As a coeliac myself and mother of three boys who between them have reactions to various foods I have learnt how to adapt our family life and eating patterns without compromising our health or enjoyment of delicious foods. I feel I am lucky. As a qualified Nutritional Therapist and Chef if anyone was going to be able to create delicious healthy allergy free family recipes it was going to be me. Being trained through the Institute of Functional Medicine I am also aware that there are many reasons why allergies develop and if you can address the route causes and the underlying imbalances in the body you can reduce your child’s allergic potential and optimise their health long term.
As parents we want the best for our children. Being diagnosed with a food allergy can feel very daunting both for the parent and the child. That is why my latest book includes plenty of practical advice on living with a food allergy in addition to tackling the underlying imbalances – whether it’s avoiding cross contamination, coping when travelling, eating away from home or managing parties and family events.
Supporting Your Child With Allergies
When doctors refer to a food allergy, most of the time they are referring to an IgE-mediated food allergy, which is also called a “true” or “classic” food allergy. These types of reactions are more common in children rather than adults. Symptoms tend to be immediate, typically occurring within two hours of eating and are normally very obvious. It can be triggered by consumption of only a tiny amount of food. It may result in a range of symptoms, including itchy rashes, sneezing and in some cases anaphylaxis. While any food can trigger such a reaction the most common are cow’s milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts, soybeans (and related products), tree nuts (e.g. almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazils, macadamia nuts) and wheat.
Once you know what your child’s allergies or intolerance are then you can start to make practical steps to ensure their diet is safe and nourishing. This includes taking steps at home, eating out, dealing with schools and nurseries, parties and travelling
Caring for a child who has been diagnosed with a food allergy is a whole household – even lifestyle – experience. From the moment that you know there are certain foods that are now out of bounds for one (or more) of your children, you’ll need to get organized.
For many families, the simplest, clearest and most failsafe approach to ensuring that home is not a place that exposes children with allergies to foods they can’t eat is to remove the culprit foods completely. That is, everyone eats in the same, allergen-free way. For example, if one child is diagnosed coeliac, the whole family switches to a gluten-free diet; if a child is diagnosed with a nut allergy, your home becomes a nut-free zone.
If you are cooking separate meals you will also need to take steps to avoid cross contamination. Using separate chopping boards, baking trays, dishes, pans and so on for free-from foods and washing utensils thoroughly is important.
Whatever food allergy your child has, instead of focusing on what your child cannot eat explore all the nutritious foods they can enjoy. By cooking real food from scratch you’ll find your meals are fresher, tastier and more nutritious. It can also be cheaper too.
Just as it is important to speak to children about their allergies, it’s really important to have good communication with your child’s school staff. When your child starts a new school and at the beginning of each school year, make an appointment with the head teacher, the class teacher and the school nurse to talk about what your child is allergic to and what to do if he or she has an allergic reaction. If they are having school meals you will also need to speak to the school caterers to ensure the menu is suitable. If you’re worried, you may prefer the option of bringing a packed lunch rather than eating a school meal.
In many schools it is common practice to share a birthday cake or sweets on special occasions. There may be other times, such as festivals or international celebration days, when new foods are shared in class. When you speak to your child’s class teacher at the start of the term, explain that you’d like warning of any occasions that the class will celebrate in order that you can provide alternative foods for your child to enjoy at the same time as everyone else, so that he or she can join in.
European and UK law require eateries across all European countries to let customers know which foods on their menu contain any of the 14 primary allergens. However, there is no regulation as to how this information might be conveyed, which can make eating out incredibly stressful, particularly in the early days of diagnosis, when you’re just getting used to the kinds of questions you need to ask on behalf of your child.
Some restaurants, for example, will train their waiting staff to convey information about allergen foods on their menu directly to their customers in response to queries; others might add labels, highlights or symbols to the menu; in takeaway restaurants, labelling might be on the counter, on signage or in fridges next to food itself. Many restaurants will have special allergy-free menus to make choosing appropriate dishes as straightforward as possible – you just need to know to ask for one. In the book I provide my top tips on how to keep eating out the fun experience it should be.
Points to consider
Choosing your venue – Some restaurants – and cuisines – may be better suited than others for catering for people with allergies. For example, restaurants that cook everything to order, from scratch rather than buying in prepared sauces and other menu items are usually good choices. Look at the menu online – do they have a special allergy free menu. This can help you decide if they have a good selection of dishes your children will enjoy. Forget the children’s menu – good restaurants will be able to provide smaller portions of dishes on the main menu
Plan Ahead – Book a table and explain your child’s allergies when you book – make sure they note it and you feel comfortable they understand the implications. Ask about cross contamination – how do they prepare allergy free dishes and make sure it is not contaminated during preparation and cooking.
Ordering – When you order, ask questions if you need to double check ingredients. For example, ask whether sauces are thickened with wheat flour, or whether fried foods are dusted in flour before frying. If your child is dairy free, ask whether butter is used as an emulsifier in sauces or to coat vegetables before they come to the table. Have eggs been used to bind burgers or as a glaze on meats or breads?
When your order arrives, double check with the staff that they’re confident your requests for allergen-free ingredients have been followed and check to make sure there aren’t any sauces or extras that might have been added inadvertently and be problematic.
PARTIES AND PLAY DATES
No child should feel awkward or embarrassed about going to a party and not being able to eat the food. One thing I would say: there will always be a handful of children at a party who won’t eat what’s put in front of them, simply because of personal likes and dislikes – a child with allergies almost certainly needn’t feel alone.
Take control. If your child is invited to a party, let the host know when you accept the invitation about his or her allergies and tell them you’ll drop off a special party tea when you arrive. Ask what sorts of things their party tea will serve up and offer to bring similar allergy-free food to take the pressure off the host. Some parents will even be happy and confident to make something special for your child themselves – especially if it’s as simple as swapping in gluten-free bread or pasta, for example. But many will be grateful not to take the risk. Good hosts will never be offended if an allergic child refuses food. Reinforce the idea of saying no politely before your child goes to the party, so that he or she feels confident when there.
If your child is staying overnight at a friend’s house, offer to provide plenty of provisions to cover breakfast, as well as other meals and snacks. Use a cool bag, if you need. Keep foods wrapped or sealed within the containers and label them clearly. Remember to pack drinks, if relevant, too. Before you leave your child, make sure the host knows what to do if your child has a reaction and leave labelled medications just in case. Ask if he or she would like a list of culprit foods, and make sure you provide your mobile phone number. This is not only essential in case of emergency, but if the host is concerned about a certain product he or she is serving up, they can take a photo of the food label and send it to you to check yourself.
My Kids Can’t Eat That is available on September 18th in the US and August 16th in the UK and available to buy at Amazon and in all good book stores.
3 Surprising Benefits to Getting Out More
With the weather finally perking up and the days getting warmer and longer the outside beckons us all. Any time of year is a great time to lace up your shoes and get out of the house but getting out in warmer weather and getting some fresh air and excercise makes you just feel good.
Here are three reasons why getting out of the house is the best thing you can do for yourself and your kiddos.
1) Exercise: Let’s start with the obvious reason here! Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It gets your blood pumping, your heart rates up, and it releases feel-good endorphins that can power your mood through any difficult time. Getting out of the house on foot is a great way to get some much-needed exercise.
2) Vitamin D: Getting out of your house is one of the best ways to get an adequate amount of Vitamin D every day. A vitamin D supplement does not grant the same benefits that you can get just by spending 20 minutes in the sun every day.
3) Community: Getting out of the house is essential for building a great community. Getting out of the house allows you to build relationships with neighbors and friends and it allows your kids to get to know people as well. Playing with friends is a fun part of any childhood and is not able to be replaced by a screen. Social media is a wonderful tool but the buddies you’re going to call in the middle of the night are not the people you follow on social media.
It’s going to be the people who you have real relationships with. Getting out of the house and knowing your neighbors has great benefits when it’s time to head out of town/need a pet sitter/need a babysitter. Community with real people is imitable.
Tell us – what are some of YOUR favorite reasons to get out of your house?
5 Surprising Beauty Benefits of CBD
Cannabidiol or CBD is known as one of the most therapeutic substances to have. The natural compound could provide effective remedies for a host of issues. This applies to mental illnesses and physical conditions alike.
But not many people are aware that cannabidiol actually provides an array of beauty benefits as well.
That’s right! The molecule does hold beauty secrets.
Here are 5 surprising beauty benefits of cannabidiol. They would help you understand what kind of advantages you could get by using this organic substance.
Provides a Natural Source of Oil Control
Cannabidiol or CBD oil is a very effective source of controlling excess oil on your skin. This is especially helpful for those who have oily or combination skin.
That is why, oil or sebum control solutions with cannabidiol in them are getting all the more popular. They could be as simple as a topical oil solution, or as developed as a facial cleanser or toner containing cannabidiol.
Makes for a Good Fighter Against Acne
Excessive oil on skin blocks our pores and stops our skin from breathing. When this blockage reaches a certain point, our skin breaks out in acne.
As such, any oil control solution is also automatically considered as a great element against acne as well. This is very true in case of cannabidiol, which works wonders with its oil control capabilities.
Makes Sure That Your Skin Isn’t Inflamed
Cannabidiol holds anti-inflammatory properties, which could help with an intense breakout of acne or a rash. That’s why, skin or facial care lotions that have cannabidiol in them could be very effective for sensitive skin.
Just make sure that the lotion or cream that you are selecting is made up of great ingredients and suits your skin type.
Gets Your Skin to Moisturize
A moisturizer is the most essential part of perhaps any skincare routine. No matter your skin type, you can count on being advised to use a moisturizer by your dermatologist.
Cannabidiol could penetrate your skin positively and moisturize it. It also allows other ingredients to use it as a penetrative source. Cannabidiol is known for its soothing properties. This means that your skin doesn’t even feel the extensive process and remains as light as a feather.
Gives Your Skin the Room to Breathe
Cannabidiol is also known as an anti-oxidant, which makes it great against the signs of aging. With its moisturizing and healing properties, the substance can take care of the healing process for your skin. This way, it doesn’t wear down to the signs of aging.
All that you need to do is to find products with cannabidiol which also have other anti-oxidants or anti-aging products. This would help your skin get the penetrative care that it needs to aid it in its fight against aging.
Remember, cannabidiol is a non-controlled substance in many regions as well as countries due to its non-psychoactive properties. As such, one can obtain cannabidiol-based products easily through a number of vendors.
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Ultimate CBD Oil Guide: What is CBD Good for? 5 Positive Effects of CBD on Your Health
Cannabis or marijuana is widely known for being a relaxing agent. It is a contributor to better mental health. And an alleviator of various physical issues.
At the same time, it is also popular for being a psychoactive agent or a hallucinogen. In other words, marijuana has a reputation for leaving its users in a “elevated” state.
But modern science has found a way to separate marijuana’s recreational high from its medicinal advantages.
This is possible by the segmentation of cannabinoids.
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are different compounds of the cannabis plant. Collectively, they give it its advantages as well as its signature high.
Using these compounds, scientists have separated marijuana’s psychoactive compounds from the ones with medicinal properties. In other words, they have found a way to help people without effectively asking them to get intoxicated.
One of the most popular of such compounds is cannabidiol.
What is Cannabidiol?
Today, cannabidiol or CBD is used by many to obtain various health benefits without experiencing the high feeling of marijuana. Available in the form of oil, concentrate, patches and vape juice, cannabidiol can provide you with an array of benefits to boot.
To understand what cannabidiol can do for you, here are five of the top benefits of the molecule:
- Helps with Stress. Cannabidiol can help you relieve your stress. The compound has medicinal properties that send signals to the brain upon consumption. This works towards stress relief. That is why, the compound is known to help with several mental disorders. They include but are not limited to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
- Helps with Pain. Cannabidiol is also used as a pain-reliever. It has properties that make it a natural painkiller. That is why, it is used by cancer patients, those with arthritis, and even by athletes who have sustained any painful injuries.
- Helps with Inflammation. Pain and inflammation often go hand in hand. Thus, it is no surprise to not that cannabidiol is just as effective in relieving inflammation as it is in shooing pain away. Just use a good amount of CBD oil on the affected area, and you could find immediate relief to your problem.
- Helps with Insomnia. Cannabidiol can help you say goodbye to your sleep issues by providing you with a natural remedy. The compound is a calming agent. And it can relax your nerves to provide you with a comfortable sleep without having to resort to synthetic chemicals.
- Helps with Chronic Diseases. Cannabidiol is also known for being good for heart health as well as keeping conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure at bay. Consistent usage of the compound could help you live a long and healthy life without having to depend on harmful substances.
With consistent usage of cannabidiol, you can ensure to reap all of these benefits and lead a healthier life.
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