Kids with food allergies often isolated, says author

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The New York Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, a part of Mount Sinai Hospital, found that one in 70 children has a peanut allergy.

When cookbook author Elizabeth Gordon learned this, after dealing with her own egg allergy and meeting children with peanut allergies, she realized that many children with food allergies find themselves alienated from friends and family at the times when people come together the most – around food.

Encouraging allergy-friendly treats

In one anecdote, Gordon talks about a girl at a birthday party who was allergic to peanuts:

It just struck me as so sad: All the children were gathered around the table, eating this cake, and that child was over in a corner, alone, eating this thing that wasn't even a cupcake that didn't look very appetizing.

This is not unusual; many family gatherings, especially around the holidays, involve food as a catalyst. Often, says Gordon, the only thing missing is communication. Had the person with allergies or their parents told those bringing food beforehand about the allergy, the alienation could have been avoided.

The ideal is to make allergen-free foods that are the same as what everyone else is enjoying, or better yet, have everyone eat the same allergy-free food.

At this time of year, when family gathers to celebrate, it's important that we remember to include everyone.

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