aha! 2014 Awards and a Giveaway

On Wednesday, October 23, the aha! Allergiezentrum Schweiz (Swiss Allergy Center) held its 2014 awards ceremony at the Bern Stadttheater. I somehow snagged an invitation to this year’s event. The thoughtful staff members at aha! are often fielding my questions via email, and it was such a pleasure getting the chance to meet them all in person. I was also excited to learn about the people and projects receiving awards, as they represent some important new opportunities to increase awareness and improve the quality of life for children and adolescents living with food allergies in Switzerland.

Stadttheater Bern

Bern Stadttheater

Unfortunately for me, all the speeches and presentations during this event were in Swiss German, but I guess that’s to be expected on the other side of the Röstigraben! Thankfully, the French version of the written program and the PowerPoint presentations helped me to follow along. To learn about the award winners, aha! has information on its website in German and French. Three projects shared the grand prize this year, all with a particular focus on peanut allergy and anaphylaxis. Here’s my quick summary of the 2014 grand prize winners:

  • Angelica Dünner: Erdnussallergie und Anaphylaxie (Peanut Allergy and Anaphylaxis) is a nonprofit organization based in Zurich that provides information for people living with food allergies, which Ms. Dünner helped to create three years ago. In 2014, among other activities, Ms. Dunner obtained permission from Food Allergy Research & Education in the United States to translate into French and German two children’s books about Alexander, an elephant with a peanut allergy. You can purchase these books via the organization’s website. When my 3-year old starts school next year, I’m planning to order a copy for his new classroom. I’ve exchanged emails with Ms. Dünner several times in the last year or two, and I was delighted to finally meet her. Her group is doing important work in Switzerland, so please consider becoming a member today.

  • Dr. Alice Köhli: At the Universitäts-Kinderspital Zürich (University Children’s Hospital) in Zurich, Dr. Köhli is the head of the Allergologie department. She has been working in collaboration with Ms. Dünner to offer food allergy and anaphylaxis training for parents, teachers and other caregivers of children with food allergies. The purpose is to help prevent anaphylaxis and to teach people how to respond to severe allergic reactions, should they occur. To date, these workshops have only been offered in German.

  • Dr. Ferdinanda Pini-Züger: For the Canton of Zurich, Dr. Pini-Züger is the director of the Sektor Schulärztlicher Dienst (School Medical Sector). Also working with Ms. Dünner, Dr. Pini- Züger helped introduce informational sheets for parents and teachers on peanut and tree nuts allergies and anaphylaxis. She also helped to develop a legal agreement between parents and the school district on how to manage food allergies in the classroom, based on existing primary school law. According to aha!, this is the first time informational sheets on food allergies have been prepared by a school district and shared on their website. This project is of great interest to me, and working with aha!, I would like to develop a similar set of materials in French for my son’s school.
aha! awards 2014 2427x2517.40

The view from my seat before the aha! 2014 award ceremony

Congratulations again to the three deserving winners of the aha! 2014 award, and a special thanks to the generous aha! staff members for allowing me to attend the ceremony. I hope these projects can be replicated soon in other regions of Switzerland and in different languages, namely French and Italian. I will continue to follow their progress and share updates in the future.


A Peanut-Free and Tree Nut-Free Giveaway

Giveaway prize 3516x2463

You could win these products! Please read the instructions below.

Since peanut and tree nut allergies were a focus of this year’s aha! awards—and one of the kind organizers of the 2014 Food Allergy Bloggers Conference just sent me a complementary box of allergy-friendly products—I wanted to share some of these treats by trying my first-ever giveaway. Here are the details, if you’re interested in entering:

  • How to enter: Please leave a comment below with the answer to this question—What is your favorite allergy-friendly product?
  • Deadline: Saturday, November 8 at 12:00 PM (Swiss time). I will randomly select a winner and announce their name in a comment below on Monday, November 10.
  • What you win: I will send to you, wherever you are, a box of peanut-free and tree nut-free goodies, including:

Full Disclosure: As I mentioned, I received a complementary box of allergy-friendly products from the Food Allergy Blogger Conference. However, I did not receive any compensation from the Food Allergy Blogger Conference or from any of the product manufacturers listed above, nor I was expected to hold a giveaway via Dairy-Free Switzerland with these products. Any opinions expressed in this or other posts on Dairy-Free Switzerland are solely my own. The King Arthur Flour Golden Flax Meal is my contribution to the giveaway. As always, please read labels carefully to make sure these products do not contain any of your known allergens.

I hope you all had a wonderful (and safe) Halloween and an excellent weekend. Thanks in advance for those of you entering my giveaway, and good luck!

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25 thoughts on “aha! 2014 Awards and a Giveaway

  1. Stephanie says:

    Favorite allergy-friendly product? It’s a toss-up between soy-free Earth Balance margarine and Almond Dream ice cream bites. Every time we’re back in the States, I make sure to splurge on those!

    • Heddi says:

      Hi Stephanie, I miss that margarine too! Last time we were in the States, we were still avoiding almonds for my son. Now that he can safely eat them, we’ll have to try that ice cream next year when we’re back for a visit. Thanks for your product ideas! -Heddi

  2. Emely Scioli says:

    Have you found a recipe for gluten free Mailaenderli, a traditional Swiss Christmas cookie, I grew up in Zurich and moved to NYC 40 years ago and still love to make Swiss cookies! As of five years I need to make them gluten free and seem to have a hard time keeping them from falling apart! Thanks, Emely

    Emely C. Scioli Emelyscioli@yahoo.com

    16 Sturgis Road Bronxville, 10708 NY

    914 961 6584 home 914 309 3100 cell

    >

    • Heddi says:

      Hi Emely! Gluten is OK in our house, so I unfortunately have little to no experience with gluten-free Swiss baking. I do love Mailaenderli/Milanais cookies, though. I can see why you would want to recreate a gluten-free version at home. I have a dairy-free recipe on my blog, but have never made a gluten-free batch. Here’s a recipe I found though in French that might be worth trying from Luna Kitchen (?): http://lunakitchen.blogspot.ch/2012/10/milanais-sans-gluten-et-lait-de-vache.html. Good luck! If you find a good recipe, please let us know. I would love to share it with others. All the best. Many thanks for visiting my blog. -Heddi

  3. Melanie Melton Dann says:

    My favorite allergy friendly food is a gingerbread cookie that comes from a vegan bakery called Raphsodic bakery. Its in Orlando Florida. They are very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable when it comes to severe allergies.

  4. Heather says:

    I don’t have a particular favorite allergy-product yet, but two of my childrens’ friends who spend a lot of time at our house have food issues. One has severe nut and egg allergies and the other has CD. I love to cook and bake so I spend a lot of time looking for and trying out recipes they can safely eat when they’re here.

    • Heddi says:

      Thanks, Jovelyn! We’ve never tried those pretzels, but they sound great. When we were avoiding all nuts for my son, we used SunButter, but it’s difficult to find a project like it in Switzerland.

      • Jovelyn Ustarez says:

        Thank you so much Heddi! I am so thrilled with this news. All those treats are so hard to come by where we are now and I’m sure my son would love all of it. I just sent a reply to your mail. More power on your blog. 🙂

    • Heddi says:

      Hi Nicole! I didn’t even know they made a crunchy version. And, thanks for suggesting iherb.com. First time hearing about this site. Many thanks! -Heddi

    • Heddi says:

      Fabulous! Thanks, Rosa. The flax meal is one of my favorites. It’s a great egg substitute for baking. Hope you’re having a nice weekend. -Heddi

    • Heddi says:

      We haven’t tried Kinnerton chocolate yet. I should get my sister in the UK to send us some! 🙂 I agree – SunButter is a great product! Thanks for entering!

  5. carrotsandmaplesyrup says:

    My favourite I think is hemp seed milk and maybe even the oil too! It’s amazing for your skin * cleared my acne *. It’s thc free, the most sustainable crop, creamy and pretty much all allergy free unless you’re allergic to hemp seeds 🙂 oh you can also make soy free tofu with it.!

    • Heddi says:

      Hi Nia! Thanks for your recommendation. We’ve actually never tried this. I rarely see hemp products in stores here. Never knew you could make tofu with it either. Very interesting. A good product for people with soy, dairy and nut allergies who can’t have the typical milk substitutes. Many thanks, and hope you’re having a good weekend. BTW, your Crunch Bar recipe looks great. Will have to try it. -Heddi

  6. Heddi says:

    Thank you all for participating in my first-ever giveaway! I randomly selected a winner this morning at 9:15 AM using the “RANDBETWEEN” function in a spreadsheet. And, Jovelyn is the winner! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and thanks again for your allergy-friendly product suggestions. Very helpful!

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