Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween is Here!

Happy Halloween my little food allergy warriors! This is a special time of year for many kids, but for food allergic children, Halloween can be a sad time, since many of the candy is unsafe and unfit to eat. My little ones have the peanut, milk, egg and gluten allergy. This means I am extra careful about what they can have. I also like to think outside the "candy" box and look for treats that don't need to be eaten.

Pencils/erasers, stickers/tattoos, bracelets and stretchy skeletons... you name it, they sell it. Most of the kids that come to the door get so excited that the big bowl has everything, but candy! Get creative with your kids about trick-or-treating as well. Let them go door-to-door, let them get all the candy, good and bad, and when you come home... that is when the trading happens.

You see, my husband and I are peanut and chocolate lovers, and we're not allergic either. So to snag some of that wonderful candy, which of course should not go into the trash can, my husband and I trade with the kids. Safe Halloween goodies (I usually buy some extra special things that are not in the front door treat bowl), for that good old fashioned Reeses, and Snickers, and these wonderful little bars called "Take 5" that I just have to have.

So with all the different kinds of treats out there, whether they are to eat or not, food allergy warriors can still have a fabulous Halloween... and stay healthy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back To School!

Food Allergy Warriors Go Back To School
This month my youngest son, who happens to be the most severe in his food allergies, started Kindergarten.  I attended the first lunch with him on Monday and it was really quite a sight.  I’m ok with most situations that we are in when it comes to food, but to see that almost half the lunches, either from the cafeteria or home, were peanut butter sandwiches.  I was like, WOW!  I immediately asked the lunch attendant if there was a peanut-free table, which she said she didn’t know.  Right after this conversation, about 4 other students at that Kindergarten table said they had a peanut allergy.
Well to say that I was floored was an understatement.  Being that I know the principal pretty well, I walked over and said, “Hey Rick, we’ve got some peanut allergies over here.”  Immediately, he cordoned off a table with a No Peanut sign and was very attentive to the matter.  The nurse double checked that indeed there were six friends in my son’s new class with peanut allergy.
This was an interesting lunch indeed.  I was pleased by the response by the school and also shocked by the fact that one class alone… one random Kindergarten class with all new friends, has 6 students out of 20 with peanut allergies!  The times they are a changing…

Please post your back-to-school experiences.  Sharing stories can increase knowledge and awareness!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summertime Blues

Food Allergy Summertime Blues
Well, I should have written this in the beginning of summer, but here we are now, half-way through and I’m writing because I am tired of the picnics and parties and food, food, food!!
Everyone knows that there is Memorial Day, The 4th, Labor Day and everything in between during the summertime.  And it all revolves around food.  For most people, this is a time to indulge, but for food allergy warriors, it is a time to do the ho-hum usual:

-          Enjoy something that is not quite like the original
-          Focus on fruits and veggies
-          Redirect with activities like a new coloring book, or table game

I do this with my little ones all through summer and it gets old.  My oldest decided to put his foot down and try ice cream… with days of funky stomach and rash issues that we won’t go into.  My youngest is tired of the same old gluten-free cookies and popsicles for treats and I’m sick of it too.

But here we are pushing the negative in the food allergy world, when at the end of the day we survive by pushing positive… all day long!  And that’s ok. 

Our kids need for us to say the, “I know that’s a bummer, but you’ll feel better if you don’t” and the “I’ll bake you something just like that at home!” (Not even close as you think to yourself)… and even the “But these are a new type of popsicle!”  The consistency and encouragement count… every day!

So when you, like me, are facing another bbq backyard picnic with your little food allergy warriors...
Eat ahead of time, and instead of having the family head straight to the buffet table, take time to scope out the decorations, or say hi to the pets, or start playing some of the party games.  Remember that food doesn’t always have to be the focus for our little ones.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Food Allergy Increases Only in U.S.

Why is the U.S. the only one?

I have wondered about this ever since we came home with the diagnosis.  Why is the U.S. the only country on this planet with rising food allergies?  Doctors all across the country are now facing a new trend in food allergies… and this trend is increasing at an alarming rate.
Diet playing a part in any disease or condition is fair game, but why are we only seeing food allergy rise in the U.S?  Could it be the U.S. food supply?  Or is it the way we now handle and mass produce food?  I have also taken the “processed foods” into account, but I have dismissed this connection.
When talking about “processed foods”, yes they are horrible for you, but we are seeing infants with diagnosis, and they are not being feed those types of foods at those ages.  These little ones are usually getting the very purest of foods, like rice or oat cereal, and pure fruit and veggies.
So could it be the way those “pure” foods are grown?  I have thought and thought about the connection between Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Foods and the increase in food allergy diagnosis.
·         The U.S. is the only country on the planet to mainstream GMO foods
·         The consumer does not have to be told (by label) if the food is sourced from GMO
·         Currently GMO foods are NOT labeled and the FDA is perfectly OK with that
·         Some research suggests that the average U.S. diet has up to 40% GMO sourced foods, if not more
Now, first of all I am not a scientist, but I would like to assume that when you mess with the proteins in DNA, to make a stronger corn, a hardier wheat… perhaps you are making the proteins stronger for human consumption.  After all, a food allergy, like all allergies, is an allergy to protein. 
Is there a connection between GMO and the rise in food allergies?  Food for thought... literally!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Diet and Immunology, What’s The Link?

First of all, I am not a doctor.  However, I have many anecdotal stories from friends about milk and earaches, about wheat and runny noses, about milk and juvenile arthritis… and especially my own.  I have two young boys with food allergies.   Even I have experienced firsthand the behavioral changes and instant “colds” when we have an accidental food exposure.  It’s not just the rashes and stomach aches that are happening.  I honestly believe that a deeper immunological imbalance has occurred.
When first approaching this with pediatricians, not only myself, but other mothers I have encountered have been immediately driven to medications to treat the earache, or the constant constipation, or even the sudden onset of arthritis in a 3 year old.   Diet is not even mentioned once, even though it plays such a significant role in the body’s immune system.
After endless research, and trial and error with food eliminations, “we” the mothers, finally figured it out for ourselves.  No more wheat and the runny nose is gone.  No more soy and the constipation is a thing of the past.  No more milk and the little girl who stopped walking with supposedly diagnosed juvenile arthritis is now running around the yard.   My own son stopped eating gluten and not only did the rashes go away, but so did the temper tantrums.
Perhaps it is high time for the pediatric community to start really looking at diet in the beginning of diagnosis.  The United States has had a significant shift in the way we grow and handle food.  There may or may not be a connection, but with the rise in dietary conditions in children, pediatricians need to start looking at the dinner table, instead of a prescription pad!

Welcome to the new "I Eat Different!" blog!

What an appropriate day to launch this new blog about child food allergies!  Today, cited at, and also, a study has just been released indicating that the percentage of U.S. kids with food allergies has apparently doubled.

To all of us food allergy warrior moms and dads, this is nothing new.  Food allergies are on the rise in the U.S. and researchers and doctors don't know why.  As food allergy families... and yes I say families, since one kid having an allergy can affect the whole family on some level, we live with this condition every day.

The home-baking, the buying special, expensive foods, the simple outing to a restaurant can start to make the blood pressure rise in any food allergy parent.  So this blog is for you... food allergy warriors!!  Perhaps the sharing of knowledge, resources and just good ol' food allergy stories will enable us to live a little more peacefully with our children "eating different"!

Share your stories and food allergy knowledge with us!  Please feel free to post!