Sick of the sight of hospitals!

I’ve not given up on my blog – honest! I will be writing more very soon, but the family has been plagued by ill health and emergency hospital visits so my focus has been elsewhere.

This weekend it is my father’s 70th birthday party. He doesn’t know it yet, but my brothers and I are organising a surprise gathering for him and I am about to get my apron on to cook up all sorts of treats tomorrow ready for the feast. Like I have said before, 99% of the food on offer will all be gluten, egg, dairy, soya and celery free. It’s so much easier to do it this way so that the boys can freely choose their own food without the worry of picking ‘unsafe’ items which plagues them at most social gatherings.

Apart from the cake and stack of mouthwatering, maple syrup drenched mini pancakes I am making, I shall also rustle up garlic bread and rolls, mini pizzas, pasta salads, thyme crackers, cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon, and a vegetarian tart to boot – all alongside the general array of dips, tortillas, salads and strawberries. I’ll try and remember to take some photos of the event to show you.

I hope you have as good a weekend as I am going to have!


Anapen recall

I just took a call at work from my husband telling me that he heard a newsflash that the Anapen adrenaline injector is being recalled.

Having googled the recall, apparently we are hearing it from the news channels first as the manufacturers issued the press release without informing hospital allergy centres.

To confirm I rang our GP practice and they have confirmed the voluntary recall here in the UK saying it is due to possible dosing irregularities which may occur due to the properties of the plastic needle sheath used to deliver the adrenalin.

I’m guessing that Anapen patients will be called by their hospitals or GP practices shortly to offer replacement adrenalin injectors – most likely Epipens. If you don’t get a call, pick up the phone and sort it yourself.

However, there doesn’t seem to be much cause to panic! Be assured that here in the UK we are being ultra cautious. Other countries who use the Anapen more widely are not recalling them yet. France use it much more routinely and they are sitting on the fence until more tests are done.

You might be forgiven for thinking that the recall might be due in part to the Anapen adversely affecting at least one person…but no! I gather that no-one has be let down by the pen so it would seem that the manufacturer really is just playing safe.

Here’s the latest update from the BBC

I’ll bring more updates as I find them…

Would you like a downloadable weekly / monthly menu planner?

Hi, Ruth here! It seems that there is a growing readership on my blog and I’d just like to thank everybody who has sent me emails recently.

I’ve been asked a few times in the last two weeks if I have a menu planner I use – with menus already on it? I guess it was after my post ‘Get Smart….‘ post where I said that planning meals in advance and pinning up a weekly menu on the fridge door saves time wondering what to cook every day.

I’m sure that there are heaps of us using such methods, but as I’ve been specifically asked to think about producing one (and before I spend too much time on it) I thought I’d ask if you think it is a tool you would find useful?

If enough people do, I might well look into putting together entire weekly or even monthly menu planners where the meals are free from all major allergens: gluten, dairy, soya, fish, peanuts, eggs, shellfish and tree nuts…and of course celery for my boys!

I would be very grateful for all those who email me their thoughts…and if the vote is to go for them, I will do my very best to put together a tool that is useful for us all….and will make sure those who respond get the planners first!!

Contact me here

Thank you!


Allergy and Free From Show – a Must this Weekend

If you can get yourself to London this coming weekend (18th-20th May 2012) you won’t regret it.  The ‘Allergy and Free From Show’ at London’s Olympia represents the largest gathering of people suffering from food allergies and those providing products and services for them.

There is a ticket charge on the door, but if you follow this link now, you can preorder FREE TICKETS and get them emailed to you.

Over 150 individuals and companies are exhibiting their wares, from food and drink, to skin products and cosmetics, allergy solutions and demos.

Specifically aimed at those with allergies, food intolerances, Coeliac Diseases (and other autoimmune diseases), chemical sensitiviteis, eczthma, asthma, hayfever and a host of other respiratory and skin conditions. Don’t let this pass you by…

Get Smart! Control the burden of food allergies

How often do we get to the money hungry till in a supermarket to find that we’ve spent more and got less than anticipated? It doesn’t matter whether you’re struggling to cater for food allergies or not, the cost of everyday food is rising….and many of us are feeling the pinch.

Catering for those with true food allergies increases costs both in direct and indirect ways. Not only do the special, allergy free alternative ingredients we must buy cost the earth…but we have to visit three, four or even five shops or supermarkets weekly to hunt down the ingredients we need to provide a balanced and safe diet. Add in to the mix that it takes longer to read through every ingredient on every packet every time we shop, and that adapting recipes takes time, effort and lots of failures until we have it right, and you start to get the picture that everyday life with food allergies takes it toll on families.

Don’t let these things get you down, however, as there are time saving strategies that WILL help you manage your time effectively and reduce the burden of catering and shopping for food allergies.

I’ve put together a list of suggestions to help.

  • Plan your meals in advance. Maybe stick a weekly planner on the fridge door?
  • Use your weekly menu as the basis for your shopping list
  • Only buy what you are going to be able to use. Some speciality ingredients are already costly – the last thing you want is to be throwing out of date items away
  • Consider online supermarket shopping – let someone else take the strain
  • Look at cheaper alternatives – we have recently found Aldi cold meats are tasty, free from the added milk protein other supermarkets pump in to their cold sliced meats…and they are far cheaper than the other main stores
  • Buy in bulk to take advantages of special offers and to reduce the number of shopping trips – if you have the storage space at home
  • Look at online specialist shops for key ingredients you may find hard to source elsewhere, and get them delivered direct – again in bulk where possible
  • Avoid too many allergy free convenience foods. Not only are they super expensive, but often they aren’t especially tasty either. We’ve lost track of the number of new products we’ve tried out to find all three boys think they’re yuk and feed the bin!
  • Make much more than you need and freeze portions to take out when you need a quick meal. This works especially well with pasta sauces, any dish involving minced beef, soups, casseroles, cakes, biscuits, lasagne and meatballs to name just a few

If even one of these ideas works for you, if you regularly cook smart and shop wisely, you will see the benefits straight away. Don’t be a victim to the burden of food allergies. Get smart and leave yourself time to do the fun stuff!