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Meet Jill!

I am your new food allergy expert! As a mom of four (and one child with a tree-nut allergy), and a registered dietitian for over 20 years, I know what it takes to navigate the world of food with a food allergy. I will share my experiences and expertise here with you--and your insight and questions are always welcome!

Happy New Year to You!

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As you embark on 2014, get up to date with the latest information about food allergies and get to know me, Jill Castle, your new food allergy expert. I am a registered dietitian with over 23 years in the field of pediatric nutrition. Mom of four, author, speaker and consultant, I am here to help you understand food allergies, and hopefully make life a little easier for you and yours. It's a New Year! Happy 2014!

The Latest On...
Food Allergies Spotlight10

Finding Soy in Common Foods

Sunday April 20, 2014

edamame & quinoa salad

In my years of private practice, I saw many kids with food allergies. Soy allergy was one of them and often combined with milk allergy.

"I stay away from edamame, tofu and soy sauce," said one mom.

"Yes, these are obvious sources of soy," I agreed.

I always want to know how a family is managing factory-made, processed food because these sources can be filled with soy. Granola bars, deli meat and peanut butter can surprise even the most savvy, label reading, food allergic person. And don't forget the Asian sauces--they're loaded with soy.

No doubt, the presence of soy in our everyday food supply can be surprising. While you probably know how to look for soy ingredients on labels, that doesn't always work for restaurants and community gatherings. You need to know these surprising foods containing soy off the top of your head! No worries, I have summed them up, along with why soy is included in many foods.

Of course, there are other hidden sources of allergens in everyday products too--not just food.

What foods containing soy do you find the most troubling?

 

A Lupine Allergy?

Monday April 14, 2014

Easter basket

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

 

Do You Know About Immunotherapy for Food Allergy?

Friday March 28, 2014

 

Research for treating food allergies may involve oral immunotherapy.

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?

The Million Dollar Question Every Person with Food Allergy Wants Answered

Tuesday March 25, 2014

Mushroom and Farro

What can I eat? No.

Where can I eat? No.

Will I outgrow this dang food allergy?

YES.

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?

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