Allergy Season Survival Kit

Allergy Season Survival Tools*Aaaahhhh- CHOO*  

Allergy season is upon us.  My allergies are much better since I went Gluten-Free, but I still get the sneezes during the high point of Spring.

When my nose starts to resemble a certain red-nosed reindeer…. (Red noses might be attractive on reindeer, but not so much on me)…. I have a couple of products that help return my skin to normal.

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips  – This stuff is INSANE!  I got my first sample in a Birchbox eons ago and have been hooked ever since.  It is made from 100% medical grade Lanolin and can be used on noses, lips, cuticles, nipples (as the name implies)… whatever you’ve got that is dry and ouchie.  It is super thick and lasts…. even when you’re blowing your nose and breathing through your mouth… this stuff lasts! My eyes crossed a little at the idea of spending $15 on a lip balm, but it is so worth it.  Trust me!  Your EOS Lip Balm is great for everyday, but this stuff will get you through a cold or sinus/allergy season without your lips cracking.

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator – I’ve had other face scrubs that I liked… but never anything like this.  Vasanti WORKS.  The scrubbie things are super fine and gentle… yes, you’re using this to scour off dead/dry skin, but it doesn’t hurt… or leave your face even more red and sore.  It is a gentle scrub that works really well. You can even use it three to five times a week.  When I’m blowing my nose like crazy and scrubbing my face off with tissues, I use this every other day or so.  Yes, my nose is still red, but I don’t have the dry, flaky skin.  Combine it with the Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips for ultra healing. It’s $35… yep…. but it lasts forever… seriously, you only use a tiny bit.  I received the 20g sample size in my Birchbox just before I got a cold this past winter and it lasted through my cold (using it every other day) and for another two weeks (2x weekly use).

I know that neither product is exactly cheap…. but they LAST and they WORK.  Seriously…. anything that can help you get through allergy & sinus season without looking like a certain red-nosed reindeer…. WORTH IT!

Ready to sign up for Birchbox and discover awesome products for yourself?  Please use my referral code: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/phoenixrize

Confessions – Days 11-14

Mayhem

Sharing lunch with Mayhem (from FBO Cats.) 

So I have a confession… I cheated.

The first time was mostly by accident.  During the first week of detox Dad and I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant and I’d avoided the nacho chips because I wasn’t sure whether  they were made with flour or not…. Well, Dad and I went there again for our weekly Father/Daughter lunch…. and I thought, “what the heck, they’re probably all corn”… and I ate the nachos.  Afterward I got that pain in my side again.  (It’s not my tummy, exactly… more like just off the edge of my hipbone… I had no idea what was causing it and was pretty surprised when it went away after I started the whole detox… it was another one of those good “side-effects.”) I got a tiny bit of a “buzz” in my head and a bit of stomach upset…. nothing huge.  I did not eat the sour cream or the guacamole this time since I was already concerned about the chips.

The second time was totally premeditated.  My little sis is engaged (eep!) and we’re doing the whole Wedding Show thing….. I was NOT going to miss out on trying all the delicious wedding cake samples!   So, I learned two things: 1) I am a cake snob.  2) I didn’t really want it as bad as I thought I would.  The first, I already knew, really… If it’s not amazing, why eat it?  The second was a HUGE surprise!  I expected that I would CRAVE cupcakes (one of my particular weaknesses)… But, I haven’t really had any bad cravings, except for the chocolate in the beginning… and I found milk-free chocolate, so that’s no big deal now.    I ate the first piece of cake (we’re talking about 1.5″ square…. not a PIECE of cake, by any means…).  Oh!  I was so delighted with the first taste…. Oooooohhhhh…. cake!  Then I drug myself out of my sugary daze…. and actually listend to Skye talking about the cake and how she liked the icing….. Ummm… wait a minute…. I didn’t actually like the icing (gritty)…. hmm….  The second sample was actually better and I really did like it….  Skye didn’t (this is going to be difficult)… by the third sample… Enh….. and when we got to the ice cream samples… I didn’t even bother… it wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d convinced myself it would be… Gee!  A revelation.  Afterward I had a bit of a headache, but that could have had something to do with having skipped breakfast (Brian made my oatmeal really soupy and I didn’t eat it…) then cake for lunch… and no dinner until 6:30….. (I told you this wasn’t going to be super scientific.)  The big thing was I didn’t sleep well that night and my hands hurt the next day.

The third cheat was yesterday.  Since today is officially my last day of the two week detox, I didn’t think it would be catastrophic if I had chicken for diner.  (Remember, poultry has the same proteins as eggs, so chicken and turkey are out too.)  I didn’t have anything else with wheat, milk or egg, so I thought a piece of chicken would be a fine.  What I really wanted was the Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce that we’d had the night before with the rib… so good!  and I thought the chicken would be a good surface for the BBQ sauce.  It didn’t bother my head or my stomach, but I didn’t sleep well last night and my hands hurt today.

It was good though.

So as the two week detox comes to a close I can say that it seems like I had a lot more bad side-effects from the food allergies than I realized:  Stomach upset, killer joint pain (hands and knees), headaches, bloating, weight gain and sleep disruptions.  Wow! That is just what I have recognized in two weeks.  I won’t be surprised to discover there are other side-effects that I just haven’t caught on to yet.  When I started the detox, I’d hoped to be able to work wheat, milk and eggs back into my diet a bit more.  Taking them out of my diet really wasn’t as bad as I had expected.  I’ve found a numer of great substitutes and I’m enjoying experimenting with all the new recipes.  Frankly, anything that screws up my sleep, I can do without.  I’m planning to stay as gluten-free as I possibly can.  I’ve found some great substitute flours  and milk is so easy to replace (as long as I’m doing the cooking).  Eggs are a bit harder to replace… and I miss cooking with ground turkey.  I’d like to have mozzarella cheese back…. That’s really about it.  Of course if my hands are going to swell up and I won’t be able to sleep after I eat those things…. maybe I can do without.

BBQ Chicken

No measurements… just kind of eyeballed

  • Chicken Breast
  • Corn Flakes, crushed
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ancho Chili Powder
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (I like Hickory Smoked)

Combine the corn flakes and spices in a medium bowl.  Place the chicken in a small bowl and coat with the BBQ sauce.  Next, squish the sauce coated chicken in the corn flake mixture; cover completely.

Transfer coated chicken to a greased baking pan.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (depends on the thickness of your chicken).

Day One – Spice Girl

So I survived the first day without wheat, milk or eggs!  Do you have any idea how many products have wheat or milk in them that you would never expect?  No, of course not, because you would never expect it!  Ragu Traditional spaghetti sauce has MILK (romano cheese) in it!  Can’t have butter… BUTTER…because it’s milk!   Do you know what has butter in it?!  Everything!  *sigh*  It could be worse… one of my friends is allergic to soy and corn…. that IS in everything.  I shouldn’t complain (I’m going to anyway…).

Actually, I did pretty good for the most part.

Breakfast Smoothie

For breakfast I made a smoothie:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Coconut Milk
  • Youngberry Juice
  • Chia Seeds

Zipped it around in the Oster Blender for a bit… quite yummy.

– If you like smoothies, but don’t want to drag out the big blender all the time (who does?), the Oster MyBlend Blender is amazing.  It’s got great blending power… zips right through frozen berries and ice.  The best part?  It blends IN the BOTTLE!  You fill your bottle with your smoothie ingrediants, screw on the lid (with the blades), snap it into the blender and ZZZIIPP! Smoothie!  Unscrew the blender lid and screw on the travel lid… off you go!

Lunch and SnacksLunch was a bit harder…. Usually I want something hot for lunch, but I was in a rush and didn’t want to have to read a bunch of labels.  I knew that the Feldkamp bread was okay and I had a new oatmeal that is pretty good ….

  • Oatmeal with Craisins and chopped pecans
  • Feldkamp bread with Planters Nutrition peanut butter
  • Cuties oranges for a snack

By the time I got to dinner I was getting concerned… I’d spent a bit too much time on Pinterest and was just confusing myself.  I stopped by the grocery store on my way home and picked up a bunch of seafood and beef… normally I avoid beef, but since I can’t have the chicken or turkey I figured Brian would want something other than just fish and seafood.  The store had some yummy looking jumbo shrimp on sale, so I got a big bunch.  Now, what to do with them?   Then I remembered my shopping trip to Penzey’s Spices a month or so ago.

Tsardust Memories Shrimp

Tsardust Memories Shrimp

Peel and devein the shrimp then lightly saute them in the olive oil.  Add the lemon juice, white wine Tsardust Memories and chives (sorry, no measurements…. I just kinda eyeballed and dumped).  Cover and let simmer 3-5 minutes or until shrimp are no longer clear.

Eat.

I also made Roasted Potatoes.  I should have added carrots too, but didn’t think of it until too late

  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 2 Yukon Gold Potatoes (mine were pretty small…. I was going for an even amount of sweet & gold potatoes)
  • 2 Carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika

Chop potatoes and carrots into bite-sized pieces.  Drizzle with olive oil and add spices… (again, sorry, no measurements), toss to coat.  I used a 9×9 inch Pyrex pan, but if you add more potatoes you might need a bigger pan… you want a single layer of potatoes in the pan, otherwise it takes forever to bake.

Bake at 400 for 35 – 40 minutes.  Potatoes will be lightly browned and soft on the inside.

Last night I actually slept through the night… I only got up once… normally I get up four or five times… only once was AMAZING!  No idea if it had anything to do with the new diet, but boy that would be wonderful!!

– S