Monday, March 31, 2014

No ifs, ands, or NUTS!

Cross Contamination – Part I

When my allergist officially diagnosed my peanut allergy, she advised me to eliminate all nuts from my diet.  This was a shock for me as almonds were a staple in my packed lunches and pecan pie was one of my favorite fall treats.  Nuts are so healthy, how can they be so dangerous??

Why did I have to give up some of my favorite snacks??  Cross-contamination, of course!!  My allergist explained that most varieties of nuts are processed in the same facilities.  So, peanuts might be shelled and cleaned on a machine that then completes the same process with walnuts, almonds and pecans.  Pieces of peanut might be left behind on the machinery to mix with other types of nuts.  These other types of nuts are now “contaminated” by the peanut remnants.  This would go unnoticed by the majority of consumers, but even microscopic levels of peanut protein could cause anaphylaxis to a peanut allergy sufferer.

Be considerate of your friends who have nut allergies – don’t take it personally if we avoid foods and recipes that may contain ANY kind of nuts.  We are just taking precautions to protect our lives.

Keep out of the nut house!!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Poll Answer

The correct answer is C!!  Women and children prefer creamy peanut butter and men prefer chunky.  Additionally, people on the East coast prefer creamy and people on the West coast prefer chunky.

Be sure to stop back tomorrow and keep out of the nut house!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Which One Wednesday: Jello Answer

If you chose the Jello Oreo Dirt Cup yesterday, you were correct!

Unfortunately, I am no longer able to eat any YoCrunch products, including Oreos.  Since developing my peanut allergy, I have learned more about the Jello Oreo pudding alternative.  In my opinion, it has been an easy switch!

Keep out of the nuthouse!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Which One Wednesday: Oreo Edition

Everyone loves America's favorite cookie: Oreos!  I love them too, because in the package, they are peanut-friendly.  Unfortunately, when Oreos are mixed, matched, and transformed with other ingredients, things get a little nutty.

Which one do you think is peanut-friendly - Jello Oreo Dirt Cup or YoCrunch Oreo Yogurt?

Comment below and let me know your answer:
a. Jello Oreo Dirt Cup
b. YoCrunch Oreo Yogurt
c. Both
d. Neither

Keep out of the nut house!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things: SunButter

Most people would find it difficult to exist without peanut butter.  For the majority of people, peanut butter is a healthy, nutritious part of school lunches.  Peanuts and peanut butter can be deadly to those who are allergic to the peanut protein. 

Is there a healthy alternative for these people?  The makers of SunButter, a USA company that makes seed butter from sunflower seeds, believe they have the answer!  SunButter is made in a facility that is free of peanuts, tree nuts, and gluten. 

SunButter, found in the organic section of the grocery store, is a great source of protein that has more fiber and iron than peanut butter.  Maybe nut-allergic students will soon be bringing SB&J sandwiches to the lunchroom table!

I have never liked the smell of peanut butter, so I have never had a desire to bite into a PB&J.  I can’t wait to try my first bite of SunButter…

Learn more about SunButter here.

Keep out of the nut house!

Monday, March 24, 2014

No ifs, ands, or NUTS!

No reactions are the same…that’s what makes it scary!!

For as long as I can remember, I have had a great aversion to the smell of peanuts.  If my mom was making a peanut butter sandwich or my sister was enjoying chocolate covered peanuts, I would feel sick to my stomach and have to leave the room.  At the time, we didn’t know that I had a peanut allergy.  Since my diagnosis, our house is now completely nut-free!

When reflecting on my allergic reactions to peanut exposure, I have experienced everything from a solitary hive and tingly mouth to full-body coverage of hives to the point where my body looked like cottage cheese had been injected directly into my skin.  In a controlled clinical setting, a food challenge actually put me into anaphylaxis requiring an epinephrine shot to relieve my symptoms (and possibly save my life).

There are no rules as to how the body will react to an accidental exposure to an allergen like peanut protein.  It is imperative that peanut allergy sufferers (and all people who have been diagnosed with life-threatening allergies) wear medical alert identification and carry an epinephrine injector (or two).  Plan ahead to protect yourself!!

Keep out of the nut house!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Poll Answer

The correct answer is B!!  The world's largest reported peanut was four inches long. It was grown in North Carolina by Mr. Earl Adkins.

Stay tuned for another post, and keep out of the nut house!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Which One Wednesday: M & M's Answer

I told you this one would be tricky!  The correct answer is Neither!

Both peanut and regular M & M's contain, or may contain peanuts.  This is one of the hardest candies for me.  Since being diagnosed with my peanut allergy, I have easily adapted to my new nut-free diet.  But, the fact that I haven't been allowed to eat regular M & M's since seventh grade kills me.  This is one candy I look forward to hopefully being able to eat again someday after completing the peanut study.  

Keep out of the nut house!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Which One Wednesday: M & M's Edition

You will probably consider this to be an easy Which One Wednesday.  When you see these two candies, you will probably ask yourself why I even bothered to do a poll this week!  But I warn you, be careful!

Which of these are peanut-friendly - peanut M & M's or regular M & M's?  

Comment below with your best guess:
a. Peanut M & M's 
b. Regular M & M's
c. Both
d. Neither

Good luck!

Keep out of the nut house!

Monday, March 17, 2014

No ifs, ands or NUTS!

So, you’ve had an allergic reaction…now what?

Always contact a certified allergist – never try to diagnose an allergy on your own.  There are many tests that an allergist can perform to help determine the extent of your allergies.

1. Skin prick test (SPT) – a small amount of an allergen is put on the skin and the doctor pricks the skin to allow some of the solution to enter the skin.  If an allergy is present, an antibody, immunoglobulin E (IgE) will be released by the immune system and a reaction will appear on the skin.  If there is no allergy, no reaction will be seen.
2. Blood Test – blood is drawn to determine the level of IgE antibodies in the blood stream.  The higher the level of IgE, the more likely the person has an allergy.
3. Oral food challenge (OFC) – while this is the most accurate of testing, it also has the greatest potential for serious side effects.  During an OFC, the patient is fed a small amount of a food protein. If no reaction is seen, the dosage of the protein is increased.  Once any sign of reaction is observed, the OFC is halted.  Generally, hives, itching or swelling will occur if there is an allergy present.

I have had all three of these tests performed.  None of them are painful and they have provided my doctors with valuable information for my treatment plan.  If you suspect you have an allergy to some food, get it checked out.  It could save your life!

Keep out of the nut house!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Poll Answer

The correct answer is A!!  Louisiana is not a peanut-producer.  The top 10 producers are Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Virginia, and New Mexico.

Come back tomorrow for a new poll!

Keep out of the nut house!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

NUTS and Bolts of Food Allergies

Did you know…

Peanuts are NOT nuts!  Well, what are they then?  They are legumes…

Legumes are plants with seeds that grow in pods like peas and beans.  Unlike tree nuts, peanuts grow underground.  Peanut seeds grow above ground and then migrate underground to mature.  Peanuts are harvested by pulling the plant out of the ground.

Common names for peanuts include goobers, goober peas, groundnuts, earthnuts, monkey nuts, and grass nuts. 

It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter.  In my food challenge, I experienced anaphylaxis after ingesting the peanut protein from less than ½ of a peanut. 

Hey, all you “goobers” out there, be conscious of your peanut-eating ways when you are with someone with a peanut allergy!!

Keep out of the nut house!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Which One Wednesday: Chicken Nuggets Answer

If you chose Wendy's chicken nuggets as being peanut-free, you chose correctly!  Congratulations!

Wendy's has always been a great place for me to get chicken nuggets... and a chocolate Frosty!  

Chick-fil-A uses 100% refined peanut oil to fry their chicken nuggets and other food items.  According to the Chick-fil-A website, 100% refined peanut oil is not considered an allergen by the FDA, and therefore, the company does not list this with their allergy information. 

When I research peanut oil, I get words like "most" and "usually" when asked if peanut oil is safe to consume.  So until it says "ALL", I will have to leave Chick-fil-A nuggets and fries to my family and friends to enjoy.

Tune in next week for another edition of Which One Wednesday.

Keep out of the nut house!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Which One Wednesday: Chicken Nuggets Edition

Even though it may not be all that healthy, everyone needs some fast-food chicken nuggets every once in a while.  You might even choose to splurge with some fries, too!  Which fast-food restaurant do you think I choose as a peanut-free source - Wendy's or Chick-fil-A?

Comment below with your best guess!
a. Wendy's
b. Chick-fil-A
c. Both 
d. Neither

Keep out of the nut house!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things: Allergic Solution Products

While my blogs generally focus on coping with a peanut allergy, many of the same principles can be shared with people who have all types of allergies.

One company that all allergy-sensitive people should investigate is Allergic Solution.  Allergic Solution produces mixes that are safe for people who have concerns about food allergies.  They are peanut-free, tree nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten/wheat-free, and corn-free!  These mixes are also diabetic-friendly and vegan-friendly.  Their products help support their motto, “Having Food Allergies Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Deserve a Delicious Treat”.

The company produces mixes in the following varieties: Yellow Cake Mix, Carob Cake Mix, Yeast-Free Bread Mix, and Pancake-Waffle Mix.

If you are a Seton student, keep watching this blog to learn about my upcoming allergy information seminars…I will have some of these delicious, allergy-free treats to share.
Keep out of the nut house!

Monday, March 10, 2014

No ifs, ands, or NUTS!

There is nothing like a college football game…The fun!!  The excitement!!  The peanuts??  Oh, about that…

People with severe peanut allergies are often restricted from attending sporting events because of the abundance of peanuts at most venues.    

On Saturday, October 16, 2013, Northwestern University made history as it hosted University of Minnesota in a college football game. This monumental day wasn’t because of the score, but what was happening in the stands. This was the first time a university promoted a “peanut-free” athletic event to accommodate people with peanut and tree nut allergies. Peanut products were removed from the concession areas and fans were prohibited from bringing peanuts into the facilities.

Thank you NU for raising public awareness about peanut allergies!!

Keep out of the nut house!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Poll Answer

The correct answer is C!!  The average child will eat 1500 PB&J’s before graduation day. 

Keep out of the nut house! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

NUTS and Bolts of Food Allergies

Did you know...

Peanuts can be found even in NON-FOOD items!! 
Here is a list of surprising places that peanut shells and peanut casings can be found…
·         Artificial fireplace logs
·         Fiber roughage for livestock feed
·         Kitty litter
·         Paper
·         Stuffing for beanbags or stuffed animals
·         Wallboard

Here are non-food items where peanuts may be ingredients in…
·         Axle grease
·         Bird seed
·         Bleach
·         Cosmetics
·         Detergent
·         Explosives
·         Face creams
·         Ink
·         Linoleum

Peanuts and peanut shells are commonly found in lawn care products like fertilizers, potting soil, and mulch.  Be sure to wash hands carefully after playing outside to be sure that traces of peanuts are eliminated.

Keep out of the nut house!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Which One Wednesday: Asian Answer

I'm so glad Meghan was able to find me an Asian dish to try so I can 'experience' the types of food she has to eat for the next forty days.  So if you chose Simply Asia's Sesame Teriyaki Noodle Bowl you were correct!

Simply Asia uses packaging that makes finding allergen information extremely easy.  I really appreciate when companies take time to specially call out which ingredients could be dangerous for some.

Unfortunately, Annie Chun's dish didn't make the peanut-friendly food list.  It's manufactured in a facility where nuts are present, so you can bet I won't be eating this!

Keep out of the nut house!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Which One Wednesday: Asian Edition (Guest Blogger)

Hi A Living 'Nut'mare readers!

This week's Which One Wednesday is near and dear to my heart, so I'm honored to be guest blogging!

I'm Kendall's sister, Meghan, and tomorrow, I will be boarding a flight to Asia to study for the next forty days. 

My family cut out all Asian food when Kendall was diagnosed with a peanut allergy, as peanuts are a frequent ingredient in Asian dishes.  But here's the good news, one of these homemade dishes is peanut-friendly... Which one do you think it is - Annie Chun's Chinese Style Chicken Soup Bowl or Simply Asia's Sesame Teriyaki Noodle Bowl?  Be sure to cast your vote, and then come back tomorrow to find out which one Kendall can eat!

Comment below with your best guess!
a. Annie Chun's Chinese Style Chicken Soup Bowl
b. Simply Asia's Sesame Teriyaki Bowl
c. Both 
d. Neither

I'll be doing my best to keep out of the nut house during my travels,

Monday, March 3, 2014

No ifs, ands, or NUTS!

Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance…is there a difference?

YES!!  One involves the body’s immune system and the other doesn’t.  Can you guess which is which?

Food allergies occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies a food protein as a harmful substance.  When the allergen (depending on the allergy, this could be peanuts, milk, eggs, fish, tree nuts, or even a bee sting) is detected in the body, the immune system releases histamines to attack the harmful substance.  This release of histamines results in symptoms such as hives, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, and possible death.

Food intolerance does not involve the immune system.  Food intolerance is the body’s inability to digest certain foods.  This is an inconvenience to the person, but food intolerance is not life-threatening.

Keep out of the nut house!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Poll Asnwer

The correct answer is C!  These cities are Peanut, California; Lower Peanut, Pennsylvania; Upper Peanut, Pennsylvania; Peanut, Pennsylvania, Peanut, Tennessee; and Peanut West Virginia.

Keep out of the nut house!  See you Monday for a new poll!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

NUTS and Bolts of Food Allergies

Teen years are difficult…and now I have a food allergy!!
As if the pressure of being a teenager wasn’t enough, dealing with a food allergy can add even more stress.  Listen to how teens cope with their allergies and provide advice for others.

Education and food allergy awareness help make the general public more aware of the seriousness of coping with food allergies.   

Keep out of the nut house!!