February 9, 2017

Valentine’s Day Tips

ChocZucBreadValentine’s Day can be an especially challenging holiday for those with food allergies. Fortunately, there are plenty of allergy friendly and gluten free recipes out there to make the day special for all.  Consider this delicious recipe for a chocolate zucchini bread from Monique at Ambitious Kitchen http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2016/08/healthy-double-chocolate-zucchini-bread-nut-free-vegan-gluten-free/ that is not only gluten free and allergy friendly, but vegan too! This would be perfect for an indulgent breakfast or snack – what better day than Valentine’s Day to have chocolate at every meal?  

In addition, our friends at FAACT (Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Connection Team) provide some great tips and ideas for celebrating this special day at http://www.foodallergyawareness.org/blog/entry/allergy- awarenessfriendly_ways_for_celebrating_valentine%E2%80%99s_day-84/.  FAACT is a fantastic non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness, advocacy and education for the food allergic community.  

Wishing you all a very safe and happy Valentine’s Day!

February 1, 2017

AFGF Superbowl Recipe Ideas

GlutenFreeGameDayBlogAs Superbowl Sunday is quickly approaching, it’s time to plan a great menu for what is sure to be a great game! A shout out is due to Allergic Living, one of our favorite go to resources for gluten free and allergy friendly recipes, ideas and tips.

Check out a great selection of game watching worthy recipes at http://allergicliving.com/2016/01/19/allergy-friendly-gluten-free-super-bowl-recipes/ which features yummy ideas for allergy friendly gluten free dips, fritters and assorted “munchies”.

Enjoy the game and may the best team win. As New England is our home, we are both super excited and super biased….GO PATS!!!!

January 19, 2017

AFGF Winter Recipes

Chicken-and-Butternut-Squash-Curry-e1474039870596-294x300With the holidays behind us and cold wintery weather ahead, it’s nice to change things up at mealtime with some creative, new recipes. Our friends at Allergic Living are currently featuring several recipes on their website…all gluten free and free of the top 8 allergens. The recipe selections include traditional comfort foods like Roast Turkey and Mashed Potatoes as well as more creative options including Chicken & Butternut Squash Curry. Yum!

Check them out at http://allergicliving.com/category/allergy-safe-recipes- 2/special-diet/gluten- free-recipes- 2/

Eat well and stay warm!

January 1, 2017

New Year Resolutions – Food Allergy Management

newyearMany of us look to the new year as an opportunity to reflect and evaluate our lives to see if there is anything we would like to change. As those with food allergies know, effective management requires ongoing vigilance and evaluation to determine if we are doing our best to successfully manage our allergies.

The new year is a great time to review our emergency action plans, revisit how to use an epinephrine auto injector and learn from any close calls with allergens that may have occurred over the past year. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation provides some helpful tips regarding an annual review of an allergen prevention plan at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-years-resolutions-for-people-with-food-and-latex-allergies-300385594.html.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2017!

December 19, 2016

AFGF Non Traditional Holiday Side Dishes

squashcranberrySometimes the best way to fight cravings for traditional holiday foods is to add something unexpected and new to a menu rather than trying to create a gluten free version of something familiar. Here’s a fun, nutritious, and of course allergy friendly/gluten free recipe that would be a nice addition to any holiday table. It’s colorful, flavorful, fun and only contains a few ingredients – perfect for the time crunch that is an inevitable part of this busy time of year. Speaking of crunch – it contains pepitas, a.k.a. pumpkin seeds, which boost both nutrition and flavor. If you have a nut allergy, please contact the manufacturer to assess cross contamination risk since seeds are often processed on the same equipment as nuts. Last Christmas I served this alongside a traditional honey glazed ham and it was a hit! Please share some of your family’s favorite allergy friendly and gluten free recipes. Be well and enjoy the holiday season!


December 12, 2016

Cookie Swap

cookieswapAs an avid baker, the idea of a cookie swap around the holidays always had a lot of appeal…..until my daughter was diagnosed with a peanut allergy. I’ve attended a few, often with a good intentioned host that sets up a nut free table apart from the others. I’ve just never felt comfortable enough to take any of the “nut free” cookies home. Did the baker read all ingredient labels, pay attention to any cross contact statements or simply remember to use a different cookie sheet after baking another type of cookie that contains peanuts?

We all know how much work and time is involved in managing a food allergy. It’s just not something that can easily be entrusted to others. Here’s an idea at http://mylifewithfoodallergies.com/index/allergy-friendly-holiday-cookie-party/ for a creative twist on the traditional cookie swap that requires some hands on effort at the event, but sounds like a lot of fun. The host determines all of the recipes and all of the ingredients. Different stations are set up for different types of cookies and attendees do the baking at the event rather than bringing cookies that have already been baked at home. Everyone has an opportunity to socialize and leave with delicious allergy friendly treats for the holidays! Happy Baking!!!

November 17, 2016

6 Thanksgiving Tips If You Have Food Allergies

Food Allergies ThanksgivingThanksgiving offers plenty of challenges for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance and food allergies.  I have found that the bigger the guest list, the bigger the challenges and truth be told, often people just don’t get it.  If family members are on the guest list, often the challenges increase exponentially!  My family is well aware of my daughter’s life threatening peanut allergy.  Yet, there was the time the turkey was deep fried in peanut oil and the sweet potato casserole contained nuts.  Fortunately, despite these unfortunate incidents, we have managed to have allergic reaction free holidays and plan to keep it that way!  My favorite way to avoid any issues is simply to host the holiday myself.  When guests ask what to bring, my first suggestion is wine followed by something inedible like flowers!  Of course, it is not always possible nor practical to host a holiday gathering.  As always, when it comes to deciding what is safe to eat, comfort level is a very personal decision.

Food Allergies, Celiac’s and Thanksgiving Meals

The obvious option when attending a holiday celebration at another’s home is to bring your own complete plate of food and a “safe” dessert to share. Food Allergies Celiac's Thanksgiving Consider having a pre-Thanksgiving dinner a week or two before, maybe even make chicken if that’s easier, and create a plate of safe food to pop in the freezer and take with you on the holiday.  Cybele Pascale offers a fantastic selection of gluten free and allergy friendly recipes and just general good advice and recipes for anytime of the year.  I encourage you to see what she has to offer on her website at www.cybelepascale.com.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I find it also helps to focus on the spirit of the holiday and remember to be thankful for the ever increasing scientific advancements and management advice when it comes to living with celiac disease and food allergies.  Progress has been steady and eventually there will be a cure!  Until then, be well and have a very happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgiving Tips/Recipes

A Very Careful Thanksgiving – Raising a child with food allergies

Give Thanks for These 45 Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dishes

Make a Traditional Thanksgiving Menu … Completely Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes & Tips



November 7, 2016

Tips for Managing Holiday Gatherings & Food Allergies

When it comes to large holiday gatherings and food allergies, only you can determine your comfort level with the host and his or her ability to manage

Managing Food Allergies During The Holidays

Managing Food Allergies During The Holidays

food allergies.  Hosts often have the best intentions, but simply don’t understand how easily foods may be cross contaminated by using the same serving plates or serving utensils.  I generally always offer to bring a dessert since my daughter has a peanut allergy and desserts are often the most likely place to find peanuts in a meal.  I always try to do something to make the dessert look a bit different from any other desserts that may be available to help insure that there is no confusion.  This could simply be adding some colorful sprinkles to a batch of brownies or doing something more creative like this recipe for Chocolate Scotcheroos which uses sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter:  http://sunbutter.com/recipes/scotcheroos/ (the Vermont Nut Free company has a fantastic selection of baking chips, including butterscotch). This recipe has become a favorite among even the most hardcore peanut butter fans and a mainstay in my house not only during the holidays, but throughout the year!

 Please feel free to share some ideas with our food allergy community!  As we pack up our Halloween decorations and look ahead to the winter months, we wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season!

Here are links to five other articles that provide helpful tips for food allergies and the holidays:

25 Tips for Handling a Gluten-Free Holiday

6 Tips for Celebrating the Holidays with Food Allergies

Navigating the holidays with food allergies

8 Tips for Allergy-Free Holidays

Allergy Free Thanksgiving Tips and Recipes





October 18, 2016

Happy Halloween Treat Swap

Halloween Treat Allergy Friendly

One of my peanut allergic daughter’s favorite Halloween activities when she was little was our annual post trick-or-treating “Happy Halloween Treat Swap”.  I would fill a plastic pumpkin with various peanut free food and non-food treats tailored to her interests and sticker each with an assigned value.  For instance, colored pencils may be worth 3 treats, a mini-pumpkin may be worth 2 treats and something more extravagant like a gift card to a favorite store could be worth 20 treats, for example.  The majority of the treats were small and inexpensive and changed with her interests from year to year.

Do You Know The “Switch Witch”?Halloween Tips For Kids With Food Allergies

A variation of the Halloween “Switch Witch” game, this alternative allowed her to make some choices rather than surrender all of  her peanut laden Halloween treats and simply wake up to find that they had been replaced by the “Switch Witch”.  She often decided to exchange some of her “safe” candy because she was more interested in the items offered in the swap.  Our tradition was such a hit that my son, who has no allergies whatsoever, asked if he could play too!  Create a new tradition that works for you and your family! We would love to hear what you come up with to celebrate.  Have a happy and safe Halloween!


For more allergy-friendly Halloween Treats, tips, and tricks, visit:

Clever Ways To Celebrate Halloween If Your Child Has Food Allergy

Food Allergy Halloween News

Halloween 2015 Food Allergy Friendly Candies and Other Treats

Halloween Traditions: Too Much Candy?









July 25, 2016


Meet our Dietitian and Allergy Mom, Chrisann McCarthy

At Ian’s, we truly understand the stress of having a food allergy. An innocent dab of peanut butter on a cracker turns into a trip to the Emergency Room.  A diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening food allergy soon follows and you feel overwhelmed, frightened and alone.  As the mom of a child with a food allergy I completely get it – I’ve been there and here is what I’ve learned.