Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gluten Free Dairy Free Coffee "Frappuccino"

The cashews and almond milk give this dairy free "frappuccino" a creamy and milky taste. Oat bran is the nutrient dense outer layer of the oat grain. The oat bran adds B vitamins and iron to this coffee smoothie giving you long lasting energy. You can swap out the coffee for a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, cocoa or a cup of berries for kids. I like to blend the ingredients without the ice first so that the cashews and oat bran are well blended. Then I add the ice and continue blending until the ice is blended well. The oat bran makes has a ton of fiber so it makes it thick--but drink it right away because the fiber can become too thick after a while.

1/4 cup (4 ounces) coffee
3/4 cup Silk almond milk
1/4 cup cashews (or 1 handful)
2 tablespoons gluten free oat bran
2-4 teaspoons agave (or maple syrup)
1& 1/2 cups ice

Combine coffee, almond milk, cashews, oat bran and agave in the Vitamix or high speed blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes to make it into a milk. Add the ice and blend for 1 to 2 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Related posts:
Gluten Free Oat Bran

Monday, July 29, 2013

MTHFR Support with Tim Jackson

Tim Jackson, Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) came highly recommended by my friend Amie Valpone, at The Healthy Apple. Tim Jackson is an expert on methylation and MTHFR gene mutations and is practitioner at MTHFR Support

I did a Q & A with him to share with readers who might want more information on the topic of the MTHFR gene. There are several genetic variants. The C677T mutation and the A1298C mutation. Knowing you have the mutation can help you take steps to prevent issues from occurring in the future and can help you to get a handle on whether a faulty MTHFR gene is having an impact on current health problems.

Answers by Dr. Tim Jackson, DPT, who can be reached at: 

Q: I was diagnosed with a double copy of the A1298 MTHFR genetic mutation. What does this mean?  
A: In general, the A1298 SNP is more associated with neuro-immune issues, while the 677 version has more to do with cardiovascular issues.  It is not uncommon to find individuals with Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc. to have the A1298 MTHFR SNP.  

Q: What should I do about it? 
A: This topic is too broad for me to cover here, but there are likely other SNPs being expressed that need to be addressed before MTHFR.  In addition, you should make sure your gut is healthy before detoxing the liver too much.  Otherwise, you may reabsorb the toxins.   

Q: What is an MTHFR genetic mutation? 
A:  The MTHFR enzyme specifically helps with the conversion of folic acid to methylfolate, the biologically active form that our cells can use. Why is this enzyme so important?  We need methylfolate and the methylation cycle as a whole to make glutathione, our body’s major detoxification molecule and free radical scavenger.  In addition, methylation is involved in T-cell production(an important immune molecule), as well as the production of serotonin and dopamine.  In short, methylation affects every system of the body either directly or indirectly.  Technically, a MTHFR genetic mutation is a SNP, or single nucleotide polymorphism.  Our DNA has a four-letter alphabet consisting of A, T, C and G.  A SNP means the wrong letter was put down in the wrong place at the wrong time.  This makes the enzyme that that particular gene is coding for less efficient.  However, just because we have a SNP does not mean it is being expressed.  Any type of stressor can trigger a SNP to be expressed—a car accident, a traumatic birth, emotional stress, poor diet, etc.  

Q: What conditions are associated with a MTHFR genetic mutation?  
A: It’s probably easier to list the conditions that aren’t associated with it!  Here’s the short list: autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, several types of cancer, PCOS, thyroid disorders, depression, insomnia, and many, many more.  

Q:  Who should get tested to see if they have the MTHFR genetic mutation? 
A: I encourage anyone with any nagging symptoms that affect several bodily systems to get tested, as well as anyone with any of the above named conditions.  

Q: Why do some people who have this genetic defect and are prescribed 5 methylfolate for it not do well? 
A: There are a few reasons.  One potential reason is that they may have other SNPs that may need to be addressed prior to working on MTHFR.  A CBS SNP is an example of this, as it can potentially make supplementing with B12 and methylfolate cause a worsening of symptoms.  CBS is a SNP that, if expressing, may cause elevated sulfate and ammonia levels.  If it is not addressed before one supplements with B vitamins, those levels may further increase.  Another reason may be that that person may detoxify too quickly and may need to be on a much lower dosage of B12 and methylfolate.  

Q: What type of doctor would understand this condition?  
A: Great question!  This is not taught in medical school or even naturopathic school.  You have to learn this information on your own.  Methylation connects a lot of bodily systems so there is a huge potential loss of revenue for Big Pharma if methylation is addressed.  By the time a certification process is established for this information, newer, more relevant information will be available.  People who have studied this information are early adopters in general.  

Q: Where can people go to have this test done and who can properly advise them about what steps to take to offset this condition? 
A: If you only want to be tested for MTHFR, you can have it done at Labcorps or your local lab.  If you want to look at the other SNPs that play a role in the methylation process, I recommend doing the 23andme test.  As far as who can advise you on the results, geneticists generally do not understand this field of epigenetics—meaning that genes can be switched on or off by environmental signals.  They’re stuck on genetic determinism, i.e., if you have a mutation there is nothing that can be done about it.  

Q: It is so confusing (even for many doctors.) What resources can you point people toward so they can inform themselves and get help?
A: is a great resource that I’m a part of.  Also, here is a link to an interview I did on the topic: Methylation and Gut Health on MTHFR Support Blog Talk Radio. Lastly, you can check out my colleagues website at    

Thanks to  Dr. Tim Jackson, DPT, who can be reached at: .

For more information on his practice, go to Dr. Time Jackson on MTHFR Support or find info on/like Dr.Tim Jackson on his Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2013 Sleep Away Camps for Kids on a Gluten Free Diet

2013 Sleep Away Camps for Kids on a Gluten Free Diet

Instead of cooking, I have spent the last few days writing letters to my kids at sleep away camp and looking at photos of them online. It's amazing to me that sleep away camps can accommodate kids who are gluten free and dairy free. I really thought that my son would never be able to go away to camp so having him at Dream Week for four days does feel like a dream come true.

There is a special person to coordinate meals for kids with allergies at Point O' Pines, the camp my daughter has attended for four years. At Indian Head, where my son attended Dream Week, the head chef overseas the gluten free/dairy free meals. Chef Mike, at Indian Head, has served gluten free food for years because a favorite counselor has celiac.  When I spoke Chef Mike at Indian Head, he explained that the gluten free and dairy free kids all eat the same food that the other campers are eating--and he makes a lot of it from scratch.

Here is a list of the camps that have been personally recommended that serve gluten free food...

Camp Wah-Nee "Special things are cooked for them so they eat the same as the rest of the camp and they always have alternatives that they love. It has been great. My girls go to Camp Wah-nee where they are so accommodating. This year the camp brought in a nutritionist working to help the camp and we have gone through every meal. They get the alternative food. The girls have their own toaster and are to keep food and have full access to it."

Fernwood Cove

Indian Head Camp "A favorite camp counselor has celiac so they have been making gluten free food for many years." It is a 7 week camp but they have a four day Dream Week program where kids can try out the camp--and the food.

Point O' Pines Camp for Girls "A member of the staff at Point O'Pines is on a gluten free diet so they make gluten free food that for staff as well as campers who are on gluten free diets. They have made a huge effort to provide substitutes."

Tripp Lake Camp "They have been so accomodating. We love it."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ansley's Spicy Shrimp Salad

Ansley, my assistant/sitter/organizer/cook, made this delicious shrimp salad for my seven year old in the spring when we were trying to think of things he might like to eat. Alex is a burger/steak/tacos kid but we are thrilled he now likes shrimp which are easy to find and naturally gluten free.

1 pound shrimp-cooked and peeled
1/2 cup Helman's mayonnaise
1/2 lemon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1) Remove tail from shrimps.
2) Cut each shrimp into 3 pieces and place in a bowl.
3) Add lemon juice and stir to coat shrimp. 
4) In a small bowl, stir together mayo, cayenne pepper, mustard powder and salt until well combined. 
5) Combine with the peeled shrimp.
6) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with rolls, toast or on a salad--or with crackers as an appetizer.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Gluten Free in the Hamptons: Simply Sublime in East Hampton

Simply Sublime is a much needed health food store and market that serves breakfast and lunch on Springs Fireplace Road in East Hampton. They have a selection of items that are gluten free and some that are gluten free and vegan. Organic smoothies, fresh juices and prepared items are also on the menu. Simply Sublime offers all their panini sandwiches on gluten free wraps. (Make sure to ask if they are using a dedicated gluten free panini press or request that they use foil on the non-dedicated press.) 

There are a variety of gluten free and vegan options including a gluten free and vegan chocolate chocolate cupcake which is simply amazing. (We just bought a dozen of them!) Simply Sublime is a little outside of town--but it's worth the trip. They sell an impressive variety of hard to find gluten free products including bread, focaccia and pints of gluten free/vegan cashewtopia ice cream made from cashew nut milk. There is a small table inside and a picnic table outside for people who want to eat in.
85 Springs Fireplace Road
East Hampton, NY 11937
Tel: 631-604-1566

PROS: The dedicated and hardworking owners have put a lot of thought into the products they carry and make. They have a large selection of tasty gluten free, vegan snacks and menu items. They currently serve organic smoothies and I  was impressed by their wanting to go 100% organic by next summer. 

CONS: Staff did not let us know that the panini press was not gluten free--we had to enquire and request foil--each time we ordered. The cross contamination might be okay for some people but for others it puts their health at risk. Website, while  nicely done, is quite slow to load and  doesn't work on an iPhone so it can be hard to access information.