Top 5 Tips on Approaching Others about Food Allergies and Accommodations (Kyle Dine)

kyledine:

A recent blog post I wrote for “It’s an Itchy Little World”.

Originally posted on It's an Itchy Little World:

Today’s guest post is from none other than Kyle Dine, food allergy role model and educator. My family and I were lucky enough to see Kyle Dine perform at a school assembly for elementary kids last year. It was awesome! Everyone was dancing, shouting out answers to Kyle’s questions about food allergies, and laughing at the antics of EpiMan (one of Kyle’s very cool puppets). Honestly, I had no idea food allergies could be so fun for anyone, much less an auditorium filled room of kids, some with food allergies, but most without. And every single one of the parents and teachers were smiling and clapping along – it was a great time!  In the end we bought two of Kyle’s CDs and jammed out to them on the way home and my kids have been listening to them ever since. Their favorite songs are “Food Allergies Rock” and ”…

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Filming has Started!

Hey Friends!

Lights, camera, action! Our video is truly coming to life this week as filming has started in the Chicago suburbs. It’s a long way from home for me, but I just knew this production company would give me the best results possible. After everything so far, I couldn’t be happier with the whole team!

Check out the set design! Two incredible people (both named Bob!) have put together a masterpiece!

The set consists of 4 areas: The Kitchen, The Classroom, The Music Room, and The Lounge

The set consists of 4 areas: The Kitchen, The Classroom, The Music Room, and The Lounge

The filming went great on Day 1! I loved working with such talented puppeteers who brought my puppets to life!

Bob the puppeteer (and amazing guy!) with Chef Allergie.

Bob the puppeteer (and amazing guy!) with Chef Allergie.

The filming was filled with fun, but we crammed in so much in one day. It was a neat experience to be on camera and I can’t wait to go through the rest of the scripts on day 2 and 3.

Rocking out recording the song "Cool Bracelet"

Rocking out recording the song “Cool Bracelet”

The one thought that kept coming to mind throughout the shoot, is that this project is a dream come true. We are going to educate SO many about food allergies with this resource. Thank you so much for being a part of this adventure!

Kyle Studying Script

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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Allergy Awareness Poster – Featuring YOUR CHILD!

There was ONE really cool reward that was added so late in my Kickstarter campaign, it practically went unnoticed….

A food allergy awareness poster featuring your child’s photo!

Talk about a unique gift! 20 SPOTS LEFT, $25 to reserve yours + receive two 11×17″ copies. All $ directly supports DVD project.

Grab yours at http://www.foodallergyvideo.com/poster-reward.html

Awareness-Poster

Image is a mock-up. This will be created by a professional graphic designer.

 

 

 

Red Plate Foods = Delicious

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I first met Becca from Red Plate Foods at the Portland FARE walk in August. I remember it like it was yesterday, as that was the day I ate the BEST cupcake of my life! (With an nut + egg allergy, this is a big deal!) Becca offered my wife (gluten-free) and I both a sample cupcake as we left the event. We ate them while driving away, and after only a few bites, started giving each other those wide-eyed “this is incredible” looks, and the “Mmmmm’ing” out loud sounds! We realized we hit baked allergy-friendly gold!

Fast-forward to October when I was back in Portland to perform at local schools. Sure enough, I ran into Becca again! This time, more samples….cookies, cupcakes and muffins. ALL were simply amazing. I offered a few cookies to a family I was staying with, and they looked at me like I was handing over the keys to a Porche! They TOO knew of Red Plate Foods and were giddy about receiving the samples!

Becca’s company might just be the best kept secret out there. She just expanded to offer shipping of her baked goods. With the holidays coming, grab some of these treats and be the hit of your allergy-friendly holiday party! PS – please invite me and save a cupcake! :)

www.redplatefoods.com

New Holiday Song – “Nut Free Christmas”

It’s been two years since I’ve done a Christmas video. I figured it was time to do another since it really is my favourite time of the year, and have had the urge to do a song with my puppets ever since reading the Jim Henson biography (what an inspiring guy!).

He's no Bing Crosby, but it was a pleasure duetting with EpiMan!

He’s no Bing Crosby, but it was a pleasure duetting with EpiMan!

There is truly one musician who can get me into the Christmas spirit like no other year after year. Elvis. If you don’t have his Christmas CD, get it. It might be the best Christmas mix I’ve ever heard on one CD. There are songs like “Santa Claus is Back in Town” that can get your Xmas party rocking, “Here Comes Santa Claus” that is the grooviest dinner music, and “Silent Night” that can give you chills.

My personal favourite, “Blue Christmas” is pure Elvis at his best in my opinion. I really don’t think any cover version of this song will ever come close to being as good.

So what did I go out and do? Cover “Blue Christmas”! However, I gave it a twist. I did use the original music to sing over, but made a parody that the allergy community would appreciate titled “Nut Free Christmas” with my pal EpiMan.

I wanted to create a fun little reminder for family members to be mindful of allergies during the holiday season. I hope you share it with your family and friends and have an overall “allergy free” Christmas this year.

Lyrics

Nut-Free Christmas

I won’t have a blue Christmas without you
It’ll be so cool, eating without you
Every Christmas you appear, but that’s gonna change this year
Let’s start a new tradition Where you’re not here with me

And when the party guests start knockin’
They’ll find some new treats in their stockin’
You’ll be doin’ alright, you won’t miss them for one night
Cuz I want, a nut and peanut free Christmas

[EpiMan Talking Bit] Family, friends, this year, I have one Christmas wish…on top of world peace, and a meet and greet with Batman…I’m asking you to be mindful of others allergies. You know what allergic reindeer say “If you have nuts to serve, first check with the herd.” Christmas time is about togetherness, where we can laugh, sing and talk, and…feed the nutcracker a sock…haha

You’ll be doin’ alright, you won’t miss them for one night
Cuz I want a nut, and peanut free Christmas
Cuz I want a nut…a nut free Christmas

[Banter at the end] Who roasts nuts on an open fire anyways? Isn’t that a safety concern?