5.12.2015

Living With Food Allergies: Its A Nutty Nutty World

Nuts, nuts, nuts. Either you can safely eat them and never give a second thought... or there are those who are allergic. Food Allergy reactions ranging from mild (such as a mouth itch or runny nose or hives) to anaphylaxis which can be potentially deadly!
 
A lot of people think that food allergies stop at nuts... but seeds, wheat, eggs, soy, dairy, gluten, shellfish, fish and so so many more things can be allergens for different people. No matter how mild an allergic reaction may be, any food allergy should NEVER be taken lightly, because the next reaction may not be so mild, and sometimes even the smallest trace of an allergen can cause a reaction!
 
Did you know that there are an estimated 15 million Americans living with food allergies?
 
That means food allergies affect 1 in every 13 children (including mine) under 18 years of age in the U.S. That's roughly two in every classroom!

The number of people who have a food allergy is growing, but there is no clear answer as to why. Researchers are trying to discover why food allergies are on the rise in developed countries worldwide, to learn more about the impact of the disease in developing nations. And according to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased by approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011!


We have recently become part of the food allergy world since Bella has had allergic reactions to both Peanuts AND Tree Nuts. Tree nuts, peanuts AND seeds in ANY form are strictly OFF LIMITS in her diet now. That means no peanut butter, no Nutella, no cashew butter, pecans, sunflower seeds, pesto... no nuts or seeds or nut and seed by products of any kind.

You would not believe how many things contain nuts and seeds (and nut and seed by-products) until you start reading labels, and so many baking recipes call for nuts/seeds as well.

And yeah, some may argue that since her reactions were mild that she'd probably be okay having a small amount of nuts or seeds here and there... but no, simply no. My child's well being and life is not something I can afford to take lightly, or for that matter have anyone else take lightly either, even if they don't mean harm.

Testing was fairly simple... only took 20 minutes *though the rest of the appointment (the consultation) took over 3 hours* and she barely cried at all, we were so proud of her! The doctor was so great, going over every tiny detail with us, what to do if it would ever happen again or she would happen to ingest any foods she's allergic to, how to use epi pens if we ever need to (praying we don't though), what to avoid, etc. It's awesome to have found a doctor that cares so much!

May is Food Allergy Action month and May 10th to 16th is Food Allergy Awareness Week and here are some things you need to know about Food Allergies...

A food allergy can begin at any age.

Your risk of having food allergies is higher if you have a parent who any type of allergies (asthma, eczema, food allergies, or even environmental/seasonal allergies).

There is no cure for food allergies but some food allergies can be "outgrown" (like allergies to dairy, egg and soy), but others (like peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish) usually are not.

If you have a family member who visits your home often (especially small children) and has an allergy to a certain food, please keep that particular food completely out of reach (or if possible eliminate the food altogether), it could save their life.

Chances are if someone know they are allergic to something they carry an epi pen (or two) with them, give them epinephrine (an epi-pen injection) immediately in their mid thigh, call 911 and then also give Benadryl.

But what do you do if someone you know has an allergic reaction but they don't have an epi-pen? Call 911 immediately and then give them Benadryl.

Not familiar with food allergy symptoms? You can find a list of symptoms here, and also how find how children might describe a reaction.

Always read labels. Even if a food has been eaten safely in the past, ingredients can and sometimes do change.

If preparing food for someone with food allergies, wash your hands, prepare foods on a clean surface uncontaminated by the food they are allergic to. Keep foods separated. Many reactions are caused from cross contamination.

Hand sanitizers do not remove food proteins.

Food allergies and food intolerances are NOT the same thing.

An allergic reaction is no respecter of persons or places, a reaction can happen anywhere and any time.

If you suspect you or your child may have a food allergy, don't wait! Make an appointment to see an allergist as soon as possible, and keep the food(s) you think you or your child may be allergic to as far away as possible.

Nuts are out in our home. Some things I will still use occasionally but always out of reach (I'm talking Nutella stored 8 feet up on the back of the top shelf in the hall closet lol), and I kindly encourage/ask all family to keep nut products out of reach as well. :)

I will be trying and sharing some allergen/nut/seed free recipes on the blog here in the future. Just because we have a food allergy doesn't mean food is boring! (hint: there's this amazing stuff called WOWbutter, made from toasted soy nuts and tastes exactly like peanut butter and contains no peanuts, tree nuts or seeds).


I hope you found this post informative and as I mentioned before, I am new to the food allergy world and if you are a fellow food allergy mom I'd love to hear any tips you may have (or if you just want to say hi) in the comments below. :)

3 comments:

  1. I found it very informative!! Thank you for sharing. I struggle with food senitivites and it's impossible to eat things unless I've personally made them - not because I don't want to or because I don't trust you but those sneaky ingredients can hide in the most unthinkable things!!
    It's crazy how many things nuts can hide in.

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    1. Aww, Thank you so much Holly! It means so much to me that you took the time to read and comment! Sorry it took me so long to reply, I just seen this lol. Seriously though, it crazy how they sneak nuts into so many things that you wouldn't even think about! Xoxo!

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  2. I am always the awkward person at parties hardly eating lol but better safe than sorry!
    I eat tons at home hahaha

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