Thursday, October 29, 2009

Allergy Reminders for Halloween

1) Bite-size, individually-wrapped candies may have different ingredients or be processed in different facilities than their regular-size counterparts, so don't assume they are safe just because you have previously used the regular-size candies.

2) The ingredient label on a bag of candy may differ from the ingredient labels on the individual candies inside.

3) Advisory labels such as May Contain, Processed in a Facility, and Processed on Shared Equipment are voluntary. If a candy label lacks these statements, it doesn't mean the candy is safe from potential cross-contamination with an allergen. The only way to know if your Halloween candy is safe from allergens is to contact the manufacturer. (Read "Is Your Food Really Safe?" for more information.)

4) If a product does have an allergen advisory label, the product should be avoided. Studies have shown that many of these products actually *do* contain allergens.

5) Chocolates are commonly cross-contaminated with milk, soy, peanuts or tree nuts.

6) Allowing children to carry candies that contain their allergens can be dangerous. The wrappers can become loose and fall off the candy in their trick-or-treat bag, or children may attempt to eat the candy without you knowing.

7) Halloween dangers don't disappear that night. Be aware that other children may sneak candy to school the following week and attempt to share it. Remind your food-allergic child not to accept candy from anyone but you.

From Kids With Food Allergies eNewsletter

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Allergy-Free Soft Pumpkin Cookies

We'll be trying this recipe as soon as I find xanthan gum.

2 cups flour (can use gluten-free blend)
1/2 cup oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
1 Tbsp Egg Replacer mixed with 2 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
In large bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir until completely mixed.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place spoonfuls of batter on ungreased cookie sheet, 12-15 to a sheet.
Bake 18-20 minutes

Use wheat and/or gluten free ingredients as needed.
Created by Amy Hugon

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Allergies, Asthma and Autism on the Rise

I saw this article on the daily green and it really caught my attention. It was written by Robyn O'Brien, the founder of Boulder, Colorado based AllergyKids. It's organization dedicated to protecting the 1 in 3 American children with autism, allergies, ADHD and asthma. She has been Called "food's Erin Brockovich" by the New York Times.

I truly believe that genetically modified and engineered food is one of the reasons why food allergies on are on the rise, and Robyn seems to agree:
  • Did you know that food additives and dyes have been linked to asthma and ADHD?
  • Did you know that insecticides have been engineered into our food supply? Yikes!
  • Did you know that there is a synthetic growth hormone introduced into milk in 1994?
  • Did you know that Kraft doesn't include Yellow #5 in the mac 'n cheese boxes they sell overseas?
If you're interested, read more. I was really surprised to learn that there are chemicals that have been added to the U.S. food supply over the last ten years that have either been banned or labeled in countries like Australia, Europe, the UK, Japan....even Russia – because of the health risks they present.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Local 6th grader to lobby for food allergy bill

My mom sent me this article about Lake Ille, a sixth grader at Wilson Elementary, who was selected to go to Washington to help lobby for a food allergy bill. The kids will urge legislators to pass the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act, which calls for voluntary national guidelines to help schools manage students affected by food allergy and anaphylaxis, a serious, rapid allergic reaction that may cause death.

I was really impressed with Lake and his family, trying to make a difference for food allergic children. Rylie will be going to Wilson next fall, so it makes me feel good that he is making a positive impact and raising awareness. I still find myself in conversations where people hint that food allergy parents are over-reacting, or that food allergies are just media hype and not all that serious. I try to share our experiences and hope that it changes their mind.