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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Peanut Allergy

Welcome back readers
 today I would like to discuss the peanut allergy.

Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies.  Unfortunately, it also is one of the most dangerous, since peanuts tend to cause particularly severe reactions (anaphylaxis). Some people are very sensitive and have reactions from eating trace amounts of peanut.  Non-ingestion contact (touching peanuts or inhaling airborne peanut allergens, such as dust from the shells) is less likely to trigger a severe reaction.

The peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is not really a nut, but a kind of legume. It is related to other beans, such as peas, lentils, and soybeans.  People with peanut allergy are not necessarily allergic to other legumes (even soy, another of the “big eight” food allergens), so be sure to speak with your doctor before assuming that you have to avoid these protein-rich foods. A person with a peanut allergy may also be allergic to tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, etc.).  In fact, some 30-40% of people who have peanut allergy also are allergic to tree nuts. Not surprisingly, allergists usually tell their peanut-allergic patients to avoid tree nuts. 

  • The following ingredients indicate the presence of peanut protein: Beer nuts, ground nuts, mixed nuts, and peanut (including peanut flour and peanut butter).
  • Peanut protein is found in Arachis oil, and in cold pressed, expressed, expelled, and extruded peanut oils.   Highly processed peanut oil has been shown to be safe for the vast majority of people individuals allergic to peanut.  As the degree of processing of commercial peanut oil may be difficult to determine, avoidance is prudent.
  • Nu-Nuts® and other artificial flavored nuts contain peanut protein.
  • Ethnic restaurants (such as Chinese, African, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese), bakeries, and ice cream parlors are considered high-risk for individuals with peanut allergy due to the common use of peanut and the risk of cross contamination—even if you order a peanut-free item.
  • Peanut butter and/or peanut flour have been used in chili and spaghetti sauce as thickeners.  Always ask if peanut was in the recipe.
  • Many candies and chocolates contain peanut or run the risk of cross contact with peanut protein.
  • Lupine or lupin is a legume that may cause an allergic reaction in those with peanut allergy.  Lupine is used in this country in many gluten-free and high-protein products.  In many European countries, particularly Italy and France, lupine flour and/or peanut flour may be mixed with wheat flour in baked goods.
  • Many tree nuts are processed with peanuts and therefore may contain trace amounts of peanut protein.  Extreme caution is advised.
Keep one thing in mind if you do have a peanut allergy always make sure you carry two Epi pens with you. Your life may depend on it.
 Recipe: Appetizer or a side dish if you choose

Asparagus and Red Pepper Salad
Nutrition: serves 4
52 calories
4 grams protein
10 grams carbohydrates
0 grams total fat
0 grams saturated fat
0 milligrams Cholesterol
94 milligrams sodium
3 grams dietary fiber

4 large red bell peppers roasted, peeled and cut lengthwise into strips about ¼ inch wide.
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or ½ teaspoon dried tarragon Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1b asparagus (16-20 spears)
4 fresh tarragon, parsley or watercress sprigs

To make the dressing, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender, combine ½ cup (3oz) of pepper strips with the vinegar and mustard. Puree until smooth. Add the tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss ¼ cup (2fl oz) of the dressing with the remaining pepper strips. Set aside both the pepper strips and the remaining dressing.
Cut or snap off all the tough, pale, fibrous bottoms from the asparagus spears. If the spears are especially large, peel the tough skin: using a vegetable peeler and starting about halfway down from the tip, peel away the thin outer skin.
Chose a frying pan large enough to hold the asparagus flat and fill three-fourths full of water. Bring to a boil, add the asparagus spears and boil until just tender, 3-5 minutes; the timing will depend upon the size of the spears. Drain pat dry with paper towels and let cool.
To serve spread the asparagus on a platter or divide among individual plates. Top with dressed pepper strips. Spoon the remaining dressing over the asparagus and pepper strips. Garnish with the herb or watercress sprigs and serve.
Enjoy and join me again tomorrow for a topic on Eosinophilic Esophagitis here a Life around the allergies.

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