Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Granola - Product Review

My breakfast is usually quite predictable, either gluten-free oatmeal (preferably prepared on the stove top) or corn flakes. Throw some blueberries on top, add some hemp milk, and I am set. But sometimes a fast and easy solution is required -- a breakfast bar or something like this new granola from Bob's Red Mill.

 Disclosure: Bob's Red Mill sent me a sample for review.

Can I be a bit of a food snob for a minute? I must admit that I prefer my own homemade granola (recipes can be found in The Allergy-Free Pantry). There's something about homemade that just makes it taste better. But if you prefer an off-the-shelf version, this is a great alternative.

This gluten-free apple blueberry granola is described as "lightly sweetened," and it fits that bill. At 15 grams of sugar per serving, it is not too sweet and yet sweet enough that you won't be tempted to add sugar.

Note the warning for tree nuts and soy. The label also states that the product is "tested and confirmed gluten free in our quality control laboratory." 

As with most Bob's Red Mill products, it tastes quite good. Whereas there are small bits of apple in the granola (they are hard to see, but you can taste them), there are no blueberries. Instead, natural blueberry flavoring is added. I may add some fresh blueberries in my next bowl.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Are You Ready for Halloween? These Treats from Free2B Might Help!

Fifteen tears ago, I dreaded Halloween. My son was about 10 and we had just figured out what foods he needed to avoid. And, short of lollipops, there was virtually no safe candy for him. I tried looking for something to swap out for him -- something without milk, peanuts, or possible contamination -- and it just wasn't available. He quickly took on the role of Chief of Handing Out Candy at our front door so that he could participate safely.

So much has changed, and yes! for the better. Most in our community are painting pumpkins teal and collecting their stash of non-food treats. (Why didn't we think of this years ago?) But we also now have delicious, safe, top-8 allergen-free candy options, including these Sun Cups from Free2B Foods. 

Disclosure: Free2B foods sent me a sample pack of Halloween candy for review.

I am sooooo excited about these. I will note that the bag has been sitting on the kitchen table for a few days and my husband has asked every night if he can have one. Nope, he's not getting any, even after I finish this review. I am saving them for Halloween!! And, if there are any leftover, they are going in a care package to my son (who is allergic to dairy and peanuts, among other foods).

These treats are every bit as good as I expected. They come in both dark chocolate and "plain" chocolate varieties. The lighter chocolate is simply made with a lower percentage of cocoa. Care to guess which is my favorite?

If you are looking for more options for Halloween candy, check out the allergy-friendly Halloween candy guide by Kids with Food Allergies.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Yes, There Should Still be Epinephrine in Our Schools

I will get right to the point. I am worried that the recent discussions on Epi-pen and Mylan Pharmaceuticals could set us back a decade on access to epinephrine.

Four years ago I wrote a piece that appeared here and on Forbes.com, titled, “Of Course There Should Be Epinephrine in Our Schools.” During those four years hundreds of advocates, medical professionals, and legislators have come together to ensure that there is epinephrine in our schools – a place where food is served every day and, unfortunately, where some children will have their first anaphylactic reaction.

This is progress.

And yet, I worry. Yesterday I watched a portion of the Congressional Hearings on Epi-pen pricing. What bothered me most were the questions about epinephrine in schools.

Nearly every state now has a law that allows undesignated (meaning not labeled for a specific child) epinephrine in schools, and many states require it in schools. Mylan has helped with their Epi-pen for Schools program that gives schools free Epi-pens and sells them additional pens at a discount. I assert that without this program, many of the 65000+ schools that stock undesignated epinephrine would not have it.

This is progress.

And yet, many of the senators questioning Heather Bresch at the hearings wanted to focus on how she went about getting the Epi-pens into the schools, the role her mother (who happens to be the head of the National Association of State Boards of Education) played in getting the legislation passed, and whether she was ensuring a monopoly while getting this legislation passed.

This is where it gets scary.

Heather Bresch was berated for walking down the halls of Congress to help pass legislation for undesignated epinephrine. Of all the things we can be angry about, passing this legislation should not be one of them. Yes, Mylan had a great a marketing plan to expand the market. But it was a win-win. The company expanded the market while increasing access to a life-saving drug.

Every food-allergy advocate, parent, and health care professional that I know supported these laws. Many of them worked to ensure that the wording stated “epinephrine,” to allow all types of auto-injectors (including the Auvi-Q, then on the market, and any to come in the future) to be covered under the law. Any of us would have drawn on our network (personal or otherwise) to help pass this legislation. Because it was the right thing to do.

But we’re not finished.

Yes, epinephrine still needs to be in our schools. But it also needs to be on airplanes, in ambulances, and in restaurants. Epinephrine needs to be everywhere there is a defibrillator or where food is served. Let’s not take a giant step backwards by focusing on the wrong issues.