Skye Blue Kitchens, and your chance to win something yum

At a recent glutey group catch up, I met the lovely Irene from Skye Blue Kitchens. Irene makes delicious gluten-free, dairy-free ready mix packs that can be used to bake a variety of yummy goodies. Here's Irene's story and the reason behind the development of Skye Blue Kitchens.

"I was 15 when my dad was diagnosed with coeliac disease. His symptoms were severe weight loss, lack of energy, bloating/gas, fatigue, diarrhoea.

"Mum cooked very plain meals to try and keep dad safe – meat, vegetables, potatoes (no sauces etc).  There was only one gluten free blend flour mix available and Mum used to buy this from the chemist.  She tried to make cookies and cakes without success.  I loved baking so I also tried to make a few cakes.  Everything had a chalk-like texture, had no taste and tended to be dry and crumbly. Invariably the baking went in the bin. Unsliced, white bread only was on prescription from the chemist along with one brand of biscuits. The only way Dad could manage to eat the bread was to toast it. 

"Fast forward a few years, and my son was struggling with weight loss, intense bloating/gas, lethargy, and constant fatigue. He was diagnosed with coeliac disease at the age of 21. His diagnosis gave me the drive to start the business because I wanted life to be as normal as possible for him.  I wanted him to still be able to eat his favourite baking treats (eg chocolate chip cookies) and that they would taste and look just like the real thing.

Irene and her son prior to his diagnosis.

Irene and her son prior to his diagnosis.

"Skye Blue Kitchens offers a range of versatile gluten-free cookie and cake mixes that let you create delicious treats every time. All of our mixes can be made dairy-free and also allow you to control the amount of added refined sugar. Each recipe gives a minimum amount of sugar for texture and taste. You really can't believe they're gluten-free!"

I've tried the Skye Blue Kitchens range (thanks Irene for the samples), and they're really yummy. Irene has kindly offered a gift basket which includes one of her mixes to give away on the blog. And you should totally enter this competition. All you have to do is tag a food allergy buddy on my Facebook post, and you're in the draw. Competition closes 3 March and is open to New Zealand residents only.

 

Want to purchase your own Skye Blue Kitchens goodies? You can buy them online or at Over the Moon in Cambridge.

Children with food allergies ... part one

Something that I've been thinking about lately is babies. Cute, pudgy cheeked munchkins with my curls and outgoing nature, and my husband’s long eyelashes, gingery colouring, and sharp sense of humour. 

Our children will be beautiful, smart, funny and all round great girls/guys <I’m already biased in their favour>.

Being of the glutey persuasion, something we need to plan for is the likelihood of our children having food allergies. 

There’s a bit of debate about allergies and whether they are caused by genetic or environmental factors, or a combination of both. One thing that the research does show though is that parents with food allergies are more likely to have children with food allergies.

Being a carrier of the Coeliac marker gene, chances are that our children will also be Coeliacs or at least carry the gene.

With that in mind, I've been talking to parents of allergic children to hear their story – how they manage on a day-to-day basis and their pathway to diagnosis. There’s lots to talk about, so I’ll spread the posts over a few weeks.

Anyway, let’s start.

How do you know if your child has food allergies or intolerances?

The symptoms of a food allergy do not always appear to be gut related on the surface, which can make diagnosis really tricky. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, even life-threatening.

Cale - happy and healthy on his allergy-free diet

Mother of two, Jenaya hadn't had any experience with food allergies until the birth of her youngest son “Cale was unsettled pretty much from birth.  He was constantly squirming in pain, would scream at night time with stomach cramps/pains.  Had chronic wind problems. Irregular bowel motions and ‘Allergic shiners’ all the time.  

"There were obvious signs of discomfort during day and night and he developed a rash on his face.  Once I had introduced formula (the cows milk protein kind) he constantly had bronchiolitis and chest/throat infections.” Cale was eventually diagnosed with food intolerances to gluten, egg, dairy, soy and food colourings.

Catherine has two children with severe food allergies, their symptoms were quite different to those described by Jenaya, and could be life threatening. “They start coughing as their throat closes, intense hives and itching, swelling and redness occurs.” This response to food is typical of an anaphylactic reaction, which requires close monitoring and use of an epi-pen to prevent asphyxiation.

Not sure if your child has a problem with food? Here’s a short list of just some of the signs that your child could have an allergy:

  • Hives or welts
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Urinary infections
  • Eczema
  • Itchy mouth or ear canal
  • Odd taste in mouth

And more …

Take care out there folks, look after your children’s health as well as your own!

Note: The symptoms described above can also be signs of other health issues, so make sure you see a pediatrician rather than self-diagnosing, and don’t adjust your child’s diet without talking to a medical professional.

References:

http://www.foodallergy.org/symptoms 

http://www.babycenter.com/0_food-allergies_12409.bc

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16476197

http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/allergies/allergy.html

http://www.celiaccentral.org/riskfactors/