About allergybabe

NO DAIRY, NO PARTY ?! (part 2)

peek a boo - cannot see you...

peek a boo – playing at Gymboree Docklands

Yes, there is a second part to the much discussed part 1. Thanks everyone who shared their thoughts on how catering facilities deal with food allergic customers. Particularly important is NUTMUMS.COM view of the subject in legal terms. Read her blogpost here.

But hey, let us not dwell in the past. We had a great 3rd birthday party with lots of lovely people, great acitivities, fun, laughter and, yes, food. Gymboree Docklands was kind enough to entertain our guests and let us cater ourselves. Well done, we need more of these friendly places.

So we catered ourselves. With allergy friendly foods. Lots of it. Everything was allergyBabe friendly, which means free from most of the top 14 food allergens (Gluten, Wheat, Fish, Shellfish, Egg, Dairy, Soya, Peanuts and Treenuts, Sesame, Lupin) and others (including Buckwheat, Pea, Beans etc). We had a 3 metre long buffet piled up with all kinds of safe things to eat, lots of fruit, vegetables, but also crisps, breads, cupcakes and biscuits. Popcorn was a big hit with the children as well as the grown ups. The best moment of all was watching allergyBabe wandering free around the room, independently helping himself to anything he wanted to. It was so wonderful to see him at ease, not having to worry about if he can eat the cracker, biscuit, crisp or bread in front of him. He looked so confident and proud. For the first time in years, our world outside our “safety zone” (the apartment) did not revolve around food.

It was an amazing 3 hours and I cannot thank all our guests enough who came despite the fact that we would have only allergen friendly food items. You made allergyBabe’s day truly special.

I wonder, if I hadn’t told them in advance, would they have ever noticed?

PS: Sorry for the lack of pictures, I was so involved in the party, forgot to take out the camera… .

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RECIPES

The Ultimate Gingerbread Biscuit (no kiddin’) GF, DF, NF, WF, SF, EF, vegan

If you are looking for a biscuit with a crunchy outside and a soft, almost cake-like centre, that smells and tastes like christmas, search no more. I came up with the ultimate spiced biscuit recipe, and I am gonna share it with you.

Gingerbread Star Biscuit

Gingerbread Star Biscuit

Kept in a tin box with a slice of apple, it will stay moist and fresh.

The Star Christmas Biscuit Dough

The Star Christmas Biscuit Dough

Ingredients:

175g Doves Farm White Bread Flour

1/2 tsp Ginger Bread Spice Mix (Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Orange Peel, Coriander, Fennel, Aniseed, Clove, Cardamom) OR 1/2 tsp Ginger

1/2 tsp Vanilla Powder

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

3/4 tsp Baking Powder

50 g Pure Sunflower Spread

75g Light Soft Brown Sugar

3 TBSP Maple Syrup

1 TBSP Sunflower Oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven (Fan assisted 150 C, others 170 C), takes 10-12 minutes

Mix together the flour, spices, bicarbonate and baking powder.

Add the brown sugar. Stir until combined.

Add 2 TBSP of Maple Syrup and mix until combined.

Add the Sunflower Spread in small pieces and mix until dough forms small crumbs.

Add another 1 TBSP of Maple Syrup together with 1 TBSP of oil. Using your hands, form a soft dough.

The dough should be soft and evenly combined but not sticky.

Leave in the fridge for about 5 minutes.

Take your dough out of the fridge, cut it in four equal parts and start with the first quarter.

After flattening the dough with your hands, you can now use your rolling pin until the dough appears approximately 1/2 cm thin.

Cut out your desired shapes, and peel the biscuits off the foil.

Place on cookie sheet and bake for approx. 10 min.

Keep in tin for later, use them as gift tags, on the tree or treat Santa’s Reindeer… .

A Decorative Gift Tag

A Decorative Gift Tag

I like them quite plain, but they look also lovely with some icing on top, sprinkles, chocolate (df nf version) or marshmallows (make sure they are df and gf).

If you want to be a bit over the top, decorate with real gold (oh go on, it is christmas…!).

Easy with the kids, as well, as you can see:

allergyBabe busy working on his Christmas Biscuits.

allergyBabe busy working on his Christmas Biscuits.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

Merry Christmas to You!

Merry Christmas to You!

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Uncategorized

Alpro – get yer nuts off our soya

THE NO NUTS CAMPAIGN – get yer nuts off our soya. Great post to support the #alproSOS campaign. Due to lack of time, I am sharing Alexa’s thoughts with you. Please support.
And yes, there is no doubt that as a major soya manufacturer, Alpro should be able to avoid cross contamination. Even granny can do it in her kitchen… ūüėČ

yesnobananas

1459254_1435348873345203_1182172315_nI’LL KEEP this one short(ish) and not very sweet. You’ve no doubt heard of Alpro, one of the leading purveyors of soya stuff, from milk to yoghurts, cream and custard. For kids battling dairy allergy their calcium enriched products are a staple part of their daily diet. In fact, Alpro is on the list of brands recommended to dairy allergic kids by specialist dieticians and allergists.

As of 2014, Alpro has decided to integrate the production of its nut and soya factories, and slap a ‚Äúmay contain traces of nuts‚ÄĚ warning on ALL of its soya products.

View original post 649 more words

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Uncategorized

NO DAIRY-NO PARTY? part 1

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After quite a journey, we as the parents of allergybabe, are happy to finally have reached a “steady state” (as the chemistry profs would say) in managing our son’s food allergies. We know what foods are safe for him, where to shop these items and what to cook with these foods. We developed a soothing routine in dealing with his food allergies in our every day life.

So I did not worry to much when I started to look into several options where to celebrate allergybabe’s third birthday. Keeping in mind it will be mid-november, and that our 2b2b London apartment would barely cope with more than a handful of guests, we opted for an indoor location. There are lots of options for little ones to celebrate their special party. E.g., a museum just a stone throw away from where we live offer lots of packages, they have a great indoor play area, a party room, and catering. Yes, they do cater. THEY cater. They are so proud of their catering standard, that they have ridiculous demands for anyone wanting to bring in their own (SAFE) foods:

I have had another conversation with our catering team regarding your request to provide your catering yourself. It could be possible but there is quite a process that would need to happen to be approved. We would require you to have £2 million public liability insurance as well as references for 2 previous grade 1 listed venues that you have provided catering for.  Also you would need attend an interview with our catering manager. This I imagine will not be possible option for you but if you know of a caterer who is suitable for your son’s needs, I would suggested they may be able to provide the above. There would also be a facilities charge of around £100. If you are interested in this option, I can put you in touch with the relevant people to get the ball rolling.

And no one else can bring in foods (they allow you to bring in the birthday cake, though). After trying to explain our unique situation (highly food allergic three year old to 7 of the big eight, apart from other food allergies), they still did not want us to bring in the food. I then suggested a couple of foods their catering could provide if they would avoid cross contamination (a certain brand of crisps, sliced veggies and fruit, juices, a certain brand of biscuits). This is the reply:

I have now had feedback on your request with regards your menu below.Our catering team will not be able to provide the catering on this occasion for the following reasons:They cannot guarantee an allergy free environment and are not willing to take the risk of providing the catering on this occasion. Also as this request is not our standard pre-priced offer and will take time to plan and order the end cost would be far higher than our regular offer.

The only option would have been not to have catering at the party. Do we as parents of a food allergic child demand too much? Too much understanding, too much trouble, too much compassion?

All we want is that at his special day, our food loving son should not worry about foods around him. Just this one day he should be able to enjoy himself, eat, drink and have fun.

I understand that the above Рin extracts- mentioned  conversation could have taken place with 90% of the catering industry. This conversation was not an exception. That is the sad truth. I understand that people do not want to take any risks. I understand they are scared to make a mistake. Every kitchen staff is trained in maintaining hygiene standards. Why is it so hard for them to confidently state that they can avoid cross contamination? Is it the lack of knowledge?I demand (and I will repeat this like a mantra for the rest of my life!)  that every single person in the industry who ever has the responsibility to cook or cater for any human being, is to be trained properly to be able to accommodate food allergic individuals. I demand proper training.

I believe in Confidence through Knowledge.

PS: I also experienced lovely and very thoughtful staff everywhere on this lovely planet, and especially in the UK. The general rule is: the more expensive the restaurant, the better they are with food allergies and other food related disease. But, there is a growing number of other restaurants (especially chains), that are getting better and better in dealing with special dietary requirements.

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twenty/20th

Twenty/20th

Every 20th of the month, 20 questions will be asked. To whom? Amazing people who deserve to be in the spotlight. Allergy friendly people. People, who truly make this world a safer place.

Look who is first-

Nia and a bespoke and allergy friendly vegan nut free birthday cake. How special

Nia and a bespoke and allergy friendly vegan nut free birthday cake. How special

Fantastic Nia from Nia’s friendly foods. Never in my life have I met a more enthusiastic, commited and motivated business woman.

And here they are, the twenty questions:

allergybabe: mind me asking, how old are you?
Nia: Just turned 20 and missing being a teenager [Wow…!]
allergybabe: who is inspiring you?

Nia: The people that tell me it can’t be done
allergybabe: now you have met the PM- who is next? the queen?
Nia: I hope so! I am aiming for OBE next (laughs). Not sure what for; maybe services to food? would be cool but I am doubtful
allergybabe: you are a proud vegan- since when and why?
Nia: Ohh I’m not sure how long to be honest, but I am super proud to be vegan! People tend to think I’m weird and make fun of me, but since becoming vegan I have accomplished so much and it has made me more of a compassionate person even if people don’t get it
allergybabe: your own shop – when will this become a reality?
Nia: In 4 years I hope. Nothing would make me happier than a place that people with multiple allergies can choose what they want
allergybabe: your advise on people having the desire to start a business?
Nia: Oh I’m terrible with this – all I can say is make sure you want to do it, especially if you get a loan because you will have to pay it back regardless
allergybabe: what makes a business sucessful?
Nia: It’s customers for sure mine keep me going and I am so grateful
allergybabe: you are also allergy friendly – what is tougher : eggless or gluten free baking?
foto test
Eggless for sure! I was baking gluten free since I was about 16. Doing mousses, meringues and eggy bread without eggs is challenging-there is just something in eggs-but where there is a will there is a way
allergybabe: Jo Frost- love or hate?
Nia: Is that super nanny? [wait a minute, who is asking the questions here?]
I think that show is hilarious she seems to help people I guess?
allergybabe: Do you have a favorite animal?
Nia: Hard question, pandas probably; I have always loved them or squirrels [laughs again] would love a pig as a pet though
allergybabe: local council stated you are too cautious when it comes to food allergy cross contamination prevention – your thoughts
Nia: They have clearly never had an allergic reaction
allergybabe: where do you see yourself in 10 years
Nia: Hopefully in my little shop that would make me happy [oh and us as well…]
allergybabe: please finish the sentence: If you were queen for a day, you would…
Nia: ..make everyone be vegan [cheeky face]. I don’t want to push my views on people but there is a saying about if slaughter houses had glass walls everyone would be vegetarian, I don’t think that is true though some people just don’t care but would be cool to let people eat more sustainable for a day, 27 billion animals are killed every year just in the US for food so one day would save a lot
allergybabe: please finish the sentence: social media is like….
Nia: My bestest ever friend
allergybabe: who do you owe your life?
Nia: Easiest question of them all and the answer is: my boyfriend-we’ve known each other since I was 14 [how sweet!!!]
allergybabe: your life moto?
Nia: We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars
allergybabe: your favorite bake?
Nia: Cookiesss [big grin]. I love when they are warm from the oven, chewy and crispy
allergybabe: please finish the sentence: i hate…
Nia: …people that make fun of me and are closed minded
allergybabe: please finish the sentence: with a million pounds, i would…
Nia: ..try to buy as many animals in battersea dogs home as possible and raise them on a farm like a hippy
allergybabe: please finish the sentence: my favorite blog is…
Nia: …yours obviously [with a twinkle in the eye]. I love these questions by the way [ahh, thanks and thanks]
Oh, isn’t she lovely!
Nia preparing a very special delivery...

Nia preparing a very special delivery…

Please visit her sites, she is a real darling and always happy to chat. And her bakes… a dream….!!
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Egg allergy, Uncategorized

Flu vaccine and egg allergy – an update about the latest developments

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In reference to yesterday’s #allergyhour on twitter, the topic of the influenza vaccination came up and I got inspired to post the latest developments in regards to the flu vaccine’s application, safety and allergenic potential.

In the UK, the flu vaccine is currently administered to high risk children (kids with comorbidities such as severe asthma) only and requires an intramuscular jab. From 2014, an annual influenza vaccine for all children will be introduced into the UK immunisation schedule, to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease. This new vaccine, known as LAIV (Live Attenuated Intranasal Vaccine) is given by a spray into the nose and has been successfully used in the US for a couple of years. You can see the results of a NEJM study here. The new vaccine is grown in hen’s eggs and contains egg protein, and there are NO existing data on the safety of LAIV in egg- allergic children. To prove the safety of the intranasal vaccine for egg allergic children, the SNIFFLE study will be performed in a multicentre setting shortly. The new application sounds very promising and I am looking forward to the results. Will keep you posted.

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Egg allergy

Egg allergy and the MMR – is it safe?

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Among the allergy community, there is a lot of doubt and uncertainty about the safety of the MMR vaccine in egg allergic children. This post sums up the latest research and recommendations.

What is the MMR?

The MMR Vaccine protects from measles, mumps and rubella. It is given around 12 month of age and again around 3 to 5 years of age. It is an active virus, consisting of weakened forms of the viruses.

Why is there a concern about giving the vaccine to egg allergic children?

The vaccine is cultured on embryo chick fibroblasts.

Though, it does not contain any hen’s egg protein. If traces of hen’s egg protein are detected, they are highly processed and their concentration is very low.

Recent studies:

MMR vaccination of children with egg allergy is safe:

a danish study published in 2013, investigating 32 children with egg allergy who had been referred to get their mmr vaccination (Priorix MMR) at hospital. None of the children had severe reactions

A review of a pediatric emergency department vaccination programme for patients at risk of allergy/anaphylaxis

Published in September last year, the authors claim their study being¬† “one of the largest studies looking at childhood vaccinations performed in a hospital setting for children who are ‘at risk’ of allergy, anaphylaxis or hypersensitivity”. A total of 374 patients (with a medical history of anaphylaxis, allergic reaction or strong suspicion of a severe adverse reaction against egg) contributed to the findings. All of the children received their vaccinations in a hospital setting. “Only six patients (1.3%) experienced an immediate reaction to a vaccination. All reactions were minor”. The authors conclude that “A significant number of referrals were unwarranted and the majority could have been safely managed in the community”.

Latest expert opinion (BSACI, 2007):

BSACI Recommendations for Combined Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Vaccination in Egg-Allergic children:

The MMR has an excellent safety-record and may be administered to all egg-allergic children in a primary care setting. As with any other immunisation, adrenaline should be readily available in case of rare and unpredictable anaphylaxis. MMR should be postponed if child is unwell. A hospital based application is necessary after a previous severe reaction to a vaccination (MMR or other) after a specialist assessment. It might be possible that the reaction occured due to an allergy to other components of the shot (gelatine (beef and lamb allergy) or antibiotics (neomycin or other)).

Other vaccinations and egg allergy:

Flu vaccine: updated every year, the content level of ovalbumin, varies every year, some jabs do not contain egg. A split dose (1/10 of single dose, than 9/10 of dose) of the vaccine might be an option. Consult your GP or specialist for up to date advise.

Yellow fever vaccine: unsuitable for children with egg allergy

So what is the verdict?

Latest research suggests that the likelihood for an egg-allergic child to react to the MMR vaccine is about the same as to any other non-egg containing vaccine. Reactions are rare but non predictable due to other substances like gelatine and antibiotics.

Even though the MMR seems to be a safe shot, it is always recommended to seek advise from your specialist if in any doubt. Every child reacts differently and the risk profile of your allergic child can be best assessed by your trusted allergist.

Sources: the anaphylaxis campaign, nhs choices, pubmed, bupa, bsaci

Please note that this post does not imply any medical advise. Please always consult your specialist.

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