With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life allergen-free.

21 August 2014

Food Allergy Research at EMU: Please Participate in This Survey

Below is information from Eastern Michigan University about a pediatric psychology study related to food allergies which is being conducted currently. Please take a look and consider participating!

The goal of this research project is to learn more about how families cope with children’s severe food allergies so that we can design interventions for children and families that are needed and parent-informed. Some examples of interventions that psychologists might provide to families of children with allergies include: support groups; mobile “apps” that provide parents with allergy information; tools or checklists to help children entering a new school setting; or online behavior-management programs to teach parents how to help their child manage their allergy in social situations or firmly refuse risky foods. But we need to hear from parents to know where to start in developing better interventions; for example, some parents may want written information about allergies in schools, whereas other parents may want emotional support to help manage their own worry about their child. Some parents may want to receive this information through a doctor’s office, whereas others may want to use internet-based or mobile technology only. Other diseases, like diabetes and cancer, are the subject of many research studies, but there is very little research focusing on psychological support for the food allergy population.
By completing this survey, parents will be helping us to learn about what parents of children with food allergies need and how they wish to receive information and support. Parents will be asked to answer questions about their child’s allergies (including allergens, reactions, self-care), their allergy knowledge, the effect on family activities, worry, confidence in managing allergies, and information needs. Parent responses will remain anonymous and will not be linked to a name. Parents can receive a $10 gift card as a thank you for participation by clicking on a separate, secure survey link at the end of the survey to enter your address. This study has been approved by the Eastern Michigan University Human Subjects committee (#140609).

Thank you again for your interest in our research study! Parents can access the survey at the following link:

Should you have any additional comments or questions, or any difficulties accessing the survey, please e-mail us at EMUpedspsych@gmail.com.

Thank you!

The EMU Pediatric Psychology Research Lab
Catherine Peterson, Ph.D.


18 August 2014

Some New Food Additives Cause Allergic Reactions?

A recent article in The Washington Post, entitled "Food Additives on the Rise as FDA Scrutiny Wanes", is particularly interesting, especially for those of us already managing food allergies. Among other things, it discusses how a change in FDA approval processes inadvertently opened the door for food manufacturers to use new additives without a thorough review from the FDA. Please take a look!

15 July 2014

Food Allergy Medication: Affordable Care Act Coverage for Epinephrine Injectors

Like many of my fellow food allergy bloggers, I received an email from a food allergy mom about a petition to help get life-saving epinephrine injectors included by the Affordable Care Act. Her email is below. Please read, take a look at her petition, and consider signing.

Hi Jennifer,
My 2.5 year old son is allergic to dairy. I was shocked to learn that the Affordable Care Act does not cover epinephrine injectors, life-saving medication for people with food allergies. I wrote a petition on change.org asking the US Government to mandate that all insurance plans cover epinephrine injectors. Please take a look and consider signing and sharing this petition on your blog with your followers..
Lisa Kane

13 July 2014

Food Allergy Picnics

Ahhh summer vacation. Whether you go on short day trips or extended vacations, when you manage food allergies, it helps to become an expert picnicker! I tend to do things the cheapest, food allergy safe way I can manage.

Picnic Tools
A good cooler is a must. You need to have something to keep food cold to avoid food spoilage and bacterial growth. The FDA website has some excellent information about food safety when picnicking. We got one on wheels to make transport a little easier.

Another important tool for picnics is wipes to wash those hands off when you don't have access to soap and water. Of course, nothing is better than good 'ol soap and water.

The right food storage containers make a difference too. By this time, you probably have invested in some good multipurpose food storage containers. If not, this is the perfect occasion to do so. In addition to food containers, you need to bring something to eat off of and serving utensils, and that will depend on what you are eating, where you are eating, and how green you are. We use a combination of our own plastic dishes that we keep for trips and disposable plates, bowls and utensils.

Don't forget to bring along paper towel and trash bags too. It seems you can never bring too many paper towels ad trash bags!
Food for Car Trips
We manage peanut and tree nut allergies so snacks for us might include: Pirate's Booty, dried fruits (check label carefully for "may contain"), crackers/cut-up veggies with cheese or hummus, fresh fruit. For meals, we bring along all the ingredients we need for sandwiches--food allergy safe bread, cheese, and meat--as well as pasta or rice salad. We make use of a large cooler which we keep ice cold throughout the trip. We scope out food allergy friendly restaurant options in advance and make use of local supermarkets to round things out for meals.
Have Fun
We do enjoy our meals and snacks no matter where we are, but it's the activity and the company that is the focus of our outings, not the food. We don't let food allergies rule our world, they are just another factor we keep in mind as we plan our adventures.

01 July 2014

Food Allergy Bloggers: Introduce Yourselves!

When I began blogging 6+ years ago, there were other women blogging about food allergies already. Now, there were not many, but there were a few, and some of them had fantastic blogs that still exist and thrive today. To me, they were like voices in the darkness, as there was not much information about food allergies online a decade or so ago. You had to make do with what resources you could find-- a handful of books (the real kind, made out of paper), your allergist, and if you were lucky, a local support group. 

Over the years, the number of food allergy blogs has increased significantly. With so many voices, the drum of food allergy awareness has become marvelously louder; more voices singing the same message ultimately will help lead to better quality of life for individuals with food allergies. Although so many of us blog about food allergies, there really is quite a variety in the topics covered and motivations for blogging. People author food allergy blogs for different purposes: to educate, to share information or recipes, to share a story of life with food allergies and connect with others, to vent or let off steam, to promote or support a food allergy related business, to provoke controversy and discussion, etc. It is an impressive collection, to be sure.

So, food allergy friends, now that school is out for the summer and I finally have more time to write again (WHOOPEE!), I'd love to learn more about you! What brought you to the food allergy blogosphere? Obviously, you are managing food allergies for yourself or someone else, but what made you decide to blog? How long have you been blogging? What is the end-goal for your blog? How has your blog changed since starting it?

Please share! I'll start:

I love writing and wanted to both exercise my writing muscles and share information, answers to questions I encountered in this food allergy journey, which I thought would be helpful to others in similar situations. I have been blogging for 6+ years. My end-goal for my blog? I haven't decided yet. It definitely has exceeded all my expectations! :) How has my blog changed? It's really amazing--Food Allergy Buzz almost has a life of its own now. It's on G+, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels, and sometimes I feel like I actually can make a difference! Like when we got #foodallergy to trend #1 on Twitter in some locations. How cool is that?!

Looking forward to hearing from you!
-Jennifer B

10 June 2014

Food Allergy Cookbooks Now in E-Book Format

Did you hear? Linda Coss' cookbooks “What’s to Eat?” and “What Else is to Eat?” are now also available in e-book format, at Amazon.com, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and most other major e-book retailers. Her food allergy cookbooks" have been helping families across the nation cook delicious meals and desserts that are completely free of dairy, egg, peanut and tree nut ingredients" for years!
And be sure to follow her on Twitter too: @LindaCoss 

09 June 2014

Food Treats at School and the Never-ending Story

photo from chow.com
This post is probably more of a vent than anything else, about food being served to students by well-intentioned parents at school. Almost every single event parents are invited to at school somehow ends up involving food. Have you seen the parents at school? Do they look like they are in need of a meal? Most of them look quite well-fed. Some are a bit...shall we say, portly! Surely they can attend an event for an hour or less at school for their child without eating!

And then these well-meaning parents simply must..they have to serve a cold treat to the children on the annual field day. We can't just have the kids drink the drink--be it water or an energy drink--from home. We have to feed them a sugary sweet frozen treat. Now don't get me wrong! I love dessert and treats as much as the next person, but with all the food related health conditions today, you'd think the PTO could forego food, no matter how few the calories, just once! If the event is about good sportsmanship, can it not be about inclusion as well? Do we have to bring food into the picture so now notes must be sent home asking permission for a child to eat the PTO-provided food? And what child doesn't want to just fit in and be like the other kids, and eat the PTO-provided snack that all the other kids eat?

We have to trust that the PTO won't have a last minute substitute treat, that there isn't some mistake, that our school won't have a creepy aide or parent trying to feed something to the children that isn't safe for them (like dog treats, did you see that story?!) One wonderful thing about children moving on to middle school and higher grades is that these enthusiastic PTO parents fade away. Not only do middle schoolers not want their parents at school, they don't want them anywhere near school! And just like that, the constant wave of dog and pony shows for parents--with their table of snacks--is gone. Then, new worries begin--the worry about what your child eats at school subsides some, and you worry more about what he or she is eating when out with friends.

What's a parent to do? Educate your child. Start as early as possible. Arm your child with information about his or her allergies, the risks involved, and how to keep him or herself safe, because when it comes down to it, it's up to your child to take care of himself. When it comes to managing food allergies, good intentions are lovely, but don't have much value without food allergy knowledge and vigilance.

I just had to get that off my chest. I guess I feel better now! I am not saying one should live in fear. I say live in knowledge, for in the words of Kofi Annan: "Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family."

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