Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ultra Epsom Salt from Saltworks offers Free Shipping

Saltworks sells Ultra Epsom Salt in 5 pound bags for $6.50 and they are offering free shipping until December 31, 2012. I just ordered 20 pounds of Epsom Salt for $26.00 and got free delivery!!! Using epsom salts in a bath is an old fashioned, easy and non invasive way to increase magnesium levels and support detoxification. Epsom salt is made from magnesium sulfate and it has been used traditionally in bath salts for it's detoxifying and calming properties. The magnesium in the epsom salt is calming and the sulfate component is what supports detoxification.

Also, my kids love to play with the epsom salt in the bath. They make fun concoctions using soap, epsom salt and baking soda. All the fun ends up in the bath water--but it's good, clean fun.

Related posts: 
Epsom Salts, Magnesium Deficiency and Sensory Integration Disorder
Magnesium, Sugar and Allergies and Intolerances.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Please Vote for Me Once Daily Today and Tomorrow!

October 17@10:41

Thank you to everyone who voted but looks like I won't make the list as I need about 286 additional votes to get to the top 25! Not that it is impossible--but probably not worth everyone's time--especially since there are so many great blogs in the top 25. Instead of voting for me spend the time checking (and voting for) Allergy Free Alaska who has the most votes and is well deserving of her place at the top of the list. Her "Whole Food Fridays' is a very inspiring virtual get together I hope to join and be inspired by. Congratulations in advance for her hard work and great blog.

Thanks to everyone who supported me in my efforts to get on the top 25 list!

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October 16 @10:51 am...

PLEASE VOTE FOR MY BLOG-->CLICK HERE (and then click the thumbs up button until it says Voted and turns gray.)


Voting ends at 7 pm EST tomorrow so you can vote today and 24 hours later. It takes 5 seconds to show your support! 

So I am #53 on the list (of 103 blogs)!  I have 104 votes but I need 276 votes to get on the top 25 list. It's almost impossible but I thought I would give another request for a daily vote today and tomorrow. If everyone who visited/was helped by my blog voted it would be possible. The truth is, I started participating in this contest several weeks after the other bloggers but I am still hopeful as I have spent a lot more time helping parents than promoting my blog so it's just once a year I ask for help. And, if you know me then you know that I never give up--even when it looks impossible I still continue. So, I am continuing to ask for your vote.

To see the entire list of 103 food allergy mom blogs go to Top 25 Food Allergy Mom - 2012. Who knew there were so many food allergy mom blogs???
 
Thanks so much for your support!

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Once a year I ask for this help--then I will return to helping parents and anyone who needs help--which is what I really enjoy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Best GF Rice-Free Products


I do agree with many that the rice in arsenic story is over hyped. But, I also think information is power. It is good to know that rice may contain arsenic and that you can make informed choices--by buying rice that tested low in arsenic or by choosing processed foods that don't have rice as a main ingredient. It is impossible for someone who is gluten free to avoid rice but here are some good options for those who are trying to include more foods that don't have rice.

According to Consumer Reports testing,  the lowest level of arsenic was found in Lundberg California White Basmati rice. Isn't that nice to know? Here is a list of our favorite rice-free products...

Top 10 list of BEST GF RICE-FREE PRODUCTS:

1) La Venizienne Pasta - My kids prefer this corn pasta from Italy over the Tinkyada rice pasta we used for years. Having nothing to do with this rice news they will only eat La Venizienne Pasta. You can find it at G-Free NYC or at Food Liberation.

2) Ancient Harvest Quinoa - Ancient Harvest  Quinoa is so easy to make and pre-washed so it tastes better than other quinoa. Lemon Quinoa is a favorite recipe that I love for lunch or dinner.

3) Arrowhead Mills Organic Whole Grain Amaranth - Amaranth is a seed that is great for breakfast with nuts and raisins and milk. It is sticky--like oatmeal--but has a more pronounced taste. Best of all amaranth has a  lower glycemic index than other traditional morning grains. It can be gummy if overcooked. But it has two essential amino acids--lysine and methionine--not usually found in most grains which when combined with corn or brown rice results in a complete protein as high as that in meat.

4) Dr. Praeger's Potato Crusted Fishies - Dr. Praegers Fish Sticks are all made with potato flakes and potato starch. My kids like the little ones because they are crispier.

5) Glow Gluten Free Cookies - These tasty cookies with garbanzo bean and fava bean flour come in four flavors--Double Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, Chocolate Chip and Gingersnap. They travel so well and are in such a cute, stylish box.

6) Skinny Pop Pop Corn - This is a new favorite of ours. It is not organic but everyone likes it and the ingredients are super simple. Popcorn is a whole grain food!


7) Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes Cereal - This is a great product for baking to replace wheat bran in bran muffins or for a nutritious hot breakfast cereal.

8) Real Foods Organic Corn Thins and Sesame Corn Thins - An alternative to rice cakes and an easy way to serve peanut butter and jelly.

9) Soft Corn Tortillas - Gluten free soft corn tacos are sold in large supermarkets if you look for them. Just check the ingredient label to make sure they are made with corn and are labeled gluten free. Check out my  Beef "Spice Packet" Taco recipe and my Summertime Chicken Taco Recipe.

10) Fresh fruit and vegetables! Probably more important than giving up rice is including fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet! Fresh fruits and vegetables have glutathione in them to help you remove any traces of heavy metals in foods. So have some fresh food in with that rice instead of giving it up completely. See my post on Raw Food and Glutathione

honorable mention...

Pamela's Products Corn Bread and Muffin Mix--this contains a little rice but in the non-alarmist spirit of not being dramatic at least the first ingredient is organic non-GMO corn--and my kids love it!

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I asked G-Free NYC  for rice-free product recommendations as they have the opportunity to test and select the best gluten free products on the market. All the following can be found at G-Free on the upper west side.

"G-Free NYC believes that like any diet you should incorporate as many gluten free different foods as possible especially those packed with protein and fiber. We've seen a greater effort to incorporate grains and seeds such as quinoa, teff, amaranth, chia and flax in products. And we've noticed they not only improve the nutritional value, but the taste as well."  Some of these products include:

Purely Elizabeth Granola
New York Superfooods Chia Charger
Taffets Bakery Teff & Quinoa Loaves (does have some rice flour)
Peace Love Brownies (uses buckwheat flour)
Keenwah (made from quinoa)
Le Pain Des Fleurs Chesnut Crispbread (made from chesnuts)
King Soba Buckwheat & Sweet Potato (buckwheat & sweet potato)
Cocomama Quinoa Cereal (no rice)
Muesli Fusion (no rice)
Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise (no rice)



Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Overview: Rice in Arsenic in the News


Rice in arsenic is all over the news since Consumer Reports November 2012 article on "Arsenic in your food."(1)  The news is particularly disturbing news for the gluten free community because many people who are gluten free eat processed food that contains rice.  The NIH  found that arsenic in drinking water causes various cancers, it is linked to lung and bladder cancer (2) and can impact the long term health development of children.(3)(4) Consumer reports is recommending that you limit consumption of rice to 1/4 cup of rice per week for children and 1/2 cup of rice per week for adults.  That recommendation is pretty difficult for families who are gluten free because so many gluten free products contain rice as an ingredient.

Here is an overview of the issue:

WHY IS THERE ARSENIC IN RICE?
Arsenic is used in agriculture as an insecticide as well as in food additive for certain animals.(5) Yes--according to the New York Times "poultry on factory farms are routinely fed caffeine, active ingredients of Tylenol and Benadryl, banned antibiotics and even arsenic."(6) So, it is not surprise, given arsenics use on factory farms and in pesticides  that it is found in rice. Rice acts as a sponge so any trace elements in the soil or water can end up in the rice. (note: to limit your exposure to arsenic you should also buy organic poultry--arsenic is also a huge problem in non-organic chicken.)

IS ORGANIC RICE SAFER THAN CONVENTIONAL RICE?
One would think that organic rice would be a safer source than conventional rice, but according to the FDA's Analysis of Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products: "The FDA is unaware of any data that shows a difference in the amount of arsenic found in organic rice vs. non-organic rice. Because arsenic is naturally found in the soil and water, it is absorbed by plants regardless of whether they are grown under conventional or organic farming practices."(7)

IS ORGANIC BROWN RICE SAFER THAN CONVENTIONAL RICE?
Brown rice had twice the levels of white rice in tested samples because the  brown rice contains the outer layer of bran can contain higher levels of arsenic. The lowest level or Arsenic was found in Lundberg California White Basmati rice--which was the brand we have always used. The Lundberg California White Basmati  rice had 1.3 to 1.6 micrograms of arsenic per serving. The Lundberg Short Grain Brown Rice had 3.8 to 5.4 micrograms of arsenic per serving. This is a significant difference in the arsenic in the rice and shows how the nutrient dense outer layer of the brown rice acts as a skin to trap the arsenic. (1)

WHAT YOU CAN DO?

1) DON'T PANIC. Rice has always contained arsenic. It is just in the news now. It is alarming, but you can take steps to limit your consumption of arsenic and keep your family safe. Knowledge is power. You can choose the safest rice and send a message to manufacturers.

2) LIMIT HOW MUCH YOU SERVE RICE...
Given the rice scare I am not actually cooking much rice these days. This is because it is already is in so many gluten free products we eat,  I don't think they need extra rice. But, we didn't eat that much rice before. For sure, I am not forbidding rice based on one report but I am minimizing it's presence at meals. We eat more corn and potatoes and snacks made with these foods. That being said, we do have rice with Chinese food and the kids can have rice whenever they want. I am just not making it/serving it regularly.

3) ROTATE THE GRAINS YOU SERVE...
It's hard to eliminate rice completely from a gluten free diet. But you can rotate the foods you eat to limit your consumption of rice. By rotating the starches and snacks you can really cut down on the rice intake. A simple way to cut down on rice is to rotate starches every few days. Here is a list of what a rotation might look like:

Mon (Rice) Tues (Corn) Wed (Potatoes) Thurs (Rice) Friday (Corn) Sat (Potatoes) Sun (Quinoa/Amarynth/alternative grains)

Using this rotation you can go from eating rice 7 days a week to 2 days a week! I chose this example because often it is easier and more realistic to serve alternative grains on the weekend when there is more time and kids aren't bringing food to school.

Or you can make rice a once a week option. That would look like:
Mon (Corn) Tues (Potatoes) Wed (Quinoa) Thurs (Corn) Friday (Potatoes) Saturday (Quinoa) Sunday (rice! order chinese food!)

4) CHOOSE THE SAFER RICE.  LOCATION MATTERS: Use rice that is grown in California, India and Thailand. These areas are farther from factory farms and cotton in the Southern United States which use arsenic.  Gerber Foods has chosen to source their rice from California saying "California rice has the lowest naturally occurring arsenic levels for rice grown in the United States."(8) Again, acccording to the report, the lowest level or Arsenic was found in Lundberg California White Basmati rice--which was the brand we have always used.

(1) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/11/arsenic-in-your-food/index.htm#charthttp://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/11/arsenic-in-your-food/index.htm#chart
(2) http://abcnews.go.com/Health/arsenic-rice-report-finds-worrisome-levels/story?id=17267872#.UHR20Riyw-8http://abcnews.go.com/Health/arsenic-rice-report-finds-worrisome-levels/story?id=17267872#.UHR20Riyw-8
(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1519547/http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1519547/
(4)http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/chemfs/fs/arsenic.htmhttp://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/chemfs/fs/arsenic.htm
(5) http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/09/28/arsenic-in-rice-of-baby-and-bath-water#commentshttp://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/09/28/arsenic-in-rice-of-baby-and-bath-water#comments
(6) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/opinion/kristof-arsenic-in-our-chicken.html
(7) http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FoodContaminantsAdulteration/Metals/ucm319948.htm
(8) http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-19/business/ct-nw-arsenic-rice-advice-20120920_1_rice-consumption-arsenic-levels-california-rice