Website Launch Coming

I’m just days away from seeing the My Allergy Advocate on WordPress get replaced by my brand spanking-new dot com site, and while I’m mostly excited about this, I’ll be honest, I’m just a little bit freaked out too. Right now, you can only see the Splash Page when you click on

Work on the new site began back in 2016, when I hired Natalie McGuire Designs to design the site around my signature concept — Making Food Fun Again — and then hired food and special occasion photographer and friend Jackie Donnelly for a photoshoot in my artloft to capture the mood of the site.

Life happened next. An Ironman and a night in hospital, a long recovery, changes in the political environment, and then 2017 arrived with more running races, closing my brick-and-mortar private practice into a digital one,  my first two 50k ultramarathons, and a dog bite to the leg, ugh.

Then I found out I would be getting my artloft back after my renters moved on. Change was in the air again. I thought 2017 would never end. It was one nail-biting moment after another. Most of my best intentions kept getting shoved to the side. And instead of fighting it, I started to listen and lean in.

As the website is near ready to launch, the dot WordPress site will be folded into the blog on the dot com site, and the “fun blog” here will fade away.  While you are going to LOVE the recipe section and its organization by meal category,  the new site is an all-integrated experience that isn’t everyone’s thing. Some people like stand-alone microblogs, like Tumblr and Medium. I’m a WordPress chick, and moving this blog into a full-service website (which will still be hosted by MediaTemple on WordPress) is going to be a new experience for this community. I hope you’ll like it enough to come along.

On my desk is my version of a Bullet Journal, filled with tasks still waiting to be finished. It’s exciting, because many of the tasks are related to what happens AFTER the site launches. I’ve announced to my Facebook community that I want to write a book called, “Making Food Fun Again,” with my tagline that helps identify the book as a non-cookbook book about the what and the why cooking from home with real food. I plan to take a significant amount of energy to write this book as quickly as possible starting in February 2018.

Why this book, and why now? In 2017, David Tamarkin of Epicurious spoke on NPR Audie Cornish’s interview that “home cooking is dying.” If you have a moment, read this interview or listen to the audio podcast. I fully resonate with his statement. He isn’t saying he doesn’t love home cooking or doesn’t see its importance. Instead, he is noting a TRUTH that has been happening in this past decade.

People may be eating at home to save money, but that does not mean they are cooking at home. Of all the meals prepared at home, much of them are pre-prepared meals, boxed and canned foods that require only water and heat (near ready-to-serve), and convenience items. These foods are largely not suitable for people with food allergies and intolerances, Autoimmune Disease, and in some cases Chronic Illnesses that need a special diet to maintain optimal health.

The alarming trend is forcing grocery stores to rethink their bottom line and deliver even more of these cheaper and faster options, which drives up the price of fresh, single ingredient foods while banishing them from the center of home cooking.

I feel that I must write this book NOW, and raise the level of enthusiasm and need for real-food home cooking. In doing so, you can join me in supporting sustainable farming programs, food co-ops, and other programs that are trying to revive real-food eating before we lose another generation of busy people who don’t believe that cooking food is important to one’s health and happiness.

At the time of this writing, I do not know how I will fund any of this. The whole process of the website, the book, and the promotions of both also involve attorney fees for trademarks and files for Intent to Use, and clearly defined service agreements.

I just know that this book is something I am meant to write. My health and my future rely heavily on real food, not MRE’s for civilians, or bars, liquid proteins made from soy, and gels.

In the midst of a cacophony of other food blogs featuring pretty food but empty in nutrition, I wanted my website to pack a wallop of services, knowledge, coaching –and yes, even a book! — about making (real) food fun again.

I hope you enjoy the new website, and feel free to ask me about the book writing. I’ve started a blog for the book at


Stay The Course Thirty Day Group Coaching

Stay the Course 30-Day Group Coaching Program Launches Jan 2 – 31, 2018

Cartoon hands in green, blue, purple, and brown raised in the air.
Raise your hand if it is time to get serious about a lifestyle change to get you away from eating foods that keep you from healing or feeling your best. The Stay the Course 30 Day program starts Jan 2 -31, 2018.

How do you do this?

How on earth do you eat a restricted nutritional profile, free from all those allergens, gluten, and inflammatory foods that impede your healing and prevent you from meeting your health goals?

I’ve been eating strict gluten-free as a person with Celiac Disease, and avoiding not only the top eight allergens or those I’m reactive to, but also all the other food allergies and intolerances I have, while also keeping myself in shape for all the activities I love both indoors and outdoors.  I know it can be done. I know how to eat safely, and how to make that food tasty and fun.

How I eat is usually the second question I receive from most people who find me on the Internet. They are searching for answers just like you. The first question is implied: “What on earth do you eat?” So the second question makes more sense, “How do you eat?”

After answering this question hundreds of times  through speaking engagements, emails, Social Media, and private gatherings, it is time to bring that learning experience to my community in a way  that’s easy to access, well-paced and described, and get a handle on the HOW of staying on course to healing and strengthening  through a food-allergic or special needs lifestyle.

Introducing the Stay the Course 30-Day group coaching program, January 2 – 31, 2018. It’s for people like us who have food allergies and intolerances, Autoimmune Diseases, and Chronic Illnesses that require a medically-necessary diet to maintain optimal health. It’s not a nutrition program; it’s a LIFESTYLE program that supports your health condition.

So if this is you, you’ll want to read this, because it’s going to be all about making food fun again… for YOU. And if you want to sign up, the time is NOW.

Read on for more about the Stay the Course coaching program.

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Low Sugar Freezer Cacao Treats

Low Sugar Cacao and Coconut Milk Freezer Treats

A new favorite creation of mine, just in time for the hot days of summer. Pictured Left: cacao nib topping. Pictured Right: crushed pistachios.  Photo by Imei Hsu.

The Seattle area went through one of the wettest winters in twenty years. We didn’t see much sunlight for almost eight months, and almost all my professional friends took turns posting pictures from winter vacations in the Hawaiian islands, soaking up some rays and getting our Vitamin D.

My  Asian skin lost its usual brown tint , and when springtime hit in late May, I still wore long-sleeved shirts and pants to match the grey outside. To throw some perspective, our local lakes were still too cold to swim in comfortably until the very last weekend of May, and even then, it was a bit on the brisk side.

So you can imagine the surprise when the area transformed from winter snow one day to sizzling summer heat the next. All my ads on Facebook turned into local ads for air conditioning units. You’d think that I would have the routine down, as June is often called, “Juneuary” among those of us who have lived here many years. Mornings start out at a chilly 52 degrees Fahrenheit, and can jump into the 70’s or 80’s by afternoon.

We were gobsmacked by a heat advisory one weekend, with the thermometer hitting 102. The only one happy about that in our household was my cat Loomi, who made it known to all that she is truly a desert animal! The house got warm, and she insisted on sleeping in her heated bed. I, however, started craving summertime frozen treats and cold foods, such as an AIP coleslaw, and chilled slippery rice noodle salads. Even a Bacon and Avocado salad, minus the nightshades, was making my stomach growl.

What’s a guy or gal who can’t eat ice cream supposed to do?

Make your own freezer treats, that’s what!

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Preparing for Illness on the Road

Food Allergies | Illness | Autoimmune Disease | Travel 

Successful travel, whether a road trip or a flight, requires thoughtful planning. Make your next trip a success by creating a prep list of essentials and planning ahead.
Successful travel, whether a road trip or a flight, requires thoughtful planning. Make your next trip a success by creating a prep list of essentials and planning ahead. Pixabay photo.

You and your luggage have arrived at your  budget hotel on the other side of the country. You planned well for your trip from home to your destination, with your allergen-free foods, dehydrated snacks, and plenty of fluids. You remembered to wipe down the tray table on the plane, you said “no” to all the interesting snacks and airline meals that rolled down the aisle. All your seat mates greedily accepted your complimentary deluxe snacks and alcoholic drinks.

Three days later, you are talking a walk with your relatives, who have gathered for the new addition to the family, taking in the unique natural beauty of the area, and chatting up a story storm.  As you lift your camera to frame an extraordinary photo, it happens.

Your tummy starts rumbling. Or,  you notice a rash forming on your cheeks, neck, and chest. A migraine starts to threaten the day. A feeling of panic, combined with resentment and, “Why me?” wells up from down below. The nearest Honey Bucket is a couple of miles away; a bush will have to do. Good thing you packed some wipes and Kleenex; your nose will survive with a few snot rockets and a wipe of your sleeve. The rash is looking red and angry.

But the problem is that you are far away from your car,  medical help,  or an urgent care facility. How well you planned for this trip and your life’s emergencies determines how immediately you can respond. As you retrace the last few days to understand why this event is happening to you, it may do you little good in the moment.

I want to talk to you about illness and managing the effects of your disease and/or food allergies and intolerances on the road, as this part of managing the lifestyle that comes with your desire to not be housebound. There are preparations you can make to help you better manage these emergencies, which can quickly turn an ordinary trip into a health disaster.

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Healing Betty Crocker Syndrome

Cake mixes of a variety of brands on the supermarket shelves.
We are trapped in Betty Crocker Syndrome, and our bodies pay dearly for it. Is there any way out? [Photo taken at my local supermarket]. 
As promised, this post is a continuation of a two-article description regarding Betty Crocker Syndrome. If you want to dig deeper, I recommend that you take a moment to read the first post. [<–really. I think it’s infotaining.]

In my first post, I proposed that because of the way Betty Crocker Syndrome [BCS] works — that is, we are hooked on convenience foods until they stop working for us — it appears that Americans are trapped in a BCS cycle that includes poor health, fatigue, fogginess, excess weight (likely due to the amount of sugars, fat, and salt found in a single serving), and other food-influenced diseases. Whether we eat convenience foods. or rely on others to cook our foods for us to the point that we are out of tune with the score of ingredients found in them, we end up in the same places.

Sick. Fatigued. Overweight. Poorly nourished. Anxious. Depressed.

I don’t like the way that sounds. Do you?

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Gaffes, Goofs, and Sundry Oops

Siamese cat hiding behind a pillow while crouching on a red couch.
Made a mistake with your food and you’re not feeling well? The world of food can be a scary place to navigate, and it can even be scary cooking at home if you don’t take care to get your routines nailed down to reduce mistakes. Photo by Imei Hsu.

As much as I believe the last three years has given me an education on clean eating, ingredient label comprehension, and the dangers of cross contamination, I still walk in the same shoes as anyone who has an autoimmune disease, chronic GI issues, and severe food allergies.

I goof, here and there. And I pay for it.

If you think there is an expert resource who avoids all gaffs, goofs, and sundry “oops”, I challenge you to find him or her. As far as my research has taken me, I have not found a single respected expert in the field who has never been “glutened”, become ill due to cross contamination, or suffered from an imbalance of micronutrients or macronutrients as they experimented with all available options.

One great example is gluten-free oats. Most of us who were placed on a gluten-free diet had a steep learning curve. Some of us did fine with gluten-free food products such as gluten-free oats; these people dove into GF oatmeal cookies and lovely GF oatmeal trail mixes that could be baked into bars when mixed with nuts, seeds, and oils.

Others of us suffered “Swan Lake” death scenes, suffering long near the white throne in our households, and feeling horribly betrayed by safety labels and descriptions that declared these products safe for people with CD/NCGS.

You often don’t know which category you fall in until you try something and it doesn’t work for you.

This post is about goofs, yours and mine.

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Dairy Free Chocolate Moo FTW

The ridges on my fingernails say enough.

When you have dry, brittle, and ridged fingernails, it can often mean you have a chronic illness and/or a nutritional deficiency on board.

I have both, despite eating as much as I possibly can shovel in. Part of this is because I’m a triathlete, and my body’s daily nutritional needs are high. And part of my deficits are because my small intestine gets its own workout when it needs to process and then distribute my medically-restricted diet to the rest of the body. Usually, my finger and toenails show up these deficits in the form of dry, brittle, and ridged nails and occasionally funny-colored nail beds. And my upper body has a tendency to look quite “leaned out” without even lifting weights. Wah wah wah. But it’s a struggle, and I know I am not alone.

Each time I hear someone comment that Celiac Disease and food allergies, with their restrictive diets, make it easier to stay thin, I just want to cringe. The idea that CD and gluten free eating with food allergies could ever be construed as the new fad diet or an eating disorder reminds me how much misinformation floats about the Internets. By now, most of us should know that eating gluten-free, in and of itself, is no guarantee of magical weight loss. Gluten free eating that is not paired with sensible macro and micro nutrient balance can be nutrient poor even if it is calorically enhanced.

Nutrition for the person with Celiac Disease and food allergies and intolerances is focused on a formula of nutrition first, flavor and texture second (so you’re more likely to keep up with it), and easy to source and prepare the foods (to defy the lazy factor) third. With all that, I try to keep the making of food FUN FUN FUN, because I completely understand that if it isn’t fun, you and I are going to be hungry. And when we’re hungry, we’re less likely to make good decisions that keep us healthy.

Case in point: at the end of the 2015 Mt. Si 59 mile Relay race, I was so hungry, I ate a fruit roll up that was available at the finish line. I saw that it had  high fructose corn syrup in it, which is a no-no food for me. Yet, I was so hungry, I stuffed two of those fruit roll ups in my mouth, hoping for the best. This is as real as it gets. I was so hungry, I was willing to risk my guts falling apart.

There has got to be something better! Something easy. Something tasty, And something nutritious. And I think I found one solution: a post-workout, or post-meal beverage that is gluten free, soy free, dairy free, vegan, nut free, and can be made sugar free, if you like.

What is this beverage, you might ask? Dairy free cacao powder milk, that’s what! Continue reading