An Allergy-Friendly & COVID-Friendly Valentine’s Day

With the one-year mark of the global pandemic approaching, reading about being your own Valentine this February may not sound the most thrilling, but hear me out. I’ve designed a short list of allergy-free ways to be your own valentine this year with self-love and relaxation at the heart of each one. We can all use a little extra self-love and allergy-friendly things to look forward to these days, am I right? 

Try one of these activities this February, taking note of your quality of breathing and mood beforehand, and then briefly checking in with yourself comparing your breath length and mood afterwards. You may notice a slight mood lift, sense of calm, or longer breathe after doing something nice for yourself out of the below:

1. Allergy-free Hot Chocolate – 6 Servings (Top 8 & Vegan)

Invisibly Allergic Blog - Valentine's Day
Adapted from www.allergycookie.com

Ingredients

*feel free to sub out any that don’t suit your diet or pantry

3/4 cup Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels (or your favorite allergy-free chocolate)

1 cup water

1/3 cup sugar or sweetener of choice (agave, maple syrup, etc)

3 cups unsweetened milk of choice (flaxseed, coconut, hemp, sunflower seed, etc)

Tiny pinch of salt (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, combine chocolate and water over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until chocolate is melted
  2. Add sugar and ½ cup of allergen-free milk of choice
  3. Continue stirring until sugar has dissolved (about 2 minutes)
  4. Reduce heat to medium while stirring in the rest of the milk, and adding your optional tiny pinch of salt now
  5. Pour into cups and enjoy slowly, focusing on the flavor and warmth!
  6. If you want to get creative or make it extra tailored to your taste buds, you can spruce up your hot chocolate by adding an additional element, such as: garden mint, allergy-friendly candy cane, coffee, spices, extracts, or spirits. 

2. Establish a Food Allergy Affirmation

When thinking about affirmations, positive statements or judgements, begin thinking about the positive self-talk you already say to yourself when food allergies become stressful for one reason or another. Take a seat someplace comfortable, grab a pen and paper, and close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths. 

Next, let your mind begin to ponder words of wisdom that you believe could be beneficial to say to yourself in these heightened moments when stress is getting the better of you. These aren’t meant to take the place of responding if a food reaction is occurring, but are to help aid in mental reframing and grounding in situations where things may be frustrating but everyone is safe and healthy. Such as, if you forgot your allergy-free snack at home, or if someone lets you know in advance they can’t accommodate your allergy. 

An example could be, “Everything is okay, and I’m going to be okay” or, “I take comfort in the fact that that I am safe right now”.

Begin journaling positive affirmations you feel would benefit you when you’re in a heightened state of emotion. Let them flow out of the pen onto the page without judgement, you can finalize them later. Now, you can decide from these affirmations which would be the most helpful to turn to, or keep them all! I suggest if one really resonates, writing it down someplace where you can easily reference it as-needed, such as typed in your phone ‘Notes’ or written on a small piece of paper that can be taped to your phone or wallet.

“I take comfort in the fact that that I am safe right now.”

3. DIY Allergy-Free Play Dough

Adapted from www.neocate.com

There are a few types you can make at home to get a soft, malleable dough that’s allergy-conscious. This dough can be for adults just as much as teens or children! It can be infused with essential oils, if you use those, or left unscented. Roll it between your fingers, massage it into the palm of your hand, and just have fun playing with no expectations! I often do this while watching TV or listening to music. Pick one of these quick recipes that suits your allergy-free lifestyle:

  • Option 1 – Gluten-Free Baking Soda-Based Dough

Ingredients: 

2 cups baking soda

1 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon allergy-free oil

  1. Mix ingredients together in a sauce pan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. If you have older kids, they may get a kick out of doing this part. During the heating process, baking soda makes the mixture fizz for quite a while before it starts to thicken. When it starts to thicken, be careful! It goes really fast.
  2. Take the mixture off the heat as soon as it’s thick enough to start wanting to stick together. Let cool, partially covered until it can be handled.
  • Option 2 – Gluten-Free & Corn-Free Free Dough

Ingredients:

1 firmly packed cup brown rice flour

1 cup water

1/2 cup salt

1 Tablespoons allergy-free oil

1 Tablespoons cream of tartar

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Stir continuously over a medium heat until the mixture congeals and forms a ball, approximately 3-5 minutes. Continue to turn the ball over on the heat for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and turn dough out onto a board or bench top.
  4. Allow to cool completely and then knead until the dough is smooth. Sprinkle with a little rice flour as you knead if the dough feels at all sticky but be sure to only add a little at a time to prevent your dough drying out.
  • Option 3 – Sunflower Seed Butter Dough

Lastly, a Top 8 allergy-friendly version for children who may try to eat it.

Ingredients:

1 cup sunflower seed butter

⅓ cup maple syrup

⅔ cup arrowroot powder (or cornstarch, if you can have corn products)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and play! You may need to add more arrowroot powder if the consistency is too sticky to play with.

Invisibly Allergic Blog - Valentine's Day

Happy Allergy-Free Valentine’s Day! 

I hope however you decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year that it’s relaxing and brings you joy. XO!

This blog post was written by Zoe, the author behind Invisibly Allergic, for the Food Equality Initiative (FEI), and was originally published in their Free-From Magazine.

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