Saturday, February 18, 2017

Cue the Epinephrine

Most of us within the food allergy community have seen a bunch of events over the past few years that have truly had all of us on the edge of our seats. Beginning with the recall of Auvi-Q in 2015, it seemed as if our allergy comfort zone went from a soft yellow to RED!!!! overnight. Many of us were panic-stricken and in disbelief but mostly just upset that the talking device was pulled from our hands just as we were starting to use them. From personal experience in our home, it meant new struggles for my teenage son with multiple food allergies.  It meant a new kind of peer pressure and having to carry a larger set of epinephrine (which also brought back earlier childhood trauma of being referred to as fanny pack kid). In addition, I also had to adjust my attitude as a food allergy parent to be understanding, supportive and yet adamant that regardless of how "uncool" it may be, having an allergic reaction and not having epinephrine is definitely even more uncool times infinity.

But 2017 began in a new light- a hopeful light showing support and, well, maybe even a little extra hand-holding which is what was sorely needed after all of the past dramas. I felt relieved when the story appeared that Auvi-Q was indeed returning to all of us. Even better, they told us that their goal was to make sure it was available to everyone who needed it. Coming in ahead of their originally estimated date of February 14th, I raced to my computer. Unlike other auto injector plans in the past, Auvi-Q offers a mail order service and I wanted to see exactly how this worked and if they truly did put their money where their mouth was. Under this plan, Kaleo's goal is to take the burden off of the patients and get them the epinephrine that they need in the easiest way possible. So easy that you don't have to wait through the usual process (wait to make an allergist appointment, get a prescription, go to the pharmacy, wait to get the prescription filled, etc.) I decided to test out their process to see what the results were.

February 13th 

  • I downloaded the direct delivery service form for NutriSon
  • I delivered it to his physician's office and asked that they call me when it was faxed (I wanted to know the time frame)
  • By 11 AM I received a call stating the form had been faxed
  • At 4:54 PM that day, I got a call from the customer service department handling the mail orders for Auvi-Q. She stated her name and explained that our conversation was being taped. She asked if I was aware that the doctor had sent in a prescription for my son's Auvi-Q, I said yes. She told me that my insurance company (BCBSNC) does not cover Auvi-Q but just as I was about to get upset, she quickly continued to tell me that they have already taken care of everything, could process it and our out-of-pocket cost would be $0. I thanked her more than a few times. She then asked if I preferred to have the package signed for or just left- I opted for no signature as I am almost always home working. 
February 17th (4 days from my initial request) Keep in mind it was also the week that everyone got hit with massive, weird winds, several feet of snow and all sorts of other winter issues.
  • By 11 AM I had NutriSon's Auvi-Q's in my hand! Is it weird that I was like a kid at Christmas- I opened the package right away, checked everything and I couldn't wait to show my son when he got home later.
  • One of the first things that I noticed was the expiration date- April 23, 2018- that's 14 months (yay for a longer expiration date!)
  • I will tell you that it was 40 degrees outside when my package arrived (you will see that the temperature for proper storage is very specific to ensure the life of the epinephrine). I did notice that when I removed the Auvi-Q's from the well-wrapped package, they were cold to the touch. I opened them and checked the liquid, which was clear. I recommend that you consider your delivery at a time when you can be there to reduce the amount of time the package may sit outside in cooler weather or request a signature so that you will know when it will be in your hands. 
I want to send a heartfelt thank you to Kaleo Pharma for keeping their true mission at heart and continuing to help all of our families. Personally, their device is preferred on our homes in so many ways. To be very blunt, the smaller size is just better for us, the easy to use voice commands take the added stress out of both teaching other family members and school staff in addition to not having to stop and think in an emergency situation. 

Please be sure and check their website for complete information about this as well as their AffordAbility Program, resources and updates as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages.

I would also like to be very clear and state that I was not paid to write this- my goal is to share my thoughts and experiences to help other members of my food allergy community decide what is best for them. For those of you who follow me and read my articles- you all know that I always speak my mind and I never support any product that I don't feel completely comfortable with. 

Have you tried Auvi-Q yet? 
I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

You Had Me at Pizza

How many of you knew that today February 9th is National Pizza Day? Did you hear about this and just kind of shrug and mope away because you haven't found an allergy-friendly place to actually go to get pizza? What better way to share my love of pizza than to let you all in on a secret located in the heart of Westview, Pennsylvania - friends, I am talking about Mandy's Pizza.

Let's see if you notice what I noticed when I saw the logo.... do you see it? "Allergen Friendly"  "Vegan" are you getting excited about it now? If you are worried about some of your family who wants a good Italian meal but doesn't have food allergies you are in luck again- Mandy's Pizza has both traditional Italian food and allergy-friendly food so all of your family can have a meal together. As I read through their webpage, I was touched by the reason they began this for others so I reached out to them directly. Listen to what they shared with me:

NM: I came across your website and I have to say, being Italian and growing up in New Jersey, it made my mouth water! You offer both traditional Italian menu items as well as allergy free, gluten free and even Vegan options. Can you tell me why this was so important to you? 

MP:  The whole premise of our business was to afford everyone the opportunity to eat out safely. However, we refused to serve off-the-shelf products which are mass-produces and tasteless. 

NM: Brandon's story states he was just 9 years old when he started his cooking adventures. As a parent and him not only having food allergies but being a bit younger, did you help him out in the kitchen? Or did you let him do his own thing so he could understand it all?

MP:  In the beginning, we just let him "Have at it". Honestly, I had no idea on how to make these items and I was working at our business while he was at home making our garbage disposal fat with all of the rejected attempts.

NM: Do you think growing up around other foods helped to motivate him to help others with food allergies eat safe foods?

MP: This was the main motivator. Moreover, when I would bring him a tasteless steak salad and pizza for the rest of us, it was truly saddening to see how upset he was. Back then, there weren't very many other options for those with severe food allergies. Steak and potatoes or a plain burger and no bun were the staples of the day.

NM: What were some of the reactions of those coming into your restaurant for the first time with food allergies?

MP: Honestly, it's quite humbling and truly the only motivator that keeps me in this business. Kids to adults will come in and at times, will cry when they take their first bite. No, it's not just because of the product itself but the realization that just for a moment, they can feel normal. Sometimes when a newbie comes in and asks if we sell "allergen free pizza" I'll say "Oh, no...that place went out of business about a week ago." as a joke. I'm so evil.

NM: Have you ever had someone have a reaction while eating? If so, please explain.

MP:  Only once. Their toddler was diagnosed with Celiac Disease that week so they came in and ordered a gluten-free pizza. A short time later, it was discovered that he was likely also intolerant to dairy. The parents were not upset with us at all. In fact, our knowledge of different aspects of these diseases helped them feel more at ease.

NM: How do you prepare your menu items safely since your establishment does offer both allergy friendly AND your typical other menu items?

MP: Separate equipment, tools and strict processes. Quite frankly, it's not that difficult if you take the time to educate your staff, both young and old.

NM: I noticed that in addition to supporting those with allergies and certain dietary needs that Mandy's Pizza also has fundraisers and contests. How often do you participate in these?

MP: Fundraisers and contests are truly insignificant to our whole approach. We are more proud of the events we hold for kids with food allergies. While Brandon was young, he quickly realized how having food allergies can keep you from enjoying some of the most simple of celebrations like trick or treating or just sitting on Santa's lap. As a result of this, Brandon started holding events like allergen-friendly trick or treating for kids or allergen-free donuts with Santa. We hold these events along with Naturally Soergel's- a local business which is situated on a local apple farm but focuses on those with food allergies and gluten issues.

NM: I noticed your events are for BOTH kids and adults, I love that! Which event do you feel has drawn the most attention?

MP: OMG, allergen-free donuts with Santa! In fact, we will need to change the rules for next year so that only two parents can attend since many of the seats are taken buy "extended" family members, which reduces the number of children who can attend. This event sells out in about two hours.

NM: For those who want to try some of Brandon's foods, you offer an online store under Brandon's Best Allergen Free- what is the top selling item?

MP: Either the Cinnashugga or Vanilla Nilla Donuts. We make these cake-style donuts just like a bakery would by deep-frying them in an allergy-friendly oil. These donuts taste exactly like a traditional cake donut without the slimy or mushy texture of gluten-free only donuts. I just brought home two of our Jimmies Gone Wild donuts and Brandon yelled at me for eating one.

NM: I love the "Food Allergies Are Cool" t-shirt, who's idea was that?

MP: That was me. I am a former ad agency guy and wanted to use some reverse psychology so that kids can see the positive in being different. Frankly, they really are the cool ones since everything they eat is made just for them and not just some meal whipped up in a microwave.

NM: Being a mother of a food allergy child myself, I did notice that there are no ingredients listed on your menu items. How can your customers access these to be sure they are safe for their allergy needs?

MP: I do not list ingredients for one simple reason- safety. Others have tried to replicate what we do in an effort to just make more money. We worked hard on our menu and Brandon worked hard on his products. We don't want people viewing this as a competitive edge but rather a way of preventing others from trying to replicate what we do without the concern for safety taken into consideration. At the pizzeria, we have a handout that customers can see very easily and which items that they can eat. We take it one step further by knowing that the only real allergen in the allergen-friendly menu is corn and it's only in tow of these items. That said, all of the other items are free of the top ten allergens which is our prime focus.

NM: I see you are a part of DineSafeApp* why did you feel this was important to be a part of?

MP: Yes, in fact we have more of a business friendship. Mandy's Pizza is a strong supporter of the DineSafeApp as a result of it's focus solely on safety while dining out. While there are "other" technology solutions, this is the first that we have encountered that is not advertising focused, nor confusing to understand which items are safe to eat. We feel that DineSafeApp focuses on the true aspect of dining safely

NM: Any thoughts of expanding in the future, maybe a franchise of Mandy's Pizza so everyone can try it right in their own neighborhood?

MP: No! I went that route with a partner and it was the biggest mistake. It wasn't about making more money, it was truly so that this larger venue could accommodate parties for kids or adults with food allergies. Soon after opening, it became apparent that they didn't take this as serious as us since we had some situations that set me over the edge. Because of this, shortly after opening, I felt it necessary to remove our name and any references to our business from that location.

Honestly, I would rather see Brandon have the ability to expand his business into a larger wholesale opportunity. His new allergen-free Cookie Dough in a Jar is awesome (coming in about 30 days). I literally just made some of his NottaNuttaButta Cookies before replying to your questions. Tomorrow he has hockey and three directors of this huge facility have been pestering me for more of his cookies. None of them have food related issues.

Thanks to Mandy's Pizza and their family for everything that they do for our food allergy community! (who says food is not love?!) Their allergen-friendly menu includes: six types of gluten free and allergen free pizza (smoked kielbasa, meat eater, bbq chicken, buffalo chicken, spinach ricotta and Hawaiian), hoagies, french fries, chicken nuggets, pasta meals (pasta & meatball, pasta with sausage bruschetta and lasagna) and two types of chicken wings. You can find Mandy's Pizza at 512 Perry Highway, Rt. 19 North in Westview, Pennsylvania. Whether you are close to them or just curious, you can also visit them on the web, on Facebook and Twitter.

Don't forget to give Brandon a shout out too (you can order his items)! Brandon's Best Allergen Free can be found here.

* DineSafe App is an app that works with restaurants, eateries and resorts to offer personal menus for food allergies and dietary preferences

Show your consumers support &
click here to be a part of what they need

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Snackers For My Snackers

I thought I would share my latest product review for Three Bakers Snackers since, well tomorrow is Superbowl Sunday and who doesn't need new ideas for food?! Come on, we all love watching the game, eating tons of different pick foods and snacks or maybe you are the one bringing some food over to someone else's home for the game. Either way, I felt sharing was the way to go.

Three Bakers was gracious enough to send three of their four flavors - Chocolate ChipHoney Graham  and Cheddar Cheese but they also offer Chocolate Chocolate Chip...yum! So what did they look like? How did they taste? Let's spill all of it and don't forget to check out the recipes I share as well. You all know that I am a firm believer of using products in more ways than just opening up the package. Why not? If you feel as if your foods are limited, it's a great way to give you more flavor and meal varieties as well as pushing your brain to think of new options to use.

Rule #1- Watch For Pets with Food Envy Who has pets? (hand raised) Now who else notices that each time you open any type of package, your pet runs to you, assuming it is food for them too? (hand raised). And who else finds it cute at first but then ultimately annoying when this happens? No offense furry friends but people with food allergies are super protective about the foods that they can eat so back off just a little. I mean, you don't see your humans running to hog your food bowl at feeding time so let bygones be bygones.

Of course, I totally get it. The Cheddar Cheese Snackers are quite tempting. They are subtly cheesy so it's not a full overload of cheese explosion and I prefer that sometimes. They also have a hint of pepper that pops up here and there to wake your palate up. AND (this is my favorite part) they are not flat and square like most other cheese cracker-like snacks. The Snackers are poofed! Like, rounded, giving them a bit of added fun and crunch. So what do I, Nutrimom, recommend you use these for other than just a snack? Well, remember those peanut butter and cheese sandwich crackers that you (probably) ate as a kid? Why not make a peanut-free version but also make it into a fun food dip?

SunButter Snackers Dip
Use this as a fun, easy protein dip for vegetables, fruit or just off the spoon!

1 Cup Three Bakers Cheese Cheese Snackers (crushed)
1 Teaspoon SunButter of your choice

Prep Time:        4 Minutes
No Bake Time:  5 Minutes

  1. Using a medium sized bowl, combine the crushed Snackers and SunButter
  2. Mix, combining well
  3. Store in an airtight container
Makes approximately one cup

Chocolate Chip.. Need I say More? Sometimes, just noshing down handfuls of a great treat is what heals the soul. Here in North Carolina, our winter hasn't been a bunch of snow-filled days. Our winter has been seemingly dreary days upon days filled with clouds, greyness, more greyness, damp and oh, not much snow. I now understand why the groundhog hibernates. I am just about there myself except I don't have fur, I just have a fuzzy blanket and my bag of Chocolate Chip Snackers. These are flat (I like variety) but what I really enjoy about this bag of Snackers is the tease of chocolate chip. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely one who loves chocolate to the ends of the earth but Three Bakers nailed it when they created these little guys. Rather than your usual chocolate overkill that (most) of us tend to eat too many of and then feel ill and guilty afterwards, the Chocolate Chip Snackers are dotted with tastes of chocolate. I almost want to say it's similar to those chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches that are out there but crunchy and far easier to eat a bunch of.

And, THESE! I can't forget about the Honey Graham Snackers...oh yes! Also flat (hey Three Bakers, just curious, why is only one Snackers flat? Huh? Huh?) ...maybe it's a trade secret. If you like that familiar taste of Grandma's pie crust- eat these. If you like crunchy, buttery, just slightly sugary crackers- eat these. Plain and simple. Or, as NutriDaughter pondered "So, these are all puzzle pieces...does that mean that when you them together it unlocks an even better cracker?" Smart girl for just twelve years old....she totally gets that from me, of course. The only thing left to do is to think about, hmmm. I dunno ANOTHER RECIPE!

S'mores Singles
Because..why not?!

1 Bag of Three Bakers Honey Graham Snackers
Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips (melted)
Mini marshmallows
*Optional Spray oil (I use Winona Pure Oil) added to the chocolate

Prep Time:        5 Minutes
No Bake Time:  4 Minutes

  1. Cover a baking sheet or other flat surface with parchment paper
  2. Place each Honey Graham Snackers on the covered sheet
  3. Dip each marshmallow halfway into the melted chocolate
  4. Gently place onto each Honey Graham Snackers
  5. Allow to cool
  6. Store in an airtight container to avoid stale marshmallows
Serving sizes will vary

Read The Labels I do want to warn that although these Snackers are gluten free and delicious, they contain milk and/or eggs. Because everyone's allergy needs are different,I recommend that you check the Three Bakers website (although they are delicious, they also need to be safe for you!). Huge hugs to Three Bakers for not only thinking of me and asking if I would like to try them out but also for their patience in the time it took me to get my feedback out. AND they also make other products such as pizza, pizza crust, stuffing mix, hamburger buns, hoagie rolls, hot dog buns and bread! Be sure and visit them at, on Facebook, on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

As always, never any compensation except for the product themselves as all of my reviews are always honest.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mylan, Are You Listening?

I admit, the summer of 2016 was VERY intense with all of the Mylan/EpiPen issues that popped up and swirled through every source of social media for weeks. For many/most people within the food allergy community, it became a topic of discussion, anger, disappointment and (sadly) even a way to achieve higher ratings on certain social media platforms. Whether it be radio call-ins, interviews or simply discussing my thoughts with concerned food allergy members, I didn't do it for attention or ratings- I did it to protect everyone's right to stay safe and, in some cases, to stay alive. After all, how can anyone put a price tag on a person's life? How can anyone produce a life-saving medication only to seemingly turn their backs on those who need it? How can a company know how much power they have only to wind up saying they didn't know? I have met families who cannot afford to have their child carry epinephrine and honestly, for each person that I meet that has this dilemma, I automatically associate their family with mine. It doesn't matter that we are not related, it doesn't matter that we do not have the same blood running through our veins or have the same thoughts about anything else- what matters to me is that another child or person could potentially loose their life. I can't be that person who doesn't try to help. I can't be that person that stays silent. Even if all I can do is to write about it or sign petitions - I will do that for every single person who needs it to be done. That is my duty to my food allergy community.

Now? Why Now? Recently, Mylan offered an interview to CBS News after so many months of no response at all ( or, very little). While people were screaming, asking for answers we got none. The air was silent and we were all left in the dark with nothing. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the company who had done so much good for the community in the past just left us with unanswered questions and a graph chart that didn't show any sign of remorse or empathy for those who needed it. We watched as the questions were unanswered still when the Senate wanted to stand up for us. And we watched months later, after a lot of backlash, when Mylan "suddenly" had an alternative option of a cheaper generic product. Then there was more silence.

A few days ago, the silence ended. Mylan CEO Heather Bresch spoke with Norah O'Donnell of CBS and claimed that "What I realized, and what I went through this summer- EpiPen was a window into a broken system. And what I've conveyed, and I believe the discussion continues to validate, this isn't an EpiPen problem. This is a health care problem."

Why this response now? Five months later, a hearing and a new year that brings multiple new auto injector options, why now?

My Opinion These are just my opinions, I don't claim to speak for anyone else.

Dear Mylan,

This may come across as the whiny person that will never be satisfied but it's quite the opposite. I know you are trying to appease us. I know you are (most likely) wracking your brain to figure out how to get back into the food allergy community on the best of terms. But (yes, BUT) this statement doesn't sit well with me. Who am I? Maybe just a a tiny speck within billions but I am still one of the mothers who doesn't want to watch her son die nor do anyone else's. I feel that this train of thought in the interview is not based on helping others, it seems that it's still based solely on how Mylan can continue on but still not answer the unanswered questions. It's all well and good that you are trying but (yup, another but) I take offense to the statement above. You see, while you were sitting quietly the rest of us were fighting for answers and change. We were coming together to rally for keeping each other safe. We were petitioning to ensure that everybody knew what was going on with the price increases and that it wasn't simply a few people complaining. Where was your voice then? Where was the support when we asked for it?

Your statement "EpiPen was a window into a broken system" doesn't resonate well with me. Perhaps I am over thinking it just a bit. I just cannot shake the feeling that this new effort has nothing to do about supporting your customers and it has everything to do with you trying to sweep the previous concerns under the rug and fast forwarding to a crusade that was not started by EpiPen. In fact, it was started by the community who rallied for this change. Is your company large and powerful? Yes but our community- our community that is made up of other "me's", other tiny specks that came together and got the information out, not you. In edition, regardless of what was broken or needed to be fixed the fact still remains that nobody forced you to continually raise the price of EpiPens. Nobody. I apologize if this seems harsh and abrupt and I sincerely hope that Mylan will do better going forward but stating that your secretive ways were the window for change- not quite correct. Did the controversy force your company to seek change? Yes but it wasn't because of what you did or didn't do, it was because of the public.

Mylan, I am thankful that you finally spoke out and I am grateful that you are stating that you now want to be a part of the solution rather than the problem. All I ask is that you choose your words wisely as well as your actions. We expected great things from you and we will accept nothing less.

Thank you~

Friday, January 27, 2017

Air is Everywhere, But Can You Breathe It?

NutriFamily got a new allergy gadget a few months ago- an Intellipure air purifier. Now, this may not be your idea of a gadget but I definitely consider this product to be such. Just for backup, the definition of gadget is "a small mechanical or electronic device or tool, especially an ingenious or novel one" so I would say that pretty much matches our criteria.  From the looks of it, you might think that it's big, bulky and not user-friendly but it's quite the opposite. As I demonstrated in my previous post, this Ultrafine 468 is super easy for anyone to use and literally ready to get to work on your air quality as soon as it leaves the box.

Why an Air Purifier? When NutriSon was a baby, he always sounded like Darth Vadar. He had a croupy cough and he had streams of boogers that seemed to go on forever. Little did we know that most of that stemmed from us not understanding how to manage his environmental allergies along with his food allergies. Most of us assume that indoor air is safer for us, especially on the days that allergens are higher but this is not necessarily the case. Ultrafine particles can come from sources within our homes without us even realizing it. I give you Exhibit A:

You have a pet. You love the pet. The pet loves you back. But did you know that this innocent, adorable, lovable pet could be contributing to your air quality without even meaning too? I found out the hard way that the my office was not usable because of the cat's litter box. I didn't even realize how much dust,small airborne particles and odors polluted my office air so much that I couldn't use it. Luckily, I found two solutions- I found a hypoallergenic cat litter and I relocated our Intellipure air purifier into my office. Less than an hour later, I was able to walk into my office with no smells, no dust and no other noticeable air pollution. Who knew that air could be so soluble? No onto Exhibit B:

Your fireplace- it's cozy, it warms your home but this also contains possible toxic particles. The dust that sits on your hearth can carry in dirt from outside pesticides (hey, do you know where all of your firewood has come from?) and this can also be carried into the air you are breathing as it burns. What's scary is that people who are suffering from Alzheimer's Disease were found to have ultrafine particles embedded in their brains. These sneaky particles catch a ride up through your olfactory nerve and end up in your brain. I'm not trying to freak you out, just explaining the process to give you an understanding of how fragile our systems are without us even realizing it. Knowledge and information gives is the power to take charge of our health and to take preventative measures on building a healthier life going forward. How can we do this? The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends:

  1. Dilute the air when possible
  2. Remove the source of pollution
  3. Clean the air with a portable, high-end air purifier 
(Our family took care of all three the minute we began using our Intellipure air about multi-tasking for our health!) 

The Cost of Clean Air Just like all of you, our family lives on a budget. Allergies can make this even more challenging so how can you stay healthy, have the best environment possible but also maintain your budget? There are a few things to consider- 

You Get What You Pay For- The Ultrafine 468 retails for $999 but before you look at the price, consider your options. You could spend less on another air purifier but how is it rated? Does it offer a warranty? Does it have the capacity to filter the space of your home properly?  Does it have replaceable filters or parts that you know you can find if you need them (because some of them are so easy to buy but finding the replacement parts are like winning the lottery) and do you know how much of your air is being filtered? 

What is Your Health Worth- If the $999 price is making you take a step back, let's break it down. If you were averaging what you were spending over one year's time to breathe clean air, to lessen your chances of poor health in years to come or just to know that your home is a safe haven from pollutants it would cost you under $3 a day. That's less than what most people spend in breakfast each day.

Intellipure Offers Help Too- Free ground shipping on orders over $200 (except Hawaii and Alaska). I already get excited to see the delivery person drive up to my house but it seems better when it's free.... do you think they know that it's free?! Maybe we should tell them so they can order their own air purifier. After all, if your delivery person isn't healthy too you don't get your packages on time.

Coupon/ Promo Code- Whatever you decide to call it, Intellipure is also offering 20% off to everyone who uses the coupon code nutrimom17 when they order. You all know I love coupons but I love helping and sharing more. The fact that Intellipure wants people to be able to live healthier and save some money in the process shows how their small town company treats all of their customers like their family.

Have you tried the Intellipure Ultrafine 468? OR have you tried other brands for your allergies? I'd love to hear your experiences! Leave a comment, share this article with everyone that could use a health reboot for 2017 and remember to use code nutrimom17 to save 20% when you order.

*I received materials and information for providing my thoughts and ideas to Intellipure. All comments made by me about the the Ultrafine468 are at my own discretion and based on my own opinion. #Sponsored

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Allergies- What Do You Say?

Each year, food allergies continue to increase. Each year, mothers and fathers become distraught over the diagnosis of a food allergy. Each year, thoughts and actions on how to handle food allergies are presented in multiple ways. And each year, unnecessary deaths occur because of a food allergy.

This year, I want to offer more hope to everyone that doesn't involve being afraid of food allergies. I want to offer all of you helpful tips and include some from people that I admire to give you a well-rounded perspective on it all. Does having food allergies make life challenging and upsetting and just down right depressing sometimes? Yes. But there are ways to understand how food allergies may have become a part of your life for a positive reason. With so much pressure and frustration, I lean toward as many of the positives as I can. Let me show you why a food allergy diagnosis is an important part of your life.

It's Me! See the other news here

Think about it- think back to how you felt with the initial food allergy diagnosis. Did your world suddenly come to a halt? Did you hear the doctor giving you information but it all became kind of blurred together? Did you leave the office and feel as if you couldn't walk or breathe or talk? That is all normal. That is your body trying to process and it's also your brain trying to put everything into perspective at warp speed only to be followed by feeling as if your world was changing but you don't want it too. You don't want to be afraid of food or parties or just going out to the movies with your friends. You don't want to have to read every single label twice. You don't want to carry medications with you will you go swimming? How will you go to the beach when those medications can't be in the sun and still stay safe? And how will you visit those beaches knowing that most of that delicious smelling food is something you will never, ever eat safely?

That was the before panic. That was the not knowing panic. But then you found your missing family members. They were there, waiting for you, the entire time. They live next door to you, in a different school district, in Asia and even in places that you cannot pronounce.The important thing is- they are there. They support you even though you have never spoken before and never met. They would hand you endless tissues if they could pass them through the screen. Now sit back and think about all of these new people, these new family members who answer your plea at whatever time of day that you ask them; would you have ever imagined that your life could be so full of such support and love? In your darkest days, can you ask for a better cheering squad? Some people become afraid but others use that fear to build knowledge. With so much knowledge, the fear begins to become less and less and your way of life becomes full again, slowly. It doesn't matter that you can't eat that food because you can eat all of these foods; the foods that your extended family told you about. The foods that many people who do not have food allergies may never even realize are there for them too. Most importantly, you will understand that the very same foods that pulled you apart from some people are the same foods that pulled you closer to others. Keep this in your head and in your heart. You have been blessed with a new way of life. You have been given knowledge and power to keep yourself safe as well as countless others when many do not have that power. How awesome is that?!

Still Need More? This is where more sharing comes in. I share because I realize that not everyone wants to listen to just what I say and that's ok. I want everyone to listen to as many people as they can. That's why I'm sharing even more thoughts from these wonderful people that I also consider to be my family members. Hopefully, they will become yours too ~

Please be sure and click on the links to read their entire article- the graphics are simply a small portion of what they each wanted to share with all of you.

Allergy Superheroes  Read ALL of their tips here

- Sharon Wong, Nut Free Wok  Read ALL of her tips here

- Amanda Kanashiro, My Gluten Free Miami
Read ALL of her tips here

"When you are managing a serious medical condition, this could be the most important thing you do. I share one tip I wished someone had shared with me when I first became a food allergy mom." - Gina Mennett Lee, Food Allergy Consultant and Educator.

Gina Mennett Lee, Food Allergy Consulting
Read ALL of her tips HERE

What are YOUR food allergy tips?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Is Medication-Free Pain Relief Possible?

As I have repeated several times over the past few years, I think outside of the box. I have also learned that food allergies and healthy living is more than just foods. Healthy living is about how to feed your body healthy too, not just your stomach. It never stops amazing me how much research continues to show that what you eat effects what your body does and how you feel. When you realize this, you can begin to take more control over your own health and healing. It (may) sound a bit earthy-crunchy and hokey but I wasn't this person twenty years ago. I was the person scoffing at the people who were saying these things to me. Life and situations forced me to learn the hard way for my own good.

Although everyone is different, one of the things that my food issues caused my body to become hypersensitive to medications. Even my doctor laughs at me when I remind him to give me baby doses of anything. Not such a bad thing to have happen unless you are given something that makes you feel uneasy then (for me) it's feeling uneasy times 100. This gives you a choice- to use medications or to work with your doctor who is awesome and understands that not everyone can use typical medications so together you seek alternative treatments. What's even more amazing is when you find a company who specializes in that exact train of thought.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel I was asked to try an item that relieves pain by using Pulsed Electromagnetic field (PEMF) to reduce pain. The OSKA Pulse product is a little larger than a computer mouse, it charges and then it's ready to go. The OSKA Pulse kit come with the handheld device, the charger cord and a flexible strip to help hold it in place (such as around your waist). With just a push of a button, it automatically times how long you have been using it and a gentle beep let's you know when your session has ended. There is no sound during when it's on so it's silent but it does give off a soft glow that looks kind of like a UFO. In fact, here's what it looks like:

                                                             Is your computer wonky?
                                                       Click here to watch the video now

Did It Work? This is the tough part for me as I am always honest with product reviews. I gave it to my mother to borrow for a week to try out. She looked and sounded hesitant but she has reoccurring back pain from sciatica that is worse when she sits. So she took it and later that day, I was surprised to get a call from her "This thing really works!". She did mention that for her pain she had to use it for a few sessions but she was really quite impressed and wanted to know how it worked to relieve the pain. I tried to explain as best as I could but after many questions, I gave in and just went with "It works and there are no side effects so do you need to know all of the details?" She agreed and I went about my day.

Then after sledding for a few days with the kids (which I found out is not a good thing for me to do anymore due to bulging discs) I found an opportunity to try out the OSKA Pulse myself. I tried it on and off for several days. I moved it around. I paid attention to the instructions which recommend that you use it away from items "that may have strong magnetic fields, such as microwaves or strong audio speakers" as the device may not work as well around these products. My experience with the OSKA Pulse- I did not notice a difference.

So What Now I will keep my OSKA Pulse and see if it works on different pain in the future. I thought about it and realized that A) not everyone's injuries are the same B) not everyone's healing processes are the same and C) I'm curious if the pain relief also depends on the type of injury that is being treated. My bulging disc did not seem to be helped but my mother's muscle pain was. Me being an optimist, I don't give up easily and I want to keep mine around and see what else it can help with in the future. If you are on the fence about trying one out, they do offer a return policy for those who are not satisfied with the product (here).

Are you curious? For your own OSKA Pulse visit them at or if you want to hang out and do some more research om them first before you decide, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what other fun facts you can learn about their product.  Many thanks to OSKA Wellness for thinking of me and asking me to review their product, I appreciate it.

As always, never any compensation except for the product themselves as all of my reviews are always honest.