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
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.
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.
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!
Lizzie”s Wordless Wednesday
My princess always has to match what I do, and I love it…I would NOT ask for it any other way…. But that does come with its own set of drawbacks. This picture shoes why it is so critically important for me to follow a gluten free diet, even though gluten is not an issue for me. As parents, we lead by example, and in my case, I have my fantastic little copycats watching my every move. They are my reasons for living, my everything, and I owe it to them to provide the right kind of example to follow. Me cheating and adding gluten only cheats the people I hold dearest to my heart.
Gluten Free Auntie Annes Copy Cat Recipe
I noticed earlier today on our twitter feed that someone had said they would LOVE to have an Auntie Anne pretzel, but couldn’t because they are now gluten free. This got me thinking and so I scoured a million and a half pages of copy cat recipes. I finally came across this one and made them earlier today and I LOVED them. So I had to share. This was on a fellow blog… click here for the recipe. Hope you enjoy!
I was talking to a friend earlier today and we were discussing some nutrition information and swapping recipes. This is something we like to do regularly. Some background…She has diabetes, and is very careful about what she eats, when, and what combinations of foods she eats at a time. So far she has been lucky enough to manage her condition by diet and exercise, although doctors are still keeping a close eye on her. Today, she said something that really got me thinking. In our conversation, I was teasing her about how meticulous she was with her measurements when it came to food ( all good-natured of course). And her reply was, “Well I am a diabetic, what do you expect?”. I found it interesting that she, and many other people who have diabetes, identify themselves AS the condition, rather than a PERSON with the condition.
I then emailed a friend who has Celiac and asked her how she identifies herself. She also replied that she, and many of the members in her support group, identify themselves as “celiacs”. There is just so much about this labeling that bothers me. There are many other conditions that are life long that people deal with all the time, yet they do not identify themselves AS the condition, they just say they HAVE the condition. So what makes conditions like Celiac and diabetes so different. Why are people relating themselves AS the disease?
I would really love to see people step away from this. Yes, you may have a condition, and yes it may be something that you have to deal with for the rest of your life. But, your disease DOES NOT define YOU! You are the only person that can do that. I think that the more we encourage terminology change (ie… I am a person with Celiac disease, or I am a person with diabetes) the more people with these afflictions will be able to feel more “normal”.
After I did some thinking, I called my friend back this morning and asked her why she identified herself in such a way. She seemed surprised that I brought it up and was genuinely thankful for my observation. She did not even realize the way she was referring to herself and her condition. She agreed that it was much more empowering for her to be a person with diabetes, than a diabetic. So, I encourage all of you to listen to when friends are talking…and if they do identify themselves as a condition they have… ask them why. Many may be like my friend and not even realize that they do it.
I would love to hear feedback on this issue. Please weigh in on questions and comments. Let me know how you identify yourselves and why. Or let me know if you think I am completely off track. I would love to hear everything!
Gluten Free Candy
Over the past few days I have been working on some research and emailing companies to try and bring you the best list of gluten free candy that I can. This is is not, by any means, complete. What I mean by that is, it does not contain all of the candy out there that is gluten free. If it did, it would probably be as long as a book! I have not included any of the specialty candy brands that only work with gluten free candies, but rather chose to focus on what “normal” candies are safe. This is because, odds are, you and your children will come into contact with these mainstream candies way more often than those of a specialty nature. As always, please make sure to check the labels. While all of this information is current, that does not guarantee that the manufacturers will not change their recipes or manufacturing processes.
Tic Tacs are considered by the company to be gluten free. They said that none of their items contain any gluten containing ingrediants. For more information, you can reach the maker of Tic Tacs, Ferrero at 732-764-9300.
Jelly Belly jelly beans are considered by the company to be gluten free. ALL of their jelly beans, in ALL flavors are safe. However, sometimes Jelly Belly will package their items as a mixed set that may contain malted milk balls, or other candies that are not safe. Always make sure to check the packaging… as long as its JUST jelly beans, you are free and clear. You can contact Jelly Belly at 800-522-3267.
Wrigleys makes gum, mints and other candies. They also make Lifesavers, Creme Savers, Skittles and Starburst. Almost all of their items are considered to be gluten free. The company assured me that the only products that are NOT considered to be gluten free are: Altoids Smalls Peppermints, Altoids Chocolate Dipped Mints, Hubba Bubba Gummie Tape and Lucas and Swinkles Candy Strips. Contact Wrigley at (800) 974-4539.
Necco is another famous brand of candies that replied to me with a list of their gluten free options. They include : Necco Wafers and Chocolate Wafers, the Sweethearts Valentine Conversation Hearts, Mary Janes, and Peanut Butter Mary Janes, Sky Bar, Mint Julep Chews, Banana Split Chews, Candy House Candy Buttons, Haviland Thin Mints, Wintergreen Patty, Nonpareils and Chocolate Stars, and Canada Mint, Wintergreen and Spearmint Lozenges. You can contact Necco at 781-485-4800.
Nestles also makes are variety of candies, both under their name as well as Willy Wonka. The items that they have assured me are currently considered to be gluten free are: Laffy Taffy, Pixie Stix, Bit O Honey, Baby Ruth, Original Flavor Butterfinger (no seasonal flavors, or shapes), Goobers, Nips, O Henry, Nestles Milk Chocolate, Snowcaps, and Raisinets. For more information, you can contact Nestles at 800-225-2270.
Just Born makes the marshmallow peeps that we usually see on Easter, and they also make Mike and Ikes. The company said that any of their marshmallow products that are gluten free will be labelled gluten free. They began this process last October. While some of the products do say modified food starch, the company assured me it was corn, so it was safe. This list of Mike and Ike candies that are safe are the following flavor varieties: Hot Tamales, Zours, Tropical Typhoon, Jelly Beans, Berry Blast, Italian Ice, Original Fruits, Tangy Twister, Redrageous. You can contact Just Born at 888-645-3453.
Smarties says that most of their line is gluten free with the exception of the Smarties Gummies. While the Smarties Gummies have no gluten containing ingredients, they are processed on machinery that also processes gluten containing ingredients. However, something to be aware of with Smarties, is that the company often sells them to other companies to bag together with other items. In these cases, the other items that the products may be bagged with cannot always be considered safe. Note from the Smarties Company…. “Note: If the UPC number on the packaging begins with “0 11206”, you can be assured that it is manufactured in a facility that is gluten free and safe to eat if you have Celiac Disease.” If you need to contact Smarties, you can do so through their website.
Mars Chocolates sent me the following list of what was safe. Please note that some varieties of M&Ms are NOT safe and you are always going to want to check the packaging! Here is what is safe from Mars: all flavors of 3 musketeers and Snickers Bars, M&Ms EXCEPT for pretzel and SOME mint and coconut, Milky Way Midnight and Milky Way caramel bars, and ALL Dove chocolate products EXCEPT cinnamon graham and cookies and creme flavors. You can contact Mars at 800-627-7852.
Tootsie Roll who also makes Charms Products has ensured me that as of October of last year, ALL of their products are considered to be gluten free, with the only EXCEPTION being Andes Cookies. Great job Tootsie Roll! You can call Tootsie at 773-838-3400.
Hersheys Chocolate lists the following products on their website as gluten free. The list is: all Almond Joy and Mounds, Milk Chocolate Kisses, the caramel and cherry cordial filled chocolate kisses, Hersheys nuggets, Heath Bars, Skor and Skor Toffee bars, all York Peppermint Patties, all Reeses peanut butter cups EXCEPT holiday shapes. Hersheys chocolate bar and Hersheys chocolate bar with almonds are also considered to be gluten free, but ONLY certain sizes. The plain chocolate bar is gluten free in the 1.55 ounce size and the Hersheys with almonds is gluten free in the 1.45 ounce size. I think that this is strange and in our house we avoid those two bars altogether though. You can contact
Hersheys at 800-468-1714.
I hope this helps to put your mind at ease a bit when your kids want candy, or come home with candy from school or from friends houses. I recommend printing out this list, or one of your own if your children have other allergies, and giving it to friends, family, babysitters, or school teachers. Anyone who could possible give your child candy. This safe list allows for a little more freedom and normalcy for your child when they are not with you. If you have any questions, or if there is anything you think I may have missed, please feel free to let me know.
Treating Kids While Remaining GF
As we are nearing the end of March, one would hope that the cold and flu season, and the heavy sickness period in general, should be coming to an end. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case in a lot of the households that I have spoken with. My guess is that it has something to do with how cold it still is….the longer you are in doors, the more likely you are to get sick. (By the way, that whole first day of Spring thing?? Yup, high of 25 here that day… thank you Spring)
So, thinking about that , I wanted to touch on an area of issue with those who lead a gluten free lifestyle that many people may not realize can be a potential problem. And that, friends, is the issue of how to medicate a gluten free child (or adult for that matter). What many people do not realize is that gluten can and IS found in many medications, including those specified for children. And, here is the biggest problem…there is NO standard for including gluten on the ingredient list of medications, especially if those medications happen to be prescription.
So, what are some of the best ways to deal with this situation?
One of the main things that we do to keep safe, is try and avoid medication if at all possible. I am a strong believer in holistic and natural ways to treat problems. This is something that I could go on and on about, but that is a different topic for a different post. All I will say though, is if you plan on taking this route, educate yourself! Use the help of a naturopath or some other expert. This is not something you want to do alone. In our case, we happen to have a naturopath/chiropractor, and he is just as involved in our lives as we are. ( For those of you that are looking for someone in your area, contact me and I can help you with referrals)
The other thing you have to do, as with ANYTHING, is do your research. Luckily, many companies are marking whether or not their OTC products are gluten free on their packaging. However, you MUST check every single time. Please do not assume that just because a medication, or any product, was gluten free the last time you purchased it, that it still will be this time. Manufacturers have a habit of changing their recipes and ingredients from time to time, and from batch to batch. A safe product does not always remain a safe product. Glutenfreedrugs.com is a great resource for up to date information on what is safe and what is not as well. If there is any doubt do not hesitate to ask the pharmacist. Sometimes they are not always sure, but more than once I have been pleasantly surprised.
I hope that this has helped. This was one of those little things that I did not even think about when we were doing our transition to gluten free. As always, please let me know if there are any questions or if there is anything I can do to help you in your transition.
**Please remember that I am not a medical doctor and information contained in my posts are for educational purposes only. If there is ever a medical issue please contact your doctor or naturopath**