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)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Brené Brown, TED

I talk a lot about food allergy confidence and how to create it. 

An important component of confidence is acceptance of a medical diagnosis; that food allergies are real and serious. I know that many of us feel that food allergies are a vulnerability or even something to feel shameful about. But it is through acceptance of this "vulnerability" (and knowing how to take care of yourself) that we become stronger, confident and able to move through the world with more ease.

When you have a moment, sit back and watch these two popular talks from TED about vulnerability by Brené Brown. Let me know what it stirred in you. Brené Brown: Listening to shame and Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability.

"TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Allergic Girl Recommends, Map

This idea came from an Allergic Girl Recommends site user who was having trouble locating my Manhattan-based restaurant list in relation to where she needed to be. So, I created a Google custom map on my AG Recs site pinpointing my favorite dining spots and some places where I shop for food. Here are my top free tips for dining out in NYC and if you want a personal guide, I have a service called Allergic Girl® Concierge™Contact me to be your guide to NYC today!

View Allergic Girl Recommends in a larger map

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gluten-Free, Boar’s Head

From my colleagues at Boar's Head, here's their monthly newsletter all about how gluten-free they are.

This month they included the fun recipe and video we created together last year - top eight allergen free, yummy hot or cold.

Read more here or watch more here.

Thanks again Boar's Head, love you guys

© Boar’s Head

Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Wheat-Free Dating

Here's a recent article from DNAinfo. com about dating with a dietary restriction, specifically celiac disease wherein they asked me to weigh in as well.


Far from being ashamed of her allergies and intolerances, Sloane Miller has built an empire on them. Under the name Allergic Girl, she provides coaching, consulting and advocacy for those plagued by food allergies. She penned a book on the subject last year.

"Dating is all about getting to know someone and them getting to know you," said Miller, a Midtown East resident. "Accepting this diagnosis is letting them into that part of you.

Read more of the article on

And there's their list of gluten-free restaurants, several of which are on my Allergic Girl Recommends list and good with food allergies.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Clink, Liberty Hotel, Boston MA

One of my standard Allergic Girl safe travel meals: hamburger with steamed veggies

Last week in Boston, I stayed at the Liberty Hotel, a very cool boutique hotel that was transformed from the Charles Street Jail into a swank Starwood property. My hosts had asked me if the Clink restaurant in my hotel would work with my allergy needs. (So nice!) I called ahead and spoke with the manager who said it shouldn’t be a problem.

When I arrived at the hotel, during check in, I asked if the chef was on site as I had some dietary needs to discuss. Calvin at the front desk, said, “Yes, he is and we also have all of your needs written out in your chart.” Nice!

I went and introduced myself to the kitchen. At
Clink, they have an open kitchen with the three line chefs right there; the executive chef was in a meeting and off-duty that evening. I spoke with Chef Christian, smiling lots and explaining my needs and that I would love a plain chicken breast with steamed veggies or (whatever they had one hand that was green) or a burger. Chef said that he understood food allergies as he had had a chef colleague who was severely allergic to shellfish. With a genuine smile, he said, “Don’t worry, you are in good hands.”

So, later that evening I returned to
Clink and Chef Christian put my order in, the one you see above. It was delish and totally safe for me and Chef couldn’t have been sweeter. I went back to the kitchen thanked him and his co- line chefs for making sure I was safe. He was so lovely and gracious and said, “Just let us know what you want for tomorrow night, anything. You are our guest.”

The next night, when I returned with my colleagues, a GI, an allergist and a child psychologist, Chef Christian had already become my Liberty Hotel food allergy ally. He was there with a smile, asking me what I’d like, happy to make me anything on or off menu. (My dish was off menu.) Going the night before and dining at
Clink put my mind at ease (mostly) about dining there the next night with my colleagues. I had the same order and it was delish and safe, again.

In case you think that just because Chef became my on the spot food allergy ally I breezed through this trip know this: even with doing all of the steps and Chef’s reassurances, I still have to take a leap of faith that it was done correctly and allergen-free for me. There are just no guarantees. Mistakes happen. Best intentions have slips. So, I do my part to inform third parties (chefs, hotel staff, party hostesses, dates, caterer, etc.) of my needs in a clear concise way, have and emergency action plan and my medications on me in case there’s a mistake.

And then I take a leap, the little jump that we all have to make that it will be okay. That leap, and knowing that mistakes happen (from years of experience), keeps me on my toes and ready for an emergency. The trick is how to stay vigilant and have a good meal, a good date or a good time. It is a skill, a practice like anything else and happens over time.

Meanwhile, thank you
Clink for two lovely and safe evenings!

The Liberty Hotel
215 Charles Street
Boston MA, 02114

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kissing (Way) After Pistachios

Below is another episode of having The (Food Allergy) Talk with a new date. 

Last Friday night, I had a non-food date. We went to hear some great jazz at Dizzy's Coca Cola. The subject of food allergies came up after the first set was over. We were talking about what he does for a living (jazz musician) and what I do for a living. 

I said: "I'm an advocate for the food allergic community and I also have food allergies. To tree nuts and salmon." 

He mentioned that he happened to have eaten pistachios hours earlier that day.  He wondered aloud if that would be an issue. I said, politely, yes, if we kissed, it could be but it was easily remedied. In one sentence, I explained this peanut protein in saliva research study.

Later on in the evening, after getting to know each other better, the subject came up again. Okay, I brought it up. Those pistachios were on my mind. As was a kiss. So, I initiated The (Food Allergy) Talk.

In a few sentences, we discussed what my allergies are, what to do in case of accidental exposure and where I keep my emergency medications. (He was familiar with the autoinjector of epinephrine and how to administer it.) I also reiterated the current research about proteins in saliva i.e. as long as he ate something allergen-free and waited some time after eating something allergen-full it should be fine. 

"That's logical," he said. Then he added, “Okay. Noted. When seeing Sloane, don’t eat sushi beforehand or a handful of nuts. That's easy. Won't be an issue.” 

Swoon. Love it when that happens.


Have any of you had The (Food Allergy) Talk recently?

Alternatively, has anyone revealed something personal, medical and/or delicate about themselves to you? How did you handle it?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Food Allergy, Product Reviews

When the Federal Trade Commission came out with their blogger ruling in 2009, I took that as an opportunity to clarify, again, what my sampling policy is as it pertains to this food allergy lifestyle blog. Since it’s been some time, I’d thought I’d go over again how I sample products for my food allergic needs and this blog.

My criterion is first and foremost: is it safe?
Does it contain any of my allergens?
Does it contain any of my food intolerances?
Are the ingredients listed in plain English?
Are the labels compliant with the FALCPA labeling law?
Do the ingredients contain anything that might be a question mark for me? 

How transparent is the company about manufacturing procedures and allergens in their facility?
Can I find out more about this company by calling them or on their website?
Do they have a clear product FAQ that makes sense?
Do they have a clear (or any) allergen policy?
Do they have ingredients listed on their website for the product that are consistent with the labels?
Are they easy to get into touch with for further questions via email or phone?
When I get in touch does the person answering the phone understand my questions, been trained on allergens and allergen policies and do they know how to communicate that information?

If I am satisfied the quality of this information, then I try the product.

If there is no allergic or intolerant response, I move on to the taste factor. Do I like the product? Would I eat it again? Would those who don’t maintain a gluten-free, soy-free, diary-free, nut- and fish-free diet like it? Would I go into a store and buy it?

When I get yeses all across the board, I might review on this blog, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

And then there's the ultimate: things that I love become staples in my home or cabinet, that become trusted and valued brands that I turn to again and again.

Do you have trusted brands that you love, that have passed all of your safe criteria?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trying New Foods Safely

I try new foods and new processed foods often, both for myself (my new thing a week plan) and for this blog. Below is a quick thumbnail of my most crucial steps when trying a new food product. Do you have more steps? Please add them in your comments.

First and foremost, know that any processed food product is an eat at your own risk proposition. Even after doing due diligence, accidents can happen, unknown cross contact or even a labeling error. It is always: buyer beware.

The best way to stay safe when trying a new food product is to make sure you understand your food allergy diagnosis, know what you can and cannot eat, know the symptoms of a mild food allergic reaction versus a moderate to severe one, know what to do in case of accidental exposure, have your emergency medication handy and know your allergy action plan.

If you are unsure about what you can or cannot consume, consult with your board certified allergist and/or a registered dietitian who is familiar with your dietary diagnosis so you know exactly how to move forward.

If you have you gotten the go-ahead but still feel unsure, try a new product in the waiting room of your doctor’s office. Call ahead and ask them if this would be okay. Or alternatively, try a new product with a safe friend, one that knows about your needs and knows how to help you in case of an emergency.

Don’t try a new food on a Saturday night at 10pm. That is high traffic time in your local hospital emergency room.

Don’t try a product that you feel unsure about. Whether the label is unclear or there is isn’t a label, never risk it.

Remember: the world of food is large and the allergen-friendly category of treats, baking products and cookbooks is ever expanding. If one thing doesn’t work with your needs, keep looking or searching as there are others like you and there are other products for you to try.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mindful Eating, Food Allergies

The recent New York Times article Mindful Eating as Food for Thought struck a chord: “Mindful eating is not a diet, or about giving up anything at all. It’s about experiencing food more intensely — especially the pleasure of it."

Many of us with food allergies are hardwired to practice "mindful eating". However, we are not mindful of pleasure but for food allergic cues and symptoms. Because of that wiring, we miss out on the other aspects of eating, that of non-food allergic pleasurable tastes, sensations and textures. Frankly, because we have to become attuned to what we are eating and any possible reactions (or we automatically become more mindful after a particularly scary food allergic response) pleasure is that last thing on our minds - survival is.

But what if you added pleasure into the mix? What if you took a food that was safe for you and set aside some quality time with that ingredient, prepared it, served it and then ate it, relishing every bite, slowing down to enjoy that safe ingredient? What is you did what the New York Times article talks about here: “Today’s experiment in eating, however, involves becoming aware of that reflexive urge to plow through your meal like Cookie Monster on a shortbread bender. Resist it. Leave the fork on the table. Chew slowly. Stop talking. Tune in to the texture of the pasta, the flavor of the cheese, the bright color of the sauce in the bowl, the aroma of the rising steam. Continue this way throughout the course of a meal, and you’ll experience the third-eye-opening pleasures and frustrations of a practice known as mindful eating.”

Most often when I eat, it is with a lingering smidgeon of concern, a question mark or outright fear of "will I be allergic to this". But, I have also trained myself to recognize and experience pleasure with safe foods. It’s part of why I dine out so often, why I enjoy trying something new once a week, why I love cooking and entertaining – because in addition to knowing the real risks to me and what a food allergic response looks like and how to treat it, I have connected to the pleasure of food.

If this sounds interesting to you, try this:  pick one food that you love that is safe for you. Once you have picked that food, plan a date for you and that food. It doesn’t have to be a three hour date, a three minute tasting/enjoying date would do. Prepare it and serve it and while you are consuming it, think about the taste, textures, flavors and sensations that you are getting from that food. Concentrate on the pleasurable aspects of that food. Then shift your focus to the trusting aspects. When you trust this food, how does that make you feel? Where do you feel that trust in your body? What words come to mind? Thoughts? Memories? Colors? Sit with those feelings for a few moments, enjoying the food, the trust. Enjoy those non-allergic moments. Then notice: do you have new feelings about this safe food? Write them down and report back to us.

Meanwhile, I’m off to enjoy a steak at Morandi where I will be mindful of every delicious and safe bite.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Food Allergies, Work Event

Next week, I’m making a presentation about my food allergy coaching practice to a medical group in Boston during their lunch hour. And in all of my preparations, I overlooked that seemingly and obvious detail: lunch hour equals lunchtime. Lunchtime means food, that I need to eat, during my presentation.

Now what.

My contact very considerately inquired what might I be able to dine on safely and what could he order for me or how to arrange it best for my safety. After quickly considering my options, I made the most logical conclusion: bring my own, shelf-stable and safe food, from New York.

The alternative was of course doable: get the name of their caterer, talk about my food allergy needs, go over menu and options, recheck the day of and then take that leap of faith that all of my due diligence paid off. Or, more worrisome, mistakes were made and I would have to go without lunch. (I, of course, always have a safe snack on hand, but that's not lunch.)

But skipping lunch is not an option; that gets me into low blood sugar zone which is a whole different set of (bad) issues. I need to be food allergy safe, I need to not be worrying about every bite during my presentation and bottom line, I need to eat.

So, I replied via email that I would bring a shelf stable lunch (Eden beans and rice) and asked if there was a microwave that I might use. He replied yes, there was one available.

Seems easy right?

What makes it easy is that I know what I can and cannot eat, I know where my safe eating boundaries are and what my emotional needs are – feeling and being safe is about your dietary and physical needs as well as your emotional. Knowing all of this and being able to communicate it clearly is one of my definitions of food allergy confidence.

So, have you had a work event recently that you needed to navigate the food situation? Did you feel confident?  Where were there hiccups or questions? How might you have been able to do it better? Where were there successes and triumphs? Please, share! 

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Managing Food Allergy, COFAR, Video

An excellent video about the definition of food allergies and anaphylaxis, what medications to take when, label deciphering and cross contact by Dr. Scott H. Sicherer, Pediatric Allergist, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, through COFAR – the consortium for food allergy research.

This is a great 10-minute video to share with friends and family or anyone wondering about your food allergies and how to keep you safe.

All of this information is to be used in concert with a consultation with your board certified allergist.

Thank you Allergic Living magazine for alerting me to this video’s existing by posting on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Turkey Bolognese, Allergen-Free

The ingredients all coming together.

This is one of those recipes that’s created by touch or feel versus measurements. New friend Sasha called his recipe expert (mom) to get the ingredients and then we set out to create this very easy Bolognese sauce with ground turkey meat.
The ingredients:
Olive oil
3 medium cloves Garlic – chopped
1 medium Onion – chopped
5-6 Crimini mushrooms – washed, stemmed and chopped
1 T Tomato paste (we used the tubed kind)
½ cup red wine (something drinkable)
1 pound, Ground turkey meat – we used dark meat – sautéed in a separate pan until done, salt & pepper to taste
The method:
In large sauté pan or pot, sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Then add mushrooms, cook for 3-4 minutes until softened and fragrant. Add tomato paste, warm through, then add wine and cook down for one minute, until flavors have come together to desired taste. Add cooked turkey meat, stir, taste for seasonings and correct if needed. Pour over pasta.
The result:
“Delectable”, says Sasha. I totally agree!

The final dish of delish!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Peppermint Patties, Allergen-Free

The ingredients, half of which are organic.

Melted Divvies chocolate with mint candy disks ready for dipping.
Getting "I Love Lucy" with these patties by dipping them in chocolate.

Finished beauties of peppermint patties
These were the hit of the recent dinner party I had. So easy to make, I promise you they won't last a week.


Slightly adapted from Elizabeth Gordon's Allergy Free Desserts


Makes about 3 dozen patties

1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 1⁄2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons Light Agave syrup
12 ounces gluten-, soy-, dairy-,egg-, and nut-free semisweet chocolate chips (I used Divvies as it comes in a 12 ounce package)

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, 3 tablespoons of the short­ening, and the peppermint and vanilla extracts. Add the agave and mix thoroughly with a large spoon until mostly mixed. Then, with clean hands, pull the ingredients together to form a ball.

With a teaspoon measure, scoop out the dough and roll it into balls, then flatten to form 1⁄4-inch-thick patties. Chill the flattened patties for 30 minutes.

After the patties have chilled, combine the chocolate and the remaining 2 tablespoons of shortening in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for 10 minutes. Dip the patties in the chocolate mixture so they are completely coated, then place the patties on wax or parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator and let the peppermint patties dry for at least an hour before serving.

Store the completely dried patties, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Initiative seeks global accord on recognition and management of allergies, asthma and immune deficiencies, 2012

Another press release from


Initiative seeks global accord on recognition and management of allergies, asthma and immune deficiencies

iCAALL will release international consensus reports to positively impact care, cost-containmentand policy decisions.

ORLANDO—Hundreds of millions of people in the world suffer from allergies, and it is estimated that 300 million have asthma. Inadequate or improper diagnosis and treatment of these chronic diseases and of immunodeficiency disorders results in lost productivity and substantial medical and socioeconomic burdens throughout the world.

Recognizing a lack of consensus-driven information and general recommendations, four of the most influential allergy/immunology professional organizations have joined forces to launch the International Collaboration in Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (iCAALL). The effort was announced during the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Orlando, FL.

Participating in iCAALL are the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and the World Allergy Organization (WAO).

“iCAALL is designed to collect and disseminate consensus-driven information about allergies, asthma and immunological diseases,” according to iCAALL’s Chair, Dennis Ledford, MD, FAAAAI. “We are confident that communicating this knowledge can positively impact diagnosis and treatment, as well as cost-containment and policy decisions.”

A major focus of this new initiative is the production of a series of International Consensus (ICON) reports. These documents will offer general recommendations based on global challenges in caring for patients with allergic and immunologic diseases. The first ICON on food allergy is set to be published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) and is available at

Prolonged Exposure to Sublingual Immunotherapy Improves Safety of Oral Immunotherapy study, JACI

Interesting press release from the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI):

March 5, 2012 - Follow up story on Experimental treatment may help food allergies


One step closer to treatment for food allergy

ORLANDO – Currently, there is no cure for food allergy and no medication to prevent reactions. The only way to avoid a reaction is strictly avoiding the trigger food. This can be tricky because you have to carefully read food labels and ask about ingredients when eating food prepared by another person.
Yet, thanks to research from the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), more clues are falling into place regarding the prospects for safe treatments for food allergy.

Two potential treatments are sublingual immunotherapy and oral immunotherapy. The goal of immunotherapy is to build up your immune system. Your body responds to gradually increasing doses of the allergen by developing immunity or tolerance to it. The difference between sublingual and oral immunotherapy is that the allergen is held under the tongue with sublingual, where the allergen is simply swallowed with oral immunotherapy.

New research from the 2012 AAAAI Annual Meeting found that children with severe milk allergy who received a longer schedule of sublingual immunotherapy and then moved to oral immunotherapy had less respiratory reactions along with less frequent use of certain medications.

“While the overall result of the study, which was recently published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that oral was far more effective than sublingual immunotherapy, it was also clear that oral was associated with more significant allergic reactions to the treatment,” said senior study author Robert A. Wood, MD, FAAAAI, director of Allergy & Immunology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

In their previous research, sublingual was compared to oral immunotherapy after a short period of increasing sublingual doses. To add another piece to the puzzle, the same researchers from Johns Hopkins and Duke University decided to see if a longer period on sublingual and then oral immunotherapy would improve the safety of the treatment.

Thirty children with cow’s milk allergy were randomly placed into two groups that received either a short or longer sublingual schedule followed by oral immunotherapy. Eight sublingual subjects 
moved over to oral immunotherapy. After comparing reactions across the doses, the study authors concluded that the longer sublingual schedule before moving to oral immunotherapy appeared to improve safety although it did not eliminate all symptoms. Symptoms occurred with approximately 25% of 2,251 doses.

While the overall rates of reaction between the two groups were similar, the longer sublingual immunotherapy group followed by oral immunotherapy had fewer lower and upper respiratory reactions and used antihistamines and inhaled beta-agonists less frequently.

“We continue to search for the best approach for the treatment of food allergy. This study shows that for at least some children, especially those with more frequent or severe reactions to oral immunotherapy, beginning treatment with sublingual might be beneficial,” emphasized Dr. Wood.

The AAAAI represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.


Editorial notes:
•    This study was presented during the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) on March 2-6 in Orlando. However, it does not necessarily reflect the policies or the opinions of the AAAAI.

•    A link to all abstracts presented at the Annual Meeting is available at

Abstract 478:

Prolonged Exposure to Sublingual Immunotherapy Improves Safety of Oral Immunotherapy 

S. Seopaul1, C. A. Keet1, P. A. Frischmeyer-Guerrerio1, A. Thyagarajan2,J. T. Schroeder1, R. Hamilton1, S. Boden2, P. Steele2, S. Driggers1, A. W.Burks2, R. A. Wood1;1Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD,2DukeUniversity, Durham, NC.

RATIONALE: We recently compared sublingual (SLIT) to oral immunotherapy (OIT) following a short SLIT escalation for treatment of cow’s milk (CM)-allergy and found that while SLIT was safer than OIT, it was less efficacious. This analysis sought to determine if a more prolonged period on SLIT could improve safety of subsequent OIT.

METHODS: 30 children with IgE-mediated-CM-allergy were randomized to either SLIT (goal 7mg daily, N510) or 4 weekly SLITescalations to a dose of 3.7mg followed by OIT (goal 1000 or 2000mg daily, N520). 

After 60 weeks of maintenance, SLIT subjects who reacted to less than 4gm CM-protein on food challenge crossed-over to OIT. Dose escalation started at less than ¼ the tolerated food challenge dose and escalated to 2000mg daily for one year. The rates of adverse events across dosing regimens were compared using negative binomial analysis with generalized estimating equations.

RESULTS: 8 SLIT subjects crossed over to OIT. Symptoms occurred with 24.4% of 2251 doses (oral 23.1%, skin 0.84%, GI 0.89%, lower respiratory 0.27% and upper respiratory 0.13%). One subject withdrew due to persistent GI symptoms. Antihistamines and inhaled beta-agonists were given for 1.3% and 0.04% of doses. Although the overall rates of reactions with OIT following brief versus prolonged SLIT were similar (p50.976), lower and upper respiratory reactions were significantly less common (p50.02 and p50.006, respectively) and antihistamines and inhaled betaagonists used less frequently (p50.002 and p50.001, respectively) in the prolonged SLIT group.

CONCLUSION: Prolonged SLIT before OIT dosing appeared to improve safety, but did not eliminate all symptoms.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Hosting an Allergic Guest, Tips

*UPDATED March 15, 2012*

Another nice idea, ask your allergic guest if they have favorite brands that they like that you can easily purchase to use in your meal like safe pasta, safe bread, safe cookies.


Tonight, I’m having a secular Shabbat dinner for 12 and there will be an allergic boy in the house. It’s always interesting to host someone with different allergies. J’s allergic to allergic to yeast, dairy, mushrooms and peanuts. And I will have two Kosher guests as well. Think it’s tricky? No problem for this allergic girl.

Above is my shopping cart (yes, those are Peeps you see on top).

Here’s what I’m making, which is top 8 allergen-free:

Corned beef – Mosey’s

Vegan main plate:
Baked sweet potato
Steamed kale & collard greens
Sauteed lentils

Sloane-made peppermint patties
Strawberries & oranges

And here are my best tips in a quick list for hosting an allergic guest:
·      I asked for his full list of allergies, ahead of time
·      I sent him my menu, ahead of time
·      I made slight adjustments to my menu (I scratched using mustard/wine/vinegar, not needed)
·      Anything that had a label or package, I kept
·      All pots, pans & utensils were given a second wash pre-use
·      All highly touched surfaces will get an antibacterial wipe down (I have dairy in my home)          
·      My allergic guest will get a tour of the kitchen, the ingredients & the meal upon arrival if he likes
·      My allergic guest will be the first served if he likes


Do you host allergic girl or boys other than your own? How do you make adjustments?

Food Allergy Babysitter & Drop-Off Form,

The below is a press release from my colleague Dr Mike Pistiner. It's a new addition to his website: a downloadable for babysitters. The website provides excellent materials for your support systems and extended caregivers.


Two pediatric allergists have created a free, new and practical way to teach those who care for children with food allergies. The mission of is to bring food allergy awareness and education to the entire community (including schools and camps). Teaching modules and other tools have been created to train those who care for children with food allergies.

John Lee, MD, co-founder of, notes that “in the past the responsibility to teach others how to care for a child with a food allergy has fallen primarily on the parents.” A major reason Michael Pistiner MD, MMSc, co-founder, cites for creating this site was to “help shoulder some of this burden by providing tools to train all those who interact with these children.”

Food allergies are a growing national concern. An estimated 8 percent of children in the United States has a food allergy which translates to approximately 2 children per classroom. These food allergies can cause life-threatening reactions (anaphylaxis). To protect the health and well being of children with food allergies, the principles of food allergy prevention and emergency preparedness must be carried out at all times and in all settings. Online training modules and resources can offer a convenient and practical way to teach these principles to the community.

About AllergyHome: is a free online food allergy training resource that delivers necessary food allergy education in a practical way. The mission of is to bring food allergy awareness and education to the entire community by providing training tools to teach those who care for children with food allergies. Co-founders, Drs. John Lee and Michael Pistiner, are two board certified pediatric allergists who trained and currently practice in the Boston area.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Jovial Foods, Gluten-Free Pasta

Half-way through our bowl of gluten-free Jovial Foods spaghetti bolognese

*Correction:  According to Jovial Foods, the GF pasta is also organic and kosher!*

Jovial Foods contacted me recently about sending me some gluten-free brown rice pasta samples. I only knew of Jovial Foods from their travel to Italy contest with Shauna, Gluten-Free Girl, which means their marketing worked really well. So, I said sure send me some samples. They sent me spaghetti and two shaped pastas all made from brown rice and all gluten-free.   

Their allergen statement from their website: ALLERGEN NOTE. Jovial™ brown rice pasta is certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group at a level less than 10PPM. This product is made in a dedicated facility free of gluten, casein, eggs, tree nuts and peanuts, but may contain traces of soy.

For those of you exquisitely sensitive to wheat protein, less than 10 parts per million is still 10 parts too many, so this product may not be for you. Talk to your board certified medical provider about what is safe for you.

The Jovial spaghetti cooked up perfectly al dente. As you can see in the above shot that my co-cook Sasha wanted me to point out, there were a few strands that did stick together – but hey, it’s pasta. I’ve been exclusively a Tinkyada GF pasta girl for the last seven years since going gluten-free, with forays into the corn pasta world when I can find it. However, for an alternative to Tinkyada around the same price point and also both organic, Jovial will be in my shopping cart.

If you want to try some Jovial Foods gluten-free pasta for yourself, I will be doing a newsletter giveaway in a few weeks, so stay tuned. 

Meanwhile, the recipe for that turkey bolognese which is in the above picture is up next!