Rehydrating Your Child Naturally: Homemade Pedialyte

pedialyte front and back

I get a lot of questions about this from readers and have also wondered myself…how do you rehydrate your sick child without succumbing to the artificial ingredients found in Pedialyte? Just ask any pediatrician across the country and they’ll likely say this is the beverage of choice when it comes to children recovering from the stomach bug…

I am not saying this drink won’t provide your sick child with some much needed nutrients (we’ve used it before ourselves years ago), but what about the unnecessary extras it comes with like artificial flavors and color (yellow 6)? We’ve already discussed some disturbing facts about the artificial dyes that require a warning label in many countries outside of the US, but as far as I can tell there aren’t any acceptable rehydration alternatives that don’t contain them. And when I asked our pediatrician’s office if they could please recommend another option, since I wanted to avoid the questionable synthetic ingredients in Pedialyte, they had no idea what I was talking about. I am honestly not sure why I was surprised.

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Interview: Robyn O’Brien, Author of The Unhealthy Truth (Part I)

The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien on 100 Days of Real Food

Is your child one of the 33% who suffer from asthma, allergies, ADHD, or autism? If so, you will not want to miss this post today. Robyn O’Brien, a.k.a. “the Erin Brockovich of the food industry,” believes that our kids are the “canaries in the coal mine” and that the sudden rise of these childhood ailments, especially food allergies, might be a warning sign to all of us that something in our food system is very wrong.

In her book The Unhealthy Truth, Robyn takes you along for the ride as her extensive research reveals “One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America’s Food Supply – and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself.” I was on a flight when I hit chapter 3, which is when the pages really started flying (no pun intended, I swear). At one point my jaw dropped; later I let out an audible gasp. I found myself writing interview notes even though at that point in time I had no interview gig. Fast-forward to now, and here I am talking to Robyn O’Brien. Who knew?

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Salads and Snacks with NatureBox

salad bar

Gone are the days of iceberg lettuce topped with limp veggies and bottled, processed dressings. No wonder I didn’t really enjoy salads until recently…I thought that’s what they were all about! It’s amazing how incorporating fresh greens, roasted nuts or seeds, distinctive cheeses, fresh fruit, and homemade dressings can change everything. And I know I am late getting on this bandwagon, but I’ve recently discovered what a real gem dried fruit is as a salad topping as well. I wish I would’ve figured that one out much sooner!

So today I am taking the idea of a fresh, tasty salad a step further…

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Portion Size Matters

Portion Size Matters by 100 Days of Real Food

I am not one to count calories, fat grams or anything of the like, but that’s because the one thing I do try to stay mindful of is portion size (and only eating enough to feel full). But in today’s “super-sized” society (i.e. the United States) it’s harder than ever to determine if your portion size is even on par or not. Check this out:

According to French Kids Eat Everything, there was “A scientific study in which two researchers (one French, one American) weighed servings of identical meals at McDonald’s restaurants in Paris and Philadelphia. The serving sizes were wildly different: a medium-size serving of fries at McDonald’s in Philadelphia was 72 percent bigger than at McDonald’s in Paris.”

Let’s hope they aren’t charging the same price, ha ha ha. All kidding aside though, what’s up with that? And there’s more:

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Real Food Tips: 10 Highly Processed Foods to Avoid

sugar packets

here are a lot of these “foods to avoid” lists floating around the internet I so was inspired to make a list of my own.
Highly Processed Foods and Ingredients to Avoid:

Artificial ingredients
This includes both synthetic dyes (like FD&C Red No. 40, Tartrazine, or Blue No. 1) and artificial sweeteners (like saccharin, aspartame, or sucralose). When you look at the history of food artificial ingredients haven’t been around all that long, and I don’t know about you, but I am not interested in being the guinea pig here. Plus the fact that artificial dyes require a warning label in many countries outside of the U.S. is enough of a deal breaker for me.
Instead: Look for dyes that come from natural sources (like paprika, saffron, or annatto) or forget the coloring all together (it’s only for aesthetics). When it comes to sweeteners pick those that come from natural sources (like honey, maple syrup, and even sugar) over the artificial stuff, but always consume them in moderation (see #2).sugar packets

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Recipe: Whole-Wheat Cookie Cake

iCookie cake recipe by 100 Days of Real Food

If you have no cake decorating skills like me then you’ll love the idea of a homemade whole-wheat cookie cake. It takes very little – if any – talent to squirt some freshly whipped cream into the shape of a circle and your child’s first initial or age. I do want to warn you up front though this recipe calls for a little bit of refined sugar, which I think is totally appropriate in GREAT moderation. One of the biggest problems with sugar today is the quantity in which it is consumed. And as I’ve shared before I think homemade treats are completely acceptable for occasions that truly are special and rare, although you’d be hard pressed to find me condoning factory-made, chemically-filled, artificial dye-laden treats any day of the year. :) So please forget that cookie cake place in the mall and instead spend a half hour making your very own cake from scratch…it’s easier than it looks!

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Lunch Ideas (for All Ages) with LunchBots!

Lunch with side items in LunchBots containers - 100 Days of Real Food

If you want to eat better in the New Year, packing yourself wholesome lunches from home can be a great place to start. I recently discovered and started using LunchBots stainless steel containers for some of my daughters’ lunches, which is why I am excited they’re sponsoring* this post today. Here are a few different ways to consider using their products:

Lunches for Adults and Teenagers

Readers ask me all the time what they should pack for their big teenage kids (or even for themselves), and I really do think the LunchBots extra big (and non-Disney character themed) thermal containers could be the answer. What’s more filling than a hearty leftover dinner like whole-wheat pasta or a big serving of homemade soup or stew? Serve with a generous side of fruit and/or a salad and you have yourself a filling lunch.

Lunches for Elementary Aged Kids

I recently started using LunchBots divided containers for my kindergarten and second grade daughters. It’s no secret that I frequently send them soup (in some smaller thermoses that we already own), but since that’s not enough food alone they usually get a couple of “side items” as well.

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The Birthday Cupcake Moral Dilemma (and the solution!)

birthday (organic) ice cream bar by 100 Days of Real Food

I usually never know what’s going to spark a lot of conversation on my Facebook page, and the fact that my recent “birthday cupcake dilemma” quickly spawned over 2,700 comments was honestly quite a surprise! I was truly at a loss though and since I always learn so much from our readers I often turn to you guys when I need advice. This is what my post said:

“I am in a bit of a bind (which I totally recognize is a first world problem by the way), but I would love some advice. My daughter turns 8 next week and since all the kids in her class bring cupcakes (or cookies or donuts) for the whole class on their birthday she’d like to follow suit.

Here’s the problem: The school no longer allows us to bring in homemade baked goods for the class! It has to be from a commercial kitchen and because her class is nut-free it also has to be from a certified nut-free kitchen (no cross contamination). Believe me I’ve tried and I cannot find any wholesome bakeries around here that are also nut-free. And I refuse to overnight cupcakes from NYC for a bunch of 2nd graders…not an option! The school’s ‘approved’ cupcakes from their cafeteria are highly processed and full of chemicals and artificial ingredients. It’s totally against everything I believe in to support products like that.

BUT it’s important to my daughter to be able to celebrate like her friends have. Does anyone have a viable solution or should I just suck it up and serve her class something highly processed and artificial? Yikes!!!”

In an effort to sum things up these were my constraints:

My daughter specifically asked if she could share cupcakes with her class…and as her mommy I do like to do what I can to make my birthday girls happy! If it were up to me I would probably do something other than food to celebrate at school, but again cupcakes are what the other kids bring so that’s what my birthday girl requested as well.

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Recipe: Weeknight Green Curry Shrimp (and our allergy-friendly team dinner!)

Green Curry Shrimp Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food

To help ring in the New Year, we invited our (mostly Charlotte-based) blog team and their spouses over for a pot luck dinner on Saturday. Oddly enough though, the fun began weeks before anyone even arrived. As we started talking food details for our get together we quickly realized, in total, our group deals with quite a list of food allergies and aversions. And if we wanted a meal that everyone could eat we would have to adhere to the following list of (combined) constraints:

No dairy/lactose
No gluten
No pork, beef, or lamb (only chicken or turkey)
No seafood other than shrimp

Now it’s not very holiday-esque, but I have learned from cooking for another friend with gluten and dairy allergies…Asian cuisine is totally the way to go. Between the coconut-milk based sauces and dishes served over rice, the options are almost endless. So since I offered to provide the main course (and the alcohol!) I ended up settling on the below Green Curry Shrimp dish served over brown rice and topped with steamed sugar snap peas.

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Healthy Eating Defined: Clearing up the Conflicting Messages

healthy eating defined by 100 Days of Real Food

Everywhere you look these days someone is touting one diet trend or another. Whether it’s swearing off all meat (vegetarian), all wheat (gluten-free), all grains and dairy (Paleo), or all animal products in general (vegan), let’s face it – unless you have a specific known allergy, there are a lot of conflicting messages out there. Plus on top of some of the more recent trends there are those who still stand by eating low-fat, low-carb, or low-calorie.

Then if you turn on a popular health show or flip through any big fitness magazine you’ll surely see that specific vitamins could improve memory, that some foods might promote better sleep, that particular nutrients can’t be absorbed together, or that certain antioxidants could even help you prevent cancer. I don’t know about you, but I cannot (and choose not) to keep up with intricate details like these. The stress alone of ensuring I follow a bunch of complicated guidelines – or counting every calorie or nutrient I eat – will surely take years off my life. Let’s remember that, aside from providing sustenance, food is supposed to be enjoyable and bring people together!

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Real Food Tips: 5 Easy Changes

Do Moms Know Why Artificial Dyes Are Bad? from 100 Days of #RealFood

I hear from readers quite frequently who would like to cut out processed food, but are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. The key thing to remember is that small changes can go a long way – cutting out processed food doesn’t have to be all or nothing! So to help you get off on the right foot this New Year below are 5 easy changes you can implement this month. In fact EVERYONE could start #1 today. It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s all about awareness. Pick 1 or 2 items from this list and commit to starting them this week. Once you’ve got those items down move on to the others, and before you know it some of these changes will become your “new normal.”

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