food allergy management Archive

With back-to-school season upon us, food allergy mamas like me are in full swing getting supplies but also safe snacks for our kiddos. Many schools are now nut-free, which means the snacks we send in must be nut-free too. So when Snyder’s of Hanover reached out to me to review their pretzels, their MADE IN A PEANUT-FREE FACILITY absolutely caught my eye! I just love when companies recognize a call being made by their patrons and follow through with flying colors.

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The end of 2015 saw a lot of action on the food allergy news front with regard to advocating for better disclosure of food allergens on the part of manufacturers. One issue for food allergy parents is keeping track of FDA food recalls due to the presence of undeclared allergens, because the FDA is finding food allergens “where they shouldn’t be,” according to a SnackSafely.com report. Just weeks before Congress introduced a bill designed to improve food labels, a father from Chambersburg, Pa., whose family has been managing life-threatening food allergies for several years, released with the help of Cross & Crown an app they created entitled “AllertMe” — to notify food allergy parents like me about undeclared allergens and other safety issues that may exist in our products.

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Motherhood is never challenging, said no mama ever! Being a mom continues to be one of the most challenging and rewarding life experiences for me. How can we keep ourselves positive, happy and the best we can be? How can positivity and motherhood live hand in hand? Fellow food allergy mama Kristin Beltaos and I talk about five keys for embracing the positive.

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When the Auvi-Q first hit the market, I must say it soared in, hot and shiny. With its relatively smaller size, faster delivery and voice activation, I felt myself breathe a little easier. But now I know it likely was a false sense of comfort. And the repercussions of what could have happened are frightening. So when the maker of our formerly beloved Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injectors, Sanofi US, in an Oct. 28 press release issued “a voluntary nationwide recall of ALL Auvi-Q due to potential inaccurate dosage delivery,” the food allergy community was hit with a huge blow. In my mind, I’ve started thinking about what has happened as “the Auvi-Q effect.”

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As we move forward on our food allergy journey, I’m realizing our diagnosis remains the same but everything else continues to change: our safety measures, our outlook, our comfort levels, our village of helpers, our forms of advocacy, and especially our levels of awareness. Two years ago after participating in FARE’s walk to find a cure, I realized I needed to focus much more on my son’s awareness. After my family walked again this year, I was reminded that change is constant, and that we as parents need to be ready for it as it calls us and keep moving forward.

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I have to admit that the writing and production process for my new book, HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy, was much more fun than marketing and sales. I have one small problem: I just want to give everyone a free copy! I’m so excited to share HumFree’s messages of hope, empowerment, inclusion, awareness and friendship with everyone. I want to reach children who feel alone and help them feel and know they aren’t. I want them to feel empowered. I want them to feel included. I want all of our children to find a way to do what they love–while staying safe and happy! So I’ve been wrestling with how to share HumFree in a way that feels comfortable to me. And then I got it: have a giveaway!

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HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy is a story about hope, empowerment, awareness, inclusion and being able to do what we love while staying safe. It’s a tale about a cute little bee with a very big message. As we continue HumFree’s launch countdown, I’d like to share additional elements of the book that I hope will kick-start our important conversations about food allergy awareness and education. In particular, I’ve included an illustrated Q&A at the end of the story so the connection, dialogue and learning continues.

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What a fun and rewarding few weeks I’ve had as friends, fellow food allergy mamas and bloggers have reached out to talk about my new children’s book, HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy! One mama in particular asked some questions that really got me thinking about how the inspiration for HumFree began and what his message of inclusion means to my family–and hopefully will mean to you. What will HumFree’s message mean to you? You can find out now, because HumFree is available on my website!

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