Tag Archives: allergies

Everybody Ought to Read This, Regarding Food Allergies.

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Considering Those with Food Allergies — Life As Mom

     I can’t count the times that a scenario like this has happened:
     We are eating away from home, or having a potluck in our home, with food prepared by others. (I usually don’t expect others to cook around our family’s allergy issues, as they can be quite complicated. I just make enough and then if there are other things there that are “safe”, then it’s a bonus!) Someone will overhear me telling an allergic child “No, you can’t have that, it has _____ in it.” The someone will ask, and I will explain what my child is allergic to. Well-meaning someone will then say “I made this ___ and it doesn’t have any ___ in it.” and then offer a piece/spoonful/helping to my child. The last time it was cookies that didn’t have milk. (and if you’re reading this, it wasn’t you- we were far away and it was someone we’ve never met before or since! (0; ) My child smiled a huge sparkly smile and almost took a bite. I stopped her and asked, truly interested because I’m always on the lookout for new substitutes to use in our allergy-free cooking adventures (for example, using Crisco won’t work for the ones in our family that can’t have corn or soy. I usually use coconut oil.), “What did you use instead of butter?” and the answer was: “Oh! Just butter! That makes the best cookies!” I agree, it makes great cookies! But butter is MILK! When you’re not used to thinking in allergy-mode, you think of milk as the white stuff in a plastic jug. If you didn’t pour white stuff from a plastic jug into your cookie dough, then your cookies don’t have milk. But when you’re thinking in allergy-mode, there can’t be any butter, the chocolate chips can’t have “butterfat” or “whey” or “lactose” listed in the ingredients, and so on.
     I have a friend whose son is VERY allergic to peanuts. To the point that if there are 2 pans of brownies, one with peanut butter, one without, sitting side by side (the sans-peanut butter ones being graciously provided to accommodate his allergies), and someone unwittingly mixes the serving forks, and his non-peanut butter brownie is put on his plate with the peanut butter brownie fork, he gets a fast ride to the ER, and that family’s day of socializing is over.
     When you’re in non-allergy-land, their refusal to eat what you are sure you didn’t pour milk into, or stir peanut butter into (did you know that a lot of pre-made chicken nuggets are fried in peanut oil? Or that fish sticks have milk in them? and that canned tuna has soy?) isn’t about them not trusting you, or not believing you. They’re not trying to be rude. But there are a lot of things that just aren’t worth ending with you saying “I didn’t know”, or finding out that little Johnny or Susie mixed up the serving forks.
     I don’t always accept offers to cook or provide food for our family, because unless I know you are familiar with just how much you have to read the labels and decode the names of the ingredients (did you know that maltodextrin is derived from corn? and that baking powder has cornstarch?), sometimes it’s just not worth it. Sometimes I do, especially if I know what you’re making, and I’m familiar with the way you usually think about food, and sometimes I don’t.
     I’m still wondering what to do about the potluck situations like the one we had a while back: It was a crowd of 30-40 people, most of whom were strangers. I planned all “safe” foods for our family, and figured we could walk through the buffet line that was set up, and only take things from our own serving dishes. It would have worked, (I think) except for the sweet old lady who  “helped me out” by adding 2 sticks of butter to both my lima beans and my mashed potatoes, and prebuttered all the bread I had baked with no milk. She really was sweet and trying to help, but we ended up with a few hungry children, and had to leave early to feed them.
     What would you do?? Please, let me know in the comments!

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Everybody Ought to Read This, Regarding Food Allergies.

Standard

Considering Those with Food Allergies — Life As Mom

     I can’t count the times that a scenario like this has happened:
     We are eating away from home, or having a potluck in our home, with food prepared by others. (I usually don’t expect others to cook around our family’s allergy issues, as they can be quite complicated. I just make enough and then if there are other things there that are “safe”, then it’s a bonus!) Someone will overhear me telling an allergic child “No, you can’t have that, it has _____ in it.” The someone will ask, and I will explain what my child is allergic to. Well-meaning someone will then say “I made this ___ and it doesn’t have any ___ in it.” and then offer a piece/spoonful/helping to my child. The last time it was cookies that didn’t have milk. (and if you’re reading this, it wasn’t you- we were far away and it was someone we’ve never met before or since! (0; ) My child smiled a huge sparkly smile and almost took a bite. I stopped her and asked, truly interested because I’m always on the lookout for new substitutes to use in our allergy-free cooking adventures (for example, using Crisco won’t work for the ones in our family that can’t have corn or soy. I usually use coconut oil.), “What did you use instead of butter?” and the answer was: “Oh! Just butter! That makes the best cookies!” I agree, it makes great cookies! But butter is MILK! When you’re not used to thinking in allergy-mode, you think of milk as the white stuff in a plastic jug. If you didn’t pour white stuff from a plastic jug into your cookie dough, then your cookies don’t have milk. But when you’re thinking in allergy-mode, there can’t be any butter, the chocolate chips can’t have “butterfat” or “whey” or “lactose” listed in the ingredients, and so on.
     I have a friend whose son is VERY allergic to peanuts. To the point that if there are 2 pans of brownies, one with peanut butter, one without, sitting side by side (the sans-peanut butter ones being graciously provided to accommodate his allergies), and someone unwittingly mixes the serving forks, and his non-peanut butter brownie is put on his plate with the peanut butter brownie fork, he gets a fast ride to the ER, and that family’s day of socializing is over.
     When you’re in non-allergy-land, their refusal to eat what you are sure you didn’t pour milk into, or stir peanut butter into (did you know that a lot of pre-made chicken nuggets are fried in peanut oil? Or that fish sticks have milk in them? and that canned tuna has soy?) isn’t about them not trusting you, or not believing you. They’re not trying to be rude. But there are a lot of things that just aren’t worth ending with you saying “I didn’t know”, or finding out that little Johnny or Susie mixed up the serving forks.
     I don’t always accept offers to cook or provide food for our family, because unless I know you are familiar with just how much you have to read the labels and decode the names of the ingredients (did you know that maltodextrin is derived from corn? and that baking powder has cornstarch?), sometimes it’s just not worth it. Sometimes I do, especially if I know what you’re making, and I’m familiar with the way you usually think about food, and sometimes I don’t.
     I’m still wondering what to do about the potluck situations like the one we had a while back: It was a crowd of 30-40 people, most of whom were strangers. I planned all “safe” foods for our family, and figured we could walk through the buffet line that was set up, and only take things from our own serving dishes. It would have worked, (I think) except for the sweet old lady who  "helped me out" by adding 2 sticks of butter to both my lima beans and my mashed potatoes, and prebuttered all the bread I had baked with no milk. She really was sweet and trying to help, but we ended up with a few hungry children, and had to leave early to feed them.
     What would you do?? Please, let me know in the comments!

Cake Pops!

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Having 7 children makes it easy for each of them to have “their day”, when we do special projects together, talk about things that are on their mind, and just generally connect. I also call it “tomato staking“.
(Not sure how I’ll do things once #8 shows up. I’ve got a little while to figure something out though)
Today was Noah’s day, and we decided to make cake pops. We’ve tried it once before, and while they were yummy, they were ugly. We learned a few things though, and were pretty sure we could correct the mistakes of the last effort.
Sure enough, these (A:) stayed together, (B:) didn’t fall off the stick when dipped, and (C:) hardened properly. Success!

Unfortunately, we were so focused on making these things happen correctly, I didn’t take pictures of the process. Next time?
I did get my hands out of the mess once Noah started dipping them, and take a few pictures of him doing that.

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The chocolate that we used for most of them has a tiny amount of milk in it, so we made several for Oksana with a certain brand of chocolate chips, melted. They didn’t “gloss” or get hard like the dipping chocolate, but I haven’t heard her complain! We put different sprinkles on those, so that it’s easy to tell at a glance which she can have.
Making them was fairly easy, once we worked out the few kinks that don’t work. This morning, before I woke the children, I baked a cake. (I used a red velvet mix- yumm yumm). Once it had cooled for about 20 minutes on racks, I put it in the freezer.
After breakfast and chores, Noah got it out of the freezer and crumbled it all up into crumbs. (I poked my finger smack into the center of one of the cakes to make sure it was cold all the way through. Yup, it was.)
Into the crumbs, we stirred and mashed and smooshed approximately 1/3 of a tub of storebought (chocolate fudge) icing. It can take more or less, depending on your cake, so it’s a thing that many do “by feel”. The most helpful advice I got was to keep adding small amounts until the crumbs begin to “clump” and clean the bowl.
The fun (or messy, depending on your perspective) part is making the balls. A few things that helped this time around were remembering to make them quite a bit smaller than I wanted the finished cake pop to be, and popping them into the freezer for 20 minutes once all the balls were on a cookie sheet. We also tried to make them a lot firmer, or “tighter” than our first go-around.
We did a few more chores for the 20 minutes, then out came the chilled cake balls. I melted just a bit of the dipping chocolate, added a bit of coconut oil to thin it to the right consistency (that was another problem we had on the first ones we tried, the dipping chocolate was just too thick, and tore the cake balls up). We “poked” a lollipop stick a good 2/3 of the way into each cake ball, after dipping the stick into the chocolate. That helped to “glue” them  in.

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Then, yep, back to the freezer for 20 minutes, and then out for dipping and sprinkles. Someone threw away my big chunk of styrofoam for stabbing the sucker sticks into while the coating hardens, so we made do with a cooling rack.
We dipped enough for each child to have one, and for the neighbor’s family, and learned not to put the sprinkles on right away but to wait till the chocolate is about half set. The plan was to dip them all right away, but I’m learning to never fully expect things to go as scheduled, so we did all the “other things” that came up, and dipped them after supper.
They are disappearing fast, and now that we’ve ironed out most of our difficulties in making them, I think they’ll probably be a rather regular treat around here. The children all like them immensely, and with all the steps involved, everyone can get their hands in on the process. With the “freezer breaks”, it’s a job that can be done in chunks and squeezed in around regular chores. It’s also motivation to get the chores done (“wash those dishes so you have help dip cake pops”) ! I like them because (A:) they’re good, and (B:) they’re smaller portions of sugar and junk getting into the children than with a piece of cake or even a cupcake, but they’re still happy. Everyone wins. :0)

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Cake Pops!

Standard
Having 7 children makes it easy for each of them to have “their day”, when we do special projects together, talk about things that are on their mind, and just generally connect. I also call it “tomato staking”.
(Not sure how I’ll do things once #8 shows up. I’ve got a little while to figure something out though)
Today was Noah’s day, and we decided to make cake pops. We’ve tried it once before, and while they were yummy, they were ugly. We learned a few things though, and were pretty sure we could correct the mistakes of the last effort.
Sure enough, these (A:) stayed together, (B:) didn’t fall off the stick when dipped, and (C:) hardened properly. Success!

Unfortunately, we were so focused on making these things happen correctly, I didn’t take pictures of the process. Next time?
I did get my hands out of the mess once Noah started dipping them, and take a few pictures of him doing that.

0image

The chocolate that we used for most of them has a tiny amount of milk in it, so we made several for Oksana with a certain brand of chocolate chips, melted. They didn’t “gloss” or get hard like the dipping chocolate, but I haven’t heard her complain! We put different sprinkles on those, so that it’s easy to tell at a glance which she can have.
Making them was fairly easy, once we worked out the few kinks that don’t work. This morning, before I woke the children, I baked a cake. (I used a red velvet mix- yumm yumm). Once it had cooled for about 20 minutes on racks, I put it in the freezer.
After breakfast and chores, Noah got it out of the freezer and crumbled it all up into crumbs. (I poked my finger smack into the center of one of the cakes to make sure it was cold all the way through. Yup, it was.)
Into the crumbs, we stirred and mashed and smooshed approximately 1/3 of a tub of storebought (chocolate fudge) icing. It can take more or less, depending on your cake, so it’s a thing that many do “by feel”. The most helpful advice I got was to keep adding small amounts until the crumbs begin to “clump” and clean the bowl.
The fun (or messy, depending on your perspective) part is making the balls. A few things that helped this time around were remembering to make them quite a bit smaller than I wanted the finished cake pop to be, and popping them into the freezer for 20 minutes once all the balls were on a cookie sheet. We also tried to make them a lot firmer, or “tighter” than our first go-around.
We did a few more chores for the 20 minutes, then out came the chilled cake balls. I melted just a bit of the dipping chocolate, added a bit of coconut oil to thin it to the right consistency (that was another problem we had on the first ones we tried, the dipping chocolate was just too thick, and tore the cake balls up). We “poked” a lollipop stick a good 2/3 of the way into each cake ball, after dipping the stick into the chocolate. That helped to “glue” them  in.

1image

Then, yep, back to the freezer for 20 minutes, and then out for dipping and sprinkles. Someone threw away my big chunk of styrofoam for stabbing the sucker sticks into while the coating hardens, so we made do with a cooling rack.
We dipped enough for each child to have one, and for the neighbor’s family, and learned not to put the sprinkles on right away but to wait till the chocolate is about half set. The plan was to dip them all right away, but I’m learning to never fully expect things to go as scheduled, so we did all the “other things” that came up, and dipped them after supper.
They are disappearing fast, and now that we’ve ironed out most of our difficulties in making them, I think they’ll probably be a rather regular treat around here. The children all like them immensely, and with all the steps involved, everyone can get their hands in on the process. With the “freezer breaks”, it’s a job that can be done in chunks and squeezed in around regular chores. It’s also motivation to get the chores done (“wash those dishes so you have help dip cake pops”) ! I like them because (A:) they’re good, and (B:) they’re smaller portions of sugar and junk getting into the children than with a piece of cake or even a cupcake, but they’re still happy. Everyone wins. :0)

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Jeff’s Allergies

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Well, after several years of knowing that Jeff has food allergies, and trying to pinpoint just what it is that triggers his reactions with elimination diets, we finally got him tested. NO WONDER we couldn’t pinpoint it!!scuba diving in Hawaii First he had a test that measured his histamine response to 40 foods. That is the type of food allergy that usually comes to mind first. He had a reaction to 7 of them. Then he had another test that measures a different type of immune system response(IgG, for those of you who are familiar with this stuff). Out of the 96 things he was tested for, he is allergic to 17 of them! scuba diving in Bali
It is such a relief to finally know what is triggering this and how we can avoid it! The testing labs even did most of the thinking for us and gave many lists of things he can have, as well as a 4-day rotation diet plan, as after his system is purged of the allergens, he will be able to reintroduce them into his diet in small increments, and as long as he doesn’t eat them too often for his body to handle, (hence the 4 day rotation) he can have some of them.
At first, it was a bit discouraging, looking at the list, our first question was “What CAN you eat??!?”, but it’s been a couple of weeks now, and he’s feeling so much better having those foods out of his system, and we’ve been exploring and experimenting and finding things that he can eat that are actually yummy too. scuba diving in cancun
So, for those who are curious, here’s his list of things he’s allergic to:

Corn, Soy, Wheat, Carrots, Oysters, Hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts
Those are the ones he has a histamine response to.

The IgG allergens are:

Milk, Eggs, Oats, Baker’s Yeast, Brewer’s Yeast, Yogurt, Cheddar Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Swiss Cheese, Garlic, Gluten, Mustard, Oranges, Peanuts, Soy, Tomatoes, Wheat.

Soy & Wheat he reacts to both ways. And, some of those allergies prohibit other foods… For example, the yeast allergies mean he has to avoid sweetners (sugar, honey, maple syrup, fruit juices) as well as avoid vinegar.
But like I said, we’re so glad to finally know, and be able to get him feeling better! And there is a hidden bonus here… the perfect excuse to get away from processed foods!! Yay!!scuba diving articles