it on the counter or in the center of the table. Give everyone 2 minutes to write down as many meals that use that ingredient as possible. Whoever comes up with the most meals wins!

What are some fun mealtime activities you and your family engage in? We’d love to hear your ideas!

-Hilary Smith, RD

Resources:
http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/fun/fun-with-food-prep/
http://www.letsmove.gov/blog/2014/11/20/making-mealtime-family-time
http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-activities/reading-activities-at-mealtime/
http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/824467/5-games-to-play-at-the-dinner-table

Image source: Stephanie Sicore


Nutricia Navigator Program Available in all 50 States!

Posted 3.8.11 | Sarah O'Brien

Please click here to reach a more recent post about the Nutricia Navigator Program, available to help families in all 50 states!


Food Allergy-friendly Family Night Activities

Posted 9.25.15 | Nutrition Specialist


Busy, busy, busy! Our lives seem to be non-stop with everyone in the family going in different directions with work, school and activity schedules. Having some designated time for the family is important for bonding and reconnecting. For those with food allergies, making this time a non-food event is also important. Make it a priority, plan it out, turn it OFF (TV, computer and video games) and make it fun. Following are some ideas and resources to help you get started.

Game Night

If there’s one thing that everyone in the family can do at the table that doesn’t involve food, it’s games! Designate a weekly family game night and make it a priority to get everyone involved. Rotate which family member gets to choose which game to play each week. You’ll be amazed how much family bonding can be achieved over a spirited board or card game!

Indoor Gardening

This can be an exciting and rewarding activity, independent of the weather. What a great sense of fulfillment when kids can see seeds sprout or a flower bloom. This can be as simple as a few potted plants, a rock garden, a mini-themed garden or a terrarium. Below are some sites to check for further inspiration:

Family Fitness Night

What a great way to get kids moving and put a positive spin on physical activity. These can be held at home, around the neighborhood or at a local community center.

  • Home Fitness: When watching TV, turn commercial breaks into fitness breaks with simple moves like jumping jacks, marching, running in place or crunches. Create fun names to correspond to these and take turns with family members being the fitness break coach. Consider buying some small pieces of equipment to keep around the house (resistance bands, stability balls, yoga mats). Plan places to put these around the house and use them for a few minutes every day. Incorporating yoga or daily stretches is a good way to relieve stress and can protect from injury later in life.
  • Make chores fun: Turn on some tunes and dance and sing along. Consider making a SPECIAL playlist of chore songs with everyone contributing their favorite. Perhaps a chore + exercise combo. Clean the bathroom and do a set of squats every few minutes.
  • Sports Night: Weather is no issue for this! Inside, try aerobic DVDs or fitness video games that are age- and space-appropriate. Outside, consider the backyard or nearby park for Frisbee, basketball, jumping rope, or other outdoor games. Check out a close-by playground with the whole family. Consider recreation centers for swimming, rollerblading, or ice skating.

Need some more ideas? These sites have ideas for various activity types, durations and intensities.

Volunteering

Volunteering as a family enhances values such as kindness, compassion and tolerance. Family members can learn new skills and feel appreciated for their contributions. Opportunities abound and need not be limited to holiday times or associated with food. Consider your time commitment ability: one time or ongoing? Consider your interests, the ages of your children and perhaps whether you want to do this as a single family unit or joining with another family or even an organization. A helping hand might be needed in your own neighborhood, your community, or for distant places too. It’s important to explain to your children your volunteer activity purpose and what to expect.

These sites offer more guidance in volunteering and opportunities for families.

Family time is important and rewarding. What kind of food allergy-friendly family night activities does your family engage in?

-Jody L. Benitz, MS, RDN

Image from familytravelck


How Are We Doing?

Posted 3.3.11 | Sarah O'Brien

We hope everyone is enjoying the articles and information we share here on Food Allergy Living. We are always looking for ways that we can be even more helpful to you and your family. How do you think we are we doing? Please leave us your feedback so that we can continue to make this a useful resource for the food allergy community.

  • Which blog posts have you liked the most and the least?
  • What topics would you like to see more of in the coming months?
  • What do you like and dislike about the blog in general?
  • Anything else would you like to see on the blog?

We really appreciate you taking the time to give us your comments. Thank you very much!

-Sarah


What to Expect At Your Next Doctor Visit

Posted 2.22.11 | Sarah O'Brien

Do you have a doctor’s visit coming up and wondering what to expect? Whether it be a well visit, a sick visit, or a visit to a specialist that you’ve been waiting to see, it’s always good to go prepared and know what to expect as best as you can.

Before your visit

The first thing that always comes to my mind when going to see a new doctor is all the paper work that must be filled out before the exam. This usually requires arriving early and taking 15-20 minutes to complete all the forms. If you’re anything like me after having my little one, arriving on time – let alone early – is a challenge within itself. It can also be hard to keep your little one entertained and sitting quietly while you fill out all the paper work. Some pediatric offices are making their required forms available online to download and complete before you get there which is a big help. If your doctor’s office does not have this available, call and ask if they can mail the paper work to you ahead of time.

Another helpful thing to do before your visit is to write down all those questions that you’ve been thinking of to ask the physician. It’s easy to get distracted and conversations can easily go down one particular path, especially when dealing with food allergies. The topic of most visits would probably be just that – food allergies, but what about those other questions that you had, like sleeping issues, or maybe a behavioral issue. If you write down your questions you’ll be sure to leave with all of your answers.

If possible try to bring your significant other, grandparent, or close family friend to the visit with you. It’s always good to have an extra pair of hands if your infant starts crying, or your toddler starts to misbehave. It’s also good just to have a second set of ears to listen so you don’t miss anything.

During your visit

As with most doctor visits, a weight and height check is always to be expected along with listening to heart and lungs, maybe checking ears and asking about what’s been happening since your last visit. Most pediatric doctors are also interested in hearing about your child’s developmental skills, like can your infant sit up, or can your toddler stack blocks.

Now is your opportunity to ask all those questions that you have written down. Don’t be nervous to ask what you think is a dumb question; a good doctor will hear anything and be happy to answer. If not, you may want to think about switching doctors. If it’s something that worries you, ask – no question is too minor. And if you need clarification on a question that has been answered at a previous visit or even at the beginning of this visit, it’s always best to ask again so you are not left guessing. Also, you may want to have the doctor write down what they are recommending so you don’t forget when you get home.

After your visit

If a follow-up visit is necessary, try to schedule it before you leave the office. This can save you time and help get you in with less of a wait.

If you have visited a specialist, follow-up with your pediatrician to make sure your specialist relates all of their findings back.

What other tips/hints have you discovered to help get yourself prepared for doctor visits? Would love to hear about them.

- Sarah


Israel’s Story

Posted 2.15.11 | Guest Blogger

Our post today is a guest blog entry from Karen Adams, Israel’s mom. We’d like to thank her for guest blogging for us.

I've heard several mothers talk about how their baby was fine at the hospital, that their problems didn’t begin until they got home. Our experience didn’t happen like that. From the very first day my son Israel, wouldn’t sleep, but instead screamed and cried constantly. Nothing seemed to soothe him. Our last night at the hospital, we asked the nursery to take him, so we could get some sleep. 15 minutes later they brought him back saying he was kicked out of the nursery, because he cried too much.

Our first night home was spent nervously watching our baby boy projectile vomit, scream and cry. For months Israel would scream and cry and vomit for hours on end. In fact he would cry so hard he would lose his voice. He took only small naps, the most being 45 minutes. He would have diarrhea so badly that he would keep yeast infections on his skin. He would have odd rashes and dry patches of skin. After two pediatricians and trials of cows milk formulas and soy formula. The doctor then switched him to Nutramigen and scheduled an upper GI.

The upper GI confirmed reflux and he was then put on Prevacid. The Nutramigen and Prevacid really seemed to do the trick. He was still a little fussy and spit up quite a lot. But the doctor wasn’t concerned and felt we shouldn’t be either. But being his mother, I just couldn’t let it go. He could drink water and hold it down, but his formula he would spit up. I knew he could do better. After a few weeks of research I found out about Neocate.

I had read so many testimonials about how Neocate and Prevacid stopped the food allergy reactions and reflux issues. Could it be true? His pediatrician thought the problem was reflux, lactose intolerance and classic “Colic”. And that I simply worried too much.

Finally after several visits he agreed to send my son (6 months old) for an allergy test. He tested positive for Milk, Soy, Corn, Pork, Peanuts, Apples, and Rice and positive for some other intolerances. FINALLY I had my proof!!! The allergy specialist gave me a prescription for Neocate and I rushed it to the pharmacy as quickly as possible.

That afternoon we gave him his first bottle of Neocate. He took the bottle and guzzled it down. We watched and waited, and to our surprise no spitting up! We realized not only had the other formula's been causing spit up but also had made him irritable. He started gaining weight, sleeping through the night and generally acting satisfied within a week of being on Neocate. Now he is happy, healthy and full of energy! He just turned one year old in December 2010 and now we are starting on Neocate Jr. As a mother, I couldn’t be happier!

Thanks to Neocate!

-Karen

Karen and Israel's video on YouTube


Celebrating Valentine’s Day Safely

Posted 2.10.11 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

Not so many years ago, it was pretty common for kids to give classmates valentines with candy, bring in baked goods to share, and have a Valentine’s Day party at school. While a lot of classrooms have cut back on such activities, it’s still a great idea to play it safe this Valentine’s Day and avoid the risk of allergic reactions.

Preparing

Since Valentine’s Day falls on a school day this year, the best thing you can do is to remind your child’s teacher(s) of allergies ahead of time. If valentines are going to be exchanged or a party is planned, the teacher can help share information with other parents to ensure that everyone remains safe from potential allergens. Feel free to offer to send a “safe” treat in with your child if they won’t be able to enjoy other foods.

If your child is going to a friend’s house for a Valentine’s Day party, make sure to check in with the host parents to make sure they are aware your little one has a food allergy and ask what will be served ahead of time. Remind your child that they should keep an eye out for allergens: even if a party has a menu, there’s no guarantee other parents won’t send unplanned treats.

Hosting

Are you a teacher? If so, remember that the safest valentine for a child with an allergy is one that doesn’t include candy. You may find it easiest to institute a “cards only” rule if valentines are exchanged. A Valentine’s Day party can be great without the snacks by involving fun games or crafts. You could also keep the food and ensure it’s safe by purchasing or preparing snacks yourself that you know are safe and instituting a “no treats” rule for parents.

If you’re a parent who’s hosting a get-together for some of your child’s playmates, it’s best to check ahead of time with other parents to ask about allergies. Other parents may be more than happy to contribute allergen-free foods to the menu, or you can forgo food altogether and host the party away from mealtime with some fun activities instead.

Giving

Whether your child has an allergy or not, make sure he/she is giving valentines that are safe for other students in their class who may have an allergy of their own. Lots of valentine multi-packs include candy, which most kids enjoy. However, to keep the valentines your child hands out safe, you might consider sprucing up a “traditional” card-only valentine. You can add to the “cool factor” by including valentine-themed tattoos, stickers, or other approved favors in place of edible gifts.

Have a child that can’t enjoy chocolate or the usual treats? Try out our recipe for a knock-out knock-off of chocolate pudding. Also consider family-friendly activities that don’t involve food. Finally, a t-shirt, CD, game or even small vase of flowers could be the surprise gift your child wasn’t expecting!

What tips do you have to keep Valentine’s Day worry free?

- Rob


New Food Allergy Guidelines

Posted 2.1.11 | Christine Graham-Garo

In December 2010, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) released an Expert Panel Report on the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States. You are able to view the full report or the summary (I would suggest the summary as the full report is lengthy). I will mention a few of the guidelines to give you an understanding of the report, but feel free to download the report for yourself so you may be updated on the latest guidelines for food allergy (FA) that many healthcare professionals will be referring to.

The report notes that multiple studies have found 50-90% of presumed food allergies are not actually food allergies! I couldn’t believe as high as 90%! For this reason, I will briefly review the diagnostic recommendations.

Diagnosis of IgE Mediated Food Allergy (Reactions are seen in a short time frame.)

The Expert Panel (EP) stresses the importance of confirming a food allergy. In order to confirm the diagnosis of a FA, it is important the doctor perform a medical history and physical examination. In order to identify the food causing the allergies, the EP recommends a doctor perform a skin prick test (SPT). It is important to note that a SPT alone cannot be considered a diagnosis of FA. The EP does not recommend using tests such as intradermal testing, routine use of total serum IgE and atopy patch tests. Interestingly, they suggest food elimination diets as a useful tool for diagnosing FA. It is also recommended for doctors to use oral food challenges to get a FA diagnosis. It is the gold standard for ruling out certain foods.

Diagnosis of Non-IgE Mediated Reactions (Also known as delayed reactions)

In order to diagnose Food Protein-Induced Entercolitis Syndrome (FPIES,) the EP recommends using medical history and oral food challenges. It was noted that when the causative food is removed and the symptoms subside, it may be enough for an FPIES diagnosis. Doctors and families must work closely together to get the best results for their patients.

The report also mentioned that to reevaluate a patient with a food allergen whether its annually or at another interval will depend on the foods in question, the age of the child and the current medical history.

I very much encourage you to read over the guidelines yourself. The more educated we all are, the more we can help each other and your family to ensure those with food allergies are getting the proper treatment for the accurate food allergy diagnosis. Let me know once you have read it, what you think! You can even share this with your doctor.

-Christine


FPIES (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome)

Posted 1.27.11 | Sarah O'Brien

FPIES, or food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome, is a condition that I’ve been hearing about more and more lately. It is not particularly well-known, so I thought we could cover some of the basics in today’s blog.

What is FPIES?

FPIES is a disease that typically affects infants and young children. While it can mimic food allergies, the difference with FPIES is that it is a non-IgE mediated immune reaction in the gastrointestinal (GI) system to one or more specific foods. This means that the IgE antibodies associated with other food allergies are not involved in an FPIES reaction.

Cow’s milk and soy are the most common FPIES triggers, but ANY foods can cause an FPIES reaction (even ones that aren’t typically considered to be allergens like rice and oats).

Common Symptoms of FPIES

Most FPIES reactions happen when a child is very young – just a few weeks or months old. Often it happens when the first formulas or solid foods are introduced (breastmilk doesn’t usually cause an FPIES reaction, even if the mother has eaten a trigger food).

Each child is different, but the most common symptoms of FPIES involve the GI tract and can include projectile vomiting and diarrhea, which means that it is often mistaken for a stomach bug. There is almost always a delayed onset of symptoms - often vomiting occurs 2 hours after eating a trigger food, with diarrhea following 5 hours after eating. Some children experience relatively mild symptoms, while others have such severe vomiting and diarrhea that they can become seriously dehydrated and go into shock.

Diagnosing and Treating FPIES

It can be difficult to diagnose FPIES because blood allergy tests only look for IgE-mediated responses. Usually a diagnosis occurs after repeated reactions. Keeping a food journal may be helpful in identifying triggers if you think your child has FPIES.

Treating FPIES varies depending on the child, their triggers and reactions. For infants with FPIES an elemental formula like Neocate is often used. For some children who have fewer triggers treatment is simply to avoid those foods. Introducing new foods slowly – one at a time and for up to three weeks – is extremely important to identify both safe and trigger foods. If your child has an FPIES reaction, it is important that they remain hydrated to avoid going into shock.

Outgrowing FPIES

Many children with FPIES outgrow the disease by age three, but this can vary based on how severe their symptoms are and which foods they react to. According to an article from Kids With Food Allergies, one study showed that 100% of children with FPIES reactions to barley had outgrown and were tolerating barley by age three, while only 40% of those with FPIES to rice, and 60% to dairy tolerated it by the same age.

To determine if your child has outgrown FPIES it is important to work with your doctor and evaluate it on a food-by-food basis. Atopy patch testing can help assess if your child is ready for an oral challenge in your doctor’s office or hospital (do not attempt without a doctor’s supervision!).

We hope this helps shed some light on an often confusing disease. If any of you have children with FPIES and can share your experiences, please leave a comment!

- Sarah


Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) and the Six Food Elimination Diet

Posted 5.15.15 | Christine Graham-Garo

Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) is a condition that is continuing to get more and more attention in the medical community, which means the public is learning more about it too. Unfortunately though, the management options for EoE are not black and white. EoE may be managed either with medication, which has known long-term side effects, or nutrition therapy, which has been shown extremely effective, but may be difficult to follow for some families.

Medications used to manage EoE are all steroids, and at this point no medication has FDA approval for EoE. Steroids have been shown to be effective in managing EoE for more than half of patients. However, steroids may not be the best long-term solution for everyone. Many families who choose to use steroids may mix the medication recommended by their physician with Neocate Nutra. This is because Neocate Nutra thickens, so can help to coat the esophagus with the steroid. This use of Neocate Nutra was even studied by a medical team and you can read about their published research here.

As EoE is a chronic condition, management with nutrition therapy is often discussed and preferred by many families over steroids. Here are nutritional therapy options for EoE:

  • Elemental Diet – A diet consisting almost exclusively of amino acid-based (or elemental) products
  • Elimination Diets – The removal of allergens from the diet.
    1. Tailored Elimination – Elimination of specific allergens based on allergy testing
    2. Six Food Elimination – Elimination of 6 top allergens based on the most common allergens seen in EoE patients

The Six Food Elimination Diet

The 6 Food Elimination diet has been gaining in popularity because it bypasses extensive food allergen testing needed for the Tailored Elimination diet. As you may know, allergy tests (skin prick tests and blood tests) are not perfect. There are often false positives which can make the treatment plan more complicated and time consuming, and some allergens may be missed ('false negatives'). So what the 6 Food Elimination diet proposes is that, off-the-bat, patients eliminate the top 6 allergens seen in EoE patients. The top allergens are milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts/tree nuts, and seafood. One study1 confirms there is a 74% success rate when using this type of nutrition therapy for EoE. (As a point of reference, an Elemental Diet shows a 95-98% success rate based on multiple studies.) Researcers are also looking into 4 Food Elimination diets.

Advantages and Disadvantages to consider

The advantages of using the 6 Food Elimination diet approach are that you can still eat solid foods. It also eliminates the need for extensive skin and blood tests to check for food allergies. Important disadvantages to this diet therapy are that it may unnecessarily remove foods from the diet, and many process foods are out, meaning the diet often involves a lot of preparation and careful reading of ingredient lists. Eliminating so many foods can increase the risk of patients being deficient in one or more nutrients. Also, as many of you may know, it is hard just to remove milk and soy from your diet. Try eliminating SIX different allergens that are found in many foods while maintaining your nutritional status! For this reason, many medical teams that manage patients with EoE encourage their patients to supplement the 6 Food Elimination diet with a nutritionally dense, hypoallergenic elemental product, such as Neocate®. This can help ensure the patient is getting all the protein, vitamins and minerals they need per day while ensuring that no allergic reactions will occur with the elemental products. It is vital that EoE patients are monitored by a dietitian. The dietitian will help calculate how much of the elemental product the patient will need per day and also make sure the nutritional status of the patient is maintained.

Again, since research has found a 74% success rate for the 6 Food Elimination diet, it's possible that symptoms will persist after starting the 6 Food Elimination diet. If this happens, your medical team can help you decide the next best step, which may include a careful review of your diet, possibly eliminating more foods, or starting with a more “allergen safe” diet therapy such as an Elemental diet. After a few weeks on the Elemental diet, most teams will work with you to start reintroducing solid foods to figure out which ones may be contributing to your symptoms.

I hope this helped to shed some light on this nutritional therapy options for EoE. Every person will have their own treatment plan that works for them. Is anyone following an elimination diet now? How is it going for you? Have any tips you can share that may help others manage an elimination diet?

-Christine

1 Kagawalla AF et al, Effect of six-food elimination diet on clinical and histologic outcomes in eosinophilic esophagitis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2006:4(9):363-8


Clinical Trials, Why and How to Get Involved

Posted 1.20.11 | Mallory West

Many of you have little ones who suffered for weeks, months or even years before finally getting a diagnosis. The diagnosis may have been a food allergy, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), an eosinophilic disorder, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), multiple food protein intolerance (MFPI), or a similar allergy-related condition. The diagnosis explains your child’s symptoms and helps you manage them. Although you were likely relieved to have an answer and appropriate treatment plan, many of you were probably still left with many questions.

Research has given us many answers in recent years but there are many questions that still remain. Why did my child develop this condition? Is there any way to prevent this condition? What are the chances that siblings will develop the same condition? Is there a way to actually cure the underlying condition so that my child can eat a normal diet? The best way to get these answers is to support clinical research. There may be a research study on your child’s specific condition at a facility near you. Enrolling your children is the best way to get closer to the cause of these diseases and hopefully someday, the cure.

Finding a Clinical Trial

It’s easy to find trials on the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) website: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Here are some clinical trials (which are seeking participants) that may apply to your child’s condition:

Obviously, pediatric allergic diseases are getting more and more attention from researchers. By joining a clinical study, you can help strengthen the research and do your part to help find answers. You can refine your search for a clinical trial by location so that you can find a clinical trial near you. You can even see a list of studies on a map.

Questions You Should Ask Before Enrolling in a Clinical Trial

Before you enroll your child in a clinical study, it’s important to understand exactly what a clinical trial is. Here are the answers to some questions that you might have. Chances are that you may be a little wary about signing your child up to be a “guinea pig” for science. And that’s okay; it’s your job as a parent to be careful!

You should make sure that you get all the facts before you decide to participate. The National Institutes of Health actually has a website dedicated to clinical studies for children that provides information and guidance for parents. For example, they provide a printable document (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/childrenandclinicalstudies/downloads/english/pdf/questions_to_ask.pdf) with questions that parents may want to ask when considering enrolling their child in a clinical study. Once you get all the information, your family can decide if participating in a clinical trial is right for you.

Have any of you participated in a clinical trial in the past? What has your experience been? Would you do it again?

- Mallory


But Doctor, Is My Baby’s Rash Really JUST a Rash?

Posted 1.18.11 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

Here at Neocate, we often talk with concerned parents who tell us they’ve read other stories from parents whose children had a terrible rash that was only helped by Neocate after lots of trial and error. Frequently, these parents tell us they don’t feel their doctor is familiar with food allergies. Just yesterday a father told me that his pediatrician kept telling him that “every baby gets rashes, it’s normal; he’ll grow out of it.”

Some pediatricians and many parents are surprised to learn that about seven percent of children have food allergies. Many parents who eventually learn that their child has a food allergy, which can only be treated by changing the diet, wish their journey to a solution had been shorter and simpler. Here are some tips for what you can do if you feel your doctor isn’t recognizing your little one’s rash as a possible sign of a food allergy.

Take Careful Notes

A rash is often the first sign of a food allergy that a parent notices. While it’s true that almost all babies experience diaper rash at some point, this is not the same as a rash caused by food allergy. Diaper rash, like many rashes, is caused by something on the outside: wet or rubbing diapers, scented lotion, rough fabrics, or even fabric softener. It’s important to rule out these other causes that might contribute to eczema, atopic dermatitis, or itching.

If you’ve eliminated potential causes, it’s more likely that the rash is caused by something on the inside: a food allergen. If you document all steps you’ve taken to eliminate other culprits, the doctor is more likely to consider a food allergy as the cause of your baby’s rash. If you notice that your baby has a rash and you think it might be related to a food allergy, check to see if your baby exhibits any other signs of a food allergy. It’s unusual for a baby with food allergy to only have a rash. Make a list of your baby’s symptoms which could also be caused by a food allergy to provide to the doctor.

Many parents tell us that they went through multiple different infant formulas before finally finding relief with Neocate. Some infants don’t even tolerate breast milk because of dairy foods in the mom’s diet. Make notes of the different symptoms that did not go away with each formula you’ve tried. Many doctors assume a soy formula or hydrolyzed formula will help if the baby has a milk allergy. However, many babies with a milk allergy also have a soy allergy and can be extremely sensitive to even small amounts of milk protein.

Make an Appointment with Your Baby’s Doctor

When you discuss your baby’s rash with the pediatrician, explain that you think you have ruled out other causes, and explain the list of changes you tried that did not help. Inform the doctor that food allergy is common among infants, and explain the other symptoms your child is experiencing which could be related to food allergy. Skin creams are commonly prescribed for rashes. While these creams may help to reduce inflammation and itching caused by a food allergy, they will not help other allergy symptoms such as diarrhea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or wheezing. Only a change in the diet will truly solve the problem.

When you see your pediatrician, you may also want to request a referral to an allergist (narrow your search by selecting the “Food Allergy” specialty). The allergy testing that these professionals perform provides the best information to help your child find a diagnosis and relief from a food allergy.

Finally, share with the doctor your knowledge of Neocate, the amino acid-based formula that makes such a difference for babies with food allergies. It’s important to follow the steps to help give your baby’s rash the best chance to heal. We know that it is so hard to see your little one feeling so uncomfortable but remember it may take some time, even after you start using Neocate.

What steps did you take to know that your baby’s rash was caused by food allergy?

- Rob

[Image Source]


Top Ten Blog Posts of 2010

Posted 1.4.11 | Sarah O'Brien

Happy New Year! Before we jump into 2011 on Food Allergy Living, we wanted to recap our top ten blog posts of 2010. We tackled topics from food allergy recipes to tube feeding and everything in between and had some excellent guest bloggers share their stories. Based on reader traffic, here were our most popular posts:

1) Baby Rashes (when is it a milk allergy?)

In this post, Christine talks about how to tell if your child has a typical rash or if it is a sign of an allergic reaction to cow’s milk.

2) Dysphagia, GERD and Silent Aspiration

Mallory tackled the topic of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, and two other conditions commonly associated with it: dysphagia and silent aspiration.

3) Accidental Injections of Epinephrine from an EpiPen

If you or your child uses an EpiPen, this blog is a must-read in case you ever have an accidental injection.

4) Fun Summer Camps for Kids with Food Allergies

Children with food allergies don’t have to miss out on summer camp fun with these allergy-friendly options.

5) How Can Duocal Help My Child Gain Weight?

If your child is underweight or has been diagnosed with failure to thrive, the supplement Duocal can help provide extra calories in their diet.

6) Baby Formula and Food Thickeners: What are the Options?

Thickeners can help treat reflux, but children with food allergies often react to the rice cereals or oatmeals that are commonly recommended. Christine offers some other options that are allergy-friendly.

7) Guest Blog: Living with Eosinophilic Esophagitis - Norman’s Story

Kendra Tiedemann shared her son Norman’s journey with eosinophilic esophagitis.

8) Understanding How Infant Taste Buds Work

If you’ve ever wondered if your baby can taste her food, then be sure to read this post from Mallory.

9) Failure to Thrive: My Child is Underweight, What Should I Do?

In this post, Nita helped to clear up some common confusions about what a failure to thrive diagnosis means and how it is treated.

10) Guest Blog: Food Protein-Induced Entercolitis Syndrome – Roland’s Story

Lorelei Alvarez, one of the founders of the Reflux Rebels group, shared her son Roland’s journey with FPIES in this guest blog.

Which blog posts were your favorite over the last year? Are there any topics you’d like to see us cover in 2011?

- Sarah


Holiday Parties and Get-Togethers with Food Allergies

Posted 12.9.10 | Rob McCandlish, RDN


Many parents of children with allergies worry about how to handle children going to parties for friends where food will be served. But what should you do when you’re the host and you’re worried about visitors with allergies?

Every year I host a holiday party and share the same concerns. With friends who have allergies to wheat and tree nuts and vegetarian friends, what would Martha Stewart recommend?

Know Your Guests

When you send out your invitations it’s nice to ask if your guests have any allergies or sensitivities. By doing so, you let them know you’re aware of their concerns and give them an opportunity to share any concerns. If possible, you might even provide the menu ahead of time so they can be aware of foods that are safe and those that present a risk. If they offer to bring a “safe” dish, take them up on their offer. Better yet, host a potluck!

Before you start to cook for the party, clean your kitchen tools and surfaces thoroughly, and make sure you store prepared items safely so that they won’t become contaminated.

Know What You’re Serving

By knowing which allergies your visitors have, you can purchase prepared or packaged foods that are safe (your guests can tell you specific ingredients to look for - check labels carefully) or perhaps to prepare items yourself which you know are safe. Luckily, foods now have required labeling for the 8 major allergens. If you have questions contact the manufacturer to be certain.

Be careful when preparing food yourself. With recipe ingredients like celery, you know what you have – celery! But for other ingredients a recipe calls for, such as spice blends or sauces, the ingredients can be trickier to understand. Is that “protein hydrolysate” derived from soy, wheat, pork or something else? Again, it may be best to contact the manufacturer or run the item by your guest with a quick phone call. Keep the ingredient label on hand for the party, if possible. It’s also a great idea to keep hard copies of recipes for homemade items handy during the party in case guests have questions. The safest bet of all? Try some allergen-free holiday recipes.

Be realistic when planning the menu – you can easily prepare a batch of chocolate chip cookies without adding nuts for those with tree nut allergies, but it may not be reasonable to prepare a different version of EVERY dish you serve that presents an allergy risk. Guests with allergies will be happy to see a few items they can enjoy and usually expect they can’t eat everything on the menu. If you do have separate versions of some items, you can keep them on a different table.

Enable Your Guests - With Labels!

Especially for a large party it can be hard to keep track of telling each guest what foods are safe as they arrive. If you plan on serving buffet-style, consider labeling items for your guests. This could be as simple as using place-tags that provide a description and state what allergens are in the food. An even easier approach would be color-coded stickers that indicate what is or isn’t in the food. Labels on each item served of the 8 major allergens might be most helpful and can help cover your bases for unexpected guests or unexpected allergies.

If you have multiple young guests with allergies it might be more fun for them to see a special sticker just for them (such as a favorite animal or cartoon character) on foods they CAN eat. Labels eliminate the worry of having to tell each guest what is or isn’t safe; just make sure they know what the labels mean! A clearly posted guide to your labels at the front of the buffet could be helpful.

What tips have you used in the past when hosting get-togethers for guests with allergies?

- Rob

Image Source


8 Signs of a Milk Allergy

Posted 11.23.10 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

A friend told me she went to an office Halloween party as a peanut allergy. I wondered: What would you wear that says, “I am an allergy?” I still don’t know the answer to that question! Thinking about that made me wonder: Since babies don’t come with labels and can’t tell us what they experience, how do they tell us “I have an allergy?

More and more, children are diagnosed with food allergies, with cow’s milk allergy being the most common. In fact, more than 100,000 babies each year suffer from milk allergy. There are multiple clues pediatricians look for that help diagnose a cow’s milk allergy that you can look for too. Below is a list of eight questions to help parents of infants identify a potential milk allergy, designed by Dr. John Moissidis, a Board certified pediatric allergist at The Asthma Allergy Clinic in Shreveport, La.

Milk Allergy Symptoms

1. Diarrhea Diarrhea is common in babies, but if it is persistent (an average of two to four times a day for more than five to seven days) and/or if there is blood or mucous in the stool, it could signal a more serious milk allergy.

2. Vomiting Babies often spit up bits of food, but vomiting beyond the typical mealtime regurgitation should be examined by a doctor. Reflux symptoms, such as spit-up and difficulty swallowing, can also be milk allergy symptoms.

3. Skin Rash There are many causes for infant skin rashes like eczema. Milk allergy is one possible cause, especially if the rash occurs along with some of these other symptoms.

4. Extreme Fussiness Every baby cries, but crying continuously and inconsolably for long periods of time is abnormal. When there is no apparent reason, this is usually called colic. Sometimes this extreme fussiness is actually caused by the gastrointestinal pain resulting from an allergy to the proteins found in milk.

5. Low or No Weight Gain Most infants double their weight by six months and triple it by 12 months. But when babies are not getting the nutrition they need because of excessive diarrhea and vomiting, they are unable to grow like they should.

6. Gassiness All babies have gas, but when it occurs along with several of these other symptoms, it can also signal an allergy to milk proteins.

7. Respiratory Problems Colds are common for infants, but wheezing, struggling to breathe and developing excess mucus in the nose and throat is not. For some kids, these respiratory problems can be the baby’s reaction to the protein found in milk.

8. Failure to Thrive Babies with milk allergy often suffer from a lack of proper nutrition characterized by dehydration, loss of appetite and lack of energy. This overall failure to thrive is often the result of the effect the other symptoms have on the infant’s body.

My baby has one or more of these symptoms – what now?

Babies with an allergy to cow’s milk protein cannot process the complex proteins found in milk-based baby formula, and many babies also react to soy-based infant formulas. Because of this, infant milk allergy is treated by either eliminating the milk proteins from the nursing mother’s diet or by replacing the regular formula with an amino acid-based formula.

An amino acid-based formula is safe for babies with milk and soy allergies because it is made using amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are small enough that they won’t cause an allergic reaction in the way that complete protein chains or partly broken down proteins found in other formulas will.

The next step should be to schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician in order to receive a more thorough evaluation and diagnosis. Bring this information with you and ask your doctor if your baby might benefit from an amino acid-based formula.

What symptoms did your baby have that led you to suspect a milk allergy?

- Rob

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Cream of Broccoli Soup

Posted 11.17.10 | Food Allergy Recipes

Need your child to eat more vegetables? Give this healthy cream of broccoli soup a try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken thigh
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 broccoli head
  • 1 potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cauliflower
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup Neocate prepared (optional)

Directions:

Cook one chicken thigh in crock-pot. Remove cooked chicken. Add apple juice to the remaining fat/chicken oil. Mix well and use as chicken broth.

Add the remaining ingredients in the chicken broth. Make sure all the veggies are well covered with broth. Cook on medium heat on stove top until veggies are tender. Place veggies and liquid in blender and blend for one minute. Add Neocate to make creamier!

Nutrition Information:

Makes ~ 4 servings Per Serving:

  • Calories 150
  • Protein 9g
  • Carbohydrates 32g
  • Fat 7g

Submitted by: Sophie Jakovich

To get more food allergy recipes, be sure to download our new Food Allergy Cookbook!

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Allergy-Friendly Banana Bread Muffins

Posted 4.11.11 | Food Allergy Recipes

These tasty muffins make a great breakfast or snack for your little ones with milk allergies!

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup of dairy-free margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups of brown rice or oat flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, blend bananas, sugar, margarine and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Pour into muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes, or if using a bread loaf tin, for 60 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Makes 15 muffins

Submitted by: Laura LaMotte

Per Muffin:

  • Calories: 230
  • Protein: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 43g
  • Fat: 7g

Tailgates, Fantasy and the Big Game – Enjoying Football Season with Food Allergies

Posted 11.2.10 | Christine Graham-Garo

Now that football season is in full swing, there are lots of fantasy football and tailgate parties going on. I am a huge football fan (go Miami Dolphins!) and love the great food associated with football-watching. But when you have family members with food allergies, finding delicious and allergy-friendly foods at these fun parties can be a challenge.

It’s always a good idea to bring your own dish that you know is safe for your child to enjoy at the party. I wanted to share with you some allergy-friendly recipes from Kids With Food Allergies that would be perfect for a football or tailgate party.

Allergy-Friendly Recipes for Football Season:

As always, please look at the ingredients in each recipe to ensure it is appropriate for your family. I hope you can use these for your next football party. You can find more great appetizers in the Neocate Food Allergy Cookbook. And after eating these great dishes, you can run it off by tossing the football around with your friends and family.

- Christine


Halloween with Food Allergies

Posted 10.26.10 | Sarah O'Brien

We shared our top 4 Tips for Celebrating Halloween Without a Food Allergy Scare. But with Halloween coming up this weekend we wanted to share a round-up of all the great “Halloween with Food Allergies” tips we’ve seen recently. Here is some more great advice from our favorite blogs and advocacy groups!

Tips for a Food Allergy Safe Trick or Treating

  • Kids With Food Allergies recommends pre-positioning safe candy at friends houses along with other advice for safe trick-or-treating and school parties.
  • Gina Clowes of Allergy Moms has 15 Halloween Safety Tips in her latest newsletter. She recommends pulling a “switcheroo” and buying two of the same treat collectors, letting your little one trick-or-treat, but then swapping their loot out with the safe version once you get home.

Have you read any great ideas for having a safe, but fun, Halloween? Be sure to share the links!

- Sarah


Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Chicken Pasta Salad

Posted 10.20.10 | Food Allergy Recipes

Is your child is allergic to dairy and eggs? Consider this chicken pasta salad recipe for a healthy lunch or dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pasta (I use small shells)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken, pre-cooked
  • 1/2 cup Vegeniase (www.followyourheart.com)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, plain (www.tofutti.com)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Tofutti Better than Sour Cream, plain (www.tofutti.com)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dill weed

Directions:

Boil water. Add pasta and cook according to box instructions. Chop veggies and mix in a bowl with chicken. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese and sour cream with garlicpowder and dill weed. Mix in Vegenaise. Drain pasta and mix all together. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

  • Calories 10
  • Protein 4g
  • Carbohydrates 17g
  • Fat 24g

Makes 4 servings.

Submitted by: Jessica Snell

To get more food allergy recipes, be sure to download our new Food Allergy Cookbook!

[Image Source: Real Simple]


Banana Chocolate Shake

Posted 10.6.10 | Food Allergy Recipes

This refreshing shake is fun to make for an afternoon treat!

Ingredients:

  • 5 scoops of Neocate Junior, chocolate powder
  • 3 fl oz water or rice milk
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 ice cubes

Directions:

In a blender, combine water or rice milk, vanilla extract, and banana. Blend well. Pour contents into a separate shaker cup, add the Neocate powder and shake well. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Nutrition Information Per Recipe:

  • Calories: 304
  • Protein: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 48g
  • Fat: 9g

Submitted by: Mallory West, Nutrition Specialist

To get more food allergy recipes, be sure to download our new Food Allergy Cookbook!

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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.