Thursday, November 25, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Years ago, the food snob in me would have shunned eating at Montana's. But now, we're happy to have options like this available to us. The best part was that the restaurant even offers a peanut-free dessert - individually wrapped, peanut-free bear claw cookies. That DJ would be able to eat dessert in a restaurant (even though we didn't that night) is something rare indeed. Most of the time now, I don't even bother looking at the desserts on the assumption they won't be safe.
By the way, a reader was kind enough to send in the allergen chart of Kelsey's that I wasn't able to find online. Clearly, I didn't look hard enough. Still, after taking an initial look at it, we'll still be taking a pass. There are simply to many menu items that contain actual peanuts and nuts. Given the possibility of cross-contamination, the risks at Kelsey's simply seem to high.
Friday, November 5, 2010
To note - I couldn't find any allergen info for Canyon Creek or Red Lobster. I called the Red Lobster guest enquiry line and was greeted by a voice-mail telling me there was a department meeting and to leave my name and number. Right...like they're actually going to get back to me. As for Kelsey's I found their allergen warning non-informative and on the verge of insulting, like they simply can't be bothered. Then screw em!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
One thing we did that that surprised me: a pack full of unshelled peanuts. I know not everyone goes out of their way to buy peanut free, but peanuts? Really?
Also sort of disappointing was to see neighbors that just last year, went out of their way to ensure they had nut free treats for DJ drop peanut butter cups into his bag. I've said before I don't expect my kids peanut allergy to be on top of every one's mind, so it wasn't like I was surprised. At the same time, it just reinforces that not everyone remembers and that reminding people about it is in your best safety interests.
Friday, October 29, 2010
One thing we will do to try to minimze any potential dangers is to watch what goes into this bag in the first place so we can pull dangerous items out right away; one of us will be carrying a 'not safe' bag for that.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Admittedly, I often side with the parent of the allergic child when I read articles like this. But in this case, I think the mom is off base. The teachers were in thier own cabin, after the kids were in bed. That means the risk of cross contamination with her son should have been extremely limited. Presumably, all of those teachers would wake up in the morning, brush thier teeth and shower, eliminating any unlikley traces of nut. Furthermore, it's not like teachers have close physical contact with thier students, so again, the risk of cross-contamination is low. To call them out on thier actions seems pretty harsh to me. Furthermore, it sets up the situation where everyone thinks that parents of allergic children are over-protective of thier kids and want everyone to bend to thier way of thinking. I'm sure the comments section of the Globe will be filled with the usual rants.
Not to mention, this kid was 13, and his mom was chaperoning him. I sincerely hope that by that age, DJ will understand his allergy and be responsible enough to know what he can and can't eat, and that he will be able to attend events like this, like any other normal kid - without his mom.
Personally, I would be more annoyed that the teachers were drinking on the job.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Still, I came down on Wowbutter's side. So did my hub. Where do you stand? Take the poll and let me know!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Given its similarity in to peanut butter though, I was wondering how kids would be able to take it to school without prompting allergy concerns. Check out the safe school procedure section of the website for details on how to send your kid to school with this tasty soy butter; it includes down loadable sheets to send to school with your child and even a label template you can affix to lunches to ensure school staff know you're eating safe.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
With just one year to go until DJ enters the school system, I'm definitely worried about issues like this. Part of me is concerned that DJ will be marginalized socially because of his allergy. Kids can be cruel and anything that makes you stand out can be reason enough to taunt. While kids will be kids, we're going to be sure to help DJ understand how to deal with this type of thing. Just not sure how yet...
Friday, August 27, 2010
Well, DJ woke up when the doorbell rang and started in. I went up to comfort him when he asked if we had ordered pizza in. I said no - Chinese. Can I try some? No, I'm sorry you can't. It has peanuts. He looked sort of bewildered and asked if that meant we would get sick if he tried it. Of course, I had to say yes. Then he started whimpering that he too was hungry and wanted something to eat.
I grabbed him a drinking yogurt, and came back upstairs, where I tried to explain that the Chinese food was a treat for Daddy and I. He seemed okay with it - especially after I promised we would order pizza tonight and that he could have his own dipping sauce (man that kid loves sauce!).
Still, the whole experience left me feeling sort of crappy.
Along those same lines, DJ attended his first birthday party last week. It was a success, with no reaction and he had a great time, but the lead up was awkward for both of us; me, trying to feel out the mom on the menu and DJ for anxiety that he wouldn't be able to eat the birthday cake.
While he may be a bit young for me to throw the idea out there that he may not be able to eat everything at the party, I wanted to prepare him ahead of time to avoid any toddler meltdowns.
Monday, August 9, 2010
The first was when Paul, the quasi-director of the lake we're on stopped by with his truck. DJ loves that truck, and was asking all week if Paul was going to bring it. He was hoping to sit in it, which he's done many, many times since we've been going to the lake for three years now. This time, however, before I popped him in, I saw a grocery bag on the front seat. I didn't want to snoop, but asked Paul's daughter if there was anything potentially dangerous to DJ (knowing full well he would likely rummage through it if left to his own devices). Indeed, there was a bag of open cashews, half eaten. I explained to DJ why he couldn't sit in the truck, and he seemed fine with it.
Which reminds me...it looks like the lessons we've been teaching DJ are paying off. Several times in the last couple of weeks he's questioned both Rick and I when we give him food, asking "is it peanut-free/" I know he still doesn't know what that means exactly, but at least he's aware and learning.
As for Storyland, we didn't make it there. I never heard back from the company asking for clarification about their distribution line, which was disappointing, although that's not why we didn't go. Simply didn't have enough time, so hopefully next month.
I'd encourage everyone to read the somewhat nasty comment, posted of course, by someone anonymous, ripping me for complaining about Storyland. Maybe an over-reaction on my part, yet, but at the same time, the company never answered my original question. I sincerely hope that anonymous email didn't originate from the company itself, but my spidey senses are tingling.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee peanut free foods at the park. While most of our packaging may read that it does not contain peanuts, we like to tell customers that we can't promise a peanut free zone based on our distribution line.
However, we welcome picnic lunches! Your hand stamp allows you to keep your coolers and bags in your vehicle, and you can retrive them at any time.
I hope this helps and we hope to see you this summer.
No...actually that doesn't help. What does 'distribution line' mean? And I didn't ask that they guarantee a peanut-free zone but if one specific restaurant within the park would be considered safe. I get that restaurants like to cover thier ass, but once in a while it would be really nice if they would just answer questions concisely. In my opinion, that's a disappointing answer.
If the Middle of the Hill Grill offers five items, and none of them come in packaging that suggests any peanut or nut contamination, then there shouldn't be a problem. If one of them does (like say for instance, a burger) then say so. As in "one of the items we serve at this location has nuts or may contain them, so we can't guarantee...etc" Calling out a 'distribution line' means absolutely nothing to me.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I know it's unlikely we'll be able to take part in any of the desserty items offered in other areas of the park, but with most cooked meats and packaged buns usually safe for consumption, I'm hoping this will be a go.
I'll let you know what I hear back.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Normally, they sit on our kitchen counter. I like to keep them both handy and visible, so it's easier to remember them when leaving the house. But with the humidex making it feel like it's hotter than hell (really, hotter than 40), I've been worried that the pens will spoil. Apparently, an 'off' epi-pen will look discolored. I've checked DJ's and they look normal to me, but I'm sort of wondering just how discolored they get.
I'm going to try a little experiment. We have two expired epi-pens that we've been waiting to administer to an orange. DJ's allergist suggested we do so to get a feel for really administering the pen, instead of just using the practice one. Before I do that, I'm going to let them simmer in our car for a couple of days to see if they really do turn colour to indicate spoilage.
I'll post pictures of a car-baked pen beside one that's been sitting on our kitchen counter once the experiment is over. And then, we'll get that orange out.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Thank you for your interest in Bad Wolf BBQ; we hope to see you at the Toronto Ribfest!
There are no peanuts of other nut products used in our ribs, bbq sauce, chicken coleslaw or beans. Our cornbread, however, while not containing nuts itself was nevertheless made in a facility which uses nuts in other products.
I hope this is sufficient information for your requirements.
Based on that response, I would feel fairly comfortable letting DJ try food - except for the cornbread - from the Bad Wolf BBQ stand.
And again - a shout out to any company that actually gets back to me.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Basically, the company is working to develop a non-invasive method to treat IgE mediated food allergies, like peanut allergy. The product looks like a smokers patch; the principal of its use is to maintain an allergen on the skin of an allergic subject for repeated and prolonged periods in order to achieve clinical desensitization.
There's more information on the trial here with contact info for those looking to delve further.
While the clinical trial process can take time and there are no guarantee of positive results, it's studies like these that give me hope that a cure for this allergy will be found. Wouldn't that be awesome!
Thank you very much for your e-mail. Our sauce does not contain peanut or tree nut nor do we use any nut oil in our cooking however, we do have a manufacturer that prepares our sauce for us thus we cannot guarantee that in the processing it has not come into contact with nut products.
We look forward to seeing you at the Toronto Ribfest!
Based on our general house rules for DJ's nut allergy, we wouldn't have tried these. At the same time, I really appreciate the company getting back to me. Some didn't.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Even though the Toronto Ribfest in Centennial Park has now passed, with a couple of other coming up before the summer is over, and lots of the same outlets at attending each one, I thought I'd post the list of those I contacted with the responses from those that replied.
I contacted the following outlets:
Bad Wolf BBQ
Camp 31 BBQ
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
BTW...here's a link to our favourite donkey, Buddy, from the sanctuary. He managed to sneak up on me twice.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
While DJ's peanut allergy is definitely a drag, I'm super grateful that we have managed to go the entire year, reaction free. With us slated to fill in the questionnaire every year until further notice, I hope every year is the same when it comes to that question and that we can skip ahead to the next.
Still, I was really disappointed with a few of our answers. One question was how long our child had gone with an expired epi-pen. I felt embarrassed to admit the answer was 1-2 months. I realize now that we even went to London with two expired pens. How? Two of them expired in late March, 10 months after they were prescribed. Clearly, we did not receive fresh epi-pens from the pharmacy for the first prescription we had filled, which was on the way home from the emergency department immediately following DJ's first exposure. The second, which was filled just days later at a different pharmacy for keeping at DJ's daycare, had a longer shelf life of 12 months. However, when I checked the expiry dates, I clearly only looked at the newest batch and had made a mental note to have them ALL refilled in May. which we did, leaving the two pens we keep at home and carry with us on all outings unknowingly expired. I shudder to think about the number of times we grabbed snacks on the go or ate out with those expired pens in that time frame. Obviously, there's room for improvement in the way we are managing DJ's allergy. This time, I've put a reminder in my outlook that will 11 months from reminding me of the need for fresh pens.
None of our answers to the other questions really shamed me the way that one did. Still, others made me wonder how anyone could answer them honestly without feeling completely lacking. For example, one question asked where the participant's epi-pens were at that very moment. One potential answer was "I don't know." Another asked when you would administer the epi-pen if your child experienced a reaction. Again, one potential response was "I don't know."
Clearly, there are different interpretations and methods to handling allergies. My husband and I have tried to be proactive - to learn as much as we can and take the necessary precautions to keep DJ safe. This study made me realize that there are probably people out there who don't know where the epi-pen for their child is at the moment, and even people who haven't decided when they will administer an epi-pen if their child has a reaction. Maybe they haven't hammered out an emergency plan hoping they'll never need it.
I know for us, we're more comfortable coming down on the precautionary side. We've got an emergency plan in place and have decided who will administer the pen, and who will call 911. Of course, in the event of a real emergency things may change. I do know that there won't be any debate thought about when to inject DJ; it will be the moment we realize there's been an exposure. Still, I'm hoping we never need to.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Frankly, there's not a lot to think about for us. DJ's safety comes first - always. And for friends that don't understand that, I think we'll probably see less and less of them.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
It's Food Allergy Awareness Month. Check out this link at Allergysense.com to win a prize for sending in your expired Epipen and Twinjet devices. The idea is that expired injectors can be used for practice by newly diagnosed families and those simply looking for a refresher.
DJ's pens don't expire for another month, but when they do, we'll be using them ourselves to practice on oranges. That was the advice from our allergist.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Then, last week, my mother and father-in-law baby-sat for the day. DJ wasn't feeling well, and neither my husband or I were in a position to take another day off. Again, DJ tried his luck with the candies, and asked Grandma for one. Luckily, she read the label and caught what both of us had previously missed; a warning that the candies could contain peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds.
I distinctly remember reading the label when I pulled the candy out of my Christmas stocking; I also remember my husband saying it was challenging to find peanut and nut free treats to fill it with.
Yikes. So how did this product end up in our house with two people that supposedly read every label every time? Some mighty strange allergy info placement.
While I'm not abdicating either of us from responsibility (and believe me, we both felt terrible about it) Campino's placement of the warning was so odd, I'm not that surprised neither of us saw it. The product ingredients were listed in English on the back of the package on the left-hand side. The French ingredients were listed immediately below. Neither language included an allergy warning immediately below the listed ingredients, where you would normally find it. Instead, the allergy warning was on the right-hand side of the package, underneath a product description. I'm not sure if I'm remembering correctly, but I'm pretty sure the warning was in English only. I'll double check and report back later.
This is obviously a lesson for both of us. I look at the ingredients list and immediately below for any allergy warnings. I don't examine the whole package. From now on I will.
In the meantime, I will be wary of any candies made by the family company, Stork. http://www.storck.ca/en/index.php.
Has anybody else seen products with labelling like this, where the allergy information is located in a different spot than the ingredients?
Thanks goodness DJ didn't actually have any of them and a shout out to my mother-in-law for not assuming everything in our house was safe and reading the label. If not, DJ may have inadvertently suffered a potentially dangerous reaction.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Because he is so very young and rarely out of my care, there is an almost non-existent risk of someone feeding him. Still, lately, I've started trying to explain how he can never take food from others, saying he must say no and that they must 'ask my mommy first'
Recently, when I asked him what he would say if someone asked him if he wanted to eat nuts, he veered off course. Normally, he promptly replies with our practised answer "No nuts, I'm allergic" But this time, he said "Yes, nuts are yummy yummy. I like nuts."
I quickly snapped back that he must never eat nuts, and holding his pudgy little hands in mine, I told him he could become very, very sick, even die.
I'm almost embarrassed to write this post, thinking about my over-reaction and how I may have frightened DJ. Of course, he doesn't understand death. Our beloved 14 year-old American Eskimo Stella recently died, and he tells me nearly daily how is going to hug and kiss her better.
This article I just read in Allergic Living struck home. Clearly, we will have to find ways to make DJ understand just how serious his allergy is while not making him over-anxious.
Over the last year we've really learned that this allergy is manageable. With a little research, vigilance and communicating the right balance that will keep him safe yet still let him enjoy life is sure to be a challenge.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Mostly, it was great to hear about how another family deals with this allergy and still manages to live life normally - and by normally, I sort of mean eating out. It also got me thinking about all of the other safe places that are out there that we're bypassing, for whatever reason.
That's a call for suggestions! Send them my way. And thanks.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Of course, before DJ's peanut allergy was diagnosed, I was determined to keep him away from McDonald's and similar fast food places in general. My husband and I rarely ate at them before and with Toronto's awesome selection of cheap places to eat, it seemed like we could easily find tastier and healthier food at nearly as low prices.
Of course, all of that has changed. With limited safe choices, and DJ's unabiding love for nuggets, it's become somewhat of a go-to in certain situations, like when we're on the way to the lake.
Anyways, I was relieved to see there are no peanuts or nuts in either of the new McMini's. The nutritional content is available on the www.mcdonalds.ca website. Yippee.
The reality was though, once we were there, we rarely found ourselves in exactly the right spot when we wanted to eat, and there were so many restaurants to choose from we were always able to find something suitable.
Even the first night, when we set out for Covent Garden, we didn't make it to our intended destination - Browns. The restaurant had provided me with a confident reply to my questions, and assured me we would eat there safely. Still, as we wandered through the area, looking at our different options we ended up at the Salisbury pub, less than a two minute walk from Browns.
Several times, we saw a Wagamama location in passing and I would call it out. It sort of felt like the Big Ben/roundabout scene in National Lampoon's European vacation. Still, we never ate at one.
So was my research a waste of time? I don't think so. By having at least a dozen restaurants we could eat at, it gave us the confidence to leave our apartment in the morning knowing there were safe places to eat - whether we choose them or not.
By the way, several restaurants that I emailed never got back to me. I'll highlight them - including the lamest response ever - in another post later.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The cafeteria style resto offered up a yummy looking selection of savoury pies, sandwiches and a few hot plates. While everything looked delcious, and we were starving, we were concerned about its saftey. A line-up built behind us while we asked a myraid of questions. Still, the server was patient with us and went to the back of the kitchen to speak with the manager, who quickly came out to answer our questions. No...none of the menu items had any peanuts or nuts used in the recipes, and all of the items were made fresh on the premise. I asked about the potential for there to be traces of nuts in the deep fryer and was again told that there was very little possibility since no nuts were used in any of the items, with the exception of some of the desserts, none of which came near the deep-fryer.
After holding up the line sufficiently, we decided to split a fish and chips with mushy peas. There were no problems - unless you count DJ flinging his yogurt all over a woman sitting nearby. On the unlikely chance she ever reads this - thanks for being so patient while I wiped a considerable amount of yogurt off the back of your sweater!
Friday, April 9, 2010
After leisurely wandering through the area, reading several posted menus, we ended up stopping at Salisbury Pub. The fine print at the bottom of the menu was what originally drew us in. Something to the effect of how they take food allergies seriously and a suggestion to speak with the manager to voice any potential concerns.
My husband stepped into to assess the situation, and after a detailed talk with the manager felt confident we could eat there safely. He was assured there were absolutely no peanuts of other nuts used in any of the freshly made menu items, which accounted for nearly the entire menu. At the same time, he was cautioned about trace elements in the ingredients and was assured that should we order any item that was not prepared from fresh ingredients on the premises, the ingredient list would be checked and we would be advised accordingly. We ordered fish and chips - both of which were prepared on site.
Of course, because it was a pub, we were unable to take DJ in, and ate instead on the patio. While DJ noshed on the fries, he declared the fish 'too spicy.' It wasn't; instead it was battered perfectly in a delicious crunchy coating. Served with freshly made tartar sauce and mashed peas it was a perfect - sand safe - first dinner in London.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Fortnum & Mason was a total fave. I could have spent hours sifting through all of the goodies on the two food floors of this grand department store, a fixture on Picadilly since 1707.
In addition to a mighty pricey jar of potted Stilton (which was well worth it and already gone!), I also picked up a Cartmel Stick Toffee Pudding. I became an avid fan of this delicious dessert when travelling in Australia and order it any chance I get. While it was certainly disappointing to have to bypass it at most restaurants (I did order it once in a pub where I was assured it was baked on the premises with no nuts in sight) I was happy to see it was one of the few baked items we could safely purchase. I only wish I'd bought a couple of them!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
For one thing, the actual ingredients on many items were not listed. Instead, there was an allergy label. In one instance, for example, I picked up a meat pie at a Marks & Spencer's food store. It read:
- no nuts used in recipe
- no nuts used in facility
- cannot guarantee no nuts
To me, that seems somewhat clear, and I would consider the product safe. The 'cannot guarantee' warning seems like a simple blanket statement to avoid liability. In this specific case, I didn't purchase it, but was just looking at different labels.
However, other labels brought up some real questions and concerns and neither my husband nor I knew what to make of them. For example, many products had labels that read:
- no nuts used in recipe
- manufactured in a nut environment
Does that mean the product is produced on the same line? In that case, I would consider the product unsafe. However, it could also mean that there are simply nuts being used in other products, but not manufactured on the same line.
To me, it sort of seems like very similar to the 'may contain' warning, but is somewhat more ambiguous and therefore, at least to me, more confusing. When a label reads 'may contain' I simply consider it off-limits. But I'm pretty sure that we probably allow consumption of foods in our house that were manufactured in a nut environment. Why? Because they don't have the peanut-free symbol. That's my interpretation of the situation anyways.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Admittedly, I think it's somewhat self-centred to think an airline is going to change thier menu at the last minute on the request of one passenger; procuring food for dozens of passengers at the last minute would be a huge logistical issue.
Still, I wanted to be prepared so we mentioned the peanut allergy and spoke with our booking agent in detail. We were told to remind the clerk at the check-in counter and again, to remind the stewardesses once we boarded. We were assured our issues would be well-noted on any flight information.
When we checked-in, we mentioned DJ's peanut allergy. The clerk was surprised and said there were no notes on our file. Again, right before boarding I mentioned the same thing; again, we got the same response. There were no notes on our file.
Once on baord, we pulled a stewardess aside and mentinoed our concerns. She asked what we wanted to do about it. Well, really, what did we want? I'm not sure. I don't think it's realistic to ask other people not to eat snacks they've brought on board, and since the airline wasn't serving any peanuts, we were somewhat at a loss to answer her question. In the end, we simply stated we wouldn't be taking any offered on-board food.
To note: We did have a bit of an issue taking DJ's snacks on-board given the 100 ml. liquid restrictions. several of his yorgurt snacks were above the limit as was his orange jello and juice boxes. We explained the sitation though and were allowed to keep all of his treats.
On the return flight, we didn't bother mentioning the allergy, and simply declined any snacks.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Thank you for your enquiry
With regard to your enquiry on an allergy awareness program within our restaurants we have a number of practices in place.
Our teams under-go Basic Food Hygiene which covers cross-contamination.
We are regularly audited by an independent company to check all of our practices and likewise our area managers conduct regular audits on their visits.
Awareness of the risks of cross contamination is therefore very strong.
The menu states that there is a risk that traces of nuts may be in all dishes due to the realities of our supply chain where 100% guarantees cannot be given since factories may use nuts in other areas etc.
We do knowingly add nuts to a number of dishes and have the right training and procedure to ensure we avoid cross-contamination.
Like yourself I have a 2.5 year old who has allergies including some nuts and my wife has a more severe nut allergies to him.
I have no reservations in regularly eating in our restaurants with both of them.
I hope my response offers the assurance you need to visit Browns in the near future with your family
Snr Marketing Manager, Browns Bar & Brasserie
07808 09 5163
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The manager on duty was extremely helpful, and said that once we had decided what DJ wanted to eat, they would check it against their allergy binder. My only real beef is that I would have preferred to look at the binder myself so that I could check what my husband and I would be eating as well in case DJ wanted to try a nibble.
Still, I was told the menu items that weren't safe (there were only a few) and was told that all of the kids items (except the chicken fingers) were safe for both peanut and nut allergy. We passed on the fries, knowing deep-fried items are always sketchy and ordered the daily vegetable for DJ instead with baked potatoes for ourselves.
The waiter seemed very attentive and assured us both when we ordered the food and once it arrived that it had been prepared in a special area. All in all, a great experience.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Every time I order from Pizza Nova I diligently ask about its peanut-free status. There is a note on our file and every week I get the same response - that there are no peanuts or nuts in any of the regular menu items.
But again, I feel like I'm getting sloppy and I'm worried about the consequences. Last night, distracted by a tot crawling up my leg, I put my order in over the phone without asking about the peanut/nut status. We even ordered a different menu item - a Caesar salad. When the pizza arrived and I realized my error, I felt badly about my complacency. The package of dressing had the ingredients listed and it was nut free so there was no problem, and I called Pizza Nova back to reconfirm. Still, it's instances like this where I realize that my laziness would cost my son his health.
We've got an appointment with DJ's allergist next week for a 'refresher' course on epipen administration and a general discussion about handling air travel and eating out to prep us for our trip.
I want to make sure we're safe. I'm going to redouble my efforts to maintain diligence.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I usually carry DJ's Epipens in my purse so having an alternative when I don't want to carry one is great. I know these will come in handy for my husband too, as he's often challenged to find a way to carry them discreetly when he's out and about with our tot.
I'll be sure to order a couple of these as soon as he decides on a color/style combination.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
While it's a lesson learned about consistently reading labels, it does worry me. We'll have to re-double our efforts to ensure we're consistently careful. Not just when we're not in a hurry to get the grocery shopping done.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
The restaurant itself was pretty noisy and it was difficult to talk to the servers. I did pull our waiter aside to explain the situation and was again told that the kids menu contained no nuts and that it would be a safe experience. I asked again about the preparation area and if the food prep staff know how to avoid cross contamination. To be honest, I wasn't really happy with the answer I got "It's no problem" I didn't really feel like the issue was being taken all that seriously. What I really wanted to hear was what steps would be taken to ensure my sons meal would be safe in terms of food handling and prep.
Still, we placed our order: nuggets with fries and a small milk. That the food arrived with a different server concerned me and again I asked the new waitress to confirm the order was nut-free. I was pleased to see that she indeed was made aware by our original server and the kitchen. Still, a hand-off like this is the type of situation where I could see a potential problem cropping up.
While DJ certainly enjoyed the cafe, he also seemed somewhat over-whelmed and at several points, held his hands over his ears and said it was too loud. Judging by the number of screams of sheer terror throughout the restaurant I think it's really more for the five and up set.
Even though it was ultimately a safe experience, I wasn't a 100% comfortable and I doubt we'll be going back anytime soon.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Of course, a cure would be great too! And it looks like there could be some hope, according to this article in the Toronto Star. While two or three years to a cure sounds like it is still in the distant future, it seems like warp speed compared to the development of other disease treatments. So let's keep our fingers crossed!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Thank you for your email.
We use various nut items within our menu items that contain nuts, such as pine nuts, pistachio nuts, peanuts etc.
Our menu states that the items listed with the 'n' symbol next to them denotes that that item contains nuts as an ingredient or as a topping.
Kitchen staffs are trained to ensure that when they are notified of a nut allergy customer (which is not uncommon) they do take extra care during preparation and cooking to prevent possible cross contamination.
We do have nut items in the kitchens which we recommend are used from dispensing bottles to prevent cross contamination such as spillages & drops onto other products. We also have a storage policy for ensuring nut items are stored at bottom of fridges etc. to prevent cross contamination.
I must stress that despite all these measures, PizzaExpress could not offer (as with many other restaurants) a 100% guarantee that cross contamination could not occur.
I recommend that if you wish to discuss your allergy and preventative
procedures at your local restaurant, please contact the manager directly.
I hope this information has helped you, if we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us again
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
thank you for contacting us
we recognise that many of our customers do have various dietary needs and we try to cater to them as best we can. on our website you will find our dietary requirements page with different lists containing options for most requirements, I have provided a link for you:
I can assure you that there will be no case of cross-contamination but I do encourage you to advise your server once you are seated for further assistance
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
What a reality check! While we used to try and get away at least twice a year, we haven't been away since December of 2006. That's the longest we've went in our 17 years together without hearing the satisfying sound of a passport stamp.
But now, with house renos under control and my 40th birthday looming we're back at it. This time it's London! Neither of us have been to Europe since our honeymoon in the Czech Republic, more than 12 years ago, so it's sure to be a treat.
At the same time, I'm already anxious about eating out with DJ so often. One reason we picked London is that at least there will be no language barriers to contend with when trying to find a safe restaurant.
Any suggestions for safe eating out in London?
Friday, January 22, 2010
We like to order half and half - splitting both a butter chicken and saag paneer roti, its tender chunks of Indian cottage cheese the perfect complement to the spicy spinach. Mo
Split in half to share with the saag paneer, with its soft and delicious chunks of Indian cottage cheese. it was one of our favourite ways to spend dinner in, or lunch on the fly.
Since DJ was diagnosed it was one of the place's I've almost been afraid to check. It's not like we would feed DJ from there anyways, because we like to order it hot, but in keeping with our nut-free home policy, we simply assumed it probably wasn't safe.
What a thrill to find out it is! They use no nuts or peanuts in any of their products and the oil in the fryers is vegetable.
One word of caution. Mother India, further west on Queen, and owned by the same proprietors, is NOT SAFE. At least that's according to the people I've spoken to at Gandhi who say that their spin-off serves a couple of nut-laden desserts. Of course, I'll be sure to check for myself since Mother India means about 15 minutes less in the car for a take-out trip. I'll blog more later when I find out.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Earlier, before the service, as we headed into the chapel my sister mentioned I was free to leave my purse in a backroom, where family had left coats and bags. Indeed I felt sort of awkward with my purse when everyone else was hands free. Still, I was reluctant to be physically separated from DJ's epi-pens.
As soon as I saw the food coming out for the luncheon, I knew I had made the right decision. I checked with the women preparing the lunch to see the contents of the sandwiches. The bread, cheese and cold-cuts all seemed safe and I was assured the utensils to prepare them were clean and had not come into contact with any peanut butter or other nutty spreads. I removed the almond buns from our table, and we proceeded to eat lunch.
With family not seen in decades to visit, it was difficult for me to keep my eye on DJ after though. My young niece and nephew trailed him, making sure he didn't get his hands on any food.
Later, my decision to keep the epi-pens on me was reinforced. DJ needed a diaper change. I went to the back room where I had left both my coat and diaper bag. It was locked and the front desk attendant was no where to be found. It took me a full ten minutes to retrieve my diaper bag. The entire time I waited for the key to be tracked down, all I could think about was what would have happened if I had left my purse, with DJ's epi-pens in it, in the room which was now locked and he had a reaction. I would have endangered his life.
For me, it was a real lesson in keeping his pens on me at all times, even if it seems inconvenient. It's something I won't forget.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
One common thread that I've noticed on the comment boards, is that many people believe those affected by peanut allergy aren't truly allergic, that most are misdiagnosed and that hysterical, hyper-vigilant moms create drama where there is none.
Some information in this article actually supports that, saying that in a new study, only 1 in two kids that had a positive skin of blood test had a true peanut allergy as diagnosed by an oral challenge.
I wish that were the case in our situation. How awesome would it be to find out that DJ was really only allergic to grass, or pollen? Unfortunately, that's unlikely. We found out DJ was allergic after eating peanut butter smeared on toast. A skin test further confirmed his allergy.
Still, this sounds like a test that will give a lot of people back their freedom to eat without fear.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
This is of particular interest to me since I flew WestJet with DJ last week. More on that later...
In some ways, eating out and travelling less has been positive. We've eaten at home more, which means, for the most part, healthier eating choices and less discretionary income spent, freeing up cash for other things.
Still, we both miss our old habits. One resolution to maintain DJ's safety is too simply get our babysitter in more often - at least once a month - so that we can enjoy a night out without worrying about food allergies. A second is to simply find more safe places to eat out.
So, with that in mind, any suggestions for safe eating would be greatly appreciated. Bring 'em on!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
When the box arrived, my gut reaction was disappointment; it was so small! Could there really be $80 worth of chocolates in such a tiny box? While all of the ordered items were accounted for, the short answer, in my opinion, is no.
While everything was certainly delicious, and most importantly, nut-free, I think I could have spent my $80 more wisely. DJ was way more interested in plucking the Smarties off the gingerbread house than the foil-wrapped stars and snowmen. In the end, my husband and I were the ones that ended up scarfing them down in a late night binge. Same thing went for the chocolate Santa in his stocking. It is still sitting on the counter, whereas the two boxes of Smarties Santa also brought have been long gone. I could have easily replicated the chocolate-covered pretzels at home.
As for the truffles, I simply didn’t order enough to be able to offer them up to guests, which is when I would normally put out boxed chocolates. With 12 to a box and several occasions with more than 10 people in the house, they seemed like a paltry offering. Plus, my sister-in-law’s truffles were nearly as good.
I did tons of baking over the holidays to make up for what I was worried would be a lack of chocolate. In the end, really there was just too much junk in the house to eat. And eat it we did! I’ve been suffering a food hangover for at least a week.
So while Vermont Nut-Free Chocolates may be an excellent resource for some, I’m doubtful I’ll be placing another order anytime soon.