Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Managing Food Allergies In the Snow November 30, 2016

winter sledding in the snow, winter break

photo taken by Kevin Jarrett

Winter is an important time to get outside. It leaves you feeling refreshed and invigorated. Winter weather invites us to engage in all kinds of fun and unique activities. Ice skating and hot chocolate go hand in hand. Snow days beg for sledding down sleek hills. Cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, and even hiking are fabulous ways to appreciate the quiet beauty of the season.

 

And, of course, there’s my personal passion: skiing.

 

No matter what your winter passion is, please read Let It Snow! (below) for some important tips on how to carry your epinephrine auto-injector and how to manage your food allergies in the cold and on the slopes!

 

See our story and read how to enjoy – not endure – the season in the Winter 2016 edition of Allergy & Asthma Today:

 

Allergy & Asthma Today – Winter 2016

Or read it here:

Let It Snow!  Managing Food Allergies In the Snow

Our family loves wintertime and winter sports – skiing, sledding, ice skating, you name it. My son has multiple food allergies, so we always carry epinephrine auto-injectors with us, even in the cold, and we make sure they are safe and secure.

 

Epinephrine must be kept at room temperature in order for the medication to remain effective. When you plan to go outside in the cold, carry your auto-injectors in the inside pocket of your winter coat.

 

If you have no interior pockets, or they’re not big enough, get creative. We made a holder for our epinephrine auto-injectors using a pencil case and a lanyard – anything to keep the epinephrine close by and at the correct temperature.

 

Gone Skiing

 

When my son was old enough, my husband – an avid skier – was excited to get him on the slopes. But the idea of trying to manage his food allergies on a ski vacation seemed challenging.

 

Who could I track down to get ingredient information for food in the ski lodge cafeteria? How was I going to store and easily access snacks and lunches that were safe for my son? Could I rely on the ski school to look out for him and his food allergies?

 

During recent ski trips, we found food service employees were knowledgeable about food allergies. Several of my son’s ski instructors needed no introduction to epinephrine auto-injectors – some had food allergies themselves, which made them even cooler in my son’s eyes.

 

The staff walked him through cafeteria lines, read ingredient lists, and helped him find safe alternatives for group snacks – all at 10,000 feet.

 

If you’re planning a trip to a ski resort, here are some food allergy tips:

 

  1. Call ahead. Ski lodge operations may seem relaxed, but they do take food allergies seriously. We spoke with a food services manager at one ski lodge who outlined their offerings, looked up food suppliers and tracked down ingredients for us – all before we stepped foot in the snow. Ask about the lunch routine during ski school and what kinds of food students receive. Are they given snacks? Do they have free choice in the cafeteria?

 

  1. Show up for ski school classes early with your epinephrine auto-injectors. Talk with your child’s ski instructors and if necessary, teach them how to use an epinephrine auto-injector – and when to use it. Remind them they will need to store it in an inside pocket of their ski jacket to keep it close to room temperature.

 

  1. Consider meeting up with your child’s ski school class for lunch to help your child navigate the cafeteria line. But don’t expect to eat with them! Skiing creates fast friendships and your child will have more fun hanging out with their ski buddies.

 

  1. Pack some safe snacks and store them someplace readily accessible. Kids are often hungry when they get off the slopes and ski lodge cafeterias typically close right when the lifts do.

 

Now … Bring on the snow!

 

 

Breathing Easy On the Slopes

 

Many people with food allergies also have asthma. When outside in wintertime, cold, dry air can be an asthma trigger. Wrapping a scarf around your nose and mouth warms the air you breathe and helps keep the rest of you warm as well. Tuck a quick-relief bronchodilator inhaler into an inside pocket of your jacket just in case you start to cough or wheeze.

Food Allergies

Enjoying a fantastic winter vacation. Skiing in Park City, Utah.

Advertisements
 

Lift Lines and EpiPens: Skiing with Food Allergies February 8, 2016

As I look out my window, I’m surprised to see green again. Grass is finally peeking through after we received nearly 30 inches of snow.  Even after all that shoveling, all I wish for is that powdery white.  When February hits, all I want to do is ski.  Maybe it’s a holdover from my childhood when we used to get a mid-winter February break – a kind of Pavlovian yearning to be cruising down the slopes this month. Either way, when I see snowflakes, I think trails.
When my food allergic son was old enough, my husband (an avid skier) was ready to enroll him in ski school.  But the idea of trying to manage food issues on a ski vacation seemed challenging.  For one, ski lodges never seem that organized.  I couldn’t imagine who I might track down to get ingredient information on their chicken nuggets, for example – especially at mid-mountain or higher.  Secondly, there’s SO MUCH gear, etc to bring to the slopes, how was I going to carry (and where could I store and easily access) snacks and lunch for him if we brought some from home?  Finally, could I reasonably rely on the ski school to look out for him at lunch vis-à-vis his food allergies?

Well, fast forward almost 8 years, and I can happily tell you that we’ve had a lot of success on the slopes.  Here are some tips I’ve learned over the past few years:

1. Call ahead – way ahead.  Ski lodges are not nearly as disorganized as I had thought.  They’re just a lot more relaxed.  But they take food safety seriously. Be prepared to leave a message and have someone get back to you.  There is typically a food services manager who is knowledgeable about the suppliers and who can track down ingredients for you.  Be sure to ask where kids in ski school usually eat and what kinds of food they receive (are they given snacks, do they have free range on the cafeteria line, etc).

2. Bring your epinephrine autoinjector and show up for ski school EARLY.  Meet with your child’s ski instructor – teach them how to use the autoinjector and WHEN.  Remind them that they will need to store it in an inside pocket of their ski jacket to keep it close to room temperature.

3. Find out where and when your child will be having lunch and consider meeting them to help them navigate the cafeteria line.  But DON’T expect to eat with them!  Skiing creates fast friendships and they’ll have more fun hanging out with their ski buddies – go have a lunchtime date instead!

4.  Pack some safe snacks and store them in your ski locker, car or somewhere else that is readily accessible.  Kids are STARVING when they get off the slopes and cafeterias typically close right when the lifts do.

 

Now we just need some snow!  Happy trails in the meantime!

 

 

EpiPens in Sun or Snow June 8, 2012

 

play-1560066_1280

 

Just a quick reminder to all that EpiPens, like most other medications, should be kept at room temperature.  Of course, this poses a challenge over the summer.  So remember to take them with you from the car and keep them next to your water bottles at the beach.  Or, as one reader suggested below, plop one into a small cooler bag.  Since reading that, I’ve been sticking our EpiPens in an insulated lunch bag with ice or a cooler pack. (Thank you again!)

 

We really tuned into this problem over the winter while skiing.  Thankfully, my son’s ski instructor thought to hold his EpiPens in the inside pocket of her jacket to keep them from freezing throughout the day.

 

I love easy, clever solutions!

 

I Eat Park City: Last One (for now) – Vinto April 17, 2012

 

On our last night in Park City, we decided to try Vinto’s.  The decor and ambiance was bright, fun, and inviting.  And, having won so many dining awards, it was no surprise that the food was great!  What a fabulous way to end our amazing trip.

 

My boys decided to order something simple (plain pasta with olive oil), so it’s not fair for me to judge Vinto’s allergy-friendliness.  However, I will say that the fact that they have both gluten-free pasta and gluten-free pizza crust is a good start.  Plus, there’s sorbetto (sorbet!) for dessert….  Lifeis sweet in Park City!

 

I Eat Park City cont’d: Maxwell’s April 11, 2012

image

Maxwell’s, known for their delicious NY-style pizza, was a *HUGE* find after a long, arduous afternoon tubing (yes, tubing!).  Reading through their hilariously named pizza options, I noticed they serve a gluten-free pie!   A cause to celebrate (and eat!) if you’re in the market for a GF dinner.

 

It’s a restaurant I certainly won’t “fugettabout” for next time.

 

How Now Java Cow? March 27, 2012

image

Unfortunately, we didn’t get as lucky for dessert (see I Ride Park City for previous post)….

 

We had checked out this adorable ice cream shop earlier in the day and were thrilled to see it served multiple flavors of dairy-free sorbet.
Of course, it was all too easy!

 

When my son and I returned after dinner, we were dismayed to learn that all of their ice cream and sorbet flavors are made on the same equipment.  Which meant they were ALL off-limits to us.  A huge bummer!

 

I’ll admit it: I was more disappointed than my son. Java Cow ice cream smelled delicious and seemed so cute.  If you’re not avoiding peanuts or tree nuts, go for it for me!

 

I Ride Park City (With Food Allergies) March 26, 2012

image

We stumbled upon Easy Street Brasserie and Bar on our very first night in Park City, UT.  The French-based menu looked interesting and we were starving!  Although we don’t avoid gluten any longer, the certified gluten-free sign on the door appeared promising.  Any restaurant that goes to the trouble of having a gluten-free certified menu must understand the importance of good allergen-safety.

 

The staff at Easy Street were excellent about answering our allergy-related questions, verifying possible allergens again and again happily.  For example, they relayed that the calamari we were interested in was technically safe but fried in oil with other dishes that contained nuts (we had asked about ingredients but not yet focused on the fry oil).

 

Here’s a little more to consider:

  • The bread was safe for my son (meaning it was sesame seed, peanut and tree nut-free);
  • There was no butter added to the steaks, as you sometimes  find (ew AND unnecessary!);
  • They were glad to substitute unsafe portions of a meal with safe sides;
  • We ordered a charcuterie platter since I love cheese and crackers and we all love salami and carpaccio.  Not only could my son gobble down the meat, but the cheese came with Carrs Water Crackers which are safe!
  • BUT there were no safe desserts for my son.  Everything had dairy at a minimum.
 

I feel like I need to reiterate how pleasant the entire staff was throughout our meal.

Will we be making it back before we leave?  Mais, oui!