Sunday, October 31, 2010

NOV 1: Communication Shutdown

I am shutting down and supporting communication shutdown for autism without the official "I donated" ap--which is so sad because I completely tried to donate and support but they wouldn't take my credit card no matter how many times I tried. Of course, there was no one to call. No one to straighten out the problem with my pay pal so instead I am just showing my support by not posting. Not tweeting and not facebooking today. I don't even think not posting is part of the communication shut down. But I feel like to really make a point you have to unplug completely. Back on November 2nd.


Here is a link to my roasted pumpkin seed recipe. Too busy carving pumpkins to post today!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Asparagus Parmesan Crumble (GFCF)

I'm pretty sure asparagus are not in season right now, but I bought a bunch at Costco today because they contain asparagine, an amino acid I was low in a few months ago. This gluten free, dairy free asparagus parmesan made with daiya cheese and gluten free bread crumbs was a huge hit for me. My kids wouldn't go near it. And I set some stalks aside and roasted it plain for my husband who likes more simple fare. But for me, this was a rich and surprisingly satisfying meal. I only wish I had some pasta with a roasted tomato sauce to go with it.

1 bunch asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs
3 tablespoons daiya cheese or parmesan
salt and pepper and lemon

Trim asparagus ends off and toss with olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Put in a small glass or ceramic dish that is just large enough for the asparagus. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the asparagus. Then top with daiya "cheese" or parmesan cheese. Bake for 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with a small wedge of lemon. Enjoy with your favorite pasta dish or white bean dish.

Contest Winner: Dairy Free Adventures!

Dairy Free Adventures won the Jenny McCarthy book Contest for Love, Lust and Faking It. Please contact me with your address so I can get you your signed copy. I used to generate a number which was 3.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What To Feed Your Kids at Sinergia

Tomorrow, I am speaking at Sinergia, a nonprofit in East Harlem, that provides "service coordination, information and support to families and individuals in need." My presentation "Dietary Intervention for Developmental Problems" will be translated into Spanish at the event. Below are my handouts for my presentation.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Enzyme to Break Down Gluten for Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance

Question: What is a good enzyme for gluten? I want to have it around next time my son eats something he shouldn't have. I have TriEnza.

Answer: Trienza, a plant based enzyme from Houston Enzymes breaks down proteins, carbs and fats so it is a broad based enzyme that would be helpful to break down many different types of foods.

Kids who had problems with breaking down gluten, dairy and soy who have tested negative for celiac can try using enzymes that break down these proteins. AFP Peptizyde is an enzyme that specifically breaks down gluten, casein and soy and it would be the specific product I would recommend for a non-celiac gluten intolerant child who inadvertently eats food containing gluten, dairy and soy.

Although Tri-enza also contains the enzymes to break down gluten and it could be used, the more specific enzyme AFP Peptizyde does a better job if you know the child has had gluten, dairy and soy. Again, Tri-enza will also work, but the AFP Peptizyde is the best enzyme to use for a child who is having any type of reaction to gluten, casein or soy protein. If you don't know what the food is that they are reacting to, the Tri-enza would be more appropriate.

There is a book called Enzymes for Autism and Other Neurological Conditions about how some children do better by incorporating enzymes in their diet than they do on a restricted diet. For these children, the enzymes allow them to break down these proteins so they don't get sick, which means they get the nutrition from a wider diet, without the problems associated with their inability to break down the proteins.

Because my kids have the genes for celiac, we don't use the enzymes to eat gluten, but we have used them, with a lot of success for food reactions to both casein and soy and we have used the Tri-enza enzyme for years to break down food so that more nutrients could be absorbed.

Related posts:
The Role of Enzymes for Digestive Problems

Thursday, October 21, 2010

On Supplements and Vitamin Testing

Although supplementation of large groups of people in double blind studies often fails to improve the health of the participants, I am a big fan of supplementation for individuals based on specific vitamin testing and supplementation for individuals with specific health problems.

Supplementation is often necessary when you are on a restricted diet, such a gluten free diet for celiac (1) or a gluten free/casein free diet for neurological problems. Individuals with clear malabsorption of nutrients and growth problems can also benefit from supplements that specifically address their underlying deficiencies. Often, double blind studies of large groups of people really miss the individual nature of supplementation. So the studies that Michael Pollan speaks about where large groups of people take beta carotene (2) and do not get better, do not address these individual biochemical glitches which would require supplementation. The studies which report that people get less cancer when they eat fresh fruits and vegetables containing beta carotene with the studies showing that beta carotene itself gives no benefit, support the idea that health benefits from supplementation of this one vitamin in large groups of people are not enough to provide protection that the fresh fruits and vegetables offered. But, in individuals with low levels of absorption of a particular vitamin, supplementation can be a different story.

I had malabsorption of several nutrients: copper, B12, carnitine, and asparagine and a few other nutrients and when I added these supplements to my diet after extensive nutritional testing through Dr. Dardashti I was able to go off thyroid medication and two other medicines I was taking for attention problems. Although I was eating food with these nutrients, I was not actually breaking down and absorbing the nutrients. And, I discovered, I needed to take supplements in order to be well. Interestingly, the vitamins I was not absorbing were all absorbed on the same part of the intestine and therefore pointed to a malabsorption problem that was not going to be corrected through eating properly.

But the best part of doing the nutritional testing and finding out exactly what I was low in is NOT that I got off all the medication I was taking. The best part is that I feel better. I feel well. I feel healthy.

I did the extensive nutritional testing through Dr. Dardashti, because I had neuropathy which I was told was from low vitamin levels by Dr. Latov, who wrote the book: Peripheral Neuropathy: When the Pain and Numbness Won't Go Away. When I found out I was deficient in a few vitamins which were causing the neuropathy I sought out the best nutritional testing I could find--through Dr. Dardashti.

After extensive nutrient testing and vitamin supplementation the neuropathy went away and so did the need for medication I was taking for other health issues. What a bonus.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Enter Contest To Win FREE Ticket to Autism/Asperger's Conference this Weekend

ENTER TO WIN CONTEST FOR FREE TICKET at NAA NY Metro Facebook page or on the NAA NY Metro blog.

Hear Temple Grandin, Dr. Ken Bock and other terrific speakers! Like the NAA NY Metro on Facebook and post a comment on NAA NY Metro Facebook page or leave a comment on the NAA NY Metro blog between 9am today, Oct 20th, and 11:30pm tomorrow, Oct 21st and (include your email) and your name will be entered in a drawing to win a free pass to BOTH DAYS of the All Ages and Abilities 3rd Annual NYC Autism/Asperger's Conference happening this weekend in NYC.

Please share this opportunity with friends and family! The NAA NY Metro will announce the winner on the NAA NY Metro facebook page and on the blog Friday morning and will notify the winner via email.

To buy a ticket or learn more about the speakers, please visit "All Ages & Abilities" NYC Autism/Asperger's Conference page.

Good luck!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Book Giveaway: Jenny McCarthy's Love, Lust and Faking It

I am a huge fan of Jenny McCarthy's book Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey into Healing Autism. If you haven't read it, it is a great account of a mother's determination to rescue her son through biomedical intervention.

Jenny McCarthy just wrote a new book called Love, Lust and Faking It on relationships and I was sent a signed copy of the book to preview and one for a reader. Because both my 9 year old daughter and my in-laws read my blog now, I am not going to write a full review of the too racy for my youngest readers book but I did love the chapter on Brad Pitt. I will congratulate Jenny for being able to write another book that is so personal and I am thrilled to be able to send a reader a signed copy of Love, Lust and Faking It.

If you would like to enter to win your own signed copy of McCarthy's book Love, Lust and Faking It, please leave a comment with your email by 11:59 pm on October 27, 2010 (or leave a comment AND send your email to my email separately by clicking on the on the right.) You can get an extra entry by blogging or tweeting this and leaving a link to your post/tweet in your comment.

MAKE A COMMENT TO WIN a signed copy of McCarthy's book LOVE,LUST and FAKING IT. 1) To enter, please comment on this post (Click on "comments" below.) 2) Post your comment by 11:59 pm on October 27, 2010. One entry per person, please. 3) One winner will be chosen by random and announced on Thursday morning, October 29, 2010. 4) NOTE: If you wish to be contacted by e-mail if you win, please include your email address in your comment. Otherwise you must check back on Thursday, October 28, 2010 to see if you have won. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited to another winner after 72 hours.

Michael Pollan: Food Rules for Healthy People and Planet

"It is very hard to do a double blind study on diet because there is no placebo broccoli. You either know if you are eating it or you don't. And if you take it out of the diet to see what effect it does, you don't know if the perceived affect is a result of the subtraction or the addition of whatever you have put in it's place. So it's not like studying drugs." (1)
--Michael Pollan: Food Rules for Healthy People and Planet

Below, hear Michael Pollan speaking about why processed food and supplements are not the answer and why nutrition is such a hard thing to study.

In general, I agree with Pollan that processed food which is engineered to be healthy is the completely wrong direction to go if you are trying to eat healthy food. I also agree that blindly taking supplements to fix health problems is not the answer because individuals are so complicated and supplementation is even more complicated. But, individuals can benefit from supplementation provided it is done on an individual basis--and not in a large group study where one supplement is taking blindly without regard to their individual vitamin status.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Only Sometimes Clever's Post on Why Celiac Disease Is So Confusing

Yesterday, Karen Joy at Only Sometimes Clever posted on "Why celiac disease is so confusing." It is a great overview of the many secondary problems that affect people with celiac disease. On average, it takes 11 years to be diagnosed with this disease and often it is missed by many specialists because the presentation can be so varied. In the 11 years that the disease progresses many different systems in the body can be affected. Unless you specialize in celiac disease, most doctors are unaware of the connection of celiac disease with other symptoms. Here is a quote for Only Sometimes Clever's post:
"Since the villi in the small intestine are destroyed, many nutrients that should get in the body are not absorbed. This leads to a host of increasing health problems/symptoms that are actually secondary to celiac disease, as they are started from malnourishment of one (or usually more than one) nutrient... Lack of calcium can also lead to heart problems — weird palpitations and electrical problems in the heart, because the body need calcium in order for its nervous/electrical system to work properly."

Wow, I had never heard that before. Heart palpitations can also be caused by low levels of magnesium (celiac and alcohol can both decrease levels of magnesium.) The list of causes of heart palpitations is even longer than the list of symptoms of celiac disease--so it is a super complicated problem that is related to a super complicated disease. I was most surprised by the connection between CD and heart palpitations because a relative recently has been dealing with this problem and I had never heard of the connection between celiac and heart palpitations so it was surprising to stumble upon the information right in the midst of our family dealing with it.

I am wondering if there are any symptoms that aren't connected to this crazy disease that is so often overlooked by doctors.

Other symptoms of celiac disease include: low levels of vitamin D, osteoporosis, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, fatigue, anemia, depression, mouth sores, but some people have no digestive problems just the secondary complications from nutrient deficiencies. There is a full list of celiac disease symptoms on

The best test for celiac disease is through the Prometheus Lab. A GI doctor or a doctor who specializes in celiac disease can do this test. If you have these problems and they are doing bloodwork, it is worth being proactive and requesting a test for celiac.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Easy Green Herb Dip (GFCF)

I got the idea for this gluten free/dairy free green herb dip from an Easy Snacks for Kids cooking class I took at Healthy Living in Burlington. The original recipe has yogurt and cream cheese, but I just use mayonnaise and coconut yogurt and it has a similar taste. You can reduce the mayo to 1 cup if you want a lighter dip. This easy to make dip also makes a great sauce for salmon or chicken or meat. In fact, it brightens just about any dish up--including a tray of fresh vegetables.

1 cup plain coconut milk yogurt
1.5 cups mayonnaise
1 bunch scallions-chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gluten Free Vegas without the Blackjack

Okay, this post is completely unrelated to Vegas, but as we were leaving our gluten-free get together put together by Cēliebo, who makes gluten free travel cards and vlogs about GF life, she said: "It's like Vegas without the blackjack." I guess you had to be there, but we shared so many funny stories that at the end we all had to be sworn to secrecy.

It was such, such fun that you can only partake of if you have been living a gluten free life--which makes it even more special because the instant bond you have with other GFers is pretty hard to beat. Glow Gluten Free said it best when she said "It's lemonade from lemons" because there are so many gluten free people who really find their passion in life after figuring out they can't eat gluten. I am wondering if by sharing the fact that we were all sworn to secrecy if I am violating some part of the pact we made. But I think in the spirit of blogging and tweeting, everyone will forgive this post as long as I leave the contents of our Vegas get together secret.

Leaving Celiebo's with TWO Gluten Free Go Picnic snack packs for my kids that she so generously gave me, I was happy in a way that I have only known since becoming gluten free. And what fun to eat hot off the press GLOW gluten free cookies which were extra delicious and baked specially for an upcoming cookie event while sharing gluten free gossip. I am adding Cēliebo's video blog to my blogroll and I look forward to seeing her vlogs daily now. For those who weren't able to attend the Vegas without the Blackjack event, here is a list of my new gluten free friends. And if you missed this super top secret event, you can always find us at the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group or at next week's Celiac Center gala benefit. (I have also posted twitter names because mostly we share our gluten free gossip via tweets.)

Celiebos' Gluten Free Video Blog
Gluten Free Fun
Glow Gluten Free
New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group

on twitter: ourGFfamily, glowglutenfree, celiebo, gfreefun

P.S. I just ordered celiebo's gluten free dining cards!

Friday, October 8, 2010

9th Annual Gala Fundraiser for the Celiac Disease Center

Thursday, October 14th, 2010 is the Celiac Disease Center's 9th Annual Gala Fundraiser at the Mandarin Oriental. It is a not to be missed event for anyone that is gluten free or whose family has been affected by celiac disease. Not only is there a fabulous gluten free dinner, but it is also a chance to hear about and celebrate the research and work the Celiac Disease Center has done over the past year. There are always gluten free goodie bags, and this year a surprise gift box event and high tech Bidpals for the silent auction. Glow Gluten Free Cookies are being honored as well as the CeliacSisters. I am thrilled to be a part of this almost sold out event. If you are interested in information on the Celiac Disease Center or want to inquire about next year's events, contact the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Join us at The Colin Leslie Walk for Celiac Disease in Rye, New York

I am headed to the Colin Leslie Walk for Celiac Disease this morning in Rye, New York at the high school. It is a fun, family friendly event full with a gluten free vendor sale and gluten free picnic lunch that you can purchase as well as family screening for celiac disease. I have met some of my best friends through the Celiac Disease Center of Columbia events. And we have wonderful family memories of our gluten free lunch under the tents. As a gluten free family, often at typical events we have to bring or own food or check carefully that everything is safe, so it is so nice that we can all just enjoy a lunch with friends who are also gluten free. Please join us for this annual fundraiser for the Celiac Center. The event starts at 9 am, but it really goes all day and there are speakers on celiac at 11 am--usually Dr. Green, a pediatrician who specializes in celiac disease and a nutritionist speak.

Of course, there will be GLOW GLUTEN FREE COOKIES to sample and buy--which is probably where you can find me if you end up coming. The gluten free vendor fair is where I met Jill, who makes the cookies and was launching her business, so we celebrate the anniversary of where we met by returning to the walk to celebrate a friendship that we would have never had, if not for the Colin Leslie Walk and the Celiac Disease Center of Columbia.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Join the Bent on Giving Campaign 2010 to support Yoga in NYC Public Schools

Join me in supporting Bent on Learning's campaign 2010 by donating $10 to their organization or becoming a team member at Team ourGFfamily. $10 would provide a yoga mat to a student or 2 yoga classes. Also, check out the 108 Sun Salutations event on Thursday, October 7th from 6-9 pm.

Since 2001, Bent On Learning has been transforming New York City public schools into healthier, more vibrant communities by infusing yoga and meditation into the student curriculum and staff training. We work predominantly in underserved schools that have little to no access to gyms or playgrounds, and many of our students are part of the Free Lunch Program, a federally assisted meal program for children from low-income families.

Bent On Learning now reaches more than 1,500 students across 10 different NYC schools each week. We also have yoga classes for teachers and staff and for children with special needs.