Cooking for kids with food allergies: my fave resources

Cooking For Kids With Food Allergies: My favorite resources (online and offline)

After Little Sir’s initial bout with food intolerance, most of which his body overcame after treatment by our naturopath, I become highly aware of the challenges of food allergies and food intolerances for kids. Little Sir’s remaining sensitivities are dairy and gluten. He really cannot have anything dairy more than 1-2 times per week without his body going on high alert (typically with diarrhea being the first sign of trouble, followed by a runny nose). We are mostly a diary free family, but I do allow him to have a frozen yogurt treat occasionally or some cheese on gluten free pizza. I list him as having a dairy allergy at preschool and at bible study/church so that one one will feed him any dairy without my knowledge. He also still has quite a bit of trouble processing whole wheat as well. It’s not actually the gluten he has trouble with, but breaking down the actual kernel of wheat. His body does best if he avoids wheat products, so I feed him a very low gluten diet. I buy gluten-free as much as possible and try to restrict anything with wheat to about every-other-day. So right now, we are largely dairy free and gluten free. Still, it is so much better to avoid these two things than the huge list we started out with.

On this journey of Various Things We Need To Avoid, I collected great resources from other green blogger friends, from amazing friends like local kids’ chef Tara Andersen, and even from you, my readers and Twitter followers! I wanted to pay back that advice by doing a post listing all my favorite and most valuable resources for recipes and ideas on cooking for kids with food allergies (or sensitivities/intolerance).

Local to Dallas (my favorites, unpaid — none of these business know that I’m writing about them!):

  • Half Pint Palates – will custom prepare handmade, healthy, kid-approved food specific to your child’s allergy or food sensitivity.
  • Natural Grocer by Vitamin Cottage – has several locations in Texas including Richardson/Dallas, Lakewood, and Preston/Forest in the Dallas area. They have extremely high standards for their products and often lower prices than some of the larger national healthy food chains (coughWholeFoodscough).
  • Reverie Bakery – vegan (dairy free) and gluten free bakery here in Richardson. Just went yesterday for a treat for Little Sir! He loved it!
  • Unrefined Bakery – gluten free and vegan bakery in both Dallas (Lower Greenville) and Frisco. I got cupcakes for Little Sir’s 3rd birthday here when we were dairy free and soy free. It’s nearly impossible to find soy free bakeries, which is why I love them!

Online stores

  • Vitacost (referral link) – not just supplements! Also a lot of allergy-friendly foods that are difficult to find in stores. I save a lot by using their Set N Save option to have certain items delivered on a regular schedule. If you aren’t a member yet, drop me an email at jenny {at} conscientiousconfusion {dot} com and I can send you a code for $10 off your first order! Orders over $50 have free shipping, so I often go in on an order with several local friends to reach the $50 threshold.
  • Azure Standard – this online store does local drop-offs, so you will need to find a drop-off location near you. Or, start your own! A huge variety of not just specialty foods but also organic produce and grass-fed meats.

Blogs

I definitely have to include Pinterest in my list of resources, and will be doing a followup post on How to Search Pinterest for Allergy-Friendly Recipes, because it is a little tricky. My BFF started a collaborative board for me called What Little Sir Can Eat where I pinned recipes when he was on the severely restricted diet. Feel free to check it out!

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list — it’s just a list of what I have used. I’d love to hear your favorite resources in the comments, so that we can all share with each other!

Eyelash extensions: less toxic choice?

NOTE: I had a coupon for free eyelash extensions from Amazing Lash Dallas, which I used for this first application. They did not ask me to write about them or give me any compensation to do so.

If there’s one place that I tend to deviate from my eco-friendly and low-toxin lifestyle, it is beauty products. It’s a horrible vice, but I have to say that some of the “green” choices out there just don’t deliver the same quality as conventional brands. So far, I have done pretty well in replacing all my makeup with lower toxin and botanical choices. I have replaced almost all my makeup, but I really struggle with finding a natural mascara that a) doesn’t smell weird (looking at you, Aveda), 2) doesn’t flake into my contacts, and 3) actually makes my pale blonde lashes show up (most of the options so far don’t provide much length or thickness AT ALL).

Last week, a friend of mine invited me to the grand opening of Amazing Lash Dallas, where I got to talk to the owner and franchise owner about eyelash extensions. My main question was: are eyelash extensions a less toxic option for eye enhancement? Because apparently, when you have quality lash extensions you don’t actually need to wear any other eye makeup. What if, instead of trying to find natural eyeliner, mascara, highlighter and eyeshadows that actually work, I was able to stop smearing all that stuff on my eye and just glue extensions to my natural eyelashes?

I got my lash extensions on Tuesday. It took about 2 hours, total. It takes that long because they don’t glue the lashes to your eyelid, they glue the lashes to your existing lashes. This post from Real Posh Mom on 7 Tips You Need To Know Before Getting Lash Extensions was super helpful to read before I went.

Lash Extensions - how eco-friendly are they?

Lash Extensions - how eco-friendly are they?

And for the comparison shot…

Lash Extensions Before & After

It’s now Thursday and I’ve had the extensions for 2 days. So far, here is my take on the green and not-so-green aspects of lash extensions.

Pros:

  • Eyes really don’t need any other makeup, in my opinion. I got the “Cute” style, which is a little more dramatic than the “Natural” and I haven’t worn makeup on my eyes in 2 days. See the pictures above for what they look like with no makeup.
  • No makeup on your eyes = no worry about crying and getting makeup everywhere!
  • You can get synthetic lashes or real mink. Synthetic would be the vegan, animal-friendly option.
  • The adhesive is applied to your lash, not to your skin, so technically there is no skin-to-skin contact with the chemicals in the adhesive.

Cons:

  • While the adhesive isn’t applied directly to your skin, there are fumes during application. You can ask them to turn on a fan, but the fact is, you’ll be breathing fumes for 2 hours at a time. It wasn’t noticeable at first but it got to be a little moreso toward the end. You might try bringing your own mask like the one the technician wears.
  • Even though there is no skin-to-skin contact with the adhesive, there can be a little bit of ongoing irritation if you wear contacts. I think this might be due to some of the chemicals being near the eye and the fact that my contacts are breathable. It isn’t really that bothersome to me, and not much of a “con”, in my mind.
  • Cost. You’ll have to see if extensions are something that fits into your budget. Factor in that the cost of most lower toxin eye makeup is higher than the conventional options — don’t compare extensions to the super low cost of cheap, toxic eye makeup.

I hope this little rundown might help you decide if lash extensions are a green option for you. I love mine but I’m not sure I can keep up the expense long term.

What about you? Have you had lash extensions? If so, what did you think — low toxin option or no? 

An Afternoon of Music: The Sense-able Gym Celebrates 6 months!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be teaching kids yoga classes beginning in 2014 at The Sense-able Gym in Garland (near Richardson)! We’ve written about The Sense-able Gym on Dallas Moms Blog in the past, and the kids and I were able to visit last month to check it out. While it is geared to specifically assist children with sensory needs, it’s a wonderful play space for kids at all levels of learning. My kids LOVE the “Quiet Room” which is dark and has wonderful lighted toys, a music keyboard with shapes that you can jump on, and a light-reactive touching wall. I could go on and on, but I want to tell you today that The Sense-able Gym is celebrating their 6 month anniversary with a FREE special event THIS Saturday, November 23 from 3-5pm including demos and Q&A with myself, the music therapist, and a kids karate teacher. There will be sign-ups for all of our classes available and you can ask us any questions. Be sure to also follow Sense-able Gym on Facebook for updated info and their new open play hours.

The Sense-ableGym - Afternoon Of Music, November 23 from 3-5pm

 

 

Start a Local Moms Blog in Your City

City Moms Blog Network - looking for site owners in your city!

I’m sure you’ve seen on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook how much I have loved being a writer for {city} Moms Blog over the past 3 years. (Remember, Dallas Moms Blog has a Mom’s Night Out coming up next week!) It has been such a great opportunity to develop my writing, play a part in connecting moms in our city, and to get to know the other women on our fabulous team.

{City} Moms Blog is an amazing resource for moms in the {city} area and we are passionate about what we do! I’m proud to be part of something that is making a positive influence on both our beautiful city here AND on a national level! Did you know {city} Moms Blog has over 30 Sister Sites around the country?

These 30+ Sister Sites make up City Moms Blog Network. Each site is written and run by local moms, for local moms. They provide parenting information unique to their community, and to make things even more fun, they each throw fabulous events to get moms in their cities out on the town.

This network of locally focused moms blogs has empowered women all over the country to start their own businesses. When someone joins City Moms Blog Network as a Sister Site owner, they are joining a family that is eager to encourage and support one another. Sister Sites are provided with assistance in the startup phase, ongoing education and resources for continued support, and a community of fellow site owners eager to share best practices.

With the help of City Moms Blog Network, these Sister Site owners are able to become entrepreneurs (mompreneurs) and local influencers, all while doing something they love and are passionate about. I have loved watching the {founder/founders/owners} of {city} Moms Blog grow it into what it is today, and I am thankful and proud of the part I am playing in that!

Is there a City Moms Blog Network Sister Site in your area? City Moms Blog Network is currently looking for Sister Site owners to start a local moms blog in 25 specific cities in California, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington. If you or someone you know might be interested in impacting moms in your community like {city} Moms Blog is, jump at this opportunity to join CMBN with your own Sister Site. These ladies are passionate about what they do and would love to partner with YOU to do the same!

~~~

NOTE: I was not compensated for this post, although it is an announcement passed down to me from the CMBN. I wanted to help them spread the word!

 

Dallas Yoga with babysitting: Samatone Yoga, Addison

DISCLAIMER: I took a free yoga class at Samatone Yoga because they saw my post 3 Yoga Poses Every Mom Needs on Dallas Moms Blog. They did not request this post and I did not receive any compensation. I just love to share yoga with everyone!

Yoga

When I talk to other moms with young children about yoga, one of the main comments I get from SAHM’s is that they can’t do yoga because they always have their kids with them. Earlier this year, I found We Yogis studio in Dallas that offers babysitting services and now I have found a new studio even closer to me that offers moms in north Dallas yoga with babysitting: Samatone Yoga.

Samatone Yoga is unique in that the studio incorporates toning into the practice. Each of the studio rooms is equipped with Organic Ultrasound internal tonal vibration. You can’t hear the tones, but they are there. The style of yoga taught at Samatone incorporates breath, alignment, power vinyasa flow & warmth (room) with internal toning – a softhummmmm during YIN stretches. Lots of tones!

I took a class from Suze, the founder of Samatone. Her classes are special in that they are very intense and cleansing. This class just happened to be 2 hours long! I didn’t actually know that, going in, but it just flew right by. I had no idea that much time had passed. I was definitely drenched in sweat, which is unusual for me in a non-Bikram yoga class. What’s more, I was also sore a few days later, which is something that rarely ever happens to me with yoga anymore. Finally, I took a nap later that day and slept SO solidly. Again that night, I had some super great sleep. Was this a result of the Organic Ultrasound and toning part of the practice? I don’t know, but it was very enjoyable.

My kids played happily in the small kids’ room throughout the entire class. They didn’t even seem super interested in leaving! There were a few other kids in there with them, and they got to watch some Peter Pan, so they were all set. I did put my potty training little girl in Pull Ups, because with only one babysitter you’ll be paged out of your class to take your child to the bathroom if they can’t make the trip on their own. With the usual 1-hour -plus class, this shouldn’t be an issue. I know that my 3 year old can hold his pee that long for sure!

Overall, I’m excited to share this studio with you and I hope you get a chance to try it out. Make sure you sign up for childcare by calling ahead or online, out of respect for the childcare workers. Hope to see you there!