Friday, May 28, 2010

SoyNut Butter...A Great Peanut Free Alternative

When we first found at that Brody tested positive on his blood test to peanuts, we looked for a peanut free substitutes and tried Sunbutter (which is made from sunflower seeds). I used this for a little while, but I thought it had a strong taste and it wasn't as rich and creamy as peanut butter (which I missed), so I was hoping to find another option.

After purchasing The Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book (which I highly recommend making egg, milk and nut free baked goods), I noticed that she preferred to use SoyNut Butter. I thought I would give it a try and we really like it!

I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter is peanut free and is made with Non-GMO (which means non-genetically modified...if you have watched Food Inc., you will know about this). I love the creamy texture (we like the Original Creamy) and I find that it is not as strong as the Sunbutter. I feel it is a pretty close comparison to peanut butter.

I.M Healthy is

  • Safe for Schools
  • Made from Non-GMO Roasted Soybeans
  • No Trans Fats
  • No Refrigeration Need after Opening
  • Dairy and Gluten Free
  • Kids Love it!

My boys have been enjoying SoyNut Butter and "Jelly" (fresh fruit preserve) sandwiches lately and it has been an easy lunch to pack if we are meeting friends for a picnic or we are just on the go. I am thankful for peanut alternatives.

Being Allergen Free is definitely getting easier in some aspects :)

Click HERE to find out where you can buy SoyNut Butter
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Candy That Is Not Full of Junk? Check out Surf Sweets

Recently, I was given the opportunity to sample some Surf Sweets products and I have to tell you, I am impressed! My favorite part is seeing what is NOT on the label (dyes, high fructose corn syrup, etc.). I tried jelly beans, gummy bears, sour berry bears and sour worms (my children and husband willingly helped sample them also). All of the treats were delicious, but my favorite were the sour berry bears and the sour worms (I love sour stuff). I like that I can have any surf sweets product and not feel guilty about "junk" being in them.

And what did the kids think? They LOVED them! As a mom to a child with food allergies, it is so nice to be able to give my son a safe treat, that tastes great. I read where another allergy mom said that her goal is for all of the non-allergic kids to want what her food allergic child is eating. I just love this concept! I know this is the case with Surf Sweet products.

Thank you Surf Sweets for your tasty, safe, treats!
  • Made with Organic Fruit Juice & Sweeteners
  • Natural Colors and Flavors
  • Free of Corn Syrups and GMO's
  • Made in a nut free facility
  • Gluten Free
Where to buy Surf Sweets
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Strawberry Milkshakes

Go pick some fresh strawberries

Add some Turtle Mountain So Delicious Dairy Free Vanilla Ice Cream OR Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream Click HERE for Coupon

Strawberry Milkshakes

This recipe is free of milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish
*can be soy free if you use coconut milk ice cream or Rice Dream


approximately 8 oz of strawberries (the fresh from the farm ones are incredible right sweet)

approximately 8 oz of crushed ice

Dairy free ice cream to the consitency and texture you prefer

Soy, Rice, Almond or So Delicious Coconut Milk to thin it out


put all of the ingredients in a blender and let it whirl!

Enjoy on a hot day!

I need to head back to the strawberry farm...we have used all our ours up :)

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Baked Egg Oral Food Challenge

I need to catch you up on what has been doing on around our house. To say the least, things have been extremely busy and I am emotionally exhausted.

As Brody is getting older, my husband and I have been wondering to what extent are Brody's food allergies? Is what came up on the blood and skin tests accurate? Are we withholding an allergen for no reason?

As you know, it is so difficult with food allergies, because it can sometimes be hard to determine the severity (and sometimes even the accuracy) of the food allergies from the blood test and skin test alone. You may have heard that the most accurate determination of a food allergy is an oral food challenge (which I am NOT advocating be done at home). We experienced this first hand as Brody's blood test showed positive to wheat, but his skin test did not. We were told by our allergist that we could slowly introduce wheat, and Brody is fine with it. Could we live wheat free, absolutely? But, it really opened up a world of opportunities when we were able to add it back into our diet. Plus it knocked one allergen off the list, which encouraged us.

We accidentally had an oral challenge with milk back in November and we knew from what happened, that Brody was severely allergic to milk. We were really curious to see if Brody would be allergic to baked egg. The reason we chose baked egg, is that there has been some studies done, that have shown that sometimes children allergic to milk and/or egg can have the allergen in baked form because the body might recognize it differently. This was very intriguing to us. We knew from the blood and skin test that there was a pretty good possibility that Brody was allergic to egg, since they both showed positive. We have never given Brody egg of any type since we found out on his blood test and I eliminated it from my diet. Part of me did not want to do the oral food challenge, but another part of me wanted to because I thought, "What if we are avoiding baked egg and he is not even allergic to it?" For me, it wasn't necessarily the excitement of putting egg in something (because as you know, most food items that contain egg also contain milk), I think it would be more of the hope that he is moving towards outgrowing his food allergies.

About a month and a half ago, I called my allergist to see if insurance would cover an oral food challenge. I was told to contact my insurance company and insurance said they had never heard of a food challenge before, but might consider covering it if I faxed them a letter of medical necessity. My allergist wrote the letter and I also included a letter that we wanted to do the food challenge in a controlled environment because otherwise, we might have to go to the emergency room if it was not done in a doctor's office, which would cost the insurance company a lot of money.

A month later, we got a letter from the insurance company stating that they would cover the oral food challenge. I was so excited because I felt that it was a little victory. The insurance company acknowledged that a food challenge would be best done in the doctor's office. We were extremely excited!

We scheduled a food challenge as soon as we could after finding out the news. The night before the challenge, I made homemade blueberry, banana muffins with one egg. It was so weird to use egg in a muffin recipe since we have been egg free for almost a year now.

When we got to the appointment, we discussed every possibility with our allergist. We then were given the go ahead for Brody to eat a bite of the muffin. I was excited, but nervous. I handed it to him and he shook his head. I was so confused, my child LOVES muffins! The doctor left to give us some privacy and we tried to encourage Brody to eat a bite. Brody just shook his head and tried to feed it to me and threw it on the floor. My husband, my older son and I all ate a muffin and said "yum" and Brody still would not take a bite. This kept on for about an hour and we then decided it would just be best to re-schedule. For whatever reason, it was not meant to be for that day. As soon as we got out to the car, Brody ate his soy nut butter and jelly sandwich. It was pretty comical. We just had to laugh.

We rescheduled a week later and I decided to make safe chocolate chip cookies this time (who couldn't resist a cookie?), but added an egg to the recipe for the challenge. My husband and I stayed up late the night before making the cookies. The food challenge was at 8:30am in the morning, hoping that Brody would be hungry and not have a repeat of what happened before (our allergist is about 40 minutes away so we didn't want the previous scenario to keep playing out). We got up in the morning, packed up and left for the appointment. We did the same protocol as before and I asked a couple of questions just to make sure I knew what would happen in case there was a bad reaction.

We handed the cookie to Brody and he took a bite. We went into a play area to distract him from wanting the rest of the cookie and watched him carefully for about 45 minutes. He looked great. He didn't have hives, eczema, or breathing issues. He was running around the room playing with the toys. My husband and I were pretty encouraged because we thought if something bad was going to happen, surely it would have happened already. We had seen before what a sip of milk could do to him, and it happened almost instantaneously.

After the 45 minutes, we were given permission to let Brody eat more cookies. If he passed this part, we could feel confident giving him things with baked egg in it at home. He started eating them and we sat there and watched, very carefully. All of a sudden, he sneezed. I thought it might be a coincidence, and then he started to sneezing consecutively. We weren't too alarmed, because if that was the worst part of the reaction, that was tolerable. A couple minutes after he started sneezing, he wanted to be held, lost color and started to act like he was about to fall asleep. He was almost limp and not interacting the way he had been before. This caused us to be alarmed, because this was unlike our child. The doctor and nurse were right there with us and we tried to administer Benedryl to Brody, he refused it, which was weird because normally he doesn't mind it.

The doctor listened to Brody's breathing, which was my biggest concern since his accidental milk ingestion made him have difficulty breathing. Our next concern was his blood pressure dropping because he was acting so lethargic. I knew we were in good hands with our doctor and felt confident about being at a hospital (that is where our allergist's office is located) in case things went downhill quickly. Our doctor tried to get take his blood pressure and couldn't get an accurate reading because Brody didn't like the cuff on. Our allergist then said the wanted to be on the conservative side and wanted to administer epinephrine. We were completely fine with that because we really weren't sure how his body was responding and wanted to be on the safe side.

Epinephrine was given (but no like our Epi-Pens), it looked like a shot that your child gets at the doctor's office and was administered in his arm. Within minutes, Brody's color came back and he started to respond and act more like himself. Not too long after that, he threw up for this first time ever. Brody then accepted his dose of Bendryl and started to play with the toys again.

I can't tell you how crazy it is to watch food do that to your child. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. We were in a controlled environment and I felt confident with my doctor and the protocol. The scenario could have been completely different and we could have walked out of the office with the freedom to feed Brody food with baked egg.

Did it go the way we would have liked it to? Not necessarily, but I feel I can share and educate others on what ingesting an allergen can do to a food allergic child because I have first hand experience. I feel I can recognize a reaction quicker than I did before. I feel completely confident in the Epi-pen and know without a shadow of a doubt that I could administer it to Brody because I saw what a difference it made.

Where do we go from here? We will continue to be milk, egg and peanut free for awhile, and that is alright. I feel like we are able to handle the food allergies much better than we were able to a year ago. I hope that maybe some of our experiences can help someone who has just been recently diagnosed and feeling overwhelmed. I know I am on this journey for a reason with my son and I am going to make the most of it by educating, advocating and continuing to make Brody feel included, regardless of his food allergies. This little boy has taught me so much and I continue to learn every day. I am at peace with what happened yesterday and maybe in a year, we can try baked egg again (his milk reaction was worse so we will not attempt that for awhile).

Until then....we are allergen free!

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Olive Garden

Over mother's day weekend, my in-laws were in town and wanted to take us out for dinner. Olive Garden sounded good, but we hadn't tried it yet with Brody. I decided to give the manager a call and see if they could accommodate us.

The manager spent time going over what would be safe for Brody (there wasn't much that didn't have milk or eggs in it). The marinara sauce has butter in it (FYI) and the spaghetti noodles are made in a facility that processes egg, so that leaves out the traditional Italian cuisine.

BUT, on the children's menu, they have grilled chicken and a side of broccoli (it comes with spaghetti too, but we had to pass on this). The general manager was informed of Brody's food allergies and came over and took our special order and made it himself to make sure there was no cross-contamination. I was really grateful, and impressed. The chicken was made with no seasoning, had a little olive oil on it to give it flavor and the broccoli was just steamed (nothing on it).

We asked Brock (my non-allergic kid) what he wanted for dinner, and he chose the same meal as Brody. So sweet. It was nice to be able to eat out and for Brody to have a dinner that he liked and it helped that big brother wanted the same thing.
One more to add to the list!

Olive Garden
Spring Hill, TN
General Manager: Richard Hill

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Register for the FAAN Walk!

The FAAN walk will be HERE IN NASHVILLE this fall! We got to hear Kelsey Morgan, our 10 year old local ambassador share her heart with us at our F.A.C.T. meeting. What an inspiring young lady!

Let's sign our teams up (in honor of our children, or others dealing with food allergies) and start raising awareness within our communities and raise money to help find a cure. The earlier we sign up, the more time we will have to share with others.

It is free to register, FAAN asks that we instead collect donations to raise money for food allergy research and education programs. By registering online, you will receive an e-mail confirming that you are registered and information about setting up a personal fundraising webpage (how cool is this!). You will also be able to make secure online credit card donations.

Click HERE to get started

Save the Date
Date: Saturday, August 28, 2010

Time: Check-in begins at 9:00 a.m.; Walk begins at 10:00 a.m.

Location: Centennial Park, 2500 W. End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

Distance: 2 milesRestrictions: No pets, glass bottles, bikes, roller skates or skate boards. Baby Strollers and wagons are welcome.

Register for the FAAN Walk!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Parents Speak about Their Children's Food Allergies

This video will touch your heart.....

Parents Speak about Their Children's Food AllergiesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, May 10, 2010

kateelayne is giving away their "Pull-Apart" cakes

At kateelayne, our goal is to bring a smile to the face of those affected by food allergies. In light of last week's devastating flood, that isn't so easy to do. It is especially not easy for those in our community who may be celebrating a birthday or special occasion. Over the next couple weeks, if you or someone you know has a food allergy and was affected by the flood, kateelayne would like to extend the offer of a free cake for that occasion.Please contact us at 615.942-8433 or


May 9-15

Place an order with kateelayne and receive one dozen complimentary CINNADOODLES with your purchase in honor of those affected by food restrictions. Enjoy the Cinnadoodles yourself or pass them on to share a smile!

kateelayne is giving away their "Pull-Apart" cakesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, May 7, 2010

Grilled Lemon and Herb Chicken

Last week, I bought a bag of lemons on sale and had to to use them up. I decided to make a marinade. This chicken turned out great! We made extra, and I have been slicing the chicken up to put on salads, etc. this week. Fresh, simple, yummy!

Grilled Lemon and Herb Chicken

This recipe is free of milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish


4 Chicken Breasts

the juice of 2 lemons

extra virgin olive oil (just add enough to mix together to make a marinade)

fresh herbs, chopped (oregano, thyme, basil, etc.) *I used oregano since it is coming up again in my garden


Mix ingredients together with a whisk, add chicken, coat, and marinate for about 30 minutes.

Grill or cook to your liking.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Cinco De Mayo Dinner Menu

Happy Cinco De Mayo! It has been a tradition since the first year my husband and I were married (that has been almost 9 years now) that we eat Mexican food on Cinco De Mayo (the 5th of May). gives us an excuse to eat Mexican :)
Sometimes, we have gone out, but we have found that we can cook a delicious Mexican meal at home (and avoid the crowds). Since this is the first year celebrating Cinco De Mayo knowing that Brody has food allergies, we have chosen to stay home and cook some yummy, fresh Mexican food.

Here is what is on the menu for tonight

Pork Tacos (carnitas) with corn tortillas

This recipe is free of milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish


Pork Tenderloin (approximately 2 pounds)

1 yellow onion chopped

1 jalapeno chopped (optional)

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

*This recipe can be doubled. I have had great success with this and freezing the leftovers.


Cut any excess fat that you do not want on your pork, put it in the crockpot and add the rest of the ingredients. Check and stir about halfway through. Cook for approximately 8 hours. When done, shred pork and make your tacos.

Toppings for Pork Tacos

fresh avocado (I will probably make guacamole with it)

red lettuce (love the, the darker green the lettuce, the more nutrients it has or "grow foods" as I tell my kids :)

fresh jalapenos


fresh cilantro



Black Beans and Rice

Have a wonderful Mexican dinner with your family tonight...start a new tradition :)

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Groupon: $10 for $20 of food at TOSSED

I am excited about today's Groupon! You can buy $20 worth of food for only $10! What an inexpensive lunch for the next time you are in the Cool Springs area.

Tossed has delicious salads, crepes, wraps, sandwiches, soups and smoothies. They have a gluten free, dairy free tomato basil soup (that is really yummy!). I love the fresh selection at Tossed, and you can feel good about the healthy choices.

The owner has brought yummy salads and tomato basil soup for us to sample at our FACT meeting. I enjoy supporting restaurants who serve healthy food and make eating out easier for people who deal with food sensitivities and food allergies. They also own Garlic Jim's in Franklin, which serves Gluten Free pizza.

Click HERE to get your Groupon....Don't miss out!

Expires in 1 year. Limit 3 per person. Limit 1 per visit. Tax not included. No cash back. Not valid for online orders. Not valid with other offers. Redeemable starting on May 4.
Groupon: $10 for $20 of food at TOSSEDSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pirate's Booty...Veggie Puffs

I was at a friends house the other day and she served Pirate's Booty Veggie Puffs to the kids. They were REALLY good. They tasted like cheese puffs, but without the cheese :) These are a perfect pair for sandwiches; and I love how it contains vegetables powders (spinach, kale, carrots and parsley).
  • Baked Rice and Corn Puffs
  • All Natural
  • Gluten and Trans Fat Free


cornmeal, rice, soy flour, rice flour, contains one or more of the following: sunflower, expeller pressed canola or corn oil, salt, spinach powder, evaporated cane syrup, broccoli powder, kale powder, carrot powder, cabbage powder, parsley powder, calcium carbonate, and sea salt. Contains soybeans

*Trader Joe's has something similar, but it contains wheat and soy.

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