Thursday, September 16, 2010


We have been cooking with a lot of teff around these parts. It is packed with vitamins and minerals (twice as much iron as wheat), and contains all 8 essential amino acids. It is high in protein and helps control blood sugar (great for diabetics). It is also gluten-free. Teff originates in Ethiopia, and some conjecture that Ethiopians always win so many marathons because they eat a lot of teff. Who knows.

This is one of my favorite teff recipes so far:
Banana Teff Pancakes. They are also egg-free and taste fabulous with real maple syrup. I have also made teff gingerbread muffins that are pretty good. I grind my own flour because otherwise it is a little pricey. The grain is so small that I have to turn the grinder on before I put the teff in or it slips right through.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I just found the best wheat-free, egg-free, sugar-free cookie recipe. And it still tastes good. Shocker, I know. It comes from this Cookbook, although I adapted it a little.

2 medium bananas, mashed
1/4 cup (60 ml) raw coconut oil 

1/4 cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract

1 cup (240 ml) old-fashioned rolled oats

2/3 cup (160 ml) sorghum flour (or brown rice flour)
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking soda

1/2 cup (120 ml) shredded unsweetened coconut

pinch fine sea salt

1/4 cup (60 ml) semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
In a medium bowl, combine bananas, oil, syrup, and vanilla. In a separate medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, coconut and salt. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and blend until just combined (do not over mix). Fold in the chocolate chips.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop batter by heaping teaspoons onto the sheet. Place in oven and bake 14 minutes (or less depending on your oven) or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and place directly on a wire rack to cool.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I could never figure out why so many people were outraged at the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup in processed foods. I couldn't see how it was any different than sugar processed from beets or cane. Why the fuss? Well, I was naive. Read here.

After reading more about genetically modified foods and the role they might have in causing food allergies, my perspective changed. Most corn products in this country come from genetically modified corn. And now that I am dealing with my husband's corn allergy, I have noticed that HFCS really is in everything. Ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressing, spaghetti sauce...everything! To avoid HFCS I have to buy organic or make it from scratch. It drives me crazy.

The kicker is that HFCS can be contaminated with mercury (read Here, and Here). HFCS became the sweetener of choice for pop, etc. in the 80's. Soon after we started to see an increase in autism, food allergies, and autoimmune diseases (like diabetes). Maybe it's a coincidence. Either way, I think we'll steer clear.

Here is a table comparing the symptoms of mercury poisoning to the symptoms of autism.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Vitamin D

A lot of researchers are blaming all of our current health problems on vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is a nation-wide epidemic. Doctors are seeing cases of rickets for the first time in decades. Many attribute the rise of food allergies/autism/autoimmune disease in the last 20 years to the advice to "stay out of the sun" and "wear sunblock" that started in the 80's.

Here are some articles from pubmed on vitamin D deficiency:

Regional differences in EpiPen prescriptions in the United States: the potential role of vitamin D
The vitamin D epidemic and its health consequences
Autism and vitamin D

I am proud to say I haven't really put sunblock on my children all summer (ok, a little on the baby). I also force them outside for 20 minutes in the mid-day sun to soak up some rays. For more info visit: The Vitamin D Council.

On a positive note, HERE is a wheat, dairy, soy, egg, and nut free pop tart recipe.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Book Review

One of the most interesting books I have read lately is "The Unhealthy Truth" by Robyn O'Brien. It is a must read if you have children with food allergies or behavioral problems. She has children with food allergies, and is trying to dig deep and get to the bottom of the allergy epidemic. She explores many theories, the biggest one being GM foods.

Genetically modified foods were released into our supermarkets in 1994. Since then, there has been a surge in food allergies (400% increase). Maybe it is a coincidence. Maybe not. We don't know because there is no research being done, and no regulations in place. Many countries around the world have banned GM foods, or required them to be labeled. Many countries have also banned the use of artificial colors.

Kraft has taken artificial colors and flavors out of their foods in the U.K., but not the United States. Mars and Coca-Cola have followed suit and taken additives out of their U.K. products. Many other countries have banned the use of artificial dyes and additives that have been proven to be harmful.

Another interesting thing I learned in this book is that mast cells (the cells involved in allergic reactions) are linked to a possible increase in pancreatic cancer, according to an April 24, 2008 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Also, If you haven't looked into the feingold diet, you should. I have read hundreds of online forums and SO many mothers swear that going off of artificial colors, flavors, chemicals, and preservatives completely changed their child's life. If you don't want to pay to join, you can do some googling to find out more about what is allowed on the feingold diet.

Oh, and buying organic is the only way to be assured that you are not eating genetically modified food.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Book Review

I just finished reading "Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet" by Elaine Gottschall. She tells the amazing story of how she healed her daughter from severe ulcerative colitis (that didn't respond to steroids or medication) through diet. Right before they were to have her colon removed, they met a doctor who put her on a specific carbohydrate diet (SCD). Within two years she was completely healed and symptom free (although they saw immediate progress). She was able to go back to eating normally and has remained healthy since.

The most interesting part of the book was the chapter on the brain-gut connection. Many patients that are put on this diet find that their psychiatric/neurological symptoms (schizophrenia, epilepsy, hyperactivity, autism, seizures, etc.) are resolved even before their intestinal symptoms improve. Which made sense to me because my husband met a lady at our health food store that claimed to have completely cured her epilepsy by going gluten-free.

Here is an interesting case report that my aunt sent me.