Happy Valentine’s Day 2015… We Hope!

Valentine's Day - Winning!We are just a few short days away from Valentine’s Day, the perfect date night for you and your beloved, or simply a day to spoil yourself. I’ve definitely celebrated a few Valentine’s Days while single, keeping it humble with a manicure, SATC, and a nice dinner at home. If you have allergies, asthma or even chemical sensitivities, Valentine’s Day can be a bit trickier, and many of the traditional gifts/activities can present potential problems. For those who are flat out of ideas for this upcoming Saturday, here’s a list of alternatives to avoid some of the pitfalls of traditional gifts and ensure a Happy Valentine’s Day 2015.

Wining and Dining
Restaurants can be risky business if you or your better half have food allergies. Cross contamination is often a problem with dining as even foods you may not be allergic to can be exposed to a variety of allergens (wheat, peanut, eggs, dairy, seafood, etc.) during preparation. Plus, finding a restaurant that is completely allergy free can be very difficult in less urban/metropolitan areas. Instead of worrying about food allergies on this special night, show of your amazing cooking skills and make a meal that best suits his or her diet. It will be a much more relaxing, far less crowded, and a much more enjoyable meal knowing that it’s allergy free and made from the heart. If you do insist of going out, you better have already made that reservation, and don’t forget to bring along a few extra food allergy cards for the staff.

Chocolates
Boxed chocolates forewarn that they were made on equipment or in facilities that either process or have been exposed to common food allergens like nuts, eggs and dairy. There are chocolates out there that are allergen free Valentine's Day Chocolate - Tasty, But You Can Do Better and can be found on the web or at your local chocolatier (if you’re not sure what a chocolatier is, see if you have a local one – a visit can be well worth it). There is even dairy-free chocolate available, made with substitutes like almond or rice milk. Another alternative is carob, a chocolate substitute made the seed pod of Cerotonia silique, a plant from the pea family. This substitute is caffeine free, naturally sweet and low in fat.

Gifts (Flower, Perfume, Stuffed Animals, etc.)
If you’re well past your high school or even college years, these old standards are likely pretty cliché. A trip to your local grocery store on Valentine’s Day will most certainly offer a veritable parade of procrastinating men, hurriedly picking up flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and stuffed teddy bears. The humor of that scene aside, all of these things can be potential triggers for allergies, asthma or chemical sensitivities. It’s probably best to ignore the commercials. Don’t listen to that Vermont Teddy Bear commercial telling you that on the top of a woman’s wish list is an oversized stuff bear or a teddy in a biker outfit (I mean really?). Flowers can hold pollen and perfumes can be inappropriate for those with environmental allergies or chemical sensitivities. Save your money and check out my Romantic Alternatives this Valentine’s Day.

Mani-Pedi
I can’t think of many ladies (and even some gentlemen) who wouldn’t want to be spoiled with some pampering. Nothing is as simple and classy as a nice set of manicured nails. Happy Valentine's Day 2015 - Because Nothing Says I Love You Quite Like Sugar and Butter!With many local boutiques carrying “Five-Free” nail polishes, you can relax knowing that you aren’t decorating your hands with formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, camphor or formaldehyde resin. Before you make your reservation though, call ahead to ask if they use any type of air cleaner or salon air purifier to keep down the odor/fragrance.

Music
I don’t know anyone who’s allergic to music. Buy some tickets and enjoy a night of entertainment and some dancing together. How much more romantic can you get?

Let’s change gears a bit and highlight a couple ideas for the man in your life.

Take Him Out to a Ball Game
Any kinda game – soccer, football, rugby, baseball, basketball, hockey, wear his team’s colors, steal his jersey and get hyped! And don’t worry about giving back the jersey because you look better in it anyways. Spending Time Together on Valentine's DayAround Valentine’s Day, basketball and hockey are your best bets, and there are pro and college games of each.

Paintball
Action packed fun that will test your shooting skills and pain tolerance (maybe a bit oversold, feels like a quick sting then it’s gone). Partner up or compete against each other. Nothing says, “I love you” like zinging your better half with bunch of paintballs!

Brewery Tour
Unless he has celiac disease, brewery tours are a fun way to enjoy his favorite microbrew, and take home a new draft glass to your cupboard or mini bar! And if you don’t like beer, it’s ok because you’re going to need a designated driver anyways.

Your activity or gift doesn’t have to be extravagant, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Ultimately, these are just a few options to break away from some of the more run-of-the-mill Valentine’s Day gifts. And by keeping in mind some of the pitfalls of allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivities, you can not only share an enjoyable day/evening with your loved one but a safe one as well.

Author: R. Power

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