Monday, March 20, 2017

My Top Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Gluten-Free Must Have Foods!

Two of our basic yet taken for granted needs are to breathe and to be nourished to sustain life. My fragrance and food allergies challenge those two basic needs.  People are fearful of what to feed me.  I am often asked to bring my own food as my hosts fear they may do me harm.

This led me to think of my "Top Egg, Soy, Gluten and Dairy Free Must Haves".  These products I have searched for and some I have previously, shared on my blog.  The following is a compiled list, not necessarily in order of importance.

1.  BFree Bread 

If you have ever searched for delicious gluten free bread you know that this search can be horrendous.  Gluten free bread is often heavy with the density of baseball leather. Now add the need for the bread to be egg and soy-free too, this challenge is insurmountable.  

Finally, last Spring I found this bread at the #GFAF Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo in Schaumburg, IL.  I wondered why the line to this booth was extremely long. I sat families leaving with bags of this bread.  When I finally reached the table they were almost sold out.  Now I understand the long lines, this bread is absolutely wonderful.

2.  Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread

This delightful buttery spread is soy-free, non-GMO and Vegan.  There are two of the Earth Balance buttery spreads labeled soy free.  In my opinion butter can make any recipe taste good, although this is not cow's milk yet it emulates and sustains my desire for cow's milk butter. 

3.  Califia Farms Almond Milk

If you read this blog at all you will know how much I love Califia Farms Almond Milk.  This almond milk is "yummy".   I cannot always use this almond milk as a substitute for "cows milk" as my daughter is allergic to almonds.  I, however, love this "stuff".

4. Swaggerty's All Natural Preservative Free Sausage

You would think that finding soy-free sausage would not be difficult. It is. I made my own but I didn't like them, then I found these. I am not vegan although, often I find myself looking at vegan products to find ingredients that are egg-free.  In time, when I eat nitrate free preservative free meat I have less headaches and migraines. This sausage is gluten, soy, msg and preservative free.  It is the only sausage that doesn't cause me stomach and intestinal harm.  I love using this sausage to season collard greens.

Recently, as I would be traveling out of state, I checked out out their website to locate the sausage where I would be visiting in CA. I was surprised to find that the place that has "everything" didn't have everything so I found it necessary to bring boxes of the breakfast sausage with me.

5.  COLEMAN NATURAL® Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon 

Besides butter, bacon makes anything taste good. I like Coleman Natural no nitrates or nitrates added.  No nitrate bacon can be quite pricey compared to bacon with nitrates. Purchasing in bulk at stores like Costco is a money saver.  Not all Costco's are created equal. The only Costco, thus far, I have this at is the one located at Orland Park, IL.

6. Trader Joe's canned coconut milk
Coconut is a good substitute to cow's milk and I use it quite a bit in sauces.  Trader Joe's brand does not contain any guar or xanthan gums and preservatives.

 7.  Just Mayo by Hampton Creek
Making mayonnaise isn't as easy at it may seem and a dry sandwich is unacceptable.  I was so happy when I found this soy and egg free mayonnaise from Hampton Creek. Again, this is the only mayo I found that I can use. 

These are some of my top foods must haves.  Most main entrees, I  have to make from scratch, it was getting very old, though, having to make condiments and bread as well. Alternatively, I do enjoy creating my own homemade pesto sauce.  Yet I have not a found a good dairy free cheese. 

This journey and freedom from food Russian Roulette has been a challenge and has reduced me to tears with began.  As time proceeded, it became easier finding the some of the foods I needed that many take for granted and makes my tummy a happy tummy!

Gluten-Free Allergen Friendly Expo 2017

This is an exciting year 3 for me to attend the Gluten-Free Allergen Friendly Expo in Schaumburg, IL April 22 and 23.  I have been 95% gluten free for 3 years now.  I am not celiac, nonetheless, I do have an gluten intolerance as when I eat gluten it can knock a body part off-line.  
30% OFF until Midnight 3/21/2017

The more seasoned I become, the more I need my body parts and brain cells to function at optimum capacity.  Gratefully, I found that consuming gluten was one of the reasons I had a pain in my left foot that would not go away, a contributor to brain fog and, of course, intestinal issues.  I won't digress to details of that story.

Moreover, this expo is such a great source to find new gluten, soy, and dairy free foods as well as the rest of the top allergen foods.

One of the most exciting perks to the event, is the "Blogger" sponsors this year, BFree Foods.  Yeah!  Their bread is delicious and is the only bread I have found that I can eat without repercussions, not hard as a baseball and suitable for vegans.  I admit the bread is somewhat pricey for a half loaf, but my stomach is ever so grateful. I love BFree Foods. The complete list of sponsors for the event are HERE.

If you haven't attended a Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expos in your area, I encourage you to do so.  Not just for the free samples and new products, the educational content at the classes are very informative. Check out the link here for the class list and times.

Furthermore, I first learned about the app "Find Me Gluten Free" from my first expo.  This app has aided my finding restaurants in my area that have a gluten free menu and other allergen friendly foods.  Keep on the look out for my blog post about "Biaggi's Italian Restuarant".  I found that restaurant through the app. 

I look forward to seeing Kiki's Gluten Free Pizza there.  Dairy is on my allergen list.  However, this pizza is so good. 

See the photo below and meet the folks from @Sprigati.  
 Below are additional photos for a taste of spoils I received from the 2016 event and many of the vendors I met there. 

Milton's Chips.... I love these.

From the page of the #GFAF Expo ....

What do you get with your Expo Ticket?

  • Entry into the vendor fair with over 100 brands
  • Valuable coupons at the vendor booths
  • Samples from the vendors are considered to be gluten free.
  • Discounted products available for purchase
  • Informative classes related to the gluten free and allergen-friendly lifestyle
  • Free reusable bag to carry your goodies
  • Meet your favorite vendors, authors and bloggers
Why buy your ticket online?

  • Guarantee that you don’t miss out on the Expo – limited tickets available each day
  • No need to wait in line at the Expo to buy your ticket

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fragrance Free or Unscented? Natural or Organic? Not All Are Equal!

Re-post of Fragrance Free or Unscented? Natural or Organic? Not All Are Equal!


Below is a re-post of a blog post I wrote with Fragrance Fighters. The information is still so relevant today. Please read...

Fragrance Free or Unscented? Natural or Organic? Not All Are Equal! May 16, 2008 by fragrancefighters

Janet says: My four year old came to me looking for a toy doll bottle with what she says has yellow cow’s milk. As I looked into her bright eyes (I felt like a deer in headlights), I told her that I had no idea what is she talking about. She looked at me, rolled her eyes and said “Mommy, let me explain it to you”; and she did.

On our Savvy FAQs page we addressed two questions:

1. What is the difference between fragrance free and unscented?
2. Should I purchase only organic and products labeled natural?

Well let me explain something to you and let’s go a step further. Products labeled no fragrance or fragrance free usually are free from synthetic or chemical fragrance. The label does not purport that the product is odorless.

Let me give you an example. Although I often use a popular brand of baby products, on March 31, 2008 I spoke about a hypersensitive day that I was experiencing. I was unable to use either their Super Sensitive Shampoo and Bodywash or the Everyday Lotion because of the odor I detected. According to the label, this product does not have sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde, fragrance, scent masking agents or clear formula chemicals, yet I detected an odor. The product has aloe vera, extracts of corn, coconut and palm. Whatever the source, there is a detectable smell or odor which on that day annoyed me. The odor or smell was a source of irritation to Nancie and my husband (who do not share our sensitivities) as well. For those with sensitive noses, you have to smell the product to find your level of sensitivity and tolerance.

Unscented products usually add a masking agent, another chemical, to disguise the chemicals in the product. Even though the masking agents mask the scent they can trigger allergic reactions in chemically sensitive people.

In my quest to find natural or organic products with no odor, I find many of these products tend to use essential oils although they do not use synthetic fragrance. Essential oils are concentrated oils extracted from herbs, plants or fruit. These oils have the distinct scent that comes from the plant from which they are derived. For some, essential oils are aromatherapy. For people like me it can trigger headaches, migraines, nausea and the like. For Nancie it can trigger the same or even worse; vomiting or an Asthma attack.

To complicate matters even further, on March 14, 2008 the Organic Consumers Association released the following to the press: Carcinogenic Found in Leading “Organic” Brand Personal Care Products. .

1,4-Dioxane is a petroleum based carcinogen known to cause cancer and is also suspected as a kidney, central nervous system and respiratory toxicant. In the Organic Consumers Association Press Release, the OCA urges consumers to search ingredient lists for indications of ethoxylation including: “myreth,” “oleth,” “laureth,” “ceteareth,” any other “eth,” “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” or “oxynol,” in ingredient names.

Even though a product is labeled natural or organic doesn’t mean it is safe. The products may have natural or organic in the name but unless it is labeled Certified Organic USDA it probably isn’t.

Where does that leave us? Frankly, I don’t know. I keep trying to remind myself that “Balance is the Key” but the challenge is great. All I want is safe non-odorous products that don’t make me sick. Is that too much to ask? Well, explain it to me.

Remember the toy bottle my daughter was looking for with the yellow cow’s milk? Well, I threw it out. It was on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall list for hazardous toys