The Secret to Raising Allergy-Free Kids
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The Secret to Raising Allergy-Free Kids

Zoe Glade explains how statistics prove that food allergies have increased and offers ways for better outcomes.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Studies show that young adults in Israel have lower rates of food allergies.
Studies show that young adults in Israel have lower rates of food allergies.

We’ve all heard stories of children sent off to elementary school with EpiPens and airlines not serving peanuts if even a single passenger is allergic. Now, a new generation of parents is on a mission to raise allergy-free children with the help of the latest scientific research. Local expert Zoe Glade advises these parents on the best ways to expose their children to allergens early on and prevent allergies later in life.

“Our women-founded company has a mission to help create the next generation of allergy-free children,” she said. “With over one million feedings, we gently expose 16 food allergens daily to help train a baby’s growing tummy to support tolerance.”

Glade begins with the fact that over 6 million children in the U.S. currently suffer from some type of food allergy. “Food allergies, nearly doubling in the past decade, are not just genetic,” she said. “Two out of three kids who have a food allergy don’t have a parent with one. This means the environment plays a big role. We can correlate the increase of food allergies to old guidelines telling parents to delay food introduction. New guidelines from the AAP and the USDA now state to introduce food allergens early and often.” Early is around the time complementary foods begin at four to six months.

Unlike Crohn’s disease, for example, allergy research shows that the Jewish population does not have a disproportionate rate of food allergy. Interestingly, rates of food allergies among young adults in Israel are lower than those reported for western countries. (Lai Nachshon led a team that tested eggs, tree nuts, sesame and milk on this population.) According to Glade, the top nine food allergens in the U.S. are milk, eggs, wheat, sesame, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish and peanuts. There is, however, a correlation between allergies and severe eczema (atopic dermatitis/dry skin), so a pediatrician should be consulted about the best way to start introducing babies to solids.

Zoe Glade recommends early and consistent introduction to potential allergens starting at approximately 4 to 6 months.

When contrasting homemade and commercial baby food, Glade noted, “Homemade baby food is generally more nutritious than commercially processed food if it is fresh and made from whole foods and nothing else. But, rest assured, both jarred and homemade baby food can be perfectly healthy options to give your little one. One reminder about homemade food is to be sure to include all types of diverse foods. Your baby may be loving pears, but it’s imperative to expose new foods daily.”

In terms of using organic products, Glade said that, nutritionally, they are about the same as non-organic products, which may be exposed to pesticides and antibiotics. She maintains that there is not yet a concrete study proving that organic foods lead to healthier children.

The best plan is to introduce a variety of new foods slowly, said Glade. “Parents can certainly try to introduce common allergens on their own. However, studies have shown that it’s challenging for parents to get all nine common allergens into the diet on a consistent basis. At SpoonfulONE, we always say ‘there is no wrong way to introduce allergens.’ The risk is in delay. You can go one-at-a-time or all-in. It’s really based on parents’ comfort level.”

Glade, who grew up in Virginia, has over 17 years of experience leading marketing and ecommerce efforts at Fortune 50 companies like Coca-Cola, The Home Depot and high-growth startups like Spanx. At SpoonfulONE, she works with a team of leading experts, pediatricians, allergists and food scientists on a product that comes in various age-appropriate forms, from “Mix-ins” to “Puffs” and “Oat Crackers.”

Glade’s biggest takeaway is that raising allergy-free children is about more than just introduction. “Like all training, success comes with consistency,” she said. “We recommend feeding diverse food allergens every day for at least one year to help stop a food allergy before it starts. This is not always easy for parents. SpoonfulONE is a safe solution to maintain diet diversity with products that grow with your baby.”

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