Look no further! Cherries Breakfast Bistro is where the delicious food is at

ch0r12s b0rg1rDo YOU live in Victoria, British Columbia or visit Victoria on occasion.

Are you looking for a tasty meal out all the while feeling confident that the staff truly understand your allergies and sensitivities and take them very seriously?

And for a great price?

If you have answered YES, then I urge you to go for breakfast, brunch or even lunch at Cherries Breakfast Bistro!

If you want delicious, gluten-free food made by very allergy conscious kitchen staff then please look no further.

I went for brunch here with a good friend this past weekend and was in AWE about the attention both the serving and kitchen staff took to make sure I had the safest meal possible! They went out of their way to make sure that my meal was prepared with careful attention to avoid any possible cross-contamination and in the same time it took for my friend to get her not so complex request. Kudos to the staff at Cherries Breakfast Bistro for making two very happy customers. I guarantee we will be back. And I may soon become a regular of Cherries Breakfast Bistro, because their food is outstanding, AND they truly listen and understand my allergies.

When I go out for meals with friends, on several occasions I feel that the food is very over-priced for what it is worth, especially when I know I can make better eggs, bacon and potatoes at home. Cherries is food you will not regret and want to keep going back for more. Give them a visit and let me know what you think!

OH! And I hear they cater too! :)

Over and out.

Erika

Asthma and Allergy goals for the New Year

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Happy New Year 2015!

Each year I make a vision board for the year ahead. The one above was my vision for 2013. Do you do anything to kickstart the new year?

Many people make resolutions to get healthier, eat cleaner and get fit. I have seen numerous people who hit the gum hard for the first 2-3 weeks in January and then start visiting the gym less.

Personally I prefer to set goals and determine a focus. I avoid the “get fit” resolution, unless I have a firm plan in place and have a way to be held accountable.

I also make goals for my allergies and asthma and treatment. I reflect on what worked in the previous year and what didn’t. I figure out what times of the year my symptoms were really bad and make sure they are in a journal in case it happens again this year.

When you have allergies and asthma it is very important to keep a journal or even some notes on your phone in a notepad app for your doctor. Your allergist goes by tests and what you tell them, so it is extremely important to be your own best advocate and keep track of things that trigger you as best you can.

My allergy/asthma goal:

In 2015, I will be more aware of what triggers me and continue to keep track of times when my asthma and allergies are worse and other circumstances around the same time, like being sick.

What will your asthma/allergy goal be for 2015?

Hosting for friends and family with food allergies – Preparing the food

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Are you hosting a holiday party and know that you will have guests with food allergies and/or sensitivities like gluten? Do you have food allergies and/or sensitivities? If you don’t, you may be nervous about preparing the food safely.

Once you have done the meal planning and grocery shopping and are ready to start prepping and making the food you make sure you pay careful attention to ingredient labels and avoid cross-contamination.

  1. Re-read ingredient labels Even if you have already read the ingredient list on items when you were in the grocery store, re-read them at least two more times before using the product. Be very very meticulous when reading over ingredients. You will want to look on each side of the package to make sure they have not listed a “may contain” label somewhere else on the package. Unfortunately, some manufacturers do not write may contain labels near the actual ingredient list. Know the ingredients. There is no “overly cautious” here. It’s important to be 100% certain that the items you use are safe for guests with food allergies. I’d recommend you keep the wrapper or box or cut out the ingredients so your guest can re-read the ingredients too. I trust friends and family to prepare food for me, however I always  re-read ingredient labels even if you are told it is safe.
  2. Be extremely cautious of cross-contamination   If you will be preparing some food which your guest is allergic or sensitive to make a plan before you start cooking of which utensils you will use for which foods. In making a plan before you start preparing and cooking, it will help you be more aware and reduce the risk that you end up using utensils that you prepared unsafe food with to prepare the allergy safe food. Make sure the cutting board is clean and the surface you plan to work on as well. I often recommend preparing the food for the guest with food allergies on plates as that surface is definitely safer than a cutting board which, especially if plastic may have residues from previous unsafe ingredients. Use your best judgement and if you are ever unsure, pick up the phone and call the guest or parent of the guest.  Communication is always key!

Immunotherapy injections at a walk-in clinic

I have been going to a local walk-in clinic here in Victoria for my dust mite immunotherapy injections as it is more convenient. I can go after dinner so it does not affect my workday. I was hesitant about going to a walk-in because all walk-ins I had ever been to, on more than 20 different occassions had given me the injection at a different place on my arm compared to where my GP and my Allergist gives me the injections.

Now if you do not get allergy injections, the difference in injection site can actually mean a larger reaction, which was always true for me at walk-in clinics. About a month ago I decided i would go to the walk-in. I lucked out! The doctor at the walk-in was very nice, understanding and talked to me about subcutaneous injections. She helped me better understand why some reactions to the injections might be worse than others. I now go for my immunotherapy injections when she is there. Have you found a good doctor at a walk-in?

Christmas Party weekend!

It is going to be a busy weekend for us with two Christmas parties! I’m looking forward to it. I am feeling very safe about eating at one of the two parties as I had a meeting with the caterer and instead of the buffet, they are making me my own plates! We went over each dish and discussed my allergies in great detail. However we have decided to eat before going to the other one to be safe, as I didn’t have a chance to speak to caterers for that one in time. Yes it may be a little awkward not eating while every one else will be however I won’t be alone not eating the dinner. We’ve made delicious curried chicken that we will eat before heading to the party, so we will have had a nice dinner before we go. I am looking forward to a safe night, good conversation, new connections and an evening out.

Have you ever gone to a Christmas party and not been able to eat? If so, did you eat before going? How was the party?

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! I’ll post on Monday after a busy weekend. :)

The Camping Trilogy: Part 2 – Asthma and Environmental Allergies

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I’ve already shared a post about managing food allergies and this one is about managing your asthma and environmental allergies. A few of these things I hadn’t even thought about for this camping trip, which, I have learned my lessons for next time and will need to plan a little better. This was the first time camping in a long time and that is about to change as I now have the “camping bug”!!

A few things asthmatics need to consider when going camping:

Will you need to borrow camping equipment? 

If you don’t have a tent and air mattress and plan on borrowing camping equipment and have environmental allergies, be sure you find out if there have been any cats, or dogs in the tent. That result of using a tent that may have had a cat or dog inside could ruin your camping trip if your allergies are serious. This could also trigger your asthma which is definitely something you want to try and prevent when at all possible.

Where are you going camping? Is it inland or by the ocean?

We went camping near China Beach which is right by the ocean, and it was EXTREMELY humid so my asthma was worse than normal. We were in the fog cloud and it was the most humid climate I have been in. I was lucky though as I had my inhalers and was able to control my asthma fairly well. It is important to know where you are camping especially if the humidity will be higher than where you live now. Luckily, with camping, you don’t really need to worry about air pollution as camping means going away from the city into nature, away from it all.

What time of the year are you going camping?

This is a really important one! Especially if you have a serious allergy to say ragweed and plan a camping trip in peak ragweed season! Be aware of the peak seasons for your environmental allergies. Out here on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, my asthma usually flares early fall, when the weather flips from beautiful hot summer, to wet, cold fall. I have a serious mold allergy and the mold spores are what make my asthma worse, so I need to plan appropriately.

Will you be hiking a lot?

When I think camping, I associate it with hiking, especially here on the beautiful West Coast! Physical activity in a more humid climate triggers my asthma. It may trigger yours too. If you don’t know whether your asthma may be triggered exercising in a more humid climate, ask your allergist or a doctor ahead of time. This is all part of the planning process.

The nice thing about all this is that once you’ve figured out what makes your asthma worse, you already have a plan to minimize the flare-ups and know how to control your asthma. Camping is sooo much fun and with a little planning you can have a wonderful weekend getaway like we did and not have any worries. That’s the best thing about planning. It’s a lot of work upfront but means that you can actually relax when you are there because you are ready!

I am looking forward to a whole lot more camping and hiking this fall! Will you be camping?