Sunday, May 26, 2013

RECIPE: Gluten-Free Almond Flour Pancakes

These pancakes have become a favorite in our household. My husband who is not gluten-free actually prefers THESE pancakes to traditional buttermilk pancakes. These are light and fluffy with a crepe like crispy texture on the outside. Totally delicious!

I did not make my pancakes from scratch, because honestly, gluten- free baking still confuses me and drains my wallet. Also, I have found a product that is so wonderful that I have no desire to look elsewhere. I use Pamela's Baking Mix which is AMAZING. I add: coconut oil and fresh orange zest and juice of one orange into the batter.

For the topping:  I used to buy maple syrup, but I have found that I MUCH PREFER using seasonal, local fruit simmered in Kerrygold butter and cinnamon.

I can buy this mix at Whole Foods. If you do not have access to a local co- op that carries this brand, you can buy Pamela's products here:

Here are some other delicious gluten free pancake recipes if you are adventurous to try gluten-free baking:

Friday, May 10, 2013

An Update: My Health, Career and an Exciting Announcement!!

HELLO to all of my favorite foodies! I have been writing this blog for almost two years now and in that time we have created quite a wonderful community of nearly 4,000 strong and growing everyday!! Thank  you for your continued support! I started this blog, as a way to reach out to the gluten-free, REAL FOOD loving community. I have worked in the food industry for the past 16 years and in 2010 was working as a professional chef, when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.This was a huge life altering experience for me as a self proclaimed 'die-hard foodie'. Suddenly, my world became very narrow and bleak with all of these major food restrictions. I was sick, lost and needed was a community to help navigate these new gluten-free waters that I knew NOTHING about. Around the same time that I created this blog, I enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Program at The Nutritional Therapy Association, to understand holistic nutrition, and selfishly understand HOW to heal my sick body. Many of you have followed me from all the way back during that time.( thank you!) I graduated in June of 2011 as a Certified  Nutritional Therapy Practitioner with a new lease on life, a mind buzzing with amazing information and most importantly RESTORED HEALTH!!!

A little more background for the newcomers:
(**image: This is the salad bar at the school, 16 organic veggies offered each day. My school kids ages 5-14 DEVOURED this daily. <3)

For the past 5 years I  have been working for the Epicurean Group, a San Francisco based company that brings organic farm fresh, local food (everything sourced within 100 miles) cooked from-scratch to local school lunch programs. I was a chef that prided myself in making stock, sauces, pretty much everything from scratch and cooking beautiful food for children. I have often joked that I had traded in my catering career to become a lunch lady.

(No worries, I never ACTUALLY wielded a scooper while wearing a hairnet and blue eye shadow, smoking a Virginia Slim, while claiming food to be "extra sloppy"-- ha!) 

Unfortunately, with my new found celiac diagnosis, it made it near impossible to work in a industrial kitchen. My body was so sensitive that the very flour spores in the air from the baker would cause me to break out in hives. It was terrible! My company offered me a  dream job last summer to become a General Manager at an all girls private school in San Francisco. I would be responsible for running an all organic meal program for 500 daily, monitoring the food allergies of the students by preparing their meals daily ( I had 30 kids that had varying allergies everything from: celiac, salicylate allergy, GAPS and FODMAP). I was also responsible for running cooking classes, planting a garden and educating kids about the importance of GOOD FOOD! Perfect! This was a way for me to still be on the forefront of the food scene, work with kids and do what I LOVE without getting sick! 

Unfortunately, the job was too good to be true. I loved my school kids, I loved the school, I took pride in nourishing children and I had a lot of FUN doing it. In reality, it came at a really high price, it meant that I was working 14 hour days, 6 days a week. It was TOO BIG of a job for even me, no stranger to the demands of the food industry's tireless schedule. All of my prior visions of the cooking classes, gardening projects and education pieces that I drempt about NEVER happened. I was running a food program for 500, with on average 11 additional caterings each week. There was just NO TIME to do any of the things that I wanted to do. Me being me, I sought out any and every educational teaching moment possible, educating the faculty on the power of: probiotics,organics,enzymes, magnesium, hydration, gluten, soy, GMO's,ferments, CSA'S,copper toxicity, apple cider vinegar, Ph, pulse testing,adrenal stress, mineral tissue analysis, aromatherapy, raw milk- you name it!! I would have these one-on-one consultations with inquiring faculty members during lunch and coffee breaks. They would seek me out on the streets,in the hallways, in my office and email me at home over the weekends. Those were the moments that fueled my tireless days. It turns out you can dress a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner up as a General Manager, but they forever will be a NTP. :) 

I began to notice that 3 months into the job, that I was losing my life balance. I was exhausted! I was so fearful that I would become really sick again because auto-immune diseases like celiac flare up under stress. This was a huge concern to me, I had worked SO HARD to reclaim my heath. I voiced my concern to my company who were supportive in me hiring an assistant. I entertained that idea for a few weeks, interviewed 6 candidates and came up with a surprising truth about myself. The weekend before I was going to hire an assistant, I was home sick on the couch "glutened" from cooking at the school once again, with hives on my legs for the 'ump-teenth' time and I realized I just cannot physically work at the school anymore. My true passion is to educate people on how to heal their bodies, maintain wellness and eat tasty REAL FOOD. Here I was once a poster child for reclaimed health and vitality- suddenly sick, adrenally fatigued and not being an advocate for my own health; in that moment I realized the hard truth that I needed to quit my job. After 7 months of running a wildly successful food program, I put in my 6 week notice at the school to the shock of everyone. I needed to follow my passion and open up my own practice and educate others. Most importantly I needed to get and stay healthy.

My last day of work was March 8th, I was bombarded with child-made cards, flowers and gifts from the school and kids. I don't think I have ever been hugged that much or have personally cried that much in one day. I will forever LOVE all 500 of my school kids...

*Unforeseen Plot Twist*
What I didn't anticipate is that on my last day of work I would find out that I was 5 WEEKS PREGNANT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not to divulge too much information but, I have been married for 7 years and have never once been pregnant despite no preventative measures. The undiagnosed celiac piece I believe had A LOT to do with me not getting pregnant in the past. I absolutely believe that my 3 year journey of healing, fueled by eating nourishing healthy foods, healing my gut, identifying and eliminating allergens (which turned out to be  quite extensive:chicken, soy, corn, gluten and most grains) and the addition of juicing and acupuncture for the past 6 months healed my body enough to conceive!!!
NEWSFLASH: Real FOOD makes babies!!

For the past 6 weeks I have been at home, sleeping, eating, reading, relaxing and growing a human.:) HA! I have been working with a few clients during my waking hours, but even that has been minimal. I will tell you that pregnancy is SO much more then I ever anticipated. It turns out, growing a baby-- totally a BIG DEAL!! I am so glad that my body waited to get healthy before it got pregnant. I cannot tell you how intense and overwhelming the first trimester was for me. I slept 16 hours a day ATE more food daily then I have ever consumed in my entire life. For being mostly grain-free for nearly a year and a half, this baby shockingly undeniably wantED CARBS!!! I have been consuming a fair amount of gluten free pancakes, pasta and sandwiches for the past two months. Fortunately, now in the second trimester my craving for carbs and my insatiable appetite have both diminished to a healthy more manageable level. :) I would highly recommend that if you are a woman who is thinking about getting pregnant, take the TIME to get HEALTHY FIRST. Growing a baby takes a HUGE toll on your body. Knowing what I know now, I can see why my body refused to get pregnant- it takes all systems firing and then some to grow a human.:) 
(**I will post some sources and books that I have been reading about pregnancy here next week.) 

So now you are up to date! I apologize for not posting my own personal blogs, dinners, recipes and foodie adventures like I have in the past. I am in my second trimester now and have SO much more energy and SO much information to share with all of you!! Keep on the look out for new exciting blogs and posting in the coming months. Thanks for all of your love and support over the past couple years! 

Be Well!!
- 'Food For Thought' - aka Kate <3

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes With a Hint of Cinnamon and Fresh Orange Zest.

Gluten- Free Double Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with a Hint of Orange Zest and Cinnamon


1/2 cup of Dark Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup of Rice Flour
1/4 cup of Potato Starch
1 1/2 T of Tapioca Flour
1 Cup of Sugar or 1 T. of Pure Stevia Powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 Egg or Egg Replacer Equivalant
1/2 cup of butter melted
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 cup of  warm milk (*any milk of choice will do)
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 T. Fresh Orange Zest
1 T. Finely Ground Coffee or Espresso


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease 1- 12 muffin pan

In a large mixing bowl combine  all of the dry ingredients: flour(s), potato starch, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, salt, coffee/espresso, cinnamon and fresh orange zest. Stir well.

In a separate bowl:
Blend milk, egg, vanilla and melted butter. Incorporate the dry ingredients by adding them into thirds (three portions). Mix well.

 Portion the batter into 12 cupcakes.

Cook for 18- 22 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Place a toothpick in the center of the cupcake and remove. If the toothpick comes out clean with no  batter the cupcakes are done.

Cool cupcakes about 20 minutes and frost.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 cup of butter softened
2 cups of confectioners sugar
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup of milk or cream.

 In an electric mixer incorporate all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

 Orange Zest Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8 oz. packages) of cream cheese
1/2 cup or 1 stick of  soften butter
1 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
1 T. Vanilla extract.
1 T. Fresh Orange Zest
1 t. of fresh-squeezed orange juice

In an electric mixer incorporate all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kate's Chicken Tortilla Soup


To Prepare Chicken Stock:

 In a LARGE stock pot combine:

 1 Large yellow onion- quartered
 3 Cloves of Garlic - Smashed
 3 Carrots-Rough Chopped
 4 Ribs of Celery-Rough Chopped
 3 Dried Ancho Chilies - seeds and stems removed
 3 Dried Guajillo Chilies- seeds and stems removed
 1 Bay leaf
 6 whole peppercorns
 1 chicken carcass-- it is what it is. ;)
 Fill pot with water so chicken is fully submerged.

Bring to a boil and simmer on medium for 4 hours.
Strain and reserve the liquid ONLY.

 Black Beans:
* Rehydrate 1 1/2 cup of black beans. ( you can do this with the chicken stock).

In a LARGE Heavy-bottomed stock/soup pot combine:

I Large Yellow Onion- Diced
2 Cloves of garlic-Smashed and finely diced
4 Carrots- Peeled and diced
1 Red Bell Pepper- Sliced into thin strips
*OPTIONAL: 1 Serrano Pepper finely diced for an EXTRA KICK!!
* Sautee Vegetables until "el dente" about 5 minutes over medium heat.
Add 1 T. of Adobo Sauce ( The liquid found in canned Chipolte Peppers)
1/2 Can of Organic Crushed Tomatoes
5 Cups of Chicken Stock.
3 Chicken Breasts or Boneless Thighs- Diced
1 t.. Ground Cumin
1/2 t. Smoked Paprika
Salt and Pepper To Taste
**** Let come to a Boil****

 3/4 cup of Black Beans
 3/4 cup of Fresh Corn

* Let Cook for 10 more minutes*
To Garnish:
 Crushed Tortilla chips
 Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice  and some chopped fresh cilantro.

To Make Tortilla Strips:
Take a 6 inch corn tortilla and cut it in half.
Take one of the halves and cut it into strips.
Heat desired oil to 3tow00-350 degrees- This should take about 5-7 minutes on medium high heat- be careful not to burn the oil!!
Carefully place tortilla strips in oil- do this in small batches as if not to crowd the pan.
This should take 2-4 minutes.They fry QUICK!
Retreive tortilla strips with metal tongs or burn proof utensil ( NO PLASTIC!) and place onto a kitchen towel or paper towel to wick off excess oil.
Tortilla chips should be slightly golden brown and crispy.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Beware of Pasteurized Juices and Green Drinks ( Superfood and Naked Juice).

I was shopping at Trader Joe's this afternoon and saw this HUGE display of bottled Green Plant Juice. Steer clear unknowing health savvy consumer-THIS is a health trap! I have supressed my inner Nutritional Therapist for quite sometime now and remained pretty quite on my opinions on the juicing debate-well apparently today's the day, I am giving you my two cents! (perhaps it's more like 4 cents).*ha*;)

For the record: I do not advocate pasteurized green drinks or juices as part of a healthy diet.

The benefit of juicing is to get a condensed dose of nutrients, minerals and enzymes. This practice can be extremely therapeutic, hydrating and nourishing to the body, but there are some definite ground rules that you MUST understand before you take stock in Odwalla, Naked Juice or run out and buy the next Power Juicer 5000.

NEWSFLASH: The juices that you can buy in the grocery store are PASTEURIZED.

What is Pasteurization?

Pasteurization is a process where they heat juices to 161 degrees for 15 seconds killing all of the potential BAD mold, bacteria and microorganisms and most of the GOOD nutrients, minerals and enzymes. This denatured/ pasteurized juice product that is left is essentially nothing more then colored SUGAR WATER.(!!!!) Did you ever wonder why they are suddenly fortifying juices with Calcium and Vitamin D?

*Note that there are 25 g of SUGAR per 8 oz serving in this Odwalla SuperFood. This juice is 16 oz (multiply the serving size by two). There are 4 grams of sugar PER TEASPOON meaning that this ONE Odwalla Superfood has 12 and a half teaspoons (or 4 Tablespoons) of SUGAR in it! YEOWSERS!

Here is My Guide To Juicing:

1. Never Buy Pasteurized Juice as a HEALTH DRINK.
Pasteurized juice is NOT a healthy drink. Pasteurized juice has way too much sugar and far too little nutrients. (Not to mention too many added STABILIZERS to keep it UNCLUMPED and tasting 'Fresh'.) No thanks!

Fresh Pressd Juices:

1. Only Juice ORGANICS. If you are juicing conventional produce you are getting a mega dose of all the nasty pesticides sprayed on and saturating your fruits and veggies.These fruits and vegetables known as the " DIRTY DOZEN" MUST be bought organic as they are they have the highest content of sprayed pesticides and fertilizers on them.

1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines
7. Grapes
8. Potatoes
9. Blueberries
10. Kale/Collard Greens
11. Lettuces
12. Bell Peppers

2. Juicing should be an 80/20 ratio. 80% VEGETABLES TO 20% FRUITS. Too many fruits= too much sugar.

3. Juices should be thought of as a 'dose of nutrients', NOT as a long term meal replacement plan. Juicing can be very therapeutic for someone with compromised digestion or in conjunction with a temporary cleanse or fast. Your body is brilliant and it is designed to eat and digest a variety of nourishing foods. Personally, I will take the crisp refreshing crunch of celery anyday over celery juice--maybe it's just me? I LOVE THE TEXTURES of REAL FOOD!

4. A note on beneficial fiber. This has been the hardest thing for me to wrap my mind around. I love fiber, I think fiber is KEY to a healthy diet and good digestion. Juicing extracts the magnificent dietary fiber from the the fruit or vegetable and chucks it into a side trolly in your juicer. Don't blindly toss it out or compst it. SAVE THIS! Bake with it, cook with it, put it in soups! I remember one of our super smart Food For Thought Family members, mentioned that she was an avid juicer but made muffins out of the pulp! YES! Do that! You can also add fiber back into your juice by adding: flax, hemp and chia seeds are fantastic sources of fiber.

6. Protein and Fat: Juices are devoid of proteins and fats so it is benefical to add some back in. As mentioned above, chia, flax and hemp are great sources of protein and fiber. Adding some good fats like: almonds, avocados, eggs, coconut oil, Omega-3's can be great in juices or fresh fruit smoothies. Adding fats into your juice will actually help your body benefit and get the optimal vitamins out of your juice. Vitamins like vitamins: A, D, E and Vitamin K actually NEED FAT to be used by the body!

7. Fresh pressed juices should be kept in a air tight container and refrigerated. Do not consume juices that are older then 3 days old. Juices denature and anything that was beneficial about drinking your juice has expired after 3 days. This really makes you rethink your Minute Maid Orange Juice that is seemingly still fresh after 3 weeks doesn't it?

I think juicing CAN be a wonderful addition to a healthy diet when done correctly. Here's to knowing the facts and being a well informed consumer and advocate for your health!

Happy Juicing!

photo sources:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Soy Dangers Summarized- Weston A Price Foundation

This is from the Weston A Price Foundation Website:

Confused About Soy?--Soy Dangers Summarized

  • High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
  • Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
  • Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body's requirement for B12.
  • Soy foods increase the body's requirement for vitamin D.
  • Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
  • Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
  • Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.

The above soy dangers and our Myths & Truths About Soy are available in our Soy Alert! trifold brochure for mass distribution.

Studies Showing Adverse Effects of Soy

  1. Studies Showing the Toxicity of Soy in the US Food & Drug Administration's Poisonous Plant Database(7.5M PDF)
  2. Studies Showing Adverse Effects of Dietary Soy, 1939-2008
  3. Studies Showing Adverse Effects of Isoflavones, 1950-2010

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Technicolor Foods: A Look At Artificial Food Dyes And The BEAUTIFUL Foods That Inspired Them

I was a birthday party recently where they had some of those trendy tie dye multi-colored cupcakes. They were super cute, but unfortunately the nutrition geek in me couldn't help but to shudder knowing what I have read about artificial food coloring and the connection to behavioral issues such as ADD/ADHD and allergies. Is it just me, or have you noticed some of the outrageous foods that they are trying to sell us at the grocery stores these days? Since when was yogurt BLUE? Tortilla chips GREEN and milk PURPLE? How is it that suddenly everything in our grocery stores have become technicolor? How did it get to this point?

In 1938, many dyes that were used to dye clothing, 15 were certified to be used to color foods. In the 1950's Orange No.1, Orange No.2 and Red No.32 when the U.S Congress conducted hearings on the potential carcinogenicity of these dyes. In 1973, the FDA removed Red No. 1, Red No.4, Yellow No.:1,2,3,4 and Violet No.1 due to studies that connected food dyes to: toxicity, allergies, hyperactivity and carcinogenicity. In 1976, Red No. 2 was removed except for coloring orange skins ( to provide more of a uniform consumer friendly appeal). Orange B, which is commonly found in sausage casings was removed due to links to cancer.

The Current FDA APPROVED artificial food coloring dyes is as follows:

Citrus Red No.2:
Used in Oranges to provide a more appealing color uniformity for the consumer. Avoid this by buying organic oranges.

Red No.3
Most commonly found in cherries, candy, ice cream, gelatin,pudding, cereals and baked goods.This is a coal-tar derivitive and has been linked to show cancers, gene mutations and change in brain chemistry. The FDA says that the proof is not there to support the cancer claims so it remains on the "SAFE LIST" and is only listed as an "artificial color".
Red No. 4
Most commonly found in: soft drinks, pudding, gelatin, condiments, dairy products and candy. It is also found in many cosmetic and personal care items as well as drugs. There have been some studies that have linked Red No. 4 to cancer in rats.

Blue No.1
Most commonly found in:jellies, cereals, syrup,pudding, candy, soft drinks, and gatorades. It is a coal-tar derivative. It remains on the FDA "Safe List" although it has been linked to cause allergies as well as tumors have been detected in the injection site of test rats.

Blue No. 2
This is used in many of the same uses as listed above for Blue No.1 the World Health Organization rates it as a B as questionable for use in FOOD.

Green No. 3
Used in foods such as: frozen desserts, candy, mint jellies, gelatin and cereals. It is also on the FDA "Safe List" although it has been linked to a potential allergen and has also been linked to causing tumors at the injection site in test rats.

Yellow No. 5 ( Tartrazine)
This is the MOST thoroughly studied and noteworthy Artifical Food Coloring. It is the ONLY one that must be listed by law on the labels of the foods and products that contain it. It is most commonly found in :spaghetti,pudding, ice cream, custards, soft drinks, cereal and candies. It is also found in asprins and Advil. People suffering from asthma are told to stay away from foods that contain Tartrazine because it often times makes there systems worse.

Yellow No. 6 ( Sunset Yellow)
This is most commonly found in : candies, cereals, gelatins, desserts and sodas. It is yet another coal-tar derivative.

Dr. Benjamin Feingold, MD, has studied the link between hyperactivity and artificial food coloring. He has found in his studies that children with short attention spans greatly improve when they are fed a diet that is free from ALL artificial food colorings.

One of the most shocking discoveries is that Ritalin the number one prescribed drugs for ADD/ADHD and hyperactivity is made from Yellow No. 10- one of the MOST allergenic dye on the list!

The FDA has now begun to start listing food ingredients as "artificial colors" rather then identifying and listing the separate dyes used in each product. This has become problematic for those of us that try and steer clear of particular dyes.

Food should be beautiful and full of color and vitality. REAL FOODS come in a rainbow of Natural COLOR and are packed with life giving, health boosting nutrients.

Red Fruits and Vegetables: Contain lycopene, hesperidin and quercetin which naturally lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of prostate cancer, help destroy free- radicals in your body and reduce tumor growth.

Green Fruits and Vegetables: Contain chlorophyll, lutein, calcium, folate and beta-carotene. These nutrients help with digestion, promote healthy eyes, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, help to fight free- radicals.
Yellow and Orange Fruits and Vegetables: Contain:beta- carotene, vitamin C, potassium, lycopene and flavonoids. These nutrients help promote: healthy bone growth (working with calcium- magnesium balance in your body), help fight off free radicals, reduce the risk for macular degeneration, reduce the risk of cancer and facilitates alkaline balance in the body.

Purple and Blue Fruits and Vegetables: Contain: zeaxanthin,lutein, vitamin C, flavonoids, ellagic acid and quercitin. These nutrients help promote: support a healthy immune system, improve calcium absorption, lowere LDL Cholesterol, supports healthy digestion and helps to fight cancer cells.

White Fruits and Vegetables:Contain: beta-glucans, SDG, EGCG. These nutrients help promote: the activation of natural Killer T and B Cells. Reduce the risk of prostate, colon and breast cancer. They also help balance out hormones.

**Resources Used: Staying Healthy with Nutrition, by: Elson M Haas, MD