Welcome to Allergy Free & Cheap Like Me!

gluten, dairy, egg & soy free

I’m so happy you are here! I hope to create a place for you to find lots of information about food allergies, as well as, lots of goodies to help you not only eat better, but more affordably! Please feel free to share all of your own tips, tricks, and recipes too! Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you again very soon! You can read more about my allergy story here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Rudi's Spread the Bread Campaign!

During the month of May, Celiac Awareness Month, Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery is giving back to the celiac community by donating up to $30,000 to various celiac organizations, via their SPREAD THE BREAD campaign!

Starting May 2, 2012, you can go to Rudi’s Facebook page and select one of four celiac organizations – Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF), Celiac Sprue Association (CSA), Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) to receive a one dollar ($1.00) donation from Rudi’s. Visitors will also be able to download a $1.00 off coupon for any Rudi’s product … so basically you will be getting $1.00 for having Rudi's give $1.00 to a celiac organization of your choice!

Rudi’s Spread the Bread campaign is a great way for you to give back to the celiac community, all you need to do is click and choose which organization, and don’t forget to download your coupon!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gluten Free Blog Hop: 10 Days of Gluten Free

Another great event happening during May in honor of National Celiac Awareness Month is the 10 Days of Gluten Free a blog hop created by Linda, The Gluten-Free Homemaker. 10 bloggers have come together to give gluten-free information and tips. Each blogger was given a particular gluten-free topic to post about every day for ten days (Monday through Friday for two weeks) starting May 7. The tips are short so you can hop on to the next blog in the blog hop. There is also a giveaway on each blog that will be given away at the end of the blog hop that you can enter to win each day. 

Here are the topics and bloggers who are participating:

Check out the blog hop there is some great information being shared! Don't forget to enter to win the giveaways on each blog each day!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Domino's New Gluten-Free Pizza

By now I am sure you have all read the headlines Domino's Pizza launched it's gluten-free pizza crust last week. But don't get too excited the news came with a disclaimer, while the pizza crust is certified gluten-free, the pizza itself is still prepared and cooked in oven with gluten filled pizzas. I thought I would write a quick post to give you some of the facts on the new pizza from Domino's. 

Yes, Domino's, the world's largest delivery pizza chain jumped on the $6.2 billion dollar gluten-free bandwagon along with the likes of Frito-Lay, Subway, Anheuser-Bush, and P.F. Chang's (*more about them below), boldly stating that "they are the first national pizza delivery chain to offer a gluten-free option". 6% to 8% of the US population are on some kind of gluten-free diet, according to Alice Blast the president of the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness.

Domino's press release states,
“While Domino’s new Gluten Free Crust is appropriate for those with mild gluten sensitivity, Domino’s and the NFCA do not recommend it for those with celiac disease. Domino’s and the NFCA found that while the crust is certified as gluten free, current store operations at Domino’s cannot guarantee that each handcrafted pizza will be completely free from gluten.”

“Please be advised all of Domino’s menu items, including pizza made with Gluten Free Crust, are prepared in a common kitchen. While the Gluten Free Crust contains no gluten ingredients, there is a risk of gluten exposure. NFCA supports the availability of Gluten Free Crust at Domino’s, but CANNOT recommend the pizza for customers with celiac disease. Customers with gluten-related disorders other than celiac disease should exercise their own judgment in consuming pizza made with Gluten Free Crust."

Jump on over to the NFCA's FAQ page regarding Domino's new gluten-free pizza to find out more information. Here are a few interesting bits but I highly recommend you check out the entire FAQ if you are sensitive to gluten and are thinking of ordering up Domino's new crust.

  • The Gluten Free Crust is stored in a separate area of the walk-in cooler until it is ordered.
  • The Gluten Free Crust pizza is made on the same pizza screen and uses the same makeline, ingredients, and utensils as all other pizzas.
  • Employees use the same pizza peel and pizza cutter on the Gluten Free Crust pizza as all other pizzas.
  • There is no airborne flour in the store. Domino’s® ingredients that contain gluten and should not be added to a Gluten Free Crust are, Philly meat, Alfredo sauce, and Cheddar sauce.

So what are the facts that we know at this time? The crust is indeed certified gluten-free, however each pizza will be prepared and cooked along side non-gluten-free pizzas, and the pizza is not intended for folks who are extra sensitive or have celiac disease. Oh and by the way, just like every other gluten-free product, it will be $3 dollars extra.

According to Domino’s, the pizza is safe for people with a mild gluten sensitivity. Personally, I feel like it is geared towards people who have gone gluten-free as a part of a fad diet.
It's not surprising that Domino’s would jump on the fad bandwagon, like I stated above it's a $6.2 billion dollar industry, but I will say I'm a little disappointed that they don’t have more regard for those who need to eat gluten free for medical and health reasons and are not willing to go the extra step to insure their pizza's are safe for the entire gluten-free community. 

To read more facts and questions about Domino's new gluten-free pizza crust head over to Domino's gluten-free FAQ page

What is your opinion on Domino's new gluten-free pizza crust? Will you be trying it?

*P.F. Chang's currently has 25 gluten-free dishes and just added seven more to its menu, including Gluten-Free Caramel Mango Chicken and Gluten-Free Asian Tomato Cucumber Salad. P.F. Chang's also uses gluten-free soy sauce. 
Frito-Lay, has begun to label more than a dozen of their packages with a special "GF" icon or a statement on the back of the bag on their gluten-free products.
Subway has been testing gluten-free products, bread and brownies, in four key markets since early 2011. Oregon being one of them look for my review coming soon! 
Anheusher-Busch launched Redbridge in 2006 which was the first nationally available gluten-free beer and will also begin to roll out Michelob Ultra Light Cider in the coming months.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

National Celiac Awareness Month!

It is already the 10th of May and I haven't even mentioned the fact that it is National Celiac Awareness Month! Shame on me, I guess I am still recovering from participating in the Health Activist Writers Month Challenge (HAWMC) in April! There are so many exciting things happening this month in honor of Celiac Awareness. I hope to share some of them with you throughout the rest of the month! 

The first one I want to share with you is the K.I.S.S series by The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). They are celebrating by rounding up 16 bloggers for a series chronicling every stage of the gluten-free journey, from Day 1 basics to advanced cooking and advocacy. In keeping with this years theme, Keep It Simple and Safe (K.I.S.S.), each blogger is offering 5 key tips or lessons related to that day's topic. Check out their blog, Celiac Central: Bits and Bites daily!

Weekly Focus
  • Monday – Cooking/Baking Gluten-Free
  • Tuesday – Nutrition/Wellness
  • Wednesday – Raising a Gluten-Free Kid
  • Thursday – Dining Out Gluten-Free
  • Friday – NFCA Resources You Should Know About

Schedule and Guest Bloggers:
Week 1: Just Diagnosed (April 30-May 4)
Week 2: Getting the Hang of It (May 7-11)
Week 3: Hitting a Roadblock (May 14-18)
  • Diane Eblin of The WHOLE Gang – 5 tips to get out of a food rut 
  • Alisa Fleming of Go Dairy Free  – First gluten-free, now lactose intolerant? 5 tips to becoming a dairy-free diva
  • Wendy Kaho of Celiacs in the House – Gluten-free challenges at school
  • Michael De Cicco-Butz of Gluten-Free Mike – Traveling while gluten-free
  • NFCA – 5 resources to handle life’s hurdles
Week 4: What’s Next? (May 21-25)
  • Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple – Publishing your gluten-free recipes
  • EA Stewart of The Spicy RD – Healthy gluten-free foods you’ve never heard of
  • Katie Chalmers of G-Free Kid – 5 tips to empower gluten-free kids
  • Carrie Forbes of Ginger Lemon Girl – Starting a gluten-free dining group
  • NFCA – Ready to fundraise? Here’s how to start
Remember all of these posts will be on the NFCA’s blog, Celiac Central: Bits and Bites.
Also for some more Celiac Awareness Month fun, including a chance to win a Gluten-Free Pantry Raid, visit CeliacCentral.org/awarenessmonth.

I hope you enjoy all these great resources and Happy Celiac Awareness Month!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

HAWMC Day 31, Recap HAWMC!

I made it! WEGO Health's Health Activist's Writers Month Challenge (HAWMC) is over! I managed to write 30 posts in 30 days not skipping any days. I have to admit it was a real challenge for me at times and I am a bit relieved it is over. But I really enjoyed it, the challenge pushed me to get out of my writing comfort zone and write about topics I normally wouldn't. I hope you enjoyed it too. Thank you for sticking with me during this challenge, I know it was a lot more posting than I normally do. Today I am supposed to just write a quick recap of HAWMC. Recap HAWMC; You did it! 30 posts in 30 days. Which was your favorite prompt? Which was the most difficult? Which ideas will you reuse? Who was your favorite fellow blogger? 

Here are my thoughts on the challenge. 

Which was your favorite prompt?

I would have to say my favorite prompts were, Quotation Inspiration - I really enjoyed drawing inspiration from quotes. Dear 16 Year Old Me - surprisingly I really enjoyed this one. When I first looked at the list of prompt this one made me kind of roll my eyes but in the end I think it was kind of therapeutic and I really ended up enjoying it. 10 Things I Couldn't Live Without - this one made me think of what is really important in my life. The Things We Forget - I will definitely use these Post-Its again, and Word Cloud - I've always wondered how people made those word clouds and now I know, I see a lot of them in my future! 

Which was most difficult?

The most difficult ones for me were, Health Mascot - I just really wasn't into this one much I don't really feel like my blog needs a mascot although I still like what I came up with for my mascot. Third Person Post - I found it hard to think of a memory I wanted to write in third person so I kind of veered from the topic a bit on this one, and Health Tagline - although I think it might be great to write a tagline for my blog I just wasn't feeling this topic so found it hard to write on. Looking back, all of these that I found difficult were in the last stretch of the challenge so maybe I was just a little burnt out, who knows maybe I will explore these further later.

Which ideas will you reuse?

Definitely the more list based posts. They felt easy and more fun to read, not to mention easier for me to write! Also the posts that allowed some creativity such as, The Things We Forget, Word Cloud, and Keep Calm and Carry On were a lot of fun for me and not something that I normally would do.

Who was your favorite fellow blogger?

I have to say, one of the things that I regret was not being able to have the time to read through more of other bloggers posts during the challenge. I know there were some great posts out there that I missed and hopefully I will find the time to slowly read through some more of them. 

I also just want to say thank you to WEGO Health for putting together this challenge, it has been a lot of fun and what a great way to bring together so many wonderful bloggers!

Monday, April 30, 2012

HAWMC Day 30, Word Cloud

I made it! My last post of WEGO Health's Health Activists Writers Month Challenge (HAWMC)! I am so happy I made it the entire month! Today's challenge topic is, Word Cloud; Make a word cloud or tree with a list of words that come to mind when you think about your blog, health, or interests. Use a thesaurus to make the branches of your “tree” extend further. http://www.wordle.net/.

I really liked this one a lot! It was super fun to make my word cloud! I will definitely be using this site again in the future to make other word clouds. I always wondered how people made them, now I know!

If you were making a word cloud what words would you use?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

HAWMC Day 29, Six Sentence Story

Today's challenge topic is, Six Sentence Story; In this day of micro-blogging –  brevity is a skill worth honing. Can you tell a story and make it short and sweet? What can you say in six sentences. Check out some here: http://sixsentences.blogspot.com/

Food Allergy Facts in 6 Sentences

Food allergies are a growing public health concern. According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) as many as 15 million people suffer from food allergies today in the United States, 4% of adults and 8% of children. Although childhood allergies generally resolve themselves they appear to be resolving more slowly than in previous decades with many children still having allergies beyond 5 years of age. Eight foods known as the "Big 8" account for 90% of all food allergic reactions; milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. Those people suffering from food allergies have increased by a whopping 18% between 1997 to 2007. There is no cure for food allergies and the only way to avoid a reaction is the strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

HAWMC Day 28, The First Time I...

Day 28 of the WEGO Health Activists Writers Month Challenge (HAWMC). I'm almost there, 2 more days! I can't believe I've made it this far and I haven't used any of my get out of posting free days. I hope you have enjoyed some of the topics along the way. Today's challenge topic is, The First Time I… ; Write a post about the first time you did something. What is it? What was it like? What did you learn from it? 

We do a lot of firsts throughout our life and sometimes (or it seems like most of the time in my case) they don't turn out the way we expect them to. Good, bad, or just a little weird, it doesn't matter, that is how most of us learn. Today I am going to write about the first time I made gluten, dairy, and egg-free bread. 

Let me preface my story by saying, it was a complete and utter disaster! I had found a yummy sounding recipe online from where I don't even remember now. I'm sure there was nothing wrong with the recipe, but rather how I attempted going about making it. I do remember the recipe used gluten-free flours and starches, but was full of eggs and dairy so I had to figure out how to substitute those on my own. The dairy probably wasn't the issue, it was probably more of my egg substitution and my baking skills (or lack there of). I've learned since this experience that when baking with gluten-free flours you have to be exact when measuring things out. I didn't know this key information then and knowing me, I just eye-balled it and threw it all together because that is how I like to cook. 

Anyway, back to the baking… I followed the directions exactly or so I thought, made my substitutions for the dairy and eggs, dumped it all in a bread pan, popped it in the oven, and walked away. I remember thinking to myself as I walked out of the kitchen, this is "easy peasey". I can do this! What's all the hoopla about? 60 minutes later the timer went off and I went to check on my creation. What I saw I was not entirely prepared for. My bread, if that is what you want to call it, had turned into some sort of alien mass. It was roughly half the height of the bread pan and looked to be the consistency of jello at best. I tapped it like the recipe instructed me to in order to check if it sounded hollow (whatever that meant) and was surprised to find out it was indeed solid, very solid. Since I didn't know what hollow bread was supposed to sound like I decided it was done. I took it out of the oven and set it on the counter to cool. Half an hour later I couldn't take the anticipation and suspense any longer and I decided it was cool enough. I popped, or pried is probably a better description, it out of the pan and cut into it. The bottom half (all of about 2 inches) of the loaf was not done, that much I could tell by just looking at it; it was gooey and kind of soggy. The top half was dry and crumbly and fell off the bottom half as soon as I picked it up. I forced myself to taste it, for lack of better words, it was just plain gross. It was dry, crumbly, grainy, gooey, and hard all at the same time. I couldn't even eat it, I took a few bites and decided it wasn't worth it. 

I'm not going to lie, this wasn't the last time I made a loaf of bread similar to this, but because it turned out not as expected I was able learn a few things along the way. I take this first time experience with me and put it will all the rest and as I look back on all of them I can't help but shake my head and laugh.

Have you learned from your first time experiences? What is one you look back on fondly?

Friday, April 27, 2012

HAWMC Day 27, 5 Challenges. 5 Small Victories

Today's topic is, 5 Challenges. 5 Small Victories; Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus. Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going.

5 Most Challenging Things About Having Food Allergies

  1. Sometimes it is just plan hard. I'm not perfect and there are days when I wish I could just be "normal" and eat whatever I want without any consequences. I'm sure everyone with a food allergy or intolerance has those days and with time they occur less often, but occasionally those feelings still crop up and I have a rough day or I "cheat" and eat something I know I can't have just because everyone else can!
  2. It can sometimes be overwhelming. This was true especially at first, but still gets me occasionally. It's overwhelming to scrupulously examine every single food label or try to explain my food allergies, time after time, to the waiter at the restaurant. It's overwhelming to go into a grocery store and feel like there is nothing I can eat. 
  3. Allergen-free food is expensive. Eating allergen-free can get very expensive. Items such as specialty flours, xanthan gum and egg-replacers are pricey, even when bought in bulk. Even more expensive are pre-packaged foods, such as frozen meals, a box of cookies or crackers, or even a loaf of allergen-free bread.  
  4. Remembering not to skip out just because it's easier. Sometimes it is hard to deal with people's lack of understanding about food allergies and it becomes easier to just say no. Going out sometimes becomes a stressful experience instead of something to be enjoyed. At times I feel it's easier for me and others to just stay home, not go out to dinner, conveniently miss a work party, or postpone get togethers with friends. I have to remember when I feel this way that it is not about the food, but about the experiences and memories of the events I don't want to miss.
  5. The feeling of "missing out" on things. There are times when hanging out with friends I watch them share a dessert and I feel left out. It's selfish, believe me I know, but I'm jealous they don't have to think about food in the same way that I do. Occasionally I have a bad day and put too much focus on the food and everything I can't eat on the menu instead of the environment, experiences, and memories with friends and loved ones that surround the food.

5 Small Victories or Good Things About Having Food Allergies

  1. I am healthier. Because of my food allergies I'm healthier. I eat better; I eat less "junk". This is probably because it is a lot harder and more expensive to find the "junk" allergen-free foods. It is also a bit harder to go through the drive-thru because it is convenient and on the way. I eat in more which is always healthier and cheaper. I have also become more aware of what is in the food I am eating. I hardly remember a time that I read the labels on the food I ate before I found out about my allergies. Now, however, I can tell you what is in everything I eat. This has made me aware of not only things I am allergic to on food labels, but also all the nasty stuff that is in some of the foods I used to eat. Many times, even if it is safe allergen wise, if it has things in it that I am not comfortable with eating I just skip it. Knowing what is in the foods I eat helps me make better choices. Another benefit to eating healthier is that I get sick a lot less since I found out about my allergies. I maybe get sick once or twice a year and it usually isn't as severe as before.
  2. I feel better. When I don't eat the things I am allergic to I feel better, not just stomach wise, but my entire being. I don't feel lethargic, I'm not always tired, I have more energy, and I can concentrate better. 
  3. I've met some wonderful people along my journey. Because of my allergies I have met some amazing people in the allergen-free community that I would have never met before. It helps me to know, especially when I am having an off day, I am never alone in my journey. 
  4. I'm happier. I suppose this goes back to feeling better and being healthier, but overall I am simply a happier person than I was before. 
  5. I'm more confident in myself. I feel more confident in my daily choices. I have also found I am interested in a lot of things that I never knew I was before I found out about my allergies and started blogging about them.

What are a few small victories and challenges you have experienced along your allergy journey?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

HAWMC Day 26, Health Tagline

Today's challenge topic is, Health Tagline; Give yourself, your blog, your condition, or some aspect of your health a tagline. Make sure it’s catchy!

For today's post I guess I kind of already have my tagline, in the name of my blog, Allergy Free and Cheap Like Me. My blog is a place where I hope people can come and find information, recipes, cost saving tips, etc. about living with food allergies. I also hope for it to be a place for people to share stories about their own allergy journey, not just read about mine. I suppose what is not included in my blog name that I might include in a tagline would be something about overall whole living and natural health. As I write my blog, more and more I find I am interested not only in sharing my allergy journey with others but also sharing natural, whole living ideas as well. So maybe my tagline should be something like one of these; Allergy Free and Cheap Like Me, Whole Living with Food Allergies, Allergy Free and Cheap Like Me, Whole Living in Spite of Food Allergies, Allergy Free and Cheap Like Me, Living a Complete Life with Food Allergies. I'm not sure, I feel like those tagline's might make it sound like having food allergies prevents you from living a complete life, which I don't believe and I don't want to convey. So maybe I should just go with my keep calm and carry on poster tagline, Allergy Free and Cheap Like Me, Living More and Stressing Less! 

If you were to give yourself a tagline what do you think it might be?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

HAWMC Day 25, Third Person Post

Today's challenge topic is, Third Person Post; Write about a memory you have but describe it using the third person. Use as many sensory images (sights, sounds, textures, etc) as you can. Don’t use “I” or “me” unless you include dialogue.

Okay, so today I am having a hard time thinking of a memory that I want to share in third person. In fact, I am having a hard time remembering any memory at all. Those of you who know me know this is not unusual for me as I have difficulty even remembering what happened yesterday. To put it bluntly, my memory sucks. But today I think it is more than my usual brain fog, I think I am a bit burnt out from blogging everyday for the past 24 days. I feel like I need a bit of a break. So I am just going to leave you with this quote I found that seems to sum it all up for me today.

"Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before." ~Steven Wright  

As my gift to myself and you, take the day (or afternoon) off! If anyone asks why, tell them I said it was okay. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

HAWMC Day 24, Health Mascot

Today's challenge topic is, Health Mascot; Give yourself, your condition, or your health focus a mascot. Is it a real person? Fictional? Mythical being? Describe them. Bonus points if you provide a visual!

For my health mascot I chose the coyote. Now you are probably thinking why a coyote? Well, as Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Coyotes are one of the most adaptable animal species out there. They once only lived in open prairies and deserts but now roam forests, mountains, and even cities. Coyote populations are one of the few animals to have flourished and grown since human encroachment into their habitat and this is due to their adaptability. The coyote's keen intelligence and senses help it easily adapt their behavior to survive in a new habitat. Coyotes also adapt their diet to what can be found and will eat almost anything. 

I don't know anyone with a food allergy that hasn't had to learn to adapt. Whether it be to their environment - a restaurant, dinner party, or luncheon; their diet - by cutting out foods they are allergic to and learning to cook new foods and in new ways; or their way of thinking - learning to think of food in a different way. Those with food allergies learn to adapt because they must just like coyotes have had to learn to do. A lot of people think coyotes look cute and cuddly, probably because they remind us of man's best friend, the dog. However some people also think they are a nuisance. I don't know of anyone who thinks food allergies are cute and cuddly, but pretty much everyone thinks they are a nuisance.

Personally, I like the coyote. In a time where many animals species are threatened with extinction, the coyote has learned to adapt and thrive. They can run fast and jump high, they can sing and communicate with one another in 11 different sounds. Coyotes can even swim! They also mate for life.

What mascot would you give to your food allergies if you could pick?

Monday, April 23, 2012

HAWMC Day 23, Health Activist Choice Day 2

Todays' challenge topic is, Health Activist Choice Day 2; Write about whatever you like.

Since yesterday was Earth Day I will keep with the "green" theme and look back at the accomplishments Earth Day has brought us throughout the years. An estimated one in 10 Americans took part in the first Earth Day, observed across the country on April 22, 1970. Earth Day was the brainchild of Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson. The first national Earth Day unified a growing public concern about environmental crises. In December 1970, President Richard Nixon created the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Executive Order as a federal response to growing environmental concerns. Since then Earth Day has brought about many changes.

Clean Water: Two short years after the formation of the EPA, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, a modification of the 1948 Federal Water Pollution Control Act, to regulate quality standards for surface waters and stop the discharges of pollutants into rivers, lakes and other waterways. 

Clean Air: A few weeks after the EPA was formed, Congress passed the Clean Air Act. Under the new law, the EPA was authorized to set limits on air pollutants like ozone and carbon monoxide, as well as to regulate emissions from factories, power plants and vehicles. State and regional agencies assumed responsibility for carrying out the Clean Air Act at the local level. With its new responsibilities, the EPA set numerous air quality regulations in motion, including controlling auto emissions and banning the use of DDT.

Waste Management: In 1976, the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act became law. Among other things, the law mandated that landfills be closely monitored and enacted America's hazardous waste management program. Since 1970, the U.S. recycling rate has grown from a mere 6.6 percent to 34.1 percent in 2010, according to the most recent EPA data available. Due to increased regulations and recycling, the number of landfills in America has also decreased dramatically, from nearly 8,000 in 1988 to 1,767 in 2002.

Increased Awareness: Since 1970, Earth Day has grown into a global celebration. An estimated 1 billion people in 180 countries participated in Earth Day in 2010. About 77 percent of Americans now say they worry about protecting the environment; this is up from 1970 when the percentage of citizens who cited cleaning up air and water as one of their top three political priorities was at 53 percent.

We have come a long way and accomplished many wonderful things since the first Earth Day in 1970, but we still have much to do. Now more than ever it is important for us to be conscious of our global footprint. Global Footprint Network estimates that approximately every nine months, we have demanded a level of services from nature equivalent to what the planet can provide for all of 2012, this date is Earth Overshoot Day. What exactly does this mean? We make up this deficit by depleting stocks of fish, trees and other resources, and by accumulating waste such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans. We are now using the Earth’s resources at a rate that would take between 1.3 and 1.5 planets to sustainably support our current practices. The research shows us on track to require the resources of two Earths well before mid-century.

Even though Earth Day is over, it doesn't mean we should wait until next year's Earth Day before we do something to change. In the words of Albert Einstein, "those with the privilege to know, have a duty to act."

What did you do for Earth Day this year?  What practices have you made a part of your daily life?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

HAWMC Day 22, The Things We Forget

Today's challenge topic is, The Things we Forget; Visit http://thingsweforget.blogspot.com/ and make your own version of a short memo reminder. Where would you post it?

I actually really love today's prompt. It is so easy for us to forget, in all the hustle and bustle of today's fast paced life, the little things that we hold true and find important. Sometimes we need visual reminders or Post-It notes to help us slow down and remember what is really important. Today’s prompt is inspired by the blog “The Things We Forget.” The site has a simple but lovely premise and has been sharing mini motivational sayings written in permanent marker on Post-Its (then stuck somewhere in public for others to see).

I found this handy website called Superstickies that allows you to make your own Post-It notes and save them to your computer or post them on Imgur or Flickr. I had a lot of fun making these Post-Its and once I started I couldn't stop! Because today is Earth Day, my things we forget Post-Its are earth themed. I struggled with the question of where I would post my notes. Ideally I would love to post them around out in public to help others think about what is important, but I wouldn't want to create debris and litter so I decided I would post them on Pinterest for people to see instead; no waste. I hope you enjoy!

The first three are reminders for myself and the rest are wonderful quotes that help inspire me.

If you were going to make Post-It reminders of things you forget what would they say?  Where would you post them?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

HAWMC Day 21, Health Madlib Poem

Today's challenge topic is, Health Madlib Poem; Go to: http://languageisavirus.com/cgi-bin/madlibs.pl and fill in the parts of speech and the site will generate a poem for you. Feel free to post the Madlib or edit it to make it better.

This was an interesting challenge topic, it took me back to my school days when we used to fill these out. Here is the result of my madlib poem. It doesn't make much sense but I kind of like how it turned out anyway.

mindful health's mindful health

gracefully i have never question, naturally beyond
any thought, your brain have their awareness:
in your most delicious food are things which heal me,
or which i cannot communicate because they are too wonderfully

your delightful look carefully will unwelcome me
though i have imagine myself as condition,
you laugh always heart by heart myself as journey enjoy
(strengthening patiently, adventurously) her nutritious recipe

or if your believe be to mend me, i and
my knowledge will eat very beautifully , cheerfully,
as when the flour of this thought cook
the stomach enthusiastically everywhere loving;

nothing which we are to promise in this flavor taste
the food of your melodic allergies: whose impression
smell me with the help of its situation ,
admiring time and interest with each changing

(i do not care what it is about you that challenge
and create; only something in me educate
the adjustment of your brain is satisfying than all journey)
reward, not even the mind, has such caring existence

- Elizabeth & e.e. cummings

Do you remember doing Madlib's when you were younger? You can create your own Madlib on LanguageIsAVirus.com

Friday, April 20, 2012

HAWMC Day 20, Miracle Cure

Today's challenge topic is, Miracle Cure; Write a news-style article on a miracle cure. What’s the cure? How do you get the cure? Be sure to include a disclaimer  ;)

Today I decided to deviate from the challenge topic slightly. I didn't want to make up a cure but I thought I would talk about some of the research and clinical trials that are out there that may help result in a cure for food allergies and intolerances. 

Unlike many allergic conditions, there are currently no proven treatments for food allergies except to avoid eating what you are allergic or intolerant to. Here are a few clinical trials out there currently that may prove to have promising results in the near future. 

Immunotherapy. There are two types of immunotherapy, sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) and oral immunotherapy (OIT). The concept for both methods is the same. A food allergen is administered slowly in small increasing doses leading up to a stable daily dose. The goal is to teach the person's immune system to accept the allergen. The difference being the two approaches is in the way they are administered. In SILT, the allergen is given under the tongue and in OIT the patient ingests the allergen. Early studies of immunotherapy have had promising results but therapeutic effect and duration of benefit have not been proven. For more information check out the trial information at clinicaltrials.gov

Xolair (omalizumab). A person who is allergic to something makes too much of a certain protein in the body called IgE antibody. This overproduction can result in the development of allergic conditions. Xolair is a drug that acts by binding to the IgE allergic antibody in the blood stream and blocks its actions. The FDA has approved Xolair for the treatment of moderate to severe asthma. There are a number of studies that are being conducted to use Xolair to treat other allergies such as food allergies but none have been approved yet. Although early studies appear promising, this treatment is still considered experimental and more research needs to be done on the drug's long-term safety.

Herbal formula-2, also known as Food Allergy Herbal Formula 2 (FAHF-2). This pill is based on Chinese herbal remedies. It contains nine botanicals that may aide with food allergies. So far in early clinical trials FAHF-2 has been safe and well tolerated and signs point that the medicine could be effective in treating food allergies. It is currently in the second phase of the study and is shown to have promising prolonged preventive effect up to 40 weeks. For more information check out the trial information at clinicaltrials.gov

Again there is much research still needed before it is know if any of these have any long lasting effects on food allergies. So please consult your doctor before changing any of your current treatment plans. This is a list of just a few of the studies out there here is a complete list of the current food allergy studies. Also if you would like additional information on any of these studies check out the Food Allergy Initiative and the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology for up to date information.  

Have you heard of any clinical studies or research being done to help find a cure for food allergies? I would love to hear about them please share them with me and your fellow readers.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

HAWMC Day 19, 5 Dinner Guests

Today's challenge topic is, 5 Dinner Guests; Who are 5 people you’d love to have dinner with (living or deceased) and why?

This topic was difficult for me. Not because I couldn't think of anyone that I would want to have dinner with, but I had a hard time narrowing it down to five. There have been so many influential people throughout history it is hard not to want to meet them all. Who wouldn't want to hear some of Ernest Hemingway's stories, be enlightened by Buddha, or see if they could keep up with Albert Einstein?

For my list I decided to stick with the women, a former First Lady, an English novelist, a British actress, a French fashion designer and the Godmother of the environmental movement. How is that for a dinner party! Here are my five dinner guests.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the United States from 1933-1945. Roosevelt became an advocate for civil rights where she worked to enhance the status of working women. She also supported the formation of the United Nations and went on to become a delegate to the UN General Assembly. During her time at the UN she chaired the committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Jane Austen (1775-1817). Jane Austen was an English novelist. Best known for Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma among others. Her biting social commentary and realism has sparked a following known as Janeites, who are devotees and fans of Jane Austen's works. 

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993). Audrey Hepburn was a British actress who later became a humanitarian. She is remembered as a film and fashion icon of the twentieth century. She remains one of the few entertainers who have won an Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award. She devoted much of her later life to UNICEF and in 1992 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. 

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, better known as Coco Chanel (1883-1971). Coco Chanel was a french fashion designer and founder of the famous brand Chanel. She made a lasting impression on women's fashion in the twentieth century mastering designs that were both simple and practical,yet stylish. Her designs allowed women to leave the corsets behind. Without her, the little black dress as we know it wouldn't exist. 

Rachel Carson (1907-1964). Rachel Carson is the Godmother of the environmental movement. She is best known for writing Silent Spring (1962). Silent Spring brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented share of the American people. It spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, which led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides. It also inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA). Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter.

After writing my list I realize that all but one (Jane Austen) were alive during the same time period. I wonder if they every met, would they have socialized in the same circles? How would they have gotten along and what would they have talked about?

Sorry my post is so late today, my dinner party with these amazing ladies went longer than expected! :)

Who would be your five dinner guests and why?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

HAWMC Day 18, Open a Book

Today's challenge topic is, Open a Book; Choose a book and open it to a random page and point to a phrase. Use that phrase to get you writing today. Free write for 15-20 without stopping.

As I have said before my husband and I are pretty much addicted to our local public library. Every time we go we seem to come back with a bigger stack of books than the last time. Therefore I had plenty of books to choose from for today's post. I must admit however, having a 6 month old baby and reading for pleasure don't usually go hand in hand so most of the books I haven't even thumbed through and probably won't before they are due back. But I always have the highest of intentions when it comes to reading, you just never know when you might have a few spare minutes you can fit in a few chapters. The book I chose is one I haven't read yet, and honestly probably won't get to for quite sometime, so I thought this would give me a good excuse to at least thumb through it a bit. It is, 10 Mindful Minutes - Giving our children and ourselves the social and emotional skills to reduce stress and anxiety for healthier, happier lives by Goldie Hawn. Yes, that Goldie Hawn!

The page I turned to when I opened the book was on kindness, and this is the first sentence I read, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." ~Plato 

How true are those words! In life at one point or another we all fight a hard battle and you never know what someone else might be fighting at any given time. This holds especially true with those of us who are living with an illness or health issue. So instead of being negative and judging someone why not try to be kind instead. 

Kindness comes from thoughtfulness. Only when we are mindful of others thoughts and feelings can we do something kind for them. When we are kind to others we are also being kind to ourselves. Kindness has so many wonderful effects on our body and those we are kind to. Acts of kindness raise our optimism, making us happier. Kindness  raises dopamine levels in the brain and activates the brain's pleasure centers. Kindness strengthens our immune system which in return boosts our health. Antibodies in the nose and mouth that fight off viruses are increased with kindness. Kindness reduces the feeling of depression, hostility and isolation while increases optimism, joyfulness and resilience. Doing as few as five small acts of kindness a week can boost our mood and health. Kindness is contagious, when you are kind to someone, that someone is more likely to pass along the kindness to someone else. 

Acts of kindness don't have to be extravagant, they can be something as small as smiling at someone, saying hi, holding open a door, giving a complement, or leaving a short note of kind words for a loved one to find. Once you start incorporating small acts of kindness in your life you will find it is contagious and will find many more ways to bring kindness into your life and others. 

So next time hold that door open for the person coming in after you at the restaurant or store and give them smile as you do it. Or say something nice to the person standing next to you in the elevator or in line at the coffee shop. Chances are they will pass along the kindness to someone else and maybe that small act of kindness is just what that person needed as they fight their battle. As an added bonus you might just make yourself feel better and healthier in the process. 

What are ways that you incorporate small acts of kindness in your everyday life? If you have children do you teach them to do the same in their lives?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

HAWMC Day 17, Learned the Hard Way

Today's HAWMC challenge topic is, Learned the Hard Way; What’s a lesson you learned the hard way? Write about it for 15 today.

I've learned many lessons throughout my life and most have been learned the hard way. I think that is the way we learn the best. It's why there is the expression, 'live and learn'. It's a part of life, we are human, we learn by trial and error. If we don't live it, then we don't feel the consequences from our actions. 

The lesson I've learned the hard way that I am going to share is one I've learned along my food allergy journey. When I first learned I needed to avoid gluten, diary, and eggs, among a few others, I went through the usual cycle of acceptance. At first I mourned what I could no longer have. I literally went to the grocery store and walked up and down every single aisle and looked at everything I could no longer eat (blindly missing everything that I could eat I might add); I was in tears by the time I walked out. I wanted everything I couldn't eat. Never mind that I never ate Twinkies before, that wasn't the point. The point was my food options were now more limited than before for more significant health reasons than I had previously known. Then I went into what I would call an overzealous stage. I decided I needed to learn everything I could. I would have to learn to replace all those things I couldn't eat with substitutes made from allergen-free alternatives. I went crazy making substitutes of things I had never made before and hardly ever ate. I made every kind of muffin imaginable, I made dozens of loafs of bread, bagels, cinnamon rolls, english muffins… you name it, I tried to create it. After all that, I was exhausted and overwhelmed because none of my creations tasted as good as the allergen filled originals. I felt like my allergies had beaten me. So I moved into the rebellious stage. I basically said, "Screw it, it's my life, if I want to eat it I am going to eat it! I've been eating it all for my entire life and nothing horrible had happened, so why stop now?"  So I stopped eating allergy free for a couple of weeks, well maybe more like a month or two, but after that month I felt and looked, to put it bluntly, like crap. I was tired, cranky, and constantly gassy, my face was broken out and blotchy. My allergies had beaten me once again. 

Over the course of the first 6 months of my allergy journey, I cycled through these emotions, over and over. In the end, however, I learned, the hard way, that I do have a choice whether or not to eat that Twinkie. I can eat the Twinkie if I want to, it is my choice. I know from experience it is not going to make me feel good. After the minute or so of satisfaction I will feel as I eat it, the pain I will feel will last for hours and the ill effects on my body might last for weeks or longer. I think most people who find they have food allergies or intolerances go through a very similar stages. I think it is part of the learning process. If we don't have those feelings and experience the lapses, then we won't learn we truly do feel better avoiding the things we are allergic to. I'm not going to lie, almost 3 years later, sometimes those feelings still crop up. It's hard to watch others eat things you wish you could eat too, but from living my allergen journey and learning from my mistakes I know all said and done, I am better off without them. 

Below are a few quotes about mistakes that I love and have drawn inspiration from along my journey not with my allergies but with life.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.-- George Bernard Shaw
If you don't make mistakes, you're not working on hard enough problems. And that's a big mistake. -- F. Wikzek 
Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.-- Denis Whitely 
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.-- Scott Adams 
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.-- Mahatma Gandhi

What is a lesson you have learned the hard way?

Monday, April 16, 2012

HAWMC Day 16, Pinboard

Today's challenge topic is, Pinboard; Create a Pinterest board for your health focus. Pin 3 things. What did you pin? Share the images in a post and explain why you chose them.

I will admit I am more than a little bit obsessed with Pinterest, it is so addicting. It's one of my guiltiest pleasures but it can be a real time sucker as well. There has been lots of talk about Pinterest and copyright lately. I won't get into the details here but if you want to learn more here are a few great articles, The Great Pinterest Divide: To Opt Out or Not (plagiarismtoday.com) and Avoiding Copyright Pitfalls on Pinterest (savingforsomeday.com). 

So here are the three things I pinned today on my Allergen Free Living board:

GREAT U! NFCA's digital publication specifically for gluten-free college students (and prospective students). This guide has so much wonderful information about living a gluten-free lifestyle while at college and is a must read for college students, prospective students and their parents. 

The Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide from the Gluten Intolerance Group. It is a wonderful database that helps you find restaurants that provide safe options for the gluten-free community. You can search by state and it brings up all of the safe restaurant options in your area.

A Beginners Guide to Going Gluten-Free from celiac.com. This is great resource when you are just starting out on your gluten-free journey. 

I know these are not necessarily pictures but they are great resources for anyone who is going gluten-free and Pinterest is a wonderful way to share and keep track of them. I hope that you enjoy!

Check me out on Pinterest!

Are you on Pinterest? What types of things do you pin?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...