Loving Life With Food Allergies

FOOD ALLERGIES DURING THE HOLIDAYS

We've all had people in our lives that don’t understand the severity of our allergy. The best way to interact in this situation is to educate.

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We've all had people in our lives that don’t understand the severity of our allergy. The best way to interact in this situation is to educate.

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SURVIVING THANKSGIVING WITH FOOD ALLERGIES AND INSENSITIVE RELATIVES

Whether your holiday gathering resembles a Norman Rockwell painting or the Griswold’s from National Lampoons Christmas vacation, having a food allergy or Celiac family member adds a whole different dimension to planning gatherings no matter what the size.

From the gluten in the stuffing to the dairy in the mashed potatoes or the pecan pie, it can feel like a rattle snake is sitting on the dining room table ready to strike at any moment. It’s such a fine balance between trying to keep things “normal” yet being hypervigilant over something that could be a matter of life or death for someone you love. 

I'm sure you have heard the words before from that annoying relative who means well, but just doesn't get it; "OMG...How do you do it?  I could NEVER survive eating gluten free".  Or, that good friend who knows nuts could kill your child, yet they bring peanut brittle to the party.  You wonder to yourself "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!". "Really"...???  What don't you get? How could you be so reckless and insensitive?  It still baffles me to this day...  But then I force myself to take a deep breath and remind myself what I tell our nut allergic and Celiac daughter all the time, EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING!! And someday that person is going to have to deal with a hardship, disease, food allergy... Maybe they don't get it now, but someday they will be forced too.  

So, I speak up when I need to and bite my lip when I can.  It's just part life for us and maybe someday we will get used to it, hopefully, maybe. In the meantime, I continue to remind myself and our daughter that we do ALL have something and it could be much worse.  We just need to hang in there, be sure to always help others, be compassionate to their situation and always carry two Epi Pens!  In the meantime, we need to educate and inform, but in a way that they can understand.  The sad part is that food allergies and issues with gluten are becoming more common every day.  

More and more people are being impacted, so people in general are starting to understand it a little better, I hope.  But we still have a long way to go and we still need to be full time protectors and advocates.  We have to. Their life depends on it... 

So how do we survive Thanksgiving?  First, DO NOT hesitate speaking up and telling everyone what food items are safe to bring and which are not.  TOO BAD if they are put off by it.  Someone’s life and health is FAR more important than appeasing ones taste buds. Next, prepare and prepare early!  Especially with the pandemic going on, the grocery stores are certainly out of stock of so many items. 

I’ve noticed that really does also apply to allergy friendly and gluten free items too. If you are going to some one’s house, bring your own food!  This way you can trust what you are eating AND you will have your own leftovers!! 

Google has also become such a friend to those with food allergies and Celiac Disease.  To start with, did you know that some turkeys actually contain gluten, here is a link to gluten free turkeys sold in the stores.

As for all of the other Thanksgiving dishes, Spokin is such a tremendous help to those in the food allergy community.  If you haven’t already downloaded their app or follow them on social media, it’s a must!! https://www.spokin.com/. They have put together a list of allergy friendly Thanksgiving dishes, so you won’t need to go far or spend a lot of time searching products and their ingredient lists because here it is

When my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and severe nut allergies at the age of 3, I decided there wasn’t going to be a type of food she couldn’t eat.  Maybe it wouldn’t have all the same ingredients or look exactly the same, but it at least would be close and hopefully not make her feel left out.  With that, we baked ALL the time!  We made cakes, donuts, waffle cones, cinnamon rolls, etc.  You name it, we tried to make it, minus gluten and nuts.  Over time, my daughter became quite the baker!  Now, instead of being sad because she can’t eat that Tiramisu, she learns how to make it using safe ingredients she can eat.  It’s fun and you learn how to be creative very quickly! 

Here is a link to allergy friendly cookbooks to help get you started!

Allergy Friendly Cookbooks

If you are just needing a quick desert idea, here’s a twist to one of Thanksgivings favorite desserts – Nut Free Pecan Pie!! 

When all is said and done, the most important thing to remember is that everyone leaves Thanksgiving safe and healthy. Nothing else really matters in the end…

Even though it can be overwhelming, just remember to hang in there and that  YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!! 

You are not alone… Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Tammy Rhodes, Guest Blogger

 

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Whether your holiday gathering resembles a Norman Rockwell painting or the Griswold’s from National Lampoons Christmas vacation, having a food allergy or Celiac family member adds a whole different dimension to planning gatherings no matter what the size.

From the gluten in the stuffing to the dairy in the mashed potatoes or the pecan pie, it can feel like a rattle snake is sitting on the dining room table ready to strike at any moment. It’s such a fine balance between trying to keep things “normal” yet being hypervigilant over something that could be a matter of life or death for someone you love. 

I'm sure you have heard the words before from that annoying relative who means well, but just doesn't get it; "OMG...How do you do it?  I could NEVER survive eating gluten free".  Or, that good friend who knows nuts could kill your child, yet they bring peanut brittle to the party.  You wonder to yourself "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!". "Really"...???  What don't you get? How could you be so reckless and insensitive?  It still baffles me to this day...  But then I force myself to take a deep breath and remind myself what I tell our nut allergic and Celiac daughter all the time, EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING!! And someday that person is going to have to deal with a hardship, disease, food allergy... Maybe they don't get it now, but someday they will be forced too.  

So, I speak up when I need to and bite my lip when I can.  It's just part life for us and maybe someday we will get used to it, hopefully, maybe. In the meantime, I continue to remind myself and our daughter that we do ALL have something and it could be much worse.  We just need to hang in there, be sure to always help others, be compassionate to their situation and always carry two Epi Pens!  In the meantime, we need to educate and inform, but in a way that they can understand.  The sad part is that food allergies and issues with gluten are becoming more common every day.  

More and more people are being impacted, so people in general are starting to understand it a little better, I hope.  But we still have a long way to go and we still need to be full time protectors and advocates.  We have to. Their life depends on it... 

So how do we survive Thanksgiving?  First, DO NOT hesitate speaking up and telling everyone what food items are safe to bring and which are not.  TOO BAD if they are put off by it.  Someone’s life and health is FAR more important than appeasing ones taste buds. Next, prepare and prepare early!  Especially with the pandemic going on, the grocery stores are certainly out of stock of so many items. 

I’ve noticed that really does also apply to allergy friendly and gluten free items too. If you are going to some one’s house, bring your own food!  This way you can trust what you are eating AND you will have your own leftovers!! 

Google has also become such a friend to those with food allergies and Celiac Disease.  To start with, did you know that some turkeys actually contain gluten, here is a link to gluten free turkeys sold in the stores.

As for all of the other Thanksgiving dishes, Spokin is such a tremendous help to those in the food allergy community.  If you haven’t already downloaded their app or follow them on social media, it’s a must!! https://www.spokin.com/. They have put together a list of allergy friendly Thanksgiving dishes, so you won’t need to go far or spend a lot of time searching products and their ingredient lists because here it is

When my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and severe nut allergies at the age of 3, I decided there wasn’t going to be a type of food she couldn’t eat.  Maybe it wouldn’t have all the same ingredients or look exactly the same, but it at least would be close and hopefully not make her feel left out.  With that, we baked ALL the time!  We made cakes, donuts, waffle cones, cinnamon rolls, etc.  You name it, we tried to make it, minus gluten and nuts.  Over time, my daughter became quite the baker!  Now, instead of being sad because she can’t eat that Tiramisu, she learns how to make it using safe ingredients she can eat.  It’s fun and you learn how to be creative very quickly! 

Here is a link to allergy friendly cookbooks to help get you started!

Allergy Friendly Cookbooks

If you are just needing a quick desert idea, here’s a twist to one of Thanksgivings favorite desserts – Nut Free Pecan Pie!! 

When all is said and done, the most important thing to remember is that everyone leaves Thanksgiving safe and healthy. Nothing else really matters in the end…

Even though it can be overwhelming, just remember to hang in there and that  YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!! 

You are not alone… Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Tammy Rhodes, Guest Blogger

 

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STAYING SAFE WITH FOOD ALLERGIES

For those with food allergies, staying safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic time, is especially important.  

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For those with food allergies, staying safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic time, is especially important.  

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But "I" Don't Have Food Allergies

For some reason, as soon as we tell someone about our Safely Delicious® who doesn't have food allergies, they will be quick to tell us they don't need our snacks.  However, once they try our products, they will be pleasantly surprised, and comment how DELICIOUS it is. 

Since starting this business, we have been telling people our snacks are allergy friendly.  Free of the top 11 food allergens.  Vegan.  No artificial colors.  No artificial flavors.  No preservatives.  

Then it hit us...popcorn is the same.  It is also an allergy friendly snack that usually only consists of corn, salt and oil.

But no one says “oh, I don’t have food allergies, so I’m not going to eat or buy popcorn - because I don’t need “that” snack.”  Most people eat and enjoy popcorn.  Plain popcorn and all the other flavorful versions available now.

We see our Safely Delicious® snacks the same as popcorn, and seek to help others see what we see (and know) is true about our products.    

Sure, Safely Delicious® snacks are the PERFECT snack for those with food allergies.  Perfect for people with Celiac disease and other GI issues and disease.  But guess what? THEY ARE DELICIOUS!!  Like popcorn.  Even if you don’t have food allergies, Safely Delicious® snacks are still a YUMMY snack for almost everyone. Allergies or not.

If you have food allergies, especially more than one food allergy, chances are our snacks can meet your snack needs.  But if you don’t have food allergies, please don’t let that STOP you from trying and eating our snacks.  If anything, those without food allergies who are purchasing our products to eat, are helping those with food allergies feel included.  And isn’t that what everyone wants to feel - INCLUDED.  

As a mom of four children with multiple food allergies, Founder & Owner Lisa Ragan knows (as do her kids) from personal experience, there are many allergy friendly products out there, but not all of them are great tasting.  While those products may be safe to eat, many are not very tasty. Lisa's mission was (and still is) to create products that look and taste like the foods her kid's friends are eating, but without the food allergens they need to avoid.

We believe we have achieved this with our products.  And we want EVERYONE to know that!  People with food allergies or not! 

 

July 6, 2019

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For some reason, as soon as we tell someone about our Safely Delicious® who doesn't have food allergies, they will be quick to tell us they don't need our snacks.  However, once they try our products, they will be pleasantly surprised, and comment how DELICIOUS it is. 

Since starting this business, we have been telling people our snacks are allergy friendly.  Free of the top 11 food allergens.  Vegan.  No artificial colors.  No artificial flavors.  No preservatives.  

Then it hit us...popcorn is the same.  It is also an allergy friendly snack that usually only consists of corn, salt and oil.

But no one says “oh, I don’t have food allergies, so I’m not going to eat or buy popcorn - because I don’t need “that” snack.”  Most people eat and enjoy popcorn.  Plain popcorn and all the other flavorful versions available now.

We see our Safely Delicious® snacks the same as popcorn, and seek to help others see what we see (and know) is true about our products.    

Sure, Safely Delicious® snacks are the PERFECT snack for those with food allergies.  Perfect for people with Celiac disease and other GI issues and disease.  But guess what? THEY ARE DELICIOUS!!  Like popcorn.  Even if you don’t have food allergies, Safely Delicious® snacks are still a YUMMY snack for almost everyone. Allergies or not.

If you have food allergies, especially more than one food allergy, chances are our snacks can meet your snack needs.  But if you don’t have food allergies, please don’t let that STOP you from trying and eating our snacks.  If anything, those without food allergies who are purchasing our products to eat, are helping those with food allergies feel included.  And isn’t that what everyone wants to feel - INCLUDED.  

As a mom of four children with multiple food allergies, Founder & Owner Lisa Ragan knows (as do her kids) from personal experience, there are many allergy friendly products out there, but not all of them are great tasting.  While those products may be safe to eat, many are not very tasty. Lisa's mission was (and still is) to create products that look and taste like the foods her kid's friends are eating, but without the food allergens they need to avoid.

We believe we have achieved this with our products.  And we want EVERYONE to know that!  People with food allergies or not! 

 

July 6, 2019

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How Food Allergies Changed our lives?

About 11 years ago, my kitchen, cooking and life was changed when my 3rd child was diagnosed at 18 months old with food allergies. I knew he couldn't tolerate dairy from when he was born, because anytime I would eat or drink anything with dairy, he would have a reaction since he was being breastfed.  
So, once he turned a year old I began giving him food and drinks with either
rice milk or soy milk. For 6 months he would go back and forth with diarrhea
that would last for days and then it would stop.  
I could not figure out what could be causing this and either could the doctors. Finally, on Thanksgiving day 2004, he began to have bowel movements that would not stop and kept getting worse, to the point that his bottom was bleeding.  It was horrible!  The next morning I took him to the doctor and requested they run any and all blood work on him, to determine what could be going on with my little guy.
Having to wait for one week for the blood work results was the LONGEST week ever!  I will never forget when the nurse called me to share the results with me - I was floored!   She told me my son was allergic to peanut AND soy!  Peanut???  That was interesting, since he had not yet been introduced to any peanut products, but I was thankful they discovered that prior to us trying peanut with him and then who knows what kind of reaction he would have experienced.  But Soy....WOW!!!  I did not see that one coming!!!  I was speechless!!!  And felt horrible, since I had been giving him soy products to replace the dairy products I knew he wouldn't tolerate, and then to find out that the soy products were just as harmful for him.  
After I hung up the phone with the nurse, I proceeded to the refrigerator and threw out the soy milk and any other products that clearly had soy.  But then I began to read the labels on EVERYTHING in my refrigerator and then my pantry.  OMG!!!!  

More than half of the food and drinks in my home had soy as an ingredient!  I couldn't believe it!  I actually sat down on the floor in my pantry and had a good cry!!!  All the food I had always eaten and known, was no longer safe or healthy for my child!  What to feed him - and me - now???  Since he was still nursing at the time, my diet needed to change too!  Not only was his diagnose life changing for him, but for me as well!  For the next several days, I remember feeling like I was in a fog about his diagnosis.  

At the time I didn't really know any other moms that had children with food allergies.  This was a whole new world for me.  But as with everything else in my life, once the shock wore off, I dove right into learning everything and anything I could about food allergies - especially the ones my son had.  My grocery shopping changed.  It took twice as long to shop because I had to read EVERY label to confirm it was soy free, peanut free and dairy free.  

My cooking changed.  I became a pro at learning what foods could replace the allergy laden ones - and still taste good.  And as my child entered the pre-school world, I learned how to prepare and cook allergy-free Kosher food, so that my son could enjoy lunch with his peers at the Jewish preschool he was attending.

 The preschool provided Kosher lunch for the children, but most of it he was allergic to.  So I would meet once a month with the school chef who would share with me the menu for the month and we would discuss what I could make instead to replace what they were serving, so he could eat lunch with his friends - and it would still be Kosher.  Not only did the food I was preparing have to be Kosher, but the items I was using to prepare the food needed to be items that had not been used with non-Kosher food.  So I bought new pots and utensils and created an area in my pantry that was exclusively for Kosher only food and items. 

Originally, they offered he could bring his own lunch, but if it wasn't Kosher, he would not be allowed to eat it in the classroom with the other students - since only Kosher foods were allowed in the classrooms.  He would need to eat it somewhere separate by himself with a teacher assistant.  That didn't seem like a good solution. Part of the fun of attending preschool is the socializing the children are able to experience with their friends - especially during snack time and lunch time.  

Thank God, the preschool was wonderful in working with me, teaching me about Kosher food and preparation, and my son was able to fully experience lunch with his friends.  That experience inspired me to continue on my quest to create and make foods that were allergy-free my son could eat, but would be similar to what his friends were eating.

Then in 2007, my 4th child was diagnosed at 16 months old with food allergies.  This was discovered because he had a serious reaction to a food item that had cashews in it.  Upon eating this item, he broke out with hives all over his body and face and started throwing up.  The next day we took him to the doctor and blood tests were done.  One week later it was confirmed that he was allergic to peanut, tree nuts, dairy & gluten.  

WOW!!!  Here we go again - but this time I handled it MUCH better!  Food allergies had been a part of my life for several years at this point, but now I needed to add Gluten and Tree-Nuts to the mix.  I didn't miss a beat, and started doing for him, what I had already been doing for his older brother.

One of the many results of having children with food allergies is that I have been making allergy-free snacks for them, so they would feel included with their friends at school and birthday parties. With the support and encouragement from them, family and friends, I have FINALLY decided to start sharing with the rest of the world some of the ALLERGY-FREE snacks my children (and their friends) believe are "delicious."  I started a company called "SAFELY DELICIOUS."


These allergy-free snacks have NO GLUTEN, NO DAIRY, NO PEANUT, NO TREE-NUTS, NO SOY, NO EGG.  At this time we offer two types of snacks - Yummy Bites (made w/ Semi-Sweet Chocolate) AND Yummy Dark Bites (made with Dark Chocolate).  These snacks somewhat resemble Muddy Buddies, but are healthier AND allergy-free!  We are also currently working on some new allergy-free recipes and hope to have those available in the near future. 

My website is www.safelydelicious.com. You can also follow me on Facebook at Safely Delicious; Twitter - @safelydelicious; or email me at safelydelicious@gmail.com 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post.  Please feel free to share this information about my company and blog with family and friends - especially those with food allergies!   THANK YOU!!!
November 25, 2015

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About 11 years ago, my kitchen, cooking and life was changed when my 3rd child was diagnosed at 18 months old with food allergies. I knew he couldn't tolerate dairy from when he was born, because anytime I would eat or drink anything with dairy, he would have a reaction since he was being breastfed.  
So, once he turned a year old I began giving him food and drinks with either
rice milk or soy milk. For 6 months he would go back and forth with diarrhea
that would last for days and then it would stop.  
I could not figure out what could be causing this and either could the doctors. Finally, on Thanksgiving day 2004, he began to have bowel movements that would not stop and kept getting worse, to the point that his bottom was bleeding.  It was horrible!  The next morning I took him to the doctor and requested they run any and all blood work on him, to determine what could be going on with my little guy.
Having to wait for one week for the blood work results was the LONGEST week ever!  I will never forget when the nurse called me to share the results with me - I was floored!   She told me my son was allergic to peanut AND soy!  Peanut???  That was interesting, since he had not yet been introduced to any peanut products, but I was thankful they discovered that prior to us trying peanut with him and then who knows what kind of reaction he would have experienced.  But Soy....WOW!!!  I did not see that one coming!!!  I was speechless!!!  And felt horrible, since I had been giving him soy products to replace the dairy products I knew he wouldn't tolerate, and then to find out that the soy products were just as harmful for him.  
After I hung up the phone with the nurse, I proceeded to the refrigerator and threw out the soy milk and any other products that clearly had soy.  But then I began to read the labels on EVERYTHING in my refrigerator and then my pantry.  OMG!!!!  

More than half of the food and drinks in my home had soy as an ingredient!  I couldn't believe it!  I actually sat down on the floor in my pantry and had a good cry!!!  All the food I had always eaten and known, was no longer safe or healthy for my child!  What to feed him - and me - now???  Since he was still nursing at the time, my diet needed to change too!  Not only was his diagnose life changing for him, but for me as well!  For the next several days, I remember feeling like I was in a fog about his diagnosis.  

At the time I didn't really know any other moms that had children with food allergies.  This was a whole new world for me.  But as with everything else in my life, once the shock wore off, I dove right into learning everything and anything I could about food allergies - especially the ones my son had.  My grocery shopping changed.  It took twice as long to shop because I had to read EVERY label to confirm it was soy free, peanut free and dairy free.  

My cooking changed.  I became a pro at learning what foods could replace the allergy laden ones - and still taste good.  And as my child entered the pre-school world, I learned how to prepare and cook allergy-free Kosher food, so that my son could enjoy lunch with his peers at the Jewish preschool he was attending.

 The preschool provided Kosher lunch for the children, but most of it he was allergic to.  So I would meet once a month with the school chef who would share with me the menu for the month and we would discuss what I could make instead to replace what they were serving, so he could eat lunch with his friends - and it would still be Kosher.  Not only did the food I was preparing have to be Kosher, but the items I was using to prepare the food needed to be items that had not been used with non-Kosher food.  So I bought new pots and utensils and created an area in my pantry that was exclusively for Kosher only food and items. 

Originally, they offered he could bring his own lunch, but if it wasn't Kosher, he would not be allowed to eat it in the classroom with the other students - since only Kosher foods were allowed in the classrooms.  He would need to eat it somewhere separate by himself with a teacher assistant.  That didn't seem like a good solution. Part of the fun of attending preschool is the socializing the children are able to experience with their friends - especially during snack time and lunch time.  

Thank God, the preschool was wonderful in working with me, teaching me about Kosher food and preparation, and my son was able to fully experience lunch with his friends.  That experience inspired me to continue on my quest to create and make foods that were allergy-free my son could eat, but would be similar to what his friends were eating.

Then in 2007, my 4th child was diagnosed at 16 months old with food allergies.  This was discovered because he had a serious reaction to a food item that had cashews in it.  Upon eating this item, he broke out with hives all over his body and face and started throwing up.  The next day we took him to the doctor and blood tests were done.  One week later it was confirmed that he was allergic to peanut, tree nuts, dairy & gluten.  

WOW!!!  Here we go again - but this time I handled it MUCH better!  Food allergies had been a part of my life for several years at this point, but now I needed to add Gluten and Tree-Nuts to the mix.  I didn't miss a beat, and started doing for him, what I had already been doing for his older brother.

One of the many results of having children with food allergies is that I have been making allergy-free snacks for them, so they would feel included with their friends at school and birthday parties. With the support and encouragement from them, family and friends, I have FINALLY decided to start sharing with the rest of the world some of the ALLERGY-FREE snacks my children (and their friends) believe are "delicious."  I started a company called "SAFELY DELICIOUS."


These allergy-free snacks have NO GLUTEN, NO DAIRY, NO PEANUT, NO TREE-NUTS, NO SOY, NO EGG.  At this time we offer two types of snacks - Yummy Bites (made w/ Semi-Sweet Chocolate) AND Yummy Dark Bites (made with Dark Chocolate).  These snacks somewhat resemble Muddy Buddies, but are healthier AND allergy-free!  We are also currently working on some new allergy-free recipes and hope to have those available in the near future. 

My website is www.safelydelicious.com. You can also follow me on Facebook at Safely Delicious; Twitter - @safelydelicious; or email me at safelydelicious@gmail.com 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post.  Please feel free to share this information about my company and blog with family and friends - especially those with food allergies!   THANK YOU!!!
November 25, 2015

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