Gluten Free Cooking for Kids

gluten free cooking for kids

It’s one thing to have to cook gluten free as an adult but what about gluten free cooking for kids? Gluten free cooking for kids can be a challenge however, the book gluten free cooking for kids by Phil Vickery is here to help. I found this book for $3 on the specials table at Barnes and Noble and picked it up and I’m really glad I did. Gluten Frook Cooking for Kids is an extremely well written book chock full of information, step by step instructions and nice full color photos.

At the beginning of the book there is a list of gluten free alternatives to those foods that do contain gluten as well as comprehensive explanation of which foods have gluten. He has also included basic recipes for chicken stock, vegetable stock, a short pastry and two different gluten free flour mixes.

There is a nice variety of recipes for all ocasions including gluten free homemade baby food, popsicles, crunchy chicken mcnuggets, quiche, pizzas, and more. The only downside to this book is that it is called Gluten Free Cooking for Kids and there are definately some recipes in this book for things that are more adult oriented and that leave me wondering if a child would ever really want to eat that. For example, roasted chickpea, tomato, pepper and taleggio pasta, chicken pot roast with cider and apples, and spicy sausage pilaf sound yummy to me but I know a lot of kids who wouldn’t ever touch those things.

Another nice feature of his book is that it tells you how many servings, as well as the preparation and cooking times for each recipe. The majority of the recipes are also dairy free although a few do have cheese or other milk ingrienents.

Purchase the book from Amazon at: Gluten-Free Cooking for Kids

Gluten Free Dairy Free Vegetable Soup

gluten free dairy free vegetable soup

Do you struggle to cook gluten free dairy free vegetable soup? While it’s true that many recipes for soups call for things like cream of chicken soup, or tomato soup that have wheat flour in them and therefore aren’t gluten free, it really isn’t too difficult to cook a gluten free dairy free vegetable soup. Most of the time when I’m cooking gluten free and dairy free soups and or other recipes I follow an exact recipe. However, once in a while I will experiment and see what I come up with. I made with my mom for dinner this really yummy gluten free dairy free vegetable soup last week and it turned out too yummy to not post.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Vegetable Soup
Serves 3
This is a delicious gluten free dairy free soup that I cooked with my mom while using whatever we had in our fridge. It turned out so good I decided to post it here.
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Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. Chicken Broth
  2. Carrots
  3. Onions
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Zucchini
  6. Cheyenne Pepper
Instructions
  1. Shop vegetables into small pieces.
  2. Cook until about half cooked.
  3. Add in 1-2 cans of chicken broth in pan.
  4. When done sprinkle in a small amount of Cheyenne Pepper.
Health coach for allergies, sensory issues and autism http://annalaurabrown.com/

What do you think? Do you want to try and cook this recipe? Do you have other recipes for gluten free dairy free vegetable soups that you enjoy?

Special Diets for Special Kids

The book “Special Diets for Specail Kids” is a nice big book with over 350 pages. Updated a couple of times, the most recent edition was published in 2011 however, the information is still very relevant.  This book is based on the idea that the Gluten Free Casein Free diet is the best one for children with autism, sensory issues and or ADD/ADHD.  The book starts with a very thorough introduction about why diet changes can help special kids as well as explaining the various ways to get tested for allergies and food sensitivities. The next chapter talks about nutritional support including an overview of the various vitamins and nutrients and the role they play in health. The next chapter is called How and What to Feed Your Child. This chapter talks about how to start the gluten free casein free diet and what exactly to feed your child.  The rest of the book is divided into chapters based on meals and types of food including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Also included are recipes on how to make dairy free milks, gluten free breads and recipes for holidays including Christmas and Thanksgiving.

The book also includes a CD at the back with the recipes in PDF format on it. While I’ve read a lot of books on special diets for special  kids I have to say this is one of if not the best one. The recipes are for the most part simple and made with ready to find ingredients. The book is made with pictures and bigger print making it easier to read and follow along. In fact, even some children may be able to follow the recipes if they are old enough and can read.

The biggest disadvantage to the book “Special Diets for Special Kids” is that the focus is exclusively on the Gluten Free Casein Free diet. While this is great for parents who are trying out or using this diet with their kids, there are other diets such as paleo and this book does not take these diets into account at all.

Buy a copy of the book here. Special Diets for Special Kids, Volumes 1 and 2 Combined: Over 200 REVISED and NEW gluten-free casein-free recipes, plus research on the positive … ADHD, allergies, celiac disease, and more!

My Take on the Gluten Free for Non-Celiacs Debate

gluten free for non celiacs

Is gluten free for non-celiacs a good idea? This is a controversial topic and if you weren’t already aware of it, you will be by the time you finish reading this blog post. I want to start by saying that if you think you might have celiac disease or that your child might have it, you want to make sure and get tested before doing gluten free. That said, should you go gluten free if you are a non-celiac? Your doctor says no you don’t have celiac disease, so do you or don’t you go gluten free?

Here are my thoughts about why gluten free for non-celiacs is such a controversy.

1. Actually getting a positive test for celiac is hard. Although it’s getting easier than it used to be, if you get too sick when you eat gluten, then you may not be able to get a test for celiac. This is what happened with me. I had a positive blood test for a gluten sensitivity, but actually testing for celiac became impossible because I could not eat enough gluten, I was too sick. So what if this is your situation? Should you still go gluten free? Well I think you would agree with me that if you are sick all the time and going gluten free makes you feel better then that would be an obvious yes.

2. Many doctors and other people will claim that because their isn’t any clear science or scientific evidence that going gluten free without having celiac is beneficial and therefore you shouldn’t do it and it is just a fad. However, there are also studies that have been published in medical journals showing that gluten can contribute to or make worse at least 30 other illnesses not including celiac disease. For example this study on the impact of gluten and mood disorders. or this one talking about various gluten related disorders. In summary, there are studies and scientific research that shows that you do not have to have celiac disease in order to benefit from eating gluten free.

3. Many people have jumped on the gluten free diet bandwagon just because they want to lose weight or they somehow think that gluten free eating is healthier than eating gluten. The reality is though that gluten free doesn’t mean healthy. There are plenty of gluten free foods that are just processed junk foods. In order for gluten free to be healthy, you still need to watch your intake of sugars and carbs and you need to eat a large amount of fruits and vegetables. Gluten free for non-celiacs is fine and in some cases very necessary but it doesn’t automatically mean healthy.

4. The increase in gluten free for non-celiacs has caused problems for those who do have celiac disease as well as those with a severe sensitivity and or allergy when eating out and sometimes with other supposedly gluten free foods. This usually happens because of cross contamination. While restaurants and manufactures of foods are improving, it can still be problematic. For example then cheerios first became available as gluten free lots of people still got sick because of how they were being made gluten free. Some restaurants now label certain gluten free foods as gluten friendly rather than gluten free. This generally means that food is safe for people avoiding gluten for nutrition or as part of a diet such as keto or paleo, but isn’t safe for people with celiac disease or a severe allergy.

5. Gluten free has become popular with certain segments of the population such as those with autism, or other auto-immune disorders. While the science may or may not agree with how beneficial it is and every so often a new article will come out that claims that gluten free for non-celiacs isn’t beneficial, at the end of the day, if you or your child feels better while eating gluten free and you can do it in a way that is healthy, then why not?

What do you think about gluten free for non-celiacs? Share in the comments below.

Are there benefits to going gluten free without a gluten sensitivity?

gluten sensitivity

Are there benefits to going gluten free without a gluten sensitivity? This is a complicated question to answer however, I’m going to do my best to answer it. There are many things to consider before deciding to go gluten free. First you need to make sure that you are not celiac because once you have implemented a gluten free lifestyle you cannot be tested for celiac as you must be eating gluten to get a diagnosis. Second, once you have determined you are not celiac, figuring out if you have a gluten sensitivity can be harder than it seems. If you have some or most of the symptoms of celiac disease but do not actually have it, then it’s easy to say that yes you do have a gluten sensitivity. However, gluten can be bothering you in more subtle ways that you may not be aware of.

Gluten can for some people be at the root cause of:

Thyroid issues
Headaches and or migraines
Heartburn
Constipation
Adrenal Fatigue or just feeling tired a lot
Weight gain that you can’t figure out why it’s happening
Arthritis
Muscle aches and pains
Insomnia or trouble sleeping

That said just because you have one or more of these things does not mean that you should stop eating gluten. It is simply one thing to consider from a whole list of things that could be bothering you. For more information read this article. This is your gut on gluten by Dr. Amy Myers

Once you have decided that you may benefit from a gluten free lifestyle, the best bet is to do an elimination diet and remove it from your diet for 2-4 weeks. Then evaluate how you feel. If you do not see any improvements and you do not have an autoimmune disease or other chronic condition, then you may be okay with eating some gluten periodically.

Even then you have to realize that one of the biggest reasons that many people have a gluten sensitivity, is that they are eating a lot of highly processed foods and refined flours with gluten in them. If you eliminate those foods and eat only 100% whole wheat bread or things like ezekiel bread which is made of only live whole grains then you may be able to digest gluten with fewer problems.

In conclusion, unless you have celiac disease, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity as a formal diagnosis, only you can really decide if you should give you gluten. If you do go gluten free, please do it in a healthy way rather than consuming all the gluten free junk products you can just because they are gluten free.

I also encourage you to read this post and implement the advice in it.
Top 10 gluten free mistakes and how to avoid them

The Beginners Guide to a Gluten Free Diet for Children

gluten free diet for children

Starting a gluten free diet for children can be harder and require a different strategy than implementing a gluten free diet for adults. However, it can be done successfully and without causing you to go nuts or lose all your hair. In this beginners guide to a gluten free diet for children, let me help you figure out how to do this.

1. Start slowly. Unless your child has celiac disease, you will want to slowly implement a gluten free diet rather than doing it cold turkey. If your child does have celiac, then you will have to go cold turkey and while that can be more difficult in some ways it can be done.

2. Have a chat with your child about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Most children will be more open to diet changes, when they understand the why behind it. Make sure your child understands why he or she needs to be gluten free. Get the help of a doctor, nutritionist or health coach if needed.

3. Find ways to create your child’s favorite foods using gluten free ingredients. One of my favorite resources for this is pinterest. You can check out my board with gluten free recipes for some ideas. There are very few foods that cannot be made in a gluten free version if you try hard enough and if you know what you are doing.

4. Put your entire family on a gluten free diet if possible. This is especially important during the first month of two of the gluten free diet for children. It is also crucial that you stick to it while at home. When eating out or at school or away from home, you can usually implement a gluten free diet for children only with that child. However, at home it is easier to cook one meal and to just have the entire family eat the same things.

5. Focus on making the bulk of your diet include foods that are naturally gluten free such as brown rice, quinoa, eggs, vegetables, fruits and meats.

6. Meal plan ahead of time. I have a video and blog post on how to do this. How to Create a Gluten Free Shopping List

7. Get the help of your extended family and any friends, neighbors or anyone else you know who has implemented a gluten free diet with a child. If you aren’t sure, who has already done this ask around. In today’s age with Facebook it makes it easy to find those who already have experience in doing what you are doing.

8. Know that doing a gluten free diet for children is a process and that it will be tough at first but it will get easier over time.

Want help? Schedule your free wellness consultation and let’s chat about it.

How to Make A Delicious Gluten Free Cucumber Salad

cucumber salad

Have you ever eaten a cucumber salad? When I was younger cucumbers where on the list of vegetables I couldn’t stand to eat. I hated them and I thought they tasted gross. However, as an adult I have learned to love cucumbers and how I love eating cucumber salads on a regular basis and as part of my gluten free diet and lifestyle. Here are the simple instructions on how to make a delicious gluten free cucumber salad.

1. Decide if you want to make your cucumber salad with lettuce or if you want to use cucumbers as the main ingredient. I like my cucumber salads both ways although obviously making a cucumber salad with just cucumbers makes it taste a lot more like cucumber. If you are making your salad for children or for the entire family and you have at least one child who will be eating the salad, I recommend using lettuce and fewer cucumbers. That way if you have a child who really doesn’t like cucumbers or says that they don’t like them you can easily remove them.

2. Chose the other ingredients that you will include in your cucumber salad. Personally I’ve found that adding in other ingredients that have either a sweeter or a salter taste will make the salad more appealing for everyone and especially for children.

3. My favorite ingredients include:

Tomatoes. I like to either slice them thinly or use baby ones.
Avocado. This is a must in my opinion since it adds in a nice creamy flavor and texture.
Humus. Optional but can also add in a creamy flavor.
Feta cheese- or you can try some of the white Daiya dairy free cheese if you can’t have milk products.
Hard boiled eggs- Usually 1 for every serving.
Sliced ham or turkey. Optional but great unless you are vegan or vegetarian and don’t eat meat.
Salt and pepper to taste- again not required but can be great for adding flavor and balancing the slightly sweet savor of the cucumber.
Olive oil- drizzle it on.

4. Decide how many people you are serving with your cucumber salad and then use the amount of each ingredient necessary according to the number of people. If you are using lettuce then I recommend about 1/2 of a cucumber per person. If no lettuce then I recommend 1 full cucumber per person.

Have you ever eaten a cucumber salad? What did you include in your salad? Share below with me in the comments.

5 Delicious Gluten Free Sandwich Wraps

gluten free sandwich wraps

Have you ever tried a gluten free sandwich wrap? These have become more and more popular especially with people who are not only gluten free but who are also following the paleo diet. Even if you aren’t paleo, eating fewer grains and carbs can help with weight loss and to improve your overall health. Gluten free sandwich wraps are a great way to enjoy a sandwich without all the gluten and carbs. Here are five of my favorite gluten free sandwich wrap recipes:

1. A lettuce wrap- There are lots of variations of this but my favorite is the following:

Take a large piece of iceberg lettuce then add in 1-3 slices of turkey, 1-2 slices of tomato, cheese(only if you aren’t dairy free) or you can try some dairy free cheese although I personally don’t love it and prefer to just go without, and half an avocado. Then roll it up and enjoy. You can also add in some cucumber, red onion and or pepper slices. You can also try it with ham, beef or chicken.

2. Make a sandwich wrap with a paleo coconut wrap such as- Paleo Wraps, Gluten Free Coconut Wraps, 7-Count (Pack of 2). These are quite expensive though and while there are other brands that are a bit less, you may want to experiment with making your own with coconut flour. I have tried these wraps though and they are really good. You can fill them with anything you want just like you would a regular sandwich.

3. Make a sandwich with a gluten free spinach sandwich wrap such as these: Raw Wraps Spinach- Gluten Free. Vegan, Paleo (Quinoa Seeds), Raw. You could also use spinach leaves like the lettuce wrap to make you sandwich. Personally I really only like raw spinach in smoothies though so this isn’t my favorite gluten free sandwich wrap recipe.

4. Use the slices of turkey, chicken or ham on the outside and put the avocado, peppers, cucumber, red onion, and tomato inside it. You can also add in some mustard if you like it. I don’t really like mustard so I usually just eat mine plain.

5. Use a corn tortilla to make your sandwich wrap. This version is more like a taco. You can use refried beans, and salsa like you would a taco or you can use the same ingredients or a variation of them to make a traditional gluten free sandwich wrap.

10 Delicious Gluten free Avocado Recipes

avocado recipes

When I was younger I used to love and still do today, eating a plain avocado with a spoon. In fact, many of my friends in high school joked about it and thought it was funny that I would eat plain avocados. Have you ever eaten a plain avocado? In any case, avocados contain a high amount of healthy fats and omegas and can use used in a variety of gluten free, and dairy free recipes. Here are ten of my favorite gluten free avocado recipes.

1. Avocado green smoothie

There are various variations of this avocado recipe but the basic one that I like the best is the following:

1 avocado, handful of strawberries, coconut or almond milk, scoop of protein powder. (contact me for my recommendation.) and handful of spinach. Optional: spoon of peanut butter.

2. Avocado, tomato, black bean and corn salad

This is probably my favorite. You get a mixing bowl and you put into that bowl: 1 can of tomatoes, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of corn and 1-2 sliced green onions. Mix all together. Then cut open and mix in 1-2 avocados. If the avocados are small you will need 2, if they are large then 1 will be enough. Makes a great salsa with corn or potato chips or a sauce that you can eat with grilled chicken, salmon, or other dishes.

3. Basic avocado salad

This is another one that has a variety of options. This is my basic favorite. I mix lettuce (spring mix is my favorite), with tomatoes, sliced red onion, sliced cucumber, sliced green or red pepper, a can of tuna or a can of chicken and 1 avocado. I also like to drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing.

4. Avocado chocolate pudding

For this yummy pudding, you mix together an avocado with 2-3 tablespoons of raw cocoa and 1-2 tablespoons of coconut or almond milk.

5. Turkey avocado lettuce wrap

This is a great gluten free alternative to a turkey and avocado sandwich. It’s really simple. You start with a large piece of ice burg lettuce. Then you put in 1-2 slices of deli turkey, 1-2 slices of tomato and 1/4 to 1/2 of avocado. Then eat.

6. Avocado quinoa salad

For this quinoa dish, you will need to start by cooking quinoa. I like to use a rice cooker to make it nice and easy. Then I mix in avocado, onions, broccoli or peas, tuna or chicken, cucumber, and red or green pepper with the quinoa.

7. Avocado egg omelette

To make this you make an egg omelette with broccoli, spinach, or zucchini or your favorite green vegetables, then add some avocado on top.

8. Chicken tomato soup with avocado

This is a great gluten free crockpot recipe. To make this get out your crockpot and put in: 1 can of black beans, 1 can of tomatoes, 1 whole chicken deboned or 3-4 chicken thighs or breasts, 1 can of green chilis, and 1 can of salsa. Cook on low to medium heat for 4-8 hours. Then when done serve in bowls with avocado on top. (If you aren’t dairy free and can have cheese, it’s also good with some cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.)

9. Salmon and Avocado

To make this dish broil or cook salmon in a pan with your favorite vegetables. I really like either broccoli, cabbage or spinach. When done serve with avocado slices.

10. Broccoli, potatoes, chicken and avocado

Cook broccoli, potatoes, and chicken in a pan until done, then serve with avocado slices.

Which avocado recipe is your favorite? Share with me below in the comments.

Ultimade Guide to Gluten Free and Dairy Free Salads

gluten free dairy free salads

Salads are a great staple for any healthy diet. However, making sure that your salads are gluten free and dairy free can be challenging, especially when it comes to dressings. Here are some steps to take to make sure that you always have plenty of ideas for healthy gluten free and dairy free salads.

1. Prepare ahead. Gather your ingredients and prepare up to 1 week’s worth of salads ahead of time. For some ideas on how to make this work, check out the book Salads In A Jar: 30 Delicious & Healthy Salad Recipes You Can Make with a Mason Jar or Container & Eat on the Go Wherever You Are (Essential Kitchen Series Book 24). There are other similar books as well. While not all the recipes in this book are gluten free and dairy free you can find ideas in that book and the idea behind it is the same. You use mason jars to store the ingredients for your salad.

2. Purchase 1-2 continers of spring mix to use as a base for your gluten free and dairy free salads. I recommend Costco or Sam’s Club as they have them less expensive. However, you can also find similar containers of lettuce at other grocery stores too.

3. Keep an on hand supply of the ingredients that you will use on a regular basis. My favorites include:
Canned olives
Canned tuna fish
Canned chicken
Tomatoes either the regular size you can chop or baby tomatoes that don’t need to be
chopped.
Red onions or green onions- red onions just happen to be my favorite
Humus- I really like humus and it makes it so that you will use less salad dressing and
save calories and fat.
Avocados
Sprouts- best in the summer as they are more expensive in the other seasons of the year.
Hemp seeds- create for adding crunch without the calories and fat
Nuts- Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts and Cashews are always great
Carrots- you can shred them and use them in your salad
Peppers- red, green, orange and yellow- some seasons of the year green may be the least expensive.

I usually use between 3-5 ingredients besides the lettuce mix. I don’t use everything on this list.

4. Consider using other ingridents that you have not previously thought about. Sometimes
I like to add things like fresh strawberries or other berries for example.

5. Decide what salad dressings you will use. Most dressings have gluten and or dairy in them. However, you can make your own. 5 delicious and simple gluten free and dairy free salad dressings You can also find some organic ones that are gluten free and dairy free.