Dr. Vikki Petersen and Vitamin D

I want to share this video with you because there is some new research that Dr. Petersen discusses that might help someone struggling with Vitamin D Deficiency.

I decided to take a closer look at the vitamin supplements that we use:

This is the Liquid Multivitamin that I take by Country Life. From the website:

Does Not Contain: Yeast, wheat, soy, gluten, milk, artificial colors, artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners.

The Vitamin A in this multivitamin, is sourced 50% from Retinyl Palmitate (the pre-formed version of Vitamin A), and 50% Beta Carotene.  Click here for a great article on The World’s Healthiest Foods website re: Beta Carotene.

I also take a calcium supplement by Country Life, called Target Mins,  From the website:

Does Not Contain: Yeast, wheat, soy, gluten, milk, artificial colors, artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners.

This is the D3 Supplement that I take during the winter, also by Country Life.  From the website:

Does Not Contain: Yeast, wheat, soy, gluten, milk, starch, artificial colors, artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners.

Sam and Luke really like the flavor of the Animal Parade multivitamins by Nature’s Plus.  The best price I have found is on Amazon (180 vitamins for $14.51 with free shipping if you have Amazon Prime).  Be sure to talk with your child’s pediatrician before beginning a supplement program.

Click here for a a better view of the Supplement Facts.  The Vitamin A is sourced from Beta Carotene, so that is good but the Vitamin D in this product is ergocalciferol, or D2 (the less desirable form of Vitamin D).

I have been giving my boys Cod Liver Oil since they were under 1 year of age!  I am really glad I found Dr. Petersen’s video, since the cod liver oil competes with vitamin D absorption.  I will be looking for another DHA supplement for them right way.

This is the Vitamin D3 supplement that I give my boys during the winter, when they are not outside much getting their Vitamin D the natural way, from the sun.  I also buy this on Amazon.

I also want to suggest the following article on The World’s Healthiest Foods website: Vitamin D.  The article covers the role/benefits of Vitamin D, food sources of Vitamin D, and it also covers Deficiency and Toxicity symptoms.

Back in September, 2009; I had my doctor test my vitamin levels.  My Vitamin D3 came back at a “sufficient level” of 79.  Per my lab, the ranges are as follows:

Insufficiency:  < 20 ng/mL

Hypovitaminosis D:  20 – 30 ng/mL

Sufficiency: 40 – 100 ng/mL

Toxicity: Greater than 100 ng/mL

I actually need to watch how much Vitamin D supplementation I take (I do not supplement at all during the warm weather months because I live in a place with an abundance of sunshine and I spend a lot of time outdoors.  It is very important to talk to your health care provider about your specific needs.

Certain supplements can also affect your medications, which is another reason you should talk to your health care provider BEFORE beginning a vitamin/supplement program!  Case in point, calcium can affect how my body absorbs my thyroid replacement hormone so I need to space them out by at least 4 hours.

Lastly, I just ordered the following video and thought others might be interested too.  If the preview interests you, the full version can be ordered here, on the HealthNow website.

PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT a paid affiliate for any of these products.  I just want to share the information.

Happy Mother’s Day

I made this cake in honor of all of my “Super Mom” friends out there for Mother’s Day.  I adore you all, and appreciate your collaboration, friendship and support.

This is Jeanne’s (of Four Chickens) Gluten-Free Tres Leche Cake, that I told you about yesterday.  I made it last night so I would not have to be in the kitchen today.

I had my first slice for breakfast...

and my second slice for lunch...

Then my husband sent me off for a facial and a massage.  I was either so relaxed from getting pampered for a few hours or I was still on some kind of sugar high from the best gluten-free scratch cake I have ever made (thank you, Jeanne!), because I didn’t even realize that I left the salon with my shirt on inside out and backwards. 😀

You know what?  I didn’t even care.

Because I came home to this:

Sam and Luke built an amazing battle scene for me (and I was the “princess” they were fighting over!).  I love having boys. 😉

I hope you all had a very special day with the ones you love.

JASON Kids Only! Gluten Free Toothpaste

A recent funny post that Kim made over at Gluten-Free Is Life, titled “True Blogger Confessions,” got me to thinking about GF dental products, so I wanted to share the brand of toothpaste that I buy for my boys.  JASON Kids Only! is an all-natural line of products that are specifically designed for children. The following is some information from the JASON Everyday Natural Care website:

Safe and natural ingredients are crucial to a child’s health and wellness. Children’s skin is approximately 30% thinner than adults so pure and effective natural ingredients become ever more important. JASON Kids Only! are free of harsh chemicals and contain an abundance of natural essential oils and extracts to protect, hydrate and soothe. Delicious natural fruity flavors and fragrances to make bathing time fun! Easy to use packaging. Ten product range to cover a child from head to toe.

  • Kids Only! is Paraben and Sulfate Free
  • Kids Only! is Wheat and Gluten Free
  • Kids Only! is Mineral Oil, Lanolin and Petrolatum Free
  • Kids Only! is Fluoride and Glycol Free
  • Kids Only! is Tear and Phthalate Free

Sam and Luke love the taste of the Strawberry Toothpaste.  I love the fact that “Wheat and Gluten Free” are written right on the front of the tube! 😀

Ingredient Label for the Strawberry Toothpaste

JASON has an entire line of kid products that include shampoo, conditioner, bath gels, hand soap and toothpaste, all gluten-free!  Click here for a store locator in your area.  Know where I buy mine?  Toys R’ Us!

A couple of other quick things that you might be interested in:

In case you did not get to see the insert on Celiac Disease in the May 7th copy of the USA Today, you can read it in full here. For more great celiac awareness information, visit the American Celiac Disease Alliance.

Also, if you have a kiddo that loves pancakes, be sure to check out the NordicWare Pancake Pan Giveaway that Alta of Tasty Eats At Home is doing! Alta also made a GREAT post on Celiac and Gluten Intolerance Awareness yesterday.  Alta offered quite a few links to some wonderful resources that you may find as helpful as I have!  There are two in particular she linked to, that I want to draw your attention to (especially if you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle).  One is Shirley Braden’s (of Gluten-Free Easily) list of “50+ Things You Can Eat Today.” The other is by Karina Allrich (of Gluten Free Goddess) and it is called “Gluten-Free ABC’s for Going G-Free.”  Be sure to check out those links over at Tasty Eats At Home, and while you are there…  tempt yourself with these delectable GF Brownie Bites that Alta made (these would be great to make for Mother’s Day tomorrow!).  I mean really, with treats like that, who wouldn’t want to be gluten-free!? 🙂

Looking for more gluten-free Mother’s Day Inspiration?

Check out:

Amy’s Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream over at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free.

Jeanne’s Tres Leche Cake over at Four Chickens.

Jill’s Monkey Bread over at Hey, that taste’s good! (she’s not kidding, that tastes GOOD!)

New Mainstream Gluten Free Bread

Does this look like an illusion?  I thought so when I first saw it, but apparently, it is not!

Want to know more?  Check out Tiffany Janes article over at Celiac-Disease.com!

Tiffany brought up some very good points in her article about how the bread *might* be displayed in grocery stores, especially the concern about potential cross-contamination if the Gluten-Free Nature’s Own bread is placed in the regular bread aisle (I usually try to avoid that aisle myself, it makes me itch just thinking about it! 😉 ).

What do you think? Be sure to leave Tiffany a comment!

Green Eggs and Ham Quiche

My version was actually Green Eggs and Sausage, but that doesn’t have the same snazzy ring to it as Green Eggs and Ham!  The only reason I even used sausage is because that is what I had on hand for this final attempt at making a quiche (more of a breakfast casserole) for The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Quiche Challenge.  I have made many a quiche these last few weeks, but they were not well received by my clan.  I think I was getting a little too fancy for them.  The Goat Cheese and Leek quiche I made, received the lowest fanfare (although I liked it!), so an idea came to me to revise the popular school snack my boys have made at their preschool each year during Dr. Seuss week.  I wanted to make a naturally green egg dish to hopefully inspire their teachers that you can make better green eggs, without the synthetic food dye and some added nutrients! 😉

*At the end of this post is a video clip of Dr. Rodney Ford talking about eczema and gluten sensitivity that you might be interested in watching.

Goat Cheese and Leek Quiche with a Pie Crust Made from Garbanzo Beans! 😀

I wish I had more pictures to share of the steps I went through, but Sam decided to play with my camera and accidentally erased everything, including all the photos of my first experiments with my new BFF, Ms. Vitamix!  Yes, I have made a very large “Note to Self: Dump your camera after each photo session!”

Onward and upward as they say…  I found this recipe and used it as my inspiration for this naturally gluten-free version of Green Eggs and Ham Sausage Quiche!  I omitted the pie crust and went with a hash brown crust, simply because it was easier. 😉

For the crust:

4 cups of Frozen Shredded Hash Browns, thawed

1 Tbs. Oil (I used Grapeseed Oil, but Olive, Canola, etc. would work fine)

Salt and Pepper, to taste

  • Toss together the thawed hash browns, oil and seasonings.
  • Press into a 9 x 13 pan.

For the filling:

8 oz. of fresh spinach (I believe I used more, quite possibly double this amount, but I forgot to to weigh it beforehand.  The fresh spinach came in my CSA box, but it wasn’t labeled with the amount, so I just used it all!)

1 cup Smoked Ham (I used lowfat breakfast sausage)

1 1/2 cups Gruyere Cheese, shredded

10 Eggs (I used fresh, local free-range eggs that I get in my weekly CSA box, it may be in my head, but they taste so much better!)

2 2/3 cups of Milk (I used Skim)

1 cup Heavy Cream (I used Half and Half to lighten it up a bit)

Salt and Pepper to taste (the recipe I used for inspiration called for nutmeg too, but I tend save my nutmeg for pumpkin pie.  Not very evolved of me, I know!)

To make the filling:

  • Add fresh spinach (I did not blanch it, as called for in Nick’s recipe) and eggs to a blender or food processor (I used my Vitamix).  Puree until smooth.
  • Add milk and cream (or substitute) to the spinach/egg mixture and puree until combined.
  • Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

To assemble the Quiche:

  • In the shredded hash brown lined pan, sprinkle with ham (or sausage) and cheese.
  • Pour the spinach/egg custard over the hash brown, ham and cheese layer.
  • Bake at 325º F. for about 55 minutes, then check for doneness.  A knife inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Note: Once the initial quiche was done, there was a Pronounced spinach flavor (remember, I didn’t measure how much spinach I used!).  Once it was done baking, I had to add more cheese, salt and pepper, in order for it to be more palatable for my kiddos.  All I had was sharp cheddar, but it did the trick!!  I added about 1 1/2 cups more of shredded cheese (so much for lightening it up!). 🙂

The boys really liked it and they have been eating a square of it for breakfast each morning this week.  It reheats very well in the microwave.  I will definitely make this again, but I will just be sure to measure out the spinach next time. 😉

Linda is doing a Gluten-Free Cake Challenge for this month and that is more up my alley!  Be sure to check it out for what I am sure will be some very amazing recipes!

Speaking of gluten-free cakes, did you see Jeanne’s Tres Leche Cake over at Four Chickens?  Yummy.

In the spirit of gluten-free awareness month, I want to share a video clip with you of Dr. Rodney Ford talking about eczema and gluten sensitivity.  I posted a little bit about eczema and artificial colorings the other day on my “Funny Oranges” post.  Ron Hoggan, Ed.D., co-author of Dangerous Grains: Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous To Your Health, left a very informative comment to that post last night (thank you, Ron!), that I encourage you to read.  I have solely focused on reading about celiac disease over the past few years, but am starting to read more on the entire spectrum of gluten-sensitivity, and what I have been learning is mind boggling.  For further reading, check out The Gluten Syndrome.net

Funny Oranges

After I got the Breville Citrus Press and started making fresh squeezed orange juice each morning, I found myself knee deep in orange peels.  Instead of throwing them all away, I wondered if I could use some of them for a fun lunchbox treat.  I remembered seeing a recipe for Gelatin Oranges on Disney’s Family Fun website so I thought I would give it a try.  If you or your child has a beef allergy (gelatin), avoid artificial colorings, etc., keep reading…  this gets much better! 😉

These are relatively easy to make (and super easy if you have the Breville Citrus Press to do the juicing work for you!).

Funny Oranges

  • Just slice oranges in half and scoop out the fruit. Be sure to scrape well and remove all the orange pulp, you will want the inside of the orange to be white.
  • To keep the oranges upright, I used a muffin pan to set the oranges in.
  • Prepare gelatin (or substitute, see below) as indicated on the package.
  • Pour gelatin into the prepared orange halves and refrigerate until set.
  • Slice Orange halves and you will have a fun little treat for snacks or to stick in a lunchbox!

The juicer only does so much, I still had to peel the last bit of orange "stuff" out by hand.

Prop the hollowed out oranges in a muffin pan for support.

Pour prepared gelatin into orange halves.

After reading a few of the comments for the Easy Lunchbox Giveaway, I decided to send in tacos for a cool new lunch. Wish I had re-read the comments before I made them as I would have known NOT to assemble the taco the night before! They were pretty soggy come lunch time the next day, LOL! I always seem to learn the hard way. 😉 If you make a taco lunch, be sure to seperate all the components and let your child assemble their own taco at lunch time... this is "much cooler" anyway as they have their own taco bar!

So there’s that version.

I have been doing a lot of reading over the past few months on artificial colorings, dyes, preservatives, etc. and I’m now of the mind that “less is definitely more!”  Just yesterday, I was reading an article in the May/June 2010 issue of Well Being Journal titled, “ADHD Increase Linked to Modern Diet,” by Jane Hersey, pages 16 – 17.  In the article, Jane sited some research by Sanford C. Newmark, M.D., from the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine:

Research has shown a consistent relationship to the intake of artificial colors and/or preservatives on the symptoms of ADHD or hyperactivity.

After describing two large British studies linking food dyes and preservatives with hyperactivity, including one that was published in the Lancet, he concluded,

One can see how the intake of these substances could ‘shift’ in a positive direction the proportion of children diagnosed with ADHD.

The article went on to credit the late Ben Feingold, M.D. for first discovering the link between artificial food additives and hyperactivity.  I just read an article on the Feingold Association website pertaining to ezcema and ADD.  Seems that children with excema are far more likely to develop ADD (Wow, I didn’t know that.  I really encourage you to check out the Feingold Association website, there is some very interesting information on it, that only further demonstrates the negative effects of processed food on our health).  Funny, I had ezcema as a child and was diagnosed with Adult ADD about a year ago.  Luke also suffers from severe ezcema (worse than mine was as a child).  Hmmm…

Another startling fact that was mentioned in the article was the dramatic increase in American consumption of artificial dyes.  Consumption of these dyes has increased almost threefold since the 1980’s, rising from about 6.4  million pounds in 1985 to more than 17.8 million pounds in 2005!!

Last quote from the article that I want to mention, and I think it is very important that all parents think about this:

Newmark pointed out that since more and more families have two working parents, family meals increasingly consist of processed (additive-laden) foods.  “It is hard to know just when a Pop-Tart became an acceptable breakfast, but it often is.  School lunches are abysmal, with an unacceptably high intake of processed foods and [denatured] saturated fats.”

I just looked at my boys after reading the article and thought to myself, “They deserve better.  They have their entire lives ahead of them and I do not want to burden them with health problems (ironically, the very ones I have!), that I can control by simple diet modification.”  That’s right, I am the one who can potentially alter the course of their life and health by taking the time to think about what I am putting into their mouths.  While we already have the benefit of being a gluten-free family (which means we cannot eat most processed foods like Pop-Tarts, but there are obviously still many products like Jello and Koolaid that we can technically have, but probably shouldn’t!).

Needless to say, the rest of my Jello stash went into the trash, as did my remaining Koolaid stash (okay, I’ll admit it…  I was actually the closeted Koolaid drinker! 😉 ).

I have been experimenting with making my own “jello” from natural juice and pectin (the grape turned out to be a kickin’ Grape Jelly without added sugar or HFCS, but it really didn’t taste like Jello.  I have yet to try juice with gelatin, but I have that one on my short list.  I did however, find a really cool new product (new to me anyway) on a recent shopping excursion to my local co-op: Natural Desserts by the NutraDrink Company!!  Check this out from their website:

Natural Desserts’ line of flavored and unflavored Dessert Jels are a truly unique line of gluten free, vegan, dairy free, Kosher dessert jells that are truly indistinguishable from gelatin, yet are manufactured using an exclusive blend of vegetable gums.  Perfect as a simple dessert all by itself, or marvelous for use in the most elaborate mold.

They even have pudding!!  I have yet to find the pudding in my local store, but I am definitely on the hunt. 😀

So, I re-made the oranges with the All-Natural Strawberry flavored Jel Dessert:

This product is still high in sugar, so moderation is key.

We really liked these quite a bit, even though Sam is still hung up on the green Jello. Wonder if I could make a spinach/apple combo juice and just add the unflavored Jel for a natural and healthy green color?? He might disown me... but it's worth a try! 😀

Update: At the suggestion of Deanna, I just submitted this recipe to the May “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free” monthly recipe roundup (it’s a Jello theme for May), being hosted by Mrs. Ed’s Research and Recipes.  This is my first time participating in this monthly event and I am so happy that Deanna mentioned it to me, because it introduced me to a new blog that I am excited to read.  Anyone can participate in this blog carnival, you do not need to be a blogger to join in on the fun!  The “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free” blog carnival was created by Naomi Devlin over at “Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried.”  What a fun way to make cooking at home an even more rewarding experience.  It’s like sitting at the kitchen table, swapping gluten-free recipes and the stories behind them, with great friends over a hot cup of coffee.  🙂

Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Yesterday, my shipment of Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt Covered Pretzels arrived!  There has been quite a bit of buzz around this new product since the announcement was made in March on Food Biz Daily, so the second I heard they were available for sale on GlutenFree.com, I had to order some.  Sam used to love the Pretzel Flipz back in his gluten days so I decided to wait and let him be the one to open the package and be the first sampler.

Now, Sam is only 6 so his taste-testing and critiquing skills are still rather limited, as is his database of descriptive words, so keep that in mind with his review (it’s a short one, LOL!).

Sam: GLUUUU-TEN, yeah, yeah, gluten!

Translation: The Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt covered pretzels taste just as good as the Pretzel Flipz in Sam’s memory!

Click the following links for ingredient and nutritional information: Glutino Chocolate Covered Pretzels and Glutino Yogurt Covered Pretzels.

My review: the Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt covered pretzels ARE good, however, they are kind of pricey after you add in the shipping costs.  I ordered one 5.5-ounce package of each flavor from GlutenFree.com, each retailing for $5.99.  After adding in the $12.00 shipping cost, each package essentially cost $12.00.  I cannot wrap my brain around that, no matter how good they are.  I would definitely buy these again, but I will wait until they are available in local stores.  Until then, I will just keep making my own (with Glutino’s GF pretzels of course!).  There is an added benefit to making my own too…  I have to make them in order to eat them, so there is a built in “self-control” mechanism going on.  When the Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt Covered Pretzels hit my local store shelves, I might be in trouble in the waistline department! 🙂

These are my homemade version of Glutino Chocolate Covered Pretzels... they are certainly not as pretty and I do not have a Yogurt version! I do have white chocolate though, hmm... 😉