You are viewing Allergic Living Canada | Switch to United States

Talking Allergies

* FAQ    * Search
* Login   * Register
It is currently Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:23 pm

All times are UTC - 4 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 411
Yay, I have been chosen as a Canadian representative to attend a (youth) conference in Finland. The conference will be catered and my allergies were noted on the special diets form so they should be accommodated. I will bring safe snacks just in case, as well as food for on the plane both ways. We've been to Finland before, pre-allergies, so I am pretty comfortable there and know most people understand English fairly well. Just a few questions I am hoping others can answer:

1. Is there a pre-made Finnish chef card somewhere? or should I translate it myself using Google?
2. I see MedicAlert has coverage in Finland. Does anyone know if the wallet information cards are available in other languages, with local contact numbers? (According to their online help, MedicAlert only issues travel certificates. Are these helpful?)
3. Anything else I should be aware of, allergy-related or other? (i.e. Can their ingredients labelling be trusted?)

Thank you!

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:44 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:40 am
Posts: 425
Location: Alberta, Canada
Congratulations to you. What a wonderful experience. Sorry I cant help with your questions I just wanted to give you a pat on the back. :thumbsup

_________________
Me-Allergic to Peanut, Tree Nut, Coconut, Shellfish, ASA and Asthma
My Husband and Children No Allergies


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:37 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6468
Location: Ottawa
Wow! That's very exciting!

_________________
Moderator
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


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:33 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 411
I am in Helsinki right now and I can say that the allergy awareness of the two restaurants I have frequented is wonderful. One restaurant, called the Ontion Restaurant (in English, that is... it has a Finnish name that is hard to spell) and they were phenomenal at accommodating my needs. The restaurant in the hotel has also been great. Both places are fairly upscale and I cannot cdomment on quick service locations or bakeries this trip. So far so good. I will write a bit more when I return. :)

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:46 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6468
Location: Ottawa
I'm so happy to hear that you are finding restaurants who can accomodate your allergies! :happydance

I hope you have a great time and can focus on the real purpose of your trip business/pleasure.

Yes, please do fill us in when you get back!

_________________
Moderator
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


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:14 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 411
Here's the travel report from an allergy perspective:

Some background - I am a nervous allergy traveller who likes to bring lots of safe foods for snacks or meals and frequently opts to eat those over trying to find a restaurant late at night in an unfamiliar place. That being said, I also buy a lot of fresh fruit and veggies wherever I go to make my own little meals in the hotel. When I do eat out, I tend to choose higher end places that have a smaller menu and fresh ingredients. I never eat aeroplane food, no matter what it is.

Snacks and meals I made or brought: instant oatmeal, Asian noodles in broth with chopped fresh veggies, Fruit to Go bars, and lots of fresh fruit and veggies for snacks: mini carrots, mushrooms, chopped broccoli, apples, etc.

Places I had food from and my reviews:

S-Market - it's a grocery store chain found everywhere in downtown Helsinki - I bought lots of fruit and veggies here.

Bridges Restaurant (in the Hilton Helsinki Strand Hotel) - Daily breakfast was a buffet included with our room rate. I opted to make my own instant oatmeal and then loaded up a plate of fresh cut fruit. The fruit was in a separate area than anything with nuts, so I made the decision that it would be safe. (The tray with several jars of Nutella. far from where I was. did make me a little uneasy, but the people around me didn't eat any once I told them of my allergy so that was fine.) During the conference we had lunch here each day and the kitchen staff prepared a special meal for me since I couldn't eat from the buffet. (Other allergies/diets were accommodated within the buffet - no shellfish, garlic, or gluten.) They made excellent and flavourful meals. I had a relatively small, yet instant, reaction to something in my dessert one day (fresh berries with a vanilla syrup) and had a GI reaction (nausea/vomiting) for a few hours which really sucked because I was trying to concentrate on the conference. I talked to the kitchen staff to find out what the offending ingredient was, nothing was obviously nutty, and they assured me my meal was made separately to avoid traces and cross contamination so we were all at a loss for where the reaction came from. ? Anyway, the staff felt really bad and I truly felt they fully understood allergies and did everything right. All my other meals there were fine.

Ravintola Sipuli (translates in English to Onion Restaurant) - All of the conference participants dined here one evening - approximately 70 people. Very fancy place with a glass ceiling that allows you to dine with a great view of Uspenski Cathedral, which was lit up at night. Lovely. The service there was incredible and once I asked the server if arrangements had been made to accommodate my allergies everything flowed easily. The head server came over and confirmed my allergies and special diet and hand delivered each course. All of the meals were gluten and nut-free and then several of us had the vegan meal option which was well put together and included dairy-free mushroom soup as an appetiser and berries for dessert.

Bravuria - between Kiasma art gallery and Kamppi shopping centre on Salomonkatu - It's a pizza-pasta-salad place where you order your items at the counter and they make it fresh in front of you. That being the case, I could ask about ingredients fairly easily to the person who actually made my meal. The tomato sauce couldn't be guaranteed nut-free (possible pine nut traces) and they were able to make me a delicious salad with grapefruit and salsa verde from the menu. The staff were knowledgeable about allergies and asked the chef if they were uncertain. They were also able to accommodate my fellow diners with shellfish and garlic allergies, and we all ate well that evening.

Air Canada - Nothing against the airline, but even though I had my allergies flagged on the ticket I don't think the flight attendants cared too much. I saw them eating a bag of mixed tree nuts in the back and then touching the pitcher they were using to pour water during beverage service. (grabbing it from the top so their fingers were touching the inside of the pitcher) Needless to say, once I saw that I stuck to juice and only had water when I could see them pouring it straight from the 2L bottle into my glass. You can say the incident freaked me out for the rest of the flights on this trip.

Overall - I'm not happy about the mystery reaction but having had several of them in my past, I'm not worried about it (I'll still mention it to my GP) and would still recommend the Bridges restaurant based on the allergy knowledge of the staff and how they handled my quizzing them after my reaction. The Air Canada thing had me much more frazzled.

Finland - The allergy awareness in the people I met seems to be at a similar level as it is at home. I cannot comment on warnings on food labels or how reliable they are (I only bought fresh items). Most people speak good English and have genuine concern for health and safety and understand the danger of allergies. Many of the people I met (from across Europe) know someone who has an allergy of some kind, either child or adult. Even the Russian I met on the flight from Frankfurt to Helsinki had a fish allergy.

Well, hopefully that report will be useful to someone. I'm still a very nervous person when it comes to dining in restaurants at home or elsewhere. I felt pretty confident in the places I went and if I return to Helsinki I would go to those places again.

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:05 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
spacecanada wrote:


Air Canada - Nothing against the airline, but even though I had my allergies flagged on the ticket I don't think the flight attendants cared too much. I saw them eating a bag of mixed tree nuts in the back and then touching the pitcher they were using to pour water during beverage service. (grabbing it from the top so their fingers were touching the inside of the pitcher) Needless to say, once I saw that I stuck to juice and only had water when I could see them pouring it straight from the 2L bottle into my glass. You can say the incident freaked me out for the rest of the flights on this trip.


Just wondering if you submitted a complaint to Air Canada about this. This is more than just an allergy issue. Fingers in pitchers, glasses, etc is not hygienic.

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 411
I didn't initially, but after reading your comment, I just did. I didn't think that a complaint after the fact was possible, as I was too afraid and shy to confront the flight attendant in person. I submitted an e-mail comment under the 'Passengers with Disabilities' section. I'm not one to complain, but as you said this is a hygiene infraction as well. Not just some whacko with allergies nitpicking everything. We'll see if they respond. Thank you.

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
spacecanada wrote:
I didn't initially, but after reading your comment, I just did. I didn't think that a complaint after the fact was possible, as I was too afraid and shy to confront the flight attendant in person. I submitted an e-mail comment under the 'Passengers with Disabilities' section. I'm not one to complain, but as you said this is a hygiene infraction as well. Not just some whacko with allergies nitpicking everything. We'll see if they respond. Thank you.

I wasn't one to complain either....maybe it's the Canadian part in us, eh? :huggy and it does get easier.....and like many have told me..."if you don't do it, who will?". :thumbsup

On the Finland trip...I watched a show once on the people there (many years ago) and it was said they are not a very smiley bunch, but.....we have a long time family member who is very smiley and happy and knows so many jokes....so I've always wondered about that show. What did you see?

I'm glad you had a good trip!

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 411
The Finnish people I met were all very friendly, welcoming, and fun. We even met some famous young Finnish hip hop musicians!

Finnish people value their personal space and privacy a lot more than other cultures. All of the Scandinavian countries seem to be like that. That being said, if you don't know someone, it is very uncommon to talk to a stranger about anything; almost considered rude. That is, unless you are a tourist or need help - then they'll gladly give you directions or help you out. Otherwise, they pretty much keep to themselves. I suppose that could be misinterpreted as them being stiff, antisocial, or boring.

However, some exceptions are made. Whilst walking through a park, a gentleman approached us (I was with some Finnish Scouts) and wanted to say hello as he was a Scout as a boy and was happy to see the organisation still running, etc. The people I was with said that was odd and probably only happened because I was with them in a Canadian Guide uniform. (vs. At home in Alberta, people approach me all the time to ask me about Guides or tell me stories about when they were a Brownie, or whatever - that's normal here.)

And, turning the tables yet again, at a hockey game in Finland, people are very much like the people at hockey games here... boistrous, social, and excited. Not sure if there are fewer social customs/barriers at sporting events...

Overall, the people are wonderful once you get to know them. It's the getting to know them part that takes longer than it would elsewhere in Europe or North America.

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:27 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
spacecanada wrote:
I didn't initially, but after reading your comment, I just did. I didn't think that a complaint after the fact was possible, as I was too afraid and shy to confront the flight attendant in person. I submitted an e-mail comment under the 'Passengers with Disabilities' section. I'm not one to complain, but as you said this is a hygiene infraction as well. Not just some whacko with allergies nitpicking everything. We'll see if they respond. Thank you.


alberta advocate wrote:
I wasn't one to complain either....maybe it's the Canadian part in us, eh? :huggy and it does get easier.....and like many have told me..."if you don't do it, who will?". :thumbsup !


That's great, spacecanada. Keep us posted. And if you don't receive a reply, write again.

alberta advocate: That's ironic. As a Canadian in the UK, Brits think Canadians aren't afraid to complain. :D

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
Storm wrote:
alberta advocate: That's ironic. As a Canadian in the UK, Brits think Canadians aren't afraid to complain. :D
Oh yeah, I was getting complaining confused with polite...I guess maybe we complain but do it politely. :lol: or maybe we aren't that polite anymore either.

& spacecanada, please tell me the name of the band. I find that interesting. and also regarding scouts, guides etc.,have you seen these...
http://www.e-patchesandcrests.com/catal ... php?id=794 We found them last year over on this thread viewtopic.php?f=41&t=6356 .....ooooh, it will soon be time to decorate the house in teal again (I am keeping an eye out for teal christmas decorations this year ....you know...rethink em. Thinking about painting our cool old van teal too. That was a fun thread back there.

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 411
I know the owner of e-patches and crests - she sits on the same Girl Guide Area Council as I do! I'll have to tell her that the allergy crests have some fans. Maybe I'll order some for our unit this year, since we have so many people with allergies and will be learning about EpiPens and anaphylaxis at our sleepover next weekend. :)

I don't recall the name of the band - I'll have to do some investigating. I know their newest video already had 75 000+ views on YouTube.

I heard back from Air Canada. Apparently the travel agent didn't add an allergy flag to my ticket despite the fact I asked her to at least three times. (It wasn't my usual travel agent.) I did mention it to the flight attendants at boarding though. They will be forwarding my report to their inflight services department to review. I guess there's not much else they can do, really. Just make them aware of what happened.

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Going to Finland
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
spacecanada wrote:
I heard back from Air Canada. Apparently the travel agent didn't add an allergy flag to my ticket despite the fact I asked her to at least three times. (It wasn't my usual travel agent.) I did mention it to the flight attendants at boarding though. They will be forwarding my report to their inflight services department to review. I guess there's not much else they can do, really. Just make them aware of what happened.


Well, that's confusing. I understood with their new policy regarding buffer zones etc that we could no longer request that an allergy flag/note be added to our reservation, unless we specifically wished to fill out the medical form (which is optional and ONLY if we wish to request a buffer zone). And the last time I tried to flag son's allergy (before the buffer zones/medical forms came into effect) I was told flat out I couldn't do it. Now Air Canada is using that very excuse to avoid addressing the issue.

Gosh they are frustrating! :banghead

See my posts on pages 5 and 6:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4188&start=60

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:27 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 411
The new Air Canada guidelines are confusing. I didn't ask for a buffer zone, although perhaps I should have... I think they offered pecan ice cream on the transatlantic flight. (I wasn't paying much attention to the food served by then... but I'm fairly certain I heard the words 'would you like pecan or vanilla ice cream')

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 4 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group