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*NEWS* Enjoy Life Foods redesigns allergy symbol on labels!

Enjoy Life Foods is redesigning the familiar “Allergy-Free, Free of all common allergens” label on their products to read “Allergy Friendly, Free of the eight common allergens”. Their packaging will still direct consumers to read the side or back panels for more in depth detail about the ingredients.

A spokesperson at Enjoy Life says this is due to an innocent mistake made by a parent whose child had an anaphylactic reaction when misinterpreting the label stating “allergy free”. The company is also urging those with allergies to read labels vigilantly. They recognize that while many experienced food allergic families read everything, food allergies are becoming much more common and inexperienced families may find terms such as “Allergy Free” to be enough. They are hoping to encourage everyone to read the ingredient statements before assuming a product to be safe.

Enjoy Life Foods has also partnered with Allergymoms.com and FAAN for Food Allergy Awareness Week which is May 11- May 17.

Gina Clowes, founder of the popular Allergymoms.com blog offers the following advice to families dealing with food allergies.

  • Have an unbreakable rule: no label = no thank you. Never eat a food that does not have a label.

  • Always carefully read ingredient statements. Different versions of the same food can have different ingredients (for example, chewy Spree candy contains egg white while original Spree does not).

  • Know that different sizes of the same foods can contain different ingredients. (For example, some “mini” versions of Laffy Taffy do not contain egg, but the large size does contain egg.)

  • Don’t rely on common sense to determine if foods are safe. Tuna and flavored water can contain dairy, egg rolls and chili can contain peanut butter, licorice and soy sauce can contain wheat, and the list goes on.

  • Take all precautionary warnings seriously. Manufacturers use different statements to warn consumers like “may contain” or “processed in a facility with.” However, the language used does not indicate the level of risk.

  • Know that precautionary warnings are voluntary. If a product does not have a warning, it does not mean that the product is free of cross contamination. When in doubt, call the company to find out where and how the product was processed.

  • Don’t play ingredient roulette. Even if you or your child once ate a product with a warning, that does not mean the next batch will be safe.

  • Beware of hidden allergens. Potent allergens like sesame and mustard can hide behind the words “natural flavors” or “spices.”

  • Know where the food is made. Seek out products that say they are made in a “dedicated peanut-free, nut-free, soy-free or allergy-free facility,” depending on your diet restriction. This provides even further assurance of the food’s safety.

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*NEWS* Navan Foods – The Allergy Free Food Store – Opening Saturday!

Attention Hampton Roads residents & visitors! Navan Foods, The Allergy Free Food Store, opens on Saturday, May 3rd at 10am! There is a 10% Grand opening discount on all purchases thru May 4th. It is located at 4312 Holland Road, Suite 115, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452.

I hope everyone will stop by and show their support for a one of a kind store that will make the lives of food allergic families through out Hampton Roads easier! Hope to see ya there!

TRY THIS! Enjoy Life Foods – Eat Freely

Enjoy Life Foods is a small business that makes a big impression. Their factory is a dedicated facility free of wheat, gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish! They are also free of casein, potato, sesame and sulfites! There are no artificial ingredients, trans fats or GMO’s in their products, and they are certified Kosher and Vegan(except the bagels), as well as being certified Gluten free! All their foods are routinely batch tested for gluten, casein and soy proteins. Their products taste great and they are not badly priced either!

I contacted the company a few weeks ago to learn more about them and obtain samples for the purpose of this review. I was impressed with Enjoy Life’s willingness to talk with me and answer any questions that I had and the information they mailed to me was very helpful. They even sent me a brochure about food allergies and common ingredients to avoid! Enjoy Life and their employees truly know about each product, how it is manufactured, and what we, as consumers need from them in order to feel safe eating their foods. They are happy to answer questions and it does not take 2 hours and 6 people to answer what questions you may have!

I was able to sample their Mountain Mambo Not Nuts Trail Mix, Beach Bash Not Nuts Trail Mix, Sunbutter Crunch Snack Bar, Cocoa Loco Snack Bars and their chocolate chips. Out of these products, the most impressive and most popular at my house was the trail mix! I have rated the items on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the worst, 10 being the best, and 5 being average.

**10** Mountain Mambo Not Nuts Trail Mix – I have to give this mix a scaled 10! This mix is made without nuts, dairy, soy or gluten. It is a mix of sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds, raisins, apples, chocolate chips and cranberries. The very best thing about it? The fruits are soft and tasty, the pumpkin seeds and sunflower kernels aren’t chewy or grainy and the chocolate chips add a sweet flavor that brings this mix together very nicely! It is better than any trail mix I have ever tasted and I did not miss the nuts! My six year old doesn’t even like trail mix but he loved this stuff! We went through an entire 6 ounce package in one day! I had several people with nut allergies and without taste this as well, and it has always gotten a scaled 10! It isn’t hard to eat, it tastes great and it’s healthy! The MSRP on this is $3.49.

**10** Beach Bash Not Nuts Trail Mix – Again, this gets a scaled 10 from us! Another great trail mix that definitely doesn’t need nuts to taste good! This mix contains sunflower kernels, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and apricots. I am partial to pineapple and apricots in trail mix, so out of the two different trail mixes, this is my hands down favorite! Even without chocolate chips, this makes a great snack. The package is great too because it zips closed when you are done snacking! Great for sporting event snacks and all day outings! The MSRP on these is $3.79 for a 6 ounce bag.

**10** Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips – We are rating these at a scaled 10 because at $3.49 MSRP for a 10 ounce bag, they run a lower in price than many other dairy free chip manufacturers and they taste great! They do not have any after taste, and they work well as Ice cream toppings, trail mix addition, among other things. They bake into breads and cookies wonderfully as well! They are gluten, dairy and soy free, making them a great, budget friendly alternative for food allergic families!

**9** Cocoa Loco Snack Bars – These get a scaled 9! They are very good with a chocolaty taste that my six year old loved and a lot of people thought was delicious! However, I did get some comments about a grainy texture that turned a few people away from these snack bars. It was described as a dry oatmeal texture that made some just not want to eat it. That does not take the rating down much however because for an MSRP of 4.29 for a box of 5 bars, these are priced fairly and healthy. My six year old ate these and loved them, and these passed the picky eater test with him!

**8** Sunbutter Crunch Snack Bar – These get a scaled 8 in my house! I am unfamiliar with the taste of sunbutter, as are the rest of the people in my house so I cannot judge the flavor. My six year old ate them and seemed to like them, but did not ask for them once they were gone. Based on that fact, along with the common “grainy texture” they were rated with an 8. However, this is supposed to be a crunchy bar, and without that texture, I am not so sure “crunch” could be in the product name, and there are many who love this particular bar! I would say you should try it yourself to determine your own preference for sunbutter!

So, that about wraps up my review this week! Enjoy Life Food’s have impressed me with in so many ways! They treat their customers with respect and understanding, their food is terrific, and their prices are budget friendly! It has truly been wonderful to speak with them and I look forward to trying newer products in the future!

A Mothers Day Challenge!

Some people are car junkies. They will come home with the sorriest looking piece of junk, it doesn’t run, and swear they will fix it up. Two years later it will still be in your garage, either completely restored and for sale, or in the same shape it was in when it was brought home.

I am an appliance junkie. I love kitchen appliances. Some of you may be wondering, “What does this have to do with food allergies?” It has a lot to do with food allergies! I bake a lot because my son is allergic to dairy! I also make a lot of my mixes from scratch! It is so much nicer to do these things with the proper equipment! Don’t you agree? I hope after you read this you will take a moment to comment and tell me what you wish you had in your kitchen!

My dream appliance (nope, I don’t have it in my kitchen) is the KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart 325 Watt Stand Mixer Model no. KSM150PSWH. This thing can do everything and it sure is pretty! But here’s the thing. I can’t convince my husband that he should buy it for me for Mothers Day! How did he convince me that that piece of crap in the garage was an antique? Guess I am just gullible! Well, back to my original point, The KitchenAid Artisan Mixer has so many attachments, it is almost ridiculous! There are sausage stuffers, can openers, ice cream makers etcetera etcetera! All of these things can be attached to this mixer! I get warm fuzzies just thinking about making dairy free pizza crust and still having use of my arm afterwards! But alas, I am not an argumentative person, and cannot convince my wonderful husband to buy it!

So I have decided to try something out! I want to do a challenge for all my readers! The winner will receive one box of Enjoy Life Snack Bars! These snack bars are delicious and wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish free! They are made in a dedicated gluten/nut free factory as well! The challenge is to convince my husband to get me this mixer for Mothers Day! I know what your thinking…..”What if he just isn’t convinced?” That’s ok. But the person who can send me the best argument, which I will be sharing with my husband, will win. IF my husband DOES find your argument convincing, and DOES buy me this mixer, I will toss I an extra package of Enjoy Life Snack Bars! Winners will be announced on May 15th here on the site, so please check back for the results! The only “fine print” stipulation here is that I must receive more than 5 responses! You can email your quality response to me at bella214@cox.net but please toss a comment in on this site so others can see what the response count is! The deadline is May 10th and all arguments should be made as if you were talking to my husband! His name is Chris! Also keep in mind, that this mixer CAN be purchased for 150.00 – 199.00, so it isn’t only price that he needs convincing on!

Kyle Dine and Smellephant the allergic Elephant

I just found this really cool website with music about allergies! A Canadian named, you guessed it, Kyle Dine, wrote these songs and I think this is awesome! My favorite is “I wrote a song about Allergies”. Please check out this website to hear it and a few more!

The Loaf stops here?

A few days ago, a friend of Damian’s gave us an Amish Friendship Bread starter. I of course asked immediately about dairy content, and she said she didn’t realize but yes it had dairy in it. I really wanted to do this with Damian though, so at midnight I was knee deep in Google links searching for the Amish Friendship Bread starter recipe. I found it, printed it, and noted what substitutes I would need to make this. Then I got to thinking and here is where the trouble began.

I wanted to make something Damian could share with his friends. Then I thought it would be nice if he could share it with his food allergic friends. The trouble with this is all his friends have different allergies. So I would have to make it a dairy, egg, corn, gluten, peanut, tree nut and soy free Amish Friendship bread Starter. HA! I have a hard time cooking dairy free! Not to mention how much it would cost to make a bread like this.

Anyway, the thought that something as simple as a loaf of bread was separating us depressed me. When I shared my thoughts with my husband he just shook his head. He pointed out that it looked like this bread was never going to be made. I was perturbed with this attitude and instantly wanted to know why he would think such a thing.

He replied “You set out to make Amish Friendship Bread and somehow ended up trying to make super bread! Stick with what you know!” I knew immediately that he was right and he was right about the bread not being made too. It has been a week now and I still have not made this phantom bread. In my defense, I did forget to get dry yeast so I can’t make it until I get some.

Anyway, I did learn something from this experience. I was disappointed because I felt like we food allergy sufferers were “seperated by a simple loaf of bread”, but that isn’t entirely true. While we may not be able to safely pass an Amish Friendship Bread recipe to each other, it seems that is exactly what binds us as a community. We share many thing, but food isn’t usually one of them, and we all accept this as a condition to our condition (no pun intended).

So this weekend I am determined to make this bread. It will only be dairy free, and I will post the recipe here as dairy free, but I won’t feel guilty doing it.

I know that my son will someday, hopefully, appreciate the extra effort it took to make a special version of Amish Friendship Bread just so he could enjoy it with his non-allergic friends. I guess I could at least make it gluten free too. I have heard that Fleishmanns makes a gluten free yeast. But then I would need flour too and……Here I go thinking again…..

Food Allergy Buddy

I was looking up food allergy friendly restaurants and I came across this website. FoodAllergyBuddy.com offers free printable cards for people with food allergies. They have 8 different designs to choose from. The signup process is easy and free. This is a wonderful idea, especially for children or adult that eat out alone. The card displays your name, an emergency contact name and number and the items you are allergic to. The idea is to be able to give this to your waiter/waitress, and they can put it with your order so everyone in the kitchen is aware of your needs. Once you create the card it opens the template in a new window with 8 cards on it. All you do is print and bring it along with you! Great Idea! Visit Food Allergy Buddy today and get your free cards!