Our third interview is with Tarah Jakubiak from Allergic Traveler! Enjoy!
How did you find out you had food allergies and how old were you?
I have had food allergies my whole life. As an infant, I could not digest milk. When my mother brought me to the allergist, they ran tests. At this point, they discovered that I was allergic to eggs, nuts, mushrooms, shellfish and penicillin.
What made you decide to start allergic traveler?
I was heading to Europe on a cruise. The cruise had us stopping in many different countries, where multiple languages were spoken. I then created rough sketches of cards with all my allergens in the various languages to have with me when I stopped at all the ports. The response to the cards in Europe was overwhelming. The chefs and waiters thanked me on numerous occasions for being so prepared and assisting them on being able to feed me properly. The fact that they were concerned with my well fair, touched me. I wanted to be able to provide this service for others. Upon my return to America, I set about researching this idea into a business concept, thus Allergic Traveler was born.
What tips do you have for allergic families when they travel with food allergies?
Many! But here are just a few….
Pack snacks of course! But more importantly pack snacks for the meal that is the hardest for your child to eat. For me, it is breakfast. I always have muffins with me, so I need not worry about finding a restaurant that can serve me breakfast.
- Call your hotel before you travel and see if they have microwaves in your room. Just because most hotel rooms in America have microwaves does not mean that this is the case around the world. However, many hotels can accommodate you, if they do not have them in the rooms.
- Know your allergens in multiple languages
- Is your allergy medication available over the counter where you are headed?
- Bring Allergic Traveler cards! The response will bring you some piece of mind while you are eating out.
(I frequently give lectures on traveling with food allergies, which I am happy to do for Pak Charlotte. I also offer one on one coaching if that is more convenient.)
Do food allergies run in your family?
Yes! It is a family affair! Mom has allergies, my dad had allergies, my sister has allergies and my nephew has allergies.
What has surprised you during your food allergy journey?
I was surprised at how many people did not travel due to their food allergies. I thought this was a shame! I have been traveling since I was an infant and I have not stopped since. I try to add a new state and country every year. I hope to be able to inspire or help others to travel.
What have you learned during your food allergy journey?
I have learned that everyone handles allergies differently. There is no right or wrong way to act. I do believe that it is our responsibility to help educate others on the severity of allergies in a calm and friendly manner. The more we advocate, the more allergies can become main stream.
What would you like the non food allergic community to know about food allergies?
I would like them to recognize that food allergies are serious. We all have a battle that we are dealing with. It could be diabetes, cancer or food allergies. The important thing is to be respectful and tolerant of all. The more we understand each other, the safer we will be.
What advice would you give to a newly diagnosed family?
Its Ok to be scared but realize that you got this! I am in my mid-forties. I have had allergies all my life. As I have grown older, I have adopted more! I was diagnosed before the internet was invented! My mother had to learn from trial and error. If she could do it, so can you!
Have you ever found anything you can’t do because of food allergies?
Some things in life are trickier because I have food allergies, but nothing is impossible. For instance, I have a wedding coming up this weekend. I probably won’t be able to eat. That is fine. I will eat before I go. The point of the wedding is to celebrate the bride, not worry about what I can eat.
Posted on Sun, July 1, 2018
by PAK Charlotte filed under