Marvelous is my One Year Blogiversary Giveaway

Many of you may not know this, but this isn’t my first blog. I had another blog before Eating 4 Balance where I professed my love of peanut butter. It was pretty sweet. But… I barely posted more than once a week with WIAWs and even when I did the pictures and commentary were not very interesting for most I’m sure.

I posted mostly healthy recipes and little life updates with a small following of readers. Then I started getting stomach pains out of the blue and couldn’t figure out the cause. Most people say that the internet is not a trustworthy source of information, but really, the internet saved me.

It was through blogs that I first learned about the concepts of being gluten and lactose intolerant. I would have never even thought that food could be a contributing factor to my ever-worsening gastrointestinal issues. I would have believed my doctors when they said that I had a “sensitive” stomach and that it “wasn’t anything serious.”

I really wish my doctors could have seen me when I was walking through Wal-Mart and wasn’t sure if I could keep going down the aisle because my stomach felt like it was going to explode. I wish they could see me the past year and a half where I spend countless hours everyday reading health journals, medical studies, (and yes) food blogs looking for something to tell me what it is going on when I was going in for test after test with no answers.

So while some of you may think that I was being over dramatic when I stated that the internet saved me, I can assure that I wasn’t.

Am I better now? No, not even close really. I am still in pain every day and I can eat a total of three foods without laying awake at night with a painfully bloated stomach (or even worse, not being in bed at all but constantly running to the bathroom).

The thing is though, it’s not the wealth of information from blogs that I am most appreciative of. It’s the community. The friends I’ve made. You all.

I may not be the most consistent or interesting blogger out there. Actually, I’m positive I’m not.

I may not take award-winning photos or share ground-breaking recipes. Again, I can show you my blogroll for those who are more apt at that.

The one thing that I will say however, is that I have a love for blogging that could rival anyone. Even though I may fall behind on replying to comments or may not adequately express my thanks in my posts, I seriously don’t know what I would have done without you all.

You have listened to me as I’ve visited all of these doctors. This past Spring you gave me the courage to go out of my comfort zone and move three hours away for an internship. You have heard me complain about school, work and (of course, my stomach).

Most importantly though, you keep coming back.

Although I have already written over 500 words in this post, there are thousands more that I could say and really words can’t express how much this blogging community means to me.

Thanks for being a listening ear. An advice-giver. A friend.

You have given so much and now it’s my turn to return the favor.

In honor of my one year (and a few days) blogiversary, I am hosting a giveaway!

Since this was originally intended to be an allergy-free blog (before I got all boring and stopped eating real food), I tried to keep that in mind as I was making my purchases for this giveaway. I tried to find the most tasty products that the majority of my audience could eat. Almost all of the products I have tried myself at one point or another. Sadly I cannot eat anything of them at this point in time, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying them!

For each product (except for the edamame) I am going to give a link to both the product description as well as the allergy statements made by the manufacturing companies. There are quite a few products that literally should be able to consumed by all who enter, but please don’t just assume. If you find something in this list that you can’t eat, still enter! If you win I am happy to take out the offending product, or I can still send it to you and you can pass it on to someone else that might enjoy it.

With that out of the way, check out the six things that you can win in this giveaway, and the five ways that you can enter below.

Funky Monkey Freeze Dried Organic Apples

Top 8 Free

(product information, allergen FAQs)

Enjoy Life Foods Sunbutter Crunch Chewy Bars

Top 8 Free

(product information, allergen FAQs)

Chiquita Super Crunchy Pineapple Chips

Gluten/Wheat, Nut and Dairy-Free

(product information, allergen information)

Back to Nature Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Granola

Contains Dairy and Soy, Processed with Wheat

(product information, allergen information on Nutrition & Ingredients tab)

Sea Snax Premium Roasted Seaweed Snack

May Contain Trace Amounts of Fish and Shellfish

(product information, allergen information on non-affiliated site)

Fresh Finds Roasted and Salted Edamame

Processed in a Facility with Peanuts and Other Nuts, Contains Soy

(bought product at Big Lots. No company website. Allergen information listed on bag)

This giveaway is available to U.S. and Canadian residents only. If you win and live in another country, I will pick another winner for the giveaway and offer you the opportunity to guest post on my blog (sorry for limiting this as some of my favorite bloggers live across the sea!).

There are five ways that you can enter to win this giveaway (leave a separate comment for each):

  1. Leave a comment about something that you have learned from reading blogs that you never would have otherwise.
  2. Follow my blog by clicking the Follow button on the right under Follow Blog by Email.
  3. Follow my blog on Bloglovin.*
  4. Follow me on Pinterest.
  5. Pin any allergy-friendly recipe on Pinterest (it doesn’t have to be mine) and leave the link in the comments.

*If you use a blog reader other than Bloglovin (like Feedly) then you can use that “follow” in place of #3.

This giveaway will last until Thursday night and I will post the randomly chosen winner Friday morning. You will have the weekend to contact me (at alleyhays at gmail dot com… again, don’t ask about the name… pet fish… long story) and if I do not hear from you by Sunday night with your full name and address then I will have to pick somebody else.

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Thank you Katie for hosting this awesome weekly party!

Beach and Breakfast

Hey everyone! I hope you all had an awesome weekend.

I forgot to mention this last week, but right now I’m at the beach! Myrtle Beach to be exact. With me are my two friends and my dad.

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My great aunt was so generous and loaned me her condo for a graduation gift!

We are having so much fun!

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Here is a back view of our condo.

On Sunday we left at 5:30 am and got here around 6:00 pm.

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It was such a pretty ride down!

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These clouds fortold the light rain we would get about an hour later!

On Monday we hit the beach for some swimming and attempts at boogy-boarding. That afternoon we went putt-putting as well.

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In the A/C!!

Sadly I never hit the ball hard enough and it always rolled back down those stupid hills. I came in last with 27 above par. Yikes!

In the past we have eaten out a lot on vacation. With my allergies however, I can’t really trust the kitchen staff to get it right.

On the drive down I ate tuna, bananas, prunes, carrots and a few baggies of puffed rice cereal.

When we got in Myrtle Beach we immediately hit the grocery store to buy some food. I bought grapes, more bananas, canned unsalted-grean beans, baby carrots, unsweetened almond milk, canned tuna and frozen raspberries. Came out under 20 dollars!

When we go to a sit down restaurant for supper I eat some roasted chicken before we head out. At the restaurant I order a glass of water and eat the carrots and grapes that I bring along. When I told the waitress that I didn’t want anything she said with a frown on her face, “Are you sure?” When I said that I had a lot of food allergies she replied, “Oh Honey!” Gosh. I love southern accents. I wanted to give her a hug right there!

Here is a picture of what I have for breakfast down here:

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Check out my WIAW tomorrow for a very simple, but scrumptious recipe!

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Are you going on any vacations or special trips this summer?

Any tips for some less-than-perfect boogy boarders?

How do you handle your special circumstances when eating out at restaurants?