Friday, March 30, 2007


The allergic diner has another restaurant chain that gives you their allergen info, McDonald's. In response to the latest health craze, McDonalds has updated their website. Check it out for yourself and learn the ingredients of what you're eating (I recently learned that their grilled chicken classic sandwich is allergy-proof for me!)
As always, thanks for reading. I'll be back with another ingredient info posting soon.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Well, TAD readers, I was just tipped off to the fact that many restaurants are now making their allergy information available online, so you can research before you go. I'll try to post as many as I can find, but let's use chili's restaurant as a starting point.
Click on "menu" on the top, and in the green circle on the right hand side click on "allergen information." This will tell you what entrees they have that are safe for specific allergy types, and included are directions on how to change their menu items to make them allergy-proof for you to eat as well.
Way to go Chili's! Thank you on behalf of allergic consumers everywhere!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Flying as an allergic consumer. The review does exist!

The Allergic Diner and her Allergic Mother recently booked a vacation together. Though it was quite easy, thanks to the internet, to find out about restaurants in the area we were going to visit, I got to thinking about flight travel for allergic consumers. We've all read the articles about passengers with peanut allergies so severe that the whole plane cannot have peanuts. I got to wondering if somewhere there would be a review of allergy-friendly airlines.
The good people at the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network have our best interests at heart. The following was taken from their webpage at . Enjoy!


Flying With a Peanut Allergy
Individuals with peanut allergy often worry about reactions occurring on board commercial flights. A published study showed that severe, or anaphylactic, reactions caused by peanuts occurred on such flights from ingestion of peanut-containing food. Other reactions from exposure via skin contact or inhalation were generally less severe.

Many peanut-allergic individuals have safely flown without incident. It is always important, however, to exercise caution while flying and to have emergency medication available. Airlines are required to have epinephrine as part of their emergency medical kits, but flight attendants may not be properly trained to administer the medicine to a passenger. Generally, the flight crew will ask if there is a doctor or other type of medical professional on board the flight who would be willing to respond to the passenger’s needs.

FAAN recommends that you talk with your physician, and assess the risks involved in your specific case. Below are current policies, tips, and strategies to help you take reasonable precautions, and enjoy your trip.

Current Airline Policies Regarding Peanut Snacks

To avoid possible inhalation or skin contact reactions due to large numbers of people opening their peanut snacks, most peanut-allergic passengers are well-advised to fly on one of the following airlines that don’t serve peanut snacks: American, United, Northwest, Jet Blue, Spirit, AirTrans , US Airways, America West and ATA.

Continental continues to serve peanuts and makes no accommodations for peanut-allergic passengers. Delta and its related carrier, Delta Shuttle, now serve a choice of five snacks, including a peanut snack on many of their flights. Delta Connection serves some of those choices, but passengers cannot find out in advance which ones will be served. Delta also provides a peanut-free buffer zone. Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air serves peanuts but, according to its Web site, will also provide peanut-free buffer zones.

Southwest, long noted for its peanut-related advertising, “will make every attempt not to serve packaged peanuts” upon request. The longer the lead time you give an airline, the more likely that it will be able to honor any special requests.

The international carriers that do not serve peanut snacks include Aer Lingus, Al Italia, and British Air.

Flying With a Tree Nut Allergy

FAAN receives many questions from those allergic to tree nuts. The most common question is which airlines don’t serve tree nuts? AirTran is the only airline that doesn’t serve tree nuts at any time. Some airlines only serve them in first class (United), others in snacks sold on board (Northwest), and still others only at certain times of the year (Jet Blue). To find out for sure, ask the customer service representative who books your ticket.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gas & a fertility lecture to boot....

I will start this off as a traditional TAD posting, by recommending to you a type of bread found at WholeFoods (the place where all allergic consumers can find SOMETHING). WholeFoods carries a line of breads from the Vermont Bread Company. Their oat bread is phenomenal! It is dairy-free, fat-free and 70 calories per slice. I can stick to my healthy eating quest and advise my allergic consumers all at the same time. It has a slightly sweet taste and the consistency of wheat bread. I highly recommend it for all those suffering from a dairy allergy.
But today I am going to part from my usual ways. I have already reviewed something for the allergic consumer, but I have another review, that of a gas company. This whole story is true.
Valero is one of the gas stations that is close to where I work. This morning, on my break, I went to have the car filled up with gas. Simple errand. What could possibly go wrong?
The gentleman who fills my tank noticed my rings and said "a married woman, are you on a break?" (i assumed he met from work and not in the Ross and Rachel sense). So I replied, "yes, I have a few minutes before I have to be back." His response was "How many children do you have?"
Ok, so now I am weighing my odds as to what happens here. Does he mean that I am on break from watching my children as they are quite obviously not in the car? Does he simply want an opportunity to tell me that I should have children? What do I say?
"2." Two, apparently, is what I say. I will defend my lie here by saying that I figured it would end the conversation, because he has already commented on my ring, and who would continue to pester a married woman with children? (hahaha. Joke's on me).
Only two? He asks. Yes, I say.Then - "Why only two?"
I'm sorry, is this a joke? Is the man pumping my gas really going to ask me about the innerworkings of my marriage? Should my lie have been a larger number?
So I said very simply, "i'm sorry?" (as in, why are you asking that, perhaps i misheard) and he says, "You are not too old (gee, thanks?). You are granted reproductive organs for a reason. Women are quite powerful and it is your duty to have more children. One day you will not be able to, you know (apparently he thinks I missed that day in 7th grade Health). There is no more beautiful thing than a woman with child. Your children must be young. You need to have more."
At this point an individual with half a brain would reply "i'm not sure that's any of your business." I don't like being rude for the sake of being rude (regardless of how much this person deserved it). My response was a simple, "thank you." As I go to pull away he came back to my window and said "you really should think about it, i'm sure your children are beautiful, you should have more beautiful children. Is there anything holding you back? Do you have someone who can help you watch them all?"
All i can think at this point is, "Is he offering to watch the fake children?" and "What just happened here??"....and I politely replied that I have to go now, and thank you.
Just out of curiousity, since when does a total stranger comment on a woman's reproductive system?? Unbelievable! Valero should advertise gas and fertility lectures and see what happens. Next time, I'm taking my business to B.P.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Reviews and a tip on fruit

To sum up: Saladworks, bad.
That's about it folks. After another discomforting run-in with a sighing employee (how dare i ask her to remove the tomato she accidentally mixed in my salad?) I have decided to leave salad dressing at work and simply bring my own salad. Not only is it cheaper, it's far less worrisome.
On a lighter note, applause yet again to both Saladworks and Quizno's for preparing hoagies to consumer specifications. They are also more than happy to change their gloves if you ask.
And yes, while I realize your allergic diner doesn't usually post on Saturdays, I learned something while at the supermarket this morning that I wanted to share. Fresh fruit and vegetables are often coated in beeswax to preserve them in the supermarket aisle for days until they are purchased. While supermarkets are supposed to disclose this, not all do, but they are more than happy to answer truthfully if you ask. Anyhow, when in doubt, please wash your fruit and veggies before eating!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Vegas-safe eating

The allergic diner was sent the following by a non-allergic friend in Las Vegas. This article appeared on a "Vegas Question of the Day" Website. Thought it might be helpful to allergic families/consumers considering travel out there...

I have recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, which means that I
must follow a gluten-free diet (no wheat). My husband and I will be
vacationing in Las Vegas this year and I was wondering if there are any
restaurants in the area that offer gluten-free items.


We confess that we weren't entirely sure what celiac disease was or
what its full implications were dietary-wise, so we did some research and
here's what we found.
Turns out celiac disease is one of the most under-diagnosed common
diseases in the U.S., affecting at least one in every 133 people. It's a
congenital and chronic disease that basically consists of a permanent
intolerance to a component of wheat protein and related alcohol-soluble
proteins (called prolamines) found in rye and barley. In genetically
susceptible individuals who eat these proteins, the condition leads to an
autoimmune disease, whereby the body's immune system starts attacking
normal tissue and continues as long as these foods remain in the diet.
Symptoms of the disease typically can include anemia, diarrhea, lactose
intolerance, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and osteoporosis.

Having either a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance doesn't necessarily
mean you have celiac disease, but both still require a gluten-free diet
to avoid nasty side-effects, such as rashes, gassiness, wheezing,
abdominal pains, and worse.

The under-diagnosis and lack of common knowledge about all these
conditions have made dining out a difficult and often hazardous activity for
those with an intolerance to gluten. While researching this answer, we
came across a horror story from a sufferer whose honeymoon was ruined
by eating a (gourmet) Las Vegas restaurant meal that he was assured was
gluten-free, but wasn't at all and rendered him sick for days. He
recounted all kinds of other tales of fish absent-mindedly coated in flour,
barley lurking in the bottom of bowls of soup, and non-gluten-free
seasoning on steak.

Having experienced such trouble communicating the seriousness of his
dietary requirements to various kitchens, this sufferer has produced a
series of information cards, in numerous languages, that you can give to
your server to pass to the chef, explaining exactly what you can't eat.
The cards are free to anyone to print, but if possible, he asks that
you make a small donation ($5), just to cover the costs of running his
site. If you'd like to print yourself off some of these cards, visit

As covered in a previous QoD (09/13/2006), Las Vegas is not especially
vegetarian-friendly, so we weren't too hopeful of finding gluten-free
dining spots. However, it's getting better, and we were pleasantly
surprised with what we found -- with the help of the Las Vegas Celiac
Support Group. The following is what we hope is a useful list.

Fleming's Steakhouse (8721 W. Charleston Blvd., 702/838-4774): This
national chain of steakhouses offers a full (two-page) gluten-free menu
prepared by registered dieticians, with advice on how to amend regular
menu dishes to make them gluten-free. For example, appetizers include
tenderloin carpaccio (order without croutons), shrimp and lobster (order
as is), and seared ahi tuna (order without spicy mustard -- substitute
with caper Creole mustard). All salad dressings are gluten-free; just
make sure you ask to have yours mixed in a clean bowl. All the meat and
seafood entrées are safe to order, with the exception of the beef
Flemington and the almond-cilantro-crusted shrimp, plus there are loads of
sides to choose from and several deserts. (Note: The kitchen is not
gluten-free, so be sure to inform your server that you're ordering
gluten-free, so they can do their utmost to avoid cross-contamination.)

Celebrity-chef Wolfgang Puck's Las Vegas restaurants are a good bet for
celiacs. Chinois (Forum Shops at Caesars) has a gluten-free menu and a
knowledgeable staff and Spago (also in the Forum Shops) can also
accommodate celiacs -- just inform your hostess and your server when you
arrive. Postrio in the Canal Shoppes at the Venetian will happily cater to
your diet, provided you give them 24-hours notice, and Trattoria del
Lupo at Mandalay Bay assured us that they could customize their menu to
accommodate you. Similarly, the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at MGM Grand
checked with the chef and confirmed that they can also cater to celiacs,
provided you identify yourself as such to your server upon arrival.

PF Chang's China Bistro: With four locations in Las Vegas/Henderson,
including one in the Aladdin/Planet Hollywood and another by the Hard
Rock on Paradise, this is another good option for those on a gluten-free
diet. Chang's offers a customized menu of suitable dishes, including
chicken in lettuce wraps, shrimp with lobster sauce, Chang's lemon
scallops, wild Alaskan sockeye salmon steamed with ginger, moo goo gai pan,
stir-fried spinach with garlic, Buddha's Feast (mixed steamed
vegetables), and Singapore street noodles (shrimp, chicken and rice noodles
stir-fried in a special gluten-free sauce), plus a flourless chocolate dome
for dessert.

Owned by the same company as PF Chang's, Pei Wei Asian Diner is another
good choice for anyone suffering from gluten intolerance. They have a
specialized menu, available for lunch, dinner, and take-out, including
dishes such as Vietnamese chicken salad rolls (order without the Thai
peanut sauce) and Pei Wei sweet and sour (choice of non-battered chicken,
shrimp, or scallops). There are currently two locations in Las Vegas
and two in Henderson. Visit their Web site here for details of addresses
and phone numbers.

Outback Steakhouse is another big chain with branches across town that
offers a full and extensive gluten-free menu. Choose from appetizers
including coral-reef crab dip, grilled shrimp, and seared ahi tuna, with
a wealth of entrées including numerous steaks, grilled and/or barbecued
lamb, chicken, pork, fish, and seafood dishes, burgers and sandwiches
(either ask for no bread, or call in advance and ask if they'll permit
you to bring your own gluten-free bread and build your own at the
table.) Click here for a full list of locations and phone numbers.

Chili's offers a suggested menu for those with gluten/wheat allergies.
Their menu carries a disclaimer, explaining that their normal kitchen
operations involve shared cooking/prep areas and common fryer oil, so
they can't guarantee that your order won't come into contact with wheat
or gluten products and recommend that you avoid all of their fried
foods. Items on their special menu include bunless burgers, steaks, baked
potato soup, baby back ribs, Guiltless salmon, grilled margarita chicken
(hold the tortilla chips), salads, sides, and chocolate shake dessert
(ask the manager if it's prepared in a dedicated mixer). Click here for
a list of all their Las Vegas locations.

Maggiano's Little Italy in the Fashion Show Mall (featured in a past
LVA for its great happy-hour appetizer play) will happily accommodate
those with wheat/gluten allergies/intolerance with their gluten-free
pasta. You must speak to the chef in person prior ordering so you can make
him aware of all your dietary needs -- it probably wouldn't hurt to call
in advance and give them a heads-up. 702/732-2550.

Another Italian option is Carraba's Italian Grill, which, in
cooperation with the Gluten Intolerance Group, is now providing a gluten-free
menu, including antipasti, soups, salads, chicken and beef dishes, and
dessert. Locations are in Summerlin at 8771 W. Charleston Blvd.,
(702/304-2345) and Henderson at 10160 South Eastern Ave. (702/990-0650).
We're sure this is far from an exhaustive list and we'd love to hear
from anyone who's discovered other gluten-free-friendly restaurants in
town, but we hope this will at least prevent any celiacs from starving
during their Vegas vacation.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Chicken and Mushrooms in Garlic White Wine Sauce

I know, I's been awhile. I apologize. Work is keeping me very busy these days!

Here's a recipe from one of my favorite cooking magazines, Cooking Light. It's dairy-free and it tastes like it was made in an italian restaurant. I will note my specifications at the bottom.

4 ounces uncooked medium egg noodles
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
2 Tblsp. olive oil, divided
1 Tblsp. bottled minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
1 package presliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 - Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm.
2 - Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Combine 1 Tblsp. flour, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper, stirring well with a whisk. Sprinkle mixture over the chicken and toss to coat.
3 - Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; saute 4 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add remaining 1 Tblsp. oil to pan. Add garlic, tarragon, and mushrooms to pan; saute for 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms darken. Add white wine to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 Tblsp. of flour; cook 1 min stirring constantly. Stir in broth, remaining salt, remaining pepper, cook 1 min or until slightly thick, stirring frequently.
4 - Return chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer 2 minutes. Uncover; cook 1 min or until chicken is done. Stir in noodles; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Place about 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture on each of 4 plates and top each serving with 1 Tblsp. cheese
Yield -- 4 servings

TAD recommends: Swap the egg noodles for 6-8 ounces of angel hair pasta. Omit the tarragon. Omit the oil and use extra broth to saute the chicken (so much healthier for you!) Add 1 tablespoon of garlic to the recommended 1 tablespoon in the recipe(we like garlic). Enjoy!!