What is Early Introduction?
It’s reducing the risk of developing food allergies by feeding allergens to a baby starting between the ages of four and six months, and maintaining their exposure throughout the first year of life. Between six and ten months old there is a window of time when the baby’s immune system is learning which foods are safe. You want to start feeding these allergens before that window and continue through that window of time. It’s not a one-time feeding, the key is to be consistent until the baby turns one.
How did an engineer end up making an early introduction product?
My oldest son had an allergic reaction to scrambled eggs at 11 months old. We’ve since discovered he is also allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. I was reading medical journals as part of my job in the biomedical field and ironically, the LEAP study was published the week after his reaction. With my second son, I was determined to follow the new guidelines and it was not only time consuming and messy but also challenging to feed him allergens while keeping my older child safe. I couldn’t imagine doing this three times a week for all these allergens for nine months.
Introducing Allergens to Babies in a Food Allergy Home
To follow the guidelines, you’re giving about 100 servings of an allergen in the first year of life. Trying to prepare allergenic foods to keep them in my younger son’s diet was so much work: worrying about which spoon was contaminated with egg, which towel, which parts of the counter… As an engineer, I hate repeating the same task over and over and I knew it needed to be easier for families, with allergies in their homes or not, to follow these protocols.
What is Lil Mixins?
All of the clinical studies use real food, so we use real food that is baked (for the eggs), dehydrated, defatted and ground up without preservatives, fillers or added sugar. The more dehydrated foods are, the better they stick to baby food. The right grind makes the food safe for little ones without creating dust that goes everywhere.
Which allergens does Lil Mixins cover?
Right now we make three individual powders: peanut, tree nuts and egg. Peanut, egg and tree nuts cover the allergens that cause 90% of food allergies. Studies have shown that babies are 15 times more likely at four months old to react to a raw or cooked egg like scrambled eggs than to a baked egg, which is why we make a baked egg. Other top allergens can easily be consumed by babies, such as yogurt for dairy, baby cereal for wheat and soy through soy sauce. I don’t want to sell anything that parents don’t need.
Why did you want to be the lowest cost allergy preventative available?
Besides making early introduction easy, I wanted to create the most affordable product possible. Lil Mixins costs $85 and covers the entire early introduction window in a single three-jar set purchase. We are the lowest price of any early introduction option—even cheaper than buying the foods and preparing them yourself. By the time you’re done with the three jars, the baby is ready to switch to actual foods like almond butter. Our single jars cost $35 dollars.
How does Lil Mixins stay true to the LEAP study?
In the LEAP study, they used two grams of peanut protein, three times a week starting as early as four months old. We follow the LEAP study the closest of any early introduction brand by using precisely that amount for each allergen, from the start. Supplement type brands mix several proteins into one packet so that you’re getting less than a third to an eighth of a gram of each of the proteins, which has never been studied or proven.
How did you become the #1 pediatrician-recommended early introduction product?
Pediatricians are embracing early introduction guidelines and are looking for a product they can recommend. Lil Mixins is the #1 pediatrician-recommended early introduction product because it adheres to the clinical data and costs the least. We surveyed over 700 pediatricians and Lil Mixins is the number one pediatrician-recommended early introduction brand. Samples of Lil Mixins are in over 1,000 pediatric offices and we will soon be in 3,000 more.
Should babies be tested for allergies first?
Having a food-allergic sibling doesn’t drastically increase the odds of someone having an allergy. Unless you suspect an allergy or the baby has severe eczema, you’re far more likely to get a false positive by skin testing and an allergy can develop by avoiding the food unnecessarily. As far as blood testing goes, IGE sensitization does not equal an allergy. Studies show that the kids who falsely test positive for an allergy but show no symptoms who continued to eat the food benefit from it the most.
What are your facilities free of?
The powders are all made in separate facilities. They are packaged in the same facility on separate production runs, with allergen washes in between. At the end of production, we run allergen testing and take samples from that run and send it to a lab and test for every allergen possible. Only our egg jars carry that labelling regarding testing samples right now, but all three flavors are tested and we will be updating the labelling in the future.
Is there a way to try Lil Mixins out?
We have a trial pack with one serving of each flavor. The cost will be low, about $5, to cover the shipping and handling and it should be available on January 15, 2020.
How are egg allergy families using your products?
We are the only company that uses a baked egg. Families that can tolerate baked egg need to eat it as often as possible, and it needs to be baked at 350 degrees for at least 20 minutes. Ours is baked at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Lil Mixins is an easy way to dose baked egg—skip all the baking by just mixing it into your food.
Where can we find Lil Mixins?
They’re available on our website and on Amazon. Get 15% OFF with code, SPOKIN15. Discount is available for US shipping only. Code is valid for orders of individual jars and boxes, not sets or samples and will expire on July 1, 2020.
Does your second son have food allergies?
No, thankfully, he has no food allergies.
You’re an egg allergy mom, what’s your favorite egg replacer?
My husband has nailed a chocolate chip cookie recipe using Ener-G Egg Replacer. We use Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer for our other baked goods and in pancakes I use ground flaxseed.
You live in Philadelphia, what’s your favorite hometown restaurant?
We love Frankford Hall because the staff is so helpful and the Memphis Taproom has a lot of vegan food, which makes going egg free easier. We get quesadillas at Heffe Tacos all the time.
We attended a family brunch at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf. The staff was so great. There was nothing safe for my son and it was so busy and the server said “my granddaughter has an allergy” and they made a separate meal for him.