Friday, September 13, 2013

My Official Review of the Allergy/Gluten Free & Vegan Paleo Wrap

I think I have tooted enough about the Paleo wraps, so it's time for me to actually review them. 

The Paleo wraps are made of nothing more than organic coconuts and coconut water. They are a handy little beauty that can be used for just about anything you decide you want to wrap.

They are light on calories and carbs and give just a bit of fiber.

They are vegan and raw, GMO free with no salt added. It just gets better and better, doesn't it?

Now the thing that made me giddy about them was that they are gluten free! My little munchkin has a wheat allergy so we avoid gluten like the plague. It's always nice to find something that enables our diets to expand.

The texture is light as well. It has a little bite to it. Once on your palate, it’s almost as if it will melt in your mouth if you keep it there long enough. It’s not crunchy but requires chewing, so for those like me who enjoy texture in their foods, the wrap gives you that.

They are light, thin, pliable and have a hint of coconut flavor. The coconut flavor is mild but you can definitely taste it. So I would only have these with things I didn't mind having a bit of coconut added to them. I wouldn’t, though, rule out anything without trying because the taste has the potential to add a slight kick of a ‘lil something different to some of the most unsuspecting foods.

The clerk at the store where mine where purchased said she has customers who enjoy the wraps with nothing in them. I just gave that a try and can see how that might be a nice little snack at times, especially if you have the taste for something coconutty.

The greatest feature about these wraps, other than the fact that they are gluten/allergen free is that they have a nine month shelf life and they do not need to be refrigerated. So you do not have to be in a rush to finish them. You can take your time searching for awesome recipes to try and experimenting at your own pace.

The Paleo wraps are definitely worth a try. If you don’t like the taste of coconut at all, you won’t like them. But if you do like coconut or are merely open to the flavor coconut can add, the wraps will open up a delicious new world of variety for you.

I enjoyed my first Paleo wrap as a shrimp taco and it was love at first bite. I’m sold on these babies. I will be posting this grilled halibut and shrimp taco recipe soon, so check back.

If you are in Houston, you can get purchasing information from my prior post, here.

So, how about you? Have you tried the Paleo wraps? What did you think? Give us the skinny on your first wrap...what was in it?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cybele Pascal's Free to Eat Chocolate Chip Cookies

My Thoughts on Cybele's New Allergy Free & Vegan Cookies

I ran in Kroger in a rush this past weekend to pick up a few items. Just as i turned to dart off of the health food aisle I remembered, "Cybele's cookies are supposed to be out now!!" screech!! One 45 degree turn to the right and there they were...looking like little angels.

But geez the box was so small!

I've waited for these cookies so anxiously, though, that I just snatched then up and ran.

I couldn't wait to get the box open. But first I needed to investigate. I lined the box up next to Little Ninja's favorite, the Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Brownie cookies. I looked at the front and much to my surprise the weights of the boxes were the same - 6 oz.

I turned the box over to examine it and it turns out that Cybele's Free to Eat brand just decided to minimize waste. High five Cybele! Now...on to what we allergy mama's love to see.

This ya gotta love.

And this.

Oh yes, and this.

Now to the reason you came. The taste.

Let's just say I was in chocolate chip heaven. At first bite the cookies put you in the mindset of the Keebler Soft Batch cookies that came out back in the day.

Soft on the palate, they crumble gently in your mouth as you chew. There's chocolaty goodness in every bite, which means there was no bite without at least one chocolate chip. So these ain't your el cheapo dollar brand cookies; they didn't skimp. These babies are jam packed with chocolate morsels. Sweet with a texture that melts in your mouth as you go, and creamy to the last bite. The cookies have an all around full and very balanced taste. It seems like all the ingredients in these cookies were meant to co-exist. At the finish it feels light and satisfying.The only bad part (which I guess is great for Cybele) is that these little babies are addictive and they beckon you for more.

Darn good these were. I ate three back to back. Don't you dare judge me. Yes, these were purchased for my little ninja, I think. Well, were they? Okay probably not. But I am happy to let him share in the joy of this thing called the Free to Eat Chocolate Chip Cookie.

So, the verdict? GUILTY. Guilty of pleasure, happiness and one big allergy free mama smile.

These cookies are winners. This was Ninjas first time having a chocolate chip cookie so I couldn't wait to see his response. And, well...he loved them! Now let's all do the happy dance.

Thanks, Cybele!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Yummibears Organics - Finally A Citrus Free Vitamin For Kids ( Also Dairy/Wheat/Gluten/Soy/GMO Free)!

I never realized how difficult it would be finding a daily vitamin for my Little Ninja that did not contain orange flavoring. It's a vitamin, come on, how hard could it be?

Well, let's just say he's 3 1/2 and I am just now finding one. I've got a cabinet stocked full of vitamins that just didn't work out. Ones I tried regardless of the citrus (derived from orange) and failed...others that I most sadly didn't realize contained orange until after I forked up the nearly 25 bucks, got home, cracked open the seal and whipped out one to try before something told me to look on the back. Fail.

So we have done without a vitamin for much of the last 3 years. I wasn't too worried since I know many parents who do not give their kids vitamins and their kids are fine. Jace has been fine too, and none of his doctors have been alarmed about the lack of a daily vitamin. But I couldn't help but feel like he could be coming along better if he just had a vitamin to take as a supplement.

One of my constant concerns is that the multiple allergies prohibits him from getting enough vitamins and nutrients from food sources, so to not be able to take a vitamin on top of that - give me a break already!

I happened on these as I was looking for a soy-free vitamin for myself (which I did eventually find - those searching for a soy free vitamin can find that post here). Talk about winning the friggin' lottery!! I thought it was too good to be true so I emailed the company to be sure that there was no orange flavor in the product. Here is the response I got:
Hi Jordyn,
...As for the Yummi Bears Organics- both the Multivitamin and Mineral and the Brain Health have bears with orange flavor and would be off limits for your son. However, the Bone Health and the Immunity Health would be safe for him to take. You can find more information at our website.
Shanan MarkleySales CoordinatorHero Nutritional Products LLC
OMG - Yes, it was really happening! An allergy free vitamin that seemed to be custom made for my Ninja. 

So on my next trip to Whole Foods, something told me to give it a look-see, and what do ya know - they had them! They did not have the Immunity Health, which would have been my preference, but they had the Bone Health. What the hey...I snagged them up.

The good part is they are soft and gummy and taste like a strawberry creamsicle. Like really, if it wasn't a sin I would guzzle a few down for a sweet treat after dinner every night. I know...that sounds crazy but I'm just sayin'...they're that good!

Ninja loved them. So much so, that it is still a battle to get him to understand that he cannot have "bitamins" all throughout the day *sigh*. Whatever!! This is one fight I am glad to have now that we have a new supplement in hand.

I will close with the best news of all. He has had NO ALLERGIC REACTION whatsoever. And you know what that means, folks...we've got ourselves a winner.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rainbow Light Certified Organics Women's Multivitamin - An Allergy/Soy Free Multivitamin for Women

Something For My Breastfeeding Moms of Kids With Allergies

Being a breastfeeding mom of a child with allergies is a double whammy because not only do I have to police my Little Ninja's diet, but I also have to police my own. Not only is he restricted, but so am I. It's more than a notion to make it all work. All of that, however, is another story for another day.

Today I am here to report that after months of searching, I have finally found a vitamin that is free of SOY. I would never have guessed how hard that would be. I cannot tell you how much I spent on vitamins whose ingredients I thought I had reviewed well, only to get home and see the lovely "soybean oil" on them. I mean really??!!

Well I finally did find a brand that was completely allergen free. Funny thing is that I found it by happenstance. I wasn't even looking for it. Isn't that what they say...that you find just what you need when you stop looking? Well, they were right for once :-).

I was watching a tutorial on YouTube when the vlogger introduced these...The Rainbow Light Certified Organics Women's Multivitamin (made with organic fruits & vegetables - and SOY FREE).

She didn't mention that they were allergy free. Something about her holistic posts coupled with a slight nudging I felt to go digging through the internet, drove me to these little jewels.

And there it was...the ingredient list. And I just sat for a moment, grinning at the screen. Glaring at the screen. Drooling at the screen.

Well, then I stopped stalking and did what any normal person would do. I went to Amazon and got my order on. I found them here for just over $18, with free shipping through Amazon Prime. They arrived just in time for my Dr. Oz Three-Day Cleanse. I started them on a Thursday and I will never look back.

The thing I like most about these vitamins is that they are a smaller variety, not the usual ginormous vitamins that appear to be on steroids. More than that, there is no gross smell as soon as you open the bottle. In fact, there is no smell at all. Lastly, once I take them I am not burping the all-too-gross vitamin taste for half the day. In fact, I do not burp the vitamin taste at all. These, my dear friend, are a winner.'s to living long and prospering. Oh and to soy-free vitamins!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jarro-Dophilus Allergy Free/Vegetarian/Vegan Probiotic and Inulin FOS (prebiotic)

Let me first say that I am a lot of things (all good of course :-), but I am NO doctor. I do not have any training in the medical field whatsoever. I am not making and recommendations to you whatsoever. I am simply sharing my experience and product use here on my blog, in the hopes that something along the way will help someone else along this most bumpy allergy free road. With that said, please consult your doctor before adopting any part of my regimen that involves medicines, or even foods that may be harmful to your child. While I cannot think of anything I do that is dangerous, we all know that each child is different and it is our responsibility as parents to take gentle care as we inject new things into their diets (and lives for that matter), especially for the child battling allergies. Whew! That was a mouthful!! So as you read, keep in mind that I'm about as much of a doctor as this guy:

Okay, so one of the things that stresses me most as a mom of a child with many allergies is making sure he gets as many vitamins and nutrients as he can from food sources. I would say 50% of this limitation is the food allergies and the other 50% is because he is now the picky toddler from Hades. Oooops, did I just say that? Bad mommy!

One of my other major concerns is the long term implications of the medications he has to take when his allergies erupt. His symptoms include eczema with itching, and severe itching with no eczema. He wakes approximately 5 nights a week in the wee hours of the morning with itching, relentlessly scratching his head, back, underarms, tummy, legs, feet, toes, you name it. In those moments as I fend off the meds for as long as I possibly can, I inevitably feel guilty that I have the only thing I’ve found to give him comfort, yet I’m withholding it from him. So I relent and dope him up, and in 1-2 hours we have peace again.

I’ve been to grad school and earned my Masters with a 4.0 GPA, which means I know what it means to work superhumanly hard for an education. But, the education that comes with this allergy situation trumps that experience on any given day. The stakes are much higher. Back then it was my overly obsessive compulsive need to prove to myself that I was as smart as I thought I was, whereas now it’s literally life or death. Not for me, but for my son – the most precious gift God has given me.

There’s so much learning and there’s such a big learning curve. There’s so much trial and error, with little room for a mistake. Don’t get me wrong, not all of Jace’s allergies would end in death, but I treat them as though they would because it is critical to understand how to manage allergies so that you don’t one day get a phone call you never imagined because you failed to educate those who care for your child, for your own lack of education. That would be such a shame.

Back to what I was saying, because I have gotten a bit off track. One of the things I liked about Jace’s first doctor (whom we absolutely LOVED) was that he conducted ongoing research in the area of allergies. He was an allergic child himself, suffering from severe eczema (and other symptoms). So he was qualified by way of experience, on top of his years of study and practice in the area of allergies. He always had an abundance of information to share with me and things for us to try.

Jace was born with an underdeverloped digestive system, and since birth we have had issues in that area. From infancy, his doctor encouraged me to give Jace probiotics (to put good bacteria back into the gut), accompanied with prebiotics (to multiply the bacteria in the gut). He talked of the importance of maintaining a healthy gut flora level. This was right up my alley because it was just what we needed.

The doctor was a fan of Jarrow products and recommended the Jarro-Dophilus Probiotic +FOS (the FOS is the prebiotic). HOWEVER, this probiotic contained dairy and soy (both of which Jace is allergic to). Being the determined woman I am I wasn’t going to stop there. I called the lovely professionals at Provitaminas and spoke to a representative at length who helped me piece together a solution that would meet the same needs.

We figured out that if I purchased the Jarro-DophilusAllergen Free/Vegetarian/Vegan Capsules  (that’s right ALLERGY FREE, BABY), along with the Inulin FOS powder (which is also allergy free), I would have essentially the same thing! PAY DIRT!! So I did just that, and each morning I would empty one probiotic capsule into a spoonful of Jace’s oatmeal and add 1/8 teaspoon of the Inulin FOS powder (prebiotic), mix it well and give him his gut flora goodness in one bite. Voila! A probiotic and prebiotic masterpiece.

That was in 2010. Over the last 3 years I have fallen in and out of phases with it, doing my worst when things were toughest with our allergy battle, but all in all I have stayed with it, and I am glad. Because I know medication is one of the things that hurts our gut lining, I have continued to try to take extra care of Jace’s tum tum. This can be done through food (which is preferred) and also the probiotoc/prebiotic supplements. There is a lot of debate about whether the probiotic in yogurt is active or whether it is enough to make a difference. I’m not so concerned about that since I don’t depend on yogurt for our probiotic at all.

Keep in mind that when we started out brands like Culturelle did not have an allergy free supplement. Many people also take Florastor, but that contains traces of soy so it is not an option for us. Since we want the pro and pre biotic combination, what continue to use what works for us - Jarrow brands.

This same recipe is great for adults. In fact, I take it myself every morning. I feel great knowing I am doing what I can to equip myself with a healthy gut. Knowing that most diseases originate in the colon, it is in our best interest to do this work. Having gotten a better handle on Jace's allergies, I have been able to become consistent with his daily dose, so we are well on our healthiest path.

Provitaminas has great pricing. I purchased my Inluin FOS from them here. I did not see the Allergen free capsules still on the site (as of 8.19.13) so they may not sell them any longer, but you can call to be sure before taking my word. Both products, however, are available on Amazon at these links – Inulin FOS and Jaro-Dophilus Allergen Free Probiotic. Please keep in mind that both of these need to be kept refrigerated.

What probiotic and/or prebiotic do you take? Do you like it? Please share your (or your munchkin's) healthy gut regimen.

Wishing you a healthy gut...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Gluten Free Play Dough Recipe (with photos)

Did you know that Play-Doh (by Hasbro) and contained wheat? Many people don't, which means that many mamas wind up with sick kiddos after a day at school and have no idea why!

From the Hasbro FAQ page. Click image to enlarge.

And get a load of this...

Click to enlarge

Yes, even Crayola dough contains the 'ole wheat culprit!

The information above was taken from the Hasbro and Crayola websites, confirming that our beloved Play-Doh, as well as the Crayola dough, do contain wheat and are not safe for some of our children. But, geez, we all remember the good old days of rolling dough balls, creating anything our minds could conjure up - cars, houses, characters, even entire cities! I mean that was fun, right?!

Image from
Image from

If you have a child with a wheat or gluten allergy and did not know that Play-Doh or Crayola contained wheat, I'm sure this news is shocking. At least it was for me. I mean whod'a thunk it? Seriously, you mean it's not just the heavy monitoring of food that we parents have to tackle to keep our kids safe? The answer is no. We must also monitor the products they play with to ensure our wee ones  are protected from the allergy demons lurking at every corner. Just to be safe, as you stock up on craft & school supplies, you should check out this comprehensive list Heidi over at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom has put together that gives an account of products with and without allergens. It is a God send!

Photo from
So...if your kid is allergic to wheat or gluten, be sure to let your child's teachers know that she is to steer free of Hasbro's Play-Doh and Crayola's Dough. If another brand is being used, be sure to check their ingredients to make sure the product is safe. If the ingredients are not known, ask the teacher to find something else for your wee one to do while the other kids engage in dough play.

All is not lost, however. As you know there are many websites online that have recipes for gluten free play doh. I personally use the one from the Parents website. You can find it here, but I will also include it below.

If you're like me and your child has multiple (like a million) allergies, all of the making-everything-under-the-sun-from-scratch business gets quite overwhelming. One of the things I wish is that every site had pictures to go along with their recipes. I know, I know, it's asking a lot...that's why I said I WISH!!

One of the problems I had when I first made the play dough about three years ago was I did not know what to expect or when I was done! I felt unsure all along the way. I remember saying aloud, "Ugh I wish I had some pictures!!!" But I didn't. It was okay, though, even though I had some failures here and there the first few times I made it., I thought I'd be adventurous and not only allow Ninja to help me make the play dough (it's his second time) but that I would also take pics along the way. Can you say headache? Yes, by the time the fiasco was over my exorcist head was spinning around on my neck, which...I suppose, is why I don't see step-by-step pics with every other person's recipe post, LOL!

We survived once again. My head did not fly off of my neck. And the play dough was another success. I hope my stress will not be in vain and that the photos will help someone, somewhere know they are doing alright as they take the journey to their first batch of gluten free play dough.

Here are the pics of the cooking phases. The recipe is immediately following. Please look through the pics and read through the recipe once in its entirety before beginning. That way you can take in the instructions, as well as my personal notes, and know what to expect as you proceed.

After 1 minute cooking time. Stir continuously.

After 2 minutes cooking time. Stirring is pretty easy at this point.

After approx 3.5 minutes cooking time. You will see it beginning to solidify in places.
Stirring gets a little sluggish.

After 4 minutes cooking time. You will notice the color getting darker where it is becoming solid.
Now there is not so much "stirring" but more like "flipping." Flip constantly.
Press the dough deeply with the spoon on each flip, to make sure it is getting heat evenly.

After 5 minutes cooking time. Keep flipping and pressing.

After 5.5 minutes. Keep flipping and pressing.

After 6 minutes cooking time. Another view of me pressing down with the spoon.

After 6.5 minutes cooking time. Flipping gets harder. The dough begins to stick to the spoon.
Flip and knock the dough off the spoon with your fingers. Be careful, it's hot.

Exactly 7 minutes cooking time. I rolled it into a ball for the pic, but it was hot!


1/2 c. Rice flour (I use Authentic Foods Superfine White Rice Flour)
1/2 c. Corn starch
1/2 c. Salt
2 t. Cream of tartar
1 c. Water
1 t. Cooking oil (I use canola)
Food coloring (optional)

Whisk dry ingredients together in a sauce pan. Add water, oil, and food coloring (I used approximately 9 drops of yellow to get the color you see in the photo). Cook on low heat (I cooked it at about 3 on my stove top) for 5 minutes, or until it forms a ball (I cook mine for 7 minutes, as the 3-5 minute recommendation that is recommended on other sites yielded me a very sticky and frustrating mess). Cool completely before storing in a sealable plastic bag or airtight container. My son is impatient so we often play with it warm without issue, but I do not store it until it is completely cool.