Showing posts with label Feingold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feingold. Show all posts

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Over-Achieving, Blossom Soap Studio and 5 things

I've blogged before about my over-achieving friends. When you are surrounded by greatness, once in a while you reap the benefits of their excellence. In this case, I received some soaps, in exchange for my honest opinion of Blossom Soap Studio's wares. When it comes to Maureen, this Etsy shop owner, even though she raises the bar, you have to love her. Not only is she adorable, she creates lovely things.

She's crafty, not the beguiling one, the cute one. At our church functions, even her food is adorable. She has an eye for pretty. So when her soap business "accidentally" took off, I wasn't surprised. How could you not fall in love with her soaps?

She's a secret blogger that hasn't realized it. She has a story behind her soaps. You must read her take on "Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope."

She gave me one of these adorable sunflowers. It's right above my kitchen sink and smells delicious. I had to resist the urge to taste it. I have to admit, I didn't even want to use it. I wanted it to stay pretty. But that wouldn't make for an honest review. I needed to use the product. And I did. Now I have to fight the OCD compulsion to wash my hands frequently.

This bar sits in my guest bathroom and still looks pretty after many uses.

Maureen's soaps are not only for girls. She has created some manly soaps that are perfect stocking stuffers. This power bar for the shower is a one-of-a-kind. This rustic shave soap and brush will be perfect for the Gman.

I'm excited for my friend and her busy Etsy shop. She has so kindly offered to give away some products to one lucky reader of Accidentally Homeschooling. Since most folks have already finished their Christmas shopping, I thought I'd wait until January to host it, just to give you a good reason to come back to my blog. We'll have a chance to see what she cooks up for Valentines Day.

Five reasons to shop at Blossom Soap Studio:
  • I'm sorry there is not a scratch and sniff app for this web site. These soaps smell delicious!
  • Blossom Soap Studio prices are incredible. I appreciate that they don't soak you for shipping.
  • Soap is a gift that you can always use. It's great for the person who has everything.
  • For the sensitive skin, these soaps are perfect. 
  • Maureen is my friend and seeing her succeed makes me happy!
Thanks for stopping by,

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thrifty Thursday and the Feingold Diet

Any time I discuss the Feingold diet with others, inevitably the high cost of food comes up. With a little creativity and work, one can easily implement the diet without over-spending.

Ten ways I purchase approved foods without going broke:
  1. When a Feingold food item is on sale, I hoard. Because the products are not full of preservatives, this works best with frozen items, like our favorite ice cream. Also pantry items that are sealed can be bought in bulk. I have been spotted with a cart full of cereal. I'm not ashamed, just thrifty.
  2. Shop fruits and vegetables in season. Sorry son, we only eat watermelon in the summer. Spending 89 cents a pound for bland watermelon just doesn't work here.
  3. Health and beauty products are great for stocking up. Especially sun screens at the end of the season. Our pale white bodies go through sunscreen faster than it can expire.
  4. Baking my own cookies, brownies and cakes is always cheaper than box mixes or store bought. I freeze individual cookies, rice crispy treats, brownies and cakes for lunches.
  5. I shop at different stores for certain items. This is never convenient, but knowing where to find each thing at the lowest price helps.
  6. Occasionally, I make a pilgrimage to Whole Foods. I have to put on blinders and avoid all of the tempting displays. They carry many store brand staples that are reasonably priced. While there, I stock up on chocolate chips, marshmallows, hot chocolate, peanut butter and waffles. I have been known to put in an order with my fellow blogger, Vika, who shops there regularly, that eliminates all of my impulse purchases.
  7. Trader Joe's has made our life incredibly easier. I find their cereals are consistently low priced and without the added BHT in the packaging. Did I mention the fun Little Guy has finding the crab? This creative trick traps mothers in Trader Joe's until their kids scour the entire store looking for the plastic crab. That calls for my secret weapon. STICK TO THE LIST. 
  8. I plan ahead. Anytime I leave the house for more than a few hours with Little Guy, I have a lunch box packed with acceptable foods. Running into a convenience store to find a chemical free snack is an unpleasant experience. Now that Frito Lay will not co-operate with Feingold in filling out food questionnaires, I can't fall back on our old time favorite, unnamed corn chip.
  9. Keeping up with the new items and re-reading my food lists. I will discover some foods that I didn't realize were acceptable. Fortunately, companies are realizing that consumers don't need or want chemicals in their foods and are responding to that.
  10. I order some groceries online. This is where the man in the brown truck shows up, drops a few boxes and I have to resist my urge to hug him. Did I ever confess how tired I am of grocery shopping? The Gman is the only one to get my hugs for his weekly Trader Joe's trips.

But here is where the shameless advertising comes in. I shop at Vitacost every few months to stock up on vitamins, snacks and cereals. They have the best prices and usually free shipping. Of course, I google a coupon before I check out. If you have never tried Vitacost, this is your chance to save $10 on your first order. I promise you, you will have to exercise self-control, when the man in the brown truck delivers your groceries to your front door. Please save your hugs for your beloved. We don't want the neighbors to talk.

Thanks for stopping by,

This great kid has been on Feingold since 2008
If you are wondering what this Feingold Diet is all about, read my experience here and see my other posts where I sing the praises of Feingold. 

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Overcoming Challenges and Tips for Starting the Feingold Diet

There are so many challenges to starting the Feingold Diet. Actually, any diet takes a certain amount of effort. Flashback! Years ago, when my honey was on the Zone diet, I felt like a personal chef to the stars. The amount of chopping, peeling, planning and procuring of the right foods was an enormous effort. When I found out about his stash of snickers bars in his truck that were sabotaging my daily efforts, I quit facilitating the diet. He was undermining my efforts. Feingold is similar.

You are either on or off, there is no cheating.

Straying from the menu can be a major hindrance to the Feingold diet. My first weeks were often interrupted intentionally and unintentionally by myself and others. Little Guy was a good sport when we found ourselves out without the right foods. He learned to wait to eat or settle for a few choices. I kept a lunchbox with me, but at times, I forgot. It took constant planning, one thing that I am not so great at.

In order to see if the Feingold diet is working, you must strictly adhere to stage one. Eventually, you add more fruits and vegetables in. You never return to artificial flavors, colors or preservative. After a while, your taste buds change. You don't even enjoy the chemicals. You can taste the odd additives.

Giving this diet my best effort was the only way to go. I had many factors working against me.
  • I had older children in the house that weren't excited about the loss of their chemical laden junk cereals.
  • We are a family that is serious about our ice cream consumption.
  • Cooking is not my passion. Notice the lack of recipes and food photos on my blog. 
  • As an avid couponer, I discovered most of the foods we were buying were not acceptable on this diet.
  • Little Guy had a very narrow list of foods he ate. His sensory issues, affected his eating. Too lumpy, grainy or just the wrong texture meant he would have none of it. He had a very limited amount of choices, initially.
  • Everywhere we went, people offered us candy or snacks. I started to hate the bank and the library.
  • Well meaning friends and family assumed some things were o.k. They weren't.
By joining the Feingold Association, you are given all of the tools and support to make it a success. The initial packet comes with instructions, recipes, specific instructions, a food list, a fast food guide and a supplements list. They have an online forum which is frequented by families that have been on the diet for years. They are so willing to help everyone out. You can also search the archives for older posts. It is a fantastic resource.

There is a regular newsletter, email updates, and each year, they create a new food guide that is growing every year.

Ten things I do to make this diet easier:
  1. We shop online at Vitacost for healthy snacks. I buy in bulk and they are shipped directly to my house. This saves me time and lots of money. Their prices on organic snacks and granola bars are the best.
  2. I bake cookies, brownies and rice krispy treats and freeze them, after I wrap them individually. When I am heading out for a gathering, I throw a few in our lunchbox. That way, at birthday parties, when the cake is pulled out, I bring out his chocolate.
  3. I tell friends and neighbors not to feed my boy. He is is trained also to say "No, thank you." Or he asks permission from me before he eats something.
  4. I buy gum, candy and approved 'smore supplies. I always have these on hand. This prevents the feeling of 'missing out'.
  5. We don't do much fast food, but I have discovered some chicken nuggets and fries that are acceptable. If our family dinner contains unapproved foods, I have stocked up on canned soup. I also freeze individual portions of his favorite, split pea soup. I always have some easy meals available.
  6. Every few months, I read the food guide and highlight the products that are available. It jogs my memory and keeps us from falling in a rut with the same meals.
  7. Any time I trek to Boston, I make it a point to stop at Whole Foods. They have 100's of items on the diet.
  8. I evangelize for the diet. I think many people are not aware of the affects of dyes and preservatives have on children. I now have some friends that have nixed the chemicals. It's easier to visit and have play dates, when we share the same foods.
  9. I initially started it during the summer when so many great fruits and vegetables were at their peak and reasonably priced.
  10. I talk with little guy about the diet. He is aware of his life before and after. A few times he has expressed sadness at missing out on some foods. Lately, it was the KFC, that his brothers ate. Overall, he is very co-operative. My fast food alternative is below. I can bake these nuggets and fries in 8-10 minutes at home.

When I feel challenged because of the cost of quality food, I remind myself, the most important thing. Even our worst day on the Feingold diet, is ten times better than our days before Feingold. That is priceless to me.
Thanks for stopping by!
This is the third in a series of posts about our experience with the Feingold Diet. For more information about this diet please visit their web site.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fairy Tales, Food Diaries, and Feingold

My last post was a story about this really nice mom who was doing the best that she could to figure out how to parent her little boy who had SPD and a host of other problems. The most frustrating thing for her was the inconsistency of his behaviors. One day everything would be peachy smooth, not a ripple in the day, her little guy was charming, articulate, obedient and talkative. The next day, she likened his behavior to a feral kitty. He was out of control and a danger to himself and others. She did the only thing she could. She brought this to her heavenly Father, not her cool earthly dad, because he was just as puzzled as she. She remembers clearly being led to keep a diary.

It went like this. Dear Diary (not really, I just added that for effect):

The diary included everything this mystery child ate, drank, slept, eliminated and any other pertinent information. The diary made her more aware of the 'triggers'. She was starting to see patterns. Like o.k. maybe the cold section of the grocery store should be off limits, also the soap isle. But it wasn't until the fateful day of the pool party that she realized what was really happening.

Friends brought over food.  She was so was busy enjoying the company, she didn't pay attention to what the little guy had eaten. After the party, where she had foolishly assumed he would eat his lunch, she asked the question.

"What did you eat today?"

"I had some eclairs. The little ones."

"How many?"


These are not chemical laden eclairs,
they are homemade by Joe Pastry.

Fast forward 24 hours later. He was curled up underneath his rocking chair crying. His first and last time babysitter was acting a little nervous. "How was he?" Amazingly patient babysitter was afraid to admit how misbehaved he had been. Little guy was not making eye contact, couldn't coherently answer any questions and was withdrawing from everyone. He was blubbering like a baby. She was trying to figure out: How can a four year-old child be so miserable? Why is he unable to get a handle on his emotions? This is a child that is loved and adored by his brothers and his parents. Why is he so filled with rage?

That is when she had her light bulb moment!  And where she started to sound like a kook. Those eclairs that are sold by the big box stores, have a shelf life of about 3 months. They are laden with preservatives. His little body is being affected by the preservatives. 

Starting Feingold after this was a no brainer. Patient husband and the mommy knew even if it did not work, removing chemicals and preservatives from his diet was still a great idea. She felt it was like the Hippocratic oath "Do no harm." Patient husband and she were not concerned about the level of work it was to begin the diet. They were desperate.

The first few weeks were rocky. He was literally detoxing. When starting the diet, any time an unapproved food was eaten, it was like being back to square one. The first week, orange sherbet was eaten while mom was outside. She was heartbroken. She killed her grocery budget. Her shopping trips lasted a few hours as she studied her food lists. She wasted oodles of money trying to find a multivitamin without dyes and chemicals. She loaded up on watermelon and Fritos. She didn't want him to feel deprived. She even found gum and lollipops that were all natural and approved. Anything to make the diet easier.

Then there was a glimmer of hope. A few weeks later, they were visiting with friends. While making sidewalk chalk pictures, little guy drew the most adorable Yoda. Another boy came over and crossed it out. Amazingly, her little boy didn't freak out, he didn't try to bite the other kid or wreck the other boy's drawing. He actually handled it well. It was his peace loving older brother who almost lost it at the injustice. She wrote it down. She had good report. Each day she noted more improvement. Things were less chaotic, but they were still off.

After a few months, he returned to the preschool that he had almost been kicked out of. A teacher asked why was he so calm with an accusatory look. The little boy's mother quickly said "He's not on drugs." She shared about the diet and thankfully the school co-operated. At last they got the know the boy he really was. The year before, their interactions with him were simply to manage his behavior. After the diet, they realized what a bright, sweet boy he was. It was encouraging to have others witness the transformation.

She realized how much food is intertwined in the daily living. She had a new persona, the food Nazi. She never left the house without extra snacks. She had to be on guard for the people who lovingly offered non-feingold food. It was a full time job. She was able to look at his behaviors and ask her husband what did he eat. It was like a measuring stick. If she suspected he had eaten the wrong foods, she was usually right.

After a few months she noticed:
He no longer flapped his hands.
The guttural moaning had stopped.
His eye contact improved immensely.
His speech and language had always been great, but it increased dramatically.
The night terrors disappeared.
He obeyed a majority of the time.
His aversion to textured foods went away.
He stopped biting his brothers.
His gait improved.
Grocery stores, libraries and large gatherings became manageable.

After a while, his improvement leveled off. She decided she wasn't satisfied with the progress. After seeing the effects that Sprite had on his ability to keep his feet on the ground, she next eliminated high fructose corn syrup. After about a month of that, many of the SPD symptoms were gone. The behaviors surfaced rarely, when the wrong foods were eaten or when he was overtired. Then it was like a magnifying glass for his symptoms.

After 9 months:
His re-evaluation showed no eligibility for special school services.
His mother dug herself out of her depressing funk and started getting out more. She always carried her trusty lunchbox with her. She was not embarrassed to bring her own food to a restaurant for him. She was just so pleased they could go out in public.

She stopped writing in her diary.

She is so thankful to God for finding this program. She became a voice to share it with others. Just like the Gospel, some rejected it, some embraced it. Next post, she will discuss the tips for implementing the Feingold diet.

If you are curious about which of my little darlings I am talking about, meet him here.

Thanks for stopping by,
I share some tips about starting the diet here.

***Disclaimers Galore***
Any similarities to people in this story are purely intentional. The identities have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent alike. If you can relate to the nice lady in the story, I encourage you to visit There are testimonies of families who have been greatly helped by this diet. I am not being paid by the Feingold Association for this story.  This post is not to be construed as medical advice, I am a nursing school dropout who reads books. I am not qualified to offer any medical advice, the only thing I have in common with physicians is my messy handwriting.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Snake Oil, Prayer and Feingold

A Modern Fairy Tale...with a happy ending.

Once upon a time there was a woman who had a degree in early childhood development. She had years of experience teaching children, potty training children, birthing children and raising children. She and her amazingly patient husband were blessed with a 4th little boy. This little boy always seemed "different" from her other children and her friend's children. She was puzzled. She tried everything in her power to figure out what made this child tick, explode or find joy. He had numerous quirks about him that were affecting her whole family. He cried at every bath, grocery shopping trip, in cold weather, in loud noises, and was generally miserable throughout the day. He was angry, he bit people, he pulled hair, cried randomly, potty trained late, avoided eye contact and had many repetitive behaviors that worried his mother. Mealtimes were mini-nightmares, food was everywhere but in this child's mouth. She wondered, would he ever grow out of his highchair? His mother prayed, read books, sought out experts, asked friends, and endured months of what, why and how to deal with this?

Her best coping method was agoraphobia. It was much easier to never leave the house. That got old very quickly. Her husband was a skilled shopper, at least they had food. Going to church was a major effort. They always sat in the back row, in case they needed a quick exit. Getting babysitters became a rare event. Dates with her husband were reserved for really special times, like anniversaries.

After reading numerous books and eliminating autism, she finally found a name for this: Sensory Integration Disorder or Sensory Processing Disorder. The names have changed, but the symptoms are similar. This little boy's nervous system reacted differently to external stimuli. Cold, heat, pressure, noises, and transitions caused him to loose control of himself. Things sent him into fight or flight, which put him in danger daily. His worried mother learned to navigate the triggers that brought upon the 'melt downs'. She and her husband prayed. They were desperate. They were seeking out what was best for this child. Did he need expensive therapists? Did he need a special classroom? Did he need medication? Could we cast this out in prayer? One thing his mother did know, is she didn't want to fall for any false cure or 'snake oil'.

When the neurologist suggested further testing for the alphabet soup diagnosis that he suspected, she balked. The thought of her little 3 year-old in the hands of psychologists and therapists for a total of 9 hours, just didn't put her at ease. When her pediatrician recommended counseling, she lost faith in him. She couldn't grasp how any 3 year-old could be counseled not to have outbursts. She knew if she could talk a three year old into not behaving a certain way, she'd be on Oprah. She would be famous and sell millions of her books about how to make your three year-old obey every time. 

She argued with insurance companies, and eventually realized: Just like when she took her older children's education in her own hands, she was on her own with this, too. After learning about the benefits of occupational therapy, she faithfully did activities from the books, The Out of Sync Child and The Out Of Sync Child Has Fun. She religiously gave him omega oils. She was rigid about sleep times and getting outside for fresh air. She enrolled him in a private preschool as not to isolate him from others. She never denied that there was something going on, yet she held him to a standard of behavior. She didn't use his 'issues' to excuse his numerous mischief exploits.

She bit her tongue when well meaning loved ones said, "He's just a boy." She knew boys, this was more than a boy issue. Admitting that your child has something wrong was scary and liberating for her. Naming the elephant in the room was the first step in getting it out. This elephant began controlling her life. Every decision, plan and move made was done in light of  "will this work around the elephant?" Her faith and determination were not enough. Something had to change.

With all of the efforts she was making, she still felt, she was going backwards. Why were some days great, while others made her want to curl up in a ball and cry? She started to have a vision for the future and it wasn't hopeful. At times, she found comfort in the word of God. 2 Timothy 1:7 was her promise. She had a little hope, but still some rough days.

She came across a homeschooling forum with a post discussing a diet called Feingold. Some posts strongly talked against it. Some couldn't say enough about it. She went to the website and began reading the first fifty pages of their book for free. Because she was too cheap to order the book, she found it at her local library.

It took some humbling for her to even check the book out; "Why Can't My Child Behave? by Jane Hersey. She was a Christian mom who believed in training her children in godly character. She was a failure in the first few years, no parenting tactics worked with this little one.  Nevertheless, she devoured this book about allergist Benjamin Feingold and his discovery of an allergy diet that helped children with other problems besides food issues.

Stay tuned for part two, the happy ending. This is the first of a series of posts as I share our experience with the Feingold diet.

Thanks for stopping by,

I share some tips about starting the diet here.

***Disclaimers Galore***
Any similarities to people in this story are purely intentional. The identities have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent alike. If you can relate to the nice lady in the story, I encourage you to visit There are testimonies of families who have been greatly helped by this diet. I am not being paid by the Feingold Association for this story. In fact, I lifted this image below from their website while hoping they won't mind. This post is not to be construed as medical advice, I am a nursing school dropout who reads books. I am not qualified to offer any medical advice, the only thing I have in common with  physicians is messy handwriting.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: Send them a love letter.

I have a few grocery items that I am fiercely brand loyal to. These are things that, when they go on sale, I always stock up. If they offer a coupon in the paper, I will shamelessly ask my friends if they can give me their extra coupons. I already love and buy the products, but I want to pay the least amount possible for them.

One way to acquire coupons for a specific item is to let the company know how much you love them. If you are on Facebook, sometimes, if you like them, you can get coupons or deals. I'm not, so I go right to the company. I send them an email and even include that I am looking for coupons, samples or free items. See example below, perhaps a slight exaggeration.

Dear Luscious Cookie Company: I am madly in love with your chocolate-covered dreamy peanut butter cookies. In fact, I dream about them every night. Last night, I dreamed I was stuck on  a desert island with a year's supply of your cookies. I didn't even miss civilization and when a cruise ship offered me passage home, I refused. I told the captain, "There is nothing else in life I desire and you can't tempt me to leave these delicious cookies. Thanks, but no thanks, for the ride home."

Forever Yours, Cookie          

p.s. A coupon would be appreciated.

If love letter writing is not your style, you can always give them a call. Check the side of the package, usually they have a toll free number.  Most of time in less than a week after my phone call, my mailbox has a reply with coupons. Before the holidays, I was particularly happy with a product, so I let them know by email and I told them I was going to blog about their cookies. They sent me a coupon for free cookies. Honestly, I've wanted to blog about this company anyways, because they have saved me enormous amounts of aggravation.

How did they do that?

I have a child that is on a special diet. The Feingold diet is simply a way to eliminate additives and preservatives from his diet.  When we are strictly adhering to this diet, everyone is happy. This is pretty easy to do until the holiday season begins. Most convenience food are loaded with preservatives. There are endless gatherings, where food is needed. Foods that Little Guy can eat. Sweets. Let's face it, he won't always grab the cucumbers and carrot sticks at the parties. Like me, he must have chocolate!

And of course, I tend to procrastinate. I am an Olympian Gold Medalist at this sport. You mean I need two dozen cookies in 1/2 hour? Sure no problem.

 This where the immaculate baking company comes in. They make pre-made cookie dough without all of the additives. I can have quick easy delicious homemade cookies whenever the need arises.  They also make some cinnamon rolls in a can.  I can't try them, because, once I know how delicious they are, I won't be the same again. I'm sticking to the cookies. Chocolate chunk, oatmeal raisin, sugar cookie, gingerbread spice, peppermint chocolate and triple chocolate. It's as easy as one, two, three.

Two, sorry about the flash.

Send a love letter to one of your favorite companies and it can be as easy as one, two, free!

If you know a company that answers their love letters with coupons, let me know in the comments.

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 thrift, enter your email address:

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Ten Things or why sometimes I feel like the food police

You may notice the absence of great recipes or awesome food photos on this blog. There are a few reasons for that. In fact, here are ten reasons my blog isn't about food or recipes.

  1. I have this deep aversion to cold food. Taking pictures of just the right shot at just the right angle requires me waiting to eat. I am a firm believer in cold ice cream and hot dinners. Not the other way around.
  2. Pictures that make me salivate are usually taken with a fine camera with special lenses. My point and shoot will never grow up.
  3. I love trying new recipes, but they have yet to look like the photos on Pioneer Woman
  4. I feed only the male species. The requirements for them is not so difficult. Some still just want the food not to be touching. Quantity is just as important as quality.
  5. I have one child that has overcome many food allergies. Because of this, my growth in gourmet cooking has been stunted. He was allergic to wheat, corn, peanut butter and strawberries. The rice bread I once baked for him had to be registered as a lethal weapon. I am happy to say he has outgrown most of these allergies.  He occasionally breaks out in a rash when he overindulges in popcorn.
  6. I have never gotten into menu planning. My attention span is to short to stick to a weekly plan. I have toyed with some bulk cooking and I love it.
  7. I am not a health food nut, but I often find myself in health food stores.
  8. Cooking meals for my family is something that happens three times a day. For me it is a necessary chore, not something I am passionate about.
  9. If I was a t.v. watcher, I could waste years of my life watching cooking shows, they do fascinate me. I am a watcher of great cooks, not a doer.
  10. I have had an amazing experience with the feingold diet but haven't blogged about it much. I do plan on sharing more of this in the future. It won't include fancy pictures, just what is working for our family. I look forward to sharing our journey and the victories we have experienced.

Now that I have revealed that I am not a 'foodie'. I actually am very passionate about one aspect of food. Three years ago, I discovered a diet that has revolutionized my family. I can't lie and tell you it has made me skinny. It hasn't. I cannot tell you we eat so healthy and we feel so wonderful. We don't always do that. What I can tell you is; it has strategically removed artificial ingredients from our diet. Have we sacrificed junk food? No! Do we force our kids to eat tofu? No! Do we still eat meat? Yes!

Being on the Feingold diet has compelled me to become a label reader and unfortunately I discovered that my vision is not what it used to be. Why are those labels so small anyways?

Below is an explanation of artificial ingredients and how common they are. This is produced by the Feingold organization. They make up for my poor vision by compiling a book which lists all of the foods that are acceptable for chemical phobics like myself. They continually update it because products are often changing. This book is like my shopping Bible. I used to have to read it all the time, now I have many things memorized.

What do you think? Is that old adage you are what you eat true? If so, no one can call me artificial or phony.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My First Bento...Tightwad American style

I found out about Bento a few weeks ago. Remember my shameless plug for a contest? I didn't win. But I did spend some time learning about Bento. In my past life, before three additional kids, I created wedding cakes. Bento cannot be compared to cakes, but some of the tools and creativity overlap.
Since I didn't win any bento supplies, I had to start a Bento hunt, tightwad style. I raided my kitchen drawers and the playdo box, it held about 20 years of cookie cutters, rock hard playdo and gouging tools.

Then I did what every tightwad does when they begin a quest for more information. I checked out I decided not to part with the bucks. I ordered the book from my local inter-library loan. After an interesting discussion with the volunteer at my library, I was able to peel the book away from him. He will parting with the bucks and ordering it from Amazon for his daughter-in-law, who lives in Japan.

I took notes. I knew LittleGuy was not going to eat seaweed, kimchi or any other oddly textured vegetable that I could not pronounce. After I created my list of ideas stolen gleaned from this adorable little book, I planned on spicing up his lunches. 

First I needed cute containers. I searched the web for bento boxes. My zeal for Bento started to fizzle. He already owns a great lunch box, I cannot possibly buy a custom one for anywhere from 9 to 60 dollars. 
Pottery Barn for Kids did carry a really cute inexpensive one for only $9. Thankfully, they were out of stock until October. That just saved me $9. By then Bento would have been a lost word in my vocabulary.

I had to do it soon.

Hmmmm... I need a new plan.

Here comes the song...........Don't you just love a bargain?  
Yes, I found myself in the Christmas Tree Shop scouring the aisles for all things Bento, after a tip from my buddy Christina, who already serves pretty food to her boys.
I was excited to find a plain 2 tier container for a mere $1.29. 
It could hold a sandwich and it had 3 different compartments. 

Tightwad Wisdom Quote # 573...When something costs less
 than the price of a cup of coffee, unless you are at a thrift shop, chances are it is not worth much.
 I ignored my urge to rip open the package and really check it out. 
I bought two.
Bento here I come!

I assembled my tools. Note the wax paper at the top. I showed the Gman my new Bento box. He said "What about the BPA's?" You know the plastic strong chemical off gases that poison our kids? I smelled the box, they were probably there. I'll fix that, I put the box in the dishwasher. The smell faded a little, the box warped some more. I decided to line the box with wax paper. I must protect LittleGuy from the chemicals.

Inside of my warped box was a peanut-butter and ricemello fluff sandwich, two carrots, a homemade  chocolate cookie(Feingold approved), Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, and  English cucumber slices.

This is the Bento before I closed it. I am going to have to work on stuffing them or finding fillers. I did show LittleGuy what it is supposed to look like.  After I had shut it and reopened it, this is what it looked like.

 I had cut the monster's smile from a cucumber slice and used a straw to cut the eyes out. This left me with a small alien face, I tried him on the cookie, not so cute. 

 I tucked him in with the two dinosaurs.

My quick take on Bento. Yes, I will keep working on it. No, it doesn't take too long to pack. I spent about 10 minutes making and taking the pictures. But I may remain a rookie for a while and I am o.k. with that.
 After all, I am accidental homeschooling mom. 

Failures challenge me. 
How about you?
Have you tried something new lately?

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at

Monday, April 19, 2010

The food police have a new weapon! Another give-away...

The food police have a new weapon! Since I have been on the force for a while, I always like it when I find a new product to help me in my ongoing battle against the evils of high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. You can win one of these weapons from Heidi a home school blogger, if you follow the directions very carefully.

Most of my close buds know about my favorite diet. No, it isn't a weight loss diet. I have given up on those silly things. I just keep company with pregnant women and put on 3-inch heels for my rapid weight loss program. 

I follow the Feingold diet and I am pleased with the effects on myself and my son. When you live without artificial flavors and colors, fun things in life can be challenging. Like ordering a soda. Most sodas contain high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors. This has a trampoline effect on my youngest. He bounces of the walls, chairs or any surfaces within arms distance. I have proof. My brother was able to pick him out of the crowd on television at Fenway Park after 2 Sprites. 

Reviews & ReflectionsI am hoping to win this SodaStream from Heidi @Reviews & Reflections

I am dreaming of creating my own healthy fizzy creations the next time we order pizza. Everyone knows you have to have soda with pizza. Our pizza nights have been incomplete for too long.
Check out this contest. I won a great gift a few weeks ago for my BFF's little girl. These blog contests are real.

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Food Police, Green Jello and the Hangover

My 13 year-old is really into Old Time Radio. He is even persuaded by the old commercials. While shopping yesterday, he begged me to buy some green jello. Not only did I cave, but I bought the large package. Green Goodness? After dinner he was very excited to make his green goodness. I, the official food police, was aiding and abetting this crime. The smell of chemicals hit me as he dumped the sugar powder mix into the bowl. It should have been the warning for me. Since Jello takes 3 hours to chill, I had forgotten all about the smell. We topped this off with fresh whipped cream. I couldn't resist. I enjoyed every bit of this. Oh the memories of the school cafeteria flooded back to me. What a delicious treat....until the headache set in. OOOOOOHH!!!! sharp ouch stop that!! Get out of my brain, that hurts me!!!! I have never had a migraine but I bet this one could have been classified as one. My dear friends know how obsessive I am about food. I have this feeling they think I am a nut case, but they love me enough to tolerate my quirky food obsessions. A while back, I started my then 4 year-old on this diet and have been amazed at the difference in our lives. Feingold eliminates naturally occurring salicylates and artificial additives. This is not a health food diet, we still enjoy guilty pleasures such as ice cream, corn chips and chocolate. That would be setting myself up for failure if we couldn't indulge. We just eat junk food minus the chemicals. Why did I think after months of wholesome yummy junk foods, I would not be affected by such backsliding as green jello? I finally fell asleep to the pain at around midnight. I woke up at 7:30 and rolled back to sleep until 9:30 a.m. I have not slept that late since I was a teenager. I haven't had a hangover for over 20 years. Will I repeat the overindulging again? No way, unless of course, it includes some serious chocolate.