Healthy Living on March 1, 2011 by

Allergic Girl: Guest Post & Giveaway

I’ve been following Allergic Girl, Sloane Miller, on and off for the last few years. She writes a clever and wonderfully named blog, Please Don’t Pass the Nuts, that helps those with food allergies navigate all aspects of their life safely and with joy. I was really excited when she contacted me about her new book, Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies. She’s written you a lovely guest post and to help promote this amazing resource, we’re giving away a copy of her book and a $25 Bob’s Red Mill Gift Card to two lucky winners. See below for giveaway details and how to enter. Without further ado, here is Sloane…

People ask me two questions, a lot:

First:  Why write Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well With Food Allergies?

My Please Don’t Pass The Nuts blog readers who have food allergies and the friends and family who love and support them are the inspiration for Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well With Food Allergies. There is a real need for information and support in the food allergic community.  I want Allergic Girl to fill those needs.

I became a food allergy advocate because I am committed to helping people with food allergies live safe, effective and joyous lives.  Allergic Girl talks about the intimate feelings, concerns and dreams those of us with food allergies have and shares my experience and expertise.  I write about the practical realities of understanding and living with food allergies and I offer proven strategies for living well with food allergies.

I have always been an allergic girl.  I have had food allergies since birth and I developed environmental allergies in early childhood.  I am also a social worker and writer.  My work as a food allergy advocate—“Allergic Girl”—combines my commitment to helping people with my personal experience as someone with food allergies and my professional expertise as a social worker and writer.

Second:  What’s my one piece of advice to people with food allergies and the people who love and want to support them: Take your food allergies seriously.

Living with food allergies can be challenging—even scary.  It can and should also be joyful.  Reliable, clear information and support make the difference.  Allergic Girl offers my experience and my best therapeutic strategies for living safely, effectively and joyfully with food allergies.  And remember:  Be patient.  Living well with food allergies doesn’t happen overnight.  But, if you take your food allergies seriously and follow some basic rules, it can happen.


First of all, we’re not discouraging anyone from entering, but I must say this resource is invaluable for those with food allergies. I hope that anyone who wins will enjoy it and share this with someone who has food allergies and could use Sloane’s wonderful guidance. Even though celiac disease is not an allergy to food, Sloane’s book is a great resource for anyone with celiac disease as many of the same principles still apply.

To Enter:

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment here or on our Facebook page and tell us about your most positive food allergy experience, whether it was your own or a loved one. We’ll pick two lucky winners at random from all of your entries. You have until midnight on March 13th to enter. We’ll pick our two winners using on March 14th.


Kitty says:

My husband has an egg allergy. I am always looking for alternative recipes.

Jackie F. says:

I have a ton of food allergies, but it always makes me feel good when my friends try hard to either make things for me or send me recipes that they think I would like. Even though most of the recipes are unusable for one reason or another, I love that my friends love me enough to think of me and give it a shot.
My favorite text messages are from my friend Kate, who sends me picture messages of ingredient listings when she’s at the grocery store. “Can you have this??” My friends helping me deal are my positive experiences every day! 🙂

Jessica says:

My dad has developed a multitude of food allergies, including but not limited to: various nuts, milk, chocolate, corn, eggs, beef, pork, and anything charcoal grilled. About 2 months ago, there was a sausage mixup in which he unknowingly ate pork and which resulted in the most severe episode to date. But with diligent hospital care he pulled through. As a result, he’s started eating all-natural and unprocessed meats, which I think is just terrific.

I’ve just experienced a definite allergic response myself last week at a restaurant and am hoping to target the culprit soon.

Caitlin Smith says:

My dad has numerous allergies to food, he can’t eat wheat, corn, soy, milk, and nuts. Over Christmas break I was trying a diet that was wheat free to give my dad a buddy at holiday meals. My favorite was I made brown rice tortilla chip and homemade guacamole and we got to sit in the corner and eat it all ourselves. We said to everyone that the guacamole was gluten free so it was our special snack! We also had a few sweet treats to satisfy our sweet tooth during the holiday. But it made my dad happy to not be the only one not able to eat everything.

Jessica says:

The last couple holidays have been very positive experiences for me with my family… One time, my mom (with dad’s help) made her own mustard from scratch, which beame the base of a mustard-based “barbeque” sauce, so that I could enjoy a new holiday tradition along with the rest of the family of grilled bbq ribs. The only one of five of us who ate them who didn’t actually prefer the new sauce over the traditional tomato-based sauce was my youngest sister. The other time I’ll tell about, was when my mom and other sister took the time to chop up a block of nut-free chocolate, just so I could enjoy the “complete” dessert, instead of a good-enough-dessert-without-chocolate (b/c the rest of the guests would have used possibly-contaminated chocolate chips). These have made me feel so LOVED, as a person with adult-onset food allergies.

Steve Wilbur says:

Having Celiac it is always a challange finfing affordable high quality foods I can. Bob’s tends to fit both! Thank you.

Sharon Hedman says:

Both my daughter and I have multiple allergies. My mother-in-law tries very hard on holidays to have things that we can eat.

rose says:

after discovering and living with egg, peanut, and a few small food allergies for a number of years I was amazed at how much better life was. when I found allergies to corn and wheat around two years ago, my life changed forever. I am a different person–healthier, stronger, and with more joy in my life and in my food than I ever would have imagined. so thankful for books and products like these that support our community!

Suzanne Bernhardt says:

Hello- I am entering this contest for my best friend Becky who not only has Celiac and Type I Diabetes but also has a child with Celiac and another with severe peanut allergy. It hapapens to be her birthday this month and I thought that I would do whatever I could as far as seeking out free products, entering contests, get coupons for gluten free products, etc. So if you have any sources of coupons I would be so grateful to pass them on to my friend who
has handled this so well and amazes me. She has become an amazing cook with these special diet requirements. It is my hope that I can just help put a bit on the financial side. Thank you for doing this-
Suzanne Bernhardt

Nicole wetterman says:

My most positive experience happened recently actually. I have over a dozen food allergies. While at a new mom group I was able to share some of my experience with a fellow new mom who was trying to identify allergies that her infant was suffering from. We’ve grown to be friends 🙂

Joanie says:

My most positive food experience for my Celiac 6 year old was finally finding a GF pizza that was “good enough” so that a friend would share it with her! Also, we got to bring the cupcakes to a party so everyone’s were the same and the cakes even received compliments (made with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Flour!

Pagan says:

For months now I have been trying to convince my family that gluten intolerance is a real thing and how serious it is. I also suspect my parents have an allergy as well, but they’re too set in their ways. It’s been a struggle every time I have a meal at their home to find something for me to eat until about two weeks ago. I have dinner at their home and I find the whole thing had been made gluten and dairy (another long ignored allergy of mine) free. Even my dad ate it without a fuss. It really touched my heart that it seemed I was starting to make a breakthrough on how important it was. Now, every meal I have with them there is always something for me that I can eat (and they are eating better for it too! *wink*) and we can have a nice meal together.

Andrea Springhart says:

My sweet 3 yr old daughter has multiple food allergies. My husband and I recently started letting her stay at preschool for lunch. We know the staff at school are taking good care of her. They seat her at a “table for 2” so she has a special place and always a buddy to sit with. They check lunches to see who doesn’t have a pb&j sandwich. She loves that she can participate in this.

Denise says:

I have celiac disease and Bob’s Red Mill is my lifeline for enjoying the foods I miss.

My most positive food allergy experience was at Disney World. I was there a week and ate at a wide variety of restaurants without getting sick. They catered to all my requests with a smile and went above and beyond to provide bread, desserts and a great entree.

Kate Prejean says:

I nurse my son and he shows allergies to wheat, dairy, and soy through me. He was not gaining weight for a bit until I figured out what it was that was triggering him. Proud to say since we have cut those things, he is a happy, healthy, fat little baby!

Daniel A says:

My most positive food allergy experience came in college after a less than pleasant reaction to cafeteria food. It was at that moment I decided to cook often. Since then, I’ve obtained a skill and hobby I love dearly.

Laura Z says:

I have Celiac, and when my husband and I go out to eat, he orders off of the gluten free menu too so I can try his dinner 🙂

Jenna says:

I recently discovered I have allergies to Whey/diary, peanuts, soy, and all gluten. It’s been challenging, but having resources like Allergic Girl is showing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Andrea Wilson says:

I don’t have celiac disease, but I have a wheat/gluten allergy – eating the wheat makes my atopic dermatitis flare like crazy. My mom has been a Godsend, going different places, making inquiries, and buying different products for me to try. At Christmas, she made everything GF, including the shortbread cookies for dessert, topped with various jams and jellies. I didn’t have to worry about what I ate there, which was such a relief.

Bethany Sutherland says:

I have Celiac’s Disease and have a good friend who is Celiac AND has nut allergies (and other food alleriges). I enjoy having her try my creations and would love to have this book so we could try recipes together.

Amy W. says:

My good friend has a gluten allergy, and while it’s been difficult for her, we had the most positive experience last weekend. We were in Las Vegas and went to the restaurant Tao and my friend asked the waiter if the restaurant offered any gluten free options. Right then and there the waiter whips out a special menu for the gluten free items and assures her that they take her allergies very seriously. Simply wonderful. It made our dining out experience even more amazing!

Cara says:

Just yesterday, actually – I visited Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery in the East Village for the first time on a tip from a friend. It’s a fully dedicated gluten-free facility, and ALL of the wonderful baked goods, granola, sandwich bread, and lunch items are completely gluten-free. And so, so delicious, with a great selection! It was the first time in awhile that I didn’t have to fret over whether I could eat an item – the only problem was sticking to my budget!

Meghan says:

After being diagnosed with allergies to wheat/gluten, spelt, egg, dairy, sesame and cane sugar – I completely changed my diet overnight. The road was not easy, but 3 years later I have my life back. I lost 20 lbs and now maintain a healthy weight, eat as much as I want, have energy and no longer suffer daily stomach pains and indigestion. I am healthy! That is the most positive thing ever.

Tami says:

I have a severe allergy to gluten and corn since the birth of my daughter. It has been quite the challenge especially with corn. But just the other day I found some Rapunzel milk chocolate bars that I can eat and had a Virgil’s cream soda…. I was in absolute heaven!!! It’s been almost 10 years with no pop and was such a wonderful treat… I look at food so much differently now but having allergies has turned my life around to the positive eating much healthier for me and my family!

We have had the good fortune not to have any food allergies in the immediate family but I think it is very important to be aware that they exist esp. in school and workplace situations. The wrong foods can act like poison in a system.

Erin Block says:

I have celiac disease, and while it isn’t an allergy, it impacts one’s eating life as one…

And, as a single person, it greatly impacts dating! My most positive food allergy experience has been finding a true soul mate, a true friend….who, eats with me. He eats what I eat. He makes food that I can eat. And, he always makes sure it is SAFE! =)

tina m says:

My son started growing properly a couple of months after being gluten free and my daughter’s stomach problems disappeared. I have yet to figure out whether or not it is the cause of my blood disorder, but only time will tell. It has been 2 1/2 years for my son and I and 1 year for my daughter.

Julie Pietrak says:

My Grandson has allergies so we are always looking for different foods and stuff for him to eat.

Lisa says:

My daughter has a peanut allergy and Cold Stone Creamery has been great about it. They will use separate paddles and mixing areas if I tell them about her allergy. They are always very accommodating. I have also had servers at PF Chang’s lead off by asking, “Are there any allergies at the table?”

Monica says:

I have allergies to Dairy and Wheat. Recently I talked to someone at church with the same issues. It was so nice to talk to someone else and compare foods and recipes in real-life. This book looks like it would be an encouragement too.

J Cook-Attig says:

When I was younger, I had a friend who had both a milk and a wheat allergy. I would sit every day at lunch and watch her eat rice or ground beef or chicken and veggies while the rest of us ate pizza and macaroni and cheese and sandwiches. It always seemed she had to pass on the things that were “fun” and “good” and “tasty.” My thought always was, “My god, I could never live like that.”

Fast forward 20+ years and I am newly diagnosed with a wheat intolerance. But how the world has changed! There are so many creative cooks dreaming up wonderful, artisinal foods for those of us who are food allergic… it’s not about deprivation any more, it’s about enjoyment and exploration. I can look at my diagnosis and realize that my joy of cooking (and eating!) doesn’t have to be curbed because I can no longer eat wheat. Finding all of those resources to not only eat well, but eat healthy and in a fashion that makes me feel better than I have in years?

Now, THAT is a positive food allergy experience!

Jean Y says:

Dairy allergy so use soymilk and concoct my own ” cereal ” in morning with wheat germ, raw rolled oats, lots of nuts and seeds, dried ginger and other fruits, ground flax seed. I have to watch my blood sugar, it is creeping up with age and weight, so Bob’s unsweetened coconut is tasty and healthy. Did you know, there is 7 g protein in 1/4 c wheatgerm ?

Rhonda says:

I’m a vegan who is allergic to soy and gluten, so it’s hard to find great products. Love Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free mixes. Made the Gluten free corn bread, using egg substitute and almond milk. YUM.

Annette Frey says:

My company specializes in dog biscuits for sensitive dogs, so we always keep up on people allergy eating too – especially since we only use people friendly ingredients.

Discovering my gluten sensitivity has been a true lifesaver. I feel like a completely new human being, and I look forward to the rest of my life on this wonderful path! 🙂

Sondra Payne says:

My 15 month old son is allergic to wheat, egg, all nuts, soy & sesame. Although his food groups ate limited @ times, I take great pride in cooking for him & making sure his meals are balanced & nutritious. I am also the proud mom of a 3 yr old daughter who loves to cook with me. We have lots of fun in the kitchen & have already made many happy memories. My fondest memory so far came just recently around valentines day. My daughter asked if we could make Love ( heart) cookies & before I could even answer she said “let’s make sure we make them without anything Anderson ( her baby brother) is allergic to”.
At 3 she already knows to be cautious yet caring when it comes to others needs. I am one proud mama!

erika kar says:

At infancy, it was pretty clear that my son was one of those allergic people. At first it was all environmental – feathers, grass, cats and dog saliva. Then when he was 5 we began noticing that he was constantly congested with a forever dripping nose. He had little rashes and patches of dry skin. And his hearing would come and go. When we got him tested for allergies, the list was astounding – gluten eggs, dairy, soy, almonds, peanuts, apricots, pineapple, asparagus, garlic, onions, beef.
Try cooking a meal avoiding those foods!
But here we are 2 years later and have it under control. Thankful for Bob’s for so many options + So Delicious Coconut Milk.

Carole says:

My most positive food allergy experience was most definitely spending a week at Disney World a month after being diagnosed with celiac disease. I was born with multiple food allergies, outgrowing all of them except peanuts/tree nuts. I am approaching 40 (ack!) so I have lived my entire life reading labels, not being able to eat what others eat and being aware of what goes into foods. But being diagnosed with celiacs disease threw me for a major loop.

I have three children, one with no allergies, one with a gluten sensitivity and one with a peanut/tree nut allergy. I feel so lucky to be able to relate to what my children have to go through. Due to a celiac diagnosis with my brother, I was tested and lo, and behold, I was diagnosed with celiac disease.

Then enter Disney. What a blessed week we had dining anywhere we wanted! Instead of being made to feel “odd” or feeling like we had to take “substitutions” we were made to feel so special! We did not go without at all. I’ve never in my life had someone be jealous over what I was allowed to eat! I will never forget the look on my daughter’s face when her yummy ice cream sundae was brought to her with “safe” sprinkles and other toppings and even a delicious “safe” brownie!

So, by far, dining at Disney is my best food experience. If only the rest of the country could get on board!

Amy K says:

I am gluten intolerant, which I discovered when taking my son GFCF to deal with autism. I try not to make a big deal about not being able to eat certain foods, but there are a few members of my family who make life so easy for me! At a recent large celebration, my uncle made as much of his (gourmet) appetizers using gluten-free flours, and he made great little labels for everything. I knew what was GF without having to ask or make a big deal about it, and what might have been an embarrassing evening was quite relaxed and fun!

Sarah Corbin says:

I used to own a whole wheat bread bakery. We made pecan or walnut bread everyday on alternating days. My daughter struggled with eczema in a serious way and allergy testing was never suggested until after she had an anaphylactic reaction to a pecan. After testing we found out that she had lethal allergies to walnuts and pecans. Life is pretty tricky no? We sold our bakery.

Now 6, her reactions are triggered from trace amounts or even small bits of cross contamination. Amazingly my daughter is almost eczema free. And we have gone a full year without needing to use the epi-pen.

We bake cakes out of our home now for family and friends who also have nut allergies. Our kitchen is 100% nut free and so are all of my pans and bowls. While we aren’t effected by peanuts we keep our house peanut free too. It’s not a true business, it’s just nice to be able to help other kids out with a nice professional birthday cake if they can’t have nuts.

My daughter loves being able to offer birthday cakes for her friends’ parties. It means the cake is safe for her to have a piece too. And that seems like a small thing, but to my six year old – it’s big birthday party fun.

Jennifer Becker says:

Well, for years I have suffered from serious joint pain. Walking across the room was almost impossible some mornings. I did it anyway, what choice does a mother and a teacher have? Then, my migraines which I have had since I was 3 years old started not going away. They would last 3 days to 2 weeks every single month. People would say, “Why don’t you take some sick days…or you’re too young to have these problems”. Yah, so…those suggestions don’t work. Then there was a myriad of other annoying symptoms such as not sleeping well that I guess I just grew to live with so that I barely noticed them underneath the amount of pain I was almost always in. Anyway…I could describe tons more, but it’s getting long. Then, my sis announced her gluten intolerance. I am already lactose intolerant, have hypothyroidism, and have a auto immune skin disorder. I never thought I could have, yet another major issue, but I was hitting bottom with how sick I was all the time and didn’t know what to do. When she made that announcement, I actually got excited. That there was possibly an answer and a cure was too much! So, within days of eliminating gluten, I was able to sleep, and other random things I hadn’t even noticed vanished. Then, I waited for my monthly cycle to start…that’s when most of the migraines happened. It came and so did a migraine…that was mild and only lasted one day. I woke up the next morning feeling fine. The day after that, I had another mild migraine. I thought, ok..maybe…but we’ll see. The next month was the same, but only one day occurred with a migraine. I started walking because we got a puppy and my friend asked me, “How is your pain?” I said, “What pain?” I had forgotten! Then I realised I hadn’t had any pain in my joints and forgot that that had been part of my every day life. Amazing how quickly we forget when we feel fine. I am hoping after I get my vitamin D levels back up to normal, I will have peeled the last layer from the onion and be well completely. This has all presented new challenges, but I love to cook and my husband loves to cook. He has been very supportive and so has my daughter. They want me to be well and that’s how I want to be. I discover new resources almost every day and am very excited about being healthy. Sure there are things I can’t have, but on most occasions, I don’t care. I can find a way to be nourished and love what I eat.

Debbie Shanholtz says:

My 8 year old son had eczema, headaches and myriad of other issues for years and we found out this past year he was allergic to gluten, egg, dairy, soy, citrus and rice.. Through our elimination diet we found out that our whole family is also allergic to most of these foods as well. It was wonderful to find all these resources out there to help us along. We were please after months of us cooking at home that we could finally venture out and go to a PF Changes restaurant. They were so accommodating. We enjoy cooking at home and knowing it’s allergy free. It’s fun learning new recipes. My 8 & 6 year old are learning along with me how to make these yummy allergy free foods and my husband as well. 😉

Lori says:

We have two boys (ages 14 and 11) with severe food allergies. Thinking back of over the past 14 years of living with food allergies, I decided that there is three-way-tie for positive experiences. The first is the cookbook that my mom put together for us. She made a fun book full of safe, yet edible recipes that she made up. When our oldest son was diagnosed, there were not many resources, cookbooks or websites available for families dealing with food allergies, so her recipes were invaluable. The second experience was from our dear friend, who went out of her way to clear the kitchen of nuts (they were already kosher, so that greatly helped with dairy issues) and she cooked for us often! As our boys grew, it gave all of us a safe, relaxing place to visit and enjoy dinner without worry. The final experience was at Disney. We had heard from many that the staff handled food allergies in a way that made vacation a vacation for all. Our usual vacations were to find a place with a full kitchen so that I could cook our meals (no vacation for me!). We ALL enjoyed Disney and would recommend it to any family with food allergies (flying there, however, is another issue!).

Jeri says:

I’ve stopped eating dairy, eggs and gluten. I just feel so much better. I’m not stuffy all the time and the constant pain I had at night has really been minimized. It’s a pain to eat this way, but worth it. I just came back from a vacation, including a 1 week cruise, and actually l lost weight.

s guenther says:

Exactly one year ago, I found out I was allergice to gluten and intolerant to dairy. I broke out in an all body itch rash. After usual methods did not work to remove the rash, I was tested for these allergies. I eliminated them immediately from my diet and with in a couple of weeks my body detoxed and my rash went away. It was the strangest thing. I even feel like a normal human now, I have more energy, I am not bloated, I sleep great, my skin is clear. I must have been allergic for a long time and finally my body decided to go on strike. I was bummed at first but I have found so many great blogs and resources. I enjoy trying new recipes and trying out places like Bobs Red Mill for breakfasts. I feel more in charge of my health now and since I cannot eat as much processed food now (because most everything processed has either some form of dairy or gluten in it) I have found cooking from scratch and using GF and DF recipe books a great starting point for my new relationship to food.

nik says:

The most positive experience I’ve had was a mini-family reunion with my father and sister. My father is a marvelous cook, dishing up amazing feasts from all sorts of global culinary traditions. A short time ago my sister decided to come to town, after being a bit estranged from the family for over 20 years. My father invited us to dinner, but was a bit flummoxed because my sister is allergic to wheat and I am a vegan. He’s a solid omnivore, loves grilling steaks, baking breads, etc. But he totally came through with a delicious wheat-free vegan pizza just loaded with exotic veggies, roasted veggie salad, homemade granita, etc. It was the best dinner I can remember, partly because of his efforts to research and create the perfect dinner just for us and for the warmth and spirit that we all infused in each other to come together after so long. I’ll always be grateful for that day!

Alyse says:

Hi! Would love to add this book to my growing resources for allergies. patients and clients are always asking for specific info… thanks for the great blog!

Judy B says:

I was so excited to find your blog just now. I love Bob’s Red Mill products, and just bought some of the whole wheat pastry flour yesterday at my local Wegmans. My family eats healthful foods, and last year we found out our now-7-year old daughter cannot have dairy or beef (she can eat lamb and goat, but we have been asked not to try their dairy just yet). I am a good cook and I know my ingredients, so adapting for her has not been that difficult (she is also a very adventurous eater anyway), but I am always glad to find other sources of information! Thank you for this blog!

Judy B says:

Oh, I am sorry – I was so excited about the blog I forgot to mention our most positive food allergy experience. Gosh, there are many – we have wonderful friends and family. My daughter went to a birthday party recently, and everything was made dairy-free for EVERYONE (including chocolate fondue and hot chocolate) so that my daughter would feel exactly like all of her friends. Another friend made our favorite carrot cake (dairy-free!) for her daughter’s birthday so that my daughter would be able to have what everyone else was. Now I just spoke to the dining folks at Disney, and they are assuring me that my daughter will eat like a princess (and one with a well-developed palate) our entire trip. I feel fortunate to have thoughtful friends, and a more thoughtful society.

Sheryl Edwards says:

I would like to win this for my son’s girlfriend who has a very severe alllergy to nuts. She is making a real effort to eat healthy foods, so I know she would love to win the gift card and she would enjoy reading the book.

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