For my 15-month son with multiple food allergies, mealtime can be stressful and hives can occur when you least expect them. During the last week, and on two separate occasions, my son developed small patches of mysterious hives around his mouth. While they weren’t nearly bad enough to warrant an EpiPen, nor did he seem to notice, I was extremely worried.
For the first minor outbreak, we were in Bern at a restaurant. As I mentioned, our restaurant experiences during our weekend getaway were great, but my son did manage to get a few small hives around his mouth after eating Swiss-German sausage, French fries and stewed prunes. The restaurant assured us the meal was milk, egg, peanut/tree nut and sesame free, but something caused him to have a very minor reaction. Here are the scenarios we considered:
- Was it casein, a milk product used as a “binder” in the sausage (see more info about milk ingredients at FARE’s website). I didn’t ask to review an ingredient list for the sausage, as I put my trust in the restaurant, but next time I will ask more specifically about these hidden milk ingredients.
- Were the stewed prunes or French fries cooked in butter? Or in a shared pan that had previously been exposed to butter? Or nuts?
- We used a high chair from the restaurant, which I wiped down beforehand. Yet, was there some food residue leftover from another child containing one of my son’s allergens? This seems unlikely, but it’s always something I think about.
For the second minor outbreak, we were at home. I had made chocolate frosting for a layer cake. The small bit of frosting I gave him caused some minor hives around his face. Again, he didn’t notice, nor seemed to care. He just wanted MORE frosting and didn’t understand why I wouldn’t give him another quick taste. The only potential culprit I could identify was the new brand of supposedly allergy-friendly cocoa powder, so we’ll be avoiding that in the future.
I’m so grateful he’s only had minor outbreaks, but they occurred even when we seemingly took all the necessary precautions. It will be easier once he’s older and can describe his symptoms. However, I hope he will have outgrown some, if not all, of his food allergies by then.
One of my Swiss readers suggested I highlight some gluten-free recipes, so I’m going to make more of an effort to do so. My son has multiple food allergies, but he’s fine with gluten, soy, and several other common allergens. I keep hearing of children who have many more allergies than he does and face even more limited mealtime options. As such, I want to try and include more recipes that avoid the eight most common food allergens.
Here’s a recipe I used for dinner last night. It was a success, even though the chickpeas weren’t a favorite of my food-allergic son. As usual, I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand because I’m just not that organized. So, I used chicken AND tofu, skipped the garlic and cilantro, and obviously avoided the yogurt. For an allergy-friendly version, you could use gluten-free flour and/or omit the tofu.
If you have other gluten-free meal options to share or know of good gluten-free restaurants in Switzerland, please leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Updated December 8, 2013.