15 August 2018

AllerCoach™ Spotlight: Jaclyn Tran

AllerCoach™ Spotlight: Jaclyn Tran

AllerCoach Graduate and Founder of My Simple Palate

Jaclyn Tran
My Simple Palate

What is your professional background?

I have been a Licensed Vocational Nurse for over 10 years. Before my nursing; I had worked in a hospital setting consistent with Billing, coding and medical bill charging. I also worked in an operating room for almost four years as a unit Secretary/Scheduler and that is when I fell in love with helping others.

Explain how allergies have affected your life or the life of someone close to you.

Allergies have affected my life as both my children and husband experience multiple food and environmental allergies. All three suffer from anaphalaxis from multiple foods; and both my children have eosinophilic esophagitis.

What motivated you to become an AllerCoach?

What motivated me to become an AllerCoach was my understanding of the severity of allergies; and the lack of education available throughout the community. I wanted to combine my passion in nursing to help families and individuals affected with allergies and special diets; by becoming an AllerCoach. I believe by obtaining the education with the AllerCoach program; I am better prepared to expand my non profit work and help educate my local schools, youth groups and community as a whole.

What were your key takeaways from the AllerCoach program?

Key takeaways from the AllerCoach program I have would be "An Allergy Can Happen to Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime." And there are "15 million Americans currently living with a Food Allergy. Out of that 9 Million are Adults." We always tend to think of children first and allergies do not discriminate.

How have you implemented what you learned from the AllerCoach program?

I have implemented everything I have learned by taking action! I meet and network with multiple groups throughout orange county. In addition my online facebook, instagram, and twitter accounts are up and running. I created a wonderful presentation to the City of Mission Viejo " What to Expect when You're Expecting: The 411 and when to Call 911." I had a second event in July. I have also been asked to become a school allergy liaison and present and educate the Staff.

How has the AllerCoach certification helped you professionally?

The AllerCoach certification has helped me professionally by allowing other outside professionals to include me with their programs. Prior I was not allowed due to not having my certification.

Available on Amazon

26 July 2018

AllerCoach™ Spotlight: Susan Freel

AllerCoach™ Spotlight: Susan Freel

AllerCoach Graduate and Founder of Susan Freel Coaching

Susan Freel

What is your professional background?

MSW, MA, CPC   Health Promotion

Explain how allergies have affected your life or the life of someone close to you.

As a family, we have been dealing with food allergies since 2001, as both my children were born with multiple food allergies.

What motivated you to become an AllerCoach?

As a parent whose children were diagnosed with multiple food allergies, I learned that changing the way our family thought about how we lived our lives was the first step to ensure that our children did not feel they were defined by their diagnosis. I became passionate about helping my family and others find ways to navigate through life's transitions.

What were your key takeaways from the AllerCoach program?

The program was comprehensive, professional and empowering.

How have you implemented what you learned from the AllerCoach program?

Instead of focusing on obstacles, we need to strategize safe and healthy ways to live our lives the way we choose.

How has the AllerCoach certification helped you personally?

With information, one can lead and educate from a place of positivity and empowerment instead of from a place of fear and misconception.

How has the AllerCoach certication helped you professionally?

By empowering me to reach out to others living with food allergies and food intolerances. Through coaching, I found a way to take my experiences and help others in transition to live their lives with less uncertainty and more purpose, direction and balance.

Please tell us more about your AllerCoach business!

As a parent whose children were diagnosed with multiple food allergies, I learned that changing the way our family thought about how we lived our lives was the first step to ensure that our children did not feel they were defined by their diagnosis.  Due to my experiences with my family's food allergies, I became passionate about helping others find ways to navigate through life's transitions.  Instead of focusing on obstacles, we need to strategize ways to live our lives the way we choose.  Through AllerCoaching, I found a way to take my experiences and help others live their lives with less uncertainty and more purpose, direction and balance.

12 July 2018

AllerCoach™ Spotlight: Lori Moussapour

AllerCoach™ Spotlight: Lori Moussapour

AllerCoach Graduate and Founder of To Empower U

Lori Moussapour

Please introduce and promote your AllerCoach business!

Lori Moussapour is the founder of To Empower U.  She is a social worker, coach, public speaker, and educator - whose mission is to help people push through challenges to find both passion and balance in love, work and play. As a parent of a child with several food allergies, she is particularly dedicated to the food allergic community. She launched Food Allergy U, a division of To Empower U, to support, educate and empower those living with food allergies and to promote more sensitive, informed and inclusive communities. Lori offers one:one coaching and social work services in office or online. She is especially committed to helping individuals and families with food allergies manage worry and stress. She uses evidenced based programs to coach and counsel those whose anxieties take up too much emotional real estate. In this work, the goal is to help clients harness the protective factors of worry to promote healthy allergen vigilance and to mediate the unhealthy ones to promote overall well-being. Lori writes a blog to inspire personal or professional growth and change and to empower the Food Allergic community.  To learn more visit  www.ToEmpowerU.com.

What is your professional background?

Social Worker, Educator, Coach & Consultant

Explain how allergies have affected your life or the life of someone close to you.

I am the parent of a child with food allergies.


What motivated you to become an AllerCoach?

As I gained experience as a parent of a child with food allergies, I gravitated towards mentoring others and local community advocacy. In good time, I wanted to reach a larger community. My background in counseling and coaching was specific to a broad range of clients, but I wanted specialized professional development in meeting the needs of the food allergy community.


What were your key takeaways from the AllerCoach program?

I valued the emphasis on individualizing services based on each client's needs. It aligned with my work ethic and business practices.


How have you implemented what you learned from the AllerCoach program?

The program offered substantive information about food allergies and other medically necessary diets. I have used some of this content to create social media posts for client, community and global educational, awareness and sensitivity programming.


06 July 2018

International Chocolate Day

International Chocolate Day, July 7th!

Celebrate With These Delicious Allergy Friendly Chocolate Cupcakes!

Chocolate contains a mixture of ingredients. The main ingredient is typically cocoa powder, which is a processed version of the cacao bean. This powder is then mixed with a variety of other ingredients which can include sugar, fat, emulsifiers, and soy lecithin.
Many types of chocolate are also made with milk products, and/or are made in the same work-space as chocolates that contain nuts.
For people who are allergic to chocolate, it can be difficult to work out exactly what is causing the reaction because of the variability of the ingredients. 
Here is an allergy friendly, quick and easy, chocolate cupcake recipe that is FREE of dairy, soy, nuts, peanuts, sesame, and vanilla. Happy International Chocolate Day!

Chocolate Cupcakes With Fresh Red Raspberry and a Light Chocolate Mint Icing

1 bag sugar and Spice chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup of Earth Balance Soy Free
3 eggs 
2/3 cup of rice milk
1 tablespoon of maple syrup 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
24 raspberries (can be done with chopped strawberries or blueberries as well) 

Heat oven to 350 degrees 
Mix ingredients (except raspberry) together using an electric mixer for 1 min 30 seconds 
Pour mix into cupcake pan w paper baking cups 
When cups are 1/2 full place one berry in the center and continue to fill until just under 3/4 full. 
Bake for 15-20 min 
Let cool and then place one rasp atop each muffin.

05 July 2018

AllerCoach™ Spotlight: Tami Pyles

AllerCoach™ Spotlight: Tami Pyles

AllerCoach Graduate and Founder of Thrive on Consulting

Tami owns Thrive On Consulting in Louisville, KY. She is also a food allergy mom who has managed multiple food allergies for over 6 years. Her background in food allergy management and advocacy coupled with her professional experience in coaching and training allows her to work with clients to overcome fears, put safe practices into place, and Thrive On with food allergies.

Tami Pyles

What is your professional background?

I hold an undergraduate degree in Communication from Ohio University and a master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University.  Prior to founding Thrive On Consulting I worked in higher education and training and development for 15 years where my responsibilities included overseeing the direction and success of programs at major universities and leading a Fortune 500 company's training and development team. 

Explain how allergies have affected your life or the life of someone close to you.

I know first-hand what it is like when your family learns of a life-threatening food allergy.  Motivated by my desire to keep my daughter with life-threatening allergies safe, I have worked to promote food allergy awareness since receiving our daughter's diagnosis in 2010.  I started Thrive On Consulting in 2014 to utilize my vast and first-hand knowledge of managing food allergies, as well as my coaching and training and development skills, to assist families who are dealing with food allergies and to provide engaging training sessions on food allergy awareness.

What motivated you to become an AllerCoach?

As I launched my business, I wanted to be certain a had a breadth of knowledge of all food allergies, not just the ones that my family was managing.  I was also intrigued by the content of the business portion of the class.

What were your key takeaways from the AllerCoach program?

My key takeaways were: a deeper understanding of all food allergies; key social media and marketing skills; and a broader understanding of the the food allergy community. 

How have you implemented what you learned from the AllerCoach program?

From food allergy information to business approach, I have been able to implement components of the program into my practice.

How has the AllerCoach certification helped you personally?

I was able to not only build out my food allergy knowledge and business skills, but it has also helped me to connect to some great people that have helped to grow and compliment my business.

How has the AllerCoach certification helped you professionally?

It has helped me to establish a broader network in the food allergy community and gain access to professional conferences and events.

22 March 2018

Navigating the legal ins and outs of food allergies

After seeing how many people engaged after a recent social media post on food allergies in the legal system, I thought I'd take a moment to provide some further education. I will say our AllerCoach (TM) program has an entire section on this. It is my least favorite section to teach, because let's face it,  I'm not a lawyer. It's hard to explain how the legal system works, when that's not my profession. I've had to understand it more as a business owner and as a community advocate, however.  So as you read this keep in mind,  this is just from my personal experience and time on this earth.

A few things to keep in mind:

1. There are existing laws related to the safety of those with food allergies.

2. If you want to understand how laws work, first you need to know that every state, county and city have different policies. Just because something is a federal law, doesn't mean it's enforced at the local level. Where do we see this most clearly today? Marijuana laws,  of course.

3. If you want to change the law or create a new law,  I cannot expresses the importance of being involved with your LOCAL political system, because this is where we, as individuals, can make THE BIGGEST impact.

4. Modifying an existing law seems much easier than creating a brand new law.  When I am talking to city council members, policy makers and so on, they all like to have a good example of where it's been done before and then write or adopt a law based on what's already existing.

Existing Laws

United States Federal Laws:  

The 2009 food code revision lists in section 2-102.11 that food establishments must have a manager/owner during all hours of operation onsite that have been trained in food allergens, cross contaminations, and symptoms of allergic reactions. They must also train all staff members in their specific duties about allergens.

This law only applies to states that have adopted the 2009 food code, in establishments that serve the public directly. Most health department inspectors aren't enforcing this law and many establishments are not even aware that this exist. Although the National Restaurant Association has put up a specific Allergy Training program available through ServSafe and many other businesses have been created to train restaurants specifically.

FALCPA has been in place since 2004 and requires that 8 allergens be listed in plain English on packaged food goods that are distributed across state lines. What does this mean for food allergic individuals? Locally produced products may not be required to list major allergens or all ingredients on packaging. Also if you have food allergies outside of diary, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fin fish, shellfish or

State Specific Laws: Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island, Virginia, Illinois all have specific laws pertaining to food allergic diners in restaurants. Most of them are about the same. They require restaurants to ask guests if they have food allergies, to keep posters in the kitchen on top 8 food allergens, and have at least one person trained on food allergies. 

Georgia has a law that allows any entity serving food to carry epinephrine at their establishment and releasing any liability the establishment may have if they have to administer the life saving medication in case of an allergic reaction.

City Specific Laws: New York City and St. Paul are two cities that created laws relating to food allergy awareness in restaurants specifically some time ago. It was more adding the phrase, "if you have food allergies, please inform a server." to a menu and keeping a poster on the top 8 allergens available and visible to staff members in the kitchen.

Ongoing training, awareness, frequent food allergy drills with staff, and having food allergy safety specific tools are the the way help keep food allergic diners safe. While not all food allergic reactions are fatal, in any moment, without notice, they could become fatal.  The CDC reports that every 3 seconds someone is sent to the hospital for an allergic reaction. Not all allergic reactions go reported, however. Allergic reactions do have levels. Anaphylaxis is the worst- which is a whole body response. I've had reactions that I just manage but it's uncomfortable and painful. Hives and sour stomach are nothing compared to the long term damage it does to our immune systems.

It's just as much our responsibility as food allergic diners to take accountability though. We have to inform staff (no matter what) that we have food allergies. Even if you think it's impossible. I always carry a food allergy card- that lists all my food allergies and that I carry an epinephrine pen. This should be just as much of a law as making food service professionals take a training. We need to be partners in food allergen management.

If you are interested in changing the laws in your state, I suggest first talking with your state's restaurant association about at least adopting the 2009 or newer federal food code- if they have not done so already. It's easier to adopt something already in place then having to create something from scratch, and there are other benefits to the state in doing so, usually. FARE also has a guide, https://www.foodallergy.org/sites/default/files/2017-08/Restaurant-Toolkit.pdf

On the advocacy and impact side, explaining to local groups in food service management the importance of food allergy education and asking them to update their policies, is almost as important if not more than changing a law. Just because there is law on the books, doesn't mean it will be enforced or even enforced properly. A restaurant receiving a fine or a lawsuit because they killed someone or made someone sick, is not enough. Any establishment responsible for serving food to people should be trained because it's the responsible thing to do. There is a nice way to go about this. It's also more than just kids. Adult onset food allergies also exist. Anyone of their workers is subject to developing an allergy- latex, food or other environmental allergens, and that could impact their ability to work.

For more information on taking a course in food allergen management please contact us.


29 January 2016

Sharing life saving medication- to do or not to do?

I cannot believe we have to ask ourselves this question!

As someone who must carry epinephrine with me at all times in case of an episode of anaphylaxis shock- I would be more than willing to share my medication to save another person's life- because I can't put a price on life. It is in fact what keeps me from remembering to not leave home without it, I figure if I won't do it for myself, what if someone else needed it? 

When my son had his first allergic reaction at 15 years old, I used my medication to save his life. Equally my son has used his rescue inhaler to save my life. Yet a Texas school suspended two girls for doing so. The girl who shared her medication should have been given a medal. The school should be thankful it didn't have to report the death of a child.

The Allergy & Asthma Network shared this story: "Two Texas middle school students shared a quick-relief albuterol inhaler earlier this month, it sparked a debate on whether it’s appropriate for asthma patients to share inhalers as well as how schools should handle similar situations. The students had unknowingly violated a school policy that prohibited sharing prescription medications such as inhalers and both were suspended from school." Read full article

It is my opinion that all life saving medication should be carried in all first aid kits. In fact, unless the medication would kill someone else if used improperly- it should NOT require a prescription. Pain relief is sold OTC but life saving medication is not?  With the rise in medically diagnosed food allergies (not just with kids but adults) this is something we should consider fighting for with legislation. 

While the story is about sharing an inhaler. There is a current petition to make epinephrine an over the counter medication. Click here to view.

Allergic reactions or Asthma attacks can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone without previous notice. Both of these are life threatening illnesses. Although these illnesses may become life long chronic conditions, and people will learn to navigate life differently, it's not something that can be predicted.

As a whole our society needs better training on how to handle episodes of any life threatening chronic illness. A course in public health/safety as a high school requirements that address these issues, may not be a terrible idea.

29 September 2015

Food Health

In May 2015 we traveled to the FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) conference in Long Beach, CA where we met new CEO, Dr. Jim Baker.  

We learned that one thing we can do to improve our overall health and give us a better chance of fighting food allergies, was to eat a more fiber rich diet. Leading medical researchers spoke at the conference on food allergies. When they were asked about taking probiotics, the researchers claimed there was no probiotic on the market that showed significant value, therefore go with fiber rich diets instead. 
So our research began. Of course instead of taking fiber pills, we are much more interested in food that will fuel our system with appropriate amounts of fiber. As a side note we found that those looking to maintain weight or lose weight have a greater likelihood to do so with high-fiber diets. 
Researchers found overall, eating an extra portion of fruit a day led to a weight loss of 0.24 kg, while eating an extra daily portion of vegetables brought a weight loss of 0.11 kg.
Eggplant is  low in calories, but high in dietary fibers, vitamin C and B-6.  

A one-cup serving of eggplant meets 10% of daily fiber needs, 5% potassium, 3% vitamin C, 5% vitamin B-6, 1% iron and 2% magnesium.

Vitamin B6  is needed for normal brain development and function, and helps the body make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which influence mood, and melatonin, which helps regulate the body clock. 

The average adult 19-50 years old needs about 1.3 mg per day of vitamin B6. 

People who have food allergies, celiac, kidney problems or alcohol dependency have difficulty getting enough vitamin B6 in their diets and may require more B6 rich foods. Click to see children's B6 requirements. 

People almost never get too much vitamin B6 from food. But taking high levels of vitamin B6 from supplements for a year or longer can cause severe nerve damage, leading people to lose control of their bodily movements. Hence we try to avoid supplements. 

What if you don't like Eggplant? 

The first question is- do you know how to prepare and cook eggplant?  Often times we don't like something because it's not been prepared in a way that allows the flavors of the item to be highlighted.

Recently at a private dinner party for some members of  (Nappy Roots), Chef Lara made an eggplant and mushroom cream sauce to go over a pasta dish served with chicken and shrimp. Very few people at the table that evening believed they like eggplant, but everyone's dish was clean that night, no complaints. 

It's very simple to create the sauce. While the skin of an eggplant is rich in antioxidants- it also turns the sauce a little more purple, therefore it's up to each chef to remove the skin or leave it on.

3 cups eggplant cut into small chunks
1/2 cup white mushrooms cut into small pieces
3 cups of rice milk plain
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of finely chopped basil
3 tablespoons of garlic
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Place ingredients into a blender and liquify for about 2 minutes.
Place contents into a sauce pan and simmer on low heat stirring occasionally until heated
Pour over spaghetti squash or other noodle of choice.
Garnish with fresh parsley or basil.

Ask us about more great eggplant recipes. The trick is the olive oil, salt and roasting technique often. Grilled eggplant remains nutritionally in tack and flavorful.

Other foods high in Vitamin B6 are potatoes, chicken, fish and non citrus fruits. 

Check out the latest video on potato health, subscribe to the Food Allergy Gal, YouTube Channel

08 June 2015

Balancing Safe and Healthy Foods

By Tami Pyles

Making sure you are eating healthy can be a challenge for anyone, but especially for those who are also dealing with food allergies or celiac disease.  Restricted diets and foods that are off limits can make it seem difficult for both healthy and safe eating, but Food Allergy Gal Dietician, Lisa Musician, explains how it can be done.  I had the privilege of hearing her address this topic recently at the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Columbus, OH.

Musician, a registered and licensed dietitian in Northeastern, Pennsylvania with expertise in the area of food allergies, was one of the shows featured speakers.  She shared simple and effective strategies for maintaining health and safety when eating with food allergies or celiac disease.

Focus on What You Can Eat
When you are dealing with food allergies there is often a tendency to focus on the foods you cannot have.  Musician says by simply shifting your focus to what you can have, your “safe” foods, you realize there are still many options for you to enjoy.  Creating a list of safe foods help you focus on what the possibilities are rather than your restrictions.

Get Back to Basics
Cooking doesn’t have to be fancy to be good.  Musician suggests sticking to simple ingredients- think a protein, starch and fruits and vegetables.  Get creative with preparation to explore new flavors, for example roast your vegetables instead of boiling them.  Build meal plans so you can reference the plan when you are feeling stuck or need some inspiration.  Other great tips include cooking ahead of time and making extras as well as determining your safe staples and making sure they are always on hand in the pantry.

Make Mindful Choices
A visit to the grocery store will reveal that there are many safe convenience foods available for food allergic and celiac diners, but at the end of the day are these choices truly healthy?  Musician says making it yourself is always a better choice.  Processed foods, even those that are safe, often have increased levels of fat, sodium and sugar.  Convenience foods are an easy choice, especially when you tire of cooking so much, but over time there is no doubt that your health will suffer if convenience always wins.

Eating healthy and safe is possible- it just takes some planning and preparation.  The investment in time will pay off both in terms of staying healthy and exploring all the safe options you have available.  

Tami Pyles is an AllerCoach and owner of Thrive On Consulting.  You can follow her blog, Thoughts for Thriving On, by visiting her website thriveonconsulting.net

06 May 2015

Great Finds at the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest Columbus, OH

By Tami Pyles

On March 24th and 25th the gluten free and food allergy community came together in Columbus, OH for the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest hosted by Gluten Free and More (formerly Living Without).  It was two wonderful days of sharing, learning, and coming together as a community.  Food allergies can create feelings of isolation as our food crazed culture excludes us, but the GFFAFest provided an opportunity for those with food allergies to come together and provided access to multiple products and resources so we do not have to live without.

GFFA Fest was full of product samples, lectures and cooking demonstrations throughout the two day event. Food Allergy Gal and our team were presenting and scouring the exhibitors to find great products. Numerous companies offered great products, but there were three unique finds we wanted to share with you.

Master’s Hand BBQ
Master’s Hand makes BBQ sauces, rubs, dip mix and BBQ snacks that are all free of gluten, soy, dairy, MSG, smoke flavoring and artificial preservatives.  They also make jerky that is nitrate free.  Steven J. Beers, CEO, is also the creator of the sauce.  He began making the mild sauce 25 years ago and at his daughters urging he founded the company in 2010.  Based in Fort Wayne, IN , you can find their products in 80 regional stores or online at www.mastershandbbq.com.

Soodles Bake Shop
Bakery treats can be difficult for food allergic individuals to eat but Amy McCrea, whose own children have food allergies, has made it possible since her tasty baked goods are all free of  gluten, nuts, tree nuts (except coconut), soy, egg and dairy.  They can also do special order items free of allergens such as corn, rice or coconut. Soodles, based in Columbus, OH with a bakery on Dilmont Dr. and numerous local retail outlets, offers a full array of baked treats as well as breads, mixes crusts.  You can also order their items, including their most popular item the cinnamon coffee cake, online at www.soodlesbakeshop.com

The Soapy Soap Company
Personal care products, such as soap, can be tricky for food allergic individuals as they often contain oils or other allergens.  This company offers a wide array of soaps under their brand Sābūn.  These bars are all gluten free, vegan, halal, free of GMOs and cruelty free.  Started by two college roommates they have established their company in Bloomington, IN and are committed to making high-quality soaps.  Their Body Be Gentle line is made with olive oil and has very few ingredients making it a great choice for food allergic individuals.  Their soaps, and other products such as lip balms and essential oils, can be purchased online at www.soapysoapcompany.com.  When ordering online you can use the code GFOH2015 to receive a free lip balm with your purchase (while supplied last through 7/31/15) .

These, and other vendors, offer great products and resources for managing life with food allergies. To check out the full list of exhibitors at the Columbus GFFAFest click here. We will be writing more about the GFFAFest to continue to share the great information shared at the event.  Our next post about the GFFAFest will provide highlights from the presentation by Food Allergy Gal’s dietitian, Lisa Musician on balancing safe and healthy food choices. The complete list of speakers, can be found by clicking here.

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