How many times have your kids returned from the park with a cold? A lot? How many times have they returned with an allergic reaction?
Don’t get me wrong, the point of this image/question isn’t to scare you, but rather to provide a bit of perspective.
After all, we’ve all been there. We take our kids out for an hour to run off their energy, and a few hours later the crankiness begins. It’s followed by sniffling or a cough, and within a day they’ve got a full-blown cold. We all know that kids share germs more readily than they’ll share anything else, and if your kids seem to spend at least half of the winter with one virus or another, you’re hardly alone.
Germs insidiously hide just about everywhere. You don’t have to see a snotty kid at the playground in order to be exposed. Germs can be deposited and linger on any surface that people touch, and popular kid havens (playgrounds, libraries, activity centers, pools, indoor play spaces, etc) are veritable breeding grounds for every virus known to man.
But as food allergy parents, when we look at these places we see an additional threat. We see the all the fingers covered in Cheetos dust, the hands smeared with peanut butter, the kids who climb on everything while munching from a bag of pistachios or sunflower seeds. We see the tuna fish and egg salad sandwiches, and all the other remnants of a culture that encourages parents to constantly keep food available to our kids in case of the slightest drop in blood sugar. I’ve seen parents who are downright afraid to take their kids to any play space because of these risks.
Think about the number of times your child has returned from playing with a cold.
Now think about the number of mystery allergic reactions they’ve had from the same places.
Chances are, the colds vastly outnumber any reactions. So while there is certainly a risk of picking up allergens from shared surfaces, we can temper the anxiety by taking a look at how likely that risk is.
After all, unless your child is extremely sensitive, any small traces of allergens they pick up from the monkey bars will need to enter the body through a mucous membrane (mouth, eyes, nose, ears) in order to cause problems. Little kids put their mouths on disgusting things and are fond of putting their hands in their mouths, of course–but even so, unless they are very sensitive or very unlucky, any reaction from this sort of small and casual contact is likely to be mild in nature.
Remember that your child’s chances of touching playground equipment in exactly the same spot as a child who just deposited their allergens is quite slim. There’s a lot of surface area to share.
While germs often die after a few minutes or hours outside of a body unless environmental conditions are perfect, allergens will also break down or be wiped away over time. At outdoor playgrounds, they are exposed to the elements, where any food residue is likely to be washed away by the weather or eaten by insects. At indoor play spaces, allergens will likely be cleaned off by periodic wipe-downs, and even diluted and wiped away by the hands of other little kids as they climb and play and slide.
While anaphylaxis is possible if you get a “Perfect Storm” of conditions, most reactions gotten in this manner are likely to be limited to redness, itchiness, and other localized symptoms, and probably don’t require epi or a trip to the hospital. Always take the precautions you feel are necessary for a reaction based on the symptoms and your doctor’s advice, of course.
So the next time you take your child out to play but are worried about cross contact, think about the ratio of colds to allergic reactions that your child has picked up from public spaces. More than likely, the colds vastly outnumber the reactions.
We can never say that the risk of an allergic reaction from a public surface is zero, but if we let the fear of that risk paralyze us, all we’re doing is robbing ourselves of joy. Robbing ourselves of living. There will always be some risk when one has anaphylactic food allergies. After living with this for more than 30 years, I’ve found the best tactic is to manage the risks that I can control, and be prepared for those that I can’t. This means reading food labels, not eating unlabeled foods, avoiding places where my allergens are rampant, keeping my hands off my face (and washing them regularly), and carrying medication in case of an exposure I didn’t see coming.
These graphics (and feel free to share) serve a dual purpose. They can demonstrate the risk to a non-allergic audience, but they also remind allergic parents that they’re far more likely to come home from the local jump house with another cold, not anaphylaxis.
Pancakes. If you’ve read my posts before, you’ll know that Sunday is Pancake Day around here. I’ve been making pancakes almost every Sunday for several years now. It’s become such a tradition that my two boys expect pancakes on Sunday, even on vacation.
It was a little tricky at first with my older son’s egg allergy. We had to find the right mix that didn’t already have egg in it. We use Bisquick with an Ener-G egg replacer. We’re lucky that we only have to avoid eggs and nuts in our household.
But what about those that have more than one food allergy and need to avoid wheat, eggs, milk or even the top 8 allergens? In rides Enjoy Life Foods to the rescue! We love that all of their products are top 8 free–in fact they go above that with making sure all their products are free of 14 top allergens. It’s a great company that our family loves knowing they can eat anything from them safely.
We got some of their mixes including the Pancake and Waffle mix (found on Amazon here) in our swag bag at FABlogCon (I can’t say enough great things about this FABulous conference!)
The mix has been out for a while now, so I’ll just get right into it.
It’s pretty simple to make, just add oil and water. So I mixed them up, put them on the griddle, and they stuck and I made a mess.
I don’t usually have to oil the griddle, but I had to this time. I got the pancakes to flip then.
They are pretty thin and they fall apart easily. Someone told us to use a ½ cup less of water, (I’ve read someone else say to skip the oil in the mix, just put it on the pan) so I’ll have to try that next time.
The consensus was mixed. Not surprisingly, our picky eater boys (they have some serious pickiness issues when they get a familiar food but it’s made differently, whether it’s oatmeal or mac and cheese) didn’t care for them.
Eileen thought they were so so, but didn’t want any more. I liked them the best so I got to finish them all up. Pancakes all week!
I’ll be honest here; we love Enjoy Life Foods and many of their products. This was not at the top of our list though. They do fall apart easily, and they have a bit of a grainy taste to them, probably from the ancient grains they use in the mix. It’s certainly a different flavor, but it is a top 8 (14) free mix made in a top 8 free facility. I think it’s worth a try for yourself. You can visit their website here. Let us know what you thought if you do!
This actual conversation transpired nearly 5 years ago, between my son and his best preschool buddy, as I approached from another room. Fortunately the cracker in question was free of Zax’s allergens–but this was an important wake-up call for me.
As a food allergy parent and food-allergy sufferer myself, I knew the importance of teaching my kids to self-advocate from as young as possible. Dean and I were always quick to point out foods that our children could not eat because of their allergies, and what great alternatives they had instead. We reminded them to ask about allergens every time someone offered food, and not eat if it contained their allergens OR if nobody could tell them for sure that a food was safe. And even though Zax’s preschool teachers were supposed to know his allergens, we trained him to ask them before snack time every day, to get him in the habit of asking and to give them the daily reminder.
But as it turned out, one thing we neglected to prepare Zax for was to make sure he was asking the right person. During the above incident, Zax was eating lunch with a buddy at a playdate when his friend offered a cracker. In his four-year-old mind, asking another four-year-old if the food contained his allergens satisfied the “ask first” requirement. It wasn’t until we discussed the incident later, when I asked him whether he would actually know the answer if someone asked if his own food contained dairy, for example, that he realized his friend didn’t really know the answer. Despite the confident reply he’d given.
From that moment forward, we adjusted our safety reminders to include “always ask a trusted adult.” Because food allergy kids need to recognize that you can’t just ask–it matters who you ask.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a radical shift towards the color teal in the food allergy community. I don’t know how long teal has been declared as the color for food allergy awareness, but I think that the rise of Teal Pumpkins has brought that color into greater focus.
I think this is a great shift–proudly showing off this color has created greater cohesiveness within the food allergy community. So I applaud Enjoy Life for incorporating the color into their new packaging. It shows their support of this community and (once grocery stores have exhausted their old stock) will make their products easier to spot on store shelves.
We received a special care package from Enjoy Life last month, to help them roll out their new look. So we had our boys help us unveil it!
I wish I’d had a video camera rolling when Kal noticed the chocolate chips–“YES! A WHOLE BAG OF MINI CHIPS!!!!!!!”
This shirt is extremely soft. While I may allow the children to claim the hat and sunglasses (though I like the hat, too), I think I’ll be keeping the shirt to myself.
This is the complete box of goodies we received. The boys aren’t super fond of the bars (but there really aren’t too many bars that they DO like.) We like them though–they feel very light, so they aren’t super sticky or hard to chew like some bars are.
I shop primarily at a grocery store that doesn’t have many free-from options, but it is the most convenient store for me for our staples. My secondary store, which I can hit after dropping my kids off at school, has a better selection. I was happy to swing by the cookie aisle and see that some of the new packaging has trickled in already! We can easily see which varieties of cookies are most popular in our area!
See? All mine!
Enjoy Life Foods is cool! Eat Free(zing)ly! Ha!
I first heard of Enjoy Life Foods when Zax was in preschool, and before we had formed Allergy Superheroes. The mom of one of Zax’s classmates showed me the box of cookies she’d brought for her son’s birthday, which were free of all allergens, and was that okay for Zax? Upon first hearing of everything they were free of, my initial reaction was, “what do they contain?!” But Zax enjoyed them, and soon thereafter I became more familiar with the brand and impressed by what they offer.
Enjoy Life Foods has brought things like chocolate, bars, and snack foods back into reach for many people with food allergies. Being always free of the U.S.’s Top 8 Allergens (and lately expanded to eliminate 14 common allergens), we always know that their foods are safe for us. They are especially helpful for people who navigate more than our three food allergens–there are plenty of products that are free of one or a few allergens, but the waters get increasingly difficult to navigate when you add more and more foods to the mix. It’s great to have a selection of foods that are not only free of common allergens, but that are from a company who is very cautious to eliminate any chance of cross contact with any major allergens. These companies don’t come along very often!
We received this box for free from Enjoy Life Foods. All opinions, adorable children, and cute stuffies are our own.
The Peter Rabbit movie wasn’t something I wanted to see anyway. I’d seen a few previews and it looked to be full of the sort of humor that I don’t find funny, so I wasn’t making plans to see it–but after hearing reviews and the response from the food allergy community, we will definitely not be seeing this movie.
According to online sources and friends, the rabbits (they ARE supposed to be the protagonists, right?) intentionally and maliciously throw allergens into someone’s mouth. He goes into anaphylaxis and has to use epinephrine. Earlier in the movie, upon learning of the allergy, Peter mocks it and says that allergies are made up for attention.
This treatment of food allergies is, unfortunately, pretty normal within the entertainment industry. Instead of using their massive platform to highlight the dangers of food allergies, Hollywood seems bent on placing us at the butt of sick joke after sick joke. It’s no wonder the general public is so slow to catch on to just how serious food allergies are.
Reactions to this movie, even within food allergy circles, have been widely varied, from those wishing to boycott the film to those who feel others are making way too big a deal out of it. And not remotely surprisingly, among those without food allergies (especially on opinionated Twitter) the second opinion is quite prevalent.
Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion of course, and my opinion is that this sort of treatment of food allergies in mainstream Children’s Entertainment is irresponsible and dangerous. Let’s look at a few counter arguments and we’ll talk about why.
We aren’t giving kids enough credit. They recognize that a battle between a man and a rabbit isn’t real.
Real or not, kids emulate what they see on film. My own boys have acted out bits of nearly every movie they’ve ever watched. And when a movie captivates the imaginations of large groups of children, complicated games with multiple players will spring up on the playground, with everybody playing a different part. Kids do copy what they see on film–the difference is that most cartoon violence is ridiculously impossible. The rotten things characters do to one another in children’s movies are things kids cannot emulate outside of their imaginations. Filmmakers seem to recognize that real weapons (and real death caused by real weapons) don’t have a place in light-hearted children’s entertainment.
Think about it. The most “real” fighting that characters do in children’s entertainment tends to be martial-arts-style punching and kicking. Beyond that, characters shoot each other with with freeze rays, lasers (or laser vision,) and other fancy weapons that don’t really exist. They attack each other with robots, trained animals, magic, and other ridiculously impossible contraptions. They catapult one another through the air, launch them into outer space, and inject them with drugs that make them go crazy. The only “real” weapons tend to be wielded by bad guys with horrible aim and who are completely unmatched against their superhero counterparts. When kids play out what they’ve seen on screen, they can use props or just their imaginations, but they can’t actually do any of these things to one another.
Except when food allergies enter the picture.
And this is the biggest problem with this sort of portrayal of food allergies. Allergens are not restricted substances. It’s ridiculously easy for children to get their hands on foods that can hurt a classmate, even if certain foods have been banned from the classroom or even the entire school. And it’s ridiculously easy for someone with malicious intent (or even a dumb kid who hasn’t thought things through) to bring someone with food allergies into contact with their allergen. And the sad reality is that the resulting reaction, if not treated promptly and properly (and rarely, even when it is) can result in death.
This use of food as a weapon is, perhaps, the only behavior children watching the movie could actually do to one another, and it is a behavior that could have very unfortunate results. Food allergy bullies have an inordinate amount of power over their victims, and their actions can have results far out of proportion to the the act. Most acts of bullying result in shame, fear, anxiety, and/or physical pain, but except for the bullies who sneak lethal weapons into school, death is seldom a possibility. But let’s not forget that a young man actually died in the U.K. last year, following a bullying incident in which someone either flicked cheese into his mouth or snuck it into his food (reports were not consistent the last I’d heard, but the bully was detained and was facing charges.)
Okay, but this just provides an example for our kids of What Not To Do
This argument may sound good at first, but let’s be honest–how many children will actually have that conversation with a trusted adult? Food allergy families will likely discuss this scene if they see the movie, but food-allergic children are not the ones who need to be told that this behavior is unacceptable. Certainly food-allergic children may bully other children, but in this case these kids are far more likely to relate to the victim. Lots of allergic kids have anxiety about their food allergies, and many have already experienced food allergy bullying of some kind. They’re going to be more worried that someone may do this to them, not thinking of this as an idea to use on someone else.
Food allergy families can and should discuss how to respond to food allergy bullying, of course.
Now, will non-allergic families discuss this scene and how to treat people with food allergies? Some will. There are absolutely people without food allergies who still get how serious they are, and who will want to make sure their children understand that this isn’t funny. However, the majority of folks who don’t deal with food allergies probably won’t be moved to discuss this unless their children ask.
And what’s more, the children who most need to have this conversation are the least likely to get it. These are the kids who may already be bullying kids regarding their food allergies, or who are considering doing so. They are the ones who don’t believe that anything bad will really happen, or who want to induce pain (though their understanding that it can cause death is usually not completely there.) And–this isn’t always the case, but–they are often the ones who hear their parents complain about allergic children being a major inconvenience. They don’t see their parents modeling compassion, they see their parents exhibit impatience and irritation (or worse) whenever someone else’s food allergies come up. These kids won’t hear their parents say “don’t do that,” in regard to this movie. Instead, they’ll hear their parents laugh, and will take that as tacit approval to belittle and bully those with food allergies in the future.
This wasn’t bullying it was a battle, and anyway, kids do experience bullying.
When bullying does happen in kids’ movies, it usually tends to be done by the antagonists to the protagonists. Many kids relate to being bullied, and this can provide the character with motivation to grow. In the rare event that the protagonist is doing the bullying, it is usually at the beginning of the movie, and is used as a marker for the personal growth they are about to undergo. The fact that the protagonists of Peter Rabbit are the ones using food as a weapon makes the scene even more disturbing, and increases the likelihood that children will think this is okay.
And as to this being a battle, see my first point.
It’s happened in movies before.
Really? Someone making a bad decision before is an adequate excuse for doing it again?
And yes, people were offended by previous movies with poor treatment of food allergies. Your ignorance of their response does not mean it didn’t happen.
I know someone with food allergies who thought it was funny, so stop whining.
As previously mentioned, reactions to the film have been varied from food-allergy families and the non-allergic alike. Some people have higher levels of anxiety about their allergies than others–so while some kids will be horrified, others will barely notice. But normalizing violence using food allergies will lead to more people accepting it, which can lead to more people doing it, regardless of whether or not everyone is bothered.
It’s ultimately up to parents to determine if they want their children to view this movie, or any movie. We all make different decisions on what content is or is not acceptable to us as parents, and at what age kids should be exposed to different kinds of movies. Based on what we’ve heard, we choose not to watch this movie. I don’t want to subject my kids to watching someone be attacked by their allergen, nor do I want to support this movie with our money.
Characters with glasses can appear in movies without having them be intentionally broken, stolen, or the character being ridiculed for needing them–it has been a plot device, but except for experiencing bullying (above) this sort of humor isn’t very common these days. Likewise, characters can appear in wheelchairs without any additional drama than showing their difficulties in getting around. The word “retard,” originating for people with mental disabilities and then being used as a derogatory for being stupid, has gone out of favor to the point that young kids often haven’t even heard it. I hope for the day that Hollywood and the general public treat food allergies with respect for the serious and dangerous issue that they are, and that using them as a cheap punchline is no longer acceptable.
For the second year in a row, I have been honored by being named one of the Top 40 Food Allergy Blogs from Feedspot! And I rose up 6 spots! I’m so happy to be in the company of so many amazing food allergy bloggers.
But I certainly can’t get here by myself, so Thank You All so very much for reading along and helping me to get here! I’m glad to know that people appreciate me using my experience as a food allergy mom and patient to help make your life a little easier.
Valentine’s Day is another one of those holidays. A day when food allergy parents seek to balance the warm, fuzzy memories of our own Valentine parties with the need to keep our children safe and included at theirs. This is one more day in which food sneaks into the classroom, and allergens lurk in a lot of those fun-sized candies. Candies that, to make matters more difficult, are usually separated from their ingredient labels.
Chances are, your child’s teacher has already started making plans for Cupid’s day, so it’s best to chat about your concerns now. That’s why it’s time for a #HeartTealHeart talk!
If your child has a 504 plan that limits how and when food can be brought into the classroom, or forbids food entirely, now would be the time to remind your child’s teacher of those agreed-upon restrictions. You’ll also have a much warmer reception from most teachers if you offer to help brainstorm or plan a celebration that will be both fun and fits your needs.
If food will be allowed at the celebration or in children’s valentines, you’ll want to check in regarding how the day will be handled. Below are some questions you may want to ask. If there are answers that you will find unacceptable, but that you think you’re likely to hear, come up with counter-arguments and suggested alternatives/solutions before having this talk. Remember the Boy Scout motto: be prepared!
What sort of celebration is the teacher planning?
Will there be a party in the classroom?
Will there be food at the party?
Who will provide the food?
If the teacher plans to solicit food from parents, how does s/he plan to address classroom allergies?
Can foods be homemade?
Who will check the labels of foods that are brought in?
If certain allergens are allowed in party food, how does the teacher plan to include the kid(s) allergic to those allergens?
In the above situation, how does the teacher plan to keep the allergic kid(s) safe from contact with their allergens?
If an allergenic food is prohibited in the classroom but a parent brings it anyway, how does the teacher plan to handle the situation?
Does the teacher have access to safe backup snacks?
Are parents invited to come to the party?
Does the teacher feel confident that s/he can monitor the allergy situation amidst the chaos of a classroom party?
If not, who will provide additional support?
Suggestions for Parties
Attend the party if you can. Having your own eyes on the situation will probably make you feel the most comfortable–and is a fun experience to share with your child!
If you can’t attend but you know and trust a classmate’s parent who plans to attend, ask if they’ll keep an eye on the food/allergen situation for you.
REMIND YOUR CHILD TO BE SAFE ABOUT FOOD! Go through your regular safety chat, reminding them to read labels (if they are old enough,) to ask adults if food contains their allergens, not to take “I don’t think so” as an answer, and to not eat anything unless they feel 100% sure that a trusted adult checked it and it is safe.
Remind the teacher (and your child) of what symptoms to watch out for, and to respond quickly if there’s a reaction.
Suggest that foods not be left to chance–having the children decide on what foods they want, with the guidance of the teacher (steering them towards fruits/veggies and away from allergens, for example) and then send out a sign-up sheet or link asking people to volunteer for a specific food. Having this type of plan will reduce allergen exposure, could make the celebration healthier, and will reduce the number of unlabeled, unexpected treats.
Volunteer to make and bring something that would be hard for other parents to make allergen-free. Ask to be put on any sign-up sheet before it goes out to the rest.
Request that the teacher remind parents of allergens multiple times in multiple places, in order to make sure that the message does not get forgotten. (At the top of the sign-up sheet, plus next to each food item, etc)
Have the teacher ask parents to make sure they bring ingredient labels and/or recipes in with them, so their allergen content can be verified.
Suggest that the teacher have each student bring in their own snack to enjoy, rather than sharing community foods.
Suggest Valentine-themed crafts and games that parents could bring in, rather than more sugar.
Similarly, you could suggest a book or (small) toy exchange, which can be woven into a game.
Suggest food-party alternatives, such as Pajama Day or a fun, themed dress-up day.
If necessary, remind everyone that the kids will enjoy a celebration no matter what form it takes, and they don’t need food to have fun.
Will the kids hand out valentines brought from home?
Are food items allowed in children’s valentines?
Will children be allowed to open and eat any valentine candy during class?
How will the teacher alert other parents that some candies are unsafe for classmates?
Will there be a ban on certain ingredients?
How will the teacher handle it if a child comes in with candy that was not allowed?
Suggestions for Valentines
Suggest that the teacher send home an email or note reminding all parents of all classroom allergies prior to any party or valentine exchange.
Ask the teacher to have parents send in the packaging with any food-related valentines, so that the teacher (or you) can read the original ingredients (not just the allergen statement that may or may not be on the individual packages.)
REMIND YOUR CHILD TO BE SAFE ABOUT FOOD! Tell them not to eat any valentine candy in class–to instead wait for your approval of their collection.
Send in a safe, Valentine-themed snack for your child on Valentine’s Day, so they have a safe alternative if everyone else is eating their valentines.
Remind the teacher (and your child) of what symptoms to watch out for, and to respond quickly if there’s a reaction.
Ask the teacher to remind parents that there are LOTS of fun, food-free valentines available in the seasonal aisle of just about every grocery store.
Suggest that the children distribute their valentines near the end of the day. This minimizes the temptation to snack and also minimizes the chaos in the classroom.
Lastly, remember to try to let things roll off your back when you can. Organizing anything with large groups of people can be difficult. Food allergies just add another, very important layer to the mix. It’s not uncommon for there to be bumps in the road, but some are more worthy of our attention than others. If one packet of peanut m&ms ends up in your peanut, dairy, or soy-allergic child’s valentine box, it’s probably best to shake it off–and maybe just ask the teacher to send an extra reminder to the parents of that child the next time there’s a food event.
However, if you arrive at a classroom party filled with dangerous foods and sticky-fingered children contaminating every surface in sight, despite the teacher’s reassurance that s/he’d keep it safe, then it’s time to have a serious discussion with those higher up. But don’t jump to the higher-ups over something small.
And most importantly, have fun! Remember, Valentine’s Day is all about Love!
I was honored earlier this month to be nominated by the lovely Tracy Bush of Nutrimom fame for the Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award!
I’ve never done much in the way of pass-it-on awards, or maybe I’ve just never been nominated before. But this was a nice treat, a great honor from a woman I consider a personal friend and not just a food-allergy acquaintance, and it put a big smile on my face. Thanks, Tracy!
List the rules of the award and post a picture of the award
Answer the questions from your nominator
Nominate other bloggers and be sure to let them know
Write a list of questions for your nominees to answer
Here are the questions Tracy asked me:
How long have you been blogging about allergies/food allergies? – I blogged from 2010 to 2013 about writing science fiction, with one post about food allergies when I fed my own personal poison to my son for the first time. But I started blogging about food allergies in September of 2014. I had begun paying more attention to this online community, and I felt my perspective was different–I was managing this for two generations and I’ve been dealing with it for longer than most. I wanted to bring that unique perspective to the blogosphere and the food allergy community.
Which family member (including you) has a food allergy? – There are three of us in our house! I’ve had anaphylactic allergies since 1982, first to egg (outgrown) and later to tree nuts (still with me.) Statistics say my kids only had a 30% chance of getting food allergies since my husband doesn’t have anything, but both of them ended up with food allergies anyway. “Zax,” my older son, is allergic to peanuts and eggs. “Kal,” my younger son, is allergic to peanuts.
What 3 books have you found to be most helpful on your journey?
Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl by Sandra Beasley was the first food allergy book that I ever read, and it was part of what catapulted me into this world of food allergy sharing. I know many FA parents take exception to the perspective and opinions that she shares, but I saw so many parallels to my own experience in that book that I felt an immediate kinship.
Another Person’s Poison: A History of Food Allergy by Matthew Smith was very appealing to me because I find the subject of food allergies in the past to be fascinating. I’ve often thought that just a few generations ago, my chances of survival would have been very slim–but until this book I haven’t had much information on what food allergies were really like in the past. (I’ll confess, which is rather embarrassing, that I’m not done with this book yet. But I’ve loved it so far!)
The No Biggie Bunch books by Heather Mehra are my favorite kids’ books I’ve read about food allergies so far. While not perfect, I like the attitude presented in the books–the kids are prepared and navigate social situations involving food without missing a beat–showing the world (and food-allergic kids) that, with proper planning and the right attitude, food allergies are “no biggie.”
Is there a recipe that you have tried & failed to make an allergy-friendly version of? – My husband’s favorite cake is Angel Food, which is almost completely made of egg whites. This means that Dean and our egg-allergic child have never shared this treat. The discovery of aquafaba in the spring of 2015 made me hopeful that an egg-free version could happen! However, the last time I checked, the wonderful folks in the Aquafaba: Vegan Meringue Hits and Misses facebook group had not cracked the code. Their frequent “misses,” coupled with the work of running my own business, have moved this one to my backburner–but I do hope to make an egg-free version eventually!
On your darkest day, what inspired you to pick yourself back up? – Sleep. When things seem just overwhelmingly insane, I usually have to admit that I’m tired and will do no good until I’m fresh. Surviving until bedtime (and allowing myself to accept that I shouldn’t bother working until the next day) can be difficult, but all problems seem easier to handle the next day.
What is one thing about you that very few people know? – After Zax had his first food-allergic reaction to eggs at 10 months old, our new allergist tested him for the top 8 and peanut was also positive. I knew immediately that I wanted him to challenge peanut when he was old enough to communicate better–partly because I’d had a false positive skin test to peanut when I was a child, but secretly also because my gut reaction was that I didn’t want to have one of “those peanut allergy kids.” Why would a food-allergy sufferer feel that way? Breaking down this emotion could probably be a post of its own, but I think it was largely because I thought I knew everything about food allergies at the time, and the “peanut allergy bad press” that had reached my ears went against what I thought I knew. I did ultimately have a peanut allergy kid though (two, in fact), so I was forced to adapt, and doing so has shaped the resources I share today.
Breakfast. I love it. I really love starting our morning off with a nice, big breakfast. Sunday’s around here are known as Pancake Day. It’s a nice treat to make something more fun and a little more time consuming for a lazy Sunday morning.
Once in a while I’ll make waffles to mix it up a bit. One thing I have always wanted to try for my kids is French toast. There’s just something about the thick bread coated in an egg mixture and covered in syrup and powdered sugar that sends my taste buds tingling.
But the problem is, my oldest son is allergic to egg and you can’t just take any egg replacer and make French toast out of it. In fact, when I was first learning about egg substitutions and we started using Ener-G, I asked if we could use that in French toast. My wife laughed a little and said “no.”
I’ve seen recipes trying to circumvent that such as using a banana mixture, but he’s not that fond of bananas anymore and I wanted something that was going to be more like real French toast. Enter VeganEgg.
Check out my review of VeganEgg here. VeganEgg is more than an egg replacer, it actually resembles an egg, and not something you just substitute with for baking. I was excited when using it for the first time thinking it might work for French toast.
Whisking up the ingredients together, you can tell right away that it looks a lot like a regular French toast mixture made with eggs.
I was surprised at how much it looked and acted like the usual egg variety. Everything blended together nicely and I’m not sure that I would be able to tell the difference between the VeganEgg on the griddle vs. the egg type.
Even the finished product looked like French toast. So it looked like French toast, but how did it taste?
When you go to a conference, expo, or some other event, there is typically vendors looking to get your attention on the next new product or service. There are also swag bags full of promise and hope of a new food allergy friendly find.
This is something we’re particularly interested in because our oldest son is allergic to egg and we’re always looking for way’s he can enjoy something that traditionally has egg in it.
The package looks like an egg carton that holds four eggs. Inside is a plastic package with a yellow powder. The first thing we noticed when we opened the package was the smell. It actually smells like eggs.
It’s pretty simple to make, just two tablespoons of powder with 115 ml of cold water and whisk them together to get one “egg.” The package makes about 10-12 eggs.
We thought the easiest way to prepare them was to make scrambled eggs. And the results were . . . okay. The texture is a little different; they’re not as fluffy as a real eggs and it seemed to clump more together. We also thought they’re a bit on the rubbery side. They were definitely missing something so we made them into an omelet by adding onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic and cheese. And then topped them off with a little hot sauce. They were pretty good that way.
To our surprise, our egg-allergic son really liked the smell of the VeganEgg while it was raw, but he didn’t care for the taste. He’s a bit of a picky eater anyway. I thought it’s pretty close to real eggs and if you’re really missing eggs then this is an egg-cellent choice.
Since this is more than just an egg replacer, I’m pretty egg-cited to try these with dishes that usually needs egg as a main ingredient.
I was curious on how they would work as a basic egg replacer in more of a baked good way, so I used them in waffles. I didn’t look closely at the directions this time so I forgot that it recommended using less water when using it in baked goods. The batter seemed a little on the thin side, so that probably would have helped.
They turned out light and fluffy though, and nobody could tell that the VeganEgg was used in it. Everybody liked the waffles!
In conclusion, like most alternatives, the vegan egg is a bit off from a real egg, but it is a close proximity to it. It’s certainly worth a try, and if I could no longer eat eggs, it would be a welcome treat to have something like them again. Visit their site here to learn more.
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