Monday, November 24, 2014

Eating to Help Prevent a Stroke

November is a time to reflect on what we are all grateful for as well as indulging in many of our favorite foods with the holidays rolling around. I wanted to take the time to share with all of you some important food-related facts to help give us all an upper hand in staying a bit healthier. Normally many of my posts are about food allergies and related products but when the American Red Cross contacted me and so passionately pointed out how food was a definite factor in this month's stroke awareness, how could I not share?

Just like the numbers related to food allergic reactions are scary, so are the numbers when it comes to stroke victims. Did you know that every 4 minutes a person's life is taken due to a stroke? I didn't! Did you also know that 1 in 6 people will have a stroke within their lifetime? I didn't know this either. The fact is that just as with food allergies, if it does not directly effect you or your family, chances are that you would not even think twice about stroke symptoms. But this certainly does not protect you from having one so let's share knowledge because, as I always like to say, knowledge is power.

Food Factors- Poor diet choices, high cholesterol & blood pressure and obesity are just a few things that you can begin to change in your life right now. So how do you know which foods tend to be some of the top no-no's? Here's an easy list of foods that you may want to reconsider going forward-

  • Store-bought baked goods 
  • Chips & crackers
  • Fried foods
  • Snack foods & frozen foods
  • Salad dressings
  • Packaged mixes
  • Processed/smoked meats
  • Diet soda
  • Canned goods
  • Prepared frozen meals
Now before you run into your kitchen and begin throwing everything under the sun away, stop and read your labels (well, well- another food allergy-related thing as well!). Not all of the foods that I listed may be offenders. I am talking about foods that contain hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils and high amounts of sodium. Do your research, read and reread your labels and make informed decisions. If you are unsure, ask for help. Every small thing that you do today will keep you healthier tomorrow.

photo courtesy of
Signs to Watch For- We have a few foods to watch out for but what types of symptoms do we need to be aware of if we think someone just isn't acting quite right? Just as the chart below shows us, it's easy to remember FAST

Face drooping
Arm weakness 
Speech difficulty 
Time to call 911

And, just as we seasoned food allergic people always tell others- when in doubt, seek immediate medical assistance. With a stroke, time is of the essence and there is no shame in an unnecessary medical visit. Some day, one of those visits could mean the difference between life and death. 

Food that You Should Eat- Are there foods that you can eat that will also help reduce the risk for a stroke- yes! Vegetables and fruit are always great but also make sure you eat a variety of high fiber foods and grains as well. These foods act as a pipe cleaner for your arteries. Are you worried about what they might be? Don't! Many high fiber foods are also great protein and even allergy-friendly. 
- Legumes: split peas, lentils, black beans & lima beans
- Vegetables: artichokes, peas, broccoli and brussel sprouts
- Fruits: raspberries, blackberries, avocado (yes, it's a fruit!) and pears
- Grains: Bran, whole wheat and barley. Need gluten free options? Try certified gluten free oats, quinoa, flax seeds and chia seeds.

Need a Quick Recipe? Try out some of my easy, allergy-friendly recipes (simply click on the recipe title to get too the full recipe)

<3 Please remember to be thankful for everything that life brings you each and every day but also be thankful for the things that life keeps away from you as well. For more information about how to prevent a stoke, the symptoms or other general facts please go to  <3

And please, be well ~

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Free Gluten Free Holiday Recipes

Who needs some fast, gluten-free recipes for the Thanksgiving holiday next week? Who needs recipes for the entire holiday season? I do, I do!!! We are in luck- Pam Jordan (also known as I'm A Celiac) has a free ebook available on Amazon right now! I do admit, I felt privileged to have been offered a sneak peek but it's available to all of you right now (just click HERE to be zoomed away to the magical land of gluten free) so please make sure you get your copy and share with others who can use it as well.

Are you curious what is in this holiday cookbook? My first instinct is to insist that you download it right now but for those of you who like a little information first, I'd be happy to give you a quick breakdown. Although it's a shorter book (21 pages), Pam gives a variety of appetizers, side dishes, main dishes and desserts (Mmmm, desserts!). She adds in helpful holiday tips to dine safely and she offers a list of the products that are used in all of the recipes in her book including a direct link to make it that much easier for the reader to get what they need before the holidays jump on us. How's that for skipping all of those long lines at the stores?!

For those of you who may be new to a gluten free diagnosis, Pam Jordan is an author/blogger/mother who has Celiac Disease and is one awesome supportive person to help all of us so we don't starve or feel the least bit unsatisfied with our gluten free diets. She shares tips, recipes, menus and most of all, Pam is a regular down-to-earth person just like you and I. Her passion to help other people shows through in everything that she does (which is why I personally like her).

Thanks to Pam for looking out for all of us and for continuing to help us through the difficult times of the year. Download your copy now for free and please share with others as sharing is caring. (Well, I'm sure you were going to do that anyway!) For your speedy, still-sitting-in-jammy-shopping experience, here is the link

Enjoy the recipes and eat safely <3

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gluten-Free (Compliments of Vanessa Weisbrod)

Being an author myself of my own ebook, I am intrigued when I get requests to view other people's cookbooks as well. Not only do I get another cookbook to add to my collection but I get to see what is inside of the minds of these great people that I come into contact with. It's one thing to talk about what you would like to do, what your life is like having a restricted diet but it's quite another task to put together a cookbook- especially a cookbook that has to be so precise due to food allergies.

I was approached to see if I would be interested in reviewing The Delight Gluten-Free Cookbook by Vanessa Weisbrod. For those of you who may not know, Vanessa is the Executive Editor of Delight Gluten Free magazine (awesome magazine, awesome peeps as I have met them). I'm not sure what everyone else usually tends to look for but I always go to the photos first. Not that this is necessarily the best way to see if it's a worthy cookbook but as I have learned, cooking gluten-free an be very challenging so if the pictures look enticing, I will be drawn in even more. (Pouting, wishing my photos were half as good right about now!)

The photos are all just simple, clean looking pictures- nothing ultra fancy but this is something that I feel everyday people who are looking for answers might respond to better. When I look at recipes with photos that display the ultimate dish that I cannot possibly live up to, I close the book and let it collect dust. As I say often, in every day life who has time to create an eighteen step meal? Not many so why would a complex photo make us want to be able to? I like the brightness of the pictures and the fact that I could even see these as foods that might have been from my own kitchen.
What I liked about the book-
  • Anatomy of a Recipe I am a person who likes to include details to make recipes easier as well as someone who like simplicity. I loved the "Anatomy of a Recipe" on page 17 because it spells everything out for you. This may seem a bit silly to some but sometimes, when you have a brain fog and just can't function on your usual level, something like this helps give you that extra "Ah ha!". 
  • Allergen Tag/Symbols These are helpful while you thumb through the cookbook and takes one less step while searching. Rather than having to go through the entire recipe, check and recheck ingredients, you can just check the allergen symbols to give you a heads-up.
  • Short Prep Time Most of the recipes within Vanessa's cookbook are 30 minutes or less. This goes back to my everyday comment of not having enough hours in the day to cook super genius meals. Yay for fast and easy!
  • Trusted Brands and Resources Vanessa lists many gluten free brands and I was thrilled that many of them are my family's favorites as well. I find these especially helpful for newcomers to the world of food allergies because it gives them a good place to start with items that they can feel comfortable trying out.
  • Cocktails Chapter Yes, she includes a chapter for cocktails! (Well, a girl likes to have options and enjoys a small night cap now and again) Also a handy reminder to many people when starting out gluten-free that gluten lurks everywhere, even in alcoholic beverages. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Convenient Size The book has a lot of great information but it's not a large or heavy book. Sounds silly but do you know how many heavy cookbooks I have dropped on my toe?!
What I knit-picked about:
  1. SPAM Yes, like that gelatinous mystery meat in a can kind of Spam. Right there, on page 116. I am all for utilizing the foods that you can eat but that just crosses a line with me. Blah! Sorry Vanessa, my issue not yours.
  2. Dairy, Eggs, Butter Again, my issues and not the author's at all. I just noticed that a large majority of the recipes contain dairy, eggs and butter which may be a turnoff to some. I understand that it's a gluten-free focused cookbook but perhaps if there had been substitutes mentioned in the recipes containing these items to make it a bit easier for the person cooking them up (rather than flipping back and forth to the substitutions list on page 18).
The recipe that I tried:

After perusing the entire book, the recipe that caught my eye was on page 146 "Curry Coconut Mashed Cauliflower". Why this recipe? Because I am not a cauliflower lover, the combination of flavors seemed unique and it wasn't a recipe that I would assume would be in a typical cookbook (such as your average muffins, soups, etc). So I gave it a whirl. And to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. It was super easy to make and there were leftovers for lunch and sides. There was no usual cauliflower taste and it was almost like a garlicky, creamy slightly spicy version of mashed potatoes. Mine didn't seem as orange as the picture in Vanessa's cookbook but it was still quite tasty.

My overall thoughts:

I would recommend this cookbook to anyone who has to use a gluten-free diet, whether it be for beginners or for those that are just looking for another good cookbook resource. For more information or to order the cookbook, please visit

<3 A heartfelt thank you to Vanessa for thinking of me for my thoughts on her cookbook. I know she will do well with this and will continue to rock the gluten-free world with additional recipes in the future.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I am Naturally Clean

You just read the title, so are you wondering what the heck I am going to write about now? Ha, good!

You know that I am always researching new products and trying to find items that we can use to stay on the healthier side of our every day lives. A few weeks back, I was asked to review a product produced by Green Virgin Products called Soap Nuts Liquid, which was a natural liquid laundry detergent (click HERE if you missed the original post). Most recently, they have sent me two more items to see what my thoughts were on them as well.

Mineral Salts Deodorant Stone Yes, you read that correctly- a stone that is made from mineral salts that you use in place of your typical deodorant. I have to admit that this one kind even made me look at it for awhile and think "Hmmm, is this just a little too over-the-top?" but I quickly realized that I must heed my own advice. The only way to prove if the claim is right or wrong is to try it out. There are no side effects so there's no reason not to try it. Just to be safe, my first day started on a weekend when I would be home (just in case I was a little on the stinkier side). At first, I did notice that I still had a bit of an odor but after reading the product information that stated your body may need a few days to completely get rid of the usual deodorant, I stuck to it.

For a week straight, I used it. Each day, I wet it (yes, you wet it just a bit and then apply. I had to also get used to that as I was never a fan of liquid deodorant anyway..blah! Wet pits..blah!) and continued to use it. And each day, I was pleasantly surprised that I had no odor. I am curious if anyone caught me sniffing my armpits during this time period...just so attractive, right? Then I had a big day come up and I wanted to give it the ultimate test of sweating. I was asked to be on a MyFox8 news segment- talk about a moment to instantly sweat! Exciting yes but also nerve-wracking. But again- I was pleasantly surprised and no odor! (Yep, I can hear them talking now- Hey, did you catch Nutrimom smelling her armpits in the parking lot after the show today?) I may have looked calm but I was definitely sweating quietly (view HERE).

My overall final thoughts on the Deodorant Stone- a definite keeper. It's natural, there's no worry about the chemicals that are in store-bought deodorants and have you ever noticed that white, clumpy build-up that you get from deodorant? No more of that either. No more marks on my clothing, no stains and an instant change to upgrade my health going forward. And, the stone is reported to last for two years or longer- can we say very budget-friendly as well? I'm keeping it and I am going to order more for the rest of my family because I think proactively- this change today will change our family's health tomorrow. I do have one worry....I wonder how this will work during airport travel? The stones are a bit heavier and I wonder if airport security will wonder if I am going to use it for a weapon? Just a random thought.

Soap Nut & Moringa Bar Soap Green Virgin Products also sent me an all natural soap to try as well. As you can see, the soap is an earthy kind of deep green- visually appealing (I feel). Note the dragonfly imprint (oooh, ahhhh). Much like their Soap Nuts Liquid that I tried for the washing machine, there is not much of a lather compared to other soaps. I am a lathery-kind-of-person with my little scrubby gloves in the morning but once I adapted to less lather, I noticed that the end result was even better than my usual soap. I felt squeaky clean (literally) but I also noticed that my skin was much less dry than normal and felt smoother (It must be a Soap Nut thing because I also noticed that our clothes felt softer while trying  out the liquid).

The scent is pleasant- not a strong smell and it's almost like a faint, woody earthy smell. This is a plus for me since I have allergic issues with strong scents. And oddly enough, the bar did not break in half . Come on, haven't you ever wondered why your soap always breaks in half and then what do you do? You throw it away. Waste.

Another test for me was shaving with it. I was curious since the lather wasn't as lively how my legs would react to such conditions. I am happy to report that this challenge was also happily won. There was no build-up, my skin was not dry and honestly, I almost thought about not even using lotion but that is one thing that I just cannot skip each day. (Psst! Green Virgin products, can you whip me up a lotion? That will be 5% new product idea please but I will also be happy to discuss lifelong product as well). So would I continue to use it? Yes, absolutely. My only hope is that I can get a few local stores to carry their items because I have a personal pet peeve about ordering online.

Thank you to Green Virgin Products for asking me to review their items, I appreciate it and enjoyed them completely. As always, I do not get compensated for my product reviews (other than product themselves) as my opinions are my own and they are always truthful, good or bad. For more information on these products as well as their other items that are available, please visit and let them know that Nutrimom sent you.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Free Food Allergy Answers

I am all for sharing, especially when it involves helping others feel less overwhelmed when dealing with food allergies. I have been there- I have been that parent that had zillions upon zillions of questions that not only went unanswered but were not answered correctly. I am happy to share that there is now a free, down loadable booklet for all of you who just want simple, precise answers and information on what to expect as a food allergic parent.

Kathy Penrod (author of Tumptin's Sneeze and MyKidsFoodAllergies) and Mary Ellen Ellis  have put together a collection of everything that you need to know after receiving a food allergy diagnosis. The book "An Overview of Food Allergies for Parent in Need of Answers" is less than 30 pages but it has easy to read information that guides you through the basic questions that many of us have once our world has been halted by food allergies. This ebook includes:

- What are Food Allergies?
- Types of Food Allergies
- How are Food Allergies Diagnosed?
- Treatments for Food Allergies
- Avoiding Food Allergens
- Living With Food Allergens

Each chapter is just a handful of pages but they all include helpful information, food allergy myths, quick links for additional support and a breakdown of other names to look for on labels for the top eight allergens.

This is something that I would love to see available in physician and allergy specialist's offices to help explain so many of the facts that are very often just not described by our medical professionals.Unlike some of the materials that most of us are given after a diagnosis, Kathy's ebook stays on the side of pleasant pictures and facts ( none of those scary photos that are usually used inside a food allergy pamphlet). And, it's FREE- one less thing to add to our worry list.

As a Food Allergy Consultant/Blogger/Author/Mother, I highly recommend this ebook to others. I suggest this be used within food allergy support groups for newcomers, passed along to doctors that your family feels may need to give some extra guidance to other families as well and even sent to other family members who are unsure about what a food allergy diagnosis means going forward.

Knowledge is power and safety should always be the first priority in keeping our families safe. I'm thankful that Kathy has shared her knowledge with us to keep our families that much safer. To get your free copy of this ebook now, simply visit MyKidsFoodAllergies at and download it now.

Special thanks to Kathy for asking me to review her ebook- I am honored to have been asked.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

EpiPens are No Fairy Tale

Do you remember being a child and dreaming about going to on a Disney vacation? Meeting the characters, riding on endless amounts of rides and eating all sorts of foods that- oh, wait, no. You have food allergies. There were no hopes of having that family vacation that you wanted. Instead, there was the fear of the foods that you would be surrounded by. Thoughts of watching others dining with the characters or even worse yet- having an allergic reaction somewhere in the park and not having your epinephrine. Luckily, fairy tales do come true.

This is a picture of a dream that has come to life-

(click HERE for full size image) 

I am happy to share that Mylan will be working with Disney to update their maps in order to help guests locate an EpiPen on site (not only for their park locations but also on their cruise ships). There will also be additional assurance through trained staff who will be able to administer epinephrine to those who are having an allergic reaction. Just think of how this opens up possibilities for families who have food allergy concerns and what this means, knowing that there will be help and medication if they need it. 

photo courtesy
As food allergy families, we are taught to always be prepared but some of us make mistakes- we  leave our EpiPens in the car or we grab an expired box while trying to rush out of the door or perhaps we were unaware that our emergency packet was broken or not usable. That moment of panic because we know that what we need to save our life is lifted and although it doesn't mean that all of our vacations will be absolutely safe, it does mean that a large portion of the stress is gone and we can exhale just a little bit more.

As a food allergic mother, I want to say thank you to Disney and Mylan for this extra security for our family. For me, this solidifies Mylan's mission "We are committed to setting new standards in healthcare. Working together around the world to provide 7 billion people access to high quality medicine, we innovate to satisfy unmet needs; make reliability and service excellence a habit; do what's right not what's easy; and impact the future through passionate global leadership."

In the beloved words of Cinderella-

photo courtesy of

Thank you for listening to our hearts~

For more information on this partnership, please visit


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Plain & Simple- Always Have Your Epi

Wednesdays have become somewhat of a tribute to epinephrine for me. I have been posting weekly reminders on my Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn pages as a countdown to the end of the year for the EpiPen $0 copay offer so . Today, to my surprise on "epinephrine Wednesday", I was told that EpiPen has a new addition of short videos on their site to help others have a better understanding about how having epinephrine is crucial. The videos are shared real-life stories that bring a sense of ease to what can be an overwhelming concern about allergies.

There are three videos that include:

These videos help to give easy, fast and up close and personal information on preparedness, avoidance, symptoms to watch for and how EpiPen is a part of their daily lives to stay safe.

For those of you who have not visited the EpiPen website yet, there are also other wonderful resources that you can view as well. They have pages that cover:

With all of these links and support, there are no excuses for you not to be prepared. Plain and simple- Always have your Epi.

*Photos courtesy of


Monday, November 3, 2014

So, is it REALLY Delicious?

As a family that tries to remain as dairy-free as possible, we have been happy to find several products from So Delicious to add to our kitchen must-have's. Last year, I was uber excited (yes, it's a real word, Google it) to find their dairy free Coconut Nog but to top it off, I was asked if I knew about the newest frozen treats. Gasp! No, what newest items? Did I miss something?! Come on local stores, catch up people! I have foods to try and hungry mouths to fill- no time to dawdle, especially when it comes to varieties of foods. Then the frozen box arrived on my doorstep and all was right with the world again.

SO, What was in Box 1? So Delicious sent me a box of their Candy Corn frozen treats. (These are a seasonal item from August to October so make sure you keep an eye open next year!) Although they don't taste like candy corn, they were so creamy, so good that I can't wait to find them next year. The orange portion tastes similar to an orange creamsicle and the white portion is just a creamy frozen dessert topped off with just the right amount of dairy-free chocolate. Fully approved by both NutriKids as well as myself and our only hope is that So Delicious will keep this product in their thoughts for next year.
Ingredients: Organic coconut milk (water, organic coconut cream), organic dried can syrup, inulin, carob bean gum, guar gum, natural flavors, annatto, ascorbic acid, organic beet juice. Chocolate coating: Cane sugar, chocolate liquor, coconut oil, cocoa butter.

SO, What about Box 2? Box two was also a seasonal item- Pumpkin Spice frozen treats. These frozen goodies were like pumpkin pie meets dairy-free egg nog. Not too sweet, a mild pumpkin taste and just overall very easy to eat the entire treat with a thought about having a second one as well. (Please note that no harm was done to the Pumpkin Spice bar as I carefully placed something underneath it to keep it off of the ground for later consumption. Nutrimom reserves the right to eat products, even if they have actually touched the ground.)
Ingredients: Organic coconut milk, (water, organic coconut cream), organic dried cane syrup, inulin, guar gum, carob bean gum, natural flavors, spices, annatto, freeze dried pumpkin powder. 

*One request to the company- consider increasing the number of bars per package. I mean, four is ok but it's almost like a tease. Six or even eight is a nice number.

SO, There's Whipped Topping Too?! Yes, So Delicious sent two dairy-free dessert toppings and I have to say...Oh..My..GAWH!!!!! (Licking the spoon, and the plate and even the container). I think I have died and gone to dairy-free dessert heaven. The Coco Whip is just as creamy if not creamier than your typical dessert topping with the added bonus of not containing any artificial colors, sweeteners or yucky flavors. It reminded me of whipped topping meets the Bahamas- simple fluffy deliciousness. Ingredients: Water, organic coconut oil, organic tapioca syrup, organic dried cane syrup, pea protein, guar gum, organic sunflower lecithin, natural flavors, xanthan gum.

The CocoWhip Lite seemed to me to have a tiny it stronger coconut flavor but still just as good. And, did you know that the toppings can be defrosted and refrozen? Yup. It says so right on the container (even though I, Nutrimom,vigilant label-reader didn't see it and contacted the company to verify that I could refreeze it). Then I thought about it and it seems like it may be wasted if I refreeze the entire container each time, right? And all of you know that I am a stickler for not wasting foods, especially good, allergy-friendly foods. What does one do in this case? I spooned individual portions onto a board covered with waxed paper, froze them for one hour and then placed them into an airtight container for later use. No wasting and when you need just one dollop, it's ready and waiting for you. Ingredients: Water, organic tapioca syrup, organic dried cane syrup, organic coconut oil, pea protein, organic sunflower lecithin, natural flavors, guar gum, xanthan gum.

SO, What About the Rest?  Yes, I can't forget about the other items!! So Delicious sent me three varieties: Mint Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice and Coconut Milk Nog.

The Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk was so, SO good alone- almost like a liquid candy bar only not as sweet. And yes, I could have just drank it down but I like to try new things. Since coconut is a great protein, why not start out the day with a breakfast that tastes like a dessert? Simply soak your choice of gluten free oats (I use Freedom Foods) with enough Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk to make it soupy and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, simply heat it up for a fast breakfast. I also added a scoop of SunButter for added protein and to make taste even more like a sinful bowl of tastiness. (Warning, this could become your new favorite breakfast so use caution and hide it from others in the fridge.)

The Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk is like having a glass of pumpkin pie. And although I normally pose a recipe, this product was just something that I felt needed to be enjoyed all alone, in it's original state. You know how sometimes you get that three o'clock lull and you just need something sweet? This was my answer to that lull (plus, who can resist having a pumpkin spice mustache?!) And why yes, those are some of my individually frozen portions of their Coco Whip. See how they come in handy? A little bit of Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk, a cold dollop of Coco Whip to keep your beverage nice and cold- all I needed was someone to rub my feet and fan me.

The Coconut Milk Nog is something that I found last year and I was so excited when they sent me more in this package. Unlike your typical nog, So Delicious Coconut Nog is lower in fat and sugar and doesn't contain a lot of the ingredients that our family needs to stay away from (ie. egg, dairy and soy). It just so happens that I had a recipe that I used last year with their Coconut Nog so if it ain't broken, don't fix it, right? May I present and reshare with all of you my recipe for Nog Pops.

Nog Pops
3 Ounce plastic cups
Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Chips
1 Quart So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog
Cherries (optional)
Lollipop sticks
Optional- Crushed gluten free pretzels (such as Glutino), candy cane bits, etc. for topping 

Place the plastic cups in a shallow dish for support. Sprinkle enough chocolate chips to cover the bottom of the cups. Pour the nog in each cup, leaving room at the top of the cup for chocolate. Optional- add chopped cherries to the cups.

Cover the entire dish securely with plastic wrap. Gently poke one lollipop stick through the plastic into the middle of each cup of nog. Place in the freezer until firm.

Once the nog cups are frozen, prepare the chocolate. Melt the chocolate chips on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Once melted, remove the nog pops from the freezer and gently spoon some chocolate onto the top of each filled cup. Add additional toppings, making sure you gently press down to ensure they become secured into the chocolate. Place back into the freezer until you are ready to serve.

Allow the pops to thaw a few minutes prior to serving. To loosen, run the outside of the cups under warm water.

Makes approximately 15 pops

I would like to send a huge, appreciative hug to So Delicious for sending me such great tasting goodies to try out. If you would like to find out more about their full line of products, please visit them at as well as their other social media sites for additional promotions.

*As always, I did not receive any compensation other than the products to be reviewed as all of my reviews are always honest.