Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Healthy Allergen Friendly Lunch Ideas for Back to School

School lunches....dun dun dun....nothing can strike fear in the hearts of mothers everywhere than those two words.

OK well seriously though, one of the things I LOVE about vacations and breaks is that I don't have to pack lunches!! Sometimes I feel stuck in a rut and of course, nutrition is of utmost concern. I can't just slide, I can't take the easy route. I just can't. And many of you can't either which is why having easy, batch items at the ready in your freezer is key. I'm going to share some with you now.

We've been transitioning to more of a paleo / SCD diet. Why? Well, as someone who has battled gut dysbiosis in my son, grains break down into sugars and feed the beasts. PERIOD. I am not here to tell you never to eat another grain but for us, this is a good idea most of the time. And if you are struggling with any blood sugar issues/diabetes, I would really encourage you to look into it. We eat LOTS of veggies, and no I do not consider corn or potato veggies, lol! But that is a talk for another time. Each lunch always includes veggies, their choice, sliced how they like them. Since tomorrow is a special day, they even got a fruit, lol. You may think that is weird but when you fight yeast, even healthy sugars from fruit can be the demon spawn. Pears do not feed yeast so they are a common fruit for us but even then we limit. So in the stainless container they have their veggies and their fruit. Then they have a paleo granola bar. You can get creative and adapt as you need to. Play around with the sweeteners. Coconut nectar, syrup or honey all work well, it just depends on what you are looking for (I do NOT use agave). You can even add a few allergen friendly chocolate chips for a real treat! I adapt the recipe here from Elana's Pantry. I use sunflower and pumpkin seeds as the base not almond. I add a TON of coconut and then some additional sunflower and pumpkin seeds. I always use coconut oil so more good healthy fats. I have also added hemp seeds, chia seeds, etc. in the past. Get creative, you know what your kids like. Double the batch and use a 9 x 13 pan, works like a charm. Bake them at the same time as your paleo muffins to save energy and time! Slice, transfer to a freezer safe dish, put wax paper between each layer and freeze for easy lunch packing!

 I have already blogged on the sandwich bread I made. It is a pretty common SCD bread with just eggs and squash, that's it. Works well with organic lunch meat or with nut or seed butters and either xylitol jelly/jam or honey! And it looks like a fast food hamburger bun which is pretty cool!

I also usually include some sort of paleo muffin, this time it is a coconut flour blueberry muffin. This recipe is also from Elana's Pantry, with just a few modifications. Once again I do not use any agave but instead use coconut sugar. Works just fine! Double the batch and they freeze really well. And, by the time lunch comes they are nicely thawed and ready to eat, or pull out to pack the night before.

Other lunch options:

Quinoa (soaked overnight of course before cooking) and black beans
Rice (same thing as above) and beans
Paleo lasagna
Hummus with homemade seed crackers or flax crackers and veggies to dip
GF pasta with mixed veggies with olive oil
Leftovers from the night before!

I don't recreate the wheel! I can't think up new recipes everyday and work and take care of my children, husband and house! We need to use the resources out there. Elana's Pantry is great, Real Sustenance is another amazing website. Google then adapt. Don't get discouraged because you can't use one of their ingredients, think of a sub and give it a shot. But use what is already out there if you need to! Pancakes are another way to make a "bread". If your child is on a special diet and you cannot find a good bread, make a pancake (I cut the sugar completely when I do this) and use it! Great shape, usually holds up pretty well, just make a plain pancake. Then freeze with wax paper between each "slice". On the weekends I usually make a double batch of pancakes so I always have some in the freezer too! Plan ahead, making double does not take twice as long and usually ends up saving you time in the long run, especially when talking about muffins. And muffins can be a wonderful form of food that your child will eat and you can add all sorts of nutrition!

Here's to a wonderful first day of school and happy, healthy, well nourished children!!

USAAA Conference Recap

Last weekend I spent working at the USAAA Conference in Salt Lake City on behalf of New Beginnings Nutritionals. That is what I do, attend conferences and talk to parents about Autism recovery and specifically supplements, which were instrumental in my son's improvement. Each time I am brought to tears. Newly diagnosed parents, parents who have never heard of supplements or biomed, parents desperate to help their children (some already adults!). Hearing the stories, either understanding because I have "been there" with that particular issue - regression due to vaccines, destructive, self-injurious behaviors, no pain sensation, food cravings due to gut dysbiosis - or maybe it is hearing their story which is very different than mine, they hit home. This time I got to meet many adults with Autism and it was incredible! I love getting a look into their opinions, ideas and the way they see life. I even got to hear Dr. Temple Grandin speak, meet her and speak with her personally. Talk about an amazing opportunity!!! It was just so crazy. Her keynote speech is one I will not soon forget. She focused a lot on basic skills (that quite frankly as a whole our society is NOT teaching even neurotypical children which is awful!) like shaking a person's hand when meeting them, saying hello, please and thank you. She also spoke about little tips and tricks to help them learn. Like did you know that writing on pastel or lightly colored paper can be easier for children with Autism? She covered things like cooking to help learn math and fractions. They need hands on learning many times. They cannot stand fluorescent lighting. She had some pearls of wisdom:

"Boys who cry keep their jobs, boys that get angry go to jail" - true and a good thing to learn early! We can have our emotions but the way we express them is important.

"Most of Silicon Valley is on the spectrum!" - I have often thought that myself, how else could we have achieved so much brilliance and advanced technology?? ;)

She talked of building on these kids' strengths and those strengths begin to emerge around 3rd and 4th grades. She thinks with "movies in her head" and has a hard time with generalized thinking. She thinks in specifics using the items she has seen personally for reference. She has trouble in math - my son can relate. She says that many times visual processing is an issue and to ask children if the letters jiggle on the page - my son said his did not.

Of course she covered sensory issues, of which my son has struggled with and continues to do so to a point today. He is also an auditory thinker. She made a cute statement "How can I think if my lips don't move". I do think my son feels that same way. She emphasized increasing social interactions through shared interests like Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts, 4-H, school clubs. She spoke about the job shortages in skilled trades and in computers/electrical engineers as potential careers. Beyond it all, she was in absolute inspiration to hear, see and meet! She has accomplished so much in her life and has never let Autism stand in the way of achieving. It is what all parents of a child with Autism wish for their child. A life filled with their passions realized and happy with who they are.

Then on Sunday I got to present a session with Julie Matthews on how to get supplements into your child using fun and creative ways! Our talk was not on problem feeders and we made it clear that hiding supplements in foods is NOT a good idea! But, if your child KNOWS they need the supplements, knows you are giving them but you are looking for more palatable ways to get them in, then this class was for you! What a great time we had, showing parents they can make supplement taking fun and yummy too! We talked a lot about the power of nutrition, how diet is truly your foundation and then the supplements "fill in the gaps". We even covered some supplements that treat specific things. We gave a demonstration on making a nutrition filled smoothie with the Spectrum Mate multi-vitamin/multi-mineral. It was a hit! It was an incredible time helping families begin to understand the power of HOPE and healing that can come when you embark on biomed! It was an exhausting weekend and now right back into the swing of things since tomorrow is the first day of school for my children. I hope your summer has been one to remember, and in the good way! ;)

Monday, August 12, 2013

A one two punch for allergy control

So thanks to the wonderful monsoonal moisture we've been having in northern AZ everything is blooming! Add to that some much needed yard work on our property as a result and my allergies are going crazy! Since moving here I know I am particularly reactive to the tumbleweed which I have never had to deal with before. But even still, I am not one to usually struggle with allergies.

As I have written about before, allergies are important to control especially for your child with Autism who may battle yeast overgrowth. If you need a refresher on that, here is that past blog. I regularly start using New Beginnings Nutritionals' A & I Formula for my son in his morning supplements when allergy season begins. It is a pre-emptive attempt to keep the immune response at bay. Then today I read this article that talks about mast cell activation and mitochondrial dysfunction in relation to pollen exposure. Clearly allergies are something that need to be addressed when the barrage of pollen begins.

So the other day after some time weeding in the garden plus the normal exposure plus the fact that we have acres (and are surrounded by additional acres) of pines, tumbleweeds, native grasses, other weeds and flowers, my allergies were going crazy! I had it all, itchy eyes to the point where I wished I could scratch them right out of their sockets, itchy throat, runny nose and sneezing. I was a mess! That night I took 2 A & I capsules (they also come in chewables) and then 2 of our new Curcumin/Quercetin capsules. Wow! The next morning I woke without the itchy throat and eyes and no sneezing! I was pretty blown away. I had been meaning to try the new Curcumin/Quercetin but to be honest I had been just giving it to my son. Us moms are like that, not taking something we really need to save money so they can have it! But you need to take care of yourself too! You can't care for your family effectively when you are under the weather. The blend is so helpful when it comes to inflammation in general but when you add in the quercetin you also get that respiratory/allergy support as well!

So there you have it, if you have someone who really battles with allergies, I highly recommend trying these supplements. And if you do, please share your experiences!

Monday, August 5, 2013

USAAA Conference in Salt Lake City Utah

I'm just about bursting with excitement! I have been asked to speak with my friend and mentor Julie Matthews at the upcoming US Autism and Asperger Association (USAAA) conference in Salt Lake City Utah on August 18th! We will be covering the topic of getting supplements into your child through the incorporation of food. Now, this is not to confuse the issue of feeding problems, which can be very problematic in Autism Spectrum Disorders! This is not about that and we would never advocate hiding supplements in foods as that can cause worsening of picky eating/problem feeding, lead to loss of trust with your child, and make a bad situation worse! But, if you have a child who knows they need supplements and you are looking for a way to incorporate them into foods/beverages to make them go down easier, then this is for you!!

Our session is called Nutrition Workshop: Supplements, Kids, and Fun with your Blender and it runs from 9:00 am - 10:00 am Sunday, August 18th.

You can read my speaker bio here.

I will also be at the New Beginnings Nutritionals booth during all exhibit hours. If you are attending this conference, please stop by so I can meet you in person!

I cannot say what an honor it is to be asked to speak and share tips on getting supplements into children at a conference of this magnitude. I will admit that I am more than a little nervous. The funny thing about this journey of Autism recovery, I would never have chosen this but I feel extremely fulfilled and purpose driven. I wish my son did not have to go through what he has. But through his journey of recovery, and all I have learned as a result of healing him, has given my life so much more purpose and the ability to help others in a way I have never could have dreamed. I have learned you always have to look at the bright side and if there is a bright side to Autism, this is it! I am blessed to utilize what I have learned over the years and be able to work in this field sharing what I know with others to help their children. I wake up each day loving what I do and feeling so honored to help others in their Autism recovery journey.