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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:20 pm
Posts: 150
Location: Barrie Ontario Canada
I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to bring up the topic of allergies before Christmas family dinner. Every yr my family goes to my aunts for dinner. It is a pot luck and most of the family has a history of not understanding allergies even though our family has a long history of them. I have gathered a list of relatives I need to call but I don't know how to explain the issue of allergies. The past 2 Christmas's have ended with my family needing to leave early bc I was having a reaction (no epi, no official diagnosis at that time) after specifically asking my aunt which desserts contained nuts and being told one plate was nut free and other not. I have a feeling she made all the desserts at the same time therefore having crossing the no nuts with nuts... What do you say to relatives to help them understand? I have decided to bring my own dessert this yr but I am still concerned about the mixed nuts and all the hands in that then touching the food (the cooks tend to eat while they cook). Any ideas? I plan to call all of them in the next few weeks I just don't know what to say...

_________________
Sarah
Outgrew: Wheat, corn, egg, chicken, to name a few
Sensitive to Milk/Dairy products
Allergic to: Tree nuts, percocet, toradol, environmental allergies and chemical allergies
Migraines caused by scented products, barometric pressure


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:00 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1117
Good luck... On Allergic Living's Facebook page they recently linked to an article about Families and Allergies. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Allergic ... 6974884797 from Mon, Nov 21: http://blog.harvardvanguard.org/2011/11 ... allergies/

Information about cross contamination from a well known organization could help you out immensely as well as signs of anaphylaxis. Short and sweet usually works best but that is hard to find. At a minimum I would request no nuts be out. If we don't think the host "gets it" then we bring safe food - we always bring rolls and dessert; enough to share with everyone. We are there for the socializing as much as the food.


This is what I sent out to family before we visited but it definitely needs work! It led to discussions where I explained more. It also had a couple of older relatives realize that they weren't up for hosting us which we prefer over a risky meal.

(name) cannot eat any tree nuts or traces of tree nuts (e.g., label says May contain tree nuts).
*** if a product does not have May Contains on the label then she cannot eat it unless we know that the company would label if the product could contain allergens. There is no law regarding labelling for May Contains therefore absence of May Contain does not mean the product is safe.

Bakery products and desserts often have traces of tree nuts. She does not eat anything from a bakery unless it is packaged and labelled appropriately. Ice cream is rarely safe except for Chapman's nut-free line.

Tree Nuts

hazelnuts aka filberts (e.g., Nutella) brazil nuts
chestnuts pecans
almonds (e.g., marzipan) cashews
pine nuts aka pignolias (e.g., pesto) pistachio nuts
macadamia nuts walnuts

(name) can eat peanut butter. Peanuts in a jar are not safe because "may contain tree nuts".

With her allergies to __________________ she can be near the foods but can not touch or eat them.

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 400
That's a great notice/letter! I may be using that myself for those few relatives who still don't get it. Others understand it somewhat, but don't realise the full extent of may contains and packaged food labelling. They could all benefit from a reminder like this and some links to more information. Thanks, Walooet.

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


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 797
Location: Vancouver, BC
It sounds like despite trying to talk to your relatives and trying to figure out what foods are safe for you, it's hard to get accurate information if there is a lot of cross contamination in the kitchen where the food is being prepared.

I think what I would do in this situation is bring a few dishes and a dessert to share, and only eat what I have brought. I would serve myself first with clean utensils (you might need to also bring your own utensils and plate?) and not eat from them after others have serve themselves, as people can switch serving spoons and contaminate your dish.

If after talking to your relatives before the dinner, you feel confident some of them truly understand what is needed to be done to keep the food safe for you, then I would also eat what they have brought in the same manner (serve yourself first).

With my kids, we ask that there not be actual peanuts or tree nuts at the party, then bring a few dishes including dessert, and we also eat food that my mom has made, but we don't let them eat other dishes from other people who may not fully understand cross contamination.

Good luck!!!

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:06 am 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
Sarah, does your mother or father understand your allergies? I have found that it is best that the blood relative educate others so if this is your moms' sister, go through your mom. If it's your dads' brothers' wife, have your dad speak to his brother.

The bottom line is that this situation of eating their food is not safe for you. Until you can trust them, you will need to bring your own food.

_________________
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


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:49 am
Posts: 122
Location: USA
Alison's Mom wrote:
It sounds like despite trying to talk to your relatives and trying to figure out what foods are safe for you, it's hard to get accurate information if there is a lot of cross contamination in the kitchen where the food is being prepared.

I think what I would do in this situation is bring a few dishes and a dessert to share, and only eat what I have brought. I would serve myself first with clean utensils (you might need to also bring your own utensils and plate?) and not eat from them after others have serve themselves, as people can switch serving spoons and contaminate your dish.

Good luck!!!


As annoying as this is, this is exactly what I have to do. My father is not supportive at all and really doesn't care if I can eat anything or not. And my Aunt gave up. She thought soup would be easy and something I could eat. She didn't even bother finding out what veggies I can eat, so she put Broccoli and Onion in a Dairy soup. At the time, I might have been able to tolerate it if it didn't contain the onion. Now I can't because the Mustard Family turned anaphylatic. Only my sister can cook for me with any success. :abduct Yes, some days I feel like an alien. :rofl

_________________
Asthma, SHF, GF, EF, Allergic: Meat, Poultry, Laurel, Mustard, Gras, Mallow, Plantain, Flacourtia, Pine family; ETOH, Vinegars, CremeTartar, Cucumbrs, Fenugrk, Most of Lily, Myrtle, Parsley, Nightshade, Composite familys. Pomgrante, Litchi, Starfrt


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 129
I think the easiest and safest thing is always to supply your own food-people cant be expected to cater for us (esp with 'may contains;) and the non top 8 are very difficult to manage when dealing with it on a day to day basis let alone once a year. You can still have a great time and supply all your own food.

_________________
twin boys-
c-eosinophilic oesophagitis
j-avoids peanut, sunflower, pineapple all ana-sensitised to maccadaemia.pecan.Passed barley (previous ana) last year...out grew egg ana and peanut at 3 years..became re sensitised with ana at 6 years to peanut.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:17 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
We've written on relatives a lot in Allergic Living.

Would recommend reading this article:
http://allergicliving.com/index.php/201 ... food-feud/

and this one: http://allergicliving.com/index.php/201 ... ves-ahead/

Probably too late answering you for this year, but for potlucks, Allergic Living always counsels: bring your own dish and utensil. Take a good-sized helping out of that on a plate with a sticky on it with your name. Set that aside in the kitchen.

If you're certain a few of the other foods are also safe, then ask you aunt/hostess if she can give you a "head's up" when food serving is about to begin. Then you can get to the head of the line before she announces to the guests. This avoids utensil cross-contamination.

I also recommend our magazine for ongoing tips on these topics. These are big issues, so we do come at them every season from different scenarios - e.g. parties vs. potlucks vs. family gatherings.

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:20 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:20 pm
Posts: 150
Location: Barrie Ontario Canada
Thanks for the tips!
I would say the dinners went well. One dinner was at my parents place and it was just my aunt and her family and she is an emergency room nurse so she fully understood what could happen and everything she brought was safe for me and I felt comfortable with her word on that. The other dinner was at my aunts on my dad's side and that was the family I was most concerned about. I phoned everyone about a week ahead and spoke to them about reading labels and crossing of foods. My one aunt made a dessert plate just for me and I thought she understood what I could/couldn't eat but I guess not. She ended up putting peanut butter items on the plate and even though I am not allergic to peanuts I avoid them anyway and when I saw that I decided to discretely give the plate to my sister to eat and I ate my back-up desserts that I had in the car. I didn't tell my aunt at the time, I will have to talk to her another time about it. I didn't want to make a fuss in front of the family when I had already planned just in case. The good thing is this is the first Christmas in a long time that I have been reaction free!!! (I guess knowing what the food causing the reactions is and how to avoid it helps a lot!)
Thanks for all your help once again ;)

_________________
Sarah
Outgrew: Wheat, corn, egg, chicken, to name a few
Sensitive to Milk/Dairy products
Allergic to: Tree nuts, percocet, toradol, environmental allergies and chemical allergies
Migraines caused by scented products, barometric pressure


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