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text 2018-05-02 11:00
Facts About Me: Allergies

I'm severely allergic to most animals, including fish, horses, cats and dogs. I've owned fish and dogs all throughout my life, but only became allergic to them after a stem cell transplant in 2003. Now, we can no longer have either, except for a pure poodle. We can't even have a cross, like a Weimerdoodle.

We tried. We got this adorable pup that we named Charlie, and after explaining my circumstances to the breeder, he offered to let us have the pup but if there was ever a risk to my health in the first year, we would be able to give him back to a good, safe home. Unfortunately, within just a few weeks, I became severely ill - barely able to breathe, an unfortunate vomiting and pneumonia type illness, that could only be explained by the poor dog. So, we sadly had to give Charlie back to the breeder, who was kind enough to promise that he would be rehomed.

Eventually, we found a pure poodle, in our Bracken, and my health has been fine with him.



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review 2018-02-02 16:27
This illness isn't real so don't worry
Close Enough to Touch: A Novel - Colleen Oakley

There is a section on New York Public Library's website where librarians recommend some of their favorite books. I have been known to trawl through looking for ideas about what to read next (because I'm clearly lacking in books lol) and that's where I came across Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley. Our main character, Jubilee Jenkins, is a small-town librarian with a big secret...she's allergic to human touch. And I do mean deathly allergic. Let me back up a bit because the book doesn't open with her working in the library and fretting about whether or not anyone has figured out she can't touch them. Instead we meet Jubilee in her home where she has been sequestered away for several years after a bad allergy attack which nearly killed her. She decides the best way to keep herself safe is to not come into any kind of contact with the outside world which of course results in her becoming absolutely petrified to leave her house for any reason. (She even comes up with a system for getting her trash to the curb without going outside.) I had originally been intrigued by this book because it gave me slight Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore vibes but once I got into it I realized that the main difference here is that she's not trying to solve a mystery. Jubilee just wants to live. 


This book's narrative could have been tightened up extensively. There's the exploration of mental illness but there's also a burgeoning romance. AND there was a second subplot involving her romantic interest and his relationship with his adopted son. I think by splitting the focus, none of these were explored satisfactorily. The ending was somewhat confusing and left me disappointed that I had spent the time reading the book at all. And honestly I didn't care for Jubilee. She was extremely wishy-washy and many times I found myself frustrated with her. The initial concept was interesting but the execution and the muddied plot turned this into a low rated read for me: 4/10.


Check out the different interpretations of the story via the book cover:



Source: The eBook Hunter
Source: Simon & Schuster



What's Up Next: Deep Dark Fears The Creeps by Fran Krause


What I'm Currently Reading: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-03-07 11:40
Close Enough To Touch
Close Enough to Touch: A Novel - Colleen Oakley

By:  Colleen Oakley


Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 3/7/2017

Format: Other 

My Rating:  5 Stars


Talented storyteller, Colleen Oakley returns following her smashing debut, Before I Go (2015) with her latest poignant love story, CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH – full of emotion, readers will laugh and cry and fall in love with the memorable characters.

“ . . . Love is messy. It doesn’t come to us in a perfect box all wrapped up in a bow. It’s more like a gift from a child, crayon-scrawled and crumpled. Imperfect. But always a gift just the same.”

Jubilee Jenkins did not wake up one morning and think she was going to become a recluse. She is allergic to other people.

Born in 1989 to a single mother, she was the typical infant, and it wasn’t until she was three the issues began. Starting with hives and welts to hospital emergency room visits, and advancing to an EpiPen and anaphylaxis. The physicians were perplexed.

When she was six years old, she was diagnosed with type IV contact dermatitis to foreign human skin cells. She is allergic to other people. The only one of a handful of people in the history of the world with the same condition. Rare.

She explodes in welts and hives when someone else’s skin touches hers. Anaphylaxis if she came into oral contact with another human (kissing). She almost died. A boy kissed her. The tongue swelled and throat closed.

Then three months later her mom married Lenny a gas station owner, packed a bag, and left. Sending checks, Jubilee has not left her home in nine years. She felt like a freak. Making do with ordering her food and receiving her education sitting at home online.

Her worst nightmare. Her mom dies, now she is forced to leave her home in order, to support herself. She is terrified. She needs money. She must find a job. How will she leave her home and remain safe?

She finds work at the library and meets Eric Keegan. Eric is divorced and having a problem communicating with his children. An estranged teenage daughter, Ellie and adopted son Aja.

Jubilee will soon become connected with this family in so many ways, on so many levels. Will she ever be able to have a normal human contact relationship? An experimental cure? Would it be too much to hope for? Can she fall in love for the first time at age 28?



What a delightful story and what a fabulous front cover! Can you imagine a life without touch? Three wounded souls connect in unexpected ways.

From Oakley’s debut and her background before becoming a novelist — a health journalist, having written a few articles about allergies, among many other topics, I love her insights and interest in the medical field, which is always intriguing to me since I read everything I can get my hands on and continued research when it comes to allergies.

She integrates newsworthy topics into modern contemporary family lives, allowing her characters to come alive on the pages. Interesting, absorbing, and compelling. Plus enjoy her writing style. For fans of Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty, Lisa Genova, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Diane Chamberlain, and Jo Jo Moyes.

As Oakley mentions in her recent interview with Atlanta Magazine:

“The burden of responsibility as a parent is already really high, but when your kids have food allergies, it is a constant 24/7 level of vigilance. It’s already terrifying to let your kids out into the world, but knowing that something as little as a peanut or an egg could end their life, and you’re the sole person responsible for that, is really heavy.”

All too true, sadly enough, most people are not educated as to the life-threatening consequences of one single ingredient in a food.

On a side note:
What a timely topic and one I am well versed on. Allergies are quite the mystery. Their triggers can change without rhyme or reason. From welts, hives, and Anaphylaxis numerous times, over foods, additives, chemicals, environmental toxins, and especially, medications of any sort. One drop of cream on your skin, and it can happen. Equipped with Benadryl and an EpiPen, at all times.

I can only imagine how difficult this may be for parents with children they have to protect. When they are at school or at friend’s homes, away from their controlled environment. Many times it is frustrating, as people do not take allergies serious (especially restaurant staff, friends, and the overall hospitality, and medical industry) unless you have been through the nightmare yourself or someone close to you.

I do love my Atlanta authors! Highly recommend both books- an author to follow.

A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.





Allergic to human touch? Colleen Oakley’s latest novel explores the idea

We chatted with the metro Atlanta author about her inspiration for the novel about an intriguing imaginary medical condition

March 2017

Colleen OakleyColleen Oakley


Try to imagine your life without touch. No hugs or kisses (or sex), but also no brushing hands with the cashier as you pay for your deli sandwich, no handshakes at business meetings, no shoulder rubs with strangers in a packed MARTA train. In her new book, Close Enough to Touch, metro Atlanta novelist Colleen Oakley considers the practical and emotional ramifications of such a life. We recently chatted with Oakley about her inspiration for the book.


Read More Atlanta Magazine






Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/03/Close-Enough-to-Touch
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review 2016-10-24 04:09
Food Forensics
Food Forensics: The Hidden Toxins Lurking in Your Food and How You Can Avoid Them for Lifelong Health - Mike Adams

The Hidden Toxins Lurking in Your Food and How You Can Avoid Them for Lifelong Health

By:  Mike Adams

ISBN: 9781940363288

Publisher:  BenBella

Publication Date: 7/26/2016

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 5 Stars


A special thank you to BenBella and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

FOOD FORENSICS: The Health Ranger's Guide to Foods that Harm and Foods that Heal is an essential book by Mike Adams. The Hidden Toxins Lurking in Your Food and How You Can Avoid Them for Lifelong Health. An important message for every woman, man, teen, boy, and girl. No matter your age. It is time to take control, folks! I am a huge fan and supporter.

The hidden truths exposed. The research, and proof. Our food is slowly killing us. Food Forensics discloses how food contamination happens and why it matters. Providing consumers valuable information on how you can protect yourself.

Watch the Video.

Deception and consumer fraud, from Whole Foods, and many others; from organic, natural, superfoods, and dietary companies. Many companies, food suppliers, markets, and restaurants sell products that are poisoning us, with toxic heavy metals and many other hidden additives and preservatives. It is time to get your heads out of the sand.

When these food companies are made aware of these toxins, they invoke denial and offer willfully ambiguous communication, rather than transparency. Just like drug companies, weapons manufacturers, and Wall Street--many natural product companies seem to be run by people who place profits over consumer safety. We saw what the tobacco industry did. Sometimes it is too late and the damage has been done.

The sad situation people are lazy; they do not want to make costly changes, just like the consumers who hide behind their ignorance. Some people will not take control of their own health, bodies, and make the necessary changes. The companies do not want the cost. It cannot be done with only a small number of people. It takes everyone to take a stand, refusing to buy these products to enforce accountability and changes. If you discontinue buying, they are forced to make changes, accordingly.

Consumers cannot continue to buy the processed foods which contain additives and preservatives, filled with chemicals, poisons, and toxins. While they continue to wonder why they are gaining weight and spend thousands of dollars with numerous health issues. Running to the doctors who prescribe more unnecessary drugs, further complicating their health. In our busy world, today, many families and parents are subjecting their children and themselves with poison, and do not take the matter seriously.

As a huge advocate for accountability, in the corporate world (a SOX whistleblower), as well as the food and health industry, this book contains scientific truths. Everyone needs to take notice, buy the book, and take our food shopping and health more seriously. What are you putting in your bodies?

Trust me, I did so, over thirteen years ago and continue this fight for better food. At that time, there was not a lot was published, and had to do my own research. I wish this book had been around.

Food Forensics: The unleashing. Hidden truths. Nothing held back. Documentation of these products with data acquired from 2013 to 2016. I liked the fact it also spurs widespread denials and even a few lawsuit threats—plus efforts to silence this work, which is not surprising. These companies are training their employees to lie. It is sad to know our food is grown on lands where industrial waste is intentionally dumped and used as fertilizer, plus more.

Consumers cannot hide behind “if the FDA approves” it – it must be OK. Wrong! I believe nothing they say. No accountability. From the food manufacturers, FDA, media, food advertising – colluding to ignore this science and preventing consumers from learning the truths you need to know.

Natural News Forensic Food Lab looks at the industry closely, by randomly purchasing products who make claims and do not comply with the levels published. It is very important if you have not done your research as I have done over the years. The book explains the way in which humans absorb these contaminants and the resulting health effects. (plus why they are so difficult to get rid of).

As I have told my son which lives in another state with a family of his own. They wonder why they have so much inflammation, digestive disorders, and sickness in their twenties, thirties, and forties. Others suffer from neurological damage, organ failure, heart, lung, cancer, and other serious diseases and conditions; Alzheimer’s and dementia- the list goes on and on. Increased toxins in everyday foods.

We all are walking time bombs from toxic metals, chemicals, and routine consumption of contaminated foods, personal care products, and environmental exposure.

The FDA should be doing what these folks are doing. From arsenic, pesticides, leads, and other toxins - even in our drinking water. Our bodies are not made for repeated exposure to arsenic. Why I gave up meats; another story.Look at their conditions and what animals are eating.

It is critical we take control of what we eat and what environmental toxins we subject ourselves to. I am very passionate about these critical subjects. No one will do it for you. By not accepting what others say is passable. It is critical to take a stand. Not many of us genuinely care. Some are in denial, or not educated. Learn the facts. Read labels, and find the hidden things. Like myself and others, the urgency is life-threatening.



On a personal note:
I have always had allergies; however, about thirteen years ago I started my journey. I began experiencing all sort of serious allergic issues, from chemicals, medications, environmental, and mostly serious food allergies. It became so serious with emergency rooms visits, an array of allergy specialists, physicians, and cardiologist, etc.

With full blown anaphylaxis, many times with foods; always carry an Epi-Pen, ongoing sinus infections, ear infections, heart palpitations, tachycardia, PVCs, PACs, headaches, digestive issue, thyroid problems, etc. Even a drop of cream with preservative will send me into anaphylaxis. I have to be extremely careful of everything I put on my body or ingest. It is life-threatening.

This was very serious and began keeping a food journal of everything I was eating from morning until evening, any snacks, and noted the date, time, symptoms, ingredients, as well as a recording of blood pressure, heart rate, and exercise. (I even developed extensive excel spreadsheets for two years). It was well worth the time and effort. The food additives, preservatives, and toxins were causing many of my heart problems and other reactions.

I had always been pretty healthy; however, over the course of five years, I began eliminating foods and seeing a big difference. I have an entire list of additives which create havoc. Some of these foods may take up to 12 hrs. after ingesting to notice symptoms, some sooner; the aftermath- some may last up to days or a week. I saw proof of this with heart tests and 24 hr Holter heart monitor. When you graph and chart, what you see is astounding. You see the heart rate changes, insomnia, and blood pressure. Totally out of control. I am also unable to take any medications, vitamins, and highly sensitive to environmental toxins.

In addition to my food research, I have to stay abreast with my environment. I live in a high-rise apartment building and property management. From toxins, fumes, mold, cleaning supplies, ventilation systems, etc. (an advocate) forcing them to eliminate air fresheners, perfumes, smoke, and certain cleaning products, as well as other toxins. Showing proof of the seriousness and health hazards- take your complaints to local and state levels. You cannot sit back idly. It takes everyone working together. Let your voice be heard. You only have one life. Live it toxic free, or as close as you can.

I have been vegan for the last eight years. (No dairy, bread, grains, or meats). No sugars, flours, or processed foods, preservatives, or additives. Nothing in a can, box, or freezer. No alcohol, caffeine, or fruit juices. Wine is full of sulfites (horrible). If you eat correctly, the food cravings for the bad stuff will go away. Fresh organic vegetables. However, even with these, you have to be cautious. I do eat some fruits, as well. I stay away from some which cause inflammation.

Not only did the heart problems cease, no more anaphylaxis reactions, and other disorders. I felt great, and continue to maintain the size 4-6 with no weight gain. You feel lighter. It is worth the extra effort. It is a lifestyle choice and one I am glad I made. I take my foods very seriously and dedicated to maintaining my health. I do not dine out (do not trust foods) and carry my own food when traveling. If I go out with others, I do not eat or drink. BTW, I stopped shopping at Whole Foods over five years ago.

I literally could throw out everything in my son’s pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. They see what I eat, which is vegan fresh organic vegetables and water. It works for me. However, they choose to stay with the same bad processed foods and sugars. From dining out to home meals, and snacks. They like convenience. I am still working on them.

I also work with hotel groups and these properties are in tune with natural foods, special diets, vegans, and healthy food choices. When traveling shop, and demand what you need, or go elsewhere. It takes education, and wise shopping and determination to take control over your food choices.

Make changes. This should carry through to our children, and grandchildren. It amazes me how many people are not aware of the dangers of foods and how they can damage your body and health. If they read about them, they disregard and do not take it seriously, until they are hit with health problems.

The detrimental health effects triggered by gradually accumulating minuscule concentrations of toxins through repeated dietary or environmental exposure. In addition, our dietary exposure to toxic heavy metals through foods is a far greater problem than most people suppose. From the lack of exercise and no sweating, heavy metals accumulate in bodies of the obese. This book is an excellent source.

I really enjoy Mike Adams, The Health Ranger and NaturalNews.com. A fabulous team, doing great work to expose and take initiatives to help promote the road to more accountability of the food industry. Awareness. Highly support anyone or cause, who helps expose and educate consumers of our food industry.

A "must read" book and source for everyone! Protect yourself. Your health. Take control of what you eat and your body. Join the fight! Buy the book, and take the journey to a better life and world.



About the Author 


Mike Adams, known as the "Health Ranger," is an outspoken consumer health advocate, award-winning investigative journalist, internet activist, and science lab director.

He is the founder and editor of NaturalNews.com, the internet's most-trafficked natural health news website. He is also the creator of CounterThink.com, FoodInvestigations.com, HealingFoodReference.com, HonestFoodGuide.org, and several other websites covering natural health topics.

Adams is a prolific writer and has been called "the best health and natural products writer on the scene today,” by Ronnie Cummins, founder, Organic Consumers Association. He has received accolades and testimonials from several key influencers in the natural health space, including Dr. Michael T. Murray and raw food pioneer David Wolfe. Read More 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/06/01/Food-Forensics
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review 2015-06-13 19:25
The Food Babe
The Food Babe Way: Break Free from the Hidden Toxins in Your Food and Lose Weight, Look Years Younger, and Get Healthy in Just 21 Days! - Vani Hari,Mark Hyman

Break Free from the Hidden Toxins in Your Food and Lose Weight, Look Years Younger, and Get Healthy in Just 21 Days! 


By: Vani Hari, Mark Hyman (Foreword)

ISBN:  0316376469

Publisher:Little Brown & Company 

Publication Date:  2/10/2015 

Format: ebook Kindle 

My Rating: 5 Stars


THE FOOD BABE Break Free from the Hidden Toxins by Vani Hari, a food activist who has courageously put the heat on big food companies to disclose ingredients and remove toxic additives from their products; a must read for all Americans in our toxic world today! A much needed wake-up call, an education, and an informative guide in easy-to-read format, for a journey to living a clean and healthy lifestyle.

Even though I am very familiar with most everything Vani has included in her book, (picked up some new tips), an excellent choice for those who need to get off the fence and take this food journey seriously. A down to earth book, which I can give to my family to help them make changes. I wish this book had been offered some ten years ago, as had to conduct my own research.

She is honest and driven and it takes this drive and determination to make changes especially fighting against the food giants. It is frustrating how the industry can hide facts, ingredients, and information harmful to humans. Wake up Americans, this is serious business! Our food industry is killing us. Our health, our families, our children, grandchildren, and our future is at stake.

My personal experience: I am very obsessed with allergies, foods, toxins, wellness, and health facts. For the last fifteen years, I have been impassioned about learning how foods, medications, and our environment contributes to health; from toxins, allergies, to hormones.

Years ago, I began experiencing series food allergies, and numerous other reactions described in this important book. I began a mountain of online research, books, and health food stores. I kept a food journal daily for years, recording ingredients, symptoms, heart rate, blood pressure, exercise, etc. Ultimately, the additives and preservatives were causing my issues from PVCs, tachycardia, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, stomach, sinus infections, headaches, and the list goes on and on. I spent years trying to get to the root of the problem, and yes, it is food. You are what you eat.

After experiencing all sorts of allergic problems, from chemicals, medications, environment and mostly food allergies. It became so serious with emergency rooms visits, an array of allergy specialists, physicians, and cardiologist, etc. With full blown anaphylaxis (5 times-very scary), always carry an Epi-Pen presently. Over the course of two years, I began eliminating foods and seeing a big difference.

I eat fresh organic vegetables, some fruits, quinoa, beans, lentils, and whole grains. For the last few years, I have experienced no heart palpitations, no anaphylactic attacks, no allergies, sinus issues, or stomach problems. I take no medications, or vitamins, no prescription drugs, or over the counter medications. I have tons of energy, healthy, fit, and have maintained a size 4 dress size, and will never go back to eating bad things.

I have been a vegan for the last five years and stay away from all processed foods. Eliminating dairy, fast food, gluten, sugar, and meats have made a big impact on my life and health, as well as eliminating foods with additives and preservatives. I eat only organic and cook everything at home. I very seldom dine out as cannot trust what they put in foods. Alcohol is loaded with sulfites (which is a big thing I am allergic to), so only drink water. If I eat one thing with preservatives, my heart will go into overdrive and does not slow down for at least twenty four hours or longer. She is correct about the belly fat. Give up the chemicals and you will see results. It is not worth the risk to your health.

On a side note: I am thrilled Panera Bread has taken the step recently with their cleaner journey mission; hope it will be an inspiration for others to follow, naming all NO, NO chemicals, additives, and preservatives in their foods; the ones which do not exist, and the ones which will be removed by 2016. Wow, think about it…if Panera has a list this long, can you imagine McDonalds or other fast food restaurants? Our children deserve optimum health and so do we!

Even if you do not have serious allergies, or experiencing current health issues, this book is for anyone wanting to learn more, and also a gift to others for optimum health and wellness. You may be on the fence about going vegetarian or vegan, have celiac disease, or maybe looking for a change, and this this book is an excellent place to begin. You can try new things without giving up great food and stay healthy.

Thank you, Vani Hari for your work, your dedication, and tenacity as you continue to empower others for a much needed change, and take steps to make the food industry accountable.

As readers continue on this journey, would recommend a few other books which I have enjoyed, in addition to this one:

"Tox-Sick by Suzanne Somers

Cooking Allergy Free: Inspired Meals for Everyone by Jenna Short

Deliciously Ella: 100+ Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based, Gluten-Free Recipes by Ella Woodward

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1280344705
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