Posts filed under Product Reviews

My Honest Obsession

I have developed a (healthy) obsession with The Honest Company.  I love their products!!!  We used their diapers for our oldest and are now using their diapers for our little one as well.  Honest diapers, aside from being absolutely adorable, are great for sensitive little bums, which both of our girls have.  So I am always on the lookout for new products from them, and man, is this company growing and expanding!

Over the past few months I have learned more and more about the benefits of adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet (a post focused just on that topic is coming soon!).  So I was very interested in learning more when I got an email from Honest announcing that they were releasing plant-based baby and toddler multi-vitamins.  I had never really thought about what was in the vitamins I gave my children.  I thought they were all healthy - I mean, the are vitamins, they have to be good for you, right?!?  The Honest email prompted me to sit down and compare labels.

The first ingredient listed on my daughter's Flinstones bottle was SUCROSE.  What?!?  Sugar?!?  That is literally the most predominant ingredient?  I mean, it makes complete sense - they are sugary and fruity and all kids gobble them up,  but I had never really thought about it.  I kept reading.  Then came sorbitol (another sweetener), natural and artificial flavors (whatever that means) and at least two dyes.  Okay, so where were all the healthy things my kid should be ingesting every day?

Then I looked at the Honest vitamin label.  The first thing I noticed is that they were 100% free of all the top 8 common allergens (obviously very important to us).  To top it off, they are organic and do not contain ANY GMOs!  Yes please!  Ah-ha!  No dyes, sweeteners, or artificial flavors either!  I could also read every word in the ingredient list!  Can you tell by the number of exclamation points I am using that I am beyond excited about this product?  I placed my order immediately and I can *honestly* say that I feel like a supermom every morning when I give them to my daughter.

Now, I am just waiting for them to make an adult multivitamin!  Yes, I have already tweeted at them about this!  You should absolutely check them out to learn more and if you decide to place an order, help a momma out and use my referral link!  ;-)

Posted on June 27, 2013 and filed under Product Reviews.

This is how we roll...

Wherever we go, we have EpiPens in tow.  Epinephrine is a food allergic individual's first line of defense during a severe allergic reaction.  The failure to administer (or even the delay of administering) epinephrine could be a death sentence.  That is scary stuff.  So how do we carry the most valuable thing we own, that which could save our child's life at any given minute?  I will tell you!

Let me start off by saying that I am a natural researcher.  I am a lawyer by trade so I picked up the ins and outs of conducting research during three grueling years of law school, and becoming a food allergy mom has just refined my skills even more.  A few months ago I read a quote that I thought was incredibly fitting for parents of food allergic children - "Food allergy moms do more research than the FBI."  This statement could not be more true.  I don't think there could be anything more fierce than a mom trying to protect her children.  This instinct becomes a part of your every day life when you have a child with food allergies.

Carrying epinephrine is one of the most basic and vital ways that I can protect my daughter.  So of course, I treat it with care and with the utmost respect.  Epinephrine is fragile, and you must handle it with care.  I soon learned after it was prescribed to my daughter that it cannot be exposed to direct light for long periods of time.  It cannot withstand extreme temperatures, and it is not resistant to bumps and bruises (aka, being dropped on the floor by a toddler, such as my own).  You also want it to be accessible and easy to find in the event of an emergency, so throwing the two pens in my purse as I walked out the door every day was not a viable option.  I knew after we picked up my daughter's EpiPens at the pharmacy for the first time that I needed to buy a carrying case.  And so began my research.

The first resource I tapped into was the No Nuts Moms Group.  It is an amazing community of food allergic parents and the group has a Facebook page where members post questions, give advice and offer support to one another.  I simply asked what other parents use and boy, did I get a response!  I think I got about 30 comments giving me ideas for cases.  I also searched the web on my own and read countless reviews.   I made a list of all the different cases that were out there and started to narrow down my options based on my required case criteria:

1. The case needed to block out light.

2. The case needed to provide some sort of insulation and/or padding.

3. The case needed to be big enough to fit two EpiPens, a bottle of Benadryl with a dropper, and an allergy action plan card.

4. The case needed to be easily identifiable among other items in a backpack, purse or diaper bag.

Surprisingly, finding a case that fit all of my criteria was really hard!  At one point, I decided I was going to invent and make my own!  I ordered cases from a few different companies, sent a few back, and kept a few.  Ultimately, I settled on two cases and am very happy with both.  We use one while out and about and one at home.

The first is made by KozyEpi and we take it everywhere we go!  It is easily identifiable and the front of the case is made of neoprene so it provides some insulation and padding while blocking out light.  I found that the Quattro pouch holds two EpiPens, a full-size bottle of Benadryl with a dropper and an allergy action plan card perfectly.  It is just what I was looking for.  The website states that the Trio pouch holds this much but I found it to be too snug a fit.   The Quattro is just right.

The second, I purchased on the FARE website.  This one is also easily identifiable, fits the EpiPens, Benadryl with dropper and allergy action plan card.  It is not insulated or padded at all though so we keep this case at home.

I would have ordered the KoziEpi case for the home as well but it is pretty pricey ($45).  The case I got from FARE was much cheaper and I decided it wasn't as important to have the at-home case insulated or padded.

I am a planner and like being prepared.  Finding a proper epinephrine carrying case may seem like a small or trivial task but it gives me comfort to know that we have all of my daughter's medication in one place and in that place it is protected, stored properly, and easy to identify.  When dealing with life-threatening food allergies, that is a very welcome comfort.

Posted on April 5, 2013 and filed under Product Reviews.

The nut-free Easter bunny is coming and he is bringing chocolate...

Of course with Easter right around the corner, I have seen a lot of ideas on blogs and websites for healthier or entirely food-free Easter gifts for food allergic children, but I must say that one of the first things that comes to my mind when I think of Easter treats is chocolate. No bunny ever gave carrot sticks or toys in my family!  It has always been about the chocolate.  Even more so than Halloween, it was the one time a year I could devour what seemed like 5 pounds of the sweet stuff in one day.  I like to think that I have grown into a chocolate connoisseur (ok, choco-holic in reality).

Last Easter, our daughter was too young to enjoy Easter treats but this year, things have changed.  She recognizes the Easter bunny, asks when he is going to visit, and has her basket ready to go.  Of course it should come as no surprise that chocolates and desserts of all kinds are notorious for cross-contamination with both peanuts and tree nuts.  That should be a game changer for us, but this nut-free momma is not gonna let it get in her way!

Her basket will be filled with Vermont Nut Free crispy milk chocolate eggs, Amanda's Own springtime bunny bags and Peeps.  Just a note - Amanda's Own is great for people with other food allergies as well.  All of their chocolate is nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free! Of course I had to taste test all of the chocolate since it was the first time I had ordered from both companies and honestly, they were great!  The fact that I don't have to sweat it when my sweet girl devours it gives me such peace of mind!  Planning in advance and taking the time to special order these chocolates versus trying to find something safe at the local grocery store was totally worth it and I will definitely be ordering from both companies again.

I am so glad we will (safely) be keeping our sweet Easter chocolate tradition with the girls.

We are ready for the nut-free Easter bunny to arrive!

Posted on March 26, 2013 and filed under Holidays, Product Reviews.