How to be Nutfree

Food Allergy Awareness Week

May 13-19, 2018 is Food Allergy Awareness Week promoted by FARE, the Food Allergy Research & Education group that most medical personnel refer patients to.

FARE is a widely respected organization that helps people navigate the tricky topic of food allergies. From reading labels, to helping schools and other organizations, FARE is doing an amazing job shedding light on this issue.

And speaking of light, this year, they’ve teamed up with major building across America to turn them teal to

 

Image result for mitchell park domes turn tealraise awareness. Check out the Empire State Building above! How cool!

In my hometown, Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes will be teal the 13th-16th to help raise awareness. I’m so proud! To find out if your area has a teal building, click here.

 

May 19 is a date I will never forget. Ugg. Read about it here.  On May 19, we will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary of epi-pen freeness. Chloe has already picked the snack. If you’re a classmate, you’re in for a real treat 🙂

We’ll be wearing our teal proud this week – thank you for stopping by and for supporting nutfreemomblog.

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How to be Nutfree, Snacking, Travel

Dunkin’ Donuts & Nut Allergies Part III

20180419_094022.jpgAre Dunkin’ Donuts safe for people with peanut and tree nut allergies? Well, we went again, and we have PN and TN allergies and we were totally OK. I did do a little more research though and I wanted to share that here:

  1.  Dunkin Donuts only bakes SOME of their donuts in-house. The rest are shipped in from central bakeries. They started doing this in the 90’s to save money.
  2. Not all Dunkin Donuts are nut free, like the location I have been going to. For some reason, the past few months that we have gone, there are NO NUTS in this store. And they understand nut allergies 100% at this location. With the exception of hazelnut flavor for coffee, the entire location is nut free. At this location, the safest donut to get would be one that is made fresh at this nut free location.
  3. Dunkin’ Donuts has an allergy blanket statement that I found on their website. It’s just like every other statement we read on the back of food labels. They can’t guarantee, but if you let them know ahead of your order, they will try really hard to accommodate you.Screenshot_20180419-125248.png

Today we stopped at our nut free location in Madison, WI, off of Fish Hatchery Road and the Beltline Highway. I trust this location, and each time they tell me that the item we are eating has not been around nuts or has a risk of cross contact. So I feel OK with that.

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We are having a meeting at my daughters school coming up, and I thought what better way to thank parents for their time and generosity this school year than by having a donut wall from Dunkin to enjoy a cup of coffee and sweet treats?! Dunkin supplied extra boxes for us to make promotional signs for our upcoming meeting – and they’ll be supplying the donuts for us too.

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P.S. if you love Dunkin as much as we do, this donut pool toy is at the dollar store right now. $1 for some fun in the sun! I’ll take it.

Enjoy your week 🙂

How to be Nutfree, Mom Things, Snacking, Travel

Starbucks and Nut Allergies

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Starbucks is a common stop for us.  Grownups love it, kids love it and what is a better way to deal with YET MORE SNOW IN WISCONSIN than a nice warm cup of coffee or tea?! Literally, I have no words for April snow. I mean, COME ON!

When we were first diagnosed with nut allergies, we avoided Starbucks completely. However, that’s no way to live life {coffee deprived, are you KIDDING me?! Also known as Mean Mommy!}.

Once we figured out how to navigate the Starbucks menu a bit, we learned that our favorite treat was no longer completely off limits.

If you follow me in Instagram @nutfreemomblog, you’ve seen my posts about “how to Starbucks” – well today, I thought it deserved a blog post of its own since we just drove through.

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How to Starbucks {with a nut allergy}

  1. Choose a Starbucks that you can walk into
  2. Make sure you have your epi pen / benadryl JUST IN CASE {these should be with you already anyway}
  3. Have a conversation with the barista at non-peak hours regarding food allergies.
  4. Order a drink that is recommended safe by the barista.
  5. If you have almond allergies, this might be a little riskier for you, but soy milk is always an option. Cross contact can’t be 100% avoided, so just make sure you’re talking with the barista.
  6. For many peanut and tree nut allergy sufferers, almonds can be safe to eat. So anything made with or around almond milk, will not affect your nut allergies, which is the case for us. THANKFULLY!
  7. Many Starbucks locations have dedicated steam arms / handles for specific milks. This is the case for SOY MILK {most of the time} + again, talk with your barista.
  8. Our “go – to” safe drink for my daughter is the  kids size steamed vanilla soy milk.
  9. If you tell them it’s for a child, they will not steam the milk as hot as for an adult, the portion is also a lot smaller.
  10. Using the soy milk handle ensures that we probably wont come in contact with any nut based milk or coffee (hazelnut coffee does have trace amounts of actual hazelnuts, but the affect on allergies varies, obviously).
  11. Note that coconut is not a tree nut, but restaurants many times consider them to be.
  12. Our back up drink is always a milk box or juice box.
  13. Most of the food at Starbucks is NOT safe, especially the bakery items, and hot food items. However, if you are in a pinch and need a snack, they do offer some to-go items in the cafe, just check the labels as these snacks rotate frequently and we dont have  a go-to snack item there currently.
  14. If you have the SLIGHTEST doubt that your Starbucks just might not be fully understanding your food allergy or requests, DO NOT RISK IT and go with the 100% safe option, bottled water, milk box or juice. It’s not worth it.
  15. The bottled water and banana are also 100% safe and we’ve never {knock on wood} had an issue with the drinks or service at Starbucks after we tell them we need a nut-free drink 🙂

 

What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks? I have a few…

  1. Tall, non-fat chai tea latte
  2. Tall, skinny mocha latte
  3. Tall, cafe latte
  4. Tall, non-fat dirty chai tea latte (two shots of espresso)
  5. Cafe americano
  6. Passion fruit ice tea, light ice

 

Make sure you sign up for Starbucks rewards app on your phone to snag some free drinks! It’s worth it + kind of fun, too!

Is this the Mondayest Monday or what?! Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

Holiday Favorites, How to be Nutfree

Nut-Free Easter Candy at Target

Here’s a little sneak peepster into Easter! Last week, I stopped at our local Target in Madison/Fitchburg. Here’s what they have in the seasonal section that is nut-free:

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  • Fun Dip
  • Nerds Ropes
  • Skittles
  • Cheese-Its
  • Trolli
  • War Heads
  • Pez
  • Peeps in original packaging
  • Whoppers / Robbins Eggs
  • Smarties
  • Charms cotton candy / bunny tails
  • Hershey Kisses in the classic bag, not bulk bag (this is located in the non-seasonal section, near the regular candy / junk food aisle)

Be careful with the peeps. Easter Bunny majorly missed the labels last year and brought us the Peeps on the stick, those are not safe. They are made in a facility with tree nuts and peanuts. But some of the other Peeps ARE safe. I thought the cute stuffed animal peep with the marshmallow peeps below was super cute. But honestly, if we get one more stuffed animal…….

Easter Bunny tries not to give too much candy. Peeps are a big thing in our house though because Grandpa Joe REALLY likes them, and everyone knows it. So we have to have peeps. The kids LOVE peeps. Who doesn’t love a good stale marshmallow?! We may save some of our extra peeps this year for campfire season – how funny would that be?! Peep S’mores?! Delish.

Lastly, Easter Bunny typically stops at Vermont Nut Free since they have the most adorable chocolates for Easter. How good does this assorted chocolate egg look?! All of their chocolates are so amazing. We typically order from Vermont Nut Free for almost every holiday. Their shipping is very quick and the quality of their product is above and beyond. Their chocolate is very, very good.

Easter Egg Grand Assortment

Jelly beans can be challenging this time of year, we are just going to go with Vermont Nut Free on this one, too, since many are made in a facility with nuts. And after talking with the Jelly Belly Factory, Jelly Belly is peanut free, but not tree nut free. Their facility in Pleasant Prairie processes pistachios.

 

Dot Box Jelly Beans

Once we have a sample basket put together, I’ll post it to my Instagram for you to see 🙂 Happy Hunting!

How to be Nutfree, School Safe List

Thank You, Sun Butter!

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Today we received our Sun Butter box with lots of samples for our upcoming school event, the Spring Fling. We’re so excited to be able to share our favorite snack with all of our friends while also playing some fun Olympic style games! Tomorrow we’re practicing our Olympic games and I’ll post a YouTube video link here so you can see the fun stuff we are up to!

Thank you, Sun Butter, for supporting our school!

How to be Nutfree, Mom Things

Moroccan Oil Hairspray – Update

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Happy Holidays!

Each day I review nutfreemomblog statistics, and 9 times out of 10, someone has clicked or google searched my “Moroccan Oil” article about my daughter and her reaction to the Moroccan Oil hairspray last year. Today, I decided to do some investigating because I felt like my last write up was just a rant and did not prove to be useful.

This morning at 9am CST, I called Moroccan Oil corporate and talked with customer service. I asked the woman why Moroccan oil did not contain an allergy statement on their hair spray products, specifically stating “this product is derived from a tree nut.”

She said, “People with nut allergies should not be allergic to Moroccan oil products since it’s derived from a seed, not a nut.”

I continued to point out that their very own website states that:

Argan trees grow and tenaciously survive in semi-desert areas of the Mediterranean. The deep roots and small leaves of the argan tree allow it to resist arid winds and water loss, resulting in a nut with a unique oil profile.

Pure argan oil is a rare and precious oil that is harvested and extracted from the nut of the argan tree. For centuries, women across the Mediterranean have used argan oil in their beauty regimen for vibrant, healthy-looking skin and hair.

I asked again why there is no warning since most people do not know that an Argan Tree is a nut producing tree in the Mediterranean. With 35% of consumers having a nut allergy, I think it’s fair to say that people should at least be warned what is inside the products they are using and the reaction that could happen.  Aveda does this for consumers, why can’t Moroccan Oil?

The customer service person also told me that all allergy information is listed on the back of the bottles of their products. I disagreed. Unknown (non-layman) names of ingredients and chemicals are listed, but does not specifically list out Almond, Argon Nut, etc.

What I do know is that my nut allergic daughter had a specific reaction to this product. Our home is allergy free for her, and when I sprayed her hair for her 6th birthday with perfect ringlets last January, she broke out in a rash around her mouth, neck and cheeks. After washing her hair, he rash and redness went away. Direct correlation.

This product caused her to have a reaction and I wonder if others are having the same reaction or wondering if they are allergic to this product, thus the number of hits my specific blog post has been receiving. There is no other information available for this product.

These types of cosmetics are not FDA Approved, either.

FDA Authority Over Cosmetics: How Cosmetics Are Not FDA-Approved, but Are FDA-Regulated

The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market, but there are laws and regulations that apply to cosmetics on the market in interstate commerce.

The two most important laws pertaining to cosmetics marketed in the United States are the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). FDA regulates cosmetics under the authority of these laws.

In the United States, federal laws are enacted by Congress. In order to make the laws work on a day-to-day level, Congress authorizes certain government agencies. such as FDA, to create regulations. A change in FDA’s legal authority over cosmetics would require Congress to change the law.

The FDA does not approve labeling either. Click the link below to see what the FDA does NOT do for the cosmetic industry.

Does FDA pre-approve cosmetic product labeling?

No. FDA does not have the resources or authority under the law for pre-market approval of cosmetic product labeling. It is the manufacturer’s and/or distributor’s responsibility to ensure that products are labeled properly. Failure to comply with labeling requirements may result in a misbranded product.

I’m working on sending an email to show how many hits my blog has received from readers looking for more information on the allergies in the Moroccan Oil hair products. Once I receive a response, I will post it here, with a link from the home page.

Thanks for stopping by. And for the record, I really do like Moroccan Oil hair products. I think they do great things and the smell is incredible. We just cant use them, and I want them to add an allergy statement to their products so people with allergies can make informed decisions.

How to be Nutfree, Mom Things, Travel

FABlogCon 2017

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If you love Denver as much as I do, and you have food allergies, or know someone with food allergies, this conference is for you!! Just check out this three day agenda:

FABlogcon 2017

This year’s food allergy bloggers conference has quite the line up – and it’s located in beautiful Stapleton, CO, easy to get to from the airport via rail.

Don’t forget to put out your teal pumpkin this year!

 

xoxo