Friday, December 21, 2012

HealthLine Article: How Common are FA in Children? was honored by being contacted from a representative to write a guest post for our blog! Please welcome Valerie and her writing regarding Children and Allergies:

"How Common Are Food Allergies in Children?

The journal Pediatrics published a study revealing that food allergies in children are more common than previously thought. The study, which included a survey of about 38,000 children, showed that 8 percent of children in the U.S. who are under the age of 18 are allergic to at least one type of food. 
The three most common types of food allergies in children are peanuts, dairy, and shellfish. In fact, 2 percent of children in the U.S. are allergic to peanuts. Other types of foods that can cause allergies in children include strawberries, tree nuts, egg, wheat, finfish, and soy. 

While many children only experience mild food allergy symptoms, a considerable number of children experience severe reactions such as anaphylaxis and wheezing. Studies show that about 40 percent of children with food allergies experience severe symptoms. Allergies can be life-threatening, which is why it is so important to teach children how to manage food allergies. Even if symptoms are not life-threatening, children can experience a great deal of discomfort if food allergies are not properly addressed.

Food Allergy or Food Intolerance?

If your child shows a reaction to certain types of foods, it is important to seek the advice of your family doctor or an allergy specialist in order to determine whether your child has a food allergy or a food intolerance. A food allergy involves an immune response while food intolerances do not. 
For example, a child with a milk allergy will have an immune response to the protein found in milk. A child who is lactose intolerant is unable to properly digest the lactose found in milk. A negative immune response due to a food allergy can cause life-threatening symptoms. Food intolerances tend to produce more mild symptoms that involve improper digestion. While food intolerances produce less severe symptoms, they symptoms can nevertheless be very uncomfortable for children or adults. 

Outgrowing Food Allergies

The majority of children with food allergies will outgrow these allergies by the age of 7. In some cases, food allergies subside much earlier. This is actually a benefit of developing food allergies at a young age; Food allergies that begin early in life are much more likely to go away than allergies that are developed later in life. There are, however, some types of allergies that tend to stick with children even as they grow beyond the age of 7. For example, allergies to tree nuts and peanuts tend to stick with people throughout their life, whereas allergies to foods such as eggs, soy, milk, and wheat tend to end once children reach the age of 7 or older.

It is important to keep in mind that even if your child does not exhibit allergic reactions at a young age, this does not mean that they will not develop allergies later in childhood or in adulthood. That being said, there are certain types of foods that more commonly trigger allergies at a young age. These include milk, peanuts, and eggs. Allergies to seafood and tree nuts more commonly begin in teenagers or adults.

Allergies to Food Additives

In many cases, allergies to food additives are mistaken for food allergies. There are many types of substances that are added to foods that can cause a negative reaction. A few types of additives used for preserving, coloring, or flavoring foods that may cause an adverse reaction include tartrazine, sulfites, nitrates, monosodium glutamate( MSG), butylated hydroxyl toluene (BHT), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and potassium bromate. 

Your doctor or an allergy specialist will be able to help in determining what is causing allergies in your child. By understanding the precise cause of food allergies, a proper management plan can be followed.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news."

Thank you! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Is milk no longer a virtue?

I have never been comfortable with how hard milk is pushed in our (U.S.) society. Media and advertising is constantly reminding us of the importance of getting our glass of milk each day to "have strong bones."When you step back and think about it... what our cows are fed today is despicable if you ask me. The growth hormone injections is just the icing on the cake. I'm about 99% sure the feed they are fed is genetically modified--for more information on GM foods please see below. For these disheartening and sad conditions the cows are now raised on, (no "natural" cow is as fat and plump as farmers raise them these days. It's not natural, and I don't want that in my body) is the very reason why I stopped eating meat in January 2012. I actually naturally stopped eating meat in the dining halls at my university. I was turned off by it. I guess my body was more in-tune than I thought. Are you listening carefully to your body?

Now check this out:
Remember, there are always multiple sides to the same story. Nothing in this world is free of manipulation by multiple factors in their environment. The simple story is easier to accept, but the truth is always complicated. Just keep this in mind--for anything you are ever trying to get to the bottom of. 

Food for thought.

Thank you!
Andrea Garza

WARNING: This product contains ingredients made with GMO. May cause side-effects.

Genetically modified foods (GMO or GM) have been in the spotlight for several years now but they have been around a lot longer that: since 1983 ( The FDA has allowed GM foods to enter our production lines and most farmers have welcomed GM foods, seeds, and plants with open arms. These modified seeds made their lives a whole lot easier and seemingly more manageable. These seeds have special resistance to their counterpart pesticide--farmers could spray their fields to kill weeds/pests and leave their actual crop completely "unaffected" by these harmful chemicals. The plant harbors its own resistance to the pesticide. Some plants even furnish their own insecticide abilities thanks to genetic modification. The possibilities for GM foods does not stop there, and it most definitely has not.

I have always been uneasy about genetically modifying the genetic components of our food. Especially when I knew they did not have substantial longitudinal evidence to verify the safety of these procedures. The FDA and other companies said that GM foods were "safe" for consumption and that the body knew no different. Now that a decent amount of time has passed since our unwilling participation in the large-scale "study" by GM producers, etc, we finally have some scientific evidence that evaluates the "unintended effects" of GM foods.

Studies by Ashild Krogdahl from a Norwegian School of Veterinary Science (NVH) found that rats fed on GM corn tended to weigh more than rats who ate non-GM feed. This effect was also observed to pass through the food line-- from fish who ate GM feed, and were then fed to the rats. Scientists even thought that the actual genes were not detectable in the stomach. New research by Krogdahl and with collaboration from "Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and Australia," tells a different story: the genes can pass through the intestine and "is left in the blood, muscle and liver in large chunks so that they can be easily recognized." (O'Brien 2012). Great. So what does that mean? Are we going to be become little GM carriers too, resistant to all sorts of pesticides and insects? I would assume not likely, but "the biological significance of the uptake of genes...are not known" (Kraft 2012).

Do you think labeling GM foods in the U.S. would be important considering the scientific feedback we have thus far? Nearly every other country is labeling their GM ingredients and foods, except in the U.S. It's not required by law. But it should be. That way, those who wish to not engage in this type of consumption are fully informed of what they are eating. It is our bodies and we have every right to know what we are putting in them. Especially when governmental institutions are "approving" methodologies that, to me, have not received enough of a background check before it is used and implemented across the country. I encourage you to read Robyn O'Brien's article published in Prevention.

I challenge you to think about these studies, and conduct your own independent research. Keep an open mind, and try your best to understand the full situation and impact that one thing can have on another. The scary thought for me is that, after several years of consuming these products, we are just now finding scientific evidence for ties between GM foods and increased weight, transposable genes from the intestines to our blood and muscles, and finding that our bodies do respond on the molecular level to these products (Kraft 2012). Now, think about the potential larger-scale problems that can occur a little further down the road. If these GM foods become a major problem, will we still have 100% "pure" seeds? Or will they all be contaminated? It is already difficult for organic farmers to keep their products free of pesticides from the neighboring crops.

Stay tuned. I have a feeling a lot more research similar to that described above will be surfacing soon. Their "experiment" is finally getting results (from us, the consumers) and it's time for them to analyze the effects of what they have done. Hopefully it will be nothing significantly harmful, but I'm not going to hold my breath on that one... Mother Nature is known for giving us a firm slap in the face whenever we try to steal her secrets or take advantage of her.

Kraft, Nina. "Rotter Fetere Av Genmat." N.p., 11 July 2012. Web. 26 Oct. 2012.     
O'Brien, Robyn. Why Label Genetically Engineered Food? To Show "Evidence Of Harm."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Your smart phone can be your best allergy friend! Check out this list of the top 10 allergy apps!

Enjoy :)

-Andrea Garza

Monday, September 24, 2012

Getting Sick

It's never any fun, but we all reach that point when we have to suffer through it. It's especially bound to happen when you work and live on a college campus surrounded by stressed out students.

Whenever I'm feeling sick, I reach for elderberry syrup or pills to boost my immune system, as well as a multivitamin. Since I'm careful about what I put into my body, I prefer natural supplements over medical drugs.

My inspiration for writing this post is because of Umcka Cold Care hot drink medicine. I love this stuff-it is soothing and gets the job done. I just wanted to share!

I have a ton of work, so ill keep this short. Have a great week!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Glutino Table Crackers

These are the best crackers I have ever had! I love them. You can eat them plain (that's what I've been doing) and they are still delicious. It's Glutino Gluten Free Table Crackers. They are about $3.60 at (some) Walmarts. You can also find them at Whole Foods, or any natural health food store.

I just wanted to share! I know it can be difficult to find things to eat with a limited diet, and the diet you have can get boring fast. It's important to mix things up!

Ingredients: corn starch, palm oil, soy flour, invert sugar, sea salt, soy lecithin, cellulose gum, sodium bicarbonate, caramelized sugar, yeast extract, sodium pyrophosphate. 

On an un-related note...
I have this general rule, and it's been proven correct nearly every time: if it tastes really good, I'm probably allergic to it and shouldn't be eating it. Sad, but true in my case. So, I was at the dining hall last night and they had this fancy looking rice. I love rice, in case you didn't know. It's a small blessing if you ask me (considering all of my allergies: wheat, gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts, garlic...)  Anyways, this rice was delicious! I couldn't get enough of it. I thought of my rule, but decided to keep eating regardless. Within the hour, my stomach was hurting SO bad! I hate the pulsating pains that I get from an allergic reaction :( It's no fun at all. The only thing you want to do is curl up in a ball and go to sleep. That's actually what I ended up doing. That nap was glorious, might I add.

Moral of the story: always listen to your gut, before it gets mad at you.

I realize that I keep giving companies free advertising... but I'm doing it for you, the people. If one of these fabulous companies is feeling generous, and just happens to read this, please feel free to contact me. I am a broke college student after all ;)

Have a great week everyone! Live each day with meaning.

~*~ Never Forget 9/11/01~*~ 

-Andrea Garza

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kyle Dine on Tour + AZ Zoo Walk

Hello everyone!

I hope this morning is finding all of you extremely well. I know I have a great feeling about today. I'm ready to be productive! School is in full swing again here at Arizona State University. It's been a challenge to get back into the groove of things--especially with my Community Assistant (or RA) job. I love it though, and I'm excited to be a senior this year! Graduation is right around the corner--it still seems surreal.

The FoodAllergyTalk [ASU] club will be renewed this week--we have a new advisor and we are excited to work with her! Sam is stoked for the new position, and shares a similar interest in nutrition, vegan eating, and overall how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. She's perfect for the "job" :)

I just received an email from a really great friend of mine--you've probably heard of him ;) Kyle Dine, the one and only food allergy musician, is going on TOUR! How exciting! Please see the information below. If you're going to be nearby, you won't want to miss it!

Kyle was a great friend, resource, and source of support for me back in middle school and high school when I began my endeavors with In the food allergy world, many websites were made by moms--and I was the only kid I knew who had even tried to make a website. Kyle was the youngest person I could find who was an active member in the FA community. The fact that he was so thrilled for me was motivation for me to continue working hard on the site. Thank you Kyle, for all of your support! It's been an honor to actually meet you in person (instead of just Skype!) With funds from ASU, I was thankfully able to get him to ASU/Arizona for the first and second annual Walk for Food Allergy in Arizona. What great memories we made both years!

Speaking of the Arizona Walk for Food Allergy... Lisa (the Walk Chair in 2010 & 2011) did her research and it turns out that of the ~$12,000+ that we raised each year, less than 1% of that money stayed in Arizona for research. Since I did an internship this past summer at an Arizona research institute, I know for a fact that downtown Arizona is a hub for research. Why wouldn't that money stay in AZ? It only makes sense. As a result, (and I completely support her) Lisa and the non-profit that she started a couple years ago (Arizona Food Allergy Alliance) has decided to host the first annual Arizona Zoo Walk for Food Allergies & Anaphylaxis in Phoenix and Tuscon. Please visit their website for more information:  I am offering my support and services as much as possible for the Zoo Walk. The amount of logistics work for this walk is obviously much less than hosting a walk from scratch, but I still hope to help as much as possible. supports the Arizona Food Allergy Alliance 100%, and I hope you utilize the amazing services that they are offering. I am extremely proud of Lisa---she has a tremendous amount of drive, passion and work ethic. She was able to get her support group up an running quickly, and she has already embedded herself well within AZ as a vital resource for those with food allergies. Congratulations Lisa! 

Thanks for reading. Please let me know if you have any questions/comments/concerns at . Thank you! Have a great day! 

Andrea Garza

Tour Dates
Sept. 9 - Philadelphia, PA -  Kids with Food Allergies Expo - Link to Public Event Details
Sept. 10 - AVAILABLE in the PA, NJ, NY Area - contact me for info.
Sept. 11 - East Brunswick, NJ
Sept. 12 - Woburn, MA
Sept. 13 & 14, Great Neck, NY
Sept. 15 - Philadelphia FAAN Walk - Link to Public Event Details
Sept 17 -19 - AVAILABLE in the Kingston, ON area - contact me for info.
Sept. 21 - Seattle, WA
Sept. 22 - Seattle, WA - WAFEAST Support Group Performance - Link to Public Event Details
Sept. 24, 25 & 26 - Danville, CA
Sept. 27 - AVAILABLE in the Bay Area, CA contact me for info.
Sept. 28 - Reno, NV - Northern Nevada (AAPE) Support Group Performance - Link to Public Event Details
Oct. 1 - Pleasanton, CA
Oct 2. - San Jose, CA
Oct. 3 - Danville, CA
Oct. 4 - San Francisco, CA
The rest of October I will be AVAILABLE in Ontario, Canada contact me for info.
*View all tour dates/specific locations on my website: 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Book Review: Oscar's Lunchbox by Pam Houssenloge

What a special day--I received a copy of Oscar's Lunchbox By Pam Houssenloge in the mail! 
It's always a good feeling when you receive a package. 

Reading through this fabulous children's book, I couldn't resist holding back a childish smile. It reminded me of the good-ol' days when life seemed so much simpler. When Oscar was having some doubts about his lunch at school compared to the visually-appealing lunches of his peers, I couldn't help recalling the similar struggles that I went through. My struggles with bringing my own lunches, (often lunch which needed to be warmed in the microwave all the way at the nurse's office) started in middle school when I was diagnosed, and lasted all throughout high school. College was much more accepting, and being self-conscious about what I was eating quickly wore off.

I think this book is right on target with it's message! I love the approach that Mrs. Houssenloge takes when Oscar's mum teaches him that what he eats is his own healthy formula so that he can perform his best. That is a vital realization that those with food allergies have to hold on to. Personally, I would always say that the best thing about having food allergies was the fact that I was eating so much healthier! Of course, that was before more processed allergy-friendly options were available, but regardless, we typically still have healthier diets than those around us. It's important to know that, and to be proud of it. Honor your body, listen to what it has to tell you, and you'll be living a happy, healthy life.

I highly recommend this book for all children! Please visit Pam's website to purchase a copy for your family or a friend:’s-lunchbox/oscars-lunchbox/

Thank you! Have a great weekend.

Andrea Garza

Monday, July 16, 2012

Refined Peanut-Oil Used for Chick-Fil-A Chicken

My mom sent me a text earlier today, telling me that Chick-Fil-A uses refined peanut-oil to cook their chicken. I was surprised to see that a main restaurant chain would use peanut oil with so many individuals being allergic to peanuts. I didn't know this, and if I wasn't vegan, I could have easily have consumed a lot of that chicken by now (there is a Chick-Fil-A right on the ASU campus).

Luckily, I do not have anaphylaxis, so it would not have been a life-or-death situation if I had reacted. What does Chick-Fil-A have to say about it? I checked their website, just to verify that they do in fact use peanut-oil. They do. What else? I was surprised to see an entire argument below their initial statement which addresses why refined peanut-oil is basically ok for those with food allergies to consume. They go on to say that because the peanut oil is a "high-temperatuer, heat-processed, fully refined peanut oil (refined, bleached and deodorized)," that the proteins are "stripped out" through this intensive process.

Interesting that they would take such great efforts to convince those with allergies, that it would be perfectly safe to eat. They go on for several more paragraphs, quoting notable references such as the Food and Drug Administration, reassuring their chicken-lovers that it's ok for those with peanut allergies to continue consuming their product.

This didn't seem right; that they would try and persuade people that it's completely ok. From what little business mind I do have, I would think they would be more interested in covering their back--stating that it may not always be completely safe, and that the customers should take caution. Not necessarily the case.

So, I did a quick search of my own on PubMed. The first several articles basically reveal that, yes, highly-refining peanuts to make peanut oil will denature many of the proteins. That, I knew. (Remember, in an allergic reaction, the body is reacting to those proteins. Remove/kill the proteins, and theoretically you'll be ok). But, in a couple other studies, they concluded that although nearly all of the peanut protein was denatured, not 100% of it was denatured. Thus, a small amount of individuals could still react, especially if they are highly sensitive.

So...what does it all mean? Basically, scientists are still debating about it, and trying to get down to the root of the problem. Based on the 3 top articles that I looked at, it seems that as time goes by, more articles are citing that although refining will denature proteins, it's never 100% guaranteed that ALL proteins will be de-natured. Which makes complete sense. It depend on how manufacturers are running their refining plants. Maybe some didn't get mixed well, or it was un-evenly "heated," etc. Peanut oil is widely used, so I would imagine it is processed in large processing plants. That leaves more room for error. Newer articles are emphasizing to use caution--because there are some "sensitive" individual who may still react.

Personally, I would never risk the life of my child if they had anaphylaxis or any severe allergy to peanuts. It's almost a gamble to allow them to consume these refined oils (if allergic). Although the odds are in your favor, I wouldn't want my child to be the odd one out.

Crevel, R. W. "Allergenicity of Refined Vegetable Oils." National Center for Biotechnology 
     Information., Apr. 2000. Web. 16 July 2012. <http://www-ncbi-nlm-nih->.
Ramazzotti, M., N. Mullinacci, and L. Pazzagli. "Analytic Investigations on Protein Content in Refined
     Seed Oils: Implications in Food Allergy." National Center for Biotechnology Information.  , Nov. 2008. Web. 16 July 2012. <http://www-ncbi-nlm-nih->.
Ring, J., and M. Mohrenschlager. "Allergy to Peanut Oil-- Clinically Relevant?" National Center 
     for Biotechnology Information., Apr. 2007. Web. 16 July 2012. <http://www-ncbi->.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hard Times and Brownie-lovin'

I don't know what it is, but this year has been THE hardest for me as far as living with food allergies goes. Seriously, I've been really bummed out about the food I can't eat, especially the healthy foods. I would do anything to be able to eat a healthy, cheap, fast, over-easy egg in the mornings instead of a piece of toast with jam. Anything! Not to mention all these delicious treats that I see, and scrumptious, healthy meals that I can't eat. I'm trying to live healthy, and I just don't see the fairness in not being able to eat a perfectly healthy meal. I'm probably going to make a video blog soon to talk more about this. I've never been this distressed about it before! Maybe it's because I'm 21 and going to be a college senior--all these years in school of nearly similar meals have finally worn me out? Who knows.

On a brighter note, these cravings lead me to really want some brownies! I made my first batch of allergy-free brownies away from home, and they were delicious! I'm proud of myself :) One of my friends (who doens't have allergies) was looking for a healthier alternative to "regular" brownies, so I thought I would make this blog post for all the brownie lovers out there! Try something new, you never know if you'll love it!

I buy Pamela's brownie mix:

And all you need is to combine this mix, 1 egg (egg substitute: 1 tablespoon of arrowroot flower and 3 table spoons of water = 1 "egg," and I think it was 1/2 cup of water and 1/3 cup of oil. Have no fear, exact instructions are on the package ^_^ Bake for about 20 minutes and there you go! A beautiful, delicious batch of allergy-friendly alternative brownies.


-Andrea Garza

Blogspot is Our *Permanent* Home

Up until 15 minutes ago, I was under the assumption that my blog was deleted by the evil Blogger bots. Apparently, we have been resurected! And honestly, I really like the new modifications to the website.

So? This will PERMANENTLY be our home! I'm going to delete the wordpress blog I was forced to start back in November (read post). Bear with me as transfer all of the old posts!

Welcome home! :)

-Andrea Garza

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oscar’s Lunchbox by Pam Houssenloge

“Guess what! My body tells me which food is good for me. When I eat the right food I feel great. It’s like having my own special racing car formula!” ~ Excerpt from Oscar’s Lunchbox

Oscar’s Lunchbox also contains a special underlying message for children and adults alike, reminding us to look past clever marketing and flavour enhancers when making food choices. By stopping to feel the messages from his body, Oscar makes a connection between what he eats and how he feels. And if he wants to feel great he learns that he has to follow these messages. The wisdom contained in Oscar's Lunchbox can be used as a fundamental tool for developing life long healthy eating habits.

Author Pam Houssenloge hopes Oscar’s Lunchbox will be utilized by health professionals, dieticians, nutritionists, childcare providers, and teachers in preschool and school settings to support children to make better food choices.

For a preview go to or for more information or media commentary, contact the author at
*Statistics from Allergy UK


Have you read this book? Comment on what you thought about it!

-Andrea Garza

P.S. I moved this post from here.

Friday, January 27, 2012



Show your support, and join us this Wednesday!!!

From our website:

Arizona Food Allergy Alliance has been working in concert with State Senator Linda Lopez, Arizona Legistlative District 29, on a what has now been drafted as State Bill 1278: Restaurants; Allergy Awareness Requirements. This bill is essentially created coupling AFAA's Restaurant Training Initiative (see below) and Massachusettes State law regarding restaurants.

ARIZONA STATE SENATE BILL 1278 WILL BE HEARD: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1ST @ 9 A.M. STATE SENATE HEARING ROOM #109 Directions & Parking Map The food allergy community is invited to give their testimony and support during this hearing. If you would like to speak, please arrive about 30 minutes early to allow for parking and to register/request to speak at one of the kiosks in the Senate Lobby. Questions email

Food Allergy education video:

-Andrea Garza