Monday, March 29, 2010

Gluten Free Matzah Ball Soup Recipe

The first year we were gluten free we had rice cakes for Passover--I was just trying to get through the day. The second year we had homemade gluten free matzah. My kids liked the homemade matzah so much that I make them all year round. The matzah taste more like saltines than typical matzah and we use the matzah dough for crackers and for a pizza crust. This year we are having gluten free matzah ball soup, which I learned how to make at Rebecca Reilly's dumpling class. Here is the recipe I am making:

Matzah Ball Soup Recipe


3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of white pepper
1 cup ground up gluten free matzoh meal

1. Beat eggs with 1 teaspoon salt and white pepper.
2. Gradually add the matzoh meal (start with less than 1 cup. more can be added.)
3. Let mixture stand at room temperature for approximately 1 hour.
4. Divide chicken stock in two pots-- half to cook to matzah balls and half to serve with the soup.
5. Wet hands and shape mixture into small balls and drop them into the boiling water then cover the pot. The matzah balls with expand.
6. Cook covered for 30 minutes, do not remove lid during cooking.

To serve:
Place one or two matzah balls in each bowl. Ladle the broth over the matzah balls. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Basic Quiche Recipe (GFCF)

This gluten free casein free quiche recipe is based on a quiche recipe I used to make at LeBernardin. I scaled down the recipe and made it with coconut milk. You can add sauteed mushrooms and onions for a delicious mushroom quiche or have it plain. The extra egg yolks give this dairy free quiche a rich buttery taste. My kids do not like quiche, but I loved it and the cracker recipe crust made it very easy to cut and serve.

Basic Quiche Recipe (GFCF)

1 pastry crust in a tart shell
4 whole eggs
2 yolks
1 cup coconut milk (or 2 cups of "milk" of choice--the original recipe calls for 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of half and half--for those who still eat dairy)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

I used an almond potato cracker recipe for the crust in a tart pan and poked the bottom with a fork so the air could escape. I prebaked the crust in a 350º oven for 10 minutes. But you can use any pastry dough recipe.

Next, I whisked all the ingredients together in a bowl and carefully filled the crust with the custard. I put the quiche in the oven and immediately turned it down to 300º and baked it until the custard solidified (about 50 minutes.) Check the quiche at 45 minutes to see if it has turned from a liquid to a solid by jiggling the pan. The edges will not move but the middle might still be undercooked and move a little. Cook until the edges and the center are both cooked and not moving when jiggled.

Cut the quiche into 8 pieces and serve anytime for an easy meal.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Cleaning: Homemade Cleaning Recipes from Green Mama

I love this video of the SmartMaMa demonstrating some easy homemade cleaning recipes. It is really amazing how easy it is to eliminate toxic cleaning products by replacing conventional cleaners with these homemade versions. Jennifer gives ideas for an oven cleaner, a carpet stain, a carpet deodorizer (baking soda!), an all purpose cleaner, and a tile and tub cleaner. If you are still buying mainstream cleaning products this is a great introduction to make-it-yourself cleaning products that are greener and cheaper. Best thing is not having to run out to the store for cleaning products. People I have introduced to this old fashioned way of cleaning have been amazed by how well a little baking soda works. I also love this Stainless Steel Magnet Cloth from the container store.

Garlic Soup for One in the NYT

This recipe for Garlic Soup for One from the New York Times (NYT) looks delicious and super easy. Garlic has so many health promoting qualities. If it weren't a food it would be a medicine. Garlic is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal so it is useful for people with an overgrowth of bad bacteria or those who have candida/yeast issues. I am definitely making this tonight and will post a picture and let you know what my kids think of it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Giveaway/Book Review: Nurture Shock

Nurture Shock is an amazing book about the science behind a lot of myths of parenthood and it is my first book giveaway. The book is an extension of an article called "The Inverse Power of Praise" that Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman wrote for New York Magazine. The article is included in the book as the first chapter. The synopsis of the chapter says: "Sure, he's special. But new research suggests if you tell him that, you'll ruin him. It's a neurobiological fact." The synopsis of the introduction: "Why our instincts about children can be so off the mark."

I want to give this book to everyone and I am not the only one. Hugh Howey has a great review of this book and also mentions wanting to tell non readers "they must read this book. “It’s important.” Another great chapter "Why Hannah Talks and Alyssa Doesn't" is about the science behind language acquisition. Research has discovered a fourteen month old can only learn words spoken by several people. Hearing one person speak the child doesn't learn the word even if it is repeated many times. If the child hears it from several people the child learns it easily. How fascinating is that???

There is also a chapter about how early gifted and talented tests do not predict who is actually gifted and talented. Basically, the brain is not finished developing so it is impossible to accurately pinpoint the smartest kids so early.

A more food related chapter is how lack of sleep (not TV watching) leads to obesity and ADHD. I have simplified these ideas too much but it really is not to be missed book. And on that note, I am going to make this post short in the interest of getting more sleep. Goodnight.

Because I can't give this book to everyone I am doing a giveaway to give it to one lucky winner!

1) To enter, please make a comment- any comment- on THIS post (click on "comments" below).
3) Post your comment by 11:59pm EST on Sunday, April 4, 2010. One entry per person, please. US addresses only.
4) One winner will be chosen at random and announced here on Monday, April 5, 2010.
5) NOTE: You must check back on Monday, April 5 to see if you won if you don't include your email address in your post or email me your address. Unclaimed prizes not claimed in 48 hours will be forfeited to next winner.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What To Feed Your Kids and GLOW Gluten Free Cookies at the NAA NYC Bowl-a-thon

Today was the NAA NYC's first ever bowl-a-thon. What to Feed Your Kids (me!) made all the gluten free casein free food and Glow Gluten Free donated cookies for the almost one hundred bowlers and friends who joined in our efforts to support the NAA NYC. I really appreciate Glow Gluten Free for providing cookies--and help at the bowl-a-thon today. I made:

to go with the fruit and vegetable platters and hummus and salsa that I bought from Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's is a great place to find gluten free food and organic fruits and vegetables and it is always my first stop when I trying to serve a bunch of people. I also brought my popcorn maker and we served warm air popped popcorn, too. I was most proud of my gluten free casein free quiche--although it needed a little more salt. The chocolate chip cookies were the most popular but I like the carrot cake best.

Anyway, my kids walked in, surveyed the food options and both chose to have the GLOW Double Chocolate Cookies first. A huge score for my friend Jill who created these cookies and witnessed them both selecting her cookies without hesitation. I do appreciate that the cookies have some protein and fiber in them, which tides them over until a real meal. In this way, they can function like a powerbar--only with less ingredients. I met Jill when she was selling cookies at a Celiac event and we bonded over raising our gluten free kids in a gluten filled world and a determination to change the world one gluten free cookie at a time. (Mine you have to make yourself--hers you can buy.) Congratulations to GLOW Cookies for recently being Rachel Ray's cookie of the day! (And a big thank you for the RR swag of the day which was passed on to me--I LOVE the knife.)

I am thrilled that the NAA NYC made over $50,000 which will help them to expand their program. Congratulations to Kim of EmbracingWellness, Peggy, Stuart and Liz for making this event such an astounding success. Of course, the biggest thank you has to go to everyone who donated money to make the fundraiser such a success.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Agave Pink Lemonade Dance Party

Agave sweetened limeade is a drink my kids love. Although it it is a sweet drink, by making it fresh right before you serve it, you get some fresh, natural vitamin c in your children. My kids have done great with this drink even when they had a problem with sugar. Although agave is controversial, and I avoided it for a long time, I actually found my kids do better with this sweetener than with any other. When one of my kids was having a horrible time with yeast and couldn't eat any sugar or any bread with yeast in it, he could have this drink on an empty stomach and not have any reaction.

We mostly drink water but I like to serve this in champagne glasses to my kids as a special treat. They have broken a bunch of glass tumblers in our house and we have switched to stainless steel cups for the most part, but somehow they have never broken a champagne glass--I think because it is such a special treat.
Tonight we ran out of limes so I used lemons with a splash of pomegranate juice.

equal parts agave and lemon or lime juice
pomegranate juice

I squeeze as many lemons or limes I have on hand using a fork. Slice the lemon in half. Stick a fork in the middle of the flat part of the lemon. Squeeze the round part of the lemon while moving the fork up and down to extract all the juice from the lemon. Strain the juice into a glass cup or jar. Measure the juice and add the same amount of agave. I just eyeball it and add agave until it looks like there is the same amount of both lemon juice and agave. This will give you a concentrated lemonade mix. Mix 2 tablespoons of mix with 1/2 cup of water. Add ice. Serve with a splash of pomegranate juice (about 1 tablespoon) to make it pink. Then turn on the music and dance.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Speech Nutrients SPEAK Omega 3 Starter Kit

People who know my kids will probably think it is ironic that I just ordered an omega 3 product called SPEAK for my kids. If there is one problem my kids don't have now, it's speech problems--probably because of all the fish oil they have taken over the years. But, this product is specially formulated with all the nutrients that my kids do well on--high EPA/low DHA fish oil, Vitamin E, GLA and Vitamin K. It comes in capsules, but when I spoke to the company, they said that is was formulated in capsules to prevent the oil from getting rancid when exposed to air. Most parents, they said, opened the large capsules and put them in something. They have a starter kit for parents that is $49.95.

Vitamin K, needed for blood coagulation (clotting) is produced in the gut and it is in the Nutristart multivitamin my son has been on since he was 18 months old. When you have digestive issues the body often cannot make enough vitamin K. Bruising and nose bleeding can be a sign that you are low in this vitamin. It is also found in foods that many kids do not eat that much of: leafy green vegetables, avocado and kiwis. These are not foods that my kids eat on a daily basis. People who have celiac or irritable bowel disease are more likely to be low in this vitamin.

They also have a simpler product called Learn which just has the omega 3s. I will let you know how it goes when I receive Speak and I hesitate to recommend something I haven't tried so you can wait a few weeks until I report back. But it was recommended to us by Geri Brewster, our nutritionist, and when I looked at the formulation, it really does look like an exceptional product.

While I am hoping it will simplify my life and I don't need my kids to actually speak more at this point, Speak was developed by a pediatrician for kids with verbal apraxia and it looks very promising for many kids. Although I haven't tried it yet, I would recommend it for anyone with any kind of speech or gut issues. If your child has both issues, you definitely should put it on your list of things to try.

For a little while, when people would remark on how verbal my son was I would say "It's the fish oil--it makes you smart." My son is older now. At 4, he would yell at me and say "MOM, I don't want you talk about me!" But really, fish oil does help with speech. And, it is nice to know that they are now letting parents know about the connection between these critical essential fatty acids and learning.

Related posts:
Omega 3's in Fish Oil

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

HIghest and Lowest Cell Phone Radiation from CNET

While my iPhone is not in the top 20, it definitely is not winning an award for being in the lowest 20. iPhones have between .79 SAR (specific absorption rate) to 1.38 SAR depending on which model you choose. Here are links to the 20 highest radiation cell phones and the 20 lowest radiation cell phones for those of you who might be wondering where your cell phone falls.

Related posts:
Reducing Cell Phone Radiation

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Pandora's Water Bottle" in Audubon

Audubon Magazine has an excellent article "Pandora's Water Bottle" about the danger's of plastics. I have read a lot about this subject, but my mouth dropped when I read this excerpt. Even though I know that BPA was first used as a synthetic estrogen, this was still shocking to me.
"The researchers had conducted hundreds of experiments, adding blood serum with and without estrogen to breast cell cultures; the estrogen-free cultures did not multiply, but the cultures to which estrogen was added did.

In 1987 the experiment went haywire. Cells in all the samples began multiplying like crazy. Something was contaminating the cultures. After methodically tearing apart every element of their procedures, the researchers finally discovered the culprit: the lab flasks themselves. Corning, the manufacturer of the plastic tubes in which the lab kept serum, had reformulated its plastic. Though the new flasks looked no different, they were leaching an invisible estrogen-like substance into the serum."
Read the entire article for more information and at the end of the article are suggestions about what you can do to minimize your risk. Ultimately, we need free information about what is in these plastics and products. The formulations cannot be so secretive. Consumers--and our planet--need to be protected. Not the companies who produce products and plastics. The stakes are too high.

Isn't it shocking that this lab experiment happened in 1987? A 2002 pubmed article in Reproductive Toxicology about the Comparative estrogenic effects of p-nonylphenol says that "Nonylphenol (NP ) is widely used as a component of detergents, paints, pesticides and many other formulated products."

What To Do: Ditch those plastic kiddie cups NOW. Go to and buy some stainless steel cups. Plastic is everywhere. Sadly, even my grass fed meat from Amish farm country is wrapped in plastic. Minimize plastic usage where you can.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gluten Free Dumpling Recipe

I showed some gluten free friends how to make these gluten free chinese dumplings with a vegetarian filling and dipping sauce. They are a wonderful way to use up leftover meat and vegetables. Lacking most of the ingredients for the vegetarian filling, I ground up some leftover chinese chicken and vegetables and threw in some meat from baby back ribs to make a surprisingly tasty filling. It seemed to me very much in the spirit of dumplings as I imagine they were originally created as a way to transform leftover meats and vegetables.

I learned to make these dumplings from a class on Gluten-Free Dumplings by Rebecca Reilly at the Natural Gourmet Institute. I love cooking food that is not normally found in home kitchens--so learning how to cook dumplings at home was a special treat. I thought I would share this terrific dumpling recipe and also a link to the gluten free cooking and baking classes at the Natural Gourmet Institute. I am really looking forward to Rebecca Reilly's next class, Extraordinary Gluten-Free Italian Desserts, on Friday, April 23rd.

Rebecca Reilly's Dumpling Dough

1 cup superfine rice flour (you must use Authentic Foods brown rice flour or EnerG rice flour--Bob's red mill is too grainy)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup arrowroot starch (or tapioca starch or potato starch)
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon xanthum gum
1 egg
1/2 cup cold water + 1/4 cup cold water if neccessary

1. Combine rice flour, salt, tapioca, arrowroot, sweet rice flour and xanthum gum in a food processor until evenly combined. (If you don't have a food processor, you can whisk these ingredients together.
2. Whisk together egg with 1/2 cup cold water until well blended. Turn on food processor and gradually add egg/water mixture.
3. Add more water 1 tablespoon (up to 1/4 cup) at a time until dough forms a soft ball.
4. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of sweet rice flour.
5. Roll out dough on a board lightly dusted with gluten free flour until thin as a crepe. Cut with 3 inch round cookie cutters or trace with a knife around a small bowl.
6. Put a little water around the inner edge of the round and fill with a teaspoon of filling. Fold dumpling in half and seal pressing edges together. Make small decorative folds.
7. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in frying pan. Put the dumplings in the pan fitting them close together

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Celiac Symptoms and Learning Problems

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease in which the presence of gluten leads to intestinal damage which impairs absorption of fats, vitamins and minerals. It can also cause a severe rash known as dermititis herpiformis which causes an itchy painful rash. The impaired absorption of vitamins and minerals means that celiac can present in a myriad of ways. The most well known presentation of celiac is the "classic" presentation of severe stomach aches, diarrhea and an individual that is wasting away. These individuals are notoriously picky eaters. In infants, a round belly, low muscle tone, skinny chicken leg and poor growth can all be signs of this malabsorption syndrome. In young children, constant mouth sores, stomach aches with diarrhea or constipation and moodiness can be signs. But, the very tricky part about celiac, is that many people have what is known as "silent celiac." They have no gut issues suggesting celiac. Instead, their symptoms are a result of the malabsorption of fats, vitamins and minerals.

My involvement with the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia has allowed me to speak to many people who have been diagnosed with celiac and the symptoms which led to their diagnosis. The stories are remarkable. One young man was diagnosed with a learning disability and went to a facility that did a thorough physical evaluation--including testing for celiac. It is hard to believe that a disease with origins in the gut can affect the brain and learning. But, when you have celiac and you eat gluten, you don't absorb fat. In recent years, dietary fats have been lumped together and viewed as unhealthy. But certain fats (omega 3's found in fish oil) are necessary for proper brain development and structure.

Correcting these deficiencies of omega 3's can often lead to an improvement in learning. The child of a friend of mine who has celiac went from a school for learning disabled children to honor role at a mainstream school after taking fish oil. The gluten free diet is often not enough to heal the complications of celiac. Correcting the nutritional deficiencies is also a critical part of healing.

Other fats, such as saturated fats are necessary building blocks of the hormones in our body. When you have celiac and aren't absorbing these vitally important fats, many systems can be affected and learning problems, infertility and depression can all develop. And cholesterol is also critical for optimal brain development and function as described in Learning, Your Memory and Cholesterol.

Because the prescription for celiac disease is dietary and the symptoms of eating gluten are not life threatening, sometimes it is viewed as not that serious. But many organs can be affected by the lack of vitamins, minerals and fats. In addition, celiac is an autoimmune disease and your risks of getting a second autoimmune disease are higher if you have untreated celiac.

I believe genetic and antibody testing should be done in any child who has symptoms of celiac with a learning or developmental problem.

In our family, many family members had severe gut issues, physical issues and neurological problems until a GI doctor tried to rule out celiac by doing a gene test and stumbled upon two genes for celiac when my son had all the classic symptoms of celiac disease. I am forever grateful for the doctor who did the genetics to "rule out" celiac--and couldn't.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What To Make For Dinner

I have struggled with what to make for dinner for years and have found a number of recipes that kids enjoy. Here are some recipes and thoughts on making dinner that might help families who are struggling with what to make for dinner. Tonight I am serving Pad Thai which is a favorite in my house and a good alternative to pasta. Tacos are another family favorite. Sometimes I make a meal and kids don't eat anything. It's okay--that is life cooking for kids. My advice: Don't stress out. Realize you did a good job trying to feed your kids and children can be picky and completely unpredictable. Try focusing on non food related dinner fun to take the focus off the food and put some of the fun back into mealtime by checking out my post on Our Family FUN dinner.

Summertime Chicken Tacos

Regular People Meatball Recipe
Glazed Baby Back Ribs
Beef Stew with Onion and Red Wine
Homemade Shake N'Bake with Cornflakes
"Spice Packet" Beef Taco Recipe
Homemade McDonald's Burgers and Fries
Chicken Tenders (you can use this recipe and use flattened chicken for chicken paillard-serve with a lemon wedge)
Turkey Burgers
Barbeque Pork Chops
Tasty Easy Chili Recipe
Homemade Barbeque Sauce Recipe
Shrimp Risotto

Gluten Free Pigs in a Blanket
Ginger Beef Recipe
Gluten Free Chicken Patties

Vegetarian Meals:
Easy Fried Rice
Black Beans and Rice
Pad Thai Sauce Recipe
Easy Pad Thai Recipe
Lemon Lentils
Lemon Quinoa
Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Stuffing
Soaking Brown Rice
Gluten Free Casein Free Macaroni and Cheese
Jennifer's Summer Gazpacho

Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Spaghetti Sauce
Mung Bean Dal

Fruit and Vegetable Ideas:
How to Cook Artichokes
A Vegetable Plate and Veggie Sandwiches
A Fruit Plate
Apple Stackers
Collard Greens with Carmelized Onions (You can use this delicious recipe with any greens)
Potatoes, Green Beans, Olives and Hard Boiled Eggs--Composed Salad for Kids

Thoughts and Ideas about Dinnertime:/Homemade Food
Our Family FUN Dinner
DINNERTIME at Raising Six Children in New York City
Processed Food Versus Homemade Food

In NYC, can't deal with making dinner but want a homemade meal?
Your Personal Foodie

Friday, March 5, 2010

Our Family FUN Dinner

table setting with clementines and flowers

My family dinner just got a makeover courtesy of Raising Six Children in New York City. I usually put a lot of effort into WHAT I feed my kids, but fall short on the HOW we are eating. Well, Mommy Wommy showed me how to put a little FUN into my family dinner. After seeing RSCinNYC's dinner rules and seeing her set her table, I was inspired to make and decorate a big sign with dinner rules for everyone to follow. While I made the sign the kids drew their own pictures and I used their drawings underneath the plexiglass on our table as a tablecloth. Then I sent the kids to play while I set the table. I served everything I could find in little bowls: blueberries, pickles, broccoli, carrots, tings, some leftover strawberries in addition to a main course. It really looked like a feast. But the highlight for everyone was the music. I put my daughter's birthday mix on my laptop and let our first family fun dinner unfold.
little bowls of fruits and vegetables
For so long I haven't wanted to make any rules around meals and food. We had so many food restrictions that I would just make whatever anyone wanted and we would eat. But, now that everyone is better and things are settled down, it was nice to be inspired to make meal time more of a family event and a special occasion. We do come together and eat delicious food every day, but my daughter would just bring a book and eat quickly. We would enjoy the homemade food and I always use cloth napkins and set the table, but it wasn't very ceremonious and it wasn't fun. My kids would both eat quickly and then ask: "Did I eat enough to get dessert?" Not really the way you want mealtime to go after working hard to make a nice dinner! But everything I tried backfired until I got to watch a pro-mom of six kids set her table and tell me her secret: dinner rules, little bowls of everything, flowers, a tablecloth, fun napkins and MUSIC in the background. A mini dinner party every night it looked like to me as I watched Mommy Wommy effortlessly set her amazing table for her large family.

When I first told my daughter that I had written up some dinner rules she said "I'll pass." But she actually partook in all our rules (1-say a prayer/thankyou 2-share something about your day or ask someone else a question 3-ask to be excused 4-clear your plate, please.) Spelling it out in a giant poster we decorated together seemed to be a much more effective way of communicating these rules than just telling them verbally. I learned this from RSCinNYC.

I was so inspired by our first family FUN dinner that I got out the white tablecloth, cut some stems off some daisies and ended up polishing silver at 10:50 pm.--FOR BREAKFAST. Thanks a bunch to Raising Six Children in New York City for our family dinner (and breakfast!) makeover. I can't wait for your book but you really need a TV show!

breakfast table setting with champagne glasses and flowers

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bent On Learning as 'New Yorker of the Week" on NY1 News

ny1 new yorker of the week bent on learning

Bent on Learning is an amazing Yoga program that goes into NYC city schools to teach kids yoga. They were featured on NY1 this week because Courtney McDowell, Jennifer Ford and Anne Desmond, were named "New Yorkers of the Week." I am so happy this great organization is getting the recognition they deserve. Check out the story NYers Of The Week: Teaching Trio Shares Yoga With Public School Kids on NY1.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Goldfish, Allergies and Reading Labels

"The goldfish today probably aren't the same goldfish we were eating when we were growing up" is a favorite saying of mine. Interestingly, Pepperidge Farm, which manufactures goldfish, was created in 1937 by Margaret Rudkin, a Connecticut mother of three young children, who discovered one of her sons had an allergy to the preservatives and artificial ingredients in commercial breads. Pepperidge Farm was acquired by the Campbell's Soup Company in 1961 and Margaret Ruskin retired from Pepperidge Farm in 1967. Although my site is about our gluten free family, I feel compelled to write about goldfish because they are a hugely popular snack for children and I think it is fascinating that Pepperidge Farm was created by a mom with a child with allergies!

Today's plain goldfish, are NOT GLUTEN FREE, but curiously the ingredients are not to be found on the Pepperidge Farm website--looking at the ingredient labels on Zeer--it looks like there are several recipes depending on which package you choose. While goldfish look innocuous enough, I don't think that the mom who created the product used monocalcium phosphate and a generic "spices" in her original recipe. At the bottom of this post are the ingredients of the original goldfish next to the long list of ingredients for the Goldfish Cheddar Party Mix. All the ingredients that are questionable are highlighted. You can see how buying the original goldfish really saves you from consuming a lot of questionable additives and preservatives.

I am especially suspicious when I see "spices" on a label if it is listed next to an actual spice like onion powder, as it is in this product, because according to a Natural News article on Surprise Ingredients in Fast Food
six ingredients commonly used to hide free glutamate (MSG): calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed corn, yeast extract, soy protein isolate, spices, and natural flavors." And the Flavor Blasted Cheddar Cheese Snacks which are "Color Changing. Magically change color in your mouth." contain Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening, spices, yeast extract, Blue 1, Blue 2, Red 40 and spice extract. Goldfish Bucket Cheese Crackers and Goldfish Party Mix contain partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening as well as an extensive list of chemicals and preservatives.

I bring this up to show how products produced by the same brand can look the same but have very different ingredients. The basic original product might be pretty clean in terms of preservatives and dyes and trans fats, but the more complicated flavors might have hydrogenated vegetable, additives, hydrogenated fat, dyes and preservatives. If you buy the simpler product you can totally avoid a lot of these ingredients.

Although potato chips are not a healthy food, they are often a gluten free snack you can find in mainstream markets. And LAY'S brand is actually more transparent than Pepperidge Farm about which products contain MSG--and their website lists product ingredients. Again, if you stick to the Lay's Classic Potato Chips, you have a pretty clean product with a short label that is gluten free. But if you venture off to more flavorful varieties, like Lay's Flamin Hot, the product is contains a lot of "added" ingredients like malted barley flour, dyes, msg, and preservatives--making the Flamin Hot chips not gluten free and even more unhealthy.

Because my children are gluten free and have allergies, I am forced to read every label on every product. In a way, their allergies protect them from the chemicals in most mainstream products marketed to children. I buy products that my grandmother (or Margaret Ruskin!), would have recognized as food--with simple ingredient lists: popcorn made with corn, oil and salt, chips with three ingredients (potatoes, oil, salt.) or
snack food with the shortest ingredient list possible.

And, by the way, if someone could come up with gluten free goldfish cracker, they would make a fortune!

Here are the ingredients of several goldfish products with questionable ingredients in red. You can see how choosing the original product really is a better option.

Goldfish Original Baked Snack Crackers
Made with Smiles and Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1)Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)Folic Acid]Vegetable Oils (Canola, Sunflower and/or Soybean)Nonfat Milk (Adds a Trivial Amount of Cholesterol)Salt, contains 2 Percent or Less of: Yeast, Leavening (Ammonium Bicarbonate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate)Sugar, Spices and Onion Powder. Natural - no artificial preservatives. 0 g trans fat. Baked soup crackers. Cholesterol free. Product of USA.

Goldfish Bucket Cheese Crackers: Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour ( Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1)Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)Folic Acid)Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes)Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening (Canola and/or Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oils)2 Percent or Less Of: Salt, Yeast, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Leavening (Baking Soda, Cream Of Tartar)Spices, Annatto (Color)Onion Powder.

Goldfish Cheddar Party Mix: Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1)Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)Folic Acid]Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening (Canola, Soybean, Cottonseed and/or Sunflower Oils)Rice Flour, Salt, Unbleached Wheat Flour, Cheddar Cheese [Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes)Water, Salt]Sesame Seeds, Soybean Oil, contains 2 Percent or Less of: Cheese Powder [Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Salt, Cheese Cultures, Enzymes)Whey, Buttermilk, Disodium Phosphate]Bulgur Wheat, Brown Sugar, Sugar, Defatted Wheat Germ, Whey, Unbromated Stone Ground 100% Whole Wheat Flour, Yeast, Dehydrated Pasteurized Process Cheddar Cheese [Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes)Disodium Phosphate, Salt, Lactic Acid]Leavening [Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Cornstarch, Monocalcium Phosphate)Ammonium Bicarbonate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate]Yellow Corn Flour, Dehydrated Blue Cheese [Blue Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes)Disodium Phosphate, Salt]Autolyzed Yeast, Malted Barley, Onion Powder, Wheat Gluten, Honey, Yeast Extract, Natural Butter Flavor, Beet Powder (Color)Extractives of Turmeric (Color)Nonfat Milk, Enzyme Modified Cheddar Cheese [Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes)Water, Disodium Phosphate, Enzymes, Xanthan Gum)Dehydrated Pasteurized Process Romano Cheese [Romano Cheese (Cultured Part Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes)Disodium Phosphate, Salt]Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Bicarbonate and Carbonates of Sodium, Spices, Canola Oil, Extractives of Paprika (Color)Lactic Acid, Spice Extract and Annatto (Color)May contain Peanuts and Nuts.

Monday, March 1, 2010

David Kirby's NEW Book "Animal Factory" Event in NYC on Thurs. March 4

Just got this invite and wanted to share...

NYC Kick-off event for David Kirby's NEW book:
Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment

7 pm
Reading and Book Signing
Borders Bookstore @ Time Warner Center, Second Floor
10 Columbus Circle, New York City

Come up to Landmarc at Time Warner for a Drink!
Third Floor

I am really excited to hear David Kirby read from his new book. If you can't get to make it, you can purchase Animal Factory on Amazon.

Please RSVP HERE to attend.