Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mayo Clinic words of wisdom

A non-allergic friend of mine for Chicago passed this on when it came across her desk. The Mayo Clinic, by way of, has given strategies for eating out with food allergies. I have pasted some of it below. To view the article in full, please visit

Choosing a restaurant
Your best bet is to ask other people who have food allergies to recommend a good restaurant. Your allergist or dietitian might also have suggestions. You can also call ahead to restaurants to ask whether they can accommodate special requests.
Avoid restaurants that are most likely to cause problems for you such as:
Buffets. Foods in the buffet line are kept very close to each other. Oftentimes the serving utensils for one dish are used for another. Your allergens can easily spread from one dish to another.
Bakeries. Baked goods are often kept next to each other in large display cases. In such an enclosed environment, allergens can spread from one food to another. Also, tongs and utensils are often reused.
Restaurants that don't cook from scratch. Some restaurants don't make your meal from scratch. They assemble meals from pre-made entrees. It may not be an option to special-order meals at these restaurants. If you're not sure if a restaurant cooks from scratch, call ahead and ask.
Restaurants that pose obvious risks. Depending on your allergy, you can automatically cross some restaurants off your list. If you're allergic to shellfish, avoid seafood restaurants. The chances for cross-contamination are increased in these restaurants. If you're allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, avoid Asian restaurants - nuts are commonly used in Asian recipes.
Use good judgment when selecting a restaurant. Don't let temptation overrule your instincts.

Choosing an entree
Once you've decided on a restaurant, be equally as selective when choosing your entree. The key to a safe, allergy-free meal is to speak up early about your food allergy. You'll also want to:
Ask for advice. Let your server know right away about your food allergy by asking him or her for advice on what items on the menu are free of your allergen. If your server doesn't sound sure, ask to speak to a manager or chef. If planning allows, you can let the restaurant know about your food allergy before you arrive.
Ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to. Ask how the food is prepared. Ask about individual ingredients.
Order simple dishes. If you order a plain baked potato or steamed broccoli, you'll know what you're getting. Foods made of several ingredients present more of a mystery. Leave the gamble out of your meal by knowing exactly what you're getting.
Get your sauce on the side. Condiments provide excellent hiding places for allergens. You might not expect your gravy to contain peanuts or your Worcestershire sauce to contain fish. Avoid surprises by asking for your sauces and dressings on the side or pass on them altogether.
Some servers may not fully understand the seriousness of your food allergy. Speak up until you are confident that the food you ordered is safe from allergens.

I posted these parts because it gives a very important line: Don't let temptation overrule your instincts.
I couldn't have said it any better myself.
All for today,
Your allergic diner

1 comment:

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