Food Allergies in Riviera Maya, Mexico

The epitome of vacation is the absence of worry. However, when you have food allergies, you always have to be “on”, and aware of potential allergens.. doesn’t really sound like a worry free vacation to me!

So how can you truly “vacation”…? Research! Tons of it.

The nice thing about staying at a resort is that it’s their job to accommodate you. However, the financially conscious of us find ourselves budgeting for an all-inclusive Resort. Luckily, I found one!

Unico is an all-inclusive, gorgeous resort, in Riviera May that does an excellent job with accommodating allergies. Make sure you email them a few weeks in advance of your trip with all the details of your diet. They contact all the chefs to let them know in advance and make you a customized and laminated Chef card that states your allergens in Spanish and English. You could buy or make one yourself but it’s so convenient for you!

Unico has six different restaurants including room service. Even though they had my name on file in the kitchen, every time I ordered Room Service I made sure to state my allergens (I highly recommend getting in the habit of this!). Every time I went to a restaurant I gave the manager or hostess (whomever was at the front desk) my card. They would make sure to brief the chef in the back. After being seated, I also gave the waiter my Allergen card.

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Dining at one of the Restaurant at Unico

When you’re in a restaurant, get in the habit of alerting the waiter and manager of your allergies

While Unico was an incredible experience for someone with food allergies on an All-Inclusive Resort Vacation. It isn’t the only option! Always be sure to research beforehand and contact the hotel or resort.

 

x

Alison

 

I Decorated Cakes With Erin McKenna, And It Was Awesome

When I first moved to NYC I had a few days before school started to explore (more accurately get lost) so I started walking till.. it was dark oh and I was too much of a pansy to go on the subway.

By some miracle, I ended up at Erin McKenna’s Bakery ( I was coming from Chelsea, a bit of a trek to Nolita). Everything seemed to be everything free, so naturally, I bought one of everything . I’ve ventured to other bakeries and while there some solid finds, I find myself stuffing a cake box full of treats every 7-ish months.

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A lighter load

Erin McKenna also sells a few box recipes of her some of her classics. Two of my favorites are the Two-Bite Chocolate Chip Brownies and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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At home with Erin McKenna Boxed Recipes

The event was held at Haven’s Kitchen, an adorably awesome Cafe and Event Venue that hosts all different types of cooking classes.

Allergy Note: The kitchen at Haven’s Kitchen is not a 100% Gluten free or Allergen Friendly kitchen and there can be other spaces of the kitchen used while you are in the kitchen that may contain said allergens. That said, this was not a baking class, the cakes were made at allergen friendly kitchen at Erin McKenna Bakery. If you have an highly severe airborne allergy, I would not recommend participating in a class even if the ingredients in the class are free of your allergens. While I came prepared, I did not have any reaction during or after the class.

The event began with champagne and platters of Erin McKenna’s bakery treats… dangerous… Each participant was given a workspace prepped with all sorts of decorating supplies and two round cakes.

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The set-up

The first mission was to carve your cake… this seemed much easier on CakeBoss. After we mixed our own frosting colors, and luckily mine did not turn out brown!

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Custom frosting colors.. *note wine glass*

Then bagging up your frosting in piping bags.

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A messier experience than I thought.. then again, champagne..

After we did the base layers and stacked the cakes.. Toppings!

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Maple syrup, organic sprinkles and crushed Erin McKenna Chocolate Chip cookies

This step made me realize that cake decorating will need to stay a hobby..

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This came out a lot better in my head

Luckily.. we then got to decorate cupcakes. Yay less surface area to destroy!

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A glass of champagne later…

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Improvement!

 

Cost: $150

Duration: 2 Hours

Take away: 1 layer cake, 3 cupcakes, 2 glasses of champagne and a stomach full of Erin McKenna’s Bakery treats

Satisfaction Score 1-10: 9, I got to meet a bunch of Erin McKenna fans including THE Erin McKenna. How many people can say that their bakery idol taught them how to frost a cake! It’s expensive but the experience is totally worth it!

 

x

Alison

 

 

 

How to Make the Most of Your Doc Visit


Leading Up to Visit

1. If you are still reacting, take pictures if haven’t done so already. Take pictures of your reaction every day leading up to your visit. Your Doc will want to see how/if the reaction has changed.

2. Take pictures of the allergen trigger (the brand label and list of ingredients) if haven’t done so already

3. Create an album in your phone photos called “Allergies” or w/e your preference and drag all of your ingredients and reaction photos into it. Organize the album assuring the label/ ingredients list and reaction are next to each other. Keep your organizational structure consist throughout album (ie [Pics 1-3: Reaction] [Pics 2-4: Brand Label and Ingredients list])

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I had a severe reaction to a couple of beauty products. My skin was so sensitive that even salt would eat away at the corners of my mouth ( I wasn’t sure if this was a separate reaction so I took pictures of everything just in case. You’ll see pictures over the course of the days leading up to my appointment (to see how/if my reaction progressed) along with a few product ingredient shots (to narrow the true culprit).

4. Doc’s typically suggest not to take any antihistamines as this could prevent them from seeing all your reactions.

Day of Visit

5. Take off your makeup. As daunting as you may feel, take if off either before you go or leave extra extra early to wash it off at the Doc’s office.

6. Take screen shots of the notes on your phone and put them into your “Allergies” photo album or tuck your pieces of paper into an envelope to keep everything together. (don’t forget to write the date on each piece of paper!)

7. Have questions for your Dr? Write them down on a piece of paper or in the notes in your phone. Take a screenshot if entering into phone notes and drag into your “Allergies” album.

8. Make sure you have a form of ID, multiple forms of payment (if you pay a copay) and your insurance card.

9. Leave extra early for your appointment, especially if you are experiencing brain fog. Your time is limited with your Dr and you want to make the most out of it. Feeling even slightly disoriented can mess up even a normal commute, plus darting into a Doc’s office with beads of sweat down your face is not a cute look.

10. If you Dr is prescribe you something and you have several food allergies or intolerance, you may want to research the ingredients before having your Dr fill as prescription. Ask your Dr to write these down for you. Take a picture of the paper before you leave the office.

After Visit

11. Plan something happy after your appointment. Go for a nice walk? Make movie plans with your friends? Indulge in your favorite treat? Go shopping? Give yourself something to look forward to after each appointment.

10. Talk to the people closest to you about it. Roommates, parents, best friends? Within the first 2-3 days of your Dr. app, fill them in about what you learned and how they can continue to support you.