Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

The Dangers of a Dairy Allergy November 17, 2017

cereal and milk pixabay StockSnap

 

Three year old, Elijah Silvera, was attending a regular day of preschool in New York City recently, when preschool workers fed him a grilled cheese sandwich despite school papers which formally documented his severe dairy allergy.  Elijah had a severe allergic reaction and went into anaphylaxis.  Standard procedure for anaphylaxis is to administer epinephrine and call 911 immediately.  Instead, the school called Elijah’s mother, who picked up her child and drove him to the hospital herself.  Doctors in the emergency room tried but were unable to save him.

 

Dairy allergy is the most common food allergy among young children.  And, although the peanut can produce some of the most severe allergic reactions (as well as some of the most tragic headlines), an allergy to milk products can be life-threatening.  The myth that a dairy allergy is not serious and doesn’t require as much vigilance causes great frustration to many who are allergic to milk, as does the idea that a food is “allergy free” if it does not contain nuts. To those who live with it, a dairy allergy requires an enormous amount of preparation and education since milk is an ingredient in so many products.

 

Dairy is cow’s milk and found in all cow’s milk products, such as cream, butter, cheese, and yogurt.  Doctors sometimes advise patients with a dairy allergy to avoid other animals’ milk (such as goat) because the protein it contains may be similar to cow and could cause a reaction.  Reactions to dairy vary from hives and itching to swelling and vomiting, to more severe symptoms such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.  Strictly avoiding products containing milk is the best way to prevent a reaction.  The only way to help stop a severe food allergy reaction is with epinephrine; patients should always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors with them at all times.

 

Just like other allergens, cross contamination is a concern for those with a dairy allergy. Even a small amount of milk protein could be enough to cause a reaction. For example, butter and powdered cheese (like the kind you might find on potato chips) are easily spreadable in a pan, within a classroom or on a playground.  And, as with other allergens, hand sanitizer does NOT remove the proteins that cause allergic reactions.  Doctors recommend hand washing with good old soap and water – but wipes work in a pinch.

 

Those allergic to dairy must not only avoid food; they often have to look out for health and beauty products too.  Dairy can be found in vitamins, shampoo, and lotions.  It is critical to read the ingredient labels of every product you buy each time you buy it as ingredients and manufacturing procedures may change.

 

In the United States, any food product containing milk or a milk derivative must be listed as DAIRY or MILK under the current labeling laws (see The Ins and Outs of Reading Food Labels, Aug. 2016).  If you are living or traveling elsewhere, this list of some alternative names for dairy may be useful:

 

milk (in all forms: goat, whole, skim, 1%, 2%, evaporated, dry, condensed, etc)
butter (including artificial butter and margarine)
cream
buttermilk
sour cream
half and half
yogurt
cheese
ice cream
custard
sherbet
pudding
chocolate
ghee
whey (all forms)
casein
caseinates (all forms)
casein hydrolysate
lactose
lactulose
lactoferrin
lactalbumin (all forms)
diacetyl
rennet casein

 

Let’s spread the facts about dairy allergy so that our schools and teachers better understand how to accommodate and care for students with food allergies.   Any allergen can produce severe, life-threatening allergic reactions and all food allergies should be taken seriously and managed with attention.  I sincerely  hope that by informing others we can prevent another tragedy like the one the Silvera family was forced to experience.

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PhillySwirl: Dessert for Everyone! July 28, 2015

This is a sponsored post.

Who doesn’t like something cold and sweet on a hot summer day (or in my case, everyday)?!  But it can be hard to find desserts that are safe for those with food allergies.  Nuts, dairy and gluten trip us up not only in the bakery aisle, but can be a cross-contamination risk even for simple concoctions like popsicles.

Enter: PhillySwirl.  Almost everything in their product line is dairy and gluten-free making them a safe AND delicious choice at the supermarket.

PhillySwirl recently sent me their gluten and dairy-free products.  My kids and I had a BALL trying and evaluating all the flavors.  They thought their birthdays had come early as I told them, “Kids, we’re going to have to try every flavor of PhillySwirl Italian ices.  Sorry.”  It was no chore for me either!  Here’s what we tried and our impressions:

SwirlStix

The classic popsicle – only tastier.  Arriving in six interesting flavors, we studiously “evaluated” (read: devoured) each one – giving each other tastes only when begged.  The SwirlStix were my personal favorite.  Easy to hold, neat to eat, and delicious.  Orange Dream was a favorite of my husband and Very Berry was mine (although a close tie with the Applelicious).

Swirl Popperz

My younger son and nephew loved the Swirl Popperz.  In fact, when asked for his thoughts, my son said, “These are excellente! [yes, inexplicably in Spanish] Tell PhillySwirl ‘Thank you’!”  Still dairy and gluten-free, these had a creamier texture to them which made them easy to push up.  I also liked them because the wrapper kept my preschooler from dripping popsicle around the house like Hansel and Gretel’s crumb trail.  My nephew was kind enough to let me taste his Rainbow flavored Popper which was fabulous!  I’d get these again – perfect for feeding a group of kids in the summer!

Swirl Cups with CandySpoonz

The Swirl Cups were a hit!  And, why wouldn’t they be when they contain delicious Italian ice swirls that you eat with lollipop spoons?!  A no-brainer!  Everyone had a different favorite.  What was great is that each flavor tasted like it’s name:  Cotton Candy tasted just like….Cotton Candy!  The Sunburst was a delicious mix of cherry, orange and lemon (yum!).  And the other choices were interesting, too: Cherry Melon, Hurricane (a cherry/lemon), Bluesberry Jam and Rainbow.  My kids and my niece and nephews clamored for these.  Buy two packs if you can store them – they go fast!

**My niece cleverly pointed out that the nutrition information was printed on each cup, making it extra fantastic for food allergic parents who need to read ingredients without access to the original box. Smart move!**

Thank you to PhillySwirl for good manufacturing practices that allow kids with food allergies (and sometimes adults without them) to enjoy such a fabulous, sweet treat!

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside…But, Sure, I’d Be Up For a Little More Ice! January 10, 2015

Italian Ice, that is!

I haven’t met an ice cream I didn’t like.  Yes, even in these east coast sub-zero temperatures I can’t be dissuaded away from a cold, sweet dessert.

So, the other night, while searching for a last minute dessert to bring to a friend’s house, my son found PhillySwirl’s Original Italian Ice Swirls.

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“Mom!!!” He screamed far too loudly from across the aisle, “Read this!”  Smack on the front of the box, it states that they are dairy, gluten and peanut-free.  And, they’re made in a peanut-free factory.  Jackpot!  As you all know, it can be hard to find desserts that are safe for dairy, gluten and nut allergic children. There’s always an unusual ingredient slipped in or a cross-contamination issue at play that ruins things at the last second.  So, you understand our excitement upon finding an awesome treat that’s also safe!

He was so thrilled, in fact, that he insisted we buy them just to support this awesome company.  Needless-to-say, I’ll be sure to check out PhillySwirl’s other products as well because these were DE-LISH!  Kudos go to this company for being food allergy aware!

 

A Shore Bet: Philadelphia Water Ice July 22, 2013

 

Hello from the beach!

 

While grabbing some ice cream last night, my son ordered cotton candy water ice.  As he was peeling off the wrapper, my husband noticed something great to report to you all:  The brand Philadelphia Water Ice not only contains NO dairy, gluten or soy, but it’s also produced in a peanut-free plant.

 

Doesn’t that make this dessert a little sweeter?!

 

Enjoy!

 

Show Place Ice Cream Parlor, LBI July 20, 2012

As my loyal readers already know, I have a little weakness for ice cream.  Just a little (read:  if it doesn’t involve ice cream, it probably isn’t really dessert in my world)….

 

On our most recent visit to Long Beach Island in New Jersey, we finally found the time to visit the renowned Show Place Ice Cream Parlor, where the talented singing wait staff find a way to get you into the act while serving giNORmous sundaes.

 
  • Of course, our ticket to entry depends entirely on whether or not they serve sorbet.  Thankfully, they list two on the menu (that’s two more than most places), although I discovered they only had one flavor upon arrival.  Bummer.
  • But on the plus side, Show Place does segregate the food allergy-related orders from the regular orders in another part of the kitchen.
  • Furthermore, I was told they will scoop a food allergy-related order directly from a new container and add toppings (such as sprinkles) from their original cartons to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination.
 

Although I was disappointed with the flavor selection, my son ensured me that his orange sorbet was fabulous and ate every drop to prove it.  I was happy with the procedure Show Place had in place for their food allergic patrons.  And, the show was so entertaining!  There’s no place like it, so if you find yourself on or near LBI, you really have to experience it firsthand.

Showplace

 

Maggie May’s Ice Cream – Pound Ridge, NY July 2, 2012

We just returned from another fabulous trip to my parents’ house in New York.  While there to celebrate a host of festive occasions, we had plenty of long, unstructured summer days to enjoy.  And, nothing tops off such quintessential summertime like a visit to a good ice cream shop.

 

Maggie May’s in Pound Ridge appears to have their act together.  Although they just opened, I was impressed with the thoughtfulness in which the owner considered her shop.  Set up as both for ice cream and self-serve frozen yogurt, Maggie May’s also serves dairy-free sorbet.  A coup!

 

I spoke with the owner, who mentioned that one of her own children has a variety of food allergies, appeared very careful about how she handles and prepares her treats.  She makes her own ice cream and sorbet by first processing the sorbet on the thoroughly cleaned machines, followed by the ice cream, followed by the ice cream with nuts thereby reducing risk of cross contamination.  She offered to get my son sprinkles from the back, to ensure they were safe.   Although state requirements are that ice cream parlors have something like 2-4 scoops, she uses more than 20!  Each scoop only gets used in one flavor bucket before it goes in for sterilization – again eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination from scoopers.  What a relief!  And, she was more than happy to double check ingredients when we asked and followed up with us as he was eating.

 

What impressed me most of all was the owner and her son’s concern for my son when they noticed him laying with his head on my lap as I sat on a bench outside their shop.  Unrelated to their sorbet, he was beginning to feel sick (I don’t know…could it have been the 14 treats he ate before consuming a huge lunch in the heat and THEN sorbet?!  Yes.).  They immediately came out to check on him, offer him ice water, and double checked his order (all perfectly safe for him).  I appreciated their concern and was enjoyed getting to know them.

 

I wish Maggie May’s well!  In my book, they’re doing everything right.

 

Baskin Robbins – 31 Flavors and a Few Well-Marked Allergens May 14, 2012

Filed under: Restaurants — malawer @ 11:24 am
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Did you know that Baskin Robbins lists each flavor’s allergens in their freezer window?!  Certainly makes choosing a safe option a whole lot easier!  Thank goodness, the weather’s heating up and we’re craving ice cream!

 

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