29 October 2014

What's all this teal pumpkin stuff about?

Holiday season is officially in full swing. For 220 million people worldwide, this can be one of the most challenging times in our lives. Especially for those diagnosed with multiple food allergies (kids and adults alike).

While Halloween technically celebrates the day of the dead, food (candy) is the most important prize. This is a holiday we somehow made into our own based on Mexico's Dia de los Muertos. We dress up in costumes, knock on strangers doors and encourage our children to beg for candy. A proper American Tradition now though.

We also celebrate the fall (autumn) season with pumpkins, fall leaves, hot cider and apple harvest in preparation of Thanksgiving by "harvesting" them and bringing them at home to further ripen on our front porch before we carve them or make pie out of them.

But things are changing in our society now. The rise of food allergies as well as the larger transparent food movement, has people thinking twice about giving our little "beggars" food (candy). We surely wouldn't want them sick because of something we dished out.
Cooper (FA Kid) in California shows off her Teal Pumpkin. 

A woman (Ms. Becky Basalone) in Tennessee came up with an iconic symbol this Halloween called the "Teal Pumpkin Project." Every cause has a color. Somehow Food Allergies got teal. (Although in food service the color to signify an allergen free meal is purple).

Becky decided to send a signal to all the Food Allergic kids and parents by painting a teal pumpkin and placing it on the front porch. This signals to families of food allergics that this house will give away non-food treats (pencils, pens, bracelets, erasers, spider rings, etc).

The movement has spread across the United States and has been reported being seen in UK and Canada. I was recently on a few calls where people knew nothing about food allergies and this subject came up, "I was wondering what all these blue pumpkins were all about."

If you'd like to participate in the 'blue' or Teal pumpkin project and let people know, click here.
How to participate:
1. Paint a pumpkin Teal
2. Grab some non-food items a (trick vs. treat)
3. List your house as a Safe for F.A. kids house, here. 

At Food Allergy Gal, we recommend baking/making special treats at home.
That means having a super fabulous, awesome meal at home that is made Free of Allergens (for that person) first. Perhaps make it ghost and goblin themed. Then have special treats ready that can be packed for trick or treating. (Rice Crispy Treats made with safe alternatives, Muffins, Dried Fruit, Pie Bites) 

Everyone is going to be reaching in and grabbing a little treat from time to time, so carry some "safe treats" with you as you go from door to door.

Enjoy those spider rings and pens and pencils and if candy is collected- donate it to the soldiers if you don't feel safe. 

Until you walk the day in the life of a multiple food allergic person, you may not know the pain we face with this season. Social functions include food everywhere that can make us extremely ill for weeks and/or kill us if aren't treated with epi right away. It's great to have people who actually care about us (food allergics) too.

Learn more about #tealpumpkinproject 

A Halloween Meal Plan Idea:

1.Beef back ribs (to resemble human ribs) Braise them in a balsamic vinegar and brown sugar rub and brushes them with homemade barbecue sauce before grilling them

2. Fried Cabbage Salad (to resemble fried worms) Add shredded cabbage, onions, carrots with rice vinegar, olive oil, teaspoon of sugar to sauté pan and heat it up until just a bit on the crispy side and then top off with some dried seaweed. 

3. Roasted Fingerling Potatoes (to resemble fingers) Wash potatoes and place on baking sheet. Drizzle salt, pepper and olive oil. Heat over to 425 degrees F. Roast for 20 minutes. Sprinkle Rosemary or Chives for color on top

4. Pumpkin Flan for dessert (this can be made with Rice Milk and dairy, soy free butter)  (Add 3/4 cup of whole pumpkin blend) Click here, for unmodified recipe. 

5. Tasty Drink (Adult version here): 1/4 cup water, 3 cups of pear or apple juice, 4 tablespoons of cinnamon, (optional 1 cup of whiskey) (Mix in a martini shaker and pour over ice) or warm over low heat in a sauce pan or crock pot and serve warm. 

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