Cashew Butter


My 2-year old nephew is allergic to peanuts. But, the doctor says he can eat any nuts that grow on trees, such as cashews. I want to get him some cashew butter so he can enjoy a cashew butter & jelly sandwich. If he can't have PB&J, I'd love for him to have something just as good, but I don't want to get any with peanut oils, etc.

Any ideas on places I can go to get this, and be sure there is NO peanuts whatsoever? Is this a really bad idea? Any help from someone with the allergy would be appreciated.

Thank you.

On Apr 1, 2002

Peanuts are ground nuts, while walnuts, cashews etc are tree nuts. Sound like they shouldn't have a cross reaction?? Yup, you'd think it would be safe.

However [i]some[/i] people (but not all) are unlucky enough to cross react. Eg, my son is allergic to peanuts, and also reacts to walnuts. We haven't tried him on any other nuts - it seems too risky. I think that is why many labels read 'may contain traces of nuts', not just 'traces of peanuts'.

If it hadn't been the case we were going to try him on Almond Butter, since he has a diary allergy as well, and almonds are high in calcium. *sigh* too bad we can't do it.

Our immunolgist said they're not sure why there is a cross sensitivity like this, since the nuts are not related, but one theory is that it is due to the bacteria in or under the shell where they ripen when they fall to the ground. It could be similar to that in the peanut.


------------------ ~*~ The results of my IQ test came back negative. ~*~

[This message has been edited by Allie (edited April 01, 2002).]

On Apr 1, 2002

Your nephew is lucky to have such a caring and careful aunt or uncle. It is not safe to assume that he is not allergic to tree nuts unless he has been tested. If he has been tested and is not allergic to tree nuts, it would still be best to avoid tree nut butter because of the danger of cross-contamination with peanuts in the tree nut butter factory. The good news is that if he is not allergic to soy, you can give him soy nut butter (available at most large grocery stores). My two-year-olds ask for soy nut butter and jelly rolls every day. Good luck.

On Apr 1, 2002

Personally, I would not give him the cashew butter or soynut butter.

IIRC, according to the Peanut Allergy Answer book, about 30% of all peanut allergic individuals are also allergic to treenuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds, etc). If your nephew is going to be part of that 30%, giving him significant quantities of treenuts will hasten his sensitivity to those allergens. If you don't give him significant quantities of those nuts, he's that much less likely in the future to react to an accidental exposure to trace amounts of nuts hidden in some other product. He can live without the cashew butter, at least until he's older. Besides, the current recommendation for children with a family history of allergies (and your nephew has more than a family history of general allergies -- he has a personal history of food allergies!) is that they not be exposed to nuts until they're at least 3. So I'd say that in his case, you'd be wise to not give him the cashew butter right now, if ever. Also, as you pointed out, it's difficult to find a cashew butter that isn't made on equipment also used to produce peanut butter.

As far as soynut butter goes, I'd also hold off. (I've posted this story elsewhere on this board several times, so those of you who've read it a zillion times, please forgive me!)

I started giving soynut butter to my PA son as a "safe" alternative to peanut butter. Well, soy is one of the most allergenic foods in its own right. It's also a legume, like peanuts. So combine those two factors (and remember that a single soynut butter and jelly sandwich probably contains more soy protein than a kid would otherwise get in a year [img][/img] ), and suddenly, my PA son is also allergic to soy. And let me tell you, soy is everywhere. If you think peanuts are omnipresent, wait until you try to avoid soy in your diet. Giving my son soynut butter was definitely one of the biggest mistakes of my life, especially since I have a feeling that his sensitivity to soy will make it that much less likely that he'll be able to outgrow his peanut allergy (because they're both legumes).

Now, most PA people are not also allergic to soy. But for a young child who can certainly survive without a peanut butter sandwich substitute for a few years, I would really hold off for a bit, or at least use the soynut butter just on occasion.

Besides, you know how menopausal women eat lots of soy for the phytoestrogens? Does a 2 year old boy really need to be taking in extra phytoestrogens? [img][/img]

Sorry to rant and ramble. I mean well. [img][/img]