Man thrown off building for food allergies

Well, no not really.

Michael Spigler IS getting thrown off a building. The West Arlington hotel in VA, in fact.

But…it’s all for a good cause.

Spigler, a.k.a ‘Spigler Man’, volunteered to raise awareness for food allergies with the help of FARE in an event called ”Over The Edge”.

Over the Edge is pretty much fundraising with a fun twist. You sign up with FARE, pay the $50 registration fee, and raise at least $1,250 and you’re all set to get strapped up to the top of a building and go rappelling down to the bottom. Weeeeeeeeeeee!!!! (With the help of certified rappelling experts, of course.)

Spigler decided to register for this event after hearing the tragic story of Natalie Giorgi. Natalie was a 13-year-old girl who died crying in her parent’s arms as the result of severe peanut allergy.

Just in case you’re interested, FARE will be hosting these events nationwide. You can find more info here.

If swinging from the side of a tall building isn’t your cup of tea, donate to the cause here. If you’ll be in the Arlington, VA area on Nov. 19th, go see Spigler Man do his thing!

Way to go, Michael!

Chuck E Cheese’s: my experience with this food allergy-friendly restaurant

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This past weekend, I took my daughter to Chuck E Cheese’s for the first time. She’s 3-years-old so she was SUPER excited about it. To be honest, I was excited about it too! I haven’t been to Chuck E Cheese’s in…….20 years?! (Gosh, that sounds really weird) lol I knew she would have a blast playing the games and crawling through the tunnels and I was sure she’d get a kick out of meeting Chuck. (Is it weird that I always thought his name was Chuckie?) Anyways….

After a close friend of mine sent me a link to get coupons for our outing, I was really set on going. The only thing left to do? Check out the menu. I’ve found that it’s much easier to snag a menu and whatever allergen info either online or in-person prior to a family outing, rather than bombarding servers, cooks and managers with my concerns while they’re scrambling around taking orders. They’re busy and most of them have no idea what I’m taking about or what’s in the food, or how it’s cooked, or how serious my concern really is. Totally understandable. In my case, a server having to “guess” or have that “uh……..idk? i don’t think so. She’ll  probably be fine” sort of thing going on, it’s SO not okay with me . So, to save everyone’s sanity (mostly mine), I like to have everything planned out in reference to any allergens before I even leave the house.

That being said, I was very pleased with the allergy info on Chuck E Cheese’s website. Most restaurants make you jump through hoops to figure out what common allergens are in their food, even if they do have it posted online. Chuck E Cheese’s has an allergen finder option on their menu page that is user friendly in several ways.

  • It’s easy to find
  • You can customize your info based on what location you’ll be visiting
  • It’s downloadable (I saved mine for future reference. Also a good idea to take it with you.)
  • It lists each menu item and directly next to it, it lists all common allergens

Nice, right?

They even offer gluten-free pizza which I know is a huge deal for lots of families. So to sum my experience up, it was smooth sailing both before and during our visit. We ordered a small pizza and a small order of traditional buffalo wings. The price was reasonable. I spent about $20 and we ended up taking home a doggy bag. They bring your food to your table while you play so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing any play time. If you decide you just don’t want to eat their food or you’re attending a birthday party and need to bring your own cake or cupcakes? Not a problem.

Overall, I was very pleased with my experience at Chuck E Cheese’s from a food allergy family’s perspective. So my advice to you would be:

  1. Print the allergy menu
  2. Print the coupons
  3. Get your family in the car
  4. Kick back, and let the kids run wild. lol (FYI, they serve beer/wine at Chuck E Cheese’s 😉  I’m just sayin’ lol)

I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter Review

soynut butterSoyNut Butter is a HUGE deal in our home. Before my daughter was diagnosed with her peanut allergy, I had never heard of such a thing. Nowadays, I don’t think I could live without it. At our house, we call it ‘Soy Butter’ to avoid the confusion with the little one. It looks & spreads just like good ol’ pb, it smells slightly different but it tastes as close as you could possibly get to the real deal. Okay so, let’s cut to the chase. Is it worth buying or not? In my opinion, YES. I.M. Healthy’s SoyNut Butter is a must have for any nut-free environment.

Pros:

  • Easy to substitute for any recipe that calls for peanut butter
  • Less fat than peanut butter
  • Non- GMO
  • Safe for children under 3 (Doctors usually advise you to wait a while before introducing peanut butter to your baby)
  • If your kid has a peanut allergy, and you miss your beloved peanut butter…this is an awesome idea.
  • Looks, tastes and spreads just like peanut butter.
  • Long shelf life (1-2 years)
  • Doesn’t need to be refrigerated
  • Comes in chunky, creamy, honey and chocolate varieties 🙂 nom nom nom

Cons:

  • Could confuse a young child with peanut allergies (this takes some explaining & extra precaution on your part)
  • Doesn’t smell/taste EXACTLY like peanut butter (which is to be expected, but it comes very, very close)
  • More expensive than peanut butter

Price:  $5.49 at my local supermarket

Where to Buy:

  • Many popular stores like target, walmart, whole foods, giant, safeway, food lion, hannaford, price chopper, harris teeter, giant eagle & wegmans (see the entire list here)
  • Online at www.soynutbutter.com, amazon and vitacost

How to Eat:

  • Soy Butter & Jelly Sandwich
  • Soy Butter & Honey Sandwich
  • On Ice Cream
  • In Cookies
  • On bananas, apples or celery
  • In crepes
  • With chocolate protein powder as a protein shake
  • Right out of the jar (my fave)

You’ll be seeing a lot of recipes using soynut butter here on our blog. If you miss peanut butter, or need an easy, family-friendly food staple to add to your allergy-free home. Try it! You wont be disappointed.

Ana-Fa-Whatsit?!

So you find out you or a loved one has a food allergy. Then, in a serious tone, someone tells you about this flying, spaghetti monster sounding thing that happens when they eat peanut butter (or whatever it is in your case). This thing is probably Anaphylaxis. I would love to tell you that it’s not as scary as it sounds, but it’s actually much scarier than you think.

Anaphylaxis (An-uh-fill-ax-sis) is a life-threatening condition. If you’ve ever heard someone talk about their throat itching or swelling when they eat certain foods…Yeah, that’s probably anaphylaxis  too. In the movie Hitch, Will Smith’s character has a hilarious anaphylactic reaction to some shellfish he had while on a date. If you haven’t seen the movie, this is what he ended up looking like:

0fd83ab8324ff47cd206560eb034ace4-2When it happened in the movie, it was definitely comical. Watching Will discover his grotesque new look, and then get wastey-pants from guzzling down a bottle of benadryl was easily one of the highlights of this romantic comedy. When it happened to my 9-month-old daughter, it was the total opposite. After eating some egg from a yummy, breakfast sandwich as treat from her Nana, she had an unexpected anaphylactic reaction. She pretty much ended up looking like hitch, but all over. Inside and out. This includes her organs and throat. Needless to say, she ended up in the emergency room. It all happened very fast, and we were very lucky she got help as fast as she did. She lost consciousness, her lips were blue, and she could have died. All because she had a piece of an egg mcmuffin.

Anaphylaxis is nothing to play around with, and food allergies are not fun.  However, they can be easily managed. Having a food allergy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the taste of a pb&j sandwich or a birthday cake on your birthday. In fact, my daughter is almost 4-years-old and I haven’t had to use her EpiPen. EVER. (Thank, Goodness). That being said, if you’re interested in finding out more information on anaphylaxis, I highly recommend talking to an allergist. They can tell you everything you need to know about the food allergy you’re dealing with, how to use an EpiPen, what food names to look out for on ingredient labels, and what to do in case of an emergency. I also recommend you check out the Symptoms and Safety page here for more info on what to look for, what to do to avoid a dangerous food allergy, and what to do in case of an emergency.