Safe non toxic school lunchbox solutions

 

School lunchboxes. Love them or loathe them, they are a necessary part of our day to day lives as Mums and Dads.

Not only is the nutrient dense food that goes into them an essential part to raising happy healthy kids it is what they are made of that also needs to be looked into.

A recent study found that most plastic products leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals even if they’re labelled “BPA-free”.

Scary isn’t it. We have all been lead to believe BPA free plastics where safe for so long only to be now told by scientists  that 70 percent of common plastic products tested positive for estrogenic activity, and that number rose to 95 percent when the products were subject to real-world conditions such as dishwashing or microwaving.

Time Magazine reports:

BPA is particularly worrisome simply because it is so common. Nearly every American has some amount of BPA in his or her body, in part because plastics are so ubiquitous.”

You can read Dr Mercola’s full article here for more details and also read the full scientific documented report this article is based on.

 

Given the rise in autoimmune disease, cancers and other immune related allergies in todays society, these toxic chemicals are the reason to search for safe alternative materials for storing our foods in.

Glass is a great option but as Mums & Dads we all know kids can be a little rough with their school bags and safety at school can be a concern with glass smashing. Up until now Master 5 has been taking glass Pyrex to preschool without incident but with Kindy on the horizon next year I know the structured environment of sit down lunch breaks currently had at Preschool will be a thing of the past so a safe non toxic alternative needed to be found.

One excellent choice I kept coming across in my search was food containers made of stainless steel, an alloy composed of natural elements. Stainless steel poses no health risks, is widely used in the food industry, and will not impart peculiar tastes or smells to your food.

Knowing my love of  all things non toxic Shelley & her team from Lime Tree Kids generously sent me some Lunchbots to try and to post a review on my thoughts and how they fared with the boys and our busy on the go lifestyle.

Lunchbots is a family owned business which started in 2008 out of necessity when the founder Jacqueline Linder couldn’t find a product that suited her needs. Big ideas start in small places (her home garage in California!) and they have grown to be a worldwide success as people move to eliminate toxic plastics and chemicals from their lives.

We were sent the Lunchbots Trio (in Turquoise), the Quad in Stainless as well as the Insulated Thermal in Green to road test.

The Lunchbots collection comes in a range of sections from one to four depending on the use you require it for. This is also handy for children who don’t like their foods touching /combined with other items –  something I know many of my blog and facebook followers face especially those with children on the spectrum.

Master 5 has been taking his Trio sectioned Lunchbots container for his morning tea which as part of preschools requirements is fresh fruit (or veg).

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A typical morning tea for preschool

The container is compact (much smaller than the container we were previously using yet still holds the same amount of food so it’s a win for us space wise in his lunch bag (especially only being 5  years old –  school bags can get pretty heavy!!) It is easy to open and close and the bonus is when I pack it the night before and put it in the fridge being stainless it keeps cool till morning tea time perfect for our climate in Australia.

(On really hot days especially and if you’re going to put food that spoils like dairy/cheeses or meats etc I would still put a small icepack/brick to ensure it stays cool – we don’t want any food poisoning now!)

Master 3 is not yet at preschool but I find his Quad sectioned Lunch bots container just the perfect size to throw into my handbag for “just in case” snacks whilst we are out and about running errands during the day.

For a child with so many allergies and intolerances finding safe store bought snacks (other than fruit) are not worth the risk, plus I prefer my children eat home cooked foods. I haven’t had any leaks and it is once again compact for his little hands to be able to hold and lay in his lap whilst we are on the go.

They are also great for early Saturday morning growers market starts where I can prepare the night before pop the boys in the car and they can have smorgasbord breakfast on the way.

If you follow my Facebook page you will know my boys are big fans of hot lunches (leftovers mainly). The Insulated Thermal Lunchbots container is the only child friendly thermos I have found with a wide enough mouth to make eating out of it easy. We have owned other cheaper tall cylinder style thermos before and the boys found it very difficult to eat out of (especially Master 3) but he has had no issues with the Lunchbots bowl like version.

Its 450ml capacity also means it’s a decent size meal as well for my sometimes bottomless pit boys. We love that its leak proof meaning taking nourishing soups (which we eat a lot of) isn’t a problem anymore when we are out and about and it keeps them warm for up to 5 hours.

Insulated thermal perfect for hot or cold meals

Insulated thermal perfect for hot or cold meals

The trick to keep food warm is to boil the kettle and fill the thermos with boiling water whilst you heat up the leftovers (I tend to heat them up a little longer than you would if youweree serving them straight away) in a saucepan on the stovetop if a soup, casserole etc or in the oven in a Pyrex dish at 180 deg for about 5-10 mins depending what it is) and then empty out the water and place the piping hot food into the thermal container.

They are perfect for pastas, risottos, and slow cooker style meals.

They also double in that you can use them to keep food cold (like yoghurts, fruit salads, or our popular chicken patties which are nice snacks cold). Pack the night before put it in the fridge and they will keep cool until morning tea/lunch time once again great in our climate.

All products are made of the highest quality 18/18 stainless steel, are super easy to clean (hand washing is recommended) and virtually unbreakable (which is important when dealing with kids!)

Now kids aside for just a minute, these products are great for us adults too. I recently “borrowed” these from the boys and took them to an all day seminar and had my snacks and lunch for the whole day. I loved how compact they where (I travelled part of my trip on public transport so didn’t want to be carrying bulky glass containers around all day) and loved how my food stayed intact the way I packed it the night before.

Not only is the Lunchbots range practical you have to admit it is visually appealing too!  There are lots of funky colours to choose from and also available in the full stainless colour as well.

It is something that is going to last you a very long time and when the time comes you no longer need it you can pass it down or simply recycle it, as stainless steel is one of the most recycled materials on earth.

PicMonkey Collage

The possibilities are endless!

Cost wise, yes they are slightly more expensive than your average lunch box but the many years of use you will get from them and the fact your food isn’t coming into contact with hormone disrupting chemicals is priceless in my opinion.

Now for the exciting part!

Lime Tree Kids has generously supplied us with a Lunchbots pack to giveaway to one lucky winner!

All you need to do is LIKE Feeding Two Growing Boys and Lime Tree Kids on Facebook and go to the Lime Tree Kids website and check out their awesome range and on this blog post leave a comment below telling us which product YOU like the best!

This competition closes Monday the 2nd September at 7.30pm when a winner will be drawn at random and notified on this blog post. Once you have made contact with us your details will then be forwarded to Lime Tree Kids in which you will have 48 hours to respond to their email as part of their contest policy.

A huge thank you to Shelley and the super helpful team at Lime Tree Kids (one of my favourite online Kids stores) for choosing Feeding Two Growing Boys to receive and review the Lunchbots range and being able to educate everyone on finding safe non toxic food storage solutions. The online store also has lots of other non toxic food storage solutions including my new love Mason Jars which have been recently added as well as everything you could possibly need for life with kids! So put the kids to bed, grab a cuppa and browse the website it won’t disappoint!

 

 

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED AND THE WINNER IS KYLIE HANSON. CONGRATULATIONS KYLIE 🙂

 

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Book Review – The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott

autoimmune book

Master 3’s healing journey living the Paleo lifestyle (whilst being allergic to wheat/eggs/dairy/nuts and more, as well as having intolerances to a host of other foods) has been a positive one. He is no longer the itchy, covered in eczema child he once was and he is sleeping again and no longer in constant pain.

Lachlan had been gluten free for as long as I could remember then passed his wheat challenge as a baby only to be diagnosed this year with a IgE wheat allergy (again) after I asked for him to be retested for wheat as I knew something wasn’t quite right.

I had also had independant IgG testing done through our Naturopath in December 2012 and wheat and a host of other items (like rice and legumes) came up as intolerances which is when we transitioned slowly to Paleo.

Interestingly many of the IgG responses we received when retested as IgE allergies in May this year at Westmead Childrens Hospital Allergy/Eczema clinic also came up positive allergies).
(Read more about our story here.)

Even though he was thriving on Paleo and his eczema was disappearing before our eyes now that grains had been removed something still wasn’t quite right. This lead me to yet more research and I stumbled across a diet called the “Autoimmune Paleo Protocol” online.

This protocol removes additional items such as eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades which are all included in the normal Paleo diet.

Lachlan although he was not eating eggs or nuts due to his anaphylactic allergies to these items, was still consuming seeds and nightshades almost everyday in some form. Upon removing these items from his diet we saw a vast improvement in his energy levels, sleeping patterns, recovering from illness time and in his skin which was already doing really well since removing grains, legumes and pseudo grains like quinoa. His gut was finally getting the break it needed and it was showing on the outside.

Since I had always cooked with seeds (including things like mustard), and especially nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, capsicum) I hit a wall as to how to prepare food for Lachlan and still have variety (especially since he can only consume chicken and fish as his protein due to being beef intolerant and wasn’t really tolerating lamb either as a baby so we removed this also).

It was then I came across this book. The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott, which made the transition from Paleo to Autoimmune Paleo so much easier!

(You can follow Mickey on Facebook and online at http://www.autoimmune-paleo.com. )

The book at this stage is only available as a PDF download from Mickey’s website (details provided at end of blog post) but she is looking to have it printed in the future.

Mickey herself is a chef and a Nutritional therapy practitioner who was vegan for quite sometime and then was diagnosed with Celiac and Hashimotos disease – both autoimmune conditions. She found her health deteriorating and introduced fish to her diet and then transitioned from vegan to Paleo slowly reversing mineral and vitamin deficiencies and then came across the Autoimmune Protocol herself which she credits to “making her feel like a real person again”.

This lead her to doing extensive research on the Autoimmune Protocol and therefore using her chef skills to prepare this Ecookbook to help others out in managing their autoimmune conditions.

The book itself includes over 100 AIP (Autoimmune Protocol Paleo) friendly recipes which are all free from dairy, eggs, nuts, grains, beans and nightshades – all foods which cross the gut lining causing further inflammation in a already ravaged leaky gut – something we all have to some degree but those with autoimmune conditions most certainly have.

Mickey has also included great lists such as these (below) which are nice and easy to print and stick on the fridge/pantry as a quick reference as to what to include and what to avoid on the AIP protocol.

Even though we have been following this protocol for some time and I live and breathe these lists, they are still stuck on our fridge as a constant reminder!

Foods to include
Foods to avoid

The book also includes 2 x 4 week meal plans and shopping lists making it perfect for those of you who are time poor or hate meal planning or just starting out and a little overwhelmed as to where to begin.

The book covers basics like making bone broths for the recipes, Kombucha, kefir, coconut milk/cream and covers all meal categories – Appetizers, Beverages, Dressings/Sauces, Salads, Soups (Beet & Fennel is Master 3’s favorite – he has named this Dragon Blood soup), Vegetables, Chicken, Seafood, Beef and Lamb and of course desserts – yes you can even eat yummy desserts on the AIP protocol such as this beautiful Coconut Raspberry “Cheesecake” which Mickey has allowed me to publish here for you along with her super yummy Coconut crusted Cod recipe.
Coconut Raspberry “Cheesecake”
coconut cake
Crust Ingredients:
  • 3 cups dates pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in warm water
  • 1 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Filling ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups raw honey
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut butter (a.k.a. coconut cream concentrate –Mickey has a recipe for homemade coconut butter in her book.
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 5 cups frozen raspberries
  • 6 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • fresh raspberries for garnish
  • thick coconut flakes for garnish

1. Place the jars of coconut oil, coconut butter and raw honey in a pan with very hot water in order to let them soften.

2. To prepare the crust, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Strain the dates and place in a food processor or high-powered blender with the melted coconut oil. Blend for 30 seconds or so until a chunky paste forms. Be warned you may have to stop and scrape the sides if you are using a blender, and the oil will not completely mix with the dates, but the crust will still turn out fine. Combine the coconut flour, shredded coconut and salt in a bowl. Add the date paste and mix thoroughly. Place the mixture into the bottom of an 8″ spring-form pan, pressing the mixture down evenly. Use a small spatula to clean up the top edge around the sides of the pan, where the filling will meet the crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust browns and hardens a little bit. The texture will still be soft until it finishes cooling. Set aside while you make the filling.

3. To make the filling, combine the raw honey, coconut butter, coconut oil, and frozen raspberries in a saucepan on low heat. Stir until the raspberries are no longer frozen and the mixture is warm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the tapioca starch, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend on high for about a minute, until completely mixed. Pour carefully into the spring-form pan on top of the crust.

4. Set in the refrigerator undisturbed for at least 12 hours to allow the cake to cool and completely harden. When it is solid, carefully remove the spring-form pan. Decorate the top of the cake with thick flake coconut chips and fresh raspberries.

A great dinner or lunch dish we love is the Coconut Crusted Cod

Coconut Crusted Cod

Ingredients:
24 ounces cod fillets, cut into 2 inch thick strips
1 1⁄2 cups coconut flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ginger powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup finely shredded coconut
2 tablespoons coconut oil
mango salsa (p.72)

1. Wash, dry, and debone the cod fillets.
2. Combine the coconut flour, ginger powder and salt on a plate or shallow bowl. Place the coconut milk in another shallow bowl, as well as the shredded coconut. Dip the cod strips into the coconut milk, then the coconut flour mixture, back into the coconut milk, and finally into the shredded coconut, paying special attention to creating a thick breading.
3. Heat the coconut oil in the bottom of a skillet on high heat. When it is hot, cook the cod strips for five minutes a side depending on thickness of the fish, or until the top and bottom are nice and browned and the fish is cooked throughout. Once the cod strips are in the pan, try not to fuss with them too much – because there is no egg in the breading, they are a little delicate.
4. Serve with mango salsa.

The book is beautifully photographed and Mickey can also email you a text only version if you would like to print it (I have it saved on my computer and iPad for use in the kitchen (as it is interactive wherever the text is highlighted) and also have the text only version printed & bound at Officeworks for quick use in the kitchen.

I really think even if you don’t wish to follow the Autoimmune protocol for gut healing but have food allergies or intolerances to any of the above ingredients (which I know many of you do, especially things like nightshades (tomatoes etc) this book is a great resource to help you with variety in your diet and I highly recommend it.

It has introduced me to a whole new way of cooking and lead me to adapt my own little selection of AIP friendly recipes from the foods I used to cook for our family.

I can’t thank Mickey enough, she is a lovely lady to deal with as well and I wish her all the best with her book.

This protocol is truly life changing and I speak from experience with Master 3.

You can buy The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott through my affiliate link here: Click here to visit Autoimmune Paleo and I will receive a small commision which allows me to buy more books to review for you all.

(I paid full price for my copy).

Look forward to hearing from any of you who wish to know more about AIP or if you do purchase the book or already own it your thoughts.

In health,

~ Kat

Travelling and staying on track food wise

Due to the nature of our business we tend to do more weekends away than long family holidays.

This also makes keeping Master 3 on track with his special dietary needs a little easier as eating the way we do and with his allergy restrictions, cross contamination is not something we risk.

My number one rule is BE PREPARED!!

We mainly stay in apartments, houses or cabins so that we have access to kitchen facilities so we can do our own catering.

For a weekend away where I know I will not have kitchen facilities I prep all the boys’ meals (and take my Thermomix along if we have a small kitchenette).

Over the long weekend just past we stayed at a holiday park and I prepared the following so that cooking was minimal when we got to our holiday cabin.

Big batch of pumpkin soup (which could be heated on the stove top for breakfast, lunch or dinner)

Turkey patties (with lots of veggies included), which we served with cut up cucumber, carrots and a whole avocado for the boys at our night out at the football (the boys are fine to eat the patties cold)

Recipe here you can use any mince you like in this recipe to keep things interesting.

Boys with their packed dinner at the football

Boys with their packed dinner at the football

I roasted 2 whole free range chickens and used the meat for quick lunches and snacks

Packed a few cans of tuna/salmon for just in case meals (make sure you read the allergy advise as many tunas contain milk or soy).

I also took lots of fresh organic fruit & veggies and picked up a few other organic produce items locally from various shops.

Breakfasts included CADA which is a great filling breakfast that you can make according to your own tastes, add or subtract whatever you like!

I also took some stewed fruit (which I premade and bought with us), and hubby also cooked up some things like bacon, mushrooms, eggs etc. on the BBQ (for those of us who can eat them).

We stayed two nights so the second night we had a simple BBQ with some organic beef and free range chicken with salad and sweet potatoes.

Food doesn’t need to be made complicated; we are on holidays to relax!

If we do need to eat out whilst we are away we do take Master 3’s food with us purely for cross contamination issues. For us it isn’t worth the risk. He knows and understands why he has “different” food to us if we do eat out and is quite proud of his “special” meals. (I think he secretly loves the fact he gets to eat first too without waiting for it to be cooked! LOL)

Everything I pack that is cooked is in Pyrex glass dishes and stored in an Esky filled with ice bricks till we get to our destination and it’s all put in the fridge.I have also done plane travel with the boys domestically and packed their lunches once again in Pyrex and kept in a small cooler lunch bag for them to eat on-board the plane with lots of fruit & veggies on hand too.

Eating a restricted diet or having food allergies (or even just wanting to eat REAL food) does not mean you need to stop travelling. With some planning and it can be a nice stress free time away to recharge.

How do you prepare for trips away?

~
Kat

What’s eating your child? – Book review

What's eating your child

If you have messaged me for advice on your childs health I’ve more than likely mentioned this book to you and recommend you read it.

Kelly Dorfman is a nutritionist whose typical patient arrives at her practise after seeing three or more specialist and offers parents the tools to become nutrition detectives themselves to work through their child’s food issues and finally get kids off the drugs like antibiotics, laxatives, Prozac, Ritalin (that are so commonly prescribed to mask their ailments) and gets them back to a natural state of wellbeing.

The book covers many food and childhood ailments from anxiety, recurring ear infections, stomach aches, picky eating, rashes, ADHD and more.

Each ailment comes with a real life patient case to describe the issue and practical ways to overcome these issues.

I read this book quite some time ago and have reread it many times since as it provides such good information in a very easy to understand manner. It also gave me some real “light bulb” moments very early on in our healing journey with Master 3’s health and eczema.

Below are just some of the case scenarios discussed in the book:

Picky Eaters
Reflux
Gluten sensitivity
Constipation
Chicken Skin (deficiency in essential fatty acids which stems from our low fat obsessed world)
Sleep issues
Hyperactivity
Behavioural issues
Anxiety
Ear Infections
ADHD & Spectrum Disorders
Pesticides and chemicals affecting our children
Delayed speech
Sensory processing issues

All these issues stem back to food that a child is consuming (or in some cases not consuming and that they should be)

Check out your local library to see if they have the book or it can be purchased online in Ebook versions or also in print from many online bookstores.

I personally think every parent should read this book, Kelly has definitely provided a wealth of information in some very tricky situations that the general medical profession tend to brush off and medicate without getting to the root of the problem.

~

Kat

Practical Paleo – Book Review

Practical Paleo

The title says it all.. Don’t expect Masterchef creations from this book because you won’t find them.

What you will find is real, quick wholesome Paleo food for people from all walks of life.

Diane Sanfilippo holds a Bachelors degree and is a Certified Nutritional Consultant who runs a great health blog called “Balanced Bites” (and is also on Facebook) as well as having her own private nutrition consulting practice, teaching nutrition seminars throughout America and has a top rating weekly podcast “The Balanced Bites” podcast which you can download for Free from ITunes.

She is also responsible for the very popular 21 Day Sugar Detox on Facebook.

Below is a chapter by chapter breakdown of what the book includes:

The book starts off by explaining what the Paleo lifestyle is and how it can benefit you.

It then goes into great detail in easy to read tables of what is and isn’t “allowed” in the Paleo diet, how to budget for the Paleo diet, how to eat out Paleo as well as Paleo travelling tips.

The next section of the book gets down to the How’s, why’s and how to fix common health issues in aspects of the human body.

Diane then covers Leaky gut, in a very easy to read and understand way, perfect for people who don’t want to wade through many medically written journals filled with jargon you need a medical degree to understand.

She talks about anti – nutrients and  how to heal a leaky gut.

There is a great section on Blood sugar regulation and sweeteners, and a very handy FAQ section which covers many topics people ask when considering the Paleo lifestyle.

Part Two of the book is the 30 day Meal Plans in which Diane has broken down by health conditions covering

  • Autoimmune conditions (see picture below for list of conditions covered)

Autoimmune conditions

  • Blood Sugar Regulation (Diabetes Type 1 & 2), dysglycemia, hypoglycemia)
  • Digestive Health (leaky gut, IBS, IBD, Crohn’s Disease, Colitis and ulcerative colitis and Celiac Disease)
  • Thyroid Health (autoimmune Hashimoto’s or otherwise & hyperthyroidism)
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromylagia and Chronic Fatigue
  • Neurological Health (Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease)
  • Heart Health (Cholesterol and blood pressure)
  • Cancer Recovery
  • Athletic Performance
  • Fat Loss
  • Squeaky Clean Paleo

Each section includes the page numbers of the recipes best suited to each condition as well as diet & lifestyle recommendations in the way of what to add and avoid and any nutritional supplements and herbs to consider for the specific condition.

Sample of the meal plans for Digestive Health

Sample of the meal plans for Digestive Health

Now Part 3 is the fun bit!!

All the yummy recipes including really simple information for those new to cooking because lets face it there are quite a few people who don’t know the basics and this book covers them which I think is great as a lot of people don’t cook because no one has shown them the basics. This is why I believe it’s critical to get kids in the kitchen helping from a very early age, we want them to be able to cook nutritious food for themselves when they finally do leave the nest so to speak!

From spice blends to broths and everything in between the recipe section is categorized by ingredient (poultry, beef, pork, seafood, sides, salads, treats & sweets etc)  with each recipe having a lovely photograph to accompany it.  (Because we all love to see what it is we are making!)

The recipes use simple, easy to find ingredients (well minus the Bison we don’t have too many of them wandering around) making this easy everyday food.

The back of the book contains tear out tables (that featured at the front of the book) so you can stick on the fridge or pantry door for easy reference without having to photocopy of have the book on hand at all times.

I give this book a 10/10 and a must have in a Paleo kitchen. (and I haven’t been paid to review this book!)

It’s easy to use, explains things in really easy to understand language (and I’ve had to read some pretty full on medically written journals to learn a lot of what is in this book about autoimmune health conditions) and is something you can really easily and practically pull out a few ingredients and have dinner on the table pretty quickly.

Having the 30 day meal plans already done for you also helps out greatly if you are new to Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo (and trying to navigate the do’s & don’ts as Autoimmune Paleo is a little more restrictive with no eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshades and certain spices) or if you are just time poor and want the work done for you.

The book is available online from a variety of Online bookstores and a portion is available to look at on Amazon.

You may also be able to find it at bookstores but I haven’t come across it at any local ones but maybe the larger stores in major cities may stock it, otherwise online is your best bet shop around for the best deal.

I will be continuing to review my favourite books that I have read in the past or currently reading so keep an eye out for more book reviews.

I would love to know some of your favourite books/cookbooks?

Happy reading

~

Kat