Salisbury Steak With Mushrooms Recipe

Salisbury steak is one of my favorite things to make for several reasons. First of all, I can get this recipe finished completely in less than 30 minutes. Secondly, if I forgot to thaw out the ground beef, I can easily thaw it out using the microwave or cold water method in 3 minutes or less than an hour, respectively. Even I, the meal-planning ultimate advocate, don’t always plan my meals out as I should. When I don’t, this is my go-to recipe. Best of all? It’s gluten-free. That’s right, no bread crumbs here. It’s low carb as well since I am using coconut flour. It is Paleo friendly, Diabetes friendly, Low-carb friendly, Ketogenic friendly. The only thing it is NOT is vegetarian friendly. I’ll work on that ;).

First I take a pound (ish) of ground beef, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of italian seasonings and put them in a bowl.
First I take a pound (ish) of ground beef, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of italian seasonings and put them in a bowl.
This lovely stuff is going to be my binding agent. You need about 1/4 cup. Add that to the bowl as well.
This lovely stuff is going to be my binding agent. You need about 1/4 cup. Add that to the bowl as well.
I use the dough hook attachment on my kitchenaid, but you can mix this together by hand (messy) or with a spoon (takes a while).
I use the dough hook attachment on my kitchenaid, but you can mix this together by hand (messy) or with a spoon (takes a while).
Here it is, mixing....
Here it is, mixing….
And mixing up some more.
And mixing up some more.
I have a cast iron pan that is heating on the stove at medium-high heat. Make sure it's heated thoroughly so you get that nice browning action on your meat. Also, it needs to be well seasoned so your meat won't stick.
I have a cast iron pan that is heating on the stove at medium-high heat. Make sure it’s heated thoroughly so you get that nice browning action on your meat. Also, it needs to be well seasoned so your meat won’t stick.
I form the meat into 4 equal patties.
I form the meat into 4 equal patties.
I then place the equal sized patties on the cast iron pan. It should sizzle. If it doesn't, your pan isn't hot enough.
I then place the equal sized patties on the cast iron pan. It should sizzle. If it doesn’t, your pan isn’t hot enough.
This is when I chop up some crimini mushrooms, but you can use any type of mushrooms really.
This is when I chop up some crimini mushrooms, but you can use any type of mushrooms really.
My beef is getting pretty close to done!
My beef is getting pretty close to done!
Now you just need some stock. This is chicken stock, but you probably should use beef stock for continuity of flavor. By the way, notice how this stock looks like Jello? Yes. That is what it's SUPPOSED to look like. IF your stock doesn't gel most of the time, you are not simmering it long enough OR you are boiling it too hard and breaking down the gelatin. Gelatin is good for you, so this is what we're going for!
Now you just need some stock. This is chicken stock, but you probably should use beef stock for continuity of flavor. By the way, notice how this stock looks like Jello? Yes. That is what it’s SUPPOSED to look like. IF your stock doesn’t gel most of the time, you are not simmering it long enough OR you are boiling it too hard and breaking down the gelatin. Gelatin is good for you, so this is what we’re going for!
So not shown, I took about 2 tbsp of cassava flour and mixed it with a little bit of the fat from the top of the stock. You could also use butter if your stock is lean or from a carton. I cook that until it's a "roux", nice and pasty and starting to darken a bit, then I add the stock. Then I add the mushrooms and cook those until they're done.
So not shown, I took about 2 tbsp of beef fat from the stock and cooked the mushrooms until they were soft. Then I added the cassave flour until that and the beef fat makes a paste. If the mushrooms suck up all the fat, you may need to add a little bit more – use your judgment – just make sure a paste forms. Then I add the stock slowly and cook over medium heat until it thickens. This is the gravy that you pour over the beef patties to make salisbury steak.

I can’t seem to get a good picture of the finished product, but just pour the mushroom gravy over the steak (and maybe some mashed potatoes) and serve with a green vegetable, like broccoli. You can also cut the mushrooms into smaller sizes if you prefer. Recipe card is below! I will update this with a better picture at some point.

 

Salisbury steak with mushrooms
Serves 4
This is an easy weeknight dinner that takes less than 30 minutes to make!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
For beef patties
  1. 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  2. 1 tsp italian seasoning
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/4 cup coconut flour
For gravy
  1. 6-8 mushrooms, sliced
  2. 2 tbsp cassava flour or other starch (corn starch, potato starch)
  3. 1 cup homemade beef stock
  4. 2 tbsp homemade butter or beef fat skimmed from stock
Instructions
  1. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Cast iron preferable. Combine ingredients for beef patties in electric mixer using paddle or dough hook, or by hand. Mix until ingredients homogeneously combined. Divide mixture into 4 equal parts, then form into patties. Place patties on preheated skillet. You should hear a sizzle. Cook for about 6-7 minutes per side, until meat is thoroughly cooked and no pink remains (or until meat reaches 160 degrees to ensure food safety).
  2. While meat is cooking, melt butter or beef fat in pan, then add mushrooms and cook until soft. Add cassava or other starchy flour (e.g., corn starch, potato starch) and stir until a paste forms. Cook paste until bubbly. Then, add beef stock slowly. Stir until thickened. Pour over beef patty. Serve meal with mashed potatoes and broccoli.
Nutrition To Fruition http://www.nutritiontofruition.com/
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Recipe: Peanut Butter Cups

I hardly ever make even “healthy” desserts because I know myself and I know my small amount of self control that I have. If I make a dessert I have a hard time not eating the whole thing. Because of this, lately I just stay away. These peanut butter cups are no different. They are TOO AMAZING. I might have to hide the rest of them. I’m sitting here staring at 7 of them (cause I definitely ate 2) wanting them to disappear so I don’t eat them.

PBCUPS

 

These are gluten-free and if you use dairy-free chocolate they are dairy-free. They are not Paleo. Sadly peanuts are a legume and not a nut, but if you soak your peanuts for 24 hours and then dehydrate before roasting to make peanut butter, you may tolerate them even if you don’t usually do well with legumes.

Instructions

Grab a bag of chocolate chips.
Grab a bag of chocolate chips. This one was 10 ounces. Add approximately a tablespoon of coconut oil. No, this is not a local NC recipe ;). Put it on the stove to melt.
Meanwhile, mix the following ingredients in a kitchen aid mixer with the dough paddle: 3 tbsp butter, ghee, coconut oil or palm shortening, 1 cup prepared smooth peanut butter, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/2 cup or less of powdered sugar.
Meanwhile, mix the following ingredients in a kitchen aid mixer with the dough paddle: 3 tbsp butter, ghee, coconut oil or palm shortening, 1 cup prepared smooth peanut butter, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/2 cup or less of powdered sugar.
Mix that up until it's nice and creamy. Scrape the sides as necessary.
Mix that up until it’s nice and creamy. Scrape the sides as necessary.
You should be stirring your chocolate every now and then while you're doing the whole peanut butter part. When it's melted it should look something like this.
You should be stirring your chocolate every now and then while you’re doing the whole peanut butter part. When it’s melted it should look something like this.

 

You can add more coconut oil to make the chocolate thinner if needed. Do not add water or milk. (learned this the hard way!) Pour chocolate into bottom of a regular sized muffin liner, and as it cools slightly press it against the sides. This is optional, but it will make the finished product more uniform looking.
You can add more coconut oil to make the chocolate thinner if needed. Do not add water or milk. (learned this the hard way!) Pour chocolate into bottom of a regular sized muffin liner, and as it cools slightly press it against the sides. This is optional, but it will make the finished product more uniform looking.
After filling around 9 cups (you will have leftover chocolate - this is necessary), put them in the freezer to harden slightly, for only a minute or two. Then grab your little ice cream/cookie dough scoop, or a spoon if you don't have one, and start scooping our your creamy peanut butter batter. Scoop it onto the hardened chocolate, and press down slightly until flat. Then pour the melted chocolate (you may have to reheat) over the peanut butter scoop until completely covered.
After filling around 9 cups (you will have leftover chocolate – this is necessary), put them in the freezer to harden slightly, for only a minute or two. Then grab your little ice cream/cookie dough scoop, or a spoon if you don’t have one, and start scooping our your creamy peanut butter batter. Scoop it onto the hardened chocolate, and press down slightly until flat. Then pour the melted chocolate (you may have to reheat) over the peanut butter scoop until completely covered.

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Piazza Oval Ice Cream Scoop / Decoration Scoop

Stick 'em in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes until they harden. I didn't have any issues with chocolate bloom, but if you do struggle with that, just temper the chocolate by throwing in a reserved chocolate chip from the bag after you get done melting it and right before you're about to pour it in. That should do the trick.
Stick ’em in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes until they harden. I didn’t have any issues with chocolate bloom, but if you do struggle with that, just temper the chocolate by throwing in a reserved chocolate chip from the bag after you get done melting it and right before you’re about to pour it in. That should do the trick.
Yummmmmmmy....
Yummmmmmmy….
These were so delicious!
These were so delicious!

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12 Cup Muffin Pan

Ghee (Original Cooking Variety), 12 oz, Vadik Herbs (Bazaar of India)

  

 

Peanut Butter Cups
Serves 12
These delicious and somewhat healthy peanut butter cups are great for a gluten-free dessert when you're craving candy and want to avoid the preservatives in most commercial PB cups!
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 (10 oz) bag chocolate chips, bittersweet preferably to decrease sugar
  2. 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  3. 1 cup peanut butter
  4. 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or less if trying to cut back!)
  5. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  6. 3 tbsp butter
  7. 9 full sized muffin liners in muffin tin
Instructions
  1. Put chocolate chips in double boiler or on very low heat on stove to melt with coconut oil. Make sure to stir consistently, at least every minute or two. Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to a mixer and mix until creamy, scraping sides with spatula as necessary.
  2. When chocolate is melted, stir and make sure it's creamy and liquid, adding more coconut oil to make it more liquid-y. then, take a spoon and cover bottom of muffin liners, pressing into sides so chocolate goes slightly up side. After completing 9, put in freezer until hardened, about 2 minutes.
  3. After the chocolate is hardened, take a small cookie dough or ice cream scoop, and scoop peanut butter on top of hardened ice cream, pressing down until flat, but leaving some space between peanut butter and sides of muffin tin. Then, pour the rest of the chocolate over top until covered (may have to reheat). Put in freezer for another 10-15 minutes until fully hardened. At this point the cups should be able to easily be peeled from the wrappers for pretty presentation. Enjoy!
Adapted from Food 52
Adapted from Food 52
Nutrition To Fruition http://www.nutritiontofruition.com/
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Vitamin D, Osteoporosis Vitamin? Or Something Else?

Vitamin D…is it the new Calcium? There’s no question that your body needs Calcium AND vitamin D to make strong bones, but I’ve seen some health care professionals recommend that we ALL take calcium supplements, especially after menopause, to prevent bones from becoming brittle. The issue is, recently studies have shown that the supplemental calcium is doing more harm than good by contributing to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which leads to heart attacks. 

osteoporosis

So then, in another effort to control hip fractures, physicians started recommending that EVERYONE take vitamin D to keep bones strong, and then a meta-analysis just came out showing that there is not a statistically significant benefit to taking large doses of vitamin D if you aren’t deficient. (If you have been prescribed vitamin D because you are deficient, BY ALL MEANS, please keep taking it!) Given this information, it appears that prescribing vitamin D for the widespread “prevention” of osteoporosis doesn’t work, and it is costing us large amounts of money in supplements and could potentially be doing some harm if people are overdosing on vitamin D. So what SHOULD we do to prevent Osteoporosis?

There is no panacea

First of all, there is nothing that you can take in pill form that is going to cure and prevent everything. Unfortunately, the manufacturers of these vitamins, minerals and other supplements want you to believe that their supplement is the answer to life. If you only take this pill, you will be beautiful, have amazing skin, eat less, weigh less, work out more, get your dream job and live happily ever after. Don’t fall for their marketing tricks! Instead, you can figure out what works for your body and what your body needs. The truth is, some people need vitamin D supplements and some people don’t. It’s not something that every single person should take. If you want to jump through all the science-y stuff and get straight to my recommendations, Click Here.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms

Unfortunately, most people who have vitamin D deficiency are asymptomatic, or may have mild symptoms that they attribute to other things. They are also symptoms that are associated with a million other things, like fatigue, tiredness, bone and muscle pain and/or weakness, etc. Source

Get tested for vitamin D deficiency

I recommend to ALL of my patients who are having any type of health problems including weakness or fatigue to get tested for vitamin D deficiency. It’s a very simple blood test that is SO easy to perform and can be very telling. I, personally, have been deficient in vitamin D during several times of my life and was given a supplementation regimen until I came back above the goal. If you are pregnant, have darker skin, live in a northern climate with less sunshine, or stay out of the sun all the time because you stay indoors or cover your skin (with cloth OR sunscreen!), you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. A simple blood test will tell you. But say you have plenty of vitamin D stores, consume enough calcium, and are still worried about your bones? What can you do?

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.29.53 PM

 

source: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#h4

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Bone health isn’t about just calcium and vitamin D

So now that we know that popping vitamin D and calcium pills may or may not fix our bones or prevent osteoporosis (at least not without affecting other systems), what can we do? The truth is that bone health deals with SO MUCH MORE than just calcium and vitamin D. If calcium and vitamin D solved all bone problems we would have the best rates of bone disease with our 612 pounds per person per year milk (about 1.5 gallons/week/person! Yikes!) consumption which is rich in calcium and fortified with 115-124 IU vitamin D per serving. However, that is not the case. It is estimated that 1 in 2 Americans will have or be at risk for developing osteoporosis by 2020. That number is too high considering our high milk intake! Consider, though, other countries who are less….well, processed. 

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 7.05.59 PM

In this map, the red means risk of fractures is >15%, yellow means it’s between 10-15%, and green means it’s less than 10%. 

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 7.13.38 PM

 

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 7.47.08 PM

 Map Source

What is it that they’re eating in Colombia, Spain, Australia and the Phillipines that is so great at reducing risk of bone disease?! 

Spanish diet – a mediterranean diet high in fish, nuts, legumes, eggs, fruits, vegetables, cheese, tomatoes and olive oil. Moderate intake of wine and meat. Here’s a list of traditional Spanish recipes.

Colombian diet – includes large amounts of meat (!), seafood (as it is right on the ocean), coffee, fruit, beans, cheese, eggs and coconut.

Australian diet – high in meat, seafood, eggs, fruit and vegemite, a spread that is similar to nutritional yeast.

Filipino diet – high in meat, fat, seafood, vegetables, rice and coconut.

So what’s the deal? Well, here are some things that are common veins among these diets that are crucial for bone health. Most importantly, though, is to eat a traditional diet with tons of unprocessed, traditionally prepared foods.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A recent study published this past summer via Ohio State University looked at women’s consumption of omega-3 (commonly referred to as n-3) fatty acids as well as omega-3 to omega-6 ratio and rates of osteoporosis. It turns out the women who ate larger amounts of omega-3 fatty acids had lower rates of osteoporosis. Another important factor to look at is omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. The higher amounts of omega-3 in relation to omega-6 means lower risk of bone disease. That means you could eat all the fish and seafood you wanted, but if you were eating large amounts of omega-6 seed-oils like safflower oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, nuts and seeds, you would be increasing your omega-6 fatty acid so much so that the omega-3’s would be overpowered and wouldn’t perform as expected. This is because omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats compete for the same enzymes, which is why the ratio is so important.

So where do you get omega-3 fats? Seafood!! Fish and other sea creatures have the largest amounts of omega-3 fats and the longest chains of omega-3 fats (i.e., DHA and EPA). The longer the chains, the better, because our bodies are not great at converting shorter chains found in walnuts and flaxseeds to the longer chains that are biologically active in our body (DHA and EPA). Notice that all of the countries in the list of the least amount of bone fractures have diets high in seafood.

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Minerals

Boron

Boron is not a mineral you typically think “YES! I need boron for my Bones!”, but it’s true! According to this study, albeit a small study, eating boron rich foods improved bone mineralization in post-menopausal women. It is interesting to read this study, though, because it was a very controlled environment where the women were fed different diets by the scientists and all urine was collected as well. The women who were given 3 mg of Boron daily had markedly lower excretion of magnesium and calcium, suggesting that bone re-mineralization was increasing. Also, there is some evidence that boron can help alleviate arthritic symptoms. Boron is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, so following a high-plant diet is the best way to get plenty of boron. (Peanut butter and raisins are two great sources of boron in the American diet.) Of course I always, always recommend food above supplements, and if you are eating a nutrient-dense diet based on fruits and vegetables, you likely don’t need a Boron supplement. Before beginning a supplement regimen, speak with your physician; however, if you have trouble eating boron-rich foods for one reason or another, here is a supplement you can take: 

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Boron 3 mg 100 tabs from Nature’s Way – $4.14

from: VitaSprings.com
 Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 8.55.53 PM

 

Magnesium

It has been shown that Magnesium blood levels are lower in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis. Whether this has to do with absorption or intake, that is the question and more research is needed to figure that out. I work with dialysis patients, and a couple of years ago I went to a conference all about dialysis patients, updates, nutrition, etc. One of the physicians there who was also a faculty member at a major university in Colorado had done a significant amount of research on magnesium, and had found that dialysis patients with higher levels of serum magnesium lived longer. A fascinating fact, but still just a correlation with no evidence of cause. Nevertheless, magnesium is an important mineral for your body and contributes to bone health and prevention of cardiovascular disease, but whether that is JUST the magnesium that is affecting health, or whether it is a confounding factor (i.e., a factor that happens at the same time but doesn’t always mean it is the reason for it) of a nutrient dense diet, we don’t know. What we DO know is eating vegetables is good for you ;), so eat up! 

Magnesium rich foods (try to include these in your diet BEFORE taking a supplement): coffee (Colombia, anyone?), fish sauce (common in the Philippines), Spinach, Beet Greens, Tea, Bitter Melon (totally Filipino), kelp

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Nature Made Magnesium Citrate 250 mg, 120 Liquid Softgels – $17.39

from: VitaSprings.com

Vitamin K2

Perhaps the most under-researched and under-emphasized vitamin, vitamin K2, a fat soluble vitamin, is absolutely crucial to bone health. Found in fatty meat, eggs, liver and other animal products, this is also a vitamin that has decreased in our diets because of the low-fat diet recommendations that have overpowered our nutrition system for the past 30 years. In one study looking at the relationship between vitamin K2 and osteoporosis, participants who had osteoporosis received a 45 mg vitamin K2 supplement vs. the control group which received a placebo. While the study group did not increase their bone density, they did have a statistically significant decreased rate of bone fractures, which is important to note. Here’s a scientific article explaining possible mechanisms for my science-geek friends.

Unfortunately vitamin K2 has not been well studied and so its sources are not well defined, other than saying that it is present in fatty animal foods like egg yolks, butter, liver, chicken and beef. Also, vitamin K2 is produced by bacteria who convert vitamin K1 (found in leafy greens) to K2, so some hard and soft cheeses are rich in vitamin K2 as well as natto, a traditional Japanese fermented soybean dish, and possibly sauerkraut due to the fermentation of the cabbage.
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Vitamin K2 ( Vitamin K-2 ) 60 tabs, from Source Naturals – $14.03

from: VitaSprings.com
 

Overall Recommendations 

Do not follow a low-fat diet

As can clearly be seen by our need for vitamin K2, plus other fat soluble vitamins, a low-fat diet is clearly not a good idea. Furthermore, traditionally eschewed foods like butter, organ meats and cheeses are actually really important for bone health.

Eat your leafy greens

Leafy greens are great for mineral intake like magnesium, iron and calcium. You actually can get plenty of calcium from just leafy greens and broccoli, despite the recommendation for 3 servings of dairy a day. I am not hating on dairy; I love to have a serving of yogurt for the great probiotics every day, but I do not think dairy is the solution to all bone problems; you have to get your leaves in, too.

Fermented foods rock

Natto is a great example of this, but other fermented foods like sauerkraut, cheese, yogurt, etc., could be instrumental in helping you keep your bone density because of the bacterial conversion of vitamin K1 to K2. Also, fermented foods tend to be better tolerated by people than their non-fermented counterparts, to keep that in mind.

Eat a varied diet full of nutrient-dense foods

Lastly, the more varied your diet is, the better. Make sure you are trying new things often or at least switching up the same ol’, same ol’. If you’re craving something different, go out on a limb and try it. You may really be benefiting your health by getting some nutrient or phytochemical that you didn’t even know (and science didn’t even know) you needed.

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Best Probiotics for Kids & Children

This is part of my FAQ Series. Disclosure: I use affiliate links in this post, and if you click through this site and buy any of these products, I will receive a commission, and you will be supporting this website and all the hard work and research I do. Thank you!

Question: “What is the best probiotic supplement I can give to my kids? Can they take an adult probiotic supplement, or do they need one specifically formulated for children? Please advise.”

bestprobiotics

Answer: Probiotics have been proven to help a number of health conditions including, but not limited to : IBS/IBD (Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Irritable Bowel Disease), Recurrent Yeast Infections, UTI’s, Allergies, Autoimmune Diseases, etc. People often ask me whether they can give their kids probiotics supplements. They ask me if there are any powdered supplements they can mix up for their kids or anything chewable. Also, for kids that are old enough, I get asked if they can take an adult probiotic supplement without adverse side effects, or if the dose should be lower. I answer all these questions, and more, below.

Food Above Supplements

The number one best way to get probiotics into your child is to give them probiotic-containing foods. Kefir and Yogurt, for example, according to the National Yogurt Association, contain more than 100 million living bacterial cultures per gram. If you consider a 4 ounce container, which is over 100 grams, that is 10 billion cultures in a very delicious format. In addition to that, most cultured products contain 5 or more strains of bacteria, and kefir usually contains up to 12. That is a lot of good bacteria for your gut! Compare that to popular supplements that contain only one strain. Furthermore, home fermented probiotic foods may have any number of strains of bacteria. It’s hard to even know for sure because they are usually “wild caught”. Also, price is a factor. If you are buying yogurt as a snack, you are already going to spend the money on snacks, so you might as well get a 2-for-1. 

As far as supplements go, it may be difficult for the bacteria in capsules to make it to the small bowel intact.  They may die in transit, or get killed by stomach acid. This is one reason it’s important to buy a quality probiotic supplement; however, if you can – get your kids their probiotics from some plain yogurt with fresh fruit or a kefir beverage. You could also try them on sauerkraut or other fermented foods, but I would understand if you couldn’t get your children to eat it – the sour taste can be unappealing to a child.

Best Kid-Friendly Probiotic Supplements

The above being said, it is possible that your child doesn’t like yogurt or kefir and won’t eat it or other probiotic foods. If that is the case, I would (usually) recommend a supplement. There is no proof that a kid formulated supplement is any different from an adult formulated supplement, that I can find. Seems like a marketing trick to me. Instead of looking for kid formulas, when looking at a supplement, it’s important to look for two things: number of live, active cultures AND number of bacterial strains. The number of cultures is important because you want to put as many bugs in as possible to give them the best chance at survival. Some of them are going to get killed on the way to your small bowel, and that’s ok; but the more you take, the more will make it. The number of strains is important because there are millions of different types of bacteria and they all have different functions within our gut. One study showed that your gut has more than 5,600 strains of bacteria in it. For this reason, the more types of strains you take, the better you are going to control any symptoms you may be having because you have a better chance of them surviving and crowding out the bad bacteria, and that’s one of the points of taking probiotics. The bad bacteria can cause bloating, pain and suffering, and have been linked with IBS. The overgrowth of the bad bacteria results in a condition called SIBO.

Powders

Udo’s Choice Infant’s Blend Probiotic Powder, 2.64 oz, Flora Health – $16.30

from: VitaSprings.com is a good choice because it contains 1 billion live, active cultures in just 1/4 teaspoon. There are 6 different strains.

Think about that for a second. You can just mix this small amount of powder into your infant or child’s food, and get a decent amount of probiotics, albeit a tenth of the amount they would get from a 4 ounce cup of yogurt. This is great for infants who are still drinking formula or breastmilk – yes you can mix it into that! You could also mix it into juice (although I do not recommend much juice), mashed sweet potatoes (not too hot, or else you’ll kill those good bugs!), applesauce, or any number of other foods. Feel free to get creative. You won’t have to worry about getting your kids to swallow a pill. This is appropriate for children ages 0-5, although it could be used for adults or seniors, even.

 

 

This is another excellent product,  iFlora Multi-Probiotic Powder, 1.48 oz, Sedona Labs – $25.95
from: VitaSprings.com.

This one is a little more expensive; however, it contains 16 strains versus only 6 in the one above. The serving size is the same, 1/4 teaspoon. This one contains 16 billion bacteria per serving. If the above product is the cadillac of probiotics, this iFlora product is the Rolls Royce. It packs more probiotic punch per serving, hence the steeper price. I would highly recommend this product if you can afford it. Also, don’t be afraid to stick it in the fridge to keep the cultures as fresh as possible.

Note. I realize that iFlora has a product “specially formulated “for kids. I have not read any evidence that children’s probiotics need to be any different from adult probiotics, and it has fewer strains, which is why I recommend using the adult version for kids, unless your child is having difficulty tolerating supplements.

 

Chewables

I personally would choose a powder over a chewable; however, if this is what you want, go for it! I could understand if you had a child who had diarrhea and wasn’t really in the mood to eat food but would be willing to chew a pill. 

Chewable Probiotics, 120 Tablets, Roex – $29.95
from: VitaSprings.com

This would be an example of a chewable product. It’s raspberry flavored. It only contains 3 strains and 10 billion cultures. There are a couple of caveats, however, in addition to the few strains. First of all, it contains xylitol, a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols have been linked with intestinal symptoms due to … bacterial overgrowth!!! So I’m not sure it’s the best choice to be feeding the potentially bad bacteria with the good bacteria. Also, this contains milk, so if you are feeding probiotics because your kid can’t have yogurt due to dairy intolerance, avoid this one. If you can figure out a way to work in the powder, I would do that.

 

 

Here’s another option that contains no xylitol, and is instead sweetened with stevia: 

Probiotics Plus Colostrum Chewable, 90 Tablets, ChildLife Essentials – $18.32
from: VitaSprings.com

Again, though, there are only 3 strains in this chewable tablet. I tried to do some research, and couldn’t find the number of live active cultures. Also, this tablet has milk proteins in it, although it does say on the label that it is “milk free”, which is somewhat misleading. I would avoid it if your child has any tolerance issues with milk.

 

 

So, in the end, I would recommend the iFlora product, but you may decide on something else because of price and individual tolerance. If you do go the store and buy a product, just remember to look for the number of strains and the number of live active cultures. Also look at the other ingredients, and make sure there’s nothing funky in there. It doesn’t hurt to google the inactive ingredients in anything you choose.

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FAQ: How to Find Research on Nutrition

This is part of my new FAQ series. As questions come in from readers, I will do my best to answer them here, under the FAQ tag. 

Question: “I really admire all the reading and self-sorting you do through literature. I would love to do even a fourth of all the home-research you do! But I am sort of stumped as to where to go/look for new articles. Do you just go to pubmed and type in whatever topic you’re interested in reading about? Or do you have a newsfeed/email subscription? I am totally willing to pay, I just want to make sure its worth the money & my time! I completely trust your judgment, so please share your secret with me!”

Answer: I always encourage my readers to do their own research, which is why I try to link to studies whenever possible. It’s not good enough to just take my word for it, or any expert’s word for it, or the government sponsored organizations’ word for it, as I mistakenly did for a number of years. Once you start reading research, you open your eyes to a plethora of new ideas out there that aren’t even mentioned in mainstream nutrition thoughts. Also, sometimes just going through the news articles, you’ll find that what is reported in the news and what the research says are TOTALLY DIFFERENT! This drives me absolutely crazy.

Also, I just genuinely enjoy reading nutrition research, it’s a sick pleasure of mine ;). A lot of times, I do take cues from other bloggers. If I see they linked to a research study, I click the source link, and then try to dig up the article. Google Scholar is great for this, you can type the name of the article into Google scholar, and if it’s available for free somewhere, you can usually click on the right hand side of the page and it will pull it up. On PubMed, the PDF can be accessed if free via the upper right-hand corner. If you read the research study itself, you can see its weaknesses and its strengths. Furthermore, if you see a meta-analysis, it doesn’t hurt to click through to each individual study and read those; although be careful with this. The point of a meta-analysis is that you get to analyze collective data which says more than just that study alone. A good example of this is the recent saturated fat meta-analysis. All the studies alone said saturated fat was either harmful or neutral, but when you put them all together and adjust for some of the lifestyle factors or lab results that weren’t adjusted for, the data says something completely different. There is some criticism that these results were “over-adjusted”, but that’s entirely off-topic.

Since this is a How-To article, I’m going to take you through some step-by-step methods for finding research articles. Pull up Google Scholar (type in scholar.google.com into your address bar)google scholar_1 

In that search bar, I want you to type in “gastroesophageal reflux disease” because I want to look at a real study on some ways to improve a common disease, GERD. This is what you will see (oops. I accidentally typed “gastrointestinal” but it brought up the right results):

 google scholar_2

My sad face denotes the articles that don’t have a PDF available on the right hand column. This is the great thing about Google Scholar. If Scholar has found a PDF available for free, they will display the link on the right-hand side so you don’t have to dig for it. You’ll notice that some of these are studies and some are just review articles written by physicians. If you are looking for a specific article, you need to type the article title into Google scholar AND into regular Google and see if you can find a PDF. Sometimes GS even brings up Books. So, I’m going to narrow it down by adding “clinical trial diet” into my search. Now I see this: 

google scholar_3

 

As you can see, I’m particularly interested in the second article, because it contradicts what the experts tell us all the time – that we need to decrease our fat intake to get rid of GERD (although, this is referring to hospitalization and not necessarily SYMPTOMS of GERD, which is why we read the research and not the headline). But how do you read it if there isn’t a PDF available for you? And if you click on the link, it takes you to a page that requires you to pay $31.50 for ONE article?! (HOW unfair is THAT?!) So here’s what you do.

Go to PubMed and find the listing by typing in its title (which you can actually use to search in the first place, if you want. They have a link to click on the upper right hand corner if there is a PDF available). You can copy and paste it (CTRL+C then CTRL+V). Most people are familiar with PubMed, so that’s why I want this link.

Then I am going to ask other people for help (which I do often!). There are a few places that I can go to ask for help. I am listing them in order of ease.

1) Reddit Scholar (thanks to my friend Lauren for this one!)

Please note, information that is copyrighted may not be able to be posted on Reddit Scholar. But, you can always try to post a request on Reddit Scholar and ask if anyone else knows where to find it. Most of the people who frequent Reddit Scholar are academics who do have library access, so this would be similar to an interlibrary loan, except faster.

reddit scholar

 

There is a screenshot of my request. You have to have a reddit account, so sign up for that first. Also, don’t be greedy. If you are constantly posting requests, nobody will like you and they will be less inclined to help you.

This is actually the method that came through for me this time. I posted this, and within 24 hours, the PDF was posted for me. YAY!

2. Check out your Local Library

For this you need to first have a library card, and then you need to know the name of the Journal. You can find this on the PubMed listing. So, I am going to go to my local county library’s search page, and find the journal, or another scientific search engine. Library resources vary by county, so I’m not sure what is available to you, but this is what I see:

wake county library

 

I ended up clicking through “Academic Search Complete” and searching for the article. Unfortunately, the journal was unavailable at my library, so I would have to continue to dig to find it, if not for Reddit Scholar.

3. Interlibrary Loan

My county library offers interlibrary loans, as most do. All you have to do is fill out a request form online. After you complete this request form, the librarian will email you back and let you know if they can find it. Unfortunately, this usually takes a while so you might be left waiting.

4. Email someone you know in graduate or undergraduate school

If you have a friend who is immersed in the world of academia, you can email them and see if they have access to it and can send you the PDF. This is actually what I do most often, as my husband is currently in school at the University of Alabama online. He can access most PDF articles and send them to me if they are available through UA’s library. Keep in mind that Copyright laws do not prohibit this. You are allowed to save PDF files in order to use in personal email communications, just not to post on listservs or mass email lists. 

5. Lastly, if you can’t find a resource you NEED for research, install and click the Open Access Button. This doesn’t really help immediately, but it does to show the academics who is trying to do research and is running into barriers due to inability to pay large payments to view articles. Hopefully we can someday bring around a world where PDFs are available for free for research studies that have contributed so much to advancing the human knowledge base. Unfortunately, it’s all about money in the end. Journals get paid by Universities and other professionals needing access to the research in order to pay their editors and for the costs of printing and having journals available online. 

And that’s it! I hope this has been helpful. Do some research and open your eyes!

 

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