Some parents are frustrated, but experts say the new guidelines are based on convincing results of clinical trials that studied children at risk for peanut allergies. How will this impact the introduction of other foods to infants?
There’s been a major shift in strategy for preventing potentially deadly peanut allergies. After a decade and a half of being told to keep peanuts away from small children, parents now are being told the opposite. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division within the National Institutes of Health, now recommends exposing infants to peanut protein when they’re only a few months old – ideally between the age of 4 to 6 months.
Top Tips for celebrating with family if you have some dietary restrictions.
- Talk to the host prior to the event – Ask ahead of time what is on the menu and if the host would like you to bring something. If possible you might ask them to prepare the main course in a way that fits your dietary needs. You should also figure out if there will be enough dishes that you can eat to fill you or if you will need to bring your own food. By all means, do offer to bring a dish or two that you know you can eat and then share the love with everyone! I’m always tickled if family raves over my grain-free paleo-style dishes.
- Know what it’s swimming in – I’ve found that most of the common food allergens come in the sauces, dressings or marinades. These culprits frequently contain gluten, dairy, egg, soy, or sugar. You may ask the host to hold aside a portion of undressed salad or fix your piece of chicken or fish with no marinade or sauce. I usually ask for olive oil, salt and garlic …It’s delicious every time and I know I’m not getting any hidden gluten or dairy in the sauce.
- Send a package ahead of you – if you’re traveling to an area where there is no Whole Foods or natural grocery nearby to accessorize your diet, you can often ship ahead a small box of essentials. You can either pack them yourself or you can use a service, like Amazon or Vitacost and have them ship the necessary items. I frequently do this with non-perishables, like coconut milk, sunflower nut butter, chia seed, and high quality coconut or olive oils. Plus you can leave any of the gourmet leftover items with your host to enjoy! Better yet, order enough to get free shipping and include a hostess gift of some special gourmet food item that he/she cannot purchase locally. Organic dark chocolate or specialty cooking oils are a wonderful gift idea!
- Don’t go hungry – When we are hungry our brains may bypass the filter of what we know to be a better choice. We’ll often we end up eating too much and pick foods that we’d normally avoid. This is why I vow never take my husband grocery shopping on an empty stomach… you just never know what will make it’s way into your shopping cart! 😉 Eat a small protein snack prior to heading out, like nuts/seeds, guacamole or jerky. If you know there will not be any safe options, it’s ok to eat your entire meal before you go and just enjoy the company and not the food.
- BYOBF (Bring your own back-up food) – whether traveling by plane or car or just driving across town for a holiday get-together, you can never go wrong by having a few nonperishable snacks or options with you. You never know when you’ll get stranded in the car or in the airport for longer than expected. I carry things like packets of sunflower nut butter, coconut butter and shredded coconut, a piece of fruit, dried organic beef or bison jerky, Alter Eco 85% dark chocolate bar, and/or packets or tins of wild salmon or sardines. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stranded somewhere longer than anticipated and hungry and so thankful for my little stash! As the true saying goes, “Fail to plan and plan to fail…”
Wishing you a most delightful and delicious holiday season making many memories with your loved ones!
Sources: 5 Tips to Safely Celebrate the Holidays with Food Allergies , All-American Allergy Alternatives, LLC
Searching for gifts for friends or family members with allergies or food sensitivities? Check out our patients’ and doctors’ ideas, from the practical to the creative, with some that are very tasty!
- Environmental controls-products that help reduce or limit allergens in the home.
- Lifestyle-living with your allergies
- Foods, cooking and recipes for the food sensitive or allergic
- The Nutrimill Harvest Grain Mill: make your favorite recipes with fresh home milled pure flour from various grains, lentils or beans. nutrimill.com
- Premium cookbooks can be found in many stores such as williams-sonoma.com , or a subscription to a specialty magazine like glutenfreelving.com
- Grass-fed beef and meat products from US Wellness Meats grasslandbeef.com
- Vital Choice wild seafood and organics vitalchoice.com
- Is the person on your list a Vegan? Check out ohsheglows.com or vegweb.com for a collection of vegan recipes and resources.
- Safe Sips for the wine lover: Sulfites can contribute to allergic reactions, so try sulfite free organic wines from freywine.com
- Chocoholic? Find milk free, peanut free, gluten free chocolate treats and gifts at nowheychocolate.com or www.vermontnutfree.com
Still not sure? Try gift cards or certificates for movie, theater or concert tickets, adventure lessons, art classes, or even professional cleaning services for their home or apartment.
Let us know if you have other ideas, suggestions or have found useful site that you would like to share with others by commenting below.
Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays from All-American Allergy Alternatives, LLC
Liam began taking allergy shots when he was 3, but the shots were hard on both Liam and Kayle. Now, a new allergy treatment offered at University of Missouri Health Care is helping Liam literally brush off his allergies.
Christmas Tree Allergy
Oh, Charlie Brown, we love your Christmas tree!
Christmas trees are tradition for many families this time of year, they are festive, look great and have that wonderful pine scent. But some allergy sufferers have long suspected that the trees can trigger symptoms.
A recent study showed that the trees can carry mold spores. The mold begins to produce mold spores in the warm and moist home environment. Researchers found that mold spore counts in homes increased tenfold after two weeks.
Best practices for limiting exposure to Christmas tree allergens include washing the tree and its branches with plenty of water prior to bringing it into your home. After a good cleaning, let your tree sufficiently dry to prevent the growth of new mold.
For families with allergies, it recommended to only have the tree in your home for a maximum of seven days.
With artificial trees, store your tree after the season in a cool, dry place and wrap it securely to keep dust from accumulating for next year.
Source: All-American Allergy Alternatives, LLC
When and how to introduce peanut-containing foods to reduce allergy risk
New guidelines from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology on how to approach this topic without going ‘nuts.’
Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
In a recent study, participants who used nasal irrigation to treat recurrent or chronic sinusitis saw more symptom improvement over a six-month period than those who didn’t use the technique. Nasal irrigation also reduced headaches and decreased study participants’ use of over-the-counter medications.
Now that indoor heating season is here, little steps can help lighten your allergic load.
- For dust mite sensitive patients:
- Encase your mattress, box springs and pillows with mite-proof covers
- Wash your bedding weekly in hot water
- Use a good HEPA vacuum cleaner, standard vacuums tend to stir dust and allergens
- If possible, remove wall-to-wall carpeting from bedrooms
- Use room air purifiers
- For mold sensitive patients:
- Wear HEPA filter mask when entering an area of suspected mold growth like a damp basement or crawlspace
- Keep humidity low using air conditioners or dehumidifiers
- Use room air purifiers
- Ventilate bathrooms, and clean regularly
- Don’t forget about your car’s AC system, have it checked out if it has a musty odor
- For pet sensitive patients:
- Keep pets out of the bedroom and off of your upholstery
- Wash your hands after contact
- Eliminate carpets wherever possible
- Use HEPA filters in your heater, air conditioner and vacuum cleaners
For more information, request a copy of our dust and mold information sheets by visiting www.allamericanallergy.com
Sources: All-American Allergy Alternatives, LLC; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (Getty images)