Sunday, September 22, 2013

How Do You Handle a Jerk?

So the other day I am at a grocery store (which shall remain nameless) and it just happened to be Sample Saturday.  Now, 5 years ago, this would have been my favorite day to shop.  Who doesn’t love to try free samples of food?  Fast forward to 2013 and I normally refuse to go to the store on any given Saturday just to avoid the samples.  Especially if my son is with me.  Try explaining to a three year old that he can’t have something every time you pass by a stand with a cute old lady offering a sample.  You don’t know what is in the food.  You don’t know what she has touched that could have potential for possible cross-contamination.   It is just best to avoid. 

WELL…Here is the problem I faced when I went to the nameless grocery store.  I was running short on soymilk and needed to grab a few other things.  I had my little munchkin with me.  And there were 100 cute old ladies present passing out samples in every direction.  What to do?  On this particular Saturday, I guess there was really no by-passing.  I nicely said "No thank you” to each person offering some delicious little spinach artichoke tart or slice of pizza.  Until we got to this one lady.  I swear I cannot believe I remained as calm as I did and did not go off after this:  The lady offered my little guy a sample of a pop tart that was some peanut butter chocolate concoction.  I nicely told her that he has a peanut allergy among others so he can’t have it, and nicely said “Thank you”.  She looked straight at me and said “It won’t kill him.  Come on, let him have a bite”.  OH. MY. GOOD. GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I probably should have remained silent and walked away…but she caught me off guard, so I quickly remarked “You really should do yourself and society a favor and become educated”.  Not one of my proudest moments, but eh?  I could have handled it better, but I also know myself, and was quite surprised I didn’t handle it worse.

My other favorite type of “jerk” is the one who tells you that “Just because your child is allergic to a food doesn’t give you the right to inconvenience my child’s diet”.  GET REAL PEOPLE!!!!!! I assure you, no one is trying to inconvenience anyone.  We are all just trying to keep our kids alive, healthy, and safe.  Sorry that your kid can’t bring Reese’s Peanut Butter cups to a school party.  Keep them at home.  They can have them for an after school snack.  I am positive that person would feel differently if their child had some other safety concern that I deemed unnecessary and mocked.

So how do you handle the “jerks”?  Are they really “jerks” or are they just uneducated about food allergies?  How do we make those who are unaware, more aware?  How do we get the word out there?  How do you conduct yourself in a way when you encounter said “jerks” where you remain calm and courteous?  How do you deal with people whom you have personally informed of various food allergies that still refuse to accept that your child has a condition that you can’t make go away and won’t get better until there is a cure, and who still think you are being overly dramatic all because you are trying to prevent a potential fatality?

I have personally found that there are some people who just don’t get it and never will.  They try to make you feel bad for protecting your child.  They try to make you look like this crazy, overprotective parent who chooses to make unnecessary restrictions.  I honestly feel extremely sorry for people who are so uneducated.  No one would enforce these extreme restrictions if they were not necessary.  No parent would deny their child otherwise healthy foods if there weren’t severe consequences to eating those foods.  NO PARENT wants to see their child live life this way!!!!!!! This is not a lifestyle choice, this is a matter of life and death!  

I think there are a lot of people who don't understand food allergies. Before my little ray of sunshine was diagnosed, I was one of those people.  With the growing epidemic at hand, it's not something that we as society can afford to be ignorant about. We have to make ourselves and others aware. 

I think the real problem with society is that we have all forgotten how to be kind to one another.   So I am pledging to start being nicer, and next time I see the lady I was snarky to at the grocery store, I am going to apologize for being so quick to reply. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Food Allergy Financials

Read an interesting article in the LA Times Science section today called “Kids Food Allergies Cost U.S. Nearly $25 Billion a Year, Study Finds”.  OH.  MY.  GOSH. 

A few days ago I posted about having anxiety as a food allergy mom.  The financial aspect of raising a child with food allergies is overwhelming.  And what if you have more than one child with food allergies?

According to the LA Times article, in a study done by Dr. Ruchi Gupta (Chicago’s Northwestern University), doctor appointments, hospital stays, and ER visits account for $4.3 billion per year.  Parents lose productivity because of all these appointments and hospital trips.  That costs another $773 million annually.  To cover costs for special foods, allergy-sensitive schools, and special child care arrangements add an additional $5.5 billion each year.  Surprisingly, the area showing the biggest financial impact was in the parents’ careers.  When a child has food allergies many parents opt to stay home, do not take career advances, or have even taken pay cuts for fewer hours.  Then annual cost for employment challenges is $14 billion.

The total annual cost in the U.S. of raising a child with food allergies is $24.8 billion.  That is just for expenses surrounding food allergies.  The breakdown is $4,184 per child.  This does not include other costs of raising a child.  This is an extra $4k on top of that!!!!!!!!!!!

In our house, I feel every bit of that $4,184.  Maybe even more.  On average, I spend $75 a month on soymilk alone ($900 annually).  That doesn’t include trips to St. Louis to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  I WISH our area had one or the other.  At least that would decrease the cost of gas to drive 75 miles. It is incredibly expensive to maintain a completely allergen-free home.  Then there are prescriptions every month, 4 Epipens that will expire within the year, snacks for school, special cleaning products, special laundry detergents and shampoos, and special air filters, just to name a few…

Every allergen-friendly food purchase is about 2-3 times more expensive than the food that contains the allergen.  For example, sometimes when on sale, you can purchase peanut butter for under $2 a jar.  When your child has a peanut allergy and you opt to buy sunflower butter as an alternative, plan to pay at least $7 a jar.  And that is in Illinois.  I can’t even imagine what it would cost in California.  You can buy Kraft cheese slices for about $1.75 for a package of 20 slices when on sale.  Vegan cheese slices are about $4.50 for 10 slices.  I found a vegan mac and cheese my kiddo loves, but it is $5 for a microwavable portion that is the size of a single-serve Weight Watchers dinner.  A box of Kraft is $1.  The costs are insane.

At this point, I couldn’t imagine not having health insurance.  I would never survive.  I do not know how people that have to pay 100% out of pocket do it. 

There has to be a more cost-effective way of raising children with food allergies.  I think you can write medical expenses off when you do your taxes, right?

A few suggestions to pinch pennies: 1. Epipen coupons are available.  Check with your doctor’s office or your local drug stores. 2. Car pool when you take an out of town trip to an allergy-friendly health foods store.  3.  Make meals in advance that are able to be frozen.  Not only does this cut down on costs because the meal is prepared in bulk, but it also cuts down on time (you just have to pop it in the microwave). 4. Save leftover ingredients for a later meal.  Remember that pumpkin whoopie pie recipe I posted yesterday?  You had half of a can of pumpkin left over – PERFECT for the recipe I am going to post below.  EnjoyJ

Penne with Pumpkin Sauce

3 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp minced onion flakes

1 ½ tbsp garlic powder

1 red bell pepper (pureed)

½ can of pumpkin

1 c organic chicken broth

1/3 c water

2-3 tbsp plain soymilk (or other milk alternative)

½ tsp nutmeg

1 box of allergy-friendly penne pasta of your choice

Sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Using large pan, heat coconut oil on medium heat.

2. Add onion flakes, garlic, and red pepper.  Cook until red pepper has softened.

3. Cook pasta.

4. In blender, add pumpkin, chicken broth, water, and soymilk. Blend well.

5. Add this mixture to pan and stir in remaining ingredients.

6. Use a whisk to keep the sauce smooth.

7. Once sauce is boiling and thickens, add pasta and combine gently.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Recipe:)

I absolutely love to bake for my child. It is one of the only ways I can guarantee that food he consumes is free of allergens, as well as the best way that I know to control cross-contamination. I saw the quote below earlier today on a parenting blog. This statement really hit home: “Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” ―Rita Pierson

My son and I have made quite the connection in the kitchen. He LOVES to help me cook, bake, and prepare meals. Doing this with a 3 year old can create quite the mess, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It is one of the most fun times we have bonding. As an allergy mom, I feel it is very important that I teach him that he can have fun foods just like all the other kids, we just substitute a few things. We have made some really neat meals through exploring our allergy-friendly options.

Since fall is approaching, I think this recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies should be shared. I made these last year, and boy, they were a hit! You could not even tell that they were vegan!!!!!! My dad even ate them. LOL! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family did:)

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies



2 c gluten free flour

1 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 15 oz. can pumpkin puree (so 7.5 oz) (chilled)

1 c light brown sugar (packed)

1/2 c canola oil

1 egg replacer

4 tbsp dark brown sugar

1 tbsp maple syrup


1/2 c vegan cream cheese (softened)

5 tbsp Earth Balance butter sticks

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/8 tsp sea salt

3 c powdered sugar


Cookies- Step 1

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, salt).

3. In electric mixer, mix pumpkin, brown sugars, oil, egg replacer, and maple syrup until smooth (about 3 minutes).

4. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture.

5. Using a pastry bag, pipe 1" circles onto the baking sheets, leaving about 1/2" between each one.

6. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.


Filling- Step 2

1. In electric mixer on low setting, beat vegan cream cheese and Earth Balance sticks until light and fluffy. (About 2 minutes).

2. Add maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, sea salt. Mix until thoroughly combined.

3. Gradually add the powdered sugar.  If filling is too thin, add more powdered sugar to thicken.

4. Assemble the pies. Turn half of cookies over so that flat sides are facing up. With pastry bad, pipe the filling onto the center of the cookies. You do not need to pipe the entire cookie.

5. Top with the remaining cookies, pressing down so that filling is spread to the edges.

6. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.


Wanna Talk About GMOs???

GMOs.  A highly controversial topic today- especially in the political arena.  What actually is a GMO?  A genetically modified organism.  The genetic material has been altered through genetic engineering techniques.  Such organisms include bacteria, yeast, plants, animals, fish, and insects.  These are the sources of genetically modified foods.  According to the FDA, "genetic modification" involves mutating, inserting, or deleting of genes within an organism.  So to get the gist: The DNA from other plants, viruses, animals and bacteria are injected into the cells of existing species. This is supposed to make them more resistant to the rain, drought, pests, etc. Up until this point, these viruses and bacteria have never been a part of the human food supply.

GMOs first started appearing in foods in the 1970s.  Genetically modified foods are created by adding a protein from a different organism into a crop to make it heartier and more disease- and pest-resistant. The result is a new protein that can also be new to the human diet. The potential for allergic reactions in people is the main reason for opposition to creating genetically engineered foods.

The company that is responsible for producing most of the GMOs is Monsanto. They are a chemical company and now they are producing our food. Monsanto has been able to patent their GMO seeds, so they own the seed. They also have an exclusive deal with Scott's Miracle-Gro who sells Round-Up. So here is a company that owns and sells a seed that is resistant to a spray that they profit off of also. Monsanto makes money off the consumer on both ends.  The fact that a company can own a seed and have that much control over our food supply is a scary thought. Monsanto currently owns about 90% of the seed supply out there. That means they control distribution, costs, etc. Scary.

The Allergy Vigilance Network is concerned about GMO foods causing anaphylactic reactions in people with food allergies, and the danger this represents to a growing portion of the population. Food allergies are on the rise, and one of the reasons is new allergens from the use of new technologies.  There is a push to develop an allergy network that can investigate reactions to GMOs.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires the FDA to prevent consumer deception by clarifying that a food label is misleading if it omits significant, “material” information.  In 1992 however, the FDA issued a policy statement that defined “material” by the ability to be sensed by taste, smell, or other senses. The FDA determined that GE Foods were “substantially equivalent” to conventionally produced foods, so there was no material difference – and no labeling was required. After almost 20 years, this policy is still in place.

If you also look closely at who holds federal positions, you will notice that many of them have held positions with Monsanto as well.  Coincidence?  I think not.

According to The Organic Consumers Association "The huge jump in childhood food allergies in the US is in the news often, but most reports fail to consider a link to a recent radical change in America's diet. Beginning in 1996, bacteria, virus and other genes have been artificially inserted to the DNA of soy, corn, cottonseed and canola plants. These unlabeled genetically modified (GM) foods carry a risk of triggering life-threatening allergic reactions, and evidence collected over the past decade now suggests that they are contributing to higher allergy rates.  Food safety tests are inadequate to protect public health.  Scientists have long known that GM crops might cause allergies. But there are no tests to prove in advance that a GM crop is safe.  That's because people aren't usually allergic to a food until they have eaten it several times.  The only definitive test for allergies, according to former FDA microbiologist Louis Pribyl, "is human consumption by affected peoples, which can have ethical considerations.  And it is the ethical considerations of feeding unlabeled, high-risk GM crops to unknowing consumers that has many people up in arms."

The UK is one of the few places that conducts a yearly evaluation of food allergies. In March 1999, researchers at the York Laboratory were alarmed to discover that reactions to soy increased by 50% over the previous year. Genetically modified soy had recently entered the UK from US imports and the soy used in the study was largely GM. John Graham, spokesman for the York laboratory, said, "We believe this raises serious new questions about the safety of GM foods."

Several other alarms that are going off due to GMOs that impact those with food allergies: (1)Increased herbicides on GM crops may cause reactions. (2) GM soy might impede digestion, leading to allergies.  So, do you really want to buy a product containing a GMO?  I DON'T!!!!!!!!!!!!!

According to the Just Label It Campaign:
  • 59% of sugar produced in the US is made from sugar beets and 90% of the beets are genetically engineered
  • Over 90% of canola oil is genetically engineered
  • 90% of the cotton planted in the US is genetically modified
  • 94% of all soybeans planted in the US are genetically modified
  • 88% of US Corn is genetically modified
Now on to the most important part…what can you do????
  • If you want to avoid foods containing GMOs, your best options are to buy USDA certified organic.  USDA organic standards prohibit the use of GMOs. Look for products that say Non-GMO, and to buy unprocessed foods like fruits and veggies because few whole foods are genetically engineered.
  • Start your own urban garden using non-GMO seeds.
  • Sign the petition at to let the FDA know that you want GMO foods labeled as such.
At face value GMOs might sound great, but there are risks that are involved in such technology. GMOs have not been proven safe and have significant restrictions or outright banned in over 30 countries across the globe. They are widely grown and used in the food supply in the United States and there is no way for us to know. GMOs should be labeled, so we can make decisions for ourselves. Whether they are good or bad is a moot point. It’s a right to know issue. WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT WE ARE PUTTING IN OUR BODIES!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you would like to be part of a lab experiment, that is up to you. I would like the option not be part of it. I believe that I have that right.

Here's a recipe that is a great way to end your summer.  And if you buy 100% certified USDA organic ingredients, it is free of GMOs.  Enjoy!

Watermelon Salad:
2 c seedless watermelon (cubed)
4 c mixed greens
2 c baby spinach
1 c shredded carrots
1 c red seedless grapes
1/2 c sunflower seeds
drizzles with balsamic vinaigrette

Monday, September 9, 2013

Anxiety: My Life as an Allergy-Mom

Anxiety:  A word that not many of us are comfortable with.  Well, guess what?  If your child is diagnosed with food allergies, you had better get used to that word.  You will have anxiety.  Chances are, your child will have anxiety.  Heck, your whole family.  You will have sleepless nights.  You will have days where you feel like you are going insane.  You will have good days, and you will have really crappy, rock-bottom, pity-party days where you question everything you are doing to try to keep that precious child safe and out of harm’s way.  Rest assured, Mom, you are doing a great job.  There is no one on Earth who could be better entrusted to keep your child safe.  God gave you this child for a reason.  He knew you could and would protect that baby at all costs, no questions asked.  Yet…every once in a while (actually sometimes several days out of the week), you still have that creeping pain in your stomach of “What if”?  You will always worry.  Always!

If you don’t have a child that has an allergy, consider yourself lucky.  You will never know what it feels like to be told that a tiny peanut could take your child away from you forever.  You will never know what it is like to have to monitor every single play-date.  You will never know what it is like to read labels to seek out what is and is not safe for your child.  You will never worry about your child sitting alone at a peanut-free table.  You will never worry about your child being defined as the “kid with all the allergies”.  You will never have to worry about whether they have their EpiPen on them.  You will never have to worry about packing a treat for hockey practice because your child can’t have the Little Debbie Oatmeal Pie that the assigned snack person brought.  You will never have to worry about making sure you have fully educated your child about what they can and cannot come into contact with.  You will never have to worry about sending him to a birthday party and eating a piece of cake that had milk or egg in it.  You will never have to worry about the first time your son kisses a girl who ate a PBJ for lunch.  Parenting is hard enough in the world we live in today…put all this on top of it, and there you have it: ANXIETY!!!

Parenting with food allergies is the single most difficult thing I have ever encountered, and ironically, the easiest thing I have ever done.  Like Nike says “JUST DO IT”.  You just do it.  Yeah, it is super time-consuming.  Yes, it takes so much planning.  Yes, at times I want to pull my hair out because every time I go to the grocery store I have to read a label because of how frequently ingredients in the same box of pasta I have bought 100 times changes.  But, here is the disclaimer: THIS IS NOT A LIFESTYLE CHOICE!!!!!  It is a choice to say that every single day, until the day I die,  I will put my child as my first priority above anything and everything else.  It is the choice to accept that your life is never again going to be convenient.   And to accept that is the easiest and best choice I will ever make, because face it – You. Really. Don’t. Have. A. Choice.

Ever had anxiety about money?  The financial impact on a family living with food allergies is outrageous.  I used to be able to get a full cart of groceries for around $200.  I could usually make that last about 2 weeks.  Now I spend at least $200 at my weekly trip to the vegan food store and leave with 3 bags.  Not to mention the cost of EpiPens, daily medications, and nutritional supplements.

Ever had anxiety about daycare or a babysitter?  Wait until you have to teach other people what to do in case of an emergency.  Or instruct someone on how to use an EpiPen.   Finding someone you trust enough to watch your child with food allergies is one of the biggest challenges you will face.  How do you leave your precious cargo with someone else?  How do you trust that person to act fast enough to save your child’s life if something were to happen?  How do trust that the person you are letting care for your child has thoroughly brushed their teeth and washed their hands before coming into contact with your child?  How do you guarantee they will not give them something that will make them quit breathing or may even kill them?  The answers are simple: You don’t and you can’t control everything.  But, and thank God for this one: MOST parents and caretakers are very understanding, accommodating, and sympathetic.  They would do anything to keep your child safe.  I have been fortunate enough to never have to send my son to daycare or to ever really “need” a babysitter.  And  the few rare times I have had to have someone help out and watch him in a pinch, it has always been my mom, my grandma, or my aunt.  They have all been schooled in every food allergy topic possible.  I guess it is all due again to that nasty little word: anxiety.  

Another problem that may cause anxiety for a food allergy mom is the prevalence of “food-allergy bullying”.  Kids are cruel.  I really believe that if we all were a little kinder to others, the bullying would stop.  And it is not just kids.  Adults are just as, if not more, responsible for bullying children with food allergies.  This is a huge contributor to anxiety in kids with food allergies.  Will they be picked on because they have to sit at a special table at lunch?  Will they be made fun of on the bus because they carry an EpiPen?  Will they be singled out at slumber parties and not invited to play dates because other parents don’t want to have to make sure their houses are safe?  Will they be able to go on a field trip to a museum because they have cross-contamination in the cafĂ©?  Will they be made fun of because they can’t go to a ballgame where peanut shells are all over the bleachers?  Are they called “freaks” because things have to be prepared a certain way and they have to ask if certain foods are in various products before eating them?  The bullying has become a real outbreak, and it has to stop.  We live in a society that is comprised of hateful, malicious people.  I hope we can change for the better.

So that is my rant about anxiety.  I will have it until the day I die, of this I am certain.   I am well aware that all food-allergy moms have anxiety, and hopefully we can create a wonderful support system for each other.  And remember, moms (and dads), we are all doing the best we can.  Keep loving our awesome kiddos and keep giving them as normal of a life as we can.   You are doing a fabulous jobJ

Friday, September 6, 2013

Navigating the Food Allergy World for the First Time

I found this saying last night...and I could not have found a better description for my purpose on this planet.  In 100 years, it truly will not matter how much money I had, how big my house was, or what kind of fancy car I drove...but maybe, just maybe, through my advocacy for children living with food allergies, in some small way, by making others aware and trying to educate the public about food allergies, I may have made a difference in the care a child received, their quality of life, or in the way they were they were treated.  It is my highest hope that maybe I helped to save a life.
Maybe that difference made will be that somebody stuck up for a child being bullied because of their food allergies.  Maybe a child who normally felt left out because of having to sit at a peanut-free table in the lunch room will be able to sit with ALL of his friends at lunch because the school administration finally decided that NO peanuts were allowed in the school.  Maybe someone will recognize the signs of anaphylaxis and allergic reactions and their response time to help will be quicker. 
Here is my advice for those who are new to food allergies and need some guidance:
As a mom of a 3 year old who has a peanut, milk, and egg allergy, I cannot stress enough the importance of awareness and being thoroughly educated when it comes to food allergies and safety.  You can never be too careful when it comes to avoidance.  If you think it may have an allergen in it, DON'T even attempt it.  
I can assure you that you will never be disappointed in yourself for being over-protective, but I can, without a doubt, tell you that if something ever happened to my child due to negligence on my part, I could never live with myself.  Some people have insinuated that I would put my child in a bubble if I could, but that would not be a very fun childhood (for him or for me).  There has to be some sort of balance.  And so, we have tried to live in harmony with those three little evil foods that make him really sick.  They stay away from us and we stay away from them.  It takes a lot of planning and you have to be very meticulous, but you also have to let kids have as normal of a life as possible.  Let them be little.  There are so many fun things you can do with foods that are safe for your child.  And when they are grown and have children of their own, they won't remember "Aw man, Mom was no fun...she would never make me scrambled eggs".  They will be calling you saying "Hey, Mom...can I have that recipe for those cinnamon rolls I used to help you make before Church on Sundays?  Ya know, the ones with no eggs-- my favorite. " Or "Remember that time we made the Star Wars cake from scratch?  That was so fun".
Label reading is enormously time consuming, but well worth it to know exactly what you are putting into your child's body. makes it a little easier to sleep at night knowing that he won't break out in hives or have horrible GI problems or stop breathing because he ingested milk and egg.  Or God forbid, peanuts.  I HATE PEANUTS.  There, I said it.  As far as I am concerned, they can be permanently erased from the face of the Earth.  (Sorry to all of you who love peanuts, but I love my child more). 
Another difficulty when it comes to reading labels, is figuring out all of the names for the various allergens.  Check out to become better educated on product safety and labeling.  You can never be too educated:)
It is really important to create a good relationship with the allergist who is treating you or your child.  They can provide a great support network, advise you on diets, and also refer you to other medical professionals who will be of great benefit to you.  (Think dieticians and nutritionists). 
Make some friends at your local organic/vegan/health food stores.  They have a wealth of information about various sections of the store and what products they carry that will be safe for you or your child.  Trust me, these stores can get really overwhelming just after a few isles.  And then 100 different kinds of soymilk.  Do I try the flavored ones?  Do I stick to full fat or the light version?  Which brand is the best?  Is organic better?  AY AY AY!  I will let you in on a little secret- I think I tried at least 15 kinds before I could get my little guy to comfortably accept one.  And it took weeks.  If you are feeling frustrated, you are not alone.  We have all been there.  Go into the bathroom, close the door and scream in the shower if you have to.  You will feel better.
Make sure anyone who is responsible for caring for your child has a safety plan in place in case of an emergency.  This includes school, daycare, and babysitters.  Don't worry that you will come off as a control freak to these people when you have them follow your plan.  Those who you entrust to care for and love your child will be right beside you making sure your child has everything needed to stay safe and healthy.  And don't be afraid to lean on them.  Reassure these caregivers that you have complete trust in them and really appreciate all they do to keep your child safe.  They probably already know you trust them, it's not like any of us would ever leave our child with people we didn't know, or anyone who hadn't been trained on how to use an Epipen.
Do your research.  Read, read, read.  And then ask questions.  Talk to other parents and see what strategies they have come up with.  I once read "A concerned mother does better research than the FBI".  This could not be more true.  Go ahead, laugh.  It's Friday!
Most importantly, at the end of each and every day, remember to BREATHE!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you don't, you are no good to anyone.  Tell yourself everything will work out and tomorrow is a new day.  Have faith that you have done the best you can and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  After all, there is not one person on this planet that knows everything about everything, which is why God gave us doctors and the Internet. 
I will leave you with my little boy's favorite cinnamon roll recipe (dairy, egg, and peanut free) from Sugar Bomb Baker Blog:)

Link to 5k

Oops...yesterday I forgot to post the link the FAREwell to Food Allergies is it:)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mission Statement

Hello!  Thanks for stopping by!  I will try to post on a daily basis, but sometimes that will not be possible with a 3 year old:)  I will post recipes, facts, tips, research updates, etc. on this blog.  If you have anything you would like to suggest as a post, please email me at

The first thing I would like to make everyone aware of is the FAREwell to Food Allergies 5K Run/Walk taking place in Springfield, IL on November 2, 2013 at Washington Park.  I have created this event in order to raise awareness and to support my local food allergy community. 

To register for the event, please visit  Sign up today! 

It is widely acknowledged that food allergies are a significant and growing epidemic.   Studies show that the number of children living with a peanut allergy has tripled between 1997 and 2008.  This awareness and understanding is in large part due to epidemiologists, researchers who focus on the cause and distribution of diseases in human populations.  Epidemiologists have concluded that nearly 40 percent of all children diagnosed with food allergies have already experienced a severe or life-threatening reaction.  Other studies have disclosed the financial burden and damaging effects of a family’s quality of life due to food allergies.   A handful of organizations are advocates for food allergy education, research, diagnoses and treatment, including implementing stricter laws and public policy to create safer environments for individuals with food allergies.

There is not a clear answer as to why the number of individuals who have a food allergy continues to grow.   Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies.  Food allergies are a potentially deadly disease that affect  1 out of 13 children in the United States.  That means almost 2 kids in every classroom.   Every 3 minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the Emergency Room, resulting in more than 200,000 Emergency Room visits a year.  Reactions range from mild responses (such as itchy mouth) to potentially fatal anaphylaxis.

Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions in children: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish.  Cross-contamination or trace amounts of the food can cause reactions.   The risk factors for children with food allergies vary.  Food allergies affect children and adults of all races and ethnicity.  Food allergies can begin at any age.  The risk of having a food allergy is higher if you have a parent who suffers from any type of allergic disease (asthma, eczema, food allergies, or environmental/seasonal allergies).  Kids with food allergies are 3-4 times more likely to have asthma and other allergies compared to those who do not. 

Most do not outgrow a peanut, tree nut, fish, or a shellfish allergy.  Milk, egg, and soy allergies usually begin in childhood and have the potential to be outgrown.  For most children, this happens by the age of 16, according to studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.   To date, there is no cure for food allergies.  Strict avoidance as well as early recognition and management of allergic reactions to foods are important safety measures. 

All monies raised will be donated to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), one of the biggest advocates for the food allergy community.  FARE strives to improve the quality of life for individuals affected by funding research initiatives, clinical trials, new treatments, and education.    Many food allergy educators, dieticians, and parental support specialists have made it possible for FARE to provide education and support to individuals dealing with the overwhelming life changes that occur when a child is diagnosed with food allergies.  FARE seeks to identify and answer the crucial questions that will enable researchers and doctors to solve the puzzle of food allergies.  Without donations and fundraisers, research grants and clinical trials would not be possible.