Book Review: 100 Pound Loser by Jessica Heights

I don’t have 100 pounds to lose.  I never have.  But I know I’ve gained and lost that much (or more) over the course of the last 20 years.  At this point, it’s not the number that’s important to me, it’s the taking it off and KEEPING it off, no matter the amount, that’s paramount.  It’s like I know all of the things that work, but I just.can’

I had been a follower of Jessica’s blog for a long time and then eventually became friends with her on Facebook (because she’s cool like that).  I always enjoyed her writing style and she always made me laugh…or cry…or think really hard about something.  I her conversational style of writing and that her love for Jesus isn’t just something that popped up now and again, but that it was all over her writing and that He part of who she had come to be.  So when I heard that she had lost 100 pounds at one point in time AND kept it off after 4 pregnancies, I was astounded, and then I REALLY wanted to know how she had done it!  She later announced that she had written an ebook on her journey, so when she called for bloggers to read and review her book, I almost trampled small children jumped at the chance to do it!

To be honest, I’ve been a dieter for a LONG time.  I know everything there ever was or is to know about diets.  I just can’t seem to get them to stick and work FOR GOOD!  So there really wasn’t anything in 100 Pound Loser that I didn’t already know.  But what I did find was encouragement.  A whole lot of “I’ve been there…I know what you’re going through.”  Tons of “It’s not going to be easy, but you can do it.”  And most importantly, a great reminder that I’m more than a number on a scale and that I’m beautiful just the way I am.

Her writing style is light and fresh and she will have you nodding your head (uh-huh) and laughing along with her fun illustrations.  This is not at all a weight loss book and she doesn’t promote it as such.  It’s more of an encouragement to say, “Hey…I know you might have some weight to lose, and I did it, and here’s how I did, but go find what works for you!”  I love that she uses Scripture to edify me as the reader and to say that God really does care about this aspect of my life and that He’s there to help me!!!

You might wonder why this is on a food allergy blog.  But honestly, sometimes when you cut out a food group (or two…or four), it can be easy to focus so much on the few foods that you can eat that disordered or stress eating can rear its ugly head.  This is another reason why I felt like I could review her book in this arena.

If you are just starting a weight loss journey and you need to know where to start and hear from someone who has been there, this book is for you.  If you are someone who is in the middle of your journey and you’re discouraged at your progress (or lack thereof), this is for you, too.  Jessica will pull up along-side you with a cup of coffee and just help you feel like you can do one more day of making good choices… exercising…not stealing the leftover gluten free mac and cheese off of your kids’ plates…whatever it is that you find hard to make yourself do!

I know you’re DYING to know where you can find this book!  There are several places!  You can purchase this ebook on Amazon, or if you purchase through this link, I get a little kick back, too.  You can read more from Jessica about her weight loss and keeping it off, even after having FOUR kids, at

I was given a copy of 100 Pound Loser to read for my review.  I was not paid for my time or opinion and she didn’t even try to bribe me with coffee…though it might have worked.  I will receive a small compensation for purchases made through my affiliate link.

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Product Review and Giveaway: purECOsheet

Life with a new baby has been really busy and at times INSANE.  But I have to say that this 3rd one has been easier than I had imagined.  Simeon has been a very laid back kid and is not demanding, except when absolutely necessary.  He’s always got a smile for me and I could spend hours just tickling him and soaking in his cuteness.

One mystery I’ll never figure out, though, is the formula for how laundry multiplies when you add another person to the household.  You’d think that it would just go up by a load or 2 a week.  Not a chance.  It’s like it’s this strange equation that involves numbers and exponentiation.  I don’t even wanna try to wrap my brain around it!

And as you know, doing laundry for kids with skin sensitivities is not a walk in the park, either.  I grew up on that “April fresh scent” which has gone from a benign sweetness that makes your clothes smell fresh and clean, to a headache-inducing stench that lasts on your laundry for weeks on end.  That’s not to mention what it does to your skin or the inside of your dryer’s drum.

When I was approached by purECOsheet about doing a product review for their reusable dryer sheets, I jumped at the chance!  I am always in need for something that is reusable and easy, but at the same time something that is going to be safe and gentle on my family’s skin.  I also use these when laundering the fabric for my shop, Snickerdoodle Stew, and I am confident it will be safe for whoever wears the garments made by me!

PurECOsheet is a set of fabric dryer sheets that are reusable.  You can use them on any fabric, in any load, and they take care of all that staticky mess that happens when you don’t use a dryer sheet!  Their product is 100% hypoallergenic, and perfume, dye and chemical free. You can even use it if you have eczema or allergies…even on the baby’s laundry!  You can use these even if the fabric says not to because there are NO CHEMICALS involved in this product!

These are amazingly easy to use.  You throw them in the dry for 3 uses, then wash them with any old load of laundry.  Then use them for 3 months and wash them again.  Repeat!  It’s so easy!  I just leave them in my dryer when I switch the loads out.  My kids could even do that!

The generous people at purECOsheet have not only provided ME with a set of these amazing dryer sheets, but they want one of Allergic to Air’s readers to have a set, too!  All you have to do is enter with the Rafflecopter link below!  The giveaway starts Monday, December 4 at 12 midnight (EST) and will end Sunday, December 9 at 11:59pm (EST)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t wanna wait to grab this amazing product?  PurECOsheet is offering a 10% discount to Allergic to Air readers when you use the code ALLERGICTOAIR with your purchase!

I was not paid for my endorsement of this product.  I was supplied with one set of purECOsheets for my review.  The thoughts shared in the above review belong to me.  And caffeine. 


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Happy Crocksgiving!

Special Turkey Breast, Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes and Crock Pot Green Beans


That day that we set aside, one time a year, to give thanks for the invention of the crock pot.

OK…maybe not, but it sounded a lot better than the Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Fiasco of 2012.  Let me rewind a little…

Here at the Allergic to Air house, I was planning on having a very low-key Thanksgiving meal, just for the 4 of us.  I intended to make it 2 days before Thanksgiving since my husband was going to work some insane hours.  I really didn’t see the point in making a big Thanksgiving meal for me and 3 kids (one of which doesn’t even have teeth) with NO back up to help entertain the kids while I made said feast.  So Tuesday it was.

Except that we had been having issues with our electricity, in that the circuit to our large appliances was going in and out on us and all last week, my cooking and laundry was hit or miss.  This is not good when you have an infant and a 3YO that compete for the “Mess of the Day” award!

The electric company came out over the weekend and gave it a temporary fix, but warned us that it could last for 10 minutes or 10 years, they couldn’t say, but that we needed to have an electrician come out and fix it from our end.

The power was restored.  And there was much rejoicing.

Until this morning, when I realized that I did NOT have electricity!  I had planned on making a turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread stuffing and apple crisp.  All from scratch.  All allergy friendly.


So I freaked out a little and realized that I just didn’t want to mess with it and said as much on Facebook.  I hadn’t started on anything yet, which was a blessing, that the power didn’t cut out in the middle of cooking everything!  One of the comments on my Facebook page was from Debi over at Hunter’s Lyonesse, and she asked if I had slow cookers.

Boy, do I have slow cookers!  I have 1 huge 6QT beast, 2 5QT crocks and I still haven’t parted with my mom’s avocado 1974 model that she got as a wedding present.  The thing is older than me! ;)

(I certainly take a long time to tell a story, don’t I?)

So my Crapsgiving was looking up (thanks, Debi!)  I mean, it couldn’t hurt to try, right?  I remembered seeing some slow cooker recipes in my Facebook newsfeed and in my emails, so I went searching.  And here’s what I came up with.

Gluten Free Easily’s Special Turkey Breast- I will definitely make this again.  I did throw some poultry seasoning in the mix and it was a really nice addition.  I think the only reason this didn’t turn out absolutely perfect (though my husband choked down 2 helpings, as did the kids!) was because I cooked it a little too long.  But not this long…  

Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures’ Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes- the only thing I did different on this was to leave out the cream cheese and sour cream (Mr. A2A doesn’t like creamy things) and I added a few TBs of butter at the end.  YUM!

Thankfully the green beans were leftover from Sunday’s Thanksgiving celebration at our church, so I just had to heat these up.  I didn’t really use a recipe for them, I just threw 2 pounds of haricot verts in a crock pot with 1 cup of gluten free chicken broth, 1/2 lb of chopped raw bacon and 1 small sliced onion.  I put it on high for about 2 hours and then cut it back to low where it hung out for another hour or so.  They are still good a few days later!
Oh and the gravy…totally from a jar.  I know…I know…but I didn’t see cooking that in a crock pot.  Or dragging the kids to the neighbors house to make it myself.  Oh well. :D

I was so bummed because I had promised my son that I would make him a gluten free apple pie.  And as you know, it’s hard to get him to like sweets and baked things, so when he asks for something, I certainly try my hardest!  I couldn’t make him an apple pie without the oven working, so I found something that he agreed would be just as good, especially if we topped it with ice cream.

Crock Pot Apple Crisp

Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures’ Crock Pot Caramel Apple Crisp- the only thing I did different was to double the topping and use gluten free oats and skip the caramel sauce.  We don’t normally have to use GF oats, but I had more of those than the good ‘ol Quaker oats, so I used them.  I was amazed that the topping really did crisp up a little.

Normally, I really do have a lot to be thankful for.  But this year, our special dinner was saved by some encouragement from a friend on Facebook and a little ingenuity.  We even topped off the evening by watching the Slapsgiving episode of How I Met Your Mother.  Seriously funny stuff, people!

I hope that you and your friends and family take the time this week to thank God for what He has blessed us with.  No matter where we are in life or how bad things are, there is always something to be thankful for.  Have a happy and allergy-safe Thanksgiving!

As always, please check recipes and ingredients to insure that you are cooking safely for your individual food allergy needs.


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Those of you that have food allergies know that trying to coupon is very, very difficult.  I’ve caught a few great deals here and there, but nothing like the folks getting boxes and boxes of cereal for free.  That said, in my opinion, even if it is free, it doesn’t mean you should eat it, allergies or not.

I was really excited to see I had several offers for coupons for gluten free or high quality foods in my inbox the last few days, so I thought I’d share them with you.  Some of them require a vote or a sign up for their site, but hey, what’s more junk mail when you’re saving some money, right? :D

Here is where I insert my disclaimer that I am NOT a coupon blogger and therefore do not know how to link to every single coupon.  Sorry!  I think there is one that takes you to the direct link, but that’s a total fluke.  Pinky swear promise!

Mambo Sprouts- There are some great coupons here for brands like Silk, Nature’s Path, Arrowhead Mills, Santa Cruz, Rudi’s, and one of my personal favorites, Cabot!  In fact, the Cabot coupon is for $1 off and if you pair it with the prices I’ve seen at my local Target and Walmart, you can get this amazing cheddar for just over a $1!!!

Crunchmaster- These are one of our favorite gluten free crackers.  On their website you can sign up for emails and get a coupon for any product.  You can also get coupons here for their new Crisps crackers.

Stonyfield Farms- You can sign up to get coupons once a month from Stonyfield and sometimes they have extra coupons for different promotions.  You can go vote for your favorite lunch story and get a coupon for $1 off YoKids Organic Yogurt!  This may or may not work for you, depending on how many times you’ve printed it and how often it resets. You can always find a ton of coupons here and every once in a while, you’ll find some allergy friendly products.  I went to the site today and found coupons for Chex, Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes and Mott’s Snack n Go applesauce packs.

Van’s Natural Foods- We are big fans of Van’s G/PN/D/E/TN Free waffles and French toast sticks in our house, especially when I don’t have the time to make and freeze a big batch of waffles or pancakes.  You can head over to their Facebook page and “like” them and get a coupon for $1 off any 1 product!  You can also sign up for emails and get additional offers from time to time.

So there you go!  Obviously, check the ingredients to make sure products are safe for your allergy needs.

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Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Mom Blogs 2012

I just wanted to pop in and let you know of a great opportunity to put Allergic to Air on the map!  My blog has been nominated in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Mom Blogs for 2012!  I’m so humbled to be in the running for this title, especially considering all of the great allergy blogs that are represented!  If you would kindly vote for my blog, I would much appreciate it!  Voting is allowed once per 24 hour period and you can vote on different devices, too!  Voting ends October 17 at 4pm, PST.  I’m also doing a lot of reminders on Facebook and Twitter, if you follow there.  Thank you in advance for your support!!!

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My Allergy Story- Hey, Beth Baker!

I remember when I first started blogging, I had all of these new, brilliant ideas that I was just DYING to share with the world.  I couldn’t wait to tell everyone what new recipe I had tweaked to make it allergy friendly for my crew.  Back in those days, Allergic to Air had that nice, new-blog smell to it.  One of my new favorite blogs to read, Hey, Beth Baker! is just like that!  Not only is she amazingly creative and adventurous, she’s a very gifted writer and words things just right!  I’m always excited to see a new post from her in my mailbox or newsfeed!  Beth was gracious enough to share her food allergy story with us, so without further ado, here’s she is!

I remember the first time I saw eczema on my daughter’s leg. She was three months old and I was rocking her for her morning nap. I had to work that afternoon and I wanted her to take a nap before we left. But she wouldn’t. In fact, she was really cranky. I couldn’t figure out why. It was a chilly day in February and as I checked through my still-kinda-new mama checklist of why she might be crying I decided to change her diaper. I took off her cute little pink sweatpants and she had raised rashes on both calves. Weird. Her diaper was clean so I took her temperature and she had a fever. I called the pediatrician in a panic and insisted she be seen that afternoon.

When I showed her legs to the doctor he kind of gave me a sweet, “I’m trying not to be condescending” look and told me it was just eczema. That she would grow out of it. But she didn’t. In fact, the raised rashes turned into puss-weeping sores. On both legs. She also had rashes on her scalp and arms. So I kept taking her to the doctor. And they kept giving me steroid creams and foams to lather on her. They told me to cure the eczema so I spent hours online trying to find home remedies and lotions that worked for others. But nothing helped! Nothing! I asked the doctor if he thought it could be food allergies and he told me he’d never seen food allergies cause skin eczema.

After four visits to my pediatrician, he too felt he’d exhausted his eczema knowledge. Time to see a specialist. He recommended a pediatric dermatologist  who worked out of the local children’s hospital and after a two month wait, the day of our appointment finally came! I was trying not to be too excited but couldn’t help but have hope that the dermatologist was going to give my poor baby’s skin some relief.

Lucy at 4 months

Perhaps as an omen, as soon as the doctor came in the room my daughter Lucy started screaming. She did not like this doctor! The doctor asked some questions about what medications Lucy was on and what her home environment was like. She changed her medicines to some stronger ointments and looked me in the eyes and said, “There’s nothing we can do to relieve her symptoms. She is going to have to come back every month so I can monitor her eczema. Get used to coming.” But it didn’t sit right. I couldn’t bring myself to make the next month’s appointment. Something in my gut was telling me this was not the solution.

So we didn’t make another appointment. Summer [and the stronger steroid creams] brought some relief to the weeping sores and I began to hope that Lucy had indeed grown out of the eczema. It had been seven months since I first noticed the sores and they were now once again raised rashes, rather than open sores. One night while at a friend’s house Lucy found a peanut on the floor and rubbed it on her face. Immediately everywhere the peanut touched turned bright red and rashy! [Thankfully she didn’t put it in her mouth]. I gave her some Benedryl and the rash eventually resided. The next week I put some scrambled eggs on her highchair tray and she had another reaction. This one was worse! She looked like a red-bearded lady. It was scary! Our doctor shared our concern and we were off to another specialist [an allergist/pulmonologist this time]. And another long wait to get an appointment.

Finally, when Lucy was 13 months old she was tested for food allergies. She tested positive for eggs, wheat, dairy, and peanuts on a skin prick test. On a scale of 1 to 4 she scored 2 on peanuts, 3+ on wheat and dairy, and 4+ on eggs. The allergist also told me she believed Lucy’s eczema could be related to her food allergies. And she was right, as we started to eliminate allergens from her diet her skin began clearing up as well.

To verify the skin test and get some base numbers, our allergist sent us for bloodwork. I didn’t even know they could test for food allergies with bloodwork! These tests came back showing that the allergies were worse than we initially thought. We had agreed to limit her exposure to the allergens but after the bloodwork the seriousness of the situation set in. Skin contact with these allergens  would be bad. Ingestion could be life-threatening.

I think every mama of an allergen baby has that moment when it sinks in that things are going to be different for their kid. That the situation is serious. And then, maybe more slowly and over a couple of weeks, you start to think of things like birthday parties and playdate snacks. You have to think about having a little person who’s not ready to self-govern their diet. That’s when it became real for me.

I bought as many cookbooks as I could find to try to figure out how to give her sweets and treats that other kids could have, but taking out the wheat, dairy, and eggs proved challenging. It’s been a long road but nearly two years later I finally feel capable of making allergen-free food and treats for Lucy that our whole family can enjoy. And when her little brother was diagnosed with an egg allergy I couldn’t help but exclaim, “That’s it?! Alright!”

Lucy now, age 2

Isn’t Lucy a doll?!?!  Thanks so much, Beth!  Now everyone run over to Hey, Beth Baker! and sign up to get her posts!  Do it!  Do it now!

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Product Review: Achoo Allergy

I am a blanket person.  I love to have a blanket on me, no matter what the temperature is outside.  I will crank the AC up as high as it will go and sleep with a fan on all year round, just so that I can have my blanket at bedtime.  The only time I bend this rule is when I’m pregnant and then, don’t even THINK of coming near me with one!

Simeon, enjoying the Allergy Armor blanket (that just happens to match my favorite quilt!)

When Kevin from Achoo Allergy contacted me about trying out some of their bedding and I heard they had Organic, made-in-the-USA, cotton blankets, I couldn’t say yes any faster!

Well, I could say it fast, I just couldn’t type it as fast. ;)

“Oh…my big sister Lydia is making me share this blanket.”

Achoo Allergy generously sent me a Queen sized version of their Allergy Armor Organic Cotton Blanket.  It’s made from 100% certified organic cotton, which means it was grown and handcrafted without the use of pesticides, herbicides, dyes, or harmful chemicals.  Those of us that have asthma and allergies know how important it is to protect our bodies from irritants, and bedding can be a big problem.  But this is just the kind of blanket you want to put on your bed, especially if you are sleeping there 1/3 of your day!

Well, ideally you are sleeping 1/3 of your day.  I have a 3 month old, so I DREAM of sleeping that long.  Or maybe just 1/4 of my day.  I digress.

“Mom said no shenanigans on the blanket, Lydia.”

On top of being a very natural product, the weight of this blanket is SO nice.  It’s heavy enough to keep you warm, but light and breathable enough to not suffocate you, even on a summer night.  I can attest to this, as I’ve pulled this blanket back over me in the cooler mornings when our AC has been out.  It’s super soft when you get it, and gets even softer with continued washings.  No itchy, scratchy, funky covers here!

“Wait…you’re not gonna do that…”

And just when you thought this couldn’t get any better, wait until you see what else Achoo Allergy has to offer.  They sell everything from air purifiers and cleaning aides to allergy bedding and epi pen accessories.  Pretty much everything you need to help keep you and your family comfortable and as free of allergens as you can.

“Oh no she didn’t!”

But wait!  There’s MORE!

Ha ha!  I couldn’t resist, but they are offering a 10% discount on your order when you use the code achoofall.  I hope you get a chance to look around and see what they have to offer.  You can visit their website or follow them on their blog, Facebook or Twitter.

“Be gone!”

I received a queen sized Allergy Armor blanket and sets of Food Allergy cards (review to come later!) free of charge from Achoo Allergy.  I was not paid for my review and my opinions are completely my own.

“Ah…THAT’S more like it!”

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Blogging with the Brilliant Beth Baker

I thought I’d take a moment to introduce you to a new food allergy blog on the block.  When you get a chance, go check out my friend Beth at Hey, Beth Baker!  She might be new to the allergy free blogging world, but she’s no stranger to food allergies.  She’s a stay-at-home-mom to 2 incredibly cute kiddos that both have food allergies, so she knows her stuff.  She is very creative and adventurous and it shows in her food!  I don’t think I’ve met her in real life (if I have, it was a LONG time ago!) but I grew up with her husband’s family and they are cool people, so she must be too!  Check out her post today on Whole versus Real Food diets and where her family falls into those categories.  You’re going to love her!

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Paleo Practice

I’m a genius. ;)  I’ve decided that once a week, while my oldest is in school, I’m going to try out more Whole30 and Paleo recipes that I wouldn’t normally be able to cook for him.  Mainly stuff that contains eggs, as I don’t want nut flours flung around my kitchen.  The plus side of this is that I can make a lot of this stuff last for several meals and I can use them for breakfast or lunch, where everyone eats pretty much whatever is there.  For dinner, we all eat the same thing, but lunch is a free-for-all.  I’ve found this works great for when I’m making other allergy-free breakfast sweets as well.  Most things freeze beautifully, so you can make a double batch and store some away for days when you don’t feel like slaving away bright an early in the morning!

Fluffy Coconut Pancakes with Sauteed Chai Bananas and Walnuts

So be on the look out!  This morning’s coconut pancakes turned out great and hopefully I’ll get to post the recipe soon!

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Whole 60 Challenge

A little while back I posted my thoughts and ponderings on a 1 month challenge I did.  No gluten, grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, artificial sweeteners or processed foods.  For 30 days!  And I did it!  I felt great!  I slept well (or as good as I could having a newborn wake me up every few hours to eat) and fell asleep fast.  I had lots of energy.  Without even trying, I lost 13.5 pounds!

The problem was that while I was supposed to reintroduce foods one at a time, a fateful night of Tex-Mex at our favorite restaurant had me eating grains, beans, dairy and gluten all at once.  I hadn’t fully wrestled all of my sugar and carb demons.  I went on vacation for 2 weeks, where I was left to my own devices food wise, with no one to be accountable to but myself.  Needless to say, I’m back to my old horrible eating habits and I feel like crap!  Why do we go back to the things that we know make us feel awful?  Is the temporary taste of the food worth its further reaching impact on our bodies?

I’ve had a few things creep back that I didn’t realize might be food related, so it will be interesting to see if they disappear:

  • Gas and bloating- I suspect this is from gluten and dairy.  You’d think with all of the veggies, especially cruciferous ones, I would suffocate my family, but the opposite is true.  I had less gas when I ate all of those veggies than I did when I hardly ate veggies at all.  I did realize this was food related, by the way!
  • Eczema on my fingers- this is something I normally experience and it’s not a bad case of it. I didn’t necessarily notice that it was around before I started the challenge, but I’m now noticing it’s back.
  • Dandruff- again, I didn’t really notice it was gone, but now it’s back.
  • Skin tone- much more uneven, like before the original Whole30, and it’s lost the brightness that I had after the challenge.

So I’m starting over.  Only this time, I’m arming myself with a few extra weapons.  I’m going a full 60 days to see if I can get away from draw of sugar.  I’m far enough past my post-partum phase that I can exercise and not worry about being fully recovered from my c-section.  I’m also getting a little more sleep, for the most part, since the baby is sleeping longer at night (woot)!  School has started, which means more of a schedule and being forced to have things a little more organized at home!

I’ll try to post here a few times a week, but I won’t make any promises!  I have 3 kids under the age of 5, a dog that gets us up at 4 am to be let out, and a husband that works a lot of extra hours so I can stay home with our children.  I’m a busy girl!  But don’t fret!  You can still follow my journey by visiting my Facebook page or checking in on Twitter, where I’ll be posting my food pictures (I found this was a great help in the accountability department)!  You can also sign up for email updates from this blog!  Just check out the right hand column————————————>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I have a few readers that have said they want to try this.  Want to join me?  Maybe just for 30 days?  Maybe just give up a few things that would help you make strides in gaining better health?  Leave me a comment below!  I’d love to see who’s coming along side of me in this journey!

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