Category Archives: Food Allergies

WIN A Food Allergy Gift Basket!

As contest (1)

We have teamed up with Smart Allergy Friendly Education (Daniella Knell) for a fantastic food allergy give-away. We both hold dear, the importance of food allergy education and safety. Daniella knows and lives with food allergies as a mom of a food allergic child. She is passionate about making it easier to navigate the food allergy world through books, resources, recipes, community and products both food and non-food that make life easier. That is why she created S.A.F.E. Food Allergy labels.

These brightly colored, simply stated labels are the EASIEST TOOL AROUND to make sure a LIFE THREATENING MISTAKE doesn’t happen!  Your family and friends will  ‘thank you’ for making it easier to keep your loved ones SAFE while in their care.

“No Need to Memorize My Kid’s Food Allergies because I label the safe food with S.A.F.E food allergy labels.”

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At Allergic Solution we know food allergies, are not the newest fad or marketing gimmick – it’s our reality and yours. Did you know that one out of thirteen people suffers from some type of food allergy? So, we created products that were not only allergen-free but tasty and nutritious.

All of our food mixes are food allergy safe from farm to the manufacturing facility and top 10 allergen-free. They do not contain refined starches such as potato or rice. Instead, we use nutritious bean flours.

Our mixes are free of corn, dairy/casein, eggs, gluten/wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and soy.

Try our All Purpose flour, Pancake/Waffle Mix,  Vanilla Cake or Yeast Free Bread Mix. 

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And now for the contest! It’s easy to enter and you could win a basket with our delicious allergen-free mixes and lots of S.A.F.E. Food Allergy labels. Bake up a storm of tasty allergen-free goodies and then label them!

You just have to tweet about our contest to enter and you can do it once a day to get extra entries. If you visit the Facebook Fan pages or follow us on twitter then you get extra entries! It’s that easy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Epi Pens for All – You Betcha!

Epi Pens for All 

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Recently I read an article in the New York Times making an argument for having non-designated Epi Pens available to all schools.  This means the Epi Pens will not have someone’s name on them which happens when you get a prescription for an Epi Pen.  If you have a child with a food allergy or any other allergy, you would take an Epi Pen to their school and leave it with the school nurse should your child ever need it.   The only problem with dropping an Epi Pen off to the school is they do expire so you need to make sure you are on top of it. The other problem is what if you don’t know your child is anaphylactic to something?

When my son Michael was 8 he was playing outside before dinner.  He came running in crying because he had been stung by wasps about 4 times on his leg.  I put some baking soda paste on it and told him to sit down for dinner.  He didn’t want to eat he said he wasn’t feeling good.  I told him to go lay down and I would save him dinner for later.  About 15 minutes later his friend came over asking if he wanted to play, I told her to go see if Michael was up to playing.  She went in his room and I heard a blood curdling scream.  I rushed in and there was my son laying there un-recognisable.  His face was swollen so bad I couldn’t see his eyes and his hands were like footballs after that I have no memory of what happened, I went into ninja mommy mode.  Next thing I knew I was carrying a limp little boy into the emergency department.  The nurse grabbed him and was gone.  I was left in the middle of emergency with his 6 year old brother crying asking if his brother was going to die.  I couldn’t move, all I was thinking is how did I miss this, why had I not been more concerned?

Not sure what the time lapse was but someone came to talk to me, I was sure the words they were going to say was my son was dead.  Thank God it was “we just about lost him but we think he will be ok”.  They asked me why he didn’t have an Epi Pen.  I said because I had no idea he was allergic.  He was stung by a bee when he was a year old but there was no reaction other than some tears and a bump on his chin.  The doctor told me you have to be stung at least once to develop an allergy and I would never had known had he not been stung now.

After I finally got him home a couple of days later I started to think, what if this had of happened at school or when he was camping with his dad.  What if the hospital was not so close to us?  What if his friend had not come over?

With food allergies you also may not know if your child will have an anaphylactic response to a food.  Kids share food at school, there are treats brought in that you may or may not know what exactly is in them.  If you know the response your kid has then parents make sure the Epi Pens are at school, they make sure their kid knows what they can or can’t eat, the school is aware and there is a plan in place. If you have no idea how can you plan for it? Having non-designated Epi Pens in schools, eating establishments or public facilities will help save lives.  We now have defibrillators in every public facility because studies have proven they save lives, why not Epi Pens?

I would never wish for another parent to experience the gut wrenching fear I faced that day or hear their child gasping to breathe because their throat has swollen shut.

Carob Brownies with Caramel Sauce (gluten, egg, dairy, nut, corn, soy and chocolate FREE)

A few months ago we ran a contest on Facebook.  To pick the winner from all the posts I asked my son to pick a number between 1 and 42 (for the number of posts).  He picked 11.  Number 11 was a Ricki Heller.  I didn’t realize it at the time but she is a GF cookbook author.  Once I found out who she was I started taking a look at her site and recipes.  I was so excited because she does healthy gluten free with a focus on eliminating common food allergens in her recipes.  Ricki is coming out with a new cookbook called Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free. I can’t wait to get a copy!  Check out her website www.dietdessertndogs.com  it is a great resource and you can also check out some of her other cookbooks.

I decided to get my son Anthony to bake up this weeks recipe post which was created by Ricki from our carob cake recipe.  If your kid is going to have a talent, I have to say cooking and baking is a great talent for them to have.  I am so lucky he cooks dinner at least 3 times a week. These tasty treats came out perfect!

Carob Brownies by Ricki Heller       carob brownies with caramel

  • 1 full bag of Allergic Solution Carob Cake Mix 
  • 1/4 cup smooth all natural (unsweetened) sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 cup melted organic coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or use milk of choice)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 6 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened carob chips (you could use chocolate if you can have it)

Directions:

Empty Carob Cake Mix into a lrg. bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together sunflower seed butter, melted organic coconut oil,  unsweetened almond milk, pure vanilla, coconut sugar and coconut nectar.  Pour the liquid mix over the dry and stir by hand, once mixed stir in unsweetened carob chips. Spread in an 8×8 inch square pan and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes till  still moist but not wet in the middle. Allow to cool completely and cut in squares.

We decided to take this recipe up a notch and add caramel sauce.  We found this gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free recipe on www.allergyfreealaska.com this is a very yummy sauce I would put on anything!

Liquid Gold a.k.a. Dairy Free Caramel SauceRecipe

Yields about 2 cups

  • 14 ounces canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup palm sugar we used Madhava coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small pinch of sea salt
  1. In a small heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk, palm sugar, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes and then remove from heat.
  2. Whisk in the coconut oil, vanilla, and sea salt.
  3. Allow the Caramel Sauce to cool for 20 minutes. A thin film will naturally form over the top of the sauce; this is perfectly normal. Simply give the sauce a good whisk before pouring it into a glass airtight container (I use a canning jar). The sauce will continue to thicken (although not much) while it cools.
  4. Store in the refrigerator. Can be served warm or cold. Use within 5-7 days.

Drizzle over brownies and enjoy, I bet you can’t stop at one!

Food Allergies and Planning a Wedding Feast?

5111_wpm_lowres In just about 3 months I will be walking down the aisle again.  My partner and I have been together for 7 years and I guess it is time.   The first time I got married we eloped so this is really the first time I have planned a wedding.  Now I am no spring chicken and as the date gets closer I keep thinking ‘why did we not elope??’. 

For those of you that have planned a wedding I am sure you know all the little details that need to be taken care of.  Just when you think you have a handle on everything, someone says ‘what about this?’  URGH!  

Because my fiancé and I are both, well…not spring chickens we made it clear to everyone this is our wedding and we will do what we want.  We are paying for it so have your opinion but ultimately the final decision is ours.  Awesome!

My fiancé has never been married so for his parents this is kind of a big deal.  We picked a venue, decided on the menu and thought we were done.  After letting his parents know what would be served for dinner they offered to pay for the reception meal.  I was so touched that they wanted to do that.  The only stipulation was they got to have a say in the menu.  Ok I can live with that.    Problem is I have food allergies and sensitivities and I don’t want to have to tuck an Epipen into my garter.

So do I speak up and say, no way to the seafood platter (I am anaphylactic to most seafood)?  Do I put my foot down and insist the pasta is gluten free? Do I make sure there is no corn or soy as part of the ingredients?

I have decided to smile and be grateful these two really sweet people wanted to be part of the menu planning for their only son’s wedding.  They want glutinous pasta and a seafood course.  The chef knows the bride is allergic to seafood so my meal will be sequestered and I am bringing in gluten free pasta for myself and a few other guests, which will be cooked separate from the regular pasta.

The reality is; how much will I really be eating that day?  After talking to many other brides, they all said the same thing.  They never even got to taste the food at their wedding.  So I am going to concede and let them have what they want, I have control over everything else.  We are having a gluten free wedding cake, I picked the flowers, my dress, tuxedos, bridesmaid dresses, décor, venue, etc. etc.

A few people are shocked and have been giving me grief over my decision.  Now if this was my kid’s birthday party and they were insisting on having seafood and he was allergic, well that is a completely different story!  Momma Bear would come out and there would not be a shrimp within 50 miles of that party!!

I am an adult and I know how to keep safe and if I have to tuck an Epipen into my garter well so be it.

No sense getting upset.  I had a wedding already, he hasn’t and his parents have never been able to be part of the planning for his wedding.  It is one day that will fly by in a blink of an eye.  In the end I am marrying my best friend and that is all that is important to me.  The food is secondary so I am letting it go.

My decision to shut up I think is a way to honor his parents and their wishes.  If it were his aunt, cousin or even sibling I would probably say ‘whoa hold on there, I have food allergies’.  His parents are in their 80’s and don’t understand food allergies.  His mom tries when I eat there.  She made lasagna with gluten free pasta at Easter!  For a very traditional Italian momma that was a big deal!  She put wheat bread crumbs in the meat but hey she tried and it was appreciated.  She buys bread made from corn flour (I am sensitive to corn), but the thing is she does try.  The statement ‘justa eat a little bit’ has been uttered.  Again the understanding is not there but the effort is so I shut up.

If I were in a restaurant, I would definitely stand up for my food allergies and be very firm about what I can and cannot have.  My in-laws have never tried to push seafood on me (that is the one that will kill me) and always has a different option for me on occasions like Christmas Eve when the traditional meal is fish and seafood.

Perhaps if I were a younger bride and had never been through the whole process, I may feel different.  I know brides that have fought tooth and nail with their mother’s over the smallest of details (ravioli vs tortellini)!  My wish for our wedding is everyone comes and has a great time and we look back on the day with fond memories.  I will be vigilant when it comes to what I am eating and as long as the chef knows what I can and can’t have and understands cross-contamination then it will be perfect!

Food Allergies: Understanding the Impact on the Family

Recently I read an article by a mother who was frustrated with having to worry about food allergies when sending treats to school with her son, who does not have any food allergies.  She said that parents are a bit ‘nutty’ when it comes to food allergies.  Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 9.47.18 AM

At first the article enraged me, I was all “how dare she trivialize a parent’s concern for their child’s health”.  I was going to comment on the article right then and there, but the calmer more rational side of my brain said no wait until you have simmered down.

It occurred to me this mother had no clue when it came to food allergies and she has even less of a clue how scary food allergies are for parents and how they impact their lives.  I sincerely hope after reading all the comments on her article she takes the time to ask more questions and learn instead of judging and feeling put upon when sending treats to her son’s school.

First things first

So here are some of my thoughts.  First I don’t believe school is an appropriate place where ‘treats’ in the form of food should be allowed.  In this era of diversity, prevalence of food allergies and different views on nutrition it is just opening up a big ole can of worms.  I want my child to learn at school not eat (well besides their lunches).  I have studied children’s nutrition since my kids were babies and I had a very strong view of not giving my kids high sugary snacks like candy etc.  My son’s grade one teacher used to give lollipops as rewards.  This dismayed me so I bought a bunch of coloured pencils, erasers in fun shapes and stickers and asked him if instead of candy could these be used.  He was on-board so it worked but if he hadn’t been I am not really sure what I would have done.

Second: We Need to be Sensitive 

Second we all need to be a bit more sensitive to the struggles of others.  It is easy to dismiss the concerns of parents when they don’t align with your beliefs.  I will always respect a parent for doing what they believe is best for their child, after all no one knows their child like a parent.  I may have different beliefs and I will do what is best for my children but it is none of my business what another parent does with their child.  No one has our life experience so not understanding what another parent is going through or has been through does not give us the right to judge.  When my oldest son was born I carried him around everywhere, he slept with me, rode around in a ‘snuggly’ even when I did the dishes.  My mother-in-law chastised me constantly for it.  “Put that baby down, you don’t have to have him attached to you 24/7” she would say.  Something she didn’t know was my cousin lost her baby to SIDS a year before and it completely freaked me out.  I was gripped by fear every time I tried to put him down.  It affected me deeply, something that no one on the outside could have understood, I just looked slightly nuts to everyone looking in.

In Conclusion

In an effort to help others understand just what it might be like for families affected by food allergies we are working on an article where we have interviewed several families discussing what it is like for them.  If you would like to be part of it, email us at info@allergicsolution.com and we will send you the information.