Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Giveaway- Pure & Simple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Food Allergy or Food Intolerance- BOTH Can Be Debilitating!

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

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

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

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

Is your cooking really all that bad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Glutino Goes Green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gluten Free Resting Face Takes Over!

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

(Click HERE)


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!