How to be Nutfree, Mom Things

Moroccan Oil Hairspray – Update

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Happy Holidays!

Each day I review nutfreemomblog statistics, and 9 times out of 10, someone has clicked or google searched my “Moroccan Oil” article about my daughter and her reaction to the Moroccan Oil hairspray last year. Today, I decided to do some investigating because I felt like my last write up was just a rant and did not prove to be useful.

This morning at 9am CST, I called Moroccan Oil corporate and talked with customer service. I asked the woman why Moroccan oil did not contain an allergy statement on their hair spray products, specifically stating “this product is derived from a tree nut.”

She said, “People with nut allergies should not be allergic to Moroccan oil products since it’s derived from a seed, not a nut.”

I continued to point out that their very own website states that:

Argan trees grow and tenaciously survive in semi-desert areas of the Mediterranean. The deep roots and small leaves of the argan tree allow it to resist arid winds and water loss, resulting in a nut with a unique oil profile.

Pure argan oil is a rare and precious oil that is harvested and extracted from the nut of the argan tree. For centuries, women across the Mediterranean have used argan oil in their beauty regimen for vibrant, healthy-looking skin and hair.

I asked again why there is no warning since most people do not know that an Argan Tree is a nut producing tree in the Mediterranean. With 35% of consumers having a nut allergy, I think it’s fair to say that people should at least be warned what is inside the products they are using and the reaction that could happen.  Aveda does this for consumers, why can’t Moroccan Oil?

The customer service person also told me that all allergy information is listed on the back of the bottles of their products. I disagreed. Unknown (non-layman) names of ingredients and chemicals are listed, but does not specifically list out Almond, Argon Nut, etc.

What I do know is that my nut allergic daughter had a specific reaction to this product. Our home is allergy free for her, and when I sprayed her hair for her 6th birthday with perfect ringlets last January, she broke out in a rash around her mouth, neck and cheeks. After washing her hair, he rash and redness went away. Direct correlation.

This product caused her to have a reaction and I wonder if others are having the same reaction or wondering if they are allergic to this product, thus the number of hits my specific blog post has been receiving. There is no other information available for this product.

These types of cosmetics are not FDA Approved, either.

FDA Authority Over Cosmetics: How Cosmetics Are Not FDA-Approved, but Are FDA-Regulated

The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market, but there are laws and regulations that apply to cosmetics on the market in interstate commerce.

The two most important laws pertaining to cosmetics marketed in the United States are the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). FDA regulates cosmetics under the authority of these laws.

In the United States, federal laws are enacted by Congress. In order to make the laws work on a day-to-day level, Congress authorizes certain government agencies. such as FDA, to create regulations. A change in FDA’s legal authority over cosmetics would require Congress to change the law.

The FDA does not approve labeling either. Click the link below to see what the FDA does NOT do for the cosmetic industry.

Does FDA pre-approve cosmetic product labeling?

No. FDA does not have the resources or authority under the law for pre-market approval of cosmetic product labeling. It is the manufacturer’s and/or distributor’s responsibility to ensure that products are labeled properly. Failure to comply with labeling requirements may result in a misbranded product.

I’m working on sending an email to show how many hits my blog has received from readers looking for more information on the allergies in the Moroccan Oil hair products. Once I receive a response, I will post it here, with a link from the home page.

Thanks for stopping by. And for the record, I really do like Moroccan Oil hair products. I think they do great things and the smell is incredible. We just cant use them, and I want them to add an allergy statement to their products so people with allergies can make informed decisions.

How to be Nutfree, Mom Things, Travel

FABlogCon 2017

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If you love Denver as much as I do, and you have food allergies, or know someone with food allergies, this conference is for you!! Just check out this three day agenda:

FABlogcon 2017

This year’s food allergy bloggers conference has quite the line up – and it’s located in beautiful Stapleton, CO, easy to get to from the airport via rail.

Don’t forget to put out your teal pumpkin this year!

 

xoxo

 

Birthday Parties, How to be Nutfree, School Safe List, Snacking, Uncategorized

School Safe Treat Box

20170818_150058.jpgIt’s back-to-school time! If your child has food allergies, now is the time to be pro-active and get your plans and snacks in place. Here’s how we prepare:

  1. Contact the school nurse/office and keep an EPI-PEN on file at the front desk.
  2. Make sure all medical forms are filled out and complete with the front office.
  3. Know your school’s allergy policy. Make sure there is an allergy policy.
  4. Make contact with the child’s teacher (s) and make sure they all know about your child’s allergy, and what the steps are to keep him/her safe. Keep it simple here.
  5. Talk to your child about saying “no” to all classroom treats. This is tough, but it’s the ONLY way to stay safe at school.
  6. Use an allergy bracelet for your child.
  7. Keep an EPI-PEN inside your child’s backpack at all times so it is easily accessible. I like to keep ours in an AllerMates case – it has our phone number and contact information inside.
  8. Build the treat box and have fun with it. We decorated ours with stickers, and I made a special trip to the grocery store with just my daughter so she could take her time choosing treats. They better be good, after all, they are replacing classroom birthday treats! That’s a big deal!

Our treat box is filled with:

  1. Simply Balanced fruit leathers from Target
  2. Hostess Ding-Dongs
  3. Little Bites Brownies
  4. Little Bites Party Cakes
  5. Enjoy Life Chocolate Candy-Bars

Our treat box will be kept inside the classroom for the entire school year. These snacks will replace Birthday treats, holiday treats, party treats and any other time a treat or snack is brought into the class. We used the same size last year and only had to fill it one time. At the end of the year, we had about 6 treats left over.

I also like to reference this website to help prepare for the school year. It can be especially helpful if your school doesn’t have a comprehensive allergy policy.

Food Allergy Resource Center  – I thought this article below was a good reminder, too.

Food Allergy Tips for Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTOs) and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs).
Today, one in 13 children has food allergies, and nearly 40 percent of these children have experienced a severe or lifethreatening reaction. Many of these reactions happen at school. Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTOs) and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) are a vital part of the school community, providing an organized family and community component.

As a PTO or PTA leader, you can be a powerful voice for your children and other children, advocating for their health, safety, education and overall well-being.
Children with food allergies need your support to ensure their safety and inclusion. From classroom parties, to school family nights, to after-school fundraisers, keep in mind that all students in the community should be able to participate safely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published National Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools, available at http://www.foodallergy.org/CDC. The recommendations below are a few examples of recommended
practices to help ensure students with food allergies are safely included. We encourage you to review the complete list of the CDC’s Recommended Practices, on pages 41–43 of the guidelines available at http://www.foodallergy.org/CDC.
• Avoid the use of identified allergens in class parties, holidays, celebrations, crafts, snacks or rewards.
• Use non-food incentives for prizes, gifts, awards, and fundraisers.
• When possible, avoid ordering foods from restaurants because food allergens may be present, but unrecognized.
Have ingredient information readily available for all pre-packaged and/or catered food items.
• Do not exclude children with food allergies from events or extra-curricular activities.
• Make sure that food allergy policies and practices address foods available during fundraisers, class parties, at
athletic events and during after-school programs.
• Have rapid access to epinephrine auto-injectors in cases of emergency and train staff to use them.

Did you know?

Food allergies may constitute a disability under the law. Children with food allergies are entitled to an equal opportunity to participate in all school programs and events including extra-curricular activities. This usually applies to activities held by groups such as PTOs and PTAs. (See Section 5 of the CDC guidelines for more information on federal laws that pertain to food allergies.)

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Sun flowers are so important to us nut allergic families. Sun butter is our alternative to peanut butter.

Have a great first day back to school. I hope your preparations put your mind at ease a little.

 

How to be Nutfree, Snacking, Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Cross-Contact vs. Cross-Contamination

Uggg. I wish I could turn this side of my brain off, but I can’t. These two terms have been spinning in my head for the better part of this week now. I have wanted so badly to define them and talk about them, and it seems like this is the best place for that. So, cozy up. Here’s what’s on my mind. What a sexy Saturday night this is! Atleast HBO is on. And I have ice cream. mmmmmm.

What is cross-contact?

Cross-contact happens when one food comes into contact with another food and their proteins mix. As a result, each food then contains small amounts of the other food. These amounts are so small that they usually can’t be seen. Even this tiny amount of food protein has caused reactions in people with food allergies! The term “cross-contact” is fairly new. Some people may call this “cross-contamination.”

Types of cross-contact:

Direct: Allergen was applied then removed.

  • Peeling cheese off a cheeseburger to make it a hamburger
  • Removing shrimp from a salad
  • Scraping peanut butter off a piece of bread and using it to make a different sandwich

Indirect: Cross-Contact (allergen was not directly applied)

  • Using the same spatula that flipped a cheeseburger to flip a hamburger
  •  Not washing hands after handling shrimp before making the next salad
  •  Wiping off—not properly cleaning—a knife used to spread peanut butter before using it to spread jelly

Why don’t we use the term cross-contamination?

Cross-contamination usually refers to bacteria or viruses that get on food and make it unsafe to eat. In cross-contamination, cooking the food will lower the chance of a person getting sick. This is not the same with food allergies and cross-contact. Cooking does not remove an allergen from a food! The only way to stop you from having a reaction is to avoid the food and carefully clean anything that came in contact with it using soap and water.

How to stop cross-contact?

  1. Your cutting boards + never use a wooden cutting board
  2. Wash your hands, especially if recently handling the allergen
  3. Wash your sink out
    1. (SPLASH ZONES!!! – if you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then wash the peanut butter knife in your sink, your sink now contains peanut protein. If you’re thinking about serving fresh fruit for snack time to share, and rinse your fruit in this sink, your fruit has now been exposed to the peanut protein unless you wash your sink out first. Everything must be sanitized after the allergen has been present.
    2. Clean all surfaces + cooking utensils

How to clean:

Use hot, soapy water with a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe kitchen surfaces and counters. Wash cloths used for cleaning in the hot cycle of your washing machine often (when was the last time you did that?). You can sanitize sponges with a quick zap in the microwave or dishwasher, but you should still replace them often since they harbor bacteria.

Also, scrub down counters and dishes every time you prep a food and before moving on to the next item. One high-power solution is a mix of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of water. Use that to sanitize surfaces and utensils.

—-all of this information is from the CDC + Foodnetwork.com + FoodAllergy.com (FARE)

So, as you can see, it’s pretty easy for cross contact to happen. There are many places for this to occur. This is why we have to be vigilant and why us allergy parents can seem crazy when we’re figuring out what to serve our kids!

Whew. Well, glad that’s unloaded and off my brain. Time to go snuggle my little bunny. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have something less serious and more delicious to write about.

How to be Nutfree, Travel, Uncategorized

Nut-free Vacation Planning

Pre-kids, my husband and I had grand expectations of worldly travels with kids in tow eating baby crêpes in Paris and schnitzel in Stuttgart, and Bangers and Mash with a few pints in the UK. Then, reality set in.

Colicy baby, an entire vacation cancelled last minute due to whooping cough. Eventually a nut allergy diagnosis. Bad colds, never ending sick kids. Ear infections on top of ear infections and exhausted parents. We quickly learned that our dreams of extravagant travel were pretty far off in the distance. If we wanted to actually enjoy it, anyway.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, or something.

We have adapted over the past 6 years and have found things that work for us that we consider”fun” travel.

  1. Low key trips “up north” Wisconsin
  2. Visit family 
  3. Kid friendly states; Tennessee + Colorado
  4. Museums and aquariums
  5. State parks
  6. And Disney, for when you’re missing the world and want to feel “fancy”

So that brings me to #6. This year marks our third time to Disney in 6 years. Partly, we love Disney. Mostly, we have severe food allergies, and Disney has it handled, like a boss. 

Today, we logged on to My Disney Experience and selected a few activities, and meal reservations. After choosing the time, restaurant and guests, we were prompted to add food allergy information. We can also view all food menus and allergy information way before we get into the park. Disney also has first aide stations clearly marked incase we come in contact with our allergy. Not to worry, we generally pack 3 twin packs and loads of benadryl.

Today’s post is me tooting Disney’s horn for being over the top excellent about handling our precious children and their various dietary needs. Thank you, Disney, for making this trip the most stress free trip we will take all year. From the Magical Express airport pick up, luggage handling, kid camps, spas and delicious dining, it’s all covered so we can enjoy 100% family time. 

How to be Nutfree, Snacking, Uncategorized

Non-safe Snack Update

Hostess recently made a change to their HoHo’s. They have added Peanut Flour. Peanut Flour has been in the news lately, many processed food manufacturers have decided to go this route for whatever reason. It’s a huge deal for us in the allergy world because we get used to buying certain snack items. This is just another reason to always check the labels, don’t get too comfortable with your favorite snack items!

Rold Gold Pretzels, Zingers and DingDongs are also in this same manufacturing facility. Out of an abundance of caution, we’re no longer including these snack items on our safe list. So summarize we’re removing these items from our “safe list”:

  1. Rold Gold Prezels, snack size or regular
  2. Hostess HoHos
  3. Hostess Zingers
  4. Hostess DingDongs
How to be Nutfree, Mom Things, Travel, Uncategorized

First Independent Play Date

When you have a child with life-threatening food allergies, leaving your child alone, for any amount of time, is anxiety provoking. Luckily for us, Chloe’s friends and their families have all been amazing and over the top careful about her food allergies. Here’s what we did to prepare for this HUGE step of independence for her:

  1.  We decided to invite her new friend over to our home first. This allowed us to talk as a family with her friend and her family about our serious food allergies. This conversation was a great ice breaker and allowed us to talk openly about many things parents have concerns about.
  2. After the first play date at our home, Chloe had her first play date at her friends house.

It was a beautiful Friday afternoon. Chloe was over the moon excited. I was trying to stay optimistic the entire time – she was so happy to see her friend. Suddenly, I remembered the conversation that I had wanted to have with her before we left regarding nuts. She had NO IDEA what nuts actually looked like – she definitely knew the names of the nuts that she’s allergic to, but she’d never actually seen a walnut, pistachio, shelled peanut, cashew. We jumped online and saw a few pictures together before packing her purse with a safe snack, EpiPen and Benadryl.

Once I dropped her off, I didn’t go home. I couldn’t. It felt to far. Instead, I opted to do some grocery shopping nearby and check my phone every 5 minutes. It’s hard. It’s hard knowing your child has this life-threatening allergy and leave them in the care of someone else, even though I trust them immensely. I have seen my daughter have two episodes of anaphylaxis. We know for a fact that her allergies are serious. Life-threatening. She swells up and is unable to breathe if she comes in contact with these foods.

Cross-contamination happens so easily and if you’re not “in it” — in the allergy world, reading all the labels, communicating with the manufacturers, realizing that not all labels are created equal and peanut free does not mean nut free, just knowing all these silly allergy rules! I’d much rather spend my time reading ANYTHING other than damn food labels and websites! But for now, my daughter depends on me to know these things in order to keep her safe. And I will. Forever, even when she’s grown, help her understand her allergy and manage it as safely and effectively as possible.

She rocked her first independent play date, like I knew she would. She had fun with her friend, and that’s what mattered.