Archive for the ‘Organic And Gluten Free’ Category

Protecting our kids from harm is a mother’s biggest responsibilty, be it from strangers, physical harm, or even chemicals and preservatives in our food. Thankfully there are some ways we can cut back on the amount of harmful substances that enter into our bodies, and “going organic” is an easy and “green” way to do it.

How do you know its organic? What are the standards?
Supporting organic farms and growers is easy to do, whether you have access to a farmer’s market or a large supermarket. Look for product labeled “organic”, “100% organic”, and for even more brand confidence look for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) seal. Simply “organic” products are those grown, raised, prepared and processed with at least 95% organic ingredients or processes, and the remaining ingredients must be on the approved USDA National List. “100% organic” products are created. raised, processed and prepared with only organic incgredients, with no additions of any kind. Both of these types of products must not be produced using excluded methods, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation. Products labeled, “Made with organic ingredients” must contain at least 70% organic ingredients, can include up to three types of ingredients that are certified organic, and can include the markings of the certifying agency, but can not be labeled with the USDA seal anywhere on the packaging.

What does organic mean?
Organic products do not contain any chemicals, substances or preservatives that are considered unhealthy by the USDA. Chicken that is labeled organic is most likely free range (not caged) chickens that are fed with pure and natural feed that do not include any growth hormones, fattening agents, or antibiotics. Veggies that are labeled organic are grown with no pesticides or chemicals, and are processed using methods that do not require these products either.

What are the farmer standards?

The USDA requires all growing organizations to be certified after a vigorous inspection of their farming procedures by and accrediting USDA agent. Farms and ranches that make more than a $5,000 profit on the items that they sell must be certified by the USDA to use organic labeling.

Why go organic?

Foods that are organic taste better, are better for you, and even make you healthier! Organically grown vegetables have been scientifically proven to have larger amounts of antioxidants, and obviously lower amounts of harsh substances and cancer causing compounds. Lands that use only organic fertilizers are more healthy than those poisoned by chemicals and phosphates, and this helps to protect the waters and ecosystems around the farm as well. And any food that is raised with only compost, sunshine and clean water is definitely going to more yummy than a food that is loaded with chemicals, fillers, and byproducts. Foods that do not contains these harmful substances do not pose the same risks to pregnant women, infants, and young children that chemically processed foods do. You are protecting not only your immediate family, but the next generation as well.

Organic Recipes

There are a host of websites promoting the green movement and organic foods. Check out sites like  Organic.com for games and recipes that your little ones will enjoy. Or try Horizon Dairy for great tasting meals and snacks all made with your child in mind. And try Babyzone for organic goodies for your toddler.

But what about plastics?

There are a lot of chemicals and harmful substances used in making everything from baby toys to the dishes and silverware we use to eat on. One of these in Bisphenol-A, or BPA, which can leach into the foods we eat and the water and juices we drink from the plastic packaging used to display it. To avoid such contamintants, only buy plasticware, plates, forks, spoons, leftover containers and baby bottles that are marked BPA-Free, or pthalate-free. Don’t heat plastic items in the microwave, and don’t wrap your leftovers in cling wrap.If you aren’t sure whether or not your plastic items are free of Bisphenol-A, (BPA) look for the #7 stamped into the container.

These rules are easy to follow and will help you keep your family and future generations safer and healthier.

The subject of gluten and its relation to child behavior, problem solving skills, general health, and links to diseases like Aperger’s and Autism make it a hotbed for debate. Just “googling” the term gluten free brings you a million+ results about the dos and don’ts of a gluten free and often casein, or dairy free diet. The two have even been combined into one term in a lot of cases, called the GFCF diet. As the mother of a 7 month old little boy, I keep a pretty good watch for symptoms of the Autism spectrum, as my genetic history is predisposed to some of the markers. I myself have been tested for some of the markers, thankfully most of my symptoms related to shyness, not blatant social issues, so I escaped the dreaded Autistic label, but there are kids out there who have gone from being totally introverted, screaming at the slightest stressor, to calm, vocal, and even “normal” (FYI: THERES NO SUCH THING), all because of a change in their diet. 

The cause of the strong reactions to stressors while consuming a gluten and casein based diet, usually high in processed foods, breads, and dairy products is because when the body processes gluten, it triggers an opiate-like (read: hallucinogenic) reaction in the brain. The constant firing of this trigger upsets the brain’s reaction to any number of stimuli, and can lead to emotional, physical, and mental issues in a fully healthy non-spectrum adult, much less an autistic child. Removing the trigger regulates the brain functioning, improving attitude, energy levels, health, and even outlook.

Gluten Free:

If your child has been diagnosed with Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, or is acting out, talking in class, has an inability to focus, or just won’t sit still, try changing their diet to a GFCF diet. Now I know what you’re thinking. “All my kid eats is bread, cheese, cookies, pretzels, etc… won’t they starve?” the answer is no. There are hundreds of items that contain no gluten or casein whatsoever, such as:

Chicken, Turkey, Poultry, Beef, Veal, Pork, Lamb, Fish, Shellfish, Eggs, Corn, Potatoes, Yams, Sweet Potatoes, Rice, Quinoa, Millet, Buckwheat, Beans, Lentils, Polenta, Fruits, and Veggies. You can use rice flour, corn flour, brown rice flour, cornstarch, and soy, to substitute for wheat flour.

The idea behind the diet is not to starve your kid, but to replace the bad with good. Often times a gluten-free diet is much healthier than the average child’s diet, because you aren’t allowed to eat a lot of the processed foods that come ready made, such as Chef Boyardee, frozen pizzas, cookies and cakes. With the new healthy decision making in the grocery store, you will improve not only your family’s health, but your child’s well-being in a large number of different areas, thereby reducing stress on you! It’s a win win!

Casein (Dairy) Free:

MOO! There is debate about the casein protein found in dairy also causing a large number of emotional and mental disorder symptoms among kids and adults, which is why a lot of people go gluten free and dairy free at the same time. Believe it or not, humans are not supposed to drink cow’s milk. We are supposed to drink human milk, or breastmilk. Seeing that breastmilk  has yet to be commercially harvested, (thank goodness) we supplement with cows milk, which often times creates an inability to process the lactose and milk sugars found in the cows milk, ie lactose intolerance, which is no fun for anyone, kid or adult. More than half of the human population has trouble digesting milk and items that contain dairy. Removing this item from your diet can improve energy levels, tummy regularity, and even make you happier!

Vitamin Free?

Of course, we drink milk for the calcium. But there are a number of veggies that make up for the loss if you add them to your recipes on a consistent basis. Spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, broccoli, almost every dark green leavy vegetable offers a great source of calcium, and no tummy troubles. If it’s still a problem, consider a multivitamin, but look for one that says gluten-free.

Where to Shop:

Trader Joes and Whole Foods Market are great for organic, vegan, all-natural, GFCF, and dairy free items. Only 2% of items found at Trader Joes are considered less than 100% natural, and if you ever find a label on a product at Whole Foods that says less than natural or artificial you are encouraged to report it to the manager. By now you know my spiel on reading labels. The best way to live healthy is to know exactly what you are eating.

Words to avoid when reading your labels: wheat, flour, oats, barley, rye, spelt, malt, triticum, durum, bulgur, kamut, fu, couscous, semolina, hyrolyzed vegetable protein, hyrolyzed plant protein, modified food starch, natural flavoring, non-distilled vinegar, Color No. ? dyes and Lakes, preservative, milk, dairy, whey, curd, caseinate, cream, butter, lactose, maragarine, cheese, yogurt, pudding, ice cream, caramel, lactic acid, lactic starter culture, soy sauce.