Monday, May 11, 2015

Being Gluten Free & Well is an Event!

Events and expos- what do these words mean to you? Most people probably don't give it a second thought. Maybe it's a furniture show, maybe there are clothes or shoes discounted..or maybe it's even better because it's gluten free! It's sad to say that so many still have not heard about the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event so in honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week, I thought this would be the perfect time to tell everyone about it. Food allergies can be tricky enough but one of my favorite things is seeing the look of excitement mixed with relief from people who have just found out about these yearly events. I mean, where else can you go to get free samples, find and taste new allergy-friendly products and meet great people that share your passions as well?!

Talk about choices and this wasn't even all of them! Click here for the complete list

The cutest SunButter fans ever!
So, What is it?! I attended my first Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event last August in Raleigh (recap here) and I have to tell you, it was just amazing. Yes, the samples and freebies are always a plus but for me, the best thing that I get in return is meeting people and leaving with that renewed sense of passion for food allergies. For others, it could be as simple as having a safe day out with their family, being able to watch cooking demonstrations and eat allergy-friendly goodies or learning about how wellness is about everything, even beyond our foods. It can also be about meeting some of those people who have been a part of your online community as well. I was honored to meet up with the Harris family who came to find me & say hello. Not only did I get to give them all SunButter samples to take home but I have to say that this is one lucky food allergy mother- I was so impressed how many times her husband complimented her for all of the hard work for being so vigilant and keeping her children safe from allergens. To see and hear a husband being so supportive and letting her (and me) know that he appreciates what she does for their children was honestly just so endearing. He's a keeper!

The Harris Family- awesome!

The Event Inspires Camaraderie Not only does it bring so many different facets of the gluten free food allergy world together but it also unites people that have known each other for awhile but were not able to meet up until something like the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event. As an official part of the event's blogger team, we get to gather the night before the event and have dinner. This is usually filled with hugs upon hugs, laughter and brand new ways to bounce off ideas on how to further help other people that need continuing product information in their every day lives. But this year..this year was different. This was the first time that included an official gfJules bake-off! GF Mom Certified (Tiffany Hinton) and I had a muffin throw-down (not really because who in their right mind would ever waste a good gluten free product?!) It was all in good fun & I have already been challenged to another one in August. Luckily, the judges could not decide so I will have to wow them the next go-round (thanks JustinPam!)

Stuff & Sponsors I am always intrigued by the new products that I get to taste, find and the great people that I meet (both those that I have already met and those I haven't). Although there are a handful of sponsor booths that I took a photo of, I definitely encourage everyone to go to the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event site to see ALL of the great people that were there. There was not one single vendor or person that I met that didn't make me feel uneducated about the food or items that they had with them. The table reps were all very upbeat, knew their products and were more than willing to answer questions about what is safe for your allergens. Plus, they were all pretty darn tasty, goodness! I do have a few personal favorites from that day but I will keep that my secret.

Great News, There are Still MORE Events for 2015 In case you missed the first few events for this year, there are five more events that anyone can attend. Please check the Twitter and Facebook page as well because sometimes, you can even enter to get free tickets! (Hey, we all love free things, I'm not too proud to admit it). Here are the remaining events-

Hope to see some of you in August! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Easy, Elegant & Gluten Free

Let's talk about May- Did you know that the month of May is full of many wonderful food allergy awareness movements? The entire month of May is Celiac and Asthma Awareness Month and the week of May 10-16th is Food Allergy Awareness Week. Of course, my favorite is May 10th - Mother's Day. Too often, food allergies and sensitivities are seen by others as a burden, as an inconvenience- even as a curse. What can you do to help make others aware that adjusting your foods can actually be delicious and just as easy to prepare as any other food? The first step in accomplishing this is-

Understanding. When your cooking and eating habits need to be revamped than so does your patience, especially in the kitchen. Learning to cook gluten free and allergy-friendly takes a little extra time in the beginning for everyone. On the days that you have your best intentions at heart and you gather your family to work on a meal together, try to remember that both adults and children need a little extra time to learn the new process. Our family has found this to be an inspiration to show us how we can create unique recipes that we may not have thought of before.

Volunteer to show others what you have learned so that they can learn too. People are intrigued when you give them options, who wouldn't be? It's even better when you share cooking tips and see them become pleasantly surprised when they taste it, like it and know that they can also make it. Cooking with food allergies is the newest twist on get-together recipes swaps so why not wow them in the process?

Lemon Coconut Bon Bons
Bamboo Cutlery & Bamboo Cone provided by Restaurantware

Get out of your kitchen and let them in. This is difficult for even me to do- come one mom's, is it me or is the kitchen "your space"? When there's too many hands helping it's almost like an invasion of our special spot. If someone wants to help, let them. Cooking should be fun, relaxing, and a way for everyone to take over a familiar space in a good way. Each time I give a small piece of what I feel is my responsibility, the more I learn to relax about our foods and know that what I am sharing is being learned.

Frolic while cooking- do you ever do this? I personally find that playing music while inventing new recipes and even cooking with my children makes me relax more and stress less. And very often, it leads to dancing and singing by whoever else is in there with you. It also gives the meaning play with your food a different level. And, frolicking is absolutely allergy-friendly. 

Cookie Cups
Bamboo Leaf Plate & Mini Bamboo Steamer provided by Restaurantware

Remember that there will always be dishes- always! I wrote a post on this (here) because there are many days that we wake up and just don't want to see any more dishes, ever! But over time, I realized why there were always dishes- because I was cooking more, I was learning to eat better and I was nourishing my family. And although I still have random days that I am less than thrilled to see constant items piled in my kitchen sink, I have learned that it's more about accepting the new and understanding that you don't (and can't) do everything, all of the time.

Even your husband and children can cook. No, seriously. Most mothers will shake their heads at this thought but I have proof. Since Mother's Day is on the top of my list, I decided to share some fast, gluten free recipes that are elegant yet easy so that Dad and the kids can show mom some gluten free love with simplicity.

Wafer Fleur
Red Heart Bamboo Skewers provided by Restaurantware
Eat! Try what other people make for you, make some of those recipes that you always said you would try- the world is full of so many foods that most of us haven't even begun to try yet. Are you afraid to try something new in case it turns out badly? Think about how many times you had to prepare your favorite meal before it was perfect- it's the same thing but with a different type of that ingredient. 

Having to change your foods and lifestyle, whether it be gluten free, multiple food allergies or even food intolerances should be a life-changing event- it has been for us and I am thankful for it! As I recently explained to someone else, the food allergy community is like an endless online family and I am grateful for every single person that I come into contact with. I wish the same for all of you & your families~

*Need the recipes? Simply click on the recipe titles to get an instant PDF :)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Enjoy Life Foods Motherload Giveaway!

Mother's Day fast approaches and what is one thing that (most) moms usually get the short end of the deal on? Treats! Not the leftovers, not the crumbs that are in the bottom of the bag but their own special stash of treats for them and them only. Me being a food allergy mother, I know this all too well. Of course, all mothers are more than willing to give up those goodies for their children. But come on, Sunday is Mother's Day and it's time to give a mom something that she not only wants but deserves. This is not selfish, it's not greedy- it's simply an Enjoy Life Foods Plentils giveaway known as
The Motherload Giveaway!!!

Wait- did I just hear you correctly?! You don't know what Plentils are? Our family had our first taste-testing back in 2012 and even then, I loved to come up with different ways to use Plentils (See it here). They are delicious just as they are but you know me- I like to play with my food and I encourage everyone to do the same too. But if you want the technical description, let's share what's on Enjoy Life Food's website "Plentils- Chips with benefits. From ancient times to the present, the lentil has been one of the best sources of plant-based protein and is a staple in diets throughout the world. Enjoy Life has captured the essence of this vital legume's all natural goodness and turned it into a unique, protein-packed, crunchy experience. Every Plentils chip bursts with flavor and is a truly tasty "better-for-you" treat.

Back to to details- what does one lucky mother win? One winner will get the same amount of Plentils as shown below.

How do you enter to win? Starting today, I will post this picture daily. Comment on how many bags you think are in the picture AND comment on why you love Plentils. It's that simple. BUT- you may have noticed that there are both large and small bags in the picture above so BE SPECIFIC! 

Use Twitter? Please comment & retweet using #ELFMotherload.

Please remember to SHARE as sharing is nice and all moms deserve a chance to get this lovely prize!

How Many Times Can I Enter? You can enter as many times as you want too but only the entries that are correct (or) closest to the number of bags in the picture above will be considered for the winner. The winner will be either the person that guesses correctly or is the closest. If I have more than one person with the correct guess (or the same number closest) I will choose from those entries. 

When Will the Winner Be Announced? The contest ends on Thursday May 7th, entries will be taken until 12 PM. The winner will be shared on Friday May 8th on my Facebook page, Twitter and other media sites. Items will not be received by Mother's Day but think about how great it will be to get that big box of Plentils as an extra gift.

A big thank you to the wonderful people at Enjoy Life Foods for not even hesitating to say they would be more than happy to send these out to someone. (They are always good like that!) 

Congratulations Tammy! 
So how many bags of Enjoy Life Foods Plentils are in the picture? 
There are 8 Large Bags and 14 Small Bags (Tammy was very close- one of her entries was 8 Large and 15 Small)

(This means that is also the number of bags that YOU will be getting, Tammy! Please email me at with your shipping information and Plentils flavors so my lovely Enjoy Life Foods reps can get those delivered to you ASAP.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Giveaway- Pure & Simple

OK peeps, you all know that I am a self-proclaimed Giveaway Guru! I love to give back when I can, I love connecting with companies that can help us with our allergies (both food and otherwise) and I get excited when a company asks me to work with them to share some of their items. With May coming up rapidly and the weather being so very unpredictable, I was jumping for joy when Pure Room offered up some at-home goodies for one lucky person.

Why I Like Pure Room
I literally stumbled across their information through another great site that we all know and love so when I saw the possibility of being able to travel in allergy luxury (is that even a thing? Well, it's an official Nutrimom term now). Since they also have options for our home, I knew I had to see what they were all about. After reaching out, they have been more than wonderful in getting me information as well as coming up with a special Nutrimom promotional code for all of you to try them out too!

Wait, what do you mean you didn't know there was a code?! There's been a code- where have you been? Perhaps you need to adjust your feed notifications, maybe check in a bit more's all good- you know now. Simply use NUTRIPURE20 at on any PURE product or call 716-206-1200. You can also snag & share the offer on my Facebook page (to the left under Offers).

What YOU Could Win
Since most of us could always use something for our homes (and, let's face it, traveling is nice but there's no place like home) you will have daily chances to win (1) Set of hypo-allergenic mattress and pillow encasement. Come on, just look how comfy and cozy these cuties are...this could be you, soon! I'm actually a bit jealous that I can't enter.

How To Enter
Let's make this easy because we all have kids, jobs, lives and we all prefer easy. Simple:

  • Each day I will ask a question. To be entered, just comment (yes, multiple entries accepted as long as the answers are different)
  • Only correct answers will be considered as an entry so do your homework!
  • Please remember that comments on Twitter will also count
  • Sharing is always appreciated so help out someone you know & share 
  • Contest begins TODAY April 29th and ends Saturday May 2nd Entries accepted until midnight)
  • One winner will be chosen & announced on Monday May 4th 
Not a Facebook User?
I've got you covered (well, technically it's Pure Room that would have you covered but, you know...)
There are a few other ways for you to enter too! 

- HERE Each day, I will update this post with the daily question. To enter, simply leave a comment below
- Twitter Look for the daily question posted on Twitter & comment there too! (heck, be bold & retweet)
- LinkedIn  I try to be flexible so of course I will post the daily question in LinkedIn too! Why not?

4/29/15 question was:
"Name 2 places that Pure Room has one of their allergy-friendly hotels available for you to stay in." 

4/30/15 question was:
"How many at-home items does Pure Room offer on their website?" 

5/01/15 question was:
"What is the Pure Movement about?" 

5/02/15 The LAST DAY 
question was:
"Pure Room also has an online entry form for a chance to win WHAT item?" 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Food Allergy or Food Intolerance- BOTH Can Be Debilitating!

I don't often have many guest posts on my blog but I do, on occasion, come across people that I meet that (I feel) just..get it. I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Kent McKeithan a few months back and I was fascinated about his stories of how his clients have been able to feel better just through his treatment and dietary changes. You know me- I am always looking for more evidence of how to use our foods to feel better as well as gain additional knowledge for myself (Not to mention as proof for the occasional doubters).

Mr. McKeithan was kind enough to offer to write a post for me and I'm happy to share~

It doesn’t take long, when investigating allergies – food or inhalant – to discover that an allergy can be deadly as well as annoying.  What’s not so common is that intolerance of a particular food can make life miserable, as the following example illustrates.

After your child eats macaroni and cheese, a dish she loves and you delight in preparing, she complains, “Mommy, my mouth’s all gummy and sticky.”  You may notice she is gaseous, or she may experience stomach/intestinal cramping.

Is your cooking really all that bad?

No, actually, there is a more insidious cause: your child may lack the ability to digest dairy products.  More specifically, there is a form of sugar – lactose – a principle component of milk -- which is digested by the enzyme lactase.  It is produced in the small intestine or -- in the case of a large number of people --not.  She, along with a host of others, produces either too little, or none at all, of this essential enzyme. The food enters the stomach and intestine, but there is nothing there to begin the breakdown of sugar into energy, so there is protest by both as various digestive strategies are applied to no avail.  

In the end, the food is eliminated without the body gaining anything from the cheese part of the dish, and a good deal of unpleasant stress for the child (and you!).  

That’s not the end of it, though.  There is ample evidence that consuming dairy foods by those who are lactose intolerant can bring on migraine or migraine-like headaches.  That was the case for this writer, who for more than half a century experienced periodic headaches which were often excruciating and usually lasted for three days.  They were never named (diagnosed) as MIGRAINE, partly because I would not allow myself to believe I could suffer from anything so terrible and yet so ordinary, and partly because much of my adult life has been lived sans medical insurance, which precluded extensive medical work-ups that I felt were unlikely to produce useful results.  So, between denial and lack of professional attention, these events continued, with no discernible rhyme or reason. 

Then, one day a few years ago, a client for whom we’d been privileged to provide lasting relief from the pain of spinal scoliosis, asked for help with her periodic migraines.  We tried, with mixed results – temporary pain abatement at best.  She went on with her life and we lost touch for about three months, until I called to check up on her, found her well and excited, because, “I don’t have migraines anymore!” “What did you do?”  “I gave up dairy!”

Now, knowing how much this meant to her – both in what she had to trade off and what she had gained – moved me.  She ate pretty much vegetarian, but was very fond of cheese and ice cream, as well as other dairy-containing products.  The migraines, on the other hand, had had a tendency to shut down her life for several days at a time, with grim if unpredictable frequency.  Pain was, if not a close friend, a very familiar, noxious companion.  I eliminated everything with dairy ingredients – and let me tell you, that’s a lot of foods
I thought, if it works for her, maybe it’ll work for me.  So I quit – cold turkey, as the saying goes.  I eliminated all obvious dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese, ice cream and yogurt and yes, most margarine, plus any food with these ingredients anywhere in the list: lactose, whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, nonfat dry milk.

That list, it turns out, largely includes, but is not limited to: bread, pies, cakes and other baked goods, waffles, pancakes, biscuits, cookies, and the mixes to make them, processed breakfast foods such as doughnuts, frozen waffles and pancakes, toaster pastries and sweet rolls,processed breakfast cereals, almost anybody’s mashed potatoes recipe, instant potatoes,almost all canned or packaged soups,breakfast drinks, most protein powders and bars, most but not all processed meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and lunch meats, most all salad dressings, meal replacements, protein powders and bars, candies, “non-dairy” liquid and powdered coffee creamers and so-called nondairy whipped toppings.  

It took me awhile, but I eliminated all of those – anything with dairy in it.  I don’t worry about “traces of…”, or “processed in the same facility as…”  Sure enough, within a couple of weeks, the absence of headaches surfaced in my awareness.  Since that time, I have suffered not one, single headache! Sixty years of hitting myself over the head with a hammer came to a stop.  Was it worth quitting diary?  Is it worth it, now?  Yes, and yet again, yes. Childhood memories of splitting head pain taking me out of capture-the-flag games in Cub Scouts, of opportunities lost in my teenage years flood my mind when those questions are asked.  

If you think such might be the case for your child, or for yourself, find out!  The relief, the freedom to really live will be wonderful.

By Kent McKeithan, McKeithan Pain Treatment Center -- Guest Blogger

First publication rights granted to Nutrimom (Tracy Bush).  All other rights reserved.
© Kent McKeithan

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Glutino Goes Green

A few months ago, I added Glutino as one of the companies that I blog for (loving it!). I am very picky about who I work with not only because I can be but because (I feel) that whatever I say or do with a product must be true to my word, always. I don't believe in promoting a company or product unless they believe that what they are doing will help others. You all know I am always trying to help so I am inspired when other companies (especially those that I use) share the same passion.

Now, I'm not sure if other bloggers think the way I think or not. I have no game plans, no schedule of articles that I am planning on posting for each month. I have two kids, we have food allergies, life, work so my mommy-brain meshed with blogger brain stopped working in an organized way many years ago. However, I am now used to the somewhat crazed, organized-unorganized way I have learned to think. You do whatever works. So when Glutino sent out an April memo for Spring, my brain bypassed the recipe track and immediately thought What else can I do with their products? Not recipes, although recipes are always nice and fun to come up with but I wanted to inspire other people in a different way. What do most families do, especially when they have children and lives and busy days?

Think With the Box
Our family began a personal mission to recycle as much as we could a few years ago (HERE) so when I was looking at all of these boxes, I felt the "greenest" thing to do was to find ways to reuse them. With a bit of Mod Podge, leftover paper (wrapping paper scraps, a brown lunch bag, even the Sunday comics) and some scissors, I transformed Glutino's product boxes into a family organizational center. This was an easy craft that took no time at all. Each family member has their own space for miscellaneous items and we used up bits and pieces of other items that were laying around that we weren't sure what to do with.

Reuse The Box
Each Glutino box has a gluten free tidbit on the back of it (Gasp! You never noticed?! Well go get one, turn it over! It's there, I promise you!) They also provide a recipe as well but then I thought, why not use the cardboard to make a personalized recipe card? Something that you could fill in as-needed, wrap up as a handmade gift for a teacher or even as a way to begin to teach your child about how to formulate their own gluten free (or other) kind of recipes. As an added reminder, I attached Glutino's message onto the recipe cards. Easy, simple, crafty, eco-friendly and useful- who can beat that?!
What's in Your Bag
At first, it was Glutino's English Muffins but as I began to head toward my plastic recycling bin (yes, I actually have one just for plastic bags), I realized that this too could be re-purposed. I mean, come on, the bags are pretty darn sturdy so why not use them again? I used one of them to pack some shoes for a weekend getaway to avoid having everything I have ever walked on touch my packed items (because, ewww, just ewww). But there are endless ways to use these bags! Need other ideas? How about
  • Storage for your epinephrine
  • Collection keepers (seashells, rocks, small toys)
  • Gift bag for homemade pot pourri
  • Movie popcorn (make your own & bring it with)
  • Smaller, safe snacks for trips
  • Toiletries
  • Bags for wet swim suits
  • Personal phone accessories*
Shall I continue? Be creative, be earth-conscious and be open to using what you have.

Tag- You're It
*Don't forget to reuse the plastic tags too! Label each person's bag to avoid mixing them up (and to keep mommy just a little bit more sane with a little less arguing). Another point of labeling is because all parents eventually get to the point where they want (no, need) to reclaim their own "stuff" and labeling helps us to do this. Sharing is nice, being unselfish as a parent is something ingrained within us but let's face it people- there's a certain age where sharing everything starts to kind of gross us out and yearn for just being able to eat your own snack without being hit by those big puppy-dog eyes of "Can I have some of that?". Labeling removes that parental guilt and redirects it into "Look, now you have your own, all to yourself!" 

It's in the Bag
Wait, no- it doesn't have to be in the bag (unless you are still eating the Glutino snacks, then yes, keep them in there to avoid getting stale). After it's empty and you are staring at that bag that's kind of reminds you of those 1980's NASA blankets (admit it- you had one of those crinkly annoying things) you can reuse that too! It's a bag, it's a shiny thing, it's..... an instant sparkly streamer for bicycles or scooters! Dare I say it could even be used as an American Doll festive Hawaiian skirt? (talk about budget-friendly!) Maybe even something sparkly for the garden now that the flowers are starting to bloom? Just remember to secure it firmly to avoid littering. Directions: Simply snip off the top and bottom of any Glutino product bag and then cut down the middle, leaving a long silver strip. Wipe the bag to remove excess crumbs. Cut thin pieces of the bag, making sure to leave a 1-2 inch area at one end for a sturdy core and for something to be able to attach. Tape and go.

Just Use It
Now, come on, you knew I would have to sneak in a recipe somewhere, right?! This time I "kept it clean" to stay focused and I used what I had. Did you know that you can heat up any of the Glutino "dessert" pretzels (Yogurt, Chocolate, Salted Caramel) just enough to make them a bit melty and gooey? Then, if you add just a few pieces of fruit, it becomes an instant, bite-sized pretzel pastry? I do recommend using fruit that has skin on it (such as blueberries) as the cut up pieces were juicier and had to be eaten right away before the juice made the pretzel a bit mushy. Or, you could try using some Fruit Clusters (or even the crumbs- ohh, the crumbs!) to get a similar taste.

Heat the oven to 375 and place 3-4 the pretzels into a paper muffin cup (IfYouCare is perfect!) in a muffin pan to hold the form. Heat just long enough until the pretzels begin to melt but not burn. Remove and quickly place your choice of fruit into those convenient pretzel holes. Allow to cool and enjoy. I kid you not, the Yogurt pretzels with blueberries tastes just like a bite of a blueberry pastry. Imagine what else you could do with so many other fruits and the other flavors...silent moment to drool.

What Will You Do?
I invite everyone to share these ideas as well as sharing what your family came up with too. Sharing is caring and it's also what helps everyone understand how easy allergy-friendly products and ideas can be. Sometimes, all we need is an idea from someone else to spur our own thoughts.

Thank you to Glutino for allowing me to use my creative weirdness with their products.

*Reminder-Always check all product labels to stay safe. Glutino products may not be safe for your specific allergy needs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gluten Free Resting Face Takes Over!

Within the gluten free community, there is a terrible issue that many just do not know how to fix. I posted this brief video to help all of you understand what it is and how you can avoid it. Please watch and share to help others~

(Click HERE)