Wednesday, July 2, 2014

#BeReady: My New E-Book for College Students with Food Allergies



Are you ready?  Well, #BeReady.  That's the name of my new e-book/handbook for college students with food allergies.  I am happy to announce that this is the culminating project of my Master’s Degree Thesis (I am so excited that I wanted to write that with capital letters!).  In my study, I looked at the information needs and information preferences of college students with food allergies.  Here is a short overview of the findings.  Students wanted:

 

·       more information on how to prepare food for themselves

·       nutrition

·       recipes

·       knowing where to shop

·       how to inform the college and their friends about their food allergies

·       navigating social scenarios

·       understanding their available dining options on-campus and off-campus

 
The majority of students prefer to receive food allergy information from websites and brochures.  They would love to use apps if there were more developed for their needs. Hint Hint for you app developers out there!  Participatory design is the thing right now, have the students help you design the app!

If you would like more information about my study, please email me (shandaaguirre@yahoo.com) and I can provide detailed stats, academic style!

I decided to give the students what they wanted.  I wrote a handbook with basic nutrition advice, recipes that can be made in the dorm, shopping tips, traveling tips, and resources on where to find more information.  I am also going to be working with FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) to help them develop more education material for college students with food allergies.  Check out their website, they are doing great things!

Without further delay, here it is:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/232363472/BeReady-Handbook-for-College-Students-with-Food-Allergies


I hope this handbook helps!  Feedback is welcome!  Enjoy the holidays everyone!

Good Wishes,
Shanda

Image: courtesy of google images.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Please Take My Survey and Pass It On To Others!



Hello Everyone!

I am working on my graduate school thesis and I would love if you have 15 minutes to take my survey.  I will share the results on my blog when I have collected and analyzed all of the data.  What has been found through all of my research is that college students with food allergies need more information to manage their food allergies.  The purpose of this study is to find out what information they need so those materials can be produced.  If you are currently a college student with food allergies or know someone who is, please follow this link to the survey and pass it on!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PFF3GRN
 
Thank You!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Outgrown Egg Allergy- Watch This Powerful Video Of Her Eating Eggs For The 1st Time!

 
 
 
video
Disclaimer:  Do NOT try this at home.  My child's doctor approved us to feed her eggs at home based on her allergy tests.  Feeding your child something they may be allergic to can cause serious reactions or even death.  Always speak to your doctor before doing anything like this.   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I am so happy to announce that my daughter has OUTGROWN HER EGG ALLERGY!  The journey that led us to the moment that you see in the video was a long one.  She tested positive to an egg allergy at 2 years old, started to show signs that it was going away at 5 years old, started eating eggs in baked goods at 6 years old, and now can eat them at 8 years old. 

Note:  Some of the stuff I tell her during the video is just to ease her fears and may not be purely factual.  We sat there for about half an hour before the video started rolling.  She was very scared, even starting to cry at one point.  This is what children with food allergies go through every day, living in a world where everything is about food, and fearing the very thing that gives humans life.  I share this because its real.  It shows the struggle.  It shows the fear.  It shows how strong kids with food allergies are.  Imagine eating something, for the first time, that you were told could kill you......... 

I hope this will motivate people to spread awareness of the huge, growing food allergy epidemic.  We need to keep fighting to find a cause and then a cure!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

uKnow Peanut Molecular Allergy Test: We Took The Test!


The results are in!  But before I tell you the results, let me tell you the story.  My daughter has NEVER had a severe allergic reaction.  If you read our story, you will know that she was diagnosed with severe allergies to nuts, and a whole list of other foods, when she was 2 years old through skin-prick and regular blood testing.  Yes, we are lucky to have never experienced a severe reaction like so many of you, but I was always left to wonder if the allergy was true.

Have you heard of the uKnow Peanut Molecular Allergy Test?  According to the company website (https://www.uknowpeanut.com/Default.aspx), the uknow Peanut Test looks at component-specific IgE blood test which look at a person’s level of risk of a severe reaction. 

While I waited for the test date to arrive, and then waited for the test results, I have to admit that I really started to believe, in my mind, that she had outgrown her allergy or that we had been dealing with an allergy that never was.  I started letting loose.   I was like a college girl who just moved out of her parent’s house for the first time.  I went wild-crazy.   I stopped discussing her allergies and only telling people when necessary, like when ordering food at a restaurant.  I stopped blogging about food allergies.  I pretty much started pretending that we live a “normal” allergy free life.  I started shopping for food and buying even when the label said “made in a factory that processes nuts”.  I got a small glimpse of what my life was like before her food allergy diagnosis.  I yearned so badly for that life that I created it my mind, even before we got the results.
So, drumroll please........
 
 
 
Well, here are the results:  Severely allergic, high risk of anaphylaxis.  It was like someone punched me in the face.  Somehow in these last few months of living with the idea that we may be an allergy free home, I lost site of the blessings that have come along with this diagnosis:

1.  We are a family that is aware of what we put in our mouths.  I learned so much about processed food and being forced to avoid it has taught me to look for healthy alternatives.
2.  I learned to cook.  I mean I always had marginal cooking skills but I am improving my skills all the time.  Making and eating homemade, healthy meals is so satisfying.
3.  By changing our eating habits, many of our friends and family have done the same.  It’s had the “Tipping Point” effect on the health of our loved ones and people we encounter on a daily basis.
And let this be a reminder to all of us with food allergies in our family:  We can’t let our guard down, we have to keep fighting.  Fighting to keep our family members safe and healthy.  Fighting to educate people on food allergies.  Fight for awareness.  I thought I didn’t have to fight anymore.  But I am back and I am here to fight for the greatest little gift I have ever been given, my daughter Brooklyn.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Whoa Baby! St. John's Wort Makes Birth Control Ineffective!

St. John's Wort is used for depression, lack of appetite, tiredness, and anxiety.  As an herbal remedy, most people think its completely safe for anyone to take.  NOT TRUE!

Herbal remedies need to be treated just like pharmaceuticals.  They will interact with each other and sometimes cause adverse side effects.  One of the biggest side effects of St. Johns Wort is that it increases the rate that estrogen is broken down in the body.  What does this mean?  It means that it cancels out birth control.  Yep, just like antibiotics, St. John's Wort can make oral contraception ineffective.  So, if you aren't looking to have a wee one, then stay away from St. John's Wort or use back up protection.  Talk to your health care provider about other options such as Sam-E, Ashwaganda, Schisandra Fruit, and many more natural options for depression, anxiety, and sleep issues. 

I write this as a reminder to always check the interactions of drugs and herbal remedies.  Herbal remedies are readily available to the public, and can be dangerous if not used correctly.  Check with your practitioner, holistic practitioner, or other health adviser before taking herbal remedies.  Also, you can check out this website which gives you information about drug/herbal interactions:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginformation.html

Natural is always better, but its only better if you are safe and informed about what you are putting into your body! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Healthy Snack Ideas To Knock Out Your Sweet Tooth Cravings

Sometimes don't you wish that a Diet was a person so you could just knock it out!   Instead, how about using those boxing gloves to knock out a punching bag at the gym and use these ideas to knock out your SWEET TOOTH CRAVINGS....

Healthy Snack Food Ideas:



1.       Amaranth and Honey.  Amaranth is a grain that provides a complete protein, plus it’s full of tons of other nutrients.  All you need to do is get a frying pan with a lid, heat the pan on the stove on high,  put about 1 to 2 tablespoons of amaranth is the pan at one time , cover and move the pan around like you are popping Jiffy Pop over a fire.  The amaranth will pop quickly.  It will also burn quickly so it may take a few tries to figure it out.  Only use 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time until you have as much amaranth popped as you want.  Then just add honey.  It’s a very yummy, filling, and healthy treat.  But it does take practice!   It comes in small packages and seems expensive, but goes a long way so don’t be freaked out by the more expensive price. Check out my blog on Amaranth- The Super Grain: http://shesnotnuts.blogspot.com/2011/11/amaranth-history-and-nutritional-value.html

2.      Make your own trail-mix-   You can use Almonds (if you’re not allergic), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried fruit ( without sugar), and dark chocolate baking chips.  Mix those all together.  This is also a very filling snack and the chocolate satisfies the sweet craving.  Make sure it’s dark chocolate and not milk chocolate.  Dark chocolate that is at least 75% Cocoa is full of antioxidants so it’s better for you.

3.      Good Old Popcorn- topping ideas instead of butter are:  garlic and hot sauce, lemon-pepper and olive oil, nutritional yeast (which has a cheesy flavor), vinegar, onion powder, or just experiment with a small amount of cooking oil and the seasonings in your cabinet. 

4.      Make your own granola bars- Search for healthy and easy granola recipes..  I sometimes melt dark chocolate (85% Cocoa) and drizzle it over the top.  Then you can cut them up and bring them to munch on anytime.  Here is a link to some good ones: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/granola-bars-recipe/index.html

5.      Fruit- Sweeter fruit will cure that craving and give you good nutrients.   Double whammy!

Always remember...

.As Dr. Rob Gilbert said,"First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they'll eventually conquer you." 

 So form some good eating habits and conquer good health for life!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Childhood Obesity Epidemic renamed Childhood SUGAR Epidemic

OK, maybe the obesity epidemic has only been officially renamed the Childhood SUGAR Epidemic by me, but I think the new name reflects a huge problem causing the epidemic in the first place.  On January 1st while many people were starting their new diets or at least plotting to start a new diet, I sat at the Annual Pasadena Rose Parade.   Among the people sitting around me was an 8 year-old obese boy.  At 7 a.m. when I took my seat, he sat in front of me eating a large bag of blue cotton candy.  I think a list format will be the best way to sum up the rest of his mass sugar consumption that took place from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m.

1.  The bag of cotton candy                             
2.  A Babe Ruth candy-bar
3.  A giant cinnamon roll
4.  Bag of potato chips
5.  Babe Ruth candy-bar #2
6.  2 chocolate balls the size of golf balls

Wowzers!  To top it off, his mother said he had waffles for breakfast.

My 2 questions for you are:  What do you think is causing the Childhood Obesity Epidemic?  Are you aware of everything that you are eating on a daily basis?

I've seen people obsess over counting calories but one simple exercise which really helps people ( me included) is to simply write down every single thing that enters your mouth in a day.  I first did this exercise in a college nutrition class.  I was so surprised to find out that I didn't eat as healthy as I thought.  Write down what you eat for a week and write down the times you eat them.  You may be able to find a pattern in your eating habits that you didn't notice before.

Then, if you want to know how much fat, protein, vitamins, etc. that you are consuming, you can put this information into this website
 http://www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker-tools.html
 Doing this exercise may shed some light on the areas of your diet that need improvement.  Good luck achieving your health goals in the new year.  Remember, you have to start somewhere, take baby steps, and eat food that is nutritious so you can feel Superlicious. ( I don't know if that's a word but it sounds like a good way to feel! :)