November 2022

Just this past November, I was given an amazing opportunity to travel to Costa Rica with friends. It was an amazing trip filled with monkeys in the yard, surfing, new friends, gorgeous landscapes, zip lining, and amazing food. But sometimes amazing food can be a challenge when you have a child with food allergies. We ran into the challenge with our limited Spanglish and my friend’s daughter with food allergies. My girlfriend is a whiz at advocating for her daughter and teaching her to advocate for herself. But with each meal and struggling with the question, “Does this foods contain seeds and tree nuts?”, I realized there must be a better way to be safe while not speaking the vacation spot’s native language. Thank goodness we had no close calls and didn’t have to visit the local medico but studying every menu and trying to determine ingredients with a waitress who doesn’t do the actual cooking was a struggle. One night playing scrabble it came to me, print out cards with your allergies and food precautions in the language of your vacation destination and provide it for the kitchen staff at each meal. My girlfriend agreed that this would have been helpful and proceeded to explain that there is an organization called FARE that addresses this and many other aspects of living with a food allergy in your household. I explored the website and it is a wealth of information. For example, did you know that 84 million Americans are living with a life-threatening food allergy or intolerance or that every 3 minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the ER. There are explanation for what foods to avoid with each type of food allergy, how to date with food allergies, and even a chef card section which not only explains the chef card but also has versions in many different language to aid you during travel. I love the idea of taking away as many stressors in a vacation as possible to ensure that you can be relaxed and enjoy your vacation to the max.