Archive for the ‘Eating with the Sisters’ Category

A Chicago Institution Embraces Gluten-Free

Friday, May 31st, 2013

By Mary Duggan

MaryDuggan_holds glasses

My dear Mother would have said, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” Because when a member of the famed Chicago restaurant family Berghoff gets diagnosed with Celiac Disease, the whole city gets healed. I would not wish Celiac on anyone, let alone Sarah Berghoff McClure, the petite, 12-year-old daughter of Carlyn Berghoff of restaurant family fame. But sick she was and diagnosed she got – with Celiac Disease.

And here’s where the story gets heart-warming and heart-healthy for their family and yours. The whole family got on board with the transition, especially her Mom, and the end result is a healthy Sarah and a wonderful cookbook entitled Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen.”

berghoff mom and sarah

The Berghoff McClure family has used their personal health challenge to help heal the Chicago restaurant scene and teenagers EVERYWHERE!

Eve Becker of the Tribune reports, “At home, Berghoff cooks entirely gluten-free for her husband and three kids. She also has trained the staff at The Berghoff Restaurant how to prepare gluten-free requests safely.”

So, I am off to do three things. (more…)


Disease Is A Lousy Lover

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

MaryDuggan_hands on hip

By Mary Duggan

Why do folks fall in love with their diseases? I just don’t get it. The minute someone tells me that they have MS or RA or Lupus or Fibromyalgia, and the list goes on from there, I can hear it in their voice. That immediate embracing of victim energy. This fell from the sky and it landed on me. I am not lucky. My mother had it. I have learned to live with it. My doctor says, my doctor says, my doctor says seems to be the primary mantra that keeps them down for the count and deeply invested in their disease.

When folks with any sort of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Krohn’s Disease say my doctor told me that what I eat will make no difference at all I actually want to scream. On and on it goes and I need an alternative to screaming. What is it with us human beings that we surrender so quickly and fully to our diagnosis of disease? Why do we fall in love (more…)


A Service Dog is never OUT OF SERVICE

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Chester 120628 Looking up the stairsBy Mary Duggan

I am deeply touched by folks who meet us in public and inquire after Chester, my service dog. I see the look of disappointment on their faces when they realize he is not with me. Then I see the look of real pain when I update them on his recovery and tell them just bits of what he has been through this past year.

I don’t know if Chester will ever again be able to take on his big job of assisting me through the neurological challenges of my life with a TBI. My sisters are always determined that his working life will be fully restored (more…)


Noah, get the ark. It’s Springtime in Chicago.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

It is raining torrents. The back yard is flooded and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the rhododendron and astillbe the girls transplanted on Sunday does not float away. It’s praying time again: Lord, please keep the roof intact for one last Spring and I promise you we will find a way to replace it. Yep, it’s April in Chicago, the sky is dark green and threatening, temps are dropping fast, and I want cooked food. Here ‘s what Annie served instead.

Spinach Strawberry Salad pairs perfectly with a hearty and heart healthy Walnut Pate. Chow down

Spinach Strawberry Salad pairs perfectly with a hearty and heart healthy Walnut Pate. Chow down

Walnut Pate from a Jenny Cornbleet recipe that tasted, I swear, like meat. I kept taking small bites and saying, wait, WHAT is the taste here? (more…)


EXPOsé: Conclusion – Lean, Learn, Leave

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Mary DugganEXPOsé: part 4 of 4

By Mary Duggan


There is an energy particular to the final day of any large fair or expo. In some ways it is a little slower, as some attendees have already left town. But the wrapping up loose ends, making trades, swapping wares energy required to bring it on home is actually it’s own kind of stress. At EXPO it involved talking with people who had spent big bucks and traveled far to be there and needed to maximize their investment. Kind of like us. So the last day continued with the intensity of the first two right down to the very last minute, when the lights are promptly and decisively shut off to encourage registrants to vacate the premises.

Expo_from Australia

From Australia to Anaheim, Ashton is seeking the NEXT big thing. No worries mate. The Duggan Sisters are ready to rock the globe!

The last day is also about (more…)


EXPOsé: Part Three “How sweet it is!”

Saturday, April 6th, 2013


Mary DugganBy Mary Duggan

Leaving Chicago I was aware of the publication of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In; but I never imagined the kerfluffle that would ensue. I missed most of it as EXPO held my full attention the week of the book’s launch. Steadily working my way through the week-tall stack of newspapers that awaited my return I got a sense of the debate. That and seeing the author when I turned on the TV to see what Katie and Piers were up to. My favorite moment in the debate was reading a guest writer for the Chicago Tribune who identified herself as someone who had not read the book but wanted to criticize it anyways. Okay. She seemed to find more value in watching the HBO series GIRLS. Really? If you can’t Lean In enough to actually read the book in question, then maybe get out, right?

I am taken with the synchronicity popping up here between the COO of Facebook and the Duggan Sisters – please don’t laugh. As I struggled (more…)


Duggan Sisters’ EXPOsé: Part One – Hollywood Journal

Thursday, March 21st, 2013


Mary Duggan

By Mary Duggan

This blog is dedicated to everyone who has ever said, “All the crazy people and ideas come from California.”

I am writing this from my home in Chicago, on March 20th, and it is 27 degrees outside with a wind chill of 9 degrees and it is almost Easter.

I am frugal and minimalist by nature, but I own: tall Dutch recycled boots, medium boots with a fur lining for trudging in snow, UGGs for light weight wear, low boots for warmth but no snow, 2 pairs of spring rain boots, one fancy, one more garden style, a stylish designer light-weight down jacket, an ugly red LL Bean super heavy weight down jacket for big storms, a middle weight down jacket with a fur trimmed collar for dashing from the mall to the car when I am out shopping for sweaters and long underwear and a simple black wool coat. My long underwear collection fills half a drawer. My collection of hats, scarves, and gloves fills an entire dresser drawer and then some.

Last night the dog was edgy and upset at 5:30 AM, so I volunteered to take him out for a walk to give Clare a rare break from dog responsibilities. When I got home she was on the front porch in her robe throwing salt down the stairwell so the Pomeranian and I could get back in the house as an ice storm had blown up in the half hour we were out dealing with Chester’s loose bowels and the front porch and steps had become a sheet of ice.

I repeat, “All the crazy people live in California???”


hollywood journal



Leaving home to attend our first Natural Products EXPO West involved pulling an all-nighter and then arriving at the airport at 5 am where the TSA agent promptly seized (more…)


RAW UPDATE ON THE SISTERS: don’t judge my lunch box.

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

The Duggan Sisters’ Half-Baked Raw concept follows the ageless advice to seek progress not perfection. During the two years that Annie and I maintained a 100% pristine raw food regimen we endured some pretty miserable holidays. We put our best food foot forward and conscientiously towed the line. Holidays stunk, and parties were avoided; but raw foods worked. Health for both of us improved dramatically and we weighed way less than before “going raw.” Especially Annie; she actually got skinny. I mostly got looked at funny with ‘why are you still so chubby if you’re so raw’ glances. Because this is what 65 pounds lost looks like idiot. Yes, raw foods did leave me a little crabby. I had a ways to go.

Our new program, a mindset we call Half-Baked Raw, involves (more…)


Skip the disease and tell the truth about wheat.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

By Mary Duggan

Everyone is all a-buzz, or should I say all a-blog today about the Oslo study. Yep, it looks like folks who don’t have celiacs disease can suffer from gluten sensitivity so they want to come up with a new disease. Feeding the victim mentality when it comes to our health. I think we have to shift the paradigm. Instead of trying to find a disease category for the catastrophe of wheat in the human body, let’s tell the truth about the history of wheat and the consequences of GMOs and the Frankengrain that has been created. I do not test positive for gluten sensitivity. But I can read. Knowing what wheat has been proven to do as it penetrates the sacred blood brain barrier was enough for me. I treasure my brain function, especially after sustaining a traumatic brain injury more than a decade ago. Recently, after fourteen months meticulously gluten free I ingested some wheat inadvertently. Four days of GI and neurological hell followed.

Bad science has to be rooted out of our food supply or none of us will be well. (more…)


Kindergarten: Safety & Foreshadowings

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

By Mary Duggan

Come on everyone. Dig out that photo of you and your first day of kindergarten. I know you have one. Why? Because it is such an important day in the life of every parent and every little kid; that first tentative and scary stepping out into the great big world alone.  So many of our parents captured the moment with a snapshot; in my case our wonderful neighbor, Ann Norman, preserved the memory. It was a photo that she so treasured that it took me years to convince her to let me have it for just a few hours to get it copied.

My kindergarten memories are absolutely dreamy. Here I stand with my brand new next-door neighbor Bill Norman, on the verge of my first day of school and my first kiss. Yep, Bill Norman, under the mobile, day one, and reported on to his mother. I loved absolutely everything about kindergarten from naptime to the itsy bitsy kitchen area to my kind and loving teacher. Sorry Bill, I have no memory of the big kiss.

What I do remember was the teacher telling me that I would have to be more careful on the three block walk to school to insure that my beloved border collie, Lucky, was not following me. Kindergarten was a half-day back then. And each day at noon I would step out the side door of Alice L. Barnard Public School to my dog Lucky, waiting to walk me home.

Lucky was the beginning of my love affair with dogs and the beginning of a series of amazing dogs gracing my life with their presence. I still swell with emotion as I remember the voice over the public address system a few years later at St. Barnabas Grade School. “Will one of the Duggans please report to the principals office?” Yep, Lucky again, under the flag pole in the front of the school, refusing to be shooed away with so many of the little charges entrusted to her housed within. Yes, I remember feeling safe. I remember being safe.

But here’s why I would like you to pull out that photo if you are blessed to have one. I want you to look that little you in the eye and make an apology and a promise. I am sorry the world has become such a dangerous place. And I promise I will do my part to change that. For me, that means remaining a voice against GMOs and their proven connection to increased psychosis and violent behavior. I know, I know, you say it can’t be that simple. But true genius is always defined by simplicity. I grow daily more convinced that the blood brain barrier penetration of these contrived substances and the dire behavioral consequences that ensue will become the rallying cry of our time. I am willing to be labeled a nut case to carry that message forward. Get wheat out of the tummies of our children, and out of the diets of the mentally ill. It matters.


My kindergarten photos were taken in 1958, the year that genetically modified wheat entered the world food scene and began to wreak havoc. Back when celiac disease, autism, irritable bowel, learning disabilities ands kids taking anti-depressants were rare or unknown completely and gun violence in our schools unimaginable. Hum.