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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 12:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
thanks for clarifying!

I might get one of those thermos bento boxes. . . and maybe a food jar. . . I definitely need to do something! I traipsed around one day this week with my cooler and books and things in this plastic box on wheels (I needed to carry enough food for lunch and dinner). This sort of works, but is very inconvenient!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
Helen, here is what I do when I need to carry both lunch and dinner :)

I pack a thermos lunch, then I bring along a packet of instant noodles and some frozen vegetables. It takes up minimal room, and about an hour before I am ready to eat dinner, I rinse out the thermos, boil some water and use the noodles and veggies to make soup. Or, I bring two round jars and use one for lunch and one for dinner. If you have the right containers and pack well, it can easily fit in a lunch bag type of set-up.

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
That's a good idea . . . it would take my noodles awhile to cook, though, because I can't buy instant---I only buy gluten-free rice pasta. Still, it might cook within 20 minutes. I'll have to try that sometime.

I'm pretty limited as to what I can eat. I can't eat legumes or nuts or seeds, so I always need to include meat in my lunch and dinners. Rice and tapioca are my only grains. I cook all of my fruits and veggies (with a few exceptions---right now, I can have raw cranberries and raw raspberries.) I eat a lot . . .and I snack in between meals. So packing a compact lunch will be a bit of a challenge . . . but I'm up to trying to see what I can do.

The cooler is definitely not working for me. I'm a hazard to myself with my cooler-on wheels-contraption. Just last week, I nearly wiped out (for a third time) on this narrow escalator in the library.

What happens: I round the corner, and the wheels get caught on the edge of the escalator, and the handle to the trolley gets knocked out of my hand. I'm ascending, and I'm leaving my cooler behind at the food of the stairs! So then I start running *down* the up escalator hoping that no one I know happens to be around to witness this :lol: (Yes, yes, I know . . the problem probably isn't so much with the cooler as it is with the driver.)

And once, I was refused entry to the stacks. No food allowed I was told. I explained that I was not going to eat in the stacks, but that I had travelled a distance (by train) to use the library, and that the only way I could make the trip was to bring food along. I asked if I could leave my cooler downstairs with the library staff. I was told no. absolutely not.

I of course knew that I'm not allowed to eat in the library, but as they don't search peoples' bags, I assumed that it was okay to bring food in closed containers. What do they expect students do for lunch? Are they assuming everyone is going to want to buy lunch in the cafeteria?

I asked to speak to a supervisor . . .who didn't budge at all on the general rule (and gave me this lecture about rules being rules in spite of personal circumstances). He grudgingly permitted me to take my cooler with me that one time with the understanding that it was *never to happen again*. [It isn't as if the library staff actually enforce the no eating rule once people make it to the stacks. People eat in the stacks ALL the time.]

When I got home, I called to lay a complaint and spoke to the actual stack supervisor who promised me I would no longer have a problem with bringing my cooler to the library. But what a hassle!

Another time, I visited a smaller library and asked the person at the desk whether I could park my cooler there while I perused the stacks. I was told yes . . .but I was in the stacks for awhile, which made the check out person nervous because apparently, they aren't supposed to store any strange packages behind the desk (which I can sort of understand). Maybe my cooler is really a bomb in disguise!

Carrying a cooler may be inconvenient, but I do have a collection of cooler stories!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6490
Location: Ottawa
Helen, have you tried rice stick noodles? You can find them in the Asian foods section of most grocery stores. If you soak them in boiling water they soften in about 10 minutes depending on the width of the noodle (there is a vast assortment of widths).
Are these libraries not wheelchair accessible? Do they not have elevators? Is there no locker where you can store your gear? Can you talk to someone about this? If you are at a University or college, they must have a department of student services who can assist you. You can not be the only person using the library who has special needs.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
How about this, Helen? Pack a hot thermos lunch and pack a cold second lunch in a round food jar. Then you can just stack them side by side in a backpack or something. If you preheat the thermos (by pouring boiling water in it and letting it sit while you get your other food together) it will stay hot until lunch. Then you can pack an ice pack with your other food container to keep the cold stuff cold. I am not sure what all your restrictions are, but given what you have said already, here is a suggested lunch and dinner:

1) In the preheated thermos, pack a hot soup with rice, veggies of your choice and protein of your choice. If I am using carrots or parsnips in soup, I always shred or grate them instead of slicing them. It adds a LOT of very filling bulk to the soup :)

2) In a second thermos or round jar, pack cold meatballs or meatloaf and the fruit or veggie side dishes of your choosing. Can you have rice cakes or rice crackers? I have seen ones that are just rice flour and water. If so, you can pack cooked mince in a little tomato sauce (grated veggies make a nice addition to this, just add them while you are browning the mince) and pack it as a taco dip to eat with the rice cakes.

3) For snacks, pack whatever you usually pack for snacks, in small containers or baggies.

I have seen those Elle lunchbags which are a little bigger than my lunchbag, and I can easily fit two round lunch jars and a few side dish containers in mine.

If you want to see some pictures of my lunch gear, let me know and I can post some.

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
_Susan_ wrote:
Helen, have you tried rice stick noodles? You can find them in the Asian foods section of most grocery stores. If you soak them in boiling water they soften in about 10 minutes depending on the width of the noodle (there is a vast assortment of widths).
Are these libraries not wheelchair accessible? Do they not have elevators? Is there no locker where you can store your gear? Can you talk to someone about this? If you are at a University or college, they must have a department of student services who can assist you. You can not be the only person using the library who has special needs.


No, I haven't looked into rice stick noodles. I just stick with Tinkyada and Rizopia pasta since I need a product which is not cross contaminated with gluten or egg, and I trust these manufactuerers. I'll take a look, though, and see what other rice-based products I can find!

About the libraries--I wasn't complaining about current problems. Just telling a few stories about how one's life can get complicated by doing things slightly differently. I find it slightly amusing that a cooler was seen almost as a security risk. I kind of felt that I was trying to get by US customs or something rather than trying to use a library!

In the smaller libraries, I can simply use an elevator (there aren't any checkpoints where people need to pass inspections before accessing the books! And the people working in the library are generally nice and helpful.)

Yes, the libraries are wheelchair accessible. The one huge library has an escalator that goes between the lower levels (which are accessible to the public as well), although I think there is an elevator going between those floors too. I shouldn't have a problem at all taking the escalator----the problem is just me rounding the corners too quickly :lol: I just need to be a bit more careful.

In this same library, you have to pass inspection to take the elevator to the upper levels where the books are (only those with a library card can proceed to the stacks. they have a monitor stationed at a desk who inspects ID cards and acts as a gatekeeper.) This is where I had problems accessing the library at that point. It was only that one time, though. When I called to complain, the librarian/supervisor I spoke to was very sympathetic and was sorry that that had happened and told me that it would never happen again. No one has ever said anything about the cooler since, so the message must have gotten across.

I was just really ticked with how I had been treated that one day especially because I ended up going hungry. Once I got my cooler into the stacks *that one time* I didn't exactly want to risk taking it back down to the one floor where eating is allowed (you have to pass inspection before going back to the stacks). I really didn't want another confrontation. I had never been treated like that before in my life (not even by US border guards who pulled us over for declaring contraband grapes). So I stashed my cooler in my study carrel for the day . . .but I'm not supposed to eat in my study carrel.

There is a disability services office, and people with allergies do qualify, but they wouldn't have been able to do anything that day because I would need to make an appointment with them in advance and fill out forms and bring medical documentation. (I'm not registered with the service although I probably could be.)

ficbot, I'd love to see photos of your lunch gear! I've seen those Elle lunchbags on amazon.com--they are cute. Thanks for all the help on the lunch situation. Those suggestions sound great----a hot and cold lunch are what I need. I like the idea of grating veggies---that is a good idea, and I haven't tried it before.

I haven't checked in to see the cross contamination info. on rice cakes. Perhaps I could have them . . .not sure. I've tried a brand of rice crackers with very minimal ingredients, and they make my throat itchy each time--could be cross contamination with sesame or soy or something. I'm not even sure if they are guaranteed gluten free (I ate them before the celiac diagnosis.) So I haven't tried any more brands of rice crackers.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
Hi Helen! I am linking here to some pics of my more creative lunches that show off my gear :) I just ordered a new tupperware set because I want something a little more leak-proof than my current lunch jar (which only has one leak-proof container) so I will post some of those once it arrives. Plus, I wanted a second lunch jar with compartments (Mr. Vito is only good for soups) because they stack nicely side-by-side in my lunch bag on days I need tot ake two meals. Anyway, enough chatter :) Some pics:

1) Lock and Lock Set, just to show you the containers. The little round one will fit inside my laptop lunchbox.

http://starfrit.com/Products/kitchen/Co ... sc_lang=en

2) Laptop lunch, onigiri shapes. This shows you the fun you can have with almost any grain, and some cookies cutters or egg molds. It also shows off my dollar store dividier containers, which expand the options for my laptop lunchbox. They have lids but te lids do not stay on. I just use them to divice bigger spaces. I got them at Dollarama. Also, you can see that a fruit cup will fit in the laptop lnchbox.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/92471558@N ... 202035088/

3) Another look at divider cups in action, this is a lunchables clone with rice crackers and vegan cheese. One of my most popular lunch pics :)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/92471558@N ... 202035088/

4) Salad in the laptop lunchbox, as you can see, you can remove the two bigger containers and have a lot of room to pack a capacious salad

http://www.flickr.com/photos/92471558@N ... 202035088/

5) Another salad option, this one showing off my microwave omelet cooker. In about a minute, I can get a flat egg pancake that can be cut into strips or shapes. A favourite lunch toy for days I want to add a quick protein boost to a basic lunch.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/92471558@N ... 202035088/

6) In this one, you can see the small lock and lock container inside the laptop lunchbox. I am hoping my on order tupeprware will better fill my needs for days when I want more wet things, because the laptop lnchbox really has been driving me a little nutty with its leaking issues :)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/92471558@N ... 202035088/

7) A peak inside my round food jar. Love it because it is easier to wash than the laptop lunch, but it too only has one true leak-proof container, so hence the need for another round jar option.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/92471558@N ... 992372158/

8) Not my picture, this one, but it shows my wonderful soup thermos in action :) I love this thermos. It keeps things HOT until lunchtime and is the perfect size for soups. Not as good when you want more compartments to pack many dishes though.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/silvergull/459233200/

9) Again, not my picture, but this is the new Tupperware set I ordered off ebay. Gives me a few new options because it has FOUR containers instead of three, and all are leakproof, plus two are big enough for soup :)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stinky_harriet/1369558851/

So, in a nutshell:

1) On soup days, I pack Mr. Vitro
2) On most other days, I pack my thermos jar
3) On days where I want four things, or wet things, I will use the new tupperware one
4) On days when I need lunch AND dinner, I will pack two of the above
5) On days when I want to only take a backpack, I will use the flat laptop lunch

I like everything that I have, but if I were doing it again, I would not recommend the laptop lunchbox. My top two pics would be Mr. Vitro if you like soups, and another jar set (because the two of them stack side by side in my carrying bag). For a flat set, I like the lock and lock containers better than the LLB but you will have to hack your own carrying case for them :)

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 4:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Thanks, ficbot :D Those look like fabulous lunches!

I've been inspired by this thread to do some lunch-related shopping. For starters I decided to go with an Elle (insulated) lunchbag and some Lock n'Lock containers since I happened to find some when at Home Outfitters.

Am still mulling over my other options. (I will need some more lunch gear!) I'm thinking I'll need a lunch jar, another insulated lunch bag, more containers.

I *might* go for the thermos bento-style lunch system. For travelling (even for day trips), I've been looking into a leak proof soft cooler which looks like a duffle bag. Haven't decided. (I have the option of ordering things only available in the US since I have relatives in the states.)

I really appreciate all the inspiring lunch ideas----I knew I had a problem (namely an awkward cooler to lug around) but I hadn't gotten around to figuring out how to fix it :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:02 am
Posts: 116
Location: Gatineau
Aren't the Elle lunch bags awesome? My Mom is a super healthy eater and brings her meals everywhere, so we both just love the bags. They look like chic purses! I've had some many complements on mine.

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ana to peanuts, nuts, eggs, shellfish, bananas
mild asthma and eczema, seasonal allergies


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Yes! love the Elle lunchbag. I have the blue "Sadie" one. I'll probably want to get a larger black one as well (if I can find it!)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 2:09 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
The Walmart in my area has a new lunch section---they have a wide variety of lunch boxes and containers. I bought some more lock n' lock containers there--they had the "premium" containers which are made out of a safe and durable hard plastic and are also stackable.

Plus I saw some stanley thermoses . . which i thought were only available in the US. They didn't have the Stanley food jars, however (which was what I was wanting).


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
Helen, you might be interested in checking out a book called 'The Eat Clean Diet.' It is a lovely book with lots of photos and I had admired it from afar, but always thought it was too strict. Now that my allergies have cut out 90% of prepared foods and I have to make so many things from scratch, it seems like a much more reasonable program :) She has a section in there about packing a cooler for the day which might interest you. She also has a beautiful cookbook which I love. Given your restrictions, it might make more sense to get it from the library and see how much you can use. I personally have found it a great book though full of ideas on healthy, natural foods to eat. I bet you would love the photos she has of all of her healthy foods packed up in little containers :)

_________________
Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6490
Location: Ottawa
I love those lunches and the cookie cutter bread! My daughter would love that.
Have you ever tried the rice wraps? We have been experimenting with made up recipes of shredded carrot, cucumber sticks and ginger/honey/soya sauce. She loves this in a rice wrap and cubed ham on a stick (toothpicks).
We use the lock system as well.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
We do rice wraps and they are AWESOME!!! I think of them as Asian tacos - but I really kind of hate tacos and really love the ingredients in Asian rice wraps.

We use sushi rice, shredded carrot, shredded lettuce, slices of red pepper, and shrimp (for the adults - the kids don't really like shrimp).

Susan - I should try the ham for my youngest, as usually all he puts is the sushi rice...

Lastly, my DH makes this amazing SunButter satay dip (to replace the peanut butter dip that is often served with chicken or beef satay) - and it is my favourite thing to have with rice wraps. I will try to remember to post that in the recipe section.

K.

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Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 932
Location: Oakville, Ontario
I love rice wraps as well! I find the trickiest part is softening the rice paper... does anyone have any tips? I usually soften each wrap between a moist cloth, but I wish there was an easier way. Tips anyone?

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15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, peas, carrots, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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