Monday, March 12, 2018

Bloomfield Farms Blows My Mind

You all know that I share openly and honestly. I've stated that with ALL products, allergy-friendly or not, there are good products and there are just plain crappy products. Life is too short to eat crappy products, right? And bread....oh my goodness, if I could have just one thing that tasted exactly like my foods before food allergies, I would say bread. So simple but so very true. We all know- even Oprah loves it. Then a few weeks ago, I was asked if I wanted to try a loaf of Bloomfield Farms Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread. I agreed but honestly, the words Vegan bread kind of scare me whenever I see them. I tend to immediately picture something that's heavy, seedy and healthy but just not something that I would continue to eat on a daily basis. But oh my Bloomfield Farms- you ROCKED my bread world!

Smell This may seem weird but I the first thing that I do with any food is smell it. Let's face it, if you open a package and the smell turns you off no matter how good it tastes, how would you even share it then? "Yeah, I tried this and it smells really weird but here, taste it."....uh, not gonna fly. Luckily, the smell was the very first thing that I noticed when I opened my loaf. Do you remember making sandwiches when you were little and there was that nice bread smell? I am happy to share that it's tucked into every loaf of Bloomfield Farms. 

The BEST SunButter & jelly I've had in awhile!

Texture Unlike many other allergy-friendly bread products, their White Sandwich Bread is soft just like regular bread and it's moist but not soggy. (For those of you new to Vegan or gluten free breads, this is a huge thing to overcome with these products. Usually, most of them are either firmer than what you had hoped or are kind of gummy.) Even their crust is good! Oh mouth is watering just thinking about it! Seriously! Plus- no after taste, just bread taste. 

Grilled vs. a Plain Sammie Ok, I admit making a simple SunButter & jelly sandwich was heavenly with this bread. Seriously. To conduct a thorough product review, I wanted to savor Bloomfield Farms in all forms. Because being able to have a sandwich that you can pack and go and it still stays soft and moist is amazing. I wanted to see how these slices held up to grilling. Testing areas included seeing if the bread became too hard or chewy upon grilling and if the taste changed at all (again, bread with icky after taste is off-putting). The verdict? OH.MY.GAWH Bloomfield Farms...can you come live next door to me so I can live on your bread?! You remember how I mentioned the crust was even good- when it's grilled, it's similar to crusty Italian bread but slightly crispy with a bit of a tenderness on the inside. Oooohhh....I am drooling on my keyboard again. I told you I like bread. 

Toasted Yes, I toasted it too. You make think this step was not relevant since I grilled it but a good bread tester knows some of us just prefer a piece of toast. Toasting these bad boys gave me similar results as grilling which surprised me a bit. The bread still stayed crispy yet tender on the inside. 

The Ultimate Bread Test This is a biggie. One factor that is utterly important, especially when you (most likely) have to mail order a product and know you cannot use it up as long as it will last- freezing. How many times have you put your allergy-friendly products into the freezer only to have them crumble, fall apart upon using them or just get plain gross and stale? Bloomfield Farms passed the freezing test with flying colors. I tried freezing it, then toasting it first. I also froze it, then thawed it in the fridge and prepared it as a packable sandwich. BOTH turned out with the same results- the bread was STILL soft and tasted great. This is like miracle bread. I know I must sound corny right now but come on fellow foodies, you totally get me right? 

Frozen & prepared- STILL amazing!
The Only Downside There is always some kind of downside, no matter how large or small, right? But this is a good downside...does that make sense? The only way to get a loaf of Bloomfield Farms Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread is to order it. MOST often, they are sold out but after trying it, this is completely understandable. For convenience sake, click here to see if you can buy some now. If you are on their website, you must find the photo of the bread in the slider pictures and click on it to order it. You will notice that Bloomfield Farms also offers baking mixes but I didn't get to try those.

Ingredients Because that is always one of the most important things! Water, modified tapioca starch, white rice flour, potato starch, corn starch, palm oil, evaporated cane juice, contains less than 2% of each of the following: millet flour, dried yeast (yeast, sorbitan monostearate), modified cellulose, canola oil, sea salt, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, guar gum, rice bran extract, cultured dextrose, calcium sulfate, enzymes, ascorbic acid.  Bloomfield Farms is Certified gluten free from the Celiac Support Association, made in a dedicated gluten and nut free facility and is free of wheat, soy, nut, egg and dairy.  

A huge HUGE bready, carby happy blogger hug to Bloomfield Farms for sending this loaf of love to me (please feel free to send me any and all extras, leftovers/rejects). To find out more visit them at and give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

*Never any compensation except for the products themselves to review as all of my reviews are always honest 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Dear FARE, It's Not Me- It's You

One blogger's opinion

FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) for those with food allergies, this has been a name that has been part of many aspects of the food allergy world. We have seen them praised on social media for all of their help, they have held walks and donated to food allergy research but (yes, there is a but) in my opinion, there is another side to this organization. For a long time, I bit my tongue because I felt it may make me seem unprofessional to air my differences. Then it occurred to me- I don't need FARE to like me, I just need them to do their job correctly and help my fellow food allergy families.

I'm Not Bitter, I'm Flat Out Angry With the recent announcement of James Baker stepping down, thoughts that I've had pushed way down for a long time came back to life. I'd like to say that this article is purely based on my experiences and those that I have spoken with that will remain anonymous. When I see injustice out in the open and nobody feels safe speaking up, it makes me angry. I have spoken with food allergy parents, persons that have had dealings one way or another with this organization directly and indirectly, doctors that have helped them and yes, I am one of them as well. Has FARE done some good for food allergies? Of course but the way that people were treated is not the standard that they should continue to bring going forward. My purpose of this article is not to bash them but hopefully to let them know that they are not doing the best job that they can do for us. From what I have heard and been told, it is my opinon that the majority of the food allergy community does not feel that the organization is working in the best light of our community and that the end of the current CEO should bring to the surface multiple areas that need to be and should be fixed before going forward if FARE truly wants to make a difference. All of the people that you have been talking down to, all of the people that have been met with anger and negativity, all of the people that felt intimidated not to work with other organizations while working with you and all of the countless volunteers that get paid nothing NOTHING to help your organization that don't even get a pat on the back are all of the people that you are failing. The saddest thing about all of this is that it's discussed often within the food allergy community but your organization has become so unapproachable that nobody can tell you this. Volunteers that have spoken up have been abruptly released from their services directly after wards. People have contacted your support staff when they needed direction for their walks or events and got no support, not even a pleasant hello. I have even been told that speakers that were scheduled to speak at one event had to cancel because it was frowned upon due to a conflict of interest with FARE. This baffles me- the last time I checked, our food allergy community was supposed to rally together to build a stronger community. These actions are quite the opposite. It's not me- it is, in fact, you FARE.

Is Anyone Else Looking at Numbers?! When people hear the term "Non-Profit", they assume that the organization doesn't make much money for themselves but instead, gives most of their profits to their cause, right? To be specific, the dictionary describes a non-profit as "not established for the purpose of making a profit; not entered into for money." This being said, we assume that all of those walks, events, dinners, etc. are bringing in a bunch of money for food allergy research and education which it did, yay! This being said (again) what do you think a CEO of a non-profit would be making for an annual salary? Wait for it......

Not bad for a non-profit, huh? And this in addition to his $225,000 salary as seen on

I could be stretching my thoughts but isn't this kind of how the whole Epigate thing started? That's a lot of money and FARE you can argue that I don't understand the logistics, what money was made and donated versus salaries and overhead and blah, blah,blah  but in the end, it is my opinion that our community is seeing a number that seems far too large for a non-profit employee to be bringing home. It seems that this is a number that means more money in his pocket and less toward the purpose you started out to serve. Does Mr. Baker deserve to get paid for his time- absolutely but holy cow FARE.... I am just shaking my head. FARE's 2016 Form 990 can be seen here but seeing $225,000 and thinking about all of those volunteers not getting paid for their time just doesn't add up morally to me.

Just to prove that I do my research here is a wonderful and precise article on this very topic shared on ThoughtCo. which points fingers at other non-profit CEO's not doing their organizations justice. In the same breath, if you try to tell me it's not uncommon for this salary range to be the norm, let me also quote from the same article just so you know I am not just spitting out useless information "the lowest paid President/CEO/Commissioner was The Salvation Army's Commissioner Todd Bassett who receives a salary of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing the $2 billion organization.That means about $0.93 per dollar earned goes back out to local charity causes."

Time Travel Let's backtrack for just a moment to my personal experience. I hosted a FARE Walk back in 2013. Bear with me as some of this may sound catty but this is not a bitching session, just a very honest session. Did I have help from the coordinators before or the day of the event? Nope. In fact, my coordinator showed up 2 hours late and did nothing. Did FARE include our walk in their social media and mailing- nope. I was later told it was because it was such a new walk that other larger walks took precedence. Regardless of all of the negative crap that happened before, during and after I fulfilled my obligations to my community- we had an amazing day and I did manage to raise just $150 shy of $10,000 which (from what I was told) is seen as an acceptable amount for a first time walk. And as soon as it was done and I was exhausted, I already had plans on how to make the following year bigger and better. Not for myself, not even for FARE but for my community because they are the reason we rally together and support each other.

The next year did not happen. Unbeknownst to me, FARE had decided to remove me as Walk Chair and replace me with a corporate donor that they felt would bring in more money. They also informed me that they were including a new team member that happened to be a local person that I shall not name who called FARE and told them malicious, horrible untruths (read here) and yet, FARE found this person to be the type of person that they wanted representing them. So you see FARE, I was angry for a long, long time but I got over it. I didn't want to make waves or ruffle feathers and I chalked it up to a bunch of bad decisions that were made on your part. I forgot and moved on. Until I began to hear many, many others describing similar grievances.... It's not me- it is, in fact, you FARE.

So FARE, the ball is in your court and all of us are waiting to see how you advance. I'm sure most won't feel comfortable stepping forward to you but I'm putting everything out there for you to chew on. I will send you positive thoughts in hopes that you will emerge a better organization and take us all by surprise this time. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Food Healthy = Hormone Healthy

Back in 2013, I was approached by Valerie Johnston of Healthline who offered to write a guest post for my blog. Because of my own personal battles of difficult-to-diagnose symptoms and years of consulting with so many others that had similar things happen with their health, I felt Valerie's share of The Strong Link Between Allergies and Hormones was a perfect fit to try to explain why some of us need to take our health one step further for answers. As she so perfectly put it "Because the immune system and the hormone system are pretty closely related, when one changes, so does the other." Some of you may scoff and I've had a ton of people tell me that there is no evidence that foods and hormones are linked but as I tell them- there IS proof. I have and am living it. I have counseled people who are living it.

Then, I came across an article by Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS "The Definitive Guide to Foods For Hormone Health". It's one of those articles that you read and shake your head in agreement and then want to share it, screaming from the rooftops See?! I told you so!!! for those who are skeptical. I get that not everyone can understand when it doesn't happen to them but in the very least, be kind enough and open-minded enough to listen and consider what happens to others because some day, it may be you needing answers like these. And regardless of how you may have dismissed us before, we will be waiting to listen and help you when you need it. Still unsure of what I mean? Let me share a few excerpts from Dr. Axe's article:
photo courtesy of Healthline

  • "In some cases, medications might mask the symptoms of hormonal problems and not address the underlying cause."  Why is this important? Because when your body is not functioning well, it also begins to become hypersensitive to other things, such as medications. Often this leads to a new set of symptoms that are difficult to identify.
  • "If your diet doesn't supply enough energy or "materials" to make all the hormones you need, it'll prioritize production of stress hormones first because they're essential for survival." This was a dead-ringer for me personally... two years, $10,000 of unnecessary medical bills, procedures and prescriptions because doctors kept telling me it was stress. Never be afraid to question anything that you feel is not in your best interest.
  • "When the immune system is overactive due to high stress levels, genetics, or an inflammatory diet, you may develop autoimmune reactions as your body attacks its own tissue or glands." This statement alone is all the proof that I need for those who tell me food intolerances are not a real thing. As I've stated before just because food intolerances are not life-threatening, it doesn't mean they are not life-altering.  
Now is the part when most of us read the article but say I can't do this, it's too difficult and I get it- I was one of those people too. Luckily Dr. Axe includes the foods that should be on your shopping list, tips on healthy eating and sample menu ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks (very similar to my food allergy consults- great minds think alike!). Not only is this helpful but it's crucial- the foods that you put into your body can literally be what makes you feel better or worse. If you feed yourself the inflammatory foods, your body will not get well. The truth is- when we don't feel well and we aren't getting answers quickly enough, we need someone to point us in the right direction. Especially when we are at the point of being stressed, easy is the best thing until our body equalizes and we can think a bit more clearly again.  

You can read the entire article written by Dr. Axe here as well as find out more on his website and other social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Is Your Restaurant Allergy Safe?

How does a restaurant keep their customers with food allergies safe and happy? 
They listen to Chef Keith Norman

I had the honor of reading a preview of Chef Keith Norman's book due to be published soon titled Allergen Awareness A Chef''s Perspective ... it's so new, I can't even share the cover! Beginning with his very first sentence "The reality that a life can be lost by eating a certain food item should be motivation enough for training, advocacy and spreading awareness." I knew he put his heart and soul into it. Although Keith's book is written as an amazing manual for food allergy safety, it's so much more than that. Keith shares some of his own family life including heart-warming tidbits about Big Ma and a toe... I could tell you, but you will have to grab a copy and find out.

Who This Book is Written For Although Keith's book contains bunches of chef/dining/waitstaff information, I feel this book is also a wonderful guide for anyone having to learn about food allergies and safe food preparation. No kitchen, group or staff is too big or too small to have such a precise understanding of down-to-earth information coupled with cross-contamination tactics that may surprise you. Keith keeps everything in simple steps so that everyone can utilize his years of experience within the food allergy community.

Why You Need This Book 
  • He includes testimonials from parents as well as others that he has worked alongside and all share how much dedication Keith gives to keeping all of his customers safe and well fed
  • Chef Keith has an impressive list of food memberships, awards and recognitions that clearly prove his dedication
  • Offers scenarios for customer and waiter situations (this includes how to say no to a customer)
  • Step by step instructions for procedures as well as signage
  • Samples of banquet and catering allergen guest lists as a starting point for allergy newbies
  • Recipes
  • Even more crucial allergy safety information that will get any kitchen ready to feed safely
What I Love About This Book Many of us can get confused with all of the food allergy information that we need to learn and can easily make a mistake without thinking about it. For instance, Chef Keith takes the precautions list a step further away from the kitchen. When you travel or when you have a food allergic guest, do you also consider the spreading of allergens in areas such as the waitstaff, concession stands, front desk or valet? Keith points out that our kitchens can be ready for safety but unless everyone is on board, that valet who was snacking on nuts and then shook your hand could mean the end of a stay before it's even begun.

Chef Keith and I at the Food Allergy Blogger Conference

My Favorite Quotes Throughout his book, Chef Keith uses statements that are so very strong but also so very specific and to the point- with food allergies, this is an absolute must. For anyone to understand how to keep someone safe with food allergies, there needs to be a perfect mixture of compassion, professionalism and a touch of subtlety. This book touches on all of those points. As a parent of a child with multiple food allergies, I read his book and found myself continuously nodding my head wishing more people could be in this mindset. Some of my personal favorites include

"One allergen affects the entire family and every friend."

"We have created a heart centered culture, an environment, a safe place for food allergic guests."

"Treat all allergies the same- a mushroom allergy should be handled the same way a peanut allergy is handled."

"Proactive is not a reactive approach."

Final Thoughts I will admit, I am personally biased. I met Chef Kieth a few years back and I admittedly knew he was just the type of person that always wanted a hug and to feed everyone safely. I have never seen him give anything less than 100% and anyone who is meeting him for the first time will absolutely feel the exact same way. If you are a person with food allergies or a parent of a child with food allergies, connect with him and you will understand. If you are an organization or a dining facility that is in need of guidance without flaw, contact him and he will exceed your expectations. You can find Keith on Twitter as well as LinkedIn and if you are in Las Vegas, stop in and see him at the South Point Hotel and Casino.  One thing is for sure- Keith will keep you safe but he will also make sure you are in his heart for life.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It Takes a #TealVillage

There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a family; this is how I feel about our food allergy community. I am grateful to have watched as our family has grown leaps and bounds over the past sixteen years (NutriSon's age) and I never cease to be amazed at how we simply continue to unite with each other. Let's take a moment and travel back into mommy time with me (I will try not to get all sobby and teary-eyed). I know there were many sleepless nights... months. I know there was a lot of tummy aches and projectile vomiting. I know that so many people tried to tell me that my son was just "a normal baby. Babies cry." But I knew, even as a brand new mother and all of you knew too. And we all remember that there were sleepless nights and worry and fears that kept us awake. But it's funny how so much of the the bad memories have faded and been replaced with better memories, more positive memories. Don't get me wrong- I clearly remember how exhausted I was from not sleeping because my son never slept and cried instead. I absolutely remember watching him as I unknowingly fed him baby yogurt and didn't realize until after a few times what hives were. And I positively remember when I fed him a baby food with egg in it and the immediate return call from the pediatrician's office asking "Is he breathing ok?" All of this feels so very long ago....

It's 2018 and most of my memories now are about all of the amazing products that my son can eat safely. My head is filled with product names and ingredients and flashes of new recipes that I have come up with to make sure that my family and yours feel more at ease. And the people that I have met along the way, both in person and simply online- so many wonderful, supportive people that just feel like they truly are your family. And they are, to me. So when a company that I have known since NutriSon's food allergy diagnosis has also been with our family, holding our hand and telling us that they promise to keep us safe and they do, I can't help but get that same mommy moment feeling, knowing that they are one of our rocks. So what is one of the easiest ways to let a person with food allergies know that they have your back? Pick the one thing that they rely on it and use it to make their life easier- visuals.

We have been ingrained to automatically look for ingredients and read labels and look for the color teal for unity and comfort. This year, Enjoy Life Foods announced that they were embracing their food allergy family by repacking their products with the color teal. Why? Because they are a part of our village and are helping us place the bricks to support our village. How often have you been just so tired or had a really trying day and you are paranoid that one of those days might end up in a bad memory of a product that you thought you had checked the label? With the new teal packages, Enjoy Life Foods has taken the guess work out of it. It's like they knew we would have an occasional bad day, put their arm around us, covered us with a teal blanket and silently said "We have you." Do I sound corny right now? Maybe a little but this is my inner food allergy mom peeking out and I am ok with that.

What should you be looking for? 

  • This may take you a moment because we are creatures of habit. Look for their logo and groups of teal boxes. After all, this is not a typical color on the grocery shelves. 
  • Check out their social media pages*- they posted a chance to win a free product coupon when you share on Instagram (oooh, I want one!)
  • Sign up for their newsletter for a $3 off your next Enjoy Life Foods treat
  • Watch for giveaways and Twitter parties (fuzzy socks recommended but not required)
  • Ask your local stores when they will have the new teal packaging. Maybe they don't know about it or maybe they haven't stocked Enjoy Life Foods before (gasp!!)
  • If you see someone who has a new teal Enjoy Life Foods product, ask them where they got it!

MOST importantly watch out for those family members that find your Enjoy Life Foods items before you do! Often, they will try to get their hands on everything and act as if nothing is out of the ordinary. As a mom, I have always taught my children that sharing is not ok but there are a few exceptions and Enjoy Life Foods is one of them.

Have YOU seen the new Enjoy Life Foods teal products?
Tell me where you found them!

* Find Enjoy Life Foods here! Web/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram/ Pinterest/ Google+/ LinkedIn


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 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?