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Mike interviews Diane Hartman owner of Food Allergy Kitchen Y-Group
Q. What experience led you to create your yahoo group which focuses on recipes for those with food allergies? Edit
My children are the reason that I became involved with YahooGroups. My son was diagnosed with multiple life threatening food allergies at age 2. In addition, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder & I noticed a correlation between certain foods that he consumed and the Autistic behaviors. We have been blessed that dietary modifications have reversed our son's Autistic behaviors and he is no longer considered on the spectrum. My daughter developed food allergies & allergy induced asthma in infancy. The combination of dietary restrictions led me to create a place for individuals with food allergies to "meet" & discuss food options, vent frustrations, and fulfill the desperate need for a support system.
Q. What are some of the biggest obstacles facing those that prepare meals for food allergy suffers? Edit
The biggest obstacle, in my opinion, is the time and effort required to prepare safe meals. Everything that is involved with meal preparation takes longer. It begins in the grocery store, as one has to carefully read every label for hidden ingredients or cross contamination. Food allergy suffers quickly learn that companies often change ingredients without any "obvious" changes to the label. Therefore, reading every single label, every time, is paramount. This is especially true for individuals that suffer from multiple food allergies. Fortunately, there are a lot of foods currently on the market for individuals with food allergies or Celiac's (gluten intolerance). However, if you must manage a diet that eliminates numerous foods, baking from scratch is often a necessary part of your daily routine. Individuals with severe food allergies face life threatening consequences if they eat( & in some instances even touch or inhale airborne particles) items that may have been cross contaminated. Thus, many find it medically necessary to take their food with them to every food oriented function they attend. Parents typically face the biggest challenge, both time wise and emotionally. As parents, we want our children to be able to enjoy the same foods as their peers. This isn’t always possible. Many of us spend countless hours trying to locate substitutes or recreate items, just so our children don’t feel left out and can enjoy a safe treat.
Q. What ingredients are responsible for most of the food allergies? What are the most common substitutions used for those ingredients? Edit
The top 8 allergens are peanut, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg, soy, shellfish, fish. Personally, I think corn, potato, rice and seeds should be included with that list. Corn seems to be one the most common allergens that we encounter on the group. It is also is, without a doubt, the most difficult to avoid. Allergies to seeds(sesame, sunflower, poppyseeds, etc.…) are also commonly noted as allergens on the YahooGroups. Potato and rice, surprisingly, are also becoming more common allergens. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (Title II of Public Law 108-282) only recognizes the top 8. Therefore, individuals with allergens to other foods can not rely on labels to provide safe information.