Thursday, April 30, 2009
During this important campaign to raise awareness, here is something easy you can do - click here to encourage your representative to support the HConRes110 bill. This is a very simple bill that would help to educate other lawmakers about celiac disease and the larger issues that the celiac community faces, namely health insurance. This takes just a few minutes to do and it very possibly will have a huge impact on advancing the important needs of the celiac community.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
* Sinuses = 80% improvement (no crushing head aches at all!)
* Skin irritation = 70% improvement
* Digestion = 50% improvement
* Energy level = excellent!
* Sleep = great!
* Mood = excellent!
...still not ready to start challenging just yet. I'm trying to figure out whether the continued digestive issues, while improved, are related to something I'm still eating, the need to detox my digestive system, and/or the fact that a diet low in carbs can slow things down (need to add digestive enzyme and/or psyllium). I'll be experimenting this week to hopefully get my digestive system up to par so that I can start the challenge phase!
In the meantime, here's a great elimination diet friendly meal that the whole family will enjoy:
Roast Chicken & Veggies (serves 4)
Pre heat oven to 350.
6 - 8 large carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
4 or 5 parsnips cut into 1 inch pieces
1 turnip cut into 1 inch pieces
3 onions cut into quarters
5 lb roasting chicken
5 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 T dried rosemary
1 T agave nectar
1 T salt
2 t pepper
1/2 stick of butter (can use a non-dairy substitute), melted
In a large roasting pan, place all cut veggies in bottom. Put the grate over them (or use a cooling rack) - place the chicken breast side down (it's juicier this way) on the grate/rack. Combine the last 7 ingredients and pour 1/2 of this mixture all over the chicken. Place in a 375 degree oven for about 1 3/4 hour to 2 1/2 hours or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees. At the 1/2 way point, pour the rest of the basting mixture over the chicken. Once it's done, let it stand for about 10 - 15 min before carving.
The veggies catch all the yummy drippings and are sooooo tasty! Hope you enjoy!
Monday, April 27, 2009
For about 50 bucks, The Biocard Celiac Test measures the presence of antibodies in the blood. Certain antibodies in a person’s blood indicate whether or not the body is having an immune system response to the presence of some foreign substance (gluten).
The test is simple and quick to administer! Watch the company's video to see how it works.
To take the test, start by setting up all of the different parts of the kit. Gently massage your index finger to drive blood to it. Then wipe your finger with an alcohol swab and let it dry. Prick your clean fingertip with the lancet that is included in the test kit. It is a very small needle, so it is practically painless. Gently press the blood out of your fingertip into the vile and mix it with the included buffer solution. Turn the vile upside down and mix the blood and buffer together. Then squeeze three drops of the blood/buffer liquid into the sample holder. Wait 10 minutes to read results.
The Biocard Celiac Test is positive if you have two red lines on the test card. One red line appears in the control field, which indicates that you have done the test correctly. The second red line will only appear if you are having an immune system response to the gluten protein. If the test comes out positive for celiac disease, the makers of the test recommend consulting with a doctor to confirm the diagnosis with an intestinal biopsy.
According to the creators at 2G Pharma Inc., the test is as accurate as a tissue transglutaminase (tTG) laboratory test that your doctor would request and uses the same technology to detect specific IgA antibodies that react with tissue transglutaminase (tTG), a well known indicator of celiac disease.
Additionally, a study published in the British Medical Journal found that the simple rapid antibody test allowed nurses working in primary care medical offices to detect celiac disease in patients who were not picked up during routine clinical care. The study evaluated 2,690 children around six years old and 120 nurses. The study found 31 newly diagnosed celiac patients. The rapid test accurately detected celiac disease in 30 of the 31 patients.
The Biocard Celiac Test is an amazing development! It will allow for much easier diagnosis and for mass testing, especially for family members of those with celiac disease. I'll keep you posted as to when it will be available to us.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
A big thank you goes out to those parents and children who are participating in the three major experimental treatment research studies now going on. As the article in USA Today states, this is the first time that multiple studies are happening at the same time - increasing the chances that life for those with food allergies may be close to changing dramatically...for the better!
The three main types of studies happening now are:
•Oral immunotherapy (I've also heard this called the rotation diet - not a new concept). Under close supervision by health care professionals, patients swallow tiny but gradually increasing amounts of the foods that trigger their allergies, with the idea of building immunity. This method is being tested for peanut, egg and milk allergies.
•Sublingual therapy. Drops containing proteins that trigger allergies are put under the tongue, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream. This method is being tested for various food allergies.
•Food allergy herbal formula-2. Known as FAHF-2, this pill (not available in stores) is based on a 2,000-year-old Chinese remedy. It contains nine botanicals, including ginseng and oil made from cinnamon tree bark. It is being tested for peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish allergies.
Check out the article (plus some, ahem, colorful comments at the end of it) for more information. This blog is dedicated to bringing you up to date research info, so check back as we learn how these studies are progressing.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
For the happy bride & groom:
* Ask guests to indicate any dietary restrictions on their response card. We got married last June and put a simple sentence at the bottom the card "Please inform us of any dietary restrictions." Out of 150 guests, we had 2 with peanut allergies, 2 with dairy intolerance, and 3 with gluten intolerance (not including me!). I was very happy to know about this ahead of time so that I could be sure all of our guests could safely enjoy themselves.
* Choose selections that you wish to have, then discuss the details of any necessary alternative preparations with your caterer more than once, including plans to avoid cross-contamination. Be very specific.
* If you are having a buffet, ask your caterer to clearly label each dish. Be as elaborate as possible. This will caution guests with food allergies/intolerances/sensitivities and inform them of any hidden potential allergens.
* Put a note inside of or on the back of the seating placement cards for each guest that noted a dietary restriction. Include which selections are safe for them, or if a special meal has been prepared. Indicate by name who the guest should speak to in the event of a problem.
For the guests:
* Offer to call ahead and speak directly to the caterer or manager yourself, taking one thing off of the bride & groom's "to do" list.
* Once the reception begins, introduce yourself to the caterer/manager/person in charge of the food. Restate your food challenges (ideally, hand them a chef card) and get clear on how they are able to meet them. Sometimes making suggestions as to what would be safe for you is helpful.
* Let your server know your needs and that you spoke to the caterer/manager/person in charge.
* If there is a problem with your meal, do not approach the bride or groom during the wedding. Instead, speak to the caterer/manager/person in charge designated by your hosts.
* It never hurts to bring along snacks just in case - you don't want to be hungry. After all, this is a party and you want to be able to enjoy it!
* After your meal, check in with the caterer/manager/person in charge and give feedback about how the kitchen handled or mishandled your needs. When they've done a great job, sincerely thank them and tell them you'll pass it on!
It's spring and love is in the air...
Monday, April 20, 2009
Starting May 5 we will be launching the Gluten-free Orange Valencia Cake with Almonds....The Orange Valencia Cake is a delicious moist citrus cake bursting with Valencia oranges and topped with crunchy almonds. Not only is it gluten-free, it is also prepared with 7 simple ingredients: Whole Eggs, Valencia Orange Pulp, Almonds, Sugar, Orange Peel, Gluten Free Baking Powder, and Orange Oil. Plus it delivers 30% of your daily value of vitamin C. Keep on the look out for it in the pastry case with a sign that says “gluten-free.” A single cake will be displayed unwrapped so you can see it clearly, but don’t worry. They all come individually packaged to prevent cross contamination. And with the ingredient list right on the package, it’s easy to see exactly what you are eating. Whether you are gluten-sensitive or not, this product is delicious and satisfying and I hope you will all enjoy it soon.
I love when food allergy awareness goes main stream!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I'm working with the Governor's office to get a press release out.
Going on the elimination diet and discovering hidden food sensitivities has lead me to a size and weight I thought I could never be. I lost the extra around my middle (a typical symptom, by the way), cravings went away, and my overall health improved dramatically. ...and a new study confirms this! You can read the entire article here, but this is the jist:
"...The authors, led by Dr. M. Akmal of the Dubai Specialized Medical Centre, pointed out that hidden food allergies, or food sensitivities, are unique to each individual and can cause inflammatory diseases, and an inability to lose weight. Food sensitivities often provoke delayed and chronic symptoms, like IBS, migraine and arthritis, that are not as obvious as the dramatic and immediate onset of "true" food allergies, such as peanut anaphylaxis, but, over the long term, can be just as devastating and are more difficult to detect...Now we know that chronic inflammation, caused primarily by exposure to incompatible foods, is at the root of metabolic problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. The immune system chemicals block insulin receptors; so, guess what happens to the sugars we eat? - they get stored as fat. Cut the inflammation, cut the fat storage."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
"Studies suggest that nasal irrigation can reduce sinus and allergy symptoms."
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
* no bloating
* less sinus problems
* rash on my stomach disappearing
Then about day 6, I started to feel a bit worse - more tired, grouchy, sinus problems, digestive issues...this is common. It's called "die off" and it occurs when the bad bacteria that you are trying to get rid of are dying off in the digestive track and perhaps in other parts of the body. When large numbers of these cells are killed, metabolic products are released. Until the body gets rid of them, symptoms may stay the same or get worse. Many people might quit at this point, but it's so worth waiting it out!
In order to deal, I cut back on the grape fruit seed extract for a couple days (taking 2 doses instead of 3). I also had a small amount of complex carbohydrates. I started to rebound and am back on track!
In a few days, I will be switching to Nystatin, an anti-fungal that requires a prescription. As long as I take it slow, I should feel fine.
Can't wait to start the challenge portion of this diet! Then begins the real fun...
Monday, April 13, 2009
The Red Sox will be offering several games with a peanut allergy friendly zone or section to those on the waiting list. You can request the waiting list for the peanut allergy friendly section by calling the ticket office at 877-RED-SOX9. From what I hear, it's a pretty long list, but if you aren't lucky enough to get the call or email this year, Fenway will be sure to follow up with you next year.
Kudos to the Sox & Fenway!
Friday, April 10, 2009
However, there is a lot to consider with this type of experimentation, especially if you have multiple food issues. ABC News does a nice job looking at 7 types of ethnic cuisines, listing the common hidden ingredients to watch out for, as well as foods that might be safe.
Click here to read the article.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
For dairy, peanut, tree nut, gluten, and egg free candies, try Amanda's Own. They do special things for each holiday.
If you can have eggs or dairy but not nuts, try Vermont Nut-Free Chocolate.
Instead of decorating real eggs, paint, decoupage or bead wooden eggs available at craft stores or online. Plastic eggs can also be decorated using stickers, ribbons and permanent markers.
Fill baskets with small toys, cars, dolls, crayons or mini stuffed animals, instead of putting the focus on food.
Organize an Easter egg hunt using plastic eggs. Fill them with coins or stickers or even coupons for activities such as roller skating or movies, instead of candy.
Kids With Food Allergies has created an eight-page booklet filled with ideas and tips for celebrating Easter safely with your food allergic children. There are some terrific looking recipes in there.
Of course, being that I am on day 6 of the elimination diet (and beginning to feel just wonderful!), my Easter will look a bit different - just a few minor adjustments:
We are going to my parents' house for brunch. I will be making the frittata filled with yummy things allowed on elimination (onions, sauteed spinach, roasted red peppers, fresh herbs, and a tiny bit of potato). I will also have some of my homemade sausage (see my blog a few days ago for the recipe).
At 2PM, we will be going to my inlaws' for dinner. Here, I will have the roasted turkey, some turnip, a little bit of sweet potato, and any veggies.
I'm getting hungry just thinking about it...
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
It takes about as long as flossing your teeth and, no, you don't choke! My teen-age nephew tried it and said that he could taste food for the first time!
Why a Nasal Wash? The nasal passages are lined with a thin layer of mucus that is one of our body's first lines of defense against disease. A nasal wash keeps this layer of mucus moist, clean and healthy. And compared to other nasal wash techniques, using the Neti Pot is easy. It helps to:
- Remove excess mucus due to congestion.
- Rid nostrils of pollen and other allergens.
- Cleanse the nasal membranes of dust, smoke, or other airborne contaminants.
- Relieve nasal dryness due to air travel.
- Improve flow of breath before doing relaxation or meditation techniques.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
These recipes and packaged goodies could be useful to those of us troubled by these foods year 'round!
Tip: One main thing people have on Passover is matzah - this is made of wheat. Also made of wheat is matzah meal (ground matzah), matzah farfel (matzah in small pieces) and cake meal (finely ground matzah). If you are gluten free, you MUST avoid all foods with those ingredients. You want to keep your eyes open for this Hebrew phrase- "non-gebroktz". This means that no wheat was used and means that any item with that on it is safe for us. Many delicious, special products labelled as non-gebroktz become available only at this time of year.
Here’s the latest list from Manischewitz.com for their gluten free items:
Daily Only (Not Kosher for Passover)
Hearty Bean Cello Soup
MixLentil Pilaf Mix
Split Pea Soup Mix With Seasoning
Cello Soup Mix
Kosher For Passover and All Year Round
Original Marinara Sauce
Tomato and Mushroom Sauce
Apple ButterBorscht (All)
Clear Chicken Consomme
Condensed Clear Chicken Soup
Cooking Sprays - All Varieties
Homestyle Potato Latke Mix
Mini Potato Knish Mix
Potato Kugel Mix
Potato Pancake Mix
Sweetened Potato Pancake Mix
Kosher for Passover
Cappaccino Chip Macaroons
Caramel Cashew Patties
Chocolate Chip Macaroons
Chocolate Chunk Cherry Macaroons
Chocolate Frolic Bears
Maxs Magic Lollycones
Banana Split Macaroons
Toffee Crunch Macaroons
Mini Sour Fruit Slices
Fudgey Nut Brownie Macaroons
Honey Nut Macaroons
Potato Chips - All Varieties
Raspberry Jell Bars
Rocky Road Macaroons
Swiss Chocolate Mints
Tender Coconut Patties
Ultimate Triple Chocolate Macaroons
Gluten Free Passover Recipe Roundup from the Gluten Free Bay Blog. This is a great article from 2007 that provides multiple recipes. They are all gluten free and are coded to indicate other dietary restrictions:
P = Parve (no dairy, no meat)
M = Meat (fleischig)
D = Dairy (milchig)
V = Vegan (no animal products, no honey)
VG = Vegetarian dishes containing dairy, eggs and/or honey
Recipe Zaar has 71 gluten free recipes for Passover. Many are also free of other troublesome ingredients.
Here are dairy free Passover recipes from about.com.
Passover By Design - Susie Fishbein's newest book has sold out nearly overnight at many stores and features over 130 gluten-free recipes for Passover and year-round.
Hope that's helpful!
Monday, April 6, 2009
Last time I did an elimination diet, I discovered that my symptoms (sinusitis, itching red skin, fatigue, moodiness, digestive problems, and vaginitis) were mainly caused by a sensitivity to sugar, moldy foods like peanuts & tree nuts, and cherries. I didn't finish challenging every potentially troublesome food because I was feeling great, and it was starting to be a busy time in my life (getting married, two vacations...). Alas, I'm not feeling as great as I was, so it's time to continue.
I'm finding it to be much easier this time. It's not taking much effort to come up with menus to suit my needs (I'm on the go with work often) and still feed my husband. I can eat out without a ton of thought.
I'm looking forward to the challenge phase and will keep you posted as to how its going. For now, here's one of my staples for the elimination diet (actually, I make these all the time b/c they are so yummy - my family even requests them!): Homemade Sausage!
Ingredients (For a double batch - they freeze really well):
2 packages ground turkey
3 T fennel seed (adjust to your taste)
3 T flax seed (I use milled) - optional
3 T olive oil + more for the pan
2 T salt
1 T pepper
1 C diced & sauteed veggies (I use onions & red pepper, or sometimes I use the pulp from juicing veggies)
Heat up a fry pan w/ some oil. Combine all ingredients together - using your hands is the best way. For some reason, adding the veggies in warm helps the mixture to stick together. Form patties and cook on both sides until done all the way through - about 5 min on each side.
This makes about 18 - 20 patties. I wrap 'em up in foil, put them in a plastic zip bag, and freeze them. I take them out as I need them and just heat them up. They are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks...and they are so yummy!
Friday, April 3, 2009
Some interesting excerpts:
"Fleischer and his colleagues discovered, in a new landmark study, that more than half the foods triggering positive blood tests could, in fact, be added safely back to the diets of patients based on food challenges.
The study seems to indicate there may be thousands of Americans, perhaps more, who aren't eating food that they probably could eat safely.""Food challenges may be the emerging standard, but they can cost thousands of dollars; less accurate blood tests typically run about $300."
"[Food challenge testing] is a burden to do on a daily basis," Malka said. "It takes time, it takes staff, and there's always a risk associated with any food challenges ... because of an allergic reaction. But if it's done in the right setting, with the right testing behind it, it's a very safe test to do."
This isn't a new treatment - more of a revived one. Many people swear by it. Food for thought...
· Requires the placement in restaurant kitchens of an approved poster providing general information on food allergies as they relate to food preparation.
· Requires menus to include a statement that the customer should inform the wait staff of any food allergy issue.
· Requires approved food service courses — already attended by restaurant managers (the so-called “serve safe courses”) — to include the viewing of an approved food allergy video.
· Requires DPH to develop a program for restaurants to be designated as “Food Allergy Friendly” and to maintain a listing of restaurants receiving such designation on its Web site. Participation in the program shall be voluntary, and in addition to any other DPH requirements, in order to receive such designation restaurants would be required to make available to the public, a master list of all the ingredients used in the preparation of each food item available for consumption.I've got a mixed reaction. On the one hand, this is a step forward for those of us consumed with food sensitivity worry. It raises awareness, which is always a great thing. Bringing in government oversight could improve things. I am proud that MA is being a leader, once again!
I'm also thinking it doesn't go quite far enough. Who will regularly monitor all this to ensure ongoing compliance, or are restaurants self-certifying? Will it just be a one shot deal and then all will be forgotten? Will the poster just be a decoration, or get lost? Will the info on the video be retained and utilized? Isn't "allergy friendly" kind of broad? Is the economic argument for a restaurant to become food allergy friendly strong enough so they will want to do it?
I have a passion for educating the food service industry - I just want to seen it done right. Stay tuned for more updates.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I had to try it out for myself...looking at those cases filled with safe sweet treats was just too much to handle. And the taste? Incredible! I have to admit that I did slip and tried both the Pumpkin Tea Cake and the Cannoli, both of which contain sugar. Boy did I pay for it later (crushing headache, upset stomach, stuffy sinuses...) - I'm not doing that again.
Anyhow, I went back two more times and stayed far away from the sugary delights. I loved the grilled veggie panini the best! I brought along a non-food sensitive friend for her to gauge the taste and she loved it!
I met the owner, Traci, who is such a delight! She is gluten-free herself, so she totally gets it! No worries about eating here!
So, if you are in the area or, heck, make a special trip because it's worth it! Anello's is located at 41 Congress Street in Portsmouth, NH.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
* Dairy free
* Soy free
* Gluten free
All but one flavor (mint) does not contain sugar - they use organic agave syrup instead...and it is so delicious! Creamy, sweet, satisfying...
From their website: Although an individual could be allergic to any food, there are eight common foods that account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions. These are: milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts (walnut, cashew, etc.), fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat (according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network). While a couple of our flavors contain tree nuts, most flavors of Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss contain none of these common allergens. If you know you have food allergies, be sure to read the label carefully to avoid flavors that contain foods that you are allergic to.
I think I need to pick some up now...
The Food Allergy Coach & Food Sensitivity Resources are dedicated to helping people live full lives despite having food allergies, food intolerance, and food sensitivities. We are also embarking on a mission to assist businesses, schools, and entire communities to learn how to cater to those with food challenges.
All of my life, I have suffered from environmental allergies and asthma. At one point, I was prescribed two inhalers, two nasal sprays, two allergy pills, and three allergy shots per week! I can remember leaving school via ambulance several times because I could not breath. I had chronic sinus infections that would return as soon as my course of antibiotics was finished.
At my allergist's recommendation, I was subjected to immuno-replacement therapy because he said that I did not produce one class of immunoglobulins and that's why I get so sick. This treatment triggered anaphylaxis, and I could have died (my mom thanks the quick-thinking anesthetist that just happened to walk by me in short stay). They could not tell me what the ingredient was that was the culprit - that is scary!
In my early 20's, my nephew was diagnosed with autism and my sister made it her mission to understand the connection between food sensitives and autism. In addition to learning the foods that he needed to avoid, she learned that people with my symptoms should look into a connection to food allergies. She said, "start by giving up dairy and see how you feel." I told her that I would after I finished graduate school.
I did it. I gave up dairy, but I didn't experience much relief and sort of put it out of my mind. Then, as a way to continue battling my weight, I eliminated carbs from my diet for a couple of months. I felt great. I then went on vacation (you know what I mean - "I'm on vacation so it doesn't count") and had a veggie burger on a roll. I proceeded to get so sick ("fuzzy thinking" - the inability to make a decision, intense abdominal pain - the kind that makes you double over, extreme lethargy, a complete "lock down" of my digestive track) - it ruined my long weekend!
At the time, I had both a primary care doctor and an allergist. When I told them both what happened and that I was afraid to eat, they both said a version of "well, next time you need blood work done, we'll check for food allergies." Not good enough. Needless to say, that's the last time I saw both of them.
I educated myself and did an elimination diet on my own, and found that foods containing gluten were the culprit. This was later confirmed by a conclusive blood test: Celiac Disease. My lonely adventure of figuring what this is and how to live with it began. Boy do I wish I had help! It would have been a lot easier! Once my body began to recover, I no longer needed the inhalers, nasal sprays, allergy shots - I was just using one allergy medication.
Flash forward a few years - I was managing the gluten issue beautifully but began experiencing unpleasant symptoms (skin irritation and itchiness, chronic vaginitis - sorry for the detail, but I believe this needs to be talked about! -, sinusitis, fatigue, digestive issues, unexplained aches and pains, moodiness...). My holistic doctor made many suggestions, including switching to green cleaning products, using all natural laundry detergent w/o dies/perfumes, changing birth control... When nothing improved, she said, "do some research."
...and off I went, feeling alone yet again, but determined to get well. I discovered information about Candida and the work of Dr. Crook. I literally cried when I read his book because I knew I had found answers - finally! I embarked on another elimination diet and found that I needed to add sugar, cherries, peanuts, and tree nuts to the list of things to avoid. I am susceptible to Candida. Soon after these discoveries, I kicked my one allergy medication to the curb - 15 years of taking something to help with allergy symptoms and now I needed nothing! It was quite liberating! This began a new chapter of getting educated and adjusting - I have a sneaking suspicion that it won't be my last... My blog will chronicle my continued journey.
The Food Allergy Coach and Food Sensitivity Resources represent many, many years of education, research, and coping. I want to make this process easier for individuals and families finding themselves in a position of understanding food allergies, intolerance, and sensitivities. I want to formalize my efforts to educate businesses and schools about these issues.
I already find myself offering tips, resources, safe places to eat, safe places to be educated, reviews of allergy friendly products, the latest research news, etc. to friends and friends-of-friends all the time. I want to pass information on to you!
If you have allergies or know someone who does, I hope you find this blog helpful!
Happy *safe* eating!