All Posts in Category: Support Group

Food Allergy Mama, Kelly Rudnicki, is Scheduled to speak at August Food Allergy Support Group

Kelly Rudnicki of will be Attending the August 21 Support Group Meeting

Come learn what you need to know about the 504 Plans

What exciting news we have for the month of August and just in time for back to school.  For those of you who have been attending for a while, everyone knows that you cannot talk about food allergy recipes without talking about Kelly Rudnicki’s book, The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book: Great Dairy-, Egg-, and Nut-Free Treats for the Whole Family”  As blessings for us go, Kelly has moved from the suburbs of Chicago to Orange County, where the climate for food allergies is apparently drastically different then on the east coast.

Graciously, Kelly has agreed to come speak with us at our August 21 support group meeting, just in time for school, in order to share her experiences with the importance of 504 plans.  In one of her most recent blog posts, Kelly writes about some of her own experiences with life in Southern California and what we as parents should now.  This is going to be a very exciting evening to come and listen to what Kelly has to say on such an important topic as it pertains to parents of kids with food allergies.

Once again, mark your calendars today, get a sitter, bring a friend and don’t miss this wonderful opportunity.

Our next meeting will be:

  • Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 – (One Week Away)
  • Location: Room 407
  • Venue: Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA
  • Time: 6:30 to 8:00 PM (please arrive a few minutes early so we can start on time)
  • Who:  Parents only (no childcare provided)


About the Orange County Saddleback Church Parents of Kids with Food Allergies Support Group

We are a Christian-based support group that is designed to support parents of kids who suffer from food allergies. This support group is designed to be a safe place where you can come and share your fears with other parents that understand what you are going through. If you are a parent that lives in Orange County, CA, we hope that you will come and join our next meeting. We do not offer childcare and the group is designed for adults. We meet the third Tuesday of every month at 6:30 PM at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA.




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FAAN Food Allergy Walk 2012 – Southern California/San Diego/Los Angeles/Orange County


Not sure if you are aware but there are still two more FAAN Walk 2012 events that are fairly close for those of us living in Orange County.  There is still time to participate since the next events are in Long Beach (in October) and San Diego (in November).  Personally, I have never attended one of these events, but I am confident it is a great way to meet some other families that also are impacted by Food Allergies.

Here are some links to the upcoming events:

Why a Food Allergy Walk?

The goal of the FAAN Walk is to raise public awareness, to provide advocacy and education, and to advance research on behalf of all those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis.

  •  We walk to fund food allergy awareness, advocacy, education, and research programs.
  • We walk to provide understanding, hope, and an opportunity for those affected by food allergies to network.
  • We walk to save a life!

Over the years, FAAN has been at the forefront of progress in food allergy awareness, advocacy, education, and research. Findings from research studies have been used to change federal and state laws, improve school policies, raise public awareness, improve the daily lives of individuals with food allergy, and provide education for patients, caregivers, and health professionals. Funds from programs like the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy support FAAN’s efforts to achieve these feats.

For more information on the FAAN Walk, please visit them online at:

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Food Allergy Initiative and Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network Announce Intent to Merge

May 2012 – The two powerhouses of food allergy awareness and research are planning to join forces. Earlier this month, the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) and the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) announced their intent to merge, pending regulatory approvals.

The merger appears to be a perfect marriage – blending FAAN’s expertise in spreading awareness via publicized information, resources, and special food allergy programs and FAI’s role as a major funding source for food allergy research. In a recent press release, representatives for FAAN stated that, “The unified organization will focus on funding research to find a cure, advocating for food-allergic people, increasing awareness about the severity and growing prevalence of food allergies, and educating the public and other key stakeholders about the disease and the urgent need for a cure.

Food allergies are finally gaining recognition in the mainstream, but awareness has unfortunately come with a cost. Studies show that one in every 13 children now live with a food allergy, and nearly 40 percent of those kids have already experienced a severe or life-threatening food-allergic reaction. Hopefully this expanded organization can help to identify some of the underlying causes behind the increasing prevelance of food allergies.

For more information on the two organizations, visit and

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Food Allergy Video: A Family Perspective (

Wanted to share this video with you that I had run across YouTube.  Great video to explain the passion, fear and concern that comes with dealing with food allergies from the perspective of children and parents.

The video is called "Food Allergy: A Family Perspective" and was provided by Food Allergy Initiative (  In the video, Chicago families share their experiences of living with food allergies and coping with life threatening reactions.



Here is the video with the transcript below:

Kid:  “I have an allergy”

Kid:  “I am allergic to peanuts and tree nuts”

Kid:  “I felt really sick”

Kid:  “Eggs, dairy”

Kid:  “It feels like someone is choking me.”

Kid:  “Milk, wheat”

Kid:  “I felt like I was in the water and I couldn’t breathe”

Kid:  “Rye, garlic.”

Kid:  “I felt like I was being strangled.”

Kid:  “All fish but salmon, halibut and sword fish.”

Kid:  “You can’t breathe.  It’s really hard to breathe.”

Kid:  “Um, that’s it.”

Kid:  “Like how your leg falls asleep like that is what happened to my throat and then it would start closing up.”

Man:  “He bit into the cookie and we did not think twice about it because we did not know what food allergies were at the time.  We heard of them, but vaguely, but really did not have any concept or understanding of what it really meant.”

Woman:  “At that point, I was just thinking…that I needed to be sure that she didn’t stop breathing because it was happening so fast.  And I was….really scared because we were in our own home and we had eaten food that we had eaten a number of times in the past and we believed it to be safe.”

Man:  “We would have been on that flight for four hours and it certainly does not take four hours for anaphylaxis to kick in and the worse that could happen is that they cannot breathe any more.

Woman:  “We called the doctor and he said explain to me what happened. And I told him, you know, we were at a brunch, etcetera, etcetera and I said, ‘I don’t think this is related but now he seems to be getting a cold, like he is coughing and hacking…’  And there was silence on the end of the line and he said ‘where are you?’  And I said, ‘well, we are almost home.  We are at 13th and Michigan.’  And he said, ‘I want you to listen very carefully.  And um.  He said, ‘I want you to go to the nearest hospital.  Don’t stop at any red lights.  Just beep your horn and go through.  Do you know where the nearest hospital is?’  And I said, ‘Yea.’  And so we went to Northwestern and although that is our hospital we had never been to the emergency room.

Woman:  “I play that day over in my head and I….thank God Mattie kept asking me for that cake because I think to myself, if we were five more minutes and they were up in that airplane, I don’t know”

Kid:  “If you are not prepared for an allergy, it’s not going to end up good.”

Man:  “When I was a kid, I felt like I was the only one who had an allergy.  Nowadays, it is so prevalent.”

Woman:  “Something seems wrong, when you go into schools and every single class in the school has a child with a food allergy.”

Woman:  “The difference from 8 years ago today is tremendous and I don’t think really people understand the momentum that food allergies have right now.  And if you think about where we will be in 10 years if we don’t have a cure…it’s scary.”

Man:  “A cure would be the weight of the world lifted off his shoulders.”

Kid:  “I would like just have so much more fun, if I had the cure.”

Man:  “You know with that cure, at the end of the day, doesn’t relieve you of every worry, but it would relieve us and other parents that have kids with food allergies with a huge burden.”

Woman:  “I have a lot of hope that if we get everyone together.  I am absolutely conviction that we have the power to just really change the course for our children.”

Kid:  “I could go to parties and not worry about, like what I am eating and not have to be so careful with everything.”

Man:  “To know that, we don’t have to worry.  That he doesn’t have to worry more important than us, would just be a great thing.”

Woman:  “I feel like we are just scratching the surface there are so many families to find.  And I think if we can just all act together, I feel there is absolutely no reason that we can’t cure it.  So I just want to find those families everywhere.  If we put our efforts together and make this happen.

The original video can be found on YouTube at:

I think it is worth noting that the one thing that is common in all of the above families is a sense of fear.  Fear is such a strong emotion but we need to remember to put our trust in the One above.

Deuteronomy 31:6 

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. 



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Dr. Sugar of Allergy & Asthma Associates to visit OC Food Allergy Support Group

The  Orange County Saddleback Church Parents of Kids with Food Allergies Support Group is very excited to welcome Dr. Mark Sugar, MD to our February 2012 support group meeting.  Dr. Sugar, of ALLERGY & ASTHMA ASSOCIATES OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA is board-certified by the American Board of Allergy & Immunology, American Board of Pediatrics.  Dr. Sugar has agreed to come and visit with our support group on Tuesday, Feburary 21, 2012 at 6:30 PM at Saddleback Church (room 407) to speak and answer any food allergy questions by attending parents.  Please note that there is no childcare available during our meetings and all parents are welcome.

This is a amazing opportunity to come and ask questions with regards to your children's food allergies.  Dr. Sugar brings more than 25 years experience in the area of allergy-immunology and is currently the medical advisor for the support group.

The Orange County Saddleback Church Parents of Children with Food Allergies is a Christian-based support group that is designed to support parents of kids who suffer from food allergies. Food allergies in children can come in many forms. Children can be allergic to one or more of the following: eggs, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, fish, wheat and other types of foods. This support group is designed to be a safe place where you can come and share your fears with other parents that understand what you are going through.

The support group meets on the third Tuesday of every month at Saddleback church and you can find directions by going here. Meetings start at 6:30 pm in Room 407 and last until about 8:00 pm. The campus is well lit and has plenty of parking. We hope that you will come and join us for our next meeting.

To join our mailing list, please click here. If you have any questions, please e-mail us at: [email protected] or contact us by phone at: (949) 229-1110.

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The Unofficial 2012 Food Allergy Girl Scout Cookie Chart

Who can resist this time of the year when it comes to Girl Scout cookies?  Let me tell you…it is dangerous out there.  These tenacious girl scouts, dressed in green will find you no matter where you try and hide:  grocery stores, parks….no place is really safe.

If you have food allergies and you are allergic to Wheat or Soy then you really have no other option but to avoid Girl Scout cookies all together.  However, if you are allergic to Milk, Egg, Coconut or Peanuts, there may be some great cookie options available to you.  The chart below contains the complete 2012 Girl Scout cookie lineup: Thanks-A-Lot, Shout Outs, Lemonades, Shortbread, Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties, Caramel deLites and  Peanut Butter Sandwich.

As with all food allergies, it is important that you ALWAYS check the ingredients on the package at the time of purchase.  However, based on our own experience this year (2012), our daughter who has milk allergies has an exciting new option in the form of Girl Scouts Thin Mints cookies.  In years past, Thin Mints were off limits to our daughter because of the milk in the recipe….but this year the milk is gone.  Not only is she officially a Girl Scout, but she can also enjoy the fruits of her labor in the form of a few tasty cookies.

So, when that neighborhood girl dressed in green vest comes knocking on your front door over the next few weeks, take a second too review the incredients for yourself.  You might be pleasantly surprised in Girl Scout cookie choices available to you this year.

Click here for the latest information on Girl Scout Cookies incredients or to find out more about Girl Scout Cookies, click here.



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Stay at the Grand Californian for $179 per night…and get the latest Food Allergy Information

Last year, we learned that the FAAN conference was going to be at the Grand Californian at Disneyland.  For those of you not familiar with FAAN, FAAN is one of the most trusted source of information, programs, and resources related to food allergy and anaphylaxis.  For many years, they have been doing FAAN conferences, but most of them have been held on the East Coast.  Last year they decided to host a conference in Orange County and my wife was able to attend.

First off, if you have a child with Food Allergies you will not want to miss this conference being held on June 9, 2012.  I encourage you to view the conference details and decide for yourself, but the content presented at the event is invaluable.  Our support group has benefited tremendously with the content from the FAAN conference.  The information is completely current and there are plenty of people to connect with people to answer questions.  The cost of the conference is completely affordable at a price of $125 per person (even if you are not a FAAN member).  FAAN members pay $100 per person.  You can find out more conference details at the FAAN website.

But aside from the amazing content at the conference itself, the most amazing part is that you get to stay at the Disneyland Grand Californian for the MOST AMAZING PRICE EVER!!!  If you have never been here, it is absolutely amazing.  There are really (3) Disneyland hotel properties:  Paradise Pier, the Disneyland Hotel and the Disneyland Grand Californian.  This is an amazing property with tons of things for the kids.  Even if you do not step one inch into Disneyland, there is plenty to do with all of the pools, Downtown Disney, etc.  And once again the best part…the price.

So what is this amazing price?  $179 per night.  This is truly an amazing price and in my opinion, a once in a lifetime opportunity to stay at this resort at this price.  For some comparison, just check the Disneyland website to see what it costs for a Friday/Saturday night stay at this resort during summer.  It works out to $460 per night (see the image below).  So you really only have until May 9th to book this…so please do not miss out.  You get a mini-vacation with the family and a great conference packed with the latest food allergy information for you and your family.

Are we going?

Absolutely.  Last year we missed the "cuttoff" for the event and had to stay a Paradise Pier.  We still had an amazing time…but we ended up spending just as much at a less-desirable hotel.  The plan for our family is to stay at the hotel on Friday and Saturday nights.  On Saturday, my wife will attend the FAAN conference for the full day, while I drag the kids off to the many pools.   In fact, we probably will not even step foot in Disneyland that weekend because there is so much to do at the hotel.  The bottom line…is that this a great event at an amazing price.  You can even park "2 cars" with a single parking fee.

Even if you cannot afford to stay at the hotel or if there is a conflict with something else…try to make a point to get at least "one of you" to the conference…as the content is just that good and valuable.

If you do end up staying at the hotel…make sure that you plan a bit on the "food" side as I am not sure what is available for food choices at Downtown Disney.  The Rainforest Cafe is pretty good when requesting "specialized meals" for food…so if you decide to make the trip, make sure you do a little homework ahead of time.

Also…if you are going,  send us an e-mail or leave us a message so that we can connect up at the event ([email protected]).


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Like Oreos…Pavillions Cinnamon Rolls are Milk and Egg Free Too

When talking about food allergies, it always nice to be able to find those "magic" foods (and treats) that somehow dodge the bullet of problem food allergy ingredients.  For our family, "milk" and "peanuts" are the ones to avoid and every now and then you come across that "Oreo" type snack.  I use the Oreo analogy because for whatever reason…Oreos do not contain eggs or milk (but they do contain wheat and soy)..  And when it comes time for that non-traditional, non-healthy breakfast food for the kids, it is the Pavillions Cinnamon Rolls for us.  Now the caveat is that you "always" want to check the ingredients each and every time…but somehow this product does not contain any "milk." (as you can see by the incredients…it does contain wheat and soy).

About a year ago, my wife discovered this magical breakfast treat.  Of course, with all things that are 90% sugar…you will probably have your best results if you only give your kids 1/2 a serving…as a full serving with our munchkins will usually result in a full 45 minutes of bouncing off the ceiling…so just be forewarned.   

The price of these bad-boys are $3.99 for a pack of six…but you can usually find them on sale for $1.99.  Pick up a couple and freeze the other pack for "emergency" mornings where only a child-bribe will get you through the day.


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Do You Feel the Need to Medically Validate your Food Allergy with Others?

It makes me sad when I read articles like The Huffington Post's Article, "Food Allergies Much Less Prevalent Than Claims Of Food Allergies, According To Expert".   The article points out that if someone makes a claim that they have food allergies that you have the right to "question them" to make sure their claims are "medically valid."  This article, along with others , fail to miss the daily battle that parents with kids with food allergies go through daily.  This is a serious "life or death" situation that we get to experience with our kids daily…over something as innocent as a peanut, a glass of milk or a even a cookie.

As a parent of two kids with two different life threatening food allergies…..the routine is oddly familar to parents who have kids with food allergies.  You get up in the morning and you pray that the Lord will give your child protection and a shield from coming into contact with anything that might send them to the hospital.  This is not a game we play.  This is not a way to get "preferential treatment" or "special" treatment.  This is serious stuff we are dealing with.

For those of you who have kids without food allergies…just close your eyes and image a make believe situation with me for a second.  You send you kid to school to sit at a table where everyone is eating poison.  Arsenic….cyanide….all the bad ones.  However, you get to send your child into this environment every day…..without your assistance.  You send them to sit a table where everyone around them is enjoying poison that does not hurt them…but would definitely hurt your child.  You hope that they do not come into contact with anyone.  Would it be reasonable to just ask people to wipe their hands after a meal?  How about a mandatory trip to the bathroom to wash-up?  But this unimaginable environment exists for kids everyday who suffer from food allergies.  This is what it is like.

And from another perspective, there is the battle of understanding and tollerance.  Most of the time teachers are accodating and understanding.  Sometimes they are not.  Many schools understand your medical condition and accomodate your requests…..and many schoold will not.  Parents of kids in your class will hopefully understand and be compassionate….and sometimes parents may feel "put out" because they are unable to pack peanut butter in their child's lunch.

And this is where the Huffington Post article exacerbates the problem.  We need more understanding….not more questions "whether our medical claims are valid."  Our children just want a safe environment to learn without the constant fear of coming into contact with things that are going to send them to the hospital.  

Think about it another way,  Would you ever consider asking someone who says they have "cancer" to "medically validate" their claim?  How about someone with ADD?  How about someone with Down's or Parkinsons?  The answer is obviously…of course not.  Why would we?  It would seem ludicrous….and just as ludicrous as asking someone with food allergies if their claim is "medically valid." 

Many people do suffer from food intollerances, which can be severely challenging and difficult….but because they do not involve the immune system….not life-threatening. The parents who attend our meetings have kids with life-threatening food allergies.  According to FAAN:

What are the common symptoms of a food allergy reaction?
Symptoms may include one or more of the following: a tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue and the throat, difficulty breathing, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and even death. Symptoms typically appear within minutes to two hours after the person has eaten the food to which he or she is allergic.

The two takeaways from this story are simple.  Point number 1.  If you or your child suffers from food allergies, put your trust in the Lord above for protection (The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him; Psalm 28:7.)  And point number 2.  If you do not have food allergies, but you happen to someday cross paths with someone that tells you (or their child) suffers from food allergies…please do not ask them to "medically validate" their claim.  The last thing they need in their day is to convince you that their very real and very scary "medical condition" is true.  

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