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We live in a world where food comes in boxes and bags. Which leads to the question...how much do your kids know about their food?

How Much Do Your Kids Know About Their Food?

We live in a world where food comes in boxes and bags. Which leads to the question…how much do your kids know about their food?We live in a world where food comes in boxes and bags. Which leads to the question...how much do your kids know about their food?

We have a little joke in our house about corn.

Whenever I serve corn with a meal my husband asks, “Why did you make two vegetables?” – referring to the corn and whatever vegetable I’m serving. To which the kids quickly reply, “Corn is NOT a vegetable, Daddy! It’s a grain!”

The sad thing is that far too many people don’t actually know that. My husband and I both grew up thinking that corn was a vegetable (now he says it just to tease the kids). It may be laughable at our table, but the reality is so many kids are so disconnected from where their food comes from that they don’t even know that corn is a grain. Or that an egg is not dairy (it comes from a chicken, not a cow!).

Kids today see food that comes in boxes and bags without any idea of its origin.We live in a world where food comes in boxes and bags. Which leads to the question...how much do your kids know about their food?

How Will They Learn?

We are blessed to live in the country, raise our own animals and grow our own produce. Every day is a lesson in agriculture for my kids! (Though I am curious if some of the neighbors that have large corn fields know they are growing grains??)

But not everyone has that opportunity. That is why I am thankful for resources like the book Where Does a Rainbow Grow? by Kathryn Kemp Guylay. In it she uses bright colors and easy-to-read text to explain to kids where their food comes from and what to eat to stay healthy.

Real Colors!

As a family we made a decision over five years ago to cut out food dyes 100%.

No exceptions. It has made a world of difference in the neurological health of our children. So when I opened this book and the first page talks about avoiding fake colors I was hooked.

My kids love to look at the pages with brightly colored produce. They also like to answer the questions and try to name every fruit and vegetable.We live in a world where food comes in boxes and bags. Which leads to the question...how much do your kids know about their food?

Ever since reading Guylay’s first book Give it a Go, Eat a Rainbow my kids and I have enjoyed pointing out how many colors we eat each day. Just the other day when I put some spinach on my son’s plate he asked, “What is green good for?” It makes me so happy to know at six years old he is already learning how his food impacts his health. Green is great for bones and teeth!

Try Something New

Seeing all of the pictures has reminded me that, although we eat a wide variety of and a large quantity of produce, we still have plenty of foods we haven’t tried. Maybe we’ll grab a few new items the next time we go to the store and experiment with them.

Where Does a Rainbow Grow? would make a great addition to a home school curriculum. Or it would be a wonderful gift to share with your child’s classroom.

I firmly believe that the more knowledge we have about our food, the better choices we make and the healthier we become.

Let’s raise a generation of kids that understand where their food comes from and how they can use food to feel good. Reading Where Does a Rainbow Grow? Is a great place to start!We live in a world where food comes in boxes and bags. Which leads to the question...how much do your kids know about their food?

If you want to get your kids more involved with their food and learn how to cook check out the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse.

I was compensated for my time to review this book; however I was not paid to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Cooking for a family with allergies is manageable, though sometimes challenging. What happens when you leave the comfort of your own kitchen? How do you handle food allergies then?

How to Handle Food Allergies When You’re Not at Home

Cooking for a family with allergies is manageable, though sometimes challenging. What happens when you leave the comfort of your own kitchen? How do you handle food allergies then?

Cooking for a family with allergies is manageable, though sometimes challenging. What happens when you leave the comfort of your own kitchen? How do you handle food allergies then?

It is very common in the world of real food to be on some type of restricted diet. Whether it be paleo, AIP, keto, GAPS, low FODMAP or another healing diet. Then there are those who have to avoid certain foods due to allergies. Either way it makes eating somewhere other than your own home challenging.

What Can You Do?

The easiest solution is to always eat at home. But let’s be realistic. There will be times that you have to eat out or get an invitation from a friend to have dinner together or even eat with family. In order to avoid going hungry or appearing rude you need to take measures to ensure there is safe food for you and your family.

I deal with it all the time. My family has dealt with a myriad of allergies over the last few years. This is in addition to trying restricted healing diets. We even did have a stretch where we didn’t eat at a restaurant for over a year because there were just too many severe allergies. But I’ve learned how to live with food restrictions and still eat somewhere other than my own home. Here are some simple coping strategies to make this task easier.

Eating at a Restaurant Tips:

  1. Choose a restaurant with an actual chef. They can accommodate almost any request.
  2. Ask for your food plain. Most restaurants have chicken breast and broccoli. They can even cook it in water to avoid unhealthy or unsafe fats.
  3. Choose meals with individual components (meat, vegetable, starch) instead of mixed foods like pasta and burritos.
  4. Order a few sides instead of a main dish. A baked potato, salad and a vegetable makes a good meal.
  5. Don’t be afraid to bring your own food. A salad is a great grain free option. Simply bring a small bottle of your own dressing to make it healthy. I often bring extra raw vegetables for my kids to add to their meals since restaurants have a limited selection and they are sometimes prepackaged with unsafe fats.
  6. Speak up! It’s not always easy, but in my experience most restaurants do their best to accommodate special dietary needs. My little secret? Regardless of why you have to avoid the food I always say it’s an allergy. They’re more likely to respond well to an allergy request than an “I don’t eat that” request.

Cooking for a family with allergies is manageable, though sometimes challenging. What happens when you leave the comfort of your own kitchen? How do you handle food allergies then?Eating with Friends or Family Tips:

  1. Ask for the menu ahead of time. Let your host know you have allergies and you want to be sure there are safe foods. It’s much easier to work through the details in advance than showing up and having to decline everything offered.
  2. Offer to bring a component of the meal. If grains are the problem you can offer to bring homemade bread or rolls that are safe. Maybe you want to be sure there will be plenty of vegetables. Offer to bring a salad or roasted vegetables. Bring something safe so there will be at least one thing you can eat.
  3. Eat a light snack before you go. Then even if there are limited options you won’t go hungry. Enjoy what you can eat and focus on enjoying time with friends. Don’t draw attention to the food.
  4. Be the host. This is usually my default. I’m glad I like to cook! Since my kids are the ones with allergies I try to take the responsibility of hosting and preparing special food.
  5. Speak up! This applies to friends and families just as it does to restaurants. Most people are more than happy to accommodate special diets. If it’s someone I don’t know well I still always call any food restrictions allergies.

Cooking for a family with allergies is manageable, though sometimes challenging. What happens when you leave the comfort of your own kitchen? How do you handle food allergies then?It’s Just Food.

Food restrictions tend to cause me anxiety. Sometimes the most important thing is to remember it’s just food. It’s just one meal. Focus on the conversation and the company. Know that most people want to help and are more than happy to make special accommodations for you. It may take a little courage, but you can work around food allergies without being stuck at home. Then you can turn around and be a blessing to someone else when it’s your turn to host. It’s always my first question when I invite someone over for a meal – do you have any special dietary needs? When the host starts the conversation, it makes the whole process easier for everyone.

There is no need to shy away from family gatherings or a special meal out when dealing with special dietary needs. Simply follow these tips to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone!

How do you cope with special diets when you’re not at home? Do you have any tips to add to the list?

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Believe it or not carrying a bottle and drinking water all day long could be sabotaging your health improvements. I'll tell you why!

Drinking Water Is Making Me Fat And Tired

Believe it or not carrying a bottle and drinking water all day long could be sabotaging your health improvements. I’ll tell you why!

Believe it or not carrying a bottle and drinking water all day long could be sabotaging your health improvements. I'll tell you why!

Get up. Shower. Get dressed. Put on makeup.

And fill my water bottle. That was me.

Then remind myself periodically throughout the day to take a drink. Refill and repeat. Keep track of how much I drink. Make sure I’m getting my eight glasses at a minimum.

Sound familiar?

At the same time I was getting up super early every day to have time to get things done, nursing a little one full time, exercising every day, running my own business and following the GAPS diet. All good things, right?

Not So Good.

A few years ago I learned that was not the case! I quickly became more and more fatigued. My weight started going up. And my body temperature (along with my metabolism) plummeted. As in I’m not even sure how I was functioning. At times my temperature was 92 or 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Some evenings I could barely walk up the stairs carrying my son because my muscles were so weak.

I thought I was doing all the “right” things. But my health was quickly declining. Something had to give. But what?

Believe it or not carrying a bottle and drinking water all day long could be sabotaging your health improvements. I'll tell you why!

I did two simple things to turn my health around.

  1. Stop eating grain free/ditch the GAPS diet.
  2. Stop drinking so much water.

Wait, what? Adding grains and drinking less water made me healthier? You bet! And I’ve never looked back.

Curious why you might be drinking too much water too?

Head over to Kitchen Stewardship where I’m sharing my thoughts.

Then come back and share your thoughts with me! Do you try to drink a certain amount of water every day in the name of good health? Or do you listen to your body? I’d love to hear.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

There are so many components to good health and natural living. But some get in the way of others. Is is possible essential oils are detrimental to you natural lifestyle?

When Essentials Oils Are Detrimental To A Natural Lifestyle

There are so many components to good health and natural living. But some get in the way of others. Is it possible essential oils are detrimental to you natural lifestyle?

There are so many components to good health and natural living. But some get in the way of others. Is it possible essential oils are detrimental to you natural lifestyle?

What does a natural lifestyle mean to you?

That’s actually kind of tough to answer when you really think about it. There are so many components of a natural lifestyle. Sometimes so many that it’s overwhelming!

Essential Oil Boom

One aspect of natural living that has really grown in recent years is the use of essential oils.

When I first started this journey over six years ago that was not a term I had ever heard. Now it seems that every other friend is selling them.

I love seeing so many people feeling the pull towards a better way of living! It is so encouraging.

A Big Problem

There is just one glaring problem I see with essential oils.

THE USERS.

I see someone post a picture on Facebook of their current diffuser blend (usually some sort of stress relief for themselves or calming for their kids). The next post is of their hyper children with blue-stained faces from candy or neon-colored crackers.

Anybody else see the irony there??

There are so many components to good health and natural living. But some get in the way of others. Is it possible essential oils are detrimental to you natural lifestyle?

There’s more.

Head over to Kitchen Stewardship where I’m sharing my thoughts on the down side of essential oils.

>>>READ THE REST HERE.

Then let me know what you think! Do you use essential oils? How large of a role do they play in your lifestyle?

 

 

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Food reactions are common and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Allergy testing can be helpful. But what happens if you get a negative allergy test? Does it put you in the clear?

Does a Negative Allergy Test Put You In The Clear?

Food reactions are common and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Allergy testing can be helpful. But what happens if you get a negative allergy test? Does it put you in the clear?

Food reactions are common and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Allergy testing can be helpful. But what happens if you get a negative allergy test? Does it put you in the clear?

Allergy tests are great for pinpointing food reactions. All three of my kids have had multiple rounds of testing done.

Sometimes the test confirms a suspicion I have about a trigger food. Sometimes it helps me figure out a random allergy that I never would have guessed.

Not Always Accurate

But allergy tests are not 100% accurate. An IgE skin prick allergy test only checks for a reaction to the protein in the food. You could have a strong reaction to the sugar in a food (lactose intolerance is a great example) and test negative for an allergy.

An IgE blood test is even less accurate. It checks for antibodies in the blood to a specific food. It can help confirm a diagnosis after a skin prick test is positive. But it is not a very good diagnostic alone.

Food Sensitivities

IgG blood tests are a bit controversial. Some say they are great for detecting food “sensitivities”…actually called latent allergies. Others say this test can give different results every time. You could draw blood three times in the same day and get varying results.

I have done an IgG blood test for myself before. I had mixed feelings about its accuracy. So I’ve never done it for my kids.

All this to say that allergy tests absolutely have their place. And they are quite helpful for diagnosing allergies that range anywhere from mild to severe and life-threatening.

But just because an allergy test is negative does not mean you can throw caution to the wind and eat whatever you want.

My Son

My son has been dealing with various degrees of allergies for many years. It started from birth with some reflux. Then at age two he developed bad eczema on his legs. Thus started our journey with allergy testing and food elimination.

Every time he is tested a slew of foods shows up. We cut them out, work on healing for a while and retest. 

But every time this has happened things have gotten a little more challenging. For example, rice showed up on his first allergy test. We cut it out. Six months later when he was retested the rice allergy was gone. Yet three years later he still can not eat rice without noticeable reactions.

Making Progress

In spite of some foods still causing problems we were making progress narrowing his list of reactive foods. Then in early 2016 after the onset of stomach aches and an inability to eat much he was retested.

To our shock he had a back full of welts. We were given a prescription for an epi-pen. And he was diagnosed with potentially anaphylactic allergies to nuts, dairy and a few other foods.

Wait, what happened over the last year that made his allergies go from mild and healing to life threatening??

Even though we didn’t have an answer to that question we moved forward, removing the necessary foods, always carrying an epi-pen, doing our best to keep him safe.

Food reactions are common and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Allergy testing can be helpful. But what happens if you get a negative allergy test? Does it put you in the clear?

Not Fixxed

He had some reprieve for a bit. We were so happy to see him get an appetite back and really start growing.

But before too long he started having a lot of stomach aches again. Gradually they started to become more frequent. They prevented him from sleeping. They stopped him from eating well.

More Testing

It was back to the drawing board. We started by going to the pediatrician. We did a CBC and metabolic panel. We did urine and stool tests. All normal.

So it was back to the allergist for another round of testing, fearing another laundry list of foods to avoid.

And we got a huge shock!

Every single skin prick was negative. Not even a tiny bit of reaction. So we did the blood test. Again, all negative.

Nuts, dairy, wheat…everything…negative.

Food reactions are common and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Allergy testing can be helpful. But what happens if you get a negative allergy test? Does it put you in the clear?

Although it was good news I was more confused than ever! The allergist (a new one) said his old test was likely inaccurate because foods were tested at the same time as airborne/environmental allergies.

Now what?

Do I just throw out his allergy list and let him eat whatever he wants? Do I trust the tests?

My husband and I both see glaring evidence of food reactions.

Digging Deeper

Well, I did what I do best. I observed, experimented and researched.

The thing is food reactions are a sign of a deeper issue.

Just because an allergy test is negative does NOT mean you can eat a particular food.

This is something I am very passionate about and believe so many parents could benefit from.

Behavior, digestion, skin, emotions…they are all impacted by the food you eat. Even healthy, nourishing food can create a negative reaction.

Case in point – my whole family (you can read more about it in my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?!).

Experimenting

We gradually let my son try a few foods he’d been avoiding. His stomach aches increased in frequency. His mood declined. He started wetting the bed. He developed bad breath.

Then we let him try some goat’s milk. Wow.

The result was horrific meltdowns, almost as if he was a psychiatric patient. Anything and everything caused him to scream, cry, hit himself and berate himself. It’s a parent’s nightmare.

No amount of comforting him and trying to talk through his feelings helped. If his big sister wouldn’t play with him – meltdown. If I told him I was reading a book his little sister picked out before the book he picked out – meltdown. If he wasn’t crazy about some of the food on his plate – meltdown.

This list could go on and on.

After some charcoal and a few days off of dairy he returned to a more stable state.

Sadly it’s not just dairy that does this to him. There are quite a few foods, all with varying degrees of reactions.

I could also go through our entire family listing foods and reactions. Yet we all test negative for food allergies.

So now what?

What do you do if allergy tests are negative but food reactions are present?

You get help from others who have been there. You find doctors and practitioners who are willing to dig deeper and find a cure instead of simply avoiding certain foods.

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

Healthy Kids

In my book I teach you how to observe your child and not just accept the poor behavior. Find a root cause and fix it. Say goodbye to picky eating and temper tantrums.

Beyond Allergy Testing

If allergy testing isn’t giving you answers, here are some other conditions to consider.

  1. Overall gut dysfunction/leaky gut.
  2. Parasites – they are more common than you think. They tend to really act up around a full moon, so if your child is worse during that time it is something to consider.
  3. Slow metabolism.
  4. Thyroid disorders.
  5. Lack of sleep
  6. Mineral imbalance/nutritional deficiency

And here are some potential treatments.

  1. GAPS diet (Gut And Psychology Syndrome)
  2. Parasite cleanse
  3. Probiotics
  4. Digestive Enzymes
  5. Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

 

You can also treat food reactions from a more neurological and physical perspective. This includes:

  1. Functional neurology
  2. Chiropractic care
  3. Craniosacral therapy
  4. Osteopathic manipulation therapy
  5. Energy healing
  6. Muscle response testing

Baby Steps

I don’t have all of the answers for you. We are still in the trenches with my son’s reactions, trying to find the correct path forward. 

I know we will keep digging until we find the problem and the solution. We will restore my son to full health. We will find health for our whole family!

A negative allergy test does not give you free reign on food.

You have to dig a little deeper. It’s more work, but so worth it! In the end you will be able to eat more of the nutritious food your body needs.

Have you or your children been tested for allergies? Was it helpful or confusing?

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

The Secret Ingredient Hiding In Your Natural Food: What Is Natural Flavor?

It’s not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods…but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your “natural” foods?

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

It’s been over three years now since we cut out food coloring/food dyes from our kids’ diet. As in absolutely none. No exceptions. Artificial flavor is limited to a few times a year in a treat of vanilla ice cream.

It has made a big difference in how my children feel and behave. It is literally like a drug for my oldest. Sometimes it makes her insane. Sometimes it makes her super mellow. Either way, it’s impacting her brain and is not good.

Of course cutting out artificial ingredients naturally lends itself to a healthier, more natural lifestyle. Who doesn’t love that?!

Instead of artificially flavored fruit snacks you buy organic gummies. Instead of Trix yogurt with food dyes you get organic yogurt. Instead of traditional candy you buy organic suckers made with fruit. Sounds great!

Not Enough

That was us…for a while. Until I noticed my daughter was exhibiting the same behavior as when she ate the foods with artificial colors and flavors.

Being the investigator that I am I read labels, I observed her, I kept a food journal. She had already been gluten free for a long time.

The one thing that I came up with was the ingredient common to all of these “natural” foods…

Natural Flavor

Since then I’ve been doing more research. Both experimenting with diet and reading any information I can find. I really want to know…what is natural flavor??

Not surprisingly I came across article after article that said natural flavor is basically the same thing as artificial flavor. The only real difference is the ingredient(s) it starts with. Natural flavor starts with real food. But it still undergoes various chemical processes which result in a product not much different than its artificial counterpart.

The Technical Term

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, “The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. Natural flavors, include the natural essence or extractives obtained from plants.”

Per dictionary.com enzymolysis is: “Chemical change or cleavage of a substance by enzymatic action.

So, natural flavor can come from a chemical change of bark and it’s still within the guidelines. Interesting.

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

What Others Are Saying

According to dailyburn.com:

“Natural flavors are coming from natural sources — the original ingredient is found in nature and then purified and extracted and added back into the food.

But, that doesn’t necessarily mean the “natural flavors” in your blueberry granola bar are simply…crushed-up blueberries. Rather, they probably consist of a chemical originally found in blueberries, enhanced and added into your food in a lab.”

“Added flavoring, both natural and artificial, could contain anywhere from 50 to 100 ingredients. And all of the extra ingredients in flavors often aren’t as innocent as you’d hope they would be. The mixture will often have some solvent and preservatives — and that makes up 80 to 90 percent of the volume [of the flavoring]. In the end product, it’s a small amount, but it still has artificial ingredients.”

NaturalNews.com states:

“Regulations for the word “natural” only apply to flavors; anywhere else you find it on food packaging means absolutely nothing regarding quality. Secondly, the FDA definition of “natural flavors” and “natural flavoring” allows for the substance to be extracted from plant or animal “matter.” So when you buy something that’s organic, vegetarian, or vegan, and it has “natural flavoring,” you could be eating a pig, cow, turkey, chicken, or lamb which was shot up with growth hormones, fed GMO pesticide-laden corn and grain – probably mixed with other animals of it’s same breed, then shot up with antibiotics due to infections and diseases from living in confined quarters on slats covered in feces.

Monosodium Glutamate is a neurotoxin that can be legally hidden from you and/or be labeled “natural flavors” in the ingredients list. MSG is not a natural flavor – in fact, it can cause brain lesions, neuro-endocrine disorders, and neurodegenerative disease in humans, but you won’t hear any doctors of Western Medicine mentioning that at your next extreme migraine emergency visit. There are more than 25 names for MSG, so sometimes you find it spread out a little, just in case the manufacturer gets “checked out” by anyone other than the FDA.”

Foodbabe.com says:

“With the words “natural flavor” food chemists and companies can put whatever they want in your food that is “generally regarded as safe” including excitotoxins. Natural flavor can legally contain natural occurring “glutamate” bi-products like MSG – which are known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins are some of the chemicals that cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food. Excitotoxins overexcite your cells literally until they die or are damaged causing “injury” and “incapacitating” you with disease. When consumed over time, excitotoxins can cause nerve disorders resulting a myriad of diseases from stroke to Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s. And lots of other side effects too – like obesity, migraines, fatigue and depression.”

Remember what I said about “natural flavor” acting like a brain-altering drug for my kids? It’s not so far fetched when you really do some searching. My observations were spot on.

Straight From The Source

None of it sounds very appealing and certainly doesn’t put my mind at ease.

But I know you can’t trust everything you read. So I set out to do my own investigation.

I called some popular organic food companies and some conventional food companies to ask them about the ingredients in their food (I’ll be kind and won’t name names). Sadly most of them had no answer for me.

I told them I was a mom of kids with tons of allergies. I need to know a full ingredient list or I can’t give it to my kids. Simply avoiding the top eight allergens does not cut it.

These are the responses I got:

“Natural flavor is listed so we can keep the full ingredient list from our competitors. The natural flavor in X product contains apple, corn, black raspberry, cherry, cranberry, lemon, lime and strawberry. I don’t know how it’s processed, but it does contain those ingredients.”

“The natural flavor is outsourced. The ingredients for each flavor can change by the season so we can’t tell you what’s in it. It is made from fruits, vegetables and/or spices. And they can’t be modified. There are no major allergens.”

“The natural flavor comes from a natural source. I don’t have a specific list of ingredients.”

“It is a proprietary formula that I can’t tell you. It is an all natural food or something.”

“The Natural Flavors in our products will follow our same Brand Promise to be Gluten-Free and Free-From the top defined food allergens. We have only aligned ourselves with business partners and ingredient suppliers that can adhere to our strict allergen requirements.”

One website directly stated:

“All our Natural Flavors in our certified organic product are Organic Compliant Natural Flavors and conform to the regulations of both the FDA and the very strict National Organic Plan (NOP) by the USDA.These natural flavors do not contain anything we would not be proud to put in our family’s mouths.  

Please note that we consider our Natural Flavors to be secret recipes so we do not reveal the contents of our Natural Flavors.  We are aware that some people may not be able to eat some of our flavors because we are unable to reveal the secret recipe and we are truly sorry for this inconvenience.”

Digging Even Deeper

Since I was getting nowhere with the food manufacturers I tried contacting some natural flavor manufacturers directly.

No surprise…I couldn’t get any response from them!

I Need To Know

As a mom of kids with allergies it concerns me greatly that I am not allowed to know what is in just about every packaged food. Even simple foods like canned tomatoes and salsa. It also concerns me that these “natural flavors” are so common that nobody questions them.

The word natural has no real standard. It can mean just about anything. Don’t let it fool you too. If you are conscious of avoiding artificial flavors and colors, you might want to add natural flavor your list.

If it is so “natural” why don’t you just tell us what it is??

Now what?

Don’t feel discouraged! You can still live a natural lifestyle. And it does NOT have to be complicated or involve convenience foods with suspicious ingredients.

You can learn to replace store-bought products with DIY options that actually work (like homemade fruit snacks and granola bars) and are easy to make. You feel better (and even look better, too). Healthy living becomes less stressful and more enjoyable.

Our family has felt so much better by making changes to the way we eat, the products we use, and how we take care of ourselves. It’s made all the difference in the world and I want the same for you.

The use of natural flavor has been my biggest “natural food” complaint for many years. It really has no place in our food. And food companies that make quality, whole foods should be more than happy to tell consumers exactly what ingredients they use.

 

Skip the “natural flavor” that is a mystery ingredient. Keep your family well nourished and feeling their best.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Look no farther! I've got the BEST allergen free snacks so you can enjoy summer and stay safe.

The Best Allergen Free Snacks For At Home And On The Go

Whether you’re hitting the road in the summer or you’re in your regular routine at home it’s important to have safe snacks on hand. I’ve got the best allergen free snacks to help make summer fun.

Look no farther! I've got the BEST allergen free snacks so you can enjoy summer and stay safe.

Kids love to snack. No question about it.

I try to give my kids nutrient packed meals so they aren’t too hungry between meals. But they still seem to be hungry a lot (especially due to allergies and gut issues). And with a little one trying to get back on track with weight gain I feed her any chance I get.

Summertime is no exception to the snacking.

There are so many healthy real food choices! What a blessing.

Not Everyone Is So Lucky…

What if your kids can’t eat most things that you can buy in a store or restaurant, even the healthy stuff?

Your options are quickly limited.

Look no farther! I've got the BEST allergen free snacks so you can enjoy summer and stay safe.

Managing Food Allergies On the Go

No need to worry. I’ve got a list of some of the best allergen free snacks around. They aren’t expensive processed foods. Just simple, nourishing snacks that kids love.

Believe me, I know allergies. When I say something is allergy friendly, it really is safe.

Feeding my children nourishing meals is hard. But providing safe and healthy snacks is even harder,especially when traveling. Since I can never compromise, I have to constantly be prepared.

Look no farther! I've got the BEST allergen free snacks so you can enjoy summer and stay safe.

Favorite Allergen Free Snacks for Kids

Some of these snacks work well for when you are away from home and need to keep food at room temperature. Others are simple bites to have on hand at home or kept in a cooler.

Some are salty. Some are sweet. There is a little something for everyone. Mix and match to meet your summer activity needs!

These allergen free snacks are all naturally free of (or can be made free of) gluten, dairy, nuts, eggs, corn, soy and coconut. So take your pick and enjoy safe summer snacking.

Head over to Kitchen Stewardship where I’m sharing my list of allergen free snacks!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

How To Get Your Kids On A Rotation Diet {With No Resistance}

When it comes to allergies diet is key, especially rotating foods. Wondering how to get your kids on a rotation diet…and avoid the resistance? Let them have control!

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

One of the hardest things about an allergy diagnosis is taking food away from your child.

For real. Who wants to say, “Sorry, no more apple slices”? Or “Your sister is having cheese, but you can’t have it now”?

Then you break the news. You also have to rotate your food. The raisins you like to snack on every day? Now you can only eat them every four days. I hope you enjoyed that banana. You can’t have another until later this week.

This may sound like a joke, but it’s not. Using a rotation diet for allergies is one of the most important things you can do. It certainly does not make dealing with allergies easier. But it will help in the healing and prevention process. By rotating the food you eat on a four day cycle you allow the body time to heal. It also prevents the development of new allergies, which is so common. Eating the same foods day after day when you have allergies is a recipe for disaster.

No more fights. No more allergies. Learn how to get your kids on a rotation diet.

If you have never heard of or tried a rotation diet be sure to read about how it works and why it is critical for those with allergies!

So just how do you get your kids on board with this new way of eating?

Today I’m at Kitchen Stewardship sharing fun tips for getting kids of any age on a rotation diet.

—>>> Go check it out!!

I’ve also got a super cool FREE printout to help you get started. Get your copy now.

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In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

How I Got My One Year Old To Eat Again | Just Take A Bite

How I Got My One Year Old To Eat Again

By my third child I thought I knew plenty about feeding challenges. I was wrong. The hardest was yet to come. I’m excited to share our story and how I got my one year old to eat again and a special recipe that literally saved her life.

How I Got My One Year Old To Eat Again | Just Take A Bite

Every parent wants their kids to be good eaters, right?

No complaining. No throwing food. No refusing to eat vegetables. It’s a reasonable desire.

Of course most kids do go through phases of eating more or less, phases of liking and refusing certain foods, phases of wanting to make their own food choices and willingly eating whatever you serve. Love it or hate it, that’s life.

I’m thankful that it seems to get easier to handle with each child…at least a little.

But what if your child just won’t eat?

At all?

Every. Single. Day?

Emotions turn from annoyance to anxiety. I’ve been there. And I know I’m not alone.

Why Won't My Child Eat 300x250

It’s not getting any better.

As allergies are on the rise so are eating struggles. Especially for young children.

Think about it for a minute. If you eat something that upsets your stomach do you feel like eating? Are you a little hesitant to eat that food again?

Now imagine if you are so young you can’t even verbalize how you feel. And your mom tries to feed you the same food over and over (because we’re told to keep trying, eventually they’ll like it) that you know will give you a stomach ache or reflux or even swelling.

What is your solution? Refusal to eat. Period.

Feeding a young child that is developing allergies is an important and sometimes stressful task. As a parent your only feedback is watching for reactions, assuming you even know to look for them! Along the way your child may just stop eating out of fear or because she simply does not feel good.

How I Got My One Year Old To Eat Again | Just Take A Bite

Our Journey.

I have lived this struggle over the past year and a half as my daughter slowly developed more and more allergies.

When we first introduced solids she seemed to enjoy most things she tried. But gradually she started eating less and less until she stopped eating.

We managed to get by for a while because she was nursing full time. But as we approached her first birthday I knew something had to change. A one year old should be eating more than three bites of solid food a day.

This is my third child. I know all the tricks. I tried different flavors and textures. I tried distracting her. I fed her in a chair or while we were playing. Really. I had tried it all.

But she still wouldn’t eat. We hit a low point.

She wasn’t gaining weight. She wasn’t getting enough nourishment.

At thirteen months old I knew I had to change our situation or take her to the doctor.

There’s hope!

There is hope even for kids that refuse to eat anything! Want to hear more about how we turned it around?

—->>>> Head over to Kitchen Stewardship!

I’m sharing how I got my one year old to finally eat again. Plus I’ve got a fun recipe for squash “milk” that is perfect for kids with allergies. Even I drink it!

Why Won't My Child Eat?!

Looking for more? Check out my book Why Won’t My Child Eat?! where I share all of the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the last eight years with three kids each with different feeding challenges. It is possible to turn any child into a good eater and to do it with real, nourishing food.

>> Order your copy of Why Won’t My Child Eat?! <<

And don’t forget to download your FREE guide to meal planning and picky eating with two weeks of rotated meals laid out for you! It’s a great way to get started.

>>>>  Get your free guide here.  <<<<

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on the Table When School Starts

Don’t let the busyness of fall derail your real food lifestyle. Use these ten tips for keeping real food on the table to maintain your sanity and everyone’s health.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Believe it or not it is already time for school to start and all of the fall activities to begin again.

Summer was easy. There was time to prepare plenty of good food. Snacks were easy with the abundance of fresh produce.

Now life gets busier and time is limited.

So how do you keep it real?

Here are a few tips to get your fall started the right way and keep your family well fed.

Plan, Plan, Plan

One of the most important ways to make sure you are making healthy food is to plan ahead. At the start of each week or each month take a few minutes to plan meals.

Check your schedule and plan meals that work around your activities. This will also help you when grocery shopping so you know exactly what you need.

If you have to be gone most of the afternoon or everyone has a different schedule, try making a crockpot meal that will be ready whenever you need it. Maybe you’ll be home in the afternoon but won’t have time to cook. Prepare a casserole first thing in the morning so you can put dinner in the oven and go back to your to-do list.

Try planning a few meals that will have a lot of leftovers. Then transform the leftovers into another meal. Roast a chicken one night.  Then use the leftovers to make soup or stir fry another night.

No matter what is on your agenda you can feed everyone healthy food if you plan ahead.

If you need some ideas to get you going I’ve been posting weekly menus for years!  Check them out.

Stock the Freezer

As much as you try, there isn’t always time to cook a good dinner. Or maybe for you breakfast is chaotic trying to get out the door on time.  The solution is a stocked freezer.

Breakfast foods like muffins, coffee cakes, granola bars and even smoothies freeze very well. Make a few big batches of your favorite breakfast items on the weekend and you’ll have a healthy, homemade grab-and-go breakfast all week.

Another great item to have in the freezer is cooked meat. Tacos only take minutes if you have pre-cooked ground beef. Cooked chicken works well for stir fry, fajitas, sandwiches or salads.

Do casseroles work well for your family? The next time you make a casserole, make a double batch and freeze one.

Stock a few casseroles in the freezer and you’ve got a no-prep dinner just waiting for you. A frozen casserole does not need to thaw. Simply give it a few extra minutes to bake.

Cooking and baking when you have the time and stocking your freezer is one of the easiest ways to keep your family well fed.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Stock the Pantry

Maybe you haven’t had time to plan or stock your freezer yet. Now what?

Keep your pantry filled with foods like canned salmon, noodles, beans, rice, olives, dried fruit and tomatoes. A simple pasta dish will come together quickly. Cook the noodles. Add salmon, beans, tomatoes and seasoning. Dinner is served.

Stock the Refrigerator

When it comes to simple, a refrigerator filled with fresh fruits and vegetables is key. A salad can be assembled easily when there is plenty of fresh produce on hand. It is very portable as well.

Make the dressing in the bottom of a container and layer the salad toppings. Mix it when you are ready to eat.

Kids are more likely to grab fruits or vegetables to snack on if that is what is available. Nutritious food does not have to be complicated.

You can also keep easy protein sources on hand like nuts, cheese, yogurt and hard boiled eggs.

Keep Inventory

All of the preparing and stocking doesn’t do much good if you don’t know what you have. Keep track of what is in your freezer and pantry.  Every time you put something in or take something out take note.

A great way to take inventory is with a dry erase board. Then you don’t even have to open the freezer to know what you have.

Fill Up At Meals

Snacks can be the most time-consuming foods to make. They are also the most likely sources of junk food.

Make sure your meals are nutrient-dense and filling so you won’t need to snack much. A meal should have a balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Figure out what ratio works best for your body. Then stick to it at your meals to feel satisfied.

When you do need a snack something simple like fresh fruits and vegetables will be sufficient.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Make Snacks That Last

For the occasions when you do need snacks, make homemade munchies that don’t go bad easily. A batch of homemade graham crackers lasts in the cupboard for a couple months.

Dried fruit travels well and holds up to heat. Homemade fruit snacks or gummies will stay fresh in the refrigerator for weeks.

Put your effort into making food that will last more than a couple days.

Don’t Bring Junk Into the House

When life gets busy it is easy to grab convenience foods. But if the food is not in your house, you won’t eat it.

So skip buying the junk food at the store and keep the fridge and cupboard filled with quality, nutritious food.

Keep it Simple

Real food doesn’t have to be complicated. Whole milk yogurt mixed with fresh fruit or a fried egg and toast make very easy breakfasts.

Lettuce topped with nuts, cheese, dried fruit and fresh vegetables is a great lunch. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and sea salt on top for a quick dressing.

Chicken legs, potatoes and carrots placed in a crockpot in the morning will provide a nutritious and delicious dinner in the evening.

Eating real food is possible even when you only have a few minutes at a time to prepare meals.  Just keep it simple.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Let Everyone Help

Preparing good food doesn’t have to be left to one member of the family. Get kids involved with simple food preparation at a young age.

Even small children can chop fruits and vegetables, make salad dressing or assemble fruit salads. Older children can help cook at the stove and even prepare whole meals if mom and dad are busy.

Take turns planning and preparing meals throughout the week.  By dividing the work the food will be prepared faster and nobody will feel the stress of having to do it all.

As school begins and other fall activities get under way don’t panic. There are many ways to keep eating quality food and making sure your family is well nourished.

Ten Tips For Keeping Real Food on The Table When School Starts | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Are you ready for fall to begin? Use these simple tips for keeping real food on the table to make sure you’re eating well even if you are busy.

Looking for easy meal ideas to get your fall started?  Here are some of our favorites!

Sloppy Joes

Tacos

Salmon Salad

Split Pea Soup

Broth Burgers

Sweet and Sour Stir Fry

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Squash Soup

Sweet Potato Salmon Burgers

Chicken Nuggets

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for  you.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.