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Celebrating Motherhood on International Women’s Day 2017: #BeBoldForChange

Posted 3.8.17 | Nutrition Specialist

In 1977, the United Nations officially proclaimed March 8 International Women’s Day. Although observances celebrating women are not new, the designation of this day marked a global shift in recognition of women’s contributions to our world. Today, we join in celebration of women all over the world and ask you to join us to be #BeBoldForChange.

 

This year’s #BeBoldForChange campaign calls on individuals to help forge a better working world; a more inclusive, gender-equal world. In 2016, leaders around the world pledged to take actions as champions of gender parity. This year’s campaign encourages women everywhere to join these world leaders to serve as change agents in their communities.  

 

So what does being bold for change really mean? Many parents in the food allergy community are well aware of what being a bold advocate entails. Many of us act as our own advocates! Being a parent means that we create change by setting examples for our children.  For International Women’s Day, start the conversation in your home about gender equality.

 

While we continue to consider how we can be bold in 2017, we honor incredible mothers who continue to empower women around the world by sharing a few of their quotes:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Learn more about how you can #BeBoldForChange by visiting the official website for International Women’s Day 2017.

Patient Perspectives – Teddy’s Feeding Tube Journey of Hope

Posted 2.28.17 | Nutrition Specialist

My first and only child, Teddy, turns 7 next week, and two months after that we mark his 7 year “tubieversary.” He was born full term but aspirated meconium during delivery and was in the NICU for two months for respiratory distress and failure to thrive. It was there that he started his tube feeding journey, first with a nasogastric tube and then with a g-tube shortly before coming home. Those first days, months, years, were hard. So, so hard. He vomited with every feed, around the clock. The parting words of one of the NICU doctors rang in my ears: Don’t let him aspirate, he’ll die. Teddy was not aspirating, but I was terrified. I was drowning.

I was desperate to make the vomiting stop, for both of our sakes. We tried all sorts of different formulas, different methods of feeding, different rates, and volumes. Nothing really worked, and I was largely on my own to figure it out. Teddy’s gastroenterologist would use words that I’d never heard, like “bolus feeding.” I was too embarrassed to admit I didn’t know what she was talking about, and too sleep-deprived to realize that being embarrassed was silly. The online parents’ group that eventually turned into the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation was my main source of knowledge and information, the voices of wisdom and experience filled in all the gaps that the doctors and medical staff couldn’t. Until you have a child at home with a feeding tube, it’s nearly impossible to know the day to day realities and how to navigate them (mostly) successfully.

The vomiting got a little better when Teddy was 9 months old and his new GI doctor put him on an amino acid-based formula, but it didn’t get truly better for another 12 months, and has continued periodically to this day.  Teddy was diagnosed with multiple food allergies when he was a year old, and at 18 months he was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). He remains on an amino acid formula that he chooses to drink at school and be fed by tube at home. He has very few safe foods, though we are always working to find new foods that will be safe for him. The social and emotional impact of having such a restricted diet is hard for him, but we read a lot of books about kids with food allergies and talk about how to manage when he feels sad or mad about it. School events that involve food are particularly hard on him.

Life with a g-tube does sometimes require troubleshooting and work arounds, of course. Swimming happens in well chlorinated pools or the ocean, not small lakes or ponds. One piece pajamas all have holes cut into the sides to thread the tube through for night feeding. At the first sign of feeding intolerance, I’m right there with a 60cc syringe to vent out any gas. It is nerve-wracking to know that in an emergency I can’t just grab some food and keep him alive, but I plan carefully to always have some emergency backups of formula and supplies on hand.

I have tried to instill in Teddy that his tube is nothing to hide or be ashamed of, it’s just another part of him and it is what helps him grow and be healthy. Most importantly to him, it’s how he has the energy to swim, dance, do karate, jump over puddles, and build Lego sets. When I first heard that he was getting a g-tube, nonchalantly mentioned by yet another NICU doctor, I was devastated. I didn’t know that children could even get feeding tubes before Teddy was born. I didn’t fight the decision to place a feeding tube; the doctors were clear that if I wanted him discharged, he needed a g-tube. I revisited that decision over and over, unsure if it really was the right choice. Once he was diagnosed with EoE and it became clear that formula would be a huge part of his diet for the foreseeable future, I made peace with the decision. Once I realized how easy hydration during illness and giving medication is with a g-tube, I very quickly went from acceptance to love.

The support and knowledge of the thousands of experienced parents that participate on the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation’s Facebook page is invaluable.  The willingness to share hard-earned knowledge with other parents, in a supportive and kind environment is a life-saver for me and for so many others. Life with a medically complex child is not easy, but it is so much easier with the right support. I’m so proud of my “tubie”.

~ Stephanie McDowell

Today’s blog post comes from Stephanie McDowell. Stephanie is the Director of Resources of Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (www.feedingtubeawareness.org). The organization’s facebook page has more than 45,000 followers and acts as a Q&A forum and place for information sharing. (https://www.facebook.com/FeedingTubeAwareness).


Carbohydrates in Neocate

Posted 2.21.17 | Nutrition Specialist


The Neocate Nutrition Services team of dietitians gets lots of questions every day from parents who want to know more about Neocate, what it is, and how it can help their little ones. But as many of us do with a lot of our food, some parents have questions about the unique ingredients that make Neocate so special. The ingredients in Neocate - especially the amino acids - make us unique among formulas! In this post, we are going to answer some of the frequent questions we receive about the carbohydrates used in Neocate products.

Why do you use carbohydrates in Neocate?

Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients our bodies need to grow and thrive. Carbohydrates include most fibers, starches, and sugars, and most of the carbohydrates in our diets come from plants. (Did you know? Glucose - a type of sugar - is the main energy source for the human brain!) In short, we include carbohydrates because they're necessary.

Some Neocate products contain prebiotics, which are carbohydrates that we (humans) can't digest, but that some of our good gut bacteria can digest. Prebiotics can help to support digestive health. Learn more about prebiotics.

See the table below for the various sources of carbohydrates in Neocate products. Here are the main reasons for including them:

  • Corn syrup solids - as a source of carbohydrate
  • Maltodextrin (from corn) - as a source of carbohydrate
  • Fructooligosaccharides - as a source of prebiotic
  • Inulin - as a source of prebiotic
  • Rice starch - as a natural thickener
  • Sugar - for sweetness

If you have questions around the use of corn syrup solids in nutritional formulas like Neocate, please read over our Corn Allergy 101 blog post, which explains that these are highly refined in a multi-step process designed to remove protein.

What is the sugar content of Neocate products?

To answer this question, let's first dive into a quick review of what sugars are. "Sugars" describe carbohydrate molecules that are one unit (monosaccharide) or two units (disaccharide) long. These are also called simple sugars, and include glucose and sucrose. Simple sugars are digested and absorbed easily and fairly quickly. Starches, which are longer carbohydrate molecules, are digested and absorbed more slowly.

There are two ways to classify sugars when looking at sugar content of a food, beverage, or nutritional formula. "Total sugars" describes all of the sugars in a product, including sugars that come from main sources of carbohydrates. For example, corn syrup solids are mostly starch, with a small amount of naturally present mono- and disaccharides. Total sugars also includes added sugars. "Added sugars" are sugars that are added to the food, usually to provide some sweetness.

This table shows you, per 100 calories, how many grams of total sugars and how many grams of added sugars each Neocate product contains. (For infant formula, 100 calories is 5 fluid ounces; for Neocate Junior and Splash formulas, 100 calories is 3.3 fluid ounces)

Neocate Product

Carbohydrate 
source(s)

Total Sugars
(per 100 calories)
Added Sugars
(per 100 calories)
Neocate Syneo Infant
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic)
  • Inulin (prebiotic)
0.95 g None
Neocate Infant
DHA/ARA
  • Corn Syrup Solids
0.97 g None
Neocate Nutra
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Rice Starch
  • Sugar
2.6 g 1.9 g
Neocate Junior,
Unflavored
  • Corn Syrup Solids
0.94 g None
Neocate Junior
with Prebiotics,
Unflavored
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic)
  • Inulin (prebiotic)
0.91 g None
Neocate Splash,
Unflavored
  • Maltodextrin (from corn)
  • Sugar
5.2 g 5.0 g
Neocate Junior,
Tropical
  • Corn Syrup Solids
0.93 g None
Neocate Junior,
Chocolate
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Sugar
1.9 g 1.1 g
Neocate Junior
with Prebiotics,
Vanilla
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Sugar
  • Fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic)
  • Inulin (prebiotic)
2.4 g 1.6 g

Neocate Junior
with Prebiotics,
Strawberry

  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Sugar
  • Fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic)
  • Inulin (prebiotic)
2.4 g 1.6 g
Neocate Splash,
Grape
  • Maltodextrin (from corn)
  • Sugar
5.3 g 4.7 g
Neocate Splash,
Orange-Pineapple
  • Maltodextrin (from corn)
  • Sugar
5.1 g 4.7 g
Neocate Splash,
Tropical Fruit
  • Maltodextrin (from corn)
  • Sugar
5.1 g 4.7 g

Why do you add sugars to some Neocate products?

Unlike other formulas, amino acid-based formulas that are plain, or unflavored, can seem bitter or sour. (Infants don't seem to notice this as much.) This is due to the use of amino acids - which are 100% non-allergenic, as the protein source. To help make the formulas taste great, our product team works with artificial flavors to improve the taste. For the products that have flavors added, sugar and/or artificial sweeteners can help to balance out the flavor to taste its best.

Do you really need to use sugar and/or artificial sweeteners?

Some parents wonder if we really need to use sugars or artificial sweeteners at all. For now we have to say 'yes, we do.' Why? Without them, the flavors simply wouldn't work. Without an artificial sweetener, the amount of sugar needed to reach a balanced flavor profile would be extremely high, like a soft drink or soda, and exceed recommendations. The artificial sweeteners we use are safe and approved, and we only use one for each product (one that works well with the flavor).

Others wonder if we can make a flavored formula with artificial sweeteners, but no added sugars. It's possible, but the result isn't always great, and it doesn't usually meet our standards. The reason is that this usually requires 2 or more artificial sweeteners, and we prefer to only stick with one artificial sweetener per formula, based on caregiver and parent feedback. The other is that these versions tend to taste, well, very artificially sweet. We find that using the combination of one artificial sweetener plus some added sugar gives the most balanced sweetness.

For children whose parents seek a flavored hypoallergenic formula without any artificial sweeteners there are several options, and we do offer one flavored Neocate product with no added sugars, Tropical Neocate Junior. This table shows you which Neocate products contain an artificial sweetener and, if so, which sweetener:

Neocate Product Artificial Sweetener
Neocate Syneo Infant None
Neocate Infant DHA/ARA None
Neocate Nutra None
Neocate Junior, Unflavored None
Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Unflavored None
Neocate Splash, Unflavored None
Neocate Junior, Tropical Acesulfame Potassium
Neocate Junior, Chocolate Sucralose
Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Vanilla Sucralose
Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Strawberry Sucralose
Neocate Splash, Grape Sucralose
Neocate Splash, Orange-Pineapple Sucralose
Neocate Splash, Tropical Fruit Acesulfame Potassium

 

We hope this information is helpful!

-Rob McCandlish, RDN


#TealLove Valentine’s Day 2017

Posted 2.14.17 | Irina Kabigting


Happy 1521st Valentine’s Day! As everyone around the country celebrates, we would like to help bring awareness to a new movement started by KidsWithFoodAllergies.org to help spread awareness and encourage inclusiveness around celebrating Valentine's Day. How does it work? Similar to the #TealPumpkin project for Halloween, the #TealLove movement encourages non-food gifts and treats to be exchanged for Valentine’s Day.

Learn more about #TealLove

And while some classrooms are encouraged to cut back on sharing candy or bringing baked goods to share, if you are looking for tips on how to start a conversation with your school about food allergies, here are some great tips shared by Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team:

For additional safety tips on preparing food, hosting parties or giving gifts, read through Celebrating Valentine’s Day Safely Tips.

If you need inspiration today for allergy-friendly treats that help incorporate Neocate products, use the link below to view recipes to make:

  • Neocate Chocolate-Raisin Taffy Treats
  • Chocolate Peppermint Smoothie
  • Neocate Chocolate Nutra Pudding
  • Neocate Junior Brownie Bites Recipe
  • Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Slushy
  • Strawberry and Apple Nutra Popsicles
  • Neocate “Strawberries & Crème”
  • “Chocolate Covered Strawberries”

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


My Experience with Tube Feeding: The story of the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation

Posted 2.7.17 | Nutrition Specialist

Looking back, my son had feeding issues from the very beginning. But, he was 2 months old when our gastroenterologist said the words ‘feeding tube’ during our first clinic visit. He was admitted after the appointment and subsequently received an NG tube. The NG tube was a relief and the most terrifying feeling all at the same time.

The relief came in that there was something we could do for him to get him the nutrition he needed. The fear came from all that was unknown.  Tube feeding was something that I associated with the gravely ill or elderly. It filled me with an overwhelming worry of what was medically wrong with my newborn.

I was exhausted. In the first year of tube feeding, my son went from NG tube, to G tube and to GJ tube. Family and friends were as supportive as they could be, but no one in our lives had any personal experience with a medically complex child. There was no ready group of parents to welcome us and tell us it was going to get easier. We found it very challenging to find information and tips on dealing with tube feeding and didn’t know what to ask our medical professionals.

After tube feeding for six month, I was finally able to meet a group of parents online who shared their knowledge, experience, emotional support and the tips to manage life tube feeding a child at home. I felt that parents needed better access to information and they needed to hear about the positive benefits of tube feeding. For my family, tube feeding meant my child would live, grow and thrive. However, it was rare to hear anything positive about what tube feeding meant for families like mine. Once I understood tube feeding, it did get easier. I felt the urge to help other parents like myself and that drove me to founding the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation in October of 2010.

The mission of the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation (FTAW) is to provide parents and caregiving with the practical information they need to raise a child who has a feeding tube. Our goal is to create the organization we would have wanted to find when we first learned our children needed a feeding tube. We built resources based on the needs we found (and continue to find) in our own lives. Our educational materials are built on the best practices of experienced parents and written in simple to understand language. We understand how it feels to be overwhelmed, exhausted, scared and how valuable it is to be able to connect with other parents.

In 2011, we launched Feeding Tube Awareness Week® to raise positive awareness of tube feeding as a lifesaving medical intervention. The goal of the week is to educate family, friends, and the general public about the hundreds of medical conditions that can require tube feeding. During the week, we encourage parents to share their stories and experiences through social and traditional media. This year, Feeding Tube Awareness week is February 6-10, 2017. The theme of the week is “Fueling Life.”  You can find out more about the week and how to participate at the FTAW website.

Previous awareness weeks have reached millions of people through television, print and online newspapers, and social media. Many companies, such as Nutricia, have also committed to the cause of raising positive awareness.  Today, when a parent learns their child needs a feeding tube, there are more resources available and parents do not have to feel alone. They may even read about it their local newspaper.

My son is now 8.5 years old. He is a thriving third grader with special needs and G-tube. He most certainly wouldn’t be alive had he not been able to be tube fed practically since birth. It wasn’t easy. But, it would have been much easier if I had the right resources or knew anything about tube feeding before that first day in the clinic.

~ Traci Nagy

Today’s blog post comes from Traci Nagy. Traci Nagy is the Founder of Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (www.feedingtubeawareness.org). The organization’s facebook page has more than 45,000 followers and acts as a Q&A forum and place for information sharing. (https://www.facebook.com/FeedingTubeAwareness). She is mom to Lucas, who has Koolen-de Vries Syndrome.


Food Allergy-Friendly Recipes and Crafts for the Big Game 2017

Posted 2.2.17 | Nutrition Specialist

Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl party this weekend or just watching the game with family, we have a winning lineup of allergy-friendly treats to keep everyone happy during the big game. We also have a few craft ideas to help keep the kids occupied during this year’s gridiron battle--regardless of whether you’re rooting Falcons or Patriots. 

Recipes

Football Brownie Bites- You can put a fun twist on our Brownie Bites recipe by shaping the brownies like footballs.

Veggie Cakes- Looking for a healthy game day snack? Prepare our veggie cakes and set them out for the kids to enjoy.

Crafts

Mini Football Goal- This simple craft only requires a few materials, most of which can be found around the house. You can also personalize it further by adding your team’s name to the post!

Sponged Painted Football- This is an easy craft the kids are sure to love. The Resourceful Mama even has football templates you can print off!

Paper Plate Football- If you have extra paper plates laying around, you and your children can transform them into footballs.

Share your game plan with us on Facebook, or tag us in your gameday Instagram pictures @necoateus. And don’t forget to check out the dozens of additional recipes in our Neocate Footsteps Recipe Cards.


Food Allergy Role Models

Posted 1.31.17 | Nutrition Specialist


Each one of you is unique and special in some way. You might be special because of a talent that you possess such as singing or playing an instrument. Or maybe there is something in the way you look that makes you unique in your family.

One thing that many of you have in common is that either you or someone you care for is living with an allergy to food. While this is a common bond for us here at Food Allergy Living, it can also make us stand out from our family members, friends, classmates and coworkers. Being unique or different can make us feel special, but it can also sometimes make us feel strange or even isolated. In fact, I speak to parents every day who are concerned about their child and how their child’s food allergy might hinder their health and future potential.

Not to worry. The Neocate team is here to give you confidence that even though you or your loved one has an allergy to food, they have a bright and wonderful future ahead of them full of nothing but potential success. Here are some celebrities that have found tremendous success in the fields of acting, sports, and media while reportedly or openly living with food allergies.

Dairy Allergy:

Is your loved one allergic to dairy? Drew Brees is the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. In case you are not an NFL/Football fanatic like me (I do mean fanatic, and that is not a typo for fan), the Saints are a professional football team in the NFL. Drew Brees has been in the NFL as a Quarterback for 16 seasons, and he has experienced a very high level of professional football success.

Drew's success has come on many levels including a successful high school record, 2 time Heisman finalist and collegiate bowl game appearance, winning the ultimate NFL prize of Super Bowl Champion, and being named to a long list of awards and honors including many NFL Pro Bowls, NFL Super Bowl MVP, and their highest individual honor of the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year being some of the most impressive.

Drew has achieved all this professional football success while living with food allergies including an allergy to dairy. In fact, both Drew and his wife Brittany Brees are both allergic to dairy and both very open about their food allergies. Drew is also involved in a number of philanthropies, some through his foundation the Brees Dream Foundation. The couple joined the “So Delicious Dairy Free Team” in relation to their allergy to Dairy. Drew discussed why he wants to be a role model for others including children living with food allergies.

Other Celebrities reported to have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy:
Zooey Deschanel, Billy Bob Thornton, Brianna Adkins (daughter of singer Trace Adkins)

Allergy to Peanuts and/or Tree Nuts:

Perhaps you or your loved one is allergic to peanuts and/or tree nuts. Serena Williams is one of the most recognized and well-known tennis stars, and she is also allergic to peanuts. Her allergy to peanuts has not slowed her down. Serena has a long list of achievements and tennis titles currently on her resume with highlights including 69 single titles, 22 double titles, 36 total grand slam titles, 4 gold medals, and a golden grand slam title. In fact, she recently added to her success by winning the 2017 singles title in the Australian open by beating out her older sister Venus for her 23rd grand slam singles title to tie another all-time great tennis star, Steffi Graf.

Serena excels not only in professional tennis but also in the world of fashion. She created the Serena Williams Fund where she works with a number of different organizations to promote education and support communities affected by violence.

Other Celebrities reported to have an allergy to peanuts or tree nuts:

Ray Romano, Drew Brees, Joshua Jackson, Brianna Adkins daughter of singer Trace Adkins, and Mason Kardashian son of Kourtney Kardashian

Allergy to Eggs:

Perhaps eggs are on your list of food allergies. Then you are not alone in this food allergy either. In fact actress and singer-songwriter Zooey Deschanel is allergic to eggs as well. Zooey is probably most well known for her role on the comedy film Elf or for her starring role on the new hit TV series New Girl.

Along with eggs, Zooey also has food allergies to dairy and wheat. This actress has not let her food allergies slow her down. Zooey often has meals delivered to her trailer while on set to help successfully manage her food allergies while being mindful of others food preferences. She is active on social media and often talks about her food allergies or how they impact her daily life in her social media posts.

Other Celebrities reported to have an allergy or sensitivity to eggs:
Billy Bob Thornton, Suze Orman, Brianna Adkins (daughter of singer Trace Adkins)

Celiac Disease or an Allergy to Wheat and/or Gluten:

Are you and/or your loved one allergic to wheat, or perhaps you have celiac disease? (Celiac disease, while not a true food allergy, is often referred to as an allergy, and results in a similarly restrictive diet.) Well you might be surprised how many celebrities share this same diagnosis. One in particular who shares the diagnosis of celiac disease is actress Jennifer Esposito. She has a successful career in both movies and TV series including a regular character on the TV series Blue Bloods and Spin City. She has been in films including Summer of Sam and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

Jennifer is open about her diagnosis of Celiac disease and was inspired to open a bakery that caters specifically to a gluten-free diet with only gluten-free baked goods called Jennifer’s Way Bakery in New York City.

Image Source

Other Celebrities reported to have celiac disease or allergy to wheat and/or gluten:
Zooey Deschanel, Keith Olbermann, Drew Brees and his wife Brittany, Billy Bob Thornton, Busy Phillips, Chelsea Clinton, Ryan Phillippe, Susie, Essman, Cedric Benson, James Stark, Heidi Collins, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Emmy Rossum

Other Food Allergy Support & Stories:

Hopefully some of these celebrities and professional athletes who have excelled while living with food allergies have inspired you and/or your loved one to see the potential you can have. Or perhaps they can remind you that even though you are unique and often different from others because of your allergies to food, you are not alone in living with food allergies!

Of course, Neocate is used by many families for a number of different food allergies or related GI and allergic conditions. An allergy to dairy, or cow milk protein, is one of the most common reasons that little ones need Neocate to get their start in life. If you want to see how other families and their little ones have thrived on Neocate, then read these Neocate testimonials.

Who is your food allergy hero or inspiration? Do you know of a celebrity or professional athlete living with food allergies? We want to know what you think!! Please share your thoughts or stories in the comments below.

--Kristin Crosby MS, RDN, LDN

Tags

food allergies  |  stories


What Do You Do When Your Child Asks, “Can I eat this?”

Posted 1.26.17 | Nutrition Specialist

“Can I eat this?”

At holidays, parties and family and school events, parents will eventually hear “Can I eat this?” from their child with food allergies.  Hopefully you have taught your child to always ask before taking a bite!  You may not have had time to fully investigate the requested food, which requires not just reading the label, but may require calling the manufacturer of the prepared food. Consulting websites such as www.foodallergy.org or www.glutenfreewatchdog.org may help determine if food ingredients are safe for your child. Look for a date when website pages were last edited as companies can change their ingredients at any time without informing the public.  When in doubt, it's best to ask your little one “How about this food instead?” as you quickly pull out a safe food from your snack bag (that parents should always carry with them) or direct your child to another safe food option that you recognize is allowable.

Here are some considerations when faced with that on-the-spot question:

1.    Home-made food made by someone other than you—is not allowed.  Unless it is made by someone you have directly taught how to prepare foods safe for your child, the answer must be NO.  Even if food was prepared by a parent of another child with allergies, you can never be sure that others are fully aware of your child's food allergy restrictions. Even when the cook tells you the ingredients were used, sometimes a person can forget the little sprinkle of this or that when adding ingredients. Kitchen cleaning practices vary, so cross-contamination may be a huge risk. Everyone’s understanding of cross-contamination and use of allowable ingredients may differ.  As a dietitian I have had people tell me they follow a wheat-free diet because they are avoiding whole wheat even when they are using all sorts of other food products that contain wheat.  If offered a questionable food, refuse graciously by explaining that your health care team advised against all home-made foods.

2.    Prepared foods from restaurants or grocery store may be safe, but how do you determine this? The exception is if the chef or manager overseeing the preparation of a desired food can tell you with certainty how the food was prepared and handled so you can judge if allowable or not. You can also review lists of restaurants that participate in training for safe food preparation.

3.    Packaged foods may be safe for your child.  No matter if it is a new product you are using for the first time or a product you use regularly; you must read the label every time before offering to your child so they do not get exposed to unwanted food allergens. If you have read the label and feel confident in the manufacturer ingredient label, then the product may be suitable for your child with food allergies.  I often suggest parents sign up for food allergy alerts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

5.    Avoid mixing allowable foods on your child’s plate with non-allowable/questionable foods. If the allowable food has been mixed with a non-allowable food, then you can consider that food contaminated. For instance, if a plain, allergy-safe hamburger patty gets inserted into wheat-containing hamburger bun, and wheat is not allowable for your child, then the meal is not safe to eat.  Try to get into the kitchen to read labels and make your child’s plate safe BEFORE exiting the kitchen.  

Teach your child to ask you if they can add any additional foods to their plate. If your child is on a top 8 food elimination diet (E.g., Avoids milk, wheat, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and fish and shellfish), all fresh fruits and vegetables are safe. Fruits and vegetables generally are great choices if tolerated as long as they are served separately from sauces and dips. Bring a bag of apples, pears or tangerines to the party to assure that your child has a healthy and safe choice available. 

Meats are generally okay, as long as the preparation method does not introduce any unwanted ingredients.  Watch out for packaged meats or vegetarian meats as many contain wheat, soy or dairy. A single meat jerky has a long shelf life and may be kept in the car, purse or backpack for an extended period of time and may be considered an allowable and nutritious snack..

No matter how well you plan, these “Can I eat this?” moments may happen. As a best practice, we recommend keeping a snack bag with you or in your car in case of emergencies. Ideas for your snack bag depend on what food allergens your child needs to avoid. For instance, if your child is on a  8 food elimination diet, allowable snack examples include:

  • Individual bags of gluten free pretzels, top 8-free cookies/crackers or allowable potato chips
  • Freeze dried fruits or fruit leather
  • Meat jerky sticks
  • Ready to serve Neocate Splash drink boxes in a variety of flavors
  • Suggest making a list of “safe” foods offered at common fast food restaurants that provides food allergy information on their website.

Have questions? Comment below!

-Patricia Novak MPH RD CLE LD

Today's guest blog post is by Patricia Novack. Patricia has 30 years experience working with children and adolescents with autism, developmental disabilities, food allergies and chronic illness.  Her work includes clinical practice in both hospital and community based programs, professional training and curriculum development.  The common thread throughout has been addressing feeding issues in children from infancy through adolescence.


Allergy-Friendly Cleaning Checklist - Clean Start for 2017

Posted 1.18.17 | Nutrition Specialist

It never seems to surprise me how fast time passes. Yet here we are at the beginning of another promising year with 2017 underway.

A new year brings a fresh start for many of us, so why not start the year off right with a clean start at home? Perhaps some home cleaning will help you start 2017 by making progress towards a resolution for the New Year, or just help you clear out some clutter from the previous years. Or maybe your family also has seasonal allergies in addition to food allergies. This may help you reduce pollen and allergens for your family.

Here are some general tips and a check list to get your household off to a clean start in 2017! Even a bonus section on tips to get your kitchen in order for a wonderful year of allergy friendly meals the whole family will enjoy.

General Tips:

  • Clean from Top to Bottom: One tip I have always found helpful from my first real job in a restaurant is to always clean top to bottom. Some see this as a great strategy for organizing yourself and cleaning from the top floor down. I have always found this strategy especially helpful to save time by cleaning from the top of the room down to the bottom and prevent cleaning an area twice.
  • Pre-Treat: For tough to clean areas such as a spot in the carpet or areas of the bathroom not often addressed, you can spray the area with the desired cleanser and let it sit and pre-treat the area while you clean elsewhere. For example, spray the cleanser on the carpet spot and let it sit while you perhaps dust the room or pick-up elsewhere. Then once the cleanser has had time to pre-treat and loosen the grime it is easier to clean and much less time scrubbing the area.
  • Recruit Help: Cleaning can be a bit more fun and much faster if it becomes a family affair. Enlist the help of the whole household to help you conquer these tasks while also making it a quick day. Then you can celebrate your hard work with a fun event or relaxing family night together. Truly a win-win.

If you want any ideas on a fun and allergy friendly activity to plan for family night then you might want to check post about DIY Allergy Friendly Play-Doh Recipes. Want a night out instead? Check out post about the Top 10 Allergy Friendly Restaurant Chains.

Check List:

Here is a quick check list of items that you will want to include when setting your game plan to get a clean start to 2017. Items that are often overlooked on a regular cleaning basis that will help you feel that your hard work has made a difference while also reducing potential allergens like dust and pollen in those areas less addressed.

  • Clean Walls: Cleaning the walls, and if you are feeling adventurous the baseboards also, can help reduce allergens and make a big difference in the look of your home. No need to re-paint for a room face list; a quick clean of the walls can provide the same bright new look. You may want to start with a quick wall sweep using the vacuum attachments. Then wipe with a clean damp cloth or all-purpose cleaner to do the trick. Make sure to pick an all-purpose cleaner that is appropriate for the paint or other coatings on your home walls. Don’t forget to clean the light switch on the wall.
  • Wash Curtains: Along with washing the walls, washing any curtains or window treatments will also help to reduce allergens and brighten up your rooms. Many are machine washable so throw them in the washer and by the time you are done washing the walls the curtains will be clean, dry and ready to go. A quick dust and wipe with a damp cloth for any blinds will make your wall cleaning complete
  • Clean Light Fixtures: This will help make those lights shine a bit brighter to help get your family through these last few months of short daylight hours. Remove any shades, light covers, or globes and wash and then wipe the bulbs and light fixture with a damp cloth and voila!! You will have a bright shining light fixture to brighten that room.
  • Purge & De-clutter: This step can be more time consuming, but a new year is a great time to get rid of items you no longer need. A good rule of thumb is to donate or discard anything that you have not used in the past year. I have to admit that I am a bit more conservative than this, but certainly that clothing item that you have not worn in a few years may be ready for donation. Donating items from your office, living room, attic and/or garage can be a great way to make some space and de-clutter items that you no longer need or want. You will be amazing how clean & organized a room can look once some excess items are removed.

Bonus, 3 Easy Steps to Allergy Friendly Kitchen Cleaning:

Want to get your kitchen in order to start 2017? Well here is a bonus section just for you.

Of course a kitchen deep clean is always a good idea at least a few times a year to keep appliances in good working order and clean those hard to reach places in likely one of the busiest and messiest spots in your home. Cleaning the shelves of the refrigerator, oven cleaning and such is something that is often recommended on a regular basis. Let’s look as some tips to clean up the actual food items and be prepared with easy, allergy friendly meal prep ideas for the coming year.

  1. De-Clutter: Go through the pantry and get rid of items that are expired, or no longer used. Anyone with a diet restriction in any way has a stock of products they have tried and did not work for them. And just about every kitchen has plenty of items in the pantry that were not used or you did not like for one reason or another. Well time to make some space and toss or donate them if they are not yet expired.
  2. Eliminate Hidden Allergen Ingredients: Now that you have cleared out the obvious items in your cabinets and cupboard that do not work for your family, it is time to take another look. This time get rid of anything with hidden allergens that do not work for your family. Not sure where to start? Well this post should help you find hidden dairy ingredients.
  3. Allergy Friendly Meal Planning: Now that you have made some space you can begin preparation for meal planning. Not sure where to start to plan allergy friendly meals this coming year, well the Neocate team had you covered there as well. Check out 10 Tips for Allergy Friendly Meal Planning. Or perhaps ideals to help you Make Mealtime Fun is what you need to get your year started on the right foot. And for your families that need ideas to get the whole family involved, 5 Food Allergy Friend Meal Planning Tips for the Entire Family.

What are you and your family doing to get a clean start in 2017? Have any suggestions you want to share with other Neocate families? Let us know in the comments below.

--Kristin Crosby MS, RDN, LDN


2017 Food Allergy Conferences and Events

Posted 1.13.17 | Neocate Admin

There are many events throughout the year and country that help to raise funds and awareness for food allergies. These events are geared towards medical professionals as well as you, our food allergy families. To help you stay in-the-know, below you will find a list of key 2017 events. This isn’t meant as a comprehensive list of all 2017 events, but rather a highlight of a few events in which you may be interested.

The Food Allergy Research and Education ( FARE) group has many events throughout the year, including the FARE Walk for Food Allergy. Each year, tens of thousands of supporters gather in communities across the country at these events. These family friendly community gatherings help to raise awareness of food allergies and critical funds to support FARE’s mission. Here are the educational events that have already been announced.

You can visit FARE website to find a walk near you!

Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly Expo– The largest gluten free and allergen friendly event in the US! The expo is held at multiple locations throughout the US. See below for the date and location best for you!

  • Feb 11-12 in San Diego, CA
  • April 22-23 in Schaumburg, IL
  • May 20-21 in Atlanta, GA
  • June 24-25 in Glendale AZ
  • July 22-23 in Worcester, MA
  • Oct 14-15 in Secaucus, NJ
  • Oct 28-29 in Dallas, TX
  • Nov 18-19 in San Mateo, CA

AAAAI 2017 Conferencewill be held in Atlanta, GA from March 3-6, 2017. This is a conference for allergists/immunologists, allied health and related healthcare professionals for four full days. Hundreds of educational offerings are available on a variety of topics including: allergic disease; asthma; immunotherapy; food allergy and GI disease; skin disease; PIDD; practice management; new technologies; and health care reform.

The FARE National Food Allergy Conference is an annual event gathering the country's leading food allergy experts and members of the food allergy community for a weekend of world-class programming. This year’s event will be April 28-30 in San Antonio, TX. The conference offers educational sessions presented by leading experts covering the latest research, tips and tools. Hundreds of members of the food allergy community from across the country converge to learn, connect and support each other. Living with food allergies can be overwhelming, and there is so much to learn about how to manage day to day. This conference may be able to help you with that!

May 4 – National FPIES Awareness Day

May 8-14 – Food Allergy Awareness Week

May 15-21 – National Eosinophil Awareness Week

Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang)is a one-week day camp designed for children ages 4-12. Locations throughout the United States with varying dates throughout the summer!

In July, APFED’s 15th Annual Patient Education Conference on Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders will be held on July 7-8. This conference focuses on families coming together to learn more about EoE and other gastrointestinal disorders, including management options. This event allows for networking and social interaction with others who may be going through the same thing as you!

The FAACT (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team) Teen Conferencewill be held on Oct 20-22in Cincinnati, OH for children aged 11-23 with food allergies, as well as siblings and parents of these children with food allergies.  There will be separate sessions for parents, siblings and teens as the focus for each group is different.

Do you know of any other events that others may want to participate? Let us know and help spread the word!

- Ellen

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



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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.