Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rewarding Your Support Giveaway

A few months ago, I was introduced to Made Good Foods. For those of you who haven't seen their snacks yet, they offer nutrient-rich granola. Made Good Foods products include Granola Bars, Granola Minis and the newest item (drum roll please.....) Crispy Squares! Yes- they have recreated an allergy-friendly version of an all time childhood favorite. Best of all, they have filled them with vegetables so that all of those kids out there that are noshing down on them are smiling and nodding with a big thumbs up but the parents are also smiling and nodding because they know it's a healthy snack. The bonus- they are also free of peanut, tree nuts, wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, egg, sesame, fish & shellfish. Not only do they taste amazing but even just opening the package...oh my! It's like opening a childhood memory.

I wrote about them, got to taste (YUM!) and had a giveaway so naturally, the kid in me was truly excited when I was asked to sample their Crispy Squares...uh, yeah! Not just because it's a fun snack but because it's another source of vegetables that I can eat without having to pick up any type of cooking item- a HUGE win in a mom's world. Well, a huge win in anyone's world, I think it's safe to say. Don't get me wrong, I love cooking but gosh.....sometimes, I just don't want too!!!! So when there's a choice of even more dishes in the sink or opening a package of Made Good Foods for a fast snack, I say all hail Crispy Squares and Granola! The one favor that I ask of anyone who opens up a box of Made Good Foods- please, DON'T be the person who leaves empty wrappers inside of the box. It's cruel and unusual punishment, especially to those who really, really need one.

Made a Giveaway Come on, you all know me- did you think I wouldn't offer to share with all of you too? I will repeat myself again and again- sharing is caring. The wonderful folks at Made Good Foods offered to send one person a Back to School Gift Pack stuffed with t-shirts and a variety of Made Good snacks. Plus, you get the nifty bag to carry all of your snacks in..or,hide them- your choice. No judgment from me :) So let's get straight to the details of the giveaway and get those entries going. All of us have places to go, people to see and entries means more chances of you being able to nosh on a prize pack of Made Good Foods.

Good Things Can Be Yours  You want to win the Made Good Foods prize pack. I want you to win the Made Good Foods prize pack. But there are rules (I know, I know but it's for the best).
  • 1 Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter
  • Giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry Canada, I do love you though!)
  •  No purchase necessary
  • Giveaway will run from Tuesday Sept. 19 - Thursday Sept. 21st 
  • The more you share, the more chances you have to win
  • None of your information will be shared or sold (that's just NOT my thing)
  • If the original winner does not reply within 48 hours, a runner up will be chosen
Congrats, you are my winner! 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

A huge thank you to Made Good Foods for not only giving us all a healthy snack that is minimally processed and organic but also for continuing to share with their consumers. Here's to happy noshing!

As always, everyone's allergies are different. To ensure that the products are safe for you, visit Made Good Foods on their website. For additional news, deals and future giveaways, be sure and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not sure where to find them? Check their store locator.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Cross- Contamination IS the Real Deal

NutriSon will be 16 this fall....sigh, that is another article altogether but through these almost 16 years, I have ingrained specific habits to keep everyone as safe as possible from allergens. This includes those who visit and also have dietary or specific allergy needs. I don't discriminate- keeping everyone safe is a priority to me. In the beginning, I was the mom who would prepare our foods and his foods. There were times when I would catch myself not remembering if I used the same spoon or accidentally forgot to wash my hands in between the two meals which lead to me tossing my son's foods in fear of harming him. Lots of unnecessary food wasted but absolutely necessary for safety purposes. No matter the cost of the foods that were thrown away, they will never compare to the cost of my son's life.

Flash forward to now- 99% of our meals are free from all of my son's allergens so that I know there are no mistakes. Even though it's been this long, I STILL automatically remind everyone in our home (and outside of) to use precautionary strategies: Did you wash your hands before you touched that? Make sure you use separate spoons. Don't lick that spoon while you're mixing it.....etc. etc. Sometimes this gets me dirty looks as if I don't trust whoever I am repeating it to but for me, it's a habit that is part of whatever meal I make. Kind of like a piece of the recipes forever. And those dirty looks I get- yeah, I don't care because ultimately, it's STILL my son's life and I don't care how angry you may get at me for reminding you about that. So just chill and don't take it so personally because it is 0% about you and 100% about my son. Enough said.

Recently, I posted a question asking page members to share their cross contamination tips. I got bunches of amazing responses and I was so excited to see that so many shared what works for them to keep all of us safe. One woman in particular went above and beyond to share ALL of her safeguards and although all of her tips mirrored what I do for all of my meals, I was amazed at how I didn't think to share them myself. I reached out to her and asked if I could share her tips and she was more than happy too.

Meet Darlene "Being anaphylactic to corn, pepper & hot peppers, black walnut, garlic, tomato, onions, almonds, and shellfish can cause severe reactions along with asthma attacks. As you can see with this severe list, it's an absolute must that we follow a strict guideline in my home to try to keep me safe as possible. I have beat a lot of odds and I am a survivor and I'm not willing to give up this world yet. There is one thing that I have definitely learned through all this... I hear all the time from people "Oh my God, I would never survive living without all those foods and having all those allergies!" and my answer to them is when it makes you that sick and you know what real sickness and pain is, you truly will avoid those things that make you that sick because you do not want to suffer like that. Not only does it change your lifestyle at home but as you know you don't go out to eat or you're greatly limited on eating out and my case it's almost near-impossible today." Here is what Darlene shared:

How Many of These Do YOU Practice?
  • We use different toasters and waffle makers. 
  • All food heated up in the microwave must be covered. 
  • No food is allowed on the counter top, you must always use a plate or a cutting board.
  • Each condiment or container (like peanut butter and jam) must use a separate piece of serving ware for each container.  
  • Every serving container must have its own serving ware inside the bowl or pan before serving is allowed. Absolute requirement that you place the same serving utensil back from the serving container you got it from. 
  • Only my safe foods can be used in my heirloom wooden bowls passed down for my grandparents. 
  • No allergy foods can be used in hand washed kitchen items. All other kitchenware must go through a sink rinse and then the dishwasher. 
  • All foods must be covered in the refrigerator.  
  • Keep separate cabinets- there are 2 spice cabinets that sit across the kitchen from each other. If you go to one cabinet, it's all of my safe spices & baking accessories and the other cabinet contains the same that is not for me. Then there is another set of cabinets that are across the kitchen that contain all my safe foods. Basically, if you go to those cabinets and I can eat any of those foods. If it's not friendly for me, it automatically goes into the other cabinets on the other side of kitchen.  
  • I had to teach the family that you hold down packages of flours and powder foods towards the bottom of a bowl or pitcher and pour contents slowly. Things like gluten powder or things that have corn powders in them, etc. Don't need allergy puff clouds floating in the air to breathe-in. 
  • All foods cooked in the oven that is an allergen must have a tight lid or covered in tin foil. If cooking something like biscuits that cannot be cooked with a cover you must cover the pan with tin foil and dispose of it after cooking.  
  • Always cook with our ventilating fan on. 
  • Do lots of wipe downs and keep lots of rags on hand for the extra daily wipe downs. 
  • No one is allowed to drink from someone else's drinking glasses, eat out of each other's dishes or share silverware. 
  • Keep 2 differently designed spoon rests on the counter to use when cooking allergen and non-allergen foods at the same time.  
  • Foods that I'm strongly allergic to that when you cook oils disperse through the air (like black pepper, cayenne pepper, onions, garlic, etc.) are not allowed to be cooked at all in my house. If I'm going to be out of the house for a couple of days, the family is allowed to have onion and black pepper parties (lol). This is literally a thing in my household that my family gets excited about when I'm not home for a couple of days. They could cook whatever they want on the 1st night and then the whole 2nd day they open up all the windows, run fans and air out the house and wipe the kitchen clean.
"It is a lot of work to get everybody trained but once everybody gets used to all of the rules in the house, it's just become second nature and normal. It will seem like an impossible task at the beginning but everybody will fall in sync. And from personal experience, once somebody has cross-contaminated you and you've had an allergic reaction... trust me how quickly the whole household learns the follow the rules."

Darlene spent most of her childhood battling constant upper respiratory infections along with skin breakouts and painful rashes. She has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, leaky gut syndrome found linked to the cause of her dairy allergy and others and later asthma triggered by certain foods. After years of thinking she was being poisoned, someone mentioned testing her for Celiac Disease which changed her life and gave her some new answers. Darlene also mentions "One of the very important things that I have to do is follow a diet rotation because if I eat all the foods that are allowed left for me to eat and I do not rotate them, my body has a higher risk of becoming allergic to them still. That happened to me in August of 2016.  Financially, times got hard in the summer of 2016 and I was watching every penny and eggs were just dirt cheap. So I was eating a lot of eggs and wasn't following diet rotation properly due to what I could afford at the time. That became tragic because now I'm allergic to eggs. I've been following a diet rotation for years now since 2007."

I want to thank Darlene for sharing so much of her persona wisdom with us- sharing is so very important to keep everyone safe!  
Do you have a tip that you would like to share? Leave a comment below~

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The New Allergy Solution

I admit, I am a food allergy mom but also a bit of a geek when I get the opportunity to check out new resources. After all, none of us have the same allergy needs and allergies are not "one size fits all". To me, this means that research, information, ideas and anything else allergy-related is a part of the constant journey to find a knowledgeable, safe life within the food allergies. I refuse to let food allergies consume me but I absolutely embrace the continual knowledge to consume me. Having knowledge is the key to surviving and growing- utilizing it and knowing that your brain can, indeed, continue to welcome more is empowering.

I was asked to review The New Allergy Solution by Clifford W. Bassett, M.D. This is 325 pages full of LOTS and LOTS of allergy information. I admit, at first glance my brain kind of twitched and pushed it to the side for a bit. Once I opened it up, my complete geek put on it's glasses, grabbed a pen and began reading every single page- not thumbing through, not skimming paragraphs but reading it. The words on the cover
Supercharge Resistance, Slash Medication, Stop Suffering caught my eye immediately. Thinking this was yet another book about how food allergies can be cured (which I do not believe), I was pleasantly surprised to begin reading about Dr. Bassett and how much I wish he had been around for our family when my son was first diagnosed. On page 14 his statement "You should be invited to partner in making yourself better" and page 38 "And I wanted to find solutions that might make more sense than the by-the-book, short-term fixes that so many doctors prescribe" made me shake my head in agreement over and over again. Dr. Bassett gets it- he understands that we are in need of one-on-one help and that our families are screaming for doctors to find the sources not just the fixes.

This Book is Thorough Dr. Bassett very clearly took a lot of time and energy to ensure people reading this book get every possible part of allergy information at their fingertips. He includes prevention, testing, allergy triggers, whole health allergies (skin, food, environmental and more) and he offers not only information for each but discussed how important it is for everyone to have options when it comes to their treatment plan. I highly recommend that anyone diagnosed with any type of allergy read this book. I would also love to see it made available to patients in allergy specialist offices as a research tool. Very often, many of us that are diagnosed feel there is a lack of doctor/patient communication which leads to misinformation, feeling overwhelmed and the need to find answers so that we can live with our allergies versus living around our allergies.

I want to applaud Dr. Bassett for sharing this wonderful resource with me- I am honored to have been asked. You can order your copy on Amazon and you can find him at Allergy & Asthma Care of New York.

As always, no compensation for product reviews except for the products themselves as my opinions are always honest and my thoughts are my own.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Do Food Allergies Leave You Hungry?

I am a food allergy mom. As a food allergy mom, I need to feed my allergic child and I need to feed him safely. What if, one day, beyond my control, my world gave me a twist that meant I could no longer just go to the food store and get what I needed to feed my allergic children? What if the money in my pocket was so very slim that I had to feed my allergic child foods to keep him alive while knowing that it would make him sick? What if I went to my local food pantry for help and found nothing that my child could eat safely? This happens every single day, all across the United States and beyond.

When you become a mother, feeding is instinctive and these thoughts were always looming in the back of my mind. I read an article in 2011 published in Gluten Free & More Magazine that described a situation like this and I was horrified. Horrified for the mother that was describing it but also because, at any given moment, this could easily happen to any one of us in the blink of an eye. For many, many years I wanted to change this or figure out how to become a part of the solution to this. Sadly, my local food banks responded to me with "There is no way for us to organize our pantries for these types of foods." ...what?! My immediate response being "Let me come down there and see if I can help you figure it out. There must be a way." No replies, no "thanks but no thanks" just empty silence and the thought of people in my local area having to go through this situation while I sat there, waving my arms and screaming "I can help! Tell me how to help!"

A few months ago, I came across a non-profit organization called Mend Hunger. Their mission is my mission and their goal is to ensure that food pantries are stocked up and able to offer allergy-friendly foods for those who need it. Not only do they coordinate donations to the pantries, they work with them to put an organized plan in place so that the much needed allergy-friendly foods go to the people that truly need it. To date, they service 10 cities and are growing rapidly. The best thing about what they do is that when I asked them "How can I help?" they gave me an answer.

I am honored and humbled to be an Advisory Board member for this amazing organization!

How Can YOU Help? This is the best part- we can all help out in some way. I tend to dream big but as I always tell everyone- your voice matters, your help matters. Even if you are not local to Mend Hunger, you can help!
  • Donations (food items as well as monetary donations)- whether it be that you have a company with products to donate or just that food allergies are near and dear to your heart, contact Mend Hunger and see how you can work together. Anything helps- that donation that you might feel is too tiny could be a meal for one more person.
  • Host a Food Drive With the holidays around the corner, this is especially important. Hosting a food drive can be a family event, a neighborhood event or even a classroom event. Helping others is not only rewarding but the feeling that you get when you know you are doing something for others is priceless.
  • Amazon Smile Do you shop online? Use this as an opportunity to donate! Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Mend Hunger when you shop on AmazonSmile (see why they are smiling?)
  •  Get Involved Mend Hunger is a non-profit organization and they can use your help in other areas as well. Check their About tab and see what internships are currently open. By donating a few hours of work to them weekly, Mend Hunger can continue to expand above and beyond and you will be a part of that process.
  • Attend a Candlelight Cabaret Mend Hunger is hosting a fundraising event on Saturday November 11th - if you are in the Glencoe, Illinois area or would like to attend, click here for details. Interested in donating items for the event or a sponsorship? Reach out to me and I'll be happy to get you started!

We have choices to make every day- let's be a part of the choices that truly matter. Invest in your food allergy family, invest in helping others and invest in knowing that you are a part of the good things that are still found in this world. Mend Hunger can be found on the web, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

"Food allergy support; this is a vast, never-ending place where people from all around the world meet. This is a family that you never knew existed and that you didn't think would ever be a part of your life." 
~ Tracy Bush, AllergyPhoods.com

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Are We Overdosing Healthcare?

When I began blogging, one of my main objectives was to empower other people with knowledge to make their life journey easier. All of us have different allergy needs as well as healthcare needs. All of us want to be supported by the strongest people that we know have our back. I think it’s safe to say that all of us not only want to get through our personal difficulties but we also want to know how to arm ourselves with the most necessary tools to accomplish this. Especially with allergies, the proper healthcare is essential to the choices that we make – every choice shapes what could make our lives better or worse.

Recently, I was chosen to be a Patient Champion Activist for the Consumer Reports Choosing Wisely Campaign, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation . What is the Patient Champion Activist Program about? This is a teaching tool to encourage us to help find our voices while discussing our healthcare options. It's something that is easily shared with friends, family and your community. During most of my son’s younger life and struggles to find adequate doctors that (I felt) had our family’s best interest at heart, this was a skill that I had to learn. As a parent, as a mom and as a person who not only wants to treat a medical condition, I am determined to be a part of what the root cause is and what all of the treatment options are for us. I found out early on that not all physicians are alike which means that all of us need to know that it’s ok to ask questions rather than trust what the doctor has decided for us. If I had not asked questions, I am certain that my son would have had multiple and possibly life-threatening reactions to some of the treatments suggested by his Pediatrician due to his allergies. Many of us are taught that doctors know best. Many do but not all of them do.

5 Easy Questions to Ask I wasn’t so outspoken early on and learning to know when to ask questions was difficult for me. I’ve had many doctors argue with me, roll their eyes, or insist that I was overreacting to their advice. Here is the thing- YOU pay doctors to treat you, not the other way around. If you don’t like the response that your doctor(s) are giving you, find one that does, period. It IS that simple. Does this sound a bit harsh? Perhaps but I will take seeming harsh over the possibility of mistreatment, allergic reactions and possible death anytime. I’m not over emphasizing I’m just being blunt.

Many of you are probably unsure how to begin to be a part of your healthcare without seeming too pushy. If that is the case, I have five simple questions that Consumer Reports created and that I have adapted. You can begin to use them as a guideline to help you get started. If you are still uneasy, bring along a friend or family member so that they can ask these questions for you. Especially during stressful times, another person who is clear-headed may be able to ask questions that you are too overwhelmed to think about yourself at the time of the visit.

  1. Do I really need this test or procedure? Everyone’s health is different so everyone’s health plan should be different as well.  
  2. What are the risks and side effects? Most doctors will explain this but it’s always good to ask anyway.  
  3. Are there simpler, safer options? With today’s advances in medicine and broad range of techniques, there are usually options to choose from.
  4. What happens if I don’t do anything? This is something that most people don’t think is an option but it’s your health and your choice.
  5. How much does it cost, and will my insurance pay for it?Although cost should never be the determining factor for your healthcare, knowing ahead of time of what you can expect is less stressful.
I have also always been a big advocate for those who are visual learners (as I am one myself). I wanted to share one of the videos that Choosing Wisely offers to help us remember the questions to ask but also to remind us all that asking questions is always ok.


Become Your Own Advocate Nobody advocates better for you than you. Be proud to ask questions, be honest when speaking with physicians and be proud to disagree about your healthcare options- these are all your choices. Being a part of the food allergy community means integrating healthcare options and knowing how to choose wisely. As I always mention, I am here to help- if you need help, always ask me. If I don’t have the answer that you need, I can try to find someone that does have it or feels they can help you get it. All of our voices are strong and even when you feel that your voice won’t make a difference, it can and it will. Use your voice to protect yourself and others.

For more information on the Choosing Wisely program or how you can educate others in your area, you can visit them at on the web, Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Allergy-Free Paleo Cooking Event

Have you met The Allergy Chef? Kathlena herself has over 200 allergies and she is embracing that by sharing her fabulous recipes and cooking expertise by traveling all across the United States. When I found out about her Food Allergy Awareness Expedition, I knew we had to have her visit us locally.  We have teamed up with Dr. Adam Williams of Optimal Health Chiropractic to have a free event that is open to public- all that is required for you to attend is a school supply donation for Bright Beginnings and local schools in the area. Bring your family, bring a friend or visit us by yourself (more samples for you!)

When & Where
Wednesday August 2nd
4-6 PM
2575 Old Glory Road, Ste #400
Clemmons, NC (map)

RSVP or stop in and be a part of all of the action!
*School supply donations are required for event & raffle entry.  Supplies requested include: Pens, Highlighters, #2 Pencils, Glue Sticks, Reams of Paper and cash donations. Cash donations will enable Bright Beginnings to purchase everyday items for those in need to begin the school year.

Need More Information?
Contact me at Nutrimom@yahoo.com or (336) 486-1905  

Reasons YOU Need to Join Us
Your school supply donation will enter you in a raffle to win a cookbook from The Allergy Chef, a 30 minute food allergy consultation with me and a bunch of items from Dr. Adam which include free x-ray, report, first adjustment and a Water Pillow
See you all next week!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Savorfull Giveaway

Allergies and dietary restrictions can make your life a bit more complicated. As a Food Allergy Consultant, I strive to find easier paths for myself as well as the people that I help out to make everyone's life a little less stressful. I search for accessible spots that people can find more than just one or two options and I always lean toward places that offer the easiest ways to target the foods that are in your specific ingredient area with minimal effort. Having to find foods that are safe for you is a huge endeavor in itself so why get stuck in places that bring even more frustration?

Savorfull A website that allows you to do many things. Multitasking has always been one of my best areas but being able to multitask in one place is almost like not multitasking. It feels too easy and I think many of us are so used to not finding a simple way to do anything that it feels like we are forgetting to do something. So when someone like Stacy Goldberg takes the time to do this for us, I say go with it and learn to love your foods again. Wanna know what Savorfull is all about?
Why I Like It Many of my consultations clients ask "What will I eat?" I know that I do not have all of the answers but I do know that part of what I do is to find places for those people to be able to get products that they can research on their own with as much ease as possible. Food allergy diagnosis means more thinking so when less thinking is in the picture, it makes me happy for them. I think we can all agree that being able to choose safe products in a fast and timely manner let's us feel a bit closer to "normal" again.

Here is the Best Part Savorfull wants to share some of their products with one of you! One winner will receive products from Don't Go Nuts, Homefree, Beanfields Snacks, Nature's Bakery, Vegan Rob's, Health Warrior, Jessica's Natural Foods, RX Bar and Field Trip.

Details are:
-  1 Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter entry form
- No purchase necessary
- Open to US residents only
- Your information will be kept private (I do not believe in selling anyone's information!)
- Sharing is optional but always encouraged and appreciated
- Please allow 8-10 business days for shipping
- These products may or may not contain your specific allergens
- No product exchanges
- In the event that the original winner does not come forth within 48 hours, a runner up will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter

 All you need to do is enter for a chance to win!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

You are the Winner!
A big thank you to the folks at Savorfull for what they do to help everyone out and for the wonderful products for the giveaway. Visit them on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

*I received products to try out provided by Savorfull in exchange for hosting a giveaway. As always, I only promote products, people and places that I believe have the same mission as I do.