Do you know or suspect your child has a milk allergy? Help AllergyUK help you (and win £30)

For many parents, a suspected but undiagnosed food allergy can be a source of huge stress and uncertainty. We had tried elimination of certain foods to try and help small boy’s eczema, but it wasn’t until the terrifying reaction to a peanut that we even considered food allergies.

Amongst other things, small boy is allergic to dairy, or specifically cow’s milk protein. He was breastfed as a baby, but was a champion vomiter from day 1. When I used to give him cow’s milk after he turned one, and he continually vomited it on his own head, I just thought that was normal- he was my first (so I didn’t know any better) and he was a sicky baby. With hindsight, of course, I was filling him with something he was allergic to and that’s why he was sick.

But what if you do suspect your child has an allergy, specifically to cow’s milk protein, which is hard to avoid in the early years? Cows’ milk protein allergy is actually the most common childhood food allergy, affecting between 2-7% of babies under one year of age.  With a wide variety of symptoms, many of which can be similar to other conditions, having a child with cows’ milk protein allergy can be very worrying for parents.

Allergy UK, the national organisation supporting people with allergies in the UK, is running a survey to share the experiences of parents or carers who have a baby with cows’ milk protein allergy, or suspect their baby may have the condition.  The survey asks 30 questions (although some are quite long) about your experiences with a cow’s milk protein allergy, or suspected allergy, and if you complete the survey you could be in with a chance to win one of 30 £30 vouchers from Mamas & Papas.  The survey is available from http://www.allergyuk.org/news_cowsmilksurvey.aspx.

AllergyUK have also partnered with infant nutrition brand Aptamil (who produce a formula suitable for allergic babies) for to create a range of actually helpful resources to help support parents and help them to understand this condition http://www.aptamil.co.uk/allergies.

If your child does have an allergy, or you suspect as much, do go and see your healthcare provider, because managing the nutritional needs of your small child can be difficult and you need to demand all the help and support you can get. Small boy was 3 when his allergies were diagnosed, and he is also allergic to soya, so has to make do with rice and oats milks. Fortunately, the growing awareness means that alternative milks are more readily available than they once were.

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Free From Food Awards

If you are here, on a site about managing food allergies, you have probably already heard of the FreeFrom Food Awards 2012 “The industry’s only award for excellence for freefrom food – raising the profile of freefrom within the industry and with the consumer”.

Manufacturers of free from products were asked to submot their products for consideration in up to 17 categories, as follows:

1. The Innovation award:
The innovation category is open to any product which successfully pushes the boundaries of freefrom in terms of concept, ingredients and/or manufacture.

Categories:

2. Dairy and/or lactose-free animal milk, butter, yogurt and ice cream
Sponsored for 2012 by Swedish Glace

3. Plant (soya, rice, oat, nut, potato, hemp, millet, coconut etc) ‘milk’, spread, yogurt, ‘cheese’ and ice cream
Sponsored for 2012 by Pure

4. FreeFrom breakfast cereals
Sponsored for 2012 by Fria Gluten Free

5. FreeFrom breads and bread mixes
Sponsored for 2012 by Genius Gluten Free

6. FreeFrom pasta and pizza bases/mixes
Sponsored for 2012 by Tesco

7. FreeFrom foods manufactured for food service
Sponsored for 2012 by Livwell

8. FreeFrom ingredients, pastry/pastry mixes, sauces, flour, stock, marinades, sweeteners etc
Sponsored for 2012 by Juvela

9. • NEW • Raw foods and superfoods
Sponsored for 2012 by Asda

10. FreeFrom pizzas, savoury pies, flans, sausages and ready meals
Sponsored for 2012 by Delamere Dairy

11. FreeFrom savoury biscuits and snacks
Sponsored for 2012 by Genon Laboratories

12. FreeFrom scones, sweet tarts, Bakewells, sweet biscuits and cookies
Sponsored for 2012 by Tesco

13. FreeFrom cakes, cake mixes, muffins, brownies, cup cakes, cake bars and Eccles cakes
Sponsored for 2012 by Mrs Crimbles

14. Freefrom puddings, sweet pies, cheesecakes and desserts
Sponsored for 2012 by Hale & Hearty

15. FreeFrom chocolate, snack bars and petit fours
Sponsored for 2012 by Tesco

16. FreeFrom Christmas foods
Sponsored for 2012 by Produced in Italy

17. Gluten-free beer
Sponsored for 2012 by Asda

Although the entires are now in, there is now a very important job to be done. In early February 2012, a select group of people will be undertaking the hard task of judging each category, before selecting a winner and two runners up. I am delighted to announce that Food Allergy Kitchen was invited to be on the judging panel and will be deliberating at a secret location very soon.

Although I cannot reveal the categories I am judging, nor make you privy to highly confidential judging discussions, an update on the awards will be posted after the judging has taken place. Please note that I do not accept bribes…

The shortlist will be published on or around the 1st March 2012, before the awards are presented in April 2012. The Awards will also be showcased at the Allergy & Freefrom Show at Olympia in May.

Allergy Trifle!

photo by Darling RetroIt’s Christmas and allergy-sufferers like Christmas too. This year I decided to make small boy a trifle.

Jelly and raspberries are not  a problem, but trifle sponges are. However, I discovered we could use the bun part of an iced bun, which is kind of a sweet bread, and that worked fine. If you are avoiding gluten, try some plain gluten-free cake.

I also discovered that Blancmange (from a packet) does not contain milk, so I made up some blancmange with non-dairy milk. If you eat soy, try soy milk, but I tried both rice milk and oat milk. Oat milk works much better because it is thicker, but rice milk will give you a translucent semi-solid attempt. The blancmange I used contained wheat, but the basic ingredients of blancmange are cornflour, colour and sugar, so you could make your own wheat-free version by hand, if you get a wheat-free cornflour (this is possible, but can be difficult to find because of harvesting and milling technicques)

Small boy does not like cream, but you could add soy cream or oat cram on top. And hundreds and thousands of course!

Video Recipe- Allergy Friendly Bread and Butter Pudding. Yum.

It can be hard enough to find interesting recipes, let alone ones for people with allergies, so I was delighted to find a whole gang of them over at the Dietary Specials website.

Bread and Butter pudding in particular is something that a coeliac or someone with a  wheat or gluten allergy would naturally assume would be a no go area. But not this one. The Dietary Specials lady makes a fabulous wheat and gluten free version, and with a few adjustments, you can make it suitable for those with dairy or egg allergy or vegans too!

All you need to do is to replace the whole milk with either Goat’s Milk, Soya Milk or Rice Milk, whichever suits you and your allergies, replace the butter with goat’s butter, soya spread or non-soya spread, and replace the egg with either Orgran NoEgg (1 tsp per egg) or Xanthan Gum, which is normally available in larger supermarket stores.

So enjoy watching, and please let us know how you get on!

Allergy on the outside as well as on the inside

As you may know, small boy has a dairy allergy (amongst others) but can tolerate Goat’s milk. The other day he and his sister were eating breakfast on the sofa watching children’s TV (it *was* the holidays) when his sister spilled her breakfast.

All over small boy’s leg.

His skin came up almost immediately in red blisters from bottom to ankle, and despite us washing him immediately and giving him anti-histamine, it took a while for him, and his skin, to calm down.

A few hours later, he was complaining that his leg hurt and on inspection, the back of his knee on the affected leg was so cracked and weeping sore, it was no wonder it was hurting him. T obe fair, he complained very little for the amount of pain he must have ben in.

So even three years on, there are still things we are finding out about his allergies- and things that in hindsight we should have known. Hopefully by the time we think we know everything he will have grown put of some more!

Next week is Food Allergy Week

And we will be posting every day to try and help increase awareness and offer support to those affected by food allergies.

We also have some fab competitions and giveaways, from MedicAlert, Tidy Trays and more

See you next week!

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Cow’s milk allergies- less common than you think?

I came across this article today written by Greg Laden, as part of scienceblogs.com

Interesting reading for anyone who has ever thought their child may have a dairy allergy. Having said that, I never suspected small boy of having a dairy allergy, I just thought he threw up a lot. Oops.

 

Don’t cry over spilt milk… unless its Goat’s Milk…

Small boy is allergic to cow’s dairy, but he is also allergic to soya, which would be most people’s first thought for an alternative. Before we resorted to rice milk (which looks like its just that cloudy water you get when you rinse rice), we tried Goat’s milk first- and we are glad we did. He loves the creamy milk, it causes him no allergic problems, and we can get milk, cheese and yogurt from normal supermarkets and even chocolate (see Billy Goat Stuff).

We are already converts to goat’s milk for small boy, but I was pleased to read the following from natural health practitioner Philip Weeks, extolling the virtues of choosing goat’s milk over cow’s milk, even if you have no medical need…

Many people are intolerant to cows milk which can cause all kinds of health complaints such as;

  • Headaches, migraines
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Joint pains
  • Overproduction of mucous
  • Skin problems, such as Acne and especially Eczema
  • Stomach pains, especially in infants

I have seen numerous patients’ health improve when cutting out cow dairy. However it can be initially a little challenging to think of alternatives. There are many substitutes, such as rice milk, oat milk, soya milk and even soya cheese. Although many people have yet to discover the health benefits of goats milk.

Many traditional cultures rely on goats milk to provide important sustenance and when looking at its nutritional benefits its easy to see why.

  • Goats milk is highly digestible, meaning that you will absorb more of the nutrients
  • Not mucous producing in the same way cow milk is Has a high % of calcium, 13% more than cows
  • Very rich in niacin which is important for good circulation and mental health
  • High in Selenium, a powerful antioxidant and anti cancer nutrient

So what are you waiting for…

Philip Weeks is an expert on natural medicine, a master herbalist and traditional acupuncturist. Now, aged only 31, Philip has a new baby boy, born in May this year.  He has an interest in natural health approaches for children, and in natural birth approaches.  He saw first hand how natural approaches could encourage not only a better pregnancy and birth but also a health baby.

Cheeky Chocolatey Dandelion & Burdock Cake

other brands of soft drink are available

I love Dandelion and Burdock. And I love chocolate. So an allergy friendly cake that combines the two? Perfect.

This is a quick and easy cake to make (I make it with 3 and 5 year old helpers) and is very moist. And chocolatey. Enjoy!

Ingredients

• 225g/8oz gluten/wheat free flour
• 225g/8oz caster sugar
• 1 tsp gluten free bicarbonate of soda
• 100g/3½oz mini marshmallows
• 65g/2¼oz dairy/soya free vegetable spread/butter substitute (eg So Good)
• 3 tbsp cocoa powder
• 200ml/7fl oz dandelion and burdock drink
• 100g/3½fl oz full fat goat’s milk or goat’s yogurt
• Egg-substitute (or xanthan gum) equivalent to 2 free-range eggs

Preparation method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 30cm/12in baking tin.
2. Sift the flour, sugar and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, then add the marshmallows.
3. Meanwhile, heat the butter, cocoa powder and dandelion and burdock in a saucepan until boiling.
4. Pour the yummy chocolatey/dandelion and burdocky mixture onto the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Mix in the goat’s milk/yogurt and egg substitute.
5. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the sides of the cake are coming away from the sides of the cake tin and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. (Tip, try and make sure any marshmallows at the top are covered as otherwise they can burn)

Adapted from an original recipe by Simon Rimmer on Something for the Weekend http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes

Image courtesy of TheGiantVermin on flickr.com

Christmas Caramel Shortcake- normal and allergy version

Christmas is a great excuse to cook (and eat) some deliciously bad for you treats and this is my absolute favourite. As my Gran is now 88 next birthday I had to learn how to cook them myself (and 112 miles round trip is a bit far!) and if I can do it anyone can. Just ask my husband (who does all the cooking in our house).

I am actually posting two versions here. The first is the traditional version and the second is my own variation especially for my small son. We found out earlier this year that he suffers from multiple allergies after a severe reaction to a peanut. At latest count he is also allergic (ranging from mild to moderate) to dairy, wheat, nuts, eggs and soya. As a result, the second version is probably less tasty, but is wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, soya free and egg free. Believe me, a rare occurence!

Caramel Slice

For the shortbread base, combine 4 oz butter, 2 oz caster sugar and 6 oz self raising flour in a bowl. With your hands. Believe me there is no point trying to use a spoon. It is pointless. Just get your hands in and scrunch. When it is mixed through, and don’t worry it will be crumbly, press it out into a square (or rather rectangle) shallow baking tray. Mine is about 6 inches by 10 inches. Pat it down in the tray so it fills evenly and to the corners. Don’t squash it to within an inch of its life, just so that it sits comfortably. Bake in a medium oven (Gas Mark 4/ 175C) for 15 to 20 mins until golden brown. Allow to cool.

For the caramel, melt 4 oz butter in a pan and add 4oz caster sugar, 2 tablespoons of golden syrup and half a tin of condensed milk. Keep on a moderate heat and stir CONTINUOUSLY for 5-10 minutes. This does get a bit boring, but try and have something interesting on the telly. You will know when it is ready because it will change colour slightly- it starts off quite yellowy and will turn a darker, more golden colour. Pour over the cooled biscuit base and leave to set. Somewhere level.

Finally, once the caramel has cooled, melt 6oz of chocolate (plain or milk are good. Never tried it with white, but if that’s your thing, feel free) and pour over the top. Try and wait until it sets before slicing and chomping.

Allergy alternative

The main problems with an allergy alternative are the caramel and the chocolate. Both contain milk and chocolate normally contains soya lecithin. As a result this is more chocolate covered shortcake than caramel slice, but who’s complaining? Note that all the ingredients I use can be found in main supermarkets. Because I shop in supermarkets.

The biscuit base follows the same scrunching method as above but uses 4 oz of So Good dairy/soya/gluten free margarine, 4 oz of caster sugar, 6 oz of rice flour and1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder. The extra sugar is to combat the more savoury flavour of the rice flour. Cook at Gas Mark 4/175C for 20 minutes. It won’t go proper golden brown, but will singe slightly at the top.

When cool, mix 1 tablespoon of golden syrup with as much cocoa powder as you like to taste. Note this is proper cocoa, not drinking chocolate. Drizzle the runny chocolate over the biscuit and put in the fridge (or a really cold place) to encourage setting. Slice and serve.

Merry Christmas!

[originally published on http://www.mumazing.co.uk]

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