November 24, 2013

Herbal Supplements Often Contain Unlisted Ingredients

People who consume herbal products such as supplements may be getting more, or less, than they bargained for. Many of these products contain ingredients not listed on the label, a new study finds.
In the study, nearly 60 percent of herbal products tested contained plant substances not listed on the label. In nearly a third of products, the main ingredient was substituted with a different product. More than 20 percent of products contained fillers such as rice, wheat and soybeans, in addition to the main ingredient.
Overall, out of the 12 companies that produce herbal supplements included in the study, just two had products with no substitutions, fillers or contaminants, the researchers said. [5 Key Nutrients Women Need As They Age]
Such unlisted ingredients may pose health hazards for consumers, the researchers said. For example, one produced was labeled as St. John's wort, but actually contained the laxative plant Senna alexandrina. The laxative is not recommended for long turn use, and can cause serious side effects, such as chronic diarrhea and liver damage.
Other products contaminated with walnut leaves, wheat, soybeans and rice might pose problems for people with allergies or those seeking gluten-free products, said study researcher Steven Newmaster, an integrative biology professor and botanical director of the University of Guelph's Biodiversity Institute of Ontario.
"A consumer has a right to see all of the plant species used in producing a natural product on the list of ingredients," Newmaster said.
The researchers analyzed 44 herbal products sold in the United States and Canada, using a gene sequencing technique called DNA barcoding to identify the plant species present in the products. (DNA barcodes are short gene sequences that are indicative of a particular species.)
About 50 percent of the products did contain the main ingredient, but around 30 percent of these also contained contaminants or fillers.
In the United States, herbal products are considered dietary supplements, and unlike drugs they do not need approval by the Food and Drug Administration before they come to market. However, the FDA can take action to recall a product if it is found to be unsafe after it hits the market.
The findings of the new study are consistent with earlier work. For example, a 2011 study of 131 herbal tea products found that 33 percent were contaminated. Still, the estimates from the new study should be interpreted with caution, and refined with further research, because the study tested products from just 12 out of the 1,000 companies that make herbal products.
The study was published Oct. 11 in the journal BMC Medicine.

*Buy from a good brand and one that has been tested.

November 20, 2013

Studies Show that Diet May Trigger Adverse Behavior in Children

    WASHINGTON — In a new review of two dozen scientific studies, the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) contends that food dyes and certain foods can adversely affect children’s behavior. CSPI, in a 32-page report titled “Diet, ADHD, and Behavior,” charges that federal agencies, professional organizations, and the food industry ignore the growing evidence that diet affects behavior.
     The report cites 17 controlled studies that found that diet adversely affects some children’s behavior, sometimes dramatically. Most of the studies focused on artificial colors, while some also examined the effects of milk, corn, and other common foods. The percentage of children who were affected by diet and the magnitude of the effect varied widely among the studies. Six other studies did not detect any behavioral effect of diet.
     “It makes a lot more sense to try modifying a child’s diet before treating him or her with a stimulant drug,” said Dr. Marvin Boris, a pediatrician in Woodbury, New York, whose 1994 study found that diet affected the behavior of two-thirds of his subjects. "Health organizations and professionals should recognize that avoiding certain foods and additives can greatly benefit some troubled children."
     Several experts on diet and behavior joined Boris today calling on Donna Shalala, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to encourage parents and professionals to modify children’s diets before resorting to drug treatment. They asked HHS to undertake new research into the link between diet and behavior and to “consider banning synthetic dyes in foods and other products (such as cupcakes, candies, sugary breakfast cereals, vitamin pills, drugs, and toothpaste) widely consumed by children.” Those experts include Ted Kniker, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Joseph Bellanti, Georgetown University Medical Center.
     ADHD’s main symptoms are reduced attentiveness and concentration, excessive levels of activity, distractibility, and impulsiveness. An estimated three to five percent of school-age children have ADHD, though some surveys put the percentage as high as 17 percent. Stimulant drugs, such as Ritalin and amphetamines, are often highly effective in reducing the symptoms of ADHD, and millions of children have been treated with them. One recent study found that 18 to 20 percent of fifth-grade white boys in two cities had been diagnosed with ADHD and were being treated with stimulant drugs.
     Ritalin and other drugs sometimes cause side effects, including reduced appetite, stomachaches, and insomnia. A 1995 study conducted by the federal government’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) found that Ritalin caused liver tumors in mice.
     “The NTP study sends a strong warning that Ritalin may cause cancer—in the liver or other organs—in humans. Millions of young children take Ritalin for long periods of time, and children may be especially vulnerable. It would be prudent for HHS to discourage doctors from prescribing Ritalin, especially in the absence of an explicit warning about the cancer risk,” says Samuel Epstein, professor of occupational and environmental health at the School of Public Health, University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago.
     Epstein and several other cancer specialists, including Emmanuel Farber, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Marvin Legator, University of Texas Medical Branch at San Antonio, and Richard Clapp, Boston University, urged HHS to sponsor new animal and human studies on Ritalin and other stimulant drugs.
     “The Department of Health and Human Services should withdraw its printed and Internet documents that largely dismiss the effect of food ingredients on behavior. For starters, the FDA should halt distribution of a pamphlet on food additives that it co-published with an industry group, the International Food Information Council,” said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of CSPI and lead author of the report. “It’s high time that the government — as well as doctors — provided the public with accurate information that might help many children.”

November 18, 2013

Gluten Free Bob's Red Mill Oats ~On Sale~ @ Vitacost

I use oats all the time. So I stock up when there's a sale. Vitacost is having a great sale right now.
Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Rolled Oats -- 32 oz for $4.14. If you spend over $45 you can get free shipping too.
If you've never ordered from Vitacost click here and you can get $10 on your first order.
 Click on the pic to be taken to the deal.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Coconut Sugar

I was looking for a recipe to try out my coconut sugar on and cranberries are everywhere right now so naturally I made cranberry sauce.
This sauce came out really good! It’s a little on the sweet side so adjust your sugar for your taste.
4 cups of fresh cranberries
3/4 cups coconut sugar (you can use raw or white sugar too)
1 cup of water
1 whole orange finely chopped (yes, leave the skin on and be sure all the juice gets in the pot too)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of crushed pineapple, drained (I used canned)
Wash cranberries, picking through and tossing out the bad ones. Set aside.
Bring sugar, and water to a light boil. Add cranberries, orange, and spices. Simmer over medium flame. Stir often. You’ll hear the berries pop open as they cook. When almost all of them have popped turned off the heat and stir in the crushed pineapple. Cool and serve. The sauce will thicken as it cools. I also used the back of my spoon to crush the berries a little.

November 16, 2013

Costco & Trader Joe’s Haul

I get quite of few emails asking what I buy at what store and how much is it. I just went and did a shopping trip and I took pics of the haul. I also took pics of the receipts so you can see prices.
 Below are three new items from Costco that I'm looking forward to trying. We've never eaten black rice...not sure how to use it....

Costco Receipt
Trader Joe's Receipt

November 12, 2013

Beginning A Elimination Diet ~Allergy ~ ADHD~

When you remove wheat, dairy, soy (and anything else your ADHD child is reacting to) it’s a daunting process. Where do I begin, what do I feed my child, what should I expect, etc…? I found an awesome site with lots of information on allergy / elimination diet.
The site provides tips, guidelines, things to watch out for, a shopping list, menu ideas, and recipes.
If you are considering trying an elimination diet for you or your child this is a wonderful resource. I’d highly recommend you print it out and keep it on hand.
I also really like this website for recipes. You can search for a particular recipe (dairy free, wheat free, soy free, corn free, nut free etc) by the food you are avoiding. Makes it easy.

November 10, 2013

Breakfast Muffins ~ Packed with Protein

I love these breakfast muffins because they refrigerate and reheat well and they are so easy to grab on the go.
Some mornings we are so busy, rushing to get out the door and I don’t want Johnny to skip a meal or just grab something less nutritious simply because there's no time. It’s nice to have these in the frig.

10 eggs 
 4 pieces of cooked bacon chopped (I used Trader Joe's)
1 precooked potato chopped (I used a small one)
1/2 cup chopped scallions (green onion)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease muffin pan (I used coconut oil. Don’t skip this step because these will stick!)
Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in scallions, potato, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix in bacon. Spoon into muffin cups—until they are about half full.
Bake in preheated oven until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and serve.

What I love about these muffins is you can put anything you want in them. Leftover, sausage, ham, bell peppers, spinach, etc…
When I left these on the rack to cool I went back into the kitchen to take a picture for you and all of them had been eaten but these three…I’ll have to get my pictures quicker…or keep a close eye on my family ;o)

November 8, 2013

Food Allergens, Sensitivities, ADHD & Taco Bell

There is nothing, except beverages at Taco Bell that doesn’t contain wheat, dairy, and soy.
You may think that a basic crunchy taco without the cheese is just beef, corn, lettuce and's hard to believe there's wheat and soy in there!  
When you go through their list you’ll see that a lot of their items have all three—wheat, dairy, and soy in them so it’s a triple whammy! NOT good for a ADHD child!
 If you are short on time or out and about and are looking for a quick place to get a meal try and find somewhere else to eat.
Here’s Taco Bells list of allergens and sensitivities:

November 6, 2013

Study: Diet May Help ADHD Kids More Than Drugs

The study's lead author, Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands, writes in The Lancet that the disorder is triggered in many cases by external factors — and those can be treated through changes to one's environment.
"ADHD, it's just a couple of symptoms — it's not a disease," the Dutch researcher tells All Things Considered weekend host Guy Raz.
The way we think about — and treat — these behaviors is wrong, Pelsser says. "There is a paradigm shift needed. If a child is diagnosed ADHD, we should say, 'OK, we have got those symptoms, now let's start looking for a cause.' "
Pelsser compares ADHD to eczema. "The skin is affected, but a lot of people get eczema because of a latex allergy or because they are eating a pineapple or strawberries."
According to Pelsser, 64 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are actually experiencing a hypersensitivity to food. Researchers determined that by starting kids on a very elaborate diet, then restricting it over a few weeks' time.
"It's only five weeks," Pelsser says. "If it is the diet, then we start to find out which foods are causing the problems."
Teachers and doctors who worked with children in the study reported marked changes in behavior. "In fact, they were flabbergasted," Pelsser says.
"After the diet, they were just normal children with normal behavior," she says. No longer were they easily distracted or forgetful, and the temper tantrums subsided.
Some teachers said they never thought it would work, Pelsser says. "It was so strange," she says, "that a diet would change the behavior of a child as thoroughly as they saw it. It was a miracle, a teacher said."
"In all children, we should start with diet research," she says. If a child's behavior doesn't change, then drugs may still be necessary. "But now we are giving them all drugs, and I think that's a huge mistake," she says.
"We have got good news — that food is the main cause of ADHD," she says. "We've got bad news — that we have to train physicians to monitor this procedure because it cannot be done by a physician who is not trained."
Link to the study:

November 4, 2013

Soy IS Bad For You

Soy is NOT a health food!

Soy is in everything! And I mean everything! If you eat a piece of bread, you’re eating soy, crackers -soy, salad dressing - soy, peanut butter-soy, mayonnaise-spy, Chinese food-soy, packaged nuts-soy...Soy is the hardest food to get away from. And it's so bad for you.

I am a healthy 48-year-old woman. An avid runner, I have followed primarily a vegetarian diet for over five years, and have always had excellent blood chemistry results...Last year, however, I addedjogger something significant to my regular diet of fruits, vegetables, beans and grains: soy products. I followed the conventional wisdom that this would alleviate early menopausal symptoms, keep my heart healthy, etc. I ate tofu daily, consumed soy milk in abundance, snacked on soy nuts...and looked for soy isoflavones in my supplements. Results: I now am facing surgery for a goiter (enlarged thyroid)...I have symptoms of thyroid damage. My skin, nails, hair are all suffering visibly. I have chest pain when I run. Worst of all my cholesterol has risen from 137 to 210 in the last six months. A nonsmoking, non-drinking vegetarian who eschews all dairy products simply cannot experience this kind of change in less than six months without some external factor."

There are many more stories like this, telling of a myriad of health problems caused by soy. An executive secretary in her 50's with thyroid problems tells of how the hidden soy added to the bread she was eating caused such severe forgetfulness that she couldn't perform her job. When she stopped eating soy, the mental problems went away.

Read about why soy is bad for you here:

November 3, 2013

Gluten Free Onion Soup Mix Bean Dip

It’s game day (football) in our house and everyone wants to snack.
So I decided to use the Onion Mix that I got from Trader Joe’s. It’s a new item for our local store.

Since we don’t eat any dairy we couldn’t use sour cream or yogurt for this. I decided to use white beans as a substitute for the dairy.
I think it turned out pretty good. The family is eating it up so that’s all that matters.
2 cans of organic white beans drained
1 packet of Trader Joes Onion Mix /dip
1 tea spoon of olive oil
1/8 cup of water (a little more or less depending how well you drained the beans)
I blended the beans with my handheld mixer.
I then incorporated the rest of the ingredients with a spoon. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

When I served it I put a little Slap Ya Mama on top—my family loves things spicy and sprinkled at little flat leaf (Italian) parsley.
I think it tastes great as is but I also think you can doctor it up if you're having a party or for the holidays…garlic, green onions (scallions), olives, red onions, a little lemon juice…

I  also think this would make a great sandwich spread...I think I'm going to go make myself a sandwich ;o)

November 2, 2013

Udi's Gluten Free Bread Is Larger At Costco!

I’m so excited to find Udi’s bread at Costco! It’s a huge loaf with normal size slices and guess what?!?! it cost the exact same as what I pay for the smaller loaf at Trader Joes. In Costco it's located in the frozen section.
Check out the difference in size.
The loaf at Costco is 30 oz.
The loaf at Trader Joes is 12oz.
I made a simple breakfast sandwich for Johnny with the larger slices and he loved it!! This fast meal is packed full of protein and good fat.
I toasted the bread and used coconut oil for the "butter". I used two organic eggs and a handful of fresh organic spinach and just scrambled them together. I salted & peppered a few tomatoes slices leftover from the garden (the addition of avocado would have been great on this sandwich...sadly I didn't have one. It would have added a little more protein & fat to keep you filled up and satisfied longer).