Monday, June 30, 2008

Getting Better/ Parent's Stories

I meet so many parents who are getting their kids better.  Here is one story of a child who is getting better through nutritional intervention.

Our son had the list of delays I see a lot of kids with; speech delay, fine motor skill delay and sensory integration issues and perhaps what looked like a problem with auditory processing. When I met “whattofeedyourkidsMom” and witnessed her amazing success with her toddler, it inspired me to have our son tested for food allergies and have his blood worked up with Dr. Pescatore (www.thehamptonsdiet.com check out the ALCAT food testing link and the link to his practice).

The results have been fantastic. He finished this gluten-free school year right on track. He’s much more verbal, he transitions easier and there are no signs of auditory processing issues. The best thing is that his imaginary play has kicked in and he’s become a kid that shares his world.

Every kid is his/her own puzzle, searching out the right Doctor and the right test is just the beginning to piecing your child’s puzzle together. The good news is there are so many more Doctors out there today then there were five years ago when I first started on this journey. They call themselves DAN Doctors, which stands for Defeat Autism Now. You don’t have to have a diagnosis of Autism for your child to be affected by these delays of varying degrees and types. If your child has speech delay, problems processing language, low muscle tone, sensory issues, you don’t need someone to give you a diagnosis for you to know that you need to help your child and it is as simple as changing what they consume. You will find so much information from other mothers out there blazing the trail to healing. We don’t have 20 years for the medical establishment to give us a study to tell us what works, we have to actively search out what works for our children and adjust accordingly.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Dirty Dozen--Pesticide in Produce


It is good to know which fruits and vegetables are the highest and lowest in pesticides, so you know which ones you should go out of your way to find organic versions of and which you can buy the non organic versions of. Environmental Working Group has a wallet guide you can print out. This week I found some organic cherries at our local supermarket, so I found the manager and told him I had children and I was grateful for all the organic produce they were stocking.




The Dirty Dozen/ Buy These Organic:

Peaches
Apples
Sweet Bell Peppers
Celery
Nectarines
Strawberries
Cherries
Lettuce
Grapes (Imported)
Pears
Spinach
Potatoes

Cleanest/Lowest in Pesticides:

Onion
Avacado
Sweet Corn (Frozen)
Pineapples
Mango
Sweet Peas (Frozen)
Asparagus
Kiwi
Bananas
Cabbage
Broccoli
Eggplant

Thursday, June 19, 2008

GFCF Birthday Cake Sugar Cookies Recipe


My daughter has never liked cake and she always requests sugar cookies as a treat. She turned 7 today, so I made these birthday cake sugar cookies I found in The Confetti Cakes Cookbook.

Last weekend we were on our way to breakfast and Z was riding her scooter. A relative said how happy and healthy she looked. I thought about how far she had come in a year and a half. When she was five and a half she had low muscle tone and was falling all the time as she walked. To see her now, riding a scooter, happy and healthy, feels like a dream. It's work and we have our ups and downs but I love having a moment where all the stars align and everyone is doing well.

I adapted the gfcf chocolate chip cookie recipe for the sugar cookies. If I had had some ground up cashews or almonds I would have used them in place of some of the flour. These were surprisingly delicious cookies.

1 cup Spectrum Naturals Organic Shortening (Whole Foods has this)
1.5 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon organic gluten free vanilla extract
3 cups gluten free flour mix (brown rice, tapioca and sorghum flour)
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat shortening and sugar with electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy.
3. Add flour, baking soda, xanthum gum and salt. Mix at medium speed until well blended.
4. Divide in two and flatten into 1/2 inch rectangle between two sheets of plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough so that it is easier to roll out and cut. Cut 16 birthday cake shapes or cut in squares and draw birthday cakes with royal icing. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
5. Decorate with royal icing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On Allergies and Elimination Diets

"If you only eat one food, then you are addicted to it and you need to
eliminate it...Again, if you only eat one food, then you are addicted
to it and you need to eliminate it."
Dr. Scott Theirl, Functional Restoration Chiropractic Neurology,
speaking at NAA NYC

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Gluten Free Crêpe Recipe

My kids thrive when I cook for them. No matter how organic or gluten free a packaged product is, they always do better with a homemade version. I like these crepes because they contain a whole egg per serving. You can double or quadruple the recipe if you need to serve more people. My son won't eat an egg for breakfast but he will eat a crêpe. My daughter eats an egg each morning, but I like being able to offer her an alternative. This recipe has more egg and less flour than the usual recipe

1 egg
1 T. + 1 t. gluten free flour mix (brown rice, tapioca flour, potato flour mix or nut flour)
1 tsp water
small pinch salt
1/2 tsp sugar
coconut oil or palm oil

Whisk egg, flour mix, water, salt and sugar together in small bowl. Add oil to 10 inch frying pan and warm pan over medium heat. When hot, pour batter in pan to evenly coat. Cook over medium heat until cooked enough to flip over. Cook another minute on the other side.
My kids like them filled with jam and rolled up.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Quote of the Day from Food Liberation

"If you don't use a water filter, YOU'RE the filter."

--Ward from
Food Liberation Inc.
1349 Lexington Ave. (bet. 89th and 90th St)
New York, NY 10128
(212) 348-2286

Dr. Theirl - Functional Restoration


I went to a lecture on brain function and sensory integration by Dr. Scott Theirl, a chiropractic neurologist who has a practice called Functional Restoration. Dr. Theirl described how the brain needs to develop in order to function properly. Briefly, he explained how the cerebellum is highly affected by gluten sensitivity and food sensitivities and so dietary intervention is the FIRST STEP in treatment since a well integrated cerebellum can feed the other areas of the brain to develop.

The cerebellum is the small older brain which coordinates balance, muscle tone, initiates body movement, plans motor aspects of frontal lobe activities (planning), stops eye movement, facial tone, and is excited by hand and body movement.

His lecture confirmed what I have witnessed in my children whose brain issues seemed to be very healed through dietary changes and the exclusion of gluten. He also had two simple and interesting tips that might help other parents.

If you are seeing terrible behavior in a child, switch their seat to the opposite side of the car, table or room so that the other half of their brain will be stimulated. For instance, if they are on the right side of the car and feel sick have them switch to the left side. This will stimulate the opposite side of their brain.

Also, said you could try squeezing your child's right hand to wake up the left frontal lobe if your child is having emotional or cognitive difficulties learning something.

WHAT TO DO: Try using these techniques and let me know if you see any change in behavior.

Friday, June 13, 2008

organic baby food by Tastybaby

There is so much concern about breastfeeding and so little concern about what comes afterwards, which is why I was happy to hear about this new line of organic baby food: Tastybaby. Anyone who is making organic baby food is making the world a better place, as far as I'm concerned. Research links pesticides to cancers, developmental disorders, and immunological problems so everyone should be eating organic food. And babies DEFINITELY should be eating organic food. I am especially impressed by Tastybaby's decision to stay away from fortification of the food with DHA. Fortifying food is done, in my opinion, as a way of marketing processed food. Real food is healthy enough already and doesn't need added nutrients. I am a big believer in vitamins and supplements, but if you need vitamins or supplements, for whatever reason, they should be of the highest quality and you shouldn't purchase food with these added ingredients. If companies are adding DHA, you really don't know the source or the quality of the DHA. And if there is a reaction to the food you don't know if it is the food or the added ingredients.

WHAT TO DO: Visit Tastybaby to learn more about their product and how they are making the world a greener and yummier place. And choose food that is organic and contains as few ingredients as possible.

Quote of the Day

"Just because we don't have a blood test for something doesn't mean it
doesn't exist"
--Dr. Morton Teich, Environmental Allergist, NYC

"It's like a chemistry set...
You put one thing in--nothing happens.
You put another thing in--nothing happens.
You put a third thing in--it blows up."
--Dr. Morton Teich, Environmental Allergist, NYC

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Your Kids...Your Puzzle/Doctors

There are many different types of doctors and many different problems. There have been several requests for me to list the doctors we have seen. Please feel free to comment if you have anything to add about any of these doctors.

In my experience, there wasn't one doctor who figured out what was going on with my kids. Instead it was more "it takes a village" -- with each doctor adding a piece of the puzzle.

There have been too many doctors in the year and a half since my son got sick, but I don't regret a single visit. All of them have added an important piece to the puzzle. Through them I have learned a tremendous amount which has allowed me to help my son get better as well as other children with similar problems. A year later and two batches of testing he is doing great and we are thrilled at what a talkative, fun, happy almost three year old we have. We are fortunate to be in New York City and have access to both mainstream(M) and integrative(I) physicians. If you email me I would be happy to make more specific recommendations and provide more details.

Dr. Bruce Brovender is a supportive pediatrician who understands developmental issues and realizes the need to for addressing problems by getting help early on. He has gone above and beyond not only to help our kids get better, but also to stay healthy. M

Dr. Fred Pescatore is an integrative doctor who does the ALCAT food intolerance test and blood tests for allergies as well as a comprehensive family history and personal history. He specializes in allergies, asthma, weight loss and chronic conditions that don't respond to mainstream treatment. If you have been to a bunch of doctors but still don't feel better he is a great person to consult who will get you feeling better through dietary intervention. I

Dr. Morton Teich is an environmental allergist who is an old fashioned country doctor in a big city. He has a rare ability to look at both mainstream and alternative testing. In addition, he has a wonderful, uninvasive "do no harm", protective approach to healing and an impressive ability to listen and learn from parents. M

Dr. Hops practices Integrative Family Medicine and knows about celiac testing and gluten intolerance. She sees both adults and kids and is part of the Continuum Center for Health and Healing, which has a beautiful lofty waiting room. The Continuum Center has many different doctors in their practice including an excellent nutritionist, MaryBeth Augustine. I

Dr. Sharon Herzfeld practices Integrative Neurology and Holistic Medicine. She has had a fascinating career first as a NYU neurologist and then as a Holistic doctor. If you need an opinion of a sensitive neurologist, want to try holistic medicine or want a second opinion on a medical issue, she is a fabulous person to consult. I

Dr. Jennifer Cross is a Developmental Pediatrician who does developmental testing, which allowed us to figure out which areas our son needed help with to catch up developmentally. She understood the subtleties of developmental issues, helped us figure out a plan for getting help, and perceptively diagnosed our son with an "allergy syndrome" before anyone else. M

Peta Cohen is a Nutritionist in New Jersey who specializes in metabolic issues. She does a lot of alternative testing to specifically pinpoint on a biochemical level where things are breaking down. Peta sells a lot of the best nutritional supplements, so that you can conveniently order the best probiotics, enzymes and vitamins through her office. In addition, she has a special interest in healing children through vitamins based on testing. (201)541-7601. I

One doctor I haven't seen who other parents have recommended.

Dr. Nancy O'Hara is in Connecticut, and has a practice to integrate the care of adults and children. She is a top notch D.A.N. doctor.

Dr. Scott Theirl is a board certified chiropractic neurologist who I heard speak at a NAA NYC event who comes highly recommended by parents. You can hear him speak on a radio interview at http://www.functionalrestoration.com/.

WHAT TO DO: Ask other parents which doctors they like so you can get to the right person to help you with your kid...your puzzle.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Regular People Meatballs Recipe (Gluten Free)

I apologize to all the vegetarians but my kids thrive on protein. I boil the meatballs in beef broth because my daughter doesn't like tomato sauce. It is so easy and they stay juicy. Then I pour tomato sauce on top of my son's. I had to post this recipe tonight, before I forgot, because I FINALLY managed to make, what my husband calls, "regular people" meatballs. I usually make things with too much garlic or spice when my family prefers plainer, simpler food.

1 pound of ground organic beef
1 pound of ground veal
1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 quart beef broth or tomato sauce

Chop the onion finely and saute in olive oil until soft. Add 1 clove
of crushed garlic and spices. Let cool so it isn't too hot. Add to
meat with seasonings, an egg and breadcrumbs. Form into 1 inch balls
and simmer in broth or sauce for 15 minutes. It might take a few
batches to cook all of them depending on how much broth or sauce you
have.

Gluten Free Shake and Bake Chicken

I was getting tired of my nut crusted chicken so I threw this together. You don't have to tenderize the chicken with the corn starch and egg whites, but my kids like it soft like you get it in a restaurant. I have never made shake and bake chicken from the packet, so I am not sure how it compares, but everyone liked my GFCF version.

1 pound chicken breasts or 1 chicken cut up

Sprinkle 1 T. corn starch on chicken pieces and cover in refrigerator
to tenderize chicken (20 minutes to overnight)
add 1 egg white to chicken leave for 20 minutes.

Mix together in bag:

3/4 c. ORGREN Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp white or black pepper

Combine dry ingredients in plastic bag.
Toss together.
Add chicken pieces one at a time. Tossing to coat.

Cook chicken in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes on each side. You can
turn up to 400 degrees for the last 5-10 minutes if you want it to be
golden and crispy.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Disposal of Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs

I have gotten a little off track lately with all my posts about environmental issues that affect our health, so please ignore the ranting and raving and go to the recipes on the right if you want what to feed your kids.

I am not a fan of compact fluorescent lightbulbs because I have become skeptical of new things that big companies are trying to sell us that haven't stood the test of time. See my post about Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Bulbs for more info...but if you have Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFL's) in your house and you need to dispose of them it is critical that you recycle them so they don't end up in our water supply.

To find the closest recycling center for your CFLs go to the Earth911 website. In the top green banner type in "CFL" and your zip code to find the nearest recycling location. lamprecycling.com is another website which recycles by mail. But, both these sights make me think recycling these lightbulbs is not easy. So I called 311 which is our New York help line...they said the bulbs could be dropped off at 65 west 30th Street between 11th and 12th Avenue.

If a compact fluorescent lightbulb breaks, treehugger.com says:

The EPA recommends that (1) you immediately open windows to reduce mercury concentrations inside your home; (2) you do not touch the spilled mercury; (3) you clean up the broken CFL glass carefully and immediately (but not with your hands or a vacuum cleaner), and (4) you wipe the affected area with a paper towel to remove all glass fragments and mercury. EPA further recommends that you place the paper towel and glass fragments in a sealed plastic bag and bring the sealed bag to your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
Collection Site.
Dr. Stuart Freedenfeld gave a lecture on Avoiding Environmental Toxins in May, he said that you should cover the area with wet cloth and put the cloth and the bulb in a plastic bag outside.

WHAT TO DO: Have a recycling plan in place before you buy CFLs.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Chemicals in Common Children's Products

I have always used a Johnson and Johnson's Head to Toe Baby Soap. It isn't the most organic and crunchy product, but a lot of the more "natural" products contain gluten so I stuck with Johnson's and Johnson's. I picked up some Johnson and Johnson's Baby Shampoo last week when they were out of the Head to Toe. I figured the products must be similar--boy was I wrong.

My son developed hives all over his body from the Baby Shampoo. I called the company to find out the ingredients that were different from the clear Head to Toe product we usually use. There are 3 different ingredients: Yellow 10 and Orange 4 and Sodium Hydroxide.

The pediatrician told us to use Zyrtec to get rid of the hives and I explained my son hadn't had as much as an asprin for over a year since his severe reaction to an antibiotic injection. But he said I should carry some in case he had a more severe reaction sometime.

I bought Benedryl instead because it has been around longer. But the benadryl didn't take the hives away so the next day I gave him a teaspoon of Zyrtec. And guess what--he got hives from the Zyrtec. It turns out that Zyrtec contains Sodium Hydroxide which is, guess what??? A corrosive drain cleaner. It is a "caustic metallic base" used to change the ph of the shampoo.
Chances are your child will not have a severe reaction to sodium hydroxide -- it's in a lot of products. But, I thought I would share this story with you, because it is a wake up call to me about the chemicals in the products we use on a daily basis.

WHAT TO DO: Look up your regular product on http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ which is an incredible online cosmetic safety database. If you must use a mainstream product, use the CLEAR Johnson's Head to Toe Baby Wash not the yellow shampoo. We are going to switch to California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo and Bodywash. Also, Frangrance Free is best for all products.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mr. Fizz Homemade Seltzer


I am always trying to serve food that my grandmother would recognize. Which is why I splurged when I stumbled across this stainless steel Mr. Fizz Rechargeable Seltzer Bottle at Bridge Kitchenware in New York City.

To make homemade seltzer, you fill the stainless steel container up with water. Load a CO2 cartridge and turn the charger holder until it pierces the cartridge. The piercing pin will release the CO2 from the charger into the canister. Then you shake up the bottle and let it sit in the fridge to get cold. When the water is cold you dispense soda by pressing on the lever.

It makes old fashioned seltzer which has small bubbles. And Mr. Fizz even has recipes to make your own soda. I like the retro look of the stainless steel bottle in my fridge and being able to offer sparkling water to everyone. My kids like having soda.