Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lying about food allergies does more harm than good

This week I saw another article about a mother lying about food allergies so that their vegan lifestyle would be taken seriously. This got me thinking.

Food allergies are a life threatening issue that causes major effects if a food is eaten that one is allergic to. Veganism is a personal choice that as one chooses not to eat any dairy or animal by product. That is a personal choice. No one chooses to have food allergies. No one chooses or likes to experience anaphylaxis.

Restaurants have the ability to accommodate those with food allergies. Some do it better than others though. Sometimes, though, it takes research. Planning, asking, calling, emailing, and inquiring about certain foods, cross contamination, ingredients, and methods used to cook. All that happens before one can eat out. It is a daunting experience, sometimes, to trust others to cook for a food allergic. However, most can effectively do that. Restaurants that are good with food allergies earn respect of others in the food allergy community. If someone says they are "allergic" when it's just a personal choice then that does not build the awareness of food allergies. It is just lying. It discredits the term "food allergy.
Pure, plain, and simple. There are both food allergy aware restaurants and vegan options available for all. Researching and asking questions can help.

Chef Keith Norman is no stranger to food allergies and has dedicated his career to providing options to those with food allergies. Norman presently serves as the food and safety manager and Assistant Executive chef at South Point hotel in Las Vegas. Having met Norman at the Food Allergy Bloggers conference last year, he truly "gets" food allergies and successfully fed many with sensitivities and anaphylactic allergens at the conference. He continues to work with the hotel to assure that those with food allergies and other food difficulties can eat safely. With his team of chefs, they successfully fed all without incident. That, in itself, is a huge accomplishment.

The bottom line is simple. Food allergies are severe and have the potential to cause anaphlyaxis even with the smallest bite. Veganism is a personal choice and will not cause anaphylaxis even with the smallest molecule. While vegans have a choice to avoid all animal derivatives, food allergics must take strict avoidance to the foods that could potentially kill them. The smallest molecule, for me, will cause anaphylaxis. Respect each others beliefs and their personal life choices, yes, but do not lie about food allergies just if you are choosing not to eat something.

Friday, May 30, 2014

New Find: Amore di Mona chocolate

Anything chocolate peaks my interest. So, when I was browsing an online supplier for specialty foods, Caramela with Crunchy Coffee Beans peaked my interest. On a whim, I ordered a bar from Peanut Free Planet.

I am so glad I did! The texture is like a chewie chocolate bar but with a rich taste like a gourmet chocolate bar would be. The coffee taste was very present but it was a good texture and taste.

What's amazing about this company?

The side of the box says it all. What's not on the box is even more impressive. This company is vegan, gluten free, low-glycemic friendly, raw, organic, and non-GMO certified. 

The best part about all this is that the chocolate is top-8 allergy friendly and is making an effort to accommodate those with food allergies. 

The box contained three squares of chocolate caramel (like) goodness. I shared it with my family who, for the most part, liked it too.

Amore di Mona Carmela with Crunchy Chocolate Beans rocked my world! I'd like to try their other chocolates soon. 

Where to buy?
Whole Foods (in store)

For a complete list of where to buy Amore di Mona chocolate, please visit their website.

I give Amore di Mona two thumbs way up. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Something has got to give

Not trying to be vague but I've been struggling with some decisions that will affect me and my personal life in the next few months. It is taking over my whole life and is a popular discussion.

I HATE this feeling. I want to be happy. I need to be secure.

This has taken several "extra" hours of my time and I am not abandoning my blog. Rest assured, I will continue to post when I can. Just working on a full time position somewhere and something has got to give.

It has been a pretty rough couple of weeks and I am sure the next will be rough too.

I will continue to post on Twitter and IG.

For now, something has got to give!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Anaphylaxis, it can happen

This week, May 11-17, 2014, is the #FAAW {Food Allergy Awareness week}. Food allergies can occur in anyone and I wanted to write about why I always carry Epi or Epinephrine at all times.

{Photo Credit: Kids with Food Allergies}

Food allergies, for me, did not develop until after the age of 15 or so for me. Don't get me wrong, I have many other allergies. Seasonal, environmental, medication, insects, pollen, and the list goes on. For many, food allergies can occur in children and some may outgrow their allergies. It totally depends on the person. Each case is different. 

Anyways, I did not develop food allergies until around 15. For me, they started as daily hives {later discovered to soy, wheat, and more} and my hands would swell {with shellfish|}. After doing my own research and working with my Allergist, I discovered I had many allergies to foods. Today, a single crumb or morsel can send me into anaphylaxis.

My current list of food allergies includes Soy (all forms), Wheat, Gluten, Tree Nuts, Peanuts, Fish, Shellfish, Modified Starches, and Coconut (all forms). That would be six of the Top 8.

I was thinking I was doing pretty good. I had Epi, I had a list of what I couldn't have, and all was dandy. I was wrong. 

Anaphylaxis happened even though I was careful! 

It happened to cross contamination and soy lecithin as well as fish. I had to use epi as well as have it given to me. Within minutes, my symptoms (hives, swelling, others) lessoned. If it wasn't for epinephrine, I can't think of what today would look like.

Accidents can occur and that is why you always have epi.

A label can be misread and anaphylaxis can occur. That's why you have epi! 

A company doesn't list a warning that items are run on the same lines (since warning labels are voluntary) and anaphylaxis occurs. 

Epinephrine is the only drug that can reverse Anaphylaxis (source). 

If you or someone you know has food allergies or any known anaphylactic allergy, they must carry it on them. 

Epinephrine saves lives. I know, I was one of those lives!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Gluten free Lemon poppy seed muffins

I haven't had lemon poppy seed muffins in years and cracked the code in making GF ones. I will admit that I noshed on them all week and they were delicious reheated too.

Gluten free Lemon poppy seed muffins
Makes: 24 muffins

* 1 1/3 cups sugar
* 3 lemons (zest and juice)
* 2 cups sorghum flour
* 1 cup brown rice flour
* 1/2 cup corn starch (or any other starch)
* 2 teaspoons xanthan or guar gum
* 5 teaspoons baking powder
* 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 to 2 cups milk
* 4 eggs
* 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter
* 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
* 4 Tablespoons poppy seeds 

Preheat oven to 375*. Line muffin tins. 

In a large bowl, zest lemons and add in sugar. Combine until mixture smells like lemons. Add in flours, starch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until combined. Set aside.

In a small bowl, melt butter (I microwaved it). Juice all three lemons and add to butter. Add in eggs, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups milk. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into dry ingredients bowl and combine. Add reserved milk as needed. Add in poppy seeds and stir to combine. 

Scoop a heaping spoon into each lined tin. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool before storing in an air tight container. Muffins last a week (if that).