Friday, November 15, 2013

Beware of Hidden Food Allergens on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we couldn't be more exited to stuff ourselves with delicious food and spend time with family and friends. However, if you have food allergies, the Thanksgiving holiday can be a tough time as you may find yourself dining out at people's homes or in new places. This can be challenging if you have food allergies and you aren't 100% sure how the food is prepared.

In light of the holiday and our continued efforts to educate, we've put together a Thanksgiving Food Allergy infographic that outlines five of the eight major food allergens and identifies which popular Thanksgiving dishes they might be hiding in. Check it out!

Thanksgiving Food Allergens

If you have any other questions about food allergies don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help! Feel free to give us a call at 212-729-1283 or email us at Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How To Plan and Cook An Allergen Free Thanksgiving

Fall has officially kicked in. Halloween has come and gone, but that means that Thanksgiving, Chanakuah, Christmas and New Years are all around the corner.

To us, these holidays represent good friends, family and of course food! But for someone with food allergies, these food festive holidays can be daunting. Are you hosting a Thanksgiving this year? Is anyone attending that has food allergies? Here are six helpful tips to navigate your way through a successful Thanksgiving if you are serving someone with food allergies:

  1. Make sure to ask your guests about any food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances ahead of time!
  2. If you aren’t sure about a particular ingredient based on your guests responses, make sure you ask them during your meal planning stage so you don’t waste time buying, prepping and cooking something that your guest can’t eat. They know better than you. So just ask!
  3. Check the labels of all ingredients even if you regularly use them. Many day-to-day ingredients have hidden allergens in them, for example gluten or soy. For example some chicken stocks and salted butter have gluten added.
  4. Something else to check the label for is cross contamination. Some products are made in factories that make other products, which may contain allergens. Be sure to check the label for any cross contamination verbiage like, “may contain” even though the ingredient isn’t listed among the ingredients.
  5.  When you serve your meal, make sure to identify dishes that your food allergy guests SHOULD NOT EAT. And, maybe move them away from the other food so that no cross contamination occurs on accident. It’s ok to have some dishes that they might not be able to eat, just make sure it’s labeled properly.
  6. Cross contamination is a real threat. Be sure to use separate serving dishes and serving spoons for each dish, especially for those that you are making specifically allergen-free.
Food Allergen Free Thanksgiving Meal

If you have any other questions about food allergies or want more solutions on how to go about preparing a food allergy friendly Thanksgiving meal, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help! Feel free to give us a call at 212-729-1283 or email us at

Also, if you are looking for a good resource for allergen-free Thanksgiving recipes and ideas, check out the Food Your Way: Intentional & Creative Living blog post titled, Allergen-Free Dishes for Thanksgiving Dinner for a list of great allergen free recipes.

Photo credit: The Vault DFW via photopin cc

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Peanut Allergies and Air Planes – What to do if you have to catch a flight?

We have a ton of patients that come in with peanut allergies, which is a very serious food allergy.

One of the main questions we get asked is, “What do I do if I have to take a flight and I am allergic to peanuts.” We will answer this question below, but this same idea goes for any food allergies. 

We like to give our patients strategies on how to tackle tricky food situations that come about because you are in a public setting. For example, if you have a severe peanut allergy what are you supposed to do if you travel on an airplane where peanuts are the most common, and expected free snack?

Here’s what we do in this case. Talk to the airline before your flight to give them a “heads up” about your allergy and see what options they offer you. Then, when you get to the airport and check in for your flight, go and talk to the gate agent who is in charge of the flight. Let them know about your severe allergy to peanuts and ask them if they can refrain from serving peanuts on the flight to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.

More often then not, the airline will oblige. But we recommend asking the flight attendants who are working the flight if they have been informed of the decision. It’s important to make sure that the message gets communicated to everyone who is working the flight, not just those who do the boarding. Airlines are very receptive to peanut allergies and the danger of having peanuts on a flight if someone has a peanut allergy.

We’ve actually seen this happen before on Delta Airlines. There was someone who had a peanut allergy and they told the gate agents and the decision was made to not serve peanuts on the flight.

To ensure that there were no mishaps and to set customer expectations, the gate agents will usually make a brief announcement before the flight begins to board letting everyone know that they will not be serving peanuts on this flight. Good Job Delta!

The big take away here is that everyone knows how serious peanut allergies are, but in social situations, people can’t help prevent them if they don’t know that someone around them has the allergy. Thus say something! This could save your life or prevent someone else from having a serious allergic reaction.

According one of Hudson Allergy’s founders, Doctor Tim Mainardi “ As modern medicine advances, more people are becoming aware of their food allergies, including peanut allergies. As a society we need to be cognizant of the affects that peanuts can have on some of our fellow citizens and adjustments need to be made for the overall health and well being for all. Sometimes this means that peanuts aren’t available on a flight or at a ball game, but that can be a small price to pay considering the grave harm that peanuts can cause to some individuals.”  

If you have any other questions about peanut allergies or what other tips we’d recommend on navigating your way though social situations, give us a call. We are happy to help and provide you with a personal action plan on how to prevent allergies that are specific to you. Call us at 212-729-1283 or email us at