Friday, October 29, 2010

Holiday Specialties

The holidays are just around the corner, and it seems at this time special holiday recipes and family favorites come up that we don't even think of the rest of the year! Often these special holiday favorites will require special holiday ingredients. To find groceries that suit your food allergies, I suggest using my Sophie Safe Food Guide. If you're looking for safe baking chocolate, and you're allergic to milk, wheat, corn, peanuts and eggs, you can build a profile with your allergens, then search the category called "Chocolate Chips." The Food Guide will show that Enjoy Life, Saco, Sunspire, and Baker's all make chocolate chips that should be safe for you.

Of course, you should always read the label, as the package may have additional or different information from what's been posted online. And you are responsible for your own food choices. Which will hopefully be made simpler by the awesome allergy grocery finder, the Sophie Safe Food Guide!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween How To's

If you're looking for suggestions on how to manage Halloween candy--whether managing the allergies or the sugar is you focus--check out last year's post on Halloween candy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Treats

If you're looking for some goodies to celebrate Halloween, and you have my cookbook, here are a few things that we like to make around this time of year:

Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Pie Morsels
Oatmeal Cookie Cutouts (Cut out and decorate little pumpkins, or use your gingerbread cookie cutters but decorate them with the skeletons!)
Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Shepherd's Pie (Make the bottom layer and the mashed potatoes and then
shape them like a ghost on each plate instead of baking it. Use peas
for the ghost's eyes.)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Food Allergy Manners

A few days ago, Ask Amy with the Chicago Tribune published a question regarding food allergies. You can read it here:,0,7880316.column?page=2

The writer describes a situation in which she avoided dishes at a dinner party rather than inconvenience her hostess by letting her know about the allergies ahead of time. In a similar situation, what have you done or what would you do? I think I have always informed hosts of Sophie's food allergies, and consulted them on the least obtrusive way to accommodate them (and I always offer to supply the accommodations as well!).

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kosher Nation

Kosher Nation by Sue Fishkoff has a fascinating premise--that of those who purchase Kosher foods, the majority are, in fact, non-Jews! Among the non-Jews buying Kosher, people with food allergies make up a large percentage. I've often wondered what the various Kosher symbols mean and how food "becomes Kosher," and for that reason, this book is definitely on my to-read list. The publisher recommends it for "anyone interested in food, religion, Jewish identity, and big business," so I'm sure this book will fascinate me!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Think F.A.S.T.

I don't always peruse the food allergy news to the North, but I had a minute to do so today and I love this new acronym that the Ontario Medical Association and Anaphylaxis Canada have put together: Think F.A.S.T.

"F.A.S.T can include any of the following:

* Face: itching, redness, swelling
* Airway: trouble breathing, swallowing, speaking
* Stomach: pain, vomiting, diarrhea
* Total body: hives, rash, weakness, paleness, sense of doom, loss of consciousness." (

The focus of the campaign is to increase readiness of the general population to support those with food allergies through their ability to recognize a reaction. This is especially important for parents--you never know when your child will bring home a friend with food allergies. I love that it is easy to remember and it covers all of the main symptoms of anaphylaxis.

So what should you do if you spot F.A.S.T. symptoms? Administer epinephrine and call 911 if a child is experiencing symptoms in 2 or more areas of the list, or if a single symptom is worsening rapidly or severe on its own, such as difficulty breathing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

EpiPens in first aid kits?

Well, I haven't seen Epipens in first aid kits yet, but I think it's coming. Chances are good that if you ask around, you'll find that you know someone who is allergic to bees. And chances are also good that they don't carry epinephrine, even when they're engaged in outdoor activities that put them at risk for a bee sting. (I'm not talking about robbing a beehive here, folks, just going out for a hike, or a picnic, or even to the park.) But feeling safe won't protect you from a fatal reaction if you are stung by a bee and help is too far away. Which is why I think that Epipens should be in first aid kits on guided hikes, sleep away camps, and other similar situations.

It seems like others (like the people who get to make these kinds of decisions) are moving closer to the same opinion, based on this report:

In a meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society it was recommended that personnel who are otherwise trained to administer emergency medical treatment should be trained to administer Epipens as well. There may be some legal questions with implementation, so the WMS also recommended that organizations should obtain legal counsel concerning Epipen administration by lay persons in a time of need. Currently, WMS asks that individuals carry their own Epipen, and are supporting the idea of staff being trained to administer it. But in my mind, this is only a couple of steps away from including epinephrine in first aid kits. And that is a good thing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Birthday Treats at School

The question of how to handle birthday treats at school comes up every year for Sophie. Occasionally parents will make the effort to find out what they could bring that she could have, but like many other kids with food allergies, our fall back solution is a box of safe treats kept by the teacher for those surprise birthday celebrations. This year is much the same. But it might not be that way for allergy kids forever...

My younger (non-allergic) daughter has a September birthday and she wanted to bring a birthday treat to share with her class. I had heard that there is a child with allergies in the class, but I don't even know his/her name. Being a procrastinator by nature, I didn't even think about asking the teacher about the child with food allergies until the day of--too late to contact a parent and buy an appropriate treat. Instead I suggested to my daughter that she choose a little toy to pass out instead. She brought bouncy balls--one for each student in the class--and the other kids LOVED them.

The next week, another student had a birthday, and he brought toys instead of food as well. A new trend perhaps? One can always hope!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Flu shots for people with food allergies

It's that time of year again, when people are getting their flu shots. Or they are getting their flumist. And the doctors lecture about how important it is to get, especially this year (why especially this year?). Over the last few weeks all 4 of my children have had their well-checks. 2 got a flu shot, 1 opted for the FluMist, and 1 is allergic to eggs. Last year I thought I would have her get the FluMist since she can't have the flu shot without taking extra precautions, but Sophie also has mild asthma, which is a contra indicator for the FluMist.

Our pediatrician recommended having a skin test at the allergist's office to determine whether Sophie will react to the shot, which is cultured in eggs. I have never been brave enough to go this route. I'm not worried about the skin test, but if she fails the skin test, she can get the shot "in doses", which essentially means getting 4 or so shots over a several hour period. It's just not my idea of fun! However, I am going to try it this year, after reading this article from Johns Hopkins:

For those of you with egg allergies, what is your approach to the flu shot? What is your experience?