Tosca Reno


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Life's Unexpected Challenges

I am excited to have guest blogger, Rachel Ornstein Packer, with us today. She is here to speak with us about the challenges life brings, in particular, food allergies! Rachel is an M.S.W. and freelance writer specializing in food allergies/nutrition and recipes. You can find her articles in many publications including, Atlanta Parent Magazine and the Washinton Post as well as on her Life Is Good, Lick the Bowl blog.   

Take it away Rachel...

When my son was diagnosed with severe food allergies to eggs and all nuts, I realized that our lives were about to change forever.  I was the proverbial deer in the headlights.  How was I going feed my family and myself, safely and healthfully?

While combing through the bookstore for an allergy-free cookbook, I stumbled onto Tosca and the Eat Clean Diet.  I instantly loved her no nonsense attitude about food.  It was clean, simple and easy.  It further reinforced my knowledge on healthful eating, but more importantly, Tosca’s determination to create a new and fulfilling life, for herself and her family truly inspired me.  It made me realize that like Tosca, life presented me with an unexpected challenge that required my full dedication because ultimately, my son’s life depended on it.

I began to focus on what he could eat, rather, than what he couldn’t.  I stuck to whole foods, relied less on packaged allergy free food, and found that my family was receptive; my son started to smile again.  When your kids are psyched about spaghetti squash, you know that Eating Clean is the only way to go, and that it is very possible to Eat Clean even with food allergies!
As my confidence increased, I started dabbling in baking, learning how to replace eggs, and bulking up nutritional content in assorted baked goods. Eventually, I began to write about it, empowering others.

We all have challenges in our lives.  Some challenges we seek out, and some aren’t by our choosing, however, when we dig deep, there lies an inner well of strength that propels us forward. It doesn’t happen right away, there may be setbacks, but ultimately we emerge with a stronger sense of purpose that truly makes a difference to not just our selves, but to those around us as well.

Beautifully put, Rachel. Thank you for sharing your story. Readers, I encourage you to share your experience with food allergies and Eating Clean. What you say here just might encourage one person out there to Eat Clean! And that is what the Eat-Clean Revolution is all about!


  1. I would agree that it's all about what you make of the situation of your allergies. I'm have Ceoliac's disease and from personal study and choice we don't eat meat or dairy. So this poses some challenges in the kitchen to be creative - but it is possible. You find sources of protein from beans and tofu and your uptake on veggies has to increase because your diet is limited. I used to complain that I couldn't eat flour/gluten treats but now I'm so thankful that I can't because it's a blessing in disguise - I don't have be tempted by a donut - I just can't have one! I've found the Eat Clean diet so helpful even with my limitations...and I feel so much better when I eat clean and get creative!

  2. Great post! I'm a walking allergy medical case. I have severe seasonal pollen allergies that also mean I'm allergic to raw fruit and all tree nuts. I have to cook all my fruit before I eat it. On top of that, I have food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis, which means I could develop a severe allergic reaction to something I normally don't have a problem with, when I work out within 8 hours of eating it. So I can exercise only in the mornings, and only on an empty stomach or after having eaten only oatmeal (I know it's a "safe" food). But I still train 6 days per week because I've made healthy living a priority, and I help my personal training clients to overcome their barriers, using mine as examples. It's a true case of the ol' cliche, "If I can do it, so can you!"

    1. THanks Karina, you too are an inspiration.


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