Vanishing of the Bees & How it Relates to Autism

I went to see Vanishing of the Bees last week with my teenage daughter. She came as a favor to her “composting- buy at the local farmers’ market- mother”, but walked away educated and engaged. Ever since, she happily takes out the food scraps for composting.

According to the movie, approximately one-third of the food produced in the world is dependent on honeybees for pollination and increased crop yields. Bees are an essential part of modern agriculture and their economic contribution is valued over $15 billion. We were amazed to learn that a third of the bee population disappears every year- just vanishes without a trace. This rapid loss of the adult bee population is known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and has been happening since the mid-1990. Bees are an indicator of environmental quality and their decline points to a broader environmental degradation that will threaten not only the quality but the variety of our food.

Research in France* had demonstrated an interaction between the use of systemic pesticides on crops and a weakening of the bee’s immune system, such that they become susceptible to pathogens and diseases. These interactions on the insects’ central nervous system are cumulative and the cause and effect does not have a direct immediate correlation. Multiple interacting causes are at a play. Therefore the government has been slow to act.

As the movie discussed the symptoms of CCD, I was struck by the similarities to autism. Like CCD, autism is a complex pervasive developmental disorder characterized by severe deficits in social interaction and communication. Research suggests that autism is influenced by an immune response of the central nervous system; however there is no immediate cause and effect relationship in autism. While the rate of autism in the population is much less than that of the bees, 1 in 70 boys, the prevalence rate is increasing 10-17% annually. Is the rise of autism an indicator of human environmental degradation? Are we slowly falling victim to weakened immune systems?

Another threat to U.S. bees is cheap imported tainted honey. The scene that was most impactful to my daughter was when they showed honey from China, diluted with milk or high fructose corn syrup, “beeing” used in food manufacturing. If the honey in Honey & Wheat Bread really isn’t honey what about the other ingredients not on the label?

We don’t need to wait for government action. We can make a difference today! One in every three bites of food is dependent on honey bees for pollination. What can you do? First and most importantly, take the time to understand the issues. For more information about systemic pesticides and what you can do go to: Boulder County Beekeepers and

Second, vote for your health with your wallet. Buy local and when possible, organic; plant a garden; learn to cook; compost. Support companies that use high quality ingredients you can trust, such as Hail Merry. Remember that one determined person can make a difference and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.



Balance Your ph with a Gluten-Free Diet

pH, the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution,  is measured on a scale of 0 to 14—the lower the pH, the more acidic the solution, the higher the pH, the more alkaline (or base) the solution. When a solution is neither acid nor alkaline, it has a pH of 7, which is neutral.

pH range chart

Why is pH important?

Your body is able to assimilate minerals and nutrients properly only when its pH is balanced. The human body has a specific pH value, and our bodies continually strive to maintain that specific pH. In fact, each of the body fluids has a specific pH value. The blood, for example, has a more alkaline pH balance of 7.4. The saliva and urine are more acidic, averaging between 6.5 and 7.0. Optimal balance of the body’s pH is necessary to maintain overall health and prevent chronic disease. When this balance is compromised, many problems can occur and your health is compromised.

It is important to understand that we are not talking about stomach acid or the pH of the stomach. The stomach needs to be acidic to aid in the digestion of food. We are talking about the pH of the body’s fluids and tissues, which is an entirely different matter. Water comprises 80% of the body. Blood is mostly water (82%), as are your muscles (70%) and brain (85%). Your body needs water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all your organs. Water also transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs. Water is charged with negative ions (called electrons) which function as a potent antioxidant to attract free radicals and to neutralize positively-charged toxins (protons) in the blood.

The human body is composed of many different types of cells, which are composed of many different types of molecules, which consist of one or more atoms of one or more elements joined by chemical bonds. And atoms consist of a nucleus, neutrons, protons, and electrons. Electrons are involved in chemical reactions and are the substance that bonds atoms together to form molecules. The most important structural feature of an atom for determining its chemical behavior is the number of electrons in its outer shell. A substance that has a full outer shell tends not to enter in chemical reactions. By nature, atoms seek stability, so they will try to fill their outer shell by gaining or losing electrons, or sharing electrons by bonding together with other atoms.

When weak bonds split, free radicals are formed. Free radicals are highly-charged, unstable molecular fragments that may puncture cell membranes, destroy enzymes, and even break down DNA just to steal an electron from another molecule. Some free radicals occur naturally, as your cells burn food for energy (a process called oxidative metabolism). Other free radicals come from exposure to ultraviolet radiation (sunlight), radon, x-rays, pollutants, pesticides, food additives, alcohol, and other toxins. Sometimes the body’s immune system’s cells purposely create them to neutralize viruses and bacteria.

Generally, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule, stealing an electron. When the attacked molecule losses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction that is disruptive to living cells. To give you an idea of how much damage free radicals can do, consider that these renegade molecules strike and fracture every single one of your DNA molecules 10,000 times a day. About 9,900 of these breaks in the DNA strand are restored to normal by DNA repair enzymes. About 100, or 1 percent, escape the enzymes’ notice. This damage accumulates over time, setting the stage for atherosclerosis, cancer, and other degenerative diseases1.

Certain foods can accelerate the disease process, while other foods can significantly improve health because food affects the body’s pH levels. Some foods create an acidic effect within the body, while others act as alkalizing agents that can neutralize harmful acids. To be healthy, it is necessary to be in a state of acid-alkaline balance2. Over acidity of fluids due to diet3 in the body reduces the potent antioxidant function of water, thereby weakening all body systems. A healthy body maintains adequate alkaline reserves to meet emergency demands to neutralize excess acids. When excess acids must be neutralized, our alkaline reserves are depleted leaving the body in a weakened condition. To counteract the cellular problems caused by mild acidity, the body’s innate mechanism of self-regulation draws upon its alkalizing mineral stores of calcium, magnesium and potassium, within the musculoskeletal system. Consistent withdrawal of these alkalizing minerals due to excess acidity can lead to osteoporosis (a common bone disease that occurs from the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time), spinal degeneration, tooth decay, dry skin and nails, and rheumatism4. A pH-neutral diet is vital to the strength and maintenance of the musculoskeletal system.

Cellular problems also lead to premature aging of cells because the body’s organs become weakened from mineral withdrawal. In the brain, impaired mental acuity and memory problems can result, contributing to dementia and early Alzheimer’s disease.

Even mild acidity in your body can over time cause such problems as

  • Weakened immune system, increased stress, and higher blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating and gas
  • Cardiovascular damage, including the constriction of blood vessels, clogged arteries, weakened veins, and the reduction of oxygen
  • All forms of cancer
  • Unwanted weight/fat gain and obesity
  • Insulin disorders and diabetes
  • Liver, bladder, and kidney conditions, including kidney- and gallstones
  • Neurological diseases: MS, ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s
  • Premature aging, frequent headaches, sinusitis, constipation, and hemorrhoids
  • Osteoporosis, weak and brittle bones, hip fractures, bone spurs, and calcium deposits
  • Osteoarthritis, joint pain, aching muscles, and lactic acid buildup
  • Hormonal imbalances, prostate problems, and adult acne
  • Low energy, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia

Is your body neutralized?

To be neutralized means your personal chemistry is in balance so that you are strong and healthy. You can check your personal chemistry by measuring the pH of your urine or saliva. pH strips are used to measure pH. By using pH test strips, you can determine your pH factor quickly and easily in the privacy of your own home. If your urinary pH is between 6.5 and 7.2 your body is functioning within a healthy range (it will be lower in the morning). If your saliva stays between 6.5 and 7.5 all day, your body is functioning within a healthy range. The best time to test your pH is about one hour before a meal (first thing in the morning) and two hours after a meal (before going to bed).

Urine pH: Urine testing indicates how well your body is excreting acids and assimilating minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. These minerals function as “buffers.” Buffers are substances that help maintain and balance the body against the introduction of too much acidity or too much alkalinity. Even with the proper amounts of buffers, acid or alkaline levels can become extreme. When the body ingests or produces too many of these acids or alkalis, it must excrete the excess. The urine is the perfect way for the body to remove any excess acids or alkaline substances that cannot be buffered. If your average urine pH is below 6.5, you are too acidic, and the body’s buffering system is overwhelmed. You need to neutralize and eat more alkalizing foods, such as leafy green vegetables, almonds, and lentils and by drinking lemon water and green tea.

Saliva pH: The results of saliva testing indicate the activity of digestive enzymes in the body. These enzymes are primarily manufactured by the stomach, liver, and pancreas. If your saliva pH is too high (> 7.5), you may experience excess gas, constipation, and the production of yeast, mold, and fungus. If the saliva pH is too low (below 6.5), the body may be producing too many acids or may be overwhelmed by acids because it has lost the ability to adequately remove them through the urine. While the saliva also utilizes buffers just like the urine, it relies on this process to a much lesser degree. Occasionally, some people will have acidic pH readings from both urine and saliva, a result known as “double acid.”

Where can you buy pH strips?

pH strips can be purchased at your local health food store, Whole Foods Market Stores, Sprouts Farmers Markets, or online at Amazon and

What to do if your pH is below 6.5?

Diet dramatically affects the acid-alkaline balance in your body. If your body is acidic, drink (preferably in the morning) a glass of room temperature lemon water. Squeeze the juice of half a fresh lemon (at room temperature) into 8 ounces of room temperature, filtered neutral water (pH=7). Only use fresh lemons, not reconstituted. Reconstituted lemon juice is made by adding water back into concentrated lemon juice. Because it’s a processed food, reconstituted lemon juice requires the flavor to be adjusted in order to main a uniform flavor, and preservatives to be added to maintain color and freshness. Fresh lemon water is extremely alkalizing. Eliminate all soda (diet or regular) and wheat (refined or whole) from your diet and reduce your daily consumption of refined sugars to 180 calories (12 teaspoons including baked goods, ketchup, and candy). Eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Eat less saturated fats (meat), processed foods, and refined grains.

Once you have balanced your pH, continue to test your pH once or twice per week, preferably Monday and Friday, for maintenance. Once you have neutralized, you will feel more energetic, healthier, and stronger. We call this marriage between good nutrition and a neutralized pH nutralization™. The outcome of being “nutralized” is a strong immune system and balanced health. We use pH as a scientific tool to measure the success of this marriage, not as a basis for every recipe. We want you to eat real fresh whole foods, like leafy greens, avocados, oranges, almonds, and wild salmon; not dehydrated green food shakes and expensive vitamin and mineral supplements.

How does fresh lemon juice neutralize acidity in the body?

Fresh lemon juice contains highly stable, water soluble, and negatively-charged ions. Negative charges (electrons) attract positive charges (protons). Therefore, lemon juice provides the electrons to neutralize free radicals in our blood helping to prevent cell and tissue damage that could lead to cellular damage and disease. After it loses an electron, lemon juice doesn’t become a free radical because it is a highly stable antioxidant, with or without the electron. Lemon juice increases the potent antioxidant function of water in our body.

For more information see The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook:


  1. 1. Brown, S., & Trivieri, L. 2006. The Acid Alkaline Food Guide. Garden City Park, N.Y.: Square One Publishers.
  2. Ozawa, T. 1999. Understanding the Process of Aging. Marcel Dekker: New York, NY, pp. 265-292.
  3. Frassetto L., Morris, R., Sellmeyer, D., & Sebastian, A. 2008. Adverse Effects of Sodium Chloride on Bone in the Aging Human Population Resulting from Habitual Consumption of Typical American Diets. Journal of Nutrition, 138, 419-422.
  4. Bobkov, V.A., et al., 1999. Changes in the acid-base status of the synovial fluid in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Ter Arkh.


April is Autism Awareness Month. Inflammation of the brain is a factor with Autism and the major cause of inflammation in the body is a leaky gut. Talk About Curing Autism spokesperson, Jenny McCarthy, advocates not only a gluten-free casein-free diet (GFCF), but also one free of sugar including fruit, yeast and food dyes to reduce the symptoms of autism and heal the body. Jenny McCarthy will be a special guest this Saturday at Dallas Rocks Against Autism, proudly sponsored by Hail Merry®, a GFCF, raw, vegan snack food company based in Dallas.

According to Autism Speaks™, Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex pervasive developmental brain disorders characterized by severe deficits in social interaction and communication, by an extremely limited range of activities and interests, and often by the presence of repetitive, stereotyped behavior.

One in 110 American children has an autism spectrum disorder (1 in 70 boys) and the prevalence rate is increasing 10-17% annually. Interestingly, females suffer from autoimmune diseases 3x more than males but autism is 4x common in males.

The cause of Autism is unknown. The is no medical detection and there is no cure. Each case is individual with different levels of severity and combination of symptoms. Children with Autism generally have problems in three crucial areas of development- social interaction, language, and behavior. Common signs include failure to respond to name, avoidance of eye contact with other people, lack of empathy, repetitive movements and delayed speech. Common treatments include educational and behavioral interventions, medications and other therapies including a gluten-free casein-free diet (GFCF).

Recent research found little evidence that supports the use of most medications for treating autism in children, with the exception of the anti-psychotic drugs risperidone and aripiprazole.  Risperidone is probably the most common antipsychotic in use. It helps to lessen aggression, agitation and explosive behaviors. Side effects include a sedative effect, weight gain, dizziness and muscular stiffness. Aripiprazole has shown success in controlling severely disruptive, hyperactive and repetitive behaviors. For more on the study go to

There is a growing interest among researchers about the role of the functions and regulation of the immune system in autism – both within the body and the brain. Piecemeal evidence over the past 30 years suggests that autism may involve inflammation in the central nervous system. There is also emerging evidence from animal studies that illustrates how the immune system can influence behaviors related to autism (

In past blogs, I have discussed how inflammation is the underlying cause of most chronic and autoimmune disorders. The major cause of inflammation in the body is the food we eat. Food allergies and intolerances have been implicated in a wide range of medical conditions, affecting every part of the body: from mildly uncomfortable indigestion, to severe illnesses including celiac disease and diabetes, to developmental disorders such as ADHD and Autism. The inflammatory reaction occurs when an ingested food molecule acts as an antigen, a substance that causes the immune system to produce antibodies against it.

When you ingest something your immune system does not like or perceives as undesirable, it attacks by means of inflammation. When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues in an attempt to rid the body of foreign substances. This release of toxic chemicals increases blood flow to the area and may result in irritation, redness and swelling (think arthritis). The common thread in all these conditions is an unusually permeable gut caused by inflammation in the small intestine as a response to the food we eat- and we eat mostly wheat, sugar and acid forming foods like polyunsaturated oils and beef. With a leaky gut, undigested food proteins, bacteria, viruses, and yeast (Candida is a problem for many with ASD including Jenny McCarthy’s son) can escape into our blood system thru the inflamed cell walls of the small intestine. The body recognizes these proteins as foreign invaders and our immune system attempts to fight them off causing more inflammation which sets the stage for various chronic and autoimmune disorders including IBD, lupus, allergies, asthma, even Autism.

In an interview on Oprah, Jenny McCarthy states, “I cannot express enough how IMPORTANT diet is to our kids and I mean, with or without a diagnosis I guarantee your child will benefit from eating healthy. If your child has behavior problems but does not fall on the spectrum I would still highly recommend the GFCF diet.”

On Saturday April 9, 2011 Dallas Rocks Against Autism. BUY YOUR TICKETS to see Jenny McCarthy!!!!! Proudly sponsored by Hail Merry Snacks!

Hail Merry Snacks are GFCF and contain no yeast. Go to

For more information about inflammation go to and The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook.

How Long Did It Take For You To Be Diagnosed With Celiac Disease? Your Body Needs Healing Foods: Gluten-Free Junk Food is Still Junk Food

Are you one of many on a gluten-free diet but still experiencing pain and discomfort due to arthritis, headaches, numbness or diabetes? Are you frustrated, rightfully so, because your doctor wants to prescribe medications that mask the symptoms but don’t cure the problem? The average length of time it takes for a symptomatic person to be diagnosed with celiac disease in the U.S. is four years. Imagine if you are asymptomatic- the time could be double, even triple. In Dr. Fasano’s landmark prevalence study on celiac disease (1), 60% of children and 41% of adults diagnosed during the study were without symptoms. A lot is happening in the body during those undiagnosed years and it takes more than replacing wheat bread with gluten-free bread to heal the damage and achieve good health.

For years your body was a war zone- literally. If you have an autoimmune disease like celiac, your immune system launches an attack on the lining of the small intestine. The small intestine is lined with tiny fingerlike projections called villi, which secrete digestive enzymes and absorb nutrients. With celiac disease, the villi are damaged or destroyed, resulting in the poor absorption of nutrients such as magnesium and zinc, which can lead to collateral damage in other systems because everything in the body is interconnected. Think of a spider’s web- if there is a kink in one area, there is tension and stress somewhere else- and then that area affects another part until the whole web is contorted and out of balance. This phenomenon explains why people who are gluten intolerant experience over 200 symptoms such as headaches, skin rashes, thyroid problems, fatigue, and fertility issues.

All this destruction takes place in the form of inflammation because the immune system battles invaders by releasing toxic chemical molecules. In the gastrointestinal tract, the release of these chemicals causes inflammation of the gut lining, and as the gut lining becomes inflamed large foreign particles, such as proteins, bacteria, viruses and yeast, are allowed to slip through the damaged intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. The body then recognizes these substances as foreign and releases further antibodies in an attempt to expel the intruders from the body, causing more inflammation, further increasing the permeability of the intestinal wall, and resulting in a leaky gut.

A growing body of evidence suggests that virtually the same trio of factors underpins most, and perhaps all, autoimmune diseases: an environmental substance that is presented to the body (in the case of celiac disease the trigger is gluten), a genetically based tendency of the immune system to overreact to the substance, and an unusually permeable gut. Going gluten-free will repair you intestinal villi, but what about the rest of your battered war torn body?  Once diagnosed it is important to eat not only gluten-free, but an anti-inflammatory diet of healing foods so your body can repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate. Restoration could take years depending on the damage done due to years of misdiagnosis.

How can you eat a healthy healing diet? Eat more plants! Focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, whole grains such as quinoa and buckwheat, and good fats such as coconut oil- not a diet filled with gluten-free processed foods made from oxidized oils. Junk food is junk food, whether made with refined gluten-free flours or wheat. Yes it takes planning, time and a little extra effort but the reward is fewer sick days and doctor visits. Once you feel better, you will have the time and energy to continue to eat healthy. The tension and stress on the spider web will begin to release and you will experience a high quality of life. Feeling good is happiness.  And luckily, there are more and more gluten-free, vegan and raw food options available to help make us happy. For more information go to and

(1) A. Fasano, I. Berti, T. Gerarduzzi, T. Not, R.B. Colletti, S. Drago, Y. Elitsur, P.H.R. Green, S. Guandalini, I. Hill, M. Pietzak, A. Ventura, M. Thorpe, D. Kryszak, F. Fornaroli, S.S. Wasserman, J.A. Murray, K. Horvath. Prevalence of celiac disease in at-risk and not-at-risk groups in the United States: a large multicenter study. Arch Int Med 2003;163:286-292.

Experience the Raw Taste of Hail Merry’s Gluten-Free Snacks

I have been an advocate for the gluten-free lifestyle for many years now: through my work as an author of The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook and website, lecturer, culinary instructor, on the board of the Gluten Intolerance Group, and fund-raising by promoting such events as The Gluten-Free Makeover: a Healthier You for the North Texas GIG, attended by over 700 people at the Gaylord Texan last September. One of the biggest issues people face on a gluten-free diet is finding delicious, healthy packaged snacks to eat at work, school, when traveling and even at home. That is why I was so excited to discover Hail Merry®. Their lines of gluten-free snack foods were created to bring awareness to the powerful benefits of healthy oils. These plant based fats like Omega 3 & Oleic Acid can actually improve our cholesterol profile, reduce inflammation (chronic inflammation is a huge concern for people with autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease), and even make our hair and skin more radiant. I have enclosed more information below.

You will be delighted by not only their taste but nutritional profile. The GFCF snacks are available on-line and at specialty grocers such as Whole Foods Market.

Experience the Raw Taste of Gluten-Free Macaroons

“Just because a snack is gluten-free does not make it healthy;” said Susan O’Brien, Dallas raw food chef and founder of Hail Merry® Snacks. Hail Merry® offers a line of gluten-free snack foods that are also dairy-free, vegan, raw and made with organic ingredients.

Gluten-free is the new buzz word and is projected to become a $2.6 billion industry by 2012. However, most of new gluten-free products on the market are no better for you than their wheat counterparts because, although they may contain gluten-free flours, they are still laden with processed oils, processed sugars and then baked to further oxidize the oils. When vegetable oils, such as canola, soybean, or sunflower, are exposed to high temperatures, they turn rancid and can cause free radical damage to our cells which leads to chronic disease (such as cancer) and prematurely ages the body (as with osteoarthritis). In essence these gluten-free cookies, cupcakes and baked goods are gluten-free junk foods.

Gluten-free expert and cookbook author, Dr. Claudia Pillow, believes “Hail Merry® Macaroons are unique because they are made with raw plant based oils, not processed or refined oils, and then dehydrated at 115º to protect the digestive enzymes and healthy oils. Most importantly, they are delicious and satisfying. Hail Merry® self-nurturing treats contain the healing power of coconut oil in its raw state.”

  • IMMUNE BOOSTING: Cold pressed coconut oil contains large amounts of Lauric Acid, known for its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties which protect against infections like the flu and strengthen our immune system.

  • ENERGIZING: Coconut oil contains Medium Chain Fats (as opposed to long chains found in animal fat), which provide fuel for the body and are not stored as fat or cholesterol.

  • HEART HEALTHY: Coconut oil comes from a plant, has no cholesterol and helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. It was wrongfully tainted as an artery clogging fat back in the 80’s because it contains saturated fat but not all saturated fats are bad nor have they been directly linked to heart disease.

Next time you crave a decadent gluten-free treat reach for Hail Merry® Macaroons or Miracle Tarts. Two of the Choco Macaroons contain 3 grams of dietary fiber, 130 calories, and they are made with organic shredded coconut, dark cocoa, organic coconut oil, pure maple syrup, pure vanilla and sea salt. A 3.5 ounce package with 8 macaroons retails for $4.99- comparable to a high quality organic chocolate bar.

For more information visit or call 1-888-621-2229.

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Gluten-Free Dinners in Less Than 30 Minutes: The Science of Sautéing

I have been teaching gluten-free cooking and baking classes for many years and once a new student gets the basic gluten-free substitutions down the next request I get is usually about learning how to prepare healthy delicious gluten-free dinners in 30 minutes or less. My answer is always the same: learn how to roast and sauté. Many people understand the concept of roasting but sautéing is something new. I love to sauté because the selection is endless. And with More Than Gourmet® Glace & Demi Glace, I am turning out restaurant quality food that is plate licking delicious!

What is a glace and demi-glace?  A glace is flavorful, reduced stock. A demi-glace is a sauce made from stock, roux (a cooked mixture of butter and flour), caramelized vegetables, herbs and sometimes wine and tomato paste.  It has a very concentrated flavor and is used to enhance sauces, sautés, stews, and soups.  Many demi-glaces’ on the market contain wheat, but More Than Gourmet® makes a gluten free line. Always remember to read the ingredients label- companies change recipes! A demi-glace gives a sauce that deep complex flavor you taste at restaurants. I use a demi-glace to flavor a reduction sauce for when I sauté.

Sautéing or pan-frying is a great way to get dinner on the table fast. Tender, single size portions of meat, poultry or fish are cooked in a small amount of oil or other fat in a skillet or sauté pan over direct heat. The food is not submerged in the fat as it is in deep-frying. Pans for sautéing should be hot enough for food to “sizzle” but not smoke. It is important that the food is dry before placing it in a hot pan and, that the pan stays hot during the cooking process.

After the meat, poultry or fish is sautéed, it is removed from the pan to a nearby dish and covered with foil. The hot pan is deglazed by adding a small amount of liquid (usually stock, wine, or vinegar) which is stirred to loosen browned, caramelized bits of food on the bottom. The resultant mixture becomes the basis for a quick pan sauce.

A good, solid, deep-sided frying pan (or skillet) is an invaluable piece of kitchen equipment. I use an assortment of inexpensive nonstick (6”, 10” and 12” diameter and 1” to 2” deep) and heavy grade (12” diameter and 2” deep with tight fitting lid) skillets and fry pans.

My basic sauté method in five steps:

1.      Sauté Prepare meat, poultry or seafood according to recipe. Heat oil and/or butter in heavy skillet over medium/high to high heat. Add meat and cook without moving pieces until underside is brown. Turn meat, rearrange position in pan and brown other side. Don’t crowd the pan or the food will steam rather than brown.

2.      Flavor Remove meat to plate and set aside. Add garlic, shallots, onions, or mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes.

3.      Deglaze Add broth, wine or vinegar to pan, scraping loose the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

4.      Reduce Add remaining sauce ingredients (such as tomato, cream and/or seasonings) and bring to boil, stirring frequently for desired time. Boiling reduces sauce and creates a more flavorful sauce.

5.      Serve Return meat to sauce and cook for additional time or pour sauce over meat and serve immediately.

For a delicious “ready in 20 minutes” Gluten-Free Chicken Marsala recipe go to:

For more information and recipes go to and The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook.

Gluten-Free Casein-Free Oat Rolls for a Leaky Gut

In the past blogs, I have discussed how inflammation is the underlying cause of most chronic and autoimmune disorders. But for many who suffer from diseases such as arthritis, colitis and fibromyalgia, the big question is “What triggers the inflammatory reaction in the body?” Simply, the food we eat.

Food allergies and intolerances have been implicated in a wide range of medical conditions, affecting every part of the body: from mildly uncomfortable indigestion, to embarrassing diarrhea, to severe illnesses such as celiac disease and affecting over 60% of the U.S. population. The inflammatory reaction occurs when an ingested food molecule acts as an antigen, a substance that causes the immune system to produce antibodies against it. When you ingest something your immune system does not like or perceives as undesirable, it attacks by means of inflammation. When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues in an attempt to rid the body of foreign substances. This release of toxic chemicals increases blood flow to the area and may result in irritation, redness and swelling (think arthritis). The common thread in all these conditions is an unusually permeable gut caused by inflammation in the small intestine as a response to the food we eat- mostly wheat, sugar and acid forming foods like polyunsaturated oils and beef. With a leaky gut, undigested food proteins, bacteria, viruses, and even yeast can escape into our blood system thru the inflamed cell walls of the small intestine. The body recognizes these proteins as foreign invaders and our immune system attempts to fight them off causing more inflammation which sets the stage for various chronic and autoimmune disorders including IBD, lupus, allergies, asthma, even eczema. For more information go to and The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook.

What can we do to heal a leaky gut? Eat a varied seasonal diet based on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and monounsaturated fats that contain omega 3 oils. Avoid common foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body, such as wheat and sugar, which are commonly used in many processed foods. Other allergenic foods include soy, milk, eggs, and peanuts.

Below is a bread recipe free of common allergens but high in flavor. Each roll contains more than 3 grams of fiber (10% recommended daily intake) and almost 600 milligrams (50% of the minimum recommended daily intake) of anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils due to the chia seeds, oats and whole grain gluten-free flours. Chia seeds are a nutritional bonanza in a tiny package. Each tablespoon contains 65 calories, 2.5 grams protein, 4 grams of fiber and 1755 milligrams of omega-3 oils, plus they are chock full of antioxidants and alkalizing minerals such as phosphorous and manganese. Good health can be delicious and gluten-free. These rolls have a crispy crust, a delicate inside and a wonderful wholegrain flavor. I love them toasted and of course fresh from the oven. Enjoy!

GFCF Oatmeal Rolls with Chia Seeds

Makes 12 rolls

1 cup gluten free oat flour

1/2 cup teff flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 cup tapioca starch

3 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons chia seeds

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 packet (1/4 oz. each) dry yeast granules (not quick rise)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water (110 F)


  1. Spray a 12-cupcake baking pan with baking spray and sprinkle with corn meal.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl of electric mixer. Pour warm water (110°F) and olive oil into mixing bowl; mix until just blended. Scrape bowl and beaters, and then beat at high speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Scoop dough for rolls into prepared cupcake pan with an ice cream scoop. Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place (about 80°F) for 40-50 minutes, until dough has slightly more than doubled in size.
  4. Place shelf in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F while bread is rising (do not use a convection oven).
  5. Bake in center of preheated oven for 15-25 minutes. Rolls should have a hollow sound when tapped on the sides and be light golden in color. Instant read thermometer should register about 200°F. You can bake them longer to make a thicker crust; the color will deepen, and the internal temperature will continue to rise. Remove rolls from pan and cool on a rack. Rolls can be stored in refrigerator for up to two days or freezer for up to three weeks; wrap well in plastic wrap and then foil. Refresh rolls with a sprinkle of water and rewarm in 350°F preheated oven; wrap in foil if you do not want a crisp crust (but open the foil for the last five minutes). Or microwave rolls for 15 seconds and then lightly toast.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Cherry Parfait to Strengthen Your Immune System

The New Year finds me doing a five day detox of whole organic foods- vegetables, fruits nuts, egg whites, lentils, brown rice and oats. I drink one cup of black tea in the morning sweetened with a teaspoon of local honey (I need a bit of caffeine). Then it is filtered water, warm water with lemons and fresh peppermint, and detoxifying tea for the rest of the day. I eat no gluten, dairy, processed foods, or saturated fat. Today is day 3 and I’m hungry. My big treat each day is a cup of Cascadian Farms Organic Sweet Cherries eaten partially frozen with a tablespoon of flax seed sprinkled on top. I know it is a long way from the champagne and truffles I ate during the holidays, but I must say the Sweet Cherries are addictive and nourishing. One cup of cherries has only 90 calories and 3grams of fiber. They are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Cherries also contain plant sterols that help reduce bad cholesterol and stimulate the immune system. A healthy immune system is the key to good health. For more information about strengthening your immune system go to http://www.foodphilosopher.comto read about The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook.

On day 6, I will expand my diet to lean protein and non-dairy yogurt. My mid-afternoon treat will be:

Vegan & Gluten-Free Cherry Parfait

1 cup organic cherries (partially frozen)

6 ounces unsweetened coconut milk yogurt (like SO Delicious)

1 tablespoon flax meal

Sprinkle of cinnamon to taste

1 Hail Merry Blonde Macaroon, crumbled on top (optional) (

Place cherries in a soup bowl and top with yogurt, flax meal and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Crumble macaroon on top for a healthy sweet treat.

This delicious easy to assemble “meal” has only 355 calories, 9 grams of fiber, 1400 mg of omega-3 oils, and chock full of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is a great way to start the day or a healthy dessert option. 2011 is shaping up beautifully.




Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance and Depression

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Alessio Fasano, Director for the Center for Celiac Research (University of Maryland), give a speech at the monthly North Texas Gluten Intolerance Group meeting. It was the third time I had the pleasure of listening to him speak- he is not only informative and passionate, but his delivery about the scientific aspects of celiac disease is funny and engaging. My only gripe is that he mentioned five times (I started counting after the second time) that a gluten-free lifestyle is difficult. Yes, the gluten-free lifestyle is difficult, but so is maintaining any healthy diet outside the home- even one based on whole foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein and omega-3 fats. After his speech, even I felt depressed.

I know The Center for Celiac Research is trying to develop a “cure” for Celiac Disease and I think that would be wonderful for times when a person wants to or has to eat gluten, but gluten intolerance manifests in other ways. Autoimmune disorders occur ten times more commonly in CD than in the general population. People with celiac disease also have higher rates of depression and anxiety. How would a person know that even if they could take a pill that allows them to digest gluten without suffering small intestinal damage, there would be no other health consequences to eating gluten? What about people with non-celiac gluten intolerance? They do not suffer intestinal damage but experience many other symptoms including chronic depression, fatigue, body aches, IBS, migraines and the more common gastrointestinal disorders of bloating, weight gain or loss, constipation, and diarrhea.

It is a well documented fact that food sensitivities can cause mood problems. Research in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology has shown that patients with gluten intolerance have a high prevalence of not only anxiety and depression but social phobia. We all know when we feel bad, it is depressing. But isolation plays a big part due to the social phobia induced-risks of school, work, eating out and travel. Yes, the gluten-free lifestyle is difficult but it has never been easier and the awareness and availability of gluten-free foods is one of the fastest growing areas in supermarkets and restaurants. We should be celebrating how far the gluten-free lifestyle has come, not reminding people of the difficulties and diminished quality of life because you can’t eat a fast food pizza. Any chronic disease can bring about depression, but gluten intolerance has a cure.

Just last week I traveled thru two different airports and gluten-free options were available in both- fresh fruit and salads at delis; nuts, seeds and dried fruit bars at the news stand; smoothies, frozen yogurt, soups, baked potatoes, and bun-less burgers. A gluten-free lifestyle is a mind set. It does take a little more effort but, the reward (good health) far outweighs the perceived difficulty (which for me is time). The demand for gluten-free food will grow and the lifestyle will become easier and easier as more and more people become diagnosed with celiac disease (1% of the population) and non-celiac gluten intolerance (estimated at more than 10% of the population). But, the most amazing thing is that once you stop eating gluten, and get thru the first two weeks, the cravings for bagels and pizza are replaced with renewed energy and spirit because you feel good.- just the opposite of depression.

for more information:

Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook

Treat IBS by Eating Foods That Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive disorder that affects up to 45 million people with its symptoms of chronic abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. The role of diet in the development and treatment of chronic disease is undervalued by the medical profession and the public. Doctors are trained to treat disease with medicine and surgery but, there is no medical cure for IBS. One of the most important management techniques for those diagnosed with IBS is eating a healthy diet that reduces pain from chronic inflammation and bloating in the gut. Foods that reduce inflammation include polyunsaturated fatty acids rich in omega-3 oils (such as wild salmon and olive oil) and thick Greek Yogurt, which is loaded with good bacteria that help promote intestinal health. Fresh peppermint leaves have been shown to help alleviate the symptoms of IBS. Processed foods, including wheat and sugar, are trigger foods causing chronic inflammation and should be avoided.

For a quick delicious meal of whole foods that can help reduce the symptoms of IBS, try the Roasted Fish Filet with Tzatziki Sauce (containing fresh peppermint) below. Both recipes can be made in less than 30 minutes. Serve the fish with mixed greens and walnut oil vinaigrette.

For more gluten-free, good health recipes visit Dr. Claudia Pillow is coauthor of The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook: the Delicious Way to Strengthen Your Immune System and Neutralize Inflammation. (Agate Surrey, 2010).


Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds fresh fish fillet (with or without skin, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F.

2. Line a medium sized heavy baking sheet with foil and lightly brush with olive oil.

3. Put filet on baking sheet (skin side down, if applicable) and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

4. Place baking sheet in center of oven and roast for 10 minutes per 1-inch filet thickness. (If filet is 1 1/2 inches, bake time is 15 minutes).

5. Remove from oven and transfer to a serving plate. (Lift the fish from the skin, if applicable).

Serve hot with tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped), peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh peppermint

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Purée cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender until almost smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in peppermint and dill and chill, covered, until serving.

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