Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo

I made it! I’m so glad I went. 

The bloggers for the event got a quick breakfast from BFree, a GF Bakery I wasn’t familiar with before. They’re rolling out to more stores, including Safeway in Northern California.  Thumbs up:  no added sugar, non-GMO, and free of the top 10 allergens. 

The hall is packed with vendors and almost all of them offer samples. All of them offered coupons. 

The Expo has everything labeled so you can see at a glance if there are nuts or dairy lurking in the food. 

I wasn’t able to stay for the talks, but they looked good. 

Until next year!

In health,


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The Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo IS COMING!!!

Photo credit:

I have been patiently waiting … for YEARS … for the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo to come back to town.  This is more exciting than Christmas for someone like me.

Last time it was in San Mateo, my children were smaller and more likely to bolt in a crowd, my husband was working 100 hours a week at a startup, and negotiating a few free hours on the weekends was, well, let’s just leave it as unlikely.  So on the Sunday afternoon of Expo weekend, my husband took two of the boys, I loaded my most amenable child into the minivan, and we flew over to the convention center.   Well, maybe not flew exactly, but we got there during daylight hours.

We parked, jumped out of the car, and, encouraged by all the happy people carrying bags and boxes of goodies, planned a frantic run around the Expo floor.  Only to have the gate LITERALLY shut in our faces.  I was upset and my son, who fully expected to be paid for his cooperation in unlimited GF cookies, burst into tears.

Curses. I hadn’t checked the Sunday timings (it ended at 3pm, not 4 or 5, like I’d assumed) and vowed I wouldn’t repeat the mistake next year.  Little did I know it would take several years for the Expo to roll back to the Bay Area.

So, if you are a gluten-free foodie in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, learn from my mistake.  Go!!!  But get there before 3 on Sunday.

It’s coming up the weekend of November 18-19 at the San Mateo Event Center. Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 10-3. Parking is $12.

There will be classes on Saturday in association with Stanford Children’s Health, including discussion of more advanced dietary intervention like a low FODMAPS diet, allergy and immunology and non-dietary therapies under development.

Plus all the goodies! Schar, Udi’s, Glutino, Enjoy Life Foods, Daiya, and many, MANY other vendors will be there. I’m always on the lookout for exactly these kinds foods!

I WILL be there this time! In fact, I should be breezing in right after the doors open. And I’m going as an official event blogger!  I’ll post pictures of my favorite finds here, on Instagram, and on the Recovery Road Facebook page.

Hope to see you there!

In health,


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Update on PMB Nano-Enhanced Hemp Oil

I’m about to cry because I dropped the ball on re-ordering and I’m going to have a lag between finishing my current bottle and receiving the new on.  Full-on ugly cry.

I started our trial by trying to replace 1-for-1 my son’s medical marijuana CBD. That didn’t work.  I was feeling frustrated, but I’d spent some bucks to try this oil out and decided to take it myself.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve tried over-the-counter hemp oil products before–maybe 4 or 5 of them.  My son’s medicinal marijuana CBD has been the most effective, followed closely by my 1:1 CBD:THC vape pen. The vape pen has more THC in it than I really like (I just don’t like THC at all) and the vapor can irritate my hair-trigger asthma, but I have found it useful for taking the edge off of a panic attack. But the down sides are 1) I don’t want to use up my son’s medicine and 2) I don’t want to use a product with THC in it if I have to drive…which, for me, is like always.

So, back to my PMB Nano Hemp Oil.  I love it.  A lot.

  1. In a week of use, the chronic, intractable eczema on my  hands cleared up 90%.  I looked down one day and “Hey! My hands look NORMAL!”  Whoa.  Endocannabinoids support the immune system. Eczema is an allergy/immune reaction.  Nano hemp helped me out, BIG TIME.
  2. My mood stabilized and improved. And not just stabilized in place so I felt less mood shifting, but it seems like my baseline has moved up.  I’m not on the precipice of depression.  I’ve stepped well back from the edge of that cliff.
  3. My resiliency to stress has improved by 1,000%.  In the past month, the following happened things happened, any one of which normally would have knocked the wind out of me and put me in bed for a couple of days. This time, I only experienced extreme fatigue from waiting at the vet until 1AM:
    • I have taken two of my children to Urgent Care–one for pneumonia, one for insanely bad eczema that looked infected, plus all the attendant follow up visits and schedule scrambling.
    • I had to take my dog to the vet Urgent Care twice–once after getting jumped and pinned by a bigger dog at the dog park and once to have a grass seed removed from her nose (anesthesia required!), this also required sitting in the lobby full of cat and dog fur for several hours.
    • we had a really good 4th of July–typically, it’s one long freak out. I’m sure my ability to stay calm helped everyone else.
    • I even noticed I was calmer when I gave my Daisy her bath yesterday. Don’t ask me why, but it usually stresses me out so much I either go eat something I shouldn’t or I go put my feet up.  This time, nothing.  Just got a clean, fluffy dog and big item checked off the to-do list.
  4. My brain fog started to clear. I’m getting my brain back! I remember more things,follow through with more things, and I’m able to plan and execute projects like re-organizing the panty.  Boring, but necessary.  I’ve had similar effects from frequent phosphatidyl choline (PTC) IVs, but the effects are short lived and it gets pricey. I attribute this to the PTC nano-liposome in the PMB Hemp oil.  Guys, even the carrier oil is therapeutic!!

So, that’s my intro month on the PrimeMyBody Nano-Enhanced Hemp Oil.  I’m sticking with this stuff like white on rice. Our experience with medical marijuana CBD oil is that the benefits and healing continue over time, so I expect that to be the case with this product.

If you want to try it, please let me know.  Yes, it’s an MLM product. But please look past that. I’m glad I did (so freaking glad).

If you’re curious and want to learn more, I can have you added to a Facebook group of folks using the Nano Help Oil.  There are several families with kids with autism, adults with chronic health issues, etc.

You can order product at

I’m also awaiting delivery of sample sizes if that’s more your speed.

In health,






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The good stuff


Three years ago, I dipped my big toe into using cannabinoids to treat my middle son’s anxiety and seizures.  We started very slowly, with an over-the-counter product derived from industrial hemp.  It seemed to help.  A little. Then I learned the product wasn’t as clean as I wanted it to be and was processed will all kinds of junk (–cough, hexane, cough–).

It was enough of an improvement that I investigated getting a medical marijuana caregiver card. We reside in California and my son has epilepsy, one of the qualifying conditions for a caregiver card in this state.  I traveled 45 minutes to see a specific doctor in San Francisco because doctors closer to us won’t treat minors.  Then I traveled another 25-45 minutes to a specific dispensary for a specific high-ratio CBD:THC product.  It’s an expensive nosebleed of a process, but it’s been worth it.

Our experience with medical marijuana has been nothing short of miraculous.  My son’s seizures evaporated. His anxiety and fight-or-flight shrank to almost nothing.  When puberty started creeping in, we noticed a little increase in aggression, and added THC-A, unheated THC that doesn’t have the psychoactive properties but addresses anxiety and aggression.

I am a fan of whole plant medical cannabis for my middle child. However, we’re stuck inside the great state of California for the duration.  Last year, my husband tried to take Kyle out of state to visit family–with a recommended, legal-everywhere bottle of hemp oil for cannabinoid support–and it was…not good.  The fight-or-flight came roaring back. We learned the hard way that all hemp products are not created equal.

My son NEEDS cannabinoids to support his nervous system. But how do we support that if we have to travel out of state?

Then a couple of weeks ago, a possible solution presented itself.  It’s not a drug, it’s not a medicine, it’s a dietary hemp oil supplement. A new, glyphosate-free liposomal version of cannabadiol was coming on the market, PrimeMyBody NanoEnhanced Hemp Oil. A friend of mine was attending the Autism One conference.  She texted me and basically said, “When I tell you all about this product your head is going to explode!”

She wasn’t kidding! A few days later, she dropped the truth bomb on me: boy genius Chris Shade had developed the product.


Dr. Christopher Shade is a biochemist who specializes in detoxification testing and transport mechanisms–which means he is an expert of getting healthy things into cells and unhealthy things out of cells. He has developed a product that has a very small sized liposome, PrimeMyBody NanoEnhanced Hemp Oil.  The size of the liposome is really, really small–less than 100nm–so the molecules can cross the cellular membrane more easily, making it much more absorbable and bioavailable. Moreover, as a specialist in detox, he wasn’t about to use anything toxic in the production of the product.  Win-win-win.

I’m familiar with Dr Shade from previous conferences, videos, and a professional line of supplements that were highly effective in my own experience. What’s more, the liposome is phosphatidylcholine, a supplement for brain health that I absolutely LOVE.

Believe me when I tell you my geeky little biomed mom heart burst with joy.

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 11.35.35 AM

…and then I found out it was an MLM and I rolled my eyes. Hard. But I reeeeaaaalllly wanted to get my hands on it.  So I signed up as a distributor.

In 16, almost 17, years of using supplements and food to support our health, I’ve resisted signing up with MLMs.  My history is sales is…well, let’s just say I sold 3 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.  Ever.  To my mom. Thanks, Mom.

But this, the PrimeMyBody Hemp Oil, changed my mind.  Because I want to have access to it and I want to make sure my people have access to it.

We just started using it.  I’m using it and I’m giving it to my son.  I’m sending a bottle to my parents and a bottle to my sister with chronic fatigue. I’m giving a bottle to my friend who has terrible migraines.  I’m sending a bottle to my friend who has Crohn’s and a son who has autism. A friend with anxiety just told me she’s ordering.

  • If you’re interested in giving it a try…
  • If you live in a state without access to legal cannabinoids…
  • If you’ve read about about supporting the nervous system with hemp…
  • If you worry about the psychoactive part of medical marijuana, but you’ve heard the cannabinoids might help inflammation…

I’ll be using this space to update my progress, share what I learn about cannabinoids, inflammation, and the endocannabinoid system. Yes, it’s my new business. Yes, I appreciate your support. But I really just want to get this into your hands so you can try it yourself.

In health,





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Oh, what a long, strange trip it’s been

Yes indeedy folks, it’s been more than a year since I did anything blog related.  Oh, maybe I answered a couple of messages, but that’s pretty much been it. Let’s get back to, shall we?

What’s new?





My oldest is wrapping
up his first year at college.  He lived in the dorms, maintained a B+ average, got involved on campus, and found himself not one, but THREE jobs.  I’d say he doing beautifully.






Kid 2 has stabilized.  No seizures, fewer anxiety attacks, more appropriate social interaction, and engagement.  He’s even been able to start flight lessons with his seizures in remission. We did have an unfortunate but interesting development when he and my husband travelled out of state to visit family.  Two days in, the fight-or-flight kicked in with a vengeance.  They’d been unable to take the high-ratio CBD medical marijuana with them.  Two days home and back on his regular dosing, his mood leveled out. We’ve also discovered eating wheat trashes his mood. (I’m in the process of trying to find an appropriate, 50-states-legal version of CBD so we can go visit the grandparents.  Stay tuned.)

Kid 3 had a helluva fall and winter. I’m actually not ready to talk about it publicly in any detail, since it invades his privacy — and he’s very clear on what privacy means to him.  Let’s just say … depression and anxiety like we’ve never experienced and this is not our first rodeo.  It was … new and different.  However, we’ve got everything back to a very good place and my baby boy, now 10!, is thriving.





Husband 1 (ha! A-1 super primo husband deluxe) continues his kick-ass-at-everything ride through life, but we’ve added in some supplements and changed up his diet for heart health. I’m going to write up what we’ve done after his next test results come back.





I am doing well…now. I made another pilgrimage to France (but this year I had trouble with food), cut 12″ of hair off, became obsessed with “Hamilton,” made some serious decisions about what I want to be involved with, and walked away from the Thinking Moms’ Revolution…basically over politics.

I’ve got black kids and an immigrant husband (albeit from Canada) born to immigrant parents (from India).  You can probably figure out where I stand even without my hand-knit hot pink hat. I lost an enormous portion of my personal support network over the past year and trying to regain my equilibrium has taken a lot out of me.  Also, my patience for conspiracy theories has evaporated.  Show me the science, baby.

Right now I’m focused on health and healing, creativity (writing, sewing, crocheting, knitting), spirituality, and being a better family manager (yes, this means housework), and trying to figure out exactly what it is I want to be doing.

Coming up:

More on sleep, sleep apnea, meal planning, weed killing, methylation, MTHFR, back pain, weight loss, nutrition for trauma, disordered eating, EFT, anxiety, amino acids, hypoallergenic dogs, CBD.

— Jill

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In praise of (hypoallergenic) dogs…service dogs, prison dogs, therapy dogs, companion animals

18920438_10212466258626954_5499698478426541873_nMy husband never wanted a dog. My children wanted one desperately.  I was allergic, so we just assumed we would never EVER get a dog.  So you can imagine what happened next…

My middle son has serious anxiety and panic issues and we had noticed that he calmed ALL the way down when he could sit with a dog.  His school at the time had a service dog, and he would angle for extra Tavish time. He was so calm and happy with dogs. The idea that he 20140323-141606.jpgneeded a service dog took root. His doctor supported the idea (she had a dog she brought with her to the office), his therapists, his teachers…everyone.

I am horribly allergic to dogs–dog hair, fur, dander, saliva, the mere energetic essence of dogginess.

And yet, here I am holding my dog Daisy next to my face.  My sister sent me a text 10426205_10204715894912705_6020284472690533446_nmessage after she saw the picture: “Uh, why are you holding a DOG next to your face?”

Because she’s MAGIC! I didn’t believe it was really possible, but here we are.  Daisy is a cavachon, a mix of bichon and King Charles cavalier spaniel.  Two of my friends have cavachons and recommended the mix as allergy friendly.  I was prepared to take allergy medicine for the next 15 years if it meant getting my son the companion dog he clearly needed.

Then something wonderful happened…after about a month or so, my little bit of sniffles when I washed Daisy DISAPPEARED.  I could take a nap on the couch with her basically sitting on my head…and NO SYMPTOMS.  And very little shedding.

19059708_10155385317609253_8484103886304038156_nDaisy has become the entire family’s therapy dog.  Kid 2 likes to snuggle with her during story time before bed. I’ve found Kid 1 asleep on his bed in the middle of the day with Daisy’s head on his chest.  He also take her with him for trips to the beach and “clear your head” drives. I crave my walks with her twice a day and find her warmth and 15 lbs of weight leaning against me to be incredibly calming.  My husband and I discovered we can thrust her into the arms of a cranky kid and 3 seconds later, the child is magically transformed to a bundle of love…who is suddenly better able to communicate exactly WHY he’s so cranky.  Like I said, MAGIC.

19029370_10209808039257563_8310684463102483525_nSo, why get a dog if you have a special needs kiddo?

  • Many kids can form a connection with a dog before they can form a connection with a peer.
  • Companionship–and a very adoring creature to talk to. I’m amazed by the creative conversations my kids have with the dog.
  • Safety–from barking to let you know something is out of the ordinary, to having the child become more aware of physical safety in order to protect the dog.
  • A dog’s mere presence can be very calming.
  • Petting a dog is a sensory positive experience for a lot of kids.
  • An opportunity for care taking and responsibility. Being successful with basic pet care can be a self esteem booster.
  • Learning positive pet discipline also works with the kids (shhhhh!)18952622_10211872708626089_6980894388369919155_n
  • Being the alpha in a relationship can also boost a kid’s self esteem.
  • It gives kids (and adults) something approachable and appropriate to talk about.
  • A companion dog can act as an anchor for someone with anxiety or chronic illness.
    Many moons ago I attended a writing conference and author Amy Tan showed up…with her companion dog.  At the time I rolled my eyes, but years later I learned she had debilitating Lyme disease and her dog helped her cope with the waves of anxiety that she would experience.
  • Exchanging looks with a dog raises oxytocin and is less difficult for many people than locking eyes with another person.
  • I also found having a dog reduced my fear of other dogs (hey, having been bitten by
    a German Shepherd at age 4…I had legit reasons), especially since we got Daisy as a puppy.
  • Helps both kids and adults with PTSD manage daily living.19023449_10212644007351070_4796878402182846105_o
  • Dogs are easier than kids.  There I said it. Don’t hate me.  Adding Daisy to the family mix was so much easier than I ever could have dreamed.  All upside as far as I can tell.

There are several different breeds of low-allergen dogs. Now, the common disclaimer is 19113872_10155402047145682_6487505665619838180_nthat no breed is 100% allergen free. But here are some dogs that friends of mine have had excellent luck with:

Cavachon, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, poodles, labradoodles, Golden doodles, Yorkshire terriers, Wheaton terrier, terrier mix, Maltese/maltipoo.



18952702_10213490293754964_3568943883096416737_nBecause we were looking for a specific hybrid, we went through a breeder.  However, if you don’t have allergies as a top concern, please consider a rescue dog. Many excellent and loving pets are available at an affordable price and, honestly, skipping the potty training and furniture chewing phase has its allure.  My friend Thalia got her dog through a prison training program and says he’s the perfect dog, best dog she’s ever known. Good with kids and her chickens!


Therapy dogs can be trained to identify seizures, low blood sugar, break falls, keep kids 18952588_10213059810394504_8881017251187543763_nout of the street or bodies of water, pull wheelchairs in a bind, plus offer nonjudgemental, unconditional love.

For more information about service dogs:

Canine Companions for Independence 

AKC article on training



I’m not saying cats aren’t wonderful…I’m just saying I think dogs bring something special to families with special kids.



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The Gluten-Free Diet Was the Cornerstone of my Son’s Recovery from Autism


There, that should settle any questions.  And it should ring some bells and tick some people off.

When my son was diagnosed with autism at age 4, the first thing I did was hit the giant Barnes & Noble bookstore and walk out with a huge stack of about 10 books.  I cleaned them out of anything related to autism.  2001 was near the beginning of the tsunami and there just weren’t that many books available.  (Correction: the only book I left behind was a book on ABA because we’d been advised to skip it since my son was so rigid and do Floortime instead.)

41q1dW7nOOL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_My mom ran out and there was only one book on the shelf at Books-A-Million.  “Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and PDD” by Karyn Seroussi.

That book changed everything.

Long story not so long, I read the book and started changing my son’s diet immediately.  I pulled milk, replacing it with some organic soy milk I kept around for my niece Chloe.  He stopped running in circles.

After few false starts I was able to get gluten out. The fog started to lift.  One day my sister stopped by to pick up Chloe’s stuffed bunny that she’d left behind.  We couldn’t find it.  And we couldn’t find Connor.  We headed upstairs and stopped when we heard Connor singing.  We peeked in the door and saw him tucking the stuffed bunny into bed while I sang softly.  I looked at my sister.  “Tell Chloe sorry, but she can’t have that bunny back.”

It was the first glimmer of imaginative play I’d ever seen.  Connor named the bunny Carrots and took him everywhere.

elf-gluten-free-meme1As time went on, we tested for food allergies and sensitivities, using tests for both IgE and IgG reactions. We tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for several month, but had to stop when my son developed allergies to almonds, eggs, and coconut.

At one point, I joked that he was on the food-free diet.  It was free of gluten, casein, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, corn, coconut, seed oils, and for about two weeks, potatoes.

As all of this was gong on, we were doing other things–detox, herbs, homeopathy, lots of occupational therapy, cranial sacral therapy, etc.  Healing my son’s gut was our top priority and keeping him on a gluten-free, casein-free diet was critical.
My son was essential recovered from autism by age 12, with some vestiges of picky eating and anxiety.  Puberty was bumpy as hell–anxiety and depression. That we just rode through, keeping all his dietary restrictions intact, although by the time he was 13 or 14, he could tolerate the occasional real pizza with no issues.

images-4Then, at age 16, Connor decided he wanted to be ripped.  He switched his diet to primal–he was tolerating diary by then and was eating a huge bowl of Greek yogurt everyday–green smoothies, pastured meats, almost no grains.  He lost a ton of weight–between 40-50 pounds in a year–and has, indeed, become ripped.


He also shed the last bit of anxiety and depression. Changing his food, changed his brain. Changing his gut micro biome changed his life for the better. As he heads off for college in the fall, he and I are already discussing how he’s going to handle his gluten-free diet in the dorm so he can maintain his gains and his health.

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Soft Gluten-Free Tortillas!


Dark, burrito-less days are over!

Just a quick post to let you know about a new product I discovered at my local Smart & Final.  Mission brand Wheat-Free Tortillas are everything a wheat tortilla should be: soft, pliable, and delicious!

I admit, I’ve missed the heck out of wheat tortillas–the burritos, the quesadillas, the wrap sandwiches. But baby, we’re back.  I’ll be hitting up Chipotle tonight to get bowls of burrito filling (yes, I know guacamole is extra ;)) so we can all have burritos.

According to the company website, these are currently only available in the western region of the US, but I’m sure phone calls and emails will help convince them to expand distribution.

Really, these are fantastic.  I may be buying out my local Smart & Final…


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Stove-Top, Butter-Roasted Cauliflower


It’s my new favorite veggie: riced cauliflower, poached in water with butter, then pan roasted.  Yummmmm.

It’s almost like grabbing the pan off the burner before it burns to a crisp…but not.  I find I can set it up and do other things to prep dinner while the cauliflower is cooking and the water is boiling off, but once it’s down to butter and the hot pan, the cauli needs a little attention.


Also, if you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they sell pre-“riced” cauliflower, both frozen and fresh.  I find fresh works a little better.



Here are three ways to rice it yourself:

The Box Grater Method — Be prepared to make a mess! Grate it by hand with a standard box grater (the large holes).

The Blender Method — Put chunks of cauliflower in blender and add enough water so the pieces are freely floating around. Pulse it a few times, then drain.

And The Food Processor Method — Pulse it in your food processor until the cauliflower achieves rice-like consistence.


Stove-Top, Butter-Roasted Cauliflower


  • Riced cauliflower — 1 head of cauliflower, or one bag
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Add everything to large sauté pan.
  • Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in butter so it is evenly distributed.
  • Remove lid and cook of water. Don’t stir it!
  • Once cauliflower starts to caramelize, stir only a few times to prevent sticking.


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Quick kitchen tips

12039459_10207007322796970_3944344690102798548_nJust a few post-Superbowl quick tips…

Did you know you can make chicken and rice in a rice cooker? I know, right?? Just put the raw, boneless chicken pieces on top of the uncooked rice and water, closer ‘er up and hit PLAY.  You can cut the pieces up, but I found boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs worked fine without being cut up. My precious Daisy had to be on a chicken and rice diet for a week and this simplified everything.



Trader Joe’s has a pre-cooked, pre-sliced, grass-fed beef sirloin roast with three ingredients: beef, salt, and black pepper :).  My youngest boy and I l-o-v-e it.  We’ve even served it with a little lime juice as taco filling. (And it makes it super easy to stay keto.)





The slice-and-whack method of de-seeding a pomegranate really works!  Slice it in half, then hold it cut-side down over a big bowl and whack the back with a wooden spoon. The seeds, or arils, will come right out.

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