Tag Archives: raising children with allergies

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

18700551_856490394526634_3787279801794236211_o

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

The Worst Part About Parenting a Child With Food Allergies…

Do you honestly want to know one of the FIRST things I did when I left all 3 of my children with my hubs and went to visit my family in Arizona????

I BOUGHT, ATE, AND ENJOYED PEANUTS!!!!

And I felt guilty the ENTIRE time.

I ate them thinking that I shouldn’t.  After all, we have been a SERIOUSLY peanut-free home for at least 2 years.

And, second of all, I felt as if I was cheating on my kid Maxwell (that I could kill with my peanuts)…AND ESPECIALLY my daughter Adelyne (age 10—no allergies) because she was suppose to be on the trip with me—eating peanuts right alongside of me.  Snacking.  On peanuts.  No worries.  Carefree…

At home, if she EVER eats a peanut at a friend’s home or touches one—she has to immediately wash her hands and brush her teeth—and then MAKE SURE that her toothbrush is not touching her brother’s (just in case there is cross-contamination in toothbrush remnants???!!!).

Friends…you should seriously know that it is not just the allergy kid—NOR the allergy parents—that live every single moment of their days on edge…It’s the siblings, too.

And it is just as tough for them—especially because they are kids.  WE MAKE MISTAKES as parents in regards to our kids and their allergies.  Which means, kids make mistakes, too.  After all, they are kids.

Here is one mom’s honest look on raising her now 9-year-old who lives with egg and peanut allergies, featured on Huffington Post.

As a mom of a bubble boy (pretty much he ONLY will touch or eat food I hand him personally)…

blowingbubbles

I hear her.

Notice each of my kids have their own bubble blowers???  BECAUSE MAX DOESN’T SHARE ANYTHING that goes in his mouth.  After all, Josephine ate yogurt for lunch.  He welts at the touch of milk…he vomits at the ingestion of beef…he breaks out to the peanut kiss.

Did I say, I hear her????  Because I do.

Enjoy the read found on Huffington Post:  The Worst Part About Parenting a Child With Food Allergies

xo b

Our Favorite Allergen-free Alternative

turnittealweek

We’re back!  Today we are suppose to talk about our favorite allergen-free alternative.

But I would like to kill two birds with one stone and talk about tomorrow’s topic, too:  Hardships/realities of Food Allergies.

Now, this is a topic that I can get behind…

It’s hard enough having to make sure that my child does not consume anything with his allergens in them—but the COST of these allergy-free foods is CRAZY?

Am I right?  Can I have an Amen?!

I mean, seriously, folks.  My hubs is a pastor and we have a foundation for the homeless…for a living.  And because my kid has allergies I have to pay nearly $4 for his itty bitty box of milk?!

I am not sure I have a favorite allergen replacement because the cost of all of them STINK!

Plain and simple…STINK!

I guess the applesauce packs.  They aren’t too costly.

Or the gummy candies—because he can eat them.

But that isn’t too healthy, now, is it.

Fresh fruit—yes!  But I am also a mom to three—2 of them in their toddler phase (although Max is now phasing out of that).   Which means I am lucky if I make it out of the house with shoes and shorts not pajamas and slippers.

And I live in a foreign country—in a VILLAGE! Which is serene and lovely.  But sometimes I just miss home soooooooooooo much!  I miss being close to family.  I miss the convenience of my home country.  I just do.  Such is life.

Back to the fruit (went off on a tangent)…

So, yes.  Fresh strawberries and raspberries and blueberries.

And bananas.

But what little kid likes apple skin?

Not mine…So the more affordable fruit I have to prepare.

And then there are grapes.

But a large portion of grapes in Poland have seeds.  So we go for the seedless grapes—which then are 3xs the cost.

Finally watermelon.  But it’s sticky and doesn’t travel well.

Well, there are dried raisins.  That’s true.  But then it’s not fresh, right?

Something that is not fruit:

Popcorn is cheap.  It sure is—but we all know popcorn is best when popped hot.

Perhaps sunflower seeds????

Any sunflower seed I have given him in Poland has caused extreme welting.  I am not sure if it is the seed itself or the processing plant.  Most of the language on the packaging is in Russian.

So then that leads to my paranoia about all seeds and processing—which leads me to only purchase Chia seeds.  I throw those in his smoothies.

Potato chips???  Well, those may be his favorite snack, but I am really trying to cut back on throwing those at him—since, you know, it’s not remotely healthy.  Addicting, yes.  Healthy?  Heavens no!

And finally pretzels.  But not the crackers with the letters because they have whey.  Nor the crackers with the animals because they have whey.  But the round pretzels, twisted pretzels, and the straight pretzels, he can eat.

Be careful if you eat sourdough pretzels in the States, however, they may also have dairy.  Fresh and hot pretzels, too.  UWAGA (which means—be careful/caution).

But, after a while, pretzels start to taste like cardboard when you consume too many.

And, do you ever notice, that pretzels and peanuts are always touching in the grocery aisle?  So I walk down the aisle nearly screaming—KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF!  DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING!  THERE ARE LOTS OF OWIES HERE!!!!

And my poor 3-year-old panics and hugs my leg.  Okay.  Okay—he’s gotten past that.  But he walks dead in the center of the aisle and doesn’t touch a thing.

Tic tacs at the checkout and gum…Because most of the other grab food has milk chocolate, milk, or peanuts.  Yea for us 😉

But, really…we do have alternatives that we use with everything.  And, you mostly can’t tell the difference at all!

Oat milk…We use it in all recipes.

Soy yogurt…You can even make your own if you have a starter yogurt.

Coconut oil…It’s fantastic…and not too coconutty at times.

There was an amazing rice/coconut cheese that actually melted in hot cheese sandwich that we found in Germany.  Unfortunately, we haven’t found any in Poland.  But it is brilliant and out there.  It’s just hard for us to find.

Carob chocolate chips…No soy or milk.  Max seems to be able to tolerate these.  These are also harder to find.

Rice pudding.  It’s not a chalky-tasting as soy pudding.  You just have to make sure it is rice pudding with NO MILK.

Homemade chicken soup with egg noodles.  We have to be careful with store-bought broths and flavorings as many include beef, whey, or peanut oil.

I’ve blogged plenty about Cookie Butter.  It’s sweet—but it is also divine.  It can be made in cakes, on apples, on sandwiches, and so much more.  We love it.  My kids even eat it by the spoonful like we used to eat peanut butter.

And, if you missed it above, we love using chia seeds in smoothies.  The trick is to blend them plenty up, otherwise, it has the raspberry seed texture to it, and you will feel as if you need to pick at your teeth.  They help give your kid an extra bit of protein.  Heavens knows, our kids need all the extra help they can get.

Tortillas.  We make Max hot tortillas like we would make our daughters cheese crips.  We just make his with his “butter” or cinnamon and sugar like a special treat.

And, of course, chips and salsa!  Who can’t go to town on those?

We love waffles and crepes, and we make our own.  They also save well to be eaten on a second day, if you so desire.  And you can even warm your waffles in the toaster, if you so choose.

Here are our favorite recipes for waffles and crepes (I think I have shared the waffle one before, but it’s always good to see it again).

The most important thing to remember, is just switch out your allergy owies with the replacements that work for you:

Polish Crepes (Thin Naleśniki) Recipe

The Bestest Belgian Waffles

Here’s the cookie butter we tend to buy while in the States.  Holland has a different brand—but just as good.

This cookie butter, however, is fantastic because it comes in CRUNCHY or SMOOTH.  Just like peanut butter!!!!

Speculoos Cookie Butter

My 2-year-old has no allergies.  But because her brother (a year older) does, I have raised the two of them nearly exactly the same with food items.  My littlest didn’t even have a drop of real ice cream until we were recently at a friend’s house for lunch.  I tried to give her the sorbet her brother was eating, but her big sister (10 years old) was eating real ice cream—and she had a bite.  My youngest (the two year old allergy free kid) has not wanted a single bite of sorbet since.

It’s made it a bit more difficult for me now.  She knows she likes whipped cream.  He watches with big eyes.

They share the same cereal milk (oat milk)…

But when I have a big frothy coffee, she can eat some of the froth—where he cannot.

There is a lot that is not fair in the life of an allergy child—but I had to realize that just because Max has allergies, doesn’t mean Josephine has to live as if she does.  And, although I try my best to make them the same foods, there are times when she does get an extra bite here or there.  And so I always try to have a little something extra for Maxie on hand.  Such as Oreo cookies.  Or gummy candies.  And he doesn’t even have to share.

If you have great dairy and nut free allergy favorites, I would LOVE to hear about them!

And, believe me, if you have frustrations.  You are not alone.  I hear you.  I understand you.

Here’s to us raising our Allergy Kids!

 

 

Potty Training the Allergy Kid. Task: Impossible.

allergy kid toilet training

Okay, so potty training is actually not Task Impossible—but it sure is difficult.

If you have an allergy kid, you have quickly realized that when they eat or touch something that bothers him/her, his/her body reacts.

My son is very sensitive to three things:  atmosphere around him (such as a restaurant with peanuts at the tables or an airplane with peanuts in the air); touch (when dairy or nuts come in contact with his skin); and ingestion (placing the allergen in his mouth —- even if it comes out before he swallows it).  And when his little body (he turned 3 in the middle of May) is attacked by something that it does not like, he has many reactions:

Breathing difficulty

Welting on his skin

Vomiting

and Diarrhea

And it is this last that is proving to make potty training a really hard task.

If you have been following my blog, you will see that both my husband and I are religious about making sure that we check and double check any food item we give our son to make sure that it is what we call at our home “Max Friendly”.  We are also adamant and very strict about the zoo rule:  Don’t feed the Max!  Maxwell is not to accept any food from ANY person without me personally seeing it and agreeing and giving it to him myself.

YET—yet as much as we prep and read and prepare and care—it is such a hard world to live in with allergies, and I find time and time again Maxwell reacting to something that I could have sworn was Maxwell Friendly.

Even when I go back to the product and look again, I can’t seem to find what might have been the problem.

And, to be honest, friends, sometimes it is simply the production equipment itself that can be a problem.

Anyhow, when you have an allergy child, you, more than most, will notice that on more occasions than perhaps took place with your other children, your allergy child has diarrhea.

I do notice this.

Max does have it.

And potty training is quite difficult because of it.

So, what is the trick and how do you do it?

Those are GREAT questions.

This is what I am able to do:

At home, Maxwell runs around naked.  This past week, he has had quite a bit of diarrhea, so he is frequently running to his potty chair.  After some time when he is tired of running back and forth from his potty chair, I simply put him back in a diaper and give the little kid a break.

In public, still as of now, he wears a diaper.  It is far easier and safer for Max and Mommy that he does not have to worry about his tummy or accidents.

And I don’t stress.

Sometimes as a mom or a dad, we stress too much.  We want to be looked at as all together and a-okay in the world around us.  But the stress is unnecessary and often causes misery.  So, take a deep breath—and don’t stress.

My allergy kid is so much work already (no hate mail—i LOVE my kid) that the added stress of trying to regulate his little tummy while potty training at the same time is a lot.  And I mean A LOT!  Therefore, we go about our days the best we can.  Using the potty toilet as much as possible—and giving the little man a break when he really needs it.

In public—especially when episodes of an upset stomach are evident—a diaper is a our best friend.

And Max and Mommy are most happy for it!

So, Allergy Mom and Allergy Dad, potty training your allergy kid may take a little more work, especially if your kiddo has a sensitive stomach that requires a bit more attention (and most allergy kids’ tummies do).  Do your best.  Don’t stress.  And let your kiddo do the rest!

God bless on this exciting journey (yes, that was sarcastic-not sure I’d call potty training exciting 😉 ),

Brooke

10 Must Tips for All Allergy Parents

10599703_502894559845180_8216687839488089330_n

Here are our TEN TIPS FOR ALL ALLERGY PARENTS:

1. There is NO 5-second fall on the floor rule. EVER.  With your allergy kid. NEVER EVER!  You never know what fell on the floor before your child’s food.   Always better safe than sorry.  We live this.

2. Always have cookies or other treats with you that your child can have in case there are sweets being distributed—that way your child will NEVER feel left out. (Find out what cookies or candies they can have—or make a bunch and keep them handy)

3. Always have food when you go to a restaurant or a friend’s house. Do not rely on your friend’s word that “there is no…” in the food. Your friend may not really know nor have a good understanding of the consequences.

4. If you do go to a restaurant, ask what oil they cook in.  Ask for an allergy menu.  Study it carefully.  Talk to the manager.  Do absolutely anything you need to protect your child the best you can.  You need to know everything.  (In the end, it’s still a risk)

5. Always wipe down the table where you sit.

6. Always wipe down the grocery cart that you touch.

7. ALWAYS ask the ice cream counter to WASH the scoop with hot water and soap before you get your child the sorbet. ALWAYS. They will be inconvenienced and roll their eyes—you stick to it and MAKE them clean it well.

8. NEVER EVER EVER leave your home without ANY of your medicines. Your allergy medicine. Your inhaler. Your auto injector. IF you leave your home without them—YOU TURN AROUND FOR THEM. The world will wait. It will. I guarantee it.

9. TRUST your child when he/she says that the food you gave—even though you read the label 50 times —is OWIE! Always trust your child’s instincts. Kids like to eat. Your child is most likely telling you the truth and NOT trying to get out of eating something.

10. Once you find a brand or an item that your child can safely eat—don’t try and find other items at better costs. The only thing better than finding an actual store-bought item that is safe for your child is making it 100,000,000% from scratch yourself. If money is really difficult, then make the food at home. Time consuming? YES!  Most cost effective?  YES!  Worth it? YES!

How about you? What tips do you have for me?