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Wellness Strategist & LifeStyle Mentor – let’s plan your next steps!

Science Says Keep Clean Skin Simple

It’s been powerful helping people feel better these last five years. It really started over three decades ago as a licensed cosmetologist – helping people with looking and having their best skin while owning my salon/spa. This last year I have been partnering with people one-on-one to help them investigate alternative options for their best life – reviewing their meal plans, skin care and learning about choices that impact their wellness. In this article, let’s look at how we go about keeping things clean – especially our skin and things that we use each day.

First, let’s look at how frequently you are washing your skin with a soap or cleanser. People are power washing their skin – not just their hands! This can strip away your natural layer of protection. Lots of research today identifying not only the natural oils our skin needs but also the microorganisms that are part of our skin’s first layer of defense. Our skin is not only our largest organ but it also is host to a community of cooperative microbes that protect us called our skin microbiome.

Try washing your skin and bathing only when the skin needs it. Many just need a refreshing rinse in the morning – I keep a mist bottle with filtered water and a fresh washcloth for my face. Consider the soapy wash or shower after a workout, a sweaty day and before bed to remove cosmetics and the daily grime. Plus limit the use of antibacterial soaps – most of us only need an antibacterial soap for hand cleansing after working with raw meats or if exposed to someone sick. One container in the kitchen is usually all you need – maybe a second for the bathroom when a flu bug is making the rounds of your home.

Second, when we do cleanse, use a washcloth to help the dead skin cells shed off the skin. This is called exfoliation which helps the skin stay healthy and it is anti-aging. I want to emphasize is it is very important to use a fresh , clean wash cloth each day. Have at least seven washcloths – that way you will always have a freshly laundered one to use each day. If you want a bit more exfoliation try some of the plastic loopy puffs or exfoliating gloves. But again – you need a fresh one for each day – launder them after use. I have a spot in my laundry room to hang my used washcloths and puffs to dry until they are washed.

Third recommendation is to not immediately towel dry when you exit the shower. Best if you can apply your lotion or body cream over your damp skin. Helps keep your skin hydrated longer – brush your teeth and dry your hair while allowing the rest of you to air dry. If you have problem skin issues, I would love an opportunity to discuss some simple steps to encourage natural skin healing after bathing.

Fourth just follows having a clean wash cloth each day – use your own personal bath towel, nail clippers and razor. If you share these items, your family may share more than love. Something like pink eye will quickly spread with common towel use. Ever have a difficult time eradicating simple athlete’s foot. Bet you were cleaning the tub between uses, keeping shoes on till in tub, no barefoot running around the house….when simply st getting each person their own $2 nail clipper probably is the start to getting that under control.

If there are a number of people using the same bathroom, everyone having their own color towel helps. If people are doing a good job of using their own bath towel, then usually you can keep that towel for a few days since you are supposed to be clean when you use it…and letting it dry completely after each use.

Fifth, use laundry products that you know are not only safe for the environment, but are safe for you! Laundry soaps that rinse completely out of your clothing, towels and bedding so you don’t have any allergens, toxins, or irritants next to your skin. Our family knows the difference everytime we stay at a hotel. When traveling, I have to bring my own pillowcase and wear jammies or my skin and hair suffers. I am a very sensitive person but absorbing toxic laundry products next to your skin all night when you are sleeping is bad for everyone.

And when I was younger, I lived most of my life feeling just okay because that was as good as it got. Now I know the difference. Now I live with my healthiest skin and best wellness plan every day. If you would like to learn more about how to create a plan for your best life, I would love an opportunity to strategize with you. Plus, we can discuss how I can help you stay accountable to that plan!

I am only a phone call or text away. (847) 502-8394. Or pop me an email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com

Be well!

The Hand Towel Did It!

People don’t realize how sneaky that innocent little hand towel can be. That little hand towel and a few other items around the house can impact your health. And once you are aware, it is a simple fix. Much of this information is the same as I taught years ago with the benefit that today we have many more studies to help us make better, safer choices.

WARNING 😉 What I am about to share is “sticky” – once you are aware of this, hard to ignore! If you don’t want to know or learn about common “daily germ sharing” or cross-contamination…stop reading now!

Okay, for those of you who are brave – and curious about how the hand towel did it, let’s start with a bit of history. I was a pre-med college student that transitioned to a spa salon owner. (Yes – lots more story there
for another time!) The salon environment is very much like a medical office. People, surfaces, implements and linens being used from person to person – that needed to be clean – Not necessarily sterilized but clean. My salon clientele was very fond of how clean and safe things were in our environment. My reputation and business grew from this one simple strategy – keep people aware of our sanitation procedures (clean and safe) when they received professional spa and salon services. 

Word of our “clean space” got around and exciting things began to happen. First, I was asked to teach Sanitation & Disinfection at professional conferences for the spa & salon market. Second, I was invited to coauthor sections in the Professional Cosmetology, Esthetician and Nail Technology Textbooks! It was very exciting speaking on stage at the big US shows in Chicago, New York and California….where I learned other techniques that led to writing my first solo book. Which ultimately blessed me to travel nationally and internationally teaching salon professionals how to work smarter and safer!

During this time, I became a consultant that partnered with salons to educate their staff to provide sanitary professional services
.and it was helping these other salons get clean that I learned many powerful stories that left a memorable impression – which encouraged the salon staff to be meticulous in their sanitation and disinfection. No one wanted one of these stories to be about them or their salon!

Before I start the story telling – let’s review definitions:

Antiseptic – product used to remove or kill microorganisms safely on skin. Examples would be a hand sanitizer or an alcohol wipe. These products could be used on a surface with no harm but are designed to clean skin.

Disinfectant – product used to kill microorganisms on surfaces. Disinfectants are to be applied to non-living surfaces like tools, a counter or sink. These products may harm skin – read label for proper handling.

Sanitation – is simply to clean something. We can sanitize skin, surfaces and fabrics (towels, clothing & bedding.)

Sterilize – procedure for things that kills all microorganisms. One cannot sterilize skin or anything that is living, was living (like wood, pumice, natural sponge or loofah) or if it is porous (has little holes in the surface where microorganisms can hide from the sterilization process.)

Many people use these terms interchangeably, but the reality is they are not at all the same. Which is very important to understand when keeping things clean or germ-free for tools and surfaces that contact multiple people.

First story occurred at a salon that was part of a large chain. One of the stylists’ kids had pink eye (conjunctivitis.) The stylist missed her morning appointments attending to her child and sorting out childcare. She did come to do her afternoon appointments. She was primarily a nail technician but also had a few facial waxing services that day. Unfortunately, either she was unaware how contagious conjunctivitis was or was just too busy catching up, that she was careless. Plus, she was unfortunately quite vocal all afternoon about how her daughter had pink eye and what a great inconvenience it had been to her that day. Two days later, a third of the staff had pink eye and the salon was receiving calls from clients that had contracted it. This was a BIG, dreadful problem for management. A financial and marketing nightmare! A totally avoidable situation with some routine habits of sanitation and disinfection.

The salon was required to close their doors to have it properly sanitized with documented procedures. They also had to arrange for the affected staff members to get treatment and address their loss of income while unable to be at the salon. Talk about a huge motivator to have the staff trained on proper hand washing/sanitation, tool and surface disinfection. Luckily, conjunctivitis or pink eye is completely treatable. Most people are able to use an over the counter natural treatment. But for some, it required a prescription to clear the infection – especially people with someone with autoimmune disease or a compromised immunity.

Second story happens to me all the time. I watch a young parent with children in a public restroom. They are usually very careful that the children enter and exit the toilet area safely. Next they help the children wash their hands with soap. When the hands are dry, the kids are excited to be done so they race to the door and grab the door handle. Unfortunately, the child likely leaves the restroom with more germs on their hands than when they entered. Let’s face it – the statistics are pretty grim on public handwashing after using the restroom. The studies are especially high if people use the restroom alone compared to if others are in the restroom with them – more handwashing occurs if two or more are in the restroom. The good thing is today, many restrooms are being designed with a no-door entryway or having a push surface to exit which you can use a forearm or foot to do. But having a paper towel is always a great habit to instill to prevent bringing anyone’s else’s bugs from the restroom home with you. (Bet you have seen the TV commercial that follows a person using a restroom, then sneezing, blowing his nose and all the surfaces he touches in just a few minutes.)

The third story is the situation in most of our homes. We have beautiful, fabric hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen. Which is fine for normal use. Change them often and grab a new one if they get wet. Fabric hand towels that “everyone” uses only becomes risky when someone is sick, or you have little or big people who don’t wash their hands but still use the towel
.the famous rinse the hands but “forget” to use the hand soap. Wet “unsoaped/unwashed” hands deposit all that they have encountered that day into the hand towel for the “unsuspecting” users after them. Everyone who contacts the hand towel after that person, will receive the bacteria, viruses (like the flu) or fungus that may be growing in the moist, dark folds of the towel. People don’t do this because they are mean
.we just all don’t believe that “we are dirty” or that we could be carrying something. That only happens to “other people!”  So PLEASE – if you aren’t going to use soap then just leave the restroom – skip rinsing and drying your hands on the communal towel because we don’t want your bugs – okay?!

And that, my friends, are just a few ways that the hand towel did it! The towel is not the bad guy…it really is an innocent. But trust me it will share whatever has been placed on it
..the flu, a cold or pink eye! Beware and protect your precious peeps young and old!

Make a commitment to change your hand towels frequently
.have plenty available when you have guests or consider simple paper napkins! And remember to keep the paper towel in your hand if there is a door handle when exiting the restroom!

These are only three stories
.but I think you have the idea. And if you want to be savvier at avoiding things (or you are immune compromised) I can help you learn Survival Habits that will help you stay clear of things that may affect you and your family. I have three classes to coach you you may appreciate attending: Everyday Hidden Ingredients Revealed and Survival for Sensitive & AutoImmune Skin.

There are classes scheduled online (check my Events Tab!) If you don’t see a time that fits, please contact me with times that work and let’s get a new date on the schedule for you. These classes may also be customized for a group or for your business
they are a great way to invite clients to visit with you to attend as a customer appreciation or as an employee benefit.

Let me know how this information helped you and your family. If you would like to learn more about how I may help, I offer 30 minute complimentary consultations to get to know one another and see where we may have synergy!

Be well!

Hidden Gluten, Allergens, Toxins & Carcinogens in Daily Living

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Where has the time disappeared to? Do you have the same problem? It has been a very full few months since I last wrote you. Some good news – new grandchild, visits with family, speaking at events and online. And some difficult times – loss of my father, continuing health challenges for myself & family members. During this time, we have been actively reaching out and helping people in their quest to be safe in their home. We have received powerful feedback that our Hidden Gluten, Allergens, Toxins & Carcinogens in Daily Living talk has empowered people and their families. The calls, text and emails keep coming for more opportunities to hear our talk. Watch our Event Calendar! There will be new dates consistently added where you and those you invite can attend a virtual presentation of Hidden Gluten, Allergens, Toxins & Carcinogens. Additional topics will be added as we serve others. While serving, we learn more of what we know or contacts we have that may bless you!

Have an event you need a speaker for? Our Talks can be customized  for your audience. Our current talk on Hidden Gluten, Allergens, etc. speaks to the Gluten & Allergy Free Community but can be modified for different groups. We have worked with those affected by cancer, auto-immune disease, autism, other behavioral and health issues. We have an eclectic background in coaching/mentoring small business owners, skin & personal care, personal image/brand, how to sleep more restoratively, and healthy lifestyle choices. We have worked with many other speakers that are advocates in the health and business world that you can trust.

If you found this information helpful, let us know! If you have any medical conditions, please consult your medical professional before following any of my suggestions here.

Questions, thoughts? You can call/text at (847) 502-8394, email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com or find me on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert). We look forward to helping you and your family have Comfort For Life! Elizabeth & Kris Gronert

Thank You Schaumburg GFAF Expo!

Schaumburg 2016 dates

Wow what a weekend! We want to thank the generosity of the Schaumburg GFAF Expo Vendors, the hard work of Jen Cafferty and Elizabeth Greifenkamp from Gluten Free Media Group (who created the GFAF Expos) and Otis Price from Willow Creek Community Church Care Center, South Barrington Campus. http://www.willowcreek.org/

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Lots of gluten free food was donated to the Willow Creek Care Center along with fresh fruits, vegetables and a wheelbarrow full of sweets – a display from Swerve!

Thank you to Kris Gronert, Tiffany & Will Hinton (gfmomcertified.com) for running around end of the expo to help Mr. Price glean all that was left for our friends this week at the Willow Creek Care Center. https://www.willowcreekcarecenter.org

Mr. Price shared with us that there is a waiting list for those with food allergies or are medically required to be gluten free. They were excited to contact the people who will be blessed by this donation.

Thanks again to everyone for working so hard after a long 3 day event to benefit people in our community!

Please contact us if you would like more information regarding the Care Center at Willow Creek Church (they are always in need of donations – especially special diets), Willow Creek Community Church or learn more about being Gluten free, Allergen friendly, Paleo, Keto or Plant-based at the Nourished Festivals held across the country including Schaumburg/Chicago!

Like this post, send us an email at Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!

Glowing, Nourished Skin Even When Cold & Dry Out!

Want to have glowing, nourished skin even when it is cold and dry out? Here are some “winterizing” tips to prepare your skin:

  1. Use only safe, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic products on your body. Unfortunately, many retail products still contain questionable ingredients. Check your product labels! Just because it is expensive or a “brand name” does not mean it is the best or safe.
  2. I know the air is colder but try not to raise the temperature of the water you use in the bath or shower. The hotter the water, the more it dries out your skin!20160110_105110
  3. Exfoliate and remove the dead skin flakes. This way when you apply moisturizers they will hydrate your living skin – not the skin flakes that are about to fall off! Use a fresh mitt or cloth in the shower with a moisturizing bath bar or body wash. Yep – that means 7 on the shelf  so you can use fresh each day. Used ones can be air dried, then placed in your washer on laundry day – just like you would a washcloth. Warm water wash and air dry – the dryer may get too hot for these fabrics.
  4. For any type of cleaning (personal hygiene or home cleaning) I recommend synthetic since natural fibers are not able to be cleaned effectively and definitely not disinfected. Natural fibers like a loofah take a long time to dry (if ever) and may grow microorganisms that are not good for anyone’s skin but especially bad if you are immunocompromised in any way. If you are not used to exfoliating (physical cloth rubbing skin to remove dead skin cells) you may want to start with a simple fabric washcloth. Some find the loopy soft plastic puffs or washcloths with a loopy plastic side a bit more effective. In a few weeks you may try the exfoliating gloves – caution – they may be too exfoliating for sensitive or thinner over-50 skin. Have thos annoying upper arm bumps? (which can occur on a number of body areas – see article on 3.31.2017 for more info). Exfoliating cloth/mitt is the best treatment for those bumps many people get on the back of their upper arm combined with hydrating body wash, then apply protective lotion/cream/oil over the moist skin.
  5. Another option for exfoliation are some of the wonderful salt, sugar and blend scrubs available. I prefer to use these products in the bath so the wonderful, healing ingredients can absorb nicely into the skin after your scrub. Really wonderful if you can find a kind soul to scrub your back too! There are many D-I-Y recipes online – salt or sugar are excellent exfoliators mixed with a healing oil like coconut or almond. For additional benefits, think about incorporating essential oils that leave skin dewy after the salt polish. To keep jars sanitary, use a spoon or spatula to remove what you need. Wash the spoon between uses to avoid contamination jars. I prefer to make things more liquid and put in a squirt bottle. Keep the nozzle free and clear of the skin. For more ideas on keeping things clean, check out my article “The Hand Towel Did It” on 6.30.2019.
  6. Turn your bath into soothing skin therapy by adding a capful of hydrating, calming bath oil. Add some Epsom salts for a healthy body detox plus the added magnesium and sulfur!
  7. After your bath and shower, best to let yourself air dry and apply your lotion while your skin is still moist. Be sure to use a moisturizer with a protectant so you don’t lose all the moisture in your skin back into the air. During the really cold or dry months, add your favorite essential oils, almond oil or other oils to boost the healing and sealing power! Lots of evidence that a relaxing bath, helps one have a good night’s sleep – proper sleep helps the skin look and feel it’s best too!

Using these tips your skin will be polished and nourished – ready for the cold and dry season. With skin being your largest organ, consider using these tips year round to keep it healthy and protecting you.

If you found this information helpful, let us know! If you have any medical conditions, please consult your medical professional before following any of my suggestions here.

Questions, thoughts? You can call/text at (847) 502-8394, email at Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or find me on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert). We look forward to helping you and your family have Comfort For Life! Elizabeth & Kris Gronert

Cracked Heels Treatment that Works!

Are cracked, tender heels a problem for you or someone you love? Here are a few quick tips that I have successfully used when I was a caregiver for my mother and others that prevented or treated the cracked skin on their heels. The cracked, dried skin took time to develop and it will take diligent discipline to nourish the heel skin back to supple health.

If the cracks on the heel have bled or are tender, the priority must be to help them heal. If there is an infection or irritated fissure (broken, open wrinkle in the skin) or the person has medical conditions like Diabetes (which may slow healing on the hands and feet), please consult your medical professional first. Follow their instructions to healing this issue.

Once you have determined the area is not infected or has healed per your doctor’s instruction, you can start practicing better habits to keep the skin on your heels healthy. Read the labels on your products to avoid any allergens, gluten or any questionable ingredients. Clean the feet with a gentle, non-drying cleanser. Then place the feet in a tub to soak in a gentle, non-detergent bath with Epsom salts, essential oils and bath oil.  This will soften and nurture the skin. We have had excellent results adding melaleuca or lavender oil well dispersed in the water. Using a foot bathe with vibration or ability to bubble keeps the water blended. You want to monitor** that the essential oils do not collect around the ankles.

**Before using essential oils, learn basic safety and be aware of precautions. Do not use essential oils (EO’s) on babies, children, pregnant women or anyone with allergies before reading up on how to safely use them. Essential oils are the medicine that has been used for centuries. It is a gift to be used responsibly. I recommend AromaWeb.com as a resource (they do not sell essential oils) for general safety, EO constituents and useful recipes.

Melaleuca oil (also called tea tree oil) is a natural anti-inflammatory with antibacterial, antifungal qualities. It is also a natural antihistamine to reduce any swelling and redness. Apply the melaleuca oil or other EO of your choice then apply a protecting lotion/cream/oil over the EO to the areas of the foot needing healing. Cover the foot with a white sock (some prefer non-bleached or non-dyed sock.) Apply the EO and oil…or learn to make it into a balm or ointment for simplicity!) twice daily to speed healing.

Once any cracks or irritated areas have healed, we can now work to improve the skin tissue of the heel. Soak the feet in a tub with a soothing non-detergent bath oil – add essential oils  (Melaleuca, Lavender, Marjoram, Thyme are great ones to try!) and Epsom salts for added benefit. Once the skin has softened, follow the directions below the picture to gently exfoliate the heel using a pedicure paddle. Our favorite is Swedish Clover Föt File imported by Flowery.0 20150401_140848This paddle has a coarser side (raised nubs on handle) and a smoothing side (horizontal lines on handle). Depending on the thickness of the skin (as we mature our skin thins so be precise – stay on the thick bottom skin of the foot – usually has a yellowish tint.) Do not use this paddle on someone with diabetes or other medical condition without consulting their doctor first!

For most people, you can start with the coarser side to gently rub the thick skin of the heel (some have this this thick skin on the ball of the foot and big toe) to smooth, soften this heavy pad – when it is very thick, it wants to crack. By reducing the thickness, the skin is able to be more pliable. Be sure to stay on the thick padded parts of the heel, ball of foot or big toe at all times. Focus on the areas that want to crack.

Most common mistake people make using a foot file is removing too many layers of skin. You can always buff a bit more the next day or week. But if you remove too much, it can cause discomfort. Your body built this callous for protection. Usually to cushion a bone that is pushing against the shoe. Start by just a few swipes of the coarser side to soften. The 2nd most common mistake is many people forget to then go back and polish this skin smooth with the finer side of the paddle. If you skip this second step, your body may perceive the swipes from the coarser side as an injury and double it’s effort to replace the skin cells removed. So it is very important that this is always a two step process. Sand a few times, then smooth the skin. I keep my paddle on a suction cup hook in the shower so I remember to use once a week or so for maintenance. For those with very little callous, you may only need to use the smooth side of the foot paddle.

Rinse the feet. While skin is till moist apply your essential oils, ointment or heavy skin oil to the spots that tend to crack. Then massage the whole foot with lotion/cream. Depending on the lotion/cream you use, an all-over application of skin oil (coconut, almond or even olive oils works) may be required to prevent moisture loss. This will help the skin heal and regain its pliable, healthy state.

Application of the products after every bath and shower is suggested to retain the moisture in the skin to eliminate cracked heels forever.

Wash and disinfect the foot file between uses for same person. Washable/sanitizable nail files, cuticle pushers, nail clippers and foot files are personal care items one should not share. I have worked with families that have had a hard time eliminating athlete’s foot…..and it many times was due to the common use of same toenail clippers by all family members. Life gets busy and even though most of the people were diligent in their cleaning of the tools after use – there are so many nooks and crannies on the clippers and foot file that I recommend everyone have their own kit. These are inexpensive items to have a set for each person.

When choosing tools for personal care, I encourage you to use materials that can be reliably cleaned (sanitized) and disinfected. (For definitions of these terms go to my article “The Hand Towel Did It” dated 6.30.2019.) Metal, plastic and glass can be cleaned effectively. Items that cannot be sanitized properly are loofahs, sponge, natural sponge, pumice stones or natural wood. These are porous surfaces that over time may encourage growth of microorganisms that could cross contaminate (spread the germs growing on it to) your skin.

If you found this helpful, let us know. Reminder, if you have any medical condition – consult your doctor before trying any of our suggested treatments. These are cosmetic, skin quality suggestions only. In this article, we are sharing over three decades of success/experience as a cosmetologist/esthetician. Visit us on Facebook (Elizabeth Anthony Gronert), send us an email at liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!

So what’s really in those every day products?

Talk about education – these last 3 years I have learned so much about what is in our everyday products and the possible repercussions. I was a single mom for twenty years and sometimes it was hard to afford what I thought were the “finest” baby products but did my best to care for my son. How disappointing to find out years later that the name brand baby products had contained quaternium 15…a preservative that is a formaldehyde releaser. This preservative does an excellent job preserving products for long periods of time which is important because large quantities of these types of personal care & cleaning products are manufactured and bottled – sometimes outside of the USA – then they sit in a warehouse for months, maybe years before they ever see a store shelf. Formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen per the EPA. Unfortunately, many of us may have been regularly dosed with formaldehyde during our lifetime. First when we are young with the baby products, then continued since many brands of toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, body wash, body lotion, skin treatments, hair shampoo, hair gels, fragrance, laundry and cleaning products may contain formaldehyde as the preservative.

Are you dosing your baby and family with unknowns? Life is busy and for many this just doesn’t seem like a “too” important issue. And for some, it may never impact your life. Your health may always be “good” enough that you don’t realize how much better you might feel every day if you rid yourself of things that irritate or sensitize you. Many people I work with who have sensitivities, auto-immune disease, or allergies – they know that in addition to formaldehyde there are possible irritants, sensitizers and toxins in some of the products in the grocery store. They have learned to read labels and know what to avoid. Your skin is your largest organ and it is very effective at absorbing what is placed on it or is in the air around it.

It is disturbing when I meet with moms and they share that they know they should be concerned about what is in the products they bring into their home for their family but it just doesn’t worry them at the moment. So tragic when they contact me months or years later when a family member is diagnosed with allergies, skin issues, autoimmune disease or even cancer. Priorities change real quick then.

It’s even more challenging when I meet pregnant moms who are very careful about what they put in their mouths. But unreceptive to thinking about the everyday products they are using and the possible impact that these products just like food may be having on their unborn baby.

So please, think just for a moment – have you looked at the ingredient label on the products you use?  You do have options…and believe it or not, some of these options may not only bring you peace of mind, they may save you money and time.

If you found this helpful, please let us know. Send us an email at Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!

Tips for a Gluten & Allergy Free Trade Show

Life has been a whirlwind of meeting new people, savoring time with friends, sharing valuable information and tools! Spent this last weekend in Atlanta with our friends, the Domanicos, while attending the Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo at the Cobb Galleria. I love these events – I always come away with lots of new knowledge plus contentment knowing I have served people by helping them connect with valuable and money-saving resources!

The next GFAF Expo will be in Schaumburg Illinois – my stomping grounds. Excited to “host” many VIP’s to the area that have become friends and associates over the last year since I started attending these events. Here’s my list of Tips for Successfully Attending a Gluten & Allergy Free Trade Show:

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  1. Wear layers of comfortable clothing. Temperatures can run the gamut – some places are hot outside and inside – so have layers that you can easily remove and stow in a tote. Even when it is cold outside, it can be brutally warm inside. I found this true when I was in Texas a few months ago. They are not used to cold or icy weather, so the heat in the hall was high to accommodate the locals but about boiled this Chicago, menopausal girl! Then half way through the show, the hall became cold since many complained about the heat and I had to go find a jacket
. The reverse can be true – brutal hot outside and a refrigerator in the hall inside
 so be prepared by wearing layers.
  2. Comfy, supportive shoes ideally with a sock or liner to protect skin – an emphasis on supportive – you have only two feet to make it through your whole life. Take care of them with shoes that are not only comfortable but have support built in to preserve the integrity and health of your foot. Socks prevent blisters and uncomfortable chafing. I have learned that when I have to stand or walk for long periods it helps to have a second pair of shoes to change into. I know this sounds like a pain but when my feet hurt, I hurt all over!
  3. You need high protein snacks and a baggie of veggies/fruit. There are usually lots of carbs to taste at the gluten and allergy free expos so your body will be craving protein and natural fibers for balance;-) Bringing a water bottle you can refill is a good idea. Most of the trade shows I have attended have limited if any access to a snack bar or concessions.
  4. Be prepared to wait in lines – I encourage you to bring and use your strollers, wheel chair, walker or cane-seat.
  5. You will have the opportunity to purchase “deals” from some of the vendors and many give out samples, coupons, magazines, etc. Bring a couple reusable tote bags that you can pull out as you accumulate goodies. Some who have challenges carrying may want to bring a rolling bag or suitcase to stow things instead of lugging them around on your shoulder.
  6. If you are local and can carry a lot of things home, plan to be at the expo at the end of the last day and have bags to fill. Many vendors choose to give away display product rather than pack and ship back home.
  7. Attend the speakers’ presentations. You will learn so much from those who have traveled the path you are on – useful information for your journey or valuable information to share with someone you care about. Plus you get to know the speaker/author/blogger and will find the ones you want to sign up for their emails/online events or purchase their books.
  8. Be considerate of those with fragrance sensitivities. Many who attend have severe allergies and your favorite perfume or bath spray could ruin their whole day or week.
  9. Really VISIT each booth and talk to the people that are there. Many have a story to share that may help you along your path. Some booths are there just to “sell” or may have “hired” help with no knowledge of our industry
.but if you take the time (and full advantage of your ticket price) to look each person you meet in the eye, most of the people that have traveled to this conference have a lot to offer you and you will be much richer for taking the time to find it
and have many more friends/resources to reach out to when you have questions or need help.
  10. Get on the email lists for the people and events that resonate with you. Most will have valuable resources that they continue to share throughout the year. Plus savings for the next time the conference returns to town.

If you found this helpful, please let me know. Send me an email to Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!

Watch out for Cross Contamination
.They said it was gluten free but it wasn’t!

I recently ate at three different restaurants that promoted they had gluten free fare. The first two had a big sign saying Gluten Free Pancakes. When I inquired if the gluten free pancakes were cooked on a dedicated grill (meaning there was a grill used exclusively for gluten free food and another for gluten foods), the answer both times was NO! My big concern is that they thought they were offering “safe” gluten free pancakes – both restaurants have had no training in what gluten free and what celiac safe meant. I shared with them that by grilling the pancakes on the same griddle as gluten food would cause someone who is celiac or gluten intolerant a HUGE problem. That they could make someone very ill if they were not well-educated (which all of us start in that place!) Both times I spoke with a manager/owner and they sort of shrugged it off. One even shared that they have gluten free patrons who bring in their own gluten free bread and the server toasts it for them in their “gluten-laden” toaster!

The third restaurant was enlightened. They offered gluten free options for bread, rolls and chips. They had a disclaimer on their menu that the server also was sure to review with me when I ordered gluten free. The menu and server told me that they offered these items but wanted me to know that they are assembled in a kitchen where gluten also coexists. Cross contamination was a possibility and they were very assertive to be sure I knew that.

I feel I have always been gluten intolerant and glad that I learned that being gluten free may reduce inflammation from my autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis. I am not celiac – if there is a smidge of gluten on my meal, it will not destroy the villi in my gut -but that same speck could make a celiac sick for a couple weeks to a couple months.  For those not familiar – gluten is the sticky protein in wheat, rye, barley and spelt. If you would like a list of common ingredients to avoid, pop me an email or give me a call. My friend, Advocate & Author, Tiffany Hinton has a document I can share with you as well as she has almost a dozen cookbooks to help you stay gluten free yet make tasty meals the whole family will enjoy!

Another way people are accidentally “glutened” is products that say they are gluten free on the packaging
then on the back it says that this item was manufactured in a plant or on equipment that may have processed wheat, soy, peanuts, and other allergens. Anyone who is a celiac, gluten intolerant, gluten allergic will tell you they do not consider anything that may have accidentally been contaminated gluten free since the smallest amount of gluten will rock their world.

Make sure when you are looking for a place to eat or products to enjoy that there’s no chance the products/food may have been contaminated
..ask a few questions to keep yourself and the ones you love that are gluten free safe and comfortable!

If you found this helpful, please let me know. Send me an email to Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!

Gluten Free is not a “Fad Diet”

Been a busy few months meeting many experts and every day people who are navigating the Gluten and Allergy Free Life Style. Really enjoyed attending the Chicago and then Atlanta GFAF Expos.  We have learned so much and can’t wait to share!

My son and I have always had lots of allergies. We are the difficult ones when you invite us to dinner that we have to check the menu for those things that will make us sick. Last year, we learned that many people experience a reduction in inflammation when removing Gluten from their diet. Going Gluten Free made sense…..and within a few weeks we both agreed it made a difference in how we felt. So we are now living the “Gluten Free Lifestyle.” Stephen and I have Ankylosing Spondylitis – a hereditary rheumatological and psoriatic arthritis that I watched my mother struggle with all the years I knew her. My son also suffers from Fibromyalgia and  Tactile Allodynia.

As I asked for a Gluten Free menu at a restaurant last week, the gentleman next to me at the bar made a remark about how many people were doing this new “fad” diet of Gluten Free….he compared it to something like the South Beach Diet. I chose my words carefully and educated him on how the person next to me would be sick for days as a Celiac and how I had just met a number of people who were so allergic to Gluten that they could die since their response to Gluten was anaphylactic shock. Then I shared that I was one who did make a choice to go Gluten Free but that I did have a medical reason – to reduce chronic inflammation. I felt good after that short conversation – first because I knew how to simply educate this person and second that he seemed to really get it (he even said thanks!!)

One of the things you realize shortly after striving to be SAFELY Gluten Free is that you are cooking a lot more at home. I was introduced to Tiffany Hinton a little before Christmas last year. She has authored Gluten Free Cookbooks that you want in your library…..I gave them for Christmas Gifts since we enjoyed her experience and wisdom so much. Over the last few months I have had the pleasure of getting to know Tiffany, her husband Will and family very well. They truly have a story that you will want to learn…..they have 3 children under the age of 3 so Tiffany now is not the only gluten intolerant one in the family. They are also lactose, peanut, nightshades and dairy free.

Hinton Family 2014

Take advantage of all their hard work translating our old fave recipes to Gluten Free Recipes that work and taste great! They just released a new cookbook that Tiffany and Will wrote together sharing their journey, family history and best of all their favorite family recipes all reworked into tasty Gluten Free!!

Hinton Heritage Cookbook

Their mission is to be advocates for the Gluten and Allergy Free world – they have an abundance of experience and wisdom they generously share. Please check out their offerings here:

www.gfmomcertified.com/affiliates/shopping44

Be sure to sign up for Tiffany’s weekly Gluten & Allergy Free Recipes!!

They have been such a help to us and friends! I know they will bless you too!

Let’s talk soon! Elizabeth and Kris Gronert bringing you and your family Comfort For Life. Call or text (847) 502-8394 or email at elizabeth@elizabethanthonygronert.com