Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, Food Allergy Counselor (Picture © Noel Malcolm 2013)

Monday, June 30, 2008

WFD & Blue Smoke, July 28, 2008

Our next Worry-Free Dinners event is at yum-o-mc-yummy, Blue Smoke. More info over here at the WFD blog, join us for some GF BBQ. Even GF mac-n-cheese. Crazy, I know!

Hundred Acres, NYC

Here’s the good news: The staff at Hundred Acres was lovely, eager, helpful and everything came out right: no bread, no nuts, no fish, no diary—all good.

Here’s the less good but not necessarily bad news: my burger [yes, another one. I think I'm starting to get burger fatigue] was bland and under seasoned; I actually added some salt. (I wonder what burger Gael Greene's crew ate, cos they loved it. And what did Andrea Strong eat? Cos she loved it there too!)

***

The Hundred Acres backstory:

Hundred Acres is the newly refitted, refashioned, re-Fung Shui’d Provence space. I visited the new Provence just a year ago, during their third week of service. Again the servers/managers got the whole allergic girl sitch which was GREAT and was really appreciated. It’s more than appreciated; I worship at the altar of restos that get it. BUT, the food, although not killer, was, well, not killer. (Actually, I had inedible chicken that ended being comp’d.) So even though Provence in its new incarnation got it, I didn’t run back to dine; there wasn’t much on the menu that I could eat and there are lots of places to try in NYC.

But things are always changing here in Gotham and as Provence had some chef-y trouble from the start (see inedible roasted chicken in a French restaurant, not a good sign at all), the owners, in their infinite wisdom, changed it up. The owners are the folks behind Five Points and Cookshop who have proven to be pretty food allergy aware one the whole. So it seemed I should check out the new, new incarnation, hence my visit.

***

What does the former Provence, then redone Provence now Hundred Acres space look like now?

The three rooms are still there, the owners didn’t change the layout structurally but I swear the large middle room seems smaller somehow; fewer tables and I’m not a fan of the communal table in the middle filled with fruits and veg but none to eat. The colors in the front room are dark green for the walls and ceiling in the front room with white subway tiles for bar and backsplash. The back garden area still has lots of light and love as does the front but the flow, the flow, don’t know if I’m feeling the flow of the rooms now.

It’s definitely not Provence anymore.

The wine menu: they have a very clever little wine list, clever for a wine novice like this allergic girl and I might return at some point to check out their selection.



The menu menu: tight and focused which I appreciate, just...I wish there was more I could eat on there. Not a failing on their part, just a wish on mine.



So, the upshot: BIG points for being an allergy-friendly zone with a kind and conscientious staff. Fewer points for not having a great burger.

Would I run back immediately, probably not, I miss the old bar of the new Provence, I miss the old Provence even more. But given six months, I may check in again and see what's what.

Hundred Acres
38 MacDougal St.
New York, NY 10012

Thursday, June 26, 2008

NYC Waterfalls is Here

Ok, THIS is super cool.

Central Park, June 25th

Gluten-Free Pizza Day at Mozzarelli's Pizza, NYC

From Chef Ronny:

Join Us for Gluten Free Day - Sunday, June 29th, 2008, 12:00 - 6:00 PM

Join us for gluten-free day at Mozzarelli's on Sunday, June 29th, 2008 from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The entire restaurant will be converted for the cause. There will be gluten-free pizza, rissoto, pasta and desserts to satisfy your cravings. Stop in for a quick gf slice or come and spend the afternoon with fellow gluten-free diners.

Feel free to bring your family and friends for this gluten-free party at Mozzarelli's!

Mozzarelli's Pizza
38 East 23rd St
New York , NY 10010
212-475-6777
We hope to see you on Sunday.

Sincerely,

Chef Ronny
Mozzarelli's Pizza

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

National Call-In Day for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The below is courtesy of The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

***

Join in National Call-In Day!

Today marks the 17th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This law was designed to protect the rights of people with disabilities, specifically in the workplace. Unfortunately, over the last 17 years, the courts have narrowed the definition of "disability;" today, people with asthma and allergies who manage their symptoms are considered "too functional" to claim asthma and allergies as a disability.

The good news is that the ADA Amendments Act (H.R. 3195) restores the comprehensive protections of this law. As such, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) asks that you join employers and patients by supporting this important legislation today, before a likely vote in the U.S. House of Representatives TODAY.

We urge you to take a moment and call your Congressman today via the Capitol switchboard, (202) 224-3121, and ask him or her to support the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act (H.R. 3195). Please ask him or her to pass H.R. 3195 without additional amendments and provide workers the right to be free from workplace discrimination based on disability. You can find your local House member by visiting www.congress.org.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
is at the forefront of this movement to pass the ADA Amendments Act. Our motivation is simple: we want the 60 million people who live with asthma and allergies to live a life without limits - in the work environment and outside of it - with no exceptions.

Join AAFA in support of H.R. 3195 by calling your representative in Congress, urging him or her to support the ADA Amendments Act, or H.R. 3195.


UPDATE from AAFA.org

Capitol Hill Progress

Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act

On Wednesday, June 25, the House overwhelmingly passed the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADA AA) or HR 3195. The ADA AA restores the original intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA has as its fundamental goal including people with disabilities in all aspects of society, including employment for people who are willing and able to work despite their disabilities. Unfortunately, court decisions over the last decade have excluded individuals who should have been covered under the current ADA law. These narrow court interpretations have restricted ADA coverage for people with asthma, allergies, diabetes, epilepsy, serious heart conditions, mental disabilities and even cancer.

The ADA AA clarifies Congressional intent to allow the ADA's coverage to be broad, and to cover anyone who faces unfair discrimination because of a disability. The ADA AA also seeks to clarify the definition of a disability so that the law protects people from discrimination because they are "too functional" (mitigated by medicine) or "too disabled" because they require reasonable accommodations.

Leaders of business, patient, disability and civil rights groups, including AAFA's President, Bill McLin, attended a press briefing on the day of the House vote featuring House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) and other Congressional leaders. Hoyer said, "Everyone in attendance has abilities, not disabilities." The success of this coalition is noteworthy because it reached across typical lines (like business and labor) to create a piece of legislation that passed overwhelmingly.

Now that the ADA AA has passed in the House, the bill moves to the Senate. We at AAFA will continue support this legislation on behalf of the 60 million people in the Asthma and Allergy Community. We urge you to call or write to your United States Senators. Ask him/her to support the ADA Amendments Act, or S. 1881. You can access their numbers and address by going to www.Congress.org. AAFA believes that everyone has the right to live a life without limits. For more information, please go to www.AAFA.org, or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com under Causes: The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stowe Recreation Path, VT

Was in Stowe, Vermont this past weekend for some spa and some relaxation with D..

It was de-lovely.

I will be writing more soon but here are some pictures from our Sunday afternoon stroll along the Stowe recreation path.







D. doing her Beatles' Abbey Road album cover impression:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Link and Leisure

Last month whilst reading the NYT with my morning cuppa, I stumbled upon this article about leisure and Alison Link and it really got me thinking. (As a side note/full disclosure note, when I read the NYT article Alison Link sounded very familiar to me. Turns out that we had corresponded before as she is the dear friend of my friend and assistant Ami. Small world!)

As someone who has started her own business venture this year, leisure is not at the top of my list of things to do; hard work is.

But why isn't it? And shouldn't it be?

Many of my former creative "leisure" activities (dining out, writing, reading, connecting people with resources) have morphed into work. This is fantastic but that time hasn't been replaced by other creative leisure pursuits. For example, I couldn't remember the last time I read a book for pleasure. Ack!

According to Link: We need to plan for leisure — perhaps by doing one small thing every day, identifying long- and short-term leisure goals, putting enjoyable activities on the calendar — like we do other aspects of life.

So I put leisure on my list of things to actively pursue in the next six months. First, I had to figure out a few things that would count as leisure and NOT work. I added reading back in, telling myself I could carve out time to read at least one book NOT WORK RELATED a month. Lucky me, and very thankful me, I have a stack waiting to be read--some are former colleague's now published tomes and some were sent to me from other colleagues in the publishing industry i.e all free. Gotta love free. Oh happy stack!

Two weeks ago, I read Anne Feiring's "The Battle for Wine or Love", which I couldn't finish--very wine-y technical.

Last weekend, I read the nom de plume of a *wonderful* writer and former work colleague: The Scent of Blood by Raymond Miller. I read it in two hours. It's a fun film noir-ish thriller with a Jewish PI, gotta love that.

This weekend, I'm going to Vermont (pictures and stories next week) and I'm taking two books with me both written by Andrew Martin, both historical thrillers and part of a series books I worked on in my former editing life.

**

So what about you? What's your leisure life like? Do you have one? Do you need one?

Alison Link's giving "a crash course in leisure education that will give participants insight, knowledge and techniques for working with their staff, clients, family members, significant others and friends (and even their own leisure lives!)..." in New York City next month. Below is an email invitation. Happy leisuring!

Alison Link of www.theleisurelinkconsulting.com is offering a fantastic and worthwhile workshop!

Whether you are a life coach, social worker, nurse, youth worker, administrator, mental health professional, physician, business owner, therapeutic recreation specialist, HR director, parent, teacher, or just interested- this session is for you.

In honor of National Therapeutic Recreation Week July 14-18, Alison Link, the founder of The Leisure Link will facilitate this hands-on workshop highlighting the content and facilitation of leisure education and counseling.

Leisure Education for your personal and professional life – Part I : Details

How is your leisure life? How are the leisure lives of those you come in contact with?

A rewarding leisure life is the biggest predictor of our overall quality of life.
It provides the balance we need to handle non-leisure activities well and enhances resilience and life satisfaction. Over a lifetime, we will spend more time at leisure than sleeping or working. Come to this workshop and learn to help yourself, others and organizations get more enjoyment and satisfaction from leisure and life.

In this workshop you will:

• Gain insight, knowledge and techniques for working with your staff, clients, family
members, significant others and friends.

• Help YOURSELF and your staff become healthier, more productive and enjoy more leisure.

• Learn how to work towards your ideal life style and help others do the same.


Here are the details:

WHO: The Leisure Link

WHAT: Learn the basics of leisure education for your professional and personal life.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 @6-9pm

WHERE:In Good Company 16 W. 23rd Street (4th Floor) New York, NY 10010

FEE: Cost: $80 (or $65 "early registration discount" by July 12th)

*Payments can be sent to The Leisure Link, 414 4th Ave, Suite 2R, Brooklyn, NY 11215 or be made through Paypal.com to alison@theleisurelinkconsulting.com

RSVP: Alison Link at 917-626-0344 or alison@theleisurelinkconsulting.com

EXTRA: If you have an employer who covers professional development or will reimburse you, please request a letter of completion of the workshop.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rosé Wine and Allergies

In Mark Bittman's Bitten blog, he mentions his love of Rosé for its less allergenic properties. I don't know that that is accurate [is Rosé fined only using clay?] but it's an interesting side note that he added to his post. I've been drinking a few glasses myself of late: some with fizzies, some without, and I like it's lighter fruitier notes, especially on a hot day.

But any of you notice fewer allergies with Rosé?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stefan Aschan

You never know what new friends you will make during a weekend in the country.

Here’s with whom I dined, swam and giggled this weekend (try to refrain from licking your computer screen): Stefan Aschan.



He’s a lifestyle guru, trainer extraordinaire, nutrition expert and all around fun and healthy guy. You can find him and his services and his blog and his tips and all things fabulous at Strength123.com.

He doesn’t know this but just from hanging out with him I was reminded of a very basic principle of living well and looking great that Euros (Stefan is Austrian) are still in touch with and that many of us non-Euros have forgotten.

Exercise isn’t a chore but it’s a way of life.

Take for example, Stefan. The minute he arrived at the house, had some lunch and a swim with yours truly, he asked the group: “Who wants to go for a bike ride?”

This Allergic Girl and her hostess both declined as we are in recovery from injuries. But the rest of the house? Every one of us declined, and this is a gym going, master cleanse doing, Zone reading group. And still, no one wanted to go for a ride in the beautiful countryside. Shocking.

So what does the professional body do? Mr. Stud-muffin went for a run and ride and a quick jump into the ocean. It wasn’t a workout, it wasn’t exercise-time, Hans & Franz weren’t pumping him up: this was life--a weekend in the country--healthy fun.

If we all (this SO includes moi) remembered to incorporate exercise into an all-around healthy and active lifestyle, making it less “exercise” and separate from our daily lives, baby-lambs, we’d all be better off and looking pretty fabulous.

**

Need some help getting jump started for your best bikini body? There's still time. Check out Stefan's website, Strength123.com, watch him on CW11 WPIX TV morning news, (you can hear his lovely "ahk-cent") or better yet book him to train you today!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Canadian Legislation for the Food Allergic

From Gwen Smith, Editor, Allergic Living magazine

For years, the food allergy community in Canada has lobbied and waited for legislation that would require all food package labels to clearly and thoroughly list the top 10 priority allergens among ingredients.

The good news is that new regulations that would bring far greater clarity to the wording on food labels are ready. The bad news: they’ve been ready for two years and have yet to become law.

In the hopes making the allergen label law a priority for the federal government, Allergic Living magazine has launched an online letter-writing campaign to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Read the letter and about the issue at www.allergicliving.com (Click the green box in the upper right corner.)

If you are a Canadian concerned about the health and safety of those living with food allergies and celiac disease, take a moment to e-mail the letter to the Prime Minister. The more letters he gets, the greater the chance the legislation will pass.

Please make your voice heard. Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

San Domenico, New York

First new/old restaurant of the new month: San Domenico and The Fab Foodie Four decided to try it out together.

We were inspired by Alan Richman’s review in GQ where he made this call to forks: “At the moment, given that nothing in the restaurant world can be taken for granted, I have this to suggest: Eat at San Domenico while you can. It is one of the most gracious, refined, and, in my opinion, underappreciated restaurants in New York.”

Well alrighty then. We decided to go for it. One really expensive meal, once in a while, well, it just needs be done. Especially with a New York institution that’s closing “for renovations and relocation”.

"Grown-up" restos as in elegant, hushed rooms, where one dines slowly and with purpose; where the food is prepared with skill and delicacy; where a quick lunch means under 2.5 hours abound in NYC. They are not my usual thing. I tend to feel like an eight year old: fidgety whilst the adults talk over my head; fussy in a party frock that inevitably gets ruined in a mysterious act of clumsiness; and hungry because the meal is overly rich and nut-laden. (I’m still upset about my wine-red velvet smock-dress and white satin billowy top that I wore to my cousins bar mitzvah and that was ruined before the night was over. I loved that dress.)

However, suddenly I’m the grown-up. The talk isn’t over my head, I don’t ruin my outfits with spillages, usually, and the food is just right. Of course, that happens only after doing the allergic girl advocacy thing. Food, for we allergic and intolerant girls and guys doesn’t happen without some gracious communication, and an understanding and sympathetic kitchen. And as you know dear readers, I’m finding that more and more often here in my fair city.

So onto the lunch.

I had called ahead spoke with the San Domenico hostess who asked Chef (who swallowed the cat, to catch the bird, who ate the spider) who said, it shouldn’t be a problem.

I was the first one to arrive, giving me ample time to chat up the bell'uomo, and rico suave host (who was just in Montreal the day before watching the Formula One races, live. I want to go next year!) He was aware of the allergic diner at our luncheon, which would be this allergic girl, and without prompting went and got a menu to go over step by step with me what would be safest. Love that, thank you. I had been looking forward to trying their renowned baby goat but it wasn’t on this season’s menu and it was almost 100 degrees out. Too hot for anything too heavy. I settled on the beef carpaccio with foie and raspberry vinaigrette [he brought over a boule of mozzie as well] and I started with a green salad with a light balsamic vinaigrette.

Sigh-worthy side note: I was wearing a new party frock and being so so careful with my lusciously dressed salad: i.e. taking slow bites so as not to splatter. But some things never change my dearies and as soon as the plate was whisked away I noticed a small but definite oil spot on my new, sea green, silk dress. Right on the bustal region. Not happy.

The group, sans moi, started with the San Domenico famous egg raviolo which is a feat of gastronomic engineering; we all had a crack at trying to figure out how it's prepared. It was one large pasta pillow that, when punctured, oozes egg yolk and truffle butter. In the old days, that would have been my lunch with LOTS of bread to soak up everything.

My salad was yum. The carpaccio was my entree and my first time with the sliced raw meatness. It was soft and delicate -- but taste-wise it was bland. Dare I say, "Pass the salt?". I paired it with a bite of the mozzie which improved the experience. I enjoyed the dish, but I wasn't wowed.

Two of our three weighed in on their lunch.

Shari said, “As for lunch, the egg raviolo was rich and yummy, and my Chilean sea bass was light and cooked well, but not that flavorful. I liked the vegetable mix it was served over, it had a nice tomato based sauce. So, overall, it was good, but not great.”

Francine: said, “My scallops were divine! Fresh, plump, sweet and perfectly cooked so that they had a little spring but weren't rubbery and were nicely caramelized on the outside and the veal stock they were cooked in was a nice savory contrast to the sweetness. That uovo raviolo was delicious!”

Our resident wine guy had handcut pasta that I can only assume he enjoyed because it was all gone!

So overall, was it a swoon-worthy lunch? Consensus is split.

BUT, it was all allergen-free for me.

Dining at Sam Domenico was elegant, without stress and I felt my needs were heard and taken care of—which is all any of us allergic girls, guys, kids, parents, friends and family want.

So big points for allergen-free-ness. THANK YOU San Domenico for a lovely afternoon.


San Domenico

240 Central Park South
New York, NY
tel: 212-265-5959
sandomeniconewyork.com

Monday, June 09, 2008

Last Night

What can I say that I didn’t already say over here in the Worry-Free Dinners Blog about Craftbar and last night’s event?

Another wonderful night meeting 10 new allergic girls and guys; making new dining-out buddies; dining worry-free together; laughing, learning.

Man, it’s just all good!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Otto Pizzeria and Food Allergies

I’ve been going back to Otto lots recently (eating at the bar, natch) and what do you know? One of their regular bartenders, as in been-there-for-years regular, Dennis, with the close-cropped white hair and bone-dry sense of humor (yeah, that guy): his child has a severe peanut allergy! Carries an Epi-Pen, etc.; we had a long chat about it.

So, Dennis TOTALLY gets the Allergic Girl sitch and doesn’t this make ordering much easier? Yes!

So, if you're planning on an Otto trip, sit at the bar, ask for Dennis. Or alternatively, ask for tall, dark, and similarly dry (but you can get him to smile if you put in some effort), Sam: he also gets the allergy thing and ordering gluten-free pasta from him is a breeze.

I *love* it when that happens.

O, bartenders! As I've stated elsewhere, sometimes you are truly heaven sent!

Otto Pizzeria
1 Fifth Avenue (at 8th Street)
New York, NY
10003
tel. 212.995.9559

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Food Allergy Travel Tips

So it’s summer, officially. The time when alot of us are traveling. If you are at all like me, you might be a little nervous about traveling with allergies, food allergies and/or asthma.

Below are 10 tips for traveling that I wrote for Cherrybrook Kitchen’s newsletter (reprinted with their permission). Have more tips to add? Do let me know!

***

Over a lifetime, I have gathered some tips and tricks for creating the most allergen-friendly trip. Here are my top 10 helpful suggestions.

1. Do your homework. This may seem like an obvious one but it's your best offensive weapon. Some places are more naturally allergy friendly: from the weather to the population to the health food stores to the restaurants. The Internet is your friend, use it. Also use your local library and librarian to find travel books about your destination, read them, get to know the place where you're headed. Your AAA TripTik and map system is an excellent and underutilized resource. They have listings of local attractions and local hospitals all in a handy and FREE guide [included in AAA membership]. See details at www.aaa.com.

2. Get names. Through the Internet, find and contact local support groups in the area you're visiting. They have a wealth of information about the local area. Also, get the names and addresses of the local hospitals and ERs in the area. Ask your pediatrician or pediatric allergist for colleagues in the area; always good to have the name of a local doctor who is well-liked among his/her peers.

3. Take snacks. We call them travel snacks or car snacks in my family. On a long car ride, plane ride, or train ride snacks are necessary. If traveling in car you can bring a cooler but otherwise shelf-stable snacks are a must. Many companies have pre-packed goodies like Cherrybrook Kitchen's new cookies or you can make yummy treats at home like granola to take with you.

4. Shop at the local market. When you get to your destination, take the family on a food shopping trip--the local green market or farmer's market is a great way to get to know the local area and pick up some healthy, fresh treats. Find local health food stores or supermarket chains that stock food your family can eat.

5. Travel pillows. My new favorite pillows are by AAFA's certified Asthma & Allergy Friendly products. They go above and beyond your normal "hypoallergenic" standards to create a truly allergy-friendly product. In years past, I've taken a little travel pillow all over the world with me. It's saved me from feather bed situations, dusty train headrests, and less than sanitary hotel rooms. See www.asthmaandallergyfriendly.com for more details about the pillows.

6. Check your meds. Again another obvious one, however there were plenty of times even my most careful mother forgot to pack the antihistamines and there was no 24-hour pharmacy around. Before you leave, take the time to go through your family's travel medicine kit. Is everything up to date? Do you need doubles or triples of anything? Do you have enough medication if an inhaler is left in a hotel or a pill case is dropped? Talk with your doctor: what medications do they recommend you have in your travel kit?

7. Allergy cards. When dining on the road, away from home, the chef cards are a great help, clearly labeling you or your child's allergy. There are also cards available in multiple languages, great for traveling abroad or eating in ethnic restaurants. Cherrybrook Kitchen provides an easy-to-print card that you can find by clicking here.

8. Medic alert bracelet. When I went overseas for a year during college I got my first Medic alert bracelet, and I've had it ever since. Talk with your doctor about whether your child needs one. See visit the Medic Alert website.

9. Pack your sense of humor. Humor and personal flexibility are your best defenses. A hotel lost your room reservation? The plane is delayed? All the bedding is feather with no alternatives? The next health food store is 50 miles away? Remember honey works better than vinegar. Challenges will pop up, problems will happen; humor and kindness go a long way.

10. Relax and have fun. Once you have done your homework, you have your meds, you have your snacks, your route and your bedding, remember the whole point is to have fun together.

For more tips about traveling see two of my favorite sites: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ; American Academy of Asthma Allergy & Immunology

Dana Parish, "Uncrushed"

Friend Dana Parish (and also an allergic girl) has a gorgeous new album dropping in September. Saw her and collaborator/husband Andrew Hollander last night do a few numbers off the album and some new ones and wanted to let you all know about this talent!

Here's Dana singing "Not My Problem" about, yes, an old stalkerish boyfriend. Check it out and enjoy!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sex and the City movie

Oh, what we do for love.

My dearest, and one of my oldest friends, the lovely and mermaid-esque Aimee, has two young children and lives in the 'burbs so we don't get to see one another as often as we used to (but we talk every day!). She has been watching SATC in reruns, as we all have, and became hooked. So much so she’s been talking about the movie for months.

When she said she would come in to NYC to see it with me, I was psyched.

I asked her, "When?"

She said, "What about Saturday? Morning?" How could I refuse even though I can't remember the last time I went to a movie theater before noon, er, if ever. But a SATC viewing with the one woman who has seen me through every "Big" mistake, as I have seen her through hers [we've been "best friends" since first grade] was the perfect date [we went to brunch afterwards to dissect and then Bloomie's, natch].

We saw a 10:15am showing at my local theater Saturday morning and we weren’t the only ones. Not only was it packed, and this was a huge theater, but when we left there was a line waiting for the next showing at 1pm. And the 2, 3 and 4pm showings were sold out.

What did we think?

We loved it until the end. I won't tell you why but just know these two girls were in total agreement about the failings of this 2 hour 22 minute love letter to the girls.

Did any of you see it? What did you think?