Tag Archives: Mayo Clinic

Eggs

Living with Dietary Restrictions: Eggs

When it comes to dietary allergies, eggs may be one of the most restrictive.   There are so many items that obviously contain eggs like most desserts/baked goods and noodles, but there are just as many, if not more foods that use eggs in a more veiled way.   Luckily, while eggs are harder to avoid than other food allergens, it does occur a little less often.  According to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, “Egg allergy is estimated to affect approximately 1.5% of young children.”  The good news is that on average it is an allergy that can and will be outgrown.  However, it’s still smart to know what to avoid and the risks that an egg allergy presents.

EggsHow do egg allergies develop and can they be prevented?

Like most allergies, egg allergies are the body’s immune system attacking an element that it thinks is invading, in this case the egg protein.  According to the Mayo Clinic these attacks can manifest in symptoms including: Skin inflammation (most common), asthma, nasal inflammation, stomach issues and in severe cases anaphylaxis.  The reason for this allergy can range from a family history of the allergy and most often the immaturity of the digestive system, which is why the allergy shows up in children, but can be outgrown.  The Mayo Clinic continues to say those that suffer from this particular allergy are also more likely to suffer from other health problems as well.  These problems include other food allergies, hay fever, atopic dermatitis and allergic asthma.

As said before, many children do outgrow the allergy as their digestive system develops.  Kids Health says that an, “Egg allergy usually first appears when kids are very young, and most kids outgrow it by the time they’re 5 years old.”  However, it’s important to know that this is not always the case.   Allergic Child reported on a recent research study done on this topic at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.   According to the study, “In what are believed to be the largest studies to date of children with milk and egg allergies, researchers followed more than 800 patients with milk allergy and nearly 900 with egg allergy over 13 years, finding that, contrary to popular belief, most of these allergies persist well into the school years and beyond.”

There has also been work done to help to actually prevent the allergy from appearing in the first place.  The study presented in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggested introducing eggs to a baby’s diet between the ages of four to six months.  While it’s not conclusive whether or not it actually prevents the allergy, it has been found that it at least does not increase its development.

What should be avoided?

With every food allergy, it’s essential to be aware of what a dish or product contains by reading labels and asking questions.  With eggs it’s also imperative to know the names of items that are egg related yet are not just simply called eggs.  The Mayo Clinic list these terms as the following: Albumin, Globulin, Lecithin, Livetin, Lysozyme, Simplesse, Vitellin, and words starting with “ova” or “ovo,” such as ovalbumin or ovoglobulin.  It’s also a good rule of thumb to avoid certain foods in general, unless they are specifically noted as not containing eggs.  Some of these items are anything made with a mix or batter, mayonnaise and items that include this ingredient, marshmallows, salad dressings and most baked goods and pastries.   It’s also wise to avoid drinks like beer, lattes and cappuccinos that use eggs in foaming agents, anything glazed and even many shampoos which use egg proteins for strengthening.  A final item that might not be as obvious is the vaccine for the flu.  The reason behind this according to the Center for Disease Control is that the vaccines are grown on egg embryos, which means they’ve been mixed with proteins from the egg itself.  However, with this item it’s important to talk with your health service provider before making a decision as they will be able to tell you if your allergy is or isn’t severe enough to cause a reaction to the small amount of protein.

Egg alternatives and eating on the go

While there are some specific alternatives to cooking with eggs like Egg Replacer by Ener-G, there are also many items that you may currently have in your house that can be used in place of eggs as well.  PETA provides many detailed options on how and what to use to substitute for egg use.  Similarly, you can try these great options compiled by Calorie Lab:

1 gelatin packet, 2 tbsp. warm water
1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tbsp. vinegar, 1 tbsp. liquid (such as water)
1 tsp. baking powder, 1 1/2 tbsp. oil, 1 1/2 tbsp. water
1 tsp. yeast, 1/4 cup warm water
1/2 of a medium-sized mashed banana
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed and 3 tbsp. warm water
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp. xanthan gum
In place of an egg wash, use melted margarine.
*Note:  It is important to know that these alternatives may not turn out well when a recipe calls for more than three eggs though.

When eating out with food allergies of any kind, Eating With Food Allergies advises that it’s helpful to either eat earlier or later than the normal crowds (i.e. before 6 PM or after 9 PM).   Doing so will help in allowing you to get more attentive service both at the table and in the kitchen.  Another handy item to remember when venturing out to eat is a Kids Health great cutout for your wallet that lists different foods and ingredients to avoid.  In addition to this cutout, checking sites like Special Gourmets can assist you in making decisions on the most appropriate place to eat.  The search engine bills itself as, “The largest global guide to restaurants, shops & hotels with options for gluten-free, dairy-free & other allergen-free diets.”   Not only is this guide helpful when looking for new places to try or when out of town, but it’s also handy when your or others you’re with are allergic to more than one item since it allows you to check off multiple items for your search.

While you’re out, the most reliable dining option would be to find a specifically Vegan venue.  These restaurants are always a great option for those with egg allergies because Vegans do not eat products that come from animals like eggs and the food is unlikely to suffer from cross-contamination as well.  Unfortunately, Vegan based dining options can be few and far between.  If you’re on the go and looking for an often occurring fast option, check out Taco Bell and Dairy Queen.  Taco Bell is a helpful option because most items do not contain egg products and since most items that do contain them are not necessarily created on-site, the risk for cross-contamination is lowered a bit.  As for Dairy Queen, there are some great options for you to get your ice cream fix.  However, even on their website they do warn of cross-contamination possibilities and encourage getting an ingredient listing from that specific restaurant for extra safety.   For a sit-down experience, On the Border provides a viable egg free option.  Most items there can be enjoyed normally since most of them don’t use eggs, but often require requesting the item without sauce and/or sour cream.

Delicious egg free recipes to try at home

Oven Baked Eggless Zucchini Fries from Eggless Cooking

Sweet Potato Biscuits from The Sensitive Pantry

How do you or your family members deal with being Egg Free?  Please share your story. 

Image from MorgueFile

Living with Dietary Restrictions: Gluten-Free

Image from MorgueFileHave you had a sandwich this week for lunch?  If so, it was probably some type of meat and/or veggies inside a nice thick bun or maybe some delicious doughy bread.  Imagine that same sandwich, only take away the bun or bread and you’d be more accurately describing a meal fit for someone who is gluten-free.  Whether you’re gluten-free by choice or necessity, it can put a crimp in your daily diet, but it’s important to know that it doesn’t mean having to do without. Celiac.com says that “at least 1 in 133 Americans” are affected by Celiac Disease.  Wheat allergies are in the top 8 most common food allergies alongside items like peanuts and shellfish.  There are many more suffering with gluten sensitivities.  With this in mind, much of the food industry has begun to turn over a new leaf and started to offer a much broader range of foods and knowledge to ensure safety and variety for those on a gluten-free diet.

What’s the difference between celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and wheat allergies?

“People with celiac disease who eat foods containing gluten experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients,” is the way Celiac Disease is described by the Mayo Clinic.  While this disease is manageable, if not carefully monitored and properly diagnosed, it could eventually lead to permanent damage to the intestines.  Since this disease is genetic, the American Celiac Disease Alliance encourages, “If someone in your family is diagnosed, it is recommended that first degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) are screened as well. “

Gluten sensitivity, while still painful, poses no long-term physical damage.  Basically, it is an intolerance of the body to digest gluten and while it can cause discomfort in the form of abdominal pain and similar issues, it will not cause any permanent damage and will go away once the gluten is out of the system.

Wheat allergies are more directly associated with a protein found in wheat products, which means it could be possible for sufferers to eat other types of grains.  Like many other allergies the symptoms can range anywhere from mild (an upset stomach) to severe (throat swelling, lowered blood pressure, etc.)

What products should be avoided?

For all three issues you should avoid products containing wheat, rye and barley which includes many types of bread, crackers, pastas, pizza and cookies.   It’s also extremely important to always read food labels to make sure other products don’t contain these ingredients.  According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), “Wheat has been found in some brands of ice cream, marinara sauce, play dough, potato chips, rice cakes, and turkey patties, and at least one brand of hot dogs.”

What are some alternatives?

Recently, more and more items have become gluten-free.  There are now breads, cereals, pizzas and other products certified by the FDA as gluten free.  Two such brands that you may find in your local grocery store are Udi’s which specializes in baked goods and Amy’s which offers everything from frozen pastas to soups (with an extra bonus that all products are either organic or made with organic ingredients).  FAAN also gives the suggestion of using items like rice, corn or potato starch flour when baking as a substitute for wheat flour.                       

Eating Gluten-free on the Go

Although it does take some extra planning, eating gluten-free at your favorite restaurant is a possibility.  As mentioned in our post on dairy-free dining, there are many databases like Allergy Eats and Allerdine which allow you to search for restaurants in your area that take special food safety measures for patrons with food allergies.  There’s also a database specifically for gluten-free eating, Gluten-free-onthego.com, that allows you to search for everything from coffee shops to sit-down restaurants all over the world (recently France, Italy, Spain and Mallorca were added to the search areas).  And in case you’re at the grocery and want to know what’s safe to grab, there are also several apps to get your phone thinking gluten-free such as Gluten Free (for Blackberry) and Gluten Free Ingredients (for Android).

Just as in our previous dairy-free post, it’s extremely important to be aware of the possibility of cross-contamination when eating gluten-free.  The easiest way to do this is simply by keeping an open dialogue between yourself and the wait staff and/or management.  Doing this will give you the ability to ask questions and make an informed decision on whether or not an establishment truly does meet the standards for being gluten-free.  In addition to your own guidelines, an advocacy group for the gluten-free community called Celiebo, has presented a certification program to make sure restaurants are as safe as possible for diners.  In an article from Food Service Central, it says that “The Celiebo certification includes training programs, presentations and educational materials to be posted in kitchens detailing the specifics of gluten-free food preparation and ingredients to avoid. Certified establishments will also receive a window decal that states they are a Celiebo Certified Gluten-Free Restaurant™.”  And while this certification is currently only being used in New York City, it plans to eventually expand.

In the meantime, if you’re on the go and curious as to where it’s safe to eat, you can rest assured that there are many options.  Chains like Cheeseburger in Paradise, Bonefish Grill, and Outback Steakhouse (also Dairy-free friendly) all have a variety of options to keep you safe while letting you enjoy a wide selection.  However, restaurants are not your only gluten-free on-the-go dining option.  If you like sports, you’ll be happy to know that many baseball and football concession stands are also joining in on this dining revolution.  Triumph Dining has some great coverage on dining safe while watching your favorite team including what’s offered at some individual stadiums like Tropicana Field and Busch Stadium.


Delicious Gluten-free recipes to try at home

“Lighter than Air” Chocolate Cake

Zucchini Muffins 

How do you or your family members deal with being gluten free?  Please share your story. 

Milk; Image from MorgueFile

Living with Dietary Restrictions: Dairy Free

Milk; Image from MorgueFileThink about what you’re planning to have to eat today.  Does a dairy product make it onto the menu?  If you’re part of the 75% of the world’s population that is lactose intolerant to some extent or a lower 3% with a milk allergy, you may be giving a bit more thought to your daily dairy intake.   Read on to find the differences between an intolerance and an allergy, what is being done for sufferers and a few helpful and delicious dairy-free recipes.

What’s the difference between
lactose intolerance and a milk allergy?

Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest the milk sugar, lactose, found in dairy products.

Milk Allergies are more focused on the proteins or caseins within milk products.

What products should be avoided?

For both you should avoid dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, milk, butter, chocolate, goat’s milk products and any product labeled as containing milk or milk ingredients.

What are some alternatives?

Most dairy-based product have an alternative that uses a soy or rice base although sometimes soy may also cause allergic reactions and intolerances.

Eating Non-Dairy on the Go

While it may take a bit of pre-planning using online allergen guides, many restaurants now have tasty options for those with dairy-free eating restriction.  There is also a handy databases like Allergy Eats and Allerdine which allow you to search for restaurants in your area that have special food safety measures for patrons with food allergies.

The most important tip when eating out (other than avoiding the obvious dairy products) is to be aware of cross-contamination.   This can happen through using the same frying oil, grills, woks or cutting boards for the dairy and non-dairy foods.  Another way to prevent cross-contamination is to bring along your own wet cloth to wipe down any surfaces just in case the allergens were left from the previous diner.

It’s also imperative that you open a dialogue between yourself and the wait staff and/or management.   While you may have already looked at the allergen guides, it’s always a wise idea to double check to confirm that the item you’re ordering is cooked and prepared separately and without any allergy/intolerance inducing elements.  Making these inferences every time and at every location is important since staff, preparation guidelines, etc. may change from visit to visit.

Places like Chipotle, Qdoba and Subway are some of the more obvious options since you’re able to add exactly what you want (be sure to watch out for cross contamination).   However, there are many options at your average sit-down restaurant like Denny’s, Chili’s, Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse as well.  In fact, Outback not only gives suggestions on menu items, they also give advice on how to request the food be cooked and what extras should be left off to ensure a higher degree of safety.

And just in case you’re planning a trip to Disney with your dairy-free eater, not to worry, there are plenty of tasty options there too including tofu ice cream, waffles with fruit and dairy free whipped topping, rice milk and dairy free pasta.

Deliciously Dairy-free recipes to try at home

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Lasagna

Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins – Milk Free Recipes

How do you or your family members deal with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy?  Please share your story.

Article sources
1)     Dairy Free Living
2)     Kids Health
3)     Mayo Clinic
4)     National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)  
5)     PubMed Health