Monday, October 31, 2011

The Food Allergy Life

It's nice to know you're not the only one out there and it's so encouraging to read others' creative ideas regarding food allergies and how they cope.  Food allergies is a growing problem, an expensive lifestyle, and can be so isolating for the child or individual with the allergies.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Band Aid Adhesive and Allergy

Note to self:  Band Aid Adhesive isn't always a good thing..........

See the forehead in the picture?  That was from a Band Aid.  It was actually much worse than it looks in the picture.

Apparently, it's not uncommon to be allergic to Band Aids because Band Aids often contain latex.  We've suspected that Bee had a latex allergy and now we're pretty sure that latex causes a problem.  Yet one more thing to add to the list.

So is it the latex or the adhesive?  Either way, no more Band Aids on the face.

It's just too bad that Bee thinks Band Aids are a fashion accessory.  We're going to have to find an alternative...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Allergy Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls


 Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
1 package rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup warm water + 1 teaspoon sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup rice milk
1/4 cup Earth Balance Spread melted
1 T sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Filling:
3 T sugar
3 T brown sugar
2 T flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 T Earth Balance Spread

Dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar and let stand 5 minutes.  Add 2 cups flour and next 7 ingredients.  Beat with mixer.  Knead for 10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.  Place in bowl coated with cooking spray and let rise for 1 hour.  Punch dough down and let rest for 5 minutes.
Make the filling by cutting in the Earth Balance Spread to the other ingredients.
Roll out dough to a 12x10 rectangle.  Sprinkle with filling and roll up starting with long edge.  Pinch seams.  Cut into 12 1-inch slices.



Place in a 9 inch square pan coated with cooking spray.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Bake at 375 for 18 minutes.  Glaze and then let cool.

Glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 T hot water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Allergy Free Recipes

Here's a site for some quick searches for allergy-free recipes.  It never hurts to have some new ideas!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our Allergy Kit



We don't leave the house unless we are armed and dangerous-armed with an Epi-pen and, well, dangerous because we might go into anaphylactic shock any second.  Can life be more exciting?!

To stay safe, we bring along our entire kit attached to the diaper bag with a giant carabiner.  It's hot pink and monogrammed so you can't miss it or mistake it's contents.  This pouch goes wherever Bee might go.  Here's what we carry with us:

2 Epi-pens
1 pack of Benadryl Fastmelt Tablets-these are the tablets that dissolve in your mouth-no water needed
Benadryl Cream
Benadryl Gel
Cortizone 10 Cream
Neosporin
List of all allergens
List of emergency contacts-including doctors

Monday, October 24, 2011

Loving your Neighbors

Sometimes it can be so difficult to communicate the challenges of food allergies.  Some people don't understand, a few do understand, and others extend sympathy.  This is a blog post which demonstrates understanding and compassion.  It's well-written and worth a quick read. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

So, I make my own laundry detergent.  Every doctor suggested we "change laundry detergent" to help Bee.  I got so sick of that.  Therefore, I started making my own.  That way I know exactly what is in it.  Plus, it's ridiculously cheaper when compared to the "special" organic detergent we were buying.  This is my favorite recipe so far...........

Laundry Detergent
1/2 bar Ivory Soap finely grated-I use my cheese grater because it's not like I'm going to be grating cheese anytime soon (You could also use 1/3 bar Fels Naptha.  If I ever find that elusive brand I'm going to try it.)
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda - NOT the baking soda  Buy the yellow box, not the orange!

Put the grated soap in with 6 cups of water and melt on low heat.  Do not let this boil!  Why?  Because it will be clumpy and lumpy.  Watch and stir, watch and stir.
Pour 4 cups of hot water in a large bucket (I use a 5 gallon bucket) and then add the soap mixture.  Stir!
Then add 1 gallon of water plus 6 more cups of hot water and stir some more.
Let sit overnight.  Then stir again and pour into containers.  Or you could blend it or mix it.  Whatever works for you.  Have a big funnel ready.
I was impatient and poured mine right into my containers, let it sit overnight, and then shook the containers the next day to mix up the soap.
Now I have perfectly smooth liquid soap and a Baby Bee with some clean clothes.

Actually, I have a huge pile of dirty clothes that I must now go wash.  With as much money as I save on organic detergent, you'd think Prince Charming would hire me a maid.......

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hives

It might not be a good day if the 5-year-old is in charge of the baby and is the one feeding her baby food.

It might not be a good day if the 3-year-old is in charge of the 2-year-old and is putting her in pj's for naptime.

It might not be a good day if I'm sitting down to a bowl of cereal at 1:30 pm.

No, not a good day at all.

What happened, you say?  Well, let me tell you....

We are part of a homeschoool co-op in another town.  Yes, we are weird homeschoolers and we love every minute of it!  Bee is in the nursery with Ladybug because if you're not already 3, you're in the nursery.  This might be ok if there weren't 15 kids in there all under the age of 3, or if every child didn't come with a sippie cup full of milk and a backpack with snacks.  Actually, this very well could be my worst nightmare.

I did notify everyone of the allergies, and I thought most everyone was aware of the serious nature of the allergies.  I was going to bring the snack every week.  I was going to be in the room with Bee.  We would be safe.

Wrong!

The chaos of caring for so many little children all with their own sippie cups and some even eating their own snacks nearly proved disastrous for us that day.  (Not to mention that I was the only nursery worker who showed up that day-tripling the usual chaos as volunteers were found).  Toward the end of class, Bee had a hive on her face.  This quickly turned in to a red ring around her mouth.  Soon her arms were swelling and breaking out in hives.  I gave her the Benadryl and I applied Cortizone.  But it was time for me to leave.  I absolutely had to get home.

There is nothing like rounding up 4 kids from separate rooms with their craft projects and trying to get them to the car.  Thankfully, the kids know the drill for when there's an emergency and they are usually unbelievably cooperative and helpful.  Another mom even helped us load.  I was shaking so hard I could barely drive out of the parking lot toward home.  I really didn't know if I would be able to make it.  I was two towns away from "home" and Prince Charming was in another state.

On our drive Bee started to cough and gag.  Anaphylaxis.  Not good.  I knew there was a fire station in the next town and I called 911 to get directions.  I made it to the fire station and was greeted by paramedics who monitored Bee.  Her oxygen levels were good but she was wheezing.

The paramedics left it up to me to decide if we should transport.  We waited at the station for a little while but I could tell that the swelling was going down and most of the hives had disappeared.  She had also stopped coughing and was acting more like herself.  One of the other moms had actually followed me to make sure we would make it.  There was nothing like having another set of hands to keep track of everyone at the fire station.

The paramedics were waiting to see what I would decide about Bee.  I felt that I could make it safely to the next town, which was home.  We loaded up for the second time and home has never looked so good.

Bee took a bath, ate a snack, and went to bed.  Her rash is gone and her breathing sounds normal once again. 

Ladybug is in bed napping.  I was finally able to enjoy my bowl of cereal.  And Tiger and Curly are in the living room playing.  Tiger is a fireman and Curly is the paramedic.  She is carting baby dolls to the "hospital" with her shopping cart.  Tiger is using his sword as an ax to break in to houses.

I'll cut down the door!  Then I'll use my ladder!  I have my ax!

We're going to the hospital!  We need more oxygen!

Ohhh, goodness.  My children will be scarred for life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Food Allergy Treatment

If there was a potential treatment for food allergies, would you be in a clinical trial?

According to a journal article, some research is being done with white blood cells and peanut protein.  By attaching the protein to white blood cells and putting those cells back in the body, researchers were able to deactivate the allergic reaction because the body recognized the peanut protein as harmless rather than an allergen. 

This could be exciting new research.  But would I ever feel comfortable if my child was one of the "test subjects."  I don't know...........If she could be allergy-free, imagine the possibilities.  But also the risks.........
Praying for a cure!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Daddy's in Charge

Daddy took the kids out the other night and he let Curly dress everyone.  Bee was a willing victim.


Sister Love

Monday, October 17, 2011

Allergy Free French Toast Souffle

French Toast Souffle
A make-ahead breakfast idea.  Genius!  
Bet you didn't know an allergen-free option existed for a breakfast casserole, did you?  And French Toast......yes, you can have some "fake" French Toast even on a restricted diet.  I have been on a mission to find some breakfast options and have discovered a French Toast casserole.  The older kids, who remember French Toast well, were in heaven!

1 loaf of your favorite GF bread cubed - Something light (the beer bread is out for this recipe...)
1 small container plain coconut yogurt (or vanilla rice yogurt-if using this use less vanilla in recipe)
4 T egg replacer mixed with 1/2 cup rice milk and 1/2 cup vanilla hemp milk
1 1/2 cups rice milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Place cubed bread in greased 9 x 13 baking dish.  Mix remaining ingredients together well and pour over cubed bread.  Cover and place in fridge overnight.  (Gluten free bread is a fickle and often crumbly thing, and some soak up moisture more than others.  So, if your dish looks a little dry in the morning, you can add a splash of rice milk poured evenly over the top.  It should look spongy and moist, not soupy.  Got it?)

In morning, set dish out for 30 minutes.  Then bake at 375 for 50 minutes or until set.  I bake mine covered and remove the cover for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking.  I also sprinkle mine with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon with a dash of nutmeg for that last 10 to 15 minutes of baking time.  Serve with powdered sugar on top. 

Gluten Free Cookbook

Amazon is offering the e-reader version of this gluten free cookbook right now-for free.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Food Allergies and Diet

The food allergy lifestyle is not a diet.  Now don't get me wrong, eating this way can cause you to lose some weight........sometimes we even have to find creative ways to add some fat sources back into our diets.  But what is true with diets-most diets are a choice.  If you choose to follow them, you will see results.  If you choose not to follow your diet, you will see results all right-just not the right kind of results!

This is how the food allergy lifestyle and a diet differ.  The way we eat is not a choice.

There are no cheat days.

Eating everything "in moderation" to satisfy cravings is not an option.

The diet is not short-term until desired results have been achieved.

The lifestyle is usually for life.  It's all day, every day.

Sometimes I feel like others view our lifestyle as a fad diet.  They wonder when we'll fall off the bandwagon and go back to eating "regular" food.  It can be so discouraging when our diet is not taken seriously or when others predict our failure.

I've had doctors tell me that there was no way I could maintain this lifestyle.  They believed avoiding all of Bee's allergens was impossible, not only for her, but for our entire family.  These doctors tried to discourage me from transitioning our entire family to the allergy-free diet.

I've known other families who decided to go gluten free, casein free, or allergy free for reasons such as behavior problems in their children.  For all of these families, the diet change was a "want to" because they believed the diet was healthier or would produce positive behavior or health results for their families.  None of the families that I've met who attempted the diet for reasons other than allergies are still maintaining the diet.  And for families of children who only exhibited small reactions, many of those families don't practice strict avoidance.

So, we're really going this alone sometimes.  Our diet is not a fad for us; we don't get the option of falling off the bandwagon.  And despite what the doctors believed and told me, the diet is possible-not only for Bee but for our entire family.  We have made the change and we have been able to adjust.  We're also reaping the health benefits in that we are rarely sick.  The kids are growing and thriving.

But what matters to me is that Bee is safe.  I don't have to live with constant fear and worry when we're at home.  We can all sit at the table and share meals as a family, and if she reaches over and grabs food off my plate, it doesn't matter.  This is more than a diet; it's my family and it's our life.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gluten Free Toothpaste

Gluten is a sneaky thing.  It is in everything, from foods to shampoo, to playdoh, to lotion, to makeup, to toothpaste.  You just can't get away from it.

Just another reminder to read the labels for everything! 

We have found 2 types of toothpaste that the kids use without complaint- Animal Parade and Jason.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Allergy Free Applesauce Muffins



Applesauce Muffins
These are so simple and make me think of fall.  The texture is amazing-which for gluten free is sayin' something!  Prince Charming and I both had to take a quick bite before I snapped the picture.  We just couldn't help ourselves!

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp xanthan
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour blend (4 cups rice flour, 1 1/3 cup potato starch, 2/3 cup tapioca flour)
2 T millet flour (GF quick oats would be even better, but when you're allergic to oats, you do what you can)
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 T rice milk
1/2 cup shortening melted (Spectrum shortening)
1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  Mix wet ingredients well.  Add dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Pour in greased muffin tin.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 375 for 18 minutes.

You could add some grated apple to the recipe but that might make my kids rebel so I'll let you experiment with that.

Makes 12 muffins.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dinner Time

Ladybug recently started solids.  The girl clearly enjoys her food!

We're always watching for a potential reaction, but so far so good.

I think she eats more than the other 3 combined.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Allergy Free Blueberry Bread


Blueberry Bread

This has become a favorite snack at our house.  The kids have been known to eat an entire mini-loaf all by themselves in one sitting.  And let's be honest, I have been known to do that too...

Blueberry Puree
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
Cook the blueberries in the sugar over low heat until they thicken.  Put in food processor to make blueberry puree.  Start this step first as the blueberries take a little while to thicken.  Once the puree is ready, set aside for the last step.  You could, of course, use whole blueberries in the bread, but I find they sink to the bottom and my kids hate "chunky things" in their bread.

Blueberry Bread 
1 1/2 cups flour blend (4 cups rice flour, 1 1/3 cup potato starch, 2/3 cup tapioca flour)
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup rice milk
1/3 cup shortening melted (Spectrum shortening or Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
3 tsp egg replacer mixed with 4 T rice milk
1 tsp lemon zest
2 T lemon juice

Stir dry ingredients together.  In separate bowl mix the wet ingredients together well.  Slowly add the flour mixture, stirring just until blended.  Pour half the batter into 4 greased mini loaf pans (You could use one giant loaf pan but that giant loaf has a hard time staying together....).  Add the blueberry puree and, using a toothpick, swirl through the batter.  Add remaining batter and smooth the top.  

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Let cool in loaf pans.

Now, my oven doesn't always cook consistently so you will want to check the bread.  I need a new oven...or maybe double ovens.  And use a toothpick or a cake tester.  This bread doesn't brown on top so it can be difficult to tell when it is fully cooked. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thankful

Tonight, I sit here in a quiet house.  Kids are asleep, house is picked up, hubby is off studying for his grad school classes, and I have some time to read, write, and relax.  It's late but the quiet is worth waiting for.

And I'm thankful.

Thankful for a wonderful family.



Thankful for a hard-working hubby who is involved and active with the kids.



Thankful that Bee is doing well.



Thankful that our homeschool year is off to a great start and that we can take as many field trips as we want.



Thankful that Curly is such a great helper and surprises me at every turn.



Thankful that Tiger is so sweet to his sisters and provides us with much-needed comic relief.



Thankful that Ladybug is a great sleeper and a happy baby.



Thankful that despite the allergies and the challenges, we've been able to maintain a sense of normalcy.  Thankful that we've been able to overcome.



We have a lot to be thankful for.

Monday, October 10, 2011

 Some days we just have an itchy day.  And some days, Bee would like the freedom to run around half-dressed like every other child her age.  So, we compromise.......
 Wet wraps with an Ace Bandage over the top to keep the moisture in and the scratchy hands off.
And she's off-to do bigger and better things rather than pose for my pictures!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Allergy Free Halloween Candy


Halloween can be such a nightmare!  And I don't mean the hunt for the perfect costume (and the scary costumes out there).  I mean the candy!  How do you find safe candy?  How do you trick-or-treat?  Well, Halloween is not my favorite holiday but this list will get you started on some safe allergen-free candy.  Because it does exist and this blogger has done the research to get you started.  I think I might need some candy corn or jelly beans now. 
 
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