Allergy-Free is becoming smart business

by Erin Anne Beirne on October 11, 2010

You might be interested in this article on “allergy-free” marketing and services, presented in AdAge: “Market for Food-Allergy-Friendly Biz More than Just Peanuts,” by Rupal Parekh. (Here’s the URL —

Do you find you can cope if you eat out? I find it really tough, much of the time. When a restaurant will even just warm up my own food for me, which many still won’t citing health regulations (I don’t believe them given those that will, some even with a smile), I feel a mixture of relief and joy. When I can’t find “ea-safe” food or can’t even just warm up my left-over beef stew, I feel incredible distress and anxiety…

Thankfully, I find it is beginning to get easier to get help with my food when I’m on-the-go than it used to be nearly ten years ago when I plunged into this rabbit hole! Maybe businesses really are beginning to see financial benefits to becoming more service-oriented towards people like you and me?

What do you think? How do you feel about becoming a marketing strategy? Even more specifically, how to do feel about becoming a **premium** marketing strategy, such as the high-priced tickets offered for the peanut-free zone at Wrigley Field?



RECIPE: BBQ-Less Chicken

by Erin Anne Beirne on September 1, 2010

Didn’t note where I got this recipe from, but from the way I scribbled it I think I must have caught it off a TV show. This would have been in the mid-late 1990’s! Made it for my parents, back in the day, and they really liked it. Finding my scribble tucked away in a box recently reminded me of them. :)

TIPS: Start some brown rice in the steamer before you start the chicken, and then pop some favourite veggies in the veggie steamer once the chicken starts to bubble, and you’re whole meal will be done in under 45 minutes! If you like more sauce for pouring over your rice (I do!) then double the sauce ingredients (water, ketchup and soy sauce).


a few chicken pieces – drumsticks and thighs are great, but so is whatever you like to use

2 garlic cloves (optional; you can try ginger instead if garlic is “unfriendly” to you)

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup ketchup (option: choose corn-free)

2 T soy sauce (option: choose wheat-free)

1/4 t cayenne pepper (optional, or add to taste)


1 T honey


  1. Brown chicken 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to low
  3. Add garlic
  4. Add water, ketchup and soy sauce (and cayenne, if using)
  5. Cover and simmer 30 minutes until done. (Turn chicken every 5 minutes)
  6. Remove chicken and boil sauce until thick, about 5 minutes
  7. Add honey and melt it in
  8. Pour over chicken and serve!




Strange-looking, and wonderful-tasting!

by Erin Anne Beirne on July 14, 2010

(Photo: Erin Anne Beirne, with iPhone 3G.)

These carrots were quite strange-looking, with a variety of hues ranging from traditional orange, to parsnip-yellow, to eggplant-purple. We spotted them at an organic grocery stand in Granville Island Market in Vancouver, BC., and decided to give them a try.

First prize for amazing flavours! Blew the bulk carrots at the superstore away, kinda like how a Lamborghini blows away my little Honda!

Butter? Seasoning? Ummm, why?! They were delicious “naked”!

(Got any other odd veggies I should try out, too?)



Super Shopping Day

by Erin Anne Beirne on December 22, 2009

Today I’m heading to town (which is an hour-plus away) to have my Get-Ready-For-Christmas Super Shopping Day.

Food is always an issue on days like this: I don’t want to lug a whole sack of grub around with me, I want to start light because I hope to be travelling heavy by the time I’m done!

But I’ll need to eat. No way I can exert all that energy, and use all that brain-power (hmm, if I get this for so and so then I can’t get that for the other one, and the budget will be blown and… ahhh! all this math!), and not eat all day. What will I do?

I’m going to try an experiment. I’m taking a little bit of my own condiments with me, a little bag of peanuts, and a few light travellers, like rice crackers and a little bit of soy cheese. Then, I hope, I can buy New York Fries (which I can eat! real potatoes and sunflower — or is it safflower? I forget now, but it’s not corn — oil), or maybe get a salad or have some rice with my own salad dressing or wheat-free tamari sauce on it.

I’m going to try a blended approach to eating on the run, in other words.

I’ll let you know how it works out.

Wish me luck!



Fast Food — Slowly!

by Erin Anne Beirne on December 17, 2009

Every now and again, my food issues can drive me to tears.

Happily, that no longer happens too often but, even now, after all these years of practice later, one of the greatest food-related Meltdown Moments in my little world appears when I’m both hungry and rushed. Add “nowhere near home” to the list, and it feels like my own Personal Perfect Storm, but I’ll focus mostly on the At Home version for today.

I feel like screaming, “What can I eat when I have no time to prepare it?!”

“Normal” people just drive through a fast food place, order pizza, or pop in to the neighbourhood chinese food restaurant-to-go, and keep on running. If I did that I’d be no going nowhere at all — for days! Practically comatose is a hard way to get through a busy-life week.

Every now and again, I actually get it all together! Boy, does it ever smooth out the rough bits when I get it right. Here’s what I do when I’m smart and organized (which I wish I achieved more regularly than I do!):

  • prepare extra as I go, and freeze it in clearly labelled and dated boxes or bags
  • have a cooking spree and make a whole bunch of recipes ahead of time and freeze them (labelled and dated, of course)
  • use a slow cooker to start the meal in the morning and come home to it all ready to go — invest the extra few dollars in the kind that has a built-in timer, trust me on this
  • pre-make the slower/harder parts of a meal and freeze just that bit, to be added to and completed quickly later on
  • test out meals that you might normally eat hot to see if they can be tasty and effective if cold — Curried Chick Pea Stew is one good example of a dish that almost eats like a salad when it’s cold! Asian Broccoli and Tofu with Peanut Butter Sauce is another
  • try to think of different “fillings” that you could wrap up in a rice wrapper  and eat “on the road” — the options here can be a little bit surprising, too, like the sauce and some of the noodles from Singapore Noodle, or a chicken and broccoli stir-fry, for instance
  • if you are not a vegetarian/vegan, cook up a big roast of some sort and use it as the foundation of a few meals during a hectic week — e.g. a big roasting chicken can provide filling for rice wraps, some quick finger food, something you can add to your plate along with some rice and veggies… and more!

Those days when I feel like I’m falling apart suddenly seem all bright and happy again when I pull open the freezer and :-) discover a long-forgotten freezer container of a favourite homemade soup, or the foundation to a quick-to-complete-and-still-be-tasty meal! Fifteen minutes later, we’re all fed and I’m off and racing again…

The other days, the ones where I’m not so lucky? :-( Besides not wanting to talk about it to anyone nearby at that unhappy moment I realize I’ve used up all my make-aheads already, the other thing that happens is that I get re-inspired to get on top of having food ready to go for the next time.

Hmm… I guess a little pain is a good reminder of the value of preparation. :-|

What other ideas do you have that help you “survive” when you are half-starved and nearly fully-mad?



Roasted Chestnuts — Oven-Style

December 13, 2009

Ever try roasted chesnuts, like the ones you sing about in Christmas carols? Well, I think they are yummy! Better yet, take them to a party, throw them in your host’s oven for 20 minutes, and instead of people feeling sorry for you because you can’t eat Christmas Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies — or whatever […]

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Hash Browns Re-Mixed

November 13, 2009

Here’s a yummy, easy idea. HASH BROWNS, RE-MIXED 2 baking potatoes, large 2 yams, same size as baking potatoes Grate potatoes and yams. Heat frying pan, add a little olive oil, add grated potatoes and yams. Pan fry for about 15 minutes or until they look done enough for you, flipping often to brown both […]

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Special Diets and Social Life…

October 25, 2009

Real life discussions are about how to cope with special diets. Media only talks about the special diets themselves.

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Visiting: Simplified

October 25, 2009

Don’t have to have food to hang out… Really!

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The “Wonderful People (Weird Food)” Tribe

October 25, 2009

Welcome to the “Wonderful People (Weird Food)” “Wonderful Food (Just Different)” Tribe!

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