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Posts tagged ‘Food Allergies’

The WINNER of our Camp W*K Contest! Congratulations Grace!


Grace and Mia at Camp Wingate*Kirkland, standing in front of the bunkhouse.

Grace (on right) and Mia at Camp Wingate*Kirkland, standing in front of the bunk house.

In February we hosted a camp contest for food-allergic kids to win a 2 week spot at Camp Wingate*Kirkland  this summer. Any food allergy parent knows what a special opportunity it is to go to summer camp like a ‘regular’ kid and have fun, without the worries of food allergies for the camper or the parent! Well, we’re proud to share the winner with you. Congratulations to Grace!!! Grace’s mom, Christie, was kind enough to answer a few questions for us and sent us a letter about their introductory tour of the camp.  It brings joy to my heart to see the smile on Grace’s face and we wish her a fun-filled camp experience.

Jennifer: We’re so happy for you and Grace! What a great experience this summer’s camp stay will be for Grace. Tell us, how did you hear about the contest? 

Christie: I heard about the contest from a friend of mine who came across it online on your blog, actually.

Jennifer: Did you or Grace write the winning essay?

Christie: Grace actually submitted a video essay; I recorded it but the words were hers. The only advice I gave her was to speak from her heart, which she did.

Jennifer: What prompted you or Grace to enter?

Christie: What prompted me to have Grace enter the contest was the fact that she has been wanting to attend an overnight camp but was afraid because of her allergies. As you know, not everyone understands food allergies. Cross-contamination of food is a real issue; unfortunately there are too many  people who think you can simply take a pecan off a salad and serve it to a tree nut allergic child. I want Grace to experience the wonders of childhood, and I don’t want her food allergies to hold her back from  those experiences. Camp WK seems to be a place where she can be just like every other child for two weeks.

Jennifer: Please tell us about Grace’s allergies.

Christie: Grace is allergic to tree nuts and shellfish. She carries an EpiPen, but thankfully we have never needed to use it! We discovered Grace’s allergies when she was about three years old. She had a bite of lobster and within 30 minutes she broke out in hives from head to toe; it looked as if someone had scalded her in hot water.  The pediatrician told us to give her Benedryl every four hours or so, which we did, and to also have her tested for food allergies. I made an appointment with an allergist; during that waiting period to see the allergist we were at the mall and Grace ate candy corn from one of the bulk candy bins at a store. Within a few minutes, she broke out in hives head to toe! After giving her Benedryl again, I called the allergist’s office rather confused because there wasn’t shellfish in the candy corn. The allergist said that it was probably a tree nut allergy and that candy corn was one of the most cross-contaminated foods – especially those in bulk bins. Sure enough, when I asked the store manager about it he confirmed that pistachios had been in that specific bin before. When we did finally see the allergist, Grace tested positive for tree nuts and shellfish. She is not allergic to peanuts, thankfully.

Jennifer: How do you feel about sending Grace off to summer camp? 

Christie: I am so excited for Grace! Summer camp was one of my favorite childhood memories, and I want her to have the same experience – in a way that is safe for her.  Of course, there is a part of me that is nervous, but I made a commitment to myself a long time ago that I would never let my anxiety about her allergies get in the way of her life as long she was safe and being cared for. I had not heard of Camp Wingate Kirkland before the contest, but I have now done tons of research on the camp. It looks like an amazing place for children to have fun, learn new things and gain self-confidence – in a safe environment.

Jennifer: Is this her first time away from you for an extended amount of time? How do you feel about that?

Christie: This would be her second time away from her dad and me for this long of a period. Last summer,  Grace and her brother Patrick went on a two-week Alaska cruise with their grandparents. They sailed Princess Cruises, and the cruise line was amazing with her allergies. That said, this will be the fist time she is away for such a long period without anyone from her family being there!

Jennifer: What about your daughter are you most proud of?

Christie: I am most proud of the independent, responsible young girl that she is becoming. A few months ago, Grace went out to eat at a local chain restaurant  (one that we trust) with another family. It was the first time she ate out without a family member. She was nervous, but she had her chef card (listing all her food allergies), and I was told that she called the manager over to table when they sat down to speak with him about her food allergies.  Everything went fine, but what Grace gained from that experience was self-confidence! She now has confidence that she can advocate for herself and not let her food allergies get in the way!

We are raising Grace to be proactive about her food allergies. She knows how to read food labels, and we have taught her to that even “safe” foods are not always safe because manufacturing processes change. When she goes to birthday parties, she takes her own food and is diligent about eating only foods she knows is safe for her. We also raising her to understand that as much as we would like for her to have every opportunity in the world, there will be things that just won’t work for her – and that is okay. Not everyone or every business can or wants to be accommodating. She needs to learn to be appreciative for the things and experiences that are safe for her, rather than focusing on what she may miss out on.

I also want to add one more item – Grace’s friends. She has the most supportive, incredible friends. I tell her all the time how blessed she is to have friends who want her to experience all the goodness of life, safely.  In the example before, Grace’s friend asked Grace to pick the restaurant for dinner because she wanted it to be safe for Grace.  It is such a beautiful lesson in friendship when children are kind to each other this way.

Grace and her Family

Grace and her Family


Here is the letter Christie sent me following their introductory tour of the camp. I’m sharing it with you because it made me smile and I hope it will do the same for you.  I understand as a food allergy mom what kind of joy Christie must be feeling to share this food allergy safe sleep away camp experience with her daughter.

Hi, Jennifer.

I want to share with you this photo of Grace with Mia (Sandy and Will’s daughter) at Camp Wingate*Kirkland, standing in front of the bunk house where they will stay this summer. We had the great fortune of receiving a tour of the camp on Saturday, and Mia was Grace’s tour guide. 

Meeting Sandy and Will, and seeing the camp firsthand was incredible. Any anxiety I had about sending Grace away for camp was immediately relieved. They are not only generous and kind people, they live what they believe. The practices they have in place to ensure that camp is a fun, safe experience for all campers are very detailed and well thought out. I was impressed by the level of detail they shared with me about how the chef checks all food labels, how they ensure campers don’t bring in food with nuts, how they have EpiPens within reach throughout the camp, etc. 

One of the most poignant moments was when we were in the dining hall and Grace asked if they serve dessert with dinner. Grace asked because she can’t eat dessert at most places we go, and that sometimes makes her feel sad to watch everyone else enjoy themselves. Sandy not only said that yes they serve dessert but that everything was safe for Grace, and then she gave her a chocolate chip brownie the chef had made earlier that day. On the way home, Grace said she thought that at Camp WK she was really going to be about “Grace from Lunenburg” not just “Grace with nut allergies” – and that made my heart smile! That is exactly what the Camp WK mission is all about!

What a gift Grace has been given in so many ways! 




camp WK

Camp Wingate*Kirkland is a traditional overnight camp where you are inspired and empowered with a choice of daily activities. And like it was 55 years ago – W * K is not a “plugged in” camp. Campers feel supported and confident to step out of their comfort-zone and try new things without the fear of failure. Camper safety, having fun, and developing life skills are our priorities.

Food Allergies vs Food Intolerance: An Infographic

I love this infographic by YorkTest because I constantly see the words allergies and intolerance or sensitivity used interchangeably. While they all have to do with foods, that’s where the similarities stop. This graphic makes a clear distinction between food allergies and food intolerances (also similar to sensitivities). I do want to make a couple of clarifications. There have been documented cases of IgE food allergic reactions that occurred more than two hours later, in some cases a day or so later. While this is rare, it can happen. It is also rare that someone has more than two food allergies, but sadly it is becoming less rare by the day, it seems. We’re seeing this mostly in children and it’s frightening. While food allergies can last a lifetime, it isn’t uncommon for children to grow out of them or at least see their reactions lessen in severity, which is the cause of much relief for the parents, as you can imagine. My son is one such example. He was born with only food intolerances, we knew they irritated his eczema, but that was it. By two years of age, some of the foods developed into true IgE allergies and we had several close calls and one frightening anaphylaxictic reaction – you can read about it here and see a video about it here (made by Allerject).



Food Intolerance vs Food Allergy

Healing Your Gut Series: What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome And How It May Apply To You! (Guest Post)

Healing Your Gut Series

Healing Your Gut Series: What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome & How It May Apply To You! (Guest Post)

By Josh Gitalis (bio below)

If you or your child suffers from allergy-driven conditions like eczema, psoriasis, asthma or allergies, you are likely well aware of the difficulty in treating these conditions. The first line therapies consist of various forms of steroids, and they only bring temporary relief. These conditions manifest from the inside out, so it is no wonder that these treatments are ineffective over the long-term. Read more

GMOs and Your Health: What is the Connection? (Guest Post)

I’m not going to lie. Genetically modified food scares the pants of me. Why? Probably mostly because the truth is unknown. I don’t believe there are any long-term studies, conducted by neutral, unbiased scientists that have successfully proven they are safe or harmful to our bodies or the environment. But, there are a lot of scary stories out there and until I know otherwise, I’m going to be cautious and avoid them like the plague. It’s not hard to live a mostly GMO free lifestyle – why don’t you give it a try?



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What are GMO’s?

How do they effect your health?

Ask your questions and get answers LIVE with Chef Alain Braux

on our

Facebook page

Wed. May 28th 9-10 pm EST


I am getting my #GMO questions answered LIVE by @chefalainbraux May28th 9-10pm EST with @eczemacompany Join us!

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How I Became a Food Allergy Mom (Guest Post)

Today’s guest post is one many of you can probably relate to, I know I sure can. It chronicles the sudden, and unexpected journey from mom to food allergy mom. Our perspectives can change in a flash or in this case, with one bite of food. This post is a reminder of just how fast our lives can change.


How I Became a Food Allergy Mom (Guest Post)

By Elizabeth Flora Ross (Bio below)

“I think she’s allergic to strawberries,” my husband said one night. I was dubious. My daughter’s eyes would water, her nose would run and she would sneeze when she ate them. But I did not recognize those as food allergy symptoms – I dismissed it as seasonal allergies. One evening as we enjoyed a family movie night, our daughter began to complain she was itchy and hot. With only the light from the television, I couldn’t really see her. Then she said she needed to use the potty. When I turned on the light in the bathroom, I was shocked by what I saw. Her face and lips had transformed into a huge, red, swollen rash.

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Are Escalating Food Sensitivities Hampering Your Life? A GAPS Story (Guest Post)

You’ve read some of our updates on the GAPS diet, so for another perspective here is another story from a Certified GAPS Practitioner about her patient’s journey to healing. While the patient has seen improvements, she remains on the diet in hopes of one day being completely healed. Only time will tell how it will go, but things are looking promising for her already.


Are Escalating Food Sensitivities Hampering Your Life? A GAPS Story (Guest Post)

By Jennifer Scribner (Bio below)

One of the most urgent reasons people come to me to learn about the GAPS Diet™ is because they have multiple food allergies and sensitivities.

Take Allison (not her real name), a client who was using an EpiPen 2 to 3 times a month for her anaphylactic food allergy reactions. She’d had digestive problems (along with asthma) most of her life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that she realized they were caused by food sensitivities. Once she figured that out she eliminated those foods and felt better for a couple of weeks. Then she started reacting to new foods that she didn’t have problems with before, so she tried eliminating those too and ended up caught in a vicious cycle. What she reacted to was always rotating and she lived in constant fear of how every food might affect her. Not to mention how terrible she felt all the time, which wasn’t working for her while raising 4 kids and homeschooling.

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Food Allergy and Celiac Convention November 2014 and a NEW GFDF app!

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Coronado Springs Resort & Convention Center in the Walt Disney World Resort

November 22, 2014

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Celebrating food allergies and celiac disease at one of the top food allergy and gluten free locations in the world. This convention is open to consumers, families, gluten-free and allergen-free companies. Individuals of all ages are welcome and the convention will include: Read more

Eczema & Asthma – Testing for Food Triggers (Guest Post)

I’ve asked Dr. Farshchian to help us distinguish between food allergies and sensitivities and to help us better understand testing methods for each. While we’re not sure if food is the root cause of eczema, most of us have experienced first hand how food can trigger flare ups. I hope today’s post can shed some light on the IgE vs. IgG debate – knowing both can trigger eczema and asthma.


Eczema & Asthma – Testing for Food Triggers (Guest Post)

By Dr. Thalia Farshchian, N.D. (Bio below)

Food sensitivity testing is gaining popularity to assist in identifying triggers to chronic conditions like eczema, asthma, nasal congestion and more. To draw a conclusion that a particular food triggers symptoms, the gold standard for identification is an elimination challenge.

The elimination challenge can be quite the challenge in and of itself when you are considering eliminating all of the most common triggers: gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy, nuts. In clinical practice, I have found food sensitivity testing to be a very helpful guide as it alleviates an element of stress on the child and family.

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KIDS! Express Yourself & WIN a Food-Allergy Safe Summer Camp Adventure CONTEST!

camp wingate pin

 Hey Kids!!!!

Here’s your chance to win a two-week camp session on beautiful Cape Cod! It’s easy! If you have food allergies, and are currently in the second through sixth grade, just tell us why you’d like to come to Camp W*K, and you could have the best summer ever! Read more

Food Curiosity, When Young Children Put Their Food Allergies To The Test (Guest Post)

When our kids are young, we feel like we have some sense of control over their allergies. After all, they cannot easily prepare food for themselves and they rely on us to do it for them – so we carefully avoid all allergens and intolerances. But sometimes our little ones of a certain age may become curious about the food they’ve been told to avoid their whole lives. What happens then? Read on to hear this mom’s story and learn how they coped, a great read for all allergy parents!


Managing Food Allergies, Asthma and Eosinophilic Esophagitis (Guest Post)

By Kendra (bio below)

9554_wpm_lowres      Our family was introduced to the world of life threatening food allergies when Paul, now 8, stopped breathing during dinner at just 7 months old.  I explained to the allergist that Paul always had a rash of some sort, and nothing we did affected the daily wheezing.  We learned that he was allergic to egg, peanut, cat and dog.  Five months later, another half-dozen food allergies were identified.  His symptoms improved for a few months.  Then he started having rashes and trouble breathing every time he ate.  With guidance from the allergist, we continued to remove newly identified food allergies every few months.  By the time Paul was 3 ½, he was allergic to every food that he had ever eaten.  All nutrition came from an elemental formula which is broken down to amino acids.  The absence of actual food proteins ensures that there is nothing for the body to identify as an allergen.
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