Allergy-Friendly Play Dates

Play dates can be very stressful for parents of children with food allergies.  However, just like adults (maybe even more so), young children need social interaction with their peers. Often this takes place in the form of play dates.

The toddler and preschooler age group presents a unique challenge in that they often do not fully understand the gravity of having a life-threatening food allergy and they love to explore using all of their senses. It isn’t uncommon for children in this age bracket to put objects in their mouth as soon as they have them in their hands. Generally speaking, the younger the child is, the more controlled the environment needs to be.  With that in mind, you might consider keeping play dates completely free from your child’s allergens. While I am not a huge proponent of “blanket” food bans in general, I think you always have to look at each individual situation and circumstance when creating a safe environment for children with food allergies.

Continue Reading

5 Tips for Getting Along with the Nastiest of Neighbors, Ragweed

I originally posted this article October 1, 2013 at, but I thought I would pull it out of the archives and share it again because ragweed season is right around the corner. According to the American College of of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, ragweed “wreaks havoc” causing seasonal allergy symptoms in millions of Americans from late summer through fall and peaks in mid-September.

In our household, we have multiple food allergies and environmental allergies. When I lived in Kentucky, my allergies seemed to be worse in the spring with all of the tree pollen visibly covering Fantasticallyfreeragweedevery horizontal surface outside. Living in the midwest, I have gotten acquainted with one of the nastiest neighbors you can have.

You see, our yard backs up to a nature preserve–which is awesome. However, when our house was being built, the builders cleared a little too much brush and, being the opportunistic weed that it is, ragweed moved in very quickly. You can see it in the center of the photo to the right.
Ragweed is extremely hard to get rid of because it is a rather tenacious and invasive weed, and in our particular circumstance, it lies on a protected nature preserve. This wouldn’t be so bad if our whole family wasn’t allergic to it.

Ragweed is responsible for widespread and severe allergies across the U.S from the late summer/early fall until frost. Each plant produces about a billion highly-allergenic pollen spores that can be carried by the wind for hundreds of miles. It is commonly considered to be the most heinous pollen allergens there is. Needless to say, it is very difficult to avoid.

So what do you do to minimize exposure to ragweed?

Here are my top 5 tips for “getting along” with the nastiest of neighbors, ragweed:

1) Stay away from it. I know that sounds silly and obvious, but if you have a severe ragweed allergy you might want to consider staying indoors during the day, at least. I have small children, so we do spend a lot of time outside, but we don’t play in the backyard very much when the ragweed is in full-bloom. Check the weather and stay inside as much as possible when ragweed pollen is high and the air quality is going to be poor, especially if you have asthma in addition to allergies.

Continue Reading

7 Ways to Use Dandelions in Your Diet


Did you know that Weed Appreciation Day is coming up? No? I’m not surprised. ;) Weed Appreciation Day is coming up on Monday, March 28th, and in recognition, I’d like to share my favorite weed: the Dandelion.

Besides being the most hated weed found in lawns across the United States, dandelions pack quite a bit of nutritional value.

Research suggest that dandelions help reduce inflammation in the liver and gallbladder. Their leaves, which are a natural source of potassium, have traditionally been used to remove excess water and toxins from the body.

Continue Reading