Monday, April 30, 2012

Cafe 82: A Gluten Free Coffee Shop in NYC

Cafe 82 on the Upper West Side at Broadway and 82nd Street has gluten-free, dairy-free options for everyone. It is a diner/coffee shop that is a real find now that Peter's Diner has closed. I love Cafe 82's spaghetti bolognese made with organic gluten-free corn pasta. The rich meaty sauce is incredibly satisfying and fresh tasting. On the weekends for brunch, we love the english muffins with marmalade, bacon and eggs, french fries and jello.

Cafe 82 used to host the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group's Italian night so they have been well trained in what is gluten free. Unlike many restaurants, they seem to really understand what it takes to safely serve gluten free customers--and they offer an extensive gluten free menu with many dairy free options. They even have gluten free desserts! Jello and baked apple are gluten free and dairy free.

The restaurant is a busy coffee shop with carpeted walls and yellow marbelized, retro tabletops and plastic booths. It is not fancy at all--but if you are looking for a diner with good gluten free food--it is an excellent choice. The servers are all knowledgeable and informed about gluten free food making this a place I would return to again and again. I REALLY should try something else besides the spaghetti bolognese--but I enjoy it so much it is hard to order anything else.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Nutritionist Julie Mathews in NYC on Tues, April 24, 2012

Julie Matthews, a nutritionist and author, is speaking on Tuesday, April 24th in NYC on...

Food & Nutrition for Autism, Asperger's, ADHD (as well as Gastrointestinal Disorders, Food Allergies, and related disorders

Tuesday evening, April 24th
Workshop: 6:30pm - 9:30pm - Registration: 6:00pm
(*attendees also get copies of the presentation content, articles, and more!)

The Rebecca School
40 East 30th Street
5th Floor (Gym)
New York, NY 10016

CLICK HERE to learn more about the New York event and the East Coast tour:

To Register Now for New York CLICK HERE.
These dynamic, two-part presentations empower parents and clinicians with essential healing diet and nutrition fundamentals. Julie will explain which foods and ingredients to avoid, nourishing foods to add, and provide practical "how to" success advice based on ten years clinical experience. Newcomers can get started right away, experienced parents will further their success, and clinicians gain scientific insight to guide their practices. With this evidence-based education, you'll fully understand the use of nutrition and food choices for healing.
  • Learn the scientific connections between diet & symptoms
  • Know how to create a healthy diet for any child
  • Be able to avoid common pitfalls
  • Make meals that nourish the whole family
  • Help even the pickiest eaters expand their diet

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2012

Happy Earth Day!

What am I doing for Earth Day 2012? Enjoying the earth just the way it is and being grateful for all I have and how well everyone is doing. I might also make some earth cake pops later for fun with my kids if I have time-but might save that project for next year and just enjoy being outside today.

Being mindful 365 days a year of our planet and the preciousness of resources--is on my mind. Small changes made EVERY DAY can really have a profound effect. This is true with food as well as our environment. Eating well ONE day doesn't make a huge difference in our health but switching from a less healthy choice to a more healthy choice and making it a habit can actually make a difference. So making small changes each day liking getting kids to turn off lights when not in use can really make a difference--you can even make it a game to see who can turn off the most lights before you walk out the door.

Take Earth Day and multiply it by 365 days and you have a huge change. Since I mostly buy organic veggies and they are much harder to grow than conventional vegetables--I also make an effort to make sure they get eaten and not thrown into the garbage.

Our resources are precious--today on Earth Day 2012 and everyday.

If you are in NYC you can check out NYC's Sustainable Weekend Activities at the EPA webpage Greening the Apple webpage.

Check out previous Earth Day posts...

Earth Day 2010

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Organic Haircolor in NYC: Serene

Finding information about green beauty products and salons is surprisingly difficult, so I was thrilled when John Masters Organics recommended Serene as their top stylist. Serene opened Organically Serene Hair when John Masters closed his salon to live a greener life outside of NYC. Serene continues to use the non-toxic and non-carcinogenic products used by the John Masters Salon including Organic Color Systems, ammonia free Chi Products, and John Masters Hair Products. Serene also holds a certificate in organic hair color. For my blonde highlights she used the ammonia free Chi products and she uses Organic Color Systems (OCS) for single process color and toners.

Some products do contain hydrogen peroxide but they are free from other chemicals like ammonia and parabens that are used at a typical salon--and they don't have a chemical smell. Chemicals in beauty products is a issue for everyone but pregnant women especially might want to find a stylist who uses organic products or forgo hair color before and during pregnancy. Anything you put on your skin goes directly into your bloodstream because you don't have a liver to filter out chemicals so having multiple chemicals in hair and beauty products can be a health issue--especially for people who have chronic health issues.

Organic and non-toxic highlights are not cheap but if you are doing everything you can to live a healthy chemical-free life it is nice to have the option of non-carcinogenic, non toxic hair color. While most people don't think of skin and hair products as being a big deal--it's nice to know a greener, organic option is available in NYC.

For appointments contact:

Organically Serene Hair
79 Worth Street (between Church and Broadway)
New York, NY
(917) 488-8904

Prices: face frame highlights ($150-$165) half head highlights ($165-$225) full head highlights ($225-$275) single process color ($125)

Salon at 79 Worth Street

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What I Cooked: Maple Almond Muffins for Breakfast

Tonight I prepped the dry and wet ingredients for Maple Almond Muffins so tomorrow morning all I will have to do is turn on the oven, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and scoop them into the muffin pans. This way, we will have a homemade breakfast muffins with minimal morning effort. I am DEFINITELY more of a night owl than a morning person so anything I can prep the night before makes the morning smoother. Chocolate chips in the muffins and a dusting of powdered sugar makes them a fun breakfast treat for everyone.

All Roads Lead to Paleo

I often don't get to my blog because I am too busy cooking for my kids. Instead of writing about cooking--I am actually cooking. One day I should log the number of minutes I spend cooking and do a graph of how much time I spend in my kitchen and the different activities. I love to cook--so it's all good. But, the real reward is knowing I am doing everything I can to make sure my kids have nutritious meals and snacks. I find that cooking and baking is the most effective way to get everyone to eat healthy food. Often, the menu is quite simple--a piece of meat or fish with steamed broccoli or cut up cucumbers. Lately, we skip the starch in our meal as I figure desert is pretty starchy.

"All roads lead to Paleo" is an expression I love. Paleo is a prehistoric way of eating that cuts out modern food and returns to the food that was available to our paleolithic ancestors--lean meats, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are included in this super simple eating plan. I say all roads lead to Paleo because there is something ideal about going Paleo and turning your back on modern processed food whenever possible. According to The Paleo Mom
"A paleolithic diet avoids all grains, legumes (including soy and peanuts), dairy (except maybe butter and heavy cream), modern vegetable oils (like safflower and canola), and processed foods."
Our breakfasts and dinners are pretty paleo because the food that get sent to school includes chips and pretzels and typical kid fare. To offset school food we do more protein and fruit and veggies at breakfast and dinner. It is a nice balance that seems to work.

Monday, April 16, 2012

TODAY at LUNCHBITES in NYC: 11 am-12:30 pm

Today at Lunchbites parent group we will be:

• making spring rolls!
• learning about digestive enzymes
• finding out why almond flour is such a great gf flour to use when you are on a gf diet
• reviewing 10 fun ways to get kids to eat healthier food
• enjoying GLOW gluten free cookies and learning about why non grain baking is a better option for some people

Mondays in NYC

@ Jayme Lewin Rich - Integrative Pediatrics
39 West 14th St - Suite 307 (directions)

New York, NY 10011


11 am-12:30 pm

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 can help
• fun ways to introduce fruits and vegetables to kids

Ongoing, come when you can!

Please RSVP to or (917) 653-6742.

Group will meet on Mon, April 2, 16, 23, 30


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!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Omega 3 Fish Oil and Nordic Natural

I recommend ordering liquid fish oil products online directly from the manufacturer whenever possible so they aren't sitting on a shelf in the heat where it can quickly become rancid. Or you can buy from a health food store like Whole Foods that has a quick turnover. Once the bottle is opened you need to keep it in the fridge so they stay fresh. If it smells fishy it isn't good--so if you open it and it has a fishy smell you might have to buy it from somewhere else. We use these liquid brands or capsules--although often it is easier to get a therapeutic dose from a liquid. Omegaceuticals recommends taking it on an empty stomach and waiting 20 minutes to eat for maximum absorption.


Omegaceuticals Advanced Omega 3 is a high potency fish oil without a fishy taste. It is made in Burlington Vermont and you can order it over the internet or call 1(888)587-5557. The real advantage of this product is that 2 teaspoons has 4,500 mg of Omega 3s so it is easy to get a therapeutic dosage. It's really more of an adult product than a kids product. And because of the potency, check with your health care provider or the manufacturer about the optimal dosage.

According to Omegaceuticals website:
"Cold processed, ultra-pure Norwegian omega-3 oil has the necessary therapeutic strength (over 4000 mg in a single, 2 teaspoons dose) as well as a smooth, great lemon taste. This is the highest naturally occurring ratio of EPA and DHA."


Another option we use is Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Liquid. I prefer to order this product from Omega Direct as I have found if it sits on the shelf in a store and the bottle heats up then the product becomes rancid. I have found either this online source or a busy Whole Foods is the best place to find fish oil. The advantage of Nordic Naturals is that they are "Free from environmental toxins. Third party testing shows positively no PCBs or heavy metals, exceeding FDA purity levels by 400 times. Nordic Naturals oils have been tested down to 2.5 particles per billion (a first in the U.S.)."


A third option is Carlson Very Finest Fish oil. Carlson also is a well tested, safe brand. An NYU neurologist who put my kids on fish oil told me that Carlson and Nordic Natural are the safest brands to use.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dairy Free Probiotics

Probiotics are incredibly helpful for the immune system and for general health of both children and adults. We had incredible results from GI Flora probiotics from Allergy Research Group, which is still our favorite probiotic. Unfortunately, GI Flora contains traces of dairy so we had to switch to another brand. (If you can tolerate dairy, these are a relatively inexpensive and impressive product provided you find someone to ship it to you with a cool pack.)

Finding a "dairy free" probiotic is tricky as they are often cultured on dairy. The final probiotics are often labeled "non dairy" when in fact, they contain traces of dairy. It is not a big deal for most, but for someone who is sensitive to dairy removing these miniscule traces of dairy can be profound. TWO different practitioners who knew we could not tolerate dairy recommended GI Flora--because it is an amazing product--and they didn't know the traces of dairy would be an issue.

It wasn't until a friend, Lisa, who is dairy free called the company to check that we discovered it actually is cultured on dairy. Products labeled "non-dairy" can contain milk ingredients and there is actually no regulatory definition for the term "dairy free"--so it is hard to use these terms to determine if a product contains milk protein or not.1 Below is my list of probiotics that I have found are free of dairy. After our experience with the GI Flora probiotics, I now call the company directly to find out if the probiotics are ever cultured on dairy.

Most probiotics need to be kept refrigerated. Here are two products/brands that are dairy free...

Klaire Ther-biotic Detoxification Support. Klaire is a reputable lab that makes supplements. We used these for a while but never saw any real results. The company has a good reputation and they have a few probiotics that are dairy free.

Custom Probiotics. Custom Probiotics is a lab that just makes probiotics. Because that is all they do, Custom Probiotics makes an impressive product. We use the D-lactate free probiotics. It is quite expensive but worth every penny in my opinion. When you add the probiotic to chlorine free water you can see the live bacteria come to life. We have seen better results with Custom Probiotics that Klaire's Detox Support.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Strokes of Genius: Trent Altman

Trent Altman's painting was chosen to be on the United Nations Autism Awareness Stamp for 2012. I had the opportunity to see Trent's work at the Strokes of Genius exhibit on April 2nd at the United Nations.

The colorful, layered paintings have an energy and excitement that is inspiring and uplifting. I used to say "if only a painting can look as good as the palatte." Trent's paintings do have this type of fresh and perfect feeling.

At the reception for the artists, Trent's mother told the unbelievable story of how Trent started painting--she was looking for something to occupy him as an adult so she put a flyer on the bulletin board of a local art store asking if someone wanted to teach her adult son with autism to paint and someone responded to it and he started taking art lessons. It seems so amazing that if she hadn't decided to hang a flyer up these paintings wouldn't exist.

The story is a powerful testament that parents can help their children succeed in the world by never giving up on them--and exposing them to different experiences. Trent doesn't speak much--but he is a gifted painter. And his paintings remind us of the beauty and perfection in every child and adult silently suffering from autism.

Visit Trent Altman's website to learn more about Trent and his work. Strokes of Genius is a non profit organization that builds and supports the artistic talents of young artists who have been affected by autism. Visit there website Strokes of Genius: Extraordinary Artworks to learn more about a non-profit who is making a difference for artists with autism.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dermititis Herpetiformis on The Gluten Free RD

This is a picture of Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) which is a chronic rash caused by celiac disease. I saw this picture on a post called Ask the Gluten Free RD: What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) If you have this type of rash it is good to get to an expert on this condition as a gluten free diet is the treatment for DH.

According to the Gluten Free RD:
"People with DH present with varying degrees of intestinal damage, but may not experience GI symptoms."

Besides being important for your own health if you have this symptom other family members might be affected with silent celiac and suffer from chronic health conditions related to gluten--so pinpointing whether it is in fact DH is important for everyone.

In NYC, you should contact the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia to get tested for celiac--a condition often missed by many mainstream doctors. Here is the contact information for getting tested...

Celiac Disease Center at Columbia

180 Fort Washington Avenue
Suite 934
New York, NY 10032
Tel (212) 342-4529
Fax (212) 342-0447

Here are resources:
Ask the Gluten Free RD: What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dr. Martha Herbert. Pediatric Neurologist. Harvard.

Today is National Autism Awareness Day.

Dr. Martha Herbert.
Pediatric Neurologist.

This video was sent to me by Julie Mathews in her Nourishing Hope News Autism Awareness Day 2012 newsletter.

Dr. Martha Herbert says in the interview...

"People with autism get better. Some of them somewhat better and some of them actually lose their diagnosis."

"Diet is big because it triggers the immune system and also because it supplies the ingredients for our cells."

"Reducing as much as you can toxic exposures is another thing." Including "High nutrient density food. Fruits and vegetables. The rainbow diet. Every color of the rainbow in your diet. That is going to give the body the ingredients it needs to start fixing things."

"The gray zone is huge--ear infections, colic. If you are breastfeeding take out the common allergens"

"Watch out for cleaning products."

Dr. Martha Herbert just wrote a book called "The Autism Revolution: Whole Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be." She is the keynote speaker at Julie Mathew's event Nourishing Hope for Children in Boston on Sunday, April 15th, 2012. She can also be seen at The Autism Research Institute Conference on Saturday, April 28th, 2012.

Sadly, not everyone gets better through diet. According to the story--there is not good data on dietary intervention--but it seems to work 20% of the time. With the new 1 in 88 rate just published by the CDC letting people know that diet works for some is important news worth sharing on Autism Awareness Day.

Dinner 9: Eating a Rainbow

My daughter and I attended a cake decorating class at Carlos Bakery and were unable to eat the fondant cake we decorated. So, yesterday we made these gluten free cakes out of fondant at home. My daughter made the blue flower cake and my son helped me make the green yoda cake. Exhausted from making the cakes and the decorating marathon, I didn't have much energy to cook so I found some chicken cutlets in the freezer and served a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to go with our neon cakes. Even if you don't have the time or energy to cook you can still serve a rainbow at each meal! And I am sure that they didn't mean these neon cakes when they said "Eat a rainbow." But we did have fun and my daughter actually passed on the cakes and had an ice cream sandwich for dessert.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cake Decorating Class at Carlo's Bakery

Yesterday, we went to a cake decorating class at Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken and had the opportunity to learn about fondant. Above is a picture of the finished cakes we made in class and a picture of us with Mary--who was super nice to autograph our apron and pose in a picture with us. The classes and the cakes are not gluten free (we gave our cakes away!) But we enjoyed learning how to use fondant--which is like edible playdough. Today we made our own gluten free cakes at home.

Most fondant in naturally gluten free. Satin Ice Rolled Fondant--which is the Fondant used at Carlo's Bake Shop is gluten free and dairy free. You can purchase Satin Ice Rolled Fondant at Amazon. It is FULL of dye and totally not a healthy--but super fun for the kids and very inspiring if you know how to use it. Unfortunately, there is nothing at Carlo's that is gluten free. But, it was easy to be gluten free in the class because it was about decorating--not about eating. And everyone was SOOO super nice.