Crouching Allergens, Hidden Tree Nuts
I am bad at remembering things – all things. I have to look and relook at name tags, ingredients list, instruction manuals. In fact, when Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was released in theaters, it was renamed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Treefrog by me; THAT I could remember. Because I can’t remember anything, I have to make sure that I research multiple times, everything, that comes into my home, because hidden allergens are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Wheat in PlayDoh, sesame in lotions, orange oil in soaps, soy in tea, barley in “natural flavoring” … the list goes on and on. The hubs and I have to read every ingredient list for every consumable product that comes into our house. Grocery shopping for new foods takes forever and we still have to double check products after we buy them, just to make sure that we aren’t unwittingly grabbing something that we thought that we properly cleared. To be completely upfront with the fact that I am not an expert, nor a robot, I have on many occasions posted to my local mom group with bags of free food that I realized too late were processed on shared lines.
When Hank started Kindergarten, I worked with his teacher to come up with an alternative to Playdoh. After a messy mess and another sticky gross maker, we did find this recipe from Parents.com that worked well. Held its color, shape and didn’t leave a horrid mess on the work station.
We have taught our children to look at the soap in public bathrooms. Typically, if the soap bottle has a picture of an orange on it, I have found that they use orange in the product. However, since strawberries are more expensive, manufactures tend to use an artificial scent. I have read on my support boards that several families carry a plastic baggie with safe soap in it. Not even a hotel will be safe; we stayed at a hotel this past summer where the shampoo and lotions had sesame oil in them. We didn’t use them, but I side eyed everything in the room that could have come into contact with it.
I drink a lot of decaf chai tea and have a particular brand that I am very fond of. However, after Hank asked for a sip (AND I GAVE IT TO HIM) I realized that I never checked, but I figured that it would be safe. This is never the case; it won’t be safe just because you think that it will. Always check before giving anything to your allergy child. I found that Bigelow tea uses soy lecithin in some of their teas to help disperse tea through the cup.
Even at the dentist, you need to always be your child’s mama and papa bear. We couldn’t get a clear ingredient list on the polishes and fluoride used in the dentist office. For his safety, Hank gets plain ol’ flavorless pumice for his cleanings. The best part of him never having the bubble gum flavoring? He doesn’t even know that they exist! We have a great family dentist. So great, in fact that they met with the manufacture representative for their fluoride supplier. They, on their own, walked though all the ingredients and rejected their standard order as it contained an ingredient that could trigger a reaction to those allergic to nuts! They switched to make their office safer. Near tears that made me. You can read more about the connection here.
If you have bought a product in the past that was safe, it is always recommended that you reread the ingredients before buying it again. Companies can and do change out ingredients. And unless you enjoy giving foods away like I apparently do, check new foods from trusted companies. That elbow noodle may not share a line or a facility, but their lasagna noodle may…
To read more about common hidden allergens, take a look at this article on The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.