Monday April 14, 2014
Well, it's true.
In my research and writing about immunotherapy for food allergy, I came across a new allergy with which I wasn't familiar: lupine allergy.
Rare in this country, lupine is a pretty purple flower whose seeds are ground and used in baked goods, especially in Europe. You can read more about the connection of lupine to peanut allergy and much more in my article. Maybe you will learn something new like I did!
Speaking of peanut allergy, I had some fun writing about the surprising foods that contain peanut. I highlighted 12 foods--see if you know them! If you are not careful about reading ingredient labels, you could get blind-sided, as peanut is used in many different food products as a thickener, flavor enhancer and more. I give you the background on WHY peanut is included in some of the most unlikely foods.
How is your week going? Are you getting ready for Passover or Easter? Here are some fun Easter recipes from the website:
Easter Baskets for Children with Food Allergies
Allergy-Friendly Easter Candy
Allergy-Safe Easter Menu
Allergy-Safe Alternatives for Your Seder Plate
Friday March 28, 2014
Immunotherapy is a big word, but an area in food allergy research that is evolving and comes up in the media every now and then. You may be curious or confused about what this trending research is all about. What is it? Is it something you can do? Where can you find more information?
Immunotherapy for food allergy is under research investigation for the treatment of food allergy. In general, the individual with food allergy is enrolled in a research study and tested with small amounts of a food allergen in order to build up a tolerance to that food allergen.
While there are many treatment options being studied, oral immunotherapy for food allergy is one of the long-standing studied approaches to find a way for people with food allergies to withstand accidentally eating their food allergen. The idea being this: if there is a level of allergen tolerance, an accidental ingestion won't cause adverse allergic reaction. And that is what researchers are trying to prove.
For example, oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy is of interest for those individuals with peanut allergy, as an accidental exposure to peanuts could be life-threatening. Because allergy to peanuts tends to be persistent, oral immunotherapy is one of the most studied types of immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy for egg and milk are also being researched. These are two allergens that may be outgrown in childhood, so research in this area has shown both success and some drawbacks. I summarize the latest findings for each of these areas of immunotherapy so you have a general idea of the research that is ongoing.
The most important points for you to understand:
This is research. It is not for general use with the public yet. Those who are doing immunotherapy are generally enrolled in a research study. If this is something you are interested in, check out this website for more information about getting involved in the research.
Significant allergic reactions may occur. From skin reactions to anaphylaxis, using oral immunotherapy should be done under the guidance of medical professionals who are experienced in this line of work. It should never be done on your own.
We still have a lot to learn. Beware of any guarantees, quick fixes or other seemingly too-good-to-be-true promises for a food allergy cure. The science isn't there to back up these claims.
Have you had experience with oral immunotherapy for food allergy?
Tuesday March 25, 2014
What can I eat? No.
Where can I eat? No.
Will I outgrow this dang food allergy?
As a pediatric dietitian, almost every person I have ever encountered with food allergy has asked me, "When will I (or he, or she) grow out of this food allergy?"
My sister had a milk allergy when she was a toddler. I remember my mother using orange juice as a substitute for milk in her cereal. By the age of two, my little sister had outgrown her milk allergy and hasn't had any problems with milk since.
Some people like my sister will outgrow their food allergy, and some won't. I cover the latest information on the rate of outgrowing a food allergy, as well as why you should be checking in with your food allergist on a regular basis in this article. I think you will appreciate the information.
I also did some experimenting with farro, a whole grain with which I had never cooked. I am in love with mushrooms, but unfortunately my family is not, so whenever I can, I cook with mushrooms (or order them at restaurants)! I came up with this Baby Bella Mushroom and Farro recipe that I have to admit, was so good. If you're a fan of mushrooms or risotto, this is a terrific whole grain stand-in.
Last, I finished the installment of what to expect with your child's eating in this installment entitled Great Expectations: Your Food Allergic Teen (13-18 years). If you want to know what's going on with teens and their eating, and how it affects food allergy management, this is the article for you. Take a look and know what to expect! It will help you and your teen get through this stage of development.
Do you ever wonder if you (or your child) will outgrow your food allergy?
Tuesday March 18, 2014
I love to go out to eat. But I do it infrequently. I am picky when it comes to restaurant food. Maybe because I am a decent cook, I am not in favor of spending money on food that is less than what I can do in the kitchen.
When I go out for dinner I want to be impressed. I want to eat food that is beyond my cooking abilities. I want to eat food that I don't carry in my refrigerator at home.
And I want my needs to be met. Sometimes I want all vegetables on the side. Sometimes I want no sauce. Or extra sauce. Maybe sauce on the side.
I really like it when a restaurant is able and willing to accommodate my needs.
If you have a food allergy, I bet you feel the same way. When it comes to my food allergic son, I do. I appreciate a restaurant that is clear and transparent about the ingredients that go into their dishes. I welcome a waiter who doubles back to check on preparation methods or ingredients, just to be sure of my son's safety. I love it when a manager stops by my table to see if everything is okay.
That may sound like high maintainance, but it's just the way things have to be done when you're dealing with a food allergy.
One resource that makes dining out easier is the list for allergy-friendly restaurants published by AllergyEats, a website and mobile app that reviews over 650,000 restaurants in America for their allergy-friendliness (how clear and transparent they are about allergen content in their meals). You can find out more about AllergyEats here, and their founder, Paul Antico.
Check out the most allergy-friendly restaurants of 2014, as compiled by AllergyEats.
How do you decide where to dine out?