Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gluten Free Dumpling Sauce

I really recommend this lighter dipping sauce for spring rolls and dumplings. With the sesame oil and vinegar it has more depth and is less salty than soy sauce.

1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce (wheat free tamari)
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
optional: some finely grated ginger or finely chopped scallions

larger recipe...

3 Tablespoons gluten free soy sauce (wheat free tamari)
6 Tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoons sugar
1&1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1&1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
optional: some finely grated ginger or finely chopped scallions

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Information on B12

This is a follow up to my recent post on Article in The Wall Street Journal on B12. My son started speaking after B12 supplementation and I recently tested low in B12 so it is on my mind.

Researching B12 I found some fascinating info...

According to a 1988 paper in the America Journal of Clinical Nutrition "There is no active vitamin B-12 in anything that grows out of the ground; storage vitamin B12 is found only in animal products where it is ubiquitous and where it is ultimately derived from bacteria." Also, according to the paper, it was found that Iranian vegans who were strict vegetarians (vegans) for religious reasons did not get vitamin B-12 deficiency. The scientist "went to Iran and found that they grew vegetables in night soil (human manure)" and "the vegetables were not carefully washed so they retained B-12 from the manure rich soil which was adequate to prevent B-12 deficiency."

Doing some research, it looks like there are some nutritional sources of B12 that vegans can use. Yeast, while not an animal, is alive and can be grown to be rich in B12 and incorporated in the diets of vegans. Red Star T-6635 is a nutritional yeast that is grown on a B12 enriched medium and has a cheesy taste and texture of parmesan cheese. Further research suggests it is supplemented with B12 and it is risky to rely on these for supplementation for many reasons. But, there are many sources which advocate that all vegetarians monitor their B12 status and consider supplementation. You can read more on B12 Analogues and Deficiency which suggests all vegetarians get their B12, methylmalonic acid and homocysteine checked to be sure.

But, it's not only vegans and vegetarians who are at risk for low B12 levels. Because ourGFfamily can't eat gluten, meat is a staple in our house--which anyone who knows me well is probably aware of. Despite the fact we all eat meat, 3 out of 4 in our family have been low in B12, which is why I am so interested in this vitamin. It turns out, we just don't absorb the vitamin well and need supplementation. Many people with gut issues and digestive disorders like celiac do not absorb B12 well. Could it Be B12: An Epidemic of Misdiagnosis is a fascinating book with an overview of the many conditions associated with low B12.

Interestingly, according to the paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, because of reabsorption it takes about 20 years to run out of B12 if you stop consuming B-12 but "only 3 years to run out and get vitamin B-12 deficiency if one stops absorbing the vitamin." So people who have digestive problems are at the most risk.

Earthsave Canada has this recommendation for pregnant women and children:

"Pregnant and nursing women need to make sure that both they and their newborns get a reliable source of B12 in their diets every day. Babies need it every day because they don't yet have the stores of the vitamin to draw on like adults do. B12 needs to be in the mother's diet every day during pregnancy and lactation to allow for the child's growth and development."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Symptoms of Celiac on Celiac Diva

Dental enamel defects can be a symptom of celiac as well as bones that break easily. Watch Celiac Diva: Episode 60 to learn more. In this episode, Celiac Diva has a panel discussion on symptoms of celiac with Celiac Diva, Celiebo and Generation Gluten Free, who spent years sick with either silent celiac (without obvious digestive symptoms) or typical gut wrenching celiac. The interesting thing about celiac is when people with celiac go gluten free, often they are giddy with excitement at finally feeling well. CeliacDiva's vlog captures this almost born again enthusiasm for gluten free life post diagnosis. Not only can celiac present in so many different ways because often symptoms are the result of vitamin deficiencies, but it can also be completely silent with no intestinal symptoms. In the case of celiac that is silent, you can be suffering, even without stomach aches, because you aren't absorbing vitamins. This can affect learning, growth, development and fertility. Check out Celiac Diva: Episode 60 with Generation Gluten Free, Celiebo and for first hand information on the symptoms of celiac.

You can get more information on how to spot celiac from dental damage here:
Spotting Celiac from Dental Damage
Dental Enamel Defects in Children Strong Indicator of Celiac Disease

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kale "Pasta" Recipe

Of course, kale "pasta" doesn't taste like pasta. But for people who are avoiding carbs or grains or gluten, putting spaghetti and meatballs or their favorite pasta sauce on a bed of kale, actually makes for quite a tasty and satisfying (and healthy!) dinner.

I actually cook a few bunches of kale once a week to have on hand throughout the week and use in omelets, as a side with dinner or lunch or even as a bed of greens for a pasta sauce. This is also a great pasta substitute for people who are on the Atkins diet.

Kale "Pasta" Recipe

Fill large pot of water 1/2 full of water and bring to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt or however much salt you would add to cook pasta.

Wash 1 or 2 bunches of kale in water. Kale is actually not that dirty, but it is good to rinse it or submerge it in a sink full of water.

Pile 3 leaves on top of one another and then roll them into a cylinder. This way you are cutting a tube of kale. It makes it a little easier than cutting the flat leaves. But you can also leave the leaves flat if that is easier.

Cut leaves into 1/4 inch strips. Place into bowl after cutting if you need to so that you have more room for cutting. Continue cutting until all the kale is in 1/4 inch strips.

Cook the strips of kale in boiling water for 5 minutes. Then drain and use as a base for tomato sauce as you would regular pasta.

This boiled kale is also amazing as a pizza "crust." I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes I don't have enough Udi's gluten free pizza crusts for everyone, so I let the kids have the pizza and I use kale as my "pizza" base and top with daiya cheese and turkey pepperoni and serve with oregano, red pepper flakes and garlic salt.

(Disclaimer: My kids don't eat boiled kale--although my five year old will eat kale chips. This is more WhatToFeedYourSelf than WhatToFeedYourKids!)

Related posts:
A Celebratory Bowl of Kale
Pasta with Kale, Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meatless Monday: Green "Chickenish" Salad made with Chickpeas!

Easy green herb dip on top of a bowl of chickpeas makes a suprisingly tasty chick pea salad that is slightly reminiscent of chicken salad. The truth is that you could put the dip on your shoe and it would become a surprisingly delicious treat. My Easy Green Chickenish Salad with chickpeas makes me want to take some chick peas and make mock chicken salad tomorrow with some celery and mayo.

My inspiration for my chickpea salad?

Well, I was watching Dr. Oz on Super Value Super Foods and eggs and chickpeas were at the top of the list so I decided ourGlutenFree family would have to keep both on hand to eat as snacks. And there they were in the fridge next to each other--chickpeas and easy green dip. Two great tastes that taste great together, I think they say.

Here is a list of all the $5 Friday Superfoods that were both healthy and affordable:
  • Eggs
  • Onions
  • Chickpeas
  • Popcorn
I bought a bag of chickpeas in keeping with the Super Value theme and soaked them overnight. The next day, I boiled them with water on low for a few hours with salt and 3 garlic cloves and a bay leaf until the chickpeas were softened. When they were finished I drizzled with a little olive oil, vinegar and lemon zest to keep in the fridge. Finally, I served them with a spoonful of easy green dip.

Chickpeas from a bag are really a value superfood. The canned chickpeas are not as much of a value and they don't taste as good but they are convenient. But, as I said before, if you served them with easy green dip they would be a surprisingly delicious treat.

Related posts:
Popping Popcorn--A Naturally Gluten Free Snack
Hardboiled Eggs
Potatoes, Green Beans, Olives and Hard Boiled Eggs: Composed Salad for Kids

Article in The Wall Street Journal on B12 Today

The Wall Street Journal has an article on B12 today called Tired and Confused? Vitamin B12 May Be Low.

Last year I was diagnosed with B12 deficiency after months of complaining to doctors about my failing memory and tingling in my arms and feet. Several doctors as well as a nutritionist all thought it was just too much sugar and maybe an age related decline in memory. Then I started having burning pain in my feet and a new doctor finally ran some tests trying to get to the bottom of my crazy symptoms which revealed low B12 levels. Once I knew I was low in B12, it seemed really obvious to me, because it was a vitamin my son had also been low in and he started speaking after supplementation with sublingual B12.

If you have any type of neurological problems or age related decline, you should look into getting B12, methylmalonic acid and homocysteine levels checked. All three tests are needed to accurately determine B12 status. High levels of B12 when you are not taking supplements can also indicate problems with B12--sometimes it can pool in the blood and not be getting into the tissues. This was seen in some studies where the blood levels were high but the cerebral spinal levels were low.

Also, there are four different forms of B12--methyl B12 is supposed to be the best form. Sublingual forms of B12 are supposed to be better than the oral forms because they bypass the digestive system which needs intrinsic factor to be absorbed. Best to get a blood level and know your B12 status before supplementing with B12--it's of great importance to know your level. Read the Wall Street Journal Article on Tired And Confused? Vitamin B12 May Be Low for an overview of low B12 levels.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Notes on Gluten Free Sugar Free Pop Tart Recipe

This afternoon, I made gluten free poptarts with Tinsley (of Celiebo) and Jill (of Glow Gluten Free Cookies) using Tinsley's "wacky" sugar (erythritol.) I am not a big fan of fake sugar but word has it that erythritol is one of the healthier sugar substitutes. Although not as sweet as sugar, it doesn't raise blood glucose and doesn't feed yeast like regular sugar and it is absorbed by the body, so it won't cause the side effects of other sugar alcohols.

The Erythritol worked very well for the poptarts but the peanut butter cookie bites weren't as popular. We made a bunch of different flavor poptarts--chocolate, strawberry jam, blueberry jam, and raspberries crushed up with a little erythritol. Everyone's favorite was the fresh raspberry with the erythritol filling because the tartness of raspberries really complemented the flaky almond pastry. It's not raspberry season, but the raspberries were so good I went and bought three more half pints of raspberries for the week. Below is a link to another cookie recipe on the blog Healthy Indulgences for Chocolate Chip Cookies made with Erythritol.

To make the sugar free pop tarts, substitute 1/4 cup erythritol (or sugar substitute of choice) in original pop tart recipe and use the raspberry filling below.

Raspberry Filling (for 6 pop tarts):
2 cups washed raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar substitute

Crush raspberries with a fork and mix in the sugar substitute. Use as a filling for poptarts.

Everyone liked the frosted poptarts the best. For the frosting I used confectioner's sugar with water and made a glaze. We also tried the sugar free raspberry poptart without the glaze but our favorite was the sugar free raspberry pop tart with the sugar glaze.

Related posts:
Gluten Free Pop Tart Recipe
Apple Pie Filling for Pop Tarts

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hormone Balance after 40: Mary Shomon at the Open Center

Mary Shomon has an amazing workshop at the Open Center called Hormone Balance After 40. If you are in NYC and over 40 it is a very informative and detailed lecture given every three months about how thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones can all be impacting your health. So much of the information can be helpful to everyone even if you aren't a women over 40. According to Mary Shomon, an author who has 10 books on hormones and health, many of the symptoms that women experience which are thought to be menopausal symptoms are actually related to low thyroid function.

Here are some highlight from the lecture:
  • On statins (cholesterol lowering medications) and antidepressants, the insert of these medications suggest that thyroid evaluation should be done before taking medication. Although doctors routinely treat high cholesterol and depression with these cholesterol lowering medications and antidepressants a thorough thyroid evaluation should be done first.
Doctors often test only TSH and then say that your thyroid panel is normal, but a thorough Thyroid panel should include:
  • TSH- level should be between .3 and 3.0
  • Free T4-storage thyroid hormone (the "cake mix"--needs to be activated or baked ie turned into T3) level should be ABOVE the 50% of normal (if range is 1-10 level should be 5)
  • Free T3- actual thyroid hormone that can be used by body. Level should be ABOVE 75% of normal range (if normal is 1-10 then you should be 7.5 or above)
  • Thyroid Antibodies - proteins that attack the thyroid gland
  • Reverse T3 - measuring sidelined T3 that is unavailable to body
  • Ferritin - stored form of iron (normal range is 20-100 but optimal is 60 or 80 if you need to lose weight)
  • Vitamin D - normal range is 20-100 but want to see 60 0r 80 for women who want to lose weight. Get blood level to determine supplementation for this critical hormone. Some doctors suggest 5,000 a day for people whose blood levels are low. There is a once a week prescription for people who levels don't respond to daily supplementation of 50,000 iu per week. Ask your doctor about this. Watch CBS News Watch about the importance of vitamin D.
Adrenals should also be evaluated. There are alternative tests for cortisol (long term stress hormone) and adrenaline (short term stress hormone.) Chronic stress forces body to pump out these hormones and burns out these two small glands. Only alternative doctors will do proper tests. Mainstream doctors only recognize diseases of these glands.

For perimenopause/menopause symptoms:
  • Synthetic hormones should be avoided.
  • Bio-identical hormones should be LAST RESORT and transdermal are safest.
  • ALL HORMONE SUPPLEMENTATION has risks associated with it.
Recommended dealing with symptoms as you would deal with puberty--you just go through it, realizing it will not last forever. It is a temporary state that is a normal part of aging It is NOT A DISEASE. It is NOT AN ILLNESS. Also, "M&M's" (Royal Maca and Melatonin) to get through the symptoms you encounter...
  • Royal Maca root from Whole World Botanicals which is a whole food supplement. <--only use Maca from this company because it needs to be cooked and processed properly.
  • 3 mg of Pierpaoli melatonin at 11 pm (can start with health food dosage of .5 mg and build up to make sure that you tolerate melatonin before you invest in this supplement.)
There is a ton of information on her website and if you would like to listen to a 2008 Thyroid Diet and Weight Loss Teleconference it can be found on her website. Mary Shomon is also available personalized telephone coaching sessions and consultations for Health Coaching Services.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gluten Free Tweet Up #2: Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Last week, I was invited to Tinsley's house for a gluten free tweet up. Tinsley is a stylish and fun twenty something who has an amazing company called Celiebo and it's just so much fun to be part of her Sex in the City world for a sparkling evening before I return to my just turned forty life. A highlight of the gluten free fare she served was her chocolate pudding. "I put vegetables in EVERYTHING!" she said bubbling with enthusiasm as I asked about the stylish spread. The chocolate pudding was a take off on Jessica Seinfeld's chocolate pudding recipe (in her Double Delicious cookbook p.159) which Tinsley had made her own by using earth balance for the vegetable shortening and agave and a little water to replace the sugar. She generously gave me her version because even though she credited Jessica Seinfeld, I knew that she had tweaked it a little and I pressed her for HER rendition of Jessica Seinfeld's recipe. If you haven't gotten a copy of Jessica Seinfeld's new book Double Delicious, by the way, it is really terrific and not to be missed. I am not the expert at hiding vegetables in prepared food that Jessica and Tinsley are, but I admire both of them for their enthusiasm for their pro-vegetable approach. I made the chocolate pudding at home, but sadly, it wasn't the same as Tinsley's. I did eat it for days and found it incredibly rich and satisfying when I wanted a sweet treat--but I think food always tastes better when someone else prepares it. I have to admit, when I first made it, I regretted that I didn't have the avocados for guacamole. But, it was a healthier dessert than what I usually grab. I also saw another recipe for chocolate pudding using avocados in Living Without so it must be a popular dessert right now. You can see Tinsley's amazing party spread on her Celiebo VLOG Episode #190 Gluten Free Getting a Community.

Also, here are the other guests I met at the tweet up...

Lauren who vlogs at The Celiac Diva (@TheCeliacDiva)
Jill who can be found at Glow Gluten Free (@glowglutenfree)
Erin who writes Gluten-Free Fun (@gfreefun)
Kristen who writes Pasta's Kitchen (@PastasKitchen)
Susan Cohen who directed Generation Gluten Free (@susanecohen)
Deborah (@gothamtomato)

Chocolate Pudding--by Jessica Seinfeld (GF/CF/SF ) but with substitutions to make it allergy free. You can see original recipe on SparkRecipes. But just buy the book!

1/4 Cup “buttery spread” - I use Earth Balance
1 cup avocado puree – 2 avocados in food processor with about a TBSP of water to get a creamy consistency
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup confectioners sugar OR if you prefer to go light on the sugar sub the 1 cup for 1/3 cup agave, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup water, whisked together – still working out these measurements, sometimes the texture is a little off, but I try to go easy on the sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch OR 2 TBSP Arrowroot for a corn-free version

Melt buttery spread over low heat. Stir in the avocado puree, sugar, cocoa powder, & vanilla (or agave mixture). Cook until the mixture thickens (about 5-7 min). Off heat, add cornstarch or arrowroot gradually until mixture thickens. Very creamy when served warm.

Dust with confectioners sugar & enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Episode #4: Gluten Free Won-Tons

I think my daughter said something along the lines of "We NEVER have to go to Lilli and Loo's again!" and then "You should open a Chinese restaurant" when she tried the won-tons and fried noodle strips I made out of the leftover dumpling dough. When you haven't had won-ton soup in three years, it is quite exciting to be able to conjure them up from simple ingredients. I used Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend which is a pre-mixed flour blend based on the flour blend created by Annalise Roberts. Will post the dumpling filling recipe in the next few days.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Alternative Nutrition Series for Children on Going Gluten Free

Alternative Nutrition Series for Children with Developmental Delays
Sinergia • 2082 Lexington Ave. - 4th Floor, New York, NY 10035, Tel 212.643.2840

Part 1: The Gluten Free Diet and all about alternative flours

Thursday, January , 2011 <--LECTURE HAS BEEN POSTPONED due to snowstorm! New date will be posted in a few days

Lecture will cover...
  • How to get started on a gluten free diet.
  • Overview of gluten free products that taste good.
  • Which flours and grains are acceptable and which are nutritious.
  • Products you can find in the regular grocery store.
  • Cooking demo on how to make gluten free chocolate chip cookies using garbanzo bean and fava been flour.
  • Instructions on how to make gluten free chicken nuggets using bread crumbs made from rice cakes.
  • Interactive discussion as well as Q&A for parents.

This lecture is free thanks to the generous support of the Autism Initiative at Sinergia. To register for the FREE workshop, please call Gina Peña-Campodonico at 212 643-2840, ext. 305 or by e-mail at

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gluten Free Won-ton Noodle and Egg Roll Wrappers

Looking at my bookshelf this morning, I saw Chef Chu's distinctive cuisine of China and immediately my mind went to won-tons. I guess my husband had mentioned that he hadn't ever seen me make dumplings after attending Rebecca Reilly's dumpling class. So I picked up the book and half an hour later I was enjoying a bowl of won-ton soup that was remarkably delicious. For the record, won-tons are so much easier than dumplings. Or maybe it's just my recipe. Anyway, I feel like I could make anything after this creation.

2 cups gluten free flour blend
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup water plus 2 Tablespoons added in slowly

Mix gluten free flour, xanthum gum and salt in a medium sized bowl.
Form a well in the center.
Whisk together 1 egg plus 1/2 cup water.
Pour egg mixture into center of flour.
Using hands or fork, combine until forms a dough you can kneed.
Kneed dough adding more water if necessary.
Form a ball and cut off thin slices (about the size of a piece of salami) to roll in between two pieces of parchment paper or two pieces of plastic wrap.
Roll until thin as possible.
Cut into 3 inch square.
Dust with cornstarch if you need to while rolling (I used parchment and I didn't need to do this step)
Reserve won-ton wrapper for soup.

Homemade Chicken Broth or Chicken Broth with a splash of sesame oil and a few scallions sprinkled on top.

Dumpling Filling: 1/2 pound beef or pork, 2 scallion2, 1 teaspoon sherry or plum vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pinch of white pepper. Combine filling ingredients in cuisinart until forms a paste. Or chop finely by hand and mix together.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Apple Pie Filling for Gluten Free Pop Tarts

We made gluten free apple pie pop tarts for breakfast this morning. Usually we use jam or jelly for our pop tarts but we only had apples so we created these tasty breakfast pastries. You can also serve this filling raw with a few almonds on top and call them "cinnamon sugar apples!"

4 apples diced finely
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch (or potato starch or tapioca flour)
1/2-3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
nutmeg to taste-small pinch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 batch gluten free pop tart crust

1.Finely dice apples.
2.Add the sugar, starch, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice.
3. Use as a filling for apple pie pop tarts--or use the pop tart crust to make mini apple pies.

More thoughts...I used 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, but if you prefer more apple pie flavor, then you can use a 1/4 teaspoon more cinnamon. They were quite sweet, so I might use a little less sugar next time.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year: Project India

While celebrating New Years Eve in Barbados overlooking the sea, I was speaking with a new friend about five weeks I spent in India years ago before kids and my life as I know it today. It dawned on me that I needed to find some of the peace and sacredness of my time in India in my life now. Not sure about how to do that, really, and happy to have suggestions if you know a way--a path.

I guess I will begin with lentils, which I am told also bring prosperity if eaten in the new year and are eaten daily in India. At least in Italy, lentils symbolize money and are considered a lucky food if eaten during the new year. If you know me, you know it is not a surprise that I am choosing food as my first step in Project India. And if Project India doesn't work perhaps prosperity will be insured.

The simplicity of the five weeks I spent in India traveling by myself would be hard to duplicate now that I have a husband, two kids, a dog, a cat--but I am going to try. Unfortunately, I think it is more the collective spirit of India that infused my trip with a depth and sacredness. The simplicity of my traveling in Rajastan by train with a backpack is unknown in my too busy, too cluttered life and the collective spirit that filled the towns and cities I traveled to are probably impossible to find in NYC.

But, I will try each week to find a way to get closer to the life I experienced-- beginning with lentils and rice. It is a superficial, small step toward something impossible to duplicate.

Looking up inspirational quotes to inspire Project India, I found this one at

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.

Buddha quotes (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

Not quite a resolution--more of a hope and a dream for a simpler, more fulfilling life. Let Project India begin--with lemon lentils.

If you would like to read more about foods to eat in the New Year you can read Lucky Foods for the New Year at

Gluten Free Kid Friendly Birthday Party Food

We are attending a 5th birthday party this afternoon at Dave and Buster's Restaurant, Bar and Arcade. Here is a list of the food being served at the party with the substitutes I am bringing for my son who is on a gluten free diet. I always try to call ahead and find out what is being served at children's birthday parties so that my kids can eat the same thing as the other party guests. Because most of the food is ready made, it more a matter of finding out the menu in advance and buying the equivalent gluten free food than actually cooking.

Goldfingers - Applegate Farms Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets
Pizza Bites - Udi's Pizza Crust with Tomato Sauce and Hormel Bite Size mini pepperoni cut with a biscuit cutter into rounds
French Fries - Potato Poppers
Cake - Foods by George Single Serving Brownie with Chocolate Frosting or French Meadow Bakery Gluten-Free Yellow Cupcakes