Subway still sucks, so does IHOP, take your allergy-sniffing dog there with you…


Some good food allergy articles popping up lately, if you’re paying attention:

  • Allergies in the classroom: What’s OK to send in for snack time?  –  Some good tips.  Not sure if I’m 100% on-board with banning stuff in schools & classrooms.  I’d just promote safety a little more.
  • Subway expanding gluten-free test – Subway is still clueless.  They’re pushing the gluten free fad as far as they can with as little effort as possible, all while making a big deal about it & ignoring that other allergens exist.  (Read the comments.)
  • IHOP flops – IHOP owed by the same company that owns Crapplebees, also could not give a crap about your food allergies.  Try the new effortless lemon-zest dairy-free salad today! (Read the comments.)
  • $20,000 allergy-sniffing dog is a real lifesaver – Such a great idea!  Too bad it’s a $20K price tag.  I’d love to have a deathfish-detecting pooch.  I’d also train him to poop right outside of Subway restaurants.
  • Managing your food allergies in dining halls and dorm rooms – It’s back to school time.  Solid advice from a real expert.  I’m all about the buddy system.  Friends that look out for your best interest as far as not dying are friends for life.

So yeah, stuff’s happening.  I’m really just posting this to say… we’re out there.

New AllergyEats App


So, I’ve blogged about Allergy Eats many times before.  You know I think it’s an awesome resource, but can only be useful if users rate restaurants.  Now, it’s easier than ever to do… with new iPhone and Android apps!

AllergyEats Apps!

AllergyEats Apps!

AllergyEats T-shirt

AllergyEats.com

You can read the word from Allergy Eats about the release here or get the app you need here.

Paul from AllergyEats is good people, he recently donated to FAAN for my Food Allergy Walk in Pittsburgh!

I encourage you to spread the word to anyone that you know with food allergies, so we can all take advantage of the awesome ever-expanding database now available anywhere that you can get cell phone service!

http://twitter.com/#!/AllergyEats/status/108896162949496832

http://twitter.com/#!/allergicgirl/status/108895739429658624

Cleanliness and awesomeness at Market District in Robinson


Giant Eagle Market District Restaurant on UrbanspoonI’ve written about the Market District restaurant before (& specifically about the allergen signage), and have even posted a review & photos on Urbanspoon.  I probably will again.

I feel the need to write once more to applaud their cleanliness & friendliness at the BBQ station (OK, the Smoke & Fire Rotisserie).  Bethany & I were there for dinner & grocery shopping last night on a trip to get a bunch of stuff and take advantage of the dastardly cult-like fuelperks!®/foodperks!™ programs.  (Don’t tell anyone, but Tuesday night is a great night to go shopping there.)

PRETTY PLEASE! (with a cherry on top) USE MAIN ENTRANCE ←with a cart― NOT THE ROTATING DOOR
sign for the special sort of Yinzer…

I noticed a few things.  First, I noticed a sign above the soups that said that seafood soups would be available in the seafood section.  I wish I had snapped a photo.  It may not have anything to do with allergies & potential cross-contamination, but I like it.  Keep the deadly seabugs in their own little corner.

Next and more importantly, I noticed the employee that handled my order.  She told me that she’d be with me as soon as possible while she handled the order for the people in front of me.  I had no problem waiting, but the acknowledgement of my presence was a great start.  You can’t imagine how many people behind a food counter will just ignore you, and how such a simple thing as a hello makes all the difference.

The big surprise came after I ordered my turkey sandwich with St. Loius style sauce & grilled vegetables (which are so incredibly awesome).  I watched my new favorite employee take the carving knife carving, wash it in the sink, then come back to spray/wash/wipe the cutting board, then proceed to carve the delicious turkey for my simple yet tasty sandwich.

(You mean, there are steps beyond wiping a knife with a dirty rag?  Yes, I’m talking to you, Subway.)

Such simple steps, such a comfort for someone with food allergies.  I know I go to the Rotisserie station because it’s deathfish free, but hopefully this is an insight to Market District‘s overall food prep/handling policies.  If not put in place by training, I applaud this team member’s personal dedication to cleanliness!  I wonder if they’ve looked at FAAN’s guide to welcoming guests with food allergies?  I was already a fan of the place because of other chefs there that I had talked to regarding food allergies, and this just put it over the top.

I hope to write to Market District to express my awe & thanks.  If only they would do a few more simple things, they would indeed be the most awesome grocery store ever:

Turner's Tea-Bird
Turner’s Tea-Bird

Book Review | Allergic Girl: Adventures In Living Well With Food Allergies


So, I had ordered the Allergic Girl book a while ago, and did finally finish reading it, but a lot has been going on in life lately so I didn’t have any time to sit down & give it the thoughtful review that I felt it deserved. Now, I have the time to do that.

Allergic Girl: Adventures In Living Well With Food Allergies

Allergic Girl: Adventures In Living Well With Food Allergies

The author Sloane Miller has a popular blog, and is so very easily contacted via Twitter… which as I’ve remarked before, is easily now my go-to resource for any food allergy related news or information.  Twitter is how I discovered Sloane, her food allergy advocacy empire, and this wonderful book.  I’ll warn you now, this may read more like an advertisement than a review… but this is the first book of its kind that I’ve ever picked up… if there are even any more like this out there, and it really spoke to me.

The first thing that hit me about the book is that it’s an excellent balance of “hey, you’re not alone” and “we’ll work through this”.  It’s a comfort & a guide all at once.  Of course, the writing style pulled me in right away.  In the prologue, you’re dropped into a situation that could easily be a sitcom plot (or your weekend), but the seriousness is not lost in the humor… it’s underscored by it.

The book then moves into accounts of discovering and dealing with food allergies, one passage in particular that I’m going to highlight before I give it to friends & family to read… it describes the anxiety that builds after just an inkling in your mind that a certain food is unsafe (or could be unsafe) for whatever reason.  I felt like Sloane had read my mind & put down my thoughts.  From the order of thoughts jumping to other thoughts, to the hidden (or hopefully hidden) panic, down to the actions in dealing with such a situation… it’s uncanny.  It’s a hard thing to convey to people, even if they are supportive & understanding.

The book covers dating, which can be harrowing… but luckily I have my incredibly supportive wife, and I don’t have to worry about that any more.  This is a great guide to anyone in a dating situation, or for younger people with food allergies about to get into dating… or any social situation.

Allergic Girl is thankfully chock-full of resources for everything from websites to support groups to products to help you deal with your food allergies.  There are also bullet-points at the end of each chapter, not unlike a textbook… they can work as a personal checklist for you.

This book will help you get organized… build support, learn to pick your food allergy battles, and maybe even to expand your comfort zones.  This is what I personally need to work on.  Dining out can be a paralyzing fear for me, and I need to learn to find people and restaurants that will work with me to feed me & keep me safe.  Whether it’s starting the dialog the right way, using chef cards, or making calls ahead… they are all viable options of acquiring a safe meal.

If you have food allergies, have a friend, relative, or other loved-one with food allergies and want to understand their situation a little more… you need this book.  No joke.