Those of you who have been following this blog will remember that just over a year ago, we had quite the scare when trying scrambled eggs on our son for the first time, which ended with a rushed trip to the emergency department (view original article here). We have had a couple of mild exposures since then but generally speaking, our family adapted well to living in an egg free zone. What I am most thankful for is that Jack's allergy was relatively mild and could be treated with antihistamine drops. Following the instructions of the paediatric immunologist, at the end of last year we commenced a program of controlled egg exposure as luckily, egg allergies are something that children often grow out of.
My husband was quite happy with the controlled egg exposure program, as it involved eating lots of chocolate cake. We started with a chocolate cake containing one egg and gave jack a small portion. Having had no reaction, we increased his portion size on subsequent days until he was happy eating a normal toddler sized piece of cake. The following week we did the same with a two-egg cake, then a mud cake with five eggs. Jack was fine on all the cakes and despite my paranoia at any red mark that may or may not have actually appeared on his face, it all went well. The doctor had then advised us to try hard boiled egg, first the yolk, then the white. We kinda skipped this phase and went straight to a baked quiche. He's had quiche a bunch of times now and been fine. Yippee!!
|Enjoying some egg-free cake.|
Most children with an egg allergy are allergic to the proteins in the raw egg white. Once eggs have been cooked for a certain period of time the proteins change and no longer cause the same reactions. I haven't been brave enough to try scrambled eggs again given their short cooking time, but it's wonderful not having to keep Jack away from anything that may have egg in it. He loves sampling whatever I'm eating and it's great that we've been able to work on his cake appreciation.
As someone who loves to bake, I tried a range of egg replacement products with varying degrees of success. Most egg replacements achieved the raising element but I found the binding element was missing. After much trial and error (and many cakes that broke apart coming out of the tin), I found Psyllium Husk to be the best as it helped bind the cakes together. It's available in most health food stores and health food sections in the larger super markets. 1 tablespoon of psyllium husk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water makes the equivalent of one egg. A word of warning though, mix it up immediately before use as the paste becomes like glue if left for too long.
Whilst my allergy story has a nice happy ending, I'm constantly reminded of other parents dealing with dangerous allergies on a daily basis. Know the children in your circle, playgroup etc, and remember that exposure to the wrong foods is a very serious health issue for many people.