What's the Best Way to Diagnose a Food Allergy?

Melanie Melanie Hohman Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How do I know for certain that I'm really allergic?

This article is from Living Without, and I have to say it's a terrific article.  Many of my customers ask this question because of my son Bradley.  We had him skin tested at almost 10 months old, and it was a helpful start.  However the test did not pickup every food allergy.  Plus, he outgrew several mild food allergies within a few years. Here's what Living Without suggests:  

"Diagnosing a food allergy can actually be a complicated task. Generally speaking, there is no perfect diagnostic test. Blood testing for food allergies, typically IgE testing, can be used to confirm a suspected allergy but it’s not great as a screening test for diagnosing food allergies when someone is unsure they’re having a problem. The reason for this is that many people who aren’t necessarily allergic to a food can still test positive with this kind of testing. The same can be true for skin testing. In general, skin testing and blood testing are better at confirming a suspected allergy and ruling out an allergy.

The gold standard test for food allergies is a double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC), conducted under the supervision of a board certified allergist. In this type of test, the person with a suspected food allergy is given either the food (usually in a capsule) or a placebo (also in a capsule). Then he or she is monitored for a reaction by a healthcare professional who doesn’t know whether the patient received the food or the placebo. The patient may be given increasing doses of the food or placebo and is closely monitored throughout this process.

If you suspect you have a food allergy, consult a board certified allergist."

Autism and Our Oldest Son Lukie

Melanie Melanie Hohman Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I wrote an email to my sister in law, and I wanted to share it with you. It's about our oldest son Lukie.

I have been in major denial for years, it still affects me. I think the final slap in the face that made me realize that Lukie (our 6 year old) is autistic is when we had a neurologist diagnose him last week.

It took me years to finally accept it so we can get him help. At age 2, I received the Regional Center number from his pediatrician..that was the last time I saw her..because I was angry and in denial. Then again in preschool 4 teachers and the school director told me he has issues...once again I shrugged and said "he'll grow out of it.”

Finally Greg (my husband) and I had an IEP at age 5, which documents constant rocking, fidgeting, delayed speech, lack of eye contact and social skills... that's when I put him on a GFCF diet (gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free diet). He massively improved, in a short period.

We first removed gluten, then dairy 5 months later. I thought at that time, maybe he's like Bradley and has food allergies, and he's not autistic. Well, he is autistic, and he's incredibly gifted. He will be a spectacular man one day, brilliant and shining in his own special way. He may not have a lot of friends, he may be odd and strange to others, but I am so blessed...he can walk, talk, and hug me. I love him so much. I finally understand what he and we need...we need extra help, understanding how to talk to him. We would be failures if we didn't keep trying to help him. So our next step is ABA. Im excited to learn how to be a better mom for him.

I can’t help but get tears, because most of the time I hold it all in. I spent so much effort and time trying to get Bradley better, and now we have Lukie to do the same for... but I do believe that this is what Im suppose to do in my life. That's why I have this bakery. I was meant to do this for our families and others. Life is good...I have a terrific husband, and two of the most amazing little boys. Tragedy can happen at any moment...and I think about that everyday...and that's why I know I'm blessed. We have so much love.

A Gluten-Free Father's Day Brunch (Dads are Sensitive and Sweet too!)

Melanie Melanie Hohman Friday, June 15, 2012

Sensitive Sweets Cinnamon French Toast


  • 8 slices of Sensitive Sweets cinnamon gluten-free bread
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup milk (rice milk or coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grapeseed or Canola oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar for dusting


Combine eggs, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla in a shallow bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended. Dip slices of homemade breakfast bread in the egg mixture. Allow both sides of bread to soak up as much egg mixture as it will hold. Heat oil on medium high in a large, heavy skillet and fry coated bread slices. When golden brown, flip and cook second side until golden brown. Serve with butter and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Chicken-Apple Sausage Patties


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium sweet apple, such as Gala or Honeycrisp, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound ground organic chicken or turkey
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel fennel seed, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Preparation:

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add apples and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Wipe out the pan. Add chicken, sage, sugar, fennel, salt and pepper to the bowl with the apples and onions. Gently mix to combine.

    Generously coat the pan with cooking spray and heat over medium. Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop 4 portions of the sausage mixture into pan, flattening each into a 3-inch patty. Cook until the patties are browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Coat the pan with cooking spray again and repeat with remaining sausage mixture.

Food Allergies in Schools - Epi-Pen

Melanie Melanie Hohman Monday, April 30, 2012

This is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Food Allergies in Schools:

"Food allergies are a particular concern in the school environment. Studies show that 16%–18% of children with food allergies have had allergic reactions to accidental ingestion of food allergens while in school. Moreover, food-induced anaphylaxis data reveals that 25% of anaphylaxis reactions in schools occur among students without a previous food allergy diagnosis."

"School personnel should be ready to effectively manage students with known food allergies and should also be vigilant and prepared to respond effectively to emergency needs of students who are not known to have food allergies but who exhibit allergy-related signs and symptoms." CDC.gov

I completely agree that staff should be trained and prepared. It's important for an epi-pen to be available in the classroom, not just in the nurses office. We also need to train our children (if age appropriate) on how to notify a teacher and how to use an epi-pen. The two times my son Bradley has gone into shock, it only took about 5 minutes before his airway was fully closed. There's not enough time to hunt down an epi-pen from a nurses office.

Vaccines and Autism - Are They Connected?

Melanie Melanie Hohman Sunday, April 15, 2012

I have been running Sensitive Sweets bakery for about 3 years now, and it's shocking how many stories I've heard from my customers, connecting autism and vaccines.  Most of these families explain that right after a vaccine, their child has serious symptoms including high fevers and seizures.  From that point on, their child is "gone...a ghost."

As you may already know, I believe that most of our health issues are connected to what we eat. Diet has directly affected both of my sons, and they are doing extremely well without medications because we monitor everything they eat. However, I also believe that certain medications and vaccines are necessary.  For instance the Polio vaccine...can we deal with Polio...NO way!  But can we deal with chicken pox or rotavirus?  YES, because we have dealt with it.  It's not fun, and boy oh boy it's a BAD week of being ill, however I'd prefer to limit the number of vaccines my child is receiving.   

I recently read an interesting article in CBSnews.com about Vaccines and Autism.  You might find this interesting....


Schools to Provide Gluten-Free and Casein-Free Foods

Melanie Melanie Hohman Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Donna Rosinski wrote an excellent article on the TACAnow.org website about schools being required to provide gluten-free, casein-free foods if requested by the parent, and if it's included on the IEP.  We just had our IEP meeting on Friday, and we have our son on a strict Gluten-free, Casein-free diet.  I am certain that our son has greatly benefitted from this diet and from therapy.  For more info, read this article:


Sensitive Sweets Cake and Cupcake Decorating Party!

Melanie Melanie Hohman Thursday, February 09, 2012

One of our biggest struggles was having a fun and safe party for our severly allergic son.  At every party he gets hives from just touching the table where someone ate cake or pizza.  This is why we are NOW offering Cake and Cupcake Decorating Parties....It's super easy, safe and fun!

Sensitive Sweets Decorating Parties!

We are a Dedicated Gluten-free, Nut-free Bakery. Our cakes are made with NO gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, or tree nuts.  Healthier and Allergy-free.

For a party that’s out of the ordinary, schedule your Sensitive Sweets Decorating Party. Whether it’s a Birthday Party or a Girls Night Out, a decorating party is too much fun! We have several different packages available. We also offer take-home kits (call 24 hours ahead). Each session includes a hands on demonstration on how to decorate. Cakes and cupcakes come baked and ready to decorate. And we clean everything up so you don’t have to!

Sensitive Sweets Cupcake Party (age 4 and up): Each guest gets 1 cupcake to take home, sprinkles, toppings, and a cupcake box.  60 minute session, maximum of 12 guests. $12/guest.

Ultimate Sensitive Sweets Cake Party (age 6 and up): Each guest gets a 2 layer 4” round cake, frosting, sprinkles, cake decorations, and a cake box.  90 minute session, maximum of 12 guests. $24/guest.

Sensitive Sweets Cake Challenge Party (age 12 and up): Teams will compete with one another on a themed cake challenge. Participants will start with 30 minutes of demonstration and then break into teams with one hour to assemble ready to use items. Items include ready to ice cakes, frosting, fondant, and a multitude of other decorating supplies.  The winner will receive a Sensitive Sweets gift set. 90 minute session, maximum of 12 guests. $29/guest.

Ask about additional items for your party including drinks, candies, desserts, and goody bags.  Minimum of 8 guests per party, a maximum of 14. Deposit is required at booking (non-refundable). Activities are for paid guests only.  No outside food is allowed.  Prices are subject to change.

Gluten Free and Celiac Diet Blog (Fresh VS Frozen)

Melanie Melanie Hohman Saturday, December 31, 2011

There are so many options for gluten free and celiac diets, but unfortunately many are a waste of money.  I have a pantry and freezer full of dry and inedible products I have bought, and struggle to throw away because of the cost.  One thing I can tell you....buy FRESH!!!! It makes a HUGE difference with gluten-free products.  Try to compare our freshly baked bread to frozen...there's NO comparison!  Come on into our bakery and sample our freshly baked cupcakes, brownies, muffins, cookies, and bread.  Try it and you will see what I'm talking about.  We also ship our freshly baked products every week!

Our Allergy Free Gingerbread House Kids (Gluten Free)

Melanie Melanie Hohman Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Now we can build a Gingerbread house like everyone else, and with no stress.  My youngest son Bradley is anaphylactic to eggs, dairy, and nuts.  He's also intolerant of wheat, soy, and many other foods.  A few years ago, one of my customers asked if I could make a Gingerbread House that was allergy free...WOW, I was determined....especially so that my son Braldey could build one as well.  Now we sell our kits every year, and it's a blast!  Our kits ($24) not only comes with delicious gingerbread cookie walls (that you will want to eat!), icing, and lots of fun toys...but it's also FREE of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and nuts!   Our deluxe kit ($29) includes everything the standard kit has but it comes with gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free Surf-Sweets candies and almost double the amount of toys.  It's so simple to assemble too.  

Click Here to order yours online! We ship the kit nationwide.

Here's the step by step:

Cover the cake board included in your kit with aluminum foil or wax paper.  Take 2 cans from your pantry to use as support for the walls.  Add our icing to all four edges of the rectangular cookie, and lean it up against one can.  Add icing to all five edges of the tall side walls and connect it to both rectangular walls.  Repeat this step for the last wall.  After the icing has hardened, (takes about an hour), remove cans and add the plastic roof, door, and windows with the remaining icing.  Take a look at the pictures I have in the gallery.  If you need any help, just call us.  BE sure to email us a photo of your creation to enter our Gingerbread House Contest.  The winner will receive 6 FREE gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free cupcakes.  Enjoy! 

Reduce swelling from Rheumatoid Arthritis with a Gluten-free diet

Melanie Melanie Hohman Saturday, November 26, 2011

We get several customers that tell us that the swelling caused by their arthritis deminishes when eatting a strict Gluten-free diet.  I found an article that talks about this.

Jess Thomson from Arthritis Foundation says that "Researchers at Karolinska University Hospital in Solna, Sweden found that participants who ate a well-balanced diet free of animal products and foods containing gluten (a protein found in some grains) increased their levels of antibodies that may protect against inflammation associated with heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA)...to read more check out: http://www.arthritis.org/meatless-gluten-free-meals.php

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