Navigating Special Events With A Food Allergy Child

5 tips for eating out and traveling when you have children with food allergies or sensitivities.

Davonne is guest posting today on the topic of children with food allergies and sensitivities. Please join us as we hear her personal story of parenting a child with food allergies.

Navigating Special Events With A Food-Allergy Child

With so many GMOs, more and more kids are developing food allergies and special events are becoming more challenging than ever before.

Since my husband is lactose intolerant, I have a gluten sensitivity, and one of my children needs to eat gluten-free as well, we’ve gone completely gluten-free and dairy-free at home. I’ve also spent the past several months learning how to navigate food at places like church potlucks, dinners with extended family, birthday parties, and homeschool events.

Here are five things I’ve learned about navigating special events when dealing with food allergies and sensitivities:

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The Truth You’ve Never Been Told About Peanuts

Peanuts

Peanuts are a staple in the Standard American Diet (SAD) with peanut butter being the most common way Americans consume the tree nut each and everyday. What could possibly be wrong with something that is so widely consumed?

Simple. Aflatoxin. 

What is aflatoxin?

Aflatoxin is a potent cancer causing toxin produced from a mold found on maize, peanuts, and in peanut butter. This toxin is the most widely researched mycotoxin in the world. The fungi that produces aflatoxin as a by product of its metabolism thrives in warm and wet climates so the amount of contamination will vary based on climate. In addition to being a carcinogen, aflatoxin can also cause acute poisoning in humans.*

Although I’ve simplified and understated the effects that aflatoxin can have on humans, why would you continue to eat peanuts and peanut butter as well as feed it to your children knowing what you do know?

Our job as caring and loving parents is to look out for the well being of our children, both emotionally and physically. Are you looking out for your child’s physical well being if you continue to feed them peanut butter knowing the effects that the aflatoxin contained in that peanut butter could cause them cancer?

As you can see in this FDA document, there are strict inspection guidelines for testing aflatoxin in domestic and imported sources with a limit of 20 parts per billion (ppb). However, there is great discussion regarding the set limit of 20ppb. Is this a truly safe limit for aflatoxin contamination? Perhaps, as we’ve seen in other contamination cases researchers may discover later that 20ppb is far too high for safe hman consumption. There is just no way to know right now what the true safe limit is. Are you willing to put the safety and health of your family in the hands of researchers who will most likely change their mind about safe aflatoxin limits in our food supply at a later date?

Peanuts and peanut butter alternatives

Knowing what you do know about a cancer causing toxin in our peanut and peanut butter supply we need to find a safe alternative so our children can still enjoy their childhood staple of “PB&J”.

Thankfully there are a number of other safe nut butters available that we can pair with our favorite jelly to make lunchtime sandwiches.

Nut butters that work well on sandwiches or paired with fruit and vegetables (celery) include almond, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, and pecan butter. I want to encourage you to find which peanut butter alternative you and your family prefer. Keep in mind you may prefer almond butter on sandwiches but enjoy cashew butter more with celery or apples for example. Personally, my family and I enjoy almond butter with everything although I am experimenting and encouraging my family to try a variety of nut butters.

Unfortunately, nut butters can be very expensive. To save on our monthly food budget while still providing my family the healthiest food possible, I make our almond butter. You might enjoy our maple almond butter recipe.

Moral of this story is to stay educated and never assume that an old family favorite is healthy or safe. Stay informed and stay healthy.

Sources: EHSO & Dr. Mercola

The Case Against Drinking Milk

The Case Against Drinking Milk. Long-term ill health effects from dairy.

It has long been accepted that milk, particularly from cows or even goats is a necessary part of our everyday diet. Milk has long been promoted, dare I say overly promoted, as a crucial source of calcium. An enormous portion of our population still believes that calcium is needed to build strong bones and that milk is the only source to obtain these necessary levels of calcium. There is just one problem with this propaganda that has been thrown down our throats, cow’s milk is nutritionally perfect for baby cows (calfs) and likewise goat’s milk is intended for baby goats (kids).

Why would humans want to consume something designed and nutritionally perfected for another animal?

I won’t argue that we need calcium. My background in biology has proven to me time and time again that our bones do in fact need the mineral calcium for bone health, strength, and growth. However, we should not be obtaining this calcium from dairy products.

You may remember a recent post in which I discussed the health effects from eating and drinking animal sources, including why we should not be drinking milk. 

In addition to not being designed for our digestive systems, according to this article and numerous related articles like it there are numerous other hazardous effects from consuming dairy. These ill effects include cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lactose intolerance, and harmful effects on infants and children. Why would you willingly consume something that causes all of these health related issues? 

Milk is not making you healthier, it is making you sick and costing you your health.

In order to obtain the calcium your body needs try these non-dairy alternatives:

  • Non-dairy milk; sources such as almond milk, hemp milk, oat milk, rice milk, and coconut milk are wonderful and delicious options for your morning breakfast cereal or to use in recipes calling for milk. If the source does not naturally contain calcium, commercial sources will often be supplemented with calcium.
  • Vegetables; yes fresh veggies are an excellent source of calcium. As you can see from this info graphic there are plenty of excellent sources of calcium in a plant-based dairy-free lifestyle.

vegan calcium sources infographicSource: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, 2011 and manufacturers’ information.

  •  Figs; 8 ounces of figs contain 79-100mg of calcium which is excellent for fruit sources.

With so many amazing plant-based non-dairy sauces readily available for your daily calcium intake and considering the horrendous health effects dairy has on your body, why are you still drinking milk, eating cheese and yogurt? I’d like to encourage you to ditch the dairy and choose plant-based sources for your daily calcium.

5 Carnivore Myths Debunked

5 Carnivore Myths Debunked. Alexismathews.com #vegan #plantbased

5 Carnivorous Diet Myths  

As always, please do not take my word for the statements included in this post, please do your own research so that you see there is ample scientific proof to debunk each of the following statements. With sufficient research you will begin to learn that an animal based diet, one filled with meat and dairy is not healthy and in no way prolongs your life span or quality of life.

  1. You need animal protein to consume all of the essential amino acids your body needs to grow and thrive. This is undeniably false, as you can see by this protein and amino acids chart from VeganHealth.org is that there are ample non-animal food sources that contain high levels of protein and essential amino acids. You absolutely do not need to eat animal protein or dairy products to receive sufficient protein and essential amino acids.
  2. Humans are designed to eat meat. This myth might be the one that gets under my skin the most. If those that claim this myth to be true did even a little bit of research they would quickly find out that this is absolutely false. Our “canine” teeth do not resemble the shape or serve the same function as large meat eating carnivores. These teeth are not efficient in the least for tearing meat off of bones. Additionally, our intestines are very long. The average human has a total of 25 feet of small and large intestines combined. Carnivores on the other hand have very short intestines which are designed to breakdown carnivorous diet. In light of this information if you still choose to eat meat you should know that it takes our intestines such a long time to breakdown meat that it rots in out gut before it is full expelled from our body. Chew on that thought next time you chow down.
  3. Children need meat to develop properly. Absolute nonsense. Not only do I know this to be false from my own personal experience with my children but based simply on the facts that we’ve already discussed, children just like adults need protein and 10 essential amino acids to grow and develop. Protein and amino acids from fruits and vegetables are a much healthier source than from fat and cancer laden animal sources.
  4. Dairy is a healthy source of calcium and essential for bone health. This myth took me the longest to learn and there is so much mis-leading information out there from large dairy-pro conglomerates. When it comes to healthy sources of calcium, dairy cannot compare to almonds, beans, tofu, and most dark green vegetables. Did you know that a cup of broccoli and other dark leafy green veggies have a calcium absorption rate of between 40 and 61  percent whereas milk has a calcium absorption rate of 32 percent? When it comes to calcium absorption is the key! When you couple the cancer causing properties of casein found in dairy with its low calcium absorption why would you waste your time and money buying dairy when you can spend more wisely on other fruits and veggies?
  5. You must eat meat to get a sufficient amount of iron in your diet.  A simple look at the nutritional content of nuts, grains, and in particular dark leafy green vegetables will debunk this myth in a heartbeat. As you can see from this chart, spinach has over 15 times more iron/mg than sirloin, hamburger, or chicken. The leading iron food sources are all vegan!

5 carnivore myths debunked. Spinach has 15 times more iron than animal sources. alexismathews.com

There are unfortunately many more false carnivore myths out there but these 5, in my opinion, are the most predominant and steadfast myths that human meat eaters stand behind. For your health I want to encourage you to do your own research into these myths, see for yourself that they are completely false and hold no weight. When you remove animal  sources from your diet you will start walking down the road to complete and natural health. Don’t take my word for it, try removing animal sources for 21 days, see how you feel and the changes that you notice in your body and mental well-being might surprise you.

If you would like to try some delicious vegan recipes you might enjoy these:

Incredible Indian Pancakes

Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

Ginger & Tumeric Carrot Soup

Don’t Hide the Vegetables

Don't hide the vegetables in your toddlers food. alexismathews.com

Are you a parent of a toddler (or 3 like myself)?

It is well known and often times thoroughly discussed among toddler parents that children generally dislike vegetables with a passion. So much so in fact that parents have had to take extreme measures to make sure their children are getting sufficient servings of vegetables everyday. Or perhaps, if you child is a steadfast non-vegetable eater you are happy with a few servings a week.

I have also sat in on many a conversation with my mom friends as they discussed the various and ingenious ways that they had crafted to hide vegetables in their child’s food.  From cutting them up into teeny weeny pieces and adding them to spaghetti sauce. I have even heard Moms discuss various smoothie recipes they create which effectively hide nutritious servings of vegetables.

I will be the first person to tell you that sometimes these extreme measures are necessary. Especially for children that have not grown up with undisguised vegetables on their serving plate. 

There are a few reasons why hiding vegetables can become necessary:

  1. As I mentioned above, hiding vegetables can become necessary when a child has not grown up seeing vegetables served on their plate.
  2. Secondly, it is a well known fact that children look to their parents for food guidance. If the parents aren’t eating vegetables themselves then the children certainly won’t either.
  3. Lastly, sometimes parents give up too quickly when trying to serve their children a new vegetable. If the child refuses once, most parents won’t try again. You have to serve a child a food regularly to expose them to it and eventually they will learn to like it.

As a mother of three toddlers, twin three year old girls and a younger two year old son, I can vehemently say that I do not hide vegetables from my toddlers or any of my children for that matter. I can also attest to the fact that my children all get a hearty daily serving of vegetables each and every day, pure, unadulterated, and prominent on their plate.

The inspiration for this post came this evening as I was sitting down to eat my dinner. As usual my toddlers had finished early and came to see what Mom was eating. Again as usual, they wanted what was on my plate. Tonight it was lightly sautéed green beans, broccoli, and zucchini. I ate maybe three bites of my vegetables before two of my toddlers devoured every last bite on my plate. Yes, they ate green beans, broccoli, and zucchini right off of my plate without the slightest bit of disguise.

How did I teach my children, including my 2 and 3 year olds to enjoy vegetables?

Simple, I didn’t make a big deal out of vegetables. I never stressed over whether they were getting enough vegetables in their daily diet. Slowly but surely they learned to enjoy the fresh veggies they were regularly served. And that is the key, we regularly serve fresh veggies to all of our children. We don’t smother them in salt, butter, or any other things to mask the taste. Our vegetables are typically lightly sautéed in EVOO or in fresh green salads, nothing more nothing less. 

Also, my children see my husband and I happily eating our vegetables everyday. They haven’t grown up with the concept that vegetables are something to be avoided. We happily embrace our vegetables, even before we chose a vegan lifestyle. 

Lastly, don’t stress over your child eating vegetables. Trust me when I say that if you regularly serve your child vegetables they will learn to eat them, you just have to stop hiding them in the first place.

To summarize, how to teach your children to enjoy vegetables;

  1. Don’t make a big deal out of eating and enjoying vegetables.
  2. Let your children see you eat the same vegetables you served them on their plate.
  3. Don’t stress over how many vegetables your child is eating, they will learn to love them. You just have to stop hiding them.

I’d like to encourage you to stop hiding the vegetables in your toddler’s food but rather serve them in their natural whole state. By doing so you are beginning to teach your children to love vegetables, not avoid them.

What is your child’s favorite vegetable? 

If you are looking for some toddler friendly recipes which include vegetables you might enjoy Incredible Indian Pancakes, Ginger & Tumeric Carrot Soup, or Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

10 Reasons to Avoid and Animal Based Diet

10 Reasons to Avoid an Animal Based Diet. AlexisMathews.com

It is no secret, my family and I are vegans. Although for a shorter time than some, we’ve seen the health benefits and in good conscience never go back to eating animal protein. Casein, the main health culprit in dairy and animal proteins do nasty stuff to our bodies.

I have over simplified the following 10 points with the hope that you will be spurred on to do your own reading and your own research. Please don’t take my word for any of this, take this article for what it is worth and do you own fact finding. Vegan research and health benefits are not hard to find. Popular books suck as The China Study and Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition are packed with more scientific research and information than the average person can possibly wrap their heads around in a single reading.

10 Reasons to Avoid Animal Protein

  1. Reduce incidence of auto-immune disease
    • When the animal protein casein is broken down in your digestive tract they form chunks or fragments that can be mis-read by your body and cause an immune system response. This immune response causes inflammation and a whole host of auto-immune diseases such as arthritis, asthma, psoriasis, eczema, and migraines.
  2. Lower blood sugar levels in diabetics
    • The China Study discusses this point extensively and my husband has first hand experience with the immediate results a plant based diet can have on insulin levels. My husband has reduced his average daily insulin a dramatic amount and is even able to skip insulin at meals if he chooses his food wisely. Not only that, but unlike most diabetics he has experienced a drop in his blood sugar numbers over night rather than the typical dramatic increase overnight experienced by most diabetics.
  3. Reduce cancer risk
    • T. Colin Campbell in The China Study concluded through his research that casein, the protein in milk promotes cancer growth at all stages. 
  4. Increase bowel regularity and function
    • A plant based diet is the most efficient way to clean out your digestive system and keep it functioning at it’s best. If you are not regular with your bowel movements that is a sign that your body is not functioning properly and you are storing toxins. A plant based diet will remedy that situation and get your body functioning properly.
  5. More energy
    • As mentioned in the point above, when you body is functioning at it’s best and is free of energy sapping toxins you will feel more energized. Our bodies are not designed to consume meat simply by the length of our intestines. When you feed your body the correct plant based diet you will feel like a new person.
  6. Sleep better
    • When you switch to a plant based diet no longer will your body be full of animal protein toxins. Toxins coupled with a sluggish digestive system will cause sleep issues. I got my first good night sleep after I started living a plant based lifestyle.
  7. Lower risk of heart disease
    • Animal protein contributes to heart disease, this fact has been known for years. Research this fact for yourself, the evidence is everywhere.
  8. Simple economics
    • If you are struggling to make ends meet, the simple economics of buying food will tell you to steer clear of meat and dairy. Meat, milk, and cheese are expensive there is no denying that. So when you cut these high priced items from your monthly food budget you will suddenly have more money to purchase organic fruits and veggies dense in vitamins and minerals.
  9. Clearer complexion
    • The fats in meat coupled with the immune response from casein wreck havoc on your skin cells, the largest organ in your body. Reduce inflammation and fat content in your body immediately when you remove animal protein and dairy.
  10. Increased average life span
    • This point could go without saying but I think it is important enough to include on this list. As pointed out above reducing immune response and inflammation, lowering bolos sugar levels, reducing cancer and heart disease will all lead to a longer average life span. Which for you means you have a greater likely hood of living a long and healthy life when you remove animal protein from your diet.

If you are ready to reduce or eliminate animal protein from your daily diet I have a whole host of delicious family friendly vegan recipes including, Incredible Indian Pancakes, Ginger & Tumeric Carrot Soup, and Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

Have questions about a vegan lifestyle free of animal proteins? Please don’t hesitate to contact me, I’d love to chat with you.

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle Pre-Sale Promotion

I do not typically jump on the ebook bundle promotion bandwagon, truly and honestly. 

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is different.  This bundle of ebooks from top authors in the healthy living and lifestyle community promises to be packed with must have information. At no other time will you be able to purchase all of these ebooks at such a deep discount. 

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle has a retail value of $1030 but for a very limited time you will be able to purchase the entire collection for $29.97. That is 95% off of the retail value for this amazing bundle. You will also receive $200 worth of bonus products you are sure to love.

For a limited time, you can also take advantage of their refer-a-friend program. With this program anyone who refers 1 friend will receive $5 off their bundle! If they refer 5 friends they’ll receive a 12-session audio conference, and referring 10 will get them an Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle for absolutely free! YOU can take advantage of this offer. When you sign up you will using this link you will receive a unique referral code that you can in turn share with your friends and earn your own free bundle. I know you love free and what’s not to lose by taking advantage of this program.

Don’t delay though, the refer-a-friend program is only available for a limited time.

You Owe it to Your Children to Make this Change

You Owe it to Your Children to Make this Change. www.alexismathews.com

Yesterday, as my nine year old son and I were driving home from a fun afternoon of swimming with the family we got into a pretty deep conversation. A conversation in which we discussed the fact that once you have children every decision you make in life has to be decided with your children in mind.

Although my son and I weren’t talking specifically about health related decisions our conversation could have easily included this topic.

Everyday I have at least one child in my lap happily eating off of my plate. They may have been served the very same meal but everything tastes better from Mommy’s plate and when eaten while sitting on Mommy’s lap.

I welcome my children onto my lap during meal time because I know these moments are fleeting and I want to absorb every last minute with my children while they are young while I am able.

I also welcome children on my lap while I eat because it encourages them to eat what I am eating. I have found that my children, especially the toddlers are more likely to eat vegetables when they see them on my plate and enjoy them from my lap. I want my children to learn to love a wide variety of foods from a very young age so I always allow them to sit on my lap while I eat.

Knowing that a child is more than likely going to wind up eating from my plate also gives me incentive to choose more wisely when I serve myself a meal. I aim to set a good example of foods to eat and others to avoid based on the choices I make throughout the day.

I eat healthy because I owe it to my children. They deserve to have their Mom around for as long as possible and my life expectancy is directly related to the foods I choose to eat each and everyday.

I owe it to my children to teach them healthy eating habits from the time they start solid foods.

I owe it to my children to exercise regularly so that I am healthy and live longer.

I owe it to my children to welcome them with open arms when they want to eat from my plate.

I owe it to my children to set a good example with the foods I eat.

Every decision I make, food related or not takes the well being and happiness of my children into account because I owe it to them. All 7 of them!

I live a healthy life because I owe it to my children!

Where is your motivation to live a healthy life?

Cure Pink Eye with Essential Oils Recipe

Cure pink eye naturally with this essential oils recipe. www.alexismathews.com

*This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on these links you are helping to support this page and my family. It does not cost you anything but I will earn a portion of your purchase. Thank you for your support*

It is safe to say that I absolutely detest pink eye, otherwise know as conjunctivitis. About 6 years ago, what should have been a one week battle with pink eye turned into nearly a month of annoying discharge and painful red eyes. After that experience, any little eye discharge with an itch has me on high alert.

A few days ago I noticed that a few of my children had an increase in eye discharge, a couple of them to the point that it was caking their lower eye lids. Their eyes weren’t red and they weren’t complaining of itchiness but I could tell a virus was trying to take a foothold in their eyes. Then when I woke up one morning with the same eye junk and itchiness I knew an infection was spreading through our eyes. 

 

So fresh that smiles are guaranteed

I had to get ahead of this infection before it got worse and spread throughout my family of nine.

After some research I decided to try a mixture of essential oils shown to have antibacterial properties and help with inflammation. I was thrilled with the results. This simple and inexpensive recipe cured all of us of our pink eye.

Pink Eye Essential Oil Recipe

10 drops eucalyptus
5 drops lavender
5 drops tea tree oil

Mix in a small dish with 1T oil (jojoba oil, almond oil, grape seed oil are preferred)

Rub a small amount of the essential oil mix on the bony part under your eye. Take great caution to not get essential oils in your eye. Apply 3-5 times per day or as needed.

If your eye condition does not clear up or gets worse please seek medical attention immediately. Certain types of conjunctivitis can damage you eye sight if left unattended. 
  

Mountain Rose Herbs August Monthly Specials

August MRH

*This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on the link you are helping to support this blog and my family. It does not cost you anything, I simply receive a portion of your purchase as a commission. Thank you for your support*

So fresh that smiles are guaranteed
It is no secret, Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite place to buy organic essential oils, herbs, teas, hydrosols and much more. Their August specials have been announced and there are some great ones this month that I am excited to share with you.

Mountain Rose Herbs August Monthly Specials

Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil 0.5oz 15% discount $2.34

Properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antineuralgic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, decongestant, deodorant, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, vermifuge, vulnerary

Blends well with: Cedarwood, chamomile, cypress, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, juniper, lavender, lemon, marjoram, peppermint, pine, rosemary, thyme

The word eucalyptus is derived from Greek meaning “well covered”. This refers to part of the calyx that initially covers the flower.

Safety: Avoid while pregnant and with homeopathics. May cause skin irritation.

Organic Tangerine Essential Oil 0.5oz 15% discount $2.34

Properties: Antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, laxative, stimulant, tonic

Blends well with: Basil, black pepper, chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, lemon, myrrh, neroli, nutmeg, palmarosa, patchouli, petitgrain, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang

The tangerine is a variety of the mandarin orange. You may sometimes see it on the market as Citrus x tangerine. The oils have similar properties, but different aroma characteristics.

Safety: May cause skin irritation.

Meadowfoam Seed Oil 8oz 25% discount $10.31

Cosmetic use only. Useful in cosmetic or natural body care recipes. 

When applied to the skin, it forms a moisture barrier and will assist the skin with preventing moisture loss. It is a key ingredient in many different products such as massage oils and lotions, facial creams, sunblock, hair and scalp products, cosmetics, body lotions, and shaving creams. In hair care products, it will add shine and moisture to the hair, and will remedy dry or damaged hair. When added to lotions and lip balms, it will re-moisturize dry or cracked lips and skin, and will make balms last longer.

While grown in the field, birds, insects, mice, and other critters, also eat the nutritious seeds. The meadowfoam plants themselves are a renewable crop, and are usually grown as a rotation crop for grass seed farmers. This eliminates the need to burn the fields in between grass seed plantings, and also provides farmers with additional income. Meadowfoam also requires less fertilizer and pesticides than most crops, assisting farmers and the environment.

Sea Salt 1 lb 25% discount $2.63 

Notes: Stores well under most conditions but fluctuations in humidity may cause it to cake up and harden. The line of sea salt offered by Mountain Rose Herbs meets USDA and FDA standards for food and cosmetic use, and is Kosher certified through Earth Kosher. For personal home use it can be ground with a simple salt grinder of similar device.

Mountain Rose Herbs sea salt (sodium chloride) is all natural, solar evaporated, and is gathered from the Pacific Ocean. This high quality sea salt is perfect for creating bath salts, body scrubs, or custom formulated therapeutic blends. Enjoy a truly euphoric bathing experience by combining these all-natural salts with dried herbs, flowers, and essential oils. Our sea salt is perfect for use by individuals, spas, and for manufacturers of high quality bath and body care products. It is suitable for food and cosmetic use.

Sea salt is not as refined as table salt, and it still contains traces of other minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine. Sea salt is thought to be healthier and more flavorful than traditional table salt, and many rave about its bright, pure, clean flavor. Sea salt is actually not as ‘salty’ as table salt, so recipes may have to be adjusted for taste.

Nutmeg powder, brown and hello mustard seed, a gorgeous messenger bag, teas, roots, and pickling spices are also included in the August monthly specials.