Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Some for you ... some for me!

Well, we just went through the Halloween candy and it was a good haul for a four-year old and a two-year old! But my poor two-year old lost a significant amount of candy due to the allergies ... even many of the non-peanut treats had chocolate (and therefore dairy) in them. More for Mommy! (And Grandpa Leo has dibs on all the Mary Janes since they have nuts in them).

It is crazy that I feel bad taking away candy from him (because of the allergies) because he really and truly has enough other candy for his little body for several days ... proof point #1 -- the melt down he is currenly having! But I do feel bad and I know it all stems from wanting him to enjoy all the things I do and experience Halloween like I did. But the reality is life is VERY different for kids today in so many ways. I need to just ... let.it.go.

This is like a therapy session for me. And I'm sure that is a phrase I'll use a lot when writing in this blog.

Hope everyone had a great Halloween and got all the treats they were looking for!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tricks or Treats?

Today we went to a neighboring suburbs downtown's businesses trick-or-treat "fest." It was fun -- lots of kids in fun costumes. A chance for our kids to wear their costumes again. My older son is a skeleton/vampire (started out as a vampire, but the cape started bugging him so he now wears last year's skeleton costume with the white face paint and fake blood from the vampire) and my little one was Buzz Lightyear.

Of course, in the car on the way there my husband and I tried to reinforce to the kids that they absolutley should NOT eat any candy without having a grown-up look at it first. This warning was not because we are health freaks, but because of the food allergies. My older son is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts and my younger has all those allergies, plus a bonus ... wheat!

It was amazing to me how many of the candies have nuts in them! This isn't really a surprise to me; it's not like I've been living in a cave the last 30 years and I understand why ... they are yummy! Peanut butter cups, snickers, peanut m&ms, almond m&ms, I could go on and on. But since the schools have gone to the peanut-free zone, I don't see all those candies as much any more.

Luckily a lot of the places had dum-dum lollipops, starbursts, dots, and licorice -- all safe for Buzz and the vampire/skeleton. And I guess all the "illegal" candies that made it into the candy haul can be treats for mommy and daddy.

It is scary to think of what would happen if one of my boys ate one of those "treats" -- to say it would be a trick is an understatement. Honestly I'm not sure what would happen to them because they've never had nuts. I've seen the reaction when they eat milk or eggs, but peanuts are still a mystery ... thankfully.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Miracle Margarine

Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine actually helped make me feel like things could be normal for my food-allergy kids. Who knew that margarine had such super-hero qualities??

Before I realized that this margarine didn't have any dairy in it, I was going to specialty food stores to get soy butter for my son with the dairy, egg, peanut, tree nut allergies. I felt like dealing with these allergies was going to be a BIG deal (and yes, sometimes it can be a big deal). But finding something in the regular dairy case -- and a product I could easily direct other people to get -- was awesome.

I thought I was a little nuts to get such happiness from a margarine until my friend told me what happened after her daughter's birthday party. My friend (the b-day girl's mom) made rice krispy treats with the Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine for my kids since they couldn't eat the cupcakes. She then offered one of the treats to another mom at the party (who happens to be her best friend), but the friend declined because her son has a dairy allergy. B-day Mom told her it was okay for him to eat them because of the Fleischmann's (side note: DON'T get the salted/regular stuff, it does have milk in it). The friend didn't know about the great powers of Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine and was delighted and surprised that she could fill her kid up with those yummy treats. But later she told B-Day Mom she was a little mad that she hadn't told her about Fleischmann's earlier since she knew that she was dealing with the milk allergy.

SEE!!!! Everyone wants to know about Fleischmann's! Actually, I think this little story demonstrates how we all want to keep things as normal for our kids as we can AND not have to go to 5 different specialty stores to get food for the little critters.

All Hail Fleischmann's! But I am still searching for the spreadable kind ... I only know of one local grocery that carries it. SO, I read a bunch of labels and found out that Smart Balance spread also has no dairy in it. Yeah!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Treats for Kids with Allergies

I have a feeling I'll have several posts about Halloween and the fun/fear with it when your kids have food allergies. But I wanted to share some great tips from my new friend -- thanks to this blog, Mary Ann Holecek. (Thanks, Kina for sending Mary Ann the blog info!)

Mary Ann has two kids with food allergies and some of the allergies are pretty severe, so she has to be VERY careful with what treats make it into her kids pillowcases at Halloween (do kids still use pillowcases??) She suggested the following peanut-free goodies:
  • Baffles caramel rice popcorn-like cakes
  • All Tootsie roll products are in a dedicated nut-free (tootsie rolls, suckers, charms blow pops, charlestowne chew, jr. mints)
  • Mike and Ike's

You should be able to find all of these products at Jewel Food Stores. Hurrah! One less trip to Whole Foods.

My First Comment

Hi there, anonymous! Hurrah!! I got my first comment to He Can't Eat That!: Hello!. Thank you!!!!! She/He provided two Web resources ... http://www.peanutallergy.com http://allrecipes.com/recipes/healthy-living/dairy-free/main.aspx. I will check them out and probably put up on the site.

I am guessing that you are dealing with peanut and milk allergies. Good luck!

The First Red Welts (aka hives)

So, we first figured out that my first child had a dairy allergy when we tried to give him formula when he was about 5 months old. Previously, he had only had mommy juice (aka nursing). The first time we gave him formula was when I mixed it with rice cereal. Within 10-15 minutes he started getting blotchy. Red welts (which I later learned were hives) on his face and hands ... everywhere the rice cereal touched. Thankfully he didn't have breathing problems or swell up to twice his size, but it was definitely scary. At that time, I was a fairly new mother, so anything unusual puts you into hyperdrive.

Let me digress a minute and just say that as time went on and I got more used to dealing with effects of food allergies, my reaction was very different when those red welts would pop up. As long as there are only a couple hives, now I often just sort of shrug it off. If my son is not bothered it by, then I'm not. I think about what could have possibly been in the food he just ate, but many times I can't figure out what could have caused it. Either way, I might give him a dose of Benadryl, but often I just wait it out.

So, anyway ... we called the pediatrician and he suggested we try the other brand of formula -- same thing. So then we tried soy formula and ta-da, he was okay. We stuck with soy formula and assumed he had a milk allergy, but weren't totally sure.

Anyone out there who wants to share their "first time" they saw an allergic reaction??

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A disclaimer

I feel the need to start off this blog with a disclaimer before I start talking about food allergies and what to give your kids. I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on t.v.) and the information I share in this blog is based on my experiences and what worked for my family.

Moms are always getting lots of advice from lots of people (neighbors, mothers, co-workers, doctors) on every topic under the sun. But the bottomline is that you know your kid the best and you decide which advice to take, which to modify and which to politely throw out the window.

This blog is no different. Food allergies are such a unique thing that you sort of have to learn as you go. I hope this blog provides a place where parents can share ideas, frustrations and victories. And back to the disclaimer ... always talk to you doctor, allergist, etc. before making any significant changes to your child's diet.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Okay, why is this Blog called "He Can't Eat That!"?? It's because that is a phrase I have had to say MANY times in the past three years. A little over three years ago, we figured out that my son (who was about 13 months at the time) was allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. This came as quite a shock to me because I have never had any kind of food or airborne allergies.

It has been an interesting journey the past three years and I have learned a lot--though I know there is a lot more to learn. In that time I have met a few other mothers who are dealing with the same thing and I found it was really great to talk to them about how they deal with food allergies and what foods they found for their kids.

Finding this "community" has not always been easy so I thought a blog on this topic could be a cool way to connect with other parents who also have kids with food allergies. I'd like to share what has worked for me and I'd like to hear other people's stories when they have had to tell someone "he can't eat that!"

I am not all that familiar with blogging, so I'll tell you right now that I may not do this very well. But what the heck, I can give it a try!