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Safe Travels! Apps for Food Allergies July 5, 2014

Summer is a great time to hit the road (or the sky!). But travel can pose some issues for those with food allergies.  New restaurants, meals on the go… they can be hard to sort out safely.  Here are a few apps to play with over the summer that might just help out:  

 

Restaurant Nutrition:

While developed as a way to check for nutritional information of restaurant chains, it also includes ingredient lists whenever possible… Making that last minute rest stop a lot easier to navigate.  Available (free) for iPhone and Android platforms.    

 

Yummly:

So, you’ve spent all day at the beach or on a hike and your gang is exhausted.  Sounds like you’re eating at the rental house tonight!  Do you need a dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free dessert?  Try checking out Yummly.  What I love about this site is that you can search for recipes WITHOUT certain ingredients.  Who doesn’t want to make this amazing recipe?!

Mini Peach Pies

Mini Peach Pies via Yummly.com

Allergy FT:

Traveling abroad with a food allergy can be tricky?  You will want to make absolutely sure that your waiter and chef know you know a food allergy.  Allergy FT translates your food allergy from English into Spanish, French or German allowing you to communicate in roughly 57 countries!  Best of all, no internet connection is involved so no soaring internet rates!

 

 

Emergency Apps:

  • The American Red Cross app may be useful for any number of reasons.  But for us, it’s symptoms and advice on anaphylaxis is particularly helpful.   
  • FindER will use your phone’s GPS to locate the closest ER to wherever you are.  While I hope none of us ever has to use this, it’s good to know it’s available.

 

I’d love to hear of any other apps people are using and finding helpful!  And, of course, safe travels wherever your plans may take you!

 

Some Delicious Ideas for the Fourth of July! July 3, 2014

Filed under: Recipes & Cooking — malawer @ 12:30 am
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If you have food allergies or are hosting someone with food allergies for the Fourth of July, you’re likely fretting about menu options.

 

Here are some quick and easy ideas for an allergy-friendly Fourth:

 

My Sweetheart Sorbet Pie idea can be made with any flavor sorbet (dairy and nut-free!) and topped with red raspberry, blueberries and banana or pineapple slices for a red, white and blue display.

Allergy Shmallergy:  Sweetheart Sorbet Pie

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Check out these adorable fruit kabobs from The Frugal Girls:

4th of July Fruit Kabobs Recipe Patriotic

 

These drinks from In Katrina’s Kitchen look as adorable as they do refreshing:

 
If the only way to celebrate being American is through Apple Pie, then try these two allergy-friendly pie crust recipes:
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    And, of course, be sure to ask and double check packaging for all hot dog and hamburger buns if you’re allergic to sesame seeds.  For some reason, those little buggers are in everything!  Here are a few brands we’ve had luck with:
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    Hope you all have a safe and fun-filled Fourth of July!
     

    How to Get Enough Calcium When You’re Dairy-Free June 16, 2014

    Filed under: Health — malawer @ 1:19 pm
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

     

     

    As the mother of a child with a (now-former) dairy allergy and of two still picky, non-dairy eating boys, I worry about their calcium intake.  But, I can’t force them to like yogurt or drink regular milk when it tastes foreign and evokes mixed emotions from my FA son.

     

    Children between 4-8 yrs old require approximately 800 mg of calcium per day while pre-teens and teens require 1300 mg (adults, you need 1000 if you’re under 50 and not pregnant).

     

    So, how else can you sneak calcium into their diets:

     

    Alternate Milks and Drinks:

    Calcium Fortified Orange Juice     8 oz     350

    Calcium-Fortified Soy Milk      1 cup     300

    Calcium-Fortified Rice Milk    1 cup     300

     

    Non-Dairy Refrigerator Items:

    Soy Yogurt      6 oz      300

    Tofu     4 oz       240-400

     

    Dark Leafy Greens:

    Edamame, soybeans cooked     1 cup    175

    Kale, cooked      1/2 cup     103

    Broccoli, cooked     1/2 cup     47

     

    Grains:

    English Muffin     one     100

    Waffle, frozen toasted     one    81

    Corn tortilla w/calcium (who knew?!)     one     60

     

    Don’t forget that when you add black beans, tahini (**if you’re not allergic to sesame seeds**), oatmeal, calcium enriched cereal or Nesquick into the mix you up your calcium intake as well.

     

    Now go out and keep those bones strong!

     

     

     

    Spring Cleaning: How to Properly Dispose of Epinephrine Auto-Injectors May 19, 2014

    Filed under: Health — malawer @ 12:54 pm
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

     

    I’m deep into spring cleaning (yes, right before the onset of summer) and have a stockpile of expired EpiPens and Auvi-Qs to get rid of.  But what should you do with them?

     

    1.  Keep the auto-injectors in their protective cases.  Even if you’ve used them, return them to their cases to safeguard anyone who may handle them after that.

     

    2.  Do not throw epinephrine auto-injectors in the trash.  Since they contain needles, that may be considered a “medical sharp” which poses a safety hazard to sanitation workers and the environment.

     

    3.  So where should they go?

    • The best place to bring them is to your nearest hospital or doctor’s office where they likely have proper medical sharp disposal.
    • Another great place to try is your local pharmacy.  Call ahead to see if they participate in a medical waste disposal program and specifically ask about medical sharps.
    • Many towns and cities host Household Hazardous Waste collection drives.  Call your local government to find out when a drive will run near you and, again, ask specifically about medical sharps.  Our local collection could not accept them but each town has different capabilities.
     

    I think I’m going to set mine aside until I take my son for his regular check up at our allergist’s office.   With a toddler in tow, I’m all about making the fewest stops these days!

     

    It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week! May 12, 2014

    Filed under: Holiday,School — malawer @ 2:19 pm
    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    May 11-17th is Food Allergy Awareness Week!    For those of us who are Food Allergy parents, it feels like we raise awareness about food allergies everyday, doesn’t it?!  But by joining forces with parents, patients, and food allergy organizations from around the world, we can gain attention from key decision-makers and continue to educate our communities.

     

    So, what can you do to raise awareness?   Here are a few examples:

    • Use this week to sign up for a Food Allergy Walk in your area.

     

     

    • Share your food allergy story with your local congressman and urge them to support laws that encourage access to emergency epinephrine, emergency medications, food labeling, etc.

     

    Share what you’re doing for Food Allergy Awareness this week with me on Twitter using @shmallergy #FAAwareness.   I look forward to hearing from you!

     

     

     

    Happy Mother’s Day May 11, 2014

    Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 12:21 pm

    Just wanted to say a quick Happy Mother’s Day to all my tireless, fabulous food allergy moms.

    I hope you get a moment to relish in how much you are appreciated today!

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    Now What? What To Do After Receiving a Food Allergy Diagnosis April 25, 2014

     

    The child of a friend of mine was just diagnosed with a peanut allergy.  Until I began to discuss what this meant with her, I had forgotten just how overwhelming the initial part of this process can be.

     

    So, what DO you do upon learning you or your child has a food allergy?  Where to begin!?  Don’t panic, take a deep breath and follow these few steps to get started:

     

    1.  Find a recommended allergist; preferably one who specializes in food allergies.  Often times, food allergy diagnoses emerge from a pediatric/internist visit or a trip to the emergency room.  And while these professionals are knowledgeable, it’s important to touch base with an allergist who is on top of ever-changing information and treatment.  Our fabulous pediatrician not only has a child with food allergies but is food allergic herself.  And despite that, even SHE defers to our allergist!

     

    2.  Fill your prescriptions and learn how to use your auto-injector.   There’s no wrong answer when it comes to choosing which auto-injector to use (see: Auvi-Q vs. EpiPen: Which Is Best for You?) .  And you can learn how to use them here:  Familiarize or Refamiliarize Yourself With How to Use an EpiPen and Auvi-Q: Watch and Learn.  While you’re at the pharmacy, I would pick up a couple of boxes of Benadryl (for kids, at least two liquid packages) to keep in your house and at school.

      

    3.  Review your pantry and devise a labeling system.  It’s important to make your home a safe space to eat.  Begin by reading ingredient lists and separate safe and unsafe foods.  Put that dining room table to good use!  And, don’t forget: manufacturing being what it is, many products are made on equipment that contains your allergen and should be put aside until you speak to your allergist.  An example of a labeling system can be found here.

      

    4.  Create an Emergency Action Plan and an Emergency On-the-Go Pack.  An Emergency Action Plan eliminates questions and increases your confidence about what to do when certain symptoms arise.  You can have your pediatrician/internist or your allergist fill one out for you. Make a few copies to keep at home, school, in the car, on the fridge, in your On-the-Go Kit, etc.  The more, the better!

     

    An Emergency On-the-Go Pack corrals all your emergency medication, including your auto-injector, plus your Emergency Action Plan and a copy of your insurance card into one pouch.  You’ll always know that you have all of your necessary supplies when you leave the house.  Plus, it will make it super-simple to pass your pack between bags or to another caregiver and know that everything your child needs to stay safe is at hand.

     

    A few notes:  Jot down questions as they arise in this early part of the process.  Use your questions as discussion points and get clear answers from your allergist.  Please refer to Allergy Shmallergy’s SCHOOL category to get ideas of how to handle allergy issues at your child’s school, starting with Back to School Food Allergy Checklist.

     

    Most of all, remain calm!  Managing with a food allergy certainly requires a different perspective on life.  But, it doesn’t need to be stress inducing.  Staying informed and answering each challenge with simple solutions will allow your family to thrive.

     

     

     

     
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