Friday, May 15, 2020

Meat Shortages & Plant-Based Foods

The COVID19 pandemic has been a very strange way to begin 2020, to say the least. I'm not sure about all of you but I wake up hoping each day will get better, then we hear about insane things like Murder Hornets and we continue on trying to realize that this is not a movie, this is real life. Throughout this crisis, I can honestly say that I have seen the food allergy community come together even stronger. This virtual family is insanely loving, compassionate and it has been a huge part of what has kept me going.

Nutrimom food allergies mom daughter

One of my BIGGEST fears as a food allergy parent has always been THIS scenario- a time when there may not be enough safe foods for my child and others. The first article that I ever read waaaaay back when NutriSon was young made me cry- it was about a woman whose child had Celiac. They were in need and went to the local food pantry for most of their food items. Because the food pantry was limited, the mother's choice was watch her child starve to death or watch her child eat foods that made her sick. I cried. I went and hugged my son (I wish I could remember who published the article to give them credit). With NutriSon having multiple food allergies (eggs, peanuts, shellfish and watermelon) as soon as I began to hear reports of possible meat shortages, my heart returned to the same feeling I had reading that article. Luckily, there are plant-based alternatives to provide protein but as always, I remind you to read every label and research to ensure your foods are safest for your allergy needs.

I reached out to Cindy Gordon aka Vegetarian Mamma for some tips on plant-based alternatives. She is one of my favorite bloggers who can honestly make just about anything look tantalizing. Here is what she shared with me:

What ways do you keep your protein optimal?
vegetarian plant-based meat free foodsCindy shared her article on "Vegetarian Protein Sources where she shares a handful of proteins that can easily be made into multiple meals.

What are some of your personal favorite go-to products? "I like Hilary's Eat Well burgers (free of: gluten, soy, corn, egg, dairy, peanut, tree nut, sesame, coconut, mustard, shellfish and sulfites) and Beyond Meat (some people need to use caution as it's made from pea protein). I have tried Hilary's products and they are super tasty!!

What other items do you keep in your pantry? "I have a big stock of dried beans and lentils that I buy in bulk."

My Meatless Options include beans and refried beans, coconut-based products (one of our main staples is So Delicious), SunButter, Barney Butter (contains almonds), seed items such as SuperSeedz and OWYN plant-based shakes. The tricky part is finding plant-based options that contain safe ingredients but will also be easy to use in recipes and accepted by picky eaters. 

plant based meatless recipesAnother amazing food option I recommend is Debbie Adler. I met her years ago when she was the "cupcake lady" but she has transformed her diet into a plant-based diet, sharing her delicious meals. Debbie has published multiple cookbooks and her social media pages are filled to the brim with recipe after recipe. She originally began her bakery, transforming it to an allergy-free bakery after her son was born with multiple food allergies. Years after, she also transformed her own diet into a plant-based diet which she calls her "plant powerful renaissance". 

The key to meatless meal options include: 
  • Researching products and foods that are safe for your allergies
  • Understanding how to utilize the options that you have
  • Accept that recipes may flop from time to time
  • Get everyone in your household involved so that newer food options are more likely to be eaten
  • Don't overbuy items that you haven't tried before- if you don't like them, you are stuck with a lot of them 
  • Reuse leftovers as lunches, snacks or additional meals
Do you have a favorite product or recipe? Share in the comments! 

Sending everyone hugs upon hugs. Stay home, stay safe & cook with love ~

Friday, May 8, 2020

Wrapping in May [Product Review]

Are you gluten free? Are you trying gluten free products? Today, I want to chat about gluten free wraps. Let's be honest- most gluten free wraps are not amazing. They can be too gummy, fall apart way too easily, are not flexible or just don't taste very good. If you follow me, you know that I don't sugarcoat anything. There is no reason too. Even with food allergies, intolerances and/or dietary restrictions, you should enjoy the foods that you eat.

Which is what brings me to my next point- my review of Kaliwonder Gluten Free Slim Wraps. Before I jump into it, I did not look at the fact that these wraps have less carbs. I eat what I want to eat. If I want a carb, I'm going to eat a carb. Is it helpful for some- yes, go for it! But I did want to make that initial point. Back to my review- Kaliwonder sent me their oat wraps. Here a a few positives:
gluten free oat fiber wraps

  • Gluten free
  • Vegan
  • Soy free
  • Kosher
  • GMO Free
  • 7 Grams of carbs 
  • 60 Calories per wrap

Do I get too wrapped up in taste? Yes. I am allowed to and so are you! I was pleasantly surprised from the moment that I opened up the bag. Because Slim Wraps have seasoning, opening the bag immediately made me think of... pizza? I mean, when was the last time you opened up a bag of gluten free wraps and actually liked the smell of the wraps? Probably never (again, just being honest). So, of course, I was immediately excited to try them out. But first, I had to continue my food detective process. First up was the typical wrap for lunch (sorry, no exciting recipe but I was hungry and excited about tasting them after smelling them!). The final verdict- Slim Wraps are not dry, crumbly, mushy and did not fall apart!!!!! Come on gluten free friends, we all know this is a huge victory all by itself. Another plus- there was no funky aftertaste. Happy taste buds, happy blogger indeed.

gluten free flexible wraps food

I decided to try Slim Wraps as a quesadilla to test out the same judgments and see if it continued to stand up. IT DID! One thing I did note is that Slim Wraps didn't seem to want to get crispy when I panfried them. Not the worst thing in the world but I personally prefer a crispy, crunchy quesadilla. In the grand scheme of things I will take the gluten free, tasty not-fall-apart-not-mush-smells-good wrap while cooking. I am definitely willing to try out a few more recipes that require the Slim Wraps to be cooked for more options. All in all- I love the fact that these wraps are gluten free, tasty and can be packed into a lunch without turning inedible or unreliable. Once school comes back into full swing, having another packable option is key. Actually, any reason to eat is a good reason so basically, I am just excited to try them out again.

FAQ's- I did reach out to the company and asked a few questions that I felt some of you may be asking. The representative was very prompt in getting back to me with answers however, as always, I do recommend that everyone does further research and follow up to ensure safety for their specific dietary needs.

Q1: Is your oat certified gluten free? "Yes, our oat fiber is certified gluten free oat fiber."

Q2: Please clarify your processing methods, as it states manufactured in a facility that uses wheat. "We have separate equipment and production line for Kaliwonder. We clean the entire facility and all equipment before producing the gluten free wraps. We do manufacture other bread but when we produce Kaliwonder, it has it's own day for production and everything is cleaned before and after. We also test each batch for gluten upon production."

flexible gluten free wrap meal

Ingredients are water, oat fiber, tapioca flour, vegetable shortening, guar gum, salt, baking powder, tomato powder, seasoning (marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano and basil), calcium propionate. Big virtual hugs to Kaliwonder for sending out their product for me to review and for feeding me. You can find them at and on their social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest

As always, no charge for my product reviews other than the products themselves as my opinions are honest and my own. 

Friday, May 1, 2020

20 Days of May #FAAW

This May is the first May that nothing is as it should be. All of us have had our lives disrupted and for food allergy parents, the current situation is literally one of our worst nightmares. Regardless, during the turmoil and food shortages, my heart has been filled with so much love that I have seen within our food allergy community. As we always do, we are rising up and standing together during a time when many may feel a need to hide away. I have seen companies donating items, I have seen everyone asking how they can get safe food items to those who need it and I have seen advocacy and support grow above and beyond. Years ago, I coined the phrase #TealVillage and I am so grateful to be a part of this with all of you.

I wanted to do my part by highlighting a product, company or organization each day from May 1st - May 20th in hopes that someone, somewhere will gain new information that may be helpful to them. Especially because our foods have been changing so much over the years and support has been popping up from all different areas, that light bulb moment when you read about something different that can ease your day is just what we may need. Do you find comfort in support? Can you sleep better knowing you have connected with another avenue of advocacy? Does the virtual world now encompass most of your day only to leave you feeling a bit helpless because right now, this is all that we have? I personally am saying yes to all three.... but even while feeling overwhelmed and helpless, there is still a fire inside of me that tells me I cannot give up. I hope that my campaign will keep your fire lit as well.

My daily feature posts will be available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (because some of us prefer one social media platform and some of us choose others) so be sure to follow me. I encourage comments because MORE sharing is caring! If you have a recommendation, please comment so others will be able to check into it too. I also invite all of you to view my updated website at AllergyPhoods where I have added a Phood Store, one-stop shopping area for various food allergy needs including my new Mini Books of Knowledge ebooks. Please note that some items may or may not be available from the other vendors due to COVID19, please check with them for details.

Stay safe, stay healthy, eat well and send everyone a virtual hug to let them know our village always has enough room for more family members ~

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

You CAN Hang Out During COVID19

Yes, you can.
But there are rules for safety reasons.
Luckily, my rules are super simple.

The CDC is stressing a minimum of six feet apart as well as staying home as much as possible to avoid the possibility of contracting the virus. During this time, it is even more important to stay connected, be able to talk to others and even seek out advice if needed. If anything, to keep your soul calm and to remind yourself that we are all going through this together. I am excited to share two ways to stay safe and visit.

Let's Chat!
In light of continuing to support the food allergy community, I am offering discounted food allergy consultations. These can be done in the comfort of your own home via telephone, Skype or other video chat options. The consultation is $50 and lasts for one hour. Contact me to schedule your appointment by email at or (336) 486-1905. If you know of anyone that can also benefit from this offer, feel free to share this with them as well. I am here to help!

food allergy consultation support advocacy

April 13th- Let's Hang Out! 
This first ever Meet & Eat created by Dee Dee of AllerCuisine will be the place to be! Join Dee Dee, Chef Martha Morgan of Allergy Dragon and Me. We will test recipes created by our favorite gluten free and allergen-friendly bloggers, gab a little, laugh A LOT and answer questions that you may have.

Monday, April 13th
10AM PT / 11AM MT/ 12PM CT/ 1PM EST
Zoom or Facebook Live
Zoom Registration Here:
Facebook Live:

Food Allergies Recipes Questions Live
We are ALL excited to see you soon!

Just a click away!
I am always on social media or an email away if you want to reach out. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube. Stay safe, healthy & well ~

Monday, March 23, 2020

It's a Biscuit.. Or IS It?!

Are you one of those people who used to eat certain foods but you can't anymore? Growing up, one of my favorite Saturday morning breakfast foods were Bisquick drop biscuits with butter. The fluffy yet slightly crunchy biscuits... my mouth is watering right now. This doesn't happen when you try to make them with gluten free options, it just doesn't. Yes, I can make biscuits but nothing has even come close to these... le sigh.

gluten free biscuit baking allergiesOn the plus side, I recently posted about this very subject and asked for people to share their favorite products and recipes, offering a gluten free version for me to try (I am stubborn, I don't give up easily). Not only did I get a bunch of options and ideas, I also received a message from Kalo Foods telling me about their bake and eat Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits ..... wait, what?!! NOT a recipe that I can potentially mess up, an actual pre-made item that I just bake??? OK, this was something I knew I had to try! They do contain dairy but they are free of many other allergens (egg, nut, etc.) Of course, I highly recommend that you visit their website to ensure their products are safe for your allergy needs but wow, this option is one of my must-have wish list items!

- Can I make biscuits from scratch? Yes, because I do so many other things from scratch already.
- Do I want to make them from scratch? No, because I do so many other things from scratch already.

gluten free biscuit egg freeWhat Do They Taste Like? I was very pleasantly surprised by Kalo Foods biscuits! I know I am repeating myself but the fact that I just bake and eat was like heaven, truly. In my opinion, they bake up similar to a biscuit that you might have at a place such as KFC (yes, I hate that I am using this as a point of reference but...) as well as Pillsbury biscuits (yeah, those pop open packages that, again, I normally don't mention or endorse). Texturewise, they were not dry or crumbly simply a decent biscuit that you can slice in half and slather with whatever topping of your choosing. They were excellent for sopping up dishes, if you are one who does that, and they are an easy product to use as a fast meal edition, especially since they do not contain gluten or egg (again, research to be safe at Kalo Foods because I love all of you and want you to eat safely). Being the product detective that I am, I also tested them out in a few other areas:
  • Thawed on the counter Rather than taking them from the freezer, I left a few out to thaw. When I baked them, I placed them on a baking rack to allow more air circulation. They baked in approximately 14 minutes but I noticed using the baking rack made them a little less fluffy.
  • Thawed in the fridge I left a few biscuits in the refrigerator overnight to thaw as well. I baked these directly on a baking sheet. Findings- they were slightly poofier when baked directly on the baking sheet but the middle of the biscuits remained mushier, which disappeared if I let them sit for a few minutes after baking versus cutting them open right away.
  • Reheating previously cooked This was for all of you needing to know if they can also be leftovers and the answer is- yes! I heated the oven to 375 degrees, cut them in half (yes, I tried reheating them whole, not so well) and in 10-15 minutes, you still have the same biscuit! 
  • I DO NOT recommend microwaving them. It's an ok option in a pinch but I am picky about the consistency of my biscuits and I prefer having them as close to the original texture as possible. Microwaving them may cause them to become gummy.

What also makes me excited is when I can create a recipe from a product other than as directed on the package. I have been missing easy to make gluten free cinnamon rolls. I have tried making them from scratch, I have failed and this option is so easy, you will be as happy as I am. I give to you, my recipe for (Almost) Homemade Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls (everyone happy dancing, parents cheering, children licking their lips waiting). By simply repurposing the "dough", I created this recipe for others that find it challenging to make a completely homemade cinnamon roll dough. I have tried it, my cinnamon roll dough did not come out like it was supposed too, my cinnamon rolls did not taste good and it caused me to feel defeated in my own kitchen, which is what I try not to feel or make others feel, ever. 

So much love can come from simple things, like our own kitchens, so why not build on that? Why not find easier ways to utilize the products that we can eat safely while maximizing the rest of our daily routine as well?

Are you excited too?! Trust me when I say, my recipe is sooooo easy! It's also very budget-friendly (3 Kalo Foods biscuits makes 9 cinnamon rolls) so your family will be chomping down on these in no time with less money coming out of your pocket. Go here to view the full recipe now or visit on my Pinterest page, pin it and share it to help others out, especially since we could all use the help right now.  For those of you who are visual (like me) and find it helpful to see the process, I have this handy dandy not so pretty graphic (apologies, not so easy to take photos of dough but look at the pretty transformation- ooohhhh, ahhhhh!).

I want to thank Kalo Foods for reaching out to me and providing samples for me to review. I also want to thank them for inspiring me to create a new recipe during a time when my mind has been on overdrive about so many other things. For me, cooking and creating is an outlet to let my mind loosen up, to let some of the day to day issues float away for awhile and to find new ways to feed my family (to me, food is love as long as it's safe food). If you are interested in finding out about this Kalo Foods product as well as their other products (yes, they have MORE!!!) visit them on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

As always, never a charge for product reviews as my opinions are always honest and my own

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Very Sneezy Dinosaur [Book Review]

With NutriKids growing up fast, I am always excited to see new child-friendly books coming out to educate younger kids. As much as I love that my children are growing up and becoming their own person, I do miss the nights that I would snuggle and read with them. Now, with my son being 18 and my daughter 15, well.... it may creep some people out and mortify both of my kids if I were to try to read to them. Luckily, I still get approached to give my thoughts about new books. So, although I cannot read them to my children, I get to share them with all of you and your children and that leaves me with warm, fuzzy feelings.

allergy childrens book dinosaur sneezingThe Very Sneezy Dinosaur is an adorable book written by Justin and Michelle Esgar, parents of a son who has allergies. The main character, Elvie, is a dinosaur who cannot stop sneezing. The pictures and wording are a simple way to read to children on a comforting level while allowing them to enjoy a family-friendly story. Although just thirteen pages long, this story of a sneezy dinosaur would be a wonderful way to softly educate families, be used for story time at school or as an easy way to help transition into the world of allergies. Studies have shown that visual reminders are an easier way to educate anyone but children especially tend to pick up on messages more quickly when they find the character someone that they can relate to easily.

Are you wondering how the story goes? You can order a copy (both Kindle and paperback available) directly from Amazon. My personal suggestion- if you are able to provide or donate books to your child's school or a local library, this book would be a wonderful contribution. Copies for birthdays, Grandparents' house or even as an initial food allergy diagnosis gift to share with the child diagnosed would also be something so easy to allow Elvie to help provide even more comfort where it is needed.

childrens allergies book sneeze dinosaurThe next important question is- will there be more books coming out in the future? Stay tuned!

Special thanks to Michelle Esgar for thinking of me and offering to send me a copy for my opinion.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Can You Leave Food Allergies Behind?

I am a blogger that has always just laid it on the line, presented everything as it is. I do not sugarcoat. I do not play games to make myself more popular, that's not my style. What you see is what you get and I proudly stick to that. With a new year starting, I wanted to be open and honest about something new starting with me too- divorce.

food allergy child and parent

I began this blog because my son (now 18) has multiple food allergies and asthma. Eighteen years ago, doctors did not communicate as well with their patients, not many stores carried allergy-friendly products and let's face it- most of the earlier products were just awful. Food allergies were something still seen as "new" and knowledge was left up to everyone to figure out on their own. It's a scary place to be when you are a parent. One day, you are freaking out because you feel like you can't figure out the parenting thing and you have a meltdown because you never seem to snap the onesie up the right way. The next, you feel like an even crappier parent because you watch your child have an allergic reaction and don't even know what it is or how to stop it. Because even your pediatrician didn't really know what to tell you to do. Until, the phone rings again and it's the pediatrician's office calling back asking, nonchalantly, if your child is still breathing. Never was I told to use Benadryl, or an autoinjector nor did I have any idea what could have happened. We were lucky- HE was lucky. These are moments that never leave a parent's memory, they are only repeated and made worse imagining what might happen next time. So that was me- 18 years ago, watching my son after he ate the tiniest amount of egg from a baby food that he didn't even ingest. He gagged and spit it out. Hives appeared down the side of his face and neck. He got dark circles underneath his eyes.
food allergy reaction anaphylaxis baby
Fast forward 18 years and 22 years of marriage. Fast forward through the sleepless nights of a mother who slept next to her son some nights when his asthma was bad because she was afraid he would stop breathing. Fast forward through years and years of class parties, food stress, being the parent that the other moms grouped together and whispered about because her cupcakes didn't look like the store-bought cupcakes. Fast forward through the ER visit when I knew something was not right with my son's breathing but my husband insisted I was overreacting and it resulted in thirty+ inhaler puffs to open up his airways properly again. Fast forward through the times when my son would have honest discussions with me because he knew he could talk to me about anything. Fast forward through various family dinners when my son was pressured to "try just a little bit" of a food he is knowingly allergic to while I am looked upon as the overbearing parent who defended his decision not to. Fast forward through the beginning of High School and dating and hanging out and a whole new area of terror for a food allergy parent. Fast forward through the nights that I stayed up until my son got home safely while my husband slept peacefully, not a care in the world. Fast forward to now where my food allergic son has decided not to live with me but chose to live with his father instead.

kitchen apron cooking food spoonCut the apron strings - an actual term that so many people have said to me... really? I mean, really? Parenting with food allergies is not at all about a parent who doesn't know how to let go of their child but it IS also all about a parent who doesn't know how to let go of their child. This is not the same scenario of "He will only do it once, he has to learn" because unlike staying out too late or forgetting to do homework, having an allergic reaction without having life-saving medications will, yes indeed, only happen once because death is only a one time thing. Truth is powerful, even when it's scary.

The current divorce rate is fifty percent. This does not specify if food allergies have any part of this. There is plenty of data and research about how food allergies can take a toll on a marriage, how one parent often takes on the bulk of the stress and responsibility, blah blah blah..... does it matter? Divorce is divorce. Things that you cannot mend. If my marriage ended in part because I protect my son fiercely, then I accept that with honor. If my marriage could not continue because my time and efforts to keep my son fed with safe foods that I purchased across town from multiple food stores didn't match with the other families that do not have a child with food allergies, I accept that. Being a parent is always priority, even within a marriage.

food allergy awareness support tealGoing forward I love my son, I will always love my son and I support his decision because it is his, no one else's. My hurt should not hinder his life, that would be selfish. Going forward, I am interested in how many other parents are going through a similar situation. How many of you may be on the fence about deciding to get divorced? How many of you are looking for someone just to listen to what you are going through? I feel as if there is so much pressure and a feeling of almost embarrassment which tends to keep people from sharing or asking for the advice that they may need. How can we support each other? How can we continue to remain a strong food allergy community and not be overwhelmed, trying to figure out how to handle a situation such as this? Tell me. Now. Email me, comment, tweet, reach out- I have always wanted to help so please know, I am here. I'm going through it. Most importantly- I am and you will be just fine.

Nobody ever expects to have a child with food allergies. Nobody ever gets married with the intent of getting divorced. And nobody ever anticipates their child choosing not to choose them. Yes, there will be people who will be told one side and not the other and many may believe it. But you know the truth and that is enough.

positive light and energy life

Cut my apron strings but no matter how big the scissors are, everything that I have done for my son and taught my son will remain intact and that's what matters.