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, March 28, 2016

Allergic Girl Recipe: "Kalesadilla" with Black Beans, Nut-Free, Gluten-free

 "Kalesadilla" with Black Beans, Nut-Free, Gluten-free

My new date wanted to cook for me. Lovely! He has no restrictions, and rarely had read labels before meeting me. We had a series of clear and direct conversations about my allergens and needs, how to read labels, cross contact in the kitchen and what I like to eat. He's taken to the challenge of cooking for a date with food allergies and food intolerances like duck to water. (It greatly helps that he loves to cook and had worked in restaurants during college; he also knows his way around a kitchen.) 

I had seen Simply Recipes dish that Elise called “Kalesadilla”. It looked yum, easy to make tiny modifications for my needs and I had all of the ingredients in my larder and fridge. I mentioned the concept to my date and he started cooking, no recipe and not having seen what Elise on Simply Recipes created but instead, making some super, duper Allergic Girl friendly (and probably you, too) delish dish.

He made a bean-free version first, including all the below steps minus beans.

Original version.

Which we both loved but agreed that it needed a protein. So, then he created the version from above with recipe below.

Speaking of, there’s no formal recipe, but it’s a matter of putting these things together in a way that you need. Can't do cheese, sub a dairy-free option. Can't do beans, sub a safe protein for you, chicken, steak or soy. Don't have kale but only spinach or broccoli? Those'll work just fine here.


"Kalesadilla" with Black Beans, Nut-Free, Gluten-free
(Adapted from Simply Recipes) 

Corn tortillas – warmed through in a pan with EVOO
Chopped red onion – sautéed with EVOO, salt, pepper and dried oregano
Baby kale chopped – added to the onions, sweated
Black beans – one can drained and rinse, added to onion kale mixture
Cheese – chopped and melted onto warmed tortillas

Put it all together. Add a lovely salad and voila, lunch!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Review: #EdgarDegas: A Strange New Beauty, MOMA

UPDATE: New York Times review: The Modern Degas You Haven’t Seen 
UPDATE: WNYC review: Review: Edgar Degas’s Fingerpaintings 

You look at it. Turn it over. You look again. Turn it the other way. Look again, what’s different, what’s new. Regard every angle. Trace it. Retrace it. Scrap it. Start over.  Be inspired. Be defeated. Be inspired anew. Take a break. Come back and start over. Continue. This is process. It belongs to all of us as workers, students, teachers, friends, lovers, partners. And artists.

Today, I was reminded anew that to be an artist is to be an insistent searcher. For truth, for beauty. For answers. For more questions. The outcome is often secondary to the process of seeking and searching.

The Museum of Modern Art’s new exhibit opening March 26,2016 is called Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty. It’s about Degas’ relationship with the monotype process: “…drawing in ink on a metal plate that was then run through a press, typically resulting in a single print.” 

Upon closer inspection, what is on display is Degas relentless pursuit of seeing.

Take this singer, singing.

Ach, I can't even with the subtle shift of perspective, the looking at many angles to find the way in.

This curator’s blurb says it best:

This MOMA show is a gem. I can’t wait to go back with my family and experience it again.

From the MOMA website: "The exhibition includes approximately 120 rarely seen monotypes—along with some 50 related paintings, drawings, pastels, sketchbooks, and prints—that show Degas at his most modern, capturing the spirit of urban life; depicting the body in new and daring ways; liberating mark-making from tradition; and boldly engaging the possibilities of abstraction."

Visitor information is online at MOMA and you can go for free on Fridays nights from 4pm-8pm.

Don't miss this sure-to-be-blockbuster of a show!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Allergic Girl Book, Marginalia

At the March 12, 2016 Eleni's cookie and book event, Linda, mom of Bailey and Director of Programs for FAACT showed me her well-worn copy of Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies. She had read through my book and made notes in the margins, not for herself, but for her teenaged daughter Bailey. Linda wrote love notes, supportive cheers, underlined certain passages and underscored certain points.

Here I am with Linda and Bailey at Eleni's event (reprinted with permission)
I’m a huge proponent of making notes in margins of books I own and love and reread and reuse: cookbooks, non-fiction, novels - yes all of them I underline, I make notes, I respond to the writer as if we were conversing. Marginalia as it’s commonly called. The New York Times talks about it as does the New Yorker.

But I had not heard of this exceptionally wonderful wrinkle from my Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies readers: writing in the margins to your child, in the future. It’s like little notes in your future adult child's life lunchbox. What a brilliant idea!

Linda's marginalia to Bailey

Thank you, Linda, for sharing how you’ve used my book Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies to help Bailey create a future roadmap into high school and beyond. 


Monday, March 14, 2016

Allergic Girl Book Event Update: Sloane Miller & Eleni's New York

Eleni’s New York hosted a cookie decorating and book signing event with their nut-free cookies and me. What a fun morning! We talked, we colored and then I signed some books. Enjoy these pictures.

Allergic Girl books all ready

Eleni's nut-free coloring cookie kits - buy them here

Me with the ladies of Eleni's  

Kids coloring cookies

Kids coloring cookies

Eleni's nut-free statement - read more here

Such fun! Thank you, Eleni’s for all you do for our community!

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Comments Sought: Food Allergy Guidelines Update, April 18, 2016

Public Comment on Addendum Guidelines to Prevent Peanut Allergy

NIAID is seeking public comment on a draft update to the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States to address the prevention of peanut allergy. The update was prompted by findings from the NIAID-funded LEAP study,  which showed that introducing peanut-containing foods to infants at high risk for peanut allergy substantially reduced subsequent development of the allergy. 

The public comment period begins March 4, 2016 and will remain open for 45 days, ending April 18, 2016.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Interview: Food Allergy Counseling Client in Virginia, Working with Sloane Miller

Every day, I receive emails asking me how I work as a psychotherapist and
specialist in food allergy management. To answer this, I interviewed some current clients and asked them three simple questions:


These are the replies from Debbie from Virginia:

What brought you to counseling with me?

I read your book, “Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies” a few years ago and I felt a connection with what you were saying.  After that I periodically read your blog. I felt you had a practical, no nonsense way of approaching the challenges that food allergies often present.  When my child began experiencing anxiety regarding her own food allergies, I knew we needed professional help.  I remembered that you also did coaching.  I felt that someone who had personal experience facing some of the same challenges would best be able to help us.    After our initial phone conversation, I was completely convinced that you were the person who would be able to help our daughter. 

What did you hope to happen or change?

I simply hoped that my child’s anxiety and fear would be relieved enough she could get a good night’s sleep and that she could return to being the happy child we had always known.  
I also hoped that we as parents would learn how to help her manage the feelings she was experiencing.

What changed for you/how are things different after working with me?

I’m most happy to say that there have been enormous changes for our family.   We have a happy, self-confident child again.  The paralyzing fear and anxiety she was experiencing is gone.  We understand why certain situations cause anxious feelings and we know how to anticipate and plan for those times.  Now, when our daughter realizes she is beginning to get anxious, she has tools she can use to help calm herself.  She has learned to separate what is a real threat from a perceived threat.  She is more involved in her own care and management than ever.  This has given her a tremendous sense of confidence.    

As parents, we better understand the root of much of her anxiety and we now know how to help guide her through when things begin to get a little difficult.  You helped us to understand that food allergies don’t need to restrict our lives, we just need to simply step back, assess the situation and formulate a plan so we can enjoy whatever the activity and still maintain our food allergy safety standards.  


Thank you, Debbie!