Friday, December 10, 2010

Food Families

Can you predict food allergies?  I've been learning about food families and which foods are inter-related.  Therefore, if Bee is allergic to a certain food, I can cross-reference that food family and find out what other foods we should avoid as well.  Saves me from some scary trial and error. 

Here are some things I've discovered through our recent doctor's appointment and through searching food families:

Bee has a problem with banana and avocado.  We noticed her breaking out in a slight rash after eating watermelon this summer.  The doctor confirmed that some children who have trouble with banana also have a problem with avocado and with watermelon.  The fourth food that she linked to this category was kiwi, which we have never tried, and now I don't plan to try it anytime soon based on the doctor's recommendations.

Bee has a sesame allergy according to her blood tests, but we've never accidentally had a sesame contamination so I've never seen her react.  Recently, Bee had a reaction to sunflower butter.  Sesame and sunflower are both in the same food family.  We'll be avoiding the composite family (aster) for a while, which includes artichoke and tarragon and even ragweed. 

Because of Bee's sesame allergy and sunflower allergy, we were worried about a poppy seed allergy.  But poppy seed is not related to sesame or sunflower as it is in a separate food family.  This would help explain how she was able to eat allergy-free lemon poppyseed muffins last week.  She had no reaction to the poppy seeds so we're going to say that poppy seeds are safe for now.

Another new link I learned about from our doctor visit was that some children who have a tree nut allergy also can be sensitive to coconut and that these allergies sometimes go together.  Other kids do fine with one food or the other.  Bee has shown some sensitivity to coconut lately which would go along with her extreme tree nut allergy.

Pineapple is in its own food family and is not part of the citrus family.  Bee reacts to pineapple but not to any other citrus fruits.  So, after looking through food families there are no other foods related to pineapple that we need to avoid.  Some people think of pineapple as citrus and avoid the citrus fruits if they have a problem with pineapple.  They would probably not need to avoid citrus on the basis of a pineapple allergy.

We've questioned if Bee has a sensitivity to mango.  She has reacted to mango in the past but has eaten it a few times lately with no reaction.  Oddly enough, mango is in the same food family as cashews and pistachios.  And if Bee is truly allergic to all tree nuts, this would include cashews and pistachios and would explain her sensitivity to mango.  Because we were unsure of her mango allergy, we have been avoiding papaya.  But papaya is in a separate food family from mango and would probably be safe for us to try.  That may be our next new food to try.

I'm going to keep our food family chart handy as a guide when we try new things or if we notice a new reaction.  We're still learning.....

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