Thursday, July 30, 2009

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Coupons

Betty Crocker now offers four gluten-free products which include a brownie mix, cookie mix, devil's food cake mix and a yellow cake mix. To request a coupon for one free gluten-free mix, simply call 1-800-446-1898.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Preparing for the Worst

For whatever reason, Brody’s mind has been on anaphylaxis lately. I’m thinking it may have to do with the fact that summer seems to be slipping by too quickly and another year of school is fast approaching. A couple of nights ago as I was tucking him into bed, he started asking me question after question about his allergies. Some of these included questions about past reactions he has had, scenarios of future reactions he could possibly have (especially at school), questions of how epinephrine actually helps stop an allergic reaction, what to expect during an ambulance ride to the hospital, etc…This went on for 2 hours. At one point he told me that he wishes that he had already experienced using an EpiPen so he would know what to except as far as pain from the needle and how quickly the medicine would help make him feel better. I couldn't agree more. There have been 2 times in Brody’s life that he absolutely should have received an EpiPen shot for a serious reaction, but unfortunately he never did. The first time was when he was only 13 months old. After grabbing his brother’s peanut butter sandwich and taking a nibble, he began projectile vomiting within minutes, but at that time we didn’t even know that he had food allergies yet and therefore no EpiPen. The second time was about 3 years later and was by far one of the scariest moments of my life. This time the poison to his little body was a tiny amount of milk when he accidentally took a sip out of his cousin’s cup instead of his own. Within 30 seconds he was clawing at his tongue because it “burned”, he was coughing and wheezing, he felt sick to his stomach and weak, and his face was flushed and broke out in hives. It was a terrifying experience. But yet we didn’t give him the EpiPen. Why? Because unfortunately up until that point we were very ill-informed from our allergist. He had told us that the EpiPen was to be used if Brody was ever exposed to peanuts again. He never once told us that some kids do have anaphylactic reactions to foods other than nuts, such as milk. In fact we were told that most children outgrow milk and egg allergies by school age and that these were most likely not very serious and would probably only cause a flare of his eczema if he was to accidentally ingest them. So in my mind at that moment of the reaction all I could think was “What in the world is going on? This shouldn’t be happening!”. I was completely overwhelmed and mentally unprepared for the whole experience. Thank God (!) the allergic reaction started to calm down after a dose of Benadryl and a couple puffs from his inhaler. But when I spoke to the allergist the next day about what had happened, he said “you’re lucky he’s alive”. Those words are forever burned into my memory. I still replay that night in my head over and over and beat myself up about it constantly, but I also know that because of that experience I will never hesitate to use the EpiPen again when Brody has another severe reaction. Notice I said when, not if, because odds are that Brody will experience more life threatening reactions throughout his life as unfortunately accidents are never planned.

The day after Brody asked me all those questions about his allergies, I decided we should dig out one of his expired EpiPens and practice injecting it into an orange to refresh his memory of how it all works and then we used an EpiPen trainer to do some role playing. He seemed to feel much more at ease and satisfied after we did this. As parents it is up to us to educate and prepare our children for how to keep themselves safe and healthy, and for Brody that includes knowing how to save his own life with an EpiPen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Researchers Find New Way of Reducing Symptoms of Anaphylactic Shock

A team of researchers from the University of Glasgow have pinpointed a molecule (IL-33) which plays a key role in the development of anaphylaxis.

"Our study showed that IL-33 plays a pivotal role in hugely increasing the inflammation experienced during a period of anaphylactic shock and led us to understand how to intervene to reduce its impact.

An anaphylactic shock prompts a massive inflammatory reaction which often is so severe that it constricts breathing. In our study we found that the severity of the shock is linked to the IL-33 molecule, which acts as an amplifier to the inflammatory reaction. This can lead to a fatal constriction of the airway and, ultimately, death.

Our study suggests that patients with the most severe anaphylactic reactions have very high levels of IL33 in their system.

In basic terms, without the IL33 molecule, the allergic reaction experienced would be far less severe, greatly reducing the risk of death."

Read full article here:


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kiss The Cook!

Apparently I was in the mood to spend some time in the kitchen today! I woke up and decided I would tackle the challenge of coming up with a dairy-free ice cream that Brody would actually like for once! He has never been a fan of any of the soy, rice, or coconut milk ice creams on the market and would much rather eat a bowl of sorbet, preferably orange flavored. I decided to give it yet another try anyway since I have the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid just sitting and collecting dust. Since Brody is a big fan of mixing Sunbutter and chocolate chips together for a treat, we decided that it might be good with ice cream too!

Sunbutter Chocolate Chip "Ice Cream"
(Milk-free, Egg-free, Nut-free)
2 cups Coffee Rich (or Rich Whip)
1/8 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/3-1/2 cup sugar

Mix these 4 ingredients together and pour into your ice cream maker as per directions. This makes a very soft ice cream, so I let it mix for an extra 5 or so minutes until desired consistency. During the last 1-2 minutes, add in a scoop of Sunbutter and a handful of chocolate chips. I didn't measure these amounts, just whatever looked good at the time!

I personally think it turned out very yummy...Brody's still not so sure. Guess I'll be making some more sorbet soon, too!

While I was in the kitchen, I figured I better do something about all the zucchini from my mom's garden that is taking over my counter space. I've been trying to use it up by baking zucchini bread and lots of veggie bakes, but felt like doing something a little different today. My mother-in-law makes a wonderful chocolate zucchini cake, but it's full of eggs. I came up with this recipe not too long ago as a way of using up some my zucchini surplus and treating my chocolate craving at the same time!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
(milk-free, egg-free, nut-free)
4 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 1/2 cup water, mixed well
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 box chocolate instant pudding mix
1 dairy-free chocolate cake mix
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix flaxseed meal and water and let sit until thickens. Add oil and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add zucchini and chocolate pudding mix and mix thoroughly. Add cake mix and cinnamon and blend until moistened. Mixture will be very thick. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle all over the cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool completely on a rack before cutting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

2009 Food Allergy Awareness Walk

It's time again for the annual Food Allergy Awareness Walk! This is our yearly fundraiser so that FAAW can continue to help families with food allergies. If you are unable to attend but would still like to donate to the event you can visit Brody's fundraising web page and donate.

Walk for Children, Teens, and Adults with Food Allergies
Saturday, August 8, 2009
9:00 A.M. Registration
Warner Park
2930 N Sherman Ave
Madison, WI

Join Us & Walk For A Child, Teen or Adult With Allergies!

Build Your Team or Register!

Six Easy Steps:
1. Go to
2. Click on "Register for an Event"
3. Select "Food Allergy Walk"
4. Select your registration type.
5. Log in or create an account.
6. Find a team to join or create a new team.

Or Contact:
Food Allergy Association of WI
2722 Union Street
Madison, WI 53704
Phone: 608-575-9535
Fax your registration and credit card information to:608-249-5215

Let your creativity run wild!
Create a t-shirt with your child's picture or show your allergies with signs, posters, and team shirts.

Create a Fundraising Page!

Build your own online fundraising web page at
Send your friends, family members, and co-workers messages asking them to support your own fundraising efforts. Ask your company if they have a program to match your donation.

***************See you at the walk!***************

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Needle-Free Epinephrine Autoinjector

LONDON, 1st July 2009-- "The Medical House PLC (“TMH”), (AIM:MLH) the specialist drug delivery company, announces that it has now supplied Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, with an advanced needle-free jet injector system specifically designed and manufactured to their specification. The system, known as “” incorporates a number of features not previously associated with needle-free devices, such as an innovative dose display. In addition, an enhanced security system allows for safe injection while the level of noise associated with the injection has been minimised..."

"In October 2008 TMH announced a non-exclusive development, licence and supply agreement with Catalent Pharma Solutions and Stallergenes to develop and distribute a variation of the company’s core disposable autoinjector technology for use with epinephrine. Under the terms of this agreement, TMH will customise its proprietary, patented ASITM disposable autoinjector device technology, according to an agreed specification and will be combined with epinephrine supplied by Catalent to create epinephrine autoinjectors for both adult and paediatric use.

These epinephrine autoinjectors are intended for the emergency treatment of anaphylactic shock, mostly due to hymenoptera venom or food allergies and for the use by patients themselves or by a person close to the patient in the event of an emergency. The newly-created product will be distributed exclusively by Stallergenes who are a European biopharmaceutical company, with annual sales in 2007 of ?? million, dedicated to desensitisation therapies for the prevention and treatment of allergy-related conditions. The Agreement covers 13 European countries, including the United Kingdom and incorporates provision for extension to additional territories."

Read entire article here...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thrill Rides at the Theme Park

Earlier this week my family took a little mini-vacation to Illinois. We enjoyed one day at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago (where the boys thoroughly enjoyed The Harry Potter exhibit!) and the entire next day was spent at Six Flags Great America. Other than a possible mild reaction to what I believe might have been food residue on the rides, which resulted in one large angry hive on Brody's cheek that lasted most of the day, we had a wonderful fun-filled time!

Although no outside food is allowed in the park, if you mention to the park attendants when you are entering that you have a child with special dietary needs, they will okay it. I was also told that all of the restaurants in the park have a book listing all ingredients and food allergy info. Also, because of the boys' Ocular Albinism, I stopped in at Guest Relations right inside the entrance and asked if there would be any accommodations they could offer us as the boys are extremely photophobic (their eyes are very sensitive to bright light/sunlight) and I explained that it would be hard for them to stand in long lines in the sun for extended periods of time. The person behind the desk was very understanding and gave us a Ride Accessibility Pass (RAP) which allowed us to set up a time to get on each ride without having to stand in line. Instead, we could wait elsewhere out of the sun and then enter the ride through the exit and get on almost immediately. We actually only ended up needing to use this pass a handful of times though since we were at the park on a Monday and the lines were not terribly long to begin with.

All in all, we had a great time and the boys are already planning a return visit next summer!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Video of Allergic Reaction to Peanuts

This is a very disturbing video of a man having a severe allergic reaction to peanuts. He decided to record himself during this reaction in hopes of informing people what a reaction can look like, however, this could have ended very badly for him and I certainly hope that anyone else having a reaction like this would use an EpiPen and call 911 immediately!

I'm also bothered by the fact that he states in the video that this would be considered a "mild reaction". According to the Anaphylaxis Grading Chart , this reaction would absolutely be considered anaphylaxis. Luckily this man recovered and now we can use his video as a teaching tool for ourselves and others.