REPOST – Our 2015 Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving Products Guide

Checkout this repost of our 2015 Thanksgiving guide – our 2019 guide will be posted soon!


Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I‚Äôm sure you guys must be starting to prepare the feasts. I found some TREE NUT AND PEANUT ALLERGY-SAFE food options to make your cooking process easier ūüôā

Brace yourselves: the Feast has come early! Prepare yourself for an extra long post with lots and lots of helpful tips!

cranberry

Cranberry OR Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

Pillsbury‚Äôs Quick Bread Mix is wonderful if you want to make Cranberry or Pumpkin Bread/Muffins. They are the perfect options for¬†dessert!¬†Not only is it an easy-to-make option, but it is safe for those with peanut and tree nut allergies!¬†If you choose to make this bake extra ‚Äď your family will devour this allergy-friendly treat!

corn

Corn Muffin Mix

This classic Thanksgiving Day food ‚Äď the corn muffin melts in your mouth and perfectly fits the family get together scene ūüôā Literally ‚Äď America‚Äôs Favorite. Read their statement on cross-contamination here.

potato

Mashed Potatoes

Make your life easy ‚Äď bring variety to your Thanksgiving Day table with Betty Crocker‚Äôs flavored mashed potatoes. From creamy butter to sour cream and chives, there is so much to try! There are even sweet potato options available. Allergy Information is interaction ‚Äď check it out!

fillo shells

Athens Products

Athens Products are amazing! They make the cooking process so easy and simple. You can make so many different things, from appetizers to entrees to desserts, and they all taste delicious! I’ve tried so many recipes with these myself and was showered with compliments by my guest. Athens makes Baklava and other items that have walnuts and almonds, but the machinery is separate! The staff changes their coats, gloves, etc. before entering the part of the factory that makes these products! Isn’t that wonderful!

 DARE Crackers РCelebration Box

The perfect introduction to your Thanksgiving Feast ‚Äď these crackers can be paired with almost anything ‚Äď be it your homemade jam or cheese spread, they are a light and tasty snack.

Tips and Tricks for the Holidays: Advent Calendar!

The following is a rerun of a post published last year (Original Title: “Tips and Tricks for the Holidays: 1 More Advent Calendar!”). In 2015, we ran several posts discussing various options for allergy-safe advent calendars, including¬†homemade versions. All of the posts are available right here, and through the search bar on foodallergylowdown.com


Happy December! Anyone still desperately looking for an allergy-friendly advent calendar?

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I came across this option a few days ago and just heard back from the company regarding their allergy policy.

Their statement: “Our chocolate may contain almonds and hazelnuts, but is free from other nut and nut derivatives including walnut, cashew, pecan nut, Brazil nut, pistachio nut and macadamia.”

It otherwise contains milk, and may contain wheat, almonds, and hazelnuts.

If you are still in need of an Advent Calendar this one should be available at your local Whole Foods ūüôā Filled with fine chocolates this one will definitely please your palette – enjoy!

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Thanksgiving 2016 Part 3: Thinking “Inside” the Box (Quick Sides)

Cooking a nut-free Thanksgiving Feast from scratch while trying to keep up with a fast-paced life is¬†a daunting task. That’s why FAL’s got your back this Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful not just for the bounty of food, but the countless meaningful memories each family shares together.

We have put together some new takes on old traditions, to make your Thanksgiving easy.

Remember, Thanksgiving should be spent enjoying with family, not just cooking.

All these items are nut-free and are available at your local Walmart and most grocery stores.

Easy Stuffing!

Yummy Turkey Gravy!

gravy

Mashed Potatoes and Cornbread are a must!

Don’t forget your breads and rolls as delicious additions!

(Wait one second…it’s a slideshow!)

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We’ve got everything you’ll need for your Pie too!

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And of course… cookies!

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Thanksgiving 2016 Part 2: How Food Allergies Build Character and Make You a Stronger Person

Food in diverse cultures gets interesting as you move beyond mere sustenance to the ‚Äėparadox of plenty.‚Äô

The scintillating aroma of the turkey, pecan pie, mashed potatoes, and the numerous other dishes that go on to making a Thanksgiving Day feast, are a reflection of the hosts’ warmth and hospitality.

While the ambiance is always refreshing, it is the bounteous food that can be intimidating for someone with food allergies.

As a teen or a young adult, the hosts’ fervor for one to sample countless appetizers, the feast at the Thanksgiving table leave one torn. It is a balancing act between saying a polite no to the hosts’ generosity or becoming very sick.

As a food allergy advocate, I cannot reiterate enough that when it comes time to confront a situation where you are unsure of the allergy friendliness of any food item, you MUST speak up.

Striving to understand the multifarious questions people have about food allergies, evaluating and responding in the most accurate and convincing manner, and learning to tactfully and respectfully condemn skepticism, while engaging with the host and politely advocating and reiterating choices you are making is absolutely essential in building a safe environment for yourself.

While food allergies seem and, to an extent, are an impediment in one’s ability to freely explore food culture, or dine at parties or banquets, I have come to discover a hidden positivity- It better equips one to build strong and ethical communication skills.

In order to be safe you have to say it as it is Рhonestly, accurately with a genuine reason namely, the specific allergy and its implications.

Being honest and unpretentious is a skill that will serve you well in all walks of life.

Consider¬†another scenario: You are out dining with friends at a new restaurant, a test of your ability to be proactive and judicious. For someone with nut allergies a scoop of plain ice cream seems innocuous. Yet you aren‚Äôt sure of the risks of cross contamination. ‚ÄúTemperance‚ÄĚ here is the key.

The word ‚Äútemperance‚ÄĚ comes from the Latin word Temperantia which means self-control. So when you say no to the ice cream it goes much beyond than the just not eating element. It represents self-restraint in actions and in speech.

In a dynamic world of a teenager with varying scenarios, be it a field trip, camping with your Scout Troop, attending a wedding reception, staying away from home at college or attending a party, the changing environment teaches persistence in problem solving, adaptability, resourcefulness and diligence to determine safe dining options. With advocating, some planning and empowering others around about your allergies you will almost never go hungry. While it may not always be something that you truly enjoy eating, contentment may come with some fortitude but is so instrumental in teaching resilience and grit.

Travelling abroad opens a new plethora of excitement. The trail blazer in you will raise curiosity, that sense of wonder and optimism knowing that cultural nuances will impact your dietary restrictions strengthens positivity of character, the respect for diversity and courage to take on the challenge.

To embrace a struggle and to extrapolate it to make you stronger is the elixir for all success.

‚ÄúSo this Thanksgiving as you express gratitude remember that the highest appreciation for what you have is not to just utter words. The strength of persona that you have developed over the years, consequential to your food allergy and that you continue to hone every day is the silver lining in the challenges that the food allergies pose. Look back and marvel at how far you have come. Your biggest asset and strength is your power over your mind!!‚ÄĚ

 


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Thanksgiving 2016 Part 1: A Letter to Family [RERUN]

As the holiday season approaches, it is imperative¬†that we educate relatives on food allergies, and communicate the severity of an allergic reaction.¬†While relatives do not wish to do harm to their loved ones, food allergies can be difficult¬†to understand. Therefore, we’ve decided to rerun this post. We have received very strong feedback from the day it was first posted, and hope we can help¬†even more people!


Here at FAL we want to educate as many people about food allergies as we can.

Sometimes family members are not very accommodating of food allergies, especially elderly relatives. It’s not because they don’t care, they do, they simply don’t understand. ¬†Today, we have for you a letter template to fill out and send to relatives before you meet them. Here it is!

Dear [NAME OF RELATIVE],

There are few others in this world who love (NAME OF CHILD) as dearly as you do. We are thankful that you are such an important part of his/her life.

As you know [NAME OF CHILD] is allergic to [ALLERGEN]. Therefore, I wanted to discuss with you briefly what [ALLERGEN] allergies mean.

What the food allergy means is that [NAME OF CHILD] body treats even a minuscule amount of  [ALLERGEN] as an enemy. If [NAME OF CHILD] eats or is exposed to [ALLERGEN] he/she can get very sick.

[ALLERGEN] allergies are NOT a disease. [NAME OF CHILD] is a normal, active child.  

The signs of an allergic reaction are:

  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†abdominal pain or cramps
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†diarrhea
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†difficulty breathing
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†difficulty swallowing
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†dizziness
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†fear or anxiety
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†flushing of the face
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†heart palpitations
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†itchy red spots (hives) on the skin
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†itchy/watery eyes
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†loss of consciousness
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†nasal congestion
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†nausea/vomiting
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†pain or tightness in the chest
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†scratchy throat
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†swelling of the face, eyes, or tongue
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†wheezing

Sometimes, exposure to an allergen could cause the windpipe to swell up, and the blood pressure to drop dangerously low. ¬†This could develop just seconds after exposure to¬†[ALLERGEN]. An allergic reaction is an EMERGENCY…it needs to be addressed IMMEDIATELY! If left untreated, it could be fatal within minutes.

When we meet, we can talk about what the course of action is, if this were to happen to [NAME OF CHILD].

It is for this reason that I view and handle [NAME OF CHILD] diet very differently.

While at times it may seem I am very overprotective of him/her with regards to food, or it may seem I am not letting [NAME OF CHILD] savor and enjoy food like other children, I HAVE TO DO THIS in order to keep [NAME OF CHILD] safe.

I am requesting your support for while we are together, so that while having a good time, together we can do everything to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction.

For reasons due to allergy, he/she may miss out on a family recipe or other goodies. Regardless of the food, he/she always enjoys being around you.

If you would like to cook using a recipe that is allergy safe for [NAME OF CHILD], please let me know what you need. I will get the allergy safe ingredients. Having food cooked by [RELATIONSHIP OF CHILD TO RELATIVE] is always so special and I am sure [NAME OF CHILD] will always treasure this.

We are looking forward to the visit. Thank you for honoring this request.

Warm regards,

[PARENT/GUARDIAN NAME]


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Tips for Easter!

Hey FALowers ūüôā Easter is just around the corner – are YOU ready for an allergy-friendly holiday? Today we’re sharing some of our special tips with you.

  1. Hershey’s Chocolate: From Chocolate Bunnies to Chocolate Eggs, candies and sweets are definitely a big part of this holiday! Hershey’s goes all out when it comes to holiday themed candy. Their selections are delicious and mouth-watering… and allergy friendly! Their labeling policy is very thorough and one can easily tell what allergens pose a risk just by reading the label. What’s not to love? Read more about their allergy policy here. ¬†
  2. Vermont Nut Free Chocolates: Vermont Nut Free Chocolate offers a variety of peanut and tree nut free chocolates for any occasion, including some delicious options for Easter! Their decadent chocolate is unlike any other – definitely check out their online shop.
  3. Want to avoid the chocolates/sweets route this Easter because of allergy concerns? Not a problem! As an alternative to the chocolate egg hunt, one can pick up plastic eggs from any dollar store! Along with the eggs, grab some stickers, bouncy balls, etc. that you can put inside the eggs as prizes! Enjoy!!