Friday, November 18, 2016

My Life Was Changed by MDA, and Now I Want to Help Others Create Better Health!

3 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Desserts

Truth: Thanksgiving can be stressful—if you let the multicourse holiday feast rule you. We’re convinced the day will be better if you actually have time to enjoy your guests and your showstopping meal, including dessert. This year, we’re cooking up dessert at least one day ahead of the big day. No reason to wait to make these healthy-but-no-one-will-ever-know-it, rich desserts that’ll deliver sweet success.

Pumpkin Tiramisu with Gingersnap Crunch
Serves 16

4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chilled dairy-free coconut or almond creamer
4 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature
One 7-ounce package ladyfinger cookies
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed espresso, at room temperature
Gingersnaps, coarsely crushed, for sprinkling

In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat in the pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin spice and salt until smooth, about 2 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the creamer until it holds soft peaks; gradually beat in the mascarpone and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the whipped mascarpone cream until just combined.
Submerge each ladyfinger into the cooled espresso and line the bottom of a 9-inch square glass baking pan. Spread half of pumpkin filling on top; sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers and pumpkin filling. Chill, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Make-Ahead Tip: You can make the tiramisu up to 2 days ahead of time; store in the refrigerator. To serve, sprinkle gingersnap crumbs over it.

Per serving: Calories 120.1; Fat 6.5 g (Saturated 2.9 g); Cholesterol 99.1 mg; Sodium 74.2 mg; Carbohydrate 13.8 g; Fiber 0.4 g; Sugars 4.0 g; Protein 2.65 g

Maple Pot de Creme with Candied Pecans
Serves 8

3 cups dairy-free coconut or almond creamer
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
8 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated maple sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole pecans

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the creamer, 2/3 cup of the maple syrup, egg yolks, maple sugar, vanilla bean and salt over medium heat until smooth. Cook, stirring, until the custard is thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes; strain through a sieve, evenly dividing the custard among 8 small serving bowls. Chill, uncovered, until set, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss together the pecans and remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Bake until bubbly and caramelized, about 10 minutes.

Make-Ahead Tip: You can make the pot de creme up to 3 days ahead of time; store in the refrigerator. To serve, top with the candied pecans.

Per serving: Calories 274.3; Fat 20.2 g (Saturated 2.4 g); Cholesterol 184 mg; Sodium 135.2 mg; Carbohydrate 24.8 g; Fiber 1.3 g; Sugars 18.6 g; Protein 3.9 g

Chocolate-Bottom Apple Tart
Serves 8

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces, plus 2 tablespoons melted
2 tablespoons ice water
1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted
4 medium apples — peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Maple sugar, for sprinkling
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, salt and cinnamon. Gradually incorporate the softened butter pieces and blend until dough forms coarse crumbs. Drizzle in the ice water until the dough holds together, adding more water if necessary. Wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into a circle. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick and transfer to a 9-inch round tart pan, pressing the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan and cutting off any excess overhanging dough. Spread the melted chocolate over the dough to coat the bottom.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the apples on the chocolate in a ring, starting from the outside in and finishing in the center. Crimp the edges and brush the melted butter over the dough edge and apples; sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake until the crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Make-Ahead Tip: You can make the tart up to 1 day ahead of time; store at room temperature. To serve warm, if desired, reheat in a 325 degree F oven until just warmed through, about 15 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 345.5; Fat 18 g (Saturated 10 g); Cholesterol 38.9 mg; Sodium 113.2 mg; Carbohydrate 45.2 g; Fiber 3.8 g; Sugars 17.4 g; Protein 2.3 g

Silvana Nardone is the author of Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen: Timeless Favorites Transformed.

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...

Modern Children Are Different

Guest post written by: Kathryn Kos

We have moved far away from having the instinctual ability to know exactly how to feed our children. There are hundreds of books trying to teach us the right things to do. The media tries to shout out at us! The norm in our ‘rush rush’ culture is quick and easy. We see the word ‘healthy’ and we take it and run with it. There is this parent guilt we experience, associated with anything cheap and fast. Flashy advertisements labeling everything from breakfast cereals, to power bars, to chicken nuggets as ‘healthy’ ‘all natural’ and a must have part of our child’s nutrition. My point here is that feeding children is no easy feat! But we do it. We feed our children as close to a paleo paradigm as we can, within the context of our modern culture. We feed them within the realm of soccer practices, late meetings, playdates, carpools, and needing to be 20 places at once. Are you that parent who doesn’t buy cereal or boxed foods? The parent who spends quite a bit of money every week on groceries, and time to prep kid-friendly meals, in order to feed your child your best version of healthy that you can possibly muster? Are you that parent who, despite your attempts, your child still struggles with his/her weight, food allergies, autoimmune issues, frequent colds or even chronic ear infections?

Modern children are the cultivation of generations of consumerism. The emerging science of epigenetics is showing that not only are genes inherited from parents, the diet and lifestyle of your parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents has a profound impact on your health, your children’s health, and even their children’s health. You may have the most perfect diet, and yet still have a child with food allergies, autoimmune issues, and metabolic struggles. With the onset of the agricultural revolution, and the slow rise in processed foods becoming the standard, came about a dramatic increase in inflammatory related illnesses and metabolic issues. It becomes more and more difficult to undo generations of misguided nutritional advice. With commercialism and media telling us what we should be eating, we are in a sense, set up to fail. It takes a great deal of effort, and yet sometimes our best attempts may not be working for us. Processed foods are the norm for most families now. Even the most well advised parents are seeing their children put in situations where processed foods are the only option.

Modern children are different, and we have to look at the bigger picture. It’s not only about nutrition. They are exposed to more environmental toxins, there is less movement throughout the day, with a higher emphasis on achievement in school, stress is higher, life is faster. Mode of birth and breastfeeding, as well as hospital practices that undermine the birth process are affecting our children’s microbiome. My point is that there are a great many factors that can contribute to childhood obesity. Although diet plays a major role, it’s not only about food here. In this piece we will discuss the impact of nutrition, movement, and microbiome on childhood obesity.


In their book Pottenger’s Prophecy, How Food Resets Genes for Wellness or Illness, Gray Graham, Deborah Kesten, and Larry Scherwitz discuss the concept of epigenetics. Epigenetics is the relationship between our genome and the environment with regards to aging and disease. It’s a very new science, however quite promising in helping the medical community understand the impact our inherited genes, diet, lifestyle, and environment have on both our own health and the health of our offspring. Graham discusses Dr Francis Pottenger, a pediatrician and research scientist in the 1930’s. His research on cats lays down a foundation for understanding how nutritional deficiencies from a modern diet can be passed down to the next generation, as well as generations to follow! Pottenger studied generations of cats by giving some of the cats a raw and natural diet, and some of them a cooked and processed diet. He studied their births, pregnancies, and conditions that humans are prone to such as illnesses, heart conditions, thyroid disease, and inflammatory processes.

According to Graham, there were two fairly remarkable conclusions drawn from Pottenger’s study on cats. The first being physical degeneration caused by a poor diet in the mother is inherited in the offspring and passed on through the third generation.’ and the second being, ‘When a mother’s diet is nutritious, not only does she benefit with good health, so, too do her offspring…and their offspring, and so on.’

What does this mean for us? It’s imperative that our generation stop making excuses for poor nutrition, and start making some big changes. It may take a few generations for the health of our future generations to return, and for disease processes like autoimmune conditions, metabolic issues, and asthma to start reversing. We may still have children that struggle, but we have to look at the bigger picture and start incorporating major changes.

There is this fear that our children will have a disordered view of food, if we are ‘overly healthy’ with them. In my opinion, this fear of disordered eating is pulling us too far in the opposite direction. The real disorder, is what we now consider normal. The food industry perpetuates this fear, by leading us to believe that moderate amounts of processed foods labeled as ‘healthy’ are okay for children to consume. Avoiding giving our children packaged foods, is viewed as dysfunctional by many who follow mainstream nutrition paradigms.  However, The best thing we can do is make real, healthy home cooked food a priority at home. Make it normal. Everyday. There are many amazing kid-friendly blogs and cookbooks. There are crockpot recipes and meal plans. We can get our children involved with meal prep, and get them excited about real food. Keep in mind that what they are consuming now will have a profound effect on their offspring, and the subsequent generations to follow! We are in a sense changing their genes for the better, through real food. One bite at a time, one meal at time.


With the onset of modern technology and increased screen time, modern children are not moving nearly as much as they should be throughout the day. On top of this, our educational culture has moved in the direction of achievement at all cost. Children are spending 6+ hours a day sitting in the classroom. Recess time is becoming less and less. Movement throughout the day (not just during structured sport settings) is essential for a child’s physical and emotional well-being. A recent study published in Applied Kinesiology, Fitness and Metabolism (2016) looked at why children are more sedentary now. The biggest factor was increased screen time at home. These researchers concluded,

‘The most common correlates included weight status and access to electronics in the house’.

We need to have our children step.away.from.the.screen. Literally. Free play is a lost art, yet necessary for our children’s mental and physical wellbeing. As parents we need to speak up about the importance of movement throughout the day at school. Speak up about more recess. Speak up about stretch breaks throughout the day. Sitting all day is extremely counterproductive for children. Play and movement are so imperative for instilling in our children!

According to my friend and colleague Darryl Edwards from,

‘Our children are the most sedentary in human history with physical activity becoming increasingly optional and our kids suffering the health consequences of this inactive lifestyle. Movement should be mandatory – you can’t outrun a poor diet, but you can’t ‘healthy eat’ your way out of a sedentary lifestyle either. Create the environment to ensure kids have fun with movement.’

Young boy 10 years old playing on his video game too much.

When at home, limit screens, and focus on outdoor free play and movement as often as possible throughout the day. We need to get our children back outside, and back to using their bodies throughout the day.


Within the past few years there has been a great deal of microbiome research, with regards to obesity. One major factor is mode of delivery at birth and breastfeeding! Children born vaginally are at a decreased risk of obesity, and this is because of the beneficial bacteria the infant is bathed in when passing through the birthing canal. One very recent study by Yuan, Gaskins, & Blaine, et al. (2016) concluded that cesarean birth was associated with offspring obesity after accounting for major confounding factors. In within-family analysis, individuals born by cesarean delivery had 64% (8%-148%) higher odds of obesity than did their siblings born via vaginal delivery. There are, however, ways we can incorporate microbiome into our birth plans.

A review of research in Nature Reviews Microbiology, suggests that microbiome should now be a part of our birthing plans.

‘Delivery by C-section has been associated with an increased risk of immune and metabolic disorders, which are thought to arise owing to changes in microbiota’

Researchers exposed babies to vaginal fluid from their mothers within the first two minutes after cesarian. They observed that their microbiome composition resembled the microbiome of vaginally delivered infants throughout the first month of life. Other important ways to increase an infant’s healthy microbiome at birth, are skin to skin contact with parents immediately after birth, not bathing the infant, and breastfeeding.

Beautiful baby girl few minutes after the birth lying on her mother, skin to skin contact

Another huge impact on children’s microbiome is associated with germ theory, and the overuse of antibiotics, antibacterial hygiene products, and general societal fear of children getting dirty. This is in of itself a whole new topic that can fill a book. In a nutshell, we are essentially killing off beneficial bacteria, and not exposing our children to microbes necessary to build up their immune system. My biggest suggestion is to not fear dirt! Let your children play in the dirt. Let infants explore their world with their hands and mouth. Stop over-sanitizing everything, and fearing all bacteria. It’s time we realize just how important a little dirt is, in terms of shaping our child’s collective microbiome.

dirtyhandsThere are many other factors that come into play when it comes to childhood health, that just couldn’t fit into this one piece, including emotional health, stress, sunlight, and sleep.

What are some simple steps you can take now with your child?

We are bombarded with media telling us what we should be buying, and doing to better our children. We need to step away from all of this. Let’s instead make small and concrete steps towards bettering our children’s health, such as:

  • Meal plan, and focus the majority of meals around real food.
  • Limit screens, get your children outside playing, even on very cold days. Stop fearing the elements. Get them outside.
  • Have a microbiome plan in your birthing plan.
  • Allow your children to explore the world, get outside, and get dirty!

First and foremost, understand that your child’s health struggles may be due to a variety of compounding factors, including how his/her great grandparent’s lived. Keep in mind modern children are not the same as even the last generation.



Graham G., Keston D., & Scherwitz L. (2011). Pottenger’s Prophecy. How Food Resets Genes for Wellness or Illness. Amherst, Massachusetts: White River Press

LeBlanc, A (2016). Why are children sedentary: an examination using the International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and the Environment. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 41(7): 790, 10.1139/apnm-2015-0555.

Nunes-Alves, C (2016). Add the microbiota to your birth plan. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 14 (131). doi:10.1038/nrmicro.2016.23

Yuan C, Gaskins AJ, Blaine AI, et al. (2016). Association Between Cesarean Birth and Risk of Obesity in Offspring in Childhood, Adolescence, and Early Adulthood. JAMA Pediatr. Published online September 6, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2385



headshotKathryn is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), who specializes in healing leaky gut and overcoming autoimmune diseases. She sees clients locally in her Ballston Spa NY office, and also offers worldwide phone and skype consultations. Kathryn is a blogger at Kathryn is mama of two boys and is passionate about feeding infants, toddlers, and children real food. In her spare time Kathryn enjoys CrossFit, hot yoga, bass fishing, hiking, and wrestling with her boys.
Twitter: @primalbliss
Instagram: @primalblissnutrition

from The Paleo Diet

What I Ate On Soccer Sunday


Fueling For A Day Of Sports //

In a recent comment I had a request asking me to show you what I eat on the days when I have double-header soccer games. I thought it would make a great post! I’ve had two games almost every Sunday this fall, and often they are back-to-back with little time for me to do much more than drive from one field to the other. Here’s a typical day of fuel. I admit I am sure I could be doing some things better from a sports nutrition standpoint, but my main goal is just to eat enough that I don’t get hungry and so that I feel energized throughout both games. And of course, to focus on eating healthy food.

A lot of my co-ed games have started at 11.00 a.m. or 1.00 p.m. and my women’s games are either at 2:00 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. On this day I was due at the field at 12:30 p.m. I started the day with coffee, as per usual, and had a mug at around 7:30 a.m. after getting up and dressed with Mazen.


Next came breakfast (or actually, brunch). My goal here is to eat a huge breakfast on the later side so it fills me up. Also, to have an emphasis on the carbs to fill up those energy stores. I had two slices of sourdough French toast with some maple syrup, plus a small raspberry smoothie made with yogurt, milk, raspberries, and a few spinach leaves.


I packed up snacks to eat between games. I most often crave salty foods, so I filled a tupperware with salted blue corn chips. Chips are a great snack between games because they are light enough that I can start running right away, and the salt totally hits the spot.


I also packed a few dates to have at halftime of each game.


And of course, plenty of water. I filled both of my bottles up and added some Vega Clean Energy to the bigger one. I like this Vega product because it has some caffeine plus simple carbohydrates and a great taste. (For disclosure, they sent me this tub to try, but I will be buying it again when I run out.) I consumed the Vega bottle at game #1 and then just water at game #2. I had an extra bottle of water if needed. In the warmer months I usually drink all three!


I try to drink a whole bottle of water about 2 hours before I leave the house too (much closer and I’ll just have to use the bathroom the whole game and some of our fields don’t have them!).

I had breakfast around 9, so at noon before leaving my house I had a banana and some peanut butter to top me off.


Go time!! Division 4 Co-Rec Semi-Finals! We won!! I played all but 10 minutes, or about 80 minutes of game time. We had lots of stop-and-go intervals of walking and sprinting.


I forgot to eat my dates at halftime, so I had them along with the chips on the way to my second game. Hard workouts take away my appetite though, so I wasn’t all that hungry during my break. I had an extra Larabar with me just in case.


I arrived at the field and drank some more water before we started to play.


It was such a fun surprise to see these two balloons fly over! I played about an hour of that game. My pace definitely slowed as I started to get tired.


I went to pick up Mazen and then headed back home. I made him dinner – a spinach + manchego grilled cheese and parmesan broccoli – and had a half cup of broccoli before hitting the shower. I was really starting to get hungry and was craving those veggies!


I heated up leftover chili with cheese and sour cream on top and had a side of cornbread for dinner. I know alcohol isn’t the best for recovery, but I had an open bottle of wine I didn’t want to waste!


And to finish off the day, a little pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream.


Soccer days are always lower in vegetables because I essentially skip lunch and miss out on a salad or side of them. This dinner wasn’t especially green (although my chili had peppers and beans inside) but I do try to make a point to get plenty of vegetables into dinner. The broccoli appetizer helped!

Soccer is my favorite form of working out these days, and I feel very lucky to have found the two leagues I play on. I hope I can continue to play for years to come! We have one woman who is nearing 70-years-old on my women’s team, and she is my soccer idol!

from Kath Eats Real Food