Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Predicting Longevity–Not So Futuristic

Would you like to know how long you have to live? Sure – some people, maybe many, really don't want to know.  But clearly, some people do want to know. After all, fiction writers and movie-makers have long tantalized willing audiences with dramatic what-if tales – What would you do if you knew you only had a year to live? Or just weeks? What would you do if you knew the day and the hour that the Grim Reaper would come knocking on your door?

But is it pure fiction? Possibly not. While we don't yet have the ability to predict the day and hour of our demise, scientists are making rapid headway toward understanding longevity – toward knowing your personal odds of living two more years versus 20 more years. Scientists and researchers throughout the world are delving far beyond our previous knowledge regarding life and its expiration.

Chromosomes and DNA


Tick tock – The death test watch


As creepy as that sounds, scientists are in fact creating a device that is worn like a wristwatch but that does much more than tell you the time. This seemingly futuristic device, being called an Endotheliometer, is able to read vital information at the cellular level inside your blood capillaries. The device measures activity within the endothelium – the layer of cells which coat the inside of every blood vessel in the body.

Embedded in your endothelium is a wealth of key chemical information that can clue us in to vital health markers throughout the body. This "death test" watch's analysis can potentially warn us in advance of an approaching stroke or heart attack. Its analytic non-invasive tentacles can also painlessly identify the onset of dementia or diabetes mellitus.  It can recognize the presence of cancer in the body, and even provide indications of how quickly we are aging. Read more about the death test watch at PubMed or at Lancaster University’s research showcase.


Telomeres – a microscopic measure of longevity


Go inside a human cell, and then deeper into the nucleus of the cell. Deeper still, you find chromosomes. And at the end of your chromosomes are lengths of DNA called telomeres. Scientists now believe that the length and strength of your telomeres may hold the secrets to understanding many health indicators and, possibly, even indicate the remaining days of your life.

How is this possible? To explain it, scientists often used two different analogies: the telomere as the plastic tip of a shoestring and the telomere as the fuse on a bomb.
  • Just as the plastic tip of a shoestring protects the string itself from unraveling, the telomere protects and preserves the genetic information encoded within your DNA.
  • Just as the shortening of a bomb fuse as it burns indicates the shortening of time before detonation, the shortening of your telomere indicates the impending death of the cell.
Therefore, the longer and stronger your telomeres are, the longer your life and stronger your health is, scientists now think. 

Here's the rub; every time your cell divides, your telomeres shorten a bit. In the human blood cell, for instance, your telomere length is long enough at birth to contain about 8,000 base pairs. But in the elderly? It's closer to 1,500 base pairs. With each cell division (which occurs 50 to 70 times over the course of your life), your telomeres are getting shorter. Eventually, the telomeres are so short they can no longer divide, and your cell dies or becomes inactive.

Using this information about your telomeres, scientists believe they may be able to predict to some degree the remaining life of your cells – the remaining length of your life.

Grandfather and grandson at computer


From predicting longevity to extending life?


The big question about telomere shortening – which scientists are still trying to determine – is whether the shortening of the telomere is causing your aging or whether it is simply an indicator that you are aging.  Some scientists hope that we may be able to extend cellular lifespan – and therefore human lifespan – by either keeping our telomeres from shortening or by finding a way to lengthen them again.  If they become successful, it's possible that we may not only be able to determine the remaining length of our lives but extend them, perhaps indefinitely.  Learn more.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer


Monday, November 11, 2013

Hidden Household Hazards

Some of the most overlooked household items can be hazardous to your family’s safety and well-being. While you may not be able to eliminate every possible toxin on the home-front, there are ways to minimize exposure and keep you and your family safe, healthy and happy.


What makes a product hazardous?


Hazardous household products are categorized as:

  • Ignitable: May cause possible burning or even a fire.
  • Corrosive: Can eat away materials product comes in contact with, and has the possibility of destroying living tissue.
  • Explosive/Reactive: Product has the potential to cause an explosion or release poisonous fumes when exposed to air, water or other chemicals.
  • Toxic: Poisonous, either immediately or over a long period of time.

Remember:  Some of the most toxic “hidden” household hazards are those inhaled over a long-term basis, often not labeled as hazardous to your health on a product label.

Household hazards


How do hazardous products enter your body?


  • Ingestion—By eating or swallowing a product.
  • Inhalation—Breathing in the fumes from a product.
  • Absorption—Toxins from the product are taken in through the skin when it comes in contact.

For more information regarding hazardous products and their effect on your body, visit www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs.


Household products with toxic potential:


  • Air Fresheners: Either spray or plug-in types of air fresheners emit hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates, which can cause infertility. The toxins have also been linked to obesity. According to the National Resources Defense Council, even “all natural” air fresheners may contain harmful phthalates.

The solution? Natural potpourris you can make yourself. A simple recipe is: Add sliced citrus fruit, cinnamon and clover to water. Simmer on low, out of the way of children. Also consider detoxifying houseplants such as English ivy and philodendrons.

  • Paint: In addition to concern about the proper disposal of paint after its use, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are a big consideration when choosing paint for your home. These ingredients that keep colors from fading and separating, VOCs have been associated with neurological damage such as brain fog and balance issues, as well as infertility and birth defects, according to Walter Crinyion, ND, chair of the environmental medicine department at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Tempe, AZ.
  • Bookshelves: Many bookshelves are made from pressed board, tiny pieces of wood held together with glue. The glue in pressed board emits formaldehyde, a known carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. According to the Agency, formaldehyde can also cause headaches, skin rashes and even asthma.

The fix? Solid wood shelving is your best bet. Even plywood is a better choice than pressed board. While plywood is still a type of pressed board, but it contains thicker layers that require less glue, which exposes you and your family to less formaldehyde. Always air out new shelving for a few weeks either outside or in the garage before bringing indoors to use.

Homemade potpourri


How can you keep painting your home as toxic-free as possible?


  1. Always keeping windows open for 24-hours after painting
  2. Use zero-or low-VOC paints
  3. Skip painting if pregnant or hoping to be soon

What can you do to keep your household safe?


  • Stay informed.
  • Stick with as many natural products as possible.
  • Know your ingredients.
  • Check out reports such as those available through www.yosemite.epa.gov for updated listings of household warnings and trends.

Check out my next post to discover hidden hazards lurking unexpectedly in each of the rooms of your home.

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 8, 2013

Top 6 Health Benefits of Pineapple

No one is surprised to hear that something dark green and bitter tasting is good for you.  But can it be that something as tasty as pineapple can also be good for you?  Indeed, yes! 

Fresh pineapple


Health benefits of pineapple


You may be surprised to know that pineapple has many health benefits.  Here are the top six reasons you should include pineapple in your diet. 
1.  Pineapple is “encased” goodness
Unlike many other fruits, we don't eat the outer shell of the pineapple fruit. Consequently, consuming pineapple naturally presents less risk of exposure to pesticides and herbicides compared to most other fruits. 
2.  Pineapple is low on bad stuff
Depending on your dietary needs, you may benefit from the low-sodium, low-fat, low-cholesterol, and low-calorie properties of pineapple.  For example, if you’re counting calories, you’ll be happy to know that pineapple has only 76 calories per cup.  Watching your cholesterol intake?  Pineapple has none.  If you’re trying to keep your sodium intake low, you’re in luck; pineapple has a scant 1.65 mg per one cup serving.
3.  Pineapple is vitamin-rich
While pineapple is low on sodium, fat, and cholesterol, pineapple contains many beneficial vitamins. A one-cup serving of pineapple provides all of this:
  • Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant – as much as 131 percent of the daily adult requirement in a single serving.
  • Vitamin B1 – also known as thiamine – 8.6 percent of what you need daily as an adult.  Vitamin B1 helps with proper nervous system function and good brain function.
  • Vitamin B6 – 9 percent in each serving – aids the body in more than 100 enzyme reactions involved in metabolism, and aids brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
4.  Pineapple is mineral-rich
As well as providing many vitamins, pineapple is also a source of the following essential minerals:
  • Copper – 9 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) – important for iron absorption, normal growth, energy production, and for the health of your connective tissues.
  • Folate – 7.4 percent of your RDA.  Folate is an important B vitamin that aids cell growth and cell reproduction.
  • Potassium – 2 percent (about 100 mg per ½ cup of canned pineapple), which helps your body to balance fluids and minerals and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Pinapple smoothie
5. Pineapple is a healthy source of dietary fiber
Pineapple contains 2.31 grams of dietary fiber.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) tells us that both children and adults get less than half of the recommended levels in the U.S., which is unfortunately because, when you have a high intake of dietary fiber, you’re likely to significantly lower your risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases.

Increasing fiber intake can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve glycemia and insulin sensitivity, enhance weight loss, relieve gastrointestinal disorders. And what more enjoyable way to increase your dietary fiber than a cup or two of pineapple?
6. Pineapple is bursting with bromelain
Bromelain is a mixture of proteinases that have been proven in studies to reduce symptoms of many inflammatory diseases, including remission of ulcerative colitis.  It is also used to reduce post-op nose or sinus inflammation and hay fever symptoms, plus aiding in severe burn recovery, preventing pulmonary edema, relaxing and stimulating muscles, antibiotics absorption, body fat metabolism, and preventing post-workout muscle soreness.

Is canned pineapple good for you?


Any time you buy fruit in a can, you can be sure it has been processed to the extent that any live enzymes are long gone.  Consequently, getting fresh pineapple is the best way to ensure that you’re getting the most goodness in every bite (not to mention the best flavor).  And you must make sure to buy your canned pineapple packed in water, not sugar, or you’re getting a lot of extra calories.

That said, much of what makes pineapple good for you survives the common canning processes.  Also, because the fruit is usually canned when it’s ripe, and soon after picking, it’s canned at the height of its nutritional potential – often more so than when buying fresh pineapple at a major supermarket, since it may not have been given the chance to ripen fully on the vine before shipping. 

Health risks of pineapple


For the most part, the health benefits of pineapple far outweigh any health risks it may present. But you should be aware that any fruit is high in sugar. While a natural source of sugar, such as pineapple, is healthier for you than processed sugars, all sugars can affect individuals with insulin sensitivities.

Pineapple recipes


Not all good-for-you foods are tasty, but pineapple certainly is.  To get the most out of your enjoyment of this tropical fruit, try one of the 30 pineapple recipes from MarthaStewart.com, the two dozen pineapple recipes from bonappetite.com, or really go to pineapple town with the 800-plus recipes using pineapple at AllRecipes.com.

Isn't it nice to know that something as tasty as pineapple can also be good for you?  If you’re a pineapple fan, share your favorite pineapple recipe using the comments below. 

Ric Moxley 
Contributing Writer

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Acupuncture--What is it? Does it Work?

Acupuncture is a practice that falls under the heading of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Simply put, it’s not part of the standard medical care typically administered by nurses, doctors or other healthcare providers. However, licensed acupuncturists do receive extensive training in their specific field and are qualified to provide this alternative treatment.  Once questioned by mainstream medical experts, acupuncture has gained greater acceptance and respect over the years.


How does acupuncture work?


Acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny, hair-like needles along key areas in your body, known as meridians. This alternative therapy is done to get the chi, or energy, in your body moving again. The needles are often placed in seemingly unrelated areas of your body. For instance, for a headache, an acupuncturist might insert needles in your hands or ears.

While researchers don't fully understand how acupuncture works, it might aid the activity of your body's pain-killing chemicals. It also might affect how you release chemicals that regulate blood pressure and flow, according to NIH: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine www.nim.nih.gov.

What conditions may benefit from acupuncture?


  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic back pain
  • Migraine headaches 
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendonitis and tennis elbow
  • Side effects of cancer treatment
  • Stress and anxiety

Visit www.webmd.com for additional conditions that may benefit from acupuncture.

What are the benefits of acupuncture?


  • Relief from pain
  • Overall feeling of well being
  • May help alleviate anxiety

Who should NOT use acupuncture?


  • Pregnant women--the procedure may stimulate labor and result in premature delivery
  • Those with pacemakers—acupuncture may interfere with the proper functioning of the device
  • Individuals with bleeding disorders or those taking blood thinners

Are there any risks involved with acupuncture?


Most individuals report no side effects after receiving treatment. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, possible risks include:

  • Temporary soreness or bruising at needle sites
  • Organ injury—a rare complication
  • Infection—in case of reused needles. A licensed professional acupuncturist should use sterile, disposable needles.

Does acupuncture work?


While a variety of studies have been completed on the validity of acupuncture, findings remain uncertain. Some experts believe it does work; others feel there is no evidence to support the idea that acupuncture is beneficial.  Visit www.sciencebasedmedicine.org and www.news-medical.net for two different views on this alternative treatment.

Yet, experts do seem to agree that even if the procedure merely provides relief via a placebo effect, a perceived improvement in a condition, it should at least be considered. For individuals seeking relief from pain or a variety of other symptoms, especially when other treatments or procedures have been unsuccessful, acupuncture might just be the answer.

Is acupuncture painful?


When most individuals hear the word needle, they immediately associate it with pain. In the case of acupuncture, the needles are extremely small and thin, almost hair-like in appearance. Most patients who experience acupuncture indicate feeling no pain or discomfort with the procedure.

What is the cost of acupuncture?


An acupuncture session with a qualified licensed professional may run from $70-$100 in metropolitan areas. In most cases, unfortunately, health insurance still does not cover this alternative therapy. Most practitioners usually suggest at least two-three visits to receive maximum benefits.

Want to locate an acupuncturist in your area?

Visit http://www.aaaomonline.org

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

Monday, November 4, 2013

Seasonal Vegetables

The chill of autumn is already an undercurrent on the summer breeze. As we usher out the rich berries and peaches of summer, we welcome in the firm-skinned squashes and thick root vegetables. So what on earth do you do with these earthy, rough-hewn vegetables?

Basket of apples

While for some of us, the influx of muddy-textured seasonal vegetables can be off-putting, there’s much to be said for these hearty cousins that have saved a number of populations during famines.

Let’s start with the basics, shall we? Here’s a sampling of the rich produce that comes into season at the end of summer and throughout the cooler months.

Fruits
Root Veggies
Lettuces
Squashes
Alums
Apples
Cranberries
Figs
Pears
Persimmons
Grapes
Pomegranates

Turnips
Rutabagas
Radishes
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Beets
Parsnips
Celery Root
Carrots
Kale
Arugula
Chard
Radicchio
Spinach
Endive
Cabbage
Escarole

Winter Squash
Butternut Squash
Acorn Squash
Zucchini
Pumpkins

Onions
Leeks
Shallots
Garlic
Scallions
Green onions


If this list seems a bit overwhelming, it can be incredibly easy to incorporate them into your current menus. Why not make a goal of trying one new vegetable each time you visit the grocery store?

When using this season’s fresh fruits, consider adding them to the main dish or as an hors d’oeuvre, rather than consuming them alone or as part of dessert. Apples compliment pork perfectly, and cranberries combined with quinoa and butternut squash make an amazing side dish. Baked figs with goat cheese and radicchio make an amazing appetizer. Prosciutto-wrapped pears remain one of my favorite starter dishes – or even as a dessert, depending on your tastes.

Root vegetables offer a more filling option to the normal vegetable side. Consider adding a selection of them to a pot roast or substituting them for dishes that call for potatoes. Rutabaga fries are a healthy, fun alternative and can be topped with Parmesan cheese or barbeque seasoning for a new taste. Sweet potatoes can be whipped into ice cream?! Celery root makes a mild, delicious hash brown.

Lettuces offer an assortment of flavors. Instead of getting a mixed lettuce bag at the store, get a single flavor and top with your favorite dressing. An unexpected flavor Рand now one of my favorites Рis the peppery baby arugula. Topped with a ginger carrot dressing, it becomes a sophisticated side dish for any white fish. Cabbage can substitute for rice in almost any recipe, taking on the flavor of the sauce. Simply slice it thinly and steam it. The bold color of red chard makes it a joy to bring home, and a simple sauté creates a delicately flavored accent to a roasted chicken breast or tender grilled portabella mushroom.

Spaghetti Squash

Squashes bring a sweet, earthy flavor to any meal. Pumpkin works surprisingly well with sausage, and butternut squash sets off the salty flavor of bacon and caramelized onions. Acorn squash can substitute for a healthy dessert. And don’t forget about zucchini noodles! For those of us looking to eat a few more vegetables, a julienne peeler or spiral slicer works well to create a great base for marinara or meat sauce.

The joy of alums! If you aren’t an onion lover, consider trying some of its cousins before writing them all off. The gentle leek is a bit easier on the taste buds, and makes a lovely quiche. Shallots are a combination of garlic bulb and onion, a bit sweeter, and create a pleasant flavor in soup. Scallions and chives lend a subtle onion flavor without any harsh intensity; you often see them in savory dishes like Mongolian Beef.

Hopefully these recipes will encourage you to explore this season’s harvest – what seasonal vegetables have you tried that you love?

Contributing Writer

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The world's most creative sandwich recipes

Yes, there’s even a national day for the sandwich. So this Sunday – National Sandwich Day – you know how to celebrate: with two slabs of bread and just the right kind of innards.  But to make the day downright spectacular, we’ve got a list of the most creative sandwich recipes and the most amazing sandwich restaurants to help trick out your sandwich day.

Turkey sandwich

Sandwich myths of history


Before we get into the layers of sandwich goodness, let’s look into the layers of sandwich history and dispel of couple of myths.  First, do not be mistaken; John Montagu (the fourth Earl of Sandwich) did not invent the sandwich.  Nor is the sandwich named after the town Sandwich, from which Montagu hailed.  Sandwich, a small town on the River Stour in Southeast England, is where their Earl, in the late 1700s, enjoyed eating as much as he enjoyed gambling.  Not wanting to take a break from either, he began ordering his meaty meal to be served between two slices of bread, which allowed him to do both simultaneously with equal aplomb. 

Montagu is however credited with popularizing the food which we now call the sandwich. Others liked his idea of multitasking at the gambling tables and began to order "the same as Sandwich” is eating. Just as this handy food (pun intended) stuck to their ribs, the name sandwich stuck to our lexicon.  But the concept of the sandwich goes back many centuries before the Earl of Sandwich; it just went by the name "bread and meat" or "bread and cheese."


Top sandwich recipes


Sure, a sandwich can be fast and simple – bread with a piece of bologna or ham and you’re done – but the sandwich knows no bounds when it comes to visual or flavor creative expression.  Here are three easy ways to make the humble sandwich a sensation.


Sandwich tip #1 – Make it sizzle!


To make any sandwich tastier, apply a little heat. Scientists tell us that the receptors on our taste buds are more receptive to flavors when heated, sending stronger signals to our brain. Simply by warming up a sandwich, you’re adding a whole new level of savory enjoyment.

One easy way to sizzle up the sandwich and improve its appearance is to use a Panini press, many of which not only toast the sandwich to perfection, but imprint the bread with a decorative pattern.  Consider adding cheese to your hot sandwich, which many feel has a much more enjoyable texture when melted into the sandwich’s other ingredients.


Sandwich tip #2 – Get your sandwich in shape!


If sandwiches are a staple in your home, you can add a new level of interest by experimenting with the shape. Try a round food chopper to turn a square sandwich into a round one, or cutting out eyes and a mouth to make a smiley face sandwich.  For real dazzle, use a cookie cutter tool for a star-shaped or moon-shaped finger sandwich.  You can also buy special sandwich shaper tools if you want a sandwich shaped like a locomotive, a flower, or a heart. 

Fontina and blueberry bagel


Sandwich tip #3 – Get creative between the slices!


Using unique condiments, spices, or vegetables can turn an ordinary sandwich into a truly memorable one. Here are some stellar online resources for making an unforgettable sandwich:
  • Get 10 Creative Sandwich Sensations from recipe.com, with such memorable recipes as the Taco Turkey sandwich, the Chocolate Marshmallow sandwich, and the Ham & Mango sandwich.
  • Test their claims by trying the The Web’s Best Sandwich Recipes at coolmaterial.com, offering up tantalizing selections such as the Soft-Crab Sandwich and the French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
  • Check out sheknows.com’s spectacular selection of 10 Creative sandwich recipe ideas from Pinterest, with mouthwatering choices like the Slow-Cooker Chicken Caesar or the Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich with spinach, avocado, and Gouda.


Top sandwich eateries


Finally if you don’t want to make the sandwich yourself, or if you want the very best of the best sandwiches, check out these famous sandwich eateries.
  • The Staggering Ox of Montana offers a variety of visually creative and tasty sandwiches that are tubular or can-shaped, described by one food critic as a “hollowed-out, mug-like loaf of bread” into which the sandwich ingredients go.
  • Ready to splurge on the world’s most expensive sandwich? Then it’s time for a trip to NYC where the food truck 666 Burger serves up a colossal $666 sandwich with ingredients such as Kobe beef wrapped in gold leaf, foie gras, caviar, lobster, and truffles. For $666, would you expect anything less?
This Sunday, November 3, have a happy sandwich day, which you can celebrate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!


Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer



Friday, November 1, 2013

Preparing Dinner for Those with Food Allergies

Ah, the joys of entertaining: theme selections, menu decisions, decorating elements…with it comes the pleasure in creating an ambiance for your guests that will not only compliment the menu and occasion, but also show your care and consideration for their tastes. I've yet to host a get together, even the most casual, that didn't take at least a few hours of preparation.

Dinner party preparation


It can get even more complicated when one of your guests has a food allergy or limitation. How on earth do you prepare food for someone who can’t have soy, corn, dairy, and/or gluten? And if they have an allergy that could lead to a severe anaphylactic response, it is of utmost importance that special care be taken. If you are or will be faced with the task, here are some basic steps to take to make the event your hosting a success for everyone.

Ask questions. People with food allergies are used to the way they must eat and are often experts on the topic. Not to mention, they usually enjoy instructing others in the finer elements of making a gluten free meal, for example. So if it is someone you are close with – such as a family member or friend – don’t hesitate to ask how you might best prepare food to ensure his or her health. They may ask you not to bother, that they will bring their own dinner. If so, trust that they have their reasons. Some people are extremely sensitive, and they recognize that no one can be as careful or as knowledgeable about their condition as they are.

Keep it simple. While you may wish to make a special dish that involves a complex recipe, say, dairy-free macaroni and cheese or gluten-free bread, when cooking for a specific allergy for the first time, stick with the basics that don’t need to be altered, like basic meat or fish dishes with a side of vegetables. If serving appetizers that require bread for dipping and you are having a gluten free guest, gluten-free crackers or corn chips are easily purchased at almost any grocery store.

Separate everything. For those who are sensitive, it’s imperative that foods be kept separate. For example, if someone has a corn allergy, make sure any corn products are kept in a separate bowl, away from the vegetable tray. I once attended a function where the hostess had gone out of her way to purchase a fruit tray so I could partake in the refreshments, only to unload a container of cookies into the middle of the fruit, getting crumbs all over the fruit. For someone who has celiac disease and cannot eat even a crumb of gluten without an immediate reaction, this made it impossible for me to eat the fruit. When in doubt, put things is separate containers, and keep the offending items off to the side, so guests have easy access, but cannot drag crumbs over other foods. Also, use serving spoons in dips and spreads, so your guests will not use a crust of bread or the edge of a corn chip to dig out their serving, thus contaminating the dish for the allergic.

Be detailed. Keep the labels from ingredients and make sure you check each and every label for the offending food issue. Allow your guest with the allergy to review the labels to be sure the foods are safe. Few people guess that soy sauce has wheat in it, or that chocolate bars can contain soy. Some folks with food allergies are hyper sensitive, and cannot eat foods made on the same grill or pan as the offending food.
Dinner prepared for friends

Don’t get offended. Despite your best efforts, the allergenic may fear eating your creations. Whether they worry you weren't careful enough, or are simply in the habit of avoidance, try not to take offense. For some of us, we've gotten ill despite the best intentions of our loved ones, and we are a bit shy to try anything. Because food allergies often affect digestion directly, your guest may be currently battling a digestive ailment, and simply not be up to risking any further illness.

Be honest. If you aren't up to preparing foods for a food allergy, or quite honestly, don’t have the time – they can be a bit complicated – don’t hesitate to tell your guest before the event. While I appreciate the effort friends make to ensure a gluten free option for me, I also know it may be more than they can offer. In the event that you can’t provide a specially made meal, but still want to offer something, check with local restaurants or caterers if they can provide a meal for your guests. Often, that is the easiest way to be sensitive, while still allowing for the other preparations you need to complete.

Preparing for a get together can be fun – and at times, stressful. When a guest joining you has a food allergy, it can complicate the situation. But using the above suggestions should help get you started down the right path to having a successful event. If you need some additional thoughts, here’s a great article by the Gluten-Free Girl about cooking for a gluten free guest, and this could be applied to almost any food allergy issue.


What tips do you have to share that have worked for your get-togethers?

Contributing Writer