Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spelt - "the Grain of Youth" Ask Grandma!


Just returned from a whirlwind two days in Connecticut sampling Spelt Right bagels and pizza dough in the West Hartford and Glastonbury, CT Whole Foods. I love the West Hartford region! Great downtown. Incredibly appreciative customers who were so interested in learning about spelt and other options besides of the mono-culture of modern mass produced wheat. The best part of the trip, however, was spending the weekend with my 84 and 1/2 year old mom, who loves partaking in the promotion of this business. She'll point to her smooth hands saying to customers, "See, I started eating spelt and my arthritis cleared. I can now walk upstairs and go to bed without all the aches in my legs" Seriously! Perhaps, we should call spelt "the grain of youth."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Trust Your Intuition and Thank Goodness for Jumpy Frogs

My Advice – Trust Your Intuition…….We have been beaten into a blur by the major food companies, the drug companies, and institutional forces to believe that they know better than what we do on how to care for ourselves. It is time to fight back, one parent at a time.


I am a lawyer with three children who represented children in crisis for many years. In addition to being a lawyer, I am also an entrepreneur, the founder of Spelt Right Baking Company in Yarmouth, Maine www.speltrightbaking.com and a food and nutrition activist.

Many of the children I represented were abused or neglected, in state custody or in the criminal justice system. Most were diagnosed with a range of disorders - ADHD, OCD, ADD, Asperger's, etc. and were on psychotropic drugs. None with whom I worked seem to improve on the drugs.

I was bothered by what I was observing with a system that diagnosed without investigating causes and I brought this to the attention of the judges, probation officers, prosecutors, and others in the system, but it seemed as if no one was paying attention. They viewed me as a wing nut. At one point, my personal life intersected with my professional life and I knew it was time to make a change and a difference in a completely different venue.

My own son, who was 6 years old at the time, starting experiencing problems similar to those of my clients. At times he was disruptive, out of control, simply miserable. The provisional diagnoses started pouring in: PDD (pervasive developmental disorder), ADHD, Asperger's, and others and then along came the recommendations for psychotropic drugs.

I simply couldn't go that route. I wanted to find the source of his problems. This is where intuition kicked in. I knew that he was perfectly fine, even brilliant, at times and at other times, he was off the wall or in his own space, unable to communicate. I wanted to know what was triggering him. Few of the professionals could give me an answer. They looked at me as if I were strange, some sort of renegade because I questioned their assumptions and answers. Intuitively, I knew they were offering the wrong choice (why are we drugging so many children in this country?) and that what my gut was telling me was true. So, I went searching for answers on my own.

After years of research, heart ache, and trial and error, my husband and I found the simplest of answers. It was what was on our plates! We determined that our son had certain nutritional deficiencies combined with significant sensitivities to certain foods and food additives that impacted his health and behavior significantly. We learned that he is intolerant to common wheat (triticum aestivum), which some people find incredibly difficult to digest, and that it gives him headaches, digestive issues, and symptoms that make him appear to be on the autism spectrum. We have since learned that such reactions are not uncommon, but the cause is often overlooked. He may become withdrawn or incommunicative when he eats modern wheats. We also learned that he reacts to certain additives in foods: high fructose corn syrup makes him hyperactive; red and yellow dyes cause reactions including red hot ears and meltdowns and preservative BHT makes him shut down. We should all react to such chemicals. They are not foods; they are toxins.

Here again is an example in which intuition and trusting our own bodies come into play. This child, our son, has a brilliant intuitive body. His “smart body” rejects the chemicals that are put in commercial foods (for commercial gains) because his “smart body” knows they are not food and that they are dangerous. His “smart body” rejects the monoculture of modern wheat because much of it was designed for convenience not for human nourishment.

By participating in the standard American diet, most of the rest of us sit, like those frogs, in slowly heated water until it boils and kills us with cancers, diabetes, heart conditions, arthritis, and other symptoms of a broken diet. We are taken by surprise that the toxic food and chemicals we have consumed for so many years lead us down a sickly path. Unlike the frogs that meet their demise in that slowly heating water, my son reacts like the frog that is dropped into boiling water and immediately jumps out. His body knows immediately when something is bad and he reacts. Thank goodness for those jumpy frogs.

When our son has a clean diet (which we try so hard to maintain), he is completely without reactions. His brilliance shines. When, on the other hand, he has exposure to one of the offending foods or additives, he has the reactions described. We have learned through our research that these types of reactions have been studied and are well known in Europe, but that the US turns a blind eye. See www.feingold.org. His life has changed dramatically since we changed his diet. He no longer carries any diagnoses, is not on any drugs, has many friends, and is now in the GIFTED program in school (though still is not great at getting his homework in on time). We want to share our story to help other families.

In the process of realizing that our son could no longer eat common wheat, we searched for alternative grains and found the ancient grain spelt to be a wonderful choice. Spelt is an ancient cousin of wheat that has kept many of the nutrients and attributes that have been lost with the modern wheats. Unable to find “kid friendly” spelt products in the market place, I made some at home. One day, he sadly told me he was missing bagels and pizza dough. I started modifying recipes to use spelt.

One day after trying my homemade spelt bagels, he gave me two thumbs up and I knew we were up to something good.

In 2007, we decided to home license our kitchen and test market the bagels in a few local stores and cafes. Again, they were a big hit. The orders became so large that within a year, we decided to create our own bake house. We consider the Spelt Right Bake House a little slice of heaven here on earth. It is perched above the Royal River on the coast of Maine in a historic mill which is powered by the beautiful river that surrounds it. Sunshine streams in to greet us every day and the flora and fauna migrate with the seasons.

We now sell Spelt Right products and tell our story throughout New England and New York in Whole Foods, Hannafords, independent health food stores and cafes, colleges, schools and hospitals. Stop by a Whole Foods market some day and you might just be treated to a sample of a Spelt Right bagel and receive an earful from a mother with a story to tell. For more information on Spelt Right or its owner, Beth George, please write to info@speltrightbaking.com or see www.speltrightbaking.com

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spelt Monkey Bread Recipe!

Here's a little fun recipe for these stressful times. It's a new spin on a favorite recipe with an ancient grain.

Ingredients: 2 Spelt Right Pizza Dough Balls, fully thawed to double their frozen size
1/2 cup organic cane sugar (I hate using bleached white sugar)
1 tablespoon cinnamon (I use organic)
6 tablespoons real butter, melted (and purified if you would like). Purified means skimming off the impurities from the top of the melting butter and pouring off and using the clear butter, leaving the sediment on the bottom. Throw away the sediment. Also, known as ghee.

And, you will need a bundt pan or other pan with removable sides. (This the first time I have used a bundt pan in about 20 years, but I did two in a row yesterday!)

Preheat oven to 400 F

Lightly butter a bundt pan. Be sure to put a cookie sheet or other pan on the shelf beneath where you place the bundt pan because it will drip. Place melted butter in small bowl. Mix together cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl. Gently pull apart the thawed dough and make 1/2 inch 1 inch dough balls. See picture. Then take the dough balls and dip in butter. See picture. Take the dipped dough balls and roll in cinnamon/sugar. Place the coated dough balls in bundt pan. Repeat steps until you are finished with the dough balls.

Bake at 400 oven. Remember to place a pan on a rack under the bundt pan because it will drip and make a mess.

Bake for about 30-45 minutes. Done when balls are not gooey in center. WaaLaa! The perfect treat for a gaggle of 7 year old girls visiting, or for a troop of teenagers over to watch a basketball game. Not a bad surprise for a brunch either.

We are going to try a savory version of this tonight with caramelized onions, olive oil, garlic and ?? Will keep you posted.

Spelt Monkey Bread Clip video

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's about 'sticking to your principles' (oh, and great taste) | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

It's about 'sticking to your principles' (oh, and great taste) | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram Thank you Avery for telling our story in a nutshell!

Think Twice About What You Eat

Sometimes it simply blows me away that people are still in denial that what they eat will impact their health (either positively or adversely) and will do the same for their children. With children like my son, however, the reactions are more than just about physical health, they are also about behavioral health. This is a reality for many children and it is often overlooked by the schools, health care providers, psychologists, coaches, etc. as a trigger behind the symptoms we often label as ADHD, Asperger's, PDD, OCD, etc. It is up to you as a parent to question the alphabet soup of diagnoses and look to the real causes why our kids are feeling lousy, both physically and behaviorally. Ditch the highly processed and artificial ingredients for the more natural whole foods and you'll be surprised by the difference you will see. It may take a little time, but it is worth the effort. Here is link to a great article about the deleterious effects of fructose, especially high fructose corn syrup. It's worth the read. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/03/13/richard-johnson-interview.aspx