My Son Had A Negative Skin Test For Peanuts - Now What?

As any parent could imagine, going to see the allergist is an absolute nightmare.  Its a traumatic experience for the children and for the parents.  Today was no different.  I brought in two of my children for allergy testing.  Each child has different food allergies and some of the same environmental allergies.

My son had a blood test three years ago that said he was a level 4 peanut allergy.  The allergist at the time refused to do a skin test or an oral challenge because he believed the level 4 peanut allergy was a conclusive result that my son had a severe peanut allergy.  Today, the new allergist decided to do a peanut skin test.  I watched the bubbles on his arm appear and I prayed that none of them were the peanut test.  To my amazement, they weren't.

The doctor then followed up that test with blood test.  I'm waiting for results and wondering, what if the peanut blood test is negative?  Then what?  Do I allow him to have an oral peanut challenge?  Could it really be possible that my son could one day soon be chowing down on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

I'm both nervous and excited.  I'm nervous because what if I'm getting my hopes up and my prayers haven't been answered to cure his peanut allergy.  I'm excited because this could open up a whole new world to my son both at his friends home and at school.

It might be important to note that my son has never had a peanut directly.  He was exposed to peanuts while I was breast feeding.  I completely avoided peanuts while I was pregnant and read a few articles that claimed eating nuts was a good idea for nursing mothers.  The idea was to expose their children to nuts early on.  Since my son's diagnosis of a peanut allergy, I have read several articles that claim the exact opposite!

I'll keep you posted and if anyone would like to share their story, please do!

Check out my son's allergy skin test picture.

Update:  The blood test came back as a zero for peanuts.  The allergist said that since there has been no clinical allergy to peanuts it should be fine to eat peanuts.  I got off the phone crying tears of joy as you would imagine.

That afternoon I purchased a bag of peanut butter cups and allowed my son to try one as I stood inches from his body with my twin EpiPens ready to go, Benedryl and phone ready just in case there was an emergency.  He ate a mini peanut butter cup and he was so happy.   I was in a panic. Then he asked for another one.  I made him wait five minutes before I would give him another one.  Once again, no reaction.  Soon after that, we ran down the block visiting all of his friends and had a peanut party.  All of the children were so excited for him and he screamed, "I'M NOT ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS ANYMORE!" at every door.   I followed him around with my purse packed with my emergency kit just in case.

This story has a seriously happy ending, my child outgrew his peanut allergy.

Corn and Bean Salsa, a Great Egg Allergy Snack!

Corn and bean salsa is a great snack and appetizer for those with an egg allergy.   It is both easy to make and healthy.

1 cup fresh cooked or frozen corn kernels
1 small can of black eyed peas washed and drained
1 small can of black beans washed and drained
1 small can of diced tomatoes (or stew, peel, remove seeds and chop 6 fresh tomatoes)
2 limes juiced
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro (fresh or dried)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 chili pepper, finely chopped and seeds removed
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 medium onion finely diced

Mix all ingredients together and allow to marinate and chill for at least three hours before serving.

Serve corn and bean salsa with your favorite pita chips or corn tortillas chips.  To make your own tortilla chips, cut a corn tortilla the same way you would slice a pizza and fry in your favorite light oil until lightly golden.  Salt the chips to taste while still warm and serve.

DHA and ARA Baby Formula May Reduce Food Allergies In Babies

Can vitamins cure food allergies?  

The benefits of DHA/ARA in infant formula are still being discovered years after its introduction as a supplement that mimics an amino acid in mother's breast milk.   While the use of DHA/ARA has become somewhat controversial in some circles, new evidence suggests that it may actually be helping babies overcome and outgrow food allergies to milk, egg, peanuts and other foods.

Some people believe that adding synthetic DHA/ARA may be doing more harm than good as babies are unable to digest the oil that the DHA/ARA delivered in.  In that case, breast feeding may be the best option for giving babies the best DHA/ARA amino acids for the potential prevention of food allergies.

DHA and ARA supplements are typically derived from algae and mold which make them not identical to the DHA and ARA found in breast milk.  One brand of DHA and ARA supplements for babies is extracted from egg yolks which may be of concern for those with a history of food allergies and especially egg allergies.

Is baby formula with synthetic DHA/ARA unhealthy?  That's one question that remains to be clearly and factually unanswered.  What is known for sure is that natural DHA/ARA promotes healthy brain and eye development.  Let's just hope there really is a cure one day for food allergies using DHA/ARA supplements.

Egg Allergy Allergy Meatballs

Meatballs made without eggs are so easy to make and nobody will know the difference but you.

2 Pounds of Chop Meat
1 Cup of Panko Bread Crumbs (Read Ingredients - some brands may contain eggs and seeds)
1/4 Cup of Milk
1 Table Spoon of Oregano
1 Teaspoon of Dried Garlic Powder
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a small bowl, combine milk and bread crumbs.  Allow the bread crumbs to absorb the milk for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients well by hand.  Form meatballs into 2 inch rounds or desired size.  Place the meatballs on to baking sheet (preferably onto parchment paper but not necessary).

Allow to bake approximately 12 minutes, watch the meatballs so that they do not burn and always cut into one to see if it is fully cooked before eating.

These eggless meatballs are served great cooked in tomato sauce, on their own or in a gravy.  If you make miniature meatballs you could make Italian Wedding soup like my Grandma makes.

Epi-Pen Cases and Travel Packs

For a lot of my life I've had to carry around Epi-Pens for myself.  It is only until recently that I discovered you can buy Epi-Pen cases that descretely and safely carry your Epi-Pens and Benedryl with you.  I just thought I'd write a little about this because I noticed that some of my friends are carrying Epi-Pens and Benedryl around without protective cases.

There was a girl here in town a few years back who carried two EpiPens, neither of them worked in her life threatening allergy emergency.  She never made it to the hospital in time.  Its never been made clear why her Epi-Pens didn't work when she needed them but one guess is that perhaps they got damaged in transportation.

That story is one of those reasons why I urge all of my friends who carry Epi-Pens to carry them safely in an Epi-Pen Case or Epi-Pen travel pack.  We carry them for an emergency.  In that emergency, they absoltely need to work.  

Did you know you can carry your Benedryl in your Epi-Pen Case too?

One of the best things Benedryl has ever done since the invention of Benedryl is make single-serve doses of Benedryl that can easily be fit in most Epi-Pen travel cases and be transported from one place to the next without mess or worry.  So often my bottle of benedryl for my kids would leak in my bag causing a huge mess.  The single serve Benedryl for kids also reduces the chances of dosing errors.

For those of you who don't know, liquid Benedryl enters the blood stream faster than the alternatives which is why I carry the liquid Benedryl for children.

Sun Dried Tomato and Smoked Gouda Risotto Recipe

Sun dried tomatoes add a wonderful flavor to risotto and smoked gouda really rounds out the flavor for an amazing risotto.  This is definitely one of those creamy risotto recipes you've been looking for!

1.5 cups of aborio rice (risotto)
1 shallot diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup white wine
4 cups of chicken broth
0.25 cups of diced smoked gouda cheese
0.25 cups of finely chopped sun dried tomato

Saute shallot and olive oil until translucent.  Add the aborio rice and continuously turn until the rice becomes translucent absorbing the oil.

On low heat: Pour in the cup of white wine and allow the risotto to absorb all of the liquid.  Constantly stir to avoid burning the bottom.

Add chicken broth 1 cup at a time until all the liquid is absorbed before adding each additional cup.

After approximately 25 minutes, all of the liquid should be absorbed.  Turn off the heat and slowly add the smoked gouda cheese, stirring until all the cheese is melted.  Add the sundried tomato and mix well.  Serve hot.

Egg Allergy Note: This side dish makes a great egg allergy alternative to pastas.  Many pastas are either made with eggs or are produced on the same equipment as eggs.  Obviously, egg noodles are simply out of the question.

Do Twins Have the Same Food Allergies?

As a mother of twins, that was something I was asking early on.  Now science is backing up what parents have always believed.

According to a report from Melissa Teicher at Brynmawr, genetics has a lot to do with allergies but not everything. The study proves that only 65 percent of identical twins tested shared the same peanut allergy. Fraternal twins may share the same peanut allergy in only 7 percent of those studied.

One thing I have noticed in my allergy circles is that there seems to be a link between a particular food allergy and parents and their children.  My child's allergist insisted there wasn't but my unofficial study in a small group of people disproves his untested theory.

In my own family, my daughter and I both have a severe sesame seed allergy.  When I was a child I tested positive for an allergy to peanuts that I outgrew and my son is allergic to peanuts.  In a friend's family, the father is allergic to peanuts and so is his son.

I also believe when I was younger I had an undiagnosed allergy to eggs as I would get severe abdominal cramping after eating eggs and had to run to the bathroom immediately. I was also allergic to milk until I was about 16 that caused severe asthma attacks that would put me in the hospital.    My son was born allergic to milk and has since outgrown it.

Now I wonder, if I outgrew all of these allergies including milk, eggs and peanuts, will my son outgrow his allergy to peanuts too?  Only time will tell if he shares the same gene to outgrow food allergies.  He's already outgrown milk many years before I did.  I haven't outgrown all food allergies but I have outgrown a few and that makes me optimistic.

So the big question still needs more answers.  Do siblings have the same food allergies?  If they do, is there anything we can do to prevent food allergies as babies?


Butter Cookie Recipe For Egg Allergy

These egg free butter cookies are amazing no matter how you decorate them.  Decorate these with sugar crystals before baking or ice after baking.

1 Cup Butter (2 Sticks)
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 1/4 Cups Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat Oven to 375F (convection baking) or 390 (conventional oven)

Mix Butter and Powered Sugar together until smooth.
Slowly add remaining ingredients with mixer until one large dough ball forms.

Remove and form into two balls.
Roll out the balls into 1/2 inch thick with a flour dusted rolling pin on floured surface

Cut out with cookie cutters (any size will do)
Place onto ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake until edges turn slightly golden (approximately 8 minutes) and remove from heat
Allow to dry on rack
Ice as desired when cookies are completely cooled. The icing recipe can be found by searching "cookies hard icing" on this site.

What's the Flu Shot Alternative for Egg Allergies

Believe it or not, there is an alternative to the flu shot with eggs and the flu mist with eggs.  The thing is, you just may not like the flu shot alternative very much.  Instead of getting the flu shot, many people with egg allergies are taking tamiflu as directed by their doctor every single day of the flu season.

It appears that Tamiflu may have serious side effects such as Stevens-Johnson's syndrome and Tamiflu may linked to several childhood behavioral issues. Tamiflu may also cause nausea and nightmares in children.  All of that being said, I wouldn't make the decision lightly to give any child Tamiflu daily to prevent the flu or H1N1.  I think Tamiflu may be a life safer for some people, I'm just hoping for a safer alternative to the flu shot than Tamiflu.

To read more about the flu shot alternative, check out this article:

Buttercream Cake Frosting Icing for Egg Allergy

This simple and delicious egg allergy safe, butter cream cake frosting can be refrigerated a day in advance.

2 Sticks of Butter (softened)
3 Cups of Confectioners Frosting
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
4 Tablespoons of Whole Milk

Mix the butter until fluffy.
Add all the remaining ingredients in mixer until well blended and fluffy. 
Frost the cake or cupcakes (they must be completely cooled or icing will melt).

For double layer cake icing, double the recipe.