UPDATE

Welcome! I posted my final post in October 2010 for the sole reason that for those who need it, it is the post I most want them to see. It was, for us, an answered prayer. I wish you the best of luck in your journey with food allergies, eczema, and/or asthma. I have since founded ChasingMotherhood. CONTACT: stopandenjoy@gmail.com XO

Monday, April 13, 2009

A ONE STOP SHOP!

A wonderful part of our Easter this year was the bountiful baskets our children received from the Easter Bunny- thanks to Amanda's Own there was much chocolate-filled joy! That has not been an option in the past, and would still not be were it not for a wonderful website I discovered by chance - Free From Market, "the single destination for all major and hard to find allergen free groceries, pharmaceutical grade supplements, chemical free household cleaners, natural health and beauty products, high tolerance air purifiers, etc". It was by surfing this site that I found the chocolate product.

Inspired by their two daughters who have several allergies (food, animals, plants), Celiac disease and asthma, Peter and Shelly DeRousse just opened their store in Chicago and also (thankfully!) offer online shopping as well. Frustrated by the prospect of shopping at 4-5 different stores to meet their needs, it seemed to them that there should be a better way - and Free From Market was born.

I had an opportunity to ask Peter a few questions and was enlightened by his responses. He says, "We saw and experienced the great gulf and steep learning curve that exists between diagnosis and leading a life of optimum health with allergies or Celiac disease. We also realized that U.S. distribution of allergen free foods is very provincial. Beyond exhausting the distributors that serve our region, the aim was to cull directly from the best east and west coast brands. Finally, we never understood why those with food allergies seem to neglect their environmental allergies. It only leads to exacerbating the real dangerous food problems or asthma or both. It just makes sense to put it all together."

In describing their mission for the store Peter says, "Our look is clean, lively and fun. There is much doom and gloom surrounding food allergy. Yet, most of the food allergy people I meet are much healthier than the average person, because they tend not to eat fast food or out of the center of the grocery store (i.e. the same 5 ingredients in different combinations). There is much to celebrate about returning to the art of cooking and optimum health, and we wanted to create a place that removed the fear and the feeling of being deprived. Still, I have experienced the worst that anaphylaxis can offer – almost – 7 times, so I am dead serious about labeling, cross contact and advocacy. We have a peanut and gluten-free facility."

What is fabulous for the rest of us about their venture is that they are consumers as well, "We use the things we sell. We know how they perform in the kitchen. When substitutions work and don’t work. My wife Shelly still spends weekends dreaming up excellent dairy, gluten, egg and soy free meals."

Because of his vast exposure to products and foods I asked what are a few of his favorite items. He responded, "I like the Blue Air ECO10 Air Purifier. It is dead silent, emits no ozone and helps prevent us from waking up with asthmatic symptoms. It also runs on 10 watts. Breads from Anna Mixes are hard to beat, as are Sunflour Baking Co. Shortbread cookies. I am also a fan of antibiotic-free, hormone-free, free range meats. Personal care products are really tricky especially for people with allergies (and ought to be given more attention even by the non-allergic population), but brands like Keys, Noli ‘n’ Nali and Terressentials use no nonsense, full disclosure labels, they work excellently and have no downstream footprint"

Peter summed things up by stating "Cheer up folks! You are not deprived." I try to remember this often...how true it is!

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