A Winning Guest Post By Gluten Free Gigi
Adhering to a gluten free casein free diet, can be challenging, especially when it comes to convenience products like chocolate chips or chunks. Part of the challenge can be in budgeting. Chocolate produced in a dedicated facility is often double or triple the cost of regular chocolate. That can make tossing together a batch of cookies or muffins much more costly than necessary.
Thats why I decided Id make my own.
These chocolate chunks are ideal for baking or snacking, and full of natural goodness. The best part is you know exactly what they contain.
I like using Valrhona dark cocoa for my chocolate chunks, but you can use any cocoa to make your own chocolate chunks.
These chunks are terrific on their own or in a snack mix; however, they do melt more than traditional store-bought chunks or chocolate chips. With only 4 ingredients, these chunks do not contain an emulsifier like soy lecithin . You could add one if you like, to lend more heat-stability to the chunks.
To show you how these look in a baked product, heres a picture of muffins I made with these chunks. When the muffins are still hot, the chunks are near liquid. Allowing the muffins to cool completely will result in a solidified bit of chocolate again.
I love the natural flavor of these chocolate chunks and knowing exactly what is in them. Its also nice to know youll never run out of chocolate pieces when you get the desire to make your favorite baked treat!
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Potential Benefit Of Dark Chocolate For Liver Disease Patients
- European Association for the Study of the Liver
- Doctors could soon be prescribing a dose of dark chocolate to help patients suffering from liver cirrhosis and from dangerously high blood pressure in their abdomen, according to new research.
Doctors could soon be prescribing a dose of dark chocolate to help patients suffering from liver cirrhosis and from dangerously high blood pressure in their abdomen, according to new research presented April 15 at the International Liver CongressTM 2010, the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Liver in Vienna, Austria.
According to the Spanish research, eating dark chocolate reduces damage to the blood vessels of cirrhotic patients and also lowers blood pressure in the liver. Dark chocolate contains potent anti-oxidants which reduce the post-prandial blood pressure in the liver associated with damaged liver blood vessels . The data also showed that eating dark chocolate may exert additional beneficial effects throughout the whole body. In comparison, white chocolate, which contains no beneficial ‘phytochemicals’, did not result in the same effects.
Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver as a result of long-term, continuous damage to the liver . In cirrhosis, circulation in the liver is damaged by oxidative stress and reduced antioxidant systems. After eating, blood pressure in the abdominal veins usually increases due to increased blood flow to the liver.
*HVPG is blood pressure in the liver
Are Women With Autoimmune Diseases Or Allergies At Risk For Having Children With Autism
It has also been suggested that the immune system changes a pregnant woman experiences could place her child at risk for autism. There are several reports that women with various autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatic fever, may have a small increased risk for having children with autism.
Not all studies have found an association between autoimmune conditions in the mother and increased risk for having a child with autism. For example, in a 2005 study, psoriasis was the only pre-existing maternal autoimmune condition with a weak association to having a child with autism. In this study, allergic rhinitis and/or asthma that developed during the second trimester of pregnancy were also found to have a somewhat weaker association with having a child with autism. However, it is important to recognize that even in studies that demonstrate an increased risk for having a child with autism in mothers who have an autoimmune or allergic condition, the risk is not high.
Again, the reason for this is not completely clear; however, most theories involve changes to the immune system during pregnancy and the production of these inflammatory chemicals. These cytokines may somehow contribute to symptoms of autism in genetically predisposed children.
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Screening For Feeding Issues
Nicole Withrow and Jennifer Franck developed a screening tool called;the Sensory, Aberrant Mealtime Behavior Inventory for Eating , which they applied through a survey to a large group of children and teens with autism. The tool helps parents and practitioners to zero in on the specific challenges they need to address and provides some direction for action.
Update: I Did It To Myself Again
Just three years after I got myself into trouble as explained above, I did it again. I overate high oxalate foods like dark chocolate, over and over and over. As a result, I found myself with high ferritin, which is a key sign of inflammation and thus low iron. And my particular sign again that my body was trying to get rid of excess oxalates?? Hives. And I had to go through the messy process of detoxing that high oxalate all over again, which isnt fun. The lesson that is underscored for ME is not to eat the same thing over and over and over, day after week after month, which I tend to do if I like something. Like dark chocolate. ;Moderation is key!
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Parents Seek Help: Child With Severe Autism Eats Only Sweets
Our child, severely affected by autism, refuses to eat anything but;sweets. How can I direct her diet in healthier directions?
Todays Food for Thought answer is by occupational therapist Desiree Gapultos, of the;Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Center;at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Thanks so much for your question. As an occupational therapist at an autism center, I often work with sensory issues that can interfere with a childs ability to try new foods or otherwise expand a narrow diet. In encouraging a wider and healthier range of food choices, it helps to understand why these aversions and obsessions develop.
Many individuals affected by autism either avoid or crave certain flavors, food textures or even colors. Similarly, many want to eat from only certain food groups, such as grains or dairy. Some gravitate strongly to certain food types, such as pasta or bread or sweets.
This may be related to the fact that many individuals with autism are over or under responsive to sensory input. We call this hypo- or hyper-responsiveness, and it can include a persons response to flavors and food textures.
Naturally, a blast of sweetness provides a powerful sensory input that many of us crave. This craving can be particularly powerful for an individual affected by autism.
Here are some of my own tried-and-true strategies:
For more tips, I highly recommend the Autism Speaks the;ATN/AIR-P Guide to Exploring Feeding Behavior in Autism.;
James Gandolfini Teaches Us About The Psychology Of Fury
The main point to take away from this discussion about chocolate is that plants, such as the pods from the cocoa tree, contain a complex variety of chemicals that, when considered individually, are not likely to impact our brain function. However, when considered in aggregate they may exert compound effects throughout the body; some of those effects may be desirable while others may not. Chocolate is an excellent example of how difficult it is to differentiate food from a drug.
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How To Know An Autism Meltdown Vs A Tantrum: 9 Tips That Help Calm A Sensory Overloaded Child
Autism is not an excuse for bad behavior. Thats what my mom told me after visiting us on Christmas last year. My mother thought my autistic sons Christmas Day autism meltdown was due to a lack of discipline.
See, he was overloaded by all of the holiday festivities and six hours into the hap hap happiest day of the year he broke down hardcore style.
Were talking red-faced nonstop unconsolable crying. My parents were trying to reason with him in the midst of a complete autism meltdown which resulted in more anger and a bite mark on my mothers hand which she showcased as if it were a medal.
Do you see what he did?Heather, you need to get him under control.
***Cue the Frustrated Sigh and Insert Curse Words Here***
If youre a parent of a child with autism, then you may have a similar frustrating story. You know that theres a difference between a tantrum and a meltdown.
And you do not handle them in the same way.
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A tantrum occurs when your child is denied something they want. Generally speaking, he is in control of his behavior in a tantrum scenario.
When my daughter, Lylah Kate, was little, she was known for throwing hissy fits every time she went with my husband on a grocery store or Walmart run. It went something like this: She would ask for candy- he would say no- and the fit began.
Because she knew he would eventually give in and shed get what she wanted.
Increase Omega 3 Fats
Deficiencies in essential fats are common in people with autism. Research by Dr Gordon Bell at Stirling University has shown that some autistic children have an enzymatic defect that removes essential fats from brain cell membranes more quickly than it should. This means that an autistic child is likely to need a higher intake of essential fats than the average. And it has been found that supplementing EPA, which can slow the activity of the defective enzyme, has clinically improved behaviour, mood, imagination, spontaneous speech, sleep patterns and focus of autistic children.
Wheres the evidence?;Search our;evidence database;and enter omegas and autism into the search field for a summary of studies that demonstrate the effect of essential fats on autism.
Side effects?;Rarely causes loose stools in sensitive individuals if you start on too high a dose.
Contraindications with medication?;Essential fats may have a blood-thinning effect and should not be mixed with blood thinning medication.
Should Your Child With Autism Avoid Eating Gluten And Casein
At the present time, there does not appear to be enough information to support following a gluten-free/casein-free diet for children with autism. Furthermore, limiting a childs dietary intake, especially by avoiding nutritionally important foods such as milk and wheat, may be dangerous.
Many parents with children with autism disorder are willing to try just about anything to help their child. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you wish to work with your child’s diet. In general, following these diets is a major endeavor that can affect the whole family. If you are serious about making these changes, learn how to follow a casein or gluten-free diet. There are many hidden sources of gluten, and eliminating this nutrient can take some major detective work. Many people find it helpful to keep a journal when eliminating foods in order to have an objective measure of any changes. You may wish to make a list of your child’s autism traits and use a number between 1 and 10 to rank these behaviors both before and after a change in diet. Changing your child’s diet, and potentially the production of inflammatory cytokines, usually takes time. You might not see any changes overnight or even in the first few weeks of a change.
Increase Vitamins And Minerals
We have known since the 1970s that a nutritional approach can help autism, thanks to the pioneering research by Dr Bernard Rimland of the Institute for Child Behaviour Research in San Diego, California. He showed that vitamin B6, C and magnesium supplements significantly improved symptoms in autistic children. In one of his early studies back in 1978, 12 out of 16 autistic children improved, then regressed when the vitamins were swapped for placebos9. In the decades following Dr Rimlands study, many other researchers have also reported positive results with this approach.
Still others have, however, failed to confirm positive outcomes with certain nutrients. For example, a French study of 60 autistic children found they improved significantly on a combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium, but not when either nutrient was supplemented alone11. This study shows how important it is to get the balance of these nutrients right. Its likely to be different for each child.
Paediatrician Mary Megson from Richmond, Virginia, believes that many autistic children are lacking in vitamin A. Otherwise known as retinol, vitamin A is essential for vision. It is also vital for building healthy cells in the gut and brain.
Wheres the evidence?;Search our;evidence database;andenter vitamins or minerals or nutrients or retinol and autism into the search field for a summary of studies that demonstrate the effect of these nutrients on autism.
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Fatty Fish And Fortified Eggs
These foods share the healthy omega 3 fatty acid. The American diet tends to be low in healthy fats and omega 3 in particular. Omega-3s fight inflammation. Low consumption of omega 3 fatty acids have been linked to autism, dyslexia, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and dyspraxia . The consensus in omega 3 supplementation in those on the autism spectrum is inconclusive , but there is published and anecdotal evidence that it can improve ASD symptoms such as language and hyperactivity . The good thing is that there is absolutely no harm to including more omega 3 foods in your childs diet. The tricky part is that omega 3s are found primarily in fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines. Luckily, its also in fortified eggs and more mild fish like cod and canned tuna. Try to serve free-range omega 3 eggs and fatty fish 3 days a week. Fish cakes or burgers, fish sticks, and tacos can be good starting points for young fish skeptics.
Buy wild fish if you can. Sustainably raised fish is not only better for the environment, but also has higher nutrient levels and less mercury than farm-raised.
Feeding Issues Related To Sensory Challenges
Your child won’t eat broccoli, apples, nuts, or breakfast cereals. Or;he won’t touch yogurt, milk, applesauce, soup, or oatmeal. In both of these cases, there’s an obvious avoidance pattern: in the first case, the child is rejecting crunchy foods. In the second case, he won’t tolerate smooth or gooey foods.
People with autism can be very sensory defensive, meaning they are easily upset by certain sensory experiences. They may hate bright lights or loud noise. They may also avoid strong smells and certain tactile experiences. Certain foods have strong smells and tastes; others have specific textures that may be appealing or disgusting to individual children.
There are a few simple fixes for eating problems related to sensory challenges:
- Once you detect a pattern , stop serving crunchy food. It’s that easy. Cook the broccoli till it’s mushy. Serve oatmeal instead of Rice Krispies. There’s always a perfectly acceptable nutritional alternative to foods of any given texture, smell, or taste.
- If you’re determined that your child MUST eat certain types of food that he can’t easily tolerate, consider “hiding” them in other foods. Many parents put veggies into delicious quick breads and muffins, for example.
- At the same time as you’re finding ways to accommodate your child’s needs, consider finding a sensory integration therapist who has experience with feeding issues. She may be able to help you and your child learn to eat a wider range of foods.
Camel Milk: A Miracle Cure For Children With Autism
Children with autism relieved of symptoms following therapy that includes camel milk
Dubai: Can camel milk help children with autism?
Two American mothers who sourced camel milk from the Middle East say it definitely can, citing circumstantial evidence of their children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder responding positively after therapy that included camel milk.
American-born Zeba Khan, who learnt about camel milks benefits for autistic children only about two years ago, seconded the claim.
Autism by three
My son, said Adams, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at three years of age. He suffered loss of language at 15 to 18 months, hyperactivity, sensitivity to noise and fixation on objects and water. He had difficulty interacting with others, while biting and engaging in aggressive behaviour which led to dismissal from two pre-schools.
In 2005, when her son Jonah was seven, Adams published A Real Boy: A True story of Autism, Early Intervention and Recovery in which she outlined a mothers challenge in dealing with the lifelong disorder. The book got rave reviews on Amazon.com.
But that was before she learnt about camel milk through a chance meeting with a man who brought a camel to a California book fair later that year.
Like ASD kids, Jonah had food intolerances and allergies, skin problems, auditory processing delay, expressive/receptive language delay, constipation, among other disorders.
About Celery Or Celery Juice And The Current Hype
Its been known for decades that celery, even celery juice, has many benefits. Its not a new discovery.
Youll have individuals mention the good results. They include less acne, softer or healthier skin, detoxing, healing of some conditions.; But there are testimonies of stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea that also meant nutrient loss.; And there are some who are very suspicious that the celery juice caused a distinct rise in oxalates.; Some lists of oxalates say celery is high in oxalates; others say low.
So if you are using celery or celery juice to treat an condition, remember moderation. Just because one type of food has benefit, doesnt mean its the only one to give the same benefit.Be careful. Think moderation.
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