Gluten Free Breads?

January 7, 2015

Julian Bakery Gluten Free Bread

Julian Bakery Gluten Free Bread

photo 4

If you’re trying to eat gluten-free, be careful with breads and baked goods because a lot of the time, grains are replaced by starches and they are very carb-heavy and you just end up trading one problem for another.

There are only two gluten-free breads I like.  Canyon Bakehouse Cinnamon Raisin Bread and Julian Bakery Paleo bread (Coconut Paleo Bread pictured above – it also comes in Almond, which is in a brown package).  I also like to substitute bread all together for a delicious Julian Bakery Coconut Wrap (I actually had no idea that my favorite paleo bread and my favorite coconut wrap was made by the same people until I started writing this post and looking for links, because I never use the brand name when talking about them!)

The Canyon Bakehouse bread is a nice, tasty treat, but a bit carby/starchy, as most gluten-free baked goods are, because most use starches to replace the grains that have gluten in them.  So, this isn’t the kind of bread I’d eat every day or anything.

The Paleo Bread is low carb (because it’s not starchy), is moist, has a fairly strong baking soda taste (which is well-tempered if you eat it with something, as opposed to eating it with nothing on it), and really needs to be toasted, IMHO.  The Coconut “flavor” does not taste like coconut at all to me.  It just doesn’t have any nuts (as opposed to the Almond one), and is made with coconut flour.  It is sold as a frozen bread, so I let half a loaf thaw out at a time in the fridge.  If you try to toast a frozen piece, it takes forever, and will likely be unsuccessful.  Even thawed, I don’t usually crisp it up like regular toast in the toaster, it just kind of gets warm.  I like it moist for sandwiches.  My diet-twin and BFF Joe B. (hi, JOE!) says he likes to put the slices in the oven for 15 min at 350.  I don’t know if that’s frozen or thawed, though.  If you’re looking for a grain-free, gluten-free, low carb, fairly low-sodium bread (that is also yeast-free, starch-free, soy free, GMO free, and nut free), Coconut Paleo Bread is the one!

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What kettle do you use?

November 17, 2014

What kind of kettle do you use? I think we’re v. similar in terms of doing a ton of research & trying lots of things out to find the best solution to a problem, and I’m currently in the process of doing this for a kettle, and would love your opinion. Bonus points if you know anything about electric kettles…

My favorite kettle.

My favorite kettle.

I use this kettle – the Jenaer brand (now called TrendGlas) all-glass kettle.  I have used this kettle for at least 10 years (I think I’m on my second one – I broke one, but they don’t break easily).  The glass ball at the top does not last at all – it will break off sooner or later, but there is a metal thing inside of it, so even after the glass ball breaks, you can still lift the lid with that metal thing, though I need to use a small towel or an oven pad when the water is boiling.  (You can slightly see the metal nub at the top of my kettle with the glass broken off in the photo that goes along with this post.)

I absolutely LOVE this kettle and would definitely buy another one if I break this one.  I love the way it looks, I love that it’s glass, it’s easy to clean (and more importantly, easy to tell when it’s dirty).  I highly recommend it.

Two quick caveats about this kettle: 1. you have to hold the lid or take it off if you pour a lot of water out of it, or you have a low water level.  This seems like common sense to me, but in reading reviews, apparently, some people were surprised by this.  2. I believe my kettle was made in Germany.  It was called Jenaer when I bought it, and the company has changed over/changed its name/is somehow different, and I think this kettle is made in China.  It is definitely the same, exact style of kettle I have, but I don’t know if any quality changes have occurred.  I have purchased TrendGlas (the new company) products within the past few years and I’ve been happy with them (the glass tea mug I use is TrendGlas – I have posted it a bunch of times, here is one such post).

Prior to finding this kettle, I used a kettle very similar to this one (forget the exact brand), which is less than half the price of the one above, and still works perfectly well.

In case you’re wondering, I use my kettle on a gas stove, and the glass sits directly on the cast iron trivets.  (I think I’ve taken enough photos of my stove for you to get a few views of it.)

I will never buy a kettle for myself that is not all glass.  And, I will never, ever heat up water in plastic (I had a terrible, seemingly unsolvable health problem for years which turned out to be due to heating drinking water up in plastic, and it was completely cleared up once I stopped doing that).  So, if any electric kettles that you are looking into have the water held in plastic, or the hot water going through plastic, I would say in big, big letters AVOID!

Lastly, electric kettles confuse me.  I just don’t understand their purpose, except if a hot stove would be a safety hazard (like for a very elderly person, or in a dorm room or something).  Yes, they heat up stuff quickly, but not THAT much quicker than a stove would.  And, plus, I use my kettle mostly to make tea, and tea is a process.  It is a lovely ritual to make tea.  And, waiting for the water to boil, and to cool slightly, and to see those bubbles, well, it’s all part of the process, and I love it.  So, I am biased against electric kettles for these reasons.  It does not mean they are bad.

In fact, I can see the utility of having an electric kettle, especially if you have an electric stove, because an electric kettle would be MUCH more efficient, electricity-wise, as well as quicker.  This electric kettle seems nice, and it’s glass, but I would never pour the water through that plastic lid on top, and I’d never filter hot water (as it recommends in the description – BTW – I love that it’s referred to as a “high class glass designed electric” kettle).  You should never filter hot water to begin with (it should be filtered before it goes into the pot), and never pour hot drinking water through plastic (see above).

I know you wanted a simple answer, but simple is not my thing.  Neither is “concise,” whatever the hell that means.


How do I keep my kid thinking over the summer?

July 1, 2014

Oh, you and me both, honey!  You and me both!  This is what I’m doing – please share your ideas in the comments!

  • Math, math, math!  I think this is the easiest thing for a kid to forget over the long, summer vacation.  Math-Aids.com is a great, free site that gives you topic-specific worksheets.  Maisonet Math costs $10 for a year of unlimited worksheets.  You can check out what they have before you pay.  Believe it or not, we actually pay for ixl.com in our family (mostly because I keep forgetting to shut off the renewal function!). IXL has math and language arts for kids K-12, but I hate to admit, my kid hardly ever does it.  He really doesn’t like online test stuff.  He’d rather write it all down on a piece of paper (but I think their content is great!).  And, hey, don’t go overboard.  Your kid should still have a <I>summer</I> after all.  I try for one math worksheet a day, 3-4x a week.
  • Reading time is important!  Here is an old post of mine regarding some great books for kids.  And, here is James Patterson’s site Read Kiddo Read.  Your local library is a great place to go during the summer (and all year!), and librarians are always a wonderful source of recommendations.  Also, I find it much more educational and inspiring to page through an encyclopedia than to miscellaneously go through information online – I think it might be because things online are linked, so they are connected in some way, but the information in a paper encyclopedia is alphabetical, so you get exposed to things you might not ever find out about otherwise.  Also, there’s a lot less inappropriate material for kids in a World Book Encyclopedia, as compared to the rough-and-tumble internet.
  • Limit video/computer game time!  Hey, I love them myself (I am a recovering 2048 and Kingdom Rush addict!), but you’ve got to limit the amount of time you play them, or seriously, your brain just turns to mush!  I prefer to have my son limit himself (doesn’t always work, but we’re getting better at it), and I use this timer from Oxo as a tool to help him do that.  (I’ve been a big fan of that timer for years.  Here’s an old post I wrote about it!)
  • Keep active, eat healthy, and try to maintain healthy sleep and eating habits!  Physical activity and healthy eating are important (duh), and sleep is necessary for all of us, especially children (who should get between 10 and 12 hours of sleep a night, and they often won’t “sleep in” even if they are up late!).  So, try to maintain a regular, early bedtime during the summer!

Paleo dining in downtown Manhattan?

March 30, 2014

I wrote a dining guide to help you find great paleo / grain-free options around downtown Manhattan!  Enjoy!

 


Alert: Beware of inhaled water, and pneumonia

December 9, 2013

Someone could drown hours after they’ve accidentally inhaled water, even if they’re able to talk and walk. This could be a risk for anyone who has accidentally inhaled water or has pneumonia – whether they are an adult or a child, even if is a fairly small amount of water we’re talking about. This article and this article have things to watch out for (not all of these need to be present to indicate trouble), but here they are, in case you don’t have time to look at an article:

* difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* extreme tiredness/fatigue
* changes in personality/behavioral issues/confusion
* vomiting or involuntary defecation
* persistent coughing and/or pain in chest

What happens is a small amount of water in the lungs can block oxygen from being absorbed, and you could eventually suffocate. And, it gets worse when the person lays down (because then the little bit of water covers more of the lung surface). It’s just something to be aware of, because even though it is RARE, if it does happen, it can be remedied by very quick medical intervention.

I hate to send out warnings like this (this was not a forwarded email though it really sounds like one), but I just found out about it and thought it was important enough to post.  (I researched it first to make sure it was not a hoax, which is what ALL of us should do before we pass along/repost anything that we read online.)

 


Alert: Melvin’s Juice Box Open in Chelsea!

October 21, 2013

Melvin

Melvin, at his new Chelsea location of Melvin’s Juice Box.

There’s a new Melvin’s Juice Box in the Dream Hotel – 355 West 16th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues, closer to 9th).  I was riding my bike past it today and saw Melvin out front.  I have enjoyed Melvin’s juice concoctions for years and am so happy his place is now (relatively) in my neighborhood.  Melvin is a great guy – always friendly and positive, and he really knows his juice!  All juices are 100% organic, and they also serve soups, salad, burgers, sandwiches, entrees, wine, beer, shakes, and shots (wheat grass and ginger).  There is eat-in, take-out and delivery, and it’s open 7 a.m. “until late,” 7 days a week.


How do you get ready for cold and flu season?

September 20, 2013

I’ll keep this brief, because it’s important, and I want you to read it.

1. Get as much vitamin D from the sun as you can NOW (from Oct – April, you can’t really get it, even if you lay out at our latitude – I’m assuming you are in NYC, like I am). I talk about the safest and best way to do this in my sunscreen article.

2. If you have low vitamin D levels, your doctor should be telling you to supplement.  It will definitely help you avoid or lessen the impact of colds and flus.  [NOTE: All nutrients, foods and your own body chemistry work together, and taking something in isolation without understanding the whole picture is not a great idea, so for realz – talk to your doctor.  For example, to be absorbed, Vitamin D needs to be taken with fat.  It works together with Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamin K and Calcium, and others, all in different amounts.  Messing up the balance of your body is a bad idea.]

3. Get yourself some high quality, homemade chicken broth and keep it in the freezer just in case you need it.  (Worse case, you make soup in the spring.)  You don’t want to be traipsing around with a 104 degree fever looking for the stuff when you’re sick and then settling for some MSG-laden crap.  In my humble opinion, there is NOTHING better for a cold or flu than rest and chicken broth.

4. Keep some natural remedies on hand.  Photos of the stuff I use are below, and explanations are after that.

For Cold & Flu Season

From left to right: Traditional Medicinals tea in “Breathe Easy ” and “Throat Coat” flavors, Now brand Tru-C (Vit C), Quantum Thera Zinc Spray, Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil and High Vitamin Butter Oil, Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil and Oregano Oil.

Aside from consistently taking SOMETHING to raise your vitamin D levels if they are low, I consider oregano oil and zinc spray the be my main first defenses if feel a cold/flu coming on.   My oregano oil is Integral Yoga’s own brand, and I put a 1-3 drops under my tongue when I feel a sickness coming on.  Warning: it is very strong and it burns, and it upsets my stomach a tiny bit.  I’m not telling you it’s a cure for colds and flus (or anything else for that matter), I’m telling you I take it and I like it for certain uses.  BUT USE WITH CAUTION, talk to a doctor about it, you can mix it with something else, and I would not give it to a child.  I have a post on the zinc spray here.  Oh, and when I take the Vitamin C, I break open the capsule and put it under my tongue.  It is incredibly sour.  Have water handy.

Cough Syrup and Goldenseal

I’ve been using Honey Gardens Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup for years. I use Goldenseal for sinus infections.

Again, remember, I’m not telling you that any of this stuff cures anything… I’m just saying it’s what I use.  Talk to your doctor.  A warning on the goldenseal – this is a tincture, and I put a few drops under my tongue if I feel nasal / sinus congestion coming on.  It tastes HORRIBLE, and it upsets my stomach a little bit, but it has often helped me.  I would not use this on a child, because it tastes so bad, but your doctor can direct you more knowledgeably than I can.

5. You should have some sort of electrolyte solution on hand just in case you get sick, and I don’t like Gatorade or a sports drink for that situation, because there’s too much sugar and other stuff in drinks like that.  I like Smart Water, or clear, unflavored Pedialyte (which kind of tastes nasty), but I think your best bet to have around is probably Oral Rehydration Salts or something similar.

6.  A humidifier is also a great idea (my buying guide), but only if you use it and keep it very clean.  If you need to steam yourself in a pinch, Boil an inch or so of water in a pot, wait about 5 minutes or so, then put it on a burn proof oven mitt or something stable and nonflammable like that in a stable area FAR AWAY FROM THE STOVE OR FIRE and put your face about a foot or two above it with a towel over your head, so the steam doesn’t escape.  Start far away and move closer in a comfortable range, to make sure you don’t burn yourself or your nasal passages.  Then breathe in to get that warm, moist air in your sinuses and lungs.  It might help loosen up mucous so you can get it out.

7.  A few other things: sleep is super important, so is exercise and moving around.  Large muscle movement (walking, running, cardio, etc.) moves lymph around your body and helps you stay healthy.  Don’t eat sugar/sweet treats/junk when you feel like you are getting sick.  I think it just makes everything worse and your body more susceptible.  Wash your hands well with warm, soapy water before you eat, touch your face, scratch your nose, wipe your eyes, put on make up, touch your mouth, etc.  It makes a difference.  Have some wipes in your bag, so you can clean your hands if you’re not around a sink.  I use the Cleanwell pocket pack of wipes.


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