Category Archives: Important Information
Origins of Peanuts
So it seems that there is some confusion between peanuts and tree nuts. When I tell people my daughter has a severe peanut allergy they will usually ask if she can have other nuts like almonds or pecans. I have a whole speech saved in my head for just that occasion. I explain that peanuts are a legume. Legumes are in the bean family and grow in the ground, while tree nuts (hence the name) grow on trees. I find it interesting that people are so used to shopping at the stores and finding things on shelves, that they don’t really know the origin of their food. So let’s talk about peanuts…
According to Wilkipedia – The peanut, or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), is a species in the legume or “bean” family (Fabaceae). The peanut was probably first domesticated and cultivated in the valleys of Paraguay. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (1.0 to 1.6 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, pinnate with four leaflets (two opposite pairs; no terminal leaflet), leaflet is 1 to 7 cm (⅜ to 2¾ in) long and 1 to 3 cm (⅜ to 1 inch) broad.
The flowers are a typical peaflower in shape, 2 to 4 cm (0.8 to 1.6 in) (¾ to 1½ in) across, yellow with reddish veining. each Hypogaea means “under the earth”; after pollination, the flower stalk elongates causing it to bend until the ovary touches the ground. Continued stalk growth then pushes the ovary underground where the mature fruit develops into a legume pod, the peanut – a classical example of geocarpy. Pods are 3 to 7 cm (1.2 to 2.8 in) long, containing 1 to 4 seeds.
Peanuts are known by many other local names such as earthnuts, ground nuts, goober peas, monkey nuts, pygmy nuts and pig nuts. Despite its name and appearance, the peanut is not a nut, but rather a legume.
Archeologists have dated the oldest specimens to about 7,600 years, found in Peru. Cultivation spread as far as Mesoamerica, where the Spanish conquistadors found the tlalcacahuatl (Nahuatl = “peanut”, whence Mexican Spanish, cacahuate and French, cacahuète) being offered for sale in the marketplace of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). The plant was later spread worldwide by European traders.
Although the peanut was mainly a garden crop for much of the colonial period of North America, it was mostly used as animal feed stock until the 1930s. In the United States, a US Department of Agriculture program (see below) to encourage agricultural production and human consumption of peanuts was instituted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. George Washington Carver is well known for his participation in that program in which he developed hundreds of recipes for peanuts.
Benefits of Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces/Bracelets
To help determine if you or your child has a food allergy, there are a few steps you must take.
- Keep a log – write down very detailed symptoms. Be sure to note the food and how much of the food caused the problem.
- Call your doctor – Bring your log with you and tell your doctor all about it. He will do an exam and further testing.
- Blood Test – If your doctor suspects a food allergy, the doctor will most likely send you for a blood test. A blood test measure’s your immune system’s response to certain foods known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. However, these blood tests aren’t always accurate, and produce false positives.
- Skin Test – This is typically performed on the back for children, and on the inner arms for adults. Your skin is pricked with a very tiny needle, and a tiny amount of the allergens are placed beneath your skin’s surface. If you are allergic to something, an itchy raised bump will form. The doctor will rate the size of the bump with the severity of the allergy.
- Restricted Diet – Depending on your results, you will be asked to remove certain foods from your diet. If the doctor thinks that you may have an intolerance or sensitivity rather than an allergy, he may ask you to remove certain foods from your diet, and gradually add them back in to check for specific symptoms when reintroduced. This will narrow down which foods specifically are causing the problem. If you are truly allergic, the doctor will recommend the food be eliminated from your diet completely.
- Oral Tolerance Test – This test is done in your doctor’s office or a clinical environment, where doctor’s are prepared with emergency medication. A small amount of the allergen is given to the patient to ingest. Typically they start with a very, very tiny amount of the allergen. If that it tolerated, then increasing amounts are given at set time intervals, typically a every half hour or so. If you don’t have a reaction during this test, you can typically begin including this food back into your diet again.
Your Saliva On Pacifiers Can Ward Off Childhood Allergies, Asthma, & Eczema
In an article posted on Medical News Today, researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweeden, reported in the Journal Pediatrics (May 6th, 2013 issue) that cleaning your babies pacifier by sucking it, you may reduce your infant’s risk of developing allergies, asthma, and eczema!
You can read the article here
First Dates and Revealing Health Issues or Special Diets
Review: Hope Paige Medical ID Marketplace
I am a firm believer that Medical Bracelets are necessary for any child with a life threatening food allergy. Any allergy doctor will tell you that, and there are so many benefits to having one. I honestly cannot think of a reason for a severely allergic child not to wear one. It is one of the only ways for people, medical or not, to be alerted to Bean’s severe peanut allergy in case she cannot speak. If, God forbid, Bean accidentally ingested something with peanuts, and had a severe reaction due to her asthma, and could not speak, she can always point to her bracelet to alert people of what is going on.
Bean will be eight years old in July, and is in second grade. She is my little fashionista. She worries about her clothes, matching outfits, wearing matching shoes, and trying to accessorize her outfits. More and more she has been asking if she HAS to wear her allergy bracelet. The type she has been wearing, since she was 18 months old, is a plain stainless steel one. As a toddler and preschooler, she loved her medical alert bracelet. It was shiny and she felt important and special wearing it. As she is getting older though, she tells me it’s ugly, doesn’t match with her outfit, or it’s boring, and she doesn’t want to wear it. I find myself constantly telling her that she MUST wear her bracelet. It is a medical bracelet, and it’s not meant to be fashionable or pretty. It is there for a specific reason, not as an accessory!
Then Hope Paige Medical ID Marketplace came along! They sent Bean a Pink Aluminum Design Bracelet to try out. Pink is Bean’s favorite color! When she first saw it, she was thrilled that it was pink, and told me she “LOVED IT!!” She asked right away to put it on. She has not complained about wearing it, and has been wearing pink every day to match it. I asked her what she likes about it, and she said, “I love the cool design on the chain. It looks like a pretty bracelet, not just a medical bracelet.”
When it arrived, the first thing I thought was that the container it came in was a great idea! It is a great place to keep her bracelet if she does have to take it off. Currently, her old bracelet is being stored in it, while she wears her new bracelet. I like that it has the Hope Paige label on the top and it is easily identifiable as a place to hold her bracelet. No throwing it on her dresser, on a counter, etc. She knows to put it in the container, if she does take it off, which is rare, and it has a secure lid, so it won’t get lost.
The clasp is a lobster claw, and I had some reservations about it getting caught on clothes, or accidentally opening, however so far, it has not opened up or gotten caught on anything. I am happily surprised. Bean went to gymnastics practice, and she is not allowed to wear her medical bracelet there, and it was so simple to get the clasp open and take off the bracelet, and put it back on when practice was done. I have told her repeatedly that although it is easy to get off, she needs to keep it on and wear it all the time. Her response was, “I know Mom. I don’t want to take it off. It’s pretty!”
The outside plate is not engraved, and just has the medical alert symbol, however the backside that sits against her wrist is engraved, and has 3 lines, with up to 22 characters per line. When looking online, the site does not specify which side of the bracelet would be engraved. I assumed it would be the front, where everyone could see. However, when it arrived, the underside that sits against her wrist was engraved. My husband pointed out, if the front were engraved it would get all scratched up and might be difficult to read, while the underside against her wrist will not.
The backside says:
Severe Peanut Allergy
The most important thing to me is that she is safe, and that she wears her medical alert bracelet. Since she loves this one, I don’t have to argue or discuss why she needs to keep it on. She wants to wear it all the time, rather than she has to wear it, and that gives me peace of mind that she will keep it on.
Hope Paige Medical ID Marketplace offers several options for children, teens, and adults. They even have a design a bracelet options to make your own fashionable medical ID. They also offer Text ID which is a neat idea too! Looking for a discount? Here ya go!
Disclaimer: My daughter was provided a medical alert bracelet, in exchange for our honest opinions of their products. I was not financially compensated in any way. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Where can gluten hide?
Recently, I posted about the strangest places that we have found gluten since living gluten free, and realized that there are a lot of places that people may not think about to check. Here is a quick list of where to find it and how to avoid cross contamination at home.
First, is to obviously remove all your basic food products that contain gluten. This will typically be your cereals, oatmeals, pastas, bread and bread based products. But, also make sure that any opened spread you have, peanut butter, jelly, jams, sauces or butter, that have been touched by a knife that has been put to bread get tossed. There is no telling whether or not these spreads are safe since bread particles could have been transferred over. This goes for cream cheese as well. When in doubt, throw it out! Your health is much more important that trying to salvage something.
Check your appliances! Toasters and toaster ovens will never be clean enough to use safely again. REplace them for peace of mind. Also, check your pots and pans. If there are scratches on your pots or pans that have previously contained gluten items, get rid of those too. There is no way to be sure that you have cleaned every tiny crevice well enough that gluten is not hiding in there.
Cleaning supplies! This can be tricky, because many times, companies do not list their ingredients completely on the labels. You will need to check your cleaning chemicals, detergents, dish soap, dishwasher soap and anything else you use. If the product does not specify, call the company and find out. Or, you can go with more specialized gluten free or all natural companies instead of conventional ones. Just remember, routinely check your products because companies can change their formulas at any time.
Now it is time to check those bathroom products! Make up, sunscreens, lotions, perfumes, deodorants, body sprays, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, self tanners, tanning lotions, hair dyes, even bug sprays. Check all of these things, and be diligent in keeping up with any manufacturing changes. They happen a lot in this area.
And probably one of the worst places gluten can hide, in is your medications and supplements. Check all your OTC medications, everything from pain medicine, to allergy medicine, to cough syrup. Usually medications that are safe will say gluten free on the label. Check supplements too, especially kid vitamins. If you are on prescription medications, be sure to ask your doctor about the gluten content of your medications. Often, if there is, your doctor can set you up on a different course of treatment to avoid it. Just be careful about asking pharmacists, in my experience they often are not as well versed in medication contents and gluten. Obviously, this does not mean that there aren’t some that do know, but in my experiences, I have often found that I am more well versed in the topic than they tend to be.
One more area…pet foods! Depending on your level of sensitivity, it may be best for you to feed your pet gluten free as well. I have heard of people having reactions from pets who eat gluten. Often times it winds up being s skin reaction once the pet has licked the affected person. This is not something that effects us directly. But this is something that you will want to think about depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Hope this helps, please let me know if there are any places that I may have missed!
Does your child wear a medical ID?
My daughter, Bean, was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy and mild egg allergy when she was 18 months old. Our allergist told us that she should be wearing a medical alert bracelet. My husband and I discussed it, and decided that it was a good idea. Not only was she very young, and unable to really understand or communicate her allergy, but also these other key reasons…
- In an emergency, when you might not be able to speak for yourself, a medical ID bracelet or necklace speaks for you.
- Symptoms of common ailments can easily be misdiagnosed. Prompt diagnosis is critical to effective treatment. A brief description of vital medical facts engraved on your medical ID ensures appropriate and timely medical care.
- According to a published study, half of all medical errors occur because of mistakes made upon admission or discharge from the hospital. Wearing a medical ID protects against potentially harmful medical errors.
- More than 95 percent of emergency responders look for a medical ID; more than 75 percent check for a medical ID immediately upon assessing the patient. If you`re wearing a medical ID, it won`t be missed.
- Medical IDs alert people to a serious condition and can eliminate trips to the hospital, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and prevent minor emergencies from becoming major ones. Medical IDs save lives! One day, a medical ID may save you.
I am big on what if-ing everything, and the other things that ran through my mind were, “what if we were in a car accident, and we couldn’t communicate?” “what if she ever got separated from us?” “what if she was not with us and accidentally ingested her allergen and was having trouble breathing and talking?” How would someone know? At least if she had on a medical ID, she could point to it and alert anyone of her allergy. I, personally, feel that anyone with any life threatening allergy, should wear a medical ID. It is a necessity!
So, after scouring the internet, we decided to purchase an allergy bracelet through American Medical ID. The one we purchased was a Stainless Steel Small Classic Bracelet. It offered all the options we wanted, and the price was fantastic. We were able to choose the type of bracelet, type of chain, length of chain, and the type of clasp. We loved that we could have it engraved on both sides with whatever information we wanted, and since it was stainless steel it would stand up to whatever wear and tear Bean put it through. Another huge plus was that she could wear it in the tub, pool, or playing in the water, and it dries quickly and easily.
For Bean’s first bracelet, the front was engraved to say “Allergies: Mild Egg, Severe Peanut, ER: Use Epipen & Call 911”. On the backside, that laid flat against her wrist, we included her name, birth date, and three emergency phone numbers. This backside information is kept hidden unless the bracelet is specifically flipped over to be viewed. Once she outgrew her egg allergy, we got her a new bracelet that said, “Severe Peanut Allergy, In Emergency Use Epipen, Call 911”. American Medical ID is typically running a buy one, get one 50% off special, so we took advantage of it and also purchased her Stainless Steel Classic Red Small Nylon Sportband also.
THEN we found out about her asthma, and how having asthma increases Bean’s chances for an even more severe anaphylactic reaction. The front of her current bracelet is engraved to say “Severe Peanut Allergy & Asthma, Use EpiPen, Call 911”. On the underside, it is engraved with her name, birth date, and three emergency phone numbers.
The backside of the bracelet has a lot of personal information, so I am not including a picture, however I have included a generic version of what is printed on the back. As you can see the front and back have plenty of room for all of your necessary information!
We chose the safety hook clasp. It is wonderful! It does not get snagged on anything or accidentally open up, and it is flat, so it’s comfortable for her to wear on her wrist. We have never lost a bracelet! Also, we leave some of the chain hanging in case of growth spurts, we can just move the clasp down a few links to make it fit her longer.
American Medical ID has several options for bracelets including leather, nylon, sterling silver, silicone, titanium, and gold. They also offer necklaces including charms, pendants, and dog tags. You can choose your chain length, and each item can be personalized with engraving. They also offer USB ID’s! Your most important information can be engraved on the surface, and the rest of your info can be stored on the USB flash drive portable personal health file.
American Medical ID also offers MyIHR. MyIHR allows you to create an Interactive Health Record that will provide emergency personnel with your name, address, emergency contacts, health insurance, conditions, medications, allergies, and more. It is available to Emergency Personnel 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via the website AND telephone.
Check out their website for lots more great things like free medical logs, polishing cloths, magnets, stickers, key chains. They are all under the accessories tab.
Don’t forget to look under their HOT DEALS tab for more great buys! I highly recommend American Medical ID for all of your medical ID needs!
Disclaimer: American Medical ID provided me with a free medical ID bracelet for my daughter, in exchange for my honest opinions of their products. I was not financially compensated in any way. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Allergies and Chiropractic Care
In addition to having issues with gluten, both my children ( and myself) have environmental and seasonal allergies. And while there are literally thousands of things that fall into these categories, sometimes I feel like we may have wound up with reactions to a good percentage of them. For awhile we had been on the seemingly never-ending cycle of allergy medicines that did not quite work well enough and overly tired, crabby kids due to the medication. On top of that, I would typically limit our time outside, knowing that the longer we were out, the worse it would be for the kids later. Now, my kids are the kind that would be perfectly happy living outside, if there was a way to do it, so cutting their time outside short never ended well for any of us.
That is when my husband and I began to look into other options for treatment. This is what lead us to natural medicine, including chiropractic. After a long period of research and continuous learning, we now choose to treat our children naturally and homeopathically whenever possible ( by this I mean that if there was a serious condition going on I would of course bring my children to their traditional pediatrician). While starting down this new path, we can across the idea of chiropractic. I had previously always thought it was something that either older people or people with back problems used. I never realized the vast amount of conditions that chiropractic can help treat, and actually prevent.
We did our research and had meetings with multiple chiropractors before we found one that was the right fit for our family. Before we even told him our concerns, he was able to look at the kids and pinpoint a lot of their conditions, which amazed me. He then explained to us that our bodies have this insane healing ability that most of us are not aware of, and once everything is in alignment, our body is able to take back over and work on healing. We spoke of the laundry list of things that I was concerned about with the kids, and myself, and we got to work on a treatment plan.
Soon, we were all going for regular adjustments. After the first adjustment, I noticed amazing results in the kids. Temperaments were better, they slept better, they even ate better. As time went on, I began to see a drastic reduction in the way they responded to their typical allergens. Reactions were far less severe and medication was rarely necessary. Of course, our chiropractor advised us that the likelihood of a “cure” for their allergies was far-fetched, and not something we should be anticipating. But, he also let us know that with continued adjustments, we can help keep their reactions at bay, since their bodies are better able to handle being exposed to the allergen.
We now continue to go for regular adjustments and check ups. We use a homeopathic allergen blocker right under their noses on days we know the mold and pollen counts are high, which helps keep those days less severe. We still keep Benadryl on hand, just in case we have a bad day or two, but I can honestly say I could not tell you the last time I needed to use it for seasonal and environmental reactions.
I am well aware that chiropractic care is not something that everyone is open to. However, if you are, and if your family and children are, do your research and think about adding this to your treatment plan. For us, it has made all the difference in the world.