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What’s for Dinner? Allergy Friendly Mama

Real Parents, Real Meals with the Allergy Friendly Mama

Lindsay & Emma

Today on our REAL MEALS series we have Lindsay, AKA the Allergy Friendly Mama! Lindsay has a very cool blog where you can find recipes and reflections on parenting. Her youngest, is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree- nuts.

Thank you, Lindsay for sharing some time with Foublie! Help us say thank you with a follow on insta or sign up for her blog.

Like most of us, Lindsay grew up on pizza and chicken nuggets. Like many of us, she didn’t really think about what she ate until she got pregnant with her first kiddo. Suddenly nutrition played a bigger role in her life. She learned how to cook! Sound familiar?

With her second, Emma, they had to learn a whole new way of life. How they eat today is totally different. Lindsay meticulously ensures no dairy, egg, peanuts or tree-nuts are in their food due to Emma’s allergies. Because the foods they can eat are so restricted, nutrition is important.

So what’s her family food philosophy?

Find a community to make it easier.

Time saver alert! Read blogs! “Everyone is at a different stage of their parenting journey and we can learn from each other.” For example, others have already figured out the recipes, so it’s a great place to start.

Listen to your body.

Lindsay learned about Emma’s allergies when she was nursing. She had to change her own diet. What’s crazy is eliminating milk made her feel better too. Growing up she never wanted ice cream and milk like the other kids. This is something we hear a lot! Our bodies tell us, even as kids, that we don’t want to eat that.

Talk about food.

Lindsay’s eldest, Sam is 5. He is a picky eater that loves kids foods. He is totally opposite of Emma, 3, who is adventurous and tries it all. They talk about food and nutrition.They read books about veggies and fruits and about how it makes our insides feel good! As a family managing food allergies, talking about food helps her kids play a role in keeping Emma safe.

Play with food.

Lindsay likes to play with recipes to eliminate the foods her family doesn’t eat. She is fortunate to have this time as a SAHM, and we think it’s great that she shares those recipes on her blog. Check out one of her favorites on her Allergy Friendly Mama blog...cookies for breakfast.

Don’t stress (too much).

Things are a million times harder with a food allergy but Lindsay has it under control. She has a community. She’s not alone. Take it one day at a time!

What’s your go to dinner?

Last but not least! Lindsay makes this one about once a week. It’s easy, nutritious and yummy. And bonus, everyone loves it. Can’t beat that!

Sausage & Veggies Tray-Bake

  • 1 package of Aidell’s chicken and apple sausage (sliced about 1/2-1 inch thick depending on how crispy you like it to get. The thinner the slices are, the crispier it’ll be!)
  • Veggie of choice (Lindsay’s go to is broccoli, brussel sprouts, but any veggie will work really!)
  • Sweet potatoes (cut the same size as the veg)
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil & sea salt
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F
  • In a bowl, toss together veggies with olive oil and sea salt.
  • Throw veggies + potato on a sheet pan with the sausage and roast in the oven (middle rack) for 10 minutes. Take out and flip veggies/sausage. Put back into the oven for another 5 minutes or until it reaches your desired level of crispness.

Sounds pretty amazing to us. Thanks again, Allergy Friendly Mama.

Enjoy y’all!

If you like this: Check out

*Note: This is not a sponsored post. We will highlight businesses and people that we believe in and that share Foublie’s values. Do you want to be featured? Shoot us a note at ask@foublie.com


Have you heard? An egg broke the internet.

Seriously. An egg broke the internet.

This one in fact:

We think it’s pretty cool to have an egg get all this attention. Know why? We’ve rounded up our favorite 5 facts about eggs everyone should know.

1. A lot of people are allergic to eggs!

Say what?? It is possible and actually very common! Eggs are one of the “top 8”, or most common food allergens. That means by law if an egg is an ingredient in a packaged food it must be labeled. For all those parents out there who are managing an egg allergy, you are a hero. If you are new to this, check out our food allergy basics.

Know a child with an egg allergy? Try some of these awesome egg-free treats next time they come over. Ask any vegan, you can make some pretty amazing baked goods that don’t contain eggs. One of our favorite resources for eliminating eggs from recipes is from Peta. Check out their round up of 24 ways to substitute eggs here.

2.      Eggs pack a powerful nutrition punch

Did you know there are 9 amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that your body can’t make that you have to get from food? Eggs have all 9 of these essential amino acids, and this earns the egg the title of a ‘complete protein’. So if you can eat eggs, it’s a nice go-to.  Eggs also help protect your vision and brain, and because of that it’s a great food if you are pregnant, if you can.

3.      Eggs are a great first food

Recent research is showing that introducing peanuts early can help prevent peanut allergies in the future. We think the same goes for other foods like eggs that commonly can cause allergies and one study was really promising. So give it as a first food! It is ok and actually encouraged to introduce it around 6 months when your child can sit supported and is interested in eating.

4.  Wait, I thought eggs have cholesterol and that is bad

That’s actually old news. There was no proof that eggs are bad. Now the American Heart Association recommends one egg a day in healthy adults.

5. Brown eggs are not any healthier than white eggs

The color of the shell does not tell you anything about the nutrition of the egg. The color of the egg shell just depends on the breed of the hen. So pick any color eggshell you want that fit your budget.

6. Bonus! And now an egg holds the world record for having the most likes on Instagram!

Sorry Kylie Jenner. Congratulations, egg!:

What’s for Dinner? Serafina Palendech

Real Parents, Real Meals with Serafina Palendech

Serafina & Chef Jen on the farm with their fam

Serafina Palandech is the co-founder of Hip Chick Farms and she is one hip chick! Serafina is deeply passionate about organic foods and that is why Hip Chick Farms exists. Serafina and her wife Chef Jen set out to create a product that has no pesticides, no antibiotics, and no junk… that tastes great! This company makes artisan, transparently sourced poultry products that are convenient for busy families. Sounds pretty amazing (and delicious!)

Thank you Serafina for chatting with Foublie! Learn more about Hip Chick Farms and where it’s sold here.What can we learn from Serafina’s approach to nutrition?

Respect where our food comes from.

Mad respect goes to organic farmers. It’s a lot of work. Think about it! They don’t use pesticides or chemicals to make it easier and help thing grow faster. It is so important to feed people for our own health, for the earth for the planet. Cheers to farmers!

Find those modern conveniences.

For busy parents running a business you need to find shortcuts. Today it’s possible to have quality and convenience. Take frozen foods for example. Pre-cut frozen vegetables are super easy time savers! Today they taste better than ever, even the texture. They are also flash frozen at their peak freshness so you don’t have to worry about losing quality or those great vitamins and minerals.

Eat simply.

Serafina’s wife and business partner Jen is a professional chef. Jen makes up recipes all of the time, but they have two things in common: ingredients are local and seasonal. Household favorites are spaghetti squash, grapes, hamburgers and salads. Invite us over, please!

What is Serafina’s go-to family meal?

Spaghetti squash, cooked whole.

Note: If you have never tried this type of squash before you are missing out. This recipe is so easy you’ve gotta give it a shot!

  • Set oven to 350
  • Take the whole squash and poke holes it all the way around with a knife and put it on a sheet pan in the oven.
  • Bake for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile: In a pan melt butter and mix with some parmesan, basil and chopped garlic.
  • When you take the squash out of the oven it is easy to cut in half. Watch out for the steam. Scrape out the seeds. Then take a fork and rake out the squash flesh. It will look like spaghetti!
  • Toss with your favorite sauce and enjoy!

*Note: This is not a sponsored post. We will highlight businesses and people that we believe in and that share Foublie’s values.

What’s for Dinner? Cassandra Curtis

Real Parents, Real Meals with Cassandra Curtis

Next up in this series we have Cassandra Curtis. Cassandra is the Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Once Upon a Farm. This company is cool! They make organic, cold-pressed baby food.

Cassandra Curtis

Thank you Cassandra for sharing some time with Foublie! Help us thank her with a follow on instagram and be sure to check out her biz Once Upon a Farm!*

How does Cassandra approach nutrition at home?

  • Tune into your body. Even kids can use their intuition to understand what they want and how much.
  • Balance. We are balanced. It’s OK to eat a cookie from time to time.
  • Watch your words. “I choose my words around food wisely. I watch out for the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘bads’. You have to be careful about food perceptions, especially with my daughters. I try to be mindful!”
  • Cassandra reminds us that sitting down for meals teaches us to slow down. You don’t have to multitask with everything!

Foublie is a big proponent of family meals. (Did you know that there are nutrition and academic benefits to a family dinner?!)

  • “It’s hard for people to take a moment and be mindful. But sitting down helps us be in tune with our bodies and our fullness and hunger signals”.

What’s Cassandra’s go-to family meal?

Stir-fry!

This is a 10 minute meal people! To make it balanced and delicious she starts with lots of veggies, adds a protein like tempeh, shrimp or chicken. From there the varieties are endless.  Her favorite is adding coconut milk and a scoop of curry paste. Yum!

*Note: This is not a sponsored post. We will highlight businesses and people that we believe in and that share Foublie’s values. Know someone we should talk to? Shoot us a note at ask@foublie.com 

2019 Trends: Food for Kids

Welcome to 2019! Foublie rounds up our favorite trends of 2019. From water to nutrition, we think it’s going to be a pretty great year for your kids!

1. Flavored Water for Kids

Meet the new juice box, but it is flat water with a fruit essence. We predict the Le Croix craze will expand to flat water. The brands we’ve seen do not add sugar, and that is what you want to aim for. One thing Dr. Maria advises her patients is to avoid juice, it is just empty calories.

Don’t want to buy it at the store? Try making it at home. Start with a pitcher of water and add sliced fruit. Throw it out and start over every other day.

Our favorite combos:

  • 1 orange + 1 lemon (sliced and keep the peel on)
  • ½ a cucumber (sliced and keep the peel on)
  • 4 strawberries + ½ lemon (cut up the strawberries and remove the green top)

2. Cauliflower Everywhere

Don’t think your kids like cauliflower? Well think about trying it again. This year you will see it as pizza crust, as chips, as rice. Gone are the days of overcooked boiled veggies. (Where should we send our thank you note on this one?)

Watch out for hidden food allergens here and be sure to read the label and call the company if you have any concerns.

3. Gut Health

We are just starting to understand the magic of gut. As we continue to learn about the benefits of a healthy gut, expect more and more products in this space. While you may be familiar with fiber and probiotics, get ready for prebiotics and fermented foods to be trendy… even though they are sorta the same thing…

A quick primer:

Probiotics = good bacteria that lives in your gut. Foods that are probiotics are yogurt and buttermilk. If you’re house is dairy free, try sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods like pickles. If the product has been pasteurized (heated to a high temperature to kill all the bacteria) then the probiotics are gone. Check the label to see if they are added back in.

A semi-quick one on kombucha: You’re right, it is also a probiotic. These drinks are regulated by the Food & Drug Administration because they are nutritional supplements. Please take note! This means they do not need to follow the labeling laws you would expect to see regarding the top 8 food allergens. No study has been conducted that meets our criteria of excellence that proves claimed health benefits of Kombucha. Feeding this to your kid is a personal preference, but please be mindful if your child has a food allergy or should not have honey (something that is a common sweetener).

Prebiotics = the food that the good bacteria eats. This is usually fiber! Foods considered prebiotics are: legumes, peas, beans, oats, bananas, berries, asparagus, onions, garlic, and leeks.

Bottom line: Don’t spend big bucks on packaged foods marketing pro & prebiotics. You can get the same benefits in the produce aisle.

4. So many (more) choices for milk

In our childhood, milk came from cows and that was it. Move over mammalian milk, because a new wave of plant based milks are here to stay. Almond, Cashew, Soy, Oat… Oat? Expect to see oat milk come out strong this year! Dr. Maria wrote a nice blog in 2018 to help parents understand cow’s milk. Worth checking out if you haven’t yet. Watch out for added sugars of plant based milks. If it’s an option try the unsweetened version, it’s still pretty sweet!

5. Food & Nutrition = Easier

2019 is the year of Foublie! We are going to make food easier for you and your family. Use Foublie as it suits your needs.

  1. Just read the FEED. Our feed is content that matches your family’s needs.
  2. Get a COACH. Our coaches are awesome! Read more about them here.
  3. Make an APPOINTMENT: Just need to talk to a registered dietitian? We make that call happen. It’s an appointment, made easier.

Bottom line: you now have a helping hand to make feeding your kids healthy, happier and stress-free.

Bring it on 2019!




What’s for Dinner? Dr. Maria Rivera

Real Parents, Real Meals

Today we are launching our series on Real Parents Real Meals. In these posts, we talk to busy families about their food routines and time-saving tricks. We’re kicking off the series with our very own Dr. Maria. What does she feed her toddler?

Maria & Zayn

Maria is a pediatrician with a background in public health. Maria knows the rules around nutrition, and those who know her might say she is a perfectionist! Maria used to give a lot of advice to her patients that backfired with her own son. Here are some of her favorites:

  • No food during tantrums
  • No sweets until the child is 1 year old
  • Start with vegetables
  • Your baby will eat anything

Being a parent has changed her view on food. Can you relate? Now that Maria is a mom, she talks to parents differently about food. For example, her son hated the first 10 things she gave him. Zayn had preferences, and he let her know about them.

Here is what Maria says now:

  • Don’t label foods as “good” and “bad.” Making some foods off limits creates perverse incentives–your kids will just want them more. Sometimes my instinct is “that is bad so he can’t” but then I realize it’s OK in moderation! It’s better for your kids to try cookies and chips, so nothing is out of reach. We don’t restrict any types of food. All food is food.
  • Safe and Unsafe works! For my patients with food allergies we talk about “safe” and “unsafe” foods and the advice above still can work, but with that extra vigilance we know food allergy parents must have. Foublie’s food allergy basics goes into this a bit, check it out here.
  • Make food taste great! We want healthy foods, but don’t lose sight of flavor too. I try to make things taste delicious because who wants to eat boiled and mashed broccoli? It’s OK to use salt, butter and spices. Zayn started to eat more kinds of foods when I added spices and started giving him things I was eating.
  • No Juice. This is actually the only recommendation that did not change after Zayn was born. Juice is called empty calories because it is mostly sugar and highly processed. Try water instead.
  • Eat together. We keep meals low key but we try to eat together when we can. If not everyone eats, we do sit together and chat.
  • Make mealtime fun. I don’t pressure him to eat things he doesn’t want to eat.
  • Take a breath. When Zayn doesn’t like something he throws it across the room. Deep breathing gets me through.
  • One meal for everyone. Kids do better when they get introduced to all foods, not just the healthy foods. We all eat the same thing, which helps with balance and variety. I am Latino and my husband is Arabic. Our son doesn’t like things plain. He won’t eat french  fries which I think is so weird. He hates white rice. He needs rice and beans. Check out my rice and bean recipe below!

Make life easier with base foods you make ahead of time.

Maria makes a lot of rice and beans. Zayn loves it, and it is comfort food for Maria! Did we mention, it’s easy? Talk about a win-win-win. She makes a pot of beans every Monday and uses  them through the week. Here is her favorite recipe, but she uses the beans all week

For the beans

Modified this from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 teaspoons of pre-cut garlic
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 12 1/2 cups dried black beans. *I don’t soak them, but I rinse them.  
  • 1 dried whole ancho chile
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • Freshly ground salt (I say 10 turns on the grinder)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (10 turns on the grinder)
  • 8 cups vegetable stock

Put all of this into a slow cooker or instant pot.

Instapot: Run the bean function 2 times

Slow cooker: 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low (do what time fits you best)

For the rice: I just buy instant rice and make it as directed. I make about 2 cups at a time.

Maria & Zayn’s Rice & Beans

  1. Make the beans
  2. Make rice
  3. Fire up a pan and add a little bit of canola oil
  4. Add the bean and warm them up.
  5. Add the rice.

You want a 1 to 1 rice and bean ratio.

Serve with a scrambled egg and avocado slices.

Yum!

Family Meals: According to Science

Pull Up a Seat: Make Family Meals a Tradition

Whether or not you celebrate any holidays during this time of year, it is the perfect time to slow down and enjoy time with your families! The work season is often slower, for some of us the weather is cooler, and overall there is a general feeling of coziness. This is the perfect time of year to say thanks to family meals! If you have family meals, keep it up. If not, why not try it out as a New Year’s resolution. Start a new tradition.

What is a family meal?

Family meal time means something different for each family. If we get real with a definition, a family meal is when one or more adults sit down to eat with children. Usually those adults are caregivers or parents, but it doesn’t have to be. In my family, my husband works really long hours and a lot of weekends, and he often gets home for dinner after our son, Zayn, has already gone to bed. A family meal for us usually means just Zayn and I sitting down for dinner, usually eating the same food. Zayn is 21 months old and speaks his own language. So, when the stars align, the three of us are home and awake and we sit together. In real life, this happens about one lunch or dinner during the week.

Why bother with family meals?

Family meals have lots of benefits, particularly for teenagers, and there is data to prove it. Here are my favorite benefits for kids that have family meals. They:

  • Are less likely to experience disordered eating;
  • Have lower rates of alcohol and substance use;
  • Have lower rates of violent behavior;
  • Are less likely to feel depressed or have suicidal thoughts;
  • Have increased self esteem;
  • Have better success in school; and
  • Are less likely to be obese, especially when the mood is warm and positive.

Family meals also teach your children how to eat. This is when they learn table manners, try new foods, and generally eat more nutritious foods. Kids watch what you do and copy it. (Sometimes this is very annoying!)

How can you make it work?

Ready to take it on? Here are some tips for you to try to get the family-meal thing started:

  • Plan ahead: Plan your meals or make a couple of one-pot meals that will make lots of leftovers so you don’t have to cook every night. This may make it more likely for you to make it to the table together, especially on busy nights.
  • There’s a social element: Even if everyone is not eating at the same time, pull up a chair and sit down with your children anyways. Chat with them about their day or play silly games.
  • Holiday meals = choices: If you happen to be celebrating a holiday during this time of year, there will probably be many dishes on the table. Have your children help themselves with what they want to eat (even toddlers can point or say yes/no!). Try to resist making a separate meal for kids. Even if they only end up eating rolls for dinner, enjoy the time you are sitting together and engage them in conversation. I love talking to Zayn when he babbles.
  • Make weekend lunches a thing: Weekends are easier! (Well, easier than weeknights.) Try weekend meals because it can be a great time to check in.
  • Try a late night snack: A bowl of fruit before bedtime as a family can be a great way to catch up, too! Fruit may be ambitious, so do what you have to do to get people at the table.
  • Ditch technology: turn off the TV and take the iPads and phones off the table. This is the time to be together and for kids to learn to eat without distractions. Family meals don’t have to be long! A toddler often can’t sit for more than 10 minutes, so make them technology free.
  • Don’t be intimidated and be realistic. Eating together as a family of three every night is impossible right now for my family. But, hey, eating together once or twice a week is definitely doable. And I love it.

Just give it a try! You can do it.

Intuitive Eating and Self Regulation in Kids

Intuitive Eating and Self Regulation: Can kids really be intuitive eaters?

 Intuitive eating is all the rage right now in weight loss and adult nutrition. Simply put, if you are an intuitive eater you never need a diet! You pay attention to your hunger cues and fullness cues, and you do not eat for emotional reasons. The theory that has its roots back to the 1930s when Clara M. Davis did some interesting research on letting babies choose the diets. The term was first coined in 1995 by Evelyn Tribole M.S. R.D. and Elyse Resch M.S. R.D. F.A.D.A.

Are we all born intuitive eaters?

Intuitive eating is a theory. And the theory says, yes, we are all born knowing how to self-regulate what we eat. It is later, as we grow up, that parents confuse hunger and fullness signals and children lose this ability.

Newborns can usually tell us when they are hungry and full

This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends responsive feeding. As a parent or caregiver, you must learn to pay attention and act accordingly. This means that you let your baby nurse or take a bottle whenever they look hungry and let them decide how much to take at a time. It can be nerve wracking and confusing for parents, and especially hard if you want your kid on a schedule (or daycare dictates a schedule!).

Do your best, trust your instincts! In general babies signal when they are hungry and when they are full.

Some signs your baby might be hungry include:

  • Whimpering and lip-smacking
  • Waking and looking more alert
  • Bringing hands towards mouth and belly
  • Sucking movements, especially sucking on their hands
  • Nuzzling against your breast or opening their mouth towards you
  • Even stretching or yawning can be signs of hunger in babies!

Some signs your baby might be done eating are:

  • Stopping and starting frequently
  • Pulling off the breast or bottle
  • Ignoring the breast or bottle
  • Falling asleep at the breast (except the little ones can sometimes just get too comfortable in their nook!)
  • Getting distracted
  • Turning away or closing their mouth when you offer the breast or bottle

Why are watching for these cues so important?

We know that the first 5 years in a kids’ life, especially the first 1000 days, are a critical period as they go from drinking milk to consuming an adult diet. Children learn more about food and eating during this time than any other time in their life.  We also know that being in tune to fullness and hunger cues can help prevent obesity later in life

Now on to solids. Are kids still intuitive eaters at 6 months and up?

Well… good question. Generally, we think they are. But what the differences are between kids and what affects eating, is where it becomes a little trickier and the evidence is less clear cut (sadly!). The equivalent of intuitive eating in children is the trust model, which is another theory developed by Ellyn Satter RD, MS, MSSW,  a registered dietitian and family therapist. This model suggests that any child can self-regulate. But, environmental factors, like parent’s behavior, messes it up. Also, kids that are already at risk for obesity (having obese parents) have a harder time holding on to self-regulation. There is some indication that young kids can do it though.

According to the trust model, how do parents ruin their kid’s ability to be intuitive eaters?

You can be too controlling. A study in preschoolers showed that when they were presented with different meals, those kids with moms that were less controlling of their feeding were better able to self-regulate. Mothers that try to control what their kids eat often see it backfire. It is hard to know though whether the trust model really works in kids that are already obese. Restrictive feeding in general can also lead to poor self-esteem and negative self-evaluation, especially in young girls.

 

Ahh! There is so much to process here. What should I do?

Please take a deep breath. We all want our children to have a healthy relationship with food! You don’t need to have an opinion about intuitive eating to follow our tips for raising a healthy, happy eater.

  1. You know your child better than anyone. At any age you can learn their hunger and fullness cues. You can help your child to recognize them too.
  2. Avoid doing these things:

  • Restricting foods. What does restriction look like? It looks like: “no second helpings”.
  • Calling foods good and bad. “no cookies or chips allowed EVER in the house because they are bad foods”.  
  • Begging. “Please just have one more bite”
  • Using food as rewards. “Thank you for finishing your veggies, you now get dessert.”
  1. Stick to the mantra “You provide, your child decides”

Many experts use this one liner and we love it!  Let me break it down for you:

You provide: What do you control?

What foods: Keep it balanced! You decide what is placed on the table.

When: You determine the intervals, you want your child to eat. For kids older than 2 years that typically, is three meals and 2-3 snacks a day.

Your child decides:

If they want to eat.

What they will eat.

How much they will eat.

  1. Keep in mind the big picture

Your goal is to provide nutritious food. Trust that your child will eat what they need, even if at one meal they only eat 4 dinner rolls. (It happens!)

Over time, we know that most kids do actually meet their dietary requirements and balance out their diet. Look at the whole week. Looking at one meal at a time is just a snapshot and is not helpful. No

 

In conclusion!

Intuitive eating is a theory and one way of feeding your kids. We are here to provide you with information and evidence, so you can make the best choices for your situation and your family. You got this!

 

 

 

Making sense of the NY Times article on the new Peanut Allergy Drug

Making Sense of the NY Times Article on the New Peanut Allergy Drug: What Does it Mean for Your Family?

One of last week’s most shared article online in the New York Times was “New Peanut Allergy Drug Shows ‘Lifesaving’ Potential”, and I’m not surprised it is so popular. It talks about a new study that came out about a drug that could prevent severe allergic reactions to peanuts. Today 1 in 13 children in the US have a food allergy. Awareness is growing, but more work is needed. I was horrified to read many of the comments, some people are so mean and misinformed. I felt the need to respond and clarify as many of our Foublie families are just starting their food allergy journey and this was not straightforward. Comments are at 254 and ticking upwards. Please don’t be mean if you comment!

Why is this drug, called AR101, needed?

All avoidance of the food you or your child is allergic to isn’t that easy and straightforward. If a packaged food was made in a facility that handles peanuts, it is most likely not safe for someone severely allergic to peanuts. This is called cross contact and it can be very serious. For some children, an anaphylactic reaction is possible with a whiff of peanut dust. A lot of this exposure is completely accidental. A drug like this can increase a person’s tolerance if these accidents happen. Think of it as a way to prevent a severe, life-threatening reaction.

DYK: Cross contact warnings on food labels are voluntary.

What is so exciting?

The peanut allergy treatment is not a cure. It could prevent an anaphylactic reaction, which is life threatening, due to unintentional exposure through cross contact. While it is exciting, it isn’t the golden ticket or silver bullet for an easier life. As one man in the comment section puts it, “the peace of mind that accidental exposure will not lead to catastrophic results is priceless”.

The result of this study is that ⅔ of the children that received the therapy could eat 2 whole peanuts without developing allergic symptoms. 2 peanuts. Remember these kids will likely never eat a peanut butter sandwich, but they should feel safe eating a candy bar made in a facility where Pay Day’s are made.

  • Unfortunately, 20% of the children in the treatment group quit the study because of adverse side effects.
  • And. 4.3% of the children receiving the treatment had severe side effects.
  • And. 14% of children receiving treatment had to use epinephrine.
  • So even though it worked well for a lot of kids, it didn’t work for all of them.

 

Is this really new?

Yes and no. What is new is the drug formula used is on track to be approved by the FDA. Oral immunotherapy (OIT) has been in medical practice since the early 1900s. Historians tell of early use by kings to build tolerance for arsenic.

 

What is OIT and is it right for my family?

OIT is is a method of food desensitization that involves reintroducing the immune system to the allergenic food in very very small, gradually increases amounts over time by eating it. The goal is not treatment, but tolerance. Talk to your allergist to learn more about it and if it is right for you. There are many considerations, but to start:

  1. Time: do you have the ability to go to the Allergist once every 2 weeks?
  2. Money: Check with your insurance- I’m finding mixed experiences on this one.
  3. Mental health: see below, but these studies are stressful.
  4. Your child cannot have eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE) and if they have asthma, it must be under control.
  5. You must take the protocol seriously. The food must be consumed daily which includes a 2 hour observation period.
  6. There isn’t a lot of published data. For example, this study we talk about here is larger than all the others combined.

For this particular study, the protocol was 6 months of treatment followed by six months of follow up maintenance therapy. Children had to rest for 2 hours after received their daily dose, but not fall asleep because they needed to be monitored for a reaction. After the 6 month treatment, children did a food challenge to see if the drug worked. Maintenance will most likely continue indefinitely, which seems to be a small amount of peanuts every day (one boy in the article eats peanut M&Ms).

 

What is a food challenge?

A food challenge is where a person allergic to a food eats that food in small quantities in a controlled medical environment. It takes hours. The process has the person eat a little bit every 15 minutes or so to see if there is a reaction.  

 

Balancing mental health

I have tremendous respect for families that participated in this study. These kids are brave. Even the treatment had a chance of causing a life threatening reaction, every time they took the drug. While there is certainly uncertainty of accidental exposure through cross contact or just accidentally eating something that has peanuts in it, I’m not sure I could do it. This is the trade off these families made: do we risk a reaction now to gain protection from accidental exposure later? Almost every participant in this study had an adverse reaction during this year long trial, from both groups. To me this underscores just how vigilant these families must be about peanuts.

 

Industry, Ethics, Commercial Opportunity & What’s next?

Who funded the study? The drug developer called Aimmune Therapeutics designed and sponsored the study. This is pretty normal as far as drug development goes. All 13 authors receive compensation from the firm, either as an employee or as a scientific advisory board member.  Aimmune is a public company, but the first trading day after the study was published the stock price closed Monday 11/19 down over 10%. The analysts predict a 1 billion dollar annual market. This article notes a hesitation by investors due to the side effects we mention previously and also a hesitation of packaging a natural element, peanut, and adding a big price tag.

Aimmune Therapeutics, the company that is producing this drug will submit an application to the FDA. Because it is determined to be a ‘breakthrough therapy’ it will get a priority review, and potentially accelerated approval. It could be on the market by the end of 2019.

We’ll keep this on our radar!

What’s up with the new physical activity guidelines for kids?

How much exercise do kids really need?

I’m pretty sure we are all aware that physical activity is good for us adults. But actually doing what we should be doing is a different story and we’ll go there another day.  But what about for our kids? This week our government published new physical activity guidelines, and instead of having you read all 118 pages, we wanted to pull out some of the highlights for you.  Bottom line: most of us should be moving more. 21% of adults and less than 3 in 10 high schoolers currently meet these standards. Being physically active goes way beyond maintaining a healthy weight, so let’s up our game!

 

If you have a Preschooler

This is the first time the guidelines include children 3-5 years old. 

Why is this important? There is now evidence to suggest that physical activity provides benefits in this age bracket too. Active kids are less likely to gain excessive weight and fat tissue, but also there are benefits in bone health. Healthy behaviors can be established early!

How much do they need? The advice is preschoolers should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. This is ‘loosy-goosy’ but just go with it. The point is that we need to encourage kids to keep moving! Aim for 3 hours, and don’t assume this just happens. Ask your daycare or school how kids move during the day.

What counts as physical activity? Active play like jungle gyms, swimming, fort building, catch, tag, exploring

 

If you have a 6 to 17 year olds

Why? In this age group the list of benefits grows. Here are our favorites:

There are cognitive benefits

Exercise is connected to improved executive functioning in the brain, something that starts to develop when a child is 3 to 5 years old. These tasks include planning, organization, getting stuff done and controlling emotion. Other brain benefits of exercise documented are improved memory, speed of thinking and academics. Here, there are are a few studies that show immediate benefits. For example, after just 1 episode of exercise children performed better on an academic test compared to those that didn’t exercise!  

There are sleep benefits

Exercise helps all of us fall asleep faster, stay asleep all night, get more deep sleep and be more alert during the day.

There are mental health benefits

Exercise reduces the risk of depression and in depressed people exercise reduces the intensity and frequency of depressive symptoms. The same follows with anxiety.

How much do they need? This group should exercise 60 minutes every day. As intensity goes, the experts recommend “moderate to vigorous” level of effort. There are three types of activity that should each be done three times per week: aerobic, muscle- and bone- strengthening types of activity.

Can you give me some examples?

Aerobic: basketball, biking, dancing, ice skating, soccer, swimming, tennis, walking, running or anything that increases the heart rate

Muscle-building: climbing, monkey bars, climbing stairs

Bone-building: skipping, cartwheels, jump rope, jogging

 

If you are pregnant and or just had a baby

What you are supposed to do: 150 minutes (2.5 hours) every week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like a brisk walk or an easy bike ride. Spread it out! Don’t do it all at once.  If you are very active before pregnancy you can likely continue your routines. Talk to your doctor here, being an active runner is different than being an active rugby player. See where I’m going with this? Some sports are just better for your baby because there is less risk of contact or injury.

Why? Physically active women are less likely to gain excessive weight during pregnancy. They are also less likely to develop gestational diabetes and postpartum depression. This sounds pretty good to me!

 

What could moving more look like for your family?

We rounded up our favorite ideas. Remember you know your child, so keep it age appropriate. 

  1. Try a family activity, like a weekly walk or ball game.
  2. Go to the mall instead of online shopping.
  3. Park your car at the back of the lot and walk.
  4. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  5. Get an active job as a dog walker, rake the leaves, shovel snow, etc.
  6. Start a garden.
  7. Do sit ups or push ups during TV commercials.
  8. Sign up for a community walk. We love the Food Allergy Heroes walk!
  9. Active chores: unload the dishwasher, take the trash out, fold laundry
  10. Dance party in the living room

 

So get out there and move! Remember you don’t need to make the change in one day. Start small and have fun. Every movement counts.