Monday, August 27, 2012

Kid's Day

As another part of my Silver Award, I assisted a woman who is in charge of a food allergy support group that meets about once a month. Last week I went to one of the parent meetings and talked to the parents about living with food allergies, and today I talked to their kids at Kid's Day. She created Kids Day as a party for kids with food allergies that didn't involve food! So we made crafts, read stories, played games, and even had a piƱata that was filled with toys that the kids could play with! Overall, it was a great day for kids with food allergies because they could see that there are other kids out there in the same situation. I know I had fun meeting these really cute kids and I hope they had fun too!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School, Back to Allergies

Over the summer, I feel like everyone with food allergies gets a break. You mostly eat at home and don't have to worry about eating at school or any cross contamination's from your friends' food. But in a little over a week, school is starting up again, which unfortunately means our break is over.

When preparing to go back to school (elementary school in this case), make sure you talk to not just the nurse, but your teacher as well. The nurse may be the one you give your medication, but you are more than likely to be with your teacher when you start reacting. Make sure your teacher knows the symptoms of an allergic reaction because you might not notice it at first. Just a suggestion, but see if your teacher can get trained in how to use an Epi-pen, it could always come in handy if the school nurse isn't available.

This year, I'm going into High School. I've known how to use an Epi-pen since third grade (check out my previous post CBS Family Interview), but it was last year that I was officially trained. In my high school, we are allowed to carry around a bag, so I'll be carrying around my own Epi-pen, Inhaler, and Benadryl, and I suggest you do too. Its still a good idea to give your medication to the nurse, but if there ever comes the time where you need any of it, its easier and safer to you have it on you.

When it comes to lunch time, I highly suggest that you bring your own food. It is definitely safer than eating something in the cafeteria, because there is always the risk of cross contamination. However, if you feel that your cafeteria staff is really good and it will be safe, go for it! HOWEVER, make sure you talk to the cafeteria staff before school starts to tell them that you have food allergies and they can help you figure out what you can and can't eat. I never risked buying cafeteria food, but occasionally one of their packaged snacks that I could read the label of.

Well, good luck on the first day of school! If you have any questions, just ask!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Donna's "Butter" Cookies

Milk, Egg, Peanut and Nut free

2 Sticks of milk free, soy free margarine
2/3 cup sugar
Egg Substitute for 2 eggs: 3 T. water, 3 T. veg. oil, 2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour

Mix all ingredients together.
Drop by teaspoon-full onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.

These cookies are delicious! Credit goes to my mom's friend Donna who gave my family this recipe and credit goes to my mom for changing this recipe to be allergy friendly!

Please remember to double check all ingredients for your food allergens. Enjoy!


Party Time!

So you're going to a party, and of course...there's going to be food. Some people are only allergic to one or two things so they are able to find something allergy friendly, where as me, its the whole shebang. I have to bring all my own food. At a party, maybe I can eat the chips, but that's about it. So how do I make bringing a meal less awkward? When I'm invited to a party, I ask what they are going to be having. If they are having pizza, I make sure to bring some Italian-type food like pasta. If its a barbecue, I bring a turkey burger or chicken dog. This way, my food blends in. People are still going to ask you about it, there's no avoiding it, but it will be slightly less awkward. Don't let your allergies control your life. Don't decide to stay home instead of going to the party because you know you won't be able to eat anything! You can still have fun at a party with food allergies, so enjoy yourself!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Birthday Cake

Milk, Egg, Peanut, and Nut Free

3 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup orange juice (or soy milk) & 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
3 T. water, 3 T. oil, 2 tsp. baking powder mixed together
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (with shortening) and flour cake pans. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Using an electric mixer, beat until well mixed, approximately 4 minutes. Pour batter into cake pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks. Frost when completely cooled.

My family has been using this recipe for forever! Whenever my friends come over for my birthday they love it as well! They tell me it tastes exactly like regular cake! And if you want to make it a funfetti cake, just add sprinkles into the batter while mixing. This is a double layer cake recipe and you can use two different cake pans of your choice. With the cake to the left we used two different sized pans to make it layered. All props go to my sister Claire for decorating!

Please remember to double check all ingredients for your food allergens.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Explaining Food Allergies

Okay, we all know it. When it comes to explaining your food allergies to someone, they never understand it, especially at first. Someone offers you something to eat, and you are given two choices.

Option One: Simply say "No Thank You". There's no explanation necessary-they just assume you do not like the food offered or are not hungry.

Option Two: Give the full out "I have food allergies" speech. Tell them no thank you and explain that if you eat something that you are allergic to, that you can become very sick. Try to make the situation light, add a joke and speak in a care-free tone. This will get the point across that food allergies can be dangerous, but you're not worried about it.

I know these situations can become awkward-trust me, I've gone through plenty of these talks. Sometimes they start to apologize repeatedly and to us, it just becomes annoying, but to others that don't understand, they probably are truly sorry. These are the conversations that you just have to muddle through...because in the end, its important that people know that you have food allergies so you can stay safe when eating around them.

So when it comes time to give the "I have food allergies" speech, don't be afraid or embarrassed and do it confidently!


CBS Family Interview

This is a picture of me and my brother when my family was interviewed for a CBS news segment. One of our neighbors and family friends Jen Singer (her blog is is a friend of the producer at CBS news. When the producer went to Mrs. Singer looking for a family dealing with food allergies, she gave them my family's name. CBS came to our house at the end of the same week and recorded us for 6 hours for a 5 minute segment called Living on Edge with Food Allergies. To watch the segment, click this link:

This was about 7 years ago when i was in 3rd grade, now I'm entering 9th and my brother is entering 6th. We still help each other to, in his words, "Stay Stafe".


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Generosity Gone Wrong

I was 2 years old on a long car ride to visit family. In the car was my sister Katie, age 6, my sister Claire, age 4, my mom and my dad. My mom was up front handing out sandwiches to me and my sisters. She just handed both my sisters their peanut butter sandwiches and was about to get my jelly sandwich, when my 4 year old sister Claire decided that she felt bad that I had to wait for my sandwich. She ripped off the corner of her sandwich and I quickly ate it unknowingly. This tiny corner of sandwich could barely have been considered a piece of crust, with hardly any peanut butter at all. Yet, I was throwing up within minutes in the backseat and turning as red as a tomato.

From this, my mom simply learned to give me my sandwich or meal first, so that way my sister didn't find it necessary to give me any more sympathy food...


Here to Help!

My name is Allison, and I have been living with food allergies for the entire fourteen years of my life. I was diagnosed with food allergies when I was about 4 months old. I was born with hives all over my body and the doctor dismissed it as a new born rash. We now know it was probably eczema. When my mom went back to work she started feeding me formula, which was when we found out I am allergic to milk. Throughout my first year, I kept on throwing up every time she fed me something new. Finally the doctor said you might want to go to an allergist, she may have food allergies. When I was tested, they found out I am allergic to milk, eggs, beef, peanuts, lamb, sesame, carrots, strawberries, and nuts. Not to mention animal fur and every seasonal allergy under the sun. If you're reading this, I’m sure you know the scale that is used to measure food allergies. If you are under the certain number for the food, you are not allergic. For example, milk is a 6. This means that when you are tested, if you are a 6 or under, you are not allergic to milk. When tested as a toddler, I was over 100. Now, I am around 72. The doctors originally said I was going to grow out of my milk allergy at 5, then they said maybe 9, then they said puberty, and yet, nothing. I am not alone in this though. I have two older sisters, now 16 and 17. I also have a little brother, who is going to be 12 in a few days. He has food allergies too, and luckily it’s to everything I am allergic to. So my parents are not just taking care of one child with food allergies, but two. My family, my friends, and my faith have helped me deal with food allergies, and as I've gotten older, I've learned to deal with them in my everyday life. As part of my Silver Award for Girl Scouts, I've decided to help you understand them better as well. Know that you are NOT alone! I'm going to post recipes, stories, and little tips on how to make food allergies easier. Comment, share your stories, or ask questions, I'm here to help!