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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Food Allergy Awareness Week Giveaway!

Updated 12pm 5/13/10: The winner has been chosen by Comment #2.
Thanks for the comments and suggestions and even the question!
Original Post:

Another week long celebration I didn't know existed until it applied to me.

Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week!

We are a family that lives with food allergies now. One of many.

Recent numbers say that between 6-8& of all children (3 and under) have food allergies. And of that 2.5% of children (3 and under) are allergic to milk.

E is dairy allergic and possibly peanut allergic. (We have not tried peanuts yet and are waiting until she turns 2 to do anymore testing.)

She can't have any cheese, butter, milk, yogurt or ice cream.

This means Cheez-It's and cheddar flavored crackers and chips are out. Along with milkshakes and smoothies. And string cheese. I'm pretty sure she misses that the most.

If E gets even just a swig of milk, she will typically throw it up within an hour, if not sooner. We have had a few instances with butter that she ends up very uncomfortable and seems to have an upset tummy.

We are very thankful that her reaction is not more severe. And we are also very hopeful that she will outgrow it as most kids with this type of allergy can and do.

Around the time of M's 5th birthday party, there was a boy that was invited to the party who was allergic to peanuts and I remember the mom asking me several times about the food and making sure it was all peanut free and I checked and double checked and yet the day of the party she sent her own cupcake for her son. I was so annoyed but now I completely understand!

While E's reaction to milk and dairy is not life threatening, I still want to be extra careful and cautious that she is not eating anything that could make her sick. I can only imagine how that mom would feel and worry when her son could have an anaphylaxic reaction which can be fatal.

I thought I would share some of the resources I have used and found the last couple of months since we found out that Miss E has some allergies because until all this came up I had no idea about the options available.

Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk. The list goes on.

Goat's Milk is not an alternative because there are some resources that say it is not a safe alternative to cow's milk.

E is on a soy milk diet that includes soy milk, soy yogurt and soy cheese.

Soy milk is available most major grocery stores now but the other items can be harder to find.

Our local Target carries Stonyfield Farms O'Soy yogurt that she eats.

We buy our soy cheese at our local Trader Joe's.

And we also now buy individual chocolate soy milk boxes there too. Those are a fun treat for E. Sunday night she drank the entire 8 ounce box without even stopping to breathe.

I do find myself reading labels a lot more than I used to to make sure there are no actual milk proteins in certain foods. We avoid all cheddar based foods but if something like Vanilla Wafers that the box says "may contain milk", we do allow her to eat it and haven't had any reactions.

The reason E hasn't had peanuts yet is because many times when kids already have a diagnosed food allergy they are more likely to have another allergy and many times that is peanuts. (One of the most common food allergies.)

I was thrilled when I heard of SunButter. It's a sunflower seed spread that has a peanut butter like texture.

It is high fat and high protein (which in our case with E is very good!) and very tasty.

All four of our kids love it on crackers and sandwiches.

It is peanut, dairy and gluten free.

This is available at Target and other grocery stores. There is also a generic version I've seen at Trader Joe's but I haven't read the label yet to make sure that it is safe.

While there are some things that have been harder with E's allergies, we have adapted pretty well. I do sometimes struggle with the fact that with H it was so easy to have a babysitter or go to a friends and he could eat and drink anything and now I need to plan more for E. And also communicate more about what she can and can not have. I am already a little anxious about the idea of future playdates and preschool and all of those things that I won't necessarily be there to speak up about. However, I think we'll wait and cross that bridge when it comes.

There are tons more resources out there that I haven't even uncovered yet. One of the websites I have turned to for information is FAAN. But I am always interested in more info.

**Another local Minnesota resource is Missy of the Marketing Mama. She has an entire series on her blog devoted to food allergies.**

Do you have any experience with food allergies or any further advice to give someone?

Please leave a comment of your own experience in the comments or further suggestions you have or if you have no experience on this topic, a question you have. All comments will be entered in a random drawing for two tickets to this Friday nights (May 14, 2010) St. Paul Saints Game. Comments will be closed and the winner will be chosen by at 12pm Thursday.

Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated in any way to write any of this post by any of the above companies or products listed. However, SunButter did send me samples of their product to try with no obligation. Metro Dentalcare has offered me the St. Paul Saints tickets to give away. I am not a patient at Metro Dentalcare and did not receive anything from them for hosting the giveaway.


Blogger The Gatzke Family said...

Curious if your daughter has an skin problems associated with her food allergies. My daughter has a rash on her legs and one of my colleagues in dermatology asked if she had any food allergies, but she doesn't - at least not yet. Thank you for the link to the website - very informative.

May 12, 2010 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Jon, Sara, Tyler, and Sophie said...

I don't have experience with food allergies personally, but I did practice a vegan diet for about a year. It was great to learn about other options and try new things. I still use many of the recipes from books that I purchased just because they tend to be tasty but healthier.

May 12, 2010 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I do not have food allergy issues, but my sister-in-law is allergic to dairy in a different way than E - she gets really stuffed up and cannot breathe if she has too much. We've learned some really interesting things along the way as she's been figuring out what she can eat. She has a fantastic dairy free cheesecake recipe that I'll see if she'll share - I find I like it better now than real cheesecake, it's lighter and fluffier tasting!

May 12, 2010 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Madison and I do not have a food allergy. However I do know a little girl that has a allergy to peanuts. Her mother said that because her father has the same allergy, that they were told by the doctor not to even try it until the girls turned 4. Turns out that one has it and one does not. Anyway, she is in sunday school with Madison. All of the classes have something posted in the rooms for parents to write if a child has an allergy to something. Since peanuts are so common, we just tell parents NOT to bring anything containing them. Eliminates the temptation.

May 12, 2010 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Anti-Supermom said...

It's really difficult for me to imagine living with food allergies, in myself or my children, so kudos to you for all that you have to do to make sure they are safe.

Thank you for all your information.

And I just realized that I wasn't following you, mistake corrected - geesh!

May 12, 2010 at 7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luckily I do not have any food allergies however I do know people who have them and i see how tough it is on them of my friends can't even risk being around peanuts.
Along w you, a lot of my friends who are parents are finding out that their kids have some kind of food allergy. I'm hearing about it more and more. Good thing their are products out there for E and eveyone else w a food allergy.

May 12, 2010 at 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Great info here... sometimes kids with dairy allergies are NOT allergice to raw milk, and can actually benefit from the consumption of.

Be blessed!!

May 13, 2010 at 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are looking for a good butter, EarthBalance butter is a great alternative. It is lactose free and made of soy products and vegetable oils. It is high in Omega 3's and it tastes great!


May 13, 2010 at 7:27 AM  

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