With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

16 August 2023

Peanut Free Night at Jimmy John's Field

Tonight, August 16, is peanut free night at Jimmy John's Field. We received the below link from the United Shore Professional Baseball League for discounted tickets. 


01 August 2022

Proximity Challenges Can Make a Difference

A proximity challenge is supervised by a doctor in a setting equipped for any allergic reactions that may occur. It allows a patient to be in the same room as his/her/their allergen, to breathe the air and have a sample of the allergen applied to his/her/their skin. 

Dr. Dave Stukus noted in a tweet about proximity challenges:

"One of my favorite visits - parent/child truly scared as to what will happen if they are near their food allergen...or touch by accident.

I can safely show them exactly what will happen & help overcome fear of these very low risk scenarios.
Proximity challenges are empowering!"

Parents of children who have undergone proximity challenges report that it is a life-changing experience, for the better!

For more information, please see the below article and contact your allergist:

Dinakar C, Shroba J, Portnoy JM. The transforming power of proximity food challenges. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2016 Aug, 117(2). 135-7. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2016.06.015. PMID: 27499540.

24 July 2022

It's Hard to Find Trustworthy Food Allergy Information!

Antique magnifying glass
"Magnifying Glass" by Auntie P is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

I've been active in the online food allergy community for about 16 years now! There are a lot of food allergy organizations and websites nowadays--a great many more than when my son was first diagnosed all those years ago--but there are only a small handful that provide information that is consistently accurate and objective. 

Which ones have the most reliable and objective information, and practical food allergy management tips? 

My current top picks are the following. These websites will help you empower yourself and not live in fear!

23 April 2022

Peanut Allergy Accommodations & Baseball in 2022

As April school vacation draws to a close, the end of the 2021-2022 school year seems ever closer, and with that, minds turn to vacation. Each year, I try to keep an eye out for announcements of peanut allergy accommodations at baseball games in the U.S. and Canada, and I post my findings along with links to additional information about the accommodations and ticket purchasing. With the help of food allergy friends near and far, allergists' offices, food allergy organizations, and the baseball teams themselves, I've been able to share this information on my blog, Free to Enjoy Baseball, since about 2009. Prior to that, I shared the game info here on Food Allergy Buzz.

I remember when I first began to look into peanut allergy accommodations at baseball games, about fifteen years ago. I called the Pawtucket Red Sox, and the man--while friendly and polite--nearly laughed me off the phone. The Red Sox had limited seating for fans with peanut allergy but there was a waiting list and the information was not readily available; you had to do some digging and frankly, it was discouraging. It seemed like you had to be "in the know" and have a good chunk of change available.

Flash forward to 2022. Times have really changed! Many Minor League baseball teams have made accommodations for fans with peanut allergy. Some offer peanut allergy seating sections at every game, some hold peanut free games. A great number of Major League teams offer peanut allergy accommodations as well. Some teams are now offering allergy friendly options--and not just for peanut allergy--at their concession stands and some have ingredient binders at the ready too.  

Many fans with peanut allergy, however, safely attend baseball games without special accommodations or seating. My family has attended games and eaten at Fenway without special seating.  I remember my son breaking out in full body hives as a small boy on Halloween just from touching closed packages of candy. When our allergist heard about that Halloween experience, he was surprised by the high level of sensitivity to peanuts my son exhibited. We have been religious about avoidance, as you can imagine. Yet, we discovered being outside at the ballpark turned out to be just fine.

If you do attend a baseball game this season, we'd love to hear about your experience from the food allergy angle. Send us your story and photos too at jenniferATfoodallergybuzzDOTcom. Whatever your vacation plans, our Food Allergy Buzz family hopes you will enjoy a wonderful summer!

09 June 2021

Improv Workshops for Teens with Food Allergies

Flyer - Sloane Miller

Do you have a teenager in high school who is managing food allergies? Listen up! Here is an opportunity that may be of interest!

Sloane Miller--a licensed social worker, author, consultant, and so much more, including being someone who grew up with multiple food allergies and continues to manage them still--is piloting a new improv workshop for teens with food allergies. The workshops are on Tuesday evenings and begin June 22. They will run for 6 weeks and each session is 90 minutes long, 6:30PM - 8:00PM EST. The number of teen participants is 8; parents are included! Sloane explains the "online workshop's aim is to help teens (9th through 12th grades) with food allergies and anaphylaxis increase their interpersonal skill sets and mental coping toolbox beyond medical avoidance of their allergen, which must be strictly maintained." The fee for the workshop is $50.

For more information, visit Sloane's website

30 May 2021

Don't Let the Name Deceive You


I did not realize how long it's been since I last wrote a blog post on here! 

The word of the day for me is "gratitude." 

It's a three-day weekend and the weather is gloomy. It rained all day yesterday and it is dark and overcast today. Temps are in the 50s. Not exactly inspiring for a weekend that historically is sunny and full of cookouts and other outdoor activities.

I have no big news to share, just sharing a small simple joy. 

This morning, we checked the ingredients for butternut doughnuts sold by Dunkin Donuts and found a very recent (May 2021) ingredient list. It's been a while since we checked. Apparently, Dunkin butternut donuts do not--contrary to my long-held assumption--contain nuts or nut oil, and the Dunkin Donuts location near us does not seem to ever sell peanut-containing foods. Lo and behold, it turns out my son can safely eat a butternut donut. Not a really big deal, but isn't it always nice to discover a new "safe" food? Even if it is just a doughnut... 🍩💓

What was your latest unexpected happy food allergy-friendly discovery?

29 November 2020

Food Allergy Fears vs the Children's Museum

Recently, it was announced that Stonewall Kitchen has opened a PB & J Cafe in the Boston Children's Museum building. The focus on serving peanut butter sandwiches at a cafe connected to a children’s museum is admittedly a bit odd. As the mother of a son with peanut and nut allergies, I remember how everything seemed potentially dangerous--a source of potential peanut or nut allergens--for years. When you have seen your child experience a life threatening reaction to a food, fear is a pretty normal response. That, and the desire to never allow it to happen again.

A few things can counter that fear. I believe the most important and most powerful weapon against fear is knowledge. For the great majority of people managing food allergies, avoiding ingestion is enough to prevent a serious or life threatening reaction. News articles about horrific reactions and tragedies attract much more attention than stories of millions of people with food allergies living blessedly uneventful, ordinary lives. It is those horror stories--which are the exception, thankfully--that can often dominate a caring adult’s thoughts when caring for a young child with food allergies. It’s very difficult to tame those fears by relying on science and statistically proven information. One cannot help but wonder, “What if my child is one of the unlucky ones?” “What if he is in that statistically small number that doesn’t fit the typical?” I know it's very difficult to shake that fear of that small possibility, no matter how small and how unlikely it is.

The truth is, a small number of people do have reactions to skin contact with their allergen. My son does. Thankfully, out of that small number of people, an even smaller number have anaphylactic reactions due to skin contact, and that’s because the allergen literally has to get beneath one’s skin or enter a mucous membrane, such as the nose or eyes (or mouth!). When in public, it’s wise to wash your hands frequently or if that’s not possible, carry wipes to wipe your hands clean. I remember how nerve-wracking it was to go anywhere with a small child who has food allergies. Keeping a child's hands away from his or her eyes, nose and mouth has a very different sort of urgency about it when it comes to food allergies, but the important thing to know is that it is do-able. It is manageable.

An even smaller number of people can experience reactions to airborne exposure. These are all possibilities, but the numbers show that the great majority of people can avoid life threatening reactions by avoiding ingestion. Of course, I would be remiss not to acknowledge that sometimes despite our vigilance and our very best efforts, reactions can happen. But out of that 32 million people with food allergies in the U.S., the great majority are able to travel and visit all sorts of places--amusement parks, zoos, museums, theaters, etc. It is not only unhelpful to imply this is not possible, it is inaccurate. The presence of one’s allergen does not mean a building or a museum or an amusement park or other venue is necessarily unsafe and off-limits, and needs altering to eliminate that allergen.

The fact that Disneyworld sells delicious peanut brittle on Main Street does not mean Disneyworld is not inclusive. Disney actually has Epi-pens on site, which is very appreciated by those managing anaphylactic allergies, and has other food allergy friendly options at their restaurants. The fact that the Boston Children’s Museum building now leases space to a Stonewall Kitchen cafe specializing in PB & J sandwiches does not mean it is not inclusive. This opening of this cafe, however, does provide an excellent opportunity for the Boston Children’s Museum to explicitly do something to support children with peanut allergy and other food allergies. I mention peanut allergy specifically since the PB & J sandwiches are obviously a concern for anyone managing peanut allergy. Rather than asking that the peanut butter sandwiches be eliminated, I would like to see Stonewall Kitchen offer some options on their menu for those with peanut allergy, milk allergy, and other food allergies and restrictions (gluten-free, etc.). Likewise, I would like the Boston Children’s Museum to partner or collaborate with the New England Chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, to provide some educational material about food allergies and how to manage them in public near the cafe and also the first floor lunchroom. It could be a small exhibit or display to support and educate those managing food allergies and their peers.

This cafe opening is yet another reminder that we need to empower children with food allergies as early as possible about how to manage their food allergies away from home. We need to support and educate their parents too. Families have been eating peanut butter sandwiches and all sorts of other foods in the first floor lunchroom for years. The risk of tiny peanut butter coated fingers touching exhibits in the museum has always been there. It’s there at Boston’s Museum of Science too. Yes, a cafe serving peanut butter sandwiches certainly highlights the concern about those little peanut butter covered fingers, but this risk has always been there. Thankfully, there are things we can do to protect our children, things that are proven to work. It's easy to let fear overtake you and to let yourself feel powerless, helpless. Don't forget, you have so much power--wash hands, use wipes, bring your own food/snacks, and always carry your epinephrine autoinjectors.

The photo I have included with this post is a photo of the package for my son's Auvi-Qs--which he never leaves the house without, just like his shoes!--and my copy of Sloane Miller's "allergic girl: adventures in living well with food allergies", published by John Wiley & Sons in 2011. I included Sloane's book because she really helped me see what life can be like for an adult with food allergies when my son was young, and the world seemed so overwhelmingly full of potential food allergy risks. How can we prevent our children with food allergies from growing up to be nervous, frightened adults? That's not what we want for them and it does not have to be that way. I urge you to read Sloane's book. So much of it applies to children too. Here is a small excerpt from pages 4 and 5:

"To avoid severe allergic reactions, millions of adults opt out of life's pleasures: kissing, dinner dates, social engagements, holidays and other celebrations, business lunches, and traveling to far-flung destinations--in other words, anywhere that food is involved, and that's pretty much everywhere. Even when they opt in, food allergic adults are often actively fearful, anxious, or nervous. They can also feel ashamed, embarrassed, marginalized, isolated, lonely and different because of their dietary restrictions. They often suffer in silence.

That was me until a fear years ago."