So, have you heard of the #TealPumpkinProject?


This year, we’ll have 3 bowls of treats for Halloween.  We’ll have the traditional chocolate gooey goodness, a bowl of peanut/tree-nut free treats, and a bowl entirely made up of non-food party favor-ish goodies.

Why?  Why not?  I was able to pick up a bunch of party favors at the Dollar Tree, and my wife Bethany got some Halloween themed stuff from Target.  The no-nuts candy wasn’t a big deal either, all we had to do was read the label… which we’re used to.  Even the extra bowl was only $1.  It wasn’t a whole lot of effort or money.

Even painting a foam pumpkin teal for use for years to come wasn’t a big deal, or printing the posters from the FARE website.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that.  This is a movement.  It started with some of the most kick-ass people on the planet, food allergy moms in Tennessee.

FARE | The Teal Pumpkin Project

My point, I guess, is that it isn’t a lot of effort but it can be a big huge gigantic deal for a kid.  What’s a big deal?  To feel included on a holiday where you’re hyper aware that you’re different.  To know that this piece of candy doesn’t contain nuts or wasn’t “processed in a facility that may also use peanuts or tree nuts.”  To know that if you’re allergic to dairy or chocolate or just about everything that everyone else can eat or isn’t one of the top 8, but this little trinket or toy (or 2 or 3 if you’re at our house) is all yours.  To know that you don’t have to go home & “trade up” for safe candy on this one.  To know that your parents didn’t have to drop off a safe treat with all the neighbors ahead of time, and that someone else “gets” it.

I always liked getting those Little Hugs drinks (which may be a safe treat), but some people would complain about the weight.  That would have been gone by the time I got back to the road when I was a kid.  Then again, times have changed.  When I was a kid, we had to play the “guess who you are” game.  If I asked a kid his name now, the next ring of the doorbell would probably be the local police.  Also, kids… always let your parents check your candy for razor blades or syringes.

Like I said, we read labels.  Luckily shellfish is generally easy form me to avoid in packaged foods, slightly less so in restaurants.  Our little girl Molly can’t do eggs.  Well, she can do eggs baked into things, but has to avoid straight up eggs, mayonnaise, some mustards, custard, and we just noticed… Mallow Cups?  (I hate them, they are the devil’s candy.  The wife loves them though… even though it tastes like someone replaced the inside of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with sunscreen.)  Will we have to avoid meringue too?  Who knows?  Hopefully she outgrow her allergy, I’ll never get over mine without some kind of cure.

There are many others out there going through the same thing.  We can stick together, and support each other.  We can ask those without any food allergies to support us too.  Spreading awareness is the key to keeping us all safe.  So, take a few minutes to learn about the #TealPumpkinProject.  Use the hashtag on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.), get a pumpkin and paint it teal, and/or print out the fliers.  Get some safe treats.

Teal Pumpkin Project - Ideas for non-food treats.

Share your food allergy story to help a student [from Allergy Eats]


Allergy Eats Logo

Share your food allergy story to help a student

I haven’t posted about food allergies in a while.  I guess nothing has “set me off”. I guess that’s a good thing, right?  This is a good share though… You can help spread Food Allergy Awareness by helping this student put together a presentation for her sociology class using your stories.

This was the initial message to Paul at Allergy Eats:

Hey Paul,

I’m doing a presentation in my sociology class about the social impact and quality of life of food allergies on children, teens, and young adults. I was wondering if you could put on the website a place where people could talk about the impact FA have on them and/or their children? I’m also looking for how it impacts the family members and close friends of the FA individual.

Thanks!

You can get more details on how to share your story here: Share your food allergy story to help a student

I’m sure that any & all help is appreciated.  Even though I’m too old f=to even qualify for “young adult” any more, I shared a link to my “background” blog post and the more recent humorous graphPlease, share your story & share this link!

Hopefully the presentation can be posted online when finished, and we can all benefit from that much more food allergy awareness.

AllergyEats interview with CEO of FAAN…


I’ve been meaning to reblog this for a a few days, but it’s been a hell of a week.  I haven’t posted any food allergy propaganda in a while, so I figured it may be time.

Check out this article from AllergyEats: An interview with Julia Bradsher, CEO of FAAN

An excerpt that got me a little excited:

Restaurant legislation is starting to get introduced in other states, too.

In Pennsylvania, House Bill 45 would require training programs designed to prepare candidates for certification exams to include training on food allergies, including a video and written materials.

Legislation in PA?  I need to do a little more research and some letter-writing.

While I generally would like to see a consumer-driven allergy-friendly service movement because I feel the “want to” motivation is better than the “have to” motivation, I don’t see legislation like this as a bad thing at all.  More education, information, and training on food allergies can only help everyone involved… and  hopefully over time help food allergy issues to be taken more seriously than they currently are.

While you’re over checking out the AllergyEats site, don’t forget they’re giving away free T-shirts!

 


People with allergies are freaks.


People with allergies are freaks.  We’re geeks.  We’re undesirable.  We’re the weak, and we should have been weeded out with natural selection.  The weirder the allergy, the weirder the person.

At least, that’s what I pick up from watching TV.  The nerdy kid always has glasses and/or asthma.  I guess at least I don’t wear glasses like some of you real freaks out there.

The latest support to this line of thinking that has come to my attention is this lovely commercial:

Of course, I see the humor, and I’m not so offended that it’s ruining my day.  It’s just that the general perception of people with allergies kind of sucks.

If the guy had rolled through the door in a wheelchair, or walked in with crutches, missing a limb, blind, deaf,  or anything similar causing the date to be undesirable, it wouldn’t be acceptable at all.  You could even throw in other stereotypes like a different race or religion.  Both would be unacceptable.  I bet even if they threw in a guy that was 500 lbs. and turned it into a fat joke it would be considered tasteless… but making fun of a shellfish allergy is apparently acceptable.

They could have done this same joke and just had the guy dressed ridiculously or something… something that’s a choice, not an affliction.

If you’d like to pull apart the commercial for other reasons, check out this blog:  Who Are The Ad Wizards Who Came Up With THAT One? Zoosk alors.

There’s a radio commercial I’ve heard recently too, maybe for a phone or something… the line is “Bob is still allergic to shellfish.”  I wish I could remember what it’s for.  At any rate, it’s not offensive… it just puts the thought out there.

At least the peanut-allergic and gluten-free people have been getting a lot of good press lately.  How about passing it along to the rest of us?

All of this happens on the heels of articles popping up about kids with food allergies being bullied at school.  I wonder why?

I’m hoping that my #FoodAllergy Tweeps will hop all over this and help me let Zoosk know en masse that this isn’t cool.  Maybe they need to read this & watch this.

As always, your comments are not only welcome, but encouraged.

Families & Allergy Comprehension Problems…


Got an interesting email today from Allergic Living Magazine, calling for submissions of stories for people with families who just don’t comprehend the severity of some food allergies, down to simple stubborn refusal to cater to the needs of food-allergic relatives.

From: Allergic Living magazine <Allergic_Living_magazine@mail.vresp.com>
To: [me]
Sent: Fri, September 24, 2010 8:33:04 AM
Subject: Allergies and family feuds

When Family Doesn’t “Get” Food Allergies

Dear Allergic Living reader,

Do you dread visiting your parents because they don’t take the allergy precautions you or your child require? Maybe you have a sister who knows you have a shellfish allergy but insists on serving shrimp? Perhaps your mother-in-law refuses to stop putting out bowls of nuts, even though her grandchild is allergic?

Or have you finally figured out a way to get through to a close relative, and now it’s all smooth sailing?

Allergic Living magazine is researching a feature article for its coming Winter issue on dealing with relatives who fail to grasp the seriousness of allergies or celiac disease. Writer Carolyn Black will be speaking to experts about solutions to help open the lines of communication.

But first, she wants to hear the stories of people’s experiences with family. We commonly hear of allergy feuding, but we want to try to understand why it occurs. If you have such a story, please e-mail Carolyn directly with a brief summary of it at mcarolynblack@rogers.com. If she can use your story, Carolyn will contact you.

Since this can be a delicate subject, Allergic Living can protect people’s identities where necessary. Thanks in advance for helping us with an important article.

Regards,

The Editors at Allergic Living

I’ll have to think about my own stories.  I generally don’t expect family picnics to be shellfish free, but I’m very picky about what I eat at any informal  (or formal) gathering.  For my own internal mental issues, I have to be able to visually identify all the ingredients before I put it on my plate.  I also generally use the wife as my official taste-tester.  Do those mini wraps contain crab?  Does that salad have shrimp? Ha ha.

I’m interested to see the follow-up to this, as dealing with people in general in regards to a severe allergy is difficult enough.  I can’t imagine not having familial support.

I have run into people thought that insist you just need to “eat it a little bit at a time”, suffer the reactions, and “build a tolerance”.  While this may work for some less severe reactions… it’s certainly not advisable in all cases.  I’m thankful that I’m not related to these people.

Episode II: Crapplebee’s Writes Back


Did you read my Crapplebee’s post, and the AllergyEats blog post that it referred you to?  (Really, check out all the comments, especially from AEPaul about the posts at aceliaconthemove.blogspot.com!) Okay, then you’re ready to read this.

Well, maybe read one more thing… the latest blog from AllergyEats with the response from Applebee’s.  It’s awesome to know that there are others out there that share my affinity for writing letters/emails to companies and getting stupid responses.  I encourage you to let AllergyEats know that you want to see it pursued further.  I want to encourage you to pursue it yourself.  Write emails, write letters, write blogs, make phone calls, blog, tweet,  Digg it, post on Facebook or to the 3 people left on MySpace that aren’t bands, Tumblr, re-blog, re-tweet, re-Tumblr this until it gets out an annoys everyone and not just Applebee’s.

While Paul at AllergyEats dissects the message in his own way, I would like to translate the response as I read it:

Dear AllergyEats Subscribers,

“Dear people that we could really care less about,”

We recognize the importance of making sure our food-allergic guests have safe options they can enjoy at their neighborhood Applebee’s.

“We’re saying that we recognize that the food-allergic need to have safe options, but we don’t feel the need to mention any specific allergies or options.  While we recognize the importance, we’re also not saying that we’re doing anything about it.”

Food allergies are a serious concern, and we are working to improve how we accommodate the needs of our FA-guests.

“We’re telling you that food allergies are a serious concern, even though they’re clearly not because it hasn’t yet affected our profits.  We’re also telling you we’re ‘working to improve’, and again failing to mention any specifics”

Depending on the food allergy, we do offer different menu items that are appropriate options, or that can be prepared without the allergic food.

“We obviously didn’t read your blog, because you were told something quite different by your server and manager, about how there was butter all over the grill & absolutely no way to accommodate you.”

We recommend that you talk with your server or restaurant manager about the allergy, and how your meal is prepared, to help ensure your dining experience is safe.

“This is another way of letting you know that we didn’t read or comprehend your blog… or don’t have all that great of a grasp on the English language, because you already tried what we just recommended, and it most certainly did not work out for you.”

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention — we value the safety and enjoyment of all our guests.

“We’re not going to follow up with the server & manager from that store who are obviously unaware of our apparent policies, because we really really really don’t care.”

Sincerely,

Applebee’s

“Full of Shit, Applebee’s (The newly sentient restaurant chain, now capable of writing letters.)”  –  Seriously.  They couldn’t even sign their name or provide some contact information for a follow up?

I think I may just have to write to Applebee’s myself.

Crapplebee’s


So, I read an infuriating post yesterday on The AllergyEats Blog.  It was a post from someone who has an allergy quite unsuccessfully trying to find a meal that won’t kill them at Applebee’s.  The poster is much more adventurous than I am.  I do as much research as possible before setting foot into a place, even down to emailing or calling ahead to can see what I can eat that hasn’t touched any death-fish.  I wouldn’t even go into an Applebee’s because they cook shrimp on the grill & in the fryer in there.  A sample of the text…

I ordered a hamburger, but explained my dairy allergy and politely went through my usual requests – no butter on the bun, no cheese on the burger, make sure the burger is cooked with no dairy, etc.  The waitress immediately told me that they “couldn’t do that.”

What?  You can’t stop yourself from slathering butter on the roll?  All of the burgers come pre-packaged with cheese on top?

I was actually shocked because the staff had always cheerfully prepared my dairy-free food in the past.  Did they change their attitude along with their menu?

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you may have seen this link.  I felt it was worth posting again, as my W(aL)D instincts took over and I ended up tweeting a link to the blog to the people at Applebee’s

@Applebees Wow – “#foodallergy F-you: http://bit.ly/9UeUvz (via @AiXeLsyD13)” –  What do you have to say for yourself?

&

@Applebees Check out @AllergyEats, they’re the ones who blogged the situation: http://twitter.com/AllergyEats/status/21397851915

Apparently I got their attention, and they’ve contacted Paul at the Allergy Eats blog. Hopefully they can offer up some sort of formal apology, but more importantly start the steps to put a process in place where they not only recognize people with food allergies (and their families) who might want to dine out and need a safe place to eat, but implement training and procedures to become that dining safe haven.

At any rate, the comments on their blog have blown up, and get more & more interesting with each posting.  (Apparently the AllergyEats Facebook page is kickin’ with comments too.) Some of the stories share are appalling (& remind me of my original Subway-related rant and the recent “dog turd” one).  Thankfully AEPaul doesn’t seem to mind me sticking my proverbial nose into this Applebee’s mess, but apparently I just can’t help myself.  The internet makes it so easy to be crazy and so easy to contact people.  But really, this kind of stuff can’t go unaddressed.  Applebee’s has a responsibility to make it right.

I keep pounding on this, but for next year’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, we need to concentrate less on legislation and government and more on the people who are in a better position to actually do something about it.  I really feel that better accommodations can be made to those with food allergies when it’s consumer driven, versus having to make those accommodations because of government regulations.  Regulations provide no incentive to exceed the guidelines passed along.  Beating the chain restaurant across the street is incentive.  Word of mouth (or free viral social media  advertising) from people with food allergies and their families would be a hell of a boon to any business, and would most certainly generate some positive press.

Please post, re-post, tweet, re-tweet, tumblr, or Vulcan-mind meld this blog or the original blog (or both) to everyone that you can.  Let Applebee’s and other chain restaurants know that this is not cool.

W_a_L_D

  1. @Applebees Check out @AllergyEats, they’re the ones who blogged the situation: http://twitter.com/AllergyEats/status/21397851915
  2. @Applebees Thanks, it wasn’t my experience. I just read about it here: http://bit.ly/9UeUvz
  3. @Applebees Wow – “#foodallergy F-you: http://bit.ly/9UeUvz (via @AiXeLsyD13)” – What do you have to say for yourself?
  4. @negative13 Tuesday is the day for war & law.
  5. @BrandiCarter @subway @subwayfreshbuzz… did the egg whites have any “seafood sub” filling splashed on them?
  6. Amusing McStory from “braincell” who commented about the West Liberty Ave. @McDonalds: http://bit.ly/bQuCWC #McDonalds @Kty_McD @Kim_McD
  7. What kind of sauce would you like to see bottled & sold? http://wp.me/pwqzc-k6 @Arbys @Wendys
  8. @ChickfilA Those little mini sandwiches drive me crazy. If I passed CFA on the way to work, I’d be a much fatter man.
  9. @FoodNetwork any taco without fish or shrimp in it…
  10. @kevinpollak Which one did you get? Cheese Steak, Cappacola, Corned Beef…?
  11. @Bathroom_Reader …are all the noses in the same place?
  12. @SSSUBWAY What do you think re #foodallergies, cross-contamination, & lack of good responses from your CS people? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH
  13. What do you think re #foodallergies, cross-contamination, & lack of good responses from your CS people? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH
  14. @FredSubwayCEO What do you think re #foodallergies, cross-contamination, & lack of good responses from your CS people? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH
  15. )xxxxx[;;;;;;;;;>
  16. @subwaytechtweet @Subwaydeals What do you guys think about #foodallergies & cross-contamination? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH #subway
  17. @TheRealSubman @springfieldsub What do you guys think about #foodallergies & cross-contamination? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH #subway
  18. @JohnstownSubway What do you guys think about #foodallergies & cross-contamination? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH #subway
  19. @SubwayEatFresh … so, do you Tweet at all, or what? http://wp.me/pwqzc-gH