cauliflower pizza crust

Yes, it’s possible to be gluten-free and paleo and still love your pizza!

Last year I ran across a cauliflower pizza recipe which we tried while my mom in law was in town, and it was a BIG hit! We all loved it, though my only complaint was that it wasn’t sturdy enough to pick up and eat since I chose to leave out the cheese from the crust. But we all dug in with forks and knives, and while it wasn’t the same as the slices of heaven I used to love in NY, it was still a tasty version of pizza. Yay for options!

So here’s the original recipe; you can choose to eliminate the cheese from the crust as we did, but just be warned that it won’t be sturdy enough to pick up.

Note that I substituted goat cheese for mozzarella and instead of hawaiian style I added spinach and prosciutto. Delish!

Oh, and for those of you (like my husband) who don’t love cauliflower, no worries – the cauliflower flavor is undetectable 🙂


cauliflower pizza crust













Do you, or someone you know suffer from a nut allergy?

With the rise of food allergies today, it’s easy for people to become numb to the very real dangers associated with them. For most, the only safe options are avoidance and epinephrine shots, and sadly, there are several reported cases of deaths after epinephrine was administered. A very real, very scary reality for parents of allergy sufferers.

According to a 2010 study in the journal Pediatrics, 8% of children younger than 18 in the United States have at least one food allergy. Among those with food allergies, about 39% had a history of severe reaction, and 30% were allergic to multiple foods.

Peanut allergy is the most common food allergy,  followed by milk and shellfish. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90% of allergic reactions come from just eight foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

Recently we were contacted by a health author about the risks of traveling for those who suffer from peanut allergies. It’s something we don’t personally deal with around here, but we have friends who’s kiddos are nut allergic. It’s something they have to remain ever-vigilant about, protecting their children from exposure to such a commonly used ingredient. I often think about them when I’m on a flight and the airline passes out nut snacks.

So what do you do if you travel and you suffer an allergy attack? Ella Moss and Bill Johnson have some tips for you to consider.  Ella Moss is a health and addiction writer who works for a number of consumer advice sites. She paired up with Bill Johnson, a finance writer and expert for a leading consumer advice portal, to produce a guide for travelers with nut allergies looking to travel safely, with adequate insurance cover. It’s often surprising to those who don’t suffer from an allergy how difficult some seemingly simple day to day situations can be. Hopefully this guide will bring you up to speed.

Suffering from an allergic reaction on holiday is horrible enough; but it’s even worse if your travel insurance won’t payout for treatment. Here’s how to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Read more:

The article is published in the UK but definitely has relevance to us here in the US.

Please share your stories with us about how you stay safe during your travels!

Start the new year off right!

For those of you who aren’t aware, we launched our gluten-free samples program, Happybelly Box last year, and we’re excited to offer you a chance to win a free sample box packed with our delicious, favorite gluten and dairy free snacks! These treats are perfect for your backpack or lunchbox and we keep them on hand at all times to make sure we have a safe and healthy treat option when hunger pangs hit! 


How do you enter for your chance to win a FREE Happybelly Box?

Simply head on over to our site, Happybellybox and register for your chance to win.

Whether you’re news to the gluten-free lifestyle or consider yourself a pro, our snacks are sure to please! They’re hand-picked to include our favorite snack foods and are often vegan, Paleo and are always packed with super-foods, nutrient-rich goodness.

Good luck!




Most of the time being gluten-free is relatively easy for me. I’ve been GF for almost 5 years now, and cut out my gluten cross-reactive foods more than 4 years ago, so I’d say I’m pretty good at navigating a safe gluten-free course every day. But since I’m a girl who likes to eat out, and am raising a gluten-free son who enjoys all the amazing foods Austin has to offer, I find myself eating out quite a bit.

One day while at dinner I was a little taken aback by what the waiter said when I asked about safe gluten-free  options, so I started keeping a mental checklist of the really interesting comments I’ve heard. Since it’s a mental checklist these are a bit paraphrased, but you’ll get the idea. And for the record, I am super grateful for all the options we have when eating out and am not making fun of the effort anyone puts forth in providing us options (just trying to make light of a massive lifestyle change). So there, my disclaimer is out of the way, and on to my fave comments.

Top interesting comments I’ve heard about being gluten-free: 

1. Aren’t you worried that you’re missing out on all the nutrients that pasta and bread give you?

2. Aren’t you tired all the time from not eating carbs?

3. What do you EAT??

4. You know that it’s not normal for your body to be allergic to food right? I mean, it’s nourishment.

5. Yes, we have a gluten-freeish menu, but we’re not a gluten-free kitchen so if you’re going to die from a little crumbs I wouldn’t eat here.

6. No, we can’t help you. We offer nothing gluten-free. This place is packed with gluten.

7. Glutard.


Yep, life is much more interesting when living it gluten-free.

What are some of your favorite stories about being gluten-free?


A big thanks to the team at Healthline for sharing this article with our readers! They share our belief in the dangers of food allergies, and are urging readers to take food allergies and sensitivities seriously. We couldn’t agree more, and appreciate their taking the time to help spread the word so we can live healthier lives with a greater awareness and more tolerance thanks to the benefit of food allergy awareness.

What are Food Allergies?

A reaction in the immune system that occurs after eating a certain food is defined as a food allergy. Ignoring food allergies is not going to make them go away and could be endangering your life. Even a small amount of the food that triggers the allergy can cause symptoms and signs to occur such as:

  • Swollen airways
  • Hives
  • Digestive issues
  • Anaphylaxis    kidswithfoodallergies

Dangers of Food Allergies

As many as eight percent of children below the age of five and up to four percent of adults are thought to be affected by allergies to food; there is no cure but some children outgrow such allergies. It is easy to confuse an allergy to a food with intolerance to a food. Intolerance is not as severe and does not include the immune system.

The most common symptoms of having a food allergy are:

  • Eczema, itching or hives
  • Itching or tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of body parts including tongue, face, lips and throat
  • Fainting, feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Pain in the abdomen, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea
  • Trouble breathing, wheezing or congestion

Food Allergies Have Deadly Potential

There are those that have more severe and life threatening reactions to allergies from food. This reaction is known as anaphylaxis and could be deadly which makes it important that food allergies are not ignored. Symptoms of this life threatening reaction include:

  • Increase in pulse rate
  • Feeling lightheaded, dizzy or losing consciousness
  • Severe drop in blood pressure that accompanies shock
  • Difficulty breathing because of a lump sensation or swelling in the throat
  • Airways tighten or constrict

Coma or even death can result when emergency treatment is not received for anaphylaxis.

Exercise and Food Allergies

There are those who can have a food allergy that exercise triggers. There are certain foods that will cause you to have a reaction shortly after you begin exercising. The reactions can vary:

  • Itching
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hives
  • Anaphylaxis

Pollen-food Allergy Syndrome

An allergic reaction resulting itching or tingling in the mouth can result from some nuts, vegetables and fresh fruits in those that have hay fever. Throat swelling or anaphylaxis can result from the oral allergy syndrome. The protein in the pollens that cause the allergy is similar to the fruit protein, which causes the reaction.

Symptoms that appear shortly after you have eaten means that you should go see an allergist or a doctor. It will be easier to get a diagnosis if you can make the visit during the reaction.

Emergency treatment is necessary if you have any of the symptoms associated with anaphylaxis.

Allergic Reaction Causes:

  • Food or substance mistakenly identified as harmful by the immune system
  • Immunoglobulin E antibodies are released to fight the allergen
  • Histamine and chemicals are released when the food is eaten again

The chemicals will result in the symptoms of the allergy and cause allergic responses. The responses include dry throat, hives, rashes, diarrhea, labored breathing, dripping nose or anaphylactic shock.

This means that it is critical that you do not continue eating foods that result in food allergies. It could save your life if you treat them instead of ignoring them.


About our author: Tammy Mahan has 20 years of experience in the healthcare field. She is also a freelance writer and often shares her knowledge on .





If you’ve been following the news over the last year about the success of crowd funding sites, you know how life changing they have been for so many people. From the school bus monitor (bullied by some obnoxious middle schoolers), who was shocked when the country pitched in to raise more than $750,000 for her to go on vacation, to web developers, coffee shops, filmmakers and more, crowd funding has taken the small business and consumer grant-a-wish world by storm.

So while it might seem like a piece of cake to launch a crowd funding program, I spent a lot of time researching what makes a program successful. Why would someone want to support my cause? Would my message be clear, concise and compelling? Would you even care? Maybe you wouldn’t love it as much as we do?

Insert a bit of anxiety.

But then I realized that was all silly crap I was creating in my mind, and I decided to just go for it. So we set up a Gofundme acct to help grow our little company, Happybelly Box! Our goal is to grow the business so customers all across the country can have access to yummy, allergy-friendly foods. No more food deserts or areas without access to safe allergy-free foods if we can grow this thing.

Here’s where we need your help. We need to cover the cost of packaging design, buying the inventory, paying dedicated staffers to help ship the goods and to spread the word.

You can visit our funding page here and if you’re inclined to help, I’ll love ya forever 🙂

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 3.42.52 PM

Today I ran across an article on a retailer roundtable site that I follow so I can keep up with the trends on gluten0free labels, products, what consumers are interested in,  etc so that we can be on the lookout for products to stock in our online shop. And while I don’t always agree with what’s trending, this particular article resonated with me. It was called Retailer Roundtable: What standards do you look for in gluten-free products? gluten free logo

Now this definitely piques my interest; I’ve written many times about the dangers of relying on gluten-free labels, and I’m a big advocate for making sure you all know to read every label, regardless of whether it says it’s gluten free. Even to the point of being weary of those stating they are Certified Gluten-free due to the risk of cross contamination if the equipment used is also used for gluten-containing products. Imagine your certified gluten-free crackers running across a conveyor belt that was just processing a stack of Cheezits for example. It’s safe to imagine that some of those buttery, cheesy crackers have flaked off leaving an ever so slight trail of gluten in it’s path. And then your gluten0free crackers come along, making their way down that same belt headed for their own packaging, potentially taking some of those gluten flakes with them.

Get the idea?

I’ve been avoiding products that state they were made on equipment which also processes gluten-ful foods, just in case. The big question will be whether gluten still shows up in my blood work since avoiding cross contamination foods. I’ve been gluten-free for 5 years now, and so diligent about my food choices, yet gluten is still showing up in my lab work which made me wonder about the risk of cords contamination, so I decided to be one of those folks who goes the extra mile to make sure I’m safe.

So I was definitely excited when I saw these comments on a site I follow and realized that there is a growing trend of awareness to the importance of being super diligent about label reading to make sure those of us with a gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease are safe.  It’s quite simple really; we eat gluten, we get sick, we feel like crap for days, hovering near the bathroom, head pounding, foggy brain, missed days of work, school, etc. Or worse, you end up in the hospital. Quite simply, it’s worth making sure you’re safe.

Here are just a few of the quotes from the article I’ve mentioned, and you can read the full post here.

A gluten-free certification is the first thing we look for, but even that isn’t a 100 percent guarantee that a product is gluten free. Now where we’re getting sucker punched are products that have the GF seal but the fine print says ‘made on equipment that processes wheat.’ We encourage our customers with hypersensitivities to be vigilant about reading labels.

-Clint Pederson, co-owner of Jake’s Gluten Free Market in Boise, Idaho

I think too many people are on gluten-free diets because they think they are eating very healthfully, although that isn’t always the case. The term gluten free is stamped on so many products today, and it simply helps brands market products. I stock what my customers ask for, but if I have the choice, I look for natural, raw and low-sugar gluten-free foods.

-Karri Short, owner and manager of Natural Planet in Kingman, Ariz.

We couldn’t agree more with Karri. In fact, if you’re looking for raw, vegan, gluten free, paleo and healthy food options you can head over to our online shop to browse our favorites!



I used to hear the word ‘cleanse’ as if it was a 4 letter word. It taunted me, teasing me to consider trying it, knowing the whole time I would have to make some serious compromises from my normal routine.

Could I stick to it? How could I manage juicing and raw foods while at work? Would the hubs be supportive?  Would I spend more time in the bathroom than anywhere else? Would I be satisfied, or feel hungry the whole time?

I remember the first cleanse I ever tried four years ago.  It was a horribly unstructured cleanse ordered by my doctor to address poor adrenal and liver function and help get my digestive system back on track. I stumbled through it, not prepared, and didn’t fully understand how to take advantage of the tools and support that was available to me. So needless to say, my first experience was a bust.

Fortunately, I didn’t let that define my opinions of a cleanse.

And when I met a couple here in Austin that are running an incredible Raw Foods company, and offered to have me join their upcoming Group Cleanse, I was intrigued. I had been thinking about trying another cleanse for a while, but was a little intimidated to go about it on my own. So, I sucked it up and registered for their group cleanse. No turning back now!

Choosing the right group for a cleanse.

As I just mentioned, I’ve recently discovered an amazing group of people who are passionate about helping people transform their lives through healthy eating and better lifestyle choices. They believe in helping us get to the root of our health issues through cleansing programs that strengthen the body, help kill off bacteria and metal toxicities and just generally make you feel great.

I discovered the group I will be joining the Group Cleanse for while in Whole Foods one day looking for a chocolate treat I could eat – it had to be gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and Organic. And like the incredibly knowledgeable staff at Whole Foods often do, they were able to guide me to a product that would rock my world.  These amazing Chocolate Goddess Clusters remind me of a dense macaroon, but without a noticeable coconut texture, and quickly became my favorite indulgence.

So when I started researching New Earth to learn about their other products, I discovered a cleanse they were putting on for a Spring Jumpstart. By the way, if you want to try some of my favorite raw snacks that helped me get through the cleanse, you can click the image below and head over to our store online to pick them up – I highly recommend you do!


What did I experience?

Day 1: I was unprepared to be out of the house most of the day, so I felt a bit tired and hungry much of the day. Need to do a better job of being prepared for the rest of the week! I stopped by my favorite Juice Bar in town and stocked up on some green juice to get me through the day.

Day 2: I was better prepared since I stopped off at Whole Foods and stocked up on some fresh fruits and veggies. A bit of sticker shock over the bill though 🙁 I hope I love this cleanse!

Woke up feeling good, but about the same as I usually do, so wondering if I’ll start to notice a little more energy throughout the week. Stayed full all day since I was better prepared and enjoyed some recipes such as a classic green juice:

1 green apple
1 inch knob ginger
5 large stalks celery
1 cucumber
1 large handful parsley
5 stalks kale

Snacked on some raw crackers by 2 Moms in the Raw with some guac around dinner time. Feeling good and satisfied!

Day 3:  no more energy in the morning than I typically wake up with, but head is clearer. I did notice that I was feeling a bit more emotionally vulnerable throughout the day though.  Today I added some carrots into the diet and followed this recipe as well as the green juice from above….

3 large carrots
1 beet
1 green apple
4 large stalks celery
1 large handful of spinach, parsley, or other dark green
1 small cucumber
1 inch knob ginger

Day 4: I noticed I’m sleeping really well now and not waking up in the middle of the night. Yay! Also, definitely feeling clear headed in the morning but again, no more energy.  I decided I wanted to chew something today so I made a simple salad with julienne carrots, cucumbers and zucchini and used some fresh lime juice for a dressing. Today I added another new juice recipe into the mix:

Summertime Mojito: A virgin mojito that is fresh, simple, and delicious!

1 cucumber
1 large pear
1 large handful mint
½ lime

Feeling really good today, and glad I decided to give the raw foods and juice cleanse another try!

Day 5: Woke up feeling good with a little more energy today! Emotions are better (not as raw) and feeling great. Today I wanted to add a little sweet juice to my routine so I tried this one and totally recommend it! Not too sweet but gave me a satisfying sweet flavor alongside the green juices I keep drinking.  On a personal note, my bowel movements are stable and I’m peeing more frequently than usual, so I’m avoiding any liquids too close to bedtime.

1 large pear
1 apple
1 cup pineapple, cubed
4 large stalks kale
1 cucumber

Day 6: I’m feeling confident and happy, and made some raw crackers in the dehydrator I borrowed from a friend. They weren’t bad, but I’m glad I have some store bought goodies on hand too! For dinner I had some guac and crackers alongside a beet juice:

1 apple
4 large carrots
1 beet
1 inch ginger

Day 7: Woke up feeling great, but my emotions are right on the surface again. I have a class today for the group cleanse and I’m excited to see what they suggest we do to keep a portion of raw foods into our diet as my goal is to keep at a 50/50 ratio of cooked and raw foods.  I decided to finish out the cleanse with a combo juice I made up:

2 apples
4 large carrots
1 beet
1 inch ginger

1 cucumber



Day 8: Today I wasn’t as hungry as I had been on the previous days, but I still kept up with my juices and just avoided the raw snacks. My emotions are good and I’m definitely continuing to have a clear head!

Day 9: Slept like a baby last night and I woke up feeling great. We have another group class today and I’m looking forward to the recipes they share. I’m’ so glad I’m doing this as apart of a group. It’s been really helpful to share in my experiences with the other group members and learn how much better they feel since most of them are on their second or third group cleanse. Here’s a new juice I added into the mix today:

2 Granny Smith apples
1 McIntosh apple
1  pear
5 kale leaves
1 cucumber
4 celery stalks
1/2 cilantro bunch
1  lemon (optional)

Day 10: I made it! The last day of the cleanse is here, and I’m heading out this morning to a final group class. I did notice that I’m feeling a little vulnerable (emotionally) but otherwise I’m doing great. Slept great, head is clear, energy is high and I’m so glad I did this. It’s such an amazing feeling to know I can do it!  Here’s my new favorite juice blend:

1 red beet
5 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 cucumber
1  pear
1  lemon


What does a cleanse do for me?

Eating raw foods and consuming an abundance of fresh leafy veggies and fruits through juicing give me a sense of energy and awareness that I don’t have otherwise.  I wake up refreshed, I have an easier time at work, my emotions feel more balanced and I sleep better at night.

I’m happier, more energized and any hints of anxiety or emotional ups and downs are gone. Though I will say that if you’re approaching a cleanse form a typical American diet rich in sugar and grains you will probably experience some emotional clearing (meaning you may be a raging bitch or weeping basket-case for a day) but that will pass and you will be on the other side of it feeling better, more balanced and motivated to keep on the path!

So, would I recommend a 7 day raw food and juice cleanse? ABSOLUTELY!

My overall experience was positive and I felt great, had a clearer head, lost a couple pounds of water weight and slept better than I typically do. I’m planning to keep up with a goal of a 50/50 ratio cooked to raw foods, and I bought a dehydrator to make some flat breads and crackers. I’ll share some of the recipes I’m trying as I keep on this raw food path and definitely recommend a cleanse for anyone who wants to give your system a nice little reboot 🙂

Have you followed a raw food or juice cleanse? I’d love to hear your experience too!


Welcome to the NEW food allergy advice column, Get “Schooled” on Food Allergies with PTO Mom! Candy Richards shares some tips on how to make sure your child is safe in school as enrollments for the next school year are in full swing.

It’s that time of year again! It’s time to call your school to schedule a meeting to discuss the accommodations for your child with food allergies.

You should discuss with the school nurse what options you have regarding different food allergy management plans.

Here are a few options:

Food Allergy Medical Management Plan

(This plan should be part of the Individualized HealthCare Plan (IHP) and Emergency Care Plan (ECP)) developed by a student’s doctor and family. It outlines the proper procedures and should be signed by the student’s allergist, family doctor or certified registered nurse. This plan should include some information such as the student’s date of food allergy diagnosis, specific medical orders and emergency contact information.


Emergency Care Plan (ECP) (This plan is based on the information provided in the student’s Individualized Health Care Plan (IHP) and describes how to recognize a food allergy.

-usually coordinated byt the school nurse and should be distributed to all school staff who have responsibility for the student.


Individualized Health Care Plan (IHP) (This plan uses the process of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation to determine a plan of action for the student with food allergies)

-provides written directions for school health personnel to follow in meeting the individual student’s healthcare needs. While parental/guardian involvement is not required, I recommend you are involved as much as you feel necessary.


504 Service Agreement  (This plan outlines accommodations, educational aids, and services a student with food allergies may need in order to have equal access to educational opportunities as students without food allergies.)

– a plan of services developed under

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to protect those with “disabilities” from discrimination. These plans can be used when schools are receiving federal funding.


If you do not know where to start, contact you child’s school now to get the process going for next school year. Good luck!


Have a question regarding Peanut, Tree Nut or Other food allergies in school? Want to suggest a topic for me to discuss? Follow Me on Facebook @ or Contact me @ and follow my Inspiredeats column here.

Get “Schooled” on Food Allergies With PTO Mom!

*All information on this page is not to be taken instead of medical advice.*


Guest writer Margaret Conner of The Wellness Pantry shares her story of their third grade son going gluten-free.  I just love how mature he is about his journey and why he’s happy to be allergy-free. It sounds a lot like my little guy too! So read on to see what it’s like to live gluten and dairy free, straight from a 3rd graders mouth! 

The Truth about Going Gluten-free, in the 3rd grade. Yep, we are taking you behind the scenes and heading to the source: the gluten-free 3rd grader. Since I often get asked by clients what it’s like to transition your kid to a gluten-free diet, I decided to interview my son a year or so after he’d gone gluten-free in the 3rd grade.


Here is what he shared:

 1.    What was it like to switch to a gluten-free diet?  Was it hard to change what you ate?

           Well it was hard at first with my sister in front of me eating stuff I couldn’t. It takes some getting used to, I think the worst part was that I had already tasted the Ice cream and the Pizza. Our house is gluten-free and pretty much dairy-free so its easier to not feel bad about missing gluten if I’m at home.

Though it also took some time and they developed more food that was gluten-free my mom found a lot of it. So now it’s a lot easier because I can get my gluten-free pizza and etc., though I still want some gluten once in a while.

 2.    What is it like at school and around your friends when you may not eat the same sorts of food they do?

               Well it was really similar to my family, it took some getting used to. It started out terrible with all my best best friends eating not gluten-free things and then you’ve got to tell them. Thinking they’ll think you’re some weirdo. It’s very tempting to not mention it and eat all gluten things, but it actually went down well with my friends instead of thinking that I’m a weirdo they actually had sympathy that I became gluten-free.

 3.    What are some of the things that have made you stick to eating this way?

           Because they make me feel bad

 4.    What are some of your favorite things to eat now?

                Usually types of meat and fruits + vegetables. I also like these special chicken fingers but if you look around in small special sections in grocery stores you may find some good things.  

 5.    Is it hard to stick to eating this way?  Why or why not?

Well it usually is kind of difficult but most of the time it depends more on where you’re eating and the options. If I eat at my house it is really good because my mom has all these good healthy gluten-free + diary free* foods and she will cook them and serve them very fresh as opposed to a fast food place where really all I can have is a burger no bun and maybe fries witch is not at all fresh nor healthy and you really get sick of having it after a while.

6.    What advice would you give to other kids who are changing to a gluten-free diet?  Is there anything that might make it easier for them to make the change?

                There is a lot of advice I could give them but I’ll start with something that’s very important witch is you have got to hang on, you have got to listen and take it seriously, you have to wait a year with the diet because trust me it will get better.

 7.    Did you notice any changes with your body or your behavior when you changed how you ate?  What changed?

              Yes, I did. I got a lot happier because I had no more problems with my stomach. My math brain also got faster and it took a lot more to get me angry.

So there you have it, the straight dope. There are a lot of good tips and tricks for getting your kids gluten-free in a painless way. I’ve done it for my own kids and now countless other families. For starters, here are a few of the more popular gluten-free treats my clients like (treats are a biggie for kids changing to a GF diet and nice to have on hand for birthday parties, etc.) and a basic recipe or two to get your started.

You can learn more about how the Wellness Pantry can help you by visiting her site here

Unfortunately, children who have food allergies are often excluded from school events that have to do with food. Sometimes the teachers don’t think to ask if the food is safe for everyone in the classroom while planning the event or the PTO/PTA don’t think to accomodate everyone.

This tends to happen a lot and unfortunately, most of the time, we cant do anything about it.

Q: “When my son started 1 st grade, he was constantly coming home crying because he was left out of a classmates birthday party celebration with the class. He brought in cookies that wasn’t safe for my son. I felt so bad listening to him tell me about how everyone ate them in front of him and he just sat there with his hands in his pockets because the teacher told him to do that for his safety. I wanted to scream. How do you help your child feel included in things you have no control over?” Jamie T.

A: I completely understand how you and your child may feel right now. Have you tried to talk with your child’s teacher about a “safe snack bag” to be kept in the classroom for situations such as this one? I would try that first. Explain to the teacher that you do not want your child excluded from the celebration. Provide a travel size package of “wet one” wipes to clean your child’s area after the celebration is over so he doesn’t come in contact with any of the allergens. Making the child put his hands in his pocket while the celebration is going on may calm the teacher’s nerves but it will make the child feel as though they are being punished for having a condition they cannot control.


Q: “My daughter is allergic to peanuts, strawberries and milk. To ask for a nut-free classroom would be pointless,a s she has multiple food allergies. How do I make sure she is not excluded from school events when food is involved when the food is constantly entering the classroom?Matthew M.

A: In situations where a child has multiple food allergies, I always suggest if it is possible to make the classroom food-free. Ask if during celebrations, they can encourage non-food related activities and items (ex: stickers, face paintings, crayons, etc). If it is possible to make the classroom food-free that would have the best outcome. If that is not an option, or the school doesn’t want to do that route, try to be as involved in the classroom events as possible. Volunteer to be “classroom dad” and volunteer during occasions when you know that there will be a celebration (ex: Halloween, Valentine’s day, etc). I also advise that you provide the classroom with some safe snacks to keep in the teachers desk in the event that someone brings something in that is not safe for your daughter.


Q: My son was recently excluded from a school event for “his own safety”. They had a birthday celebration in the classroom with cupcakes. He is allergic to milk, eggs and wheat. Because of these being in the cupcakes, and him being in contact with them, the teacher sent him to the office to give the secretary some papers. (This was merely an excuse to get him out of the classroom.) The teacher later told me why he did that. What should I do so my son doesn’t feel left out?- Kathy J.

A: When teachers purposely exclude a child for “his own safety” is not only completely wrong but it hurts the child more than they realize. Unfortunately, this will happen from time to time because some people just don’t understand how to work with the condition instead of against it. I would definitely talk to the teacher, one on one, and discuss your concerns with how he handled the situation so it doesn’t keep happening. Put a plan in place that you both can work with so your child can be in the classroom during these special occasions. Try to give as many suggestions to the teacher as possible to help the teacher understand the allergy and how to handle situations like this. Good Luck!


Q: “My daughter is in class with a boy, who she loves dearly, that has nut allergies. She doesn’t have any food allergies herself. I am a member of the PTA and help plan a lot of the school events. This boy’s mother is very adamant about food allergies so I want to make sure that I don’t hear her wrath, lol.  How do I make sure that he is included in the activities while also not posing a threat to his health?” Anonymous

A: You sound like you are speaking about my son and me, lol. Let me first say that I am extremely touched that you would even try to understand and go out of your way to help this boy feel included because you, yourself, are not a food allergy parent. It is admirable of you to try to educate yourself on this, so I thank you on behalf of all of us food allergies parents. As for making sure he is included, I would first develop a list of “safe” snacks, candies and foods that are 100% safe for nut allergy sufferers. If you do not know where to start, ask his mother. I am sure she would be touched to know you care enough to ask and will be willing to help so her child is safe. Once you have a list of safe foods, try to provide everyone that is involved in the planning of PTA events with a copy. This will help with the communication on the proper foods. When planning events, do your best to plan non-food related activities. This will keep everyone’s mind at ease. Remember though, some non-food items contain nuts (ex: lotions, soaps, bird seed, etc) so please always check ingredients.


The question below is quite offensive but I felt it needed to be added to see how some parents react to the accommodations of children with food allergies to keep them from being excluded.

Q: “Please do not be offended at my next statement but why should I go out of my way to provide accommodations to a child with food allergies? I understand it is serious but if we have to accommodate for them then they are getting special treatment. Shouldn’t they just deal with it and work around it? I don’t mean to be hostile but I don’t feel like I should have to go out of my way and go to a thousand stores to find “safe” foods when the parents of the food allergy kid can provide them for their child and I can buy what I want to for the classroom party.” – Debbie K.

A: I understand your frustration however this is not about accommodating a food choice like being vegan. This is about accommodating a child’s life threatening condition to which they have no control over. Providing a safe alternative is something most food allergy parents do, for the safety of the child, however it means the world to the parents and the child when people care enough about that child’s life to make sure there is no chance that child could die from a “birthday celebration” of their classmate. Here is a suggestion for you to accommodate a child with food allergies; send in non-food products for the celebration and leave the cupcakes at home to be celebrated with the family or send in stickers, pencils, crayons etc; all of which can be bought at the dollar store. If you have to send food, because your child really wants to do that for their special day, I understand that. In that case, maybe ask the teacher if there are snacks, that they know of, that are definitely safe. Give them a few days in advance, so they can ask the food allergy parents for a safe food idea, or to provide them with time to provide their child with a safe alternative so you can buy whatever you want. In the end, it is about the happiness and SAFETY of the students so please be understanding that this is not a life choice; it is a life threatening condition.


Thank you all for you questions!



Have a question regarding Peanut, Tree Nut or Other food allergies in school? Want to suggest a topic for me to discuss? Follow Me on Facebook @ or Contact me @ and follow my Inspiredeats column here.

Get “Schooled” on Food Allergies With PTO Mom!

*All information on this page is not to be taken instead of medical advice.*

Guest writer, Rebecca Evans shares her newest find; a dairy, nut & soy-free cheese alternative that she loves. 

I have found that the older I get, the less my body is able to digest milk. In fact, it has gotten to the point where although I’m not allergic to dairy products, I treat myself as though I do have an allergy, because I have found that after consuming dairy, I feel sick, sluggish and experience cramping sensations.

Avoiding milk is not the challenge it used to be: today we can choose from soy, rice, almond, hemp and coconut milk to make up for what we were missing. Butter isn’t tough to substitute either, thanks to brands like Earth Balance, which offer vegan varieties.

But what to do about cheese? That, my friends, is the million-dollar question.

Although I have tried soy cheese (and been disappointed for the most part), I really do try to shy away from it, simply because as a vegetarian I don’t want to consume too many soy products. Variety is the spice of life, and I’m pretty sure variety is also healthy, too! Well, it took a lot of investigating, but I managed to find a brand I love and enjoy, called Daiya! daiya cheese alternative

They make fake cheese, fake cream cheese, and pizza that is not only dairy free and soy free, but also gluten, egg, peanut and tree nut free! I didn’t think I would ever have the good fortune in my lifetime to stumble upon such a wonderful company that not only understood those with food allergies/sensitivities, but also was able to provide a tasty finished product that I would want to have again and again!

As much as I wish I could swear off even fake cheese (in a similar vein to vegetarians/vegans who have “graduated” and look back on Boca burgers with disgust), I truly appreciate the option to have a tasty spread on my raisin bread toast every morning, or enjoy a pizza that reminds me of what I used to eat. For those with restrictive diets (for whatever reason), it is always nice to know that we have options!

You can check out their site here and learn where to buy their products, as well as more about their other products. Go check them out!



Rebecca Evans is a freelance writer, and knows firsthand what it’s like to have a partner with food allergies. You can find her on Facebook , Twitter and her blog, Living the Hi Life