The Allergy Chef
I want you all to meet Kathlena, The Allergy Chef. She is an incredible food allergy friendly blogger and even does catering in the San Francisco/Bay Area specializing in specific food allergy friendly treats.
I had the pleasure of meeting her and her family back in October while up in my hometown of San Francisco. I was only there for the day for dental work (my uncle is my dentist) and Kathlena reached out to me on Instagram to invite me to come meet her and try her amazing baked goodies. The only time that we could see her was at the end of the day on the way to the airport. She was so incredibly genuine and asked what food allergies my mom and I both had. Mom is allergic to eggs, dairy, oats, etc. You can read about her food allergy journey HERE. I am allergic to sugar cane and yeast, and like to eat low carb or paleo treats.
She has an incredible and inspiring story. You can read the long version HERE. Here's the short version: I bet she has more allergies and hardships with food than you do, but you would never know it because never once did I hear her complain about her allergies or feel bad for herself for the foods that she couldn't have. I have said numerous times on my blog and on social media that you should be grateful that you know what you are allergic to. Go ahead and have your 5 minutes of frustration or tears and then consider being thankful. You should be thankful that there are so many wonderful companies (and food bloggers like The Allergy Chef) who are working their butts off to create recipes, foods and mixes that you can have with your food allergies. Kathlena agreed! She is allergic to a long list of foods. Add to that, everyone in her house also has some kind of food allergy that is different than the rest. She has so many food allergies & has a houseful of mouths to feed that all have different allergies. She makes sure that everyone gets what they need, the nutrition that they need & does it all while having her own sensitivities, allergies & restrictions - even to the foods that she prepares for her family! Her sensitivities are so severe she wears this superhero looking mask to ensure that she gets clean air when she's around other people or she has to keep her distance.
While spending time with her, we talked food, of course! We swapped recipe ideas, favorite products and encouraged each other. Having food allergies can be tricky, and, of course, there are times when I miss foods that I can't eat or refuse to eat anymore. One example: growing up I didn't eat a lot of candy (it's bad for you and I come from a family of dentists), but I did enjoy sour candies on occasion. While there are some great alternatives to the terrible mainstream candy that I do enjoy, like Surf Sweets, I can't even eat them now because of the sugar cane allergy. It was so amazing to be able to talk to someone else who goes through some of the same things that I do with food.
You might be looking at the photo of us and wondering what is on her face. Her sensitivities are so severe she wears this super-hero looking mask to ensure that she gets clean air when she's around other people or she has to keep her distance. During my time with her, she didn't have the mask on, but she did stay away from mom and me. After realizing all of her sensitivities, I wished I hadn't worn my perfume that day, but I didn't really know or understand at the time. I remember asking her about the mask. It's pretty amazing, if you ask me. I like to call it a superhero mask. She wears this mask anytime she leaves the house: to go to the store, run an errand, pick up the kids, or drop off some goodies to a customer. This mask allows Kathlena to have a better quality of life. Again, it's a superhero mask with magical powers! I love her attitude about it all, really! I asked if we could take a picture together and she said, "of course - let me grab my mask!" Afterwards, I asked her if I could hug her, I didn't want to make her feel sick with all the scents I had on: my shampoo, lotion, perfume, deodorant, the detergent I used to wash my clothes, etc. She laughed and immediately hugged me.
Let's get to the goodies. She made us the most amazing treats, and my mom and I really loved them. I even brought a bunch home with me, and it was so hard to not eat them all on the plane.
My favorite of the treats were the Paleo Gingerbread Cookies (you can see the recipe here). She drizzled them with maple cream frosting, and I just couldn't get enough of the flavor, the texture, the taste and the ingredients! I really couldn't believe that I was eating a cookie that my mom and I could both eat with our food allergies. My mom is pickier than I am and she ate these up!
Kathlena also made us Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes that were a mix between a cupcake and a brownie that had an incredible frosting as well. I actually couldn't eat those because of sugar cane - they were made for my mom, but you know I had to taste them... and if I could have eaten them all, I would have!
One of my other favorite treats that she made were these tasty Paleo Cups. One was apple, one was pumpkin and the other was sweet potato - all yum in the tum! They were almost like a raw pie. My favorite was the apple, and I would so eat it all up again!
I can honestly say that my mom and I ate a lot of these treats while we were at Kathlena's. Of course, I had to be a good wife and bring some of them home to my hubby.
Here's the thing you need to know about Kathlena, even after only spending about an hour with her, it's beyond clear that she has a heart of gold and a true love for what she does. While she does have a love-hate relationship with food because she has so many food allergies, it doesn't stop her drive to help others with their food allergies. She has a very thorough and detailed easy-to-use website that caters to people with all kinds of food allergies and food restrictions.
Her cookbooks are a must. She has 2 beautiful cookbooks that I am thankful to have. I have gotten lots of great ideas from her cookbooks for meals.
I whipped up those amazing gingerbread cookie balls, too! I rolled the dough out and made little gingerbread men (or as I called them on my Instagram story, "g-men"), Christmas trees and angels. Her recipe was easy-to-follow and I love how these little cookies turned out. You can find the recipe for her Paleo Gingerbread Cookies HERE.
I really, really, really adore her, her kind heart and her desire to help others with food allergy friendly treats and recipes. She has an infectious smile, a wonderful positive attitude about everything and I am so grateful that we became friends. I know many people who, when it comes to food allergies, have terrible outlooks on life because they are allergic to one thing, like dairy or gluten. I encourage you to check out her amazing social media and website. If you are feeling frustrated with your food allergies or simply want to eat healthier, please get to know Kathlena. I just know she will inspire and encourage you just as much as she has inspired and encouraged me.
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