Healthy eating habits start early

Posted on September 15th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Healthy Living | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

gardeningI grew up eating healthy. My parents and grandparents had vegetable gardens, and I became accustomed to eating whole tomatoes picked off the vine, slices of lemon cucumbers with a sprinkle of salt, even sweet ears of corn from my grandparents’ rows of stalks. My mom was a good cook and I don’t remember ever not wanting to eat what was on the table. I believe healthy eating habits start early. I know I am lucky that my family was able to sit down to dinner together almost every night to eat a delicious balanced meal, and that my parents made it a priority. I strive to do this now for my family.

Now you’d think I would have been a label-reader all my life, making certain that I was eating healthy. Nope…

To find out why I became a label-reader, read the rest of my article on the Attune Foods blog!


Healthy (and food allergy friendly) snack options for kids

Posted on August 18th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Food Ideas, Healthy Living | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

I love to snack and I guess I’m pretty good at making healthy snack choices for myself. Kids, on the other hand, require a bit of coaching as to what constitutes a healthy snack. Pre-dinner time is the worst, when kids turn into beggars looking for handouts! So, to stave them off before they reach for the chips and treats, I try to put a variety of snacks out before kids ask for them — you know what they say: be one step ahead of your kid. Sometimes I set them out in a high-traffic area and don’t say a word. They discover them and sure enough, they are eating the healthy snacks and not rifling through the pantry.

Coconut Yogurt and CerealNeed kid-friendly snack ideas? All of the snacks on my list are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free and nut-free… also minimally processed and healthy! Even kids with food allergies can overload on packaged carb-heavy snacks and sugary treats, so it’s important to not fall into the deprivation syndrome (letting them have as much as they want of the allergen-free treats because you feel they are deprived enough already).

These are snacks that my kids, ages 5 and 7, will actually eat, plus they double as great lunch box items!

To see my healthy snacks list, please visit Attune Foods, and add your own ideas in the comments!

Happy and Healthy Snacking!


The Body and Its Wisdom – Don’t Accept What’s “Normal”

Posted on June 9th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Asthma, Emotions, Gluten Intolerance, Healthy Living | ADD A COMMENT »

Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack.  We give it orders which make no sense. ~Henry Miller

attunefoodsbrandam_buttonWhen did we become a society of people who think it’s normal to have discomfort and pain? We take medications for everything, without questioning whether we are really solving the problem or simply masking the symptoms. It seems like the more that people are affected by daily health issues, the less likely we are as a society to figure out what’s really wrong.

For most of my 20s, I suffered from stomach problems. One night in Boston, after I enjoyed some clam chowder, I wound up in a stall of the restaurant’s bathroom clutching my stomach. My friend suggested that I was lactose intolerant. I had not heard that term before. I wasn’t a picky eater – in fact, I enjoyed just about any kind of food, and I had never done any dieting of any kind. This was the first time I considered that there might be something I could not eat. Lactose intolerance made sense because it was fairly common as I was to learn. After all, they sold Lactaid (lactose-free mik) in the stores. My friend was wrong about the lactose intolerance diagnosis, but I believed it for 10 years. My body continued to tell me that something was wrong, but I didn’t listen – lactose intolerance seemed normal so I stuck with that idea, avoiding a lot of dairy and taking Lactaid pills.

To read more about not accepting what’s considered normal, go to my post at Attune Foods.


Lifefactory Glass Bottle Winners and Discount Code

Posted on May 3rd, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Giveaways, Healthy Living, Products, Saving Money/Sales | Read 13 Comments - Add Your Own »

I have picked the winners of the glass bottles from Lifefactory!

lifefactory-bottles-16-ozFirst, let me say that it was totally random. Second, I want to tell you that since there were so many entries (153!) I just couldn’t stop at four bottles, so I decided to add two more winners! Yay!

Even if you aren’t a winner, you really still are, because

a) now you know about my favorite water vessel, and
b) you get a special discount of 20% online, using code surefoods20 until June 30, 2011 (UPDATE: The discount code was terminated on May 31st because it was posted on coupon sites – I apologize). By the way, these make awesome gifts. Check out the baby and kid bottles and safe teethers. We use everything in our house (well, not the teethers — but I give them to friends with babies. I wish this stuff was around when mine were babies).

And now, for the winners:

#141 Cori, who according to her blog is on a weight-loss journey. This bottle full of clean water should help! Cori said “I would love the 22 oz midnight blue!!”

#103 Shirley, who is one of my gluten-free blogging buddies! I can’t believe you won Shirley. I’m so glad you get one! Shirley said, “I actually got to see some of the Lifefactory bottles being used by folks at the Expo. Loved them! :-) I’d love the larger size in midnight blue.” She was talking about the Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Expo by the way.

#24 Michelle, another one of my blogging buddies! She is one of the cleanest, greenest gals around, so I know she will appreciate this bottle! She said, “Hurray for safe bottles! Either size is great – I love spring green :-)

#110 Venessa, who said, “I currently rotate between a couple of metal bottles, but I would love to try this one. It has an awesome look too. I’d like the 22oz. bottle in RED. Thanks! so much for this opportunity.”

#98 Lynette Harris, who said, “Would LOVE the 16 oz in Graphite! We are always on the go with sports activities, and this would be awesome! How fun!”

#33 @mpv61 (Melanie) who said, “I would love a 22 ounce Spring Green! I’ve never seen these before; they’re very stylish. And we could all use more hydration!”

Thanks everyone for entering and many of you for your nice comments about my blog. And thanks to Lifefactory, for this giveaway and for making these amazing products!


Lifefactory Glass Water Bottles (Win Stuff Wednesday!)

Posted on April 27th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Giveaways, Healthy Living, Products, Win Stuff Wednesdays | Read 154 Comments - Add Your Own »

Lifefactory Bottles 16 oz.If you don’t have a Lifefactory glass water bottle by now, you really need to get one! About a year ago I did a giveaway of these bottles when they were brand-new and nobody had even seen them before. Now, a year later, I am seeing them everywhere! Why? Here are some reasons:

  • They look cool. Who knew a bottle could be so stylish?
  • They make things taste good — well, they make things taste like they are supposed to taste, without a plastic or metal flavor added.
  • They are made from quality, safe ingredients. It really does matter what you put in your body (hopefully you know that already!)
  • They get clean! Seriously, I have been using the same kid bottles now for 3 years and my big ones for over a year and they all look brand new.
  • They come in a variety of sizes: small 4 oz and 9 oz for babies and kids, medium 16 oz (new this year) and large 22 oz for adults.
  • They look cool — oh, did I already say that?

win-stuff-wednesday1And now, what you’ve been waiting for… the giveaway. My husband (who works for Lifefactory) has authorized me to give away 3 bottles. Oh, what the heck, I’m sure he’ll let me give away 4. Let’s do 4! To enter to win, please leave a comment (one per person) with the size you choose (either 16 oz or 22 oz) and the color you want. Now this is tricky — the 16 oz has some different color options than the 22 oz, so pay attention:

  • Lifefactory Bottles 22 ozThe medium 16 oz colors are: Raspberry, Spring Green, Pearl White,Turquoise, Royal Purple, and Graphite (see picture at top of post)
  • The large 22 oz colors are: Red, Orange, Spring Green, Pearl White, Sky Blue and Midnight Blue (see picture to right). Matching color caps are new this year!

You have until Sunday, May 1 at midnight PST to post a comment. I will choose the winners at random. UPDATE: Extended til Monday, May 2 midnight PST!

Even if you don’t win, you lucky readers of Sure Foods Living get a special online discount of 20% at Lifefactory.com if you use the code surefoods20 at check out (good until June 30, 2011).

Cheers!


Probiotics and Gluten Intolerance/Celiac Disease

Posted on April 14th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Healthy Living, News & Research | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »

Bacteria – your gut is full of it! But wait, before you call the doctor for antibiotics, you need to know that not all bacteria are bad. In fact, the “friendly” bacteria that reside in your gut are vital to maintaining a healthy digestive system, and amazingly and perhaps most importantly, a healthy immune system.

lactobacillus1Unfortunately, the intestinal flora in many people’s digestive tracts are out of balance, with not enough of the good bacteria. Why the decrease in beneficial gut bacteria? It seems the way we live in our modern society is contributing to the imbalance. Consider some of the following theories as to why:

  1. The use of antibiotics has killed off the good bacteria in addition to the bad.
  2. The sterilization of our society – hand sanitizers and antibacterial cleansers – has eliminated the good bacteria along with the bad.
  3. The decreased consumption of cultured and fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut, means we are not consuming as many probiotics in our diets as we used to.
  4. The increased consumption of whole or processed grains that have not been soaked, sprouted or fermented first has eliminated a source of prebiotics, which feed the good bacteria.
  5. Processing and pasteurization of foods destroys any beneficial bacteria that may naturally occur in the foods.
  6. C-sections and formula feeding changes the microflora of infants, possibly contributing to food intolerance and allergies.

Given the pace of our society today, it is unlikely that any of the above behaviors will change, so people are going to continue to have this bacterial imbalance.

If you have gluten intolerance or celiac disease like me, your gut flora may especially be out of whack. WANT TO READ THE REST? Go over to Attune Foods, where you will read some research on probiotics and celiac disease, and also get some advice on probiotics from Certified Nutritionist Sheila Wagner. Go to rest of article on probiotics… and please leave a comment over there!


What matters most is what’s inside… the stomach

Posted on February 15th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Healthy Living | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »

attunefoodsbrandam_button“What Matters Most is What’s Inside” — the Attune Foods theme this month — might inspire one to write about seeing the good inside people, to write about not judging a book by its cover, but that’s not where I’m going with this one. I am going to look inside… the stomach!

Every forkful of what you put in your mouth is either inflammatory, contributing to more disease, or anti-inflammatory, contributing to less disease. These are the words of Dr. Tom O’Bryan in a lecture on Unlocking the Secrets of Gluten Sensitivity. What a fascinating way to look at the way we eat. What a black and white way of looking at what we eat! Thinking this way may very well take the enjoyment out of eating altogether, but on the other hand, what value do you place on eating anything you want versus living disease-free?

You’ve heard the saying “All roads lead to Rome.” I once heard a gastroenterologist say “All diseases lead to the stomach”…

To read the rest of this article, please visit me over at Attune Foods. Don’t forget to leave me a comment!


Beanitos – a corn-free chip!

Posted on February 9th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Corn Allergy, Healthy Living, Products, Uncategorized | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

Corn sensitivity seems to be on the rise. I know many gluten-free people who also can’t have corn. I must admit that I have no willpower when it comes to chips and salsa — thankfully, I don’t have a problem with corn, but for those that do, or for those that just want to have less corn in their diets, there’s a chip for you!

beanitos-corn-free-chipsI came across Beanitos at The Fancy Food Show in San Francisco last month. These chips are like tortilla chips without the corn! So if you miss that crunch with your guacamole, look no further. Beanitos are 100% corn, wheat, potato and soy free. They are also low glycemic, high protein and high fiber.

The chips come in four flavors: Black Bean, Pinto Bean & Flax, Black Bean with Chipotle BBQ, and Pinto Bean with Cheddar Cheese. If you don’t see this product in your local grocery store, print the Beanitos product sheet and bring it in to show them.


Could you have a food intolerance?

Posted on January 14th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Healthy Living, Products | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Yes, I’m talking to you — the one who doesn’t feel that great but doesn’t know why. You, who suspects that a food affects you, but doesn’t want to acknowledge it, or hasn’t taken the steps to figure it out. Make 2011 the year to improve your well-being!

attunefoodsbrandam_buttonFood intolerance is the first topic that I am writing about on the Attune Foods website, where I will be writing articles for the next six months as an “Attune Foods Brand Ambassador”, along with 11 other health bloggers.

I have been a fan of Erewhon gluten-free cereals for a long time (Erewhon is one of the brands owned by Attune Foods), so I was excited that they asked me to help them promote their brand and to share my thoughts on their website. They also make yummy gluten-free probiotic chocolate bars (chocolate + probiotics — what’s not to like?)

So go on over to Attune and check out my article (and leave me some comments over there!):
COULD YOU HAVE A FOOD INTOLERANCE?


Hail to the Kale — How to Make Kale Chips

Posted on November 17th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Food Ideas, Healthy Living, Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

Tonight my girls chowed down a plate of kale and fought over the last bite, which I then had to split in half. No, I’m not magic! The kale tasted good. Take it from my 4 year old who looked at it and said “Yuck” and then tasted it and said “Yum!” It feels good to watch your kids eat such a powerhouse veggie, packed with vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin B6, and magnesium! Plus, it’s in season now (winter).

anniekale1

kalechips1

maxinekale

I was first introduced to the idea of kale chips by Michelle of What’s Cooking With Kids many months ago when she shared with me her simple recipe as we walked through the Marin farmer’s market. Combining her instructions, a few tips from Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen, and my own advice, I am sharing how I made the kale chips that my daughters loved so much.

KALE CHIPS

Ingredients:

  • One bunch of organic kale (try to get Lacinato kale, otherwise known as Dinosaur or Tuscan kale — the hearty leaves are dark blue-green) UPDATE: I’ve decided I like regular old green kale better for chips and it is easy to break the leaves off the stem.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (I prefer fine grain sea salt for these chips)

Directions:

  1. Wash the kale leaves and spin dry in a salad spinner, or dry with a towel or paper towels. CONTINUE READING »