With almost 5 year old twin boys (Shaan & Shailin) and a 3.5 year old boy (Saiyan), needless to say, Sheena has her hands full! About a month ago, Sheena took her kids to an allergist and discovered that Shaan is allergic to walnuts, hazelnut, pecan and a slight allergy to soy. Saiyan is allergic to peanuts, walnuts, pecan and mildly to sesame. Being from a family of ZERO allergies (no food or seasonal) it was a complete shock to Sheena to know that the boys had these severe allergies. She wanted to share her experience with you and hopefully get some feedback from our lovely and supportive followers on her road to being an allergy-mom.
When Saiyan was 18 months, I gave him a kids food bar that had peanut butter in it. Within a half hour, he broke out into hives all over his body. This was the first experience I ever had like this. I immediately called the pediatrician and was told to give him 5ml of Benedryl. A half hour later it had not calmed down, so the pediatrician said to give another 5ml of Benedryl. A half hour after that the hives finally started to decrease slowly. I gave him 5ml of Benedryl every 6 hours for the next 24 hours and it was finally out of his system. At his 2 year well visit with the pediatrician, they did a blood test that tested positive for a peanut allergy. I was devastated and slightly in denial. I truly didn’t believe that a child that comes from two people with absolutely no family history of food allergies could possibly have this allergy. From then onward, I and my family started being mindful of not giving Saiyan peanuts but I wasn’t obsessively careful because I just didn’t believe he really had this allergy. So much so, that even my mother and mother-in-law didn’t truly believe this was a serious matter. Their usual reaction was, “What allergies, ballergies…this is all in your head! We have never even heard of the word allergies until you kids start bringing it up. You have to let the kids eat everything. Why do you guys think none of you have allergies? Because we let you eat everything from the beginning. No restrictions!” Well moms – times have changed and things are different.
And then came Shaan who had the same reaction with walnuts, TWICE, and hazelnuts once. That is when I decided to go to an actual allergist and confirm once and for all if these allergies were for real. I was referred to an allergist by a friend who took her daughter and who the allergist was able to “desensitize.” I was optimistic about desensitizing the boys from these allergies so I went to the doctor thinking I would return with a game plan on how to get rid of these allergies. The doctor, however, said that the severity of the allergies at this point were too high to desensitize and that we would have to be extra cautious of these foods around the boys. With these words, my heart broke into a thousand pieces.
Now that all has been confirmed and I have finally come to terms with these food allergies, I have taken it upon myself to become more familiar with being an allergy-mom. My research has been extensive and the support of friends, family and social media has been astounding. I recently asked my “Brown Mommies Unite” group on Facebook for some words of wisdom and advice and the response was so comforting. I am now being more mindful of reading labels on foods, asking chefs ingredients and taking all necessary precautions. Being Indian, one of the biggest challenges is being careful with Indian food that contain these nuts. A lot of Indian food that we have around the house or has been given to us does not come with an ingredients label, especially if it is something home made and dropped by. With that being said, a lot of Indian sweets and restaurant food also does not come with detailed ingredient information. I searched on the internet for common foods that may contain these nuts and there is a lot of information about common American foods to avoid but there is very little information on common Indian foods to avoid or be careful about. Being Indian, we eat a LOT of Indian food, and that without hesitation. Now that it’s time for me to start becoming aware of what nuts, seeds, etc. are in these foods that we are consuming I am reaching out to anyone that can help!
That is where you guys come in…..
Not growing up with these food allergies around us, we have never been mindful of what we are eating. We have never really even asked ingredients to any foods that we consume, except for the vegetarian diet. We wanted to use this platform to encourage you guys to help us create a list of common Indian foods that contain these nuts and seeds. We will keep growing this list as we learn more and you teach us more so that other parents who feed their children Indian food have a place to look into what foods they should be mindful about with their allergy-kids. Let’s help each other take this step in parenting a little easier with this information available.
We have started the list and would love your input to add to it. Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your message in the comments. We will update the post as we get the information. You are also more then welcome to leave your experience or the steps you take to make being an allergy-parent easier in the comment section for other parents to draw support from. This is our first ever interactive post and we would love your continued support.
Common Indian foods with Nuts:
- Pilaf/Pulav Rice/Biryani – may contain nuts
- Shahi Koftas – may contain nuts inside the kofta
- Falafal – (Tahini has sesame seeds)
- Burfi – may contain nuts
- Halwa – may contain nuts
- Dhokla & Muthia – (sesame seeds either inside or as garnish)
- Til Chiki – sesame
- Kheer – may contain nuts inside
- Sero – may contain nuts inside
- Shreekand – (sometimes may contain almonds and other nuts inside or as garnish)
- Penda & Gulab Jamun – (may contain nuts as garnish)
- Dal – (may contain peanuts)
- Punjabi Food – gravy may contain peanuts in base (must ask at restaurant)
- Sambhar – may contain nuts
- Plain Rice – sometimes at events, this rice may contain cashews
- Khandvi – may contain sesame seeds as garnish
- Bharela Bhinda (most bharela shaks) – may contain sesame and peanuts inside
- Cilantro Chutney (Green Chutney) – contains peanuts or may contain other nuts
- Indian Ice Creams – some contain nuts
- Cachoris – may contain nuts in the stuffing
- Methi Thepla – sometimes may contain sesame seeds
- Ladoos – may contain nutmeg
- A lot of Indian food products contain a product called “edible oil” as an ingredient – which can be peanut oil – please be aware and avoid these products.
- Be aware of cross contamination through washing utensils, especially at Indian restaurants, where a lot of the gravy’s have peanuts in the base.
- A lot of Indian fried snacks are fried in peanut oil – this oil doesn’t impact all, depending on the severity of the allergy.
- Since most Indian sweets have nuts as garnishes, restaurants will sometimes swipe off the nut garnish on top of the sweets and hand it to you. That may still trigger a reaction, so please be careful of that.
Thank you all SO much for all the input you have sent our way. Your additions are a value beyond words. We look forward to growing this list exponentially and hope that it will help with further searches for moms like us 🙂