Whether it is because of food allergies or merely a preference to eat a vegan diet, many people choose a diet that is free of eggs and egg products. When it is for health reasons, such as an allergy to eggs, extreme caution must be taken to carefully read labels since many products contain eggs or egg byproducts.
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Symptoms of Egg Allergy
Allergy to eggs, like most food allergies, causes a host of symptoms including gastrointestinal discomfort, skin rash, hives, and breathing difficulties. In extreme cases, allergy sufferers can experience a life threatening reaction called Anaphylaxis. Those with severe allergies must be especially careful about what they eat.
While Food Labels Offer Much Valuable Information, the most important part of the label just might be the list of ingredients. Parents must be alert for the presence of possible allergens in foods, which aren’t always easy to identify. Sometimes, an egg is simply called an egg, but there are other terms used, too, that can also indicate the presence of egg, or one of its components. Some terms to look out for include:
When eating at home, it can be fairly easy to avoid eggs and other egg products since you can control the offending ingredients. But when dining in restaurants or in the homes of other people, it can be a bit trickier. Be sure to inform your hosts about your child’s allergies and inquire about the ingredients in their recipes. Most people will be understanding and cooperative when they realise that your child’s health is at stake.
In restaurants, the menu may be a bit more complex, and since many restaurants do not cook completely from scratch, there may be eggs or egg-based products used without the direct knowledge of the chef. If you are unsure, try to choose foods in their simplest form and avoid casseroles or foods served with sauces.
Eggs are Everywhere!
Sometimes, eggs or egg derivatives are found in unexpected places. Most baked goods contain eggs, sometimes even those that are baked without eggs. Breads and pastries with a shiny appearance usually contain eggs. In addition to bakery items, many other desserts contain at least some eggs. Ice cream, pudding, and even marshmallows all list eggs as an ingredient.
Certain beverages, including root beer, coffee, and wine, are sometimes clarified with egg, which can pose a problem for those with severe allergies. In general, it is best to make most meal selections from a list of whole foods. Not only is this the healthiest way to eat, but it is the only way to be completely certain of the contents.
Teaching Your Child About their Allergy
When they are very young, children eat only what is offered to them by mum and dad. As they grow, however, they will often be in a position to make their own selections, so kids with egg allergies need to be educated on making safe choices. Be sure to teach your child about avoiding eggs as well as products that may contain egg byproducts. Consulting with your child’s allergist and a paediatric dietician can be very helpful in guiding them to choose wisely.