Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award

What a wonderful way to begin 2018 with a smile on my face from No Nuts Mom Group- They have nominated me for the Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! The best part? I get to share some of my favorite food allergy blogs with all of you so you can feel the food allergy support too.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to his/her blog
  2. List the rules of the award and post a picture of the award
  3. Answer the questions from your nominator
  4. Nominate other bloggers and be sure to let them know
  5. Write a list of questions for your nominees to answer
Questions & Answers:
  1. What is your favorite vacation spot and why? The beach- the water makes me feel so calm and destressed. I love being near the water, hearing the water and allowing myself to reflect.
  2. What are your top 2 favorite allergy friendly products that you cannot live without? Enjoy Life Foods and SeabuckWonders - one that always keep NutriKids happy and one that keeps me feeling pretty.
  3. If you could pick any animal that you were in a past life, what would it be? A bird- I always wanted the ability to fly.
  4. What is your motivation for continuing to be a resource to so many in the food allergy community? I have this voice inside of me that won't let me quit, ever. I truly feel that this was meant as my mission- to help others so that their journey can be a little bit easier.
My Nominees for the Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award (order does not reflect preference):
  1. How long have you been blogging about allergies/food allergies?
  2. Which family member (including you) has a food allergy?
  3. What 3 books have you found to be most helpful on your journey?
  4. Is there a recipe that you have tried & failed to make an allergy-friendly version of?
  5. On your darkest day, what inspired you to pick yourself back up?
  6. What is one thing about you that very few people know?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What Will 2018 Bring [article]?

It's been a crazy year this year, in good ways and in bad. The new year always makes me think about how I could have made better decisions and hopefully carry those thoughts over to the next year to improve. I do this not only as a blogger but as a mother, a wife, a consultant and as my own person. I think about what I did to help our food allergy community this year and honestly, I felt it wasn't what I consider to be up to par for my standards. I was dealing with some health issues and I only made it to one event...one. I didn't share enough of my fellow bloggers information. I didn't take part in as much as I should have. That sucks. But it's not because I didn't want too- I am  event geek and I absolutely love meeting new people; people I already know and sharing all of the new products that are here for us. That didn't happen this year. This year, it will happen more. Doing these things keeps me pumped up and ready to take on every day with even more vigor.

I know that everyone has different availability and levels of energy. I know that no one person can do everything, all of the time. But for me, trying to help my food allergy community has been the one thing that has made me want to get up each and every morning and continue on until I can continue no more. For sixteen years, I have watched as products have vastly improved and how amazing our community has become a closer knit family to each other. I have seen my own growth in writing, recipes, pictures and videos (because although I am proud of my ebook, I shudder now when I look at the older photos, ugh! Apologies but I do hope to get to a second edition and I do promise the information is truly helpful).

And each year, I get kind of quiet for awhile and ponder on what life is all about. So hokey, right? But true. I think as we age, we realize that what we thought was important may not be and vice versa. We realize that it's ok and completely unselfish to want to do things to make yourself happy too. I guess my whole point of this article is to say that sometimes the person that you need to support the most, even if only for the moment, is you. So how do we find the strength when we need it? How do we pick ourselves up and carry on during our darkest days? Life is so short- we truly need to treasure every single moment. While thinking, I remembered one of my favorite books and I thought it was perfect to share with all of you.

As written by Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements ~

Be Impeccable With Your Word This is something that I have always tried to do. I understand that what I say and do, what products I do and don't promote and what I share directly reflects on me. Most of the people that I have met always tell me that I am exactly like what they see and read on my posts and pages. If I don't like a product, I will not promote it and I will not tell people that I like it. If there is an issue that comes up or a topic that is a new hot button, I try my very best to voice my honest opinion and not to crush anyone else's. We don't have to agree with each other but we should respect each other enough to listen. I do not engage in Twitter battles or bullying - we are a family and family supports each other. No bashing aloud just because you decided to do something different that works for you. Even if we don't agree, I will be that person that you can call upon and my only question will be "How can I help?"

Don't Take Anything Personally This is soooo incredibly difficult on so many levels; personal, blogger vs. blogger, companies, etc. The blogging world is this strange collection of friends who both support each other and can instantly turn on you for the top tweet or story. This is not true of everyone but it is a business and it's be top dog or get burned out. So when a fellow blogger is getting picked to work on projects that you are not, it's sometimes a difficult tightrope to walk. You wanted that but you also want to be happy for them because they earned it. And as far as the food allergy community and support- again, we need to listen more and strike out against each other less. Just because one family chooses not to try a new therapy or questions someone who does has nothing to do with you personally. Every family is different, every allergy is different and every choice is different and nothing at all is based on what they thought you would say to them when they shared with you.

Don't Make Assumptions This can travel in many directions- reading labels, product packaging, how someone reacted to you saying you don't understand OIT, if your post offended someone and so on. Discuss things, ask questions- LOTS and lots of questions and who cares if people get annoyed. Ask until you get an answer that makes you feel that you are satisfied with the response. Don't assume that people will advocate for you exactly how you would want them too- communicate. Don't assume that something is ok, even when it's not written down- write it down. Need a perfect example? Read this story.

Always Do Your Best Every. Single. Day. Granted, this was difficult for me this year but looking back, I unknowingly did do my very best. As quoted from the book "Under any circumstances, always do your best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good." So you see, even on what you think are your worst days, you are still doing your best. All of those parents out there that just found out their child has a food allergy and you feel helpless, you are doing your best. All of those who are trying to learn how to help others, read labels, be compassionate- you are doing your best. And all of those who have lost a loved one from a complication or an allergic reaction and you feel as if you can barely remember to breathe yourself- you are doing your best. You have to remember to be kind and gentle to yourself. You have to remember that there are others out there that can and will help you. And you have to remember that not being ok is also ok too.

To those of you who need help, please know that I am here. To those of you who need someone to listen, I am here. To those of you who want to connect so that we can band together and do even more good for everyone, tell me. I may be silent sometimes but I am always listening and always thinking of how to do better and I want the same for all of you.

What is one thing that you will choose to do differently in 2018?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Don't Donate Anymore Food Until You Read THIS

We all see them- the boxes at our local food stores. Around the holidays, they pop up like mad and you want to help, you want to give to a family that needs a little extra TLC. Who doesn't? Next time, stop and look inside those food donation boxes- what's actually in them? You will see multiple items from the food store that hosts it (which is wonderful) but mainly, you will see a lot of items that people with food allergies cannot use safely. As I have shared before, imagine being that person that has to make a choice between starving or eating a food that you know will make you sick. Or worse (yes, there IS something worse) being the parent of a child with food allergies and having to make this choice for them.

As a mother that has a child with food allergies, I cannot even fathom being in either spot. No matter what our budget or situation is, I make it a point to donate what I can, when I can. It's important. It's necessary. And the more that you donate allergy-friendly products, so will others. It's a visual share- those without allergies don't realize that other products can and should be donated. It's about raising food allergy awareness without even saying a word to anyone. The best marketing is seeing it, talking about it so why not be a part of it?

How to Donate on a Budget I am never one to judge because all families have their own time of need. Sometimes, we simple cannot donate as much as we want to fill the entire box for someone else; it's a choice between our family and another so we must choose our own for that space in time.There are ways to help others, even when you are in a tight spot as well. I am happy to share some tips here but in the meantime, just know that even donating one box is better than nothing. In your mind, you are probably asking "What can one box do?" but for a family that has nothing, that one box could mean dinner or several meals.

Donate Coupons This may or may not be obvious but I got the idea when I had a bunch of SunButter® coupons. Why not share them? If someone is receiving the product because they need it, then why not include coupons so that they can get more at a lower price? Or, for those who may not have tried a product like SunButter before, a coupon is a wonderful way to help that person try out a product and not feel as if they are going above their budget, especially if it is already limited. Shelf-stable products are acceptable within the food stamp item list as well which means SunButter would qualify as a healthy food that is allergy-friendly and increases protein without increasing money spent. All you have to do is attach some coupons to the jar and place them into the food pantry donation box.

Donate A Piece of Your Heart Since it is the holiday season, I also got the idea to attach an easy recipe using SunButter as well. Yes, my donations of SunButter were THE only donations that looked like holiday gifts but I was proud of that. If someone is not familiar with SunButter, then they may not know how versatile it can be as either. By sharing a personal recipe, you share additional choices that could help them through a rough patch but you are also sharing a a small piece of your heart. Essentially, you are letting them know that you cared enough to put it all together for them to share with their family, hoping they might start a new recipe tradition.

Why I Donate SunButter Our family has been a long time SunButter family. Their products have gotten us through times of need, inspired us to create new recipes and from a mother's point of view- it's a really easy way to add extra protein into the foods that any child eats (muffins, cookies, pancakes). I wanted to donate a product that I know we personally trust and that I know tastes goes too. My goal is to ensure that whatever I give can be enjoyed by many safely. SunButter is a company that works behind the scenes on so many levels to give back to our community. They are a part of amazing partnerships like Mend Hunger and  SnackSafely.com to ensure that nobody has to be fearful of their foods. Because SunButter is top 8 allergy free I know I am sharing products that will leave a smile on someones face at the end of the day.  And if giving a jar of SunButter can accomplish that, imagine the faces across the US if all of us shared our SunButter....am I corny? Heck yeah but am I sincere? Absolutely!

Take my SunButter challenge - share & donate.
Happy Holidays ~

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the TreeTop

I am lucky enough to be approached by companies for samples and my opinions. What could be better? "Eat this and tell me what you think", right? But I am picky about what I do and don't try out. Does our family eat perfectly all of the time? No. Do I strive to find products that are healthier for us but will also save me time and not break the bank? Always. I guess you could say that I like products that multitask so I don't have too.

The wonderful people at Tree Top sent me some of their products but check out this adorable lunch kit and reusable Rubbermaid containers that they included as well. They must have done their homework because I am a self-professed Kitchen Geek who adores all kitchen items, especially those that are reusable. They thought one step ahead, knowing that NutriFamily are lunch packers and that the Lunch Blox kit and the adorable apple-shaped cookie cutter and container that also holds a dip for your apple slices (not pictured) would make me squee (yes, squee is a technical term). Just in time too as NutriDaughter was in need of a new lunch bag! Although TreeTop sent me their squeeze pouches of their apple sauce, they also make apple juice, other juice, organic juice boxes and fruit snacks (gummies, who doesn't love gummies?!).

You Wanna a Pouch in the Mouth?! This is an inside joke with my family but I digress.... TreetTop sent me their pouches. So you may ask "Nutrimom, why should I buy TreeTop products instead of my typical brand?" Good question because that was the first thing that popped into my mind too. Upon researching their website, I noticed that TreeTop applesauce pouches have some labeling information that your current brand may or may not have:

  • Their pouches are BPA free (this is HUGE to me, isn't it for you?)
  • No sugar added
  • No high fructose corn syrup (..shouldn't it just be apples? Pat on the back TreeTop)
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Kosher certified
  • Gluten free
The ingredients? Just three- apples, water and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). 

TreeTop sent me three flavors- Apple, Strawberry and Tropical. Now, I am not a huge applesauce person although I use it for baking and recipes. And NutriKids are both teenagers now so I was kind of looking at the squeeze pouches like "Ummmm, yeah... do I pack one in one of the kids's lunches? Is that ok to do in Middle School? Will she even eat it?..am I over thinking this, I should just pack it and see what she says." To be fair, I also packed one in my lunch so that I could get the full experience too. I mean, if I was worried about using a product that may not be age appropriate, then me bringing it to work would have the same atmosphere, right? 

Just Squeeze It The results? NutriDaughter reported similar thoughts that I had and both pouches were consumed. We both concur that A) it's a bit of an adjustment to go from a spoonable applesauce to a squeeze pouch but it's not a bad thing and B) we both assumed that because there was no sugar added, the apple sauce pouch would be tasteless. I can assure you that no sugar does not mean no taste. These little pouches taste like they were just picked off the tree that morning, smooshed and whatever else they do and delivered right to our fridge. When I tried the Tropical- WOW! What a great flavor combination! The Tropical pouch was more like special drink and not an applesauce at all. Again, the flavors popped and tasted very fresh. No funky aftertaste, just freshness in a pouch. Their products are also free from: crustaceans, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, soy, tree nuts and wheat.

Fruit With a Purpose You know I am also a sucker for companies that give back so when I saw the community information on TreeTop's information I smiled from ear to ear. Their videos explain how giving back is a huge part of their team mission and how they get their employees involved in their approaches. Can I just say that I wish they were located in North Carolina?! I would be banging at their door - This just in, Nutrimom found peering into the windows of local manufacturer. News at 11." (face pressed up against the windows, eyes wide) ... does this seem a bit creepy? Totally not meant that way! I would have ideas, so many ideas..TreeTop, we should collaborate to avoid that news headline. 

In the meantime, take the safe route and stop by their website, Facebook page, Instagram pageTwitter and Pinterest too. Please let them know that you read about them on Nutrimom's blog review (all I get is a thank you but I'll take it!). 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Food Fun

Yes, it's November already and tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Some of us live in areas that already got their first snowfall while others are basking in the toasty, sunny rays of the South. Regardless of where you are, there is one thing that we all have in common- Thanksgiving means having empty time on your hands and not knowing what to fill that space with. Especially when younger children are involved or visiting relatives that need an easy way to pass the time and bond, it can be challenging.

I stumbled across this adorable, allergy-friendly pastime shared by Gimbal's Fine Candies. I love the simplicity of it and the fact that it's something that will end in being able to nosh while you create. Let's face it, we all love to eat and Thanksgiving is all about having those treats that we normally don't allow ourselves to eat too much of during the rest of the year. This food activity hits on all of the parental must-have's for holiday sharing amusement.

  • It uses Gimbal's Fine Candies so the fear of cross contamination is not a concern
  • It allows time with anyone of all ages
  • It refocuses us away from our now typical routine of using electronics
  • It's simple- parents always like simple
  • It includes food which makes all of us happy
I'm happy to share the easy instructions!

Gimbal's Fine Candies Thanksgiving Tree

Materials Needed:
White construction paper
Brown, red, orange & yellow acrylic paint
Glue or glue dots

  1. Using a piece of white construction paper, start painting the base of the tree using the brown acrylic paint (Be sure to paint the top of the tree with branches to put the jelly beans on).
  2. Once the tree is complete, use the red, orange and yellow paint to fill in the branches with fall leaves (this will provide a nice base for the jelly beans).
  3. One by one, use glue or glue dots to paste Gimbal's Gourmet Jelly Beans onto the tree
  4. Once complete, hang the tree in your favorite spot to be enjoyed by all during Thanksgiving or frame it with a date to keep the memory for years to come.
*As always, everyone's allergies are different. Always read labels to ensure that this would be a safe item for your allergy needs. Visit Gimbal's Fine Candies for complete product information.

Will you try this out?
Share your photos & tag Gimbal's Fine Candies at:
Gimbalscandy on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest and gimbalsfinecandies on Instagram 
and tag ME at NutrimomFAL on Facebook and @TracyBNutrimom on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Saturday Allergy Checklist

It's that time of year when fall leave us with less options on how to spend our Saturdays but I have great news - THIS Saturday is the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event in Greensboro. NC! What does this mean?

  • You have instant, budget-friendly plans ($10 adults, Children under 13 free and $8 Seniors/Military with your ID at the door)  
  • It's allergy-friendly  
  • It's family-friendly  
  • It's inside (so weather is not an issue)  
  • You get a bag of swag upon entering with your ticket
  • You get samples, information, meet product vendors, can attend open lectures & more
  • You can find ME in my SunButter shirt and I will give you a great big hug and some SunButter samples & coupons
...tell me this doesn't just sound like an amazing Saturday?! PS- for those who don't know, "swag" is a bag containing free gifts.

Who's Joining Me?
Saturday November 11th 2017
10 AM - 3 PM
3113 Cedar Park Road
Greensboro, NC 27406

Stop, Look & Listen
Another added benefit of this event are the free presentations. Join any or all of these sessions to see what you may be missing.

People To Meet

The Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event has sponsors and products galore! Check out all of the reasons to visit: Allergic Traveler, Anne's Heavenly Bites, Arbonne, Atlantic Foods, Bakery on Main, Deep Roots Market, doTerra, Enjoy Life Foods, FFarms, Garden Lites, Garnet Rose Soap Company, Greensboro Gluten Free Support Group, Guilford County Bee Keepers, Health 1st of the Triad, Honky Tonk Smokehouse, Infinity Holistic Health, JP's Pastry, Kalo Foods, King Arthur Flour, Mina's Purely Divine, Norms Farms, Paleo Love Company, Passanante's Home Food Services, Pure & Light MineralsSimply Gluten Free Magazine, Swerve Sweetener, THRIVE, Tito's Vodka, Whole Foods Bakehouse, WOW Butter, Yo Mamma's Style and Young Living Essential Oils. Thanks to all of the companies that are a part of this event and for your support to the food allergy community~

Can't wait to see all of you there!!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Plant-Based = Happiness

Plant-based. Multiple benefits. Hair. Skin. Nails. 
Does all of this grab your attention?

This is what caught my eye over two years ago when I began re-evaluating many areas of my life. I was feeling kind of like I was finally a grown up but still hadn't quite figured it all out. I've been on a food allergy journey myself and elimination runs hand in hand with symptom tracking. When I first found out about SeabuckWonders products, I was skeptical (to say the least).  But after many years of not feeling like I was my old self, I began to notice some changes after I began using their products that brought a smile back to my face. And without meaning to sound egotistical, I may have found my own personal Fountain of Youth (AKA The Goddess) and I think ALL of us need to feel this way! The part that I love the most is that the products are plant-based, Non-GMO and I truly feel like I glow from the outside out since I have begun using their products. I have proof! Here are my before and after pictures (don't laugh!).

Lisa Rutter (No Nuts Mom Group) & Me 
Ta Da and it continues to grow!
Recently, one of my close friends and blogger buddy Cindy aka Vegetarian Mamma asked me about SeabuckWonders and if I recommended them. Since the products are plant-based, Cindy was intrigued. I explained that I had found great success in healthier, longer hair using their Ultimate Hair, Skin & Nails supplements and that I was a huge fan of how their skin care products made my skin look and feel. I followed up with her to see if she had decided to use them and what her thoughts were.

NM: What initially drew you to the SeabuckWonders Hair, Skin & Nail supplement?
VM:  Your recommendation. :)  I was most excited about the potential it could give my hair. 

NM: Are there any specifics about the product that you felt were unique to their product vs. others?
VM: For me it was important that somebody I knew recommended it and had tried and loved it.

NM: Has anyone commented that they notice a difference since you began using the supplements?
VM: Yes, my hair stylist

NM: How long did it take for you to notice a difference?
VM: My hair stylist noticed within about 5 weeks of me taking it. And I wasn't taking it consistently. She noticed new growth and the speed that my hair was growing.  I noticed  after her initial notice :)  

NM: Can you share some of the things that you noticed?
VM: I notice that my hair seems softer and healthier and thicker! It seems thicker, which is HUGE for me. It is certainly growing faster!

NM: Would you recommend SeabuckWonders to anyone else?
VM: YES! :) 

Special thanks to Cindy for sharing her thoughts with me- so glad she is seeing results too! It's the small details that keep us all smiling and feeling as good on the outside as we do on the inside. 

Are YOU Intrigued?!

If you would like to see all of the benefits of SeaBuckWonders visit them at https://www.seabuckwonders.com/, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+