New Food Guide Helps Restaurants Navigate Allergies

Aimed to create safer dining experiences for customers with food allergies

New Food Guide Helps Restaurants Navigate Allergies

Living life with food allergies can have an impact on many areas of your life. Aside from the health implications from food allergies, social situations can also be strained when you have serious health consequences around certain foods. One area that's tricky for anyone with a food allergy, food intolerance or food-related autoimmune disorder is dining out at a restaurant. 

Not only are you there hoping that you ask the staff the correct questions, but you're putting a lot of hope into them that they know how to safely handle your real food issues. Many people tend to avoid this situation all-together because for some people, it can be a matter of life or death.
A new guide developed from a collaboration between The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association and Anaphylaxis Canada hopes to make dining out safer for customers while increasing the understanding of the restaurant owners and staff.
Food Allergies: A Guide for Restaurants outlines common allergies and intolerances and stresses the importance of managing risks of complications through obtaining thorough ingredient lists from suppliers. It also outlines the importance of avoiding substitutions that are not outlined in the menu and being aware of what cross-contamination is and how it plays into food safety.
Hopefully as the guide becomes available, more restaurants will make it a priority to understand the food they’re serving and how to better serve those with food allergies. 

Photo credit: Unique Hotels Group/Flickr
Source: Globe and Mail / The Canadian Press


10 Hidden Sources of Gluten

It may be hiding where you least expect it

10 Hidden Sources of Gluten

1) Pet food

When it comes to removing the offending food allergen from our diet, we often take a lot of time looking at our diet, but what about your pets? Most pet foods that you can buy contain some form of gluten in it so you either need to find a grain-free variety or be extra careful in how you feed them.

2) Lipstick

It's one of those make-up products that is likely going to end up in your mouth at some point. Licking your lips and eating will transfer the lipstick ingredients into your digestive system and one of those ingredients could be gluten (typically wheat or barley). You need to be sure to check the ingredients on the package and know those tricky scientific names for gluten. 

3) Hand lotion

If you have an insensitivity to gluten when ingested and not just topically, you may be able to get away with this product, but be wary. Hand lotions can contain a lot of ingredients and one often found is wheat—making it unsafe for those with celiac disease or gluten allergy.

4) Glue

Typically those commercial glue sticks are going to be fine, but when it comes to household glue products, you need to be careful. Those most envelope glues are derived from corn, they do have the potential to contain wheat (and they don't come with an ingredients list) as does wallpaper glue and gluten can even be found in tile grout. While you're likely not going to eat these products, they can be inhaled or ingested in a secondary way. 

5) Chips

While potato chips are made from — well, potato — the seasoning is not all the same so you need to be extra careful. Some flavorings contain gluten in their ingredients and others may not. Another word of caution — just because one brand of chips doesn't contain gluten, doesn't mean any brand of the same flavor is safe so read those labels!

6) French fries

If you're a big fan of French fries, you'll want to make sure you're eating safely! There are a lot of fries that contain a gluten-based light breading to give them an extra crisp when they're fried up. Also, if you're getting your fries from a restaurant, you will want to make sure they're not fried in the same oil as other gluten-containing products like onion rings because your food will be cross-contaminated. 

7) Your peanut butter jar

While typically peanut butter is gluten-free, there is a huge risk of gluten contamination with your peanut butter jar. If you're making a sandwich with peanut butter and using gluten bread, than placing the knife right back in the container — you've just put gluten into all of the peanut butter. You need to make sure that your being safe, so always have separate containers!

8) Shampoo and conditioners

I was surprised when I realized that not all shampoos and conditioners were made equal. Many of the higher-end salon products that I have checked out contain wheat and/or barley and when it comes to having celiac disease or gluten allergy, they're just not safe. 

9) Nail polish strengthening formula

If you're looking for a nail polish to strengthen your manicure while strengthening your nails, there are products available to do just that. The problem is, some of those properties that make your nails strong, contain wheat or other sources of gluten. I am not sure if, when dried, if it will transfer any gluten properties, but you can't be too safe.

10) Vegan meat substitutes

If you're looking to go vegetarian, many of the meat substitutes that are soy-based also contain gluten. You need to make sure that you're reading the labels and checking if it's safe for you to eat — being free from one ingredient doesn't mean it's safe for everyone. 

Photo credit: adapted from Dag Endresen/Flickr


7 Tips For Surviving Your Spring Allergies

How to manage your spring-time allergies

7 Tips For Surviving Your Spring Allergies

We just changed our clocks forward and that means Spring is just around the corner. Spring is a favourite season for many people since it brings with it lots of sun and a break from the winter gloom.

For other people, springtime marks the start of their battle with environmental allergies. It goes far beyond just annoying sneezing and some people really suffer during this time of year. There are some ways you can help make the springtime allergies a little easier on you—it just takes a little planning. 

1) Treat Your Allergies Early

If you're waiting for your first "achoo" to start your allergy treatment, you're waiting too long. According to WebMD, you should start treatment in mid-February and not wait until mid-March when the first peek of pollen hits. 

2) Keep An Eye on Pollen Counts

With smartphones now, it's much easier to take a peek at what the pollen count is before you venture outside. Make sure you check it for your area so you know if you need to moderate or change your activities and plans. 

3) Wash Pillows and Sheets in Hot Water

Dust is a big allergen for many people and it can hide in places you may not realize. Be sure to wash your pillows and sheets in hot water to kill any dust mites and get rid of dust particles. 

4) Vaccuum With a HEPA-Filtration System

Whether you have pets or lots of people living in your house, using a HEPA-Filtration vacuum will be your friend. Mold, dust mites, pollen and pet dander can all live in the air inside your home. Using a HEPA-Filtration vacuum can trap these particles and reduce your allergic reactions. 

5) Limit Outdoor Activities or Wear a Mask

Check those pollen counts and limit your outdoor activities if the count is high. If your lawn needs to be mowed or you need to go outside to do some work, consider wearing a HEPA-Filtration mask which will reduce your allergens and limit the reactions you may normally have. 

6) Stay Hydrated and Use a Humidifier

Sneezing and sneezing and coughing can leave you feeling a little dehydrated, which can be a vicious cycle for many other things going downhill. Also, using a humidifier can benefit you if you've got allergies since dry air is often not pleasant for people with allergies. Be sure not to use it too much or have the setting too high, since it can increase the mold in your house. 

7) Seek the Help of an Allergist

There is no need to suffer in silence and it's not something that you can't seek help for. Seek out the advice and help from an allergist who can help pinpoint your specific allergies and recommend a treatment plan just for you.

Photo credit: mcfarlandmo/Flickr