Posts Tagged ‘anaphylaxis’

The Cure for Food Allergies – Update

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

So it’s now a year since we began our BIE treatments and we are still very curious about this simple, non-invasive and non-exposing approach to curing food allergies.  The process involves lying down, sending small electrical impulses through your meridians (like acupuncture but just touching your skin) while the allergen sits in a glass jar on the electrical machine.  The energy frequency of the allergen is re-introduced into your body and is being re-taught to accept that allergen – but NEVER is any allergen actually exposed to our kids.

We were hoping to test the boys this fall with blood work, but we were told by our BIE practitioner that there is a newly developed booster treatment that needed to be performed.  We went for that treatment last week. We should book blood work for the Spring.

So now we wait until the Spring.  I can say , that I continue to be able to eat dairy, as my Lactose Intolerance is now gone!  For my kids – anaphylaxis requires more patience and the extra booster.  Keeping fingers crossed for 4 more months…

Curing Food Allergies or False Hope – Our Journey Begins…Part 2

Friday, December 9th, 2011

By Steve Rosenbaum, President of AllerDine.com

The next day after my muscle test, my father-in-law tells me of a great way to cure food allergies. He talks about energy, muscle tests and how you reset the body to accept the allergen etc…

For 6 months, we did nothing, either too busy or too skeptical. On Saturday that all changed. We took our boys to this small office and began to understand the process even further. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO INGESTION OF ANY ALLERGEN OR ANY FOOD AT ALL! This was the first point explained to us once again. The practitioner called herself a Quack! She understood that Western medicine is much easier for us to understand. When talking about energy, flow and meridians, most people think this is NUTS!

Step 1: A Bottle of YOUR Allergen

The practitioner took a glass jar of our allergen (Sesame) and put it on the electrical machine’s tray. She then took a tube filled with Sesame oil and placed it on the tray. Nothing was ever released out of the bottle or tube. They just sat their on a metal tray attached to this electrical current machine.

Step 2: Gentle Electrical Pulses

She explained that the same acupuncture pressure points that are used in acupuncture are the areas she also focuses on with her electrical impulse machine. She just touches the end of this metal wand, gently on these points of our body while we hold a metal rod in our hand. The treatment lasts 15 minutes and we require 3 treatments to cure each allergy. Some allergies like Tree Nuts can be combined (ie. Almond, cashew and pistachio) while others like Peanut or Sesame cannot be combined for us as they are most severe and we should focus on each individually.

We would then need to wait at least a year for the body to rid itself of the IgE antibodies, visit the allergist and test for the allergy – it sounded so crazy…could it actually be true? No more allergies…Don’t go their yet – I said to myself quietly!

The First Treatment:

Our older son went first, while the younger one sat there VERY concerned. He lay down on a massage table on his back. He held the metal rod in his left hand. The practitioner turned on the machine and began to touch his facial points. It tickled a bit but didn’t hurt at all and he was done in a jiffy!

My other son took more convincing but again the same process occurred but for his Peanut allergy first, as he isn’t allergic to sesame. No lingering effects after the treatment, except one…

We did the muscle test on both boys before and after the treatment. Before the treatment, we could easily separate their fingers. After the treatment it was much more difficult, both times they were holding the allergens (in jars) in their hands close to their chest. The bodies energy was not weakened by the allergen after the treatment….Hmmmm?

That was week one!

Next Week: Treatment 2 with pictures!

Curing Food Allergies or False Hope – Our Journey Begins…

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

By Steve Rosenbaum, President of AllerDine.com

We have two children severely allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame. Our hopes for a cure began this past Saturday…for the next year, we will share with you our journey into the unknown…curing my children’s food allergies.

Six months ago, I was at a health food store and one of the staff members performed a “muscle test” to show that I was not going get an upset stomach due to my lactose intolerance from my desired purchase of a Whey Protein powder where other brands of whey protein normally cause symptoms. For most of us, a Muscle Test sounds more like a fitness test than anything to do with allergies.

Here is what a muscle test is…and I do apologize if I don’t get it 100% accurate. Every object in our universe is made up of energy (protons, neutrons and electrons), and as a result, every object has an energy frequency. For example, colors of clothing or fabric, have different frequencies that reflect light to create a specific color. Peanuts, Tree Nuts and my Whey protein also have a specific frequency or energy that when held close to your body (ie against your chest), join your body’s natural energy frequency.

Objects that your body’s energy rejects will disrupt your energy flow and make you weaker. Objects that your body’s energy accepts will keep your energy whole and you remain strong.

When I held the bottle of protein, my body remained strong. When I was given another item (I can’t remember what it was), but it was clearly not good for me (and they knew this)…I became weaker. The test of strength was to separate two fingers (your thumb and finger next to your pinky). While holding the tips of these two fingers tight, if someone can easily open them apart, you are holding something that weakens you. If you remain strong and firm, the object is accepted by your body.

Needless to say, I have been enjoying my Whey Protein daily ever since…

Next Blog: The bigger challenge – my children’s allergies!  Pictures to come…

Dine IN over the holidays and give yourself a break!

Monday, December 5th, 2011

 

Having friends and family over during the holiday season? We just finished a take-out dinner for 12 from one of our preferred restaurants – Canyon Creek in Vaughan ON and the food was safe, tasty and with no work on our part. The cost was similar to cooking it your self and had no clean up.

Having severe food allergies can limit your social activities. By having our friends over for dinner, the younger kids could play while the adults talked. No worry about waiters, noisy ambience etc… Each person had an individually wrapped meal and we all shared the fries!  We ordered early (3pm) and picked up the food at 5.  Canyon Creek baked the french fries, grilled steaks on silver foil and prepared the pastas in a fresh pot of water.  Thanks Canyon Creek!

Over the Holidays, give yourself a break and take-out from your favorite restaurant.

Scratch Tests tell little…and tell a lot!!

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

After 15 minutes this is the reaction from a small drop of tahini paste

So after 3 years of a Sesame allergy and numerous scratch tests, we had hope that our oldest son would grow out of his sesame allergy.  What makes sesame difficult is that the FDA does not recognize it as a top allergen and therefore most restaurants and some food manufacturers don’t label or document it in ingredients.  It is also very hard to find bread that is made in a bakery without sesame.

Our allergist, after a recent scratch test, decided to run the blood work to examine sesame further in my son since the results of the scratch test were inconclusive.  The blood work supported this uncertainty.  The only way to remove doubt about his allergy was a food challenge.

This past Friday,  up at the crack of dawn, we went to the hospital with our allergist to test sesame.  The good news was that we didn’t have to stay right through the full process because we never got started. For the food challenge w e brought with us Tahini paste that is pure sesame seeds crushed up.

We were very nervous and didn’t know what to expect.  Our allergist was very confident with the process and as an initial step, she took a sample of the paste and ran a scratch test.  To everyone’s surprise,  the skin reaction to the scratch test was HUGE.  We had never seen HIVES jump from the original circle.  See the Image included.    At this point we stopped the process and never made it to the food challenge.

What can we conclude from this experience…

1. The scratch test with the real food before the challenge was a wise decision on the part of our allergist.

2. The difference in scratch results when we looked at the allergen in its purest form, as compared to the Scratch tests done with fabricated or diluted samples makes me wonder why there is so much unknown about reactions.  Was it the purity of the allergen? Was it my son’s immune system changes?  No one knows…ask your allergist and let us know their thoughts!

Based on our experience,we will ask our allergist if bringing the purest form of the allergen when we are scratch testing is better than relying on the diluted samples they have had sitting in their offices for months?

We continue to seek out answers to our allergies and it seems that the more we learn, the more questions and uncertainty is presented to us.   Thankfully our allergist has the right process and did not expose our son to sesame in a food challenge.

Hope we can all learn from these experiences…please share your allergist experiences too!

Steve Rosenbaum

Father of 2 allergic boys (and one not allergic…go figure!) and Founder of AllerDine.com

Eating out and traveling can be scary, OR it can be an amazing memory to cherish if you plan in advance — with AllerDine.com

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

WOW!  What a fabulous weekend at the FAAN Food Allergy Conference in Chicago April 14 & 15!  Such a wonderful experience to meet in person all of those we have been connecting with on Facebook, Twitter, via websites & email. It was such a pleasure being around so many people who actually “get it” and who “get” each one of us dealing with food allergies, and what we go through every day.

Having the opportunity to be in Chicago for the conference, we decided to extend our stay over the weekend, bring our families and take on the town.  In general, Chicago is an amazing city to visit!  The drive for is always well worth the trip, and we never seem to do the same thing twice.  Between the fabulous shows, museums, zoos, the aquarium, shopping, Navy Pier, the Willis/Sears Tower (one of  the tallest buildings in the world), the John Hancock building, the beach on Lake Michigan and so much more, there are numerous places to visit.  Chicago has many food allergy friendly places listed on www.AllerDine.com, including a few fan favorites: The American Girl CafeKim and Scott’s Café Twist and Bistro 110, all which do not have any peanuts.

So how do you pick a hotel?  Our recommendation is just make sure that you have a clean hotel with a refrigerator and ideally a microwave. This way you can either bring some of your food or shop nearby to eat in the room sometimes and have food on hand for backup.  Always wipe down the refrigerator and any other questionable surfaces just to be sure there is no food residue.

So here’s the play-by-play on our amazing trip…

We stayed at the Hyatt Lodge on the McDonald University Campus in Oak Brook – about a ½ hour outside the downtown Chicago area. (BTW – We’ve stayed in the city too on past trips at Hyatt or Hilton, but this conference was out at the McDonald University Campus).  They Hyatt Lodge staff were very accommodating with food allergies. We connected with them ahead of time and Chef Josh answered several of our emails asking specific food allergy questions.  We found many items that we were able to eat and safely too, but actually just ended up ordering the pizza although other things were safe too. And well, with the FAAN Conference staff staying there too, we expected nothing less.

After an amazing conference, we decided to hit some sites.  We went out to the Field Museum and saw amazing exhibits, including up close and personal the infamous “Sue” – an actual real tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that was originally found outside of Chicago.  This had to be one of these coolest things to ever see in person!  We also went out to the Shed Aquarium with amazing exhibits, tons of exotic fish and very cool Jellyfish exhibit. On our final day we also went to The Willis Tower – AKA The Sears Tower. To be up so high and look down in a glass window box was so breathtaking!

Well, if that wasn’t good enough, we also ate out! This was an experience we will never forget! With advance research and help from AllerDine.com (yes, we use it for our eating out purposes too!), we decided we wanted to eat out – downtown.

My first step was to look on www.AllerDine.com and find all of the peanut-free restaurants in the area that were highly rated, read how they handle food allergies and each restaurant’s details.

Then I decided to email each of the managers to tell them we wanted to come visit. I shared our specific food allergy needs and asked all of the questions you can find in the AllerDine Restaurant Toolkit to make sure everything was up to date on the website. In addition, I also asked specifically what type of foods we would be able to eat with all of the multiple food allergies we had (we didn’t want the “standard” chicken sautéed in oil with a vegetable on the side).  I also didn’t mention that I worked for AllerDine, only that I saw the profile on the site.  I didn’t want them to feel under pressure, only to see if their answers were consistent to what we had on the site and see if we could eat out at their location with our specific needs.

The next day I received an email back from Steve Rennau the General Manager at Bistro 110.  He answered all of my questions in great detail, down to the specific food items that would be safe and unsafe, sending me a menu along with it, how they have a separate preparation area in the kitchen, that the chef on duty would come out to meet with us at the table to go over everything again, their process and so much more.  He even mentioned that the Executive Chef, Dominique Tougne has two kids with food allergies and all of the staff there is very well trained.  That was truly one of the best emails I have ever received from a restaurant.    The fact that it was also peanut free was key when picking a restaurant for us.  I felt that this was where we should eat.

As the day came and we decided to visit, I called up in advance and asked to speak with Steve (Manager) or Chef Tougne. Neither was in that day, so I spoke with Chef Kate about details.  I was a bit hesitant, but her answers to my questions on the phone were the same as I read in Steve’s email and it set me at ease.  Consistency when answering questions is SO important. I told her we would be there between 3:30pm and 4:30pm since we were going to the Field Museum that day. (It’s always a good idea to try and avoid a busy time). As well, I decided to email her the correspondence between Steve and I so she could see the specific allergens in print vs. trying to remember them all.  I told her there would be two families with 8 people and multiple food allergies for 4 of us (all with peanut, tree nut, sesame, chick pea, coconut, sunflower, one with egg allergies too and one with some fruits as well). I told her I would call on our way in to double check they would be prepared.

Surprisingly, she even emailed me back to tell me she received my email and that she made a reservation with the host noting our allergies on the computer so that if she wasn’t in when we came, that the next Chef and Manager would be prepared.  She even told me that she would personally speak with both Chef Joe and the Manager on duty if we weren’t in before she left.

So far, so good, right? Well it is even more impressive…

One word describes the experience we had – “UNBELIEVEABLE!”  But it’s true!

We called ahead just to let them know we were on our way and that we talked to Chef Kate. The hostess said she saw our reservation and all of the allergens were noted, but Chef Joe was on duty at that point.  I thought to myself, “Ok, we’ll go.  We have back up food just in case we feel uncomfortable with anything.”  We finally arrived at Bistro 110 at 4:30pm, still with some fear and anxiety in us, even though we knew this was an educated decision, with a staff that seemed to be very well prepared for those with food allergies. But nonetheless, these real feelings on nervousness are always still there before each meal eating out.

What a pleasure to see the staff that was prepared from the host, all the way through the entire restaurant. They didn’t want to take any chances and really wanted to accommodate us.  It was raining out, so we couldn’t eat outside as we had hoped.  So they planned to sit us in the restaurant in a section that was not being used yet.  Because the table was set in the morning and they didn’t know what may have happened during the day, they reset the table completely. Using freshly washed hands, they set the table again with a new tablecloth, all fresh clean utensils, glasses, napkins, wiped everything down with a clean wet cloth, printed new menus, used straws from a brand new box and more!  They also use new paper covers on all of the tables over the tablecloths that you can draw on, so they gave us fresh crayons too.

We had also asked for a freshly cleaned water pitcher to have at the table so it wouldn’t be used anywhere else. The Manager thoughtfully brought us a big bottle of Evian water to us to just to make sure there was no possible cross-contaminated in any way.  We didn’t even think of that, and completely appreciated the extra attention to detail!

Managers Jayme Fetmon and Anita Anile, were so attentive, concerned with our needs, and gratious.  As Jessica, our server came over to say hello, Chef Joe popped out and said he would take care of our order personally. He even had in his hand the printed email I sent to Chef Kate and said they went over the allergies.  Then he went through the process and told us how he would prepare everything from scratch – fresh utensils, pans, ingredients, etc., in a separate area of the kitchen.  He went through what each of the 4 kids with different food allergies could have.  We were thrilled that they actually had many choices!  Even the adults without food allergies were told if there could be any allergens in items they wanted.  So two of the kids decided on the pasta with marinara sauce and pizza, and the other two had steak (with baked fries and green beans for one, and mashed potatoes and green beans for the other).  And if it only ended there we would have been more than satisfied with our options, but we even had the option for dessert!  The one without egg allergies had fresh made crème brulee, and the others had fresh berries. Although in general some of the foods were not unique, they were so special to us. And the prices on the kid’s meals were extremely reasonable.

As Chef Joe served the food personally and the minutes passed without any reactions, relief was finally setting in.  I was starting to feel myself relax and enjoy my own meal – the braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and asparagus was one of the best meals I have ever had!  I then even had a glass of wine, but of course not more than one –  just in case something was delayed.  But thankfully everything was amazing from start to finish.  The service, accommodations, taste of everything and most of all the procedures they took to keep us safe were top notch.

As I looked around the table at everyone enjoying themselves laughing and smiling (just like those without food allergies), tears of happiness came to my eyes.  With comments such  as “this was the best dinner ever!”,  “can we come back tomorrow” and “thank you so much for making this happen,” I was elated!  While  I do realize everyone has their issues, for those without food allergies, they often take these experiences which should be simple for granted. They don’t even realize what it’s like and what it takes for those with severe food allergies to eat out.  For us eating out safely is challenging, yet priceless on so many levels, and this unbelievable experience will leave a lasting memory and joy in our hearts forever.  The gratitute and happiness in my face beamed as I thanked everyone who worked there. And in return, their faces lit up because they knew they had created not only a safe experience, but one we will never forget!

A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE AT BISTRO 110!  We wish every place could be so wonderfully knowledgeable and accommodating!  We know we will be back when we visit Chicago again and give you an A++ for our overall experience down to every last detail!  We wish you were in our hometown so we could visit you often, as those with food allergies are extremely loyal customers.  But you have won us over in Chicago, we will be back every time we visit, and we will let all of our friends know that Bistro 110 is a phenomenal place for those with food allergies!

- Aly

Dining Out and Trust

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

If you have food allergies or you are a parent of children with life threatening food allergies, they you will likely rarely or ever dine out. More than 80% of the allergic community does not dine out. Those that do venture out, will only typically go to their one or two favorite places near their home that they have investigated thoroughly and are comfortable eating at.

This is no way to live your life, but what choice do we have? As a father of two severely allergic children, I am all too familiar with the anxieties around dining out. “Where is the closest hospital”, is always part of my planning process for dining out.

Dining out is all about Trust! Who do we trust? Do we trust what an online friend tells us is safe? What allergies do they have? How sensitive are they to an allergen? Are they more relaxed about allergies or just as overprotective and insane as I am at keeping my children safe.

So who do I trust?

Trust yourself. Trust that you will do your research, call ahead and take all the reasonable precautions when going out for dinner.

Trust the restaurants!

What? How can we trust restaurants? Well, approximately 90% of the time you can’t trust them. The difficulty with dining out is that it’s hard to find the 10% that you really can trust. When a restaurant says “Don’t worry”…worry. When a restaurant says “we have a formal process to handle allergies and here is how we do it”…this would be a good place to start investigating.

There are many good restaurants that will work with you to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Those restaurants that embrace our allergic community, understand the risks and don’t flash disclaimers and waivers in front of us at the earliest opportunity. Even so, trust must be earned. The only way to gain that trust for both the restaurant and the allergic family is to engage these “best in class” restaurants when they are less busy to get the attention you require. To find these “best in class” restaurants based on your allergies and level of anxiety, visit www.AllerDine.com. We have interviewed over 1600 restaurants according to their allergy practice, list of ingredients on their menu, kitchen layout and willingness to accommodate food allergies.

Our growing allergic community now has a chance to live “normally” and have more social experiences thanks to the restaurants that go above and beyond to keep us safe.

Steve Rose
Father of two allergic boys and founder of AllerDine.com

The Point of No Return!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Dining out with allergies is all about the planning. Choosing the right restaurant, asking the right questions up front and bringing back up food will help you deal with the anxieties you face each time you take your allergic child out for dinner. What’s in your control is much easier to deal with. What’s not in your control is where our fear lives and grows.

As parents, we are always worrying about our children and their safety, as most parents do. For the allergic family though, words like anaphylaxis, cross-contamination, epinephrine were a completely new language that only came into existence at some point in their child’s young life. So when you enter a restaurant with your children and not realize that Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year, all your baggage and anxieties from over the past 5 years have just come pressing down on your shoulders.

Do I stay? Do I go? “I’ve done my research, relied on my calling ahead, checked with AllerDine.com, read the menu online and spoke to the manager just days before”. It is at this point that we try to move forward for our children’s sake. If it were up to me, I’d be in my car on the way home…but it’s not up to me. It’s up to my children. They are so excited to be dining out. They love to dine out and want to do it more often. So do it…believe me, those 4 hours a day in the kitchen preparing 3 meals a day for 5 people is exhausting.

I passed through this point of no return, brought my full family with me and 18 of us had a great mother’s day dinner. What made it possible was the excellent staff. The kitchen manager and waiter validated my research. The kitchen manager, Kate, came out during the peak of dinner, sat with us and discussed safe meal options. We did not feel rushed or that we were inconvieniencing her. It seemed as if we were the only ones in the restaurant, when in fact there was not one available table. The waiter made good suggestions as well and my family was safe, thrilled to be out and I was overjoyed with the fact I did not have to clean dishes, wipe floors or clear a table.

The Keg Sheppard Centre in Toronto made all this possible on the busiest day of the year not just for my two kids with allergies, but for my sister’s son as well. We can now confidently trust the Keg to meet our dining needs. Please share similar experiences with us on AllerDine.com. If you don’t see your favorite restaurant, please add it so that other families in your community can benefit from your successes.