Food Allergies-what’s a parent to do?

Food Allergies are everywhere. In the past few years the number of children diagnosed with food allergies and sensitivities has sky rocketed. Research is ongoing, but one of the theories is that we helped create this problem by avoiding foods in infancy. When I think back to the advice given around introducing solids, we were very cautious. We instructed families to avoid peanuts and nut products for 1-2 years. We skipped the seasoning, the healthier fats, and were generally afraid to give foods that were not overly basic-at least in the beginning. 

Interestingly, other countries did not take this approach to food allergies. In many other cultures, a wide variety of foods is offered as early as 3 months. These foods are mixed together. The foods have spices. And as a result, food allergies are not as prevalent and children are better eaters. Interesting, right?  

So the pendulum has swung back and we are now sending a different message. Pregnant mamas are encouraged to eat a wide variety of foods, including peanut butter. Breastfeeding mothers are also told to eat everything in the hopes that the ever-changing milk taste and scent will improve our countries picky eaters. See this article which I thought was interesting as well: 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well/2016/03/28/how-breast-feeding-can-broaden-a-childs-diet/?_r=0&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fm.facebook.com%2F

 

Additionally, we hope that there will be fewer food allergies and sensitivities. What a wonderful concept-eat well and your children will benefit when you start at conception and continue throughout their lifetime. Is this a brilliant new idea? I think it is common sense, but what do I know.

 

But the truth is that some of us have food allergies. And this is tricky. Finding foods to eat that will not upset a baby’s tummy, let alone cause and anaphylactic response, is hard. It may seem quite daunting at first. This is because we are creatures of habit and we eat what is familiar to us. So change then becomes hard. 

 

Here is an approach to consider. Pretend you are in another country and you are not familiar with the local foods and produce. Imagine that everything is new and different. You need to look at it, read the label, and do a little homework to figure out how to prepare. It can be a game if you will. There will be success and failure of new recipes. But eventually you get steady on your feet and figure out this new style of eating. See that is not so hard is it?

 

I recently was introduced to a website that I found extremely helpful. http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/page/recipes-diet.aspx

It has so much information that I was immediately impressed. There are recipes, research, links to online support, etc. If you have a child with a sensitivity or food allergy I would highly recommend it.

Do you have any tips?

Peanut Allergies and Kids

Just yesterday someone asked me if it was safe to give nut products to a child under the age of 1.  The latest research is changing almost everything we say about introducing foods to children with regards to allergies.  I must admit, changing my advice still feels a little funny.

In other countries, children are given a wide variety of foods complete with spices and other bold flavors in infancy.  They offer yogurt before six months of age, spicy foods, and eggs.  And the kids turn out well.  Imagine that!

In the US, we have continued to watch the numbers of children with nut allergies, etc. rise.  That is the reason the research listed in this piece is so important.  We need to learn how to change course if prevention is possible.

So stay tuned to see how things evolve in the Peanut Allergy research.  In the meantime, consult your child’s pediatrician if you have questions.

http://time.com/3719341/peanut-allergy-cure-treatment/

Read this piece to understand the latest Peanut Allergy research.