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First time using the Epi-Pen and the Anxiety that has followed

Posted on January 18th, 2015 by Alison | Read 9 Comments - Add Your Own »

epi pen injectionI finally used the Epi-Pen on my daughter after eight years of managing her food allergies. I used it because I had to. I used it because she asked me to.

We were in Mexico, at a place we visit every year. My daughter is extremely responsible about her food allergies, and carries her “kit” (containing two Epi-Pens, Benadryl and asthma inhaler) with her everywhere she goes, even to the pool. I also had an extra Epi-Pen with me on the trip, so we had three in our possession. The story of BJ Hom is always in the back of my mind when we travel to Mexico — it was there that this young man had an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts but the family did not have an Epi-Pen with them (he had only suffered from hives in the past so they didn’t think it could get more serious than that). We are prepared for an accident in case our vigilance about reading labels, asking questions, and avoiding uncertain foods fails.

On that afternoon at the pool, she selected a popsicle out of a popsicle cart. It had ingredients on the label, both in English and in Spanish. It was a coconut popsicle, containing coconut, cream, milk, sugar, and some additives. Nothing she hadn’t eaten before. Within minutes she came to me and told me that she didn’t feel right. As she was telling me, a large hive appeared on the skin in the lower corner of her mouth. I knew this wasn’t good. Her face had lost its color and dull, dark streaks appeared under her eyes. She said her throat felt “bumpy.” We pulled the Benadryl out of her kit and she took one, and then another. Hives popped out on her stomach, and then on her back.

That day, by our good fortune, my father was hanging out at the kid pool with us. He is a retired pediatrician and I was so glad he was right there at that moment. I showed him the hives. He suggested we head back to the room where he had prednisone in his medicine bag. Prednisone is a corticosteroid that can help reduce swelling caused by allergic reactions, but it is not an immediate treatment since it comes in pill form and takes a little while to have an effect. When we arrived at the hotel room, he gave her a dose of prednisone, but as she held on tight to her epi-pen kit, she said to me, “Mom, I want the shot.”

I looked at my dad and he and I both nodded – let’s do it.

Now, I have to admit that for all of these years I have had a fear of giving the Epi-Pen. I know my allergy mom friends have done it, I know it saves lives, my pediatrician has scolded me for not giving it in a couple of close-calls… I have no explanation for my anxiety about putting this shot in my daughter’s leg. (Perhaps I was scarred by the giant epinephrine shot scene in Pulp Fiction? But it did save Uma Thurman’s character’s life, so…)

I asked my dad to give her the shot. I sat on a bed next to my daughter, while he was on the other side of her and stuck the Epi-Pen in her leg. She was looking at me, away from the shot, and said, “That was it?” It felt like barely a pinch to her. Within minutes, the hive on her face disappeared, her color came back and she was breathing easy. She was a little worried about her rapid heart beat, but we assured her that it was the medicine taking effect and that was normal.

Normally when you give an Epi-Pen, you are advised to go to the hospital or call 911. Sometimes one Epi-Pen isn’t enough, or it is given too late to reverse the symptoms. According to the Epi-Pen website “Get emergency medical help right away. You may need further medical attention. You may need a second EpiPen Auto-Injector should symptoms persist or recur. More than two sequential doses of epinephrine for a single episode should only be administered by a healthcare provider.”

Because we were in Mexico, and we had another Epi-Pen, and my dad was there, and she already had prednisone and benadryl in her system, we monitored her at the hotel. And she was fine. And then I let myself cry.

Since then, her anxiety has risen to a new level. She abstained from eating dinner, even a bowl of rice, while our family was out at a restaurant with friends one night. She refused to go to a volleyball tournament because I was not the one driving the carpool and I wouldn’t arrive until later. Luckily, the mom driving the carpool was a trained nurse and carries an Epi-Pen, but even that almost didn’t convince her. So, this is a new chapter in our lives — the Anxiety Chapter. She strives for independence and freedom, but is weighed down by her fears. I wonder how long this chapter will last.

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Holiday Giveaway of Pamela’s Gluten-Free Products

Posted on December 10th, 2014 by Alison | Read 41 Comments - Add Your Own »

Pamela's Prize PhotoAs a Pamela’s 12 Days of Gluten-Free Cookies Baking Partner, I am offering my readers a prize pack that includes baking mixes, baking utensils and an apron signed by Pamela herself. All you have to do to enter is add a comment telling me your favorite holiday treat! Enter to win for yourself or for a gluten-free friend!

You can enter until 5 pm PST on Friday, December 12.

Check out all the cookie recipes over at Pamela’s Products, including my recipe for gluten-free, egg-free Chocolate-Dipped Scotch Shortbread.

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Dipped Scotch Shortbread Recipe

Posted on December 3rd, 2014 by Alison | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Pamela's Baking PartnerI was asked by Pamela’s Products to share a gluten-free cookie recipe using one of their products for their 12 Days of Gluten-Free Cookies. I chose their All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend to make a cookie I remember from my childhood — a shortbread that my mom used to make by hand and press into round pie tins to give away at holiday time. I decided to change up the recipe a bit by forming the dough into rectangular cookies and dipping them in chocolate! And by making it gluten-free of course!

This is a good recipe for anyone with egg allergies, as it does not call for any eggs. If you need it to be dairy-free, try using Earth Balance as a substitute for the butter, but the texture and taste will not be as rich as with butter.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Dipped Scotch Shortbread

GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE DIPPED SCOTCH SHORTBREAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1¾ cups Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 12 TBSP butter, softened
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch
  • Chocolate for melting (I use Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips – for dairy allergies, use Enjoy Life brand)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 325°.

With a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add in the sugar and beat until smooth. Add in Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend and cornstarch and beat until it comes together, but it won’t come all the way together, so using hands, gather the dough into a ball. You may want to separate the ball into two balls for two cookie sheets.

Between two pieces of parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet, roll out the dough to the thickness you prefer for your cookies (they will not rise when baking). Cut rectangular shapes, or any other shape you like. A pizza cutter is a great tool for making straight cuts! Re-roll any dough that is left over from cutting your shapes until you have used it all.

Once you have cut your shapes, spread out the cookies on the parchment to bake. Prick the cookies with a fork (this is just for looks). Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until just starting to brown.

Allow cookies to cool.

Melt chocolate either in a double boiler or in the microwave (little by little, on 50% power, stirring each time so as not to burn). Dip the ends of the cookies, or “paint” the chocolate onto the ends of the cookies, depending on how deep and fluid the chocolate is. Set the cookies on a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper to set. If you want them to set quicker, put them on a sheet pan or plate and put in the refrigerator for a few minutes.

An alternative to dipping in chocolate is to sprinkle with sugar before baking. Sprinkle with red and green sugars for festive-looking Christmas cookies!

Yield: about 28 1”x2” cookies

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Natural & Organic Halloween Candy List 2014

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

Surf Sweet Spooky SpidersThis is a list of natural and organic candies. Each candy shows if the ingredients contain wheat/gluten, milk (represents all dairy), soy, egg, tree nuts, or peanuts (6 of the top 8 allergens — fish and shellfish are not included since I have not found this to be a concern with candy). I included coconut where I saw it on a label.

Note for consumers of candy: Please, as always, double check ingredients and also check with the child’s parents before giving them any candy or allowing them to eat anything! I will not be held liable for any accident occurring due to the use of this list. It is meant as a guide only.

Note for bloggers/organizations/media: Please do not reprint this list without my permission. Linking to it, however, is just fine and dandy! Printing is encouraged for personal use or for schools, etc. I appreciate your consideration of my work.

Need a list of mainstream candies? Check out these:
Gluten-Free Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Guide 2014
Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2014
Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2014

To print this list, click on the Print icon above the title. (If you don’t see the print icon, click on the title of the article first.)

List is organized by company, with candy names below. If you can’t find them in your stores, you can order them from NaturalCandyStore.com.

AMANDA’S OWN CONFECTIONS (located in Westlake, OH 440-570-6359)(www.amandasown.com)

  • Chocolate shapes, chocolate lollipops, Sunbutter Cups
    • Ingredients free of: wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, soy, sesame
    • Ingredients contain: none of the top 8 allergens.
  • Sunbutter Cups
    • Ingredients free of: wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, sesame
    • Ingredients contain: may contain soy

Note: Order by October 23rd to ensure delivery before Halloween.

Allergen Info (via web Sept 2014): All of our products (except our Sunflower Cups) are free from the top 8 food allergens and processed in our facility on dedicated equipment that is free from the top 8 food allergens.

ANNIE’S (located in Berkeley, CA 800-288-1089)

  • Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
    • Ingredients free of: wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, soy
    • Ingredients contain: none of the top 8 allergens.

CANDY TREE (available for purchase online)

  • Twists, Lariats, Laces, Bites, Lollipops
    • Ingredients free of: wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, soy
    • Ingredients contain: none of the top 8 allergens

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE »

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