This is one thing I CAN do. So I am sewing and shipping, one batch at a time for the people I love.
It sure has been a while… I drove out to Modesto and left with a puppy in my tote bag. I was terrified driving away. She’s my first puppy. All I knew is that we belonged together. And now all I want is to take THE BEST care of her – like having homemade All-In-One Puppy Spray on hand when she gets itchy or stinky or matted.
Her name is Kate. She is a tiny little thing and just about full grown at 4.4lbs. When I brought her home I noticed she was biting at her front paws and scratching her ears a lot at night, the vet said it was probably allergies – go figure, she’s just like her mama! They said I could give her 1mg of Benadryl per pound of weight as needed, which meant about 5mgs, which in terms of Benadryl is somewhat complicated to dose. After scouring Amazon for natural remedies, I got to thinking and decided to try and make her a puppy friendly itch relief spray. And then I decided it should also be a calming spray. And a puppy perfume. And deodorizing. And detangling. And conditioning.
And voila! My first #AllergicToEverything allergen-free pet recipe: All-In-One Puppy Spray. A DIY recipe to stop itching, deodorize, detangle, condition, and calm your pup.
All you need to make this easy all-in-one puppy spray recipe are a couple of products you may just have around the house already. Lucky for me, all I had to do was run by Dollar Tree for mini spray bottles.
Not only does it smell great but it works for Katie. She is barely itching anymore. It took her a few weeks to get used to the process of being sprayed but now she sits and lets me spray her, rub her down, and brush her. Dets on the brush I use are in the puppy spray recipe notes below!
#AllergicToEverything All-In-One Puppy Spray
A DIY leave-in puppy spray recipe to stop itching, deodorize, detangle, condition, and calm your pup. It even works to freshen up their clothes and bed!
- 2 oz Spray bottle (or whatever size you have)
- 2 oz Water (spring or distilled if possible)
- 1 tbsp Pure witch hazel
- 2 tsp Almond oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 1 tsp Glycerine
- 1/2 tsp Vitamin E oil
- 6 drops Lavender essential oil
- 6 drops Sweet orange essential oil
- 3 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
- 3 drops Peppermint essential oil (optional, I omitted this but I hear good things!)
- 3 drops Chamomile essential oil (optional, I omitted this but I hear good things!)
In a 2-ounce spray bottle combine the water, witch hazel, almond oil, glycerine, and vitamin E oil.
Add in essential oils. You can switch them up and use less or more depending on you and your pups preference - BUT please note: some essential oils are toxic to pups so do your research first!
Spray on your puppies back and tummy and use your hands to scrunch it through their hair, making sure to cover any itchy spots like their paws and ears. I like to brush my pup after - see the notes for the brush I use. You can even spray their clothes (before or after wearing), on their bedding to freshen them up!
- Please do your researching when using essential oils on your animals - they can be toxic. The ones I have listed in the recipe are dog-friendly. When it comes to buying essential oils I stick to brands I trust like Aura Cacia and NOW.
- I use the Conair PRODog Pet-It for Dog Slicker Brush and we love it! It's easy to hold in your palm and I can tell it's like a massage for Katie.
- Feel free to get a larger spray bottle and make up a big batch. I ended up at the Dollar Tree and found a pack of travel bottles (one spray and two with tops), which worked perfectly. I stored the other two for when the spray bottle runs out. Also a great gift idea!
I also use it to freshen her bedding and her clothes (before and after she wears them). As a first-time dog mommy, puppy smell wasn’t my favorite thing so it was a win-win.
No Benadryl necessary. Just natural allergy relief at its best.
If you’ve been following my Kickstarter journey, you know I failed at 96%. I raised over $30K and got zilch. Heartbreaking.
Seriously heartbreaking. It kind of crushed me in the end. Not kind of, it really devastated me. Simultaneously my personal life imploded and it seemed like I’d lost just about everything that mattered to me. During the campaign, I entirely threw myself into #AllergicToEverything, a pseudo distraction from my personal life. In the end, I lost it all. I had to dig deep to see the lessons and find the gifts in the failure and loss. I was beyond burnt out.
I had to look at my part in all of it, both personal and in the campaign. For the first time in my life, I allowed myself to just be. I took things really slowly. First I slept a lot. And ate my feelings. I stopped going on social media and checking my email. For a while, the most I could seem to do was go to my shrink once a week and watch reality shows about people’s lives (particularly challenging lives), trying to find a way to feel less alone, I suppose.
And then one day I started going to Al-anon (a 12-step program for family members and friends of alcoholics). I went almost every day for the first month. Those rooms have changed me. I started doing yoga again and cooking and praying about what was next for me. I even prayed about wanting a dog and no-joke, as I was about to spend $1K on a hypoallergenic dog, Katie was posted on Petfinder. I didn’t pay a dime for her. We came into each other’s lives at the exact moment we were supposed to.
Not to get religious on you but I know now that God only gives us what we can handle. I’ve had to learn to trust that there is a bigger plan for me. That all of these losses were part of the path meant for me.
All the while, you’ve been asking for the relaunch and you’ve stayed by my side. You’ve been beyond supportive. And I suppose I just want to give you a window into why it’s taken so long to get back on my feet and relaunch. I don’t know how I would have made it through all the failure without all the love from you.
It took a lot of soul-searching to bounce back.
But now that I have survived the failure – I am preparing the relaunch. This time around things will be different. I’m pacing myself. I’m putting myself first. My guess is that it will happen early spring.
In the meantime, it is my most favorite time of year. The holidays are here and I’m going to embrace them with family and friends and my Katie Kat!
I’m jazzing up my resume – yes I need a job again.
I’m applying to Berkeley for another Master’s, this time an MFA in Art Practice, which along with making the world a better place- has always truly been the root of my passion.
I’m back in the kitchen.
I’m doing my yoga.
I’m going to meetings.
I’m walking with my pup. Or trying to. She’s learning 😉
And I’m saying to myself, “Jessica, I know you want to put the Christmas tree up but you have to at least wait until Halloween!”
Speaking of Christmas, I’m pretty sure this all-in-one puppy spray would be an amazing DIY gift for the pet lovers in your life!
A Book For Food Allergy Collectors
I’ve been a risk taker my whole life.
I wasn’t taking a risk when I wrote #AllergicToEverything. It started out as a little journal of recipes that were working for me. It was a notebook I kept in my Kitchen.
This is my friend Phil on his 30th birthday (along with a few of the best people ever). He saw my journal and said I should publish it. It was in that moment that I began to see #AllergicToEverything as a book.
This is the original cookbook – with “recipes” misspelled and all. This is also an illustration of why an editor is important to this project. I am dyslexic and tend to spell phonetically.
I sat down that summer and typed up the recipes. The next summer I sat down and decided I should Kickstart it. Then the summer after that I rented a cabin in Willits to finish the recipes. And once I’d finished the recipes, I dreamt of a little more and the guide was born. From shopping to symptoms, to where allergens like corn hide, one-third of the book became a bible of sorts. To write the intellectual stuff I needed a change of scenery so this past summer I sat down and wrote the lifestyle guide, from hotels in London and Germany with my boyfriend. And here we are, in this new summer of 2018, the summer that I finally launched the Kickstarter to fund the first print run.
The book is written. The backers are backing.
#AllergicToEverything is my book-baby. It took me nine months to plan for this Kickstarter and six years to write.
It is over 200 pages long and includes 115+ recipes (from food to beauty to cleaning supplies).
At first, the book was recipes that would work for me, and then it became recipes that would work for anyone avoiding the “top 8.” I grew to have an appreciation for the bold indicators on the labels of our food (required by the FDA to indicate the top 8). I will note that I believe corn should be included on the list and that one day (in our near future) I believe it will be. At the rate at which we pump it into our diets (even feeding it to our cattle), it’ll be no surprise. Perhaps there is a correlation to the way we introduced wheat into our diets with the rates of gluten intolerance, allergy, and sensitivity.
In the end, each recipe will be tailored to be friendly to all of the top 8 food allergens (milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, fish, wheat, soy). The book is now 90% complete, I am still working on the top 8 modifications. My recipes are also free of oats, corn, sesame, and gluten.
I am a Food Allergy Collector, a real live human living with multiple food allergies. I am #AllergicToEverything. #AllergicToEverything was once upon a time something I made for me, and now my dream is to bring it to life for you.
What if I am allergic to…?
If you are allergic to the foods in these two charts, this book is for you.
THE TOP 8: Milk, Eggs, Tree Nuts, Peanuts, Shellfish, Fish, Wheat, Soy
AND MORE: Corn, Gluten, Sesame, Oats, Chemical Additives, Preservatives, Artificial Flavoring
What are the recipes like?
Food makes memories. It connects us. My food is made to bring us together, not separate us. I was inspired to make food my friends wouldn’t know was missing allergens. I wanted to share dinner without discussing how we’d managed to share a meal.
Let’s take a look at the Pizza SECTION.
Pizza is (maybe) my all-time-favorite-food.
What else is in the book?
Beyond the Pizza section, there is so much more!
This is the overview of what is in the entire cookbook –
But what are the recipes?
And here, because I want to prove that I have a project worth backing, are the recipes (minus a few that I am planning to add that have recently developed) –
What is the lifestyle guide?
Three Little Bits of Advice
- 10 ingredients or less. When I read a label, if there are more than ten ingredients, I put it right back. If there are less I read it, if I can pronounce the ingredients, it is probably made out of real food. If not, I put it back. I don’t like additives, preservatives, and chemicals in my food. See the video here!
- Don’t trust anyone with your allergens. Unless you know they know. Even my very best friends poison me by using shredded cheese, unknowingly coated in cornstarch to preserve it. Ask all the questions. Ask to see the cheese. I know the brands that don’t use cornstarch, it pisses me off to pay more, but I do, every time. This goes for restaurants too.
- Be prepared. Carry Epi-Pens if you are anaphylactic. Bring along the Benadryl, prednisone, steroid creams if you need it. Learn to sense the reactions as they come on by tuning into how your body reacts and take care of your body when it does react. I am not condoning or prescribing here, just speaking from the experience that I have had. Which is this: I regret it when I don’t have what I need. You can see my food allergy purse here, haha.
How Does Kickstarter Work?
For the price of takeout for two or just a cup of coffee, you can be part of bringing #AllergicToEverything to life. There is no pledge too small, and no pledge to large- the sky is the limit. www.HashtagAllergic.com will take you directly to the Kickstarter page.
If I do not reach my goal, your money will be returned in full. If I do reach my goal, you will get the book in return for your pledge. You do need to use a credit card but I have been backing projects on Kickstarter and I can vouch that they are trustworthy. The money goes directly to the project creator (myself) or right back to you if I don’t hit my goal.
What’s been the hardest part?
I’ve been struggling to share #AllergicToEverything with the online food allergy community. Groups won’t allow me to post about it and most organizations have policies against endorsing “fundraising efforts.” While the media is interested, they say to get back to them when the book is published. I’m contacting new bloggers every day reaching out for help.
I am doing everything I can think of. I have never worked so hard at anything in my life and I am naturally a hard worker.
I’ve tried finding other places to share it, like Nextdoor. That went pretty poorly as well. But every day I get up and I face it. I am strong. I believe in my book. And I want to help people. And I want to be honest about this experience.
Misconceptions have been challenging as well, so I want to take a moment to clear a few things up:
- This project is a passion project, not a financial pursuit. All the money raised goes to the book and to the backers, in the form of a book. A good percentage of the funding goal is based on shipping costs. The other major cost is printing.
- Every recipe will be friendly to all “top 8” food allergens, this includes Milk, Eggs, Fish, Shellfish, Tree Nuts, Peanuts, Wheat, and Soy. Additionally, I do not use Oats or Corn in any of the recipes. I am personally allergic to Wheat, Gluten, Corn, Soy, Oats, Eggs, and Shellfish. You can be sure none of these will ever be in any of the recipes. Tree Nuts, Peanuts, Milk, and Fish are included in some (very few) of my original recipes, when published they will be modified to include substitutions (for every top 8 allergens). This is ambitious but I am dedicated and my seven food allergens have taught me a lot. I know I can do this. And I know I have the experience I need to do this. The book is written, and the substitutions are in progress.
- Funded or not, I put everything I have ever worked for on the line for #AllergicToEverything because I believe in it. I don’t like being doubted for having allergies and it happens more often than you’d think. I also don’t like hives, constipation, anaphylaxis, and exhaustion- all symptoms I fight to varying degrees when I consume my food allergens.
One day I will open a box, and there it will be. White, gold embossing, my younger self, looking back up at me from the cover. I’ll open the book to whatever page it chooses and there it will be. A professional collection, woven from comfort and all my love.
Gratitude Makes the World Go ’round
This is Joaquin. He pushed me to move forward with #AllergicToEverything when I lost faith in it. I was tired of trying to find an agent and he believed in me. I wouldn’t have gotten here without him. If it was not for his faith in me, his encouragement every step of the way, and his eye for editing photos, I’m not sure I could have come so far. The people in our lives that love us, believe in us, and push us to be our best are a gift from the universe. Joaquin, you have been a gift in my universe.
I am endlessly grateful to the bloggers, newspapers, and podcasters out there who jumped in and have rallied behind me. Tracy, Kathleen, Red Shoes for Oakley, Landy’s List, Eat Allergy Safe, KALX Berkeley’s Method To The Madness, East Bay Express, The Epoch Times.
I am beyond words to express my gratitude to the backers who believe in #AllergicToEverything.
These are my handwritten thank you notes for the 165 backers to date.
A Letter to the Food Allergy Community
Dear Food Allergy Collectors & Community,
Over the last few months, I have had the pleasure of realizing what a strong food allergy community there is online. During my years of research, I was mostly searching for recipes and food, not realizing that groups and forums existed. Call me nieve but it wasn’t until I started learning about how to market myself online that I got recommendations to look for groups to join. I fell in love with many of your blogs and brands through these groups and forums, which I’ve linked to on my resources page and talk about in my Food Allergy Resources post. Side note: if you don’t see yourself linked there, reach out to me, I’d love to share how you are making a difference in the food allergy community.
One thing I did not and could not plan for was this: the food allergy community that initially embraced me as one of their own, turned away from me. By that I mean when it came time to ask for support from food allergy groups and organizations, the majority said, “no, we can’t [or don’t] endorse fundraisers.”
While I understand groups want to be free of people selling things to them, I hoped that by making it clear that #AllergicToEverything was my story, a resource, and not something that was making me money, I would be allowed to connect with the members.
I reached out to Admins, hoping to get permission to share #AllergicToEverything with Food Allergy Groups. Groups that are meant to allow people to ask for help and exchange ideas. Mainly my requests for permission to share #AllergicToEverything were ignored, a few politely declined or offered suggestions, and a couple (literally two) groups allowed me to share. I waited for responses and then I decided to post anyway. What happened was a positive response from the group members! And then most of the posts were removed.
I hoped that I could share my story, what worked for me. This book is my experience, it is everything I know. It is the result of my personal multiple food allergy journey.
You hold the keys to the community of which I am a grateful member. If you are reading this and you have a forum or group or newsletter that reaches the food allergy community, it would mean a great deal to me if you would share #AllergicToEverything. The Kickstarter will be live until June 17th, this is the link: www.HashtagAllergic.com.
Thank you for the work you do to make life easier for people living with food allergies. It is important. I believe in your mission and I share your vision for this community.
All my love,
My name is Jess and I am a Food Allergy Collector.
#AllergicToEverything is my story, my experience, and most of all a tool for living life with multiple food allergies.
In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Month, I wanted to finally write a post focused on some of the life-based food allergy resources I use to manage my food allergies. I’ve tried tons of makeup, combed hundreds upon hundreds of blogs, and read thousands of labels. It has truly been a process of trial and error- which is the key to managing food allergies. Everyone is different, you have to find what works for you BUT you can start here, which is much better than nothing. I have been living with multiple food allergies for about six and a half years now and over that time have found some really excellent products and relief staples that I keep on hand.
Let’s start here, not to gross you out, but rather to illustrate my experience and perhaps make you feel a little better, knowing someone else goes through this too. You can see me at my worst if this isn’t enough.
Okay! Let’s jump in. Here are my food allergy resources and recipes in no particular order, yet the best particular order I could come up with.
Recipes for your Purse, Home, & Everyday Beauty
I wanted to break up my food allergy resources in a way that would make sense to you, no matter the stage you are in. If you don’t want to go recipe by recipe or if you have an aversion to words and pictures, you can go straight to my Idea Lists on Amazon with the links below! Trust me, some days I just want to go to the source too.
Quick List of Products & Resources:
- Allergy-friendly Pantry Staples – https://amzn.to/2HzrkQc
- Allergy-friendly Home & Beauty Products – https://amzn.to/2KmS9cb
- My go-to Food Allergy Resources List – https://allergictoeverything.life/about/resources/
#AllergicToEverything® Food Allergy Resources: In Your Purse
What to keep in your purse for food allergy emergencies. These are my go-to, have on hand food allergy resources that I never leave the house without!
- 1 medium Purse
- 1 small Zipper Pouch (optional)
- 1 small Mirror (for examining suspected reactions)
- 1 bottle Artificial Tears (like Systane, see notes)
- 1 bottle Allergy Eye Drops (like Alaway, see notes)
- 1 container Assorted Allergy Meds (ex. Benadryl, Zyrtec, Prednisone)
- 2 Epi Pens
- 1 Inhaler (optional)
- 1 bag Smooth Move Tea
- 2 packets Antibacterial Wipes
- 1 packet Tissues
- 10 Food Allergy Cards (for remembering them all, dates, or eating out!)
- 1 Medical ID (like mine from StickyJ)
Combine all ingredients in your purse & go! TIP: To make it easy to transfer bags keep your supplies in a zipper pouch!
- Allergy-friendly Pantry Staples - https://amzn.to/2HzrkQc
- Allergy-friendly Home & Beauty Products - https://amzn.to/2KmS9cb
- My Medical ID Bracelet by Sticky J - https://www.stickyj.com/product/lesly-gold-bangle-style-medical-id-bracelet-dp1312
- The Purse I Use Daily - https://amzn.to/2KjBG8w
#AllergicToEverything® Food Allergy Resources: Everyday Beauty
These are the things I use every day in my beauty routine. Step up your self-care with these food allergy-friendly essentials!
- Good Skin Cream (like Cetaphil or Vanicream)
- Good Body Lotion (like Vanicream' Lite Lotion)
- Almond Oil (I use this as a primer & massage oil)
- Conditioner (like BWC's leave-in)
- Aluminum-free Deodorant (like Kiss My Face)
- Allergen-free Makeup (like Almay, Bare Minerals, Physicians Formula)
- Lip Moisturizer (like Aquaphor Lip Repair w/ or w/o sun screen)
- Eye Lubricant Drops (like Systane Ultra)
- Vitamins, allergen-free (like Raw One)
- Tissues (that don't hurt your nose, please!)
Step up your self-care with these food allergy-friendly essentials! See the notes to see the full list of products I use.
#AllergicToEverything® Food Allergy Resources: To Keep At Home
These are the food allergy relief remedies I keep at home. It is better to be safe than sorry, hopefully, this food allergy resource helps you to do just that!
- 1 bottle Allergy Medicine (daily use over the counter, like Zyrtec)
- 1 bottle Allergy Medicine (fast acting over the counter, like Benadryl)
- 1 bottle Steroid Medicine (like Prednisone, if prescribed)
- 1 tube Steroid Cream (if prescribed)
- 2 pack Extra Epi Pens (if prescribed)
- 1 kit Sinus Rinse Kit (like NeilMed)
- 1 bottle Allergy Eye Drops (like Alaway)
- 1 bottle Eye Lubricant Drops (like Systane)
- 1 jug Stool Softener (like Mirolax)
- 1 box Digestive Support Tea (like Smooth Move)
- 1 tub Vaseline (for chapped, irritated skin)
Keep these supplies on hand in bulk - you never know when you will need them and I think it is better to be safe than sorry (or having to call the on-call doc in the middle of the night). See the notes for the full list of the products I keep at home (that aren't prescription based)!
Please note - I do not condone or recommend the use of steroids. They are awful on your body. I use them only in emergencies.
Food Allergy Resources: Making Your Own Allergen-free Supplies
Allergens are everywhere. Chemicals are packed into everything these days. Wellness Mama is my favorite resource for natural home-life- beauty recipes and remedies. She covers it all! Cleaning supplies, tinctures, lip gloss, you name it.
Food Allergy Resources: Baking Gluten-free
Hands down, Karina is my go-to resource when it comes to baking gluten-free. She is amazing, check out her blog, Gluten-Free Goddess.
Food Allergy Resources: My Medical ID Bracelet
Sticky J made this for me. While I do like it, it is too hard to put on by myself which sort of defeats the purpose. I am planning to upcycle it into a necklace! I do love a good DIY project. This is the bracelet I chose; they have tons of options and styles.
Food Allergy Resources: My Go-To List
I started working on this a few months ago, the list continues to grow but here are a few blogs, apps, and services I want to especially highlight. Or just see the full list by category!
- Healthy Living App– The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) app for quickly identifying health and safety ratings for over 200,000 food, personal care, and cosmetic products. All you have to do is scan the barcode (or search) to get a score for allergy, cancer, and developmental concerns. I try to stay in the green, occasionally use yellow, but avoid completely the reds – once you try it you will understand. My mom put me onto this and I have used it since.
- My everyday favorite products for beauty & home
- My favorite allergen-free pantry staples
In the words of Oliver Sacks, “memory arises not only from direct experience but from the intercourse of many minds.” These are just a few ways many minds have influenced my food allergy journey.
These are some of the many minds (blogs) I frequent:
- Food Allergy Consultant & Blogger – recipes and product testing Nutrimom
- Food Allergy Buzz http://www.foodallergybuzz.com/
- Kids with Food Allergies http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/
- Turn it Teal – raising awareness of life-threatening food allergies by lighting site teal, the color of food allergy awareness. https://www.turnitteal.org/
- All the blogs I love
Food Allergy Resources: Collections to Build
Cookbooks were so important to me in the beginning. And honestly before the food allergy journey even started. So are journals.
These are some of my favorite cookbooks, the journal I started keeping (which is being turned into a cookbook!), and how I DIYed a tool to hand out to potential dates. Haha. Just kidding, but no, really. I have given my food allergy cards to dates. And to friends who want to have me for dinner, and to restaurants, and I drop them in “win a…” bowls, and I carry them with me wherever I go.
Food Allergy Resources: Gratitude & Affirmations
One way to pick you up when you are feeling down. My mother once sent me this little note, it simply read, “I am not this body, I am not my thoughts, I am not my feelings, I am not these situations.” I keep it hung next to my desk.
Be grateful for everything that has been given to you, everything that has been taken away, and everything that has been left behind.
Food Allergy Resources: Instant Pot Giveaway (!!)
Instant Pot is supporting my Cookbook (launching on Kickstarter May 15th) by donating an Instant Pot Duo. I am super excited to do this giveaway, I will be running it on my Instagram (@hashtagallergic) so be sure to follow if you want a chance to win! They are pretty damn awesome.
Thank you for letting me share my story & my food allergy resources. I wish you a smoother journey than I had. Please share what you have learned below. We are all in this together.
If you are interested in helping me bring #AllergicToEverything, the cookbook & lifestyle guide, to life, please check out my Kickstarter page (this link will direct you to the Kickstarter as soon as the project goes live. It will be live May 15th and will run for only 30 days.
All my love,
Recipe Source: AllergicToEverything.life. All images & content are copyright protected, all rights reserved. Please do not use our images or content without prior permission. Thank you.
Kickstarter video shoot was yesterday ?!! The shoot fell on the anniversary of my grandma Donna’s death, my mom’s birthday, and on the super moon. Pretty special day. Could not have done it without @lautomatique and my amazing friends who hiked out to Hayward for the dinner party. Johnny Mark did an amazing job. Follow @hashtagallergic for more allergy friendly foods and recipes. ? Thank you @sibsibrina @lucky_charm4 @i_rosaura @drucktown @julian_demark_antlers @jthowlard for joining me. And a big thank you to @philstrause for recommending my camera man. (at Hayward, California)
Storyboarding for the #allergictoeverything @Kickstarter video ???#foodallergyawareness (at Oakland, California)