Posts Tagged ‘ food allergy ’

Plan a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Menu With Udi’s (Yes, It’s Possible!)

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Udi's gluten-free food - sweet potato hummus, sausage and fennel stuffing, roasted beet salad with garlic croutons, snickerdoodle cranberry cream cheese tartRounding up the family together for Thanksgiving (and having them get along) is already hard enough without the added worry of creating dishes to satisfy certain diets and picky eaters. And if you have family members who have certain food allergies and sensitivities (especially to gluten), you might feel even more overwhelmed.

But don’t throw in the towel yet.

Hosting a gluten-free Thanksgiving feast is possible — and Udi’s Gluten Free has simple and delicious recipes that can even convert gluten lovers (like me). Recently, another editor and I were invited to a special Udi’s Thanksgiving luncheon, along with other Meredith editors, to sample gluten-free takes on classic holiday dishes. As a foodie and someone who believed going gluten-free meant eating pale imitations of “real” foods, I was surprised by the versatile spread and even more surprised by the delicious flavors.

On the menu was a whole course that incorporated gluten-free bread, chips, and cookies:

I could definitely see the sweet potato hummus and roasted beet salad on my own Thanksgiving table, which usually has some gluten-free (and dairy-free) dishes made especially for my little nephew, who has a few food allergies. Even if no one in your family has gluten allergies, there are still some benefits to going gluten-free, like taming tummy troubles and maintaining a healthy weight. And some studies have shown a gluten-free diet could possibly help kids with autism, though research results are inconclusive.

Best of all: these gluten-free dishes could easily substitute Thanksgiving mainstays (without sacrificing tastiness) and be worth repeating for Christmas, perhaps served with an additional dessert like ice cream sandwiches made with Udi’s maple pecan chocolate chip cookies. So now that you have some new recipes, I hope this year’s dinner planning will be just a little easier!

More Gluten-Free Foods on Parents.com

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New Gluten-Free, Allergen-Free Cookbook

Friday, May 10th, 2013

I am lucky not to have any food allergies, but I still want to make so many of the delicious-sounding recipes in Elizabeth Gordon’s new book, Simply Allergy-Free: Quick and Tasty Recipes for Every Night of the Week. Just looking at the gorgeous photos in the book, you’d never know that ever recipe is free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs and nuts. Author of the blog My Allergy Free Life and owner of the online allergen-free bakery Betsy & Claude Baking Company, this busy mom of two girls has multiple food allergies. She says, “I like to think of these recipes as the little black dress of my pantry—simple and economical fare that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.”

She shows you how to use (and where to buy!) key ingredients like xanthan gum, agave nectar, superfine rice flour, powdered vanilla rice milk, and sorghum flour, which can make gluten-free and allergen-free foods taste like “the real thing.” The recipes I can’t wait to try include chicken tikka burgers, chickpea French fries, beef tostadas, corn quinoa salad, herbed biscuits, and chocolate pretzel pie. Yum!

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10 Things I Learned From Pediatricians

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

I was in New Orleans for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) annual conference this past weekend, where roughly 8,000 pediatricians convened to share the latest research and policies surrounding kids’ health. If you’ve been following the news (or our blogs) this week, you’ve probably already heard about some of the big stories to come out of the meeting, including research showing that boys are experiencing puberty at earlier ages and the AAP’s conclusion that there’s no evidence showing that organic food improves health or lowers risk of disease. Beyond that, these are among the takeaways that stuck with me:

1. In a presentation by one of our advisors, Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and author of the must-be-bookmarked blog Seattle Mama Doc, Dr. Swanson noted that that more and more parents are confusing experience for expertise. Though she didn’t single out this person, you can consider Jenny McCarthy a perfect example: Her experience with her son’s autism is clearly being confused by some as having an expertise in autism.

2. Another doctor spoke about the importance of a pediatrician getting a family history from patients. It’s not easy, since lots of families don’t necessarily know their health history. In fact, one study showed that only 1/3 of people have ever tried to gather and organize their family’s health history. Have you? It’s most helpful for docs to have info on three generations: yours, your parents’, and your grandparents’ (and, of course, your partner’s parents and grandparents).

3. Along those lines, it’s really important to let your pediatrician know if anyone in your family (or your partner’s family) has died suddenly, or if there’s a new family history of cancer. Your child’s doctor can use this information to consider recommending certain health screenings, either now or down the line.

4. Firearm safety was a big focus at this year’s meeting. Did you know that when you look at the rate of deaths in children up to age 14 in 23 high-income countries, 87% of them occur in the United States?

5. The AAP’s position has not changed: The safest home for a child is one without guns. The next-best option is a home where guns are stored safely (as in locked up), unloaded and separate from the ammunition.

6. Pediatricians are noticing a disturbing trend in the country, where they may find themselves limited by the kinds of information they can share with patients. One example is asking parents whether they have a gun in their home–and then talking to them about gun safety. You may remember the controversial Florida law that passed in 2011 restricting pediatricians from having this conversation. The law was determined to be unconstitutional and was overturned, but Florida’s governor is appealing it.

7. Sexual abuse was the subject of a crowded session. One doctor shared this stat: When a child decides to share that she has been abused, she’s more likely to tell a peer than anyone else. (Abused children tell their peers 53% of the time; an adult relative 32% of the time; a non-related adult 10% of the time, and school personnel 3% of the time. 2% of kids tell someone who falls into an “other” category.) This means, said the expert, that there’s an “underground railroad” of kids who know about other kids being abused. She made a point that we didn’t address in our recent story about sexual abuse: We have to teach our children that if a friend tells them that he’s been abused, they should try and help this friend tell an adult who can do something about it.

8. Several sessions dealt with trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)–more than I can remember from past conferences. It’s encouraging to know that 70% of those children who experience trauma have no lasting symptoms. Of the 30% who do have lasting symptoms, though, half recover, and half have a chronic form of PTSD. So it’s important to make sure a child who has suffered a trauma–whether that’s abuse, a car accident, witnessing a violent episode, among other examples–gets help.

9. For everyone with a child who has a food allergy, or diabetes, or asthma, or a similar chronic disease: Emergency medical bracelets are always a good idea, especially if your child goes to a day care center or school. Your child’s usual caregiver or teacher may be very well aware of his condition and how to manage or treat it, but new caregivers or substitute teachers can definitely benefit from the info.

10. Last week, a report came out noting that three major health organizations around the world recommend that kids under 6 get three hours a day of physical activity instead of the one hour that’s currently suggested by groups like the AAP. For those of us who have a child younger than 6, this can feel daunting. (And by younger than 6 we’re not talking about, say, newborns–this guideline is meant for kids who are awake at least 12 hours each day.) But a professor who gave an interesting talk called “The Reluctant Athlete: How To Get the Sedentary Child Off the Sofa” put it into context. The one-hour recommendation is for “moderate to vigorous” activity–and that’s just hard for a young child to pull off–so changing it to three hours gives kids more time to be active. It works out to about 15 minutes per hour, which seems doable.

 

Image: Female pediatrician checking cute baby with stethoscope via Shutterstock.

 

 

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Better Grades For Kids Who Take ADHD Meds Early
Children with ADHD who start taking medications as early as fourth grade may be more likely to score better academically than those who start taking medication in middle school, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. (via ABC News)

Sunscreen Ban in Schools Anger Parents
State laws prevent schools from allowing students to use sunscreen. (via ABC News)

Kids’ Cereals Are Healthier, But Ads Aren’t
While U.S. food companies are making healthier breakfast cereals for children, they’re also aiming more ads for their unhealthiest products at kids, according to a report issued on Friday. (via Reuters)

Why Kids with Known Food Allergies Are Still at Risk
The majority of allergic reactions in kids are accidental — typically due to caregivers’ forgetfulness or lapses in supervision — but 1 in 9 reactions are triggered by giving known allergens intentionally, a study finds. (via TIME)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Report: 16 Percent of US Teens Have Considered Suicide
Nearly 16 percent of high school teens nationwide admitted they had considered suicide within the previous year, according to an annual survey published Thursday by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Food Allergies More Common in City Kids
Researchers found that the share of children with any type of food allergy was 9.8 percent in cities, 7.2 percent in suburban areas, and 6.2 percent in rural areas.

How 11 New York City Babies Contracted Herpes Through Circumcision
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual is found to cause neonatal herpes infections in newborns in New York City, prompting health officials to encourage parents to consider the health risks of the practice.

UNICEF Targets Deadly Diarrhea, Pneumonia in Poor Kids
Concerted efforts to control diarrhea and pneumonia, the biggest killers of children under the age of five, could save the lives of up to 2 million of the world’s poorest children each year, the United Nations Children’s Fund said on Friday.

More Teens Smoke Pot than Cigarettes, Says CDC Survey
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that 23 percent of high school students said they recently smoked marijuana, while 18 percent said they had puffed cigarettes.

Mom Goes After Stroller Thief, Busts Million-Dollar Crime Ring
Don’t mess with mom. That’s the moral of this awesome story about a Chicago mom who went after the guy who stole her stroller and ended up uncovering a huge crime ring.

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Finding Food Allergy Allies
Many parents of children with life-threatening allergies say they are seeing changes at schools, day-care centers and restaurants. This comes after years of being dismissed as overbearing or overprotective in their efforts to insure school lunches and play-date snacks didn’t expose their kids to danger.

Producing More Babies via Automation
In vitro fertilization success rates have been stuck in the mid-30% range for many years. But researchers in the United Kingdom have found they can improve the odds of pregnancy by more than a quarter by using automated equipment for growing embryos.

Is Breast-Feeding “Lewd Behavior”? Angry Moms in Georgia Fight Back
After Nirvana Jennette’s pastor compared her breast-feeding her baby in church to stripping, Jennette got fed up. Now, a nurse-in’s scheduled for Monday, and advocates are trying to overhaul Georgia’s public breast-feeding law.

Surrogacy Gone Wild: British Woman Keeps Giving Babies Away
Pregnancy taxes a woman’s body, so you really have to wonder about the motivation behind Jill Hawkins’ desire to keep signing up for surrogate duty.

Doctors: Don’t Push Little Leaguers Too Much
Baseball and softball are some of the safest sports for children to play, but parents and coaches should make sure young players are properly trained and keep from pushing them too hard, according to new guidelines from U.S. pediatricians.

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Could You Help a Child Having a Food Allergy Reaction?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Last week’s horrible story about Ammaria Johnson, the 7-year-old Virginia girl who died at school of an anaphylactic reaction, raises lots of questions. The school reportedly says that Ammaria’s mother didn’t provide the school with an EpiPen (containing epinephrine, which has the potential to stop an allergic reaction). The mother reportedly says she tried to provide one, but was told to keep it at home. It’s confusing all around. We addressed the very serious issue of food allergies in this story in our December issue. Now, the question we parents should be asking ourselves is:

Would I know how to help a child who’s having an allergic reaction?

Say you’re hosting a playdate or a birthday party and you’re with a child who has a food allergy. Would you recognize the signs if he were having a reaction, and would you know how to use an EpiPen if you needed to?

I spoke with Roger Friedman, M.D., a clinical professor of pediatrics and allergy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University in Columbus. Dr. Friedman was careful to point out that reactions are “highly variable”—there’s no completely predictable path.

The first sign is often itchy skin. The itchiness may be limited to where the child comes in contact with the food (at least at first). If it’s a bad reaction, he may feel itchy all over. He may break out in hives. “Many times this is a mild symptom, and many times that’s the only symptom,” says Dr. Friedman. At the first sign of itchiness, give an antihistamine like Claritin or Benadryl. “The majority of reactions are managed very safely that way,” he says. But since this won’t prevent a reaction from progressing, you’ll need to watch the child very carefully and have his EpiPen ready. (No EpiPen? Call the child’s parent immediately—or 911.)

If the reaction continues, the child will probably have gastrointestinal issues like an upset stomach, diarrhea, even vomiting. These can come on in a matter of minutes.

Be on high alert for any breathing problems: coughing, difficulty swallowing, wheezing. Any sign that the airways are affected is serious and should be treated immediately. In that case, administer the EpiPen and call 911. (And in that order—give the treatment, then call the paramedics.) If you’re unsure whether the child really needs it, use it anyway. Straight from Dr. Friedman: “The chances of you causing a problem by giving epinephrine is almost zero.”

Nationwide Children’s Hospital has an excellent video that shows exactly how to use an EpiPen. (It even shows a child using one on herself.) Do yourself a favor and watch it here. The most important thing to know: Hold the pen in the middle, as if you’re about to stab someone. Don’t put your thumb on either end, or else you could end up injecting yourself.

Have you used an EpiPen before? Have you seen a child have an allergic reaction? Does your child have a food allergy? What else do you want parents to know? Tell us about your experiences.

Image: Lined primary school paper with “No Peanuts Allowed” written in red via Shutterstock.

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Big Study Links Good Teachers to Lasting Gain
Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students’ standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years.

Students of Online Schools Are Lagging
The number of students in virtual schools run by educational management organizations rose sharply last year, according to a new report being published Friday, and far fewer of them are proving proficient on standardized tests compared with their peers in other privately managed charter schools and in traditional public schools.

Virginia First-Grader Dies from Allergic Reaction at School
The death of a 7-year-old Virginia girl from an apparent allergic reaction is raising new questions about how schools and parents handle potentially life-threatening conditions.

ADHD Drug Shortage Pushes Parents to Seek Substitutes
If the current shortage of some drugs used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has left you searching for something else for your child to take, experts suggest you choose a substitute carefully because the effects of these medications can vary widely.

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