May is Allergy Awareness Month: The Difference Between Allergies and Intolerances

 By Timothy Prentiss
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.


For decades the rate of allergies has been rising. Media coverage and general awareness of the subject have likewise risen.

Clearly there are benefits to this growing awareness: restaurants are more likely to offer meal options for those with dietary sensitivities, such as gluten; schools are more likely to be more careful or prohibit foods that could cause allergic reactions, such as peanuts and more.

However, the increased attention given to allergies has led to a number of misconceptions. For example, according to an article on the website, WebMD, the number of Americans with food allergies has increased to the point where it’s somewhere between three and four percent; however, the number of people who believe that they have an allergy is nearly 15 percent.1 Put another way, about 10 percent of Americans believe they have an affliction they don’t actually have.

The prevalence of these misconceptions is likely caused, in part, by confusion with intolerances (also know as food sensitivities). Strictly speaking, an allergy causes an immune system response. If this response is sufficiently drastic, it can cause anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal condition during which a person’s blood pressure drops and their airways become blocked.

Unlike allergies, in the case of intolerances, the digestive rather than the immune system has an adverse reaction. For example, a particular food causes irritation in the stomach or intestines; or, the body lacks the enzymes to properly digest food, which can lead to bloating, cramps, diarrhea or other symptoms. Though possibly very uncomfortable, an intolerance reaction (unlike a true allergic reaction) will not be life-threatening.

It’s not just among lay people that there’s confusion about allergies. Even by the standards of medical research, where conclusions and best practices are constantly evolving, the subject of allergies seems particularly murky and full of contradictions. To avoid developing allergies, some medical researchers and physicians, suggest avoiding common allergens, however, others say that we should be exposing ourselves to common allergens, particularly at an early age.2 This illustrates that at the most basic level, there is no consensus about what causes allergies, or, in other words, what allergies are.

The dominant theory holds that allergic reactions are simply a sort of glitch, a dangerous overreaction on the part of the immune system to a non-threat. The immune reaction developed as a defense against parasitic worms (known as “helminths”) that historically were common residents of human intestines. Modern sanitation has left us relatively worm-free, consequently, IgE antibodies that in the past kept these worms in check will mount attacks against harmless proteins that bear similarities to helminth proteins. This explanation for the cause of allergies has led to “worm therapy,” in which parasitic worms are intentionally introduced to the bodies of allergy sufferers. This method has shown some promise.

Recently, a researcher at the Yale School of Medicine has been testing an alternate hypothesis. Ruslan Medzhitov believes allergic reactions are not simply dangerous overreactions to harmless substances. Rather, he believes allergens themselves can cause cellular damage; the allergic response (though dangerous) actually performs a protective role.3 

Clarifying the cause or, if Medzhitov is correct, the purpose of allergic reactions will no doubt lead to refinements in treatment methods. More importantly, there may eventually be an explanation for the continuously increasing number of allergy sufferers.


1. WebMD, Allergy statistics and facts. Accessed 5/24/16 from:
2. Chin, B., Chan, E., Goldman, R. MD Early exposure to food and food allergy in children. Canadian Family Physician. Accessed 5/25/2016 from:
3. Zimmer, Carl, Why do we have allergies. Accessed 5/24/16 from:
Posted in Allergies & Allergens, Immune System | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

In the Kitchen with Kirkman®: Making Summer Camp Snacks Nut Free!

By Nora Heston Tarte
Contributing Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.


Many schools have made the move to “nut-free zones” in order to accommodate children with life threatening allergies. While the decision has been met with mixed reactions, the goal is to keep children with food allergies safe at school, while allowing parents peace of mind during the time their children are away. The policy also spills over into many camps and after school/summer activities.

Whether your child suffers from allergies or not, chances are you’ll need to learn how to pack some tasty treats for their lunch boxes without the use of peanuts or tree nuts. Take it a step further with these recipes for snacks and lunches for kids—free of dairy, gluten, fish, refined sugar, eggs and nuts!

Pea Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Does your child love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or have they never been able to try the American staple due to food allergies?

 A safe and healthy alternative to the often forbidden lunchtime snack is pea butter.

 Yes, that’s right: Pea butter!

 Yields 1 cup


  • ⅔ cup dry whole yellow peas
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ½ tbsp refined coconut oil
  • ½ tablespoon agave nectar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Gluten-free bread, sliced
  • Jelly of choice, sugar-free


  • Soften peas by placing them in a bowl and cover with one inch of cool water. Cover and let stand 24 hours.
  • When ready, preheat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment. 
  • Drain peas and spread in one layer on the sheet. Bake for one hour, stopping every 15 minutes to shake the pan (prevents burning).
  • Place the peas in a bowl to cool. Once cooled, move them to a food processor and add water.
  • Let stand 15 minutes then pulse until finely chopped. Add oil, agave and salt and run the food processor until the ingredients turn into a smooth, thick paste, adding more water if necessary.
  • Spread desired amount on gluten-free bread of choice, add sugar-free jelly. Voila!

 Can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Insider Tip:

Use the same pea butter as a spread for vegetables, gluten-free crackers and more!

 Busy Mom Hack:

Buy pea butter by the jar. It’s harder to come by than traditional peanut butter, but health-conscious brands make the blend with safety in mind.

 Chicken Noodle Salad

Kid lunches don’t have to be bland. In fact, there are plenty of ways to stuff your child’s lunchbox with flavorful foods that are allergen-free! Make this chicken and noodle salad packed with protein and plenty of veggies.

Yields 4 servings


  • 4 ounces cooked, gluten-free, whole wheat pasta of choice, rinsed in cold water
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and core removed
  • ½ cup sugar snap peas, sliced
  • ¼ cup dressing of choice, or fresh lemon/lime juice


Cut all vegetables into matchstick slices. Combine with chicken and pasta. Serve with dressing or fresh squeezed juice of your choice.

Insider tip:

Meet picky eaters halfway. Do they have a favorite vegetable? Perhaps green bell peppers are favored, or olives sound more appealing. Mix in your child’s choices to customize this dish to their liking.

Busy Mom Hack:

Reuse the recipe but switch it up with different dressings, or serve over gluten-free rice instead of pasta!

Carrot Salad

Kids love color and crunch in their lunches, and as an added perk, this carrot salad tastes best when made ahead of time. Serve it with vegetables, fruit or gluten-free crackers for dipping.

Yields 6 servings


  • 3 large carrots, grated
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons raisins, sun-dried cranberries or both
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


Combine all dry ingredients in bowl. Toss and add oil and vinegar. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Insider Tip:

Spread a tablespoon of dairy-free cream cheese on gluten-free bread and add the salad in between for a satisfying—albeit unusual—sandwich.

Busy Mom Hack:

Make it in the morning and send it to school with your brood (using proper refrigerating technology of course). By the time lunch comes around, the timing will be perfect.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

What kid doesn’t love pizza? Now you can serve it without feeling guilty about your child’s healthy diet being compromised, and free of worry they’ll be exposed (or expose a classmate to) potential allergens.

Yields 12 bites


  • ¾ cup quinoa, uncooked
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • ½ cup dairy-free mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 12 slices pepperoni
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • Oregano to taste


  • Soften quinoa by soaking in water for about six hours. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425° F.
  • Place small strips of parchment paper into each section of a muffin pan, and coat each with olive oil.
  • Place quinoa, water, remaining olive oil, baking powder and salt in blender. Run on high until it becomes a thick batter
  • Pour batter in muffin pan.
  • Bake for ten minutes, take out, flip onto a baking sheet, and bake for another 10 minutes or until edges are crispy and browned. Remove. 
  • Top with marinara sauce, shredded, dairy-free cheeses and pepperoni.
  • Return to oven for 8 minutes. Pull out and sprinkle with pepper and oregano.

Insider tip:

Place bites into a thermal lunchbox immediately so they stay warm for lunch or snack time at school!

Busy Mom Hack:

Can’t complete this task in the morning? Save it for free time while the kids are at school and hand deliver the warm bites at lunch. Check ahead to make sure this doesn’t violate your school’s policy.

Add a treat



Before you send your kid on their way, drop in a Just Fruit Pear Bar. This pure-fruit bar is packed with nutritious ingredients, free of casein, gluten and other major allergens and is certified vegan. 

Posted in Allergies & Allergens, Gluten Free / Casein Free, recipe | Leave a comment

Fathers-To-Be, Your Good Health Matters Too!

 By Timothy Prentiss
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc


Women receive all kinds of prenatal healthcare services and advice. Far less attention is usually given to the health and nutrition of fathers-to-be, however, research is making it clear that the prospective father’s health is also important. The environmental exposures and nutritional choices of a father-to-be can have profound effects on reproductive outcomes, from failure to conceive to birth defects.1

The Effects of Environmental Exposures

Smoking and excessive drinking are likely the most common (and most commonly recognized) reproductive hazards and both can lead to reduced sperm counts.2  But there are other common exposures, including many encountered in workplaces, that can have detrimental effects on fertility.1

Millions of chemicals are commonly in commercial use. According to the CDC, more than 1,000 of these have reproductive effects on animals, but few have been studied in humans. Several of those that have been studied have been shown to lower sperm count, deform sperm shape (which can lead to an inability of the sperm to “swim” effectively) and/or alter sexual hormones.

Lead, for instance has been linked to all three of these negative outcomes. Exposure to other heavy metals as well as pesticides have also been linked to negative effects on sperm production. Potentially damaging chemicals used in workplaces include bromides (used in dyes, disinfectants and insecticides), styrene (used in plastic production) and tetrachloroethylene (used in dry cleaning).1

Some chemicals can actually alter the DNA contained in sperm cells, potentially leading to miscarriage or health problems for the offspring. Certain cancer medicationshave been found to have such an effect, as has smoking,3 however there isn’t yet much data on whether or not any chemicals used in workplaces can alter DNA.1

The Critical Role of Nutrition

High body mass has been linked to low sperm counts, both oligozoospermia, which simply means a lower-than-average count, and azoospermia, which indicates a sperm count so low that sperm is actually undetectable.

For both underweight and overweight men, there is a slightly increased chance of azoospermia or oligozoospermia. Those deemed “morbidly obese,” however, have twice the odds of low sperm counts.4

Research on the impact of diet on male fertility is still at an early stage, but it has already become clear that poor diets have a negative effect. A 2012 study found that men who ate diets containing large quantities of fruits and vegetable had sperm with greater motility than those who ate a standard western diet including greater amounts of fat and refined grains.5

Though this study only indicated that having a generally nutritious diet was beneficial, other studies have narrowed their focus to look at specific nutrients. One found that vitamin E and selenium supplementation both increased motility and reduced the concentration of malformed sperm.6 Another found significant count and motility improvements following regular, high-dose intake of vitamin C7. High doses of vitamin B-12 were found to increase sperm counts for both humans8 and rats.9

P2i BabyTM

Kirkman’s new product P2i Baby™ Preconception Vitamins & Minerals for Men – Hypoallergenic — part of Kirkman’s P2i Baby™ line—is packed with these nutrients that have been shown to improve male fertility. It includes 142% of the recommended daily allowance of selenium and 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E, which have both been shown to improve motility and sperm count. High levels of vitamin C and vitamin B-12 are also included (416% and 1,666% of recommended daily allowance, respectively).

These supplements are Ultra Pure™, meaning they are tested for and verified free of more than 950 environmental contaminants. Not only do they provide nutrients that have been demonstrated to improve fertility for men, they are also free of chemicals that have been shown to negatively affect fertility.



1. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, “The effects of workplace hazards on male reproductive health.” DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 96-132. Accessed 4/12/16 from:

2. Mayo Clinic, “Diseases and conditions: low sperm count.” Accessed 4/12/16 from:

3. DeNoon, Daniel, “Study: smoking degrades sperm protein needed for fertility, embryo survival.” Accessed 4/12/16 from:

4. Sermondade, N. BMI in relation to sperm count: an updated systematic review and collaborative meta-analysis. Human Reproduction Update, Jun;19 (3): 221-31. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dms050.

5.  Gaskins AJ, Colaci DS, Mendiola J, Swan SH, Chavarro JE. Dietary patterns and semen quality in young men. Human Reproduction. 2012 Oct;27(10):2899-907. doi: 10.1093/humrep/des298.

6. Moslemi MK, Tavanbakhsh S. Selenium–vitamin E supplementation in infertile men: effects on semen parameters and pregnancy rate. International Journal of General Medicine. 2011;4:99-104. doi:10.2147/IJGM.S16275.

7. Akmal M, Qadri JQ, Al-Waili NS, Thangal S, Haq A, Saloom KY. Improvement in human semen quality after oral supplementation of vitamin C. J Med Food. 2006 Fall;9(3):440-2. Accessed 4/13/16 from:

8. Moriyama HNakamura KSanda NFujiwara ESeko SYamazaki AMizutani MSagami KKitano T,  [Studies on the usefulness of a long-term, high-dose treatment of methylcobalamin in patients with oligozoospermia]. Hinyokika Kiyo. 1987 Jan;33(1):151-6. Accessed 4/12/16 from:

9. Watanabe T, Ohkawa K, Kasai S, Ebara S, Nakano Y, Watanabe Y. The effects of dietary vitamin B12 deficiency on sperm maturation in developing and growing male rats. Congenit Anom (Kyoto). 2003 Mar;43(1):57-64. Accessed 4/13/16 from:


Posted in Environmental Health & Toxicity, P2i, Preconception, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

In the Kitchen with Kirkman®: Put Spring in Your Step with Healthful Spring Salads

When it comes to gluten-, casein- and sugar-free diets, fruits and vegetables are a cornerstone of healthy eating. Individuals with sensitivities can live healthy, full lives free of digestive complications if they avoid common allergens and stick to fresh foods that are both healthful and whole.

Take your menu into spring with a collection of nourishing spring salads that will help you feel full while also providing a worry-free meal the whole family can enjoy. Earn extra points by harvesting the ingredients from your very own garden. Simple substitutions and additions can be made to play on the items grown in your own backyard.

Grilled Chicken & Veggie Salad

Pack in the protein along with the greens with this colorful dinner salad. Serves four.

Ingredients –

  • 1 pound uncooked chicken breast tenders
  • 1 large zucchini, halved
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, sliced
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 6 cups baby arugula
  • ½ can of black olives
  • 1 avocado
  • 7 tablespoons balsamic dressing

Directions –

  • Heat gas or charcoal grill and brush the chicken and grill rack with 1 tablespoon of dressing.
  • Grill chicken, zucchini and onion over medium-high heat. Cover grill; cook 6 to 8 minutes, turning once, or until chicken is fully cooked and vegetables are tender.
  • Add tomato halves to grill for last four minutes.
  • Remove all food from grill.
  • Cut chicken into thin slices.
  • Chop vegetables.
  • In a large bowl, combine chicken, vegetables (including olives) and 6 tablespoons dressing.
  • Add arugula. Gently toss, and garnish with avocado slices.

Kale & Squash Salad

Go for a filling salad fit for a meal with this tasty kale-based concoction. Serves four.

Ingredients -

  • 1 medium delicata squash, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (go fresh squeezed to avoid the added sugar in many store-bought brands)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (white wine vinegar works nicely)
  • 1 tablespoon Kirkman’s Maple Syrup Flavoring
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 pound kale
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste.

Directions –

  • Preheat oven to 400º F.
  • Toss delicata squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 20 minutes or until tender and slightly browned.
  • Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil with orange juice, vinegar, Kirkman’s Maple Syrup Flavoring, orange zest and cayenne pepper.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Next, place torn kale leaves (with stems removed) in a large bowl and massage until wilted.
  • Place leaves on a large serving platter.
  • Top with the cooked squash and pomegranate seeds
  • Serve with the vinaigrette.

In the Know: Store-bought maple syrup tends to come packed with sugar. In fact, just 1 tablespoon of regular maple syrup can contain 14 grams of sugar. Go sugar-free with Kirkman’s Maple Syrup Flavoring

Expert Tip: To forgo the sometimes-bitter taste associated with kale, give the green a massage. Five minutes of rubbing the leaves together (with the fibrous ribs removed) will change the vegetable’s flavor and texture. You’ll know the rubdown is working as the leaves darken and begin to feel silky. The ultimate test comes from a bite, the bitter flavor should be gone and you’ll be left with a much sweeter taste.

Sweet Fruit Salad

Mix fruit and veggies together in a fruit salad fresh enough for summer. Serves six.

Ingredients –

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 pear
  • 1 orange
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 mango
  • 10 strawberries
  • ½ cup light olive oil
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • ½ cup strawberry lemonade (2 cups fresh lemon juice, 1 cup sliced strawberries,
  • ¾ cups Kirkman’s No Sugar – Sugar Substitute, zest of 2 lemons, 5 cups cold water)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions –

  • Chop all fruit into bite-sized pieces, removing cores and seeds when necessary.
  • For the dressing, first make the strawberry lemonade. Squeeze fresh lemon juice and pour into a pitcher (at least ½ gallon in size).
  • Next, place sliced strawberries and 1 cup of cold water in a blender, and blend on high.
  • Strain the strawberry puree (optional). Then, add puree to fresh lemon juice.
  • In a medium saucepan make a simple syrup by adding sugar substitute, lemon zest and ½ cup water.
  • Heat on medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool completely. Add to pitcher. Stir.
  • Next, add remaining ingredients except olive oil to a mixing bowl.
  • Add lemonade and stir.
  • Slowly drizzle olive oil while whisking until mixture thickens slightly. Chill.

 In the Know: Did you know apple cider vinegar regulates yeast in the intestines? It’s also good for the heart, arteries, blood, digestion, kidneys and urinary tract; for the latter two it’s been shown to reduce the amount of bacteria. Some parents give a teaspoon or two to children (and themselves) daily to promote healthy bodies. It can, however, upset those with sensitive stomachs, so it’s best given after a meal.

Expert Tip: It’s always smart to rinse your veggies before serving. Go the extra mile by using Kirkman Kleen™ Produce Wash to eliminate unhealthy contaminants and minimize hazards by expertly removing chemical sprays, waxes, soil and other unwanted residue. It also works on fruits, cutting boards, food containers, kitchen surfaces and even hands.



Posted in Allergies & Allergens, Gluten Free / Casein Free, recipe | Leave a comment

Five Quick Swaps: Reduce Toxic Exposure for Your Kids

By Nora Heston Tarte
Contributing Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.


Chemicals surround us. From the products we use to clean our home, to the air we breathe, there are traces of harmful toxins lingering everywhere. When children are overexposed to them, they can affect development. In fact, due to their small size, faster metabolisms and immature immune systems, children are more susceptible to the toxins with which they come into contact. Research has linked early exposure to cognitive delays, childhood illness, hormone imbalances and lifelong health problems.

If you want to minimize the use of chemicals and toxic exposures in your home, there are some easy changes and  “quick swaps” you can make.  Here are a few ideas: 


Processed foods and hormone-injected products are full of unnatural additives. To avoid these pesky extras, rethink your grocery list: buy organic, eat whole foods and ditch items that are processed or preserved.

Switching to organic meals has been linked to a 90 percent decrease in pesticide exposure.1 In addition to Kirkman’s supplement line we also sell food products (like pea powder and sugar substitutes) that are Ultra Tested® for more than 950 potential contaminants. For those with environmental sensitivities, Kirkman’s products are also free of common allergens.

Cleaning Products

Household cleaning products often contain harmful chemicals. Environmental experts have said the average home contains 62 toxic chemicals2, and studies have linked these chemicals to numerous health problems. Consider switching the chemicals under your sink for ones that won’t make your family sick.

Kirkman Kleen™ is a line of household cleaning and personal care products aimed at reducing chemical exposure and serving those with environmental sensitivities. All of the products are non-toxic, free of heavy metals, artificial fragrances, dyes and common allergens such as casein and gluten. They are also biodegradable, which means they’re good for the environment, too! Take the big-name bleach out of your home and use Kirkman’s Chlorine Free Oxygen Bleach instead. Also available: Stain-Out, Produce Wash, Glass and All-Purpose Cleaner and Degreaser, Free & Clear Laundry Liquid, Free & Clear Dishwashing Liquid and Free & Clear Dishwashing Powder.


A child’s earliest exposure to chemicals is often through disposable diapers. Conventional disposables have repeatedly undergone testing since 1999, and the studies have revealed disposable diapers contain carcinogens, endocrine disrupters and even heavy metals3—all substances you certainly don’t want your newborn exposed to. Among the most alarming chemicals that have been found are dioxins, sodium polyacrylate, dyes, fragrances and phthalates. Even more, a 2005 Pediatrics study linked dyes to the cause of diaper rash.4

To avoid some of these harmful ingredients, find all-natural diaper brands that focus on reducing the amount of harmful chemicals in their products, opting instead for natural, plant-based alternatives. Or, for a different alternative, use cloth diapers instead. These products are free of chemicals, and some brands offer organic cotton. Clean out your changing table and switch disposable wipes for cloth wipes and water-based wipe solution. You can even make your own rash cream using all-natural ingredients (recipe below).

Art Supplies

Federal regulations dictate that art supplies must be labeled with specific warnings to indicate whether the product may be likely to cause a skin irritation, could be dangerous if swallowed or has been linked to other potential health hazards. For those with environmental sensitivities, even the smallest amount of harmful or allergy-inducing ingredients could have severe consequences. To avoid accidental exposure, even when the label is marked “non-toxic” or “conforms to ASTM D 4236,” consider skipping store-bought varieties and make your own kid-friendly art supplies at home. From paint to playdough, the Internet is littered with recipes for little Picassos to create to their hearts’ desire. 


Toxin free modeling clay

Children should only use water-based paints, but sometimes it’s the color additive that is the most harmful ingredient. Try making your own colorings using foods you can find in your kitchen. Start with a non-dairy yogurt for the base and mix in muddled berries or other foods for color. (Recipe for concentrated colors below.)

When purchasing supplies from the store, pay attention to labels. Water-based crayons and markers are safest for children. Those marked “waterproof” or “permanent” are more likely to include chemicals that could cause nausea, headache or other ailments. When you have to use these items, go for “low odor” options that are typically made with alcohol and therefore less toxic.

Just about every type of art supply has some sort of safer alternative and at-home recipe for making your own. Always check labels for what you can find, and call companies for more details when necessary. If you have any doubt at all, consult Pinterest and other DIY-friendly sites to find recipes to suit your child.


Modeling Clay Recipe

Combine  cup water and two cups salt in a saucepan and boil for five minutes. Add in cornstarch and ½ cup cold water once you have removed the pot from the heat. Stir until smooth. Place back on burner, lower heat, and cook until it achieves the desired consistency.

All-Natural Concentrated Color Food Coloring

For red:

Liquefy raspberries in a blender. Pour over strainer to remove seeds. Pour juice into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until it turns to a thick paste. Stir into yogurt, clay etc. to add color.

For yellow:

Repeat the same process using mangos (peeled and pitted).

For blue:

Chop up a head of red cabbage, put in a medium-size pot, and completely cover with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the water turns dark purple (about 30 minutes). Strain the contents and add ¼ teaspoon baking soda to turn the liquid blue.

Homemade Wipe Solution

Mix three parts warm water with one part olive oil. Next, add a capful of gentle, all-natural baby soap and three to four drops of an essential oil of your choice (lavender and tea tree are both popular options). Put in a spray bottle, and shake before each use. Spray on cloth wipes for easy application.

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream

Mix ¼ cup shea butter, ¼ cup coconut oil and one tablespoon beeswax pastilles into a double boiler. Bring water to a boil to melt the ingredients. Once the concoction is completely melted, mix in two tablespoons olive oil, two tablespoons zinc oxide powder, one tablespoon bentonite clay and three to four drops of chamomile essential oil. Stir as it cools and place in an airtight container for storage.



1. Gutierrez, D., Eating organic foods reduces pesticide exposure by nearly 90% after just one week, Natural News, May 6, 2014. Accessed from:

2. Scholl, J., 8 Hidden toxins: what’s lurking in your cleaning products? Experience Life, Oct. 2011. Accessed from:

 3. Anderson, R.C., Anderson, J.H., Acute respiratory effects of diaper emissionsArchives of Environmental Health. 1999 Sep-Oct;54(5):353-8.

 4. Alberta, L., Sweeney, S., Wiss, K., Diaper dye dermatitis, Pediatrics, September 2005, Vol. 116,  Issue 3. Accessed from:

Posted in Allergies & Allergens, Arts & Crafts, Environmental Health & Toxicity, Gluten Free / Casein Free, recipe, Special Needs, Ultra Tested | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Kirkman® Named Prenatal Nutritional Supplement Provider for P2i™ Program

By Timothy Prentiss
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc

 Over the past two decades, the rate of children born with chronic health conditions has doubled. One out of four children now has a special health need. Reversing this trend will require rethinking not only prenatal care but preconception as well. However, the changes that need to be made may prove to be surprisingly simple.

Prenatal Advanced Care Vitamin & Mineral Formula

 Kirkman’s new line of prenatal nutritional supplements, P2i Baby™, was designed to help improve the chances that mothers-to-be will have healthy, complication free pregnancies. But P2i™ (which stands for Preconception to Infancy) is more than just a line of supplements. The supplements themselves are just part of a broad, ambitious program that seeks to revolutionize pediatric and preconception/prenatal health care.

Sponsored by the non-profit think tank, the Forum, the P2i™ program has the objectives of promoting healthy pregnancies and reducing the chronic childhood health problems that are on the rise across the globe.

The program involves testing laboratories, a virtual, college-like campus and a vast data collection effort. A P2i™ Center of Excellence will be launched in 2017 in Atlanta, Ga. This facility will focus on exposomic research, with the goal of improving pregnancy outcomes. The program also includes a faculty of clinicians and researchers who will guide research and create a training program for P2i™ certified physicians and researchers.

Preconception to infancy campus

 Kirkman® was chosen by the Forum to be its supplier of nutraceutical products based on stringent criteria, including a standard for purity testing, that includes testing for more than 950 environmental contaminants that are potentially harmful to human health.

 The P2i™ supplement line is based on the work of P2i™ faculty member, Dr. David Berger. Dr. Berger is a board-certified pediatrician and owner of Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care in Tampa, Fla. He also offers preconception and prenatal counseling and testing for mothers-to-be. Dr. Berger’s patients have had extraordinarily low numbers of complications. His practice of addressing nutritional issues and minimizing toxicity levels in patients is the key to developing healthy babies.

Dr. Berger’s standard practice involves teaching prospective parents to minimize toxic exposures, then optimizing certain nutrients and balancing hormones such as the thyroid and cortisol. Ideally this is done before pregnancy, but if started during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, there is still a great benefit to the baby–and the mother too!

Dr. David Berger pediatricianDr. Berger particularly stresses the importance of vitamin D, iron, folate, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids that can be obtained from the diet as well as from nutritional supplements. His approach to nutrient testing is to optimize the values, not just to accept the bottom of the reference range.

These reference ranges are based on average amounts present in the blood of Americans, but he feels that it would be false to assume that most Americans are healthy.

For example, many doctors will recommend a vitamin-D blood level of 32 nanograms per milliliter. Dr. Berger recommends a minimum of 50ng/ml. For other tests, he aims to get the patient’s level to at least the 50th percentile of the lab’s range.

The approach seems commonsensical, and Dr. Berger is clearly doing something right. He claims his rates of preterm birth at his clinic, for instance, are about a tenth of the national average.

But we are still left with the question: which practices lead to which outcomes? Are Dr. Berger’s outcomes the result of the presence of high levels of nutrients or the absence of contaminants? Or a combination of both? Do blood levels of all nutrients need to be high, or is there one that is a silver bullet?

The answer is we don’t yet know, according to Dr. Berger.

He explains that as a doctor it’s his responsibility to do everything he can to ensure positive outcomes for his patients. This often means that he is offering many treatments at once, which makes his approach difficult to research. Ensuring, for instance, some of his patients have sufficient levels of zinc, but not vitamin D, would obviously be unethical.

“There must be ten things that I do differently with every patient from what happens at most clinics. So at this point I don’t know which one, or which combation, it is. But I can state that it appears that our wholistic approach to child bearing seems to be bringing wonderfully, amazing outcomes,” he says.

 However the P2i™ program, by gathering an enormous amount of data over the next few years, may be able to clarify these issues. By logging clinical data—nutritional, genetic, microbiomic, exposomic—for thousands of mothers and their infants, and comparing that data with outcomes, doctors will be able to see the connections between particular nutritional, genetic and environmental statuses and particular outcomes.

“The brilliance of P2i™ is that five to 10 years from now we’ll know. And in fact we’ll even know some things early on, because one of the main things we hopefully will see happening is cutting the risk of miscarriages and pre-term birth, and that you’ll see in the first year, obviously. That’s an easy outcome to measure,” Dr. Berger says.

The Forum’s goal is to enroll 300,000 pregnant women in the P2i™ program from the United States. Children born to participants will participate in the P2i™ protocol through their first five years of life. Treatments and outcomes will be collected in a database that can be used by researchers to improve treatment protocols and also to help researchers better understand how genetics, nutritional status and exposures combine to influence the risk of health problems.

Products in Kirkman’s P2i Baby™ nutritional line:

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Reduce Stress Naturally



Stress affects us all. It afflicts both women and men, and people of all ages. It is a necessary, and, in reasonable amounts, healthy part of life. But chronic stress can lead to health problems—both physical and mental.

Since no one can avoid stress entirely, the key is to learn how to manage stress. Obviously better organizing our schedules and getting more exercise can decrease our stress levels, but there are also several nutritional supplements that can offer some extra help relaxing.

Essential fatty acids have been shown to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.  Cortisol (the “stress hormone”) is produced by the adrenal gland as part of the fight-or-flight response. It promotes heightened alertness during dangerous or stressful situations.

Magnesium has a relaxing effect on both muscles and the brain. Like essential fatty acids, it reduces the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.1 Though magnesium appears to reduce stress, stress in turn appears to reduce magnesium. Those who experience stress over a long period of time show depleted levels of magnesium.2


 Gamma amino butyric acid (GABA),known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, causes neurons in the brain to turn off, allowing for a relaxed state. Neurotransmitters all fall into one of two classes—inhibitory or excitatory. In simple terms, excitatory neurotransmitters turn neurons on, while inhibitory neurotransmitters turn neurons off. If there is not enough GABA in the brain, too many neurons can be left in the “on” state, and relaxation can become difficult.

 The B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well-being. They cannot be stored in our bodies, so we depend entirely on our daily diet to supply them. B vitamins are required for the production of serotonin and norepinephrine and have been demonstrated to reduce stress in clinical trials.3



Trimethylglycine (TMG) increases the body’s natural production of SAMe or S-adenosyl methionine, which can elevate mood and help reduce the symptoms of stress.

Kirkman’s most popular stress related products include:

Essential Fatty Acids:






1. Murck, H. “Magnesium and affective disorders.” Nutr Neurosci. 2002 Dec;5(6):375-89.

 2. Cuciureanu, M., Vink, R., “Magnesium and stress.” Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. DOI: 10.1017/UPO9780987073051.020

 3. Stough C, Scholey A, Lloyd J, Spong J, Myers S, Downey LA. “The effect of 90 day administration of a high dose vitamin B-complex on work stress.” Human Psychopharmacology. 2011 Oct;26 (7):470-6. doi: 10.1002/hup.1229. Epub 2011 Sep 8.


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