03 December 2011

Peanut Sniffing DOGS Detects DANGER for the Peanut Allergic

Peanut sniffing dogs help people with peanut allergies. Yes it is true.
What is a "peanut sniffing dog"? How does a dog help someone with a peanut allergy?
Specially trained dogs are now being used to detect trace amounts of peanuts and other life-threatening allergens.

Sherry Mers whose daughter has a severe peanut allergy started a non-profit foundation, Angel Service Dogs Inc, as a ministry so children with 
"hidden disabilities" such as severe allergies and seizures can afford specially trained dogs or animals to help them. These dogs are expensive.
According to their Website, "Angel Service Dogs, Inc., a 501-C-3, is devoted to placing Allergy Alert Dogsspecially trained 
for peanut, tree nut, and allergen detection, with individuals and families who are inhibited by life-threatening allergies."

Training a peanut allergy dog to detect peanuts is similar to the training a drug sniffing dog receives.
In reviewing their website- here is what I found out.
Allergy Alert Service Dogs are trained to detect a specific set of allergens and to alert their handler of the presence of those allergens.
Angel Service Dogs states that their dogs can protect against contact or ingestion of these life-threatening allergens

Their dogs are trained by Master Scent trainers. These trainers have decades of experience working with scent dogs and working specifically with Allergy Alert dogs.
Dogs are carefully selected for the Allergy Alert dog program.
I found it interesting to learn which breed of dogs are used in the program.  They include Australian Labradoodles, Portuguese Water Dogs and other allergy friendly breeds. 
Click here to visit their website. For information on another breeder of Peanut Detector Dogs click Peanut Dogs
What a wonderful idea! 

In my research I also found a story about a black Labrador Retriever trained to sniff out the most miniscule traces of peanut -- she can even tell whether a chicken nugget has been fried in peanut oil.
I find that truly amazing! As a fairly experienced cook I don't think I could detect exactly what type of oil was used to fry chicken. Seriously!

The dog sniffs down everything and everyone that his owner may come into contact with letting he and his Mom know where it's safe to go or alerting them when peanut traces have been found. 
Watch this video.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Last but not least take a look at the video below for an MSNBC story on Peanut sniffing dogs. 

Thanks to these specially trained dogs (trained by Angel Service Dogs and other breeders) 
and their unique ability to detect traces of food allergens such as peanuts and tree nuts, the allergic children and adults they service can be safe to live a more normal life.

Angel Service Dog's company slogan sums it up- "life is better with someone watching over you".
Of course in this case that "someone" is a specially trained 4-legged friend.

I hope this story is helpful to you. Please share this story on Facebook or directly with friends you know who have the hidden disability of an Anaphylactic peanut or food allergy.

24 October 2011


Peanut allergies and food allergies are an International concern. They know no borders. 
It's one world  where the effects of living with food allergies cross all boundaries. 
Food allergic individuals and parents of food allergic kids worldwide are desperately seeking help for their children or themselves. 
For more information read my post "Peanut and Food Allergies". 

Since launching my blog last year I have been surprised by the International composition of my audience and their ability to find to my rather obscure blog.
As of today this blog has received visitors from over 67 countries which are listed at the end of this post.
The international scope of interest in peanut allergy and food allergy problems is evidenced by the diverse audience that has read this blog. 
Although I have not fully kept track of every visitor's country,the geographic dispersion of the audience is fascinating.
The audience is from 6 Continents and such diverse cultures as Greenland, Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Nepal, Nigeria, New Zealand and Qatar. It is an intriguing list.

Thus far the majority of my posts have been about the dreaded peanut allergy
Why?  The answer is simple. 
My son Alexander is undergoing treatment for his life-threatening allergy to peanuts.
The new treatment is cutting-edge and very successful thus far. 
Currently Alexander is in the "maintenance phase" of treatment. He is officially "desensitized" to peanuts. 
Alexander ingests 8 peanuts per day (unless he forgets- scary but true). Thus far there are been no reactions or complications. 
Explore my blog to read the entire story. 
It is truly an amazing experience to see my son eat peanuts. Due to the life-threatening nature of his allergy we are used to altering our lives to strictly avoid peanuts. 
Stories abound about the lifestyle changes that must occur in order to survive life with a dangerous food allergy.

So I write this blog to help others with peanut and food allergies and to spread the good news that real treatment is finally available for Peanut, Milk, Egg and Wheat allergies. Click here for more information. 
Yesaccess to treatment is currently limited unless people have the determination, time and resources to travel to the few places offering a treatment program or clinical trial. 
Research is ongoing and there are new treatments on the horizon for peanut allergies. Subscribe my email to be notified of future posts.

67 Countries - as of 10/24/11
United States  
Dominican Republic
Greenland   (57,564 pop.)
Hong Kong
Lithuania  (newest country on the list)
New Zealand
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
South Korea
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom

TOP 10 COUNTRIES- (in order of highest number of page views) are:
United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Romania, India, Phillippines, Germany, New Zealand and France

22 September 2011

Wisdom - Part 1

Wisdom is precious and not easily obtained. I have found true wisdom to be a rare commodity. For me, the source of wisdom that is worth pursuing comes from God. 

In the Bible, the purpose of the book of Proverbs is for "gaining wisdom and instruction, for understanding words of insight; receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair."
That is the kind of wisdom I desire. 

Below I have shared a passage worth reflecting upon. It is worth your your time. 

Moral Benefits of Wisdom - Proverbs 2:1-22 

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 
[2] turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 
[3]  and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 
[4]  and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 
[5]  then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

[6]  For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
[7]  He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 
[8] for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   [9]  Then you will understand what is right and just and fair---every good path.                               
[10]  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
[11]  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. 
[12]  Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are commodity
[13]  who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways,
[14]  who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
[15] whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.
[16] It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words,
[17] who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.
 [18] For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 
[19]  None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. 
[20]  Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.
[21]  For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it;
[22]  but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

Do you seek God's wisdom? or the wisdom of the world from your friends, family,
colleagues and acquaintances. 
Or perhaps from the internet or from sound bites and snippets from various sources?

I used to and if I am not careful,  I will seek wisdom from other sources before I seek what God has to say and reveal to me. 
What source is totally reliable and best for you? The wisdom of the world or the wisdom of God. 

You get to choose which path you will take. 

You can find God's wisdom and truth in the BibleHave you read it?

Resources: How To Recieve Eternal Salvation

05 August 2011

Peanut Allergic Teen Officially DESENSITIZED to PEANUTS

On April 12,2011 my son Alexander, who is deathly allergic to peanuts, was officially declared "DESENSITIZED". 

The term sounds like a condition out of a science fiction movie void of feeling and sterile. 
It actually befits our situation as Alexander experienced No Reaction to the ingestion of peanuts during the entire OIT process.

So you may ask "how did we achieve this?" Dr. Wasserman and his staff, especially Angela Galucci,P.A. are the medical heroes making history with their Oral Immunotherapy program.
Our part was being a willing and dedicated participant in the Dallas Allergy Immunology oral immunotherapy program (OIT) for peanuts.

It is important to note that Dr.Wasserman also offers OIT for milk, wheat and egg allergies.
It is surprising the talk to other patients and discover that many peanut allergic people are also allergic to one or more of these other food allergies.

Alexander was not only brave to agree to ingest peanuts to which he is deathly allergic 
(you should read his testing results in a previous post)
but he followed all the rules and requirements with little complaint other than cringing at the mere thought of having to take his distasteful dose.
Yes he also mastered the art of delay when it came to taking his dose. I've heard many funny stories from other patients whose children have taken the slow-playing of dose taking to a new creative high.

As for our journey since April 12th with Alexander's " maintenance dose" of peanuts, I will write a future post on his progress.

I want to thank Dr.Wasserman and his staff for all of their encouragement, candor and support. 

This program is a real breakthrough for everyone who suffers from the dreaded peanut allergy.
I implore you to investigate this program for yourself.  
Read past posts and comments and do your own research. 
Helpful links are on the right side of my blog.

As an expression of our joy and excitement for becoming "desensitized to peanuts" we want to express our prayerful thanks to God our Father for his many blessings 
as we say in Texas "yeehaw".

12 April 2011

Peanut Allergic TEEN to EAT 24 PEANUTS all at once - Big Day!

Today is the "BIG DAY" in our peanut allergy oral desensitization treatment.
There have been many such "vital days" and milestones along the ways.

Click on the names of the following posts to read them. There are many more.....
Peanut Allergy Treatment Day 1
Shucking Peanuts for Alexander's Big Day
Peanut Allergic Teenager Eat First Peanut

Yesterday I dutifully drove to Sprouts Grocery store to pick up a bag of "In-Shell RAW Peanuts" as our peanut supply was dwindling.  I arrived home and began my shelling regimen. These peanut smelled pretty good. 
The brown paper skins were easy to remove from the peanuts. This had not been the case before. Hmmmm?  I checked the package. UGH!
To my unhappy surprise I had purchased "Roasted" in-shell peanuts. 

The last bag of peanuts was "Raw" in-shell peanut but these had been the bane of Alexander's existence the past few weeks because the skins really stuck to these peanuts. 
The time it took Alexander to "ingest each dose",which was already painfully slow, doubled.  
I did not know why until I saw him laboring to remove the skins. 
He asked for more peanuts so I was happy to oblige. I had purchased the raw peanuts at another store so I decided I'd just return to the first place I purchased them. I thought "perhaps there is a difference in brands".

When I discovered I had purchased the wrong peanuts I sent an email Angela Galucci 
at Dr. Wasserman's office. It has been my understanding that roasting changes the peanut protein content slightly. Somehow I was wrong.
Here was her response- "Roasted peanuts are fine. They taste much better and are absolutely fine to dose with.  In fact, we usually recommend the roasted peanuts.  Maybe Alexander will like the taste a little better!"
Okie dokie! Problem solved.

Today Alexander will go to Dr. Wasserman's office for a "peanut challenge".
He will eat 24 Peanuts all at once. 
That is pretty amazing
A peanut allergic kid eating 24 peanuts at one sitting. 

This is the end of what I call Phase 1 of our peanut de-sensitization treatment.
The peanut oral desensitization treatment has been a HUGE SUCCESS for my son.
He has experienced NO allergic reactions.
Please pray for today to be another success.

More later....
If this blog has helped you in any way I would love for you to post a Comment below. 
It would be encouraging to us and to others. We have an international audience.
People from 48 countries are reading this blog.  And the list is growing.

Thank you for following Alexander's journey thus far. 

06 April 2011

Peanut Allergy Treatment WORKS -Now 24 PEANUTS Per DAY for Alexander

My son's deadly Peanut Allergy is being successfully treated. This is an update on the treatment progress for my peanut allergic son. 
Click here to read "Peanut,Milk,Egg Allergy Treatment Explained."

My teenage son Alexander is being successfully treated for his life-threatening Peanut allergy.
This past Tuesday he received DOSE #18 of his oral immunotherapy treatment.
Since my last post on February 23 regarding this treatment my son's dose has increased 
Click here to read "Precise Dose for Peanut Allergy Treatment- Oral Immunotherapy" and click here for "Two Peanuts and Super Bowl"
It is almost impossible to fathom but Alexander is now eating 24 Whole PEANUTS Per DAY.
The dose is divided into a morning dose of 12 peanuts and an evening dose of 12.
The dosing rules state that there must be a 9-15 hour time span between each dose.

When we began the peanut allergy treatment our does was 1/1000th of a whole peanut.
A few weeks ago he reached the milestone dose of 8 Peanuts which is is 2000 mg of peanut protein.  

The oral immunotherapy treatment has progressed very smoothly. Alexander's dose has increased each week barring one incident. 
Alexander has experienced NO ALLERGIC REACTIONS to his treatment!

The chart below outlines his recent progress.
Date Dose     Amount     Frequency     Total Peanuts per 24 Hours
Jan 27          1 Peanut    Twice per day          2
Feb  3           2 Peanuts    Twice per day        4
Feb 10          3 Peanuts    Twice per day        6
Feb 17          4 Peanuts    Twice per day        8

Feb 24          5 Peanuts    Twice per day      10
At this point he was given the option to eat Peanut Butter
5 whole peanuts were equivalent to 1 teaspoon of Jif brand Peanut Butter or Santa Cruz brand Organic Peanut Butter. Different brands contain different protein amounts. Dr. Wasserman's staff researched this fact and listed the above mentioned brands as acceptable.
If the label reads: 2T - 8 grams protein, then 1 teaspoon of peanut butter = 5.33 peanuts
If the label reads: 2T - 7 grams protein, then 1 teaspoon of peanut butter = 4.67 peanuts

Mar  7           6 Peanuts    Twice per day      12
Mar 14          7 Peanuts    Twice per day      14

Mar 21         8 Peanuts    Twice per day       16    
This is an important amount about which I will write another post
Next there is a jump in the number of peanuts

Mar 28         10 Peanuts    Twice per day     20
Apr 5           12 Peanuts    Twice per day     24

How much Peanut Butter would 12 peanuts be equivalent to? 
12 peanuts = 1 T of Peanut Butter (give or take a little)

My son is being a very good sport although he does wish he could quit. 
The taste of peanuts is truly repugnant to Alexander. He takes a very very long time to eat his peanut dose. In the mornings he "hems and haws" so longs that we often barely make it to school before the tardy bell rings. Yikes!

You'd think he would get used to the routine or the taste;however, you would be sadly mistaken. It takes ever ounce of willpower for him to choke down these peanuts.
Just think of it this way. 
What food do you truly hate - cannot stand- loathe- choke when you eat?  
Imagine eating that dreaded and hated food twice per day.  Yep- now you get the idea of what it is like.
I am very proud of Alexander. 
I am ever thankful to God for protecting Alexander all these years from a serious peanut allergy reaction and providing a way for healing.

Later this week I will write a post on the next phase of treatment. A big day is upon us.
More later....

19 March 2011

Lupine Allergy. A Danger for the Peanut Allergic traveling To Europe

Lupine allergy and peanut allergy- is there a link?
On my page "Where Is the Peanut Hiding?"   I list items that pose a hidden danger to people allergic to peanuts. A rather obscure food called Lupin is quickly becoming a more commonly used ingredient and food, especially in Europe and the Mediterranean region.  
(also Australia, USA, Canada, South America,)
WARNING- Unfortunately many peanut allergic individuals can have an allergic reaction to lupin.

What is Lupin?
Lupinus, commonly called lupine in the U.S. or lupin in Europe and Australia, is a common garden plant genus in the legume family, related to legumes such as peanuts,lentils,beans and peas. There are many different types of lupin. The majority of lupin is used for animal feed. "Sweet lupine" varieties are used in foods.

Some lupin varieties produce seeds which are used in foods.
Lupin seed are high in protein and have the full range of essential amino acids.

Lupin in Food
Lupin Flour 
In many mainland European countries, particularly Italy and France, lupin flour and /or peanut flour may be mixed with Wheat flour in baked goods and pasta. Common uses include bread, pizza, pasta, cookies, cereals, gluten-free products, biscuits, onion rings, tomato sauce, chicken bouillon cubes

Soy Alternative  
Lupin seeds are being recognized as a cheaper alternative to soy, becoming a more popular replacement for soy in recipes and other products. 

Fat Replacement in Food  

Lupine may be added to food as a fat replacement. (U.S. manufacturers will love this).  Researchers in Europe have found new uses for Lupin in low-fat products. 
Think low-fat sausage, low-fat ice cream, cream cheese and low-fat baked goods.

Lupini Beans
In the Mediterranean the yellow legume seed of lupins are called lupini beans.
Popular since Roman times, these beans are often soaked in brine and sold in jars like pickles. They are often eaten as a snack. Cento, an Italian manufacturer sells jars of Lupini Beans. You can find them right here in the United States.  Lupini Beans are very popular in Italy
- of course that is where we will be traveling with our peanut allergic son this summer. 
You can buy a paper cone of lupini beans from a street vendor in Rome.

Lupini Beans are popular as appetizers in many countries including Egypt, Syria. Called "altramuz" in Spain and Argentina and in Italy and Portugal called "tremo├žos"
Tremocos or Lupini Beans
Lebanon call "termos". Turkey and Egypt call "tirmis".
Tirmis sold by street vendor in Egypt
Lupini Beans are incorporated into foods served in restaurants in many countries.
They are used in Soups, Stews, Salads, and Entrees plus Hummus where lupine beans can replace chick peas.
Newly bred variants of "sweet lupins" are widely grown in Germany. The seeds are used in sausages, lupi-tofu and lupin flour. 

Gluten-Free Products
Although mostly unknown by American consumers, lupin is used in the U.S. in many gluten-free and high-protein products. It is not widely used in the U.K.

Lupin Fiber used in South America
Extracted from the grain shell of lupin and used in South American for cereal bars,sausages,bakery products, food supplements and extruded products

Lupin may cause an allergic reaction if you have a peanut allergy ranging from Hives to anaphylactic reactions.

We are traveling to Italy and France this summer. What should I do in order to protect my son? 
We do not know if he is allergic to lupin.  I feel I should have him tested, but "where o where" will I ever find the so far obscure lupini bean in the U.S. much less in Texas. Seriously!
I went into "protective parent" mode and did my research to find lupini beans locally.  I felt in had seen them somewhere....I had the picture of a jar in my head.
YES- success!  Central Market, to their surprise, carries them. I will hop in the car today to purchase them.
Food labeling rules in the EU require pre-packed food sold in the UK or the rest of the European Union (EU) to show clearly on the label if  a product contains lupin (or if one of its ingredients contains it). Lupin has been approved for use in bread flour in Europe since 1997.
Thus I think we will be able to avoid the danger of "packaged food" by reading the labels.

If Alexander proves to be allergic to lupin, the big problem for us will probably be restaurant food and their use of lupini beans or lupin containing foods such a bread and pasta.  Even tomato sauce can contain lupine flour. Ugh!

Plan of Action?
1) See if  our allergist can test our son for an allergy to lupine.
2) See if the jarred of lupini beans will work or if I have to source the raw beans.  I have read online about the difficulty in soaking and cooking these beans so I do hope I won't have to be "chef mom".
3) Order Select Wisely food allergy translation cards for use on our European holiday.

HELP -I have many Europeans who read this blog. I need your help. If you know of foods that contain lupine please tell me using the Comment box below.
Thank you so very much- Julie

Sources  http://www.lupins.org/lupins/
Food Standards Agency http://www.food.gov.uk/ , http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2010-2011/13/low-fat-lupin-proteins.jsp, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.200900365/abstract

14 March 2011

Life Threatening Food Allergies-This video could save a life. Carry an EPIPEN

So many people do not take food allergies seriously. Although food labeling laws in the U.S. have improved accidental exposure and ingestion of life-threatening foods is common.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food manufacturers 
to list the 8 most common ingredients that trigger food allergies. Most other developed countries have similar rules.
The 8 foods, listed below, account for 90% of allergic reactions.
Tree Nuts such as almonds,cashews,pecans, walnuts)
Shellfish (especially crustaceans)

The deadliest food allergy is to PEANUTS. It is the most common cause of anaphylaxis death in the United States
(see my list Where is the Peanut Hiding)

What is anaphylaxis?
According to Web MD anaphylaxis refers to a rapidly developing and serious allergic reactions that affects a number of different areas of the body at one time.
It can occur after eating only a tiny amount of an allergic food.
The reaction could start with itchy gums or tingling lips, watery eyes, zoning out, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, hives or it can be delayed, slower with the person experience the feeling of "impending doom". (not sure how to describe this one).
In the future I will write a more extensive post on experiencing anaphylaxis.

Severe anaphylactic reactions can be fatal.
Those who have a severe peanut allergy are at risk of having a life-threatening reaction and should strictly avoid peanuts and carry an EpiPen epinephrine auto injector at all times according to multiple web sources as well as allergists. 
My teenage son is allergic to peanuts. Our family policy is to carry 2 EpiPen's. 
Those are the instructions for my son to adhere to although he loathes carrying an EpiPen and has forgotten to carry one more often than I can remember.
Why carry 2?
You may need a 2nd dose,often after 20 minutes or less. (Video link @ end of post)

Thank goodness there is hope for those with Peanut, Milk, Egg and Wheat allergies.

A new TREATMENT is now available. 
My son, Alexander is currently being treated successfully
As of the date of this post he is EATING 12 Peanut Per Day. This is his dosing amount as part of his peanut allergy Treatment Program.

So many precious children and adults have died from a severe allergic reaction to food. It breaks my heart. That is why I am writing this blog. 
I want to get the word out about this new treatment program to everyone, along with all this other food allergy information I can post.

Please send a link to our blog Just A Little Peanut. Pass along to as many people as you can think of 
you don't know who your friends may know with life-threatening food allergies. Think outside the box. The information is useful to people worldwide.
I know of one family planning to move from India to Dallas so their daughter can be treated for her peanut allergy.

Alexander's story and Treatment program is detailed in my blog. 
Click here to go to my Home page where you can perform a search using the word Alexander or click on the titles below for a few of the posts.
Countdown to the BIg Day , Treatment Day 1Peanut Allergy Treatment #3 and #4Countdown to 1 Whole Peanut,  Dose Delayed, Allergic Teen EATS a PEANUT 

Remember you could save a life. Please pass this post via FB, Twitter
Too many people have died due to food allergy to peanuts, tree nuts and other life-threatening food allergies. 

Click here to watch a VIDEO on HOW TO USE AN EPIPEN .

Sources- Mayo Clinic , EpiPen, AllergicChild