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)


Monday, April 13, 2015

Blood Transfusing Food Allergies?

Recently, there was an article shared on regarding a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal which stated food allergies can be passed on to another person from a blood transfusion. As a food allergy mother, this thought had never occurred to me but it's still just as terrifying. Every food allergy parent spends endless hours wondering.. always wondering. Wondering how their child got food allergies, what we could have possibly does to cause it, will we ever find a cure, why there is a rise in food allergies- truly, endless thoughts and questions bouncing around inside of our heads. So when I saw this, I was again challenged with an entirely new line of "what if's". Most importantly, what if this was the cause for the sharp increase in food allergies?

After research, reading (and rereading) both articles and a small panic attack, I decided to reach out to the American Red Cross to see just how much we may all need to worry. I want to say thank you to Kara Lusk Dudley who responded so quickly and did not hesitate to set up my discussion with Dr. Courtney Hopkins, D.O., the Medical Director of the American Red Cross. Both of them were beyond helpful and courteous with my questions.

When I spoke with Dr. Hopkins, she stated that she had indeed read the article that I was concerned about. Her response was that this phenomenon was very, very rare and that although there had been a few other recorded occurrences of the same type of thing happening, it still was not something that we should be concerned about. Just as the original articles stated, even when the food allergy was passed onto the blood recipient, the allergy seemed to disappear after a few months without future additional allergic events.
photo courtesy of SnackSafely

Breathing a sigh of (some) relief, I asked Dr. Hopkins if there was any type of protocol the American Red Cross has in place to try to avoid this from happening. Currently, there is nothing in place nor is there any future possibility of having a specific "food allergy protocol" screening to her knowledge. Dr. Hopkins does recommend that anyone who is scheduled to donate and does not feel well should reschedule until they are feeling better. She also suggested that should someone receive blood and have any type of health issues afterwards, they should contact the hospital and/or place that the blood transfusion occurred as a precautionary measure.

photo courtesy
American Red Cross
In addition, Dr. Hopkins stated that anyone who would like to donate blood should always check their Eligibility List to ensure that they are able to do so. The American Red Cross is always grateful for donations and I felt confident after our conversation today that the fears that I had after reading the article would not impact my choice to donate in the future nor would I feel uncomfortable if my allergic son had to have a blood transfusion.

As always, being a food allergy parent requires constant research, follow-up and new knowledge. Ultimately, being a parent in itself is tricky- being a food allergy parent just adds another dimension to that parenting. Always use your judgement for what you feel is most comfortable for your family. Never trust what anyone else tells you unless you want to. And most of all, never allow fear to stop your family from doing what is needed to keep you as safe as possible.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Can't Make Heads or Tails of Easter..YES, You Can

I have this really bad habit of thinking of holiday recipes last minute...which is oh so helpful in the sharing department, right? Perhaps you will still have the time to make these or keep it tucked away for next year's new treats. Either way, I wanted to post this to have something festive live.

At my last pre-holiday shopping trip to Whole Foods for supplies before the insane crowds arrived, I passed the endcap where they had a display of Surf Sweets jellybeans. I walked on, then I saw their Watermelon Rings and an idea popped into my head for a cookie recipe. Everyone makes bunny cookies, Easter baskets, chicks.....the list goes on and on. Then I remembered the April Fool's Day joke that Annie's Homegrown posted on Facebook (here) and I knew I was on a mission. With a short list of a few items, I was on my way to Easter baking. Ladies and gentlemen (yes, there actually some dads that bake, gosh!) I give you

~Easter Bunny Heads and Tails Cookies~

After all, why make an entire rabbit when you can create bits and pieces that will be more of a conversation piece?

Are they the best looking cookie? No. Are they perfect? No. But I feel it's better to share all recipes because in everyday life, we don't all make picture-perfect cookies. It's about finding a fun recipe, using your products in different ways and just plain having fun.

To prep, you will need to slice the Watermelon Rings into quarters, then slice the quarter pieces in half, which will be used as the tails "bend". (Great news- you can then eat the remaining ring pieces, yum!) You will also need to slice the jellybeans in half. Caution- if you are younger, please enlist the help of an adult for this. Prepare the cookie dough as directed. I used butter but I have had great success subbing the butter witha mixture of (1) 4-ounce applesauce & oil too.

In three easy steps, you can form the head and tail:

- I recommend keeping the dough in the refrigerator before and in between batches to make it easier to roll.

- Do NOT grease the pan

- Start very small as the dough expands as it bakes

- Use your fingers to gently flatten the dough into desired shapes

- Add halved jellybeans

- Begin with only 2 for each ear but then add 1 more to each ear after they have begun to poof up in the oven

- Remove gently, place on a cooling rack, dot eyes with melted chocolate (suing a toothpick) and cool completely

- Again, start small

- Use your fingers to gently flatten the dough into desired shapes

- Add "bend" pieces of the rings into the tail

- Bake

- Remove gently, place on a cooling rack and cool completely

...Gah! Can these pictures be any worse? Sunny, dark, sunny, dark..(Sorry)

Once cool, store the cookies (if there are any leftovers) in an airtight container to keep them from getting stale.

Serving sizes will vary due to size that you choose to create.

*Mom Tip- don't loose your head if you crack a cookie. In the end, the final official decision from NutriKids was no buts about it, they still taste just as delicious! (get it, it's PUNny)

PS- As a mom who hates to overpay or waste anything, a gentle reminder to save those Cherrybrook Kitchen proof of purchase bar codes to send in for their Sweet Rewards Program!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Will The REAL GF Jules Please Stand Up

After having the awesome experience of sampling some of GF Jules products (see HERE), having that turn into a muffin throw-down with GF Mom Certified at the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event in Charlotte (look for details under #Charlotte #GFAFEvent) AND a giveaway (WHAT? You missed it and DIDN'T enter???) I can say that I am left with some wonderful recipe ideas, a winner and a brand new kitchen must-have! (OK, totally a run-on sentence but let's just go with it, ok?)

Let's Clarify
Because I care about this product, the wonderful person behind the product and because I care about helping all of YOU find the best allergy-friendly products, I feel I need to show you what you should look for to avoid any confusion. Imagine being told about a great product and then having that huge disappointment when another product that is similar (but in my opinion, not even remotely as good. Please keep in mind that this is just my opinion and your choices may vary) appear instead #FrownyFace, right? Now, I am a visual person so I will assume all of you are too. Even if you're not, just keep reading :)

I give you the REAL GF Jules (THIS is the product I am saying you NEED to get)

And this, is, well...the other one...

  I guess the best way to sum it up is in a version of an Eminem song....

All the other Slim Shadys are just imitating
So won't the real Slim Shady please stand up,
Please stand up, Please stand up?
(Only, it should read can the REAL GF Jules please stand up)

Without further explanation, here is the woman of the hour!

(Well, not Slim Shady BUT she is the REAL GF Jules!)

The REAL Winner!
Back to announcing the winner of the Keeping it REAL Giveaway- I mean, that's why we are all here, right?

Congratulations to 

Denise, you will receive a 1.5 lb box of GF Jules Flour AND 1 Mix of Your Choice! Please email me at with shipping information and which mix you would like to get so you too can get this artful, humorous package shipped directly to your home too!

Clever packaging, Miss GF Jules! 
REAL Recipes
I, Nutrimom am here to show all of you how to rethink your gluten free products (channeled through Jules Shephard, of course). So, I had her Gluten Free Brownie Mix and yes, I could have just followed the directions to prepare them. But I had a muffin challenge and I knew I had to mix it up a bit (mix it up, see- that's funny). I added one mashed avocado, 1- 4 oz. applesauce and a tad of rice milk with Ener-G Powdered Egg Replacer. I baked them as a muffin in IfYouCare muffin cups (just like little parchment, no-stick papers, love them!) Once done, I heated some SunButter to drizzle over the top and sprinkled them with Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips- simple and delish! Like individual snacks from heaven.

The other package I received was a box of Jules's Whole Grain Bread Mix. Not only does she send you three packs to use with the yeast and a recipe but I used one package and it made a large portion as well as being very easy to use (just as an FYI, I used raw honey, 1 cup of rice milk & 1/4 cup almond milk, Winona Pure Olive Oil and powdered egg replacer). I prepared the mix, covered it and set it into the 200 degree oven for one hour to rise, just as directed. But this is where my brain said "Uh, uh- no loaf to do something else".

I took out my handy dandy Ebelskiver pan and tried a few things. I am happy to report that you can use GF Jules to make Bread Bites! For those of you have have never used an Ebelskiver pan before- the trick is to 1) preheat the pan on low/medium 2) squirt a bit of oil* in each pan indent before filling each time, and be patient while checking to see when the filling should be turned over. Again, here's another visual for you. I have found that a plastic frosting utensil and a toothpick work best to turn and not damage the pan. You can also use the toothpick to insert, testing for doneness. If the pan heat is too high, you will burn the outside and the inside will be uncooked so start with a lower temp and give it time.

Bread Bites
There is no real recipe other than preparing the mix (as mentioned above) and then choosing your filling. You will spoon a small amount of prepared mix into the oiled inserts and shape the dough into a small well to fill (Don't overfill it- less is more). Then top with additional dough, rounding it with the spoon but also making sure it's not too high. You will need to gently loosen the sides with the frosting utensil before turning over. I made three varieties-

Buffalo Chicken- Simply chop up leftover, cooked chicken and add your favorite hot sauce for the stuffing. You can also add a touch of cheese or cayenne pepper. Nothing is better than having a fast and easy spicy snack for a fast grab-n-go, football game snacks, a new treat for your friends or even just as a little something for you to pack into your lunch.

Apple Cinnamon- Apple of your choice cut into small pieces, cinnamon, allspice & honey. These are great warm with nothing added but may I even recommend a light dusting of sugar after they are done? (For this, I would recommend a very small respray of Sunflower oil and rolling them in a bowl full of your favorite sugar (brown, powdered, date or a combination). It's almost like a portable apple pie.

Pepperoni Pizza- You know those commercials for the frozen pizza treats? This is the answer to that dilemma! Mozzarella, tiny bit of sauce and pepperoni (I used Applegate). I do recommend chopping up the pepperoni and mixing the ingredients together before stuffing just because it's easier. You can also just use cheese and choice of a meat for a stuffed Stromboli too. Just make sure you make enough to both feed your endless-pit-of-eating teenager and for yourself. Also, just as a tidbit- when preparing this recipe, you may need to wipe out the inserts between each respray with a clean, damp sponge (no soap) to avoid sticky due to the cheese.

One package of GF Jules Whole-Grain Sandwich Bread mix made approximately 20 Bread Bites but this will vary depending on amount & type of stuffing used.

*I also invite you to view the follow-up post by GF Mom Certified too! (Right Here)

One last word of advice from me, Nutrimom-

I was not compensated in any way for my product review other than the products themselves- my thoughts and opinions are always truthful & my own.

 * Why do I keep mentioning Winona Pure Oil? Because they contain no propellants, soy or additives. NutriFamily is all about how to help #PurifyYourLife 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Keeping it REAL

I pride myself on keeping my thoughts, posts and actions within the food allergy world real and true to my word. Many people do not but I also tend to gravitate to others that hold the same ideals. To me, my word is what portrays me within our community and if I cannot be honest, then I cannot truly feel as if I am helping properly. Today, I wanted to celebrate that passion by giving back to all of you with the help of another truly awesome member within the food allergy world.

For Real?
By now, all of you know I love to host giveaways because (without ALL of you) I would not be where I am and I will always appreciate that. Being a fellow food allergy parent, I understand how difficult it can be working on a budget and trying to nourish your family with a safe product. I also know how hard it can be to find those products that are safe and taste good too. What better way to show all of you love, give you a chance to win some items and have it be from a truly dedicated person as well. I am talking about Jules Shephard and her oober-awesome company GFJules

The REAL Jules
Here's where it gets a little tricky- awhile back, Jules Shephard began to go through an ordeal that nobody should ever have to go through. She put her heart and gluten free soul into starting her company and it was, well, simply taken without her permission. I am asking ALL of you to help her out to show her how much we appreciate her products and need them. (In case you are fuzzy on the details, view the post that GlutenDude shared)

REALLY- It's Time So Enter NOW!
It's a short & sweet giveaway so make sure you enter, share, tweet and do your magic to get extra entries while also helping out Jules (the REAL Jules).

1 winner will receive (1) 1.5 pound box of GF Jules Flour & (1) Mix of your choice
*FYI, I made her Gluten Free Brownie Mix for the first annual Muffin Throw Down- yum! I added 1 pureed avocado, 1 4-oz applesauce, Ener-G Powdered Egg Replacer and I topped it with warmed, drizzled SunButter and Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips.

*Tweet- PLEASE use this phrase when tweeting
@TracyBNutrimom has a REAL giveaway 4 @THEgfJules-RT 2 Enter
(Tweeting gives you additional entries but to enter, you MUST click on the Rafflecopter Giveaway link below)


(Apologies for the lack of an actual giveaway timer/counter do-dad...simply click the link to arrive at the entry destination & good luck!)

Want To Really Help?
If you appreciate Jules Shephard, you can show her extra love too! How can we do this? Easy-

  • Go to GF Jules to subscribe as well as linking up on her other media sites & make sure you tell her how much you appreciate her (we all like to hear that!)
  • Spread the word- share with others to let them know who the REAL GF Jules is
  • Make your opinion known to the other company that you no longer support them! Go to unsubscribe, unlink and tell them why you don't want to be a part of their company anymore 
  • Always make sure you look for the GF Jules logo to ensure you are getting the REAL products that you love and deserve