Category Archives: Allergies

Dedicated or Shared? Cross contamination is a VERY real thing.

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If you must know, my children LOVE Oreo cookies.

I mean, I have read the studies that refer to them as #addictive as cocaine (by the way, unsubstantiated).  And I have even blocked a “former” Facebook friend when I posted the first picture of my youngest, Josephine, enjoying with great delight her first Oreo at about a year old.  This said “friend” went on to share my post of my daughter, attached with said articles mentioned above, and then wrote how HORRIBLE I was to feed my daughter these delights.

Needless to say, I wrote this lady a letter that shared my opinion of her exploitation of my daughter and immediately blocked her.

Some people!

But, regardless of this lady’s opinion on my parenting, I love Oreos, my husband loves them, and my children love them.

Best of all, they are “supposedly” allergy-friendly for our Max.

That’s a miracle.  To find a cookie that does not include any sort of nut or milk product?  It’s like finding an oasis in the desert.

When we go to birthday parties?  I always make sure Max has his Oreos to eat while the other kids gorge on cake.  Because of the creamy goodness, Max has never yet complained!  And, thankfully, that has allowed me to not make my kid his own cake for every birthday party he attends.

I mean, I am not a baker, folks!

But there is a big thing about processing, and Oreo just recently had to answer to the calls of it.  It is called “Dedicated” or “Shared” processing lines.

Basically, it means that there are processing lines dedicated to be free of any allergen product to touch it.  Or there are shared lines that mean that allergens touch the processing line.

This may sound like a lot, but, believe me, I have the child that IS the one to respond to cross-contamination from “Shared” lines.

Just the other day, I returned from Torun.  Torun is my favorite city in Poland, and it is where the Polish people claim to be the “home” of gingerbread.  Many parts of Europe claim this.

But it is DEFINITELY the home of Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish astronomer that discovered that the earth revolves around the sun (heliocentric theory).

In any case, it’s a wonderland of science, beauty, history, and GINGERBREAD!

Most gingerbread, my son has been able to eat.

Therefore, when I checked and double checked the ingredients of the cookie I was going to bring him from Torun, I bought it confident of the fact that it contained no allergens.

Max was so excited.

He had his cookie!  It was a bear!  He couldn’t wait!

And then he took his first bite.

“My tongue is burning, Momma!”

An then welting began on his forehead.

Needless to say,  my heart sank.

It was IMPOSSIBLE to give my son ANYTHING!  My heart broke, tears filled my eyes, and I began our allergy routine to care for my son.

I told Max how sorry I was that he had owies, and I was so sorry that I couldn’t buy him a special souvenir.

As is with most allergy kids, my son, used to his fate and greatly disliking pain that comes with eating something “owie”, said in utter graciousness, “That’s okay, Momma.  Next time just bring me some gum or Oreos.”

Most likely, the gingerbread I brought Max was baked on a cookie tray that apparently must have been shared with something that makes Max hurt.

Dedicated or Shared?

This wasn’t the first time Max has reacted to something that was made with allergy-free ingredients.  But it was the most recent time.  And it just reiterates for me the fact that ingredients are NOT enough.

Dedicated or Shared?

Either word carries with it joy or pain.

My son is proof of that.

***

Here is a recent article sharing the “safety” of the plain varieties of Oreo Cookies for those of us living in the allergen-world:

Regarding the Manufacture of Oreos with Respect to Peanuts and Tree Nuts

Good News! I am to be published again…

first day of school

Well, I got GREAT news again today.  I have a second article picked up by The Mighty that will be published in the future.  When it is published, they will send me the email with the link, which I will then pass along to you.

In the meantime, my ALLERGY BOY is officially in the 5/6 year old class at our local school, and the school is scared.  I am scared.  Max’s dad is scared.  I think we are ALL scared.  In a small village, Max is the first to arrive carrying EpiPens and life-threatening allergies.  But it has been hashed out: he will only ever consume or touch his food.

This may not seem like a big deal in your country where food allergies are well known, discussed and people are pro-active on the fight-BUT in the country which we reside, it is still a very big unknown, under discussed, and, therefore, very scary for all of us in the game.

Emphasizing how scary this life we walk in this world we walk is, I bring you an absolutely tragic story of a woman that, after being repeatedly assured at a restaurant in Hungary her food was nut free in all ways, suffered anaphylactic shock that has left her in a state of suffering from life-altering brain injuries.

I have already watched my son receive CPR treatment while he was in a full-coma in the ICU.  The nurses kicked us out and bagged our son while waiting for the doctor to arrive.  It is because of their life-saving treatments, he appears okay.  Eventually they were able to intubate him and get a steady flow of oxygen going.

But, the thing is, every single day that I walk my son outside and purchase a food item for him, I risk this exact thing happening.  Because, no matter how many guarantees of safety we are given, my son walks a very unforgiving road.

Fear makes me want to hide him away.  But that is not living.

And so we walk.  Hoping for life.

***

Please click here to watch the video and read the link:

Heartbreaking scenes on This Morning as ex-producer left paralysed by nut allergy is comforted by Ruth Langsford on show

Will this make me die?

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My poor little man.  He LOVES Kinder Eggs.

What are those, you may ask?  OH THEY ARE HEAVEN ENCASED IN CHOCOLATE, I may add.

They are brilliant itty bitty little toys that half of the world loves, the other half hates.  The parents, we are a mixture of in-between.

There are YouTubes.  Millions and millions of hits that have children seriously JUST UNWRAPPING the Kinder Egg and showing what is inside this chocolate delight.

It’s ridiculous…but yet guess what my children choose to watch when they get TV?

Yes.  That’s right—The Kinder Egg kids and these ridiculous toys.

But my children love them…just like the kid next door.  And they are FANTASTIC for bribery!

Yes, I proudly bribe my children and expect great results from said bribery 😉

Even my allergy kid LOVES these surprise eggs…He just has to get a little more creative when opening them.

Sometimes he smashes them open with a hammer.

Other times, he puts on latex gloves.

Once I wrapped his hands in tin foil.

Another time, plastic wrap.

We have taught him to break it open.  Then he waits for us to move the chocolate, clean the table, and wipe down the plastic egg surprise container.

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS????  You may ask.

Isn’t this a LOT of work?

Yes.  It is.  We do it because in this life he leads, it’s a small amount of time for my boy to be “just one of the guys!”  Even though Just One of the Guys requires lots of prep and cleaning work.

But he is thrilled each time—even though he can’t eat the treat.

Today, however, he surprised me.  I was cleaning the mess that was made (his sister went poopy on the potty, earning her and Maxie a kinder egg—see post here), when Maxwell stated, “Is chocolate what will kill me???”

I stopped and stared.

He got it.

He got that there are foods out there that will kill him.

That if he eats or ingests or even samples them, he very very very very well could die.

And I am not sure if at that moment I was okay, happy, relieved, or sad.

Maybe I was a mixture of ALL because it’s the reality of his world.  But it’s not the reality of mine.  Or his dad’s or his sisters or even his cousins.

My son could die if he simply ingests the wrong food.

And we live every moment of every day making sure that his food is safe so that he will live.

Boy—when I woke this morning, I had NO IDEA that a Kinder Egg would bring such perspective into my life.

Not just the annoying little plastic toy 😉

The Mighty!

Perhaps you are here because you have been directed here by The Mighty, the online site that focuses on Real People Real Stories!  

If so, WELCOME!  I hope that you enjoy Allergy to the Max!  A site I started to find better ways to manage being a mommy to Max.  He’s a tough nut to crack, which is ironic considering he can’t even TOUCH A NUT!

If not, then I hope that you’ll hop on over to The Mighty and see a post that they recently picked up!  Super excited about it.

Here it is:  5 Tips for Managing Your Child’s Food Allergies Abroad .

Enjoy the read and please like & share,

Brooke

Mom of Max

No bake dairy and nut free S’mores!

Unfortunately for me, these s’mores aren’t so easy to make—it has taken the collaboration of 3 countries:  Holland, The United States, and Poland.  But since I’ve gathered all the products together under one Polish roof, my allergy kid has had a blast making and especially eating his no-bake smores.  If you don’t have the exact products where you are, have fun trying to find substitutions !  

We used:  marshmallow fluff, graham crackers, and non-dairy chocolate sprinkles.


Let me tell you, after compiling such a fun snack, there is only one thing left to say, “Smacznego!”

The Teal Pumpkins—Be aware!

We live in Poland.  Very few people Trick or Treat.  My daughter hosts an annual party for her class—so that means I control the treats 🙂

BUT—if we were to be in the States, I would be SO GRATEFUL to see these at people’s homes.  I remember the ONE time Max did Trick-or-Treat in the USA.  He was not quite 2 but super allergic to nuts and dairy.  HE WANTED ALL THE CANDY the others were eating but we were all like “KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OF MAX!”  and fighting through the kids’ bags to find the sugar-based candies (yes, we’re such good parents—ONLY SUGAR, PLEASE 😉 ).

Anyhow—while it was a truly delightful experience—it was also a very paranoid experience.

So TEAL IS GOOD…And, if we ever reside Stateside again, I will make sure that we have a TEAL PUMPKIN out on our porch for all the littles like my Max.

And their moms and dads…

Because I know EXACTLY how they feel!

***

Here’s an article you can read about Teal Pumpkins and Allergy-Kid Safety:  http://mashable.com/2016/10/28/teal-pumpkin-project-2016.amp

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Unintentional Allergy Pumpkin!

My allergy kid doesn’t live where Trick or Treating is common, so he has never really been.  But we still have a lot of fun this season—and despite not knowing about this #tealpumpkin thing-y, he still made his own pumpkin—and it turned out all allergy friendly!  How cute!!!