Food Allergy Living Blog Tagged Results


Food Allergy Awareness

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


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

Kids with Food Allergies the Target of Bullying

Posted 9.30.10 | Sarah O'Brien

A new study released this week showed that more than 30% of kids with food allergies reported being bullied, teased or harassed because of their condition. This statistic is frightening, but if you have a child with food allergies it might not be that shocking. While not all kids with food allergies have been subjected to extreme cases, like the one described in this MSNBC article, many have been made fun of for eating different foods and not being able to participate in certain activities.

One way that parents and communities can start to combat this growing trend is to increase awareness and understanding of food allergies among other children, parents and even teachers. In addition to advocating for new policies and legislation to protect children with food allergies, you can also encourage your child’s school to host assemblies and awareness days. The Food Allergy and Anaphylactic Network (FAAN) has found that starting the conversation encourages friends and other students to help keep their classmates with food allergies safe.

Has your child faced teasing or bullying because of their food allergy?

- Sarah


Keeping Kids Safe with Food Allergy Awareness Apparel

Posted 9.21.10 | Christine Graham-Garo

When you have a child with food allergies, it can be hard to leave them on the first day of school or send them off on a field trip. Will your child remember to avoid milk or gluten products? Will her teacher remember your little one can’t have those cupcakes? What if a classmate and your child trade lunches? These are all valid questions that must haunt a parent of a child with severe food allergies.

Food Allergy Clothing, Bracelets & More!

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to remind people about your child’s food allergies! Food allergy awareness t-shirts, wrist bands and more are available so that you can be sure the message gets out about the foods that they need to avoid.

As a child with Type 1 diabetes, I had to wear a bracelet that informed people that I was a diabetic. At that time, the bracelet looked very medical, so I wasn’t the biggest fan of wearing it. But if you take a look at the products out there now for kids with food allergies, you will see there are many more fun and fashion savvy items available!

Resources for Food Allergy Awareness Apparel:

  • Allergic Child – Allergic Child offers a wide range of food allergy awareness products, from t-shirts to chef cards. Take a look!
  • AllerGators – That adorable AllerGator will catch anyone’s attention! This clothing line is sure to be a hit for younger children with food allergies
  • Allergy Apparel – This line of food allergy awareness products may be the most popular with children. It is full of fashionable designs like skulls and peace signs while still alerting people about the child’s food allergies.

With all the new and trendy food allergy awareness products out there, your little ones can choose which they like most. But best of all, it will help communicate to those around them that your little one needs to stay clear of those specific food allergens.

Do you think your little ones may like these products? Have you purchased some already?

- Christine


[Image Source: Jeeto!]


Top 8 Allergens

Posted 9.14.10 | Mallory West

Although there are over 160 foods identified as allergens, eight foods account for 90% of all food allergic reactions[1]:

  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, coconuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans and brazil nuts)
  • Fish (such as salmon, tuna, halibut, bass, flounder or cod)
  • Shellfish (such as shrimp, crab and lobster)
  • Soy
  • Wheat

These foods are designated as “major food allergens” by the Food Allergen Label­ing and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA). FALCPA applies to all foods whose labeling is regulated by the FDA (both domestic and international). The law officially went into effect on January 1, 2006.

FALCPA:

Under FALCPA, food manufacturers are required to list major food allergens or any ingredient that contains protein derived from food allergens in simple, easy-to-understand terms. If the ingredient includes the name of the allergen that it contains (such as buttermilk or soy beans), this meets the FALCPA requirements. However, if the ingredient name does not include the name of the allergen (remember our blog about hidden allergens?), the allergen must be declared either in parenthesis next to the ingredient (for example, “flour (wheat)”) or after the ingredient list (for example, “Contains soy”).

Points to Consider When Reading Food Labels:

Manufacturers are not required to account for cross-contamination. “Cross-contamination” or “cross-con­tact” occurs when a food contains a trace amount of an allergen as a result of coming into contact with other foods containing that allergen during the manufacturing process. For example, a milk-free infant formula may be made in the same manufacturing site as a milk formula. Although milk is not an ingredient of the milk-free formula, it may pick up some trace amounts of milk protein from the shared equipment. However, the manufacturers are not required to list milk on the ingredient list. (Neocate moms, don’t worry; Neocate is the only formula made in a 100% dairy-free manufacturing site). If you have any doubts about a product, call the manufacturers and ask about the possibility for cross-contamination. If they can’t assure you its safe, it may not be worth the risk.

Certain foods are not subject to FALCPA requirements. Foods that are regulated by agencies other than the FDA will have different allergen labeling requirements. Examples of such foods include:

  • Poultry
  • Most meats
  • Certain egg products

If you are unsure if a food is safe for your child, contact the USDA’s food and poultry hotline. Also keep in mind that most alcoholic beverages are not subject to FALCPA requirements. This obviously isn’t applicable to your little ones right now but it’s a good thing to be aware of as they grow up.

FALCPA requirements only apply to foods sold in the US. Food allergen labeling requirements will vary by country so if you are traveling internationally, be extra careful to read the ingredient lists and look for hidden allergens.

Have you found the FALCPA requirements to be helpful or confusing? What tips do you have for finding top 8 allergy-friendly foods in your grocery store?

- Mallory


[1] Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. http://www.foodallergy.org. [Image: Flickr]


Food Allergy Family Fun Event and Expo

Posted 9.7.10 | Sarah O'Brien

Kids with Food Allergies (KFA) is hosting their 2nd Annual Family Fun Event and Expo on September 12 and October 2. For the first time the events will take place in two different locations! They are excited to be back in North Wales, PA on Sunday, September 12 at the Whole Foods Market and will also be in Houston, TX on Saturday, October 2 at LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch.

Raising Food Allergy Awareness While Having Fun!

The KFA family fun events were put together to help raise food allergy awareness and funds to support KFA education, outreach and support programs. These are free events you don’t want to miss. There is fun for the whole family including a children’s dance-a-thon, live music and lots of great allergy friendly foods! It’s a great chance for kids and parents to connect with other families and get an opportunity to share experiences and learn new ways to deal with food allergies.

There will be all sorts of exciting entertainment for food allergic children. Special guest, Kyle Dine will be performing at both Expos! He will provide a music performance and puppet show that will be a sure entertainment for the kids.

We are pleased to be supporters of these events and to help raise food allergy awareness. We are excited to share that we will also be attending both expos. Be sure to stop by and say hello to Mallory in North Wales and Madalene, another colleague of ours, in Houston! We will be available to answer any Neocate questions you may have and help you and your family to have a fantastic day!

It’s not too late to register online.

We hope to see you there.

- Sarah


2010 FAAN Walks for Food Allergy Awareness

Posted 8.24.10 | Sarah O'Brien

We had such a great time last year attending the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy in different cities around the country, that we are doing it again! These walks are organized by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network to raise public awareness, to provide advocacy and education, and to advance research on behalf of all those affected by food allergies (such as peanut, egg, soy & dairy) and anaphylaxis.

Here is a list of the FAAN Walks Neocate will be participating in:

For a complete list of cities and to register for a walk in your area or donate money, visit the FAAN website. Are any of your families attending a walk in your city or organizing a team? We’d love to hear about your plans! And if you are going to be attending any of the walks mentioned above, make sure you stop by the Neocate booth and say hi!

- Sarah


Our Neocate Video Contest Winners!

Posted 8.11.10 | Sarah O'Brien

We are excited to announce the winners of our Neocate Video Contest. Thank you to those that participated and helped raise awareness about food allergies with their touching videos!

Our first place winner is “Matthew’s Story”. Check out his video to find out how EO28 Splash keeps him movin’ right along.

Our second place winner is “Joshua’s Story”. His video shares his journey with eosinophilic esophagitis and life without food.

Has anyone else made videos to raise awareness about food allergies? We’d love to see them – be sure to post a link in the comments!

- Sarah


A Mother’s Story: Dealing with Food Allergies & Eosinophilic Esophagitis in Everyday Life

Posted 5.12.10 | Guest Blogger

We would like to thank Kendra Tiedemann for guest blogging for us and sharing her family’s allergy story. In case you missed it, be sure to read her other entries about her sons Paulie and Norman.

In a typical conversation about my children's food allergies and eosinophilic esophagitis, I stress that they are just like their peers. They may not be able to eat or (in Paulie's case) even be near certain foods, but they can still do everything else that a typical child can do! They love going to preschool and playing with their friends. Paulie tells elaborate stories, and he sings or hums all day long. Norman makes spectacular sound effects, especially those related to cars and other motorized vehicles. They run around like wild animals and make me wonder where they get the energy! However, this is not a typical conversation and my boys could not safely engage in many typical childhood experiences without my pre-planning and behind the scenes work.

Every aspect of life is affected by the boys' food allergies, and that is the case for every member of our family. We no longer attend the large holiday gatherings that we once loved. The stress of knowing that similar events have led to the worst of Paulie's allergic reactions overshadows the joy of the celebration. Instead, we gather in smaller groups or remain at home to celebrate alone, scheduling family visits for quieter times. I look back at the Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties and Easter brunches of my own childhood and I hurt for my children, knowing what they are missing!

Planning for school is an ongoing challenge. Paulie and Norman both have extensive 504 plans on file with the school that lay out the accommodations that are needed. I work with the teachers and staff every step of the way to ensure that the boys are not inadvertently exposed to allergens while at school. Every item used in their classroom must be inspected and approved. This includes soap and cleaning supplies. Teachers know that they cannot use food or food packaging in lessons and crafts. However, allergens can be found almostanywhere. For example, paints may contain egg protein and shaving cream (used for tactile lessons) may contain milk. It is my job to communicate with school staff to catch potential exposures before they occur.

Medical appointments are also complicated. It is important that doctors and nurses wash their hands immediately before examining the boys, but not until I have checked the ingredients of the soap. Every new or refilled prescription is a potential problem due to the frequent inclusion of allergens as inactive ingredients.

It is a fine line that I walk with family and friends to prevent allergic reactions while also allowing my children typical life experiences. Every person who takes the time to learn about food allergies and eosinophilic esophagitis is one more person to help us walk that line. As Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 9 - 15) and National Eosinophil Awareness Week (May 16 - 21) approach, please take the time to share your story or mine. Let's work together to raise awareness about food allergies and eosinophilic esophagitis!

- Kendra Tiedemann


Get Involved! Food Allergy Awareness Week

Posted 5.6.10 | Sarah O'Brien

Twelve million Americans have food allergies, including one in every 17 children under the age of 3. To raise awareness and educate others about food allergies next week, May 9 – 15, has been designated as Food Allergy Awareness Week.

Created in 1997 by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, Food Allergy Awareness Week has been formally recognized by the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you don’t see your state listed, be sure to request a proclamation from your state governor.

This year’s theme is “Respect Every Bite” and encourages people to remember that just one bite of food with an allergen can cause anaphylaxis. Here are some great suggestions from FAAN for ways you can spread the word about food allergies:

  • Post information about Food Allergy Awareness Week on Facebook and Twitter. For example,you can sharethe “Respect Every Bite” video from the FAAN YouTube channel:

 

  • Host a small fundraiser in your community, such as:
    • Allergy-friendly bake sale
    • Yard sale
    • Lemonade stand
    • Car wash
    • Dinner party with family and friends

 

  • Host a fundraiser at school, such as:
    • Collection jar in the classroom
    • Guessing jar contest
    • Wacky Pajama Day at school
    • Movie Night at the school

Are you doing anything in your community to raise awareness about food allergies this year? If so, we would love to hear about it!

- Sarah


Halloween Food Allergy Twitter Party

Posted 9.24.09 | Christine Graham-Garo

Halloween is a little over a month away, and we know that all those treats can be tricky when you have little ones with food allergies. To help you plan for a fun and safe celebration, Ruth Smith of www.bestallergysites.com and Jennifer Buteau of www.foodallergybuzz.com are hosting a Halloween Food Allergy Twitter Party! If you participated in their past Twitter Parties about Back to School and Food Allergy Awareness Week you know this is a great way to connect with other parents in the food allergy community to share tips and ideas.

The party will take place on Friday, October 2nd from 9:30 PM to 10:20 PM (EST) at summize.com or tweetgrid.com. The hashtag for the party is #foodallergy.

The discussion will cover safe Halloween treats, parties, trick-or-treating and more. There will also be a chance to win some great door prizes. For more information, and to RSVP, be sure to check out the event invitation here.

Hope to see you all there!

-Christine


Kiddie Crusaders Are Increasing Food Allergy Awareness

Posted 8.19.09 | Nutrition Specialist

Many parents of food allergic children are involved in the movement to increase food allergy awareness and safety, but I recently read some impressive stories about two remarkable kids who are taking action in support of the estimated 12 million Americans suffering from a food allergy.

Kyle Graddy of Auburn, Alabama is a nine-year-old suffering from a peanut allergy. In September, Kyle will travel to Capitol Hill to take part in the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network Kids Congress as a representative of Alabama, where he will speak with U.S. Senators about his experiences and the issues facing those with food allergies. During his visit, he will also support the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act.

"I want people to understand that while food allergies are real and can be serious, that kids with allergies are just like other kids,” says Kyle about his activism.

Another youngster making headlines is Denver, Colorado’s Sophie Matthews, also age nine. Sophie suffers from allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and fish. To spread awareness about food allergies, she started a group at her school, Kyffin Elementary, for food allergic kids and their friends. The group, “Kyffin Pals”, discusses experiences with allergic reactions and learns how to recognize one in a friend. The group also participates in activities like a “pretend grocery store” where they practice reading labels for allergens and a tour of a real ambulance, to make any real trips to the hospital less scary.

Sophie is also the Child Ambassador for Denver’s Food Allergy Walk, and enjoys creating allergy safe recipes.

It’s great when anyone works to raise awareness about food allergies, but I am especially amazed by kids who are taking control of their challenges and making a positive impact on the rest of the world. I encourage all allergy parents to help their kids take part in raising awareness of food allergy issues.

I’m sure these children aren’t the only ones with amazing stories about living with food allergies. Please share your children’s stories with us!

-Nita


Help Pass FAAMA in 2009!

Posted 7.14.09 | Nutrition Specialist

The Food Allergy Awareness Network (FAAN) is working once again to push the Senate to enact the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act (FAAMA). FAAMA outlines voluntary national guidelines to help schools manage students affected by food allergy and anaphylaxis.

As some of you might already know, FAAMA was passed by the House in 2008, and earned support from 42 Senators. Unfortunately, FAAMA was not taken up by the Senate before it adjourned.

FAAN provides some great talking points for reaching out to your US Senators and US Representative and asking for their support as well as contact information. If you’re interested in getting involved, check out FAAN’s Web site at http://bit.ly/19x8zk.

Feel free to keep us updated on your activities and share any responses you get.

-Nita


Back to School Allergy Twitter Party

Posted 7.2.09 | Nutrition Specialist

Although summer seems to have only started, back-to-school is really only just around the corner. To help you plan for success this fall, Ruth of http://www.bestallergysites.com/ and Jennifer B of http://www.foodallergybuzz.com/ are hosting a Back to School Twitter Party! If you participated in their Food Allergy Awareness Week Twitter Party in May you know this is a great way to connect with others in the food allergy awareness community.

The party will take place on Thursday, July 23rd from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM at summize.com or tweetgrid.com. The hashtag for the party is #foodallergy.

The party promises to be as fun and informative as the last, with more door prizes, fun trivia, and sharing of tips and expertise. The discussion will be focused on what it’s like managing food allergies in school and during the school year. For more information, and to RSVP, be sure to check out the event invitation here. Also, for those who aren’t seasoned twitter partiers, be sure to stay tuned to Food Allergy Buzz for a Twitter Party tutorial coming a couple of weeks before the event.

Hope to see you all there!

-Nita


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Announces New Food Allergy Initiative

Posted 5.21.09 | Nutrition Specialist

Last week Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., announced the formation of a new Food Allergy Initiative Advocacy Steering Committee. This is great news for the food allergy community. Read the release below that went out about the initiative and let us know your thoughts.

- Nita

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Announces New Food Allergy Initiative Advocacy Steering Committee

Leading parent advocates from across the country join forces to advocate for more research funding to find a cure

WASHINGTON, DC, May 14, 2009–Today, as we continue to mark Food Allergy Awareness Week, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., member of the Board of Directors of the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI), announced the formation of FAI’s Advocacy Steering Committee. The committee’s objectives are to help build a strong nationwide presence for the food allergy community in the public policy arena; and to actively seek to increase federal funding of food allergy research, as scientists believe that with proper funding, a cure can be found in less than a decade. The new steering committee comprises 16 leading parent advocates nationwide who confront the daily dangers of raising children with severe food allergies.

“FAI is tremendously honored and grateful to have such an esteemed group of parents who are willing to join our effort to find a cure,” said Kennedy. “These parents are proven advocates and support group leaders in their local communities. We are thrilled to add their energy and expertise to our advocacy program.”

Steering committee members include:

Gina Clowes, Chair – AllergyMoms; Cranberry Township, PA
Denise Bunning – Mothers of Children Having Allergies; Lake Forest, IL
Nicole Smith – Allergic Child; Colorado Springs, CO
Sue Wagner & Carol D’Agnese – San Diego Food Allergy; San Diego, CA
Rhonda Riggott Stevens– Education & Advocacy Solutions; Durham, CT
Debbie Hogan – Parents of Children with Food Allergies; Tampa, FL
Maria Acebal – Safe at School Partners, Bethesda, MD
Nona Narvaez – Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota; St. Paul, MN
Barbara Calluori– Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Coalition of New Jersey; Nutley, NJ
Sari Canell – Food Allergy Educational Alliance; Scarsdale, NY
Chris Hardy – Parents of Allergic Kids; Charlotte, NC
MaryKay Hill – Vermont Food Allergy Organization; Shelburne, VT
Sally Porter – Food Allergy Initiative Northwest; Sammamish, WA
Meg Goss & Sheree Godwin – Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin; Madison, WI

“I am very pleased to take part in FAI’s new steering committee,” said Committee Chair Gina Clowes. “For 11 years, FAI has led the way in funding research to find a cure to this life-threatening disease. Nothing is more important to me and millions of other parents who wish they could take their children to restaurants, birthday parties and school cafeterias without living in constant fear of exposure to potentially deadly allergens like peanuts,tree nuts, milk, eggs and wheat.”

“My fellow committee members are the best and brightest advocates from all over the country,” Clowes continued. “Every day they are out in their communities making a difference for families with food allergies. As a group, we will devote their attention, resources and expertise toward making sure the federal government is on the leading edge to find a cure.”

About Food Allergies

There are no medications to cure or control food allergies. A strict diet and avoidance of the allergenic food is the only way to avoid a reaction, yet the most common allergens – peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy – are staples of the food supply and virtually impossible to avoid completely. Accidental exposure to even a minuscule amount of the offending food can cause an allergic individual to react within seconds, often leading to life-threatening anaphylaxis that causes throat swelling, a dramatic drop in blood pressure, vomiting and even death within a matter of minutes. Although researchers estimate that food allergies cause tens of thousands of emergency room visits each year, they do not understand why rates are increasing so alarmingly, particularly among children. As the CDC report indicated, in a recent five-year period, the rates of peanut allergies among children literally doubled, and allergies to other foods are similarly increasing.

About the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI)

The Food Allergy Initiative is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that funds research seeking a cure for food allergies. It was founded in 1998 by concerned parents and grandparents to support: basic and clinical research worldwide; better public policies to make the world safer for those afflicted; and educational programs to make the hospitality industry, schools, day care centers, and camps safer. FAI is the largest private source of funding for food allergy research in the United States, contributing more than $60 million toward the fulfillment of its mission. For more information, visit http://www.faiusa.org/, call 212-207-1974, or e-mail info@faiusa.org.


You’re Invited: Food Allergy Twitter Party!

Posted 5.7.09 | Christine Graham-Garo

Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 10-16, and a few fellow food allergy bloggers are ending the week on a high note -- with a food allergy twitter party!

The party will take place on Friday, May 15 at 12:00 p.m. EST and 10:30 p.m. EST. The hashtag for the party is #foodallergy.

The event will be both fun and educational. There are some great door prizes as well as knowledgeable panelists. The discussion will be about all things food allergies, including: eating out, EpiPens, preparing food, healthcare options, allergists and the latest allergy research. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

Hope you can make it. I’ll be there!

- Christine


Allergy Hay Day in May!

Posted 5.6.08 | Nutrition Specialist

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness month -- the perfect time to talk to others about food allergies.

Right now many people are suffering from seasonal allergies, but they might not realize what it means to face an allergy 24/7. It’s good for everyone to know about food allergies because the more people who know, the more people there are to watch out for the kids who face the challenges of food allergies.

In addition to talking to your friends and family about allergies, there are many ways you can get involved to help increase public awareness and raise funds to research a cure.

Click here for a calendar FAAN created for Food Allergy Awareness Week (there are some great ideas on how to get involved).

For local events in your area, check out this site from Kids with Food Allergies to find a local support group.

As always, questions and comments are welcome!


Food Allergy Awareness Week – Get Involved!

Posted 4.10.11 | Christine Graham-Garo

Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) is coming up from May 8-14. This is a great opportunity to educate others about the serious nature of food allergies. We encourage everyone to get involved.

Here are some easy ways that you can celebrate and help raise awareness:

At School

Volunteer to give a presentation about food allergies to your child’s class or school. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) has some great presentations for elementary schools, teenagers and even corporate environments that you can download.

In Your Community

Host an allergy-friendly bake sale to raise money for food allergy research. Or create or print flyers about food allergies and hand them out at your local grocery store or mall food court. If you aren’t already a part of a local advocacy organization, join one! They are likely to be hosting their own events. If there isn’t one in your town, now is the perfect time to start one!

Online

Are you on Facebook or Twitter? Be sure to post about FAAW and if there are any events in your area, invite friends to attend. Don’t forget to follow Neocate too! We will be sharing even more FAAW ideas and stories.

How are you planning on celebrating FAAW this year? We’d love to hear about your plans!


4 Quick Reasons Why Everyone Should “Dig In” to Allergy Friendly Foods

Posted 6.15.17 | Neocate Admin

There are so many different times in life that prompt us to step back and think, then often make a change in our life.  As a dietitian, I often get involved when these times spark a change in your health or more specifically a change to your diet. I know better than most that the word ‘diet’ is perceived as a forbidden 4-letter word, often for many wrong reasons.  In reality, your diet is just the general term for what and how you eat regardless if that includes a plan, specific structure, or even just eating whatever strikes your fancy and happens to be available at the moment. Yes that is right, candy and pizza is also a diet; Just not a diet that is recommended or usually planned. 

We all have many of these life or health events to inspire a diet change. Perhaps you have planned a diet change in your life as a new year’s resolution, after a health concern or diagnosis, or even due to a general life event such as a birthday or milestone that inspires you to change.  One thing that all of you reading this most likely have in common is that you have embarked on a diet change due a medical concern or food allergy diagnosis either for yourself or a loved one. 

A diet change for any reason is usually just considered for the family member who needs the diet change alone.  This is the main reason why many who require a special diet often feel alone, deprived, and are ultimately unsuccessful in incorporating a new diet as a lifestyle vs a momentary change. This is also why so many people perceive the word ‘diet’ as a forbidden 4-letter word to be avoided at all costs. 

Instead of all the negative connotations that come to mind when thinking about a diet, what would it be like if this new diet change needed for your family member was celebrated and embraced?  Even further, what if the whole family participated and adopted the same allergy friendly foods?  Let’s talk about 4 quick reasons why you should be an allergy free family if possible, where everyone digs into and savors the same allergy friendly foods required by some family members.

Reason #1 - Good Role Model

First, and maybe the most important reason is that children learn by example.  Being a good role model is by far the best way to teach little ones any lesson, and particularly true when it comes to teaching good dietary habits.  If your child sees you enjoying the required allergy friendly foods and avoiding the items that are not safe for their food allergy or appropriate for their medical condition, then they will be much more likely to make the same choice and mimic the same behaviors of their role models when they are outside the home.  Imagine the effect this might have on your loved ones if the whole family could model this behavior!

This can be especially powerful when applied to how parents relate or talk about food.  Imagine if those allergy friendly foods are celebrated and savored by the entire family.  They will quickly become a family staple and welcomed by all.  So perhaps try to present allergy friendly food items to the whole family with gusto and excitement and see what happens.

Reason #2 - Provide Support and Acceptance

When the whole family is allergy free, the family members with the particular diet need will also feel supported and accepted.  Many times a unique dietary requirement can be lonely and isolating.  While each of us are unique, differences can also help us stand out from the crowd for the wrong reasons.  And everyone wants to feel accepted at home if nowhere else.  Imagine how easy a diet change would be when the whole family is there with you and supporting you in this new change.  No longer are you the only one at the table eating a particular food item, or worse not able to enjoy the food item or dish that the rest of the family is sharing.  Instead everyone in the family will be involved and can all dig into the same allergy friendly foods as a family meal together. 

Reason #3 - Eliminate Accidental Exposure

Having an allergy free family also means the food allergens of concern are not even present in the household.  This can be especially helpful as little ones learn their surroundings and become more mobile.  We all know that babies and toddlers typically learn by putting new items in their mouth whether that item is edible or not.  If the food allergen is not available, little ones are less likely to accidently eat something that they are allergic to or even have cross contamination of that item into other dishes and foods.  This can be a life saver if your family member has a severe food allergy reaction, such as anaphylaxis.

Reason #4 - Delicious Food

Finally, and maybe the best reason is that allergy free foods are delicious.  Food should be enjoyed and savored.  I choose to be a Dietitian for many reasons, one powerful reason being that I love food and love to eat. I follow the live to eat philosophy in life rather than eat to live.  If you follow the same mentality you know that taste is important, and delicious food is a delight.  Allergy friendly foods can be just as delicious or better than their counterparts that contain the allergens dangerous to you or your loved one. 

Need some ideas or inspiration?   Check out our Neocate Footsteps Recipe book.  We also have a variety of Neocate recipes on our Neocate Pinterest page, our Neocate YouTube channel, and Neocate Facebook page.  Many of the recipes and videos on both our Neocate YouTube channel are available in a few languages as well.

Tell us ways that your whole family has embraced becoming an Allergy Free Family?  What worked for you that you would like to share with other families?  Any allergy friendly recipes that you would like to share? Please let us know in the comments below.

-Kristin Crosby MS, RDN, LDN


Annual APFED Conference for Caregivers

Posted 7.8.11 | Nutrition Specialist

This weekend, July 8 – 10, APFED – the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders will be hosting their 9thannual parent conference, the 20Picture from: http://apfed.org/drupal/drupal/annual_conference11 Eos Connection, in Greenville, South Carolina.

APFED was started by Elizabeth Mays, a mother whose son had eosinophilic gastroenteritis, to create a place where families could “come together to share knowledge, educate themselves, arm themselves with credible information, meet and support one another, raise public awareness and generate research dollars.”

The group is an excellent resource for accurate, up-to-date information on eosinophilic disorders and related problems.  Not only does APFED increase awareness and educate patients and physicians, the group also works to increase funding for research.  There is some nice APFED videos on YouTube and you can also “Like” APFED on Facebook and follow APFED on Twitter (@APFEDorg) to keep up with their latest news, announcements and events.

The conference is a great opportunity for children affected by eosinophilic disorders and their families to learn from experts and one another.

We will be attending the conference and look forward to seeing some of you there!  Be sure to stop by and say hello, we will be filming videos of the attendees with our FlipCam to help increase awareness about eosinophilic disorders. 


Guest Blog: Going Back to School With Food Allergies

Posted 8.18.11 | Nutrition Specialist

Our post today is a guest blog entry from Maria L. Acebal, J.D. the CEO of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN™), the trusted source for food allergies.  We’d like to thank Maria for guest blogging for us today.

Summer is almost over, and that means families all across the country are preparing to send their kids back to school.  Teachers have such an enormous responsibility in educating our kids.  If you have a child with food allergies, here is what you can do to help teachers confidently and effectively manage students’ food allergies.

  • Plan ahead.  Fill out and submit all required medical forms on time and turn in medication appropriately labeled for your child.  Before you submit epinephrine auto-injectors and other medications to the school, check and record expiration dates.
  • Build a team.  Managing a student’s food allergies includes not only their teacher, but also any adult who will supervise the student.  This includes, for example, the school’s principal, playground monitor, art teacher, and bus driver.  The whole team needs to be food allergy smart!  When educating the school about food allergies, make sure to include the entire team.
  • Maintain open and ongoing dialogue.  “It’s all about frequent, calm, confident communication.”  I couldn’t agree more with this advice I once received from a mom in my local food allergy support group.

I remember my daughter Nina’s first day of pre-k at an international school as if it was yesterday.  She is anaphylactic to peanuts.  I hadn’t been able to meet with the teacher until the day before school started, as she was only then arriving from her home country of Spain.  I came in with my epinephrine auto-injectors, a trainer, my Food Allergy Action Plan, and my hopes that all would be well.  I started with what to do in case of an anaphylactic emergency and minutes into the conversation, I froze when the teacher wrote down on her pad of paper, “911” — she had never been to the U.S., so she didn’t know what the number for the ambulance was!  Further into our conversation I realized that she had never heard of an allergy to peanuts before!  I felt overwhelmed when I realized I was really starting from scratch.

I am happy to report that Nina’s inaugural year at the international school was a great success.  Her teacher was eager and committed to learning about food allergies and ever-ready to go the extra mile to help Nina stay safe while feeling included in classroom activities.  That experience taught me that attitude goes a very long way; I will forever remember with tremendous gratitude this teacher from Spain who had an open heart and ready willingness to make her classroom an inviting, exciting, and safe place to be.

This year, Nina will start fourth grade at a brand new school.  I may not be as anxious as I was on the first day of pre-k, but I still have back-to-school food allergy jitters.  Thinking he’s making me feel better, my husband comments on how much easier this is than sending her off to college.  Meanwhile, my heart starts pounding … “Oh no, college!”

Whether you are a parent of a child with food allergies or a teacher with students who have food allergies, FAAN is here to help!  Interested in becoming an official FAAN member?  Membership has many benefits.  For less than 15¢ a day, you can add your voice to the cause and support people with food allergies. 

- Maria  


Time for Back to School

Posted 8.26.11 | Nutrition Specialist

It’s time for back to school and whether it’s your child’s first day of school or they’re returning to school for another year, introducing a child with food allergies into a new environment can be nerve-racking.  This is why it is important to educate and remind your children’s teachers and caregivers about food allergy precautions and safety before school starts.

Here are some simple steps you can follow to make sure that the transition is a safe one for your child:

  1. Schedule a back-to-school checkup with your pediatrician or allergist to make sure that your current treatment plan is still effective.
  2. Document your child’s allergies and treatment plan in school or daycare paperwork.
  3. Provide teachers and caregivers with brochures and information on your child’s allergy to prevent accidents.
  4. Create a one page “Cheat Sheet” with information about your child’s allergies for substitutes or new employees.
  5. Discuss what to do in case of an emergency.  Ask your pediatrician about keeping an EpiPen on-site.  Be sure to train the caregiver on when and how to use one.
  6. Make sure that your child fully understands what can trigger their allergy.
  7. Look at upcoming lunch or snack menus and identify safe options, also provide the school with a list of safe foods that your child can enjoy at any time.
  8. If no safe options are available, pack food from home and warn your child not to trade food with his/her classmates.
  9. Offer to bring in allergy-safe treats for holidays and special events.  This way you know that your child is safe, and they won’t feel excluded from the fun!

Communication and education is the most important part of going back to school with food allergies.  Hopefully these tips will provide you with some ideas on how to best educate your child’s new classroom on living with food allergies.

If you have any creative strategies to help prepare for a safe school year, we’d love to hear about them in the comments! 


Restaurants and Food Allergies

Posted 9.6.11 | Christine Graham-Garo

In a recent study done in the UK, researchers surveyed restaurants about food allergies and found that most were misinformed.

To give some background, according to the study, deaths caused by food-induced anaphylactic reactions are increasing with most deaths being caused by food purchased outside of the home.

Allergen avoidance is always the most desirable form of prevention. and this is often easily accomplished in the comfort of your home. However, a late soccer practice, or meeting, or simply just wanting to enjoy the cuisine of a favorite local restaurant can make avoidance difficult.  This is because when choosing to eat out the responsibility of allergen avoidance is shared by the diner and the restaurant staff.

The researchers surveyed various restaurants and found that:

·        1 out of 3 kitchens, common food allergens like wheat, nuts, dairy, fish were not separated from other foods.

·        About 20% thought it was safe for an allergic customer to consume only a little of the allergen – and to pick the offending food out of the dish.

Probably the most concerning finding to come out of the research is that 81% of the restaurants reported they could provide a safe meal for allergic customers!

Keep in mind this study was conducted in the UK so similar findings in the US may not be as drastic. But in the world of food allergies, you can never be too careful! So when you eat out always remember it is your responsibility to be proactive and speak up about your allergies.

Also, If you’re looking for more information on dining out with food allergies, you can view our other posts on the topic here: Dining out with Food Allergies. These posts will help you and your family prepare for an allergy friendly dining experience.

- Christine

Study Reference:  Bailey et al. Restaurant staff's knowledge of anaphylaxis and dietary care of people with allergies. Clinical & Experimental Allergy.2010.41(5):713-717


Videos From Camp TAG

Posted 11.1.11 | Nutrition Specialist

  Back in August we attended Family Entertainment Day at Camp TAG, hosted by The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, in Sandy Spring, Maryland.

Camp TAG launched in summer 2011 and is a five day, half-day camp for children ages 3-12.  The camp provides a safe place for children with food allergies and their siblings, as well as an opportunity to meet other children who share the same conditions.

While we visited Camp TAG we were able to use our FlipCam to film attendees participating in camp activities, listening to Kyle Dine perform and taste testing our new Neocate® Junior with Prebiotics, Vanilla.  We then created a video for our NeocateUS YouTube channel, so check it out and feel free to pass it along! 

Also, if you enjoy receiving information from Neocate via video please let us know by posting a comment on our YouTube channel.  We are continuing to work on more videos and we would love to hear from you!

So, what kind of other videos would you like to see on our channel?    

 

 

 


Thanksgiving with Food Allergies: Blog Roundup!

Posted 11.22.11 | Nutrition Specialist

 Thanksgiving is this week and we understand how stressful attending or hosting a Thanksgiving dinner can be when you have a little one with food allergies.   Fortunately, with advance planning, you and your family can have a safe allergy friendly holiday.

Also, check out some of our past blog posts for tips to help you prepare:

  1. Thanksgiving with Food Allergies: An All-Encompassing Resource List
  2. Thanksgiving With Food Allergies: School & Family Celebrations

Do you have any allergy-friendly recipes or holiday tips to share?  Let us know in the comment section!

-The Food Allergy Team 


Simplify Food Allergy Management with the Neocate Footsteps App

Posted 7.10.17 | Nutrition Specialist

Managing your child’s multiple food allergies can be a daily challenge. There are food diaries and elimination diets. There is eating in versus dining out. There are ingredient substitutions and the never-ending search to find new recipes that the whole family can enjoy. Simply put, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming for parents and caregivers. But now there is an app for that — Neocate Footsteps from Neocate — to help navigate each milestone of caring for a child with food allergies.

I spent some time exploring the app and here are my thoughts.

Best Feature

Hands down it is the fact that the app experience is customized to each individual, acknowledging what those of us with food allergies wish more people knew — everyone’s food allergy diagnosis, symptoms, and coping mechanisms are different.

Favorite Section

After a food allergy diagnosis, the hunt is always on for tasty allergy-friendly recipes. I frequently dedicate hours upon hours to this task …  often to no avail. This app includes a collection of recipes that you can easily sort to exclude any allergen. There are recipes for pancakes and donuts, cereals and casseroles, soups and scones, and more. It is amazing! With just the click of a button, preparing a meal for someone with food allergies is simplified.

Honorable Mention

Another feature of the app that I loved was the diary section. As someone who has used a spiral notebook as a food diary, an electronic option would have been far better and more efficient. With Neocate Footsteps App, you can log your child’s food intake, symptoms, sleep patterns, mood, growth, and diaper descriptions in the app. This section will be extremely useful for parents, especially during those first few months, when you are trying to figure out what each allergen does to your child specifically.

An Added Bonus

This app will also auto generate an allergy card, which can be downloaded and printed. DO NOT BYPASS THIS SECTION. For me, eating out changed dramatically when I began using an allergy card. Restaurant wait staff and chefs appreciate having allergens written down for a simpler and safer dining-out experience. I carry two — just in case I leave one behind.

Final Thoughts

Neocate Footsteps App is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. The interface is clean in appearance and easy to understand. Plus, the app is FREE to download in the Apple Store. Check it out!

About the Author

 Kendra Chanae Chapman, a 26-year-old Chicago native currently living in Los Angeles, has lived with food allergies for most of her life. Her primary mission has become to raise awareness, especially in the African-American community. Kendra's food allergy journey can be followed on her blog "Nope, Can't Eat That Either" and on her social media pages.

 


Helping Families Manage Food Allergies at Schools*

Posted 1.2.12 | Nutrition Specialist

Three million children are affected by food allergies in the US. Studies have also suggested that food allergies persist longer in life than was once previously assumed.1Food allergies can have a wide ranging negative effect on children and their families, affecting life at home as well as the social lives of the family.

Sending a food allergic child to school, camp or any child care can be a scary task for a parent. Doctors are helping families prepare for these situations by ensuring that:

  • Each child has an epinephrine device
  • The family and child (if age appropriate) know how and when to use the device
  • The family can train others on how to use device
  • The student has an emergency plan (such as a 504 plan) for the facility in case of a reaction

Reactions in schools

Reactions in schools are actually rare. However, it is important to know that reactions do occur in schools and can be severe in some circumstances.

There has been a growing trend of parents who home school their food allergic child due to fear of a reaction. It is important to know that the vast majority of food allergic children can and do attend school safely.2-4

The highest risk of a reaction is from direct ingestion of the food. Studies have shown that reactions to environmental or airborne exposure to allergens are extremely low.  In summary, the greatest risk of a reaction is from direct ingestion of the allergen.

Management of reactions at school

Reaction to a food allergen should be treated in a universal fashion. Isolated skin or mild GI symptoms without signs of shock (ie. hypotension, respiratory symptoms) can be generally managed with short acting oral histamines such as Benadryl® or Vistaril®.

Epinephrine should be given as soon as possible for more severe reactions involving laryngeal, pharyngeal or respiratory symptoms, severe vomiting or shock, followed by antihistamines with additional epinephrine as necessary. These protocols should be clearly communicated to parents by the healthcare professional.

Food reaction scenarios are where an Emergency Plan or 504 plan for your child must be available and easy to follow for all appropriate personnel at the school. Full time nursing availability in schools is becoming uncommon, which has placed the burden on the teachers and administrations. Studies have shown that emergency plans are not always followed as written, especially in schools without full time nurses.  This is why the healthcare community and parents must seize the opportunity to better educate all involved.

Do you have any tips for managing your child’s food allergies at school?

*This article was adapted from a Medscape Special Report, Oct 2011, written by Dr. Matthew J. Greenhawt, MD, MBA

  1. Boyce JAS, Assa'ad A, Burks AW, et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy in the United States: report of the NIAID-sponsored expert panel. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010; 126(6 Suppl):S1-S58
  2. Young MC, Munoz-Furlong A, Sicherer SH. Management of food allergies in schools: a perspective for allergists. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009;124:175-182.
  3. Greenhawt MJ, McMorris MS, Furlong TJ. Self-reported allergic reactions to peanuts and tree nuts occurring in schools and child care facilities (Abstract). J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;121(S1):S95.
  4. Sicherer SH, Furlong TJ, DeSimone J, Sampson HA. The US peanut and tree nut allergy registry: characteristics of reactions in schools and day care. J Pediatr. 2001;138:560-565.

Clinical Nutrition Week 2012

Posted 1.17.12 | Nutrition Specialist

This weekend, January 21st– 24th, we will be exhibiting at the 35thannual Clinical Nutrition Week 2012 (CNW 12) in Orlando, Florida.

CNW, hosted by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), is a three-and-a-half day conference with educational workshops for physicians, dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, educators and researchers who practice in the area of clinical nutrition.

Every year we look forward to coming face-to-face with the physicians, dietitians, nurses, pharmacists and researchers and helping them improve patient care.  This is our time to demonstrate how we are advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy through our Neocate products and services

This year we are especially excited to promote our newest product — Neocate® Junior with Prebiotics, Vanilla!  As we’ve mentioned before on the blog Neocate® Junior with Prebiotics, Vanilla is the first and only flavored amino acid-based medical food with soluble prebiotic fiber for children with GI conditions.

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


Valentine’s Day with Food Allergies: Blog Roundup!

Posted 2.14.12 | Nutrition Specialist

On behalf of all of us here at Nutricia North America, the makers of Neocate, we want to wish you and your family a very happy and healthy Valentine’s Day!

Also, check out some of our past blog posts for tips to help you and your family have a safe holiday:

Do you have any tips for having an allergy-friendly Valentine’s Day?  Let us know in the comment section!

-The Food Allergy Team 


Food Allergy Awareness & National Eosinophilic Awareness

Posted 5.10.12 | Nutrition Specialist

Not only is next week (May 13-19) Food Allergy Awareness Week, it’s also National Eosinophil Awareness Week!  That’s no coincidence, since food allergies and eosinophilic disorders are closely related.  For many of our families, both of these are important reason to celebrate next week and to spread the word.

Food Allergy Awareness Week

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network(FAAN) established the first official “week” to increase awareness of food allergies in 1998, making next week the 15thFood Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW).  While many people know food allergies exist, they often don’t realize how serious food allergies can be. As a Neocatefamily member, you can help spread the word!  Check out the FAAN’s resources to see what you can do to help increase public awareness of food allergies. One of our favorites: Ask your governor to issue a FAAW proclamation, if they haven’t already.  Promotional posters, brochures, and presentations are some of the great resources FAAN offers.  To learn more you can visit the FAAN Facebook page, Twitter handle, or YouTube channel .

National Eosinophil Awareness Week

National Eosinophil Awareness Week (NEAW), in its sixth year, is a bit newer than FAAW. It was created by the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders(APFED).  You’d probably get some funny looks if you asked most folks what in eosinophil is, so this is a great time of year to do just that and fill them in. We often write about eosinophilic esophagitis(EoE), but did you know that eosinophilic disorders can affect any and all parts of the digestive tract?  For many patients with an eosinophilic disorder, Neocate products are a significant (if not the only) part of the diet. Not only are people in general unaware of eosinophils, a lot of medical professionals also don’t know of the presence and impact of eosinophilic disorders. That makes next week a great time to inform friends, family, and health care professionals! You can spread the word through Facebook, by putting up a poster, or by reaching out to family and friends with a letter.

Take the opportunity next week to increase awareness of food allergies in general, and educate on eosinophilic disorders in particular. What will you do to celebrate FAAW and NEAW and promote this special week?

- Rob

[Image sources: www.foodallergy.org, www.apfed.org]



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.