Archive for July, 2013

July 26, 2013

Cherries pack a huge healthy punch in a tiny, delicious package!

Life may not be just a bowl of cherries, but don’t forget to put some on your plate!

cherries

I love it when the grocery store is filled with fresh cherries. My favorite ones are the Bing variety. I also like the variegated Rainier cherries, but given the choice, I always pick Bing. Luckily, I pick them often.

Sweet or tart, cherries are filled with good things like vitamin C and potassium. They also contain boron – a mineral that is used for building strong bones, treating osteoarthritis, as an aid for building muscles and increasing testosterone levels, and for improving thinking skills.

And the goodness doesn’t stop there. Those delicious little morsels contain melatonin – a free-radical scavenger and wide-spectrum antioxidant that is sometimes beneficial to those with autism. Some studies indicate that melatonin may act as an anti-aging agent (perhaps because of its phytoestrogen properties), it increases REM sleep time, and it may help some women stave off type 2 diabetes. Whew! That’s quite a healthy punch to pack in a such a tiny package.

But wait, there’s more…I know, I feel like one of those cheesy infomercials, but there really IS more. According to research from Michigan State University, tart red cherries have an anti-inflammatory benefit that can relieve pain more effectively than aspirin. Lead researcher Muraleedharan G. Nair, Ph.D., Professor at Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, notes about this cherry effect, “It is as good as ibuprofen and some of the nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs.” This is great news for those of us who have pain, but cannot tolerate the effects of ibuprofen.

Another study from University of California at Davis found that regular consumption of cherries for 28 days produced a decrease in biochemical signs of inflammation in the blood including the marker that indicates increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

After years of feeling absolutely miserable due to inflammation, I always feel grateful to learn about simple dietary changes that can relieve discomfort and lessen my risk for heart disease and arthritis. Without even realizing it, I’ve been choosing an incredibly healthy food just because I love the way it tastes. That’s some serendipity I can get behind. How ’bout you?

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

References:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leo-galland-md/cherry-season-fight-pain-_b_844654.html

http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/kristin-kirkpatrick-ms-rd-ld/if-you-only-go-one-super-fruit-it

http://en.wikipedia.org

 

July 13, 2013

Should I let my gluten-intolerant child play with play dough?

Every kid loves to play with play dough! When I was small, my grandmother would whip up a batch using flour, water, salt, and food coloring. My cousins and I were quickly entertained and, per Granny’s instructions, confined to the kitchen table so that she was free to do her chores without interruption.

We made the usual snakes, tiny people, cookie cutter shapes, cakes, and pies. Because we knew the play dough was edible, we didn’t hesitate to put it up to our lips when pretending to eat a play dough cookie.

At my own house we played with commercially produced Play-Doh®, as did my children when they were younger. Although there’s no longer any metal or cardboard involved, I still love those bright yellow containers with the tight fitting lids and the distinctive smelling dough inside.

Play Dough

Clearly I’m not alone because Hasbro produces over 100 million cans of Play-Doh per year.(1) With that much Play-Doh around, unless your child never leaves home, there’s virtually no chance for him to avoid an opportunity to play with some.

If your child is gluten-intolerant or has Celiac disease, is it okay for him/her to join in the play dough fun?

According to the Hasbro Play-Doh website, the dough is “primarily a mixture of water, salt, and flour. It does NOT contain peanuts, peanut oil, or any milk byproducts. It DOES contain wheat.” The site continues, “PLAY-DOH compound is non-toxic, non-irritating & non-allergenic except as noted: Children who are allergic to wheat gluten may have an allergic reaction to this product. Also, due to the high salt content in PLAY-DOH compound, the product can be harmful to pets if ingested.”

Could you take this to mean you should absolutely forbid, and vigilantly prevent, your child’s exposure to this substance? You could take it that way, but such a drastic response may not be necessary unless your child has a wheat allergy that may lead to anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock.(2)

If your child is not allergic, but has an autoimmune intolerance to gluten there is no reason for concern unless she eats the Play-Doh. Gluten molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin.(1) Even a brush of play dough on the lips will likely transmit less gluten than allowed in an item labeled “gluten-free” in a country that has an allowable standard.(3)

A toddler is more likely to eat Play-Doh than an older child, and some particular children are prone to put everything in their mouths whereas others are not. Since a toddler’s environment is more closely controlled anyway, it may be possible to keep them in a mostly Play-Doh free environment until they are older. If you know your older child has a habit of ingesting foreign items, then it may be good to explain in stronger terms to this child, the potential danger of eating Play-Doh. Otherwise, why not just let them play?

It is difficult enough for a child to feel “different’ because he has to eat differently. When there’s no significant immediate danger, why even mention an adverse possibility? Again, you know your child. If you think it’s necessary to tell them not to eat the Play-Doh then tell them, but for most kids saying nothing is probably the best strategy. You can always sterilize the cookie cutters once the Play-Doh has been put away.

It’s always great to discover something we DON’T have to be worried about. For the gluten-intolerant and those with Celiac Disease, playing with Play-Doh is perfectly safe as long as you don’t ingest it. Go get the kids; it’s time to make something fun!

Email pictures of your kid’s play dough creation to support@cooking2thrive.com, and we’ll post it here on the blog.

 

 

(1)http://www.hasbro.com/playdoh/en_US/faq.cfm

(2) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/mplusdictionary.html

(3)http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/healthcare/284929-gluten-free-labeling-rules-head-to-white-house

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”