Flavored Ice in Quarantine

I feel like I’m at a point where I need a constant influx of treats to keep me satisfied during quarantine, because I really have been eating just about anything in the house with a high sugar content. I don’t know what it is about being cooped up in the house all day everyday that sets off my sweet tooth, but whatever it is, it’s working. My new favorite treat to have during this very hot summer is flavored ice. It’s basically a snow cone but I eat it in a bowl so I can’t really call it a snow cone, so “flavored ice” it is.

My mom bought a Snowie Max snow cone machine a while back, around the same time she bought the ice cream maker actually. I guess she felt the same way as I did about needing treats, and the great thing about flavored ice is that its like, no calories, so it’s her favorite diet treat. I just like it because it tastes good though. The snow cone maker doesn’t add the flavoring though, it just puts out a bunch of crushed up ice, like this.

To make the flavors, my mom bought these cool little Snowie flavor pouch thingies, and then mixed them with water and sugar. We keep all of our flavorings in plastic water bottles in the fridge so we can just use them over and over again. I was skeptical at first because snow cones were never really that high on my list of favorite treats, but these are actually really good.

My personal favorites are the orange and lemon flavors, but that’s just because I’m a sucker for anything citrus flavored. My sister on the other hand, loves these really weird combinations. There was a flavor called “tiger’s blood” that she mixed with coconut, and she also likes putting cherry and watermelon flavors together, so hers always looks like some weird red amalgamation. I’m sure it tastes fine but I’ve never been super adventurous in the flavor department myself. I just like how I have the option to flavor it however I want. Remember to always check the label if you want to recreate this, what’s safe for me might not be safe for you.

Until next time!


Making Dole Whip in Quarantine

Times like this are when I really miss the outside world. Like, it’s been months since I went to a movie, or a restaurant, or even on an errand run. I can’t help but think about how much I’d love to go to Disney when all of this is over, just to celebrate the fact that the outside world isn’t going to kill me anymore. I remember one of my family’s favorite things to do in Disney World was to go to a little refreshment stand when it was hot outside and get a Dole whip, which is basically ice cream but you can get it pineapple flavored. It’s super good, and a major relief on a hot day, which is basically everyday in Disney World.

One of the hardest aspects of the pandemic for me has been getting safe food and trusting the labelling, and I was really missing ice cream. Well, a few weeks ago, my mom brought home an ice cream maker so we could make safe ice cream, and we’ve been using it to make Dole whips ever since, and honestly the world has never been the same. It’s super good, and super easy to make if you have an ice cream maker. All you need is the Dole soft serve mix.

To make it, you use 1 cup of the mix, and mix it with 3 cups of water or milk, and then stir it in the ice cream maker. That’s it, it’s really easy. In terms of whether to use water or milk, I prefer the milk because it tastes a bit creamier, but using water honestly tastes really good too. It’s hard to tell the difference.

The consistency is really good too. It looks like this early on, but after a bit of mixing it’s just about as thick as a real Dole whip, and it tastes really good too. My family loves it, and since it’s so easy to make we have it all the time. In terms of whether or not it’s allergy safe, I would recommend calling if you have any doubts. People with milk allergies would obviously sub out the milk for water, but other than that, if the mix is safe, then the whole thing can be made safely, making it a great dairy-free ice cream alternative.

Until next time!


New FDA Law

With the coronavirus now being a part of life in the United States for about half a year, life as we know it has changed completely. Quarantining oneself is now an expectation, and masks are now a necessary part of daily life. My own life was turned upside down by this pandemic, and I doubt that life as we know it will return to how it was for a very long time. One thing I hadn’t thought of during the start of the pandemic was the food industry, but it appears it has been just as affected. All of a sudden, companies are finding it hard to acquire the ingredients they need to make their products. This is only natural, as the flow of ingredients is bound to be interrupted by a global pandemic, but it makes it almost impossible for many companies to adhere to their ingredient lists when supply chain issues have rendered those ingredients unobtainable.

In comes the FDA with the perfect solution, forget the ingredient list. That’s right, on the 22 of last month, the Food and Drug Administration announced a temporary new rule that allows companies to substitute up to two percent of their ingredients without being required to change their label. As a personal fan of reading the label before I eat virtually anything, I can’t help but feel like this has made that ritual useless. What’s the point of reading the label when there could be just about anything in what I’m eating?

Personally, I’m fortunate, as some of my allergens lie within the top eight food allergens in the United States (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish). The FDA made sure to state that substituting anything that brought allergen concerns was prohibited and referenced the top eight allergens. This means that, despite the fact that certain substitutions could be made, I don’t have to worry about nuts winding up in my peanut free cookies, as that would be an illegal substitution. However, the concern now lies with those allergies outside of the top eight allergens. Those are less protected under this new law, and there’s no telling where each individual company is going to draw the line on what they will decide to replace their ingredients with. I myself have other allergies that aren’t encompassed within the top eight, which has given me some cause for concern. I could read a label or eat a prepared dish with ingredients that aren’t actually included in the safe label and end up having a life-threatening reaction.

While I understand the reasoning behind this, I feel like the way this was executed was lazy at best, and just plain negligent at worst. While changing the physical labeling each time something is substituted is probably an unrealistic solution, there would be next to no difficulty to keep an online database with these changes. The FDA could easily distribute stickers or some sort of labelling for companies to apply to products with substituted ingredients. It took me two minutes to think of better ways to handle this problem than the current steps being taken, so I have no doubt that, if work was actually put into this law, some sort of solution could be reached that satisfies everyone, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen.

To those with allergies that are uncertain of their safety eating certain foods, the best course of action I would recommend taking would be to call the individual manufacturing plants that your food comes from, as they would know best what, if anything, is being substituted. I know for a fact that my mom has been calling nonstop to ensure that everything I put in my mouth is safe, and I feel so lucky to have my parents prioritizing my safety even now as an adult. Please remember to stay safe during these troubling times.

Until next time,



Like a superhero coming out of hiding, I once again return to save the world. That’s right, Peanut Free Gary is back! This time I’m older, wiser, and I’m probably better at writing than I was in high school. I realized not too long ago that, even though I stopped writing for my blog, there was still so much that I had left unsaid, and so much that needed to be covered. Allergy awareness is still an issue, so it’s my duty to get back to work writing about my life, and about things that are going on in the allergy world. I’ll be making about two posts every week for the near future, so stay tuned! I’m so excited to get back out there and I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

As for today, it seems only fitting that I catch everyone up on what’s been going on in my life during my prolonged absence. Having been accepted into MSU, I took a year off my blog to focus on my college life. I went into freshman year pursuing a degree in biochemistry, but after taking a single programming class, I decided to alter my entire degree path and pursue computer science instead. I honestly can’t tell whether or not that was a smart choice on my end, but I’ve got high hopes for my future.

After struggling a bit to adjust during my first semester, I managed to make it out of second semester on the dean’s list, so that’s pretty exciting. COVID-19 was a rather large interruption in my college career, and I ended up taking the last couple months of schooling at home. As of now, I’ve been quarantined for months without leaving the house, and frankly it’s getting boring, but I count my family incredibly fortunate for having avoided catching this virus.

Overall though, I’m doing fine here. Food-wise, my mom has got things covered. Her oversight borders on prophetic, so she was able to stock up on enough stuff before quarantine hit that we’ve been relatively comfortable for the past few months. When we do need things, we get them delivered. I’ve been practically living off of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch that we now receive in regular shipments. I’m used to not being able to go to restaurants or eating out, so eating exclusively at home honestly isn’t that big of a change, but I do find myself wishing for a trip to McDonalds to break the monotony.

Mainly though, I’ve just been lonely. Going from living in a community with my peers, attending classes every day, and eating in a vibrant dining hall to being secluded to my house was an adjustment to be sure. I had so enjoyed the freedom that college had offered me, and to have it taken away so abruptly by something completely out of my control just doesn’t seem fair. 

Even so, I know I’m one of the fortunate ones. My family is all fine, and we’re able to sustain ourselves comfortably, so my loneliness is a petty issue at most, but that’s what this blog is for! What better way to combat that crushing feeling of isolation than to write to the vast abyss that is the internet? I look forward to spreading allergy awareness through writing, and to the means of catharsis it will provide to me. Stay tuned, because I’ll have a lot to say in the coming weeks!

Until next time!


College Search Update-Michigan State University!

Hello everyone!

A little while ago I wrote a post on my trip to MSU for a scholarship competition and I wanted to write a quick little update on how that all went. Overall, I loved the place! Everyone was so nice and really enthusiastic about their school. It made me genuinely excited to be there.

My family stayed at the Kellogg Center, which is a super nice hotel right on campus, run by the students who are training in the hospitality department. As for food, there were a lot of options. I always felt like I was right in the middle of everything there, and it seemed like there was a restaurant around every corner.

Even with all of the restaurants, my favorite places to eat by far were the university dining halls. There were just so many options, and certain dining halls in MSU, including the one I ate at, are made to be safe for people with allergies like mine!

My first day there, I ate at Holmes Hall for lunch. I had pizza, cheeseburgers, and fries, all of which were amazingly delicious. My favorite part of that meal is the fact that they had a refrigerator area with desserts made to be safe for people with allergies like mine!

They had a really delicious cake/pie thing (pictured above). My favorite part was that they wrapped it up all nice to prevent cross contamination. Very groovy!

The second day I was there, we were also able to have breakfast in Brody dining hall. It was even bigger than Holmes, and the food was amazing!

I basically stuck to hash-browns and french toast sticks, but they were amazing!!! Overall I had a really great time there. The food was amazing, and the experience was great too. I can really see myself going to college there, which is exciting to me.

I don’t know how I did on the competition portion of the event yet, but really all that matters to me is that I had a great time! I’ll be sure to update the blog if I do get any information on the scholarship though.

Until next time!


College Search 2019-MSU!!

Hello everyone!

I just thought I’d write a quick update on what I’m doing this weekend, because I’m really excited! I’m heading over to Michigan State University today to participate in a scholarship competition. Michigan State University is a place that I’m seriously considering attending, so I really look forward to this event, and I’m super excited to be able to participate!

I’ll be staying in a hotel in the area because it’s a two day-long event, and I look forward to updating my blog on all of the food options that I encounter over there!

I’ll be sure to keep you in the know, but until then I’m off!

Until next time!


Don’t Stand Up

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since my last post. Senior year is BUSY.  Now that my finals for first school semester are over, I figure I should have a whole lot more time to post here. I wanted to start off, by talking today about a post I saw from a Facebook allergy mom on her page Red Sneakers For Oakley. Her account is dedicated to educating people about food allergies after her son tragically died from one. Such a heart wrenching story, but I’m constantly inspired by her desire to educate and help people and you should totally check her out.


This week she posted that when going through anaphylactic shock, the correct position in which one should be is lying down with legs raised and supported. Apparently that is the safest position to be during a reaction because it allows the best circulation. I found it so interesting that even after living with food allergies my entire life and going to annual appointments with my allergist I had never been given this information. Such a small change in procedure could have such a drastic difference in the outcome.

I’ve included links to the source material in case you would like to research further.

The first link is to a study written by someone who has looked at over two hundred food allergy related deaths. Their conclusion supports the fact that lying down is the best position to be in during an anaphylactic reaction.


The next article is from a first-aid website and lists all of the proper procedures to do when someone is going through anaphylaxis, including patient positioning (that information is near the bottom of the article).



Until next time,


Gingerbread party!

As some you may know, I work at target now, so I happen to see a lot of their products pass through my checkout lane. However, one thing definitely caught my eye. I’ve said in previous posts that sometimes my mom likes to hold big gingerbread house decorating parties for the family around Christmas time. She typically makes countless gingerbread houses from scratch because we can never really find any safe gingerbread houses.

Well imagine my surprise when I found out that target is now selling a whole bunch of peanut and tree but free gingerbread house kits at their stores. They come in a whole bunch of different designs, too.

I’m just really happy about this news because it potentially means that my poor mom won’t have to spend all that time making gingerbread houses from scratch the next time we decide to throw a gingerbread party.

I took a couple of pictures of the kits during one of my work breaks. They’re pretty cool!

This one is probably their most common. It’s a normal house that you can build yourself.

This kit is completely prebuilt, which is also super cool.

They also have a really cool gingerbread train kit.

There were a whole bunch of other cool kits too, but these were by far my favorite.

Of course, always check the label before eating anything, and don’t eat anything you’re uncomfortable with eating.

Until next time!


Thankful for food

Hey again everyone!

I’m really sorry for the delayed posting, but my school schedule has just gotten more and more hectic. Going into senior year is crazy at an IB school like the one I go to. In fact, thanksgiving break is really the first time I’ve had enough time to work on a post.

Speaking of thanksgiving, I hope all of you had a great one. I know I did. Like every year, my aunt and uncle made a fantastic breakfast and dinner. It’s like double the thanksgiving. Personally, breakfast food is my favorite kind of food anyway, so I love the setup.

Also, to those of you without allergies, let me say that it means the world to people like me when accommodations can be made. Knowing that I could enjoy my thanksgiving breakfast/dinner at my aunt’s house was fantastic, and I always love how she goes out of her way to make everything safe for me.

Thanksgiving is sort of a holiday revolving around food, or at least the idea of eating together as a family. Because of this, food is really important, and it’s also important to try and be inclusive to those of us with certain dietary restrictions.

I would like to take this moment to thank my aunt and uncle for always taking the time and looking at the labels of every food you buy so that I can enjoy my thanksgiving at your house. It is a truly special experience.

I also hope all of you readers had a great thanksgiving as well. It can be a stressful time for everyone, but at the end of the day, it’s fun to spend time with those you love. Of course the main draw for me is and always will be the food. I pretty much wait all year for the stuff that’s served on thanksgiving.

Heres a picture of me eating some of the leftovers from last night. Please ignore how I look, it was kind of an unexpected shot.

I hope all of you had a great thanksgiving, and I look forward to Christmas, when I get to eat even more delicious food!

Until next time!


A FARE Choice

Hello everyone!

I can’t believe I just finished my third week of high school. Honestly it seems like college is right around the corner at this point. I’ve got my Common App all set up and I’m working on applying to some colleges now. It’s actually super exciting!  It seems like just yesterday I was a high school freshman, but here I am!

Like a lot of things in my life, one of the things I first look at when choosing a college is how I can be safe there with my food allergies. I’m currently planning on living in college in a dorm room, which means I’ll be set up with a meal plan and won’t have my parents to make me dinner anymore. Since basically all of my meals will be eaten on the college campus, I need to know for sure that the place I choose has safe food options for me.

Luckily, FARE has just the thing. They have an entire group of pages dedicated to finding a college based on your personal allergy needs. This link directs you to their main college advice and help page, from which you can go to any of their services that they offer.

My favorite of these is the college search option. So far they have 61 schools in their college database, but they’re adding more. Once you go to the FARE college food allergy search option, you’re directed to a search bar where you can enter the college your interested in. I decided to look at the “all colleges” option and just pick a random one for the purpose of this post as an example.

Here, they provide basic information about the certain allergy-related features that this college provides. Green means that they adequately provide the listed feature, yellow means they do it to some degree, whereas red means they do not. If one were to click on the college, it would direct you to a separate page with 14 different criteria graded as they are above, as well as further information for each. There’s also a handy tool where you can compare different colleges and the features they offer!

I have to say, this is an excellent tool. Looking through it, it’s just a wealth of information. I do wish that they would add more colleges, because 61 is kind of low, but there’s always room to add more to the list. I most definitely plan on using this when searching for the right college, and I highly encourage any other college seekers with food allergies to do the same and take advantage of this excellent tool.

Until next time!