Wednesday 27 June 2012

Mount Sinai School Of Medicine-Allergic Reactions-Young Children-Food Allergies

More Vigilance Needed To Prevent Children Having Food Allergy Reactions

Everyone knows the old story of the peanut allergy that seems to affect around one in 500 people, and can cause severe, even life threatening allergic reactions. There are, however, many other foods that can cause children to experience allergic reactions... read more..

Causes For High Rates Of Allergic Reactions In Children With Food Allergies Identified

A team of researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and four other institutions have found that young children with documented or likely allergies to milk and/or eggs, whose families were instructed on how to avoid these and other foods, still experienced allergic reactions at a rate of almost once per year... read more..

Black Beans-Tuna Salad

Dairy-Free Black Bean "Tuna Lettuce Wraps

I can't believe I got the boys to eat this!  And they liked it!  I made tuna salad without mayo.  It was just tuna, boiled egg, rinsed black beans, pickle relish, and a squirt of lemon.  We wrapped them in romaine lettuce.  Maybe that was the novelty? read more..

Community Foundation-Education Grants-Local Groups-Watertown

Local Groups and Schools Receive $43K in Grants from the Watertown Community Foundation

The following information was provided by the Watertown Community Foundation: The Watertown Community Foundation board of directors recently voted to award non-profit organizations in Watertown $43,300 in "Grants to Core Institutions" and "Education Grants." "We wish we could have funded all worthy applicants, but this year WCF received grant ... (more) read more..

Sunday 17 June 2012

Dairy Free Mashed Potato Recipe-Dairy Free Foods-Potato Masher-Potato Ricer

Mashed Potatoes

With Thanksgiving only a week away, I decided to post about the quintessential Turkey Day side: mashed potatoes.  Mashed potatoes are a favorite of mine, so I am the designated mashed potato maker for holiday gatherings.  I often talk about how dairy free foods should be enjoyable to those who consume dairy and those who do not.  This recipe is a perfect example of that because there have been multiple occasions where I have had trouble convincing guests that these mashed potatoes were not made with dairy!
When I make mashed potatoes, I do not use measurements and instead add a little of this and that.  For blogging purposes though, I was able to record a perfectly creamy dairy free mashed potato recipe!
 Mashed Potatoes
-4 large potatoes, boiled
-4 tablespoons of you favorite dairy free butter
-1 tablespoon salt
-Pepper to taste
On the stove, boil water in a large pot.  Chop the potatoes into halves or thirds in order to lessen the cooking time.  Place the potatoes into the boiling water for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife is inserted into the center with ease.  Drain the potatoes and let cool for about 5 minutes.
With the skins still intact, place individual potato pieces into a potato ricer (pictured above) and rice into the bowl of a stand mixer.  If you do not have a ricer, thoroughly mash the potatoes with a potato masher or pastry blender.
In a microwave safe dish, place the soy milk and butter into the microwave for 1 minute, or until the butter melts (this helps the potatoes stay warm by not adding cold ingredients).  Add the warm mixture to the potatoes and blend on low until combined.  Add salt and pepper and blend on medium-high for 30 seconds.  Add more salt and pepper to taste or more soy milk if the potatoes are dry.
These mashed potatoes are rich and creamy thanks to the double mashing/blending.  If you are looking for something extra special, try adding roasted garlic and parsley...yum!  Enjoy! read more..

Friday 15 June 2012

Food Allergies-Nut Allergies-Frozen Treats-Italian Ice-Ice Cream

Store-Bought Ice Cream and Nut Allergies: Here's the Scoop

With summer around the corner and warm weather taking over, lots of usare thinking about ice cream. Those of us dealing with nut allergies arewondering what ice cream we can possibly buy because store-bought ice creamoffers an allergy label minefield. In fact, ice cream labels withregard to nut allergies (and other food allergies) are some of the most diverse andinconsistent out there. It's crazy! So how do you know what is safe for your situation andwhat isn’t? In the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken another look at ice creamlabels from several different brands.
Here’s the scoop (forgive the pun): some labels are changing to includeallergy statements and some brands simply have no allergen information on themat all. In fact, this is true for most of the “big name” brands. When you callor e-mail (Häagen-Dazs, Ben and Jerry’s and Edy’s are three I’ve contacted) theymay tell you that the ice cream is made on the same lines with allergens but that awash-down is done between batches. For severely allergic people, the chance ofan allergen remaining, even in trace amounts, can be problematic, so personallyI avoid these altogether. However, you might feel OK with the wash-down; that's certainly up to you.Some brands (Cia Bella gelato, for example) have clearallergy warnings as follows: Made on equipment with eggs, wheat, peanuts andtree nuts.
Blue Bunny brand will tell you detailed allergen informationon their web site and packaging. Click here for a list. A very few (like the coconut milk-based So Delicious brand) give an allergystatement on their packaging that explains a wash down system/allergen testing they do for eachflavor, even though some of their flavors contain common allergens likepeanuts. While I appreciate the information, I don’t want stuff made on sharedlines, period. So I’ve skipped brands with those types of labels too, though Iknow some people don’t and haven’t had a problem. Like so many other foods orsituations, this one is personal call based on your doctor's advice, child's past reactions and general comfort level with the product.What about Popsicles and Italian ice frozen treats?I’ve had better luck with many of those over the years, simply for the factthat most aren’t sharing lines with ice cream that contains peanuts or treenuts. Luigi’s Italian Ice and Popsicle brand are two I’ve used without problems for years.However, I recommend calling to check each year—because the labels are changingand production practices change often. So if you see something you like andthere is no allergy info, it's a good idea to call or send an e-mail to the company.
What if the customer service lines are closed when you want to call? I stick to the when in doubt, do without rule. It's always better to at least know the facts when serving a food, so if you don't know if it's safe, skip it. I find that it helps to be armed with cookies, fruit treats or other goodies when attending parties or family member's homes so that you always have something to offer your child in case the "house ice cream" is off-limits.
Sometimes it just seems easier to make your own frozen treats, especially if you are dealing with multiple food allergies. I lovehaving an electric ice cream maker (from Cuisinart, about $50 but I use it a lot) because you can choose whatever ingredientsand flavors you like. You can make sorbet, ice cream, frozen yogurt—all withoutworry and with a lot less of the bad stuff like chemicals and additives. What if you want a quick treat and don't feel like waiting hours for your dessert to freeze? Have you seen the Zoku?  This fun little device makes ice pops and other frozen treats in minutes. These are so fun for kidsand adults love them too—I’m thinking of picking one up this summer. They aresold at places like Williams-Sonoma and other home stores—if the kids aredriving you crazy over summer break, this makes a fun project for them besidesa healthy sna read more..

Thursday 14 June 2012

Profound Mystery-Sweet Child-Christmas

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your family a very merry and blessed Christmas!
O sweet Child of Bethlehem,grant that we may share with all our heartsin this profound mystery of Christmas.Put into the hearts of men and women this peacefor which they sometimes seek so desperatelyand which you alone can give to them.Help them to know one another better,and to live as brothers and sisters,children of the same Father.Reveal to them also your beauty, holiness and purity.Awaken in their heartslove and gratitude for your infinite goodness.Join them all together in your love.And give us your heavenly peace. Amen.Pope John XXIII read more..

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Identification Necklaces-Emergency Medical Record-Medical Alert Jewelry-Medical Id Medical Id

Allergy Alert Wear

Medical Alert Canada The MedicAlert Difference Only MedicAlert medical alert identification offers paramedics your emergency medical record with a 24 hour emergency hotline service. Thanks to No Child Without The Canadian MedicAlert® Foundation is a charitable organization which is the leading provider of emergency medical information services linked to customized medical bracelets and necklaces. We are pleased to be able to offer MedicAlert memberships to students (from age 4 to their 14th birthday) through the No Child Without® program in select schools. The financial support of the Government of Canada and Lions Clubs allows students to receive the MedicAlert membership for FREE.
Allermates Nutty and the gang, otherwise known as the AllerMates. This colorful crew is armed and ready to help identify and safeguard children with cool and kid friendly allergy awareness accessories
Mission Our mission is to offer kid friendly allergy awareness accessories to help identify and protect kids with allergies! We also love making kids feel good about themselves with the help of our Allermates characters.
Read my interview is with Iris Shamus, Founder of Allermates.
Medical ID Medical ID Marketplace, A Hope Paige Company™, headquartered in West Conshohocken, PA, mixes fashion and style with function and purpose as the market leader in contemporary medical emergency items, awareness jewelry and licensed designs. We strive to offer customers the very best in style, comfort and price while at the same time bringing the latest technology and products to market.
Lauren's Hope We provide a full line of personalized medical alert jewelry for those with any condition that requires you to wear a medical ID. Our classic designs include beaded and link medical ID bracelets that attach to a blank or custom engraved alert tag with the medical symbol, as well as personalized medical identification necklaces for men and women. Kids love our fun styles like the dog tag ID necklace, sports and flower medical pendants and waterproof adjustable medical sport bands.
Tessi Design Your medical alert ID bracelet shouldn't feel like another responsibility; if anything, it should be something you like enough to show it off! TASSI Design medical alert jewelry can be engraved with a name or message to further personalize it for you or a loved one. The durable, customizable bracelet is more than just a style statement--it could end up saving the wearer's life in an emergency. Why wait? Let a TASSI Design medical alert ID bracelet be there for you when you need it.
Don't forget to always wear your asthma and allergy medication, see list of Carrying containers for auto-injectors and other meds read more..

False Negative Results-Food Allergy Testing-Food Challenges-Eczema

Advice for Patients with Eczema

Advice for Patients with Eczema from WebMD
10 Tips for Living With Eczema
Children With Eczema: How to Stop the Scratching
Eczema in Adults: Dealing with Itching Posted at Allergy Notes. Stay updated and subscribe, follow us on Twitter and connect on Facebook. read more..

Waiting a Day on Oral Food Challenges Improves Results

Oral food challenges are the "gold standard" of food allergy testing, yet they can still have a 10% rate of false negative results. A recent study found that waiting a day and then repeating the oral challenge reduces the rate of false negatives....Read Full Post read more..

Food Allergy Initiative-Medical Advisory Board-Food Allergy Research-Pediatric Allergy

Dr. Wesley Burks Named Chair of Food Allergy Initiative's Medical Advisory Board

Newswise - Wesley Burks, MD, one of the world's leading experts in pediatric allergy, will become chair of the Medical Advisory Board of the Food Allergy Initiative , the world's largest source of private funding for food allergy research, effective June 1, 2012. read more..

Chicken Pot Pies-Gluten Free

Mini Chicken Pot Pies (dairy and gluten free)

Pot pie has always been a favorite meal, especially when I was younger. My mom’s pot pie was to die for, but I found myself rarely making it when I stopped eating gluten and dairy; primarily because I felt it was too much effort for one meal. Here is a recipe I did a while [...] read more..

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Food Allergy-Foodallergy-Tweets

Food Allergy Awareness Week Twitter Party Tips

An old post with some helpful tips about Twitter Parties...
If you're new to Twitter, attending a Twitter Party can seem pretty complicated and even a bit daunting. Fear not! A couple of easy steps, and you'll be ready to watch the Tweets fly, and maybe...before the hour's up, you might even decide to Tweet too!
Basic Twitter TipsIf you think you might want to Tweet during the party--and I hope you do, so we can make #foodallergy trend!--you will need to get a Twitter account. It's free and easy to do. They don't require much personal info at all to open an account. Just visit and click on the Sign Up button on the right. You will be asked to provide your full name, a user name, a password and your email address. Having a Twitter account means you can Tweet a message to everyone and anyone on Twitter, provided you keep it to 140 characters or less in length. You can follow other people on Twitter who you think have interesting things to say and likewise, people can follow you! If someone unseemly follows you, you can always block them.
When you rest your cursor on a tweet on your screen, you'll see you have the option to reply or retweet. If you read a tweet that you think is worth repeating to your followers, you can retweet. You'll see the tweet with a RT in front, ready to send. Hitting reply automatically puts the screenname of the Twitter user you are replying to at the beginning of your Tweet. For example, if you reply to a Tweet from me, your reply would begin "@FoodAllergyBuzz".
Attending a Twitter PartySo, you've signed up for Twitter. You get how to reply, retweet and tweet. How do you participate in the Twitter Party? A few important things will make it easy for you.
HashtagsFirst, you need to know what the hashtag is. For the Holidays with Food Allergies Party and all our Food Allergy Twitter Parties, we use #foodallergy. That means all tweets intended for the Food Allergy Twitter Party must include "#foodallergy" in that 140 character tweet or the people at the party won't see it! Using the hashtag enables everyone there to filter out tweets unrelated to the party. The tweets tend to come fast and furious during Twitter parties. It can be difficult to keep up. The last thing you need is unrelated Tweets interspersed with Twitter Party Tweets. That'll just confuse you and make your eyes go buggy!
Twitter SearchIf you want to keep it simple, use Twitter Search. You can just type #foodallergy into the search box on the right side of your twitter page about a third of the way down. That brings you "real time" search results for tweets with #foodallergy. Sometimes it does not refresh as fast as you'd like, and you'll find it's difficult to keep up because while you're waiting for your search results to refresh, people are still tweeting away. It keeps things simple and uncluttered, though, and you can keep your Twitter page open in a separate window in case you wish to Tweet, Retweet, or Reply.
Twitter DashboardsIf you are comfortable with a very minimal amount of learning an application/tool, try a Twitter Dashboard, such as Tweetdeck or Tweetgrid. There are many. I find using a Twitter dashboard makes it easier to keep track of replies, direct messages, and #foodallergy tweets simultaneously. I recommend Tweetdeck--it's free and simple to use. You need to download it, but it is well worth the memory space if you plan to use Twitter on a regular basis. For the party itself, I recommend using 4 columns: Mentions, Direct Messages, a column for #foodallergy search results, and a column for your tweets. That way, you can see all of the relevant info simultaneously.
What If You Just Want to Observe & Not Use Twitter? I am so glad that Robyn of Peanut Allergy Kid inquired about whether there was a way to make it easy for non-Twitter users to read the tweets during and after the party. Thanks to Robyn's suggestion, the party may be a bit more accessible to more members read more..

Gluten Intolerance-Gluten Sensitivity-Gluten Intolerant-Celiac Disease-Betty Crocker

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking

Betty Crocker created a gluten-free line of some of their classics last year including cake, brownies, cookie mixes and even  Bisquick. They have now combined those mixes with a book on how to use them and incorporate them into a gluten-free lifestyle. Published by Wiley (also, my book publisher), Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking has 150 recipes, all gluten-free. They sent me a review copy to check out. (On their website they also have a listing of allergen-friendly cookbooks, not just their own, including my faves like Cybele Pascal’s Cookbooks:  )  What I didn't love about Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking:Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking: uses every allergen but wheat, barely and the major culprits of gluten. There are diary, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanut, fish and shellfish ingredients all throughout Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking. So, if you have a celiac plus multi-allergy or multi-sensitivity household, Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking may not for you. Or if you want to be gluten-free but have severe allergies to any of those ingredients you will be making many substitutions and there is no way to know how the recipes may turn out as they don’t provide for substitutions. The recipes in Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking call for gluten-free items to be added (like yogurt or deli meats) but have no listing of where to get those items or what substitutions are safe (many specialty cookbooks provide lists of safe flours and purveyor, for example). For new gluten-free cooks, this will pose an issue and may cause some unintentional gluten-free mistakes. What I have mixed feelings about in Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking i.e. I see this as a con and a pro:The Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking recipes use a lot of American processed foods and convenience foods. Those foods are usually high in sugar, salt and fats.  However, Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking also gives the nutritional information so you can make an educated choice for you and your family about each meal plan and how much sugar, fat and salt intake you are consuming The recipes in Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking remind me of a baking or cookbook from the 1950s e.g. sloppy joe pie.  As I've never had tuna casserole or sloppy joe I don't know how these recipes stack up but I can say it seems the trend has turned to healthier choices. So, if you're a eating a classic bake, Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking has updated these classics adding the nutritional information per serving added as well as making them gluten-free. The good news about Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking:The information about celiac disease is correct which is not always the case with GF baking or cooking books. The recipes use both homemade flour mixes (the recipes for which they give but again no hint of which flour purveyor is safe) and Betty Crocker brand prepared mixes which gives the reader more flexibility. The recipes that use the pre-made Betty Crocker brand mixes look easy (NB: I haven’t yet tried them). For a newly diagnosed celiac or gluten intolerant person, Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking has lots of easy dishes both sweet and savory, appetizers and entrees that you can whip up in no time using both processed foods and fresh produce.  Upshot on Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking: 
There is no one book that is perfect for everyone. But the more books out there, the better for anyone who has celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance. Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking will be helpful to many in the GF community who are newly diagnosed, teens just learning to bake, cook and experiment or extended family members just learning how to bake yummy GF treats for loved one. As for me, I've flagged three new recipes to make for my next dinner party: snickerdoodles, coffee cake and whoopie pie cake. And I'm betting, given the quality of the Betty Crocker mixes, they won't know the difference. read more..

Monday 4 June 2012


Choose your own adventure: small town edition

Grow up in small town with a father who is a very prominent citizen.  Have various teachers, etc., criticize father when teaching your classes, being parents of your friends, etc.  Swear you will never use father's name to your advantage.
Move away for ten years.
Have people make comments about you using your father's name to say, get a stop sign put in, even though you did not and he has no jurisdiction over local street signs.
Nine years after moving back, receive call from school principal, another townie, asking you to organize gift for teacher you don't like.  Do it, for the greater good and because you don't like to make waves.
Call parents of child's classmates, including father you went to school with who is local p0lice 0fficer, to organize gift.
The next day, drive two sick children (bronchitis!) to the pediatrician on road you drive 2-3 times a day.
KEY*red blob: stop signyellow blob: dead end street sign for road to left with blue blob on itbrown blobs: industrial buildingsblue blob: c0p carwhite blobs: other carsgray arrows: ONLY DIRECTION YOU CAN GOblack arrows: ONLY DIRECTION OPPOSING TRAFFIC CAN GO*Shalini makes this look way easier than it is.
Go through intersection, after briefly stopping, as you do every day.See flashing lights in rear view.Pull over.See HS acquaintance/father of kid's classmate/p0lice 0fficer approach.Give him license and registration, trying to remain calm and conversational for freaked out children in van and because you are hoping he will just give you a warning.Call pediatrician's office to tell them why you will be late. Receive $112 ticket for 'rolling through a stop sign.'Listen to 0fficer tell you how he classified offence so you don't get points on your license.Gee, thanks.Go to pediatrician's and tell receptionists (both HS acquaintances) what happened.  They reply, "What a JERK" and promise to charge him a triple copay next time.Go home and tell your mother, who was babysitting other children, what happened.She goes home and tells your father, who is, ah, angry.Wow.
You really aren't sure what happened at the intersection, although you always obey traffic signs and have never had a ticket.  You have a tendency to blather when you are uncomfortable.  Say, in a courtroom.  You blathered a LOT to the c0p because you were nervous and hoped he would give you a break.  Could he use whatever you said against you?  You do not have $112 to spare.  You are pissed.  You think maybe it is time to try to use your father's influence to your advantage, since people think you do it all the time anyway, so what the hell?  Husband thinks you should go just to waste c0p's time, figuring the more people who do that, the less likely he will give out this type of ticket.
Do you:Say you are guilty and pay the ticket.Let your father complain to mayor about p0lice shooting fish in a barrel instead of dealing with real traffic problems, which does nothing about the ticket but is satisfying.Say you are not guilty and wait to appear in front of the d!strict judge.  Who you also grew up with.Whose father shares office space with your father.Whose son is also in your child's class.Who you also called about the stupid class gift.Who goes to church with you.Think it is worth it to go whether you win or not just to draw attention to the ridiculousness of the situation.
If you go to court, do you:Take your father. (Hint: you don't have a choice here.)Take your husband.Both.Let your father get you a lawyer.  (Hee!  But seriously, he offered.)Think you can open your mouth without making an idiot of yourself. read more..

Allergic Reactions-Allergic Responses-Dietetic Products-Food And Beverage

Allergens in Alcohol

Allergens such as milk, eggs nuts and other allergens can be in alcohol drinks. My concern is not only for adults with food allergies, but for the parent who has a small drink with their spouse after dinner, then kisses their child good night. Always drink responsibly. List of drinks that contain nuts link
From Allergy Bureau
"Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies in relation to permanent exemptions from allergen labelling
The Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies of the European Food Safety Agency has recently released opinions on the likelihood of individuals suffering allergic reactions in relation to a number of processed foods. The Panel considered it “unlikely” that cereals, nuts or whey used in distilled spirits would lead to severe allergic responses. A similar conclusion was reached for vegetable oils-derived phytosterols and phytosterol esters from soybean and for natural tochopherols from soybean.
It was considered “not very likely” that wheat based maltodextrins or wheat of barley starch based glucose syrups would cause severe allergic responses. None of these products were determined to be of concern to coaliacs, provided the concentration of gluten considered by Codex Alimentarius for foods rendered gluten-free is not exceeded. It was also considered “not very likely” that isinglass would trigger an allergic response when used as a clarifying agent in beer.
The panel considered that milk and milk products used in winemaking may trigger allergic responses.
The panel was not able to draw conclusions in relation to fish gelatine and isinglass used in winemaking, or mustard seed oil due to the paucity of data."
From FAAN Whats in Your Drink
"Food allergens such as tree nuts and milk are found in many cocktails. Wheat is prevalent in many beers. Aside from being vigilant about the ingredients in beverages, adults managing food allergies must also take care to use caution with alcoholic beverages to ensure that their judgment is not negatively affected and that their ability to make decisions, recognize a reaction, and administer
medication is not impaired. Alcohol can influence how quickly a food allergen is absorbed into the body, resulting in symptoms occurring at a faster pace."
From Whats in Your Beer
"After a campaign for clear and accurate product labelling that lasted almost 20 years, the federal government announced new labelling rules for food and beverage makers in July, 2008. For the first time, wine, beer and spirit companies would have to list ingredients that are considered the most common allergens like milk, nuts, fish and wheat as well as gluten and sulphites. But just as these
important, potentially life-saving new rules were about to be approved, public opposition from a single powerful lobby group - the beer industry - has put them at risk Every other food and beverage product already has, or will have product labels providing important information for consumers. But this one industry wants special treatment by receiving an exemption from the new rules.
That is not fair!"
From Amateur Wine Makers of Ontario
"The array of clarifying agents available include; Activated carbon, Bentonite (wine grade), Casein and caseinates, Diatomaceous earth, Egg albumen, Gelatin (low bloom), Isinglas, Kieselsols, Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), and Sparkalloid. Commercial combinations of some of these are also available.
Fining agents work on the principle that all of the particles responsible for the clouding or haze in a wine or beer have an electrical charge. As an example gelatin has a positive charge meaning that it can attract negatively charged materials. In binding to the negatively charged materials the combined weight increases resulting in settling to occur. In practice it’s usually necessary to have finings agents of different charges added sequentially to the wi read more..