Tag Archives: food allergies

Introducing ‘Forget the Flour’….a new blog from a new favorite blogger

10 Jan

I have a new favorite blog, and I definitely have a new favorite blogger.

If you live life gluten free for any reason, you need to check out “Forget the Flour,” my daughter’s new blog. You can go and visit by clicking here. It might just become your new favorite blog too.

Here’s the back story to how this blog was born:

Early in the fall of 2015, it was determined that our youngest daughter could no longer have gluten in her diet. She had just begun the fifth grade and we had spent the summer on an epic, five-week cross country camping vacation, trying to figure out what was continuously making her so sick, and had been throughout most of the spring before.

If you’re a longtime reader of The Whole Bag of Chips, you have since seen my recipes evolve over time to now include notations with the ingredients as to how we have gone about making our recipes gluten free, if they were not already.

It has not been an easy few years. I have a shellfish allergy, and I’d like to say that I can relate to her struggles, but I truly can’t. I’m much older, first off, so I can weather some of the “trauma” of missing out on favorite foods at favorite events better than a tween. Additionally, shellfish is not contained in my every meal, or at every party, sleepover or at every restaurant I go to.

To say that being gluten free, being young AND gluten free is challenging would be an understatement.

Our third Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve all just passed, and it’s always important to make sure we have food for her to eat everywhere we go, and as we sometimes find out, even if we think something is going to be gluten free where we are headed, she finds out the hard way it may not have been, or that cross-contamination may have taken place.

However, for every challenge, there are a lot of successes. Thankfully, we are a family of cooks and we love to try out new recipes. Our kids have all been cooking since they were old enough to roll cookies or to stand on a stool at the kitchen counter and pick beans. We have a love for cookbooks, food magazines, food videos online, food show on television and anything related to cooking and eating. Therefore, we’ve discovered some great new recipes, and we’ve cheered (literally) when we’ve been able to make an old favorite into a new gluten free favorite so as not to give them up.

We’re lucky too, that we live in an internet age where we can find help online, we can Google anything and get a helpful answer about ingredients and substitutions. We are also lucky that in past years the amount of information and availability of ingredients has exploded from what it once was. We even have an allergy-free bakery in our city and we spend a great deal of time there.

Additionally, we have wonderful friends and family. I can’t be more thankful to those who have turned their own recipes into gluten free for her, or to those friends who have chosen to keep things on hand for when she’s there, or to cook entire gluten free meals just because she’s there (and I’m getting a little teary just thinking about it.) I have sent bags of gluten free food with her, only to see them come back with her after an event or visit, and to hear her happily describing all she was able to eat, along with everyone else.

All of that said, one might think a kid could get depressed having to deal with all of this on top of regular life, and she definitely has her moments of frustration and of sadness at times, and we feel terrible about it when she does. However, rather than wallowing in the latest disappointment or challenge, as some might, our daughter asked just the other night if she could create a blog for sharing what she’s learned in the past three years and going forward. It took me just a second to think about it and say yes, and it took her even less time to share with me the one she’d already created, but not published, complete with her first post draft all typed up. She just needed a name that wasn’t already taken, since there are many gluten free blogs out there already. Somehow, and I’m not sure how, she came up with Forget the Flour, and I love it. It wasn’t taken, and so, her blog was born.

She posted her first two posts one night earlier this week and the blog hits just exploded. Although it’s still young, the blog has already received almost 1000 hits in just a couple of days’ time. I told her I have some blog-hit envy already.

I think that as a younger blogger, her perspective is slightly different than those who are blogging about living an adult life gluten free, and I hope it will be a valuable perspective to others as she shares her favorite products, recipes and restaurants, as well as some of her not-so-great experiences in the hopes of preventing them from happening to others.

So if you haven’t yet, go on over and visit Forget the Flour and check out the first couple of posts. Sign up to follow it too, so that you don’t miss a moment of gluten free goodness.

I was thrilled to see this beautiful new blog pop up on my computer screen earlier this week. However, I can promise that not all of the almost 1000 hits were from me.

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Monday Musings: Playing the hand you’re dealt

28 Oct
I've always believed in playing the hand you're dealt in life, to the best of your ability.

I’ve always believed in playing the hand you’re dealt in life, to the best of your ability.

After last week’s Monday Musings post, “Celebrating the difference a year can make,” I received so many emails and messages of support. They all meant so much to me.

One in particular struck close to home as another mom spoke about her own family’s challenges with food-related issues, and how pursuing a new diet and other life changes had made all the difference for their family in the span of a year also.

Another mom-to-be spoke about growing up with a parent who had severe food allergies, and how hard that was, hoping their little one wouldn’t have food allergies.

Yet another congratulated us on our hard work as parents, since she knew first-hand what we’d gone through last year; how hard we fought to find out what was making our daughter so sick and what we could do to help her.

Last year was tough, and it was probably our toughest year yet, although I can think of a close second, a few years back, and another about three years before, and a few others before that. We’ve had lots of challenges with our three kids and their health issues, ranging from the stomach problems to childhood-onset migraines, and even the lesser-known but very challenging abdominal migraines, which are prevalent in girls ages 5-12 with a family history of migraines. Times three, starting at five years old.

It’s a lot to deal with, a lot to navigate as a parent, but I’ve always believed that you have to play the hand you’re dealt in life, and I try not to let those challenges be the thing that defines us as a family. We work hard to advocate for our kids 100% of the time and we work very hard to persevere and rise above those challenges, no matter how hard it is. I used to say that Caroline never really felt good, ever, for years, and most especially throughout most of last year, but that overall, you’d never know it. You wouldn’t know how sick she was feeling most of the time, except on her very worst days when she was so sick she could barely move. And throughout that time, she rose above it and accomplished so much. She pushed through a whole lot of pain, a whole lot of the time.

She’s my hero.

However, I know we’re not the only ones who have had our share of struggles. I know so many parents whose children have challenges as well, whether medical challenges, educational challenges, or whatever their challenges may be. I know we’re not alone, and I know there are lots of families out there, playing the hands they’ve been dealt, working hard to advocate for their kids with doctors, with teachers, in their kitchens, whatever it takes.

You’re all my heroes as well.

I know people dealing with everything and anything from Apraxia to ADHD to food allergies to Autism and everything in between.

It’s not easy. It’s exhausting and overwhelming, but you’re doing it.

A friend of mine from high school has a child with PANDAS, an often unrecognized diagnosis, and one that is life-changing in many ways, including in diet. To say it is a challenging issue to deal with is an understatement. But, she’s doing it, as a family they’re doing it, and I’m so proud of her. I watch as she takes the bull by the horns, not stopping until she has gotten the best answers, best treatment for her son. Again, It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but she’s another parent who is just playing the hand she’s been dealt. I was thrilled a few weeks back, when I saw that she’d petitioned to have a PANDAS Awareness Day made official here in our state. She’s working hard to help her own child and so many others. I know that it makes me happy when something I’ve learned or done when navigating through our own kids’ issues, has helped other people we know who are struggling with the same or similar issues. I know that my friend is helping so many others through her own journey with PANDAS.

So today, I’m thinking of all of you.

It’s a struggle, and sometimes¬† it seems like you’ll never make it through another day, week or school year, or that you can’t put your child through another medical test, another hours-long educational evaluation, another new doctor’s appointment or participate in another meeting at school.

It’s a lot, but you’re all doing it, we all are, and some day your children will look back and wonder how you did it all, and they’ll be so thankful that you did.

Be strong, hang in there, keep playing your hand, and continue to be my heroes.