Bullet Journalling for Multiple Allergies

This is the second post in a series of posts (Living with Multiple Allergies 101).  In the first post, I shared my four point plan for surviving the early days after a diagnosis of multiple allergies.  My fourth point was “Get organised”!  Well, this is how I do it.  I use a bullet journal (sometimes shortened to bujo).  Please note that this post contains an affiliate link that helps towards paying for the running costs of this site.

Bullet journalling can seem very complex at the beginning; hang in there because it’s really not and it can change your life for the better.  This method of personal organisation was invented by Ryder Carroll so I think the best starting place is a link to his video explaining how bullet journaling works.

Here’s a quick crib sheet of the different modules of a bullet journal:

Index – a table of contents that you update as you go

Future log – a year at a glance calendar

Monthly log – a month at a glance calendar

Daily log – what you need to do today

Bullet journaling involves writing short, bulleted information.  The bullet points used tell you information about the task.  I only use a few: • something that needs doing, / something that is half done (e.g. I have trialled a recipe and taken photos, but not put it up on the blog yet), X a completed task, – a cancelled task, and > something I didn’t get around to that needs to be put on another date.

The great thing about this system is how flexible it is so you can tailor it to your needs.  I don’t have all the modules that Ryder suggests someone uses in their bullet journal.  I have an index at the front to keep track of all the pages.  This is followed by a double spread Future Log for sixth months with jobs marked in it that I know I have to get done at a certain time of year, but not necessarily on a specific day; e.g. buying supplies for the boys’ birthday parties.  I break this down further by having a page as a task list for each month.  I have a double spread for each week and I mark my errands, appointments, etc.

A bullet journal is a combined planner, calendar and to do list, and you can include lots of other information between the log pages.  For example, I shop at multiple supermarkets so I need to have multiple shopping lists on the go.  I find this better than having lots of pieces of paper all over the place.20180123_104723 2

I also use multiple online food suppliers (and I have a bad book buying habit!).  I find this Waiting On list a really helpful way of writing down orders as I make them.  It helps me keep track of any missing parcels.20180123_104606

Finally, a really allergy-specific example is that I keep track of the boys’ food trials.  This is my notes from our rather sad trial of rice that ended with them both being ill.20180123_105203There are some truly beautiful bullet journals out there (search for bujo inspiration).  I use mine in a very practical way.  The only equipment I have is my trusty fountain pen, a short ruler that tucks in the back pocket of my journal, and my slightly extravagant Moleskine Soft Underwater Blue Large Dotted Notebook.  If you would like to see some beautiful and useful spreads, then I recommend this Buzzfeed collection of Bujo ideas for health.

Next week – I will be writing about “picky eating” and our approach to meal times.

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Decadent Saffron and Mushroom Soup

Please note that this post contains affiliate links to help me pay for the costs of running this blog. Thank you.

I love soups because they are frugal and healthy, but sometimes it’s nice to be a bit extravagant.  This soup fits the bill.  Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, but it adds a beautiful colour and an earthy, but fresh flavour.  I enhanced the earthiness with some Portobello mushrooms, and then added more richness with some almond cream.

I made the soup in my soup maker. You need to make sure all the vegetables are chopped to approximately the same size

Ingredients
2 shallots, peeled and chopped

2-3 large Portobello mushrooms, peeled and chopped

3 small potatoes, peeled if necessary and cubed

1 Knorr vegetable stock pot or stock of your choice

1 carton of Ecomil Organic Almond Cream 200 ml
1 carton of almond milk (I used Ecomil Organic Sugar Free Natural Almond Drink)

1 pinch of saffron

1. Chop all the vegetables to roughly the same size.
2. Put all the ingredients, except the almond milk,  in your soup maker.
3. Add almond milk up to the minimum liquid level
4. Choose the blended soup option.
5. Get on with something else.
6. Come back to your decadent Saffron and Mushroom soup because you are so very worth it!

High Woods Country Park, Colchester

The Allergy Brothers love visiting High Woods Country Park.  They will spend hours dragging around huge logs to make dens.20180116_123903

Another benefit of visiting here is the little café in the High Woods Country Park Visitor Centre.  It’s very small with a couple of tables inside and some picnic tables outside.  However, it stocks a really amazing range of Allergy Brother-friendly products.  Allergy Little could choose from the whole range of Bear Paw and Yoyos fruit snacks, crisps, and juices from Cawston Press.  They also stock vegan flapjacks.

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“Help! We have Multiple Food Allergies!” A 4 Point Survival Plan for the Early Days.

Discovering that you or a family member has multiple allergies can seem like an overwhelming thing to deal with.  These are the four things I wish I had known in the early days of our multiple allergy journey.

  1.  Don’t panic!  This is good news.  No, really.  You now know what has been causing the symptoms so it’s an opportunity.  Allergy Big was very ill for the first three years of his life.  Discovering his food allergies meant that he was able to recover and subsequently thrive.Two young boys are on a beach. They are facing away from the camera and are a bit over dressed.
  2. Don’t worry about a variety of meals. Lots of us have this idea, and social media fuels this, that we should all be able to produce a wide variety of nutritional meals inspired by global cuisine.  We are so lucky to live in this time of supermarkets with so many products.  However, this is a recent innovation.  If you read books like the Little House on the Prarie series, then one of the thing that stands out is how bland and repetitive their meals are. The treat foods are described so rapturously because they were so unusual. In fact, right now many people will be eating pretty dull meals to sustain themselves.  So don’t feel guilty about a lack of variety.  I would aim for a plan for three days of meals to start off with, that you can rotate.  If you can access a dietitian then they will be able to help you put this plan together.food-salad-restaurant-person.jpg
  3. You might have to change your views on food shopping.  Lots of people seem to have favourite shops that they like to buy the bulk of their food from.  I find this just doesn’t work for us.  I go to a different supermarket each week; I use Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and The Co-Operative Society.  I also use an online supermarket (Ocado), a wholesaler (Suma), local health food stores, and online shopping sites (Ethical Superstore, Goodness Direct, Veggie Stuff, and Holland At Home).  Also, don’t dismiss the bargain stores.  Lidl and Aldi stock more products that we can eat than Waitrose do.  I still hope to repeat the day I found Kinnerton Free From chocolate at a very low price in Home Bargains!  Shopping will, especially in the early days, take up quite a bit of time as you will need to check every ingredient list on every product.pexels-photo-264636.jpeg
  4. Get organised.  In the early days, there is going to be a lot to learn and keep track of.  You might need to keep a food diary that tracks symptoms with foods eaten.  You might need different shopping lists for each store on the go.  You might need to keep track of appointments with multiple, medical consultants.  Next week, I’ll write a more detailed blog post about how I organise our information.pexels-photo-768472.jpeg

Finally, thanks to reader Janel, who commented on the blog’s About page while we were on blog hiatus and inspired this post.  I decided to do a series of posts for people in the early days of diagnosis so that information will always be available if someone needs it.

It would be great if readers could share their ideas for dealing with those early days in the comments.
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

“Let’s Pretend It’s Summer” Tomato & Kimchi Soup

Please note that this post contains Amazon Affiliate links to help me pay for the costs of running this blog. Thank you.
I am still using my soup maker daily (Tefal BL841140 Easy Soup and Smoothie Maker, Stainless Steel, White). Recently, I felt like a blast of summer and spice to break the January gloom. This recipe really hit the spot, and it includes kimchi for its probiotics, and spicy and sour flavour.
Ingredients
2 shallots
1 can of tomatoes in tomato juice
250g of summery vegetables (I used courgette, aubergine and pepper)
1 Knorr Vegetable stock pot or stock of your choice
3 small potatoes, washed but with skin on
1 tbsp kimchi (Biona Organic Kimchi 350g (Pack of 6))

1. Chop all the vegetables to roughly the same size.

2. Put all the ingredients in your soup maker.

3. Add water up to the minimum liquid level

4. Choose the blended soup option.

5. Get on with something else.

6. Come back to a soup that has a winter-beating thick texture with a bright taste of summer!

7. Garnish with a little extra kimchi, if you are a fan.

The best thing about winter! Featuring Schlagfix vegan cream

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The second best thing about winter is a walk in the crisp, countryside air.  The best thing about winter is the hot chocolate you can justify drinking after the walk.  Unfortunately, the Allergy Brothers had never been able to have an enormous hot chocolate covered in cream and marshmallows, because we have never found a whipped cream that they could eat.  Soyatoo sold soya-based creams that could be whipped (Soya Topping Cream – 300ml) or came in pressurised containers(SOYATOO – SOYA SOYA CREAM SPRAY), but these were no good for the Allergy Brothers.

We were very excited to discover that Schlagfix sell a “Universelle Schlagcreme” that the boys could potentially eat.  This product can be used for whipping, cooking and baking.   If I am honest, I found the name very funny too because I am immature.  Anyway, here are the Ingredients:

Water, Palm kernel oil (fully hydrogenated) 15%, maltodextrin; glucose syrup; stabilizer: starch, E435, E331, E464, E460, E466, E339; emulsifiers: E4,81, E471, E475; salt, flavour.

Allergy Little enjoyed helping whip the cream, although, as you can see, he doesn’t like the noise of the beaters.  It turns out that you can get this cream in a pressurised container (Schlagfix Vegan Squirty Cream) too so that would save some work.20171228_162729

If we are honest, Allergy Little and I weren’t that impressed.  It turns out that something that is made out of oils and E numbers tastes like…  well, oily chemicals.  Who knew?!  But this product has its uses.  I am sure if you flavoured the cream then it would be much better.  I can imagine that we will use this cream when we need to make an Allergy Brother-friendly version of a specific recipe.

We used regular marshmallows, but you can get vegan mini pink and white marshmallows.