Did you know that eight percent of children and two percent of all Americans have at least one food allergy?Food Allergy Aid is dedicated to providing a meaningful resource to these people and their loved ones to keep these potentially life-threating allergies managable.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fear Versus Awareness

Food allergies can generate fear easily - especially if they are life-threatening. I have come to realize this in dealing with my son's teachers at his school. They are, rightly so, very fearful of him having a reaction. After dealing with food allergies for an extended period of time, a comfort level is reached and it becomes a part of everyday life. However, there are people who have had limited dealings with food allergies. For these people, the situation is stressful. This is where I feel the importance of awareness versus fear comes into play.

Everyone who deals with food allergies needs to be aware of what they are allergic to, avoid the food(s), and know the appropriate treatment for their situation if a reaction occurs. There needs to be emphasis on awareness, not on fear. In the majority of cases, a reaction can be controlled if it is recognized and treated.

Educate yourself and, for a child, educate all caregivers. Education is the best tool for creating awareness of food allergies. If people ask questions, give them information. This helps people become less afraid of the situation. For teachers, help them understand the comfort level that the child is used to so that they can allow the child to have this comfort level at school.

In hour house, we try very hard to make our son's food allergies a realty but not a source of fear for him. He knows that he has to be conscious of what he is eating but not be afraid of food. If a child sees a parent fearful of everything relating to food allergies, they may become fearful and stressed. Try to normalize he activities of daily life as much as possble for a child - it makes all the difference in the world!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Food Allergies And The Holidays

The holidays can be a challenging time for those of us with food allergies. I know it is tough for us! Holiday parties frequently have plenty of prepared foods, home-baked goodies, candy, nuts, etc. The most important thing to remember is that if you are unsure of the ingredients, it is probably best that you do not consume it. Depending on food sensitivities and comfort level, asking the person who prepared the food about the ingredients may help you make the decision to eat it or not. It is also important to think further into the ingredients used in a dish. Frequently, chocolate as the "may contain peanuts or tree nuts" statement. If a prepared dish contains chocolate, this should be kept in mind. A good alternative to eating foods prepared by others is bringing "safe" foods.

An idea for a dessert is to use the mock graham cracker mix at www.missroben.com - this mix may be used to make a pie crust and it is delicious! You would never know that it is allergy-free! You can fill it with whatever you like! These are the ingredients:

unrefined cane sugar, brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, corn-free baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, potato starch, sodium bicarbonate), cinnamon, guar gum, salt (contains yellow prussiate of soda (used as anti-caking agent).

There is another internet site, www.naturalfeast.com - this site sells pies that cater to special dietary needs - perfect for the holidays! For example, here are the ingredients for the chocolate mousse pie:

Filtered Water
Pure Organic Agave Nectar
Chocolate (unsweetened)
Rice Flour
Natural Cocoa
Tapioca Flour
Pure Apple/Pear Juice Concentrate
Apple Powder
High-Oleic Safflower Oil
Agar Powder
Sea Salt
Baking Soda

You can also order these pies at www.glutenfreemall.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

They Have What In That?!

I am never surprised to find allergens in products that I would never expect them to be in. I used to buy a popular brand of sugar cookie until I discovered that the sugar cookies contained peanut flour! Who would have thought! I also found italian tomato paste that contains sesame. With this in mind, I check all tomato sauces. It is important to remember that one should never assume that an ingredient is not in a food item - you just never know. I always ask to see packages, ingredient lists, etc. for myself and my son. I do not want to risk our health over being shy about asking about ingredients. In restaurants, always ask to speak to the manager if possible - the waiter will usually get the manager anyway and it saves you from giving your "allergy talk" twice.

There are also many hidden allergens in make-up, shampoos, medicine, and many other products. There may be peanut oil in make-up, wheat in shampoo, or soy ingredients in medicines. Ensure that you are aware of all of the "other" names for allergens so that you will recognize them in products. Pharmacies will usually be able to tell you what ingredients are in medicines - just ask. I have done this successfully before.

Another piece of information that is important to remember is that "hypoallergenic" is not always safe! Many cosmetic companies advertise as being hypoallergenic. The FDA warns that there is no true definition for hypoallergenic - this way, companies can use the term however it applies to them.

Check websites and call companies. I can promise that you are not the first person to call about allergies. It takes extra time and effort but it will put your mind at ease and you will quickly learn which companies you can trust.

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network sells a catalog of common companies and their contact information.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Are you allergic to peanuts? If you are, do you also react to soy or green peas? There is a reason for this - all of these foods are legumes. Peanuts are not actually nuts - they fall into the legume category. With this in mind, it is not unusual for people to be allergic to a mixture of legumes. This is not always the case, though. Many who are allergic to one legume, such as soy, may be able to tolerate other ones such as peanuts or green peas.

Legumes include kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans (chickpea), green peas, string beans, lentils and lima bean. This is not a complete list but this gives an idea of possible foods that need to be avoided if legumes are a part of your allergy.