Food Allergies & Fast Food – What I Eat on the Road

I get asked a lot about what I eat while travelling around so much. I started thinking more about it and realized how I really only stick to a handful of foods, yet they seem to be available in every nook of North America.

When I think of fast food chains, I really don’t even know what’s on their menu, except the ONE THING that I order every….single….time. Many might think this as pretty bland, but I really love these options, and I don’t like surprises with food – especially when travelling.


Here are my top 3 fast food meals that I eat on the road with food allergies.

(My allergies: peanut, tree nut, egg, fish, shellfish and mustard)

  1. McDonald’s Southwest Chicken Salad (grilled chicken, balsamic dressing).
    Link to ingredients
    kyle dine allergy fast food
  2. Chipotle – chicken or steak burrito or bowl
    Link to ingredients
    chip
  3. Wendy’s baked potato
    Link to ingredients
    Wendy's baked potato
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New Food Allergy Translation App

I’m so proud to announce the launch of the new Food Allergy Translation App! It’s the newest addition to a growing suite of resources at www.allergytranslation.com.

Allergy Translation Card App

It’s currently available on iOS with an Android version being launched in a matter of weeks.

Allergy Cards for Travel

Like the website, you can create cards in 43 languages, but now they will show nicely on your screen. You can order customized cards with up to 10 allergens (from a database of 200 foods/items), or a specialized card that gives more details about one or two common allergens (e.g. peanut, wheat cards).

Download the Allergy Translation App today and don’t limit your adventure!

Free food allergy translation card app

AllergyTravels.com – Hub for Allergic Travelers

When I put my guitar down, there are many other hobbies and interests I have at the end of the day. One of my greatest loves is TRAVEL!

I have owned and operated http://www.allergytranslation.com for ten years now. It’s a website that allows users to create customized cards that feature their allergens translated in foreign languages. They are super helpful whenever I travel internationally to help communicate my allergies and severity at restaurants.

Over the past year I have been working hard on another travel related project, this time with a team of three other wonderful allergy advocates. We wanted to create a hub for people with allergies who are searching on information to travel internationally with food allergies. With that, http://www.allergytravels.com was born! It features:

  • Essential information (e.g. emergency numbers, food labeling info)
  • Country/airline ratings and reviews
  • An interactive forum to discuss every country in the world!

Allergy Travels Homepage Screenshot

As a special promotion to kick the site off, we are offering some prizes to one lucky person! All you have to do is leave a review before the end of August to be eligible. Simple! Leave a country or airline review today and help grow our community of international knowledge!

at cards

Have Baby, Will Travel – Going on Tour with an Infant

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Cruising the beaches of Long Island, NY!

Talk about niche blog topics, not only will this article focus on travelling on the road with an infant, but also covers info for musicians taking their babies on tour with them!

When I told people that I was going on tour this winter, they thought I was crazy for several reasons. For one, touring in winter can bring about awful snowstorms and cancelled shows. Secondly, how on earth are we going to travel with a 3-month old baby without the comforts of home?

Looking back, not only did we do it. We would do it again in a heartbeat. However, I would imagine it being more difficult as she gets older (e.g. 7-12 months when more aware of her surroundings).

It wasn’t easy, and it took a ton of planning, but we had the most special family adventure with moments that will last a lifetime.

Let’s break it down.

The Trip

February 1 – March 25
Two Weeks – Bay Area, California
Five Weeks – North East U.S. – NY, NJ, CT, MA, PA

The Planning

  • Sensible travel – I’ve done tours where I drive 3-4 hours a day – every day in order to reach more schools. This tour, I was much more strict on the areas I would visit. The goal was to stay in one place at a minimum 4-5 days. The less packing/unpacking the better!
  • Introducing foods – We knew that we were entering the stage of solid food introduction and made a game plan of introducing only fruits and veggies while living on the road. Introducing common allergens would wait until we got home.
Dining with the Dines at a Diner

Dining with the Dines at a Diner

The Accessories

  • The strollerThe most important thing of all. We needed something not only compact, but that could double as a bassinet for sleeping if we couldn’t find a crib. We found the perfect one second-hand online.
  • The carrier – Our Baby Bjorn carrier rocks. Strap on a baby and go! There were times when this was essential – especially airports.
  • The feeding chair – A high chair wasn’t an option as they take up too much room, so we brought a cool little seat that we could plop anywhere. Most meals, she was on top of the kitchen table. It helped keep a bit of consistency to mealtime as we started introducing solid foods.
  • The play centre – We did not bring this originally, but saw a really compact foldable one at a consignment baby store. Baby LOVED it and it gave my wife a bit of time to catch up on work when I was out at gigs.
Try before you buy! We loved browsing through baby consignment stores.

Try before you buy! We loved browsing through baby consignment stores.

The Pit Stops

  • 2 Hour Max – We found that two hours was the maximum driving time before needing a break. We all appreciated to stretch, feed, and have a bathroom/diaper-changing break.
  • Starbucks – Coffee and change tables? Need I say more?
  • Family Bathrooms – For the first time in my life I used them. They are wonderful. Malls/rest stops that go out of their way to make a private/clean place to change a baby have my newfound respect.

The Accommodations

  • AirBnb – I couldn’t recommend this enough. I was very transparent when requesting to book that we are travelling with a baby. She cries minimally in the night, but I still don’t want hosts to be surprised by this as it’s not for everyone! We had many private spaces that gave us our own kitchen and even backyards to play in. It also makes a long trip not seem so long when you are discovering new areas as you start to feel at home.
  • Hotels – We did two nights overall in hotels which went fine. We were given foldaway cribs upon request. We couldn’t imagine staying any more than 1-2 nights at a hotel after knowing the benefits of AirBnB places.
I loved this AIrBnb because of the large play area.

I loved this AIrBnb because of the large play area.

The Travel

  • Airplanes – We took advantage of family pre-boarding which gave us some time to gate-check the stroller and get settled in our chairs with toys and food accessible. Aisle seats were key in order to get up and walk around with baby. Feeding on takeoff and arrival helped dealing with the air pressure.
  • Rental Cars – Making sure that our rental car came with a car seat (about $75 extra). Also enough space to fit my guitar, a hockey bag of music gear and two speakers. That space proved to be tough, but we packed that car like we were playing Tetris!
  • Minivan – We had access to a minivan for our big east coast trip (1 month+). It was amazing for carting around little extras that we couldn’t afford in California (e.g. feeding chair, play centre, extra music gear!)

kyle-dine-in-ny2

The Entertainment

  • Children’s Museums – Our GPS would show us “Children’s Museums” under the “nearby attractions” area. She loved the “baby room” in the Nassau, CT children’s museum.
  • Aquariums – What a treat to see the Monterey Aquarium! Our baby loved it!
  • Parks – Not an option on the cold east coast, but we greatly enjoyed strolls around some beautiful parks and trails in California.
  • Swimming Pools – We searched up local YMCA’s and community centres and went to “family swim” several times. We were disappointed a few times with places that wouldn’t allow babies under the age of 6 months.
  • Department Stores – We shamelessly went into many department stores to kill some time between shows, as well as check out (or perhaps play with….) the baby toys.
  • My gigs of course! She didn’t come to all, but it was so fun seeing my little one at the back of gymnasiums soaking in the kid-friendly music. She didn’t cry at the sight of my puppets so that’s a good start!

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As I gear up for another solo tour, I know I will be reminiscing a lot about this special family adventure we had. Thank goodness for FaceTime!

Daddy long legs! Having a blast in Atlantic City :)

Daddy long legs! Having a blast in Atlantic City 🙂

Camp Emerson – An Extraordinary “Allergy Aware” Summer Camp

 

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I had a great childhood. I played baseball, rode bikes with friends, played hockey on the pond and played maybe one too many video games! However, there was one common connection to everything I did – I was close to home.

With all of my food allergies, summer camp was only something I heard about through movies. Although my summers were great, they were generally confined to an area that circled around a particular epicenter – my kitchen.

This is why I am THRILLED to hear of places like Camp Emerson in Massachusetts.  As a proclaimed “Food Allergy Specialist”, they pride themselves in providing a worry-free experience for campers and parents alike.

What’s really impressive is that they “walk the walk” too…and then some with incredible attention to details. Here are some of the things that impressed me most about Camp Emerson that could give peace of mind to prospective parents:

The Food Situation

  • They are peanut, tree nut, shellfish and sesame free.
  • They have successfully supported children with up to 9 anaphylactic allergies.

The Kitchen Situation

  • A team of Registered Dietitians prepare the menu with you prior to camp.
  • Parents are able to review the menu in advance and read all labels.
  • They have dedicated equipment and kitchen area to avoid cross-contamination.

 The Staff Situation

  • All staff are trained on anaphylaxis emergency procedures (including EpiPen training)
  • There is on-site medical staff (pediatrician, nurses) trained in allergies.
  • The directors have food allergies and truly “get it”.

I can go on, but I recommend you take a look at their brochure all about campers with allergies: http://www.campemerson.com/future_families/food_allergy_specialist.

It wasn’t until college that I entered the summer camp world as a staff member at a camp in Ontario. It was an incredible experience that kept me coming back – 5 summers in total! It opened my eyes to the value of camp and the countless benefits it provides children. Camp Emerson has generously supported my tour and DVD as a sponsor, and I am thrilled to endorse them, as I believe they are trailblazers setting gold standards for how camps can accommodate allergic campers. They share my belief that food allergies shouldn’t be a barrier for summer camp.

I know their spaces are filling up fast, but here are more details for this summer:

Camp Sessions:

  • 6 weeks – Sunday, June 28 – Saturday, August 8, 2015
  • 4 weeks – Sunday, June 28 – Saturday, July 25, 2015
  • 2 weeks – Sunday, July 26 – Saturday, August 8, 2015

For more information, visit http://www.campemerson.com, or pick up the phone can call:

Sue Lein, Owner & Camp Director (she’s so friendly and fantastic!)

directors@campemerson.com
800-782-3395
203-894-9663

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