‘fast food’ for kids with autism…

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Autism is described as a developmental disorder that has a collection of symptoms in three major areas such as, social interaction, language and behavior.  But not every child is exactly alike with some showing signs in infancy and others in the first few years of life.

The Mayo Clinic has given some more specific symptoms:

SOCIAL SKILLS

    • Fails to respond to his or her name
    • Has poor eye contact
    • Appears not to hear you at times
    • Resists cuddling and holding
    • Appears unaware of others’ feelings
    • Seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her own world
    • Doesn’t ask for help or request things

LANGUAGE

    • Doesn’t speak or has delayed speech
    • Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
    • Doesn’t make eye contact when making requests
    • Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
    • Can’t start a conversation or keep one going
    • May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand how to use them
    • Doesn’t appear to understand simple questions or direction

BEHAVIOR

    • Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
    • Develops specific routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change
    • Moves constantly
    • May be fascinated by details of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car, but doesn’t understand the “big picture” of the subject
    • May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch, and yet oblivious to pain
    • Does not engage in imitative or make-believe play
    • May have odd food preferences, such as eating only a few foods, or craving items that are not food, such as chalk or dirt
    • May perform activities that could cause self-harm, such as headbanging

Since there is no one cause of autism, and no single treatment, making some changes in the diet might help with a few behavioral or developmental challenges!  Try to remove gluten, milk products, sugars, soy and artificial flavorings and coloring from his or her diet.  Remember that protein, fiber and good fats are needed to stabilize blood sugars .. which is critical in autistic children.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

First of all, STAY AWAY FROM SODAS!  Instead try giving your child water or diluted juices, vegetable juices or seltzer water.

PASS THE PROTEIN, PLEASE!  Try chicken, turkey, meat, eggs, beans, or seeds.

REMEMBER SOME FIBER!  How about some high fiber options such as fruits, beans nuts or seeds.

ALWAYS CHOOSE ORGANIC!  If it’s USDA Organic, then it has been produced without the use of harmful pesticides, artificial fertilizers, growth hormones or antibiotics and other nasty’s that shouldn’t be in our food anyway.

SOME IDEAS TO PACK IN YOUR CHILD’S LUNCHBOX!

  • carrot sticks and hummus
  • fresh fruit or fruit salad
  • hard boiled eggs
  • gluten-free crackers with nut butter
  • rice cakes and tuna or chicken salad
  • gluten-free spaghetti noodles and meatballs
  • chicken drumettes or wings with boiled potatoes
  • apple slices with nut or seed butter

Avoid plastic wraps for sandwiches and opt for wax paper or parchment paper.  Let your child help you pick out their lunch container and remember to keep it fun.  Use a cookie cutter for unique shapes for sandwiches!  Make it interesting and remove all the stress out of lunch or dinner time.  Most schools give the kids 20-30 minutes for lunch so pack what is healthy yet in small bites and focus on healthier options.

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miracle fruit? yes, please!

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Synsepalum dulcificum……..yeah, it’s easier to call it Miracle Fruit.

This plant from West Africa has a berry that is completely organic, all natural, non-GMO and contains an active glycoprotein called miraculin. 

When you eat this little berry, the miraculin temporarily binds to your taste receptors (buds, I call ’em) to block the ability to taste sour flavors and even alters many other flavors in food like spicy, salty and bitter tastes!

The miraculin is considered to be a sugar substitute.  And this little berry, my friends, could change the way we look (and taste) our food!  Imagine…enjoying all kinds of ‘forbidden’ foods again!  It’s true!  Lemons taste like candyLimes taste like a sweet orange!  Can you imagine squeezing lemon juice into your coffee to sweeten it naturally?

WHERE CAN I GET IT?

If you are not going to wait and grow your own berries, then you can purchase it in a tablet form.  This is the most practical way because the berries are freeze dried and then formed into tablets, which give them a longer shelf life.  You can find them from www.mberry.us or even on Amazon HERE.  If you buy frozen berries, do not thaw them unless you are going to consume them right away.  Let them come to room temperature for about 20 minutes.  And if you get the whole berry, don’t eat the pit, of course.

Also keep in mind that the effects of the miracle berry last approximately 30 – 45 minutes and varies with each person.

Here is a simple recipe taken from the Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook that I highly recommend if you are going to try out this berry!

SWEET YOGURT PARFAIT

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

1/4 cup granola

Combine the yogurt and lemon juice.  In a tall glass, layer half each of the yogurt, berries and granola.  Repeat.

When you are ready to eat, let the miracle berry tablet dissolve on your tongue and then enjoy the dish!

YOU JUST SAVED 144 CALORIES BY REPLACING 3 TBS. SUGAR!

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cha cha cha cherries!

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Oh yummy, yummy cherries!  It’s the sign of summer!!!

Yes, they are delicious but did you know can knock the socks off gout and also help in alleviating arthritis?

IT’S TRUE!

Just one cup of sweet or sour cherries contains about 130 calories and are a source of beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium.  There has even been research that has found the quercetin in cherries is linked to a reduced risk of coronary artery disease.  And they taste great!!

Here is some great news for those suffering with pain and swelling:

“In research published in 2004 at Johns Hopkins University, rats were injected  with either a solution containing tart cherries or a prescription non-steroidal  anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and exposed to either a heated surface or an  inflammatory agent. The tart cherries significantly reduced pain sensitivity and  at the highest dosage were as effective as the drug. The authors conclude that  tart cherries may have a beneficial role in inflammatory pain. In a 2001 study  at Michigan State University, the anthocyanins in cherries were found to be  equivalent to two common over-the-counter painkillers(also NSAIDs) for  inhibiting the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes associated with inflammation.” (source)
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Remember when buying cherries, look for plump, firm fruit with green stems.  Both sweet and sour cherries will spoil quickly.  Find them at your local farmers market since imported cherries aren’t as flavorful.   Unwashed fruit should keep in your refrigerator for up to a week.  Be sure to wash right before eating, since water can cause the cherry to split and soften.

YUMMY CHERRY TART

  • 9 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 ounces bar cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound fresh sweet cherries, such as Bing, pitted and halved
  • 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers and 2 tablespoons sugar until finely ground. Add butter, and process until combined. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using the base of a dry measuring cup, firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan. Bake until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add cream, and beat until soft peaks form; spread mixture in cooled crust. Scatter cherries on top.

In a small saucepan, combine jam and 1 teaspoon water; heat over low until liquefied, about 2 minutes. Using a pastry brush, dab cherries with glaze. Refrigerate tart at least 30 minutes or, covered, up to 1 day.  (from Everyday Food, June 2007)

still eating fast food? welcome to the dark side…..

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Are you still eating this stuff? Seriously?  After all the blogs?  After all the talk shows?  After all the magazine articles?  Sigh……

Ok….let’s go over this AGAIN

Here’s what we know.  Fast food and take-out restaurants are everywhere.  Unfortunately they have even cropped up in hospitals and schools.  But they are LOADED with fat….salt….calories….and very little fiber, people!  A decade ago, an original burger, fries and coke at McDonald’s contained 660 calories.  Was that good enough for us?  Noooooo!

We had to SUPER SIZE!  Now a SUPER SIZE value meal contains an incredible 1,450 calories….FOR ONE MEAL!  (insert eye roll and overly dramatic sigh here)

Still not convinced?  Well, this might do it. 

Here is a list of “10 DISGUSTING OBJECTS ALLEGEDLY FOUND IN FAST FOOD (from theweek.com) Yeah, you might want to put your burger down while you check this out…

  • An unidentifiable chicken organ
  • A syringe
  • A condom
  • A knife
  • A Band-Aid
  • Deep-fried chicken head
  • Feathers
  • Human flesh
  • A mouse
  • A finger

There we go!  There’s the gag I was looking for!!  So check out the complete article HERE so you can get all the juicy details of what they were really eating, k?

And don’t even get me started on eating the “healthy” salad from the fast food restaurant because of them being dusted with Propylene Glycerol, a chemical commonly found in antifreeze. In its concentrated form, the chemical has been known to cause eye and skin irritation…..yeah, and it’s wrong….just wrong!

PACK A LUNCH, PEOPLE!!

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so….what’s your poison?

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No, seriously.  Do you think you’ve been poisoned? 

Did you know that next to the common cold, food poisoning is our most prevalent infection, afflicting perhaps as many as 90 million North Americans? (thank you, Readers Digest!)  The actual number may be far higher since food poisoning signs mimic flu and diarrhea symptoms.  Even with government inspections, safer packaging, refrigeration and all the chemical preservatives, food poisoning is on the rise (mostly in children and the elderly).

Botulism is poisoning by a micro-organism similar to that causing tetanus.  Found in home canned goods, improperly packed and sterilized canned products and contaminated vegetables, fruits, fish and condiments.  Within 18-36 hours, double vision and difficulty with muscular coordination, including chewing, swallowing, breathing and speech, set in.

Salmonella is widespread coming from bacteria found in hormone injected beef and poultry.  Within 12-48 hours, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and fever, set in, lasting 1 to 4 days.

E-coli is a bacterial infection that attacks the kidneys and sickens as many as 20,000 Americans each year and kills several hundred.  Most symptoms include bloody diarrhea and vomiting.  In severe cases, seizure, paralysis and even death.  Symptoms appear within 24-48 hours.

Lysteria Monocytogenes is an organism found in the soil and intestinal tracts of humans, animals, insects and birds.  Infection usually follows eating contaminated dairy products and raw vegetables.  Adults may develop meningitis, with headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting.  Eye inflammation and swollen lymph nodes sometimes develop.  Symptoms usually appear in 8-24 hours.

Trichinella is found in raw or undercooked pork that has been fed contaminated meat.  Within 24-48 hours a person will experience fever and diarrhea with pain and respiratory problems.

Don’t have time for all that nonsense?  Use the two hour rule in your home to keep your family safe.  Refrigerate or freeze all perishables within two hours of purchase or preparation.  If the weather is hot, like it is here in sunny AZ, then you should reduce that time to one hour and use a cooler for perishables.  The highest risk foods are meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy products and mayonnaise mixtures.  It’s easy to keep a cooler in your car for those long treks to and from the store to keep your groceries safe.  Don’t forget to ask for a bag of ice at the checkout and just place it on top of your items, if you don’t want to open it up.

Remember….heat and humidity greatly increase the risk of food spoilage, so never store food in warm places, like near the stove or refrigerator.  And I KNOW you keep your cleaning products WAY FAR AWAY from all your food too, don’t you!!!??

Wash your produce, keep your meats cold (and don’t defrost at room temperature, please….use the bottom shelf of the fridge) and keep your family safe this summer!

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your knock-out-the-migraine grocery list…

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MIGRAINES……ugh.  Just the word sends me into a tizzy!!

If you have them, you know that there are certain foods that trigger those horrible headaches.  You know, so now let’s look at the flip side.

 THIS is a list of foods that have high levels of nutrients such as, riboflavin, magnesium, and omega-3 fats, so we can knock out those nasty migraines!

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FRUIT

  • apples (green and yellow, not red)
  • berries
  • cantaloupe
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • honeydew
  • mangoes
  • nectarines
  • peaches
  • pears (brown and green only, not red)
  • watermelon

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VEGETABLES

  • artichoke (fresh, not canned)
  • asparagus
  • beets
  • beans, starchy (black cannellini, garbanzo, kidney and white)
  • bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • broccoli raab
  • brussel sprouts
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • corn
  • cucumbers
  • dark leafy greens
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms
  • potatoes
  • pumpkin
  • rhubarb
  • spinach
  • squash, summer
  • squash, winter (acorn and butternut)
  • turnips
  • zucchini

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LEAN PROTEINS

  • fresh beef (organic, grass fed lean cuts)
  • fresh chicken (organic, free range)
  • eggs (organic, free range)
  • fresh turkey (organic, free range)

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NUTS AND SEEDS

  • chia seeds
  • flaxseeds
  • pumpkin seeds (raw)
  • sunflower seeds (raw)

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WHOLE GRAINS

  • amaranth
  • bulgur
  • cereal, whole grain
  • bread, whole grain
  • crackers, whole grain (no MSG)
  • millet
  • oats
  • pasta, whole grain
  • popcorn, air-pooped
  • quinoa
  • rice, brown and wild

Some of these foods might be a trigger for YOU.  Keep a food  diary and try a one month long elimination diet by eating foods from this list.  Slowly introduce potential trigger foods one at a time so you can determine which foods to avoid.

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just a ‘grillin…..

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Backyard grilling!  It wouldn’t be summertime without it! 

ALTHOUGH……………… (leave it to me to throw a wet blanket on your picnic)

Grilling – whether by gas flame or charcoal or even an electric element – demands temperatures 4 – 6 times higher than can be reached in your oven!  And unfortunately, the high heat that makes that wonderful caramelization and browning has a less desirable aspect…..

Your food may become charred before the inside is cooked through!

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Another hazard is cancer causing substances called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which form when the fat from the meat drips onto hot coals and then sneak into your food through the smoke.  HCA’s or heterocyclic amines, are created from heating meat, poultry or fish to a too high temperature and have been linked to cancer.

But before I totally destroy your backyard plans….here are ways to minimize the cancer risks for you and your family:

  1. Avoid flare-ups, since burning juice or fat can produce harmful smoke.  If smoke from dripping fat is too heavy, move the food to another section of the grill, rotate the grill or reduce the heat.
  2. Cook meat until it is done without charring it.  Remove any charred pieces — don’t eat them.
  3. Don’t place the heat source directly under the meat.  For example, place coals slightly to the side so the fat doesn’t drip on them.  Keep a water bottle handy for coals that become hot or flare up.
  4. Cover the grill with punctured aluminum foil before you cook.  The foil protects the food from the smoke and fire.
  5. Keep meat portions small so they don’t have to spend as long on the grill.
  6. Defrost frozen meats before grilling.  {source}

Grilling is best reserved for quick cooking foods, like fish or even thinner cuts of meat and poultry.  How about throwing some vegetables , such as eggplant, zucchini, peppers or mushrooms on that grill?  Even fruit like, apples, peaches or bananas are great grilled!

Now, get outside and have some spring-time-can’t-wait-for-summertime, BACKYARD FUN!!

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living with labels….

organic 

 

There’s a difference???

So are “natural” and “organic” synonymous with each other?  Well, I’m hopefully going to shed a little light in the label war and you can judge for yourself.  Let’s start…

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ORGANIC:  Products bearing this label are required to contain no less than 95% certified organic ingredients.  The remaining 5% are non-organic and synthetic ingredients.

100% ORGANIC:  By law, these products have to be made entirely of certified organic ingredients, produced in accordance with federal organic standards and include no  synthetics.

MADE WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS:  These products have a 70/30 split of organic and non-organic ingredients that have been approved by the USDA.

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NATURAL:  Concerning meat, it means the manufacturer claims to have used no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.   “Naturally raised means  no growth promoters, antibiotics, animal by-products, or fish by-products.

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FREE RANGE:  This label does NOT mean that the animals have spent most of the time outdoors.  To use this label means the producers have to only offer the animals outdoor access as little as 5 minutes per dayBut “allowing access” doesn’t mean much. A small door in a barn with thousands  of chickens technically gives chickens an opportunity to go outside, but that  doesn’t mean that they’ll have access to grass (it may only be a concrete slab). (via)

Bottom line:  Eat fresh.  Eat local.  Do it.

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is your food playing with you?

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Ahh….nothing like eating your breakfast and catching up on some blog reading…..

Well, you just might want to put your fork down for a moment….unless you have an iron gut…

Today we are talking about eating live foods.

No, not live, as in whole, nutritious fruits and vegetables.  More like live….as in ALIVE….

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Who does this????  Apparently THESE guys!!!!

Alka Sharma writes,

Casu Marzu (Italy)

One form of sheep’s milk cheese is full of crawling white worms. It is  over-fermented – in a stage of decomposition – and is known as Casu  Marzu. It is a traditional dish from Sardinia, Italy that is believed to  increase sexual desire.

Casu Marzu is made when the cheese fly lays eggs (about 500 eggs at one  time). When the eggs hatch, the maggots (larva of the fly) begin to eat through  the cheese. The soft texture of the cheese is a result of the acid from these  thousands of maggots’ digestive systems breaking down the cheese’s fats. But see  for yourself.

The most important aspect of eating Casu Marzu is that it should be eaten  when these wriggling maggots are alive, or else it is full of dead maggots and  is considered to be unsafe. It is also advised to wear eye protection while  eating as these maggots can jump as high as half a foot, straight into the eye.  Also, not only could this food cause allergic reactions and intestinal larval  infection, but it may also lead to vomiting, nausea and deadly diarrhea. Still,  people risk their lives to eat it.”

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Oh super!  Look!  A video to go with the article!! Yay!

Read more at http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-7-bizzare-habits-eating-food-while-animal-still-alive?image=1#baoHOPYo55jojpMM.99