Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, MFA, MSW, LMSW, Psychotherapist; Specialist in Food Allergy Management, Speaking At Mylan Specialty / EpiPen Event (© Noel Malcolm 2013)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays, 2011


Thank you all for a wonderful year.


May your holiday season be filled with love, light and laughter.


See you back here in 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Food Allergy-Free Foods


My book Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies hit the real and virtual shelves in February 2011 and I’ve been on the go-go-go all year long. I did almost 40 speaking events to support its publication (not including press). I spoke at national foodservice, hospitality and product conferences, national non-profit organizations, culinary institutions, food allergy fundraisers, food allergy and celiac disease support groups and online food allergy and celiac disease groups.

Several food allergy-free food companies supported these events by sending along free samples for everyone to enjoy while we talked about how to live your best life safely, effectively and joyously with any dietary restriction. These are companies that have clear food allergen policies, and I’ve used their products safely and often without issue. For your allergic needs, please contact them directly.

In alphabetical order:

Thank you all for your support!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blogging 2012


It didn’t dawn on me until this week that since I have been on the road with my book Allergic Girl from February 22, 2011 until November 30, 2011, my blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground. I’ve been Facebooking and Tweeting like mad, but longer, more contemplative posts or restaurant reviews or even many product reviews have been fewer. Mainly, because I haven’t been home much or dined out in new places or tried many new foods that I felt compelled to share. However, with the Allergic Girl hardcover book tour complete, in 2012, this Allergic Girl blog will be getting a facelift. Maybe not a whole lift but definitely refreshed (it's already started, have a look around) and I will be returning with more stories and interviews and coping strategies and food allergy fun!

Stay tuned and thank you for hanging in during this incredible year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Chanukah, 2011


Tonight is the first night of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. I'm lighting candles and placing the Menorah in my window, as is traditional.

Here’s some more info about this holiday from About.com.

And here’s a lovely Latke recipe (untried by me, yet) from the New York Times: Apple-Potato Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream. (I’m planning on substituting wheat flour with an all-purpose gluten-free allergen-free flour blend like King Arthur's.) Here's one without any wheat flour, also from the New York Times: Red Flannel Potato Latkes.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Birthday Cake, Allergen-Free

Oy! This is how crazy things have been I didn’t even get a chance to blog about my spectacular birthday cake back in mid-November! Until now, that is. 

This cake was the same cake I had for my book launch party: chocolate with white icing.  It was so wonderful and so well-received by all diners, that I wanted it all over again.

The cake is: vegan, gluten-free and top eight allergen-free. Yes, really. And wonderful.
 
The baking master that whipped up this baby for me (and she’ll make on for you too) is Heidi Bayer. Here’s her website for more baking info: Brooklyn Allergy Mom Bakes My Cake.

Enjoy Life Foods, makers treats that are top eight allergen-free, graciously donated a few bags of their Mega Chunks, which made this cake extra-extra wonderfully chocolate. Thank you Enjoy Life, for the choco-love!

And this is the only picture I have of the cake including its baker. We all dove in so quickly that there were no time for pictures.

Thanks again, Team!



FAAN Conferences, 2012

I’m thrilled to announce that I am this year’s featured speaker at The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) conferences in Tarrytown, NY and Oak Brook, IL.

In addition, with Eleanor Garrow, I will be co-leading the Adults with Food Allergies Session at both conferences.

And I will also be on hand to sign my book, Allergic Girl.

Start signing up now on their website and hope to see you there!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bonne Maman, Preserves

Who hasn’t had Bonne Maman jam, ahem, preserves? Those little jars with the distinct red and white metal caps? You see them in the best hotels or or your grocery store. I’ve enjoyed them safely for years.

Recently, my colleague Andrew of Shabtai Gluten-Free (NOT nut-free products) changed jobs to the Bonne Maman company and sent me some delicious samples to try: Wild Blueberry, Apricot-Raspberry (my two faves), Fig and Peach.

So how are they with allergens? They have a pretty clear FAQ:
Are Bonne Maman Preserves and Jellies “nut-free”? YES! Our Bonne Maman Preserves and Jellies recipes do not use any peanuts, tree nuts or sesame nuts. Our preserves and jellies are considered to be “nut free.”

I asked Bonne Maman if they had any further information to share about nuts and received this response from the company:
Our Bonne Maman Preserves and Jellies are nut free. The production lines that are used for manufacturing Bonne Maman Preserves and Jellies are also used for other preserve products that we produce under other brand names. We do use almonds in one recipe that is produced on the Bonne Maman product line but have highly controlled (based on HACCP certification) cleaning procedures that allow us to ensure no cross contamination. The almond I referred to is not used in our Bonne Maman Preserves and therefore is not on our labeling. Additionally, we assure you that we do not use sesame or peanuts on our lines. We want to assure you that the entire Bonne Maman line of Preserves and Jellies are Gluten-Free. This claim is determined by the fact that all ingredients used in our products have less than 20ppm which is required for this claim. Our production facility is therefore gluten-free as well.

I have never had issue with their products and have enjoyed the samples they sent. If these allergen statements work for you, come on over to Facebook for a giveaway to three lucky readers.

***
AS OF 12/23/11 -CONTEST CLOSED
Congratulations to Michelle K, Andrea S & Sarah C!


Facebook GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

To me, these super-sweet jams are best paired with something savory and neutral, like cheese. I had all four jams with Udi’s bread and whipped Philadelphia cream cheese and I loved the blueberry most. How do you like your Bonne Maman preserves?

To enter to win a jar of Bonne Maman preserves, on Facebook share how to like to use jam/preserves – on toast, in a recipe, with sweet food or with savory – tell us your favorite ways to eat jam! (Please make sure I can get in touch with you if you win). On December 23, 2011, I’ll use random.org to pick three [3] winners from the Facebook comments. Good luck!

Library Journal, Best Books 2011: Consumer Health

Great news! My book Allergic Girl has been named one of the Best Books Consumer Health in 2011 Library Journal (who also gave it a starred review). Thank you LJ!

From their website: Miller, Sloane. Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies.Wiley. ISBN 9780470630006. $24.95. A social worker with multiple food allergies writes an empathetic, empowering guide to help people live well and enjoy life while maintaining a safe environment. She covers finding an allergist, creating safe environments, and building positive relationships. (LJ 3/1/11)

Who is Library Journal: In its 133rd year of publication, Library Journal is the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field. Considered to be the “bible” of the library world, LJ is read by over 100,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries. LJ is the single-most comprehensive publication for librarians, with groundbreaking features and analytical news reports covering technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. Its hefty review sections evaluate nearly 7000 books annually, along with hundreds of audiobooks, videos, databases, web sites, and systems that libraries buy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Allergic Girl, Facebook

Where's Waldo? Or Sloane-o? On Facebook, of course.

Come join me on my Allergic Girl Facebook page where you can connect with other food allergy community members, read about food allergy news as it happens, share food allergy successes with others, get food allergy questions answered, connect with reliable resources and win free stuff!

I’ll still be here writing restaurant reviews and product reviews and stories about life and coping with food allergies. And I’m on FB and Twitter as well.

Come on over!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Food 52 Cookbook, Review

**Contest now closed.**

The moment this book arrived in my mailbox mid-October (the publisher William Morrow sent me a reviewer copy), I haven’t been able to put it down and it quickly earned a permanent spot on my kitchen counter. That is saying quite a bit for a typical counter-space challenged New York City kitchen – see Le Bitt’s kitch here and mine here.

As I flipped through this gorgeously photographed and seasonally organized hardcover, I recognized two recipes that I had cooked from this collection already. How did that happen? Food52 was, and is, an online recipe project started two years ago by authors bestselling author Amanda Hesser and food writer Merrill Stubbs.

From the website: "We started small, with a single project: creating the first crowd-sourced cookbook in 52 weeks (that’s where the 52 in Food52 comes from!). We used recipe contests as a way to vet recipes so we’d have a book to publish and a site that would be a trustworthy, go-to recipe source. But these contests were also a handy way to bring together people for a shared purpose -- to create something meaningful, valuable and enduring."

My friend and colleague Stacey Harwood and I cooked spicy chickpeas on camera for this You Tube video about hosting a guest with dietary restrictions. With a few top 8 allergen-free ingredients we made this delish snack. Then, more recently I was looking for a way to use up some extra kale and among the other recipes I found on google.com, I found Food52 with an easy kale lemon pasta variation.

Because the Food52 book is culled from the recipe files of skilled home cooks, it has steps and instructions but nothing too Julia. And many of the dishes to my eye are easily top 8 allergen-free (or easily substituted to be so). What a treasure. (They even have a gluten-free search button on their website.)

The recipe that I made to try out the book is the Southwestern Sweet Potato Fries with Cilantro Sour Cream from Taste Food blog. Easy to make with ingredients I had in my pantry, the “fries” (they are in fact baked) and dip together are: spicy and cool, sweet and tart (I substituted yogurt for sour cream). It was a hit out of the gate as I suspect most of these recipes will be.

***

And now you can find out for yourself. Starting today, November 21, 2011, I’m running a context over on the Allergic Girl Facebook page to win two free copies of Food52 courtesy of the publisher William Morrow.

Please enter only once.

To enter to win all you have to do is share a recipe of your favorite fall-time allergen-friendly dish. Either write out the recipe in the comment section of my Facebook page page or give us a recipe link. Leave a comment on the Allergic Girl Facebook page and make sure I can get in touch with you.

On December 1, 2011, I’ll use random.org to pick TWO winners and post them on Facebook page.

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NYNJ Rock, Allergic Girl

NYNJ Rock group coordinator Gabrielle, Rachel Begun, RD and me:


What a wonderful event last night with the NYNJ Rock group, run expertly by Gabrielle Simon! One of the many helpful tips that came out of this evening was about thank you notes. We were talking about dining out with dietary restrictions and, as you know, I say if you dined well, send the restaurant a thank you note. Gabby’s suggestion was that if you are dining with a child with a dietary restriction that you and your child write the note. Your child can sign the note or, if they are old enough, even write the thank you. Chefs love hearing they served a child safely as well as we adults! Graciousness and gratitude is always appreciated and a great skill to instill in your young ones.

Thanks again NYNJ Rock for a great and informative evening. Below are some pictures, printed with permission.

***

Safe treats for the NYNJ Rock group provided by Angie's Kettle Corn, Andean Dream Quinoa Cookies, and Schär:


A table of information from reliable sources:


Gabby introducing me:


The NYNJ Rock group:



Writing down that great tip Gabby mentioned:



Reading from Allergic Girl:


Signing books:

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Rockland/Bergen R.O.C.K. Chapter, Allergic Girl

Hello upstate New Yorkers!

I'll be speaking and signing my book at the the Rockland/Bergen R.O.C.K. Chapter

November 15, 2011

7-9pm

In the Krutz Auditorium of Nyack Hospital
Nyack Hospital directions

Join us!

***

From the Rockland/Bergen R.O.C.K. Chapter:

Our special guest will be Sloane Miller (aka Allergic Girl), founder and president of Allergic Girl Resources, Inc., a consultancy devoted to food allergy awareness. A licensed social worker, Sloane combines a lifetime of personal experience and passion with professional expertise to connect with people about how to live safely, effectively, and joyously with food allergies. She consults with private clients, the food and hospitality industry, government and not-for-profit advocacy organizations. Sloane is the author of Please Don't Pass the Nuts, an award-winning blog for and about people affected by food allergies and she is also the creator of Worry-Free Dinners®, a membership group for people with manageable food allergies and/or food intolerances looking to explore restaurants, chefs and foodservice organizations that will offer an exclusive allergy-friendly meal. In March 2011, Sloane’s first book, Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well With Food Allergies, was published by John Wiley & Sons.

Our favorite registered dietitian Rachel Begun, MS, RD, will also join us to answer your dietary questions and, as always, I will also share recent Celiac news and information on upcoming events, including a special NYNJ R.O.C.K. event in December for the kids!

Refreshments will be provided by Angie's Kettle Corn, Andean Dream Quinoa Cookies, and Schär.

The "perfect balance of sweetness and salt," Angie's Kettle Corn is authentic, all-natural, healthy, certified gluten-free, free of the regulated eight food allergens, and kosher. Angie's Kettle Corn is made with only four all-natural ingredients: Popcorn, Corn Oil, Cane Sugar, and Sea Salt. "No cholesterol, no trans-fats, no artificial flavors, no preservatives, no guilt!"

Also gluten, trans-fat, and cholesterol-free, Andean Dream Cookies are made with organic Royal Quinoa, which is rich in high-quality proteins, vitamins and minerals, and all eight amino acids essential for nutrition. The company's individually wrapped cookies—which are perfect for lunchboxes—come in five varieties: Orange Essence, Chocolate Chip, Cocoa-Orange, Raisins & Spice and Coconut, all of which will be available for sampling at the meeting.

Known as Europe’s #1 gluten-free food brand, Schär offers more than 30 dedicated GF items in the US. The company has generously donated samples of its award-winning gluten and lactose-free parbaked breads. A great source of fiber, these breads require only 10 minutes in the oven for a fresh-baked taste!

Nyack Hospital will supply coffee, tea and cold beverages.

Kindly RSVP by email [nynjrockmom@yahoo.com]. I hope you will join us!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Allergic Girl, Dean’s Natural Food Markets

I had the pleasure to do an in-store book event at Dean’s Natural Food Market in Shrewsbury, New Jersey recently.

What is Dean’s? Here’s their mission statement right on their website homepage: "Dean’s Natural Food Market's mission is to improve the quality of life in our community by providing healthy products and educational information that will promote physical and mental well-being. Our responsibility is to put the needs of our customers before our profits. We will be a positive role model in our community because we will practice good ethics and strong values. We must continually recognize the importance of the products and services that we provide and how they impact our community and our planet. That is one of the many reasons we continue to be the best of organic food stores!"

I had a quick walk through the aisles and found many of my favorite allergen-friendly treats on their shelves.

Aisles at Dean's:









And here I am, doing my Allergic Girl thing.

New Team Allergic Girl T-Shirts:



Making a point:



Arty shot of me reading a passage from Allergic Girl:



Thank you Dean’s for a wonderful afternoon!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Radio Interview, KOPN Food Sleuth

I had an opportunity a few months back to meet Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D. through her work with Organic Valley.

Her bio from Organic Valley’s site:
Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., Beyond the Plate: Straight Talk on Food & Family, "Food Sleuth" Melinda Hemmelgarn is an avid supporter of organic, sustainable diets. She's a registered dietitian and "investigative nutritionist" who leaves no stone unturned when connecting the dots between food, agriculture and health. With humor, kindness and enthusiasm, Melinda helps readers "think beyond their plates" to understand how our daily food choices affect personal health and the planet our children will inherit. In "Beyond the Plate," Melinda provides news you can use to feel even more confident about the food choices you make for your family. Bon appétit! She does some great work with Organic Valley as well as being a “Food Sleuth®, LLC..."helping people think beyond their plates" for KOPN.org.

She interviewed me recently about my book, Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies and you can listen to our fab interview here or here.

Thank you, Melinda!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

White Bean and Collard Greens Soup




Intimidated by collard greens? Don’t be. This soup is so quick and easy and cutting the collards into delicate ribbons tenderizes them into luscious strands of greeny goodness. I adapted this recipe from Fat-Free Vegan. Go, play.


Ingredients
• 1 to 1 1/2 pounds collards, tough ribs removed and ribboned
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 rib celery, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 32 ounces chicken broth (I use organic Swanson's)
• 1 teaspoon thyme [omitted]
• 2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained (I used cannellini beans)
• 1/2 teaspoon oregano [omitted]
• 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder [omitted]
• 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes [omitted]
• salt and freshly ground red pepper, to taste
• Parmesan (optional)


In olive oil, I sauteed the onions until translucent, added the garlic for a few moments then stirred in carrots and celery until soft. Then, I added the ribbons of collards until bright green. Then, I added the beans and stock, brought to a boil, then simmered for approximately 20 minutes until the flavors melded. Adjust seasons and serve!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lemony Garlic Kale & Pasta



I went a little crazy at my local green market one week and bough kale *and* collards. A week went by and the kale was still unused, what to do? Use up whatever was left in the fridge in some creative way. I looked in the cupboard and found the above, ingredients in everyone's pantry. A few clicks in Google and I had a base recipe to play with. Fifteen or so minutes later and dinner was done. So easy and fresh, this recipe is a winner. I made it without the parm, so it was totally vegan and the lemon/kale combo was the star of the show.

Lemony Garlic Kale with Pasta

(Sources: Adapted from Annie's Eats and Spoon With Me, adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark)



Ingredients:

For the dressing:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese [optional]
5-6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Zest on one lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
¼-½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the pasta:
1 lb. gluten-free [I used Tinkyada, just don’t over cook]
1 large bunch kale. rinsed and dried, stems removed, cut into ribbons
Lemon slices, for garnish
Additional Parmesan, for serving [optional]

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Mince the garlic cloves. Sprinkle the minced garlic with ¼ teaspoon of the kosher salt and smash the garlic into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife. Transfer the garlic paste to a large serving bowl. Add in the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and black pepper [Parmesan if you’re using]. Whisk together until well combined.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the package directions. Place the ribboned kale in a large colander. When the pasta is finished, drain into the large kale-filled colander. Put the pasta/kale mixture in the large bowl with the dressing and toss until well coated. Serve with sliced lemon and additional Parmesan as desired.


Finished dish:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Candy, Operation Gratitude

This is something Jean of F.E.A.S.T. of the Mainline, PA told me that they do with their excess or un-food-allergy-safe Halloween candy: donate it to our troops overseas! I love this idea and found some information on the Operation Gratitude website (and on Facebook) about how to donate. Any more ideas about Halloween candy excess, let’s hear ‘em!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FAAN Walk Ridgewood, NJ, 2011

What a fun day at the FAAN Walk in Ridgewood, NJ. Here are some pictures of this fund raising day!

Me and the walk with my book at my booth and my new TEAM ALLERGIC GIRL T-Shirt (also for sale, more on that soon.)


National Sponsors, Dey, makers of EpiPen:


Other supporting sponsors.

Sunbutter:


Divvies:


Rebecca helping out Enjoy Life Foods:


Cherrybrook Kitchen:


There were games on site:


There were also relay races:


Here's me and honorary Medical Chair, Dr Jennifer Sherman (and little Sherman):


Me and the fab Miss Teen New Jersey (who has celiac disease):


And finally, me and the National FAAN Walks Chair, the unsinkable Julie Forrest:


Thank you, Ridegwood!

Monday, October 24, 2011

White Bean and Escarole Soup



Recently, I made this quick soup for my BF who loves bitter greens. You'll see I left out some ingredients, as you can't go wrong here. Below is the basic recipe and it can be thrown together in no time flat. Add a crunchy, toasty GF bread (Everybody Eats french baguette is calling to me), a sprinkle of Parmesan and yum!

***

White Bean and Escarole Soup (from Planet Green at Discovery.com & BonAppetit.com)
Serves 4
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (Lucini)
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped (omitted)
2 carrots, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves
1 sprig fresh rosemary (omitted)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (omitted)
1 head escarole, chopped
5-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (Swanson, organic and gluten-free)
2 (15 oz) cans of white beans
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
kosher salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Directions on Planet Green at Discovery.com.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

FAAN Walk Ridgewood, NJ

As HONORARY CHAIR, I'll be here signing & selling books!

Date of Walk: Sunday, October 23, 2011

Location: Wild Duck Pond, 1133 Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood NJ 07450

Check-In Begins: 12:00 p.m.

Walk Begins: 1:00 p.m.

Distance: 3 miles

Contact: Walkridgewood@foodallergy.org

More info: http://www.foodallergywalk.org/site/TR/2011Walks/2011Walks?fr_id=1973&pg=entry

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paula Dorf Cosmetics, Allergic Girl

Most of my life has been spent without make-up. My eyes tear, a lot, my skin is sensitive and prone to hivey-ness from brushes and men’s bristly beards and frankly I’ve liked my look, au natural. My mother is of the Mad Men generation; she grew up in the fifties and sixties where makeup and hairdos and crinolines were part of the norm. Old school but young at heart, she is always coiffed, nails done, lipstick on and fully accessorized in the hottest latest trends. All Saints is her latest obsession. However, she also has sensitive, allergic skin and is careful about what make-up she uses.

Like most little girls, I learned how to put on make-up from my mother. And when it came to brands, she was my tester; that is, if a make-up brand worked for her, most likely it would work for me. Over the years, I stuck to Almay mainly (but not without an occasional allergic incident) and Cover Girl for sensitive skin. I had tried more expensive brands but often they were irritating. Chanel Lipgloss works and my mother’s mother wore Chanel lipstick and it makes me think of her.

But then something happened about five years ago. I needed a photo for my blog. I asked my colleague and friend Kenneth Chen to take the picture but I knew I needed make-up professionally done for the shot (it’s also became the cover of my book, Allergic Girl). I asked my colleague Michael Palladino (who is also my stylist) whom he recommended and he said Paula Dorf. I knew they had done the make-up for the Sex and the City series but that was about it.

Paula Dorf did my make-up for the shoot and they gave me a look that was natural, very me, and best of all not one allergic reaction. No tearing, dripping, itching nor hives. Since that time, Paula Dorf has done my make-up for every TV appearance, every photo shoot without allergic issue.

The only time I had a problem was not with the make-up but with the brushes. Ivan of Paula Dorf did my make-up for The Cooking Channel shoot and the brushes he used were of a cheaper line. I instantly broke out in painful and severe hives around my eyes, just before we started shooting! We had to wait for my eyes to clear up, which they did since it was a contact hive situation and not an allergic reaction to the make-up itself. But it was an excellent reminder to always communicate my allergic needs to a make-up artist and to use better quality brushes.

Since then I use Paula Dorf brushes and make-up exclusively. It works for me. Even if you have sensitive skin, I bet you can find a make-up that is right for you by following my basic steps.

Understand your allergic issues.
Know what you can and cannot use.
Read labels, call and talk with the manufactures.
Communicate your needs clearly to those around you, like when you talk with a make-up artist.
Always do an arm test first!
Then, start to play!

Here's a video of Ivan and me playing make-up:


Thank you Paula Dorf for all that you do!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Food Allergy Center at MGH, Q&A

When I was in Boston to participate in the FAAN walk, my table of Allergic Girl books was situated right next to the dream team of doctors from The Food Allergy Center at MGH. Below is a Q&A all about them and their mission. Read on!


***

Allergic Girl: What is the FAC mission?

The Food Allergy Center: Our mission is to improve the health of people affected by food allergies by providing team care and leading new research.

AG: How does FAC fulfill its mission?

FAC: We provide the best currently available care and we work to discover and adapt better and ultimately curative treatments. We also partner with our patients and families to foster education and research and to achieve the best possible outcomes.

AG: What population does the FAC serve?

FAC: The Food Allergy Center at MGH is one of only a handful that provide coordinated care for both kids and adults affected by food allergies. As a result, we provide continuity of care for our patients, including a consistent approach to diagnosis and treatment, as they move from pediatric to adult care.

We address all known and suspected food allergies including IgE-mediated food allergy (e.g., immediate, potentially anaphylactic reactions to milk, egg, peanut, etc.); IgE-associated diseases (e.g., eosinophilic esophagitis, EoE, eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders, EGID, and atopic dermatitis); and other immune-mediated reactions to food (e.g., food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome, FPIES).


AG: Who are the key players?


FAC:

Wayne Shreffler, MD, PhD, Director
Allergy/Immunology

Qian Yuan, MD, PhD, Clinical Director
Pediatric Gastroenterology

Paul E. Hesterberg, MD
Allergy/Immunology

Shuba Iyengar, MD
Allergy/Immunology

Perdita Parmaul, MD
Allergy/Immunology

Jolan E. Walter, MD, PhD
Allergy/Immunology

Aubrey J. Katz, MD
Pediatric Gastroenterology

Jyoti Ramakrishna, MD
Pediatric Gastroenterology

Nancy S. Rotter, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

Carolyn A. Butterworth, RD, RN, BS
Nutrition Specialist

Anne Lukowski, RD, LDN, MS
Nutrition Specialist

Elisabeth S. Stieb, RN, BSN
Allergy/Immunology

Margaux A. Nichols, RN
Allergy/Immunology

Stephanie A. Kubala, BS
Lead Research Coordinator

Joanne Moody
Patient Coordinator



AG: How do you “treat” food allergies and other food related immunologic disease?

FAC: Our program is a comprehensive, coordinated effort by specialists in pediatric and adult medicine because we believe in a well-integrated, multidisciplinary approach that can provide continuity of care. In addition to core services from allergy/immunology, gastroenterology, nutrition, and psychology, we may involve specialists from dermatology, pulmonology or others depending on the needs of an individual patient.

Our approach is also evidence based and driven by a strong belief in protecting and preserving the quality of a patient’s life. We also partner with our patients as well as the parents of pediatric patients.

We are committed to having an impact on food allergy, including discovering or enhancing our understanding of possible treatments. As a result, we have a diverse plan for current and anticipated research that will attack food allergy from different angles and stages of the allergic reaction.

To start, the FAC is currently enrolling peanut allergic children ages 7-21 years in an oral immunotherapy study. The FAC is also gearing up for an OIT study just funded by the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Disease (part of the NIH) looking at 60 older adolescents and adults (age 16 years and up) with milk and peanut allergies. Recruitment should begin in the Winter 2011-12. The research will focus on how the T cell arm of the immune system is changed by OIT and which changes are best associated with clinical protection. We hope that studying these cells will help researchers understand and improve immunotherapy.

With the above studies paving the way, the FAC is also determined to conduct a novel, multi-food study in collaboration with Stanford University in the not-too-distant future. The hope is that multi-food allergic individuals would receive increasing amounts of different allergens sequentially, thus enabling researchers to examine how immune system responses to one food during OIT may impact the development of tolerance to another.

The world-class infrastructure for clinical research at MGH and the expertise of our team has also led to our anticipated participation in a number of multi-center trials for novel approaches to treating food allergies, including a new anti-IgE drug and a trans-cutaneous allergen delivery device, among others.

Researchers within the FAC are also actively pursuing additional innovative approaches including the use of specific adjuvants (immune boosting additives used with vaccines) which may help the immune system overcome an allergic reaction. Although, not yet applied to the treatment of food allergy, some adjuvants have already shown promise when used to treat environmental allergies, which are similar in mechanism to allergies to foods.

We also hope to unlock some of the mysteries surrounding esophinophillic esophagitis (EoE) and other gastrointestinal disorders with two studies actively enrolling participants. The first is an observational study of the biomarkers for EoE. The other examines early childhood risk factors using a survey of children under 5 years of age. More studies involving collaboration between investigators in the FAC and throughout MGH and the Harvard community are planned with the goal to obtain NIH support for an EoE research program.


Thank you FAC!

MGH Professional Office Building, 275 Cambridge Street, Suite 530
Cox Building, 55 Fruit Street, Suite 201
Phone: 617-643-6834 | Fax: 617-724-0239

Monday, October 17, 2011

Allergic Girl SKYPE event with PHACT/FEAST

P.H.A.C.T. & F.E.A.S.T. of the Mainline, PA presents a SKYPE event with Sloane Miller

October 20, 2011

7-9pm

LOCATION: The SKYPE meeting will be held at Wegman's in Malvern, PA. at 7:00 PM.

Please email or check the P.H.A.C.T. & F.E.A.S.T. of the Mainline, PA Yahoo group for further details regarding location and topics.

For more information:
Email: ParentsHavingAllergicChildren@yahoo.com
Yahoo Group: PHACThome

Friday, October 14, 2011

Perky’s Crunchy Rice Cereal Treats

I heard from gluten-free colleague Lauren that she makes marshmallow Rice Krispies treats but with Enjoy Life Foods’ Perky’s Crunchy Rice Cereal. (Enjoy Life kindly sent me some crunchy rice cereal samples to play with.)

Top eight food allergen free and with five ingredients (Rice Flour, Rice Bran, Raisin Juice Concentrate, Honey, Salt), I could not wait to try this out. I was thrilled with the results. Using Earth Balance vegan spread and Jet Puffed marshmallows, I created a pan of allergen-friendly happiness.



Go, make some, but beware you cannot eat just once square of this luscious treat. And don't get me started about what if I added melted Enjoy Life chocolate to the top. Enjoy!

PS According to Enjoy Life, Perky's can be found in the following stores in NYC:

A Matter of Health
Elm Health
Fairway Market
Health Nuts
Health & Harmony
Natural Frontier
Whole Foods (Tribeca, Upper West Side, Chelsea, Union Square, and Columbus Circle)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Q&A with the Doctors of AllergyHome.org

I had a chance to email some questions to Allergic Girl colleague and friend Dr Mike Pistiner and his colleague, Dr. John Lee, about their new site with helpful and reliable food allergy information: AllergyHome.org

Allergic Girl: Who are you?

Dr. Pistiner: I’m a pediatric allergist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and an Instructor of Pediatrics for Children’s Hospital Boston. I’m a voluntary consultant for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, School Health Services and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on School Health. I serve on the Medical Advisory Team of the Kids with Food Allergies Foundation and am the author of Everyday Cool with Food Allergies, a children’s book designed to encourage participation in food allergy management.

Dr. Lee: I am on faculty at Children’s Hospital Boston and am the Co-Director of the Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases Program with a specific interest in eosinophilic esophagitis, a GI-food allergic disorder that has been increasing in the pediatric population. In addition, I am the sole designer and programmer for our website.


AG: Why did you create AllergyHome.org?

Drs: We wanted to create a site that not only helps with food allergy education but can also be used to increase awareness and understanding in those without food allergies. As pediatric allergists, we know it is difficult for health care providers to adequately educate families, so it is easy to imagine how difficult it can be for parents to then train their child, babysitters, relatives, parents of friends, or anyone else in the community. We hope to fill this need by offering families and their communities educational tools to assist in this daunting task.

AG: I saw your Food Allergy Awareness Guide at the MA FAAN walk. Could you describe this guide and the reason for creating it?

Drs: We created the Food Allergy Awareness Guide to help parents communicate effectively when they leave their child in someone else’s care, such as at a playdate, birthday party or with a babysitter. It is a one-page sheet that reviews key principles in food allergy management and also has a place where parents can fill out important information that emergency responders may need, such as the child’s food allergies, current location, weight, and contact information for the parents. We came up with this because we know that parents have limited time to train others about food allergy management. In these brief moments it can be hard to remember to provide relevant information, and can be harder for those responsible to accurately remember these details. So this guide can be used as a tool to help in these situations. We are very excited about this since it can be a very useful tool for anyone who will take care of a child with food allergies.

AG: Can you tell us about the slide shows directed toward the parents of children without food allergies?

Drs: This slide show has been designed to increase awareness and understanding of what it takes to manage a child’s food allergies. It is our hope that parents will spread this awareness to their children and the rest of their school community. As a supplement to this slide show there are two additional modules which outline the principles of prevention and preparedness. This increased knowledge in food allergy management can help them provide additional support to the families of kids with food allergies and potentially save a life.

AG: Can you tell us about more about AllergyHome's module to teach kids with and without food allergies?

This four and a half minute slideshow for kids teaches elementary age children WITHOUT food allergies why kids with food allergies need to do things a bit differently. It is designed to increase understanding, encourage children to support their classmates, and discourage bullying. This resource can be used in the classroom as well as a tool to introduce families in the school community to the basic concepts of food allergies.

Thanks Drs Pistiner and Lee for creating such invaluable resources. I look forward to seeing what AllergyHome.org continues to create!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fig Jam, Recipe

The California Fig Advisory Board , with whom I had a lovely dinner in the spring at Rouge Tomate, sent me some figs to play with and I made jams/compotes/preserves. Using a base recipe from colleague Nissa of Ger-Nis, I made three kinds.

With the Black Missions, I made straight-up jam: figs, simple syrup and lemon. Very sweet and quite luscious, I have been spreading it with cream cheese on toast. It’s been a huge hit with everyone who has been lucky enough to grab some away from me.



With the Calimynra fig, I made a savory fig jam, using the name base recipe omitting the cinnamon and adding the rosemary. With this I’ve paired it with goat cheese for a savory and sweet pizza much like the one on Udi's Website.





The Sierra fig turned into a spiced fig jam. Again using simple syrup, I added cloves, all spice, cinnamon and hot pepper flakes. I may spread it on some meat before the week is out.

Interesting figgy fact from the California Fig Advisory Board : "Figs provide more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable. The fiber in figs is both soluble and insoluble. Both types of fiber are important for good health. Figs have nutrients especially important for today's busy lifestyles. One quarter-cup serving of dried figs provides 5 grams of fiber -- 20% of the recommended Daily Value. That serving also adds 6% of iron, 6% of calcium, and 7% of the Daily Value for potassium. And, they have no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol. Recent research has shown that California Figs also have a high quantity of polyphenol antioxidants."

Thank you California Fig Advisory Board for the special treat!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Allergic Girl at SPOAK, NJ, 2011

Wonderful evening and discussion October 6, 2011 at the SPOAK (Support Parents of Allergic Kids) at the at the YJCC in Washington Township, NJ. The group is run by Cheryl, Jen and Dr Jen pictured below.



We had a lively Q&A after my presentation.





One question that was posed was one that I know concerns many of you: "How did you become such a confident woman who has food allergies?" My answer in brief: "Because I fully accept this aspect of myself and I know how to to care of myself in any situation." Want to know how I learned how to do that? It’s all in my book, Allergic Girl: adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies.

Thank you SPOAK for hosting such a wonderful evening and to Katz’s Gluten-Free for providing delicious treats to the group!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Allergic Girl, Natural Products Expo East 2011



I was thrilled to not only be attending but speaking at this year's Natural Products Expo East 2011. Before my talk, I had a chance to check out some new products and some old favorites. Here are some pictures and there will be product reviews soon.

New from Udi's Gluten-Free:


New flavors from Fage:


Sunbutter has a natural no-stir:



Kinnikinnick has a ready-made pie crust:


Chobani is rolling out new flavors:


Divvies now has the Divvisaurus (that's Mr. Divvies, Mark Sandler)


Thank you Natural Products Expo East 2011 for a great show!

Friday, October 07, 2011

FAAN WALK Westchester, NY , 2011

What a great day at the Westchester FAAN Walk last weekend. Their fundraising goal was $165,000.00 and they achieved $174,510.15 all for FAAN.

Even though overcast, we were all smiles.


Every walker was greeter with cheers.


If you're local to the Westchester area and are looking for a support group to join, please contact my colleagues FoodAllergyNY run by food allergy moms Sari, Melissa and Suzie.



Here are some of the vendors who participated - great to have such a wide and varied section of support for the food allergy community.

Divvies:


Mount Sinai Jaffe Food Allergy Institute:


Enjoy Life Foods:


Home Free:


Surf Sweets:


Turtle Mountain:


Sunbutter:


Cherrybrook Kitchen:


This Allergic Girl!


Thank you for a wonderful day Westchester!