I haven’t always been 100% pleased with the advice that Dear Abby gives her readers regarding food allergies, celiac disease, food intolerances, and the like (See one of my past blog post here for an example).
But as I was reading my morning paper (yes… the good old fashioned kind delivered right to my door every day!) this past week, I was thrilled that good ‘ole Dear Abby gave some advice that was right on target for those of us with celiac disease, gluten-intolerance of other food allergies / intolerances.
Yeah, Abby! Here it is:
As a former paramedic and also a food allergy sufferer, I’m acutely aware of the problems caused by this condition. Food allergies vary widely and are not limited to common ones — nuts, shellfish, gluten or strawberries. We know what we are allergic to, and we do our best to avoid those foods.
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what’s in some tasty-looking dishes at potluck gatherings. An ingredient may be used only for seasoning, but sometimes just a trace of it is all it takes to trigger a reaction. That’s why I have established a practice that has always been well-received. I print out a card to attach to the dish I brought. On it I name the dish and list the ingredients.
I hope you’ll find this suggestion helpful enough to pass along. It could save a life.
Joe in Janesville, Minnesota
And Dear Abby’s reply:
You’re right; it could — and that’s why I’m printing it. I met a widow whose husband suffered an allergic reaction and died at a dinner party, despite the frantic efforts of several physicians who were also in attendance. Forewarned is forearmed.
Right on Dear Abby! Thanks for printing a column with some good, solid, useable and real life advice. But on top of her advice, I also have some of my own thoughts to add:
- Include not only the ingredient – but the brand: Often times a certain brand of a product may carry a certain allergen, when another does not. Did you use Hellmann’s Mayonnaise in your potato salad? Was it Yoplait yogurt used in your spinach dip? Make note of them!
- If you have the ingredient labels of the products you used bring those along too! Although many people now have smart phones and can quickly look up ingredients of most manufacturers brands in a heart-beat, bringing the labels often times would be a time-saver and well-appreciated! Note: For those of you with smart phones and you need a quick look-up of product ingredients, try this website out: Foodfacts.com
- Write up extra recipe cards: Why just bring one card listing all the ingredients in your dish? Bring a bundle – since your dish will be the hit of the party – and everyone will want the recipes to make themselves!
Want to let Dear Abby know that you appreciate her advice? Or give her your own thoughts on this column? You can email her here.