Saturday, October 22, 2011

Shampoo bars and fundraising!

My shampoo bars are cooling/curing now.  I did the hot process method in the crock pot and didn't receive even one chemical burn from the lye.  and here I was so scared.

The soap looks great!  I'm likely going to let it sit for 2-3 days before I give it a try.

After my post the other day I got to thinking about shaving my head again, and decided to do it.  St. Baldrick's gets the fundraising and Locks of Love can sell off my short-ish hair (they require 10 inches for a hairpiece) to help supplement their other funding endeavors.  I get to do two great things, I get to be bald, I get to escape the trap of shampoo/conditioner ... W.I.N!

However, I will update on the success of the shampoo bar before I have no hair!

By the way, if you are interested in contributing to cancer research via a St. Baldrick's event, please click on the link below:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Making Shampoo Bars TOMORROW!

It's my first time, the Virgin Voyage, an adventure ... with LYE!


I'm tired of hives on my scalp.  I'm tired of eyeballing the clippers every few days wishing that female baldness didn't hold such a stigma.  I'm tired of mixing up Baking Soda and Vinegar Rinses.  I'm tired of my hair looking and feeling awful.

There is hope.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dog treats !? - UPDATE

We have a new puppy and she's a gem, except she poops on the floor - which is not my favorite thing.  I decided to take treats outside and give her a treat every time she did her business where she's supposed to - that dog loves food more than any creature I've ever met, so it's going well.  Except for the fact that the dog treats are FILLED with corn.  I have hives all over my eyelids and jaw from getting that mess on my hands and not washing off right away (I'm outside, remember). 

So, I'm going to make my own dog treats!  F.U.N.

Here's the recipe adapted from this site:

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c water,
1/2 c. sunflower oil
2 eggs
3 tbsp peanut butter


Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly grease your baking sheets.

Using a 1/2 teaspoon, scoop out a small amount of the dough into your hand. Press it down to flatten. Place the flattened dough on the greased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes then turn off the oven. Let the cooked treats hang out in the oven for at least 20 minutes, so that they will harden.

Makes about 75 small biscuits (36 large)

I'll let you know how they turn out - a little effort, but she's worth it!

-----UPDATE -----

I made them, forgot the eggs and used bacon grease instead of sunflower oil.  Moe and Diekon LOVE them.  The kids and I like them pretty well too.  My husband found the idea of ingesting a bacon/peanut butter treat repulsive so refused to try them.  Chicken!

True to it's word, the recipe made about 75 biscuits.  It took us three cookie sheets to get them all ready - but now I have a gallon sized ziploc bag about half full of dog treats.  I don't know what the total cost was, but in eyeballing the ingredients, it sure wasn't much.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dutch Pumpernickel Bread - YEAST FREE!

My daughter has a yeast allergy - so I have to learn to modify recipes for both our allergies now.  Can make bread a little tricky!  This one was a win.  Served with cream cheese (Organic Valley) and baked salmon.

Modified from the Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook, which is (by the way) worth every penny:

Total prep time: approx. 10 mins

1 cup King Arthur All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup Horizon whole milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses (I used Brer Rabbit, and didn't notice a reaction, will update if one arrives later)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 small onion chopped

mix all together and bake at 350 for 50/60 minutes.

The cookbook recommends lining the loaf pan with wax paper.  It worked well, but use caution when removing, it will rip the crust off!  I used a butter knife to hold the crust down while I slowly pulled the wax paper off.

Cool on a rack before trying to slice or it will fall to bits.  It may be that cooling before removing the wax paper would have been a good idea.  I'm a little slow sometimes so didn't think to wait.

Everyone loved it, the flavor is mildly sweet.  I'm not convinced it would work as a sandwich bread as it's not incredibly 'sturdy' but would go very well with my mom's potato soup!

I will try to update with a picture when we make it again.  Unfortunately, yesterday's loaf is already gone.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Environmentally Friendly - Corn Allergic UNFriendly

I have a great job, a fantastic boss, security, decent pay, wonderful co-workers and a brand new building to work in!  YAY!  Right?

The building is the newest of the new and so environmentally friendly you could probably eat the carpet.  It's true and it's made mostly of corn.  Fifteen minutes into my first day and my blood pressure started to drop.  I bolted for the door and haven't been back since.

My employer and I have worked up a telecommuting agreement and I now work from home.  It's going REALLY well and I feel better now than I have in years.  My random mysterious hives are gone.  My energy levels are higher.  My concentration is improved.  It's unbelievable.

Corn really can be an environmental allergy.  My allergist did me a huge favor at my last appointment (see previous post) by writing up a letter to my employer about the potential dangers of the workplace.  I'm so grateful for her.

On a side note, I've just discovered that my daughter has a yeast allergy.  A new adventure begins!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Love my allergist!

I have an allergist.  And I love her. 

Consult yesterday lasted for 1.5 hours.  She took down my full history.  Nodded when I told her I reacted to peaches ('of course you do') and agreed that citric acid was a real issue for corn allergy sufferers.  When I told her I was moving into a new office building at work she exclaimed 'oh my goodness, you could be allergic to anything in that building, the paint, the carpet, the air freshener!'  when talking about antihistamines she said 'it's going to be awfully hard for us to find you an over the counter that doesn't have corn.' when talking about the grocery store she said 'i bet the detergent aisle gives you hives.'  she knows, she understands .. HOORAY!

Bad news, she was very clear that there is no 'approved' treatment for food allergies (as we all know/suspect).  Here's the emergency reaction plan she outlined for me.

On first sign of a reaction I am to:

1. Leave the area (if the area is large and will take me more than one minute to leave I am to put on a surgical mask to mitigate the allergen).

2. Take 10mg of Loratadine and 20mg of Pepcid (both I have with me at all times) in an attempt to slow down the reaction and prevent anaphylaxis.

3. Use my Epi-pen (which I always have with me) if the reaction is progressing at a dangerous speed or if after 20/30 minutes the Loratadine and Pepcid haven’t started to mitigate the reaction.

4. If I use my Epi-pen I am to go to the emergency room for additional anti-histamine treatment, steroid treatment and observation of at least 4 hours.

She's also providing me with documentation of my diagnosis the an explanation of the chemical sensitivities that I may experience to cleaning products and other environmental nonsense.  I can't tell you how great it feels to sit with someone who really grasps the lengths I go through to simply feel good.  The appointment made up for all the times I just knew people were thinking I was crazy or dramatic or just lying when I explained to them how hard it is.  It is hard and it is valid and it's something I live with 24 hours a day.  While she gave me no hope of a 'cure' or treatment, she did give me support - which means almost as much.

I love my allergist!

Monday, November 1, 2010

corn in pharmaceuticals

first - thank god for spell check.  I can't spell pharmaceuticals correctly no matter what.  I try and try.

anyhoo, a member of the Delphi forums posted a question about medications utilizing corn and I became intrigued.  like a dog with a bone I made google my bitch and found this bit of fun:

now, that there is a list of all the drugs that have just the word corn somewhere in their descriptive information.  sometimes it's a reference to corn syrup and sometimes it's a reference to an ingredient being derived from corn.  but it's 230 different drugs.  sweet moses!  i'm actually tempted to type all 230 of those out into a spreadsheet and then do a search for all of the other hundreds of corn names (dextros, maltodextrin, glycerine,etc.) to see how big I can get this list.

that endeavor would be incredibly satisfying (as I love spreadsheets), but I would likely end up in a ball on the floor crying for the poor families who have to figure out how to medically treat their children who are allergic to 90% of the medications available and are dealing with a hospital and pediatric staff who know bupkis about allergies.

*shakes fist at sky*