I found this infographic and I think it’s so interesting. I am fascinated by health and the body and how food can affect a person’s overall well being.

Would you ever equate a rash or swollen ankles with a food intolerance?  A year ago, I probably wouldn’t but after studying up on this very topic, I attribute a lot of health issues to food. Our foods have been modified and soil has been depleted, creating crops that are different than when our grandparents and parents were growing up.  Wheat, a very common ingredient in many products, is not even close to being the same as it was years ago.  For more about the wheat issue, go here.

There are people suffering with food allergies and intolerances from things other than wheat.

Allergy vs. Intolerance

“Food intolerance, also known as non-IgE mediated food hypersensitivity or non-allergic food hypersensitivity, refers to difficulty in digesting certain foods. It is important to note that food intolerance is different from food allergy.

Food allergy triggers the immune system, while food intolerance does not. Some people suffer digestive problems after eating certain foods even though their immune system has not reacted – there is no histamine response.

Foods most commonly associated with food intolerance include dairy products, grains that contain gluten, and foods that cause intestinal gas buildup, such as beans and cabbage.”  SOURCE

Common food allergies include:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts (such as walnut or cashew)
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • soy
  • wheat

According the the Mayo Clinic, food allergies can appear as an adult with no obvious reason behind it. You might find yourself suddenly unable to eat something you used to eat all the time! It’s so frustrating, as I can tell you from experience. 

“When your digestive system isn’t operating properly, the unhealthy environment actually destroys the lining of the digestive tract.  This scenario has become known as “Leaky Gut” and can drive systemic inflammation and either cause or aggravate a variety of inflammatory and auto-immune conditions.  At the very least it will lead to food sensitivities known as “food allergies.”  When you completely and comprehensively repair the leaky gut, you can eliminate food sensitivities.” SOURCE

You can help to heal your stomach by consuming certain nutrients that help get the digestive system back on track. Try looking into these: Acid stable digestive enzymes, Quercetin, N Acetyl Cysteine,  L-Glutamine, N Acetyl Glucosamine, Phosphatidyl Choline, probiotics, and gentle fiber.

Here are the details:

“Digestive enzymes break food down into nutrients preventing them from fermenting (rotting) into toxins. The probiotics repopulate the intestines with beneficial bacteria supporting healthy immune function, nutrient absorbption and they also compete for space and nutrients with harmful microorganisms that may be present, diminishing their numbers.  L-glutamine, N Acetyl D Glucosamine and Phosphatidyl Choline actually help to rebuild the mucous membrane that lines the digestive tract, ensuring proper absorption of nutrients.  This is the “back-bone” of the healing process for “Leaky Gut”.” SOURCE

If you are suffering from something and can’t figure out what  it is, try looking into your daily diet. You can keep a journal of what you are eating, then start eliminating foods one by one.  If you have an allergy or intolerance, how are you handling it?




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I am always so excited to find a non-toxic brand of color cosmetics. These are a lot harder to find than you might think. I want a really good quality, fair price, a product that doesn’t contain fragrance, nothing that clogs pores, it has to last all day and it needs to be heavy enough to cover spots and discoloration but light enough to not look like I am wearing pancake makeup.

It’s a tall order, right? I know. 

So when I tell you that Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Creme Foundation delivers on everything, you can trust my opinion!

Check out the ingredients:  Triglycerides, Zinc Oxide, Organic Beeswax, Organic Jojoba, Silica, Radish Root, Organic Argan, Organic Rosehip, Neem, Clay, Organic Green Tea, Organic Passionflower, Organic Raspberry, Natural Vitamin E (+/-, Iron Oxides, Mica, Org Essential Oil Blend).

Its chocked full of really good stuff! And you don’t need much, I put a little dab on each area of my face and blend.  I love everything about this and based on this foundation, I want to try lots more from this brand.

Topping my must-have list is the concealer, mascara, and botanical lip gloss. The prices of these products are quite affordable. I feel a shopping spree coming on…

For more information, go here! 

Have you tried this brand? What foundation are you currently using? Spill it!




If you haven’t heard of this brand yet, let me place it on your radar!

Let’s first address the unique name: “The name  is rooted in a myth that says that elephants love to eat the fruit that has fallen from the Marula trees. Once eaten, fermentation occurs inside their very large tummies and the elephants become drunk!”

Virgin Marula oil is found in many of the products from  Drunk Elephant. It has a high content of fatty acids and antioxidants. The skincare from this line is also non-toxic, unscented and gentle. I love that these products are formulated without toxic ingredients, its a big deal to me. I don’t want my skin care to have anything liked to organ toxicity, cancer, endocrine disruption etc. You can find out more by going here.

I tried two products from this brand. Let’s learn more! 

First is the C-Firma Day Serum which is for brightening and firming up the skin. It contains powerful anti-oxidants to improve the look of skin and it works nicely with the Umbra Sheer Physical Defense. It will stay active on the skin for up to 72 hours! I have been lightly applying this in the morning to improve the slight discoloration I have on my face thanks to years of tanning at the Jersey Shore.

“This revolutionary serum evens skin tone, fights cellular UV damage, stimulates collagen synthesis and optimizes skin physiological activities of defense and cell regeneration. Our unique formulation enzymatically dissolves unwanted surface skin cells and provides intense hydration through the use of Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, which can easily penetrate the skin. The result is a noticeably diminished appearance of photodamage, replaced by incredible radiance and luminosity.  The pH level is 3.3-3.5.”


drunk2The Umbra Sheer Physical Defense offers anpf of 30 and contains 20% Zinc Oxide plus sunflower extract. This is made without chemical sunscreens which are known skin irritants.  It doesn’t leave a white tint on your skin, it absorbs quickly and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin.

“This physical block is formulated without any chemical sunscreens, which have been known to cause irritation and are not as effective as the natural alternative, Zinc Oxide. It is difficult to formulate a physical sunblock that is suitable for all skin tones, but we have done just that. Drunk Elephant formulations only contain ingredients that are there to benefit skin health and support the formulation, keeping them safe and making them ideal for even the most sensitive skin. You will never find colorants or fragrances of any kind in our products. That is our commitment to you.”

I loved these two products and have been reading up on the other items that Drunk Elephant offers and T.L.C. the Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum has caught my eye! Find that and other products here.

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Driftwood by Elizabeth Dutton

For some reason, I thought this book was a memoir. I was really impressed how the author wrote her life story like a novel although I was irritated that I couldn’t think of a single song from the band mentioned in the book. Then I realized its NOT a biography- its a novel.

I love the plot of Driftwood: a  young woman named Clementine Jasper, with no real job or sense of purpose sets out on a journey after her father, rock legend Tommy Jasper, dies. Using only the letters left behind from her father as guidance, she takes a road trip that gives her clarity about her father and herself. California comes alive as Clem drive through small towns and meets various people. She’s a fun main character, quirky and the story (not a memoir) is a quick read.



Delicious by Ruth Reichl

I know Ruth from watching Top Chef. This is the first book I have read of hers, I hear her other books are very good. This one is a novel with so many mouth watering details and little insider snippets, you feel like you are really immersed in the kitchen! I especially liked the cheese shop where the main character, Billie, meets an interesting group of people. If you love cooking, New York city, heartwarming characters, you will want to read this gem.

I read this book back in December and was waiting until the release date to post my review which is May (right around the corner)!  I’m borrowing the synopsis from Amazon:

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.

To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.




I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star by Judy Greer

You know Judy Greer, she’s been the best friend in countless comedies! She’s been in so many movies that even if her name doesn’t ring a bell, her face will. 

This is her story, with humorous essays about what its like to be an actress.  In the beginning chapters, Judy takes us through her childhood in Detroit,  growing up and going to college, her career aspirations and little bits of Hollywood  insider stuff- not the dirty gossip, but her own experiences. Its an entertaining book and Judy comes across as someone I’d be friends with in real life- down to earth, sweet, likable, and funny!









While hunting around for reasons that I’ve been having stomach issues, I came across something called FODMAPs. Just when you think you’ve seen or read everything dealing with nutrition…here comes something new (to me). 

FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates “(oligosaccharides), disaccharides, monosaccharides and related alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. These include short chain (oligo-) saccharide polymers of fructose (fructans) and galactose (galactans), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and sugar alcohols (polyols) such as sorbitol, mannitol,xylitol and maltitol.

The term FODMAP is an acronym, deriving from “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols“. The restriction of these FODMAPs from the diet has been found to have a beneficial effect for sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID).” From Wikipedia- you didn’t think I knew that all by myself did you? When I think of FODMAPs, I think of foods that literally ferment in my stomach and that helps me remember a little of what this is all about.

Unfortunately, the foods on the FODMAP list are healthy and ones that I like eating. Its really subjective; what bothers me may not bother you. If you have intestinal issues or discomfort, looking into this way of eating might offer some help and a bit of relief.

Here’s more that you need to know:

“Poor absorption of most FODMAP carbohydrates is common to everyone. Any FODMAPs that are not absorbed in the small intestine pass into the large intestine, where bacteria ferment them. The resultant production of gas potentially results in bloating and flatulence. Most individuals do not suffer significant symptoms but some may suffer the symptoms of IBS. Restriction of FODMAP intake in the latter group has been found to result in improvement of symptoms.”

Mark’s Daily Apple has great information about this whole topic which you can read here. 

At this point in my own health journey, I’m ready to give up and eat ice cubes and drink water only! Do you follow this way of eating? Have you heard of FODMAPs before? Tell me!



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I am on a never ending quest to achieve smooth, flowing locks!

My dry, color treated hair has come a long way in the recent year. I have gone to using only natural, sulfate free shampoo, using a soft white shirt to dry my hair instead of a towel and I have given up on using most styling products (like mousse and gels) which tend to dry out my hair. These locks need all the moisture they can get! 

Lately my recently discoveries have really helped lock in the moisture and leave my hair in better shape. Here are my latest obsessions for smooth, hydrated hair!

First is Shea Moisture. All of the products I’ve ever used from this brand have smelled AMAZING. And they do not contain any of the nasty stuff: No Parabens, No Phthalates, No Paraffin,  No Formaldehyde, No Propylene Glycol, No Mineral Oil, No Synthetic Fragrance, No Petrolatum, No Synthetic Color, No DEA, No Animal Testing!

Shea Moisture Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Masque is a thick, creamy, deliciously scented deep conditioner for dry, frizzy hair. Helps keep hair smooth and soft thanks to key ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil. 

Also noteworthy is the Shea Moisture Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Glosser, which is ideal for after you are done blow drying your hair and want to tame and smooth your hair. Contains Tahitian Noni - an antioxidant vitamin that helps maintain hair health. The Monoi Oil  offers reparative benefits to revive dry, damaged hair, and  keratin which smoothes and reduces flyaways while moisturizing the hair.

You can find Shea Moisture at Target (my home away from home) and online here!

Next is from Badger Balm. I love this brand and have never been disappointed in their fabulous products. These hair products are a must have if you are working on obtaining healthy hair. 

The Sea Buckthorn Hair Oil is a must have for all hair types  but especially dry, color treated, frizzy hair.  I wrote about the benefits of Sea Buckthorn last week and I am in awe of this miracle ingredient.

This hair oil is a super hydrating treatment, you can comb in through hair and leave on over night for an intense treatment, or apply for an hour or longer, to allow it to soak into dry hair. After you shampoo your hair, you will see a noticeable improvement. Sea Buckthorn, Apricot and Pomegranate oils work together infusing hair with vitamins and antioxidants. Yes please!

For a daily treatment, use the Argan Oil for Dry and Damaged hair. This strong blend of oils is what I literally slather on the ends of my hair when I am home and don’t mind an oil overload. Here’s the scoop: Precious Argan Oil is rich in vitamins, proteins, and essential fatty acids, which strengthen and soften hair at the same time. Jojoba deeply moisturizes, while Baobab strengthens. Each oil selected for this blend contains potent antioxidants that prevent free radical damage, and protect hair from the elements.

Badger Balm Products are fantastic, I want one of everything! Find more here.

Recently I started using the John Frieda Volume Curls 1 1/2” Curling Iron. I wish I had wash n’ go hair but I don’t. I don’t have a lot of patience for styling my hair either. I know for the perfect blow-out, you need to pin sections of your hair and blow dry piece by piece. I don’t have the time, with a husband glaring that we’re going to be late, kids yelling and dogs barking- I need to get going as quickly as possible!

I appreciate this curling iron which heats up in less than a minute and is relatively gentle to my hair with its  ”Titanium Ceramic Technology and Advanced Ionic Conditioning to seal in moisture and reduce frizz.”  I add loose curls and smooth the ends of my hair with a bit of oil. 

With my wavy-not quite- curly hair, I use a big round brush to try and make it straightish. Its the best I can hope for. Someday I will explore allowing my hair to dry naturally (it usually looks HORRIBLE when I do that) so for now I depend on great hair tools, a good blow dryer and a dependable curling iron.  My brush of choice has been this one: John Frieda Large Porcupine Round Brush Volume Curls.

This brush contains: Tourmaline – 100% crushed gemstones release natural IONS for intense shine, while IONS help flatten hair’s cuticle layer, leaving hair looking shiny and reducing frizz.

 I think beauty starts from within- meaning you are what you eat. Meaning, you should be consuming these foods for healthy hair! 


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I love to juice green apples, spinach, a pinch of kale, lemons and ginger but I don’t always have the time to slave away over my juicer. Enter Greens First, a green powder that you add to water, shake it up and drink- all within four  minutes!

I read about Greens First and the reviews were glowing so I bought a can. Unlike other green powders, this one has a pleasant, almost minty taste that is easy to drink and leaves no grassy aftertaste. I love being healthy and drinking green drinks and eating salads but if something doesn’t taste good, I just won’t do it! Thank goodness this is tasty- and gluten free!

Look at the details:

“Greens First is highly concentrated nutrition and is rich in electrons which means it is a powerful neutralizer of harmful acids. (You can see that when you use the plastic scoop to get a serving out of the bottle – the negatively charged Greens First powder will cling to the positively charged plastic bottle the way that opposites do.)  

Greens First provides naturally occurring and easily absorbed vitamins, minerals and macronutrients. Another important nutrient that Greens First delivers is chlorophyll, which is the substance that helps plants absorb light and make them look green. The molecular structure of chlorophyll is very similar to that of hemoglobin which is the substance of your red blood cells that helps them transport oxygen. Chlorophyll helps your blood deliver oxygen throughout the body which in turn helps to make stronger body cells and stronger blood.”

Here’s the official website but I buy mine from Amazon.

My next must-have product is Sun Chlorella USA. Need energy? Then these little green tablets are a must in your vitamin routine. Chlorella is simply put, a nutrient dense superfood that is a serious multi-tasker.

According to Dr. Mercola: 

“When chlorella is taken into your body, its natural action will bind it to lingering heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides found in your digestive tract, which is your body’s pathway to your bloodstream where these harmful toxins are delivered and deposited into your body’s cells.

So chlorella first and foremost will help your body eliminate unwanted metals and toxins. But it does more than that.

Chlorella is uniquely designed to not bind to the minerals your body naturally needs to function optimally. It does not bind to beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium, or zinc. It’s almost as if chlorella knows which metals belong in your body and which chemicals need to be removed. Supplementing with chlorella is like unleashing a tiny army inside your body to fight the battle of removing toxins from your tissues and ushering them back outside your body where they belong.”

Sun Chlorella USA offers chlorella in pill form or in small packets of powdered chlorella you can easily add to a smoothie or juice- I add it to my Greens First.  This is a reputable brand that offers a high quality, minimally processed product that works! I will not be without it.

There’s also the Sun Chlorella Natural Anti-Aging Skin Cream that  nurtures skin with the amazing power of chlorella!

It contains over twenty vitamins and minerals plus chlorophyll, it soothes skin, protects skin with clove flower extract, contains vitamin E, and does NOT contain parabens.  I’ve noticed my skin looks very smooth and feels soft after using this product. I especially like it for my neck, chest and hands which are places where age spots usually pop up!


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Once you begin reading ingredients on your  beauty products, its like opening a Pandora’s Box. And once you know about synthetic chemicals that cause cancer, endocrine issues and other problems, you really can’t turn back. 

I started reading labels on my beauty products and decided I wanted to use only the most pure makeup, skin care and body lotions available. Because you just cannot walk into Target, CVS or WalMart and grab anything, you have to dedicate yourself to learning about ingredients and their tricky names. Everything would be so much easier if you could trust that what you are buying is safe to use!

That brings me to Carefree Organics. This brand is super safe, non toxic, contains organic ingredients and I know that they are dedicated to a high standard.

I tried several products and wow! I’m happy!  Check it out.

Flawless Face Balancing Facial Wash: All I want in a facial wash is something soothing that can remove all makeup and leave my skin soft, not dry. This one works even around the eye area!

Check out the pure ingredients : distilled water, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, potassium hydroxide**, simmondsia chinesis seed (jojoba) oil, melaleuca alternifolia leaf (tea tree) oil, eucalyptus radiata (eucalyptus) oil,pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil, lavandula officianalis (lavender) oil, rosemarinus officianalis (rosemary) oil, tocopherol (vitamin e) oil.

I’ve mentioned about skipping deodorants with aluminum-the evidence connecting it to breast cancer is compelling. So I seek out aluminum free deodorants like Prime Protection. It contains essential oils and baking soda which fight odors and keep you fresh. Love this- and it works! 

The Tint & Tone  moisturizer is just what you need for a hint of color and moisture. Another winner! Made with argan oil, this product smooths skin without being too oily. It evens out the skin tone and makes your face look flawless but natural which should be the goal of makeup!

Ideal for this time of year when you might want a  bronze glow but not from the sun- try Bronze Betty. Made with cinnamon and cocoa powders, it smells good enough to eat! I use a big brush and very lightly apply this on my face where a tan would appear if I were to try to tan. You can use it all over your body for a subtle glow.

Blushing Belle is  nature’s answer to blush,  created with beetroot and hibiscus! You only need a tiny bit, its very concentrated. You can also add just a dab of this to your favorite clear lip balm for some reddish color on your lips. Or….

…try the Hydrating Lip Tint! It smells delicious, feels super light on the lips and adds a subtle hint of color. Another product that smells good enough to eat.

Last but not least is the Dream Cream eye shadow. Its a creamy shadow that can also be used on brows. If you have sensitive eyes, this may be ideal for you since its quite nurturing and there’s nothing in it that doesn’t come from nature!

I am really excited for you to try this amazing, natural, green and clean brand. I am super thankful that brands like this exist, whether you have skin that tends to be sensitive to chemicals or want to be as clean in your beauty products as possible. You can check everything out by going here! 


I published my  novel to Kindle the other day and I’m really excited about it! After I wrote my first novel, A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss, I had an idea to continue the main character of Barrett in other novels. I loved writing her because she was funny, cynical and sarcastic, a main character that I had never met before in other books. The audience feedback was mixed- some people disliked her for the very reasons I enjoyed her. Last year I decided to rewrite her a little and re-release the novel as an ebook which I renamed Here if You Need Me.

About eight years ago, I had an idea to write about Marilyn Monroe, fictionalize her a bit. I did a lot of research, talked to some of her friends, watched her interviews. I always had a fascination with Marilyn even as a very young girl. I kept Barrett as a main character and went from there.

Long story short, once the book was written, I did the usual querying of agents on and off for a few years but the book didn’t spark much interest.  That was hard for me since this book is near and dear to my heart. Finally I decided to self publish via kindle. I wanted to share the story!

Once I made that decision, it took a long time to get up the nerve to actually do it! I finally did on April 1st and you can find the book here on Kindle! 

Here’s the synopsis:

Barrett Greer is a cynical thirty-year old writer with a hunger for fame. When she isn’t at her job at an anorexic community newspaper, she’s wrapped up in the world of celebrities. Instead of working on her manuscript, she’s checking on the latest Hollywood gossip.

Just when she least expects it, her recovering alcoholic mother lands on her doorstep looking to make up for lost time. Her hot mess of a sister yearns to become engaged to her boyfriend and plan a big wedding- it’s all she talks about.

Complicating her life is office nemesis, Selma. The newspaper, Barrett’s refuge from her family, is on the edge of folding unless a miracle takes place but with Selma looking to sabotage Barrett, she isn’t too hopeful about her future with the paper.

On assignment , Barrett meets Letty, an aging actress with a secret to tell. Letty hires Barrett to jot down her memoir because she fears will forget the important things in her life as she gets older. Barrett takes a keen interest in Letty’s story when the actress divulges her relationship with Marilyn Monroe.

Jack, Letty’s handsome grandson, believes Barrett wants to exploit Letty’s story and is wary of Barrett’s celebrity obsession.

Barrett is shocked when she learns that Letty helped Marilyn Monroe fake her death on a dark and rainy night in 1962. She sets out to find the legend, hoping to pen a best seller with her discovery simultaneously saving the paper with the explosive news.

When everything starts to go wrong, Barrett realizes that she needs her friends and her family more than she ever imagined. She understands that being a real friend to a Hollywood star means holding onto her secrets and protecting her from the brutal glare of the spotlights.


In other news, I read a few really good books this week! People always ask how I find the time to read so much and the answer is…I don’t watch a lot of television. You will find me reading every single night! Its how I unwind after a long day, its what I do to escape and relax.

And now, here’s what I’ve been reading!

What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

I loved this book for its terrific sense of humor, quick pace and the ability to be romantic but not over the top. I was hooked from page one and was sad to see the book end- always the hallmark of a great novel.

Here’s the synopsis:

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly has been on staff for an online magazine, covering all the wacky assignments.

Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year old chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance in the style of Nora Ephron,  she flunks out big-time. She can’t recognize romance. And she cant recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who gets her. But with wit, charm, whip-smart humor, and Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies, Molly learns to open her heart and suppress her cynicism in this bright, achingly funny novel.

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

I’m a sucker for an immigrant story and enjoyed this one. Young Malka Treynovsky leaves Russia with her family with visions of America in her eyes.  When they get to this magical land with streets supposedly paved in gold, her immigrant family struggles to survive. One day, Malka is run over by an ice cream vendor and her family abandons her while she’s in the hospital.  She’s taken in by the Dinello family because its Mr. Dinello’s horse that ran Malka down and caused her to become crippled- she will never walk without a cane again. She is raised by the Italian family and put to work in their ice cream business where she displays a keen business sense. Through the years she learns the ice cream business and works hard to help the family grow successful,  until she is forced out. She  rebuilds herself and succeeds in ways she never dreamed possible.

Malka eventually transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, the Ice Cream Queen. Along with her handsome husband, Bert, she  builds an empire that spans forty years, through the Polio epidemic right up until the 1980′s. Along the way she made some bad choices and made some enemies, reconnected with the father that left her and established herself as a sweet, grandmother who loves ice cream but the truth is, she’s a bitter woman who never got over her family leaving her.

I highly recommend this novel, its wonderful from page one right up until the end!




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Soon I will discuss my own struggles with what appears to be a really strong gluten intolerance, possible celiac disease. Its been kind of crazy and I have had to do a lot of research to figure out what’s been going on in my body.

Celiac disease can produce a host of symptoms that are not obvious and it takes detective work to really narrow down the possibility of having it. Check out this extensive list.

Something that’s been on the forefront of my mind lately is label reading. This is extremely labor intensive! I cannot toss items in my shopping cart without launching into sleuth mode. Recently I bought a couple of items without reading the label, they were peanuts and shredded cheese. 

I assumed-wrongly- that peanuts were simple enough. What more could be in a jar of peanuts than, well, peanuts? And with cheese, I occasionally like to throw a little into my salad. I didn’t think much of either of these ingredients. I believed that processed foods were what you  needed to watch out for. And GMOs. Not simple items.


I ended up with some stomach cramping and that all too familiar sensation that I’ve come to associate with having consumed even the most teeny bit of gluten.

If you have a gluten intolerance or celiac, you probably know that accidentally consuming gluten (known as  being “glutened”) can produce a host of unpleasant symptoms. Sometimes its your typical stomach cramping, other times it feels like cold fingers are squeezing my stomach.  Having this reaction and not having eaten any OBVIOUS gluten (such as white flour foods like breads, crackers,  breadcrumbs etc) made me revisit everything I consumed yesterday and start looking around a little further into ingredients.

I found this super informative list of label names and what they are. CLICK HERE. 

So besides staying away from bagels and cookies I -and maybe you too- have to memorize a list of additives, preservatives and big words I cannot pronounce in order to buy groceries and eat out? Pretty much.  Because, if you suffer from gluten intolerance, celiac, gluten allergies, you just cannot operate under the assumption that peanuts are only peanuts and shredded cheese is pure cheese.

Cheese is often dusted with something called cellulose which is basically pulp from wood however, the type of cellulose used in foods can be referred to as beta-glucose and it might come from wheat which contains gluten.

The peanuts actually contain a list of preservatives which might contain byproducts of gluten.

After a lifetime of enjoying carbs (or maybe not as much as I thought as I’m remembering years of stomach aches), I suddenly have become extremely sensitive to any form of gluten.

I took this directly from the website:

Why are Celiacs such Sticklers about Gluten? -

Gluten evokes an inflammatory, cell mediated response in the body of people with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis when ingested. The response to gluten is not necessarily proportional to the amount eaten. One teenage celiac suffered severe respiratory distress immediately after swallowing one half of a miniature bite sized candy containing minimal glutens. Other celiacs may eat wheat, barley, rye or oats without apparent symptoms; however, their intestinal biopsies show that damage has been done – “silently”. Long-term studies show that celiacs who ingest glutens are at an increased risk of esophageal cancer, lymphoma, skin manifestations, muscle wasting, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, anemia, muscle cramping, edema, respiratory difficulties and other maladies. The risk for the gluten-avoiding celiac is that of the normal population. Often a celiac’s weight loss or other problems will begin for no apparent reason, and the celiac is faced with a baffling search for items hidden in the diet.

If you are suffering from some strange digestive issues or  you’ve been sick for a long time but haven’t connected all the dots yet, maybe this information will help you. I want to encourage everyone to read labels and be a discerning consumer when it comes to purchasing food.