Category Archives: TIPSy TUESDAYS

TIPSy TUESDAYS: Find Your Trusted Village

While we have all heard the proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child,” have we ever thought about how this not only applies to children.   If you really think about it, we all need a “village” to live to the fullest.   As much as many of us try to do everything ourselves and not ask for help, it is not healthy or realistic.   Even though maybe of us know this fact, we continue on trying to achieve the impossible.   Why is that ?

In my own life, since the days of being a stubborn little girl wanting to do everything all by myself to now being in my thirties, I try to handle situations on my own.   I don’t like to pester others with my problems plus independence is quite empowering. I’ve always known that this is not the way it should be.   However, I carried on until now. While I will post more about this past month later in the week, I have learned firsthand that we all need a village of people we trust.  This includes not only family and friends, but also trusted doctors and support staff who know us well. Well enough to direct our steps when life throws battle after battle…challenge after challenge…”mystery” after “mystery” at us…

We did an amazing job of finding my son an amazing village. In addition to having remarkably supportive family and friends, we found others who genuinely care, guide, and have his best interest in mind. So far, they include:

√  An amazing pediatrician

√  Other pediatricians in her group that we also trust

√  A great allergist

 √  Day care staff and teachers who genuinely look out for TJ

However, in doing that, I forgot to devise my own village.  I guess that is part of being a parent.   You forget about yourself.   And honestly, I didn’t mind it at all until my own health issues arose and I found myself running in circles and circles seeking answers…and Google sure didn’t help either!

While I too have incredible family and friends, I have been blessed to not have to see doctors very often except for routine physicals.   I have an amazing ENT, great chiropractors, and gynecologists that all know me very well at this point.   I trust them and it takes a lot to get me to trust these days.  However, one important figure missing from my village was and is a trusted primary doctor.  The one I have been seeing is never available to see me when I go and so I usually just see whoever is available that day in her group.   This was never a problem until recently when I needed that missing part of the equation. I learned this lesson the hard way. Therefore, I have been actively looking to find a great primary doctor and have made an appointment with a new one soon.

While my tip this week is not directly related to food allergies and my son, it is a crucial one for everyone. By focusing on making some necessary additions to my village and ensuring my own health, I can best continue to do the same for my son.   With that being said, we smile on with the help of our developing team, our trusted village…

 

creativity is Intelligence having fun

 

TIPSy TUESDAYS – Going on Vacation

Because I am currently trying to get my own health in order, I am reposting my first “TIPSy TUESDAY.”  I posted this right after our first family vacation after learning about my son’s multiple food allergies. Since I look forward to our next family adventure, I looked back and wanted to share some tips…

Going on vacation with food allergies


 

Now, at least in my experience with having a son with multiple food allergies and skin sensitivities, everything new is a scary ordeal.   Every new food, new lotion, new soap, new visitor, new school year, new milestone, new experience, new environment, and everything else you can have a new of can be nerve-racking.

With that being said, going on our first family vacation since my son’s diagnosis was a huge new experience with many new environments to inspect and learn to trust. Therefore, while I was excited, I was full of anxiety those first days.

Here are some tips that I found to be helpful.

  1.  Be prepared: Check to see where the local hospital/urgent care is.  Also, make sure to bring the proper medications and emergency plans.  In our case, we searched the nearest medical centers beforehand.  Since I always carry Epi-pens and Benadryl on me, we also packed extra of these.  I copied TJ’s recently updated “Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan” before we left  to keep with us all the time.
  2. Plan Meals Beforehand: Since TJ was only 15 months during this trip, we still made most of the food that he was eating.  Therefore, we planned ahead, making sure that we had enough of his food for the duration of the trip, or least the food that we thought we may not be able to get on vacation.  We also made sure that the place we were staying had a kitchen with a refrigerator and oven to help with his food.  Because of the reality of cross-contact, we also brought his own pots, pans, trays, containers, and utensils. (See more information about cross contact here.)
  3. Scope out the scenes everywhere: (To some,  this tip may seem to be a bit much;  however, I find it to be extremely critical.)
    1. Check out the place you are staying.   Even though we stayed at a very well-kept place, we wiped down the surfaces all around, emptied out unsafe foods left in the refrigerator by previous people, vacuumed, etc. When we first arrived as my husband was unpacking the car (before we had time to wipe down and vacuum) , the first thing TJ wanted to do with his toys was put all of his farm animals on one of the dining room chairs.   I quickly scanned the chair and noticed a larger piece of Parmesan cheese.   Therefore, we cleaned everything where he would be. I truly believe that you cannot be too cautious.
    2.  Scope out the locations you visit throughout the day such as the beach and aquarium.   While I know that this tip may sound irrational,  we learned that scoping out the beach is extremely important.   On our vacation this time around, I checked out the area of sand that TJ was playing in and it seemed safe.   However, when he started to run around, I noticed peanut shells nearby.   Later in the afternoon, I noticed pistachio nut shells. Apparently lots of people eat nuts and peanuts on the beach so just check out the area.  This was just something I never thought of beforehand. In addition to nuts on the beach, we also had to be careful when we visited the aquarium on a rainy day.  This is because the facility sold buttered popcorn.  As people walked around, many ate and dropped a ton of this buttery treat all over.   It was safest, especially on the first floor where it was sold, to hold my son or keep him in the stroller.
  4. Bedding/Washing: With TJ’s eczema and skin sensitivities, we have to be careful with detergents and soaps.   While for many months we only used Soap Nuts to wash all of our laundry, we now use a free and clear detergent that doesn’t affect TJ’s skin negatively. Therefore, we brought this detergent as well as all of TJ’s safe soaps. In addition, we brought all of our own bedding and towels which many people do anyways.
  5. Have fun: While you should always be on guard, like a close family member reminded me a week ago, we all need to “live a little.” With the proper preparations, trips can be super enjoyable and totally worth the pre-trip anxiety.  Because our first family vacation with food allergies was a huge success, we smile on and look forward to the next…

 

 

 

TIPSy Tuesdays: Preparing for a Safe & Special Holiday with Food Allergies

In my experience with having a son with multiple food allergies and skin sensitivities, everything new is a scary ordeal.   Every new food, new lotion, new soap, new visitor, new school year, new milestone, new experience, new environment, and everything else you can have a new of. In addition to the new experiences, holidays and parties also add some challenges and worries. However, there are steps and precautions that you can take to ensure the special holiday that you deserve. The more prepared you are… the less likely it is that fear will enter the scene.

how to have a safe and special holiday season with food allergies

With my son’s initial anaphylactic reaction and learning of his multiple food allergies last December 2014, the holidays that year were a rough time for me.   As I tried to process it all, I was fearful of everything. It was not an enjoyable time because of this intense anxiety and stress.

While a whole year has passed, many challenges still remain for us.   However, this holiday season I plan to smile into it prepared and ready to enjoy this special time, having faith over fear….

Making The Holidays Happy AND Allergy-Friendly


Here are some tips on how to have a safe and special holiday season with food allergies:

1.  Be prepared: If you are traveling far, check to see where the local hospital/urgent care is.  Also, make sure to bring the proper medications and emergency plans.  My son’s up-to-date “Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan” is always packed in my diaper bag with his EpiPens and Benadryl.

2. Pick your setting and population: Yes, I know that you cannot pick your family. However, if you have an option of where to celebrate the holiday, pick the place where people are most understanding of food allergies and the precautions needed. If you have the means to, even offer to host.   (I am not there yet.)

3. Scope Out the Scene: Check out the place you are visiting and/or staying.   Scope out wherever and whenever you child will be eating, wipe down the surfaces all around, and scan the floor.   Since babies and toddlers love to put objects in their mouths, it is important to make sure that there is nothing unsafe to start.   From our experience, you would be surprised what food products are often around.

4. Communication/Setting up the Meal: Before the meal begins, have a plan in mind.   For example, plan ahead where your child will sit, eat, and when this will occur.   In addition to wiping down the surface, we bring Mickey Mouse place mats, his own plate, and utensils.

5. Announcement: To help with those guests who are not aware of or educated about food allergies and your family’s situation, make an announcement that your child should not be fed any food.   At a family BBQ in the summer, a person in our extended family came over to my son with her plate of cake, cheerfully and innocently asking, “Can he have some of this?” With my son in my arms, I jumped back as her spoonful of cake was way too close for comfort.   Therefore, an announcement before eating begins is a great precaution to take. Sometimes, people just don’t know or understand.

6. Washing hands/Kissing: This is another part of the reminder or announcement.   Our family has been great with accepting this request. Even though I take many precautions for my son’s safety, I do also make sure to brush my teeth always before kissing him.    We also ask everyone who is with TJ, (friends, family, daycare, etc.) to not kiss him on the face or lips if they have just eaten and especially if they have not brushed their teeth. I struggle with this because I know he deserves a million kisses every day and trust me, I want to be able to give him everything in life. However, right now, this is what we must do to ensure his safety, his health, his life.   He is still too little to speak and therefore, it is even more critical.   We show him love in soooo many other ways in addition to giving him lots of hugs. And of course we kiss him, when we know it is truly safe to do so. With that being said, inform all guests that blowing kisses is a must especially after eating has begun.

 In addition to the kissing, it is important that people understand they must wash their hands after handling or eating food of their own before they hold or contact my son.  After explaining the reality of cross contact with our family, we have been extremely blessed with their support and diligence with this. It makes my heart smile knowing that we have this support.

7. Plan Meals Beforehand: Since my son is only 18.5 months, we still make most of the food that he eats.  Therefore, we plan ahead, making sure that we had enough of his food for the duration of the visit.  If we are staying over, we also make sure that the place we were visiting has a kitchen with a refrigerator and oven to help with his food.  If it is just a day visit, we bring our own cooler with his food. Because of the reality of cross-contact, we also bring his personal pots, pans, trays, containers, and utensils. (Whatever is necessary for the visit.)

8. Allergy-free Options (Safe Food): Pass on food that you are unsure of.   For now, my son will only be eating what we provide.   In the future as he begins to talk more and expands his diet, I do plan to make allergy-free versions of some of the main course foods.   I look forward to this. However, this year we will stick to his safe foods that we will prepare beforehand.

9. Watching/Keeping in Eyesight: With young children like my son, my husband and I take turns watching him.   Throughout the event, we have one set of eyes on him the entire time.   This does not mean you are a “helicopter parent” instead it means you are the biggest, must-needed advocate.

10. Enjoy yourself: This is the step that I failed to do last holiday season.   However, this year will be different.   I find comfort and confidence in knowing that through our advocacy, my son will have an amazing, safe, and special holiday.   Therefore, we will smile on to a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and Christmas.

(And when I get home, I will be celebrating by hitting up that bottle of wine. )

SMILING ON WITH WINE

Cheers to a safe, special, and allergy-friendly holiday season!


Read more about the following topics at the links below:

Peanut Butter Kisses

Making Sure Not to Bunk Up with Cross Contact

Chef Amanda Freitag’s Food Allergy Recipes

Making the Holidays Happy and Allergy Friendly

TIPSy TUESDAYS: Probiotics & Prebiotics

Since I have been trying to restore my gut health, this week’s tips are all about probiotics and prebiotics.   Please note my disclaimer though for I am not a doctor.  Also, if you have anything to add on this area, please feel free to comment and add information.


Disclaimer: This blog is a personal blog and used as a way of sharing and connecting with other readers. The posts, articles, and stories shared on the site are meant as a source of encouragement. In this challenging world of food allergies, I have found reaching out to other parents and people in my shoes to be extremely resourceful and inspiring. Therefore, I want to give back and do the same. The information on my blog is not intended as medical advice so as always, please consult with your doctor.

The more and more I research and ask people about food allergies and health in general, the more and more I continue to hear about the benefits of adding probiotics to our diets. Whether you have food allergies or not, there is a lot of information out there stating the importance of having a healthy gut. I know that I need to continue to find ways to restore healthy bacteria in my own. Even though I have no food allergies, I do have some sensitivities to certain foods like yogurt and regular cow’s milk.

To add, one of the common theories of how to outgrow and/or prevent food allergies is to restore one’s gut by increasing the healthy bacteria in it.   To do this, we add allergen-free probiotics twice a day to my son’s sippy cups.  In addition, I have started to take a probiotic too and added some probiotic foods into my daily diet.

Since our goal is to strength our immune systems and improve our overall digestion, we are always looking for “gut-friendly” foods to help add good bacteria into our systems.


The Basics

What are probiotics? Probiotics are “good” bacteria that control the growth of unhealthy bacteria in order to keep your digestive system strong.

What are prebiotics? Prebiotics are food for probitoics.  They cannot be digested by the human body; however, benefit it immensely.

Probiotics and prebiotics work together to help build and maintain a healthy digestive system and immune system.


PROBIOTIC FOODS

  1. Kefir
  2. Kombucha
  3. Miso
  4. Sauerkraut
  5. Yogurt
  6. Tempeh
  7. Sour Pickles
  8. Kimchi
  9. Sourdough bread
  10. Soft cheeses like Gouda
  11. Fermented meat, fish, and eggs
  12. Cultured condiments
  13. Pickled fruits and vegetables

PREBIOTIC FOODS

“Although all prebiotics are fiber, not all fiber is prebiotic.”

– Cited from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355/

Vegetables such as:

  1. Raw Jerusalem artichokes
  2. Raw chicory
  3. Raw garlic
  4. Raw or cooked onion
  5. Raw leek
  6. Raw dandelion greens
  7. Asparagus
  8. Beetroot
  9. Fennel bulb
  10. Peas (green and snow)
  11. Sweetcorn
  12. Cabbage
  13. Brussels sprouts
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Collard greens
  16. Kale
  17. Radish
  18. Rutabaga

Grains such as:

  1. Rye bread & crackers
  2. Barley
  3. Pasta
  4. Gnocchi
  5. Wheat bread and bran
  6. Oats
  7. Couscous

Fruits include:

  1. Pomegranate
  2. Watermelon
  3. Apples
  4. Bananas
  5. Nectarines
  6. White Peaches

Legumes include:

  1. Chickpeas
  2. Lentils
  3. Soybeans
  4. Beans

Nuts include:

  1. Cashews
  2. Pistachio

Helpful Probiotic Sources:

http://dailyburn.com/life/health/foods-with-probiotics/

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/probiotics-15/slideshow-probiotics

http://www.drperlmutter.com/eat/brain-maker-foods/

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/probiotics


Helpful Prebiotic Sources:

http://www.med.monash.edu.au/cecs/gastro/prebiotic/faq/

http://www.drperlmutter.com/eat/brain-maker-foods/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355/


Working to restore and maintain our gut health, we smile on with a little extra good bacteria today and every day for now on…

_Hope if everybody runs, you'' choose to stay...(2)

TIPSY TUESDAYS – Discover Your Own Ps of Life

Planning and organizing are both tasks that I have always been adept at and thoroughly enjoy.  In fact, once the parent of one of my student’s asked me if I would consider organizing her entire house and life. Ha! I declined although the request intrigued me.

However, motherhood and my experience so far with my son’s food allergies have taught me that beyond planning, there are four Ps far more crucial to our lives right now than my written lists.


Disclaimer: This blog is a personal blog and used as a way of sharing and connecting with other readers. The posts, articles, and stories shared on the site are meant as a source of encouragement. In this challenging world of food allergies, I have found reaching out to other parents and people in my shoes to be extremely resourceful and inspiring. Therefore, I want to give back and do the same. The information on my blog is not intended as medical advice so as always, please consult with your doctor.


Now here are our 4 Ps….

1) Probiotics

Last winter, when I first started reaching out to allergists, nutritionists, and other moms with children with multiple food allergies, the amount of conflicting information and guidance was overwhelming.  While I know that was my own fault in seeking too many opinions, it was what I felt was right in those early months. In doing this, it did allow me to find some common denominators.   One of the recommendations that most people made was starting TJ on a dairy-free, gluten-free probiotic once a day.

Although it is not proven, the theory behind probiotics and food allergies is that they help to build up a person’s digestive and immune systems, restoring good bacteria in the gut. While gut health is important for many reasons, it is my understanding that this is also the area of the body that needs to be restored to help outgrow and prevent food allergies. Around 12 months, we increased my son’s daily intake from 1 to 2 Culturelle (dairy-free, gluten-free) probiotic packets a day. (Of course only after TJ’s doctors recommended it.)

See my Culturelle post here: Favorite Finds Friday – Culturelle Probiotics

IMG_4335

Now, that I have shifted some of my focus also to my own gut health.  I too take probiotics.   Therefore, probiotics have become quite an important P in our lives. While most other aspects of this world of food allergies still confuse me, for some reason probiotics bring me comfort and hope in our future and health.

IMG_4343

(Once again I am not a doctor and these are my own personal opinions and experiences.   Please consult with your doctor before trying anything.)


2) Proactive Patience

I have been through many phases already since my son’s anaphylactic reaction.

From a phase of guilt & self-blame…

To one of intense fear…

Then to some depression and anxiety…

To another phase of overwhelming fear…

Then to a season of false hope (Although putting all of my energy in believing he would outgrow his allergies by 12 months was irrational, it was what I needed to do at that time to get out of my crazy funk.) …

To frustration again…

Then back to anxiety and fear again until….I knew I needed to stop this…

That is when the summer came and I started to really work on controlling my thinking.   Like I have previously written about a couple times, I worked on retraining my brain.  Gradually, it started to work and I entered a new phase of being proactively patient.  When my son’s wheat oral food challenge was cancelled the day before due to his ear infection and could not be rescheduled for another five months, I had a realization. I finally accepted that it is and has never been about my timing, but instead it’s all about God’s.   Therefore, while remaining TJ’s biggest advocate, I must have patience and savor these days even though it is not according to my own plans.


3) Perseverance

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.

Like I posted in Worry-Free Wednesdays: Perseverance Defines Strength,

“I am far from the smartest…far from the strongest…far from the most talented….far from the most successful …far from the absolute best at anything…However, the driving force that has always been present in my life throughout all the ups and downs is my perseverance.   If I teach my son one lesson in this world, I hope it is the will to persevere no matter what because with that anything is possible.”

Don’t get me wrong, the days are quite challenging sometimes and we are always on guard.  The reality is that we cannot control everything that happens to us and the cards we have been dealt. However, what we can control is our reaction to those cards and the choice we have to truly live with them.   Therefore, we persevere and smile on because perseverance moves mountains and defines strength…


4) Prayer

praying

Last but certainly not the least, prayer has been greatly renewed in me throughout this experience.   Not only do I pray with my son on the way to work/day care each morning and at night together as a family, I also stop and thank God first after anything remarkable.  On the other hand, on the tough days and in the most difficult moments, I stop and praise Him for all that He has done for us and ask him for guidance because I cannot do this alone.

For example, when TJ ate his first waffle (allergy-free of course) I teared up and knelt down, praising God for this.  I now see our life through different lenses of faith. We are beyond blessed and lucky for reasons that no allergy….or ten…can take away from us.

With that being said, I feel a different sense of inspiration at times that I have ever felt before.  Often, it comes as I am writing, driving, listening to music, or first thing in the morning. I know that it is during those moments that God is working through me and answering my prayers. It’s almost impossible to describe through words…I just feel it…


As I conclude this week’s TIPSy TUESDAY, I realize that my tips were a bit different than usual.    I believe that everyone needs to find their own personal Ps of life and what works for them.

Search for those moments when you feel inspired and act on them right then and there. During those other times when you hear your intuition speaking to you, don’t talk yourself out of it.  Instead, act boldly. I truly believe we all experience those moments, but how many of us act on them.   Drop your daily agendas and embrace the present. I am far from perfect with this but learning it step by step…moment by moment.  Proactively patient, we pray and persevere with probiotics in our diets and smiles on our faces enjoying today but believing in tomorrow’s possibilities…

tj cartoon


“…Hope is what we crave,
And that will never change
So I stand and wait
I need a drop of grace
To carry me today,
A simple song to say
Hope is what we crave
I need a drop of grace
It’s written on my soul:
Hope’s what we crave…”

“Crave” by For King & Country

 

 

Survival Guide to Car Rides

During the past year, car rides with my son have been some of the most stressful times.  Right from the start, TJ was never the baby who would sleep in the car.  (I envy you Mamas and Dadas who have that situation!) I use to plan car rides around when he should be napping so that he would have a better chance of sleeping instead of his usual….SCREAMING!!!

SCREAMING

Now, I know that I am not alone when I say that one of the most stressful experiences is trying to drive when your baby or toddler will not stop crying.  (Thank you God for protecting us and helping us avoid getting into any accidents.) Even before we knew of his allergies, car rides were not a favorite pastime for TJ.   In fact, I cringed with the thought of even just running a “quick errand.”

Then, November 2014 came and I went back to work after being off for six months of maternity leave. Our morning and afternoon commutes to work and daycare became 40-60 minutes long EACH WAY! Now, TJ wasn’t the only one screaming! It honestly brought out my crazy…

ROAD RAGE

After TJ’s anaphylactic reaction to yogurt, I definitely experienced some post traumatic stress.  I was fearful of EVERYTHING! Every time he cried, fussed, or was not himself, I worried that he was having another allergic reaction even when no food was involved.  Even though I knew my fears were irrational, I could not stop them.

The problem with car rides was that he fussed 99% of time already even before food allergies entered the scene…(okay, maybe 85% of the time.)  Now, I was even more crazed on these daily rides.

Then, it happened! He had a minor reaction due to his skin sensitivities in the car in January 2015. (Read that story here.) Thus, I became even more overwhelmed…

Car rides became rides of great anxiety for me, for us.   I was constantly checking on him and he was now getting himself so aggravated that he was scratching his eczema and making himself bleed.

I needed to change it and bring back my sanity. So that is just what we did.  Together, TJ and I worked to create our very own “bag of tricks” for commutes.   What works one day may not work the next.  However, for the most part, we can find a “trick” or two or TEN each day.

“BAG OF CAR TRICKS”

bag

  1. TALKING: I always start the commutes with talking about the events of the day.   Some days it is just my voice (if I remain calm) that will calm my son.
  2. PRAYING: After debriefing, we pray.   We pray for all of our family, friends, for each other, for TJ’s health and safety at day care, for guidance on all of life’s decisions, and for a safe and calm car ride.
  3. RADIO:  Some days we listen and sing along to the Christian radio station in our area.   Regardless, I keep this station on just to calm my nerves. Ha! Either way our local station has truly saved many car rides.
  4. DISNEY CD: A friend gave us this amazing music CD back when TJ was first born and honestly, I don’t know what I would do without it.   Sometimes, after I drop him off at day care, I forget that the CD is still on and find myself singing the lyrics to myself. Ha!CD 1CD 2
  5. LITTLE PEOPLE TOYS/ MINI ELMO: These little people are amazing! Because TJ keeps one or two in his hands, he very rarely scratches at his eczema anymore.   Sure they get thrown and cause some drama sometimes; however, their benefits outweigh those other moments. Fisher-Price’s Little People
  6. SNACKS/SIPPY CUPS: While it does not always work, sometimes leaving his sippy cup or a favorite snack like puffs for the car rides works wonders.   Other times, it causes the need for a huge clean up afterwards.
  7. BUDDY AND PALS: It is no longer just my son and I on car rides.   Buddy and about two of his other pals that TJ picks out before getting into the car usually join us.   By allowing him to chose them, he is less fussy when being put into the car initially.
  8. WORD AND LEARNING GAME: Now that my son is 18 months old, he likes to play games like “pointing to body parts” or “repeat the word or sound after me.”  We have always sang the ABCs on all car rides adding an additional part with words beginning with each letter.
  9. SEARCH FOR AIRPLANES, TREES AND THE SKY: Since he loves to look at airplanes, it is a perfect game to play when it is sunny and clear out.
  10. REMAIN CALM: Trust me I am living proof that it is easier said than done.   However, I have found that even if it is a horrible, horrible day in the car, remaining as calm as possible is best for all of us.   (Of course, I then vent or rather lose it to my husband afterwards. Thanks Hun!)

Don’t get me wrong…we still have fussy days in the car.  However, we both have learned what works for us.   Because of that, we drive and smile on…

tj cartoon

What was/is your experience with your baby or toddler in the car? What strategies or “tricks” do you have?

tipsy tuesdays(2)

How Not to “Bunk up” with Cross Contact

Today’s tips are regarding cross contact. While I will share how we make sure to avoid cross contact in our lives for my son’s safety, I wanted to start by explaining cross contamination and cross contact.


To start, what is cross contamination?

According to Eatright.org…

“Cross-contamination is how bacteria can spread. It occurs when juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods.”

See entire article here:  http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/four-steps/separate/cross-contamination


Now, what is the difference between this cross contamination and cross contact?

Cross Contact vs. Cross Contamination

Source: www.foodallergy.org


So, what is cross contact?

According to www.foodallergy.org

“Cross-contact happens when one food comes into contact with another food and their proteins mix. As a result, each food then contains small amounts of the other food. These amounts are so small that they usually can’t be seen.”
See entire downloadable document here: http://www.foodallergy.org/document.doc?id=291

Why is it so important to understand and avoid cross contact when living with food allergies?

Cross contact must be avoided!  There is no option for someone with food allergies.   Any amount of a food, even if it is the smallest trace, that cannot be seen with the eye, can cause an allergic reaction. That’s the terrifying reality.

TERROR


When my son was first diagnosed with multiple, life-threatening food allergies, we met with many doctors, allergists, and nutritionists.   All of them brought up the issue of cross contact and the importance of doing everything possible to reduce the risk of this.   It is often something people without allergies do not consider.   (I know that I never thought about it before my son’s first allergic reaction.)

However, we quickly learned how to reduce the risk of cross contact. And here is how…

Avoiding Cross Contact

  1. DO NOT SHARE FOOD OR DRINKS: We don’t share food.   If we are all eating apples, we all have separate apples.   We cannot and do not take a bite of TJ’s.  (Sometimes, I get sad because of this but then I remind myself, this is protecting him. It is a must!)
  2. SEPARATE UTENSILS: My son has his own utensils for everything. (forks, knives, spoons, straws, cups, etc.)
  3. SEPARATE CLEANING SUPPLIES: From the container we clean his sippy cups in to the dish-washing scrubs we use, TJ has his own.   In addition to this, we use paper towels all the time for his utensils and supplies.   We do not use the hand towels and dish clothes that we use for ourselves. The dishwasher is never used for my son’s utensils and dishes.  Instead, all of his supplies are washed by hand.
  4. SEPARATE CONTAINERS: For any of the foods that we all eat, my son has his own separate storage, container, or box.  For example, he has his own boxes of Kix and Chex.   His own bag of rice, bag of vegetables, etc.  We store all of his food separately and away from other food.
  5. SEPARATE COOKWARE: We have separate pots, pans, toasters, blenders, steamers, oven pans and trays, etc.
  6. THOROUGHLY WASH OUR HANDS BEFORE FOOD PREPARATION: Before we prepare any of his food, we wash our hands with soap and then dry it with a paper towel.
  7. CLEAN SURFACES: We clean all surfaces with soap and water, safe cleaners, and/or wipes.
  8. SEPARATE STORAGE: We have separate cabinets where we keep his utensils, plates, cups, etc.   He also has a separate parts of our refrigerator.   We are always careful to make sure no food is exposed and touching.   If so, it is thrown away. Because I have seen how many people eat as they do their grocery shopping, we bring a shopping cart cover for my son to sit in and wipe it down if necessary.
  9. CAREFUL KISSES: Yes, I love kissing my son and shower him with love in endless ways every day. However, when it comes to kissing we are very careful.  Even though we are currently a tree-nut and peanut free house, we are careful when kissing TJ after eating the other foods he is allergic to like dairy and wheat. Our family and friends all know about this precaution as well. See my earlier post for more about this topic. Tbt-Peanut Butter Kisses
  10. ACKNOWLEDGE THE REALITY-ADAPT-ADVOCATE: Last but not least, when living with food allergies, we acknowledged the reality of it all.   Then, we adapted and continue to adapt our lives around ensuring our son’s utmost safety.  After that, while continuing to educate ourselves, we feel that it is crucial to advocate and educate others as well.

With all of these precautions, we avoid “bunking up” with cross contact here and hope that we have helped others in learning about this topic.   Because of that, we safely smile on…

tj cartoon


For more information on cross contamination and an excellent site to check out about it, check out my previous post. Cross-Contact

TIPSY TUESDAYS(1)