Growing up as a sister with severe food allergies, my allergy-free vacation diary from when I was a child is eye-opening, considering the alternatives available now.
My sister had a variety of severe food allergies. Dealing with food allergies in Israel, the land of sesame, nuts… and zero awareness of allergies, was not easy.
I remember scanning parties before my sister would enter to make sure there was no Bamba, the local snack made from peanuts, that could be deadly for my younger sister, who had an airborne peanut allergy.
I remember our first - and only - family vacation as a child.
My mother had been planning for months. You would think we were going to an exotic and beautiful place and that she would be preparing all our bathing suits, passports, and special travel plans.
But that was not the case. She was mainly planning what and where we could eat. Writing long lists of food and products so she could cook while we were on vacation. Hotels were out of the question, as were restaurants. We would be renting a vacation home with a kitchen. In the days leading up
to the vacation, my mother spent hours in the kitchen, baking to have snacks on the trip that were safe for my sister.
I also remember her panicking because she forgot to book an appointment with my sister's doctor to get an extra EpiPen and other allergy medication for the trip.
We only drove two hours away from home in case we needed to get to an emergency room. We ate all meals in the vacation rental, and my mother spent most of the vacation cooking, except for two evenings when my father barbecued dinner for us so she could have a break.
In the eyes of the 10-year-old that I was, the vacation was great. But I remember the days after we came back: My mother was exhausted, and I remember overhearing her saying to my father that the next time we should stay at home and go out for day trips because the stress was not worth it. And that is what we did for the remainder of our childhood. We did not travel.
Today, as a mother, I understand the importance of a family vacation for the whole family's well-being, and nowadays, it is so important to build positive shared family memories. I also understand how important it is for a mother to relax and enjoy the family vacation without stressing out every time her child wants to eat.
While working at Food Allergy Concierge (FAC), I have met several families who have never gone on vacation due to one of the family members’ allergies. I am so proud to be part of a company that can provide stress-free vacations for the whole family. Mothers included!
-Bracha B. Zanbar, Client Services Manager, FAC.
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA
My family ordered a week's worth of food from Food Allergy Concierge during the most recent lockdown. Having the food on hand, and knowing that it was safe for everyone in the family to eat, helped turn the lockdown into a stay-cation! We were still able to take a break from cooking and worrying, and we look forward to using FAC's services again in the future.