Tree Nut Allergy - Your Best Advice

Updated on October 07, 2010
S.S. asks from Denver, CO
15 answers

Hi Moms,

We just found out our 16 month old daughter has a severe tree-nut allergy and I'm feeling overwhelmed. We've been dealing with her severe dairy and egg allergies since she was six months old so are familiar with shopping for safe foods, carrying an epi-pen, etc... But I feel like the nut allergy brings this all to a new level. I could hardly even find a loaf of bread in the grocery store today that wasn't "processed in a facility with tree nuts." I have so many questions about what I should consider safe. For example, must I stop buying from the bulk section of our grocery store for fear of tree nut contamination (She already had a minor reaction from oatmeal made with bulk oats and bulk raisins)? Should I start baking our own bread?? Are there brands (besides Enjoy Life) that cater to tree-nut allergic people? In hopes of better educating myself I thought I'd reach out to all you smart Moms and ask for your best advice and information about living with severe tree nut allergies (also avoiding or allergic already to peanuts, eggs, fish, and dairy). Thanks in advance for all of your help!!

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I don't know much about safe foods, but I can tell you that baking bread is easy and fun. It takes some time to get used to it and to find the recipes that you like, but it really isn't hard at all. A lot of people start with a bread machine to make it easier. Good luck!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I know your post is not current. I thought you should know this new information. My granddaughter is severely allegice to walnuts. This is proven by blood work. Her pulmonary doctor from Loma Linda University told her mother that ALL nuts are processed in the same plant in this country. Please be aware that even though you buy something that you think she isn't allerigic to, it will have the residue. We now read the labels on everything before we buy it. She can only have peanuts in the shell with no consequences. We will most likely start making our own bread. Take care. C. M., La Quinta, CA



answers from Denver on

Breathe. You just need time to adjust to your new normal. :) If you're already avoiding peanuts there's probably not much that you'll need to avoid now that you weren't avoiding already.

I think there *might* be a Sara Lee bread (100% whole wheat or honey wheat maybe) that fits your list. Not's got either soy or egg but I can't remember which. Ditto the other poster's recommendation for Outside the Breadbox. I think their only bread that might be safe for you is the Egg-free Oat. It's expensive ($6 or more) but really good... I use it 'cause I only eat bread occasionally. If you want daily bread I'd definitely get a breadmaker.

The bulk bin is out, I'm afraid. But talk to your grocer, 'cause they might have a box in the back that they can open for you. Some places also will give you discounts if you buy larger quantities.

I'm in a fabulous allergy group over on Yahoo. It's called TerrificKidsWFA. There's a crazy amount of email from it (remember that when you set your preferences!) but a crazy amount of great information & support, too.

Best of luck!



answers from Boise on

My husband has a severe seafood allergy and yes, we avoid a lot because of it. We can't eat at any Chinese, Thai, Korean, etc. restraunts because of the use of oyster sauce, we can't eat at TGI Friday's, Applebees and a number of other places due to cross contamination in the kitchen but as a result I've become a really good cook and we don't mind at all anymore. We also have food sensativities which are not as serious that include food dye, aspartame, sodium nitrate, and gluten so we read the packages of everything, eat a lot of protien, fruits and veggies. Once you get used to what you can buy it's not really that difficult and you can stock up when you see your products on sale. The biggest help to us was our big freezer. We avoid the bulk foods department though just because the store may keep them clean but I have seen so many people use the wrong scoop or turn their backs and let their kids put their hands in the bins and we don't risk it.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Have you looked at health food stores? I don't know how much would not contain tree nuts but I know that they cater to a variety of severe allergies as well as people with volutnary diet restrictions. There is an excellent egg replacer not made with eggs called Ener-G Egg replacer. It may help with your baking as it can be used in place of eggs and does not contain eggs. Items are not quite as light and fluffy but they are still close to the original.



answers from Grand Junction on

If you don't feel like you have time to bake your own bread, get a bread machine! I got a really nice one free on Our son was allergic to dairy, eggs and peanuts as a baby/toddler and I made all our own bread, and we just had our "list" of things he could eat . . . . Regular Club crackers, Hillshire Farm sausage, Hebrew National Hotdogs, I'm sure you're familiar with all that label reading. With the nut thing (in the end treenut and peanut ends up being the same cause it's all run on the same equipment anyhow.) as you found out, the biggest things is baked goods. We have our few "safe crackers", but then we make all our own bread, buns, etc. and I was surprised at how easy it is with the bread machine. I use the dough setting for everything besides loafs and I make extra buns, etc. and put them in the freezer. It's a whole lot healthier that way too!
We meticulously kept our son away from all of his allergens and when we had him retested at 3 years old, he was negative for dairy and eggs! Keep her away at all costs (even if it seems she can tolerate it) and you will have a much greater chance of growing out of it. As for the peanut allergy, my son will probably have that for life, but there are some new immunotherapies that will hopefully be run-of-the-mill by the time our kids are older.

Good luck! I feel your pain! Being a label-reader in this society isn't such a bad thing . . .there's a lot of junk lurking in our food!




answers from Denver on

Hi S.,
There's a bakery in Colorado Springs called "Out of the Box" They cater to all types of allergies and the bread is delicious! You can find it in the frozen section at Vitamin Cottage.



answers from Colorado Springs on

What tree nuts is she allergic to, or all of them?
My 2 SS have peanut allergies-not tree nuts, but peanuts. I don't know how their mom deals with it, but I avoid anything w/a "could have possibly been sneezed on by a person who once ate peanuts" warning. Things I know they've had before (Oreos, Chips ahoy cookies, breads) I feel okay with, but when it comes to school treats, I make them. I know that what I make is safe for anyone w/a peanut allergy to eat & any allergen I can think of besides the usual ingredients (milk, eggs, wheat in flour) I list on the bag I send it in. It was news to me that Heath cookie baking pieces had almond in them.
You have to trial & error basically. If it's severe though, I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable w/trial & error. Since she's small & not eating a lot, I'd start baking bread. Check out the local organic stores to see who's got "tree nut free" breads, cereals, desserts (school lunches will suck for you too-Little Debbie is to be avoided like the plague cuz all their stuff has warnings).
Since she's newly diagnosed & you don't want to risk her health at that age w/a trial & error gone bad, bake all you can, look online for food allergy groups & follow their shopping recommendations. Our peanut allergy boys are 13 & 14 so their systems are much more tolerant than your 16 mo old's would be. If they get ahold of something iffy, the worst a small test bite will do is make them nauseas.
Good luck! It's really hard to find safe stuff for them to eat!



answers from Denver on

Hi S.,
Let's start with the good news first. She has an 80% chance of outgrowing her allergies (around age 6-8 hopefully)! Yeah!!!
So I found a great site to order allergen FREE foods from. YOu can go to this site to reach multiple grocery sites for allergen FREE foods. I understand your frustration as our 22 mo old daughter is severe milk allergic also & strawberries too. The other day she broke out head to toe with a rash & slightly swollen eyelids. She must have had it in something marked incorrectly. Awhile back we let her have "flavored" potato chips which I checked each 7 every ingredient. She started developing eczema and I could not figure out where she was getting into milk. Low & behold the chip company changed it's packaging a month or 2 later saying "contains a MILK ingredient" UGH!!! How can they get away with that. So the resource listed above is a great one. Because their concern is our children, NOT money. Safety for our kids comes first. :0) Enjoy! G



answers from Denver on


I'm so sorry. Life is hard like that! I'm assuming you have, but I thought I'd check. Have you been to National Jewish? When we went there, our son was in the same situation. He now (at 6) leads a normal life. They were so supportive. I found the people at Whole Foods to be very helpful, too. If you haven't seen an actually allergist, it definitely is time. Our doctor with training in allergies gave us a lot of misinformation, including allergies that weren't allergies.

I would avoid bulk foods. We also avoided most salad bars. I felt like life was out of control for a while. It does get better, especially as they outgrow allergies. is a great website, especially if your dd is going to be in day care, or anything like that.

Hang in there. It gets better as you get used to it, although, you will always have to read labels, as companies aren't required to make note when they change ingredients.




answers from Fort Collins on

I have a good friend who has one daughter with all of these alergies too (and a few others) But she has a blog with recipies and things that she does to be able to cook and shop for this child that you might find helpful!
I'm sorry you have to deal with this struggle and wish you the best of luck!


answers from Salt Lake City on

Hi S.,
I am so sorry. Hopefully things will work out. As for advice, I worked at Great Harvest Bread for 5 years and with the Honey Whole Wheat bread, there are just 5 ingredients: flour, water, yeast, honey, and salt. We would grind our own wheat flour, so there would be no cross contamination. Hopefully, you've got a Great Harvest by you. They're definitely more expensive that grocery store bread, but it is very delicious. Hope this info helps. Good luck!



answers from Salt Lake City on

I know how overwhelming it can son is now 13 and he also has the exact same sever allergies as your daughter. The good news? He's outgrown all except the dreaded peanut and most tree nuts (through trial and error we have discovered he can eat almonds and macadamia nuts now!) The warning on the labels are just that, warnings, to coer their you know whats in their factories. What we have found is that unless it is actually IN the product as an ingredient, he is that is to say so far so good, but it may pose a problem down the road if equipment is not fully cleaned after a prior batch of peanut butter something...he has had 3 episodes in his life, all of them helped by Benedryl and never needing the epi-pen. Key is avaoidance of all. Great Harvest breads for the most part do not have nuts and have been fine for my son. (they recently put the CYA warning on their labels, but I believe that is from the legal dept of these companies mostly). We order special chocolate that is completely nut free from Vermont chocolates online and the BEST thing is a peanut butter supplement made from sunflower seeds that fools almost any other child too! We get it from and it has saved his childhood! Good luck, it's not easy, but when she is finally able to read her labels and decide for herself, it gets much easier. Please train the friends moms most of all...that's where the problems can occr and at school.



answers from Denver on

My daughter is allergic to peanut, treenut, milk , and egg. Nature's Own bread brand is allergen free, it only has soy and wheat. Always check ingredients every time you buy b/c companies change their ingredients sometimes. I have seen it happen. Even things that are the same, but packaged differently can have different ingredients. I don't know why, but they do. Basically, just like all of her other allergies, you have to avoid it completely. Almost everything seems like it is "made in a facility", that drives me crazy. Good luck, you might want to get her a medical braclet or necklace, they have some cute ones for girls. Take care!



answers from Pueblo on

Hi S.,

I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. I can sympathize with you because I have a life threatening allergy to shellfish, so I too must read labels on food. While I can't answer all of your questions, I hope I can be of some help.

Like I said, I too must read labels, and I do not buy anything that states it's been made in a facility that also processes shellfish because of cross contamination. It's just too risky, in my opinion. The same goes for tree nuts, so if you have the time, and are able to make your own bread, that is certainly a good route to go. Another option is to check out local health food stores; sometimes they are much more careful about how they prepare their breads and other foods.

I would certainly recommend staying away from bulk foods. Cross contamination is such a major risk in bulk foods that its just not worth it. All it takes for cross contamination is for someone to touch a nut in one bin, then put their hand in another bin, and then the food item in that bin is contaminated, and you wouldn't know until your daughter has a reaction.

I have a website for you to explore that may be of help to you, especially since you have multiple allergy issues.

It's the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis website and it's got some amazing information on it. You should be able to get some helpful information on it. You can even sign up to get email alerts about food recalls...there are periodic food recalls when a manufacturer forgets to put on the packaging label that the food item includes allergens like dairy, eggs, nuts, etc.

I hope this helps you. Good luck!

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