Why Our Bakery Uses Aluminum Free Baking Powder

Melanie Melanie Hohman Monday, October 28, 2013

Our youngest son Bradley has life threatening food allergies and asthma. Our oldest son Luke is diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. There is NO doubt that a strict GFCFSF (gluten-free, dairy/casein-free, and soy-free) diet and intense ABA therapy has helped him improve greatly. He is in mainstream school, and now has full eye contact, improved focus, better bowel movements, no more horrible tantrums, and he's happy. We are still working on his social skills, sensory and improving his sleep. We believe that diet plays a critical role with autistic kids and allergic kids.

Many autistic children show high amounts of heavy metals in their system. It's best to minimize exposure, and when you think about how much bread, or baked goods our kids eat...we can make an easy switch. When cooking or baking its best to use glass or line your pans. Try to avoid metal pouches like Capri-Sun, and do not wrap food in aluminum foil. You can find Aluminum-free baking powder at almost every grocery store. Here's why we use Aluminum-free Baking powder at our bakery:

This article comes from Age of Autism:

In August, 2011, the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry published a study by Lucija Tomljenovic, and Chris Shaw and the title asked the question that demands an answer, Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?

The research took a close look at the amount of Al kids are getting and at what age. Several statements are hard to forget:"To the best of our knowledge, these results are the first to show that Al, a highly neurotoxic metal and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant, may be a significant contributing factor to the rising prevalence of ASD in the Western world.

The researchers went on to say:

”It is also of note that the FDA requires limits on Al in parenteral feeding solutions and requires warning labels about potential Al hazards while setting no safety limits or issuing warnings for Al in vaccines.”

For more info check out: http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/03/the-aluminum-threat-a-interview-with-chris-shaw.html

Also check out: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/03/20/david-ayoub-interview-february-2010.aspx

Sensitive Sweets Featured on KTLA 5 Morning News

Melanie Melanie Hohman Friday, September 20, 2013

Sensitive Sweets was recently featured on KTLA 5 Morning News. Below are clips from 3 of the segments. Enjoy!

Avoiding Asthma Triggers

Melanie Melanie Hohman Monday, September 02, 2013

According to AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology)

”185 children and 3262 adults died from asthma in 2007. More than half of those with asthma had asthmatic attacks in 2008.”

Asthmatic Triggers:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Allergies to dust mites, pollen, animal dander, mold/mildew, or cockroaches
  • Exercise
  • Cigarette and other forms of smoke, strong odors and perfumes, fumes from wood stoves or kerosene heaters, and air pollution
  • Changes in the weather

Limiting Asthmatic Triggers

Dust Mites

Dust mites, tiny insect-like) are found in mattresses, carpets, and upholstered furniture. They thrive in warm, humid conditions and feed on the shed scales of human skin. The best way to prevent allergy symptoms caused by dust mites is to limit your child's exposure. Be sure to pay special attention to the bedroom where your child spends the most amount of his/her time.


Every bed in your house should have wooden or metal frames. Do not allow your child to sleep on a couch, sofa, or hide-a-bed. If your child has asthma and sleeps in a bunk bed, he/she should sleep in the top bunk.

Mattress and box spring

Place all mattresses and box springs in a zippered, dust-proof cover and tape over the zippers with electrical or duct tape.


Encase pillows in zippered, dust-proof covers. Pillows should be made of Dacron or other synthetic fiber. Do not use foam, feather, or "Down" pillows.


Avoid wool or down blankets. Wash all bedding (sheets, pillowcases, blankets) in hot water. Cold water will not kill the dust mites. Dry all clothes and bedding in the dryer to avoid pollen sticking to them when on a clothesline.

Floor coverings

If possible, remove wall-to-wall carpeting. If not, vacuum the carpet frequently (at least twice a week). If your child has asthma, only vacuum when your child is away and will not return to the room for several hours after you have finished. Substitute multi-layered vacuum bags for regular single layer bags. Small, washable cotton rugs may be used if washed often. Wood, tile, or vinyl flooring without a rug is best, and they should be mopped at least weekly.


Remove all stored toys, boxes, and other articles from closets. The closet should contain only clothing and should be as dust-free as the room. Keep all clothes in closets, never lying around the room.

Furnace (heating)

Electric or gas heat is recommended. Do not use wood stoves or kerosene heaters. Change the air filters on the furnace every month. Cover all furnace outlets in the room with special filters or cover the outlets with ten thicknesses of cheesecloth or muslin. This will catch dust in the furnace air. Change the cheesecloth when it gets dusty underneath (about every two weeks).

Air purifier

A HEPA filter unit of the proper size can effectively remove airborne allergens.

Air conditioners

Window unit or central air-conditioning is ideal. Change or clean all filters every month. Windows should be kept closed, especially in the summer.


Keep bedroom closet doors and bedroom doors closed as much as possible.


Paint walls or use washable wallpaper. Avoid pennants, pictures, wreaths, flower arrangements or other dust catchers on the walls.

Window coverings

Avoid heavy curtains and Venetian/mini blinds. Use window shades instead. If curtains are used, they should be washed monthly in hot water.


Avoid the use of humidifiers, dust mites grow best in high humidity. Use a dehumidifier to keep humidity in the home less than 50 percent.


Remove all upholstered (stuffed) furniture and replace upholstered furniture with wooden or plastic furniture. Avoid open bookshelves, as they are great dust catchers.

Sleeping and napping

Your child should nap or sleep only in his/her own bed, which has been made dust free. When your child travels or visits, he/she should take a non-allergic pillow with him/her.


If your child has asthma, do not allow him/her to jump on furniture or beds nor wrestle on carpeted floors. Avoid fabric toys or stuffed animals. If your child has stuffed animals they should be machine washable and washed in hot water or placed in the freezer overnight at least weekly. Store toys in a closed toy chest.


In many areas, pollens can be a problem from February through November each year. If your child is allergic to pollen, during pollen season it is important that you keep all car/house windows closed and use the air conditioning.

Animal dander

Pets that have fur or feathers often cause allergy troubles. If your child is allergic to animal dander (the "skin" of the animal), it is best not to have pets and not to visit homes where these types of pets are kept.


Mold and mildew grow in areas that are dark, humid, and have poor ventilation.


Avoid damp, shady areas. Remove fallen leaves and avoid cutting the grass.

Bathrooms and kitchens

Always use the exhaust fans when cooking or bathing. If you do see mold/mildew, clean the area with cleansers made with bleach.

In the house

Use the air conditioner. Avoid using humidifiers, as mold/mildew can grow in the water tank. If you must use a humidifier, clean it daily with a bleach and water solution. Reduce indoor humidity to less than 50 percent or use a dehumidifier, if needed. Empty and clean the dehumidifier daily.

Cockroach droppings

Some people are very allergic to the substance the cockroach leaves behind. Cockroaches are very common in warm climates and in homes of people living in the city. However, even in climates with much cooler temperatures, the use of central heat allows the cockroaches to live. To avoid exposure to cockroaches, it is best to use roach traps or a professional exterminator.


Even though exercise is a common asthma trigger, your child should not limit his/her participation in sports/exercise, unless directed by a physician. Exercise is good for your health and lungs. Some forms of exercise such as running long distances and playing basketball may be harder for your child to do. Activities such as swimming, golf, and karate are good choices for children with asthma. However, persons with asthma should be able to participate in most physical activities. Always make sure your child has a warm-up and cool-down period before and after exercise. Using a reliever medication 15 to 20 minutes before starting exercise can be very helpful, as directed by your child's physician. Consult your child's physician about exercise and asthma if this is a problem for your child.


Certain foods, such as milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish, and food additives can trigger asthma symptoms. It is best to avoid these foods if they trigger an asthma attack.


Do not allow family and friends to smoke anywhere inside the house. Do not allow smoking in the car at any time. Smoke is very irritating in an enclosed area and its odor may be trapped in the car's upholstery for a long period of time and continue to trigger symptoms. When eating out, always sit in non-smoking sections of restaurants. You should also have non-smoking childcare providers.

Strong perfumes/odors

Your child should avoid things that have a strong smell such as cleaning products, perfumes, hair spray, tar, fresh paint, gasoline, insect sprays, and room deodorizers.

The information presented above is from Chicago Kids Hospital. For more info check out www.uchicagokidshospital.org

1-Hour Kelly Rudnicki Video on 504 Plans

Melanie Melanie Hohman Thursday, August 29, 2013

What a fun evening of allergy-free treats, sharing stories and learning about 504 Plans.

Many thanks to Kelly Rudnicki for the great 504 content.  Sensitive Sweets donated 20% of our sales that day to FARE.  Sensitive Sweets greatly cares for those who suffer from severe food allergies. We also strive to create more public awareness so we can better protect our loved ones.  

For information on 504 Plans, here are some ideas on places to visit:

Top Ways to Keep Our Kids Safe

Melanie Melanie Hohman Sunday, August 04, 2013

Kid Safety Tips

1) Food Safety: Where ever we go, we are prepared because we bring an Epi-pen, Benadryl and inhaler. Even if your child doesn't have an allergy, they could develop one. Be prepared for bee sting and food cross contamination reactions by carrying a medical bag.

2) Neighborhood Safety: Know who your neighbors are. This site is AWESOME!!! You can confidentially find out about your neighborhood. And it's FREE. Check it out at www.nextdoor.com another great site is http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/

3) Bicycle and Car Safety: Our medical bag is just like a helmet or seatbelt. You never know when/if you will be in a bicycle or car accident, but we prepare ourselves with safety gear. Be sure your kids understand the importance. "Cycling is the leading cause of sports related head injuries in children.”

For more info: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/really-the-claim-cycling-is-the-top-sport-for-head-injuries/?_r=0

Enjoy Life, and be safe.

Is There a Cure for Autism and ADHD?

Melanie Melanie Hohman Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Is it possible to cure or improve Autism and ADHD?  Many believe it is possible.  There are several different forms of therapy....but what we did for our son is working.  It takes a lot of work, but it is 100% worth it!  

How it all started for us: DENIAL!!!!!

When my son Luke turned 2, we were given the Regional Center phone number, and I threw it away.  I was completely shocked, because I didn't think my son had issues.  Sure, he was delayed, and a bit "corky" but I thought...he'll catch up and he's shy.  At pre-school, his teachers and the director at his school told me they were concerned.  He completely lacked social skills, no eye contact, no friends, and he would run the perimeter of the fence everyday, while the other children played with trucks in the sand.  Finally, just before he entered kindergarden, we had several private assessments done, an IEP, and a final diagnosis from a neurologist.   That's when I finally accepted it and jumped into action.  Two major changes helped my son greatly: diet and therapy.

Step 1, DIET!!!!!

My husband and I changed his diet immediately.  We started off by removing wheat/gluten.  Then we went to a strict GFCFSF diet (gluten-free, dairy/casein-free, and soy-free).  The first few weeks were awful.  It was like we were living with a drug addict who was detoxing.  We had to remove wheat, dairy, and soy from our house, because he was climbing the cabinets to find it.

I can tell you exactly what autistic kids eat (just like my son), they are addicted to chicken nuggets, breaded fish sticks, ritz crackers, yogurt, milk, cereal....basically wheat, dairy, and soy! They will outright refuse to eat anything else, because of their addiction.

Well I can assure you that once you break the addiction (which took us over 2 weeks) they will start to eat things you never imagined.  Several months later we saw major improvements in his behavior, sensory issues, and focus...because his gut had healed.  Please keep in mind that you have to be completely free of these foods, since it take about 6 months for the gut to heal.  So don't start this diet unless you are going to follow it 100%.

Step 2: Therapy:

My sons school provided OT and Speech which was terrific.  He also gets in-home services for ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis).  ABA has greatly improved his social skills, eye contact, appropriate behavior, flexibility, and basically getting him to do day-to-day tasks like putting his socks and shoes on.  It is exhausting because there are bad days, but ABA really works.

If you have any questions, please let me know.  I would love to help.

Blocked Sinuses and Dark Circles Under Eyes - Allergies

Melanie Melanie Hohman Friday, June 28, 2013

Blocked Sinuses:

We try to use natural remedies for continuous issues. “Nasal irrigation is used to treat a wide range of chronic sinus and nasal symptoms; for chronic rhinosinusitis it can be an effective adjunctive therapy. Further evidence suggests that nasal irrigation causes relief for both hay-fever and the common cold.

The neti pot used with a saline solution has been reported to be an effective treatment for hay fever, sinusitis, and other nasal conditions.

The neti pot has a gentle gravity flow. Both my husband and I prefer to use the nasal irrigation syringe which has a more turbulent flow. It’s a little painful if your not use to it, but it cleans out the sinuses very well. For our children we use saline spray.

Circle Under Eyes:

On our recent appointment at Adams Allergy in Costa Mesa, I asked Dr Yoshii what causes dark circles under the eyes of allergic children. He said that the congestion in his nose causes pressure on the veins and darkens around the eyes. He recommended that we use a “Preservative-free” nasal spray every morning. I was able to find Little Remedies sterile saline nasal spray at Target which only contains water and sodium chloride (which is salt).

“Researchers say pharmaceutical companies rely on chemical preservatives, such as benzalkonium chloride and phenylcarbinol, to destroy or slow the growth of potentially dangerous microorganisms that may enter the container after opening. But these preservatives can damage delicate tissues in the nose and cause unpleasant side effects such as burning or irritation.”

So far it’s working great, and I’m happy to know that we can safely use it everyday on our little boy.

IBD - The Crohn's and Colitis Diet

Melanie Melanie Hohman Friday, June 07, 2013

I am not a doctor, but our Gluten-free bakery (Sensitive Sweets) seems to be a hub for people with several autoimmune disorders. I can't tell you how many customers suffering from Crohn's and/or Colitis have told me that a strict gluten-free and casein-free diet has helped improve their conditions.  Here's some info about these diseases:

There are two types of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Diseases):

1) Crohn's Disease.  It is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.  Symptoms include persistent diarrhea, bleeding, cramps, and constipation.  Diet and stress play a major role.  

2)  Colitis.  Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic disease of the colon.  Symptoms include urgent bowel movements, persistent diarrhea, loss of appetite, low energy, fatigue, delays in growth for children, and cramping." 

For more information please take a look at http://www.ccfa.org. Let me know what your experience has been.

Allergies and Eczema

Melanie Melanie Hohman Wednesday, May 22, 2013

If your little one has eczema, they probably have food allergies. Our youngest son Bradley had eczema when he was a baby, because I was nursing him and eating the foods that he was allergic to. It took several doctors before we found the right one, an Allergist that specialized in food allergies for kids (Adams Allergy). They performed a simple skin test (not painful and not intrusive like they use to be) and in 15 minutes we found out what we needed to remove from my diet. The test is not 100% so once we started solid foods we had to monitor his reactions. Here's some important info about Allergies and Eczema (atopic dermatitis):

Studies show that if one or both parents have eczema, asthma, or seasonal allergies, their child is more likely to develop the most common type of eczema, atopic dermatitis. What's more, children with eczema may be more at risk for developing allergies or asthma. In fact, one study found that 35% of adults who had eczema as children had hay fever or asthma as adults.”

When exposed to an allergen, the body attacks and releases histamines. These chemicals cause an allergic reaction in the form of hives, itching, swelling, sneezing, and runny nose. Children with eczema are also more likely to have food allergies, such as to eggs, nuts, or milk. Food allergies often make eczema symptoms worse in children but not in adults.”

The most common food allergens include: wheat/gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and fish. My son is allergic to ALL of these!!!!!

Also watch out for perfumes, dust mites, dander, grass, sand, and chemicals. If your at the beach or in a swimming pool, be sure to rinse your child off just after to remove the sand and chemicals. Certain soaps can irritate. We typically bathe with Cetaphil body wash (not the lotion because that has nuts in it) or Dove soap. Rinse thoroughly, pat dry and apply vaseline on the dry spots, shortly after to seal in the moisture. If you have any questions, let me know. My son suffered for several months, but after dietary changes and this simple treatment he is completely free of eczema and not on medication!

School 504 Plan and Food Allergies

Melanie Melanie Hohman Friday, May 10, 2013

504 plan and Severe Food Allergies

My youngest son is about to start kindergarten. My husband and I have gone back and forth about this subject because of fears that our little one will have a reaction at school, and they will not be prepared. He has already gone into shock 2 times from dairy and it only takes about 5 minutes before his airway is closed up. Our home is so secure now, with not having dairy, eggs, and nuts…it makes it easy to control…but school is a different situation. “NO dairy, No egg, No nut” school? That’s not going to happen, and I don’t expect it to either. BUT, I do expect his teacher, nurse, assistants, subs, and other staff to be prepared. With the 504 plan, there is a legal requirement that they provide a safe environment for him while at school. Here’s some info I pulled from the web, which has been useful:

The 504 Plan

Section 504 provides that: "No otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance….

“Severe food allergies are one of the conditions that may fall under the Rehabilitation Act. Among the issues 504 Plans for students with severe food allergies may address are where life-saving anaphylaxis medications will be stored, where students will eat lunches and snacks, whether allergens will be permitted on the school campus, and if so, where, and how teachers, nurses, and other school personnel will be trained to recognize food allergy symptoms.”

“The factors the school district considers in evaluating the student includes the severity of the condition and the student's ability to provide self-care. Thus, a kindergarten student with an anaphylactic peanut allergy who cannot yet read would almost certainly be considered eligible under the terms of the law; a high school student of normal intelligence with a milk allergy whose major symptom is rhinitis likely would not.”

Does the ADA Apply to People with Asthma and Allergies?

“Yes. In both the ADA and Section 504, a person with a disability is described as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or is regarded as having such impairments. Breathing, eating, working and going to school are "major life activities." Asthma and allergies are still considered disabilities under the ADA, even if symptoms are controlled by medication. The ADA can help people with asthma and allergies obtain safer, healthier environments where they work, shop, eat and go to school. The ADA also affects employment policies. For example, a private preschool can not refuse to enroll children because giving medication to or adapting snacks for students with allergies requires special staff training or because insurance rates might go up. A firm can not refuse to hire an otherwise qualified person solely because of the potential time or insurance needs of a family member.”

“In public schools where policies and practices do not comply with Section 504, the ADA should stimulate significant changes. In contrast, the ADA will cause few changes in schools where students have reliable access to medication, options for physical education, and classrooms that are free of allergens and irritants. Under Section 504, public schools and programs cannot avoid their responsibility by claiming to have limited funds or resources. Nor can they impose a "disparate impact" on people with disabilities. The ADA requires public accommodations to make changes, except in cases where an "undue burden" would result.”

Plan Outline, where to begin

There’s a terrific website which has a plan outline. It’s a ton of info, but worth it. I especially liked the Food Allergy Alert flyer, which should be sent home with every student in the class. I will be working on this for the next few months. I’m also hoping to get some other allergic children in my son’s class, so us moms can group up and help each other with the buddy-system.

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