Food allergies don't ruin meals, author says

Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:01am EST
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Australian gourmand and author Suzanna Paxton has always taken an interest in food, but it was her two children, who suffer badly from allergies, that made her keep a stricter watch over what enters her kitchen.

According to medical data, one in 20 Australian children suffer symptoms of food allergies ranging from hives to death, prompting Paxton's cook book, "Allergy Safe Family Food."

A registered nurse and midwife, Paxton started collecting recipes from friends and family after her son and daughter were found to be allergic to 7 of the 8 foods that cause problems: nuts, eggs, milk, soy, sesame seeds, wheat, fish and shellfish.

The children have outgrown some of these allergies, but Paxton says everybody, including people who can eat everything, needs to be aware of what goes into their meals.

She spoke to Reuters about cooking meals that look good, taste good and don't cause reactions in the family:

Q: How relevant are food allergies today?

A: "Australia has the highest incidence of allergies in the world, with 1 in 20 children and 1 in 3 people suffering a food allergy. Allergies are a lot more prevalent than people think, and they are on the rise, and it breaks my heart whenever I hear about kids dying because of this because it is really quite easy to avoid with the right know-how. Yet there are 10 to 20 deaths a year from anaphylaxis, which is a severe, life-threatening response to an allergen, and they tend to be adolescents and young adults. I hope this book will help provide a safer environment for my kids and other kids."

Q: What prompted you write this book?   Continued...