LEGO Brand Retail
Nov 302008

Good old Vlasic pickles have been my favorite snack of late but I am apparently going to have to cut the kosher Dill spears out. Guess I did not read the ingredients list carefully enough. I really do need to be more diligent when it comes to reading labels. Smack in the middle of the list
is the dreaded “natural flavors”. Why on earth would pickets need additional flavors?

Looks like my Bread and Butter chips should be fine, I’ll just leave the Kosher dill for everyone else. Might explain my nausea of a few weeks ago when I would come home and grab a dill spear as a snack before my meals.

Vlasic kosher Dill Spears ingredients: Cucumbers, Water, distilled vinegar, salt, calcium Chloride, poly sorbets 80, natural flavors, Yellow 5.

Only 5 calories a pickle spear if you can eat them.

Vlasic Bread & Butter chips ingredients: Cucumbers, high fructose Corn syrup, water, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, spice, Calcium Chloride, Yellow 5

Calories 25 for about 3 chips. 100-calorie snack would be about 12 pickle chips. I don’t think I could eat that many at one time. But they do make a nice side to my tuna sandwiches, (which are not completely soy free thanks to the bread).

Nov 282008

Well having a soy free spaghetti dinner is almost impossible. We normally make our own spaghetti sauce but we use store bought ingredients. Our recipe is simple enough meat, spices, tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and olive oil, sound s like it should be soy free right? Well that tomato sauce is the problem. Right now the only brand we have in the house (generic Giant brand)
has natural flavors listed. And we all know by now natural flavors equals soy. I will call to confirm, but I am sure it does. So the hunt begins for a canned tomato sauce without soy.

So far my noodles all seem Okay (wheat is not an issue for me – yet), I am concerned by the wheat gluten in the Giant brand, but San Giorgio and Barilla both seem to list better ingredients and no sign of Soy floor or soy oil. Yeah.

Giant Brand Vermicelli ingredients: semolina, niacin, ferrous solfate (iron), thiamine, thiamine Mono nitrate, riboflavin, folic acid. (warnings) Contains: wheat gluten (Food hold USA)

Barilla whole Grain spaghetti the ingredients: whole durum wheat flour, semolina, durum Wheat floor, oat fibe r. (warnings) Contains: wheat ingredients, manufactured on equipment that process products containing eggs, (Barilla America, Inc)

San Giorgio Angel Hair Pasta ingredients: semolina (wheat), durum flour (wheat), niacin, iron (ferrous sulfate), thiamn Mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid. (warnings) Allergen information: contains wheat and is manufactured in a facility that uses eggs.

So the noodles appear To be mostly harmless as does my parmesan cheese.

Giant Brand Parmesan Cheese: parmesan Cheese made from Cow’s milk (Cheese Culture, salt enzymes), powdered cellulose (prevents caking) (warnings) contains milk

My problem again lies with the sauce whether we make it ourselves or buy a jar for quick and easy meals. (I am learning there is no longer a quick and easy meal for some one with allergies or even for anyone wishing to eat healthier meals).

Ragu 100% Natural (doesn’t mean it is good for you) ingredients: Tomato puree (water, tomato paste), soybean oil, salt, sugar, dried onions, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), spices, romano cheese (part-skim milk, Cheese Cultures, salt, enzymes), natural flavors,

No warnings as the FDA does not require soy warnings only that they are listed in the ingredients, but they can still get away with using natural flavors (aka Soy).

Ragu is a sauce I grew up with and my preferred sauce, but I’ll now have to say good-bye. Not buying it any more is a lot easier than trying to get a company to
stop using soy. So I tried Prego. Flavors okay, but I am not 100% certain it is soy free, I’ll have to call Campbell’s and find out.

Prego 100% Natural Italian sauce ingredients: tomato puree (water, tomato paste), dice tomatoes in tomato juice, sugar, vegetable oil (corn and or Canola), salt, Onion powder, spices (basiI, oregano, spice), dehydrated garlic, citric acid, dehydrated parsley and flavoring. (no warnings)

I question the flavoring and spices listings. I have found some spice mixes in my cupboard that contain soy.

Unless I want just noodles, olive Oil and parmesan cheese my search for Soy free spaghetti the sauce continues.

Nov 252008

Trying to live a soy free lifestyle is hard. Much harder than one would think. (Sorry but since this affects my every waking moment you’ll see a lot of soy posts on this blog.) As I had learned from my search for Mayo when an ingredients list says “natural flavors” it is really saying soy. Take a good hard look at the ingredients list on any product you are bound to see the phrase natural flavors.

The worst part is that even with soy being one of the top allergens (even deadly like peanuts) The FDA in their infinite wisdom (sarcasm in case you don’t get it) says only certain soy proteins are the problem so manufacturers don’t need to list them on the labels. Leaving us all exposed to soy in other forms, which as I can attest can be almost as bad as straight soy protein. Okay so each form of soy can affect me differently all forms still make me feel like crap. So it really annoys me when you call a company like Coca-cola to find out if the natural flavors listed on their cans of Coke are at all soy based and all they do is read off a company statement saying what kinds of soy they are required to list.

They will not give you a straight answer telling you that it is proprietary information, so the Coke recipe is so secret they would rather make people sick or even kill them than admit whether or not natural flavors are at all soy based. Once I spoke with a supervisor she at least came back to me with an answer of no soy in the natural flavors, but do I believe them or simply cut all Coke products out of my life for good?

Nov 202008

A few weeks ago I helped raise money for the Berks Humane Society by participating in their Walk-tober fest. I personally was able to raise $105 (not bad since I had only decided to do the walk the week before the event).

However, I am now having second thoughts. Other than all of their fundraising events I am not sure exactly what the Humane Society’s function is in Berks County any longer. Last year we found a stray (actually lost) cat on our back porch and took him down to the Humane Society, which is only a few blocks from us and an excellent location for anyone in the city to take an animal. They called us the next day to say they had found the owners, who wished to give me a reward. I asked them to just donate the reward to the Berks Humane Society (they must have as I was then added to every animal group looking for money’s mailing lists).

So what makes me question them now? My best friend (who went to the walk with me and works with a dog rescue herself) saved a little dog the other day who was abandoned by his owner who moved to Texas a few weeks ago (some people should not be allowed to have pets or kids). This little Chihuahua was left on his own living in the streets off scraps for at least two weeks. They were finally able to get him, crate him, feed him and take him to the Humane Society who turned them away!

They refused to help this poor little guy get healthy and find a loving home! My friend had to drive miles out of the city to take this scared little doggy to the Animal Rescue League simply because of some stupid bureaucratic crap about some contract (I don’t remember if it was a city contract or county – something makes me think it was county as they told my friend they no longer take in strays found in Berks County). Can you believe that? They no longer take in strays from Berks County? Contract or no contract I think it is the duty of an animal support group to do whatever they can for the strays and lost animals found in the city where they are located. Maybe that is why they really need all this money so they can move out of Reading leaving us to become over run with stray dogs and feral cats. And here I thought the Berks County Humane Society was a good, caring organization, guess I was wrong.

Nov 192008

I just got off the phone with a fan (or maybe a stalker, but he did not sound too stalkerish — not that I know what a stalker sounds like).

He is a fan of my book and has been using it to get a complete Playmates collection together.

I told him about and to join the online mailing list for help getting his collection. He won’t find a better place to buy, sell, trade or just talk Star Trek collectibles past, present or future.

I got off the phone feeling pretty good about my book and myself. Now I want to write the long over due update. To do so I need some help from my friends. Please write, call or email Schiffer Publishing and let them know we need a complete, updated, fixed etc. volume of the Unauthorized Guide to Star Trek Toys by Playmates Toys by yours truly.

Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road
Atglen, PA 19310
Ph: 610-593-1777
Fax: 610-593-2002
email through their site at:

Nov 152008

I was driving to work when all of the sudden on the road directly in front of me was a 5 gallon bucket. I was in the passing lane and said bucket was in the middle of that lane. The pickup truck in front of me was high enough to clear the bucket (it was on its side) otherwise I could have been hit by a flying bucket and had my wind shield broken. Unfortunately there was as no room to get around the bucket. A white porche was next to me and there was a steep hill to my left. So my choices were hit the bucket, hit the porche or roll my car down a hill. I went with hit the bucket.

It made a horrible sound and shot across the right lane just missing that porche. Needless to say I was extremely stressed out by the whole thing. I haven’t got the money to fix any damage to my car or anyone else s either.

Plus with my past experience I was pretty shook up even though it turned out to be a rather minor incident when all was said and done. Here’s hoping tomorrow’s commute goes better.