We Are Moving!
We are officially moving our site to www.allergy-warriors.com. If you follow our blog or subscribe via email, you will need to sign back up on the new site. Our followers did not carry over to the new site. If you do not sign up, you will not continue getting updates from us. :0(
The new site is currently under construction, so please bare with us as we get new features and fun things set up. The look will probably change a few more times also. We are tweaking it to make it perfect. We have a new recipe card program, and will be adding tabs for recipes, amazing products, and other great things. The new recipe card allows you to save or print (in various sizes) right from the site. We are excited to bring you lots more great things as we work on the new site and add lots more great features!
The www.allergywarriors.wordpress.com site will be shut down by the end of the month, and we will not be posting on this site after that.
We want to thank everyone for supporting us in this endeavor and look forward to seeing you on the new site! Your support is greatly appreciated! If you have a minute, we would love to hear your feedback about the new site, and get your input on things you would like to see on the site!
Allergy Warrior Annie & Gluten Free Gal Lizzie
We Love When Food Makers Reply! This Time its Gluten
Kemnitz Family Kitchen Labels & Flags
Kemnitz Family Kitchen has these great labels, stickers, and flags for foods that are gluten free and allergen free. They also have special labels that say “NO” in red if they are not safe. We went to my mom’s for a cookout yesterday, and my cousin has decided to try being gluten free to see if it makes her feel any better. We were able to put flags in the foods that were safe for her. My mom made the homemade salsa, and taco dip. Both were safe, so I was able to put a flag in them.
My cousin brought some Udi’s Gluten Free hamburger buns, which are not only gluten free, but nut free also! Had to put some cute flags and stickers on those too!
My cousin brought a cake she made gluten free, and it was REALLY good. However, my grandmother brought packaged donuts that were not safe for my cousin or my daughter’s peanut allergy, so I put the STOP sticker on them. It was great, because they were both able to see right off that they were not safe for either of them.
I am so excited about these flags and labels. Especially at larger family functions where different people have different food restrictions, and people bring home made foods. People can immediately see which items are safe and which are not.
My cousin said these were a great idea, especially if you are at a restaurant and they bring around desserts to view. They could have the little GF flag in them to show they are gluten free and safe. Another neat idea is if you order lunch from a restaurant and they have gluten free options. They could label your meal with a Gluten Free sticker. Kemnitz Family Kitchen has several little stickers and flags for every occasion and food restriction. These would be great for cookouts, family parties, and school treats.
You say it’s your birthday? Happy Gluten Free Birthday! Imagine getting a cupcake from a co-worker that is gluten free, with a little birthday sticker on it.
Is the food vegan? Is it an Easter, Christmas, Halloween, or Fourth of July? There are adorable labels to label your foods to bring to get togethers. There are even labels to make what items your food does NOT have! This is especially important for home made foods. The possibilities are endless!
Disclaimer: I was sent two packages of flags and labels in exchange for my honest opinion of the products. I was not compensated in any way, and all opinions are my own.
Right off, I love the name!! Nonuttin’ says it all! Their products are free of ELEVEN allergens!! Yes, 11! Their products are dairy free (including all derivatives such as casein and whey), egg free, fish free, certified gluten free, mustard free, peanut free & tree nut free (including employees signing a contract that they do not eat peanuts/tree nuts before work or bring them into any area of the No Nuttin’ facility), sesame free, shellfish free, soy free (including soy lecithin), no sulfites, wheat free, AND since the USA lists coconut as a tree nut, no coconut either!
Are you allergic to latex? No latex gloves are used on any Nonuttin’ production line either! Avoiding refined sugar? They only use evaporated cane sugar! So their products must taste like cardboard right? It can’t be free of all these things, and actually taste good, right? WRONG! Their products are delicious! Nonuttin sent Lizzie and I a bunch of their products to try and they were all delicious! Our kids loved them all!
The first thing we tried was their Nonuttin’ All Natural Granola. The girls loved putting it in their yogurt or just eating it plain. Bean loved the Vanilla Cinnamon, and Bubbles favorite fruit is blueberry, so she really loved the Blueberry Maple.
The next thing we tried was their granola bars. YES, they have granola bars! AND they are peanut free granola bars! Can you tell how excited I am about this? If your child has a peanut allergy, you understand my excitement. I have not found ANY safe granola bars for Bean at any of the stores around here. They are always “made on the same equipment” or “may contain”. Well these contain No Nuttin! Their granola bars come in four varieties – Apple Cinnamon, Raisin (both pictured below), Chocolate Chip, and Double Chocolate Chunk. Their granola bars are soft and chewy, and you can actually see the apple and raisins in them! Definitely a favorite here!
Next we tried their oatmeal! They come in these great little cups, with lids. Just add boiling water (I just used really hot water), pour it up to the line in the cup, put the cover back on for a couple minutes and TADA, the perfect cup of oatmeal! I was really leery of these at first. I really thought they would be soupy, and I really dislike soupy oatmeal, but they seriously turned out perfect! There are four varieties – Daily Hug (apples and cinnamon), Morning Mojo (apples, blueberries, apples, raw sunflower seeds, and cinnamon), Pacific Coast Morning (blueberries and cranberries), and Sunny Start (cranberries, raisins, and raw sunflower seeds). We tried the Morning Mojo and Daily Hug. Bean had the Morning Hug and loved it. Bubbles tried the Morning Mojo, but was not thrilled about the sunflower seeds. I like it though and finished it off for her!
Lizzie came over for a cookout, and we had to figure something for the kids to have for dessert. The dessert had to be gluten free for Lizzie’s kids, peanut free for Bean, and dairy free for Bubbles. It is always so very difficult finding a snack that all the kids can enjoy. Often, we find a product that is allergen free OR gluten free, however these are the best of both worlds, and allowed all of our children to enjoy them! They loved them, and even the dog wanted some! LOL Lots of smiling faces, and no one was left out!
Nonuttin is a great treat for field trips, on the go, as a quick snack, also they are great for kids to bring in as a safe treat for school for birthdays or for snack day. All the kids could have these! They are soft and chewy and sooo good, especially the Double Chocolate Chunk, and all the kids will love them!
Disclaimer: Nonuttin’ sent us the products pictured above to review, in exchange for our honest opinions of their products. We were not compensated in any way, and all of the opinions were our own and not influenced in any way.
Getting Ready For The Nice Weather
YAAAAAAYYYYYY!!! Awesome weather is back… again. And this time it seems like it wants to stay around. We are already planning on all of the awesome things we can do. It helps the kids get excited and be motivated to spend more time outside, and it also helps me make a nice little mental list of all the new things we will need and all of the things I need to be prepared for.
So, I would like to share with you, a quick little run down of how we prepare for summer, and hopefully it will make your summer a bit easier too.
First, we all know that the return of summer brings the return of sun, and sunburn. Over here we are all almost clear, so we are huge fans of sunblock. As in industrial strength SPF as high as it can possibly be, reapplied every hour sunblock. We use Coppertone WaterBabies SPF 100+ ( see? I wasn’t kidding). Make sure to do your research and verify that the brand you are using is gluten free.
Second, with nice weather come the bugs. Not only the pretty and interesting ones, but those nasty, biting, stingy ones. Don’t forget to make sure you are using some form of protection against those little brats. Slice a lime and push some cloves in it, it helps keep the biting insects away. Also, if you prefer to wear your protection, find a natural based safe alternative. Gluten can hide in bug sprays too. I have a friend that makes ours. You can also make your own, if you are so inclined.
Third, what would nice weather be without cook outs and get togethers? Word of warning…those grills…cross contamination issue!!! While it may not be for some, for those that are very sensitive, it can be a source of concern. So, how to remedy that? We went and bought one of those table top charcoal grills. They are pretty inexpensive and easy to transport. Any grill party that we go to we just toss it in the trunk and we are good to go. This way, we know that there is no way bread or gluten containing meats or what have you have been near it, and we still get to have all the yummy grilled food.
And who can forget about all the great carnivals, festivals and street fairs that happen while the weather is at its best? So… what’s the best way to navigate those potential gluten havens? First, look for information about the fest. More often than not, if community restaurants are going to be present at the fest, it will be listed on the flier or other paper work advertising the event. You can then call the different places and find out what will be served and how it’s prepared to make your safe list. If you do not see places listed, call the city or village where the event is being held. They can give you more information about the type of vendors that will be showcased. If you find out that there will be no safe options while you are there, pack yourself a nice picnic lunch and bring it along. There are a lot of great fair type foods that you can make gluten free. Look for a post containing some of those great recipes coming soon.
This is the basic way that I try to plan out our summer, and some of the tips that I have found to make our lives easier and more manageable. Hopefully this has helped some of you. I welcome your tips as well. And don’t forget to let me know if any of these help you out!
I can’t help but to be frustrated right now. I have several friends that have children that are similar in age to my kids. And of course, my kids love getting together and being able to play. Recently, we had some time to spend with a friend who I have not seen in a very long time and her three little ones. We had a great time. But…..
She knows that my kids are eating gluten free. She knows that it is because of an issue they both medically have. She knows how much I struggle trying to make my kids feel like they fit in.
When she invited us over, she mentioned that we should come for lunch. I began to explain to her my hesitation…and went down the whole list. The foods contents, the cross contamination issues, etc. She still insisted. I offered to bring our own food, that I knew would be okay. I even offered to bring enough for everyone to share. She still insisted everything would be fine. But, if this lifestyle has taught me anything its to be prepared, so I brought food anyway.
And its really a good thing that I did! We got there, and the kids played for awhile, which was awesome. But then I noticed that she had thrown in a pizza. I knew immediately that it was not going to be anything safe for my kids. So, I asked her. I wanted to know why she was making a pizza when she had offered to provide a safe lunch. She then said, well it is a favorite of the kids, so I was going to give them that, and I have salad and fruits and veggies for your kids. I was appalled.
I, luckily, brought a nice hearty lunch for the kids. But, still not the point. She knows that I do everything I can to NOT alienate my kids. Sorry, but eating something that they can not have right in front of them is awful. To top it all off, she even offered me the pizza. I remained calm during the whole thing, but shortly after lunch my kids were getting tired and had asked to leave. I was more than happy to oblige.
While I did take the time to explain my frustrations to her, I still can not help but to be upset to this day. Please do not take medical issues, especially those revolving around kids, lightly. It is hard enough for the kids to feel like they fit in, try not to make it any harder.
Review: So Excited about Sun Cups! (Nut free, Gluten Free, Certified Kosher)
Annie’s Allergy Review:
I was standing in line at my local grocery store, waiting to check out. I looked over and saw a package of Sun Cups. It said they were made with Sunflower Butter and Milk Chocolate. I got so excited that a product that was safe for my daughter was actually available at my local grocery store. I looked all over the candy section that lines the checkout, but it was the only package. I actually loaded my groceries back into my cart and went in search of them in the store. I asked someone working in the grocery department where I could find them. I was told in the gluten free section. I found the box and decided to purchase two packages. Each package comes as a two pack of cups. When I got home, I was thrilled to tell my family about my find! We opened them right up, and all tried them. My severely peanut allergic daughter and the rest of our family loved them! They were really good and JUST like real peanut butter cups.
Other than tasting fantastic, I was thrilled to see on the packaging that these are nut-free, gluten-free, Certified Kosher, AND made with all natural chocolate, using cacao from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. That means the chocolate in Sun Cups comes from farms that look out for their workers and the planet! I was also happy to see that they are made right in Boulder Colorado, AND their packaging has been created from home-compostable film, certified to OK Compost’s Home Composting Standard. I had to know more, so I went to Sun Cup’s website.
I was thrilled to find they had more varieties like Sunflower Butter and Dark Chocolate, Caramel Cups, and Mint Cups too! I emailed them telling them I was thrilled to find their product in my local grocery store, but that they only carried one variety. They were so very nice and sent us two of each of each flavor for Lizzie and I to review!
Every one of these were fantastic and are just like a real peanut butter cup. The shape, the packaging, even the taste, except they are SAFE! The caramel cups were a HUGE hit, and was Bubble’s favorite. Lots of gooey caramel in the middle of the chocolate. Sooo good. I love dark chocolate, so the Sunbutter and Dark Chocolate ones are my favorite. The Sunbutter and Milk Chocolate, and the Mint were Bean’s favorite. The mint Sun Cups taste just like a peppermint patty, but a little more gooey! Mmmmm! Can you tell, I loved them all? I cannot wait for my store to start carrying more varieties, and will be putting in a special request for them. In the meantime, they can be purchased online at Sun Cup’s online store.
Lizzie’s Gluten Free Review:
Oh my gosh!!! We could not say enough about how amazing these were. Annie sent over a sample of each flavor and we cannot wait to buy more. We were not very happy about sharing! The mint are a great minty gooey amazing concoction of goodness. Bear and Bee decided that the caramel was the best. Nice and gooey and a very generous amount of caramel. The milk chocolate ones were pretty good as well. But, my favorite by far was the dark chocolate sun cup. Amazingly rich dark chocolate combined with that slightly salty roasted sunflower seed flavor of the sun butter. Just. The. Best. These are definitely going to be a staple in the mommy treat drawer. I’m usually not stingy but the dark chocolates are gunna be mama’s only! We love that they are organic and compostable as well. It makes it even better that they are not only gluten free but also nut free! My kids have quite a few friends with nut allergies and its so nice to have something that I can serve everyone. Thanks for an amazing product!
Disclaimer: Sun Cups sent us all of the products pictures above in exchange for our honest reviews. We were not compensated in any way for this, and all opinions are our own and were not influenced in any way.
Where can gluten hide?
Recently, I posted about the strangest places that we have found gluten since living gluten free, and realized that there are a lot of places that people may not think about to check. Here is a quick list of where to find it and how to avoid cross contamination at home.
First, is to obviously remove all your basic food products that contain gluten. This will typically be your cereals, oatmeals, pastas, bread and bread based products. But, also make sure that any opened spread you have, peanut butter, jelly, jams, sauces or butter, that have been touched by a knife that has been put to bread get tossed. There is no telling whether or not these spreads are safe since bread particles could have been transferred over. This goes for cream cheese as well. When in doubt, throw it out! Your health is much more important that trying to salvage something.
Check your appliances! Toasters and toaster ovens will never be clean enough to use safely again. REplace them for peace of mind. Also, check your pots and pans. If there are scratches on your pots or pans that have previously contained gluten items, get rid of those too. There is no way to be sure that you have cleaned every tiny crevice well enough that gluten is not hiding in there.
Cleaning supplies! This can be tricky, because many times, companies do not list their ingredients completely on the labels. You will need to check your cleaning chemicals, detergents, dish soap, dishwasher soap and anything else you use. If the product does not specify, call the company and find out. Or, you can go with more specialized gluten free or all natural companies instead of conventional ones. Just remember, routinely check your products because companies can change their formulas at any time.
Now it is time to check those bathroom products! Make up, sunscreens, lotions, perfumes, deodorants, body sprays, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, self tanners, tanning lotions, hair dyes, even bug sprays. Check all of these things, and be diligent in keeping up with any manufacturing changes. They happen a lot in this area.
And probably one of the worst places gluten can hide, in is your medications and supplements. Check all your OTC medications, everything from pain medicine, to allergy medicine, to cough syrup. Usually medications that are safe will say gluten free on the label. Check supplements too, especially kid vitamins. If you are on prescription medications, be sure to ask your doctor about the gluten content of your medications. Often, if there is, your doctor can set you up on a different course of treatment to avoid it. Just be careful about asking pharmacists, in my experience they often are not as well versed in medication contents and gluten. Obviously, this does not mean that there aren’t some that do know, but in my experiences, I have often found that I am more well versed in the topic than they tend to be.
One more area…pet foods! Depending on your level of sensitivity, it may be best for you to feed your pet gluten free as well. I have heard of people having reactions from pets who eat gluten. Often times it winds up being s skin reaction once the pet has licked the affected person. This is not something that effects us directly. But this is something that you will want to think about depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Hope this helps, please let me know if there are any places that I may have missed!
Review: GoPicnic Ready-to-eat Meal (peanut free, gluten free, vegan, tree nut free, Kosher)
While at the GFAF (Gluten & Allergen Free) Expo, one of the companies that caught my eye was GoPicnic. They have several gluten-free ready-to-eat meals, but I specifically asked if they had any peanut free ones. Jamie was happy to show me the two varieties that were peanut free. The first was GoPicnic Turkey Stick & Crunch and the other is Sunbutter & Crackers. GoPicnic is a healthy, wholesome, good for you version of a Lunchable. It comes in a package about the same size as a Lunchable, and fits perfect in any lunch bag, and is a shelf stable ready-to-eat meal. No freezy packs required! Packing a lunch daily is not only time-consuming, but there are days I run out of ideas, so I tend to fall back on the same foods over and over. I am sure eating the same thing has to get old for Bean. If you pack your child’s lunches daily, GoPicnic is a wonderful convenience! Just pack a drink and lunch is served!
Bean picked the Turkey Stick & Crunch meal for the first one I packed in her lunch. It is a balanced meal featuring an Old Wisconsin Turkey Snack Stick, Popchips Barbecue Potato Chips, Sweet Perry Orchards Tropical 100% Peel-A-Part Fruit, Enjoy Life Mountain Mambo Seed and Fuit Mix, and a Professor Zim Zam’s Extraordinary Sweets Dark Chocolate with Rice Crisps. It contains no artificial flavors or colors, and is gluten-free, peanut free, egg free, and tree nut free! The Popchips contain milk, and the dark chocolate contain soy, but that’s the only allergens! I always strive to pack healthy options for my daughter’s lunch, and I was proud to pack this wholesome lunch for her! All GoPicnic’s ready-to-eat meals are free of trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, added MSG, and artificial flavors and colors. Bean LOVED her lunch! She especially liked the Enjoy Life Mountain Mambo Seed & Fruit Mix. I am pretty sure it is the closest thing she has ever had to a trail mix!
The next day we packed the Sunbutter & Crackers meal. Again super easy, super quick, and a nice healthy, wholesome lunch! Another balanced meal featuring Sunbutter® Creamy Sunflower seed Spread, Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Sea Salt Crackers, Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Trail Mix, Sweet Perry Orchards Tropical 100% Fruit Peel-a-Part and an Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Cookie. This meal is all- natural, Kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and free of 7 common allergens, including wheat, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and egg! The only allergen is that the Sunbutter is made on equipment that also processes soy. My daughter also loved this meal! She has asked for me to begin packing these in her lunch on a regular basis.
These are healthy meal options that can be taken anywhere, anytime! No refrigeration required! These would be great to take on outings to the zoo, museums, parks, picnics, or even camping. I was even thinking these would be great to take on road trips. No worrying about where to stop for food, and if the food will be safe once we do find a place. These alleviate having to purchase those overpriced foods sold at public places, and you can be confident that what you are feeding your child (or yourself) is nutritionally balanced and safe! They have several varieties for people living allergen free, vegan, and gluten-free. Just throw them in a bag and go! I found these available in the gluten-free section at my local Meijer. They are also available at Target, Walgreens, Mariano’s Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Regal Cinemas, or they can also be purchased online at http://www.gopicnic.com. They offer several varieties for specialized diets, plus they have specials and discounts online.
Disclaimer: I was given both boxes of GoPicnic meals reviewed above, in exchange for my honest opinions of their products. I was not financially compensated in any way. The meals were eaten exclusively by my daughter, Bean. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Review: Amanda’s Own REAL chocolate (dairy free, nut free, egg free, gluten free, sesame free, fish/shellfish free)
Amanda’s Own Confections makes dairy-free, nut-free, sesame-free, egg-free, fish/shellfish free, and gluten-free chocolate. This candy is made by someone who knows what it’s like to have a child with a food allergy. Their daughter, Amanda, has a life-threatening food allergy to milk, so they developed this natural chocolate especially for her! At first sight, their packaging is pretty and decorative. I was sent a chocolate bar and a Fancy Squares Box. The Fancy Squares Box was so pretty I didn’t want to open it, however I gave in to my overwhelming love of chocolate.
The next thing I noticed is the ingredients list. The chocolate is made with real, pronounceable, natural ingredients! You cannot get more simple than that! This is REAL chocolate! No artificial preservatives, additives, or ingredients!
I have never had real chocolate before, so when I bit into a piece of the candy bar, it tasted like dark chocolate, and I actually looked at the packaging to make sure it wasn’t dark chocolate. If you are expecting a milk chocolate taste, REAL chocolate does not taste like that. I love dark chocolate though, and really liked the taste of this chocolate. I remember thinking, this is the first time I have tried REAL chocolate! My daughter’s both tried some of the candy bar and they both really loved the taste too!
The Fancy Squares were also super yummy. As you can see the chocolate has a much darker color, and also the consistency is harder than milk chocolate. These are very yummy, but I would not recommend them for small children. My five-year old had a hard time eating this. Her little jaw was not strong enough to bite through it. I cut it up for her, and she ate it just fine, and loved it, but I do not recommend giving this to a child whole. A decadent chocolate treat, exclusively just for Mom or Dad? Sign me up!
Also the prices on the site are extremely reasonable! The Fancy Squares Box is on sale for only $5! The bars are only $2.35 every day! Not much more than the price of a chocolate bar at the grocery store, and MUCH cheaper than a bar at other specialty sites or stores! They also make chocolate chips, bark, jellybeans, gummies, lolly pops, and special occasion candy!
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so why not give Mom a special decadent Mother’s Day Lolly? Only $2.20! Let mom know how sweet she is!
You can also like their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amandas-Own-Confections-Dairy-Free-Chocolates-Candies/173118496057846
Disclaimer: I was sent a candy bar, and a Fancy Squares Box of chocolate to sample in exchange for my honest opinions of their products. I was not financially compensated in any way. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.