Food Sensitivities – This Mama Cooks! On a Diet™ Healthy recipes & lifestyle tips for busy moms & their families Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:30:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Food Sensitivities – This Mama Cooks! On a Diet™ 32 32 You’ll be amazed that this Celery Root Coleslaw is allergy free! Tue, 16 May 2017 11:27:25 +0000 Celery Root Coleslaw

Now that cookout season is upon us, it’s time to make up a quick and healthy batch of Celery Root Coleslaw.

I know most people have never made a root vegetable coleslaw. But why not try it? It’s a nice change from the usual cabbage coleslaw everyone brings to parties. And so much better for you. Plus, it’s vegan, allergen free (except for soy) and healthier than the coleslaw you get at the store.

This Celery Root Coleslaw is gluten free, vegan, dairy free, and egg free. Click to get this easy to make healthy coleslaw recipe.

Celery root salad recipe inspiration

I originally came across this celery root recipe in Diabetes Forecast, a magazine put out the American Diabetes Association. It was a recipe for Celery Root Salad by my friend, Robyn Webb. I loved the ingredients and found the photograph so inspiring. However, going over the recipe, I found a few things I needed to change. First, I couldn’t eat it due to my food sensitivity to sour cream.

Second, a lot of people don’t like the taste of fennel/anise, so I’d have to disguise it or play it down somehow. (Fennel has a black licorice taste, which I love but many people hate. This is the scientific reason why.)

Since, I wanted more of a “bite” to the celery root salad recipe sauce and felt adding some rice vinegar and ground chipotle chile pepper instead of cayenne would do the trick. Then, I wanted to add more carrot for sweetness and color.

Celery Root Coleslaw

Making a celery root slaw recipe allergy free

In addition to all my recipe changes, I wanted to make this celery root slaw recipe as allergen friendly as possible – gluten free, egg free, dairy free, and so on. Obviously, celery root and carrots are fine, but it was the celery root salad recipe sauce that was the challenge.

To do this I used a vegan mayonnaise and Tofutti Sour Cream. In addition, I used gluten free rice vinegar like NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar.

Celery Root Coleslaw is naturally nut free, of course. However, this vegetarian and vegan slaw salad is not soy free. That was one allergen I couldn't avoid.

Make Celery Root Coleslaw with Tofutti Brand Blue Tub Sour Supreme CreamTofutti Brand Blue Tub Sour Supreme CreamMake Celery Root Coleslaw with Nakano Natural Rice VinegarNakano Natural Rice Vinegar

This Mama’s tips for Celery Root Coleslaw

Celery root is rather tough to grate – too tough for a box grater. I recommend using a food processor to shred it. Using a good food processor for the fennel and carrots will make things much quicker and easier, too.

While Celery Root Coleslaw is a great on it’s own, I like serving it up in a brown rice tortilla wrap. But the best way to enjoy it is with grilled fish tacos with some avocados and salsa – delicious!

Celery Root Coleslaw

Celery Root Coleslaw


  • 2 3/4 cups peeled and shredded celery root (celeriac)
  • 1 cup shredded fennel bulb
  • 5 large carrots peeled and shredded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Tofutti sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free natural rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced green onions (white bulb ends only)
  • 1 teaspoon minced chives
  • whole chives for garnish (optional)


  1. In a large serving bowl, combine the shredded celery root , fennel, and carrots.
  2. Toss well, then add the lemon juice and toss again. While tossing, pick out any large pieces of vegetables that weren’t shredded by your food processor.
  3. In a small bowl, gently whisk together Tofutti sour cream, mayonnaise, spicy mustard, olive oil, rice vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and ground chipotle chile pepper.
  4. Fold the minced green onions and chives into the Tofutti dressing.
  5. Add the coleslaw dressing to the celery root slaw salad and toss well. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Garnish slaw salad with whole chives, if desired.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes
Servings: Serves 8
  • Serving size: 1/2 cup

Originally published on September 12, 2013. Updated with new pictures and information.

This Celery Root Coleslaw is gluten free, vegan, dairy free, and egg free. Click to get this easy to make healthy coleslaw recipe. It's a delicious, easy to make root vegetable coleslaw recipe for potlucks, BBQs and cookouts.

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Chicken and Sausage Paella Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:27:00 +0000 Chicken and Sausage Paella recipe

I was sent this recipe for Chicken and Sausage Paella by Cybele Pascal a few years ago, along with a copy of her cookbook, Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking: 30-Minute Meals Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, and Sesame.

I love this quick chicken paella dish, because like Cybele’s other recipes from her Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking cookbook, it’s healthy, delicious and can quickly be put together on a weekday night.

As you can tell by the title, it’s also for people with food allergies and food sensitivities even to unusual things like sesame seeds. (I’ve been dipping into it lately because my daughter was recently diagnosed with a sesame seed allergy.) It’s a follow up to her book The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook.

Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking for all

I met Cybele at a event in Los Angeles several years ago. She knows all about dealing with food allergies having cooked that way since 2001 after her son, Lennon, was as diagnosed with severe dairy and soy allergies. You can find more about her on her website

Cybele has great taste and style, which is why I fell in love with her Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking cookbook when she sent to me years ago. I still love dipping into it to find ideas for what to make for dinner. I regularly make her recipe for Garam Masala Lamb Chops with Cumin Quinoa, which my family loves. To quote my daughter, Lucie, “I really don’t like quinoa, Mom. But this is so good!”

Like the recipe for easy chicken paella, most of the recipes in Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking aren’t complicated and fussy, and rarely contain hard-to-find ingredients.

I do love that Cybele has recipes for ethnic foods, such as Sopa de Lima, as well as classic family favorites like Chicken Noodle Casserole. In addition, she has great tips for those new to allergy-free cooking, like how to stock your pantry and what kitchen equipment you’ll need.

Allergy-Free and Easy Cook is a terrific cookbook for beginners as well as seasoned cooks who need to eliminate allergens in their kitchens.

This easy Chicken and Sausage Paella recipe is allergy free and gluten free. Click to get this one pot weeknight dinner recipe.

This Mama’s tips to make chicken paella

If you’re gluten free, make sure you’re using aGF low-sodium chicken broth for your Chicken and Sausage Paella recipe.

When choosing the sausage for this paella recipe, make sure to check the label for any ingredients you may be allergic to. Don’t assume that there isn’t gluten or nuts in the sausage.

If you’re doing a lot of vegetable chopping, especially of onions, I prefer to use a food chopper over a knife. A popular model is the Vremi Food Chopper, which is very similar to the Pampered Chef Food chopper I use (and half the price).

Chicken and Sausage Paella recipe

Chicken and Sausage Paella

Reprinted with permission from Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking: 30-Minute Meals Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, and Sesame by Cybele Pascal, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group. Photo credit: Chugrad McAndrews.


  • 1 cup long grain basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/8 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 8 ounces chorizo, andouille, linguica, or kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish


  1. Combine the rice with 1 1/4 cups of the chicken broth in a microwave-safe container. Cover and microwave for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken tenders with the paprika and some salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until starting to shimmer. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and sausage and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the bell pepper, garlic, saffron, oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the remaining 1 cup chicken broth, bring to a boil, and deglaze the pan by scraping up any browned bits along the bottom, 1 minute or so.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, partly cooked rice, and chicken, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, loosely covered, for 8 minutes more or until the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Add the peas and heat through for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, toss with the parsley, and serve hot, sprinkled with a little more parsley.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: Serves 6
  • Serving size: 1/6 of recipe

Originally published on January 11, 2013. Updated with new pictures and information.

Picture and recipe used with permission.

Chicken and Sausage Paella recipe. Click to get this one pot, gluten free, chicken, rice and sausage recipe. It's gluten free and allergy free.
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Try ProNourish Nutritional Drinks with these $2 Coupons! Wed, 19 Oct 2016 18:08:51 +0000 Click to get a $2 off Kroger coupon for ProNourish nutritional drinks. They're the perfect on the go snack or mini-meal for those who have food sensitivities or are following a low FODMAP diet due to IBS.

Are you looking for a yummy nutritional drink that’s perfect for your on-the-go lifestyle? Well, you’ve got to check out ProNourish Nutritional Drinks!

Click here to get a $2 off coupon! 

Click to get a FREE sample & a $2 off coupon for ProNourish nutritional drinks. They're the perfect on the go snack or mini-meal for those who have food sensitivities or are following a low FODMAP diet due to IBS.

What is ProNourish?

ProNourish is the first low FODMAP nutritional drink of its kind. It’s specifically designed to include the nutrition you want and is compliant with a low FODMAP diet.* 

I also like that ProNourish has 3 grams of fiber and 15 grams of high quality protein, which helps you feel fuller longer. It also has 25 essential vitamins, like vitamins C and D, and minerals like calcium and iron.

ProNourish is suitable for those with lactose intolerance, too.

Finally, ProNourish is gluten free (yay!), has no high fructose corn syrup (double yay!), no sugar alcohols or artificial colors.

Get a FREE Sample and a $2 off coupon for ProNourish nutritional drinks. Ideal for those on a low FODMAP diet for IBS or have intolerance to gluten or lactose.

Where can I buy ProNourish Nutritional Drinks?

ProNourish nutritional drink comes in two delicious flavors, French Vanilla and Strawberry Banana.  You can find it in the nutritional drink aisle at Kroger next to the diet nutritional drinks and meal replacement bars. (It’s NOT in the adult nutritional aisle.)

ProNourish drink may not be available at every Kroger store yet. So call ahead to make sure it’s available in your area.

You can find ProNourish Low FODMAP Nutritional Drinks at Kroger in the diet supplement, diet shakes, and replacement bar aisle.

Click here to get a $2 off Kroger coupon! 

(The link will take you to Kroger’s website. Just search on “ProNourish” to find the coupon.)

I tried the French Vanilla flavor and was impressed with its creamy, sweet vanilla taste. ProNourish nutritional drinks don’t have that weird metallic-like taste of other nutritional drinks. Plus, it’s smooth and not chalky or gritty, which makes drinking ProNourish a treat – perfect for a snack or mini-meal.

Finally, a smoothie-like drink that I can drink on the go without having to make up something in the blender! I like that you can slip a bottle of ProNourish into your purse, backpack or lunch bag so you always have a safe snack or mini-meal replacement when you’re not at home.

*Not for Galactosemia.

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Dairy Free? Smucker’s® & Kroger Makes Everyday a Sundae! Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:30:00 +0000 Dairy Free? Smucker’s® & Kroger Makes Everyday a Sundae! Learn more at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet (sponsored)

With the summer in full swing, I’m sure you and your family are trying to find ways to beat the heat. One of my favorite ways is going out for ice cream sundaes. However, when your child has a food sensitivity or food allergy to milk products, you do the next best thing – make ice cream sundaes at home.

When I was recently asked by The J.M. Smucker Company to create some unique tips for their Smucker’s® toppings, I thought that showing how to use their toppings in dairy free sundaes would be a great idea. To get inspiration, I went to my local Kroger store and found their ice cream toppings in the freezer section. Just walking through the ice aisle was a nice break from our steamy Georgia weather. I highly recommend it!

Get dairy free Smucker’s® at Krogers. Learn more at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

At the store, I noticed how easy Smucker’s® makes it for you to determine if there is milk or other allergens in their products. For example, if one of their products contained milk, the word “milk” was bolded on the label. (You can also go to Smucker’s® website to find this out as all their products have nutritional and ingredients listings online.)

After going through the Smucker’s® ice cream toppings, I ended up with a nice selection Smucker’s® fruit toppings (strawberry and pineapple), marshmallow, and walnuts in syrup. I ended up buying two jars of marshmallow and two jars of strawberries because I know my kids would love both! For some reason my kids aren’t crazy about pineapple. I’m not sure how they can be related to me, because I adore pineapple topping. My daughter, Lucie, is allergic to nuts, but I love walnuts in syrup and I bet my son, Nathan, would also enjoy them.

Smucker’s® Walnut in Syrup topping are perfect on sundaes. Get them at Krogers. Learn more at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

Afterwards, I would normally head over to my Krogers health food section in search of a soy or coconut ice cream. However, I turned to my right and found the coolest (no pun intended) selection of Kroger’s Private Selection fruit sorbets . It was serendipity to have fruit sorbets to go with Smucker’s® fruit toppings! While it was hard not to bring home every flavor!

The Private Selection sorbets are a terrific dairy free alternative to ice cream. Get them at Krogers. Learn more at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

Finally, I headed over to the health food aisle baking section to find some dairy free chocolate chips, dried fruit, and unsweetened shredded coconut. I thought they’d go well with Smucker’s® walnuts in syrup as toppings or maybe as layers.

Smucker’s® toppings and Private Selection sorbets for dairy free sundaes from Krogers. Learn more at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

I loved how the frozen and health food aisles at Kroger and Smucker’s® fruit toppings inspired me to come up with some tropical – and dairy free – sundae ideas.

What kind of toppings do you like on your sundaes?

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5 Things You Can Do If You Get Glutened Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:05:15 +0000 Learn about the 5 Things You Can Do If You Get Glutened at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

Obviously, if you have celiacs or an anaphylactic or other serious allergic reaction to gluten, you MUST avoid it as much as possible. Others of us are a little more loosey-goosey with our gluten free diets. You may decide that while on vacation that trying a celebrity chef’s famous squid ink noodles dish or chocolate pastry dessert is totally worth it, tummy ache and brain fog be damned. Or maybe you assumed a few bites of the kids mac and cheese wouldn’t bother you – and woke up in the middle of the night feeling awful.

So here are five home remedies I’ve tried or friends have recommended to me when I’ve “gotten glutened.” Please be aware that I’m not a medical professional and this is not meant as medical advice! You should read and follow the instructions on any of the supplements or over the counter remedies before taking them. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using a supplement or medicine to see if any of these could interfere with other medications you take, too.

Drink lots of water!

Probably the first thing you should do is drink a big glass of water – or two! Drinking water is always the best thing to do no matter if it’s too much gluten, salt, sugar, fat, booze, or whatever else you indulged in the previous day or evening. Get those kidneys working to flush out your system!


Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for your health and your digestive system, since they help move food through your gut. While they are naturally found in foods like yogurt, you can also buy them in supplemental form.

Doctors are beginning to recommend that you take probiotics after taking a round of antibiotics, since antibiotics tend to kill the good bacteria along with the bad ones. Some common conditions doctors may also recommend treating with probiotics include Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), antibiotic-related diarrhea, and Infectious diarrhea caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites.

Some people also use probiotics for non-digestive issues such as skin conditions like eczema, vaginal and oral yeast infections, bladder infections, and even allergies. Many people feel that probiotics boosts your immune system by maintaining a healthy balance in your gut.

If you know you’re going to eat gluten, you may want to take probiotics before and after your meal. Some people feel that probiotics helps them digest the gluten better. I personally take probiotics with me when I travel as I feel taking the supplement helps me deal with all the overindulging I do, and that’s not just gluten but overeating and drinking, too!


This isn’t something I’ve tried, but some friends of mine take turmeric in pill form when they’ve been glutened. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. They feel it helps with digestive issues, headaches, and any joint pain they may have when they accidentally eat gluten. According to WebMD, “Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating…[and] headaches,” so it makes sense that some people would use turmeric supplements to relieve these symptoms when they’ve had a reaction to gluten.

Activated charcoal

One night I decided I had to sample the fried chicken and waffles at a local restaurant so I could come up with a gluten free version that was just as good. (What I do in the name of research!) I woke up at 2 a.m. in agony and tried some activated charcoal, which helped with the bloating I was experiencing. (Just a warning, your poop will be black for a while afterwards.) Activated charcoal helps absorb and eliminate intestinal gas, so if eating gluten gives you gas and bloating, keep a supply of activated charcoal on hand just in case.

OTC medicines

When I eat gluten, I often get a huge sinus-type headache. So beside water and caffeine, I take ibuprofen – lots of it! If you get joint pain or body aches, ibuprofen may help with that as well. You may find that “pepto” will help with your upset stomach, heartburn, nausea, or diarrhea or you may prefer a chewable antacid instead.

However, the best way to avoid getting glutened is to avoid gluten! Do this by avoiding cross-contamination at home, reading those food labels, and asking questions of the servers at restaurants. Still there are times when we don’t want to make a fuss when we’re visiting our in-laws or must have that piece of cake at our niece’s wedding. So I hope some of these remedies help make you feel better soon!

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

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5 myths about gluten free diets and how to respond to critics Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:39:00 +0000 5 myths about gluten free diets and how to respond to critics at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet -

A few weeks ago I was in line at my grocery store checkout, and had several packages of the store’s gluten free pasta waiting to be rung up. The man in front of me noticed my gluten free foods, and asked if I’d been tested for gluten issues or if I was just eating gluten free foods to lose weight? (Geez, thanks.)

I told him that I had an ALCAT blood test, had tested positive for gluten sensitivity, and got vicious headaches when I ate gluten. In addition, I’d been cooking gluten free foods for my mother-in-law who has celiacs for 13 over years now. “Well,” he said, “You know, most people in this country don’t have a problem with gluten. It’s just a fad.” And then he walked off in a huff, miffed that he couldn’t have an argument with me.

The young man at the cash register was aghast at his rudeness, but I just shook my head because it was more of the same nonsense that so many of us who avoid gluten free foods – or who have food sensitivities – have to deal with.

Hoping that you can be better prepared if such a scenario arises, here are 5 myths about gluten free diets and some tips on how to respond to critics of gluten free diets.

Myth 1: A gluten free diet can help you lose weight

Since many gluten sensitive people suffer gas and bloating or even inflammation after eating gluten, eating a gluten free diet may give them an appearance of initially losing weight. Other people after giving up foods with gluten like breads and pasta and substituting them with vegetables, fruit and lean meats, may find they lose weight.

However, if you’re substituting regular bread for gluten free bread, you’ll find that you may GAIN weight. Compare labels of your favorite gluten free pasta or pizza dough to the regular versions and you’ll be shocked to find that the gluten free version contain a lot more calories. That’s because the binders and extra ingredients manufacturers use instead of gluten add many more calories to the gluten free foods you’re eating. It also may be why a piece of Udi’s Gluten Free bread is a lot smaller than regular bread. They want to keep the portion size the same – 1 slice – as well as the calories.

Tip 1: When people ask you, “Are you on a gluten free diet to lose weight?” Reply: 1) You think I need to lose weight? Geez, thanks! OR 2) No. I’m on a gluten free diet because foods containing gluten make me feel ________________ (bad/headachy/give me a rash/give me a tummy ache, etc.)

Myth 2: Gluten free diets are trendy

All I can say to this is THANK GOODNESS! Since I’ve been cooking gluten free for over a decade, I remember how hard it was to find gluten free breads and mixes, even at health food stores and online. Now every grocery and discount store has gluten free foods and restaurants have gluten free menus. It’s wonderful.

Tip 2: When people say, “You’re only doing a gluten free diet because it’s trendy.” Tell them, “Well, the trend has finally caught up with me! I’ve been doing this for X years now and feel so much better. And now I can actually order a gluten free beer at a restaurant!”

Tip 3: When people say, “You’re only doing a gluten free diet because it’s trendy.” Tell them, “I wish it wasn’t trendy. Then I wouldn’t have to pay $2 extra for the gluten free pasta!”

Myth 3: No one has gluten sensitivities

Actually there are three kinds of “sensitivities” to gluten:

Per the Celiac Disease Foundation: “Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.  2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.”  The tTG-IgA blood test screens for celiac disease antibodies. If test results suggest celiac disease, usually a biopsy of the small intestine will be done to confirm the diagnosis.

A food allergy to gluten that can trigger the immune system to produce massive amounts of the chemical histamine that leads to anaphylaxis, which could cause the throat and esophagus to swell, cutting off air from the lungs. Or it could cause hives, skin rashes, vomiting, and other non-life-threatening reactions. Skin prick or blood tests can be done to test for food allergies.

Or a food sensitivity that causes chronic activation of the innate immune system and gives rise to inflammatory processes. This inflammation can be linked to countless chronic conditions including indigestion or heartburn, obesity, fatigue, joint pain, headache, depression, arthritis, canker sores, chronic respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, sinus congestion or bronchitis, and chronic bowel problems such as diarrhea or constipation. The ALCAT blood test can be used to test for food sensitivities.

Tip 4: When people tell you, “No one really has gluten sensitivities.” You can tell them you’ve been tested and indeed you do have a sensitivity to gluten. Or if you haven’t been tested, that your doctor has advised you to avoid gluten because she suspects a gluten sensitivity issue and you’re doing an elimination diet.

Myth 4: The need for gluten free diets is all made up by the press, doctors, diet gurus, and food companies to sell stuff

This is just another way of people telling you that your gluten sensitivity is “all in your head.” Well, for me and others who suffer from headaches, migraines, and brain fog, it surely is! People don’t question nut allergies like they do gluten sensitivity, again because gluten free diets are considered a fad.

Tip 5: When your mother-in-law tells you at Thanksgiving dinner that your gluten issue is all in your head, say, “My physician and I feel a gluten free diet is the best thing I can do to alleviate my migraines (or other health issues).” Mentioning your doctor helps people understand your gluten sensitivity is a serious issue.

Myth 5: Everyone should be on a gluten free diet

Gosh no! Why would you want to be on a gluten free diet if you don’t have to? While gluten free foods have come a long way, they’re still more expensive. And no one has come up with a good gluten free croissant or baklava yet as far as I know.

Tip 6: Don’t be evangelical about your gluten free diet. After reading the comments at The truth about “gluten snobs,” it seemed the people who were the biggest critics were the ones reacting negatively to folks who over preached the benefits of gluten free diets.

Tip 7: Finally, there comes a point where you just tell people to mind their own business! It’s a personal health issue and you shouldn’t have to explain why you’re eating Udi’s Gluten Free snickerdoodle cookies for goodness sakes! (Besides that they’re delicious, of course.)

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit  

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

5 things to know about feeding babies solid foods from the experts at Bundoo Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:19:23 +0000 5 things to know about feeding babies solid foods from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet -

I recently had a chance to interview one of the experts at Bundoo, Kristie Rivers, MD, FAAP, a Board Certified Pediatrician, about when you should introduce solid foods to your baby’s diet. I wondered what the current wisdom was since my kids were babies over 10  years ago. I was also interested in learning if there were any new “rules” about avoiding certain foods due to the bigger prevalence in food allergies and sensitivities, and was surprised to learn that there’s been a reversal of waiting to introduce eggs, peanuts, soy and fish!

1) How old should your child be before you introduce solid foods? Are there signs that show that your baby is ready to start solid foods?

Dr. Rivers: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies wait until 4-6 months of age to start solid foods. Babies are not developmentally ready to eat solid foods until that time. Before eating solids, there are a few things your little one needs to master first. He needs to have good head control when sitting in a high chair, which is not possible until at least 4-6 months of age. Also, he needs to be able to move a spoonful of food from the tongue to the back of the mouth.

You may notice that around this age, your baby will show interest in foods that you eat, even reaching for your food as if he wants to be fed.

2) Is there any harm in waiting to introduce solid foods and stay on formula or breast milk?

Dr. Rivers: Formula or breast milk meets all of a baby’s nutritional needs until around 6 months of age. You will not cause your baby any harm in holding off until then to give solids. After that age, solid foods need to be introduced to give your baby adequate nutrition such as iron, protein, and fat.

3) What are the best solid foods to start your baby on? Is there a progression like cereal, then veggies, then fruits, then meats?

Dr. Rivers: Often, by tradition, many parents will start their baby on a single grain cereal. Many parents may be surprised to hear, however, that there is no good medical evidence to support that starting one food over another is beneficial for your baby. Be sure that if you do start with cereal, it is fortified with iron. The old wives tale that starting your infant on vegetables over fruits is preferable is also not founded in evidence. Babies by nature prefer sweet foods, but introducing vegetables first will not change this preference and cause them to like vegetables over fruits.

Whatever food you decide to start with, be sure to wait a few days before introducing the next new food to make sure there is no reaction.

4) What foods should you avoid to prevent food allergies? Are there foods you should avoid altogether until your child is much older, say two or three years of age?

Dr. Rivers: There is no one particular food to avoid that will prevent food allergies. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that there is no good evidence to recommend delaying highly allergenic foods. Researchers believe that the early introduction of these foods may actually prevent food allergies in children. So the previous recommendations of delaying egg until 2 years of age and peanuts/fish/soy until 3 years of age may be of no benefit to your child.

Talk to your pediatrician to see what is the best choice for your child. However, if your baby already has been diagnosed with a food allergy, eczema, or has a strong family history of an allergic condition (such as food allergies, eczema, asthma, or allergic rhinitis), you may want to visit an allergist before introducing your baby to these foods as these conditions put your baby more at risk.

5) How do you manage older relatives when they tell you, “I used to give you such and such foods when you were a baby, and you turned out just fine!”

Dr. Rivers: If only there were a perfect answer to this question! Older relatives love to put in their two cents about everything from food to discipline to parenting styles. I think the best response to any parenting criticism is a gracious and respectful one. Perhaps say something along the lines of “Thank you, I really respect your opinion. Did you know that I just spoke with the pediatrician about this matter this week and there is all sorts of new research out there these days!”

Try not to get into a long discussion or argument, as it will likely lead nowhere. Sometimes, just a simple “Hmmm” and changing the subject works just fine. Remember, you are making the very best choices for your baby based on the information you have available, and no one, not even your relatives, has a right to criticize your choices.

Information at your fingertips with Ask Bundoo!

Have you had a chance to explore Bundoo yet? Bundoo’s information comes directly from experts like pediatricians, OB-GYNs, and nutritionists. There’s also a large library of articles on topics such as Feeding and Nutrition, Pregnancy & Birth, Preschoolers, and Health Issues.

Bundoo’s articles, community and marketplace are totally FREE, but by becoming a Bundoo member you can:

  • Set up your public or private groups in the Bundoo Community.
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  • Find and follow other members.
  • Review products in the Bundoo Marketplace.

However, there’s one paid part of Bundoo that you should check out called Ask Bundoo that lets you ask questions directly of pediatricians and childcare experts. Ask Bundoo is totally private since no one sees your question except for the Bundoo Childcare Expert. It’s personal since you get a unique and specific answer to your question. Finally, it gives you professional, expert advice from fully credentialed and practicing in their fields.

For one Ask Bundoo question you pay $9.95, and $49.95 for six questions, $29.95 for one unlimited month. It’s a wonderful baby gift for a new parent, which is why they’ve set up a Bundoo Gift service.

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Why I’m gluten free Mon, 11 Nov 2013 12:54:12 +0000 wheat

On January 2, I’ll be celebrating my three year anniversary of being gluten free. While I’ve been cooking gluten free foods for my mother-in-law for nearly 15 years not (she has celiacs disease), it wasn’t until the end of 2010 that I realized I had to change my diet as I’d developed stomach issues that included severe gut pain, bloating, and mysterious bouts of vomiting. After undergoing a sonogram to check for gallstones, and an endoscopy to check for celiacs, I had an ALCAT Food and Chemical Sensitivity/Intolerance Test to check for food sensitivities.

Food sensitivities are the inability to tolerate certain foods, which in turn causes chronic activation of the immune system that gives rise to inflammatory processes. This inflammation is linked to countless chronic conditions including, in my case, indigestion or heartburn. For others, symptoms of food sensitivity can include headache, depression, arthritis, canker sores, obesity, joint pain, fatigue, chronic respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, sinus congestion or bronchitis, and chronic bowel problems such as diarrhea or constipation. Sensitivities differ from allergies in that true food allergies trigger the immune system to acutely produce massive amounts of the chemical histamine that leads to anaphylaxis (which can be fatal), hives, skin rashes, and/or vomiting.

The ALCAT food sensitivity test I took back in 2010 showed that I had the following intolerances:

  • Severe Intolerance - black and green teas, buckwheat, curry powder
  • Moderate Intolerance - anchovy, avocado, baker’s yeast, cane sugar (beet sugar is OK for me), caraway, corn, halibut, mango, rosemary, and sole
  • Mild Intolerance - artichoke, banana, bass, beef, broccoli, black pepper, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, cardamom, cayenne pepper, clove, cucumber, cumin, date, fig, flaxseed, honey, honeydew melon, lamb, lentil bean, maple sugar, mustard, nectarine, onion, orange, oregano, papaya, pear, pinto bean, pumpkin, quinoa, salmon, sardine, squash, squid, thyme, vanilla, venison and white potato.
  • Gluten - I also have a mild reaction to gluten and a moderate reaction to gliadin, so I was told to avoid barley, malt, oat, rye, spelt and wheat.
  • Milk - I have no reaction to casein, the protein found in milk. But I have a mild reaction to whey so I was advised to limit consumption of cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk.

I was told to avoid anything I had a severe intolerance to for at least six months and foods that I had a moderate intolerance for three to six months. (Foods on the mild intolerance list I could eat once a week.) I decided to avoid most of the foods on the severe list for a year, and  slowly reintroduced many of the foods mild and moderate lists back into my diet. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that I started drinking tea and eating curry again.

Unfortunately, I found I still have a problem with gluten and whey, even though the ALCAT classified these intolerances as “mild.” If I eat gluten, I get bloated and have a horrible headache a couple of hours after eating the offending substance. The headache doesn’t go away with a couple of ibuprophen and often lasts 24 hours. With whey, I always get painful tummy ache.

I also find that some days I can tolerate a little bit of gluten or whey. However, if I have a gluten or whey containing foods two meals or two days in a row, my old symptoms – bloating, tummy ache and headache – are bound to return. And combine gluten and whey? Well, I’m just asking for it!

Lessons learned

If you’re having health problems such as unexplained tummy pain, lack of energy, or weird rashes, work with your doctor to consider everything going on in your life, including diet, and lifestyle issues like stress and sleep. If you haven’t had a physical in awhile, it’s probably a good time to get one, too. I was lucky that I had a doctor who believed in conventional tests like sonogram and endoscopies, while also suggesting that I be tested for food sensitivities with the ALCAT.

I was also fortunate that my insurance covered the ALCAT, which was quite pricey. If you can’t afford it, you may want to try an elimination diet or keeping a food diary to see if certain foods trigger the health problems you may be experiencing. You may find that you feel better if you use rice milk in your daily latte instead of cow’s milk or forgo the bagels and pastries at work.

I also learned to listen to my body. I was told that I could eliminate certain foods for a year then be able to tolerate them again. However, I didn’t find that was the case when it came to gluten and whey. I realize now that these are substances I’ll have to avoid for the rest of my life.

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.