Friday, March 28, 2014

College and Food Allergies

This is the time of year when college decisions are being made, and it's tougher when food allergies are in the picture. 
   When our family-- that is my son-- was looking at schools we decided-- he decided--that food allergies would take a back seat to what school was the best fit: academically, socially, location and so on. 
  That decision was a good one, as was his choice of school; he's happy and thriving. 
  As for the food experience all the ahead- of- time due diligence and communication was not enough. The school was just not prepared for food allergic students-- though they thought they were. 
  But we found ways to make the food  work. And, I want to note that there were some folks -- nutritionists, dining admins and staff--who tried to be helpful, though the gap was wide between the promise and the execution. 
  But, as all food allergic families do, we found ways to make it work. Or my son did. He had a micro fridge. ( yes a microwave and refrigerator in one-- standard issue by vendors who service colleges). And he got lots of care packages. And once his RA made cookies for him-- I sent the mix. And every couple if days my son went to the store to get cold cuts, beans, baking potatoes, rice cakes etc. And the list of his personal accommodations goes on and on. 
   For us, choosing a school was not only about food allergies-- and he picked a great and the right place for him. 
And honestly, as we all know, life is often not a straight and smooth road. One has to find a balance. 
Happy spring.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Traveling Allergy Free... A lighter note

So did I tell you the one about me and airline security and a tub of frosting???
Or should I say chocolate plastique...

Heading off to see my son at college I packed up my three items of clothing, an extra pair of boots, and, of course, fried chicken and a birthday cake. 
And frosting. 
In past, I've been stopped for Epi-pens and one-serving applesauces. But that was years ago. So when the lovely TSA guard pulled my bag off the line and asked me to step over, I was confused.  She was joking around and very nice -- especially considering we were flying after one of those snowpocalypse days where hundreds of flights had been cancelled. She opened my suitcase and saw the fried chicken-- laughing that I must be going to see a kid. Then she saw the tin foil frisbee-like object-- the cake all wrapped up and started really laughing. Then, she rooted around keeping her eye on the X-ray and pulled out my tub of chocolate frosting like a prize. Oh dumb me-- I totally forgot that I had the frosting,  that it was a " gel" and that it was way over the 3.4 oz limit. My TSA guard had tears she was laughing so hard-- saying how delicious their lunches  would be topped with frosting. I felt so silly--and as she swiped it down with the tape that detects explosives, I told her stop. Her job was done-- I could easily buy another $1.99 tub of frosting and she could have this one  for show and tell in the break room! Silly traveler tricks. 
  So now my family thinks it's uproariously funny to discuss my "chocolate plastique" airport episode. Maybe they're right!