Exciting News: Launch of a New Face for StrictlyDelicious!

I am so very excited to show you the new face of StrictlyDelicious!

About two months ago, I decided that if I was going to have a blog, I wanted to do it to the best of my abilities. I began to brainstorm all of the ways that I could improve my blogging, and therefore improve my cooking and myself.

Enter StrictlyDelicious.com.

StrictlyDelicious now has a new face, a new domain, new photography, and a new mission. No longer am I writing about comfortable, staple recipes that I’ve made for years and adapting them for my allergies. Now I will push the envelope in my cooking, trying new and unusual dishes and flavor combinations. I’m already having a ball doing so! I hope you enjoy the new blog just as much as I do!

Please, come follow me at the new StrictlyDelicious!

❤ Lina

Calling fellow bloggers!

I am a very sad blogger today. My camera (read: the camera on my phone) has stopped working, and I can no longer capture the delicious food stuffs that I make. This is especially sad because I have finally gotten to a point where I am comfortable in navigating the complexities of my diet and I am ready to start branching out from the “traditional items” or “comfort foods” that I have been posting and making some more original dishes!

But this is actually a great opportunity for me. I have recently decided that I really want to take StrictlyDelicious to the next level. I’m not sure what all this will include, but I want to make the experience better for my fantastic readers! One thing I know I want to improve is my photography! So here is where I ask for help from you wonderful people… If you would be so very kind, please give me your thoughts!

  1. First, any tips on a good camera to buy as an inexperienced photographer? I’m hoping I can get a good camera for under $200. Or is it just worth it to wait and save up a few hundred for a really good one?
  2. What about tips for photography in general? I’ve done a bit of research online learning about things like focus and exposure, but would love to hear your thoughts!
  3. How can a problem of poor lighting be solved?
  4. Also, any suggestions or things you’ve found that work when styling your food to shoot it?

I’m a newbie to all things blogging, and definitely to photography. I would be so thankful for your feedback as I work to make my blog better!

Thank you so, so very much!

Blogger love ❤

The One Lovely Blog Award!

One Lovely Blog AwardIt’s an amazing thing when someone thinks more of you than you think of yourself. I’m not one to have low self-confidence, but I often think that some of the things I do are just fun projects, and I don’t allow myself to think of their full potential. I’m not really a risk taker! Well, Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen helps me see that my blog is not just a tool for me to chronicle recipes that work for my allergies and to meet awesome bloggers. It is something that other people read and enjoy reading! And sometimes, people even try what they see on my blog! Or they’re informed about or encouraged about living life with a strict diet. Or, sometimes they like your blog so much that they nominate you for awesome blog awards!!! 😀

So Lori, thank you for helping me not to be selfish with my blog, but to see that other people read it and enjoy it and support me in what I’m doing. And thank you to all of my other readers, because you all are just beautiful people and I am so glad to be connected with each of you! This project has truly been a wonderful experience, and we’re just getting started!

Okay, okay, I realize I sound like I’m weeping onstage at the Oscars, so let’s get on to the good stuff! Continue reading

Strictly Exciting! Liebster Award for StrictlyDelicious

liebsteraward

Wow! Wow! Wow! I am so thrilled and honored and excited to have been nominated for the Liebster award by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen! It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know her as a fellow blogger and I’m so flattered she thinks so much of my little blog. One of the greatest (hidden) blessings from blogging about my thoughts and recipes while on my new strict diet (err, lifestyle) has been the blogger-to-blogger relationships I’ve been able to develop. I’ve loved meeting other people who love the same things that I do and being able to encourage one another on our writing paths! How wonderful and exciting! So thank you, thank you Lori for inspiring me and encouraging me and affirming me on my journey! It means the world to me… Here are the questions that Lori asked me 🙂 Continue reading

How you can help people with allergies

I was just thinking this morning about how difficult it is to have allergies. You have to be constantly vigilant about what goes into your body and spend time researching food ingredients before you can actually eat the food. You have to worry about making up the vitamins and nutrients that you aren’t naturally getting from the food you’re allergic to. You have to bring alternatives (and/or deny food) if you’re going anywhere away from home, or you go hungry. AND, you have to worry about others. Others who think that it’s all in your head, that you’re making it up, or that you’re just being overdramatic. Others who say, “You’re allergic to ____??? I’ve never heard of an allergy to that before. It must not be real. I bet you’re just a picky eater.” Or my favorite, “Well are you sure it’s an allergy? What happens to you when you eat it?” (As if my statement of allergy is only validated if my allergic reaction is super dramatic.)

To those with the luxury of having few or no allergies: you are so very blessed! Be thankful for that. But please, never downgrade someone’s health concerns because you do not have experience with them. It is hard enough for that person feeling like they’re unusual and “the difficult one” who has to ask for special care. Trust that he or she is not just doing it for fun!

When encountered with a friend or acquaintance with allergies, try some of the following (some suggestions are adapted from TheOddSpot’s guest post on Modern Alternative Mama. Check it out!):

  1. Unless you are medically trained or have done significant research, please do not tell someone how they should live with allergies. “This one time won’t hurt,” or “A peanut isn’t the same as a tree nut, so you should be fine,” are not valid statements unless you are a professional with knowledge of that person’s medical history.
  2. Remember that no one lives in a bubble. Leaving peanut butter smears on the counter, or using the knife you used to cut fish to cut someone else’s food could seriously hurt them. Please be aware!
  3. Learn the symptoms of an allergic reaction and what to do if someone around you is having one. Learning how to use an Epi-Pen could save someone’s life!
  4. If you know a child who is struggling and feeling like the odd one out because of their allergies, try to reverse this. When I was young, I always got to serve my food first at dinner. This, of course, was to avoid cross contamination, but it made me feel special that I got to load up my plate even before my parents! It helps to turn precautions into special things.
  5. If someone close to you has allergies, be their second checker when they eat food made by someone else. Believe it or not, sometimes I forget to check for certain ingredients, or I accept something on my plate forgetting what it might contain. Having my sister, friend, or boyfriend say, “Does that have ___,” or, “Aren’t you allergic to ____?” is SUCH a life-saving help for me. Even if I’ve already checked, it doesn’t hurt to have them check again. You can never be too safe!

When dealing with difficult health concerns, it’s always easier to have someone supporting you and looking out for you . A little thoughtfulness truly does go a long way!

Round two, and getting more strict…

I just got back my second round of allergy tests. Let me tell you, my body is allergic to everything! The new tests reflect allergies to:

  • Green Peas
  • Soybeans
  • Tomato
  • Carrot
  • White Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Latex
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Chestnuts
  • Kiwis

Contrary to what I suspected, I am not allergic to dairy, praise God! And I can eat beef, pork, and chicken. In fact, although I’ve thought that I was allergic to seafood my entire life, according to this test I can eat clams, scallops, and tuna!

But it is really discouraging to see the list of things I can eat get smaller and smaller. Soy, like corn, is in so many products! And now I will have to say goodbye to some of my favorite and most often used vegetables.

I know that I will learn to work around these food items. I am still determined to find ways to make good food without these ingredients. But I am surely being tested!

And so it begins…

So I pretty much panicked when my doctor told me I had allergies that I previously knew nothing about. I mean, it made sense that corn and oats were some of the elements causing my recently increased eczema flare-ups. I ate oatmeal for breakfast and popcorn after work nearly every day. (The no-celery verdict didn’t bother me, as I really don’t like celery, anyway.)

But as I really began researching, I began to see just how difficult avoiding corn really would be. Mostly because (and I can’t stress this enough) ***CORN IS IN EVERYTHING.*** Corn syrup, corn starch, corn meal, corn oil. Corn as a thickening agent, corn as a preservative, corn as a fruit and vegetable wash. Corn alcohol, corn as “natural flavoring,” corn as lactic acid, corn as citric acid. Corn in my cleaning supplies, corn in my clothes, corn in my mattress, corn in my soap and my lotion, corn in my plastic. Even the most seemingly-innocuous grocery items contain corn!!! I began to realize the effort, vigilance, and money that removing these newly found allergens from my diet would take. Thankfully, I found some excellent resources to help get me started.

I decided to chronicle my journey, not only to record what works for me, but also to show anyone struggling with similar allergies that living without them doesn’t mean you have to “live without.” I am determined to use all my love and skills for gourmet cooking to make equally delicious and infinitely more healthy choices for myself, and to enjoy food just as much as before! (Or more so, because it won’t make my skin itch!)

Here we go! Join me!