Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Miracle Noodles--Gluten Free Soy Free Shirataki Pasta

I subscribe to the Nourishing Traditions school of eating and so I really don't like new fangled products. I prefer what I call "back to the 18th century" eating--if your grandmother wouldn't have recognized it as being food--don't eat it. But, a friend who has celiac was so excited about these soy free shirataki noodles and gave me three packages to try last week and I was actually impressed by these zero calorie gluten free Miracle Noodles.

I used half of the noodles to make pad thai and half I tried with Rao's pasta sauce--which is how my friend likes to eat them. I was instructed to soak them for five minutes in cold water, strain them and then dry them on a bunch of paper towels before putting them in the Rao's sauce to soak for a few hours to infuse the noodles with the flavor of the sauce. They were actually pretty good for zero calorie noodles that are mostly fiber.

You can't really expect no calorie noodles to taste like pasta--for me they were filling and satisfying accompaniment to a yummy pasta sauce. And they were pretty good in the pad thai with a bunch of flavorful veggies.

I would recommend to anyone who is diabetic and needs to avoid the glycemic oveload of pasta or for anyone on a gluten free diet who would like to avoid the high calories of rice pasta which feeds yeast overgrowth. These noodles, while satisfying, would probably be better for an adult on a diet than for kids, although some kids might like them I just wouldn't ever feed a zero calorie pasta to a child who is growing.

My recommending these noodles is a HUGE compliment to Miracle Noodles, since I usually I won't go near anything that is low or no calorie.

I would actually order and eat these noodles once or twice a week when my kids had pasta--not to avoid the calories of pasta but I have noticed I feel better when I avoid carbs and health wise less carbs from sugar and more fiber is definitely better for my health. The research on these noodles is actually pretty good. Although my grandmother wouldn't recognize the ingredients--Konnyaku and Calcium Hydroxide--they have been used in food preparations in other parts of the world with success and might be recognized by grandmothers from other parts of the world involved with food preparation of asian noodles and in making corn tortillas.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

All About Eating and Mealtime - Six Week Parent Support Group

Come and join our Family Support Group:

All About Eating and Mealtime


Geri Brewster, RD, MPH, CDN,

Jayme Lewin Rich, OTR/L, founder of Integrative Pediatrics

Kirstin Boncher, Grand Diplome of Classical Culinary Arts,


All families need support and information about feeding their children--especially families with picky eaters and children on special diets. We have put together a six week program to incorporate our years of expertise working with families. Participants will be able to identify basic nutrition principles for healthy living while understanding the principles of special diets and dietary needs for their children. Learn easy ways to implement and prepare meals with special dietary considerations, techniques for gaining cooperation and interest in mealtime and how to introduce new foods to children. Let us give you the tools for a family mealtime makeover.

Space is limited.

Our group will meet 6 times from April through June

Dates: Thursday evenings 6:30-8:30

April 14 & 28

May 12 & 26

June 9 & 23

Location: Jayme Lewin Rich - Integrative Pediatrics

39 West 14th St - Suite 307 (directions)

New York, NY 10011


Cost: $300 per individual. $500 a couple.

To register, please call Geri Brewster at: (914) 864-1976 or email: (please put in subject line: “family support group.”)Visa and Mastercard accepted.

"Is Gluten Making You Fat" on Dr. Oz...

"Is Gluten Making You Fat?" is a popular subject after Dr. Oz included the topic on his show last week: The Gluten Diet: Just a Myth on The Dr. Oz Show.

The subject is pretty complicated and the answer is even more complicated than what was discussed on the show. Part of it depends on the person you are speaking about and the type of intolerance or sensitivity to gluten that they have AND the type of gluten free diet that is undertaken after going gluten free.

Celiac causes malabsorption for people who have the genetics for celiac and consume gluten. When they eat gluten, their villi are stripped away which causes them not to absorb fat or nutrients. So, for many people with celiac who have a lot of intestinal damage from consuming gluten, gluten can actually cause them to waste away and not absorb nutrients. In these cases, gluten would NOT be making you fat, gluten would be making you skinny!

But, here is where it can get complicated. For other people who have celiac and are not absorbing nutrients, the lack of nutrient absorption causes them to be super hungry and to eat constantly to try to get extra nutrients that aren't being absorbed. So why they might have poor absorption of certain nutrients, they will have voracious appetites and need to eat constantly to try to get the necessary nutrients their brain and bodies need to function. In these cases, celiac leads to being overweight and obesity--which is often overlooked by medical doctors. For these people, when they go on a gluten free diet, they can become less hungry because they will be absorbing nutrients. But, if they have habits of overeating from years of nutrient malabsorption, they won't necessarily lose weight on a gluten free diet.

And here is where it gets even more complicated--lack of nutrients from celiac can cause a thyroid problem because your thyroid needs nutrients to function properly! So if you aren't absorbing nutrients your thyroid--which controls your metabolic rate--can decrease your ability to burn calories. And to make it even more complicated--celiac is an autoimmune disease triggered by eating gluten and if you have celiac, you can get another autoimmune disease such as hashimotos thyroiditis in which thyroid autoantibodies attack they thyroid. So for these people, who either have low nutrients from malabsorption or from an autoimmune attack of the thyroid, gluten might be contributing to weight gain. But for these people, even though gluten might have been a contributing factor to the weight gain, the weight might not fall off when gluten is removed from the diet, because often these processes that are happening in the body don't necessarily correct themselves as soon as gluten is removed from the diet.

Often skinny people who get diagnosed with celiac and go on a gluten free diet gain weight, but in many cases, these celiacs were not absorbing the calories necessary for their bodies or brain to function, so while they might be disappointed by the weight gain of a few pounds, it actually is a sign that they are absorbing calories and nutrients. For these people, it is a sign that healing is occurring and in the long run they will be healthier. But, for people with celiac who are used to being super skinny, it can be a shock to suddenly be a normal person and have to worry about weight gain. But their being super skinny was not a normal state for their body--it was a side effect of a wasting away disease that was having a profoundly negative effect on many body functions, but also left them skinny.

Then, there is the fact that so much gluten free food is really junk food and not very nutritious which can complicate things even more. This is what Dr. Oz spoke of in his show: processed gluten free food is often loaded with white rice flour, sugar and starch to compensate for the fact that gluten is absent. For people who load up on gluten free junk food, you can gain weight even though you are avoiding gluten.

But, to make it even more complicated, for some people, gluten is creating an opiate like reaction in their body and brain, so they become addicted to eating gluten because it causes a drug like reaction. These people cannot eat one bowl of pasta--they eat one bowl of pasta and are voracious for more. For these people, they might eat less calories of a rice pasta, which contains more starch/sugar and calories per serving, because they will not get this high/drunk feeling from the rice pasta. This might be the same for bread or other gluten containing food.

A gluten free diet--even thought it is referred to as a "diet" should bot be lumped together with other weight loss diets. It is not a fad--it is not a weight loss diet. It is a diet that people need to follow who have celiac or the 50 diseases that are associated/triggered by eating gluten.

And there are healthy ways to follow a gluten free diet that Oz discusses in The Gluten Diet Part 2: Just a Myth? on Dr. Oz.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Reading Labels at Sinergia

Yesterday, I spoke about reading labels and how you really need to go right to the ingredient list, because labels can be deceptive.

For example, a processed food can be high in fat (like eggs) but if it is a natural, healthy source of fat that is okay and can actually be beneficial for health. If it is a processed fat like hydrogenated oil or soybean oil or safflower oil (which is high in Omega 6's) it won't be beneficial. According to this book Smart Fats: How Dietary Fats and Oils Affect Mental, Physical and Emotional Intelligence our brains are 60% fat. Although too high cholesterol can be a problem for some, too low cholesterol, being on a fat free diet and malabsorption of fats can be a big problem too since all of our sex hormones are created from cholesterol and our brain needs fat to develop and function.

This is especially important for children whose brains are developing. For people with celiac, this can be an issue because when you have active celiac you don't absorb fat which can affect brain function and health. And vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat soluble vitamins so they need fat to be absorbed.

But, you need the healthy, natural fats for health benefits. Some healthy fat source to consider including in your diet are olive oil, fish oil (from Nordic Natural or Carlson,) avocados and avocado oil, walnut oil, coconut oil and (this might surprise you) egg yolks.***

Also, MSG, a neurotoxin that Russell Blaylock wrote about in his book Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, are often hidden in processed foods. Manufacturers use words like: Spices, Natural Flavoring, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Sodium and Calcium Caseinate, Yeast Extract, Autolyzed Yeast, Stock, Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring and Seasoning.

So the bottom line is: always read the label to determine the actual ingredients in a product and whether they are natural ingredients you recognize as food. It's important to look at labels to check if what you are eating is really a chemical soup. There is no such thing as junk food--it's either food or it's junk! Choose products that have a simple list of ingredients whenever possible.

***The "don't eat egg yolks theory" is not something I seen good research on--cholesterol is created in your liver and really indicates some sort of inflammation/damage going on in the body. Of course, talk to your doctor if you have high cholesterol, but consider reading Dr. Natasha McBride's book Put Your Heart in Your Mouth to inform yourself if you do have high cholesterol to inform yourself about this issue.

Related posts:
Goldfish, Allergies and Reading Labels
The Dangers of Processed Food

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Easy Roasted Kale Chips...

I received an enthusiastic email about easy roasted kale chips from my sister I thought I would share with everyone.

"So great just chopped up kale leaves with olive oil roasted at 325 for 25minutes sprinkle with salt."

Related posts:
How to Cook Kale Chips

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NYC EVENT: Making Healthier Choices

Making Healthier Choices

WHERE: Sinergia , 2082 Lexington Avenue, (near 126th Street) - 4th floor

WHEN: Thursday, March 24, 2011 from 10 am-12:30 pm

The 2nd part of the nutrition series on Alternative Diets for Children with Special Needs will focus on:
• reading labels
• choosing healthy oils
• food safety tips for parents

Kirstin, a mother who graduated from the French Culinary Institute and writes about how nutrition impacts development on her blog What To Feed Your Kids and Kathleen Reily, who consults with parents to change their children's diets will speak together. There will also be a handout on affordable whole foods given out at the lecture.

To register for this FREE workshop, please call Gina Peña-Campodonico at 212 643-2840, ext. 305 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

100 Facts About Me...The List

I saw on my tweet deck that #100 facts about me is a popular tweet. I am too busy to gather together a list of 100 facts right now but let me begin. Yesterday, I tweeted fact #1 so here are two facts now and I will add a fact a day. This is a little bit of a stream of consciousness exercise. Whatever pops into my head. No editing. A fact is a fact. Feel free to post #100 facts about yourself on your blog and I will link to it if you email me a link.

1) I HATE hummus.
2) I just got 100% on an algebra exam.
3) Everyone in my family--including my dog AND cat are on a special diet!!! It's completely crazy, I admit. My dog eats Iams Low-Residue Dog Food and gets terribly sick from things like brown rice which have high fiber. A then, a year ago, my cat was diagnosed with diabetes but on a special diet--1/2 can of DM Dietetic Management Feline Formula with some chopped organic turkey or chicken she is fine. WHAT A PAIN--but I am so excited my cat doesn't need insulin twice a day anymore. Would love a simpler life. But happy that everyone is healthy--and happy.
4) I lived in Thailand for a year--I taught English in Bangkok and then rented a house from Mut Mee Guest House in Nong Khai.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Come to BOWL at The NAA NY METRO 2nd Annual Bowlathon this Sunday! RSVP HERE TO JOIN US AT THE BOWLATHON! The food is all gluten free! It is $20 per bowler! Udi's Gluten Free Bagels and Glow Gluten Free Cookies and Zico Coconut Water are donating food!!! GF bagels and bowling--and cookies!!! Pretty good deal for $20 per bowler or $100 for bowling team of 8!

Bowlmor Lanes • 110 University Place • NYC
Sunday, March 20 • 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

This year, the NAA NY Metro Chapter was able to give 11 families $500 Helping Hand Grants to help them with therapy expenses. In addition, we are holding a summer program during the last two weeks of August for 37 children. The total cost of these programs was approximately $20,500 and they would not have been possible without the money raised at last year’s Bowlathon. To continue them, we need to have a successful Bowlathon again this year. So far, we have raised about $29,000, but we have a long way to go to at least reach the $50,000 we raised last year.

Click here to donate to my team -->DONATE TO THE NAA-NY Metro Chapter!

NYC EVENT: Foods That Can Trigger Mood Swings, Nutrients That Can Bring Relief

This event was sent to me in an email and it looks pretty interesting...

a nutrition factor?

Tuesday • April 5, 2011 • 7:30pm -- doors open 7 pm

"Foods That Can Trigger Mood Swings, Nutrients That Can Bring Relief"
w/ Richard Carlton, MD

Beth Israel Hospital
New Podell Auditorium
Bernstein Pavilion
Nathan Perlman Place
[between 15th St and 16th St and between First Ave and Second Ave]

Mood Disorders Support Group


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Purim Ideas: Gluten Free Hamantashan Recipe & Gifts

Check out my gluten free Hamantashan Recipe--it is one of my favorite recipes. These shaped cookies are like little cherry pies. You can also fill them with chocolate, dulce de leche, apricots or apples.

One of the wonderful things about Purim is the tradition of Mishloach Manot--the sending of gifts. Here are some ideas for gluten free Mishloach Manot...
Happy Purim!

Natural News on Gluten Intolerance Leads to Cancer, Heart Disease and Death, Research Shows

"Many people suffer from gluten intolerance and are not aware that this is the cause of their symptoms. Symptoms can include irritable bowel disease, canker sores, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, osteoporosis, anemia, cancer, autoimmune disease, MS, and neurological problems such as depression, anxiety, dementia, schizophrenia, nerve damage, migraines, epilepsy, and autism."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Geri Brewster on Biofilm-Part 1

This is a great YouTube video by Geri Brewster on biofilm and the importance of gut function is for babies and children. Any parent whose child suffers from gut issues like colic, constipation or diarrhea or nutrient absorption will want to watch this video. My kids had a lot of digestive issues and allergies until we worked with Geri Brewster. My kids remain on a gluten free diet but they don't have the additional food intolerances and reactions that they used to have. Which means, basically, they can eat anything without getting sick. It's really quite a miracle.

You can also listen to Geri's radio show on Autism One to hear more... click HERE.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fun Friday: SKLZ Pro Mini Basketball Hoop

Since we ordered and "installed" this Pro Mini Basketball Hoop from Amazon, our hallway is like a mini basketball court! I can't decide which I like better--the basketball hoop or the pro mini hoop balls. I am a big fan of indoor--at home--sports because I am such a homebody and my kids are too.

My other indoor--at home--favorite "sports" ideas are:

The Rainy Day Indoor Playground--an expensive splurge for kids but well worth it--especially in a city apartment

Franklin Table Tennis Kit $13.00

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Whatever Wednesdays

Whatever Wednesdays is very popular in our house. Basically it's a night off from the usual dinnertime routine of trying to get everyone to eat a balanced, healthy diet.

"More spray on whipped cream with your sprinkles?" --"Whatever!" I say in my happiest, most satisfied tone. (My son has the SoyaToo Rice Whip--my daughter has Natural By Nature Classic Whipped Cream. It is spray on whipped cream but it is certified organic, kosher AND gluten free.)

"Another lollipop?" my son says. "Whatever!" I happily respond.

Done with that soup after a few bites--"Whatever!" is my answer on Wednesday evenings.

It's kind of nice to turn the tables on your kids once a week. If you say "whatever" just when they expect you to say "eat your veggies..." things get interesting.

Tonight, my kids had fun playing "fancy restaurant" and serving each other plated fruits and vegetables. My daughter even cleared the table pretending to be the waiter. I didn't have time to cook because Whatever Wednesdays falls after a late playdate, so we had some homemade chicken soup and matzah crackers made from dough that I had in the fridge with cucumbers, carrots and berries.

It's great to have a few things in the fridge that can easily become simple simple meals during the week. Because I don't actually prepare an elaborate meal on Wednesdays, it is easier to let things unfold and not get too focused on what anyone is--or isn't eating.

It is also good to experiment and try different approaches because sometimes kids eat more (veggies, fruits as well as spray whipped cream!) when the focus is more on fun and less on food.


Note: I actually did stop my son from having a second lollipop for a second, but then I decided it wasn't in the spirit of Whatever Wednesdays and allowed him to have the second blow pop his friend had given him. WHATEVER!

Monday, March 7, 2011

ourGFfamily interview on CeliacDiva!

Please visit Celiac Diva to see my interview and hear our story...

Celiac Diva: Episode 66 with Our Gluten Free Family.

Thank you so much to Lauren-Lucille Vasser, the AMAZING, hair tossing CeliacDiva. What an honor to be interviewed and what a privilege to know you!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fun Friday: Cucumber Circle

A greek restaurant served our gluten free table the most beautiful circle of cucumbers instead of crackers. The presentation inspired me to create my own cucumber circle at home. I had a busy day yesterday--speaking at Sinergia on How to Implement a Gluten Free Diet so I prepared a simple dinner of filet, homemade almond crackers, my new favorite thing--a cucumber circle, and the chocolate chip cookies made with garbanzo bean and fava bean flour (which I had demonstrated at Sinergia.)

My son had his 100th day of kindergarten the other day and they class celebrated by making projects that were about 100. He made a 100 shape out of legos. I am thinking with three cucumbers (one line and two circles) you would have a nice 100 cucumber project. The possibilities are endless. And the best part, is it really takes about 3 minutes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Easy Gluten Free Dinner Ideas for Kids

Here are some of our favorite recipes for dinner...

1) Rice and Beans
2) Rice Pasta with tomato sauce, meat sauce or meatballs
3) Homemade Beef Taco Recipe or Chicken Taco Recipe
4) Popcorn chicken or homemade chicken nuggets
5) Fried Rice (egg, chicken or pork)
6) Roast Chicken or pan fried chicken
7) Beef Stew or steak
8) Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Chicken Stock and Alphabet Pasta or Barkat Alphabet Pasta