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Food Allergy Concierge Blog

Barbecues and Food Allergies

As we head into Memorial Day and summer, barbecues replace traditional home cooked meals — and present a challenge for those of us with food allergies. Buffet style service, lots of foods being cooked on one grill and the abundance of sauces are all possible dangers. If you’re invited to a barbecue, here are the steps you can take to stay safe. Discuss Your Food Allergies with Your Host Let your host know about your food allergies. Ask them to clean their grill thoroughly before beginning to cook and to provide you with aluminum foil, so you can wrap up your...
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Can Early Exposure Prevent Peanut Allergies?

Conventional wisdom has long held that if a child is at risk for peanut allergies, it’s best to delay exposure as long as possible. But in recent years, research has shown that early exposure is key to preventing allergies to peanuts. In 2017, guidelines in the United States and the UK stated that it’s best to introduce allergens like peanuts around the time that children begin to eat solid food, usually between 4 and 6 months. Children who are at risk for allergies should undergo a blood or prick test before introducing peanuts. An Israeli Snack Called Bamba The revolution in...
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Allergy Bracelets Can Save Lives

Have you seen allergy bracelets for sale and wondered whether they were really necessary? For people with slight allergies which are just an annoyance, allergy bracelets are not a necessity, but for those who can go into anaphylactic shock from exposure to an allergen, an allergy bracelet can be life-saving. Young Children Can’t Advocate for Themselves Allergy bracelets are especially helpful for children who are too young to tell others what they can and can’t eat. Even verbal kids may not know to ask about ingredients in a food they don’t recognize or to realize that the pizza Mom serves them...
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5 Ways to Choose a Destination for an Allergy-Free Vacation

When you’re traveling with family members who have food allergies, a successful allergy-free vacation is dependent on many factors, including the destination you choose. Obviously, many considerations go into choosing a vacation destination, such as budget and interests, but you will also want to choose a location where it’s easier to stay allergy-safe. Start with these questions: What language do they speak? Wherever you are served food, you need to be able to communicate effectively about your family’s food allergies and explain about cross-contact, if relevant. It’s easiest if you are in a country where the native language is the same...
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Can My Allergic Son Attend Summer Camp?

Dear Food Allergy Concierge, One of the parenting questions which has been bothering me for some time is, can my allergic son attend summer camp? My son is allergic dairy, gluten and tree nuts, including cross-contact. My friends’ children all attend day camp and some of the older ones are even going to sleepaway camp, but I am anxious just thinking about it. School is difficult enough! What’s your advice? Emily Dear Emily, Our best advice is to trust your instincts. Just as you know when you go to a restaurant or hotel whether the staff really understands food allergies and...
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What Hotels Need to Know about Serving Customers with Food Allergies

Serving customers with food allergies is more than just ensuring that food is allergy-safe. That’s the most important thing, of course, and we recently posted about how to explain food allergies to hotel kitchen staff. But guests don’t just want to be safe, they want to feel safe. We asked our Facebook community what makes them feel confident and cared for, and here are some of the answers: I like to hear from either the chef or kitchen manager that there a a few specific people who "take over" when there are food allergy concerns. Hotels often have frequent turnover of...
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Stock Up on Gluten-Free Products This Week in the Passover Aisle

If your family’s allergies require that you use gluten-free products, you’ll be glad to know that there are many gluten-free grocery items available in supermarkets in the weeks leading up to Passover. Passover is a Jewish holiday during which observant Jews refrain from eating leavened food made from wheat, barley, oats, rye or spelt. Kosher for Passover food can contain these grains as long as they have not been allowed to rise. The main Passover food, matzah, is made from flour and water and is obviously not gluten-free. But in order to simplify food production, many companies are now producing gluten-free...
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What Hotels Need to Know about Food Allergies

Always wanted to stay at a hotel but worried that your food allergies make it impossible? When you go to a hotel you’ve never stayed at before, you have to explain to them about allergies so they can understand how and why you need to be accommodated. These are the top three things that kitchen staff at hotels need to know about food allergies. Allergies Can Be Life-Threatening There’s a big range of allergies, from sensitivity to life-threatening. Sensitivity means that a person will suffer from symptoms which interfere with his quality of life, such as digestive problems, migraines and sleeplessness....
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Why Dining Out Matters - Even When You Have Food Allergies

So many clients have told us that their family’s food allergies make it so difficult to go out to eat, that they’ve basically given up on it. But we can hear in their voices how much this bothers them and how much they yearn to dine out like other families do. The reason that we work so hard to allow families to eat at restaurants is because we believe that an occasional meal out is essential. Here’s why we think dining out matters: Feeling Like a Normal Family Dealing with allergies can sometimes take over your family life and make your...
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Do Food Allergies Cause Social Isolation?

In our work providing services for families dealing with food allergies, we often hear from children that they experience social isolation. One young client told us that she eats lunch every day at school at a special allergy table and is only allowed to choose two friends to sit with her. This makes it hard to make new friends or get closer to existing friends. A small study conducted by professors at the University of Waterloo revealed that allergies can have significant social implications for children. The kids reported sitting separately at school lunch, not being invited to birthday parties and...
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Our 5 Favorite Online Resources for Food Allergy Support

If you’re raising a child with life-threatening allergies, you are not alone - there is a lot of food allergy support available online. It can be hard to wade through all the information to find the most reliable and helpful online resources, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Here are our 5 favorite resources: Kids with Food Allergies The Kids with Food Allergies website is a project of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It has a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions, lots of great recipes and useful free guides. It also offers a free online course...
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Behind the Scenes of Food Allergy Concierge

By Bracha Zanbar, Client Services Manager, Food Allergy Concierge One of my jobs at Food Allergy Concierge is to ensure that the restaurants our clients eat at are allergy-safe. This involves a lot of hard work and the full cooperation of the restaurant staff. Usually I have nothing but praise for the hardworking staff who do everything they can to collaborate with me so our clients can enjoy a relaxing allergy-free meal. Unfortunately, sometimes restaurant staff doesn’t really understand what it means to cook an allergy-free dish. They are convinced that if they just leave the allergens out, that would be sufficient. They...
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Do You Need a Vacation from Your Vacation?

If your vacation is stressful and hectic, you are likely to need a vacation from your vacation. This happened to one of our clients recently. Susan wrote us this letter: Dear Food Allergy Concierge, I am writing to you because you are my last chance at getting a real vacation. Last year, we traveled to Italy on a family vacation with our son who is allergic to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame. We knew we wouldn’t be able to eat in most restaurants, so we rented an apartment with a full kitchen. I swear I spent the first day just...
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I Never Realized How Challenging Allergies Can Be – Until this Week

By Bracha Zan Bar, Client Services Manager, Food Allergy Concierge As a child, I never realized how challenging allergies can be for the allergic child's mom. My mom never complained about not going out or about being afraid every time my sister took a bite of anything or every time she left the house. I remember my mom always cooking, and not wanting to eat out at friends' houses on weekends, always hosting, but in my eyes as a child, I never felt that she was frustrated. The allergies were there. And my mom just dealt with them. She never dared...
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Bringing a Sesame Allergy to Israel - Can It Be Done?

It’s not easy to deal with a sesame allergy in Israel. There are two reasons for this: There’s no awareness of sesame allergies in Israel. Sesame and sesame traces can be found in all kinds of foods you would not expect them to be in. It is a known fact that Israeli factories don’t clean their machines when they grind spices, so there can be traces of sesame in all spices, including paprika and pepper. Many candies contain sesame and all bread crumbs contain either sesame or traces of sesame. Deep fryers are often used to fry schnitzel (breaded chicken breast),...
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Survival Guide to Flying with an Allergic Child

We get a lot of questions about flying with an allergic child, because it's one of the most challenging aspects of travel. The confined space of an airplane combined with the restrictions on bringing liquids aboard make flying with allergies almost a military operation! We even know some families who don't take vacations that require a flight for fear of an allergic attack on board. But imagine a world in which you can't visit family and friends who live far away and can't visit some of the most exciting destinations in the world. We're here to change that. Advance Planning A...
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The Food Allergy-Safe Restaurant: Unicorn or Reality?

Is a food allergy-safe restaurant a possibility? We recently heard from Julie about her frustration with eating out. She used to love going to restaurants with her husband Dan, but then they discovered that their daughter Sara had a severe food allergy to tree nuts. Suddenly, dining out was an anxiety provoking experienced. They had to check every single ingredient and make sure that restaurant staff understood which ingredients might have allergens and how dangerous cross-contact could be. They stopped going out altogether and Julie focused on learning to cook foods that Sara could eat safely. We hear stories like this...
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What Our Clients Say

Meticulous in their preparations

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

Comfortable, calm, and at ease

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!!!! 

CO, Canada
April 2016

Very Helpful

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.

Yasher Koach!
L.R., NY, NY

Delicious and Safe

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

Thank You

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

The Allergy Card was Extremely Helpful

"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

Our Latest Blogs

11 September 2019
About 11,000 students come from abroad to Israel each year to study in the Hold Land. Setting aside a year of their lives before commencing their higher-education, they come to spend time soaking in the culture and spiritual elements that only a coun...
04 September 2019
What is food allergy bullying?No child deserves to be bullied. Ever. However, you may be surprised to read this, but at the core- bullying is the same in every situation. The bully has a need to exercise power over the victim. The victim being bullie...
29 August 2019
What now?!?!?!Read PART 1 hereIf you’re thinking- look that is all well and nice but what should I do now- my child is leaving soon to college and I’m stuck!The first step to do is to sit down together with your child and construct a plan on how they...