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With spring just around the corner and the snow starting to melt i thought I would bring up a fun! Any really great vacation spots where you felt safe with your peanut allergic family member? Last year we went to Rehoboth Beach , Delaware area and although we had a great time...every place on the boardwalk used peanut oil and restaurants also seemed to use alot of peanuts/peanut products. We ate alot in our hotel but half the fun of vacation is not cooking..any thoughts or great ideas?

On Mar 16, 1999

Hi Jan, We take our family to Disney World every year for a couple of weeks. I like it because I can book all of our meals ahead. There are a lot of buffets with characters wandering around to each table. I call the restaurant months ahead and they have on our seating arrangements that we have a child with peanut allergy (this is always highlighted in yellow). The chef comes out and talks to us and to Charles in each restaurant to see what he would like specially prepared. He is delighted at the positive attention and always gets something fabulous (like mickey mouse shaped watermelon) anything his heart desires really. He is also served directly by the chef so there is no concern of cross contamination. A few places are key to avoid. If anyone is really interested you could E me and I could point these out to you. We stay at the Grand Floridian which has several restaurants within...all eager to help in any way.

On Mar 18, 1999

Jan: I know exactly what you mean about the peanut oil and Rehobeth. We always go to Ocean City, MD, and it is peanut oil heaven there (they love it in the DelMarVa area). We went to a rib place for dinner one evening and all my son could eat was applesauce. The fries and chicken fingers were all cooked in peanut oil. I then tried to order a baked potato as my son LOVES them. The waitress informed me that they had been rolled in peanut oil prior to cooking. Geez!! Well, at least the waitress was knowledgeable. Said she gets A LOT of requests about the peanut!!

Coco: We are going to Disney in May. Another poster on this board gave me a phone number to the corporate food office of Disney and I have been working (slowly) with them to determine safe places (got an egg allergy too). I would appreciate any info that you had on your travels there and what I should avoid. You can e-mail me at [email][/email] or you can just post it to this board. Maybe we can create a Disney folder--enough people go there that it might be useful to do so. Disney has been VERY accommodating.


On Mar 18, 1999

Christine I love your idea of a Disney Folder. The only thing that would concern me is when things change occasionally without notice. Maybe we could set up a program with Disney around peanut allergy whereby there is a standard protocol throughout the park. Would you be interested in this?

On Mar 19, 1999

Hi Coco,

I e-mailed you tonight again about Disney, but my mail came back undeliverable. Could you please contact me again about this subject?

Thanks, Debbie

On Mar 21, 1999

Rolling baked potatoes in PEANUT OIL before baking???? Is there nothing I can rely on out there?????

On Mar 23, 1999

Mary Catherine!

I know what you mean!!!!!! This board has been very helpful in pointing out things to watch out for even if it is at times scary finding things out. I have been much more diligent in calling restaurants and asking questions earlier in the day and not relying on the I ask about any peanut oil,, before I just asked that question if my daughter was ordering any fried foods. I think I will also pack more food to take with me on vacation, I love the idea of us contacting Disney and seeing if there can be some kind of protocol. The more of us who ask questions and make suggestions, the more these people may listen!!!!! Thanks for everyone who responded to the post and lets keep each other aware of good ideas and possible problem areas!!


On Apr 16, 1999

I am new to peanut allergy and this website. My 20 month old daughter is peanut allergic. We have planned a trip to the Silicon Valley/San Francisco area in May and I am a nervous wreck about meals for my daughter while we are there. Has anyone had any experiences with restaurants in that area? I really don't wan't to have her eat McDonalds or Burger King every day. Any advice would be appreciated.


PS. I am so glad I found this website. I know I am not alone with all these feelings.

On Apr 16, 1999

Since you are staying in the same country (you are familiar with purchasing food/ same money, same language, etc.) you may want to stop at a grocery shop on occassion. It is easy to pick up quick foods.

I go for things like fresh fruit, plain crackers (ie. Triscuits , if they are safe in U.S.), drink boxes, little milk cartons, yogurt, cheese (Strings or BabyBells), instant hot cereal packets(yes I add hot tap water on occasion in hotels...don't tell my mother), fruit cups, pudding cups, cereal bars (ie. Kellogg's if safe in U.S.),and just about anything else that could be taken safely to school in a lunch. Don't be shy to tell wait staff that your child has a very serious allergy and you prefer to supply the food. Most restaurant staff have no problem with this in my experience.

You may also want to keep a few paper disposable placemats(party shops or cut your own), these can be a great distraction if you carry a couple of markers or crayons along to restaurants. (Stickers work well here too.) I do not let my son use restaurant's crayons as these may be contam. We also use only disp. condiment pkgs. for him. Straws that have no wrapper do not get in to his drinks.

If allergic kiddies are going to be eating the restaurant food, it is important to speak to the person who MADE the food. You can tell by the kind of answers you are given whether this person "gets it" or not. Chances are if the cook/chef dismisses you without serious thought to what you are should not feed your kiddies in this place.

When I took our kiddies to California we stayed in Pasadena at a Double Tree hotel. I was very happy to see that they sold fresh, whole pieces of fruit on a stand that set up in lobby every a.m.

On Apr 16, 1999

Hi Ellen! Coco had some great suggestions!

You may also want to talk to the manager of your hotel and ask if you can have a refrigerator and microwave included in your room. You will then be able to store perishables and heat some meals for your child. If you purchase an easy to carry container for cold and or hot foods, you can bring safe, prepared meals with you to the restaurant for your child.

In addition, the hotel restaurant manager should be able to assist you by providing safe foods at their restaurant.

On Apr 16, 1999

Hi Ellen:

Welcome to the community, and prepare yourself for quite the adventure as you'll find strength in yourself that you never knew you had before as you learn to cope with this unfortunate deal of fate with your child's peanut allergy.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, check out the Fresh Choice restaurants. They offer a large selection of salads, pizza, pasta, breads, and desserts and kids under age four eat for free. I know some of the pastries are *not* peanut-free but my son has never had a reaction to eating the pizza there.

The safer cuisines are Japanese and Italian. Visit Japan Town and North Beach in San Francisco for great Japanese and Italian food.

Also, since your child is only 20 months old, you might consider packing a separate meal for her and avoid the worry on the trip.

One thing that my husband and I do when we go out to a restaurant is to feed our son a safe meal beforehand and then while we're eating our dinner, our son eats dessert.

As always, check with the person who prepares the food to make sure it is safe and when in doubt, always err on the side of caution.

I live in the Bay Area so you can email me privately for more tips.

Good Luck and (sigh) welcome to the club.


On Apr 18, 1999

Thankyou Coco, Mary and Noreen. I really appreciate all your tips and support.


On Apr 18, 1999


I was surprised by your comment about Japanese restaurants...I have avoided them since I avoid Chinese, Thai and Indian as they use peanut oil and peanuts. Have you found that Japanese restaurants are safe? I know that we have the Benihana chain here and they use peanut oil in their salad dressing so I just figured that they use it with other foods and was concerned about taking my daughter there. If you have found success I would love to hear about his because I love Japanese food!!!!

I also appreciated yours and the others tips for vacation...wherever you go it is good to be prepared!


On Apr 18, 1999

Hi Jan:

Japanese food is based on macrobiotic principles which advises food be eaten locally and in season. The weather in Japan is too cold for any large-scale peanut farming. China is the largest producer of peanuts, followed by India and the southern United States. Peanuts are also grown in the warmer season areas of Asia (such as Thailand and Indonesia) and South America (Brazil), and Africa.

Sesame. Now that's a different story. Stay away from Japanese restaurants if sesame or shellfish are allergens.

Benihana is the most Americanized Japanese restaurant you'll ever eat in. Although most Japanese restaurants in the U.S. are Americanized to one degree or another, we have a very large Asian population in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Japanese food here is more authentic.

And we know why Italian food is safe. They drench everything in olive oil. [img][/img] No need for the peanut. But do avoid the pastries with marzipan.

My son and I had a lovely visit to the Exploratorium today, a hands-on science museum. There are so many fun things to do in this area that don't involve dining. Plan on a great vacation!


On Apr 19, 1999

I tend to avoid Italian restaurants because I think that peanut oil is sometimes used in the tomato sauce. I've only found one restaurant that did this, however. I also avoid chili for this same reason. They also had peanut oil in their homemade salad dressing. Nancy

On Jul 20, 1999

I'm new to this site, so I thought I'd add my two cents regarding travelling with anaphylaxis. I'm anaphylactic to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, egg and fish. (The fish is a new allergy, diagnosed early this year.)

Whenever my husband and I travel, it takes a combination of meal planning and heavy packing, as I bring all my own food, from homemade bread to safe tins of vegetables. After several reactions despite precautions, I no longer trust most restaurants, and personally feel doubly uncomfortable dining in a foreign atmosphere, no matter how many questions I ask of the chef. It's just not worth the anxiety for *me.* (Though I know that many others are able to have perfectly safe restaurant meals with proper precautions.)

Before I developed my fish allergy, I brought countless tins of tuna with me. Now, I'm at a loss as to what my protein source will be when I travel. Because of my multiple allergies, I prepare all of my food from scratch at home. Travel is another story, even when kitchenettes are available.

I welcome any comments and feedback anyone might have. [img][/img]

On Jul 21, 1999

I have not been dealing with the anaphalatic reaction for long, but a four year old child who loves food and is allergic to peanuts, soy, peas, tree nuts, and coconuts, is a challenge to feed when not at home. The peanuts and the soy are what seem to cause the anaphalatic reactions.

When we travel, I have been known to pack cans of chicken and will be getting some of turkey too. My local supermarket stocks these meats packed in water without broth, which generaly contains soy protein. My daughter has not yet had a problem with these. We also carry Hickory Farms beef sausage, cheese, and frozen hot dogs for protein. You may also want to consider getting some yougart at a supermarket when you reach your destination.

Most recently, when I called to confirm my reservation and asked about a microwave, I go an upgrade from a single room to a suite for $7 extra.

Good luck with traveling safely.

Mary Lynn

On Jul 21, 1999

Hi Anna:

If you are not allergic to soy, you might find some interesting tofu ideas at local health food stores. You can buy tofu in numerous forms which can be quite tasty: from marinated tofu patties to just the plain old stuff. Seitan is wheat gluten (a concentrated protein) and is available in as many varieties as tofu.

Also, don't underestimate milk as a protein source. Make some low-fat milkshakes, add fruits and berries, and have at least one of those a day. Cheese is also a good protein source.

As a vegetarian, I have read many sources which prove Americans eat more protein than is needed. I'm quoting from "Nutrition for Vegetarians" by Agatha Moody Thrash, M.D. and Calvin L. Thrash, M.D.:

"The average adult needs less than 30 grams of protein per day. All unrefined foods contain protein. Fruit contains 1-3 grams and vegetables 2-8 grams per serving. Bread furnishes 3.5-4 grams per slice, 1 cup of steamed soybean sprouts furnishes 15 grams as do 1 3/4 cups of collards, 2 cups of broccoli, 1 cup of peas, and a few walnuts. On a natural diet, if one takes care of the calories, the protein will take care of itself."

In other words, try and eat foods in their unaltered state as much as possible and that will boost your protein intake.

Some protein dense vegetables are: asparagus, kale, spinach, peas, lentils, and dried beans. Other surprising high protein sources are: bagels, wheat germ, wild rice, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, nori (seaweed), olives, rice, and avocado.

Hope this helps!


[This message has been edited by Noreen (edited July 21, 1999).]

On Jul 23, 1999


I am new to this discussion board, but thought I'd put my two cents in about vacationing. I am twenty and am in college. I love to go on vacations with my boyfriend, but it seems that peanuts are always cropping up! I went to Catalina Island last spring break. The first restaurant I went to tossed peanuts across the table as a "cute" appetizer!!!!!!!!!

The only restaurant I have ever felt completely comfortable at is Charlie Trotter's, a very expensive restaurant in Chicago. The waiters took me seriously, and special dishes were prepared for me to replace dishes with peanuts/nuts.

My best hint for vacations is to bring/buy your own food! Camping is also an option I appreciate, because food preparation is not so routine as at home, but is also completely safe because you control all the ingredients.

I wish you all safe vacations! Katie

On Aug 11, 1999

G'day everyone.

Food is a great topic to talk about, and it always gets me going!

I am an 18yo male, and I eat everything by the truckload. I hate going to restraunts for 2 reasons:

1 - You never know what you will get on your plate (even if not worried about nuts, etc)

2 - There is never enough on the plate to eat!!!

It's not worth the risk.

If you have to eat out, eg a prom night, company function, celebration, etc, try the special order, and whatever else you do. I never feel like making a fuss over food, and if necessary, I WONT EAT AT ALL. I would rather starve for a few hours than die!

Look for the PLAIN foods AVOID SAUCES, GRAVY, STEWS, ETC Meat (no sauce), steamed or baked vegetables, rice, bread, and fruit are always good choices. NEVER EAT CHOCOLATE OR OTHER DESSERTS UNLESS YOU WOULD STAKE YOUR LIFE ON THEM CONTAINING NO NUTS.

As a rule, DONT EAT ASIAN FOODS. (I ate myself silly on Japanese food over 3 weeks in Japan - no incidents, but always be prepared, especially when you can't communicate with medical staff in their language!!!)

I have survived Army catering so far, and have eaten out, and with other families on many occasions without fuss or mishap.

IF IN DOUBT - DON'T EAT! (Sorry this probably should have been in the eating out section, not vacations!)

Take care everyone