Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fresh Wilted Greens and a Fresh Juice for Breakfast

This is my favorite new breakfast--leafy greens lightly steamed with scrambled eggs. A salad in the morning is too much work and too cold but warm greens in the morning drizzled with olive oil and some salt and pepper are perfect.

To make the greens, I put a few handfuls of washed, slightly wet greens in a saute pan over medium heat for a few minutes with a top until they are warm and just slightly cooked. Then I put the greens in a bowl and use the pan to cook some scrambled eggs. In the time it takes to cook a bowl of oatmeal I have a nutrient and protein rich, grain-free breakfast. While I am not completely paleo--I do find that I feel better if I begin the day with a fresh green juice or wilted greens.

You can top the greens and eggs with some red pepper flakes or daiya cheese or sesame oil to change the flavor of it and give some variety.

Today, I think I am going to have BOTH a green juice and wilted greens. Doubling up on veggies is my new favorite thing to do--both with my kids and with myself. Instead of serving one green veggie--serve two. Or better yet, serve a buffet of vegetables at dinner and see what everyone eats. In their lunch, pack cucumbers and carrots. Kids aren't going to eat vegetables if they are in the bottom of the fridge. If you make it a habit to get the fruits and veggies on the table it really helps everyone eat more fresh produce.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dinner: Applegate Farms Chicken Nuggets

My husband was in charge of dinner on Saturday night. He gets huge points for serving a fruit AND a vegetable with the Applegate Farms gluten-free chicken nuggets. I try to make a homemade dinner every night but once in a while we have ready made gluten free products. Usually we have this kind of fun, kid's food on the weekend when we are going out so the kids don't get sick of homemade fare.

Small bowls are a great way to organize a plate that contains a lot of items. Little ceramic and glass bowls can also be a way to control portions of less healthy snack items. On a big plate the six or seven potato chips might seem like a small portion--but filling up a small bowl makes them seem more abundant. Toothpicks are another way to add some fun to a predictable dinner. We LOVE toothpicks.

I would have skipped the chips and pretzels and just served the nuggets, fruit and vegetables. But how fun is DAD?!? Breaking out the potato chips AND pretzels!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

lunchbites with kirstin

Join our Lunchtime Support Group

lunchbites with kirstin

Monthly in NYC

Ongoing groups. Please RSVP to or (917) 653-6742 to find out about days/times.

Meet with Kirstin Boncher, chef, parent and founder of

In addition to addressing individual concerns find out…
• how nutrition and allergies can impact development
• information on how to implement allergy free diets
• the inside scoop on doctors and nutritionists in NYC that c
an help
• fun ways to introduce fruits and vegetables to kids

@ Jayme Lewin Rich - Integrative Pediatrics
Union Square area, NYC
(please RSVP for exact address because space is limited.)

Ongoing, come when you can!

Please RSVP to or (917) 653-6742.


A big thank you to our sponsor glow gluten free cookies for supporting lunchbites. Glow gluten free cookies are made with natural and organic ingredients--including garbanzo bean and coconut flour--which makes these gluten free and casein free cookies delicious!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Krumville Bake Shop's Double Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cookie

I don't want to even try to describe these heavenly Double Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cookies that a friend picked up from G-Free NYC today. They are gluten free from Krumville Bake Shop and they are sold at various locations around New York--or you can order online. The cookies are oversize, super rich and yummy. The best thing about the cookie is how chewy and thick it is. The rich chocolate taste lingers for a while--making this much more satisfying than the average gluten free cookie. I can't find a list of ingredients but I did detect a slight coffee flavor--which always makes the chocolate flavor more pronounced.

If you are in NYC head to G-Free NYC or to the other locations around the city to try them. But you might want to call ahead to make sure they have them if you are making a special trip to sample them as I am guessing they must sell out sometimes.

G-Free NYC
77A West 85th Street
(between Columbus & CPW)
New York, NY 10024
tel: (646)781.9770

The Double Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies contain dairy (butter), eggs and soy
but I don't have a full ingredient list yet so can't be sure what else. If you can't eat dairy you can try the Apple Ginger Muffins which are dairy free. Krumville Bake Shop does say that they carefully source all their ingredients--the dairy and eggs are sourced locally from cage-free hens and are always hormone and antibiotic free. You can really tell these are handmade in small batches using natural, wholesome ingredients.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Consequences of Choosing Non-Organic Conventional Produce

I am sure that we have had conventional (non-organic/sprayed) grapes here or there over the past three years while visiting friends or relatives, so when my son grabbed a bunch while shopping I let him put them in our cart. I know the dangers of pesticides and am usually pretty strict about buying organic--especially for the top 15 fruits and vegetables on the dirty dozen list which includes apples, celery, strawberries, grapes, potatoes and lettuce. If we eat some conventional produce at a restaurant or a friend's house it's not a big deal because the bulk of our food that we eat day in and day out at home is organic. But, I hadn't seen organic grapes in months so I figured non-organic grapes as a treat might, in some ways, be better than the sugary treats my kids eat.

Unfortunately, my son got hives after eating the grapes. Of course, I can't be sure it was the grapes but all the other food we eat day in and day out is pretty consistent. The non-organic grapes were the only new food.

Pesticides are invisible so it is often hard to see the dangers in something that is so intangible--unless you are super sensitive--that is why education about the dangers of pesticides is so important. Looking at the chart at the website What's on my food? It looks like there is quite a range when it comes to pesticide residue. So while some non-organic grapes might have a low level of pesticide others might have a super high level. Which might be why my son had such a strong reaction to these grapes and be visibly unaffected by other conventional grapes in the past.

Apples are the worst--at the top of the list of dirty dozen. 87.9% of the domestic conventional apples had Thiabendazole on it which is a probably carcinogen and developmental or reproductive toxin. But, organic apples are pretty easy to find. To see the whole dirty dozen list go to Environmental Working Group.

Of course, everyone is different. Some people have better detoxification systems than others. But, a study out of Harvard says pesticide exposure may contribute to ADHD in children--and we know that this a rampant problem in children. 1 (And, come to think of it, my energetic six year old does seem to have significantly more energy when I am visiting relatives who are less fanatic about organic produce. Instead of packing more toys maybe I need to pack some organic strawberries and apples!)

I have read, pesticide exposure leaves your body in a few days so buying organic pays off pretty quickly. You can do your own experiment but going organic for a week or two and seeing if it makes a difference in chronic health issues. Or make a point of buying organic for the produce you eat most often if you don't feel like you can buy all organic.

Well, after the hives, I guess now I have another reason for being 100% organic. Maybe we are lucky that we are so sensitive.

According to What's on my food?

"Q: How much pesticide exposure is too much?

A: Depends on the pesticide. Depends on the person. Depends on the timing and type of exposure.

What we do know is this: Pesticide regulations in the U.S. are well behind much of the rest of the industrialized world. This is mostly because agrichemical corporations like Monsanto have too much influence in Washington, but also because pesticide regulation in the U.S. does not adequately account for things like additive and synergistic effects.

Since the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) regulates most chemicals on a chemical-by-chemical basis, the combined and cumulative effects of a mixture of pesticides are nearly impossible for them to address – and so they usually don’t. 1"2


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Healthy Snacks #1: Olives

In a world full of processed, unhealthy snacks it's nice to find a few nutritious foods that you can serve instead. I recently served olives, carrots and Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Sea Salt Crackers with two dips from Hampton Chutney Company.

Olives are technically a fruit, but because they aren't sweet, I tend to classify them as a vegetable--along with tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, zucchini and avocados--which are all actually fruits.

According to The World's Healthiest Foods olives are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. In addition, an olive phytonutrient called hydroxytyrosol which is linked to cancer prevention might also prevent bone loss and perhaps explains the decreased risk of osteoporois associated with those following the mediterrean diet. Olives also have been used to treat "inflammatory problems, including allergy related inflammation."1

For a full list of the health properties of olives, see WHFoods: Olives. I love putting olives out with vegetables. The oil in olives actually allows you to absorb more of the nutrients in the veggies--making this a great snack combo.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jicama Stackers

"They taste like apples but they look like french fries" my son said about jicama, a white root vegetable that looks like a turnip. Jicama tastes like a combination of an apple and a cucumber with an unusual sweet taste and a watery crunch. There is a slight bitter aftertaste but it's very subtle. Peeled with a sharp knife, cut like french fries and stacked up high, they make a fun addition to any dinner. The trick is to present jicama in a fun way. My husband said with a smile "You should make it a tradition to serve jicama when I am away." He was, I guess, feeling less adventurous than my kids.

The truth is, most fruits and vegetables need a PR campaign to compete with the processed food that is marketed to kids. So making an effort to present fruits and vegetables in a fun way can really make a difference between kids eating their vegetables or not. My kids love fruit plates and vegetable plates and stackers--but if you put a carrot stick on their plate and demand they eat it they will often say "no." So at our house I just ask them to eat some vegetables rather than this or that particular thing.
I like to peel jicama like you would an apple. Then, cut the jiicama into 1/4 inch rounds. Next cut each round into 1/2 inch sticks. Put two sticks parallel on a plate and then put two more jicama sticks perpendicular on top. Repeat layers until you have a jicama stacker. See my link below for Apple Stackers. Kids also like to help stack! Even if they won't try the jicama--they might like to build the stackers.

Related links:
Apple Stackers
Snack Trays

Ultralean Macro Nutrient Balanced Functional Food Bar

Q: What are your thoughts on UltraLean Macro Nutrient Balanced Functional Food Bar? It is labelled as gluten free/dairy free and soy free and my son loves them but the doctor who sells them said he should only have them twice a week...

A: The ingredients in Ultra Lean Gluco Support Food Bar seem okay in the sense that there are no ingredients that are really horrifying. I am not a huge fan of bars but this one looks better than most. I like that the protein in the bar comes from Peanut Butter, Rice Protein Concentrate and Rice Bran (and not soy protein isolate.) It is a fortified bar so it contains a lot of vitamins and minerals (as much as 1000% Daily Value of B6 and as little as 10% of Phosphorous.) For this reason, I would think of this bar as a bar and a multivitamin in one. Although it is tasty treat for an adult, the levels of fortification might be a problem for children if they consumed the bar everyday as they might a breakfast bar. I think this is the reason for the recommendation that you only give it to your son 2x per week. Although most of the B vitamins are water soluble and will not build up in the system, consuming them everyday as a staple of a young child's diet when the vitamins and minerals are not balanced might be problematic for a growing child.

Plus, the bar is more of a lab concoction than real food. Unfortunately, a lot of food these days is more food science than food--but, this bar definitely is given that Fruitrim is the first ingredient. And that might be another reason that it was recommended as an occasional and not an everyday snack.

Below is a breakdown of the ingredients in the bar:
  • Fruitrim is a carbohydrate based ingredient which extends the shelf life and yield of packaged products and has a sweet taste. It is "made from real fruit juice" and dextrins and it is gluten free. It says it is patented all-natural ingredient that contains no artificial ingredients, additives or preservatives. But even though it is described as "all natural" it can't be completely natural as it is a patented ingredient. It is, I think, better than a lot of bar ingredients (like soy protein isolate) but it also is definitely an ingredient formulated in a lab--and hard to really evaluate.
  • Peanut Butter-would love if this was the first ingredient but happy to see it 2nd
  • Rice Protein Concentrate- "basically the concentrated protein fraction of the rice grain and is produced from the rice milling process. It relates to the manufacturing of the rice syrup where natural enzymatic process transforms the complex carbohydrates of rice into a simple sugar. The leftover of this process is recognised as organic rice protein, which is filtered and dried at low temperatures. The resulting powder is referred to as Rice Protein Concentrate." 1
  • Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate Liquor) - chocolate flavor
  • Organic Brown Rice Crisps (Organic Brown Rice, Sea Salt, Organic Brown RIce Syrup) gives a yummy crunch and sweetness
  • Cocoa Powder - more chocolate
  • Chocolate Liquor - and more chocolate
  • Brown Rice Flour - seems fine
  • Rice Bran - full of nutrients. Bran is the nutrient dense outer coating of the grain.
  • Arabic Gum -this ingredient is found in M&Ms and gummy candies
  • Pure Vanilla - just a spice. Nice they use pure vanilla and not "artificial flavors"
  • Sea Salt - okay by me

  • Vitamins and Minerals:
  • Calcium Citrate - 20% DV
  • Magnesium Citrate 35% DV
  • Ascorbic Acid - Vit C 170%
  • D-Calcium Pantothenate (750% DV
  • Vitamin E Succinate 170% DV
  • Niacinamide - 260% DV
  • Biotin - 100% DV
  • Zinc Citrate - 70% DV
  • Pyridoxine - B6 1000% DV
  • Niacin - 260%
  • Riboflavin - B2 590%
  • Cyanocobalamin - B12 830% DV
  • Manganese AAC - 60% DV
  • Selenium AAC - 35% DV
  • ChromiumAAC
  • Vitamin A Palmitate
  • Vitamin D3
  • Folic Acid
  • Vanadyl Sulfate

What To Feed Your Kids @ Jayme Lewin Rich - Integrative Pediatrics

I am excited to announce that parents who need more support than the occasional email or phone call can now see me at Jayme Lewin Rich's - Integrative Pediatrics on 14th Street for in person, one on one help by appointment.


Coaching for parents and caregivers on how to implement dietary changes for children with Kirstin Boncher, Grand Diplome of Classical Culinary Arts, The French Culinary Institute--founder of

Every parent needs support and information about feeding their children healthfully--especially families with picky eaters and children on special diets. Learn easy ways to introduce new foods to children as well as ways to make mealtime fun. Come learn why a change in diet can help children with developmental problems get better--and all about resources for testing for food intolerances and allergies.

Meetings by appointment at:
@Jayme Lewin Rich - Integrative Pediatrics
39 West 14th St - Suite 307 (between 5th and 6th Ave) (directions)
New York, NY 10011

To register or to get more information, please call 917-653-6742 or email (please put in subject line: “PARENT COACHING.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Testing for Dairy Allergy/Intolerance

When my son was 12 months old I ran around to many doctors trying to get "proof" that he was allergic to dairy. I went to GI doctors and allergists and nutritionists trying to get some reassurance that I was doing the right thing removing milk from his diet. It seemed like such a radical step to be taking on my own. I suspected--and deep down--I knew that dairy was not good for him. He had 3 ear infections in six months from 12 months to 18 months when I stopped nursing and introduced cows milk and was constantly sick--not sleeping with a runny nose and red cheeks and was generally a sick child when he was drinking milk. But "proving" he was allergic to dairy was virtually impossible as the typical IgE testing was negative. When we did challenges (removing milk completely and then reintroducing it) he would be better then worse but not completely better. Then we discovered that he had two genes for celiac and that gluten was also a factor. We did find removing both gluten and dairy transformed him into a well child.

At this point, an NYU trained neurologist who had quit neurology to become a homeopathic doctor (when her kids had celiac and mainstream medicine was not helping them) told me that the molecules for gluten and dairy were similar so you need to remove them both (as well as soy) in order for them to get better. She explained that sometimes the immune system sees the dairy molecule and thinks it is gluten or visa versa so you need to remove both. Then after a period without both gluten and dairy, when the immune system is working better it will be able to differentiate the two and you might be able to add dairy back in if gluten is the main allergy. It was an explanation--from a doctor-- but not a definitive test. So, I kept searching looking for proof. My son was both gluten and dairy free--so a positive test wouldn't have made any difference practically--but I wanted answers. I wanted to understand.

Testing for intolerances is very complicated because although allergists can test for an IgE allergy to milk--an intolerance like the one my son had won't show up on typical allergy testing because it is not the same pathway as an allergy. With an intolerance you won't die from ingesting the food. And, because of our "death and disease" model--food intolerances often aren't on the radar of mainstream doctors.

There are some alternative tests that can help reveal whether dairy is an issue--but a negative test does not necessarily mean that you don't have a problem with dairy--it can also mean that this particular test didn't show it. (More on Testing for Dairy tomorrow.)

Once, Dr. Teich, an environmental allergist, did a skin prick test for dairy and the results were startling. My three year old went from being a talkative, inquisitive boy to a boy who was quite out of it, deep within himself, lost for a few moments until Dr. Teich used the antidote. and he returned to his chatty normal self. Although we had seen profound reactions to dairy before, it was startling to see neurological reaction provoked then reversed by a doctor over half an hour appointment. The test was a confirmation of his severe reaction to dairy--but it wasn't an explanation of what was causing the reaction to dairy. Dr. Teich does the testing to try to use drops to eliminate the allergies but we decided against the treatment because his reaction was so severe.

I think I continued to search for a few years for an explanation for my son's reaction to dairy. Finally, when I had given up searching for an answer, a physician's assistant, Scott Smith, at Full Potential Wellness Center did a test for folate antibodies which came up positive. I had taken him to Scott to try to figure out why he had cradle cap--not for his dairy issue. But hearing his history Scott Smith ordered the test. Folate antibodies, he explained, are antibodies that attack the brain--and they find these antibodies increase in the presence of MILK. If you have the folate antibodies then you need to do two things--give up milk/casein, remove all folic acid from the diet and supplement with folate. Both my son and I were both positive. FINALLY A TEST THAT EXPLAINED his milk allergy--and a treatment. A treatment that worked. The test was great because not only did it explain but it actually offered more than just "be dairy free."

When we removed every last trace of dairy and followed the recommendations about discontinuing the multi (which contained folic acid) and adding in folate--he went from being 85% better to 100% better. We did not use the dosages that were recommended--but much lower dosages.

It is interesting that we finally got our answer when we had given up searching.

•••Also, we figured out about the same time that the probiotics we were using were cultured on dairy. We learned the hard way, although food might be labelled "dairy free" it still might have traces of casein in it. When we switched to a probiotic that was not cultured on dairy he no longer needed enzymes with every meal. We still use enzymes when we eat out but nice that he no longer needs them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chips and Snacks that are Gluten Free and Casein Free

Gluten is often hidden in processed food with long list of ingredients. Soy sauce, malted barley flour and "spices" can all be sources of gluten. It is best to check online with the manufacturer and then stick to the products that you know are gluten free. The following are the snacks we know we can have if we are at a deli or a store with only mainstream snacks. Click on the link to each product to see a picture of the package to make sure the one you are buying is the same as the one listed here--or check out the Frito Lay site which gives details about all the products. Here is a list of products that have been tested to be gluten free and casein free. You can also check the Frito Lay U.S. Products Not Containing Gluten and Casein Ingredients List to see a full list of all the GFCF products. IT IS A GREAT LIST.

Fritos Original Corn Chips GFCF
Lay's Classic Potato Chips GFCF

Kettle Brand Sea Salt GFCF
Kettle Brand Sea Salt and Vinegar Chips GFCF

BAKED! Lay's Original Potato Crisps GFCF
Lay's Simply Natural Sea Salt Flavored Thick Cut Chips GFCF
Lay's Deli Style Original Potato Chips GFCF
Lay's Lightly Salted Potato Chips GFCF
Lay's STAX Original Flavored Potato Crisps GFCF
Lay's Wavy Original Potato Chips GFCF
Ruffles Original Potato Chips GFCF
Ruffles Reduced Fat Potato Chips GFCF

Cracker Jack Original Caramel Coated Popcorn & Peanuts GF/CF

Below is a list of products which "contain no gluten ingredients" and are casein free according to the manufacturers website--they have not been tested to be gluten free but they don't contain ingredients containing gluten. And, they are on the list U.S. Products Not Containing Gluten and Casein Ingredients. We typically avoid a lot of these and stick with the ones we absolutely can have--more because of the long list of ingredients than because they haven't been tested--but it is nice to know that we MIGHT be able to have them. Of course, everyone is different and has different levels of sensitivity. I know in our family some are more sensitive than others. You can click on the link for the Lay's manufacture's list of known allergens.

Lay's Balsamic Sweet Onion Flavored Potato Chips no GF ing/CF
Lay's Deli Style Original Potato Chips no GF ing/CF
Lay's Dill Pickle Flavored Potato Chips no GF ing/CF
Lay's Light Original Potato Chips no GF ing/CF
Lay's Limon Flavored Potato Chips no GF ing/CF
Lay's Kettle Cooked Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper Flavored Potato Chips no GF ing/CF

Ruffles Light Original Potato Chips no GF ing/CF
Ruffles Tapatio Limon Flavored Potato Chips no GF ing/CF

U.S. Gluten Free Products and Products Not Containing Gluten / Frito-Lay

U.S. Products Not Containing Gluten and Casein Ingredients / Frito Lay

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gluten Free on a Budget...GF Breadcrumbs with Corn Chex

Gluten Free on a budget is not easy because gluten free food is always super expensive. In order to make affordable gluten free food, it is helpful to use products that are easily available in mainstream grocery stores like Corn Chex. This recipe is my "go to" breadcrumb recipe. I store the leftover breadcrumbs in the freezer. To make a dairy free substitute for parmesan "cheese, fry a few cloves of garlic in oil and add some breadcrumbs to toast them.

5 cups gluten free Corn Chex
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon finely ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or the cuisinart. Process until finely ground crumbs. Use the crumbs to make breaded chicken, home made chicken nuggets or home made fish sticks.

Related post:

Gluten Free Corn Chex Crispy Chicken Tenders