Chocolate Mice, Cauliflower Skulls, and Strawberry Ghosts!!

A night of Jack-O-Lanterns, ghoulish displays of ghosts and goblins, black cats and witches on broomsticks, are hallmarks of Halloween! The excitement in kids as they countdown to wearing their creative costumes, and trick-or-treating is palpable for weeks leading up to Halloween.

Unknown to most, however, for a child with food allergies there is much trepidation. Milk, peanuts, tree-nuts, and more in candy/party treats impose a threat.

Be your own agent and surveil every piece of candy!!

Below is a collage of allergy-safe halloween treats, some sweet, some savory, and some positively disgusting! These will be sure to spice up your party and keep everyone safe!

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NOTE: THESE WERE NOT DEVELOPED BY FOODALLERGYLOWDOWN. THIS IS A COMPILATION OF IDEAS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES.

Those of us affected by food allergies are a TEAM! Add yourself to this great resource from FARE:  www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project/fever-map#.WBDSzJMrLcF

It’s a crowd-sourced map for the Teal Pumpkin Project, which allows you to add your home and show that you are handing out allergy-safe candy to your trick-or-treaters. You can also find out which homes near you have registered, and be sure to stop at them!

That’s not all. Here are some past FAL Halloween Posts:

Teal Pumpkins for Halloween

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Courtesy of FARE

For all my candy lovers! Do you find yourself not being able to eat half the candy you collect while Trick-Or-Treating? Look for Teal Pumpkins in your neighborhood! FARE launched a new program in 2014 – they are encouraging families to put out Teal Pumpkins if they have non-food treats to offer!

If you offer these treats yourself put out a pumpkin to alert the other allergic-kids in the neighborhood! Thanks for your support!

Check out FARE for more information here.

Allergy-Safe Halloween Treats!

Halloween decor

Photo Courtesy of Penn State News

Hey Everyone! I’m so excited by the wonderful response I received about my last post. I’m thrilled so many of you are planning to do a Teal Pumpkin for Halloween this year!

For some inspiration, I thought I’d share some ideas on Allergy-Safe treats you could offer. For one, Dum-dum lollipops are free of the Top 7 Allergens – so those might be a good idea to keep around! In terms of non-food treats, packs of pencils, puzzles, party favors, nail polishes, books, small stuffed animals – all things you can find at your local dollar store!

I like to think in terms of what I might put in a goody bag – those treats are usually inexpensive but still super fun!
Enjoy!

HALLOWEEN COOKIES

I’m so excited for Halloween! (As you can tell by all my Halloween themed posts🙂 )

These NUT FREE Halloween cookies are SO delicious and only have Wheat and Egg as major allergens!! They are wonderful for any event from costume parties to snacking while watching a scary movie! Enjoy🙂

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One Smart Cookie! Cooper Street

“The simple power of a cookie to elicit smiles was the inspiration.”

For the Cookie Monster in you…a Michigan mom Elaine Surnow is “ONE SMART COOKIE!”

Tired of unhealthy snacks and junk-food, Surnow and her family developed a healthier, yet more delicious alternative. The Cooper Street Cookie:

They have 8 flavors of NUT-FREE and DAIRY-FREE Cookies:

  • Cinnamon Chocolate Chip
  • Keylime Coconut
  • Lemon Poppy Seed
  • Mint Chocolate Chip
  • Oatmeal Raisin
  • Orange Cranberry
  • White Chocolate Michigan Blueberry
  • White Chocolate Michigan Cherry

They also have great gifts, especially for the holiday season, including cookie towers and gift baskets.

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The cookies are nut-free and dairy free, and contain no artificial ingredients.
“Sprouting from just a simple idea, a whole lot of passion and a great-grandmother’s knock-out cookie recipe, the Surnow family decided to roll up their sleeves and turn the dream of creating a fun family business into a reality. The business was born in 2011, and in just a few short years, Elaine (the Mom) and her two sons, Sam and Max, have grown Cooper Street Cookies into an 8-flavor product line with distribution all over the country.”

Stay tuned for more from FAL, especially with the approaching holiday season!

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Clyde’s

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Clyde‘s! One of our favorite, and one of the earliest allergy friendly restaurants!

The Clyde‘s staff is warm and welcoming and their menu is full of exotic choices! Whether you are allergic to a Top 8 allergen, or a lesser known food, Clyde‘s strives to ensure that every customer has a delicious and enjoyable dining experience.

When I first visited Clyde‘s I posed my many food allergy questions to the waiter. They were incredibly understanding, reassuring, and had tremendous knowledge on how to handle food allergies. They answered many of my questions before I even asked!

One of the unique things about Clyde’s is that not only is the chef notified when an allergen-free meal is being prepared, but the managers, host, kitchen staff, and other servers are all told to be careful by your waiter. Everyone is truly looking out for you!

Whether you are just grabbing a sandwich or going out for Clyde‘s famous shakes with your friends, you’ll have a marvelous experience! Highly recommend Clyde‘s to anyone – no matter what food allergies you may have!

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Dairy Queen

Love ice cream but afraid to visit parlors because you’re worried about your nut allergy? Never fear, Dairy Queen is here!

Dairy Queen has left behind the traditional ice cream tub and toppings bar layout (a known headache to those of us worried about cross-contamination) and has embraced a more allergy friendly layout! We love it!

Dairy Queen’s delicious and low-calorie chocolate, vanilla, and swirled soft serve is completely NUT Free!! It’s a perfect go to option!

And if you’re craving a Blizzard, but worried about cross-contamination with Blizzards that contain nuts, fear no more! Dairy Queen locations have a separate Blizzard machine where they make Blizzards for people with nut allergies to avoid cross-contamination.

Head over to Dairy Queen today & treat yourself!

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Handling Food Allergy Bullying & Long-Term Resolutions

With kids back in school, we cannot reiterate enough how crucial and how imperative it is that food allergy bullying is STOPPED, and children know how to handle it in an effective manner.

Last week, we shared a story about bullying that hit close to home. This blog is a follow-up on that. While excerpts are shared in this post, the full story can be accessed here.

The target in our story: my sister (when she was in second grade), struggling to keep the enemy in peanuts away from her, as the bully brought a peanut butter and jelly sandwich towards her mouth. There came a point where she felt she couldn’t defend herself anymore, at least without the help of her school staff.

She mustered courage, got up and walked straight to the School Counselor’s office, just outside the cafeteria. She recalls shaking like a leaf, nervous and frightened, not just about thwarting a severe allergic reaction, but also losing popularity with the other friends, for being that “weird kid” who goes to the counselor.

GOING TO THE COUNSELOR IS NOT “WEIRD”

I am glad my sister’s school counselor sorted things out.

She rolled out the Restorative Justice Program.

It’s purpose was to give the bully:

  • a deeper understanding of the impact of her behavior

  • an opportunity to take responsibility for the harm she caused

  • an understanding to harness empathy

  • to chance to work on a way to restore the damaged relationship.

After a verbal and written apology from the girl and a note to her family the incident was history as far as my sister was concerned.

————————————————————-

Impact of bullying incidents in a child with food allergies are :

Distress and anxiety…While certainly real, these feelings are counterproductive. They impede problem solving.

Embarrassment and feelings of victimization…These feelings reinforce social isolation.

Resentment of the restrictions…In children while understandable, this can be toxic and it needs to be addressed.

Impede self-reliance…This is critical in developing a safe social environment in children with food allergies.

————————————————————-

Therefore, in my mind a better approach would be for us to:

  • Design and implement a school-based Food Allergy Awareness Program, perhaps run by the PTA.

  • It is imperative that we use the support of the school counselor, cafeteria staff, and teachers.

  • At the Middle/High School level, an Allergy Advocate Club would also be a great idea.

  • Be proactive…be the change you wish to see in the world.

 

PLEASE SHARE TO RAISE AWARENESS…YOU ARE A FOOD ALLERGY ADVOCATE!!

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Food Allergy Bullying: Et tu, Brute?

My sister’s narrative of a cold winter afternoon in second grade has stuck with me…for it was not just a horrific experience for her, but is perhaps another story of “Cafeteria Mayhem” for many children with food allergies.

As she walked in for lunch with her best friend, little did she know that her trusted crony would leave her a victim of the “mean girl phenomena” or quite simply put- BULLYING!!

Back then, my sister was allergic to peanuts. That afternoon lunch started off somewhat atypical. Strangely, this friend, an otherwise allergy-friendly kid bought a PB&J sandwich. That was unusual and had my sister on the edge.

As the girl broke a piece of bread smeared in peanut butter, she turned towards my sister and said “I’m gonna force-feed you peanuts today!”

Frightened, my sister tried to move away, although still seated. This potentially lethal piece moved closer to her as she arched over.  Her dilemma was how to protect herself, while conforming to the cafeteria rules of “sitting in your spot.”

Arguably, seven year olds don’t always make the best decisions. But, in their defense sometimes even if they know what is best for them the regimented, stereotypical rules in school do not give children the latitude to do something drastically different.

As my sister struggled to keep the enemy in peanuts away from her, there came a point where she couldn’t arch back any further.

She mustered courage, got up and walked straight to the School Counselor’s office, just outside the cafeteria. She recalls shaking like a leaf, nervous and frightened, not just about thwarting a severe allergic reaction, but also losing popularity with the other friends, for being that “weird kid” who goes to the counselor.

Eleven years later, I assume that her friend was impulsive and the act was not a contemplated, conscious attempt to harm my sister. But for someone with severe peanut allergy this was an ultimate in betrayal by her closest friend. This arrogance and a conspiracy of sorts, could be summed up in three words…Et tu, Brute?”

I am glad my sister’s school counselor sorted things out.

She rolled out the Restorative Justice program.

It’s purpose was to:

  • give the bully a deeper understanding of the impact of her behavior
  • to provide her an opportunity to take responsibility for the harm she caused
  • to harness empathy
  • to work on a way to restore the damaged relationship.

After a verbal and written apology from the girl and a note to her family the incident was history as far as my sister was concerned.

————————————————————————–

Bullying incidents in a child with food allergies are likely to cause:

Distress and anxiety…While certainly real, these feelings are counterproductive. They impede problem solving.

Embarrassment and feelings of victimization…These feelings reinforce social isolation.

Resentment of the restrictions…In children while understandable, this can be toxic and it needs to be addressed.

Impede self-reliance…This is critical in developing a safe social environment in children with food allergies.

Therefore, in my mind a better approach would be for us to:

Design and implement a school-based

Food Allergy Awareness Program, perhaps run by the PTA.

It is imperative that we use the support of the school counselor, cafeteria staff, and teachers.

At the Middle/High School level, an Allergy Advocate Club would also be a great idea.

Be proactive…be the change you wish to see in the world.

PLEASE SHARE TO RAISE AWARENESS…YOU ARE A FOOD ALLERGY ADVOCATE!!

Tweet us @AllergySmartz//Instagram us @AllergySmartz//Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/AllergySmartz//Email us at allergysmartz@gmail.com//Or comment right here on WordPress!

 

 

 

 

 

Food Allergy Lowdown (FAL) In The New Year

After months of studying our viewership, Food Allergy Lowdown has determined a 2016 schedule:

With the exception of special events, a new blog will be published every Wednesday at 4:00 PM EST, starting next week.

We will address a variety of topics, from daily allergy-safe living, to tips for special occasions, and recommendations for unique products.

As always, if there’s a topic you’d like addressed or would like to share any feedback, simply comment or contact us at allergysmartz@gmail.com.

We have a lot of special projects planned for 2016 – don’t forget to subscribe to the blog through WordPress or with your email, like AllergySmartz on Facebook, and follow @AllergySmartz on twitter for the latest information.