Tuesday, June 2, 2015

D Minder App to Track Vitamin D Levels

 It is hard to balance the recommendation to get enough vitamin D with the recommendation to avoid the sun. For people who want to enjoy time in the sun and minimize the risks of sun damage from excessive UVB rays, D Minder Pro can help you mindfully enjoy limited sun exposure.

To download D Minder Pro by Ontometrics, go to the app store and type in D Minder -- or go to D Minder Pro on iTunes to read more about this great app that "will help you track and manage your vitamin D."  There is a "Start Sun Exposure Button" where you can set the % of exposed skin, the weather and enter any supplemental vitamin D that you might be taking--then swipe left and press the sun button to see how much vitamin D you are getting when you are in the sun. You can see below the recommended time in the sun.

I recommend avoiding sun on your face completely because even with sunscreen and a hat your sun is still exposed here and there and the past exposure from childhood can make this a risky area to expose.

Of course, if you have a family history of cancer, mindfulness around the sun is even more critical. With a family history of skin cancer  yearly or bi yearly skin checks with a dermatologist and follow their recommendations.

Even if you don't use the app to manage your own vitamin D levels you can use it to see the UVI index--which is also very helpful in term of knowing the safest time to enjoy time outside.

Happy Summer!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fun Friday: What Happens When You Tell People You Can't Eat Gluten Video

This is a pretty funny video about how people react when you tell them you can't eat gluten. It's a little bit of a dig at the people with gluten intolerance (which is actually a serious medical condition for some people--but not someone who is eating the middle of an apple pie or doing it to lose weight!) but I think it is still super funny. The huge spread of wraps, panini and sandwiches and pie which all contain gluten is also super funny and pretty accurate.

Happy Friday!

(and thanks to HG for sending this to me!)

Monday, April 13, 2015

My Mason Jar Salad!

Mason Jar Salads and More: 50 Layered Lunches to Grab and Go by Jilia Mirabella is an inspiring book about how to pack a healthy and nutritious lunch in a salad jar! It’s a great book with many inspiring ideas. I recommend buying the book and incorporating one new salad a week. The book is also a great mother’s day gift for anyone who is interested in healthy eating. 

This is my take on a mason jar salad—using easy to find ingredients  that create a rainbow or vegetables. This one quart jar of salad is super satisfying and gives you 238% vitamin  A and 472% vitamin C and only 250 calories. (vitamin A and vitamin C are markers for the nutrient density of the food found at the bottom of food labels.) I figured the nutrient content out on My Fitness Pal (another great tool for those trying to track calories and nutritional information!) 

I usually have the salad with a side of lentils and rice, a veggie burger or leftover chicken or shrimp. The salad itself is only 202 calories, so although it is a large volume of food, you really need to eat some carbohydrates and protein with it.

Rainbow Salad Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
splash of plum vinegar (optional)
salt - a generous sprinkle
fresh pepper
1-2 carrots depending on size, sliced in thin rounds (1/3-1/2 cup)
2 tablespoon red onion, sliced thin and chopped in 1 inch pieces
1/3 red pepper, diced into 1/2 inch dice
1/3 yellow pepper, diced into 1/2 inch dice
2 cups romaine lettuce pieces
1/4 cilantro

In the bottom of a 1 quart mason jar, put olive oil, rice wine vinegar, plum vinegar, salt and pepper.

Layer the following chopped vegetables:
red onions
red pepper
yellow pepper
romaine lettuce

Secure with lid.

To serve:
Shake the jar so that the dressing from the bottom  covers all the vegetables.
Serve on a plate or bowl or eat right from the jar!
I like to serve it on a plate—but if you are at work or on the go eat it right from the jar.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Garlic Bread Recipe

Earth balance and olive oil give this garlic bread a hint of buttery flavor. We have decided Schar baguettes makes the best garlic bread--but you can use your favorite gluten free french bread. You might have extra garlic butter--which you can save to flavor eggs, vegetables, meat, or fish.

2 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons earth balance buttery spread
4 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat broiler to 550 degrees.

Crush the garlic into a fine paste using a garlic press or the flat edge of a chef's knife and some salt on a cutting board. Add the oregano and red pepper flakes. Using a spoon, mash in the earth balance spread until it is well combined and softened. Then slowly incorporate the olive oil until it is well combined. 

To make the garlic bread, slice a Schar's baguette in half lengthwise and using a spoon generously cover the insides of both halves with garlic spread. Broil for 2- 3 minutes watching carefully. Cut each half into 3 squares and then cut each square in half.

We love this garlic bread with sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper or serve with your favorite italian dish.

Related posts:

Monday, April 6, 2015

This Certified Gluten Free Logo Goes Beyond 20 ppm

Q: Can you tell me about the Certified Gluten Free logo with a GF inside a circle? What company is in charge of the certification? 

A: The Certified Gluten Free logo is given to products by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) an industry program of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) which is a 501c3 nonprofit that helps people with celiac and other gluten related disorders.  

According to the GFCO website 
"GFCO requires that all finished products using the GFCO Logo contain 10ppm or less   of gluten. All ingredients utilized in GFCO certified products are required to go through a stringent review process of approval.  All ingredients must contain 10ppm or less of gluten. Barley-based ingredients are not allowed in GFCO certified products” (1)
“ GFCO standard is stricter than Codex, USA, Canada, the EU and many other country standards for labeling products gluten-free.” (2)
Q: Is there standard different from others when using this term?

A: YES the standard used for this symbol is higher! 

The GFCO symbol is only given to products that  test lower than 10 ppm and products that do not use barley based ingredients. 

In the US, any product can be labelled gluten free if it contains less than 20 ppm or less of gluten. Unfortunately, a few companies (like Hain which makes  Rice Dream!) use barley (which contains gluten) as an ingredient and then label the product gluten free because it tests lower than the 20 ppm. Unfortunately, some people with celiac and non-celiac gluten intolerance are not able to tolerate these trace amounts of gluten--even though by law they are allowed. Others who are less sensitive are fine with products which have traces of gluten.

I am guessing that the GIG group, which is a non-profit created by people with celiac and gluten intolerance, decided to use the stricter standard of 10 ppm because they want a product that is safe for the GIG members who are sensitive to trace amounts. I know we have been “glutened” by trace amounts of gluten in products with other symbols—but that the products that use the Certified Gluten Free Logo from GFCO have been fine for us. 

Many of the biggest gluten-free brands like Udi's, Enjoy Life, and Van's waffles as well as big companies with naturally gluten free products like Dannon, Murray's Chicken and  Purdue use the GFCO to let consumers know their products are gluten free. The GFCO website has a list of all the companies and products in their GFCO Buyer and Distributor Guide.

The GFCO  symbol signifies to the consumer that the manufacturer is creating a product that is truly gluten free and not just a marketing ploy--and that it has been tested to be under 10 ppm. It's better than the other symbols and trusted by the gluten free community.

(1) http://www.gfco.org/get-certified/standards/
(2) http://www.gfco.org/get-certified/standards/

Rice Dream is Not Gluten-Free
Rice Dream is Not Gluten-Free Part 2

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Carrot Cake Hemp Seed Smoothie Recipe

Need an Easter treat that is low in sugar but tasty and nutritious? 

This carrot cake hemp seed smoothie has the sweetness and spice of carrot cake—but the protein and omega 3s in the hemp seeds make it a nutritious smoothie. It tastes like a carrot cake milkshake. Use maple syrup for kids or if you like natural sugar—or nu-stevia if you are avoiding sugar.

Carrot Cake Hemp Seed Smoothie Recipe

1 carrot
3 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 packet of nu-stevia or 1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 fresh vanilla bean 
1 cup almond milk (or 6 almonds and 1 cup water)
pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix blender. Blend for 1 minute. Add 6 ice cubes. Blend for 30 seconds more until smooth. Serve topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Friday, April 3, 2015

What is Spiralizing?

by J.S. Amie

Paderno Blades.JPGSpiralizing is the innovative way of eating zucchini and other vegetables and fruits by slicing these into spiral-shaped strands and cooking these into low-carb, gluten free and highly nutritious dishes. It is through varying both blade and technique that allows production of spiralized veggies into a  remarkable range of shapes, sizes, and even textures. Hence, this makes spiralized veggies as superb and healthy alternative for pasta, noodles, couscous and rice over traditional ingredients.

Why Spiralize?

Beyond fast, easy, delicious and fun to makewhich kids do love because of interesting shapes and texturespiralized noodles have many significant health and nutritional benefits:
  • low carb
  • gluten-free
  • paleo-friendly
  • vegan / vegetarian
  • more vitamins than traditional noodles

Tips on How to Spiralize

Basic Types of Spiralizers

There are many spiralizers available on the market today. The main two types are:

Veggetti-style Spiralizers

Veggetti - safety tip.JPG
This inventive, hourglass-shaped slicer is easy to use, easy to clean, and lightweight enough to carry with you when you travel. If you can imagine a pencil sharpener large enough to accommodate a zucchini, then you've just imagined the Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer and how it works.

Paderno-style Spiralizers
The Paderno Spiralizer is a hand-powered slicer, which means it is neither battery-powered nor electrical. It has more blades and is therefore more versatile than the Veggetti-style spiralizer. About the size of a counter-top mixer, it is safer than other hand-held vegetable spiralizers because the vegetable is inserted into the machine, and directed toward the cutting blades by the action of a turning crank—the cook’s hands never get anywhere near the sharp surfaces.

Types of Cuts/Noodles which Spiralizers Make

You and your spiralizer can make the following using the proper technique:
  • Thin spaghetti-sized strands, rings and crescents
  • Thick udon or linguini-size strands, rings and crescents
  • Wide, flat strands, rings and crescents

How To Prepare and Cook Your Vegetable “Pasta”

Cooking your vegetable pasta is even easier than cooking traditional pasta! Here’s how:


Most of the pasta you make from fruits and vegetables can be eaten raw. The exceptions are potatoes, sweet potatoes, and eggplant. They should be cooked before eating to destroy the bacteria.
Note: For most thin noodles made with soft vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash), mixing the warm or piping hot sauce with the raw noodles “cooks” them to just the desired “al dente” firmness.

Warm the pasta strands by microwaving them for a few seconds in a microwave-safe bowl or by quickly “blanching” them in hot water before serving. To blanch, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, drop the noodles in and continue to heat for anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, depending on the vegetable. (Soft vegetables like zucchini or yellow squash take about 30 seconds; carrots take several minutes, beets can take as long as 10 minutes.)


Boiled Pasta.jpg

You will not need to “boil” your vegetable pasta unless you like the texture soft, bordering on mushy. Some vegetable pasta--white potatoes for instance--will simply fall apart after being boiled. An alternative cooking method would be “steaming,” where the vegetable pasta is put in a wire steaming basket and cooked over boiling water without actually being immersed in it.
TIP: if you undercook the pasta just a little, then drizzle with virgin olive oil, you’ll never want to cook it any other way.

This is a simple technique for cooking the pasta and other ingredients quickly. The ingredients are placed in a pan—either a saucepan or a skillet—with a little fat or oil and cooked over high heat. The trick with this method is to stir often to prevent the ingredients from burning.

Stir-frying is a quick-cooking method that requires very little fat. The secret to successful stir-fries is pre-prep. All the ingredients should be chopped or cut as needed so that everything will cook quickly. Woks are purpose-built for stir-frying, but any large, heavy skillet will do as well.

Pasta in traditional dishes like mac and cheese has to be boiled first before being combined with the cheese sauce and baked. With vegetable noodles, you can simply add the raw noodles to the ingredients—they’ll cook while the dish is baking, thus saving you a step. Keep in mind that vegetable noodles cook much more quickly than wheat pasta, therefore your baking times will be considerably shorter than usual.

Why not try Spiralizing?

You can start even without a spiralizer!

Pick up a free introductory spiralizer QuickStart guide at:  http://www.healthyhappyfoodieblog.com/ogff-quickstart-guide/

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lentil Kale Bowl

This lentil kale bowl packs a powerful nutritious punch for lunch or dinner. It's my new favorite meal. The recipe below has 439 calories and 413% of vitamin C and 335% of vitamin A! And it's perfectly balanced with 14% protein, 29% fat and 57% carbohydrate. It's vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free--but keeps you going for hours because of the nutritious profile. If you are in a rush and don't have time to sprout lentils--you can find sprouted, dried lentils. The vitamin c from the kale and orange help with absorption of iron from the lentils. Feel free to add red pepper flakes, lemon zest and spices to give it more flavor.

2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup white rice

1/2 cup sprouted lentils, steamed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 orange segments, chopped
salt and pepper

Steam chopped kale for 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup lentil and rice mixture with 1/2 chopped orange, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper and spices. Enjoy!

To make rice:
1 cup white rice
2 cups water

Bring to a boil in a small pot. Cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes. Do NOT remove lid--even to check. Let rest for 15 minutes with lid on. Then fluff with fork.

To make sprouted lentils: 
1 cup green lentils
Soak lentils for 1 day in water at room temperature. Rinse and drain. Then sprout them for 2 days in a colander covered with a dish towel until sprouts are 1/4 inch long. Rinse every 12 hrs. To keep them moistened.
Cook in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes.

Combine rice and lentils in a bowl for a base of a meal.

Monday, March 2, 2015

GF Cheerios Cereal to Launch in July!

Cheerios are finally launching a gluten-free line beginning in July!

Included in the line up are five Cheerios products will be going gluten free: Original Cheerios, Honey Nut, Multi-Grain, Apple Cinnamon and Frosted Cheerios. (1) Although  cheerios are made from oats, which are naturally gluten free, because oats are often grown in fields where wheat, rye and barley are grown and because of production methods, oats that are not labelled gluten free might contain gluten.

According the Wall Street Journal Blog's, Mr Murphy, the president of Big G Cereals says  "It took the Minneapolis-based company about three years to invent a mechanical filter to take out the gluten grains at its facilities."  They also have phased out the inclusion of wheat starch in the recipe and this ingredient will not be included in the recipe when the gluten free cereal lines are launched.

While I am super excited for the gluten free community that Cheerios is launching a gluten free line--I am a little concerned about the idea of removing gluten grains using a mechanical filter. I am sure that they will launch a product that is below the 20 ppm threshold of gluten but it is well known that many people with celiac react to traces below this threshold.

Not only is this great news for the gluten free community , it is also great news for parents who are introducing this staple food to toddlers. I clearly remember my son projectile vomiting and getting sick within hours of trying cheerios at 11 months. We thought he had the flu (but it was August!) and we had absolutely no idea it was from the gluten in the cheerios until months later when we discovered two genes for celiac and a severe intolerance for gluten was behind his being sick continuously from the moment he tried cheerios until when we removed gluten completely from his diet.

Although some people with celiac are unable to handle oats, (6%-8% of celiacs with the HLA DQ2 gene) for sure it is better to reduce the gluten content in this staple food for many reasons. I do hope that General Mills will also take into consideration how the cereal is received by the public--and whether their "mechanical filter" is enough to keep people from getting sick. I would love to see testing levels of the Gluten Free Cheerios well below the 20 ppm and I would love to find out more about General Mills mechanical process and the level of the final product.

For sure, this announcement is a happy one for many people who are avoiding gluten. Not only will a lot of people be able to enjoy Cheerios again, but for little kids it will help them to minimize the introduction of large amounts of gluten when they first start eating Cheerios. Without a doubt, without the gluten, Cheerios will be a better choice for everyone.

(1) http://blog.generalmills.com/2015/02/new-gluten-free-choices-from-big-g/
(2) http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2015/02/11/cheerios-will-now-really-be-gluten-free/

Related posts:
Can Oats Be Included on a Gluten Free Diet?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Gluten Free and More Magazine: January/February 2015

Check out Gluten Free and More's January/February 2015 issue for an article I wrote on the importance of zinc. The issue also includes  Food Blogger's Best Recipes that includes my blog! And decadent chocolate recipes that you can make all year long.

If you have a subscription for Gluten Free and More magazine you can  sign in to see the full issue or sign up HERE to get a year of digital access to all the articles.

A big thanks to  expert nutritionist  Geri Brewster  who gave me her thoughts on zinc, expert editor Alicia Woodward and the gifted photographer Kendra Alexis for shooting the photo of me for the food bloggers article.