Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, MFA, MSW, LMSW, Psychotherapist; Specialist in Food Allergy Management, Speaking At Mylan Specialty / EpiPen Event (© Noel Malcolm 2013)

Monday, September 29, 2008

L'Shana Tova!

Tonight at sundown marks the beginning of the ten days of introspection (the Days of Awe) where Jews around the world will reflect upon the mistakes of the past year and plan to make changes in the new year.

As we say: may you be written into the Book of Life.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fish in Your OJ?

From the NYTIMES:

"Orange juice laced with anchovies is one example of the latest way major food companies are competing for health-conscious consumers: plugging one food into another and claiming the health benefits of both....Are we really that close to a world in which food functions as a nutrient delivery system, made possible by microencapsulation and fine-spray coating?"

Sigh. Apparently we are.


As a fish allergic gal, I really don't want fish genes showing up in non-fish food.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Photographer, Kenneth Chen

The summer before my freshman year of college I had an opportunity to be a photographer’s assistant to Kenneth Chen a young, up and coming portrait photographer.

Back in the day (no, we’re not that old but 10 years in the world of media might as well be 100) being an assistant still involved actual labor i.e. schlepping.

I was the official schlepper of lights and tripods and multiple cameras and lots of film for Kenneth, as he zig zagged across the city, booking gigs out of his Hotel Chelsea office (which also housed allergy-friendly snacks for me).

At his feet, I learned more than just photography but how to make one's subject feel comfortable. Ken is so easy and light to be around and his shot-promptings included: “Great! Keep going! You’re lovely, gorgeous, beautiful”. Who doesn't love that? (He also used these pink-orange gels on his lights that made his subjects, whether doctors or golfers, look young, smooth, warm, content.)

Flash forward a few years and I needed a nice picture for my blog. Something better than the shots friend X took in the park outside of work. I turned to my old friend Kenneth Chen for help.

A lot of you have asked me who took that picture of me with the bowl of pistachios. It was Kenneth. And when he came to take that picture of me there was no light box, no gels, no extra rolls of film. Just a tripod and a digi cam and natural light. And me. And Ken.

His work is my bio pic.

And here: Delicious portraits of babies and children and adults.

Here's one of Pearl.

And he teaches groups. And he has private workshops in NJ and NYC. And he’s gone digital. And he teaches how you can too. (I really need that class Ken, my digi pix are all wrong; there's no F-stop so I'm lost!)

So here’s a rather shameless plug for an old friend, colleague, wonderful photographer and all around nice guy for all of you who have written in and asked who took that bio pic:

Kenneth Chen, photographer.
tel: 646.734.6552

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kosher GF Goodies and Free Shipping

This comes from Andrew, our friend at Shabtai *and* in time for Rosh Hashanah next week:

"Shabtai Gourmet produces a full line of Gluten Free, Casein Free, Lactose Free, Soy Free, & Dairy Free Cakes & Cookies. Our Sweets are baked in a dedicated facility, and are certified Kosher Parve & Kosher for Passover by the OK Labs.

Our mission is to produce Allergen Free products that allow our customers to feel comfortable with the dietary restrictions they are required to keep. Shabtai bakes Desserts that have been compared to mainstream bakery sweets such as Little Debbie, Hostess, and Drakes Cakes! Try our Ring Ting Cupcakes or our Brownie Bites - perfect for snacking on the go.

Did we mention: the shipping is FREE!"

Thanks for all your do Andrew and Cindy in supporting Kosher and gluten-free communities!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CruiseWest and Food Allergies

This comes from the lovely Vittoria of Deliciously GF.


Dear Allergic Girl,

I wanted to let you know about a great eating experience I had recently.

For my birthday/vacation my parents and I went on a cruise to Alaska. My mom chose the company CruiseWest and they have a food needs form for booked guests. I filled out the form and spoke with the booking agent about my dietary needs. I was reassured that they could handle my needs...they even have a gluten free option.

When I arrived on the ship the second mate found me and brought the chef up to meet with me. He was absolutely great! He had read all my notes and fully understood my limitations.

Every morning after breakfast he found me and we discussed the day’s menu, what I wanted to have and how he could prepare it.

For my birthday, rather then making a cake for my table to share, he made a great fruit puree with no sugar or dairy for me and everyone at my table.

It was so wonderful to be so well taken care of and not to have to worry about what kind of food I was going to get. I didn't need to eat any of my “emergency safe foods” until we left the ship.

I know there were other diners with restrictions/allergies who got the same kind of attention as well.



How awesome is that! Great way to advocate for your needs Vittoria and great job handling them CruiseWest!

Love it when that happens!

Monday, September 22, 2008

"September is National Food Safety Education Month"

Did you know...

"September is National Food Safety Education Month as presented by National Restaurant Association Solutions. This month-long campaign is held every September and focuses on the importance of food safety education for the restaurant and food service industry, while raising public awareness of the industry's commitment to food safety. This year's theme is "Take Action to Prevent an Allergic Reaction." For more information, visit". [This information was provided by the National Restaurant Association.]

How cool is that?!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"What You Should Know About Politics...But Don't"

There's stuff I know, at least I think I know, about politics and stuff I really don't. And if you feel like I do, like you really want to be up on the issues for this important election, this non-partisan book might be for you. (Full disclosure: the editor of this book is a dear friend.)

Here are some snippets from the press release:

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT POLITICS . . . BUT DON’T breaks it all down, issue by issue, explaining who stands for what, and why—whether it’s the economy, the war in Iraq, health care, oil and renewable energy sources, or climate change.

No matter your political leaning or persuasion, here is the perfect book to brush up on a single topic or read through to get a deeper understanding of the complex, often confusing world of American politics.

The author is uniquely qualified to write this book. She has been exposed to every single argument from both sides on all the issues. Her father, Kent Conrad, is the senior Democratic senator of North Dakota and chairs the Senate Budget Committee. Her uncle, Edward Schafer, is the Republican U.S. secretary of agriculture and a former governor of North Dakota.

Here's Jessamyn Conrad's reading schedule so far:

9/17/08 Borders, 1801 K Street NW, Washington, DC(6:30pm)

10/2/08 Tufts University Bookstore, 40 Talbot Avenue, Medford, MA (2:30 pm)

10/14/08 Book Culture, 536 West 112th Street, New York, NY (7 pm)

10/16/08 Johns Hopkins University Bookstore, 3330 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD (7 pm)

10/22/08 Northeastern University Bookstore, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA (12 pm)

10/29/08 Borders, 400 Post Street, San Francisco, CA (7 pm)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yesterday's Worry-Free Dinners™ Event for Kids

Oh my goodness, we shouldn't be allowed to have that much FUN!

But we are and we did and you can check it out over at the WFD site! (And you can join us the next time, we'd love to see you!)

Reading: NYC

From friend Ed:

"Author Ed Hamilton will be reading from "Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with the Artists and Outlaws of New York's Rebel Mecca," on Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m. at Bluestockings Books & Cafe, 172 Allen St. btw Stanton and Rivington, NYC. Hamilton's book pays homage to the vast and varied famous and non-famous guests of the legendary Chelsea Hotel. His stories paint pictures of Chelsea life that are funny and heartbreaking, believable and absurd."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Late Summer Greenmarket Bounty

Came back from my local greenmarket where they were handing out free copies of a new food mag. (I had read about it earlier on Grub Street.) So I thought I'd take some pictures in my newly painted kitch. It's Peacock Blue, aka Miami in my Cucina.

Veggie bounty with a magazine--we both have cranberry beans!

Everything washed, topped and tailed and ready for the fridge:

Wormy worm who hitched a ride with the yellow cherry tomatoes:

Wormy on the move:

Hmm maybe I'll whip up one of these recipes from the Bitt minus the worm, natch.

PS I set the worm free outside, I couldn't bear to smush it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Ads

Anyone else is little freaked by these ads from the Corn Refiners Association? (Serious Eats has a short editorial about it. And the NYTimes has one too today.)

Yes, sure, the CFA has a right to defend themselves against the recent “corn-attacks". And yes, the ads are kind of smart in that if you actually ask the average person why they shouldn’t eat high fructose corn syrup they probably wouldn’t be able to give you the medical run down of the evils of HFCS. [Twinkie, Deconstructed broke it down nicely/grossly.]

But still the ads are so blatantly, creepy.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

AAFA Survey About “May Contain” Labels

Remember there's a FDA open hearing about this very topic next week? Well, AAFA is going to the hearing and is also looking to be armed with some data in the ongoing post-hearing discussions about what YOU think about the "May Contain" labels.

I have some very definite ideas about those labels, especially as most of the products in Trader Joe’s are nut, wheat, dairy contaminated if all of those labels are to be taken at face value.

Take the survey; let your voice be heard.

From AAFA:

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is asking people with food allergies and their caretakers to take an online survey.

The purpose of the survey is to find out how people use the labels on foods that list ingredients and the warnings that a product may be contaminated by a known allergen.

Currently, federal law requires food manufacturers to include any of eight major allergens in the ingredients list on the label if the allergens are present in a food product.

Advisory labels, saying that a product may contain an allergen, are not required, although many manufacturers use them. However, the wording of these advisories varies.

If you would like to participate in this short, online survey, please click the survey link and make sure to complete the survey before October 31, 2008!

Thank you for completing the survey and providing AAFA with this important information!”

Sake-Based Tequila?

From a new daily newsletter Tasting Table (like Daily Candy for foodies here in NYC):

The East Village's community board is notoriously prudish when granting liquor licenses. So when Mercadito's new outpost, Mercadito Cantina, didn't get the nod to serve tequila, it made its own. Sort of. To create a lawful knock-off, booze consultants Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay, a.k.a. the Tippling Brothers, blended sake (legal under Cantina's beer-and-wine license) with a secret concoction designed to replicate tequila's agave funk and a dash of chile pepper to mimic the alcoholic burn.

Interesting? I wonder if that would be GF safe?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Can You Trust Again? Post-Allergy Trauma

A great story about a little discussed effect of severe food allergy responses: ongoing anxiety.

Below is an excerpt, the rest is here on

ABC News, Can You Trust Again? Post-Allergy Trauma: Going Back to Normal After an Allergic Attack By Radha Chitale, ABC News Medical Unit

"Concrete actions after an episode, such as identifying the trigger and avoiding it, speaking with a child's teachers or other caretakers about what to do in an emergency, refreshing medical supplies or getting a medical identification bracelet, can help the family move beyond the fear of another attack. Robinson said most families recover in about six to eight weeks.

But, while these actions can go a long way toward relieving some anxiety, "the psychological underpinnings of that are difficult to overcome," said Sloane Miller, a food allergy coach and advocate who's president of Allergic Girl Resources Inc. in New York. "So many social events are around food. ... Life can become very restrictive if you can't rebuild that trust."

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

Monday, September 08, 2008


Ya know, I was thinking to myself at the end of Mrs Palin's speech last week, "I wonder if Heart gave the OK to use their song? Is it possible that they, Heart that is, are Republicans?"

The answer is not so much according to this New York Times snippet:

"Before Sarah Palin joined John McCain on the Republican presidential ticket, she was Sarah Barracuda, a nickname earned playing high school basketball. The McCain campaign used the name for inspiration at the convention in St. Paul last week, playing “Barracuda” by the rock group Heart as an unofficial theme song. But the sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson...of Heart, have sent a cease-and-desist letter to the campaign, asking it to stop using their song, Reuters reported. “The McCain campaign respects intellectual-property rights,” Brian Rogers, a campaign spokesman said. “Accordingly, prior to using ‘Barracuda’ at any events, we paid for and obtained all necessary licenses.” Last month the singer Jackson Browne sued Mr. McCain, the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party, accusing them of using his song “Running on Empty” without permission for a campaign ad."


There’s a new epinephrine auto-injection delivery system on the horizon. Really.

Here’s a brief story about the EpiCard on

I will be posting an interview with the 20-something-twin-brothers-who-are-severly- allergic-themselves i.e. the founders v. soon.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Long Branch Food Allergy Walk, September 7, 2008

FAAN Walk for Food Allergy Moving Toward A Cure in Long Branch.

The flyer's below there's still time to sign up or just cheer on your food allergy supporters and walkers. Thanks for the info Cheri!

Title of Show, NYC

So Fab Foodie One Shari Bayer and I saw [title of show] this holiday weekend, wading through the Brazilian day parade to get to the theater. From the moment the lights went down, I felt like everyone was in on a joke that I knew nothing about. There was laughing practically before the show even started.

What was going on here?

As the show progressed it became abundantly clear: the [title of show] show was brought to Broadway through a completely viral campaign that was started by a wish, a will-into-being kind of dealio. And its viralness was what brought everyone into the theater and had them in on the joke waaaay before moi.

Here’s some background on the "secret" nature of how the show got toe the Great White Way, from HuffPo:"Hunter and Jeff started with a deadline to enter a musical theater festival, then came up with an idea and wrote "[title of show]" in three weeks. They made it into the festival where they performed the show about themselves writing a show to get into said festival. Shortly after, the musical was offered an off-Broadway run at the Vineyard Theater in Manhattan, where a new ending (and thus, a new goal) was added: get the show to Broadway. After the Vineyard run and the release of their cast album, things grew quiet. "We didn't have anything immediately on the horizon for Broadway," admits Hunter. But they didn't give up. Instead, they turned to the Internet, and YouTube, to help them achieve their goal. "This is really embarrassing to admit," says Bell, "but we watched the DVD of The Secret and it said to put what you want out in the world and it will come to you." So Hunter, Jeff, Susan, and Heidi created The [title of show] Show. Their first episode began with the announcement that [tos] was headed to Broadway. "We don't know how, we don't know when or where. I guess those are three things we have to work on." And work they did, airing nine webisodes, including a Christmas show, featuring Broadway celebrities like Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu), Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening), and John Tartaglia (Avenue Q) among others."

Here’s a snippet from a interview with one the stars about their Secret moment: "Susan Blackwell: I had a secret hope that there would be a place for it on Broadway. I was afraid to be verbal about admitting that. I still had to get up everyday and go to my day job. If I started getting too pie-in-the-sky and too optimistic, I was afraid it would be too painful to go back to the life of just getting up and doing the nine-to-five. So I kind of kept it to myself and was secretly hopeful. As things progressed, Hunter and Jeff and I got together one afternoon and we laid on my bed, and we watched "The Secret." We had a conversation and we decided that — it sounds so cheesy — but we decided, "What if we really did put it out there? What if we really did say out loud, 'This is what we want, and this is who we are.'" . . . [We were] doing "The [title of show]" shows and putting it out there and saying things like, "We're going to Broadway. We don't know how or when or where. We have to figure those things out but we're going to Broadway." Before we had a theatre, before we had a total green light from our producers, I said to Hunter and Jeff, "This is the most public risk I have ever taken in my life." It's a little bit like Sean Young going on "David Letterman" dressed as Catwoman, because she was angling to get that part. I was like, "This is either going to be an amazing success story, or it is going to be a big 'wah-wah!'" [Laughs.] . . . It just felt like an enormous risk. I hoped that we would get to Broadway, but I was afraid to say it out loud because it seemed like such a risk. But with the strength of my brothers, we sort of held hands and took that leap in a public way. I feel very fortunate that it's turned out this way."

Cheesy yes, but they are on Broadway folks and being adored by fans from near and far. They willed their dream into being. And it was a huge dream to get to Broadway! They must be pinching themselves everyday. And having so much fun! [It looks like fun!]

It’s been on my mind, about manifesting your dreams and wishes--what do you all think?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Teens and food Allergies

Have a college-age kid with food allergies or know of one?

Check out my tips for getting them settled at school at

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Fall Allergy Capitals from AAFA

From our friends at The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

AAFA announced today its 2008 Fall Allergy Capitals ™ list, which is sponsored by the makers of ZYRTEC®. The annual research project ranks the fall’s 100 most challenging cities to live for people with upper respiratory allergies.

The top five cities are: Greensboro, NC (1); Greenville, SC (2); Little Rock, AR (3); Raleigh-Durham, NC (4); and Jackson, MS (5).

While many American’s associate allergies with the springtime, this is not the only time you can get a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, or nasal congestion from upper respiratory allergies. In fact, the most common seasonal allergy trigger, ragweed, is usually found in the fall. The Fall Allergy Capitals research also shows that overall pollen concentrations have increased in the top allergy cities. These pollen increases can make fall a very difficult time for the more than 36 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies.”

Want to know more about fall allergies (I've been ragweed-sniffling and mouth-itchy since August 12th) and where your city falls on the top 100 city list (NYC is way down there, not because we have so little pollen but how they scored on their graph, seems our ratio of doctors pushed us down the list. Right, Bri?) you can read more on their site

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Shari Bayer, Publicist

One of the Fab Foodie Four was interviewed by DB this week on Food Candy.

Check it out.
(I'm so proud!)

Opentable and Food Allergies


I’m finally convinced that using for those of us with food allergies, food restrictions and special dietary requests (with a resto that is open to these requests and knows how to handle them) is a really, really good idea.

Went to Savoy recently and Sam had told them all about my allergies using Opentable (or as they might say in French, Le Table Qui Est Overt) before our arrival. He actually cut and pasted my list from my blog into the OT site. When we arrived, Savoy had my allergies all nicely typed out, the chef had been informed and they were totally ready for me. They seemed happy to see us, I might add. That's always a big plus.

Then Sam and I did something practically unheard of in this Allergic Girl’s world: we shared dishes. (Sam ordered dishes I could eat as well, which was quite thoughtful).

Just take a minute to soak that in, fellow allergic girls and boys.

Especially, all you parents who write to me about your food allergic children and ask how will they ever live normal lives? Here is proof positive: they too will someday recreate the scene from The Lady and The Tramp just like everyone else. (With whatever food is safe for them).

For apps, I had the homemade pork sausage to start; Sam had tomato and nectarine salad. For entrees, Sam had the lamb and I had the duck. Bites were passed, tastes were savored, dinner was yum. And allergen friendly. Yay, Savoy !

I think Opentable might be my new best tool to recommend to you all. I also think you all knew waaaay before me how much this tool can help.