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Event Planning – Special Food Requests

Common food restrictions and allergies

Silverstream Retreat is committed to meeting the needs of guests who have special dietary restrictions (such as a food allergy, intolerance or other medically restricted diet) and recognises that many of our guests may also adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet. The Silverstream Retreat Function Manager can safely and reasonably guide event planners in making menu selections which can accommodate their guests.

Below is a basic outline to provide some knowledge into the most common restrictions and allergies. We have not included religious food restrictions as they are vast and complex.

 Gluten free (Celiac)

Gluten is a protein found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, and spelt), rye, oats and barley. When people with celiac disease consume gluten, the absorptive villi in the small intestine are damaged, preventing the absorption of many important nutrients. The long-term effect of untreated celiac disease can be life threatening. However, with a completely gluten-free diet, the intestinal lining will heal completely allowing most patients to live a normal, healthy life as long as they remain free of gluten in their diet. Even a small amount of gluten can cause symptoms to reoccur.

Gluten is hidden in many unsuspecting foods such as liquorice, soy sauce, vinegar, some flavourings, most processed foods, self-basting turkeys, some cold cuts, and many prepared stocks and soups. It’s also used as a binder in some pharmaceutical products and can be the starch in unidentified food starch, modified food starch, caramel colouring, and vegetable protein. Avoid products where the ingredients are of questionable origin or are listed as simply “natural flavourings, flavour extracts, or spice extracts.”

Products to be avoided in any form are;

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Oats
  • Spelt, semolina, millet, buckwheat
  • Couscous, kamut
  • Commercial salad dressing
  • Instant coffee, malted milk
  • Canned stock, soup
  • Avoid white vinegar, beer, ale and anything made from grain alcohol
  • Curry powders, dry seasoning, some gravy mixes
  • Oil that was previously used for frying breaded foods
  • Canned tuna (except tuna containing only water and salt)

Diabetics

There are several types of diabetes. The most common are type 1 and type 2. In type 1, the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Individuals with type 1 need insulin injections in order to stay alive. Type 1 can occur at any age, but is usually seen in children and young adults.

With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces some insulin. Type 2 diabetes need insulin to regulate their blood glucose, while others respond well to diet therapy and exercise alone, or a combination of diet, exercise and oral medication.

Starches (pastas, rice, bread, cake, potatoes, corn, etc.), fruit and milk are high in carbohydrates. Once in your body, they break down into your cells’ preferred form of energy glucose. Insulin is needed to help your cells take in the glucose. With diabetes, your insulin cannot do this task properly. A diabetic diet helps you schedule your carbohydrate intake so that your cells can get the glucose that they need. Consuming too many carbohydrates – containing foods can raise your blood glucose way above normal; eating too few, can hurt your body by denying it the high quality energy that it needs. The timing of your meals is also important. The more that you eat at one meal, the more insulin you will need to utilize the energy from the breakdown of those foods. If you eat smaller portions throughout your day, you will not need as much insulin to bring down your blood sugar.

There are many types of diabetic diets. Some require a lot of measuring; some don’t require any measuring at all. All are planned to provide you with the proper balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat, along with vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutrients needed to keep you healthy. It would pay to have the guest give you some guide lines to what would be a suitable meal.

Medical and food allergies

True food allergies come in various forms. It can be a slight case such as a headaches or a rash to a certain product to some causing severe reactions, including death. The most common individual food allergies include those to peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, pecans etc), fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, soy, corn and wheat. If you are given information a guest has a food allergies to a product make sure you consider all the ingredients used in the meal being served. Read the ingredients on the packet of any products used in the guest’s meal.

Do not ever think that “little bit should not matter”. Allergies can kill!

Milk Allergies and Lactose intolerant (dairy free)

Lactose intolerance is the inability to properly digest milk sugar, also known as lactose. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal bloating, gaseousness, flatulence, cramping, and diarrhoea following the consumption of food containing dairy products or by products. Milk protein allergy is an allergic reaction to proteins commonly found in cow’s milk. It is caused by your immune system reacting because it believes the protein in the milk is a threat to your body. Your immune system will do it’s best to get rid of the invader, just as it would a foreign virus or poison. During the allergic reaction your body releases histamine, a chemical which causes blood vessels to dilate and leak, mucous membranes to start producing skin rashes, vomiting and other effects.

Rice milk and soy milk and tofu are excellent substitutes. Avoid any dairy products such as butter, cheese, some margarines, cream and milk powders.

Vegetarian

Lacto-ovo Vegetarians eat dairy foods and eggs as well as plant foods. They do not eat the following;

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish

Ovo-vegetarians eat only eggs and plant foods. They do not eat the following;

  • Dairy foods
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish

Lacto-vegetarian eats dairy foods and plant foods. They do not eat;

  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish

Vegans eat only plant foods and products. They do not eat any;

  • Animal foods
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products

Acknowledgements

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org
Harvard University http://www.universityevents.harvard.edu/