Two of Emily Cunningham's three children have food allergies. And protecting her kids is taking toll on the family budget.
When she was nine months old, Cunningham's four-year-old daughter Elena ate a spoonful of yogurt and broke out in hives. Elena is allergic to eggs, tree nuts, dairy and peanuts, and even brief contact with one of the these hard-to-avoid items is all it takes to set off a potentially life-threatening immune reaction.
Cunningham's eight-month-old son Wyatt has a bad dairy allergy too.
To much of the restaurant-going world, chefs seem to have exchanged “the customer is always right” with another saying: “No substitutions.” Seeing those two words at the bottom of a menu can sour the mood, if not your palate, before you’ve even taken the first bite. It’s a needlessly pre-emptive, passive-aggressive kind of note. Imagine if a hotel contract stated: “Don’t even think about asking us if you can stay in your room past noon.” It’s one thing to have a policy and quite another to deny a request before it’s even been made.
And yet, the increasingly ubiquitous no-substitutions policy is a reaction to customer demands run amok. But rather than choose a side, I think there’s a middle ground - a set of rules that, if followed by both restaurant owners and patrons alike, could benefit everyone. First, let’s take a close look at where each side is coming from.
Whether it's a special occasion or a Saturday night, for many Americans, dining out is one of life's great pleasures.
Food and skin allergies are becoming more common in American children, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both have been steadily increasing for more than a decade.
Food allergy prevalence increased from 3.4% to 5.1% between 1997 and 2011, while skin allergy prevalence more than doubled in the same time period. That means 1 in every 20 children will develop a food allergy and 1 in every 8 children will have a skin allergy. According to the CDC, respiratory allergies are still the most common for children younger than 18.
The new report, which looked at data from the National Health Interview Survey, found that skin allergies decreased with age, while respiratory allergies increased as children got older.
Teenagers and young children who eat fast food could be increasing their risk of developing asthma, eczema and hay fever, according to a study published Monday in the British Medical Journal's respiratory journal Thorax.
The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) study used written questionnaires completed by 319,196 13- and 14-year-olds from 51 countries and by the parents of 181,631 6- and 7-year-olds in 31 countries. They were asked if they had symptoms of the three conditions and about their weekly diet – including the types of foods they ate over the last year, and how often.
In kindergarten, Owen Kellogg came home sobbing one day because another boy at school had told him that he had a peanut, and that he was going to force Owen to eat it.
Owen, now 7, is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, said his mother, Haylee Kellogg of Cedar Hills, Utah. In reality, the taunting boy did not have a peanut, but Owen didn't know that - he just knew that eating a peanut could make him stop breathing.
Helen Olive had her first allergy attack 11 years ago. She had gone to bed only to wake up hours later because her neck felt as if it were on fire.
"It was terrible," said Olive, who is 42 and lives in North Carolina. "The sensation was all over my body and then I developed hives."
A slender woman with wavy, reddish-brown hair and blue eyes, Olive might appear perfectly healthy. But waking up in the middle of the night with uncontrollable itching and nausea became a common theme in her life.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
This gorgeous spring weather triggers so many thoughts and emotions. It could make you daydream about weekend beach getaways, lolling around in a hammock, fresh produce - hey, isn't rhubarb in season? A fresh pie sounds just delicious - and wouldn't it be so much prettier if you included a few of those lovely leaves?
Don’t do it, unless you're planning on making this your last meal. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, raw or cooked (they contain a not-good-for-you substance - oxalic acid). The stalk isn’t toxic, although it’s crazy tart if it’s not cooked and somehow sweetened up. Here are a couple of other ingredients to avoid - or at least moderate your consumption of - this season.
Elizabeth Gordon is the author of 'The Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook and Allergy-Free Desserts'. She was diagnosed with multiple food allergies in 2007 after the birth of her first child and decided to combine her social work background with her love of the culinary arts to help people just like her. She cooks up new treats, weekly, on her blog allergyfreedelights.com
The United States is home to 9 million adults and 6 million children coping with food allergies ranging from annoying rashes to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Millions of other families are taking note of government-funded initiatives like Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move project and reaching for less processed and more natural fare.
While healthy and safe eating is the common denominator between these groups, there is likely another: sticker shock when the checkout person hands over the grocery receipt.