Coming To Terms With Multiple Food Allergies
My 7-month-old has peanut, dairy and egg allergies – he has broken out in hives on face and gets snotty with itchy eyes for each. He has also been stuffy pretty much non stop with three bouts of bronchlio-issues since we started solids . We had positive skin test on peanuts and we go for skin tests on others next week.
With every allergy, I have gone through all stages of grief and I feel more anxious than I ever could have imagined feeling around food and meal time . I used to be so laid back – with my first, he could crawl anywhere, put anything in his mouth, eat anything – oh my goodness, I was so chill and laid back! But not anymore. So in addition to grieving the challenges my son is faced with, I guess Im also grieving this change in myself and my parenting style.
I knew nothing about food allergies 2 months ago and now I feel like its always on my mind at some level . I find that I start talking about his allergies more than Id like but I guess I just want to hear other peoples stories and maybe find hope that I can find a new normal and find calm even if I cant be the laid back momma as I once was.
If you have stories to share, I would love to hear them. Thank you.
How Can I Stay Safe When Eating Away From Home
Restaurants, cafeterias, and food courts are getting better about preparing foods for people with allergies. But cross-contamination is still a risk when you dine out: Foods you’re allergic to can get into your food when kitchen staff use the same surfaces, utensils, or oil to prepare different foods.
When you’re not at home, ask what’s in a food you’re thinking of eating. Find out how the food is cooked. Many people find it’s best to bring safe food from home or eat at home before heading out. If friends you’re visiting or eating with don’t know about your allergy, tell them in plenty of time so they can prepare. Don’t share a drink or eating utensils with friends if they’re eating foods you’re allergic to, and avoid tasting any of their food.
You also can carry a personalized “chef card.” It details your allergies and helps restaurant staff understand how to prepare a safe meal for you. You can find chef cards in many different languages on food allergy websites . If the manager or owner of a restaurant seems uncomfortable about your request for safe food preparation, don’t eat there.
It may be best to avoid some types of restaurants:
How Do You Handle Educating Your Older Children About Food Allergies
No one in my family had ever had an allergy before my son was born, and the learning curve is pretty steep. It was tough to have to train my older children to avoid certain foods and be careful around their younger brother. I found it was hard burdening them with that especially at their young age but kids are so resilient. Luckily now there are great resources like Spokin to help newly diagnosed people adjust. Managing multiple food allergies is so hard, but you can get through this.
I consider my other two children my sons biggest advocates. They are very defensive of what others feed him and are always double checking on his behalf. My oldest daughter is in 4th grade, and one of the candidates for the 4th-grade presidents platform was to make the school nut-free, and that mission sealed her victory.
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How Do I Avoid An Allergic Reaction
The only real way to prevent a reaction is to completely avoid foods you’re allergic to. Eating even a tiny bit of a food you are allergic to can cause a serious reaction.
Avoiding a food you’re allergic to means more than not eating that food. Some people even have to avoid touching or breathing in foods they’re allergic to. Sometimes things that aren’t food like cosmetics may still contain ingredients you’re allergic to.
Here are important ways to avoid coming into contact with foods you may be allergic to:
1. Read Food Labels
In the United States, food manufacturers must say on their labels if foods contain any of these most common allergens:
Food allergy information will be on the label in one of two ways:
Foods sold in the United States are supposed to label foods clearly so people with common allergies can stay safe. But not all allergens will be included in ingredient lists or named in a recognizable way. This is often the case with allergens other than the eight most common ones. Sometimes, an allergen could be hidden in a long list of scientific-sounding ingredients or included in “natural flavors,” “coloring,” “spices,” or other additives.
Products sometimes change ingredients, and different size versions of the same product may have different ingredients, so check every package every time.
2. Know About Cross-Contamination
Explaining Multiple Food Allergies
Some people have only heard of peanut and tree nut allergies, and may be unfamiliar with other food allergies. You will need to educate them about all of your allergens and the importance of taking all food allergies seriously.
Here are some tips:
- If you are a parent, explain calmly that your child carries an auto-injector and that each food allergy can trigger a reaction.
- For milk and wheat allergies, explain the difference between an allergy and an intolerance.
- Educational materials are very useful. You can print information about your allergens from our website and share them, or share the links.
- Invite friends and family to attend an awareness session, speaker or support group meeting with you.
- Have them take a free AllergyAware.ca course, and be sure to let them know that you appreciate their efforts.
- Not sure if an event will be allergy-friendly? Plan ahead. Bring your own food, volunteer to help at a party, or host extended-family holiday meals at your own home. Many people with multiple food allergies make a habit of carrying safe foods with them, just in case.
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How To Pack School Lunches For Kids With Allergies
When in doubt, always pack your own daily school lunch, Megan says. I know its more work, but when you have seven food allergies like we do, I dont feel comfortable with the school taking that on, even if theyve offered, she says.
TIP: Be sure you know how allergies are handled in your childs lunch room. Sometimes peanuts are off limits to everyone, sometimes theres a peanut table. If your child will need to sit at a dedicated table, be sure he always has a friend who can sit with him so hes not left out.
Working Around Your Limitations
If your child is allergic to many foods or hard-to-avoid foods, your family may need to make some adjustments. Many of your old favorites may now be off-limits, and you will have to learn a new approach to cooking and menu planning.
So where should you start? A good strategy is to focus on what your child can eat, instead of focusing on what your child cannot eat. Shift your point of view. If your child is allergic to milk and eggs, recreating egg salad sandwiches or macaroni and cheese may be hard at first. Instead, think about all the possibilities of things to make using the foods your child can eat. Create meals made with grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish, poultry and meats.
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Ieatout Gluten Free And Allergen Free
iEatOut Gluten Free and Allergen Free from Allergy Free Passport aims to help people with food allergies, celiac disease, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity finds places they can eat out safely. Once you download the app, you can choose which allergens you want to avoid from a list that includes: gluten/wheat, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, soy, and tree nuts. Then, the app provides you with ethnic cuisines to browse for ingredients to avoid. For example, if you are allergic to soy and want to eat at a Chinese restaurant, it will spotlight Chinese dishes and ingredients that typically contain soy sauce. If you’re allergic to dairy and you’re planning to dine out at an Italian eatery, it will flag ingredients and dishes that contain cheese.
iEatOut Gluten Free and Allergen Free is $2.99 and is available for iPhone and iPad. It also works offline so that you can take it traveling internationally without incurring roaming charges.
Warm Up The Margarine Dairy Free Milk And Broth
Adding the margarine, milk, and broth to the potatoes cold will cool down the potatoes. And who wants cold potatoes? Not me!
When the potatoes are about done cooking, I put the milk, broth, and margarine in my glass pyrex measuring cup and heat in the microwave for a couple of minutes. That way, I am adding hot ingredients and keeping the potatoes hot, too!
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Do You Keep All Of Your Son’s Allergens Out Of Your Kitchen
No. We have a peanut-free kitchen because my son’s peanut-IgE levels are off the charts but my older two children eat milk and egg.
We have one drawer in our refrigerator that has cheese in it and he knows to avoid that drawer, and I keep eggs very high up in the fridge. I cant make our entire family eat only his diet I don’t think it’s fair.
I started out making Elliott separate meals, but that was too much work. We found a good balance – we keep family meals mostly allergy free but cheese and butter can be used as toppings so if we make pasta with olive oil my other kids will put parmesan on top of theirs and my son will use a cheese substitute. He loves follow your hearts parmesan.
Tips For Preventing Food Allergy Reactions
Here are some of the most important things to remember to help prevent food allergy reactions.
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What Causes Food Allergies
Food allergies happen when the immune system the body’s defence against infection mistakenly treats proteins found in food as a threat.
As a result, a number of chemicals are released. It’s these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, but there are certain foods that are responsible for most food allergies.
Foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:
- some fruit and vegetables
Most children that have a food allergy will have experienced eczema during infancy. The worse the child’s eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to have a food allergy.
Help Finding Foods For Families With Allergies
We receive hundreds of e-mails from our readers each month asking for help solving their food dilemmas. One question that continually pops up in our inbox reads something like this:
We understand first-hand how difficult it is to accommodate multiple allergies: we founded SnackSafely.com because our daughter has peanut and egg allergies, a combination that narrows the list of options significantly. Add to that the lax labeling laws tolerated in the US and an increasing number of people who test positive for allergens beyond the Top 8 and you have a recipe for frustration.
There are two principal issues we face when trying to find foods that are safe for our families:
Short of calling the company and speaking directly with a customer service representative, theres no way to know for sure if the product you are considering is safe. Welcome to America.
How We Can Help
The Safe Snack Guide
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Management Of Food Allergy
The keys to management of food allergies consist of education about food allergen avoidance and having emergency medication readily available in case of allergic reactions. Patients are advised to examine all the ingredients of foods to be consumed. Fortunately, a labeling law is now in effect in the United States that facilitates this process . The Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act requires that less complicated terminology be used to identify major food allergens in foods and dietary supplements. Food allergen avoidance involves not only reading ingredient labels but also requires vigilance for cross-contamination during food preparation and cooking. In fact, studies have indicated that severe reactions can occur inside and outside the home, and people often are not aware that the foods they are consuming contain the food allergens . Additional education should be provided for management of food allergies in settings such as schools and restaurants because not everyone is educated about food allergies.
What Was Some Of The Best Advice You Received Early On
When my son was diagnosed an allergy mom told me to go to the grocery store with my iPhone and spend a couple of hours looking at the ingredients of everything I could get my hands on, and photograph products he could eat so I’d know going forward. Grocery stores like Whole Foods who carry alternative ingredients have revolutionized this process.
The woman I met with was my lifeline because she had already been through everything. Spokin is the online version of what she did. She was a friend of a friend, and we were connected in the hopes that she could help me. She met with me out of the kindness of her heart and ended up talking to me for two hours.
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Use Tools To Help Guide You
Websites like ChooseMyPlate.gov or apps such as MyNetDiary.com allow you to track your daily food intake. Once your food choices are entered, you can see your calorie, fat, and protein intake along with the amount of vitamins and minerals you are consuming each day. One caution: Not all programs will include allergy-free food brands, which can complicate matters.
Its vital to replace those missing nutrients to ensure complete nutrition for you and your family. Fulfilling dietary requirements once a food allergy has been diagnosed can be complex, especially if you are avoiding numerous foods. If you have multiple allergies, including those that are less common, and are finding it hard to achieve variety and adequate nutrition, consider meeting with a registered dietitian to create a plan that works for you and ensures you achieve overall nutrition. Complete nutrition may not always come easy, but it is possible with a bit of determination, diligence, and help from the tools and experts that are more available now than ever before.
Blueberry Peach Breakfast Crumble
Not only is this recipe easy, but it can either be dressed up for a special holiday brunch or made super healthy for an everyday recipe for kids with food allergies.
This recipe for multiple food allergies can also be made with almost any fruit you have on hand or in the freezer. Just make sure to cut the bigger fruit so they are similar sizes to the smaller fruit so they cook evenly. Click the photo to go to the recipe.
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What Is The Best Diet For Allergies
An overall healthy diet is helpful for controlling all the allergies. Anti-inflammatory foods like foods that contain healthy fats, such as olive oil and fish like tuna and mackerel thats rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help fight against allergies and are considered one of the best anti-allergy foods.