Ooey, Ooey, Ooey Allergies!

I was in my local grocery store and a little child was crying. I heard his father trying to explain to him that they could not buy something for his party because they wanted a little girl, presumably a friend, to be able to eat it as well. The father, who I don’t know but assume is in the Dad Hall of Fame, was trying to explain the concept of food allergies to the child. He gently told the child that they needed to protect the young girl in a way that made the boy understand.

Explaining food allergies to a young child is tough. I suggest outsourcing the job to my favorite Australians (sorry, Wolverine, but you haven’t tried to explain food allergies to kids as far as I know). Legend has it, and by ‘legend’ I mean The Wigglepedia, founding member Anthony Field has a son with a peanut allergy.

Many thanks to The Wiggles for teaching their fans, who are mainly under five but occasionally are over 30 (no judgements here), around the world about food allergies.

Nutless Me in New Orleans - Day 6

Morning Call at City Park in New Orleans

On Day 6 in New Orleans, I have to make an admission: I’m a beignet addict. After riding the streetcar out to City Park, we could not resist having beignets at the historic Morning Call cafe in City Park. As opposed to Cafe Du Monde, the cafe does not bring in a dump truck to drop a metric ton of powdered sugar on the beignets. Instead, there is a powdered sugar shaker on the table. Just like Cafe Du Monde, the waiter stated that everything was nut safe, and we did not have any reactions.

Disclaimer: Hey, whenever we recommend a product or restaurant, it’s still up to you to make sure that they are safe for you or whoever it is with a peanut or tree nut allergy. We are not responsible for any allergic reactions, okie-dokie?

Breakfast for Dinner at the IHOP

The trip was wonderful. The city is wonderful. However, we were exhausted at the end. We have to sadly admit that we went straight to one of our safe places rather than go down the list from our research of non-chains there in the city. We just wanted a quick meal from a place with an online allergen menu so we went with the Canal Street IHOP. Don’t judge me.

There were only two other tables being used (again, what’s up with that?). One was a homeless vet who told the server that it was his 70th birthday. The other was a nice couple. I’m really just assuming that they were nice because they paid for the vet’s dinner.

We had a nice breakfast for dinner at the IHOP with waffles and pancakes and called the vacation done. We felt very fortunate that the city provided plenty of opportunities for safe dining even though we were a little nervous. I hate to admit it, but I feel safer at the chains since we are still relatively new to life with this allergy. I’m sure that we’ll get more confident as time goes on or, better yet, the OIT or patch or some other treatment will go well. Fingers crossed.

IHOP Allergen Information

First image from Flickr user Infrogmation of New Orleans. Creative Common License. Second image from Flickr user Ankur Gulati. Creative Common License.

Viaskin® Peanut Recruiting Participants for Safety Study

Science Rocks!
We have previously blogged about the Viaskin® Peanut patch (see The Patch That Was Promised) and how the previous phases of the clinical trial have offered those of us affected by peanut allergies some hope. According to ClinicalTrials.gov, a safety study is currently recruiting children to be study participants at 32 study locations in the United States and Canada. They need children between 4 and 11 years of age where they will either receive the patch for six months or a placebo. After that time, all participants will receive the active treatment for a period up to three years. More information is available by clicking the link below.

Safety Study of Viaskin Peanut to Treat Peanut Allergy (REALISE)

From the website:

Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study: 4 Years to 11 Years (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No

Inclusion Criteria:


  • Physician-diagnosed peanut allergy;

  • A peanut Skin Prick Test (SPT) with a wheal largest diameter ≥8 mm;

  • A specific-peanut Immunoglobulin E (IgE) ≥14 kU/L;

  • Subjects following a strict peanut-free diet.

Image from Flickr user Glenn Strong. Creative Common License

Nutless Me in New Orleans - Day 5

Court of Two Sisters Restaurant. Ignore the "the."

If you have already read through the forums at some dated recommendations of places that are safe in New Orleans, one place that probably came up over and over again is The Court of Two Sisters restaurant. It’s a landmark, and is as cool as all of the reviews have stated. We actually ate there years ago for the Sunday jazz brunch and were looking forward to going back.

Disclaimer: Hey, whenever we recommend a product or restaurant, it’s still up to you to make sure that they are safe for you or whoever it is with a peanut or tree nut allergy. We are not responsible for any allergic reactions, okie-dokie?

We walked there this afternoon and found the place to be very quiet with only a few tables taken (this appears to be a theme on this trip). As we entered through the old tunnel, we met the host and told him about the peanut and nut allergies. He gave us a binder which we could take with all of the ingredients of the dishes they use in the buffet. This was incredibly helpful as we chose the dishes to eat. A few were not in the binder but there was plenty of staff in the buffet line to answer questions. Strangely enough, the binder would place in all caps next to the relevant items, “THIS ITEM CONTAINS GLUTEN.” However, the items with nuts said nothing. Oh, modern world.

The Sign Above the Bar

The Court of the Two Sisters completely lived up to the hype in terms of allergy-friendly food. The service completely exceeded all expectations and was, quite honestly, the best staff of servers I have ever encountered in my life. The outdoor dining in the courtyard was exceptional in terms of ambiance. The three-piece band playing was fantastic. The place is just so darn cool. Bravo, The Court of Two Sisters, bravo. Slow clap.

Also, we ended the day back at Cafe Du Monde for beignets again. I want to marry that place.

The Court of Two Sisters website does have a few recipes available, but the restaurant has a cookbook that you can buy on Amazon or, if you’re secretly a superhero, on
BetterWorldBooks
.

First image from Flickr user Gary J. Wood. Creative Common License

Nutless Me in New Orleans - Day 4

Seriously Good (and Safe) Food

Hey, whenever we recommend a product or restaurant, it’s still up to you to make sure that they are safe for you or whoever it is with a peanut or tree nut allergy. We are not responsible for any allergic reactions, okie-dokie?

There we are having a nice day on the waterfront of New Orleans. Then, while waiting in line for tickets at the aquarium, I get a series of alerts saying something to the effect of, “Tornado Warning. Get your butt indoors.” No jokes here since some folks in New Orleans East and cities to the West lost their homes and belongings from the series of funnels that touched down. Our prayers are with them all.

While we waited for a serious downpour to pass, we stayed inside of the aquarium which means we had to eat what was available in their food court. One place served peanut butter and jelly so that was definitely out, but they did have a Papa John’s which is on my safe list of places to go. They confirmed that they were still safe before we ordered (heck with you, place that rhymes with Hizza Put), so that was lunch. It was a pizza. Here is the Papa John’s Allergen Menu.

Dinner was much more interesting. We returned to Mulate’s, a restaurant where we had our first taste of New Orleans cuisine many years back. The prices were higher, but the food was still incredible. The server was very helpful, but we had also researched ahead of time and we had received a response to an email. It should probably be noted that when we arrived, we were the only customers in this huge restaurant (and yet, the next people who arrived were seated right next to us - go figure). They do get really busy especially when there is a band. The server told us to stay away from the deserts, but they are kept separately and are never handled in a common preparation area.

We went tapas-style and ordered almost every appetizer on the menu. So far, so good in terms of reactions. Unfortunately, we were way too early for the live music and dancing. One of our fondest memories from our previous trip was a gentleman of a certain age who would walk slowly through the restaurant and ask young women to dance to the zydeco music. By the time he would guide her back to the dance floor, the song would be mostly over.

As stated, deserts should be avoided so it was back to Cafe Du Monde for us.

Bottom line: Mulate’s is highly recommended based on our experience today, but you should always do your own research.

Image from Flickr user Sharon. Creative Common License

The Peanut Allergy Answer Book

The Complete Peanut Allergy Handbook
When I first started researching peanut allergies, I found a ridiculous amount of information on the Internet with some being seemingly dangerous and irresponsible. Yet, these resources either have a lot of links pointing to them or they found the one genuine Search Engine Optimization (SEO) person on the planet who helped take them to the top of the search engine results.

I beg you, I implore you to start with a foundation of solid medical evidence before branching out into the…um…more interesting treatments and theories. The Peanut Allergy Answer Book is now in its third edition. According to the updated description, the current edition includes:


  • Promising new treatments, including oral desensitization and Chinese herbal medicines

  • The most recent recommendations for feeding at-risk infants and young children

  • The latest laboratory tests for determining the risk of life-threatening anaphylaxis

The author, Michael C. Young, MD, has quite the resume. Sorry, an ultra-respected person like this doesn’t have a resume - they have a curriculum vitae so they must have a brain full of evidence-based research.

I hope that you will start with this book or a similar one, and then you can feel free to look into services like one in Portland where a provider will travel back in time to fix the issue you had in your past life that has now led to this peanut allergy. You think I’m making this up?

Buy now from Amazon or be really cool and choose to buy it from BetterWorldBooks. Make sure you are getting the current edition.