BOOKS

REVIEW | Allergy Sense by Meg Faure, Dr Sarah Karabus and Kath Megaw

Gillian McAinsh dips into a new book which helps families deal with food allergies

The authors of Allergy Sense are, from left, from left: Dr Sarah Karabus, Meg Faure and Kath Megaw
The authors of Allergy Sense are, from left, from left: Dr Sarah Karabus, Meg Faure and Kath Megaw

Gillian McAinsh reviews the new book Allergy Sense by Meg Faure,  Dr Sarah Karabus and Kath Megaw

From peanuts to pampas grass and dust mites to milk and even chocolate, there are so many things out there that you can be “allergic” to. But what exactly is an allergy?

There are of course major differences between an allergy, an intolerance, an aversion to a particular food and that group of children rather quaintly known as “fussy” or “picky” eaters.

There are those who will die if they eat a peanut and others for whom it just does not taste nice.

But, if you are a parent, how do you know if your child is merely intolerant rather than allergic?

Is it worth cutting dairy or wheat from your child’s diet when it may not be behind their eczema or asthma?

This is why the three authors of the new book Allergy Sense say it is “set to sort the science from the noise”, giving SA families a guide to living and thriving with allergies.

Occupational therapist Meg Faure, allergy specialist Dr Sarah Karabus and paediatric dietician Kath Megaw have combined their knowledge and experience in this book, which focuses on food allergies.

As they note, allergies have never been more prevalent: one in three people in SA suffer from seasonal allergies and at least 2.5% of children have a food allergy. And, nearly a third (30%) of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.

However, they say many parents find themselves paralysed with confusion and fear when faced with a diagnosis of allergies for their child.

There is plenty of information out there – including old wives’ tales, Dr Google and more – but it’s often inaccurate and can create more confusion.

Faure is well-known for her series of Baby Sense parenting books and together with Megaw co-wrote Weaning Sense.

Allergy Sense also contains a sizeable section on sensory issues because sometimes these can be mistaken for allergies.

Any family with an “allergic” child knows playdates and party food can be scary and the biggest chunk of Allergy Sense is recipes and meal plans.

The 264-page book includes more than 70 recipes with simple and inspiring ingredient combinations.

These require minimal equipment and are quick to prepare, and most of the recipes are adaptable and can be tailored to specific allergies. .

The authors note that their recipes are an accumulation of years of patient consultations, support groups and families sharing their best options.

Most of the recipes are adaptable and can be tailored to specific allergies.

Ultimately, they stress, parents all over do have the same goal: to settle, nourish and protect their child. They hope their book will both guide parents, and help alleviate their anxiety.

Allergy Sense does its job admirably, spelling out in clear and accessible language what families need to know on this subject.

  • Allergy Sense by Dr Sarah Karabus, Meg Faure and Kath Megaw is published by Quivertree

 

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