In the Kitchen With Kirkman®: It’s Healthy and Yummy for Dad’s Day

Contributed by Dr. Roy Dittman.

 Boiled wheat berries

Yield: 1 Serving

 1. Cook 1 cup of wheat berries (similar to how you cook rice: 2 cups water to 1 cup wheat berries; boil then simmer until done).

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes.

3. Then, stir in ½ cup of hazelnut milk, hemp milk or almond milk.

4. Add 1 tablespoon of raw organic butter (or grass-fed ghee).

5. Sprinkle a tablespoon of dried or fresh organic cherries.

6. Add a tablespoon each of hand chopped pecans and walnuts.

7. Mix in 1 teaspoon each of organic blackstrap molasses and maple syrup.

8. Add a dash of raw vanilla (extract or powder).

9. Stir in 1 teaspoon of raw cinnamon.


Egg White Omelet with Avocado and Kale

Yield: 2 Servings

 1. Chop up 4 cups of kale.

2. In a small frying pan, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of Celtic sea salt.

3. Add the chopped kale and cook over low-to-medium heat, stirring occasionally.

4. When softened and dark green, turn off the heat and set aside.

5. Next, prepare a bowl with three egg whites and one whole egg (four eggs total).

6. Beat eggs together until fluffy and set aside.

7. Sauté 2 tablespoons each of finely chopped white onions and green (or red) pepper in a tablespoon of grass-fed ghee or organic cold-pressed unfiltered olive oil over medium heat, with a pinch of Celtic sea salt.

8. Once softened, add the egg mixture to the pan and allow to sit over medium heat for a minute or two.

9. Then, using a spatula, begin scrambling the eggs until moist but firm.

10. Eat with a few slices of fresh avocado, a couple of slices of raw grass-fed cheese, and the steamed kale.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New from Kirkman®: Chocolate and Broccoli? Three New Supplements You’ll Love

Kirkman® recently introduced three exciting new supplements.  In case you missed our previous announcements regarding our new products, here are the details:

Broccoli Seed Extract Enzyme Activated – Hypoallergenic (0944 – 060):

 It’s common knowledge that broccoli is good for you. Broccoli, in its mature form, is a rich source of vitamin C, calcium and a host of rich phytonutrients.

 Recently, new research has been focused on the broccoli seed, which contains a chemical called sulforaphane, that is only made when cells within the construct of the broccoli seed are ruptured and the contents combined.

 Researchers have isolated this compound and discovered that it offers a wide range of potential health benefits.

Kirkman’s new Broccoli Seed Extract Enzyme Activated Capsules provides concentrated doses of sulforaphane in the form of sulforaphane glucosinalate. This product is unique because it contains the added broccoli enzyme myrosinase, which boosts the body’s conversion of glucoraphanin to sulforaphane.  CS Health LLC of Louisville, KY, a division of Caudill Seed Company, patents the special enzyme.

 In addition to the promising studies being conducted surrounding sulforaphane, broccoli seed extract is an excellent source of antioxidants, functions as a detoxifier and offers support to the immune system.

 Children’s Chewable Pro-Bio Gold ™ Chocolate Wafers (0458-040):

Our new chewable probiotic tastes like Coco Puffs (so we’ve heard) and both kids and adults will love them. 

Children’s Chewable Pro-Bio Gold ™ Chocolate Wafers offer the same six probiotic strains as Pro-Bio Gold™ capsules and 20 colony forming units (CFUS) per capsule.

To maintain good gut health, it’s important to make sure a child’s probiotic intake is kept at optimal levels and that might mean multiple pills. This new probiotic formulation offers an easy-to-take, chewable alternative. 
While under normal circumstances, the body’s natural supply of probiotics can be maintained with a normal diet, all too often external circumstances can reduce or eliminate healthy bacteria in the body. For example, a child who takes a prescribed course of antibiotics for an infection runs the risk of losing the good bacteria in the digestive tract because antibiotics don’t discriminate when they are used to kill an infection.

 Interestingly enough, in the past, healthy bacteria were readily replaced through the intake of naturally fermented foods such as yogurt or sauerkraut. But many parents have had to restrict a child’s diet due to sensitivities, and the only way to replace those probiotics is through dietary supplements usually in pill form.

 With a taste reminiscent of a chocolate breakfast cereal, Kirkman’s Children’s Chewable pro-Bio Gold™ Wafers will actually be an enjoyable supplement-taking experience for any child, and it will provide a healthy supply of probiotics to assist in that child’s oh-so-important digestion function.

 Children’s Chewable Calcium Chocolate Wafers (0520-120):

Calcium can have a chalky, unpleasant taste that children dislike.  Our new chocolate calcium wafer, tastes has a creamy chocolate taste that kids will love.

Calcium is a mineral that is crucial to so many functions of the body such as bone strengthening, digestive functions, and the healthy function of both the nervous system as well as the muscles around the heart.

 Our new chocolate calcium wafers deliver 250 mg of calcium and 80 mg of Vitamin D-3; most of the nutrients normally found in a glass of whole Vitamin D milk. Both of these nutrients help build strong bones and help stave off complications later like osteoporosis.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Father’s Day and Everyday, Good Health for Parents Can Be a Challenge

By Terri Arranga
Contributing Writer

When couples find out that they are going to be parents, making sure they’re healthy becomes even more important.  The health of the parents can affect the health of their offspring-to be – - and that’s a fact.

In a conversation with Dr. Roy Dittmann, author of Brighton Baby: A Revolutionary Organic Approach to Having an Extraordinary Child — The Complete Guide to Preconception and Conception, he told us, “The parenting journey begins BEFORE conception. Good nutritional status is necessary to detoxify the body, flush out wastes, encourage healthy bacteria, foster good neurotransmitter communication and cell-to-cell signaling. All of these things are necessary for optimal fetal development and good parental energy and mood. Nutrients that you should not be without during these periods include vitamin D-3, iron, probiotics, calcium, magnesium, iodine, other trace minerals, and more.”

Parenting is full of joys but also full of challenges.  For families that already have one or more special needs child, those challenges may be more rigorous with the medical, educational, and financial obstacles they must face.

 A study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders reported that moms of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffered stress akin to that endured by combat soldiers, who commonly fall prey to post-traumatic stress disorder. There is also no doubt that the economic struggles faced by many special needs families can cause Mom and Dad to put themselves last in line for nutritional supplements and taking the time to enjoy calm, healthful meals. When combined with considering the additional nutrients needed under high-stress conditions, a doubly wide gulf is created, leaving a chasm into which Mother and Father can fall.

 According to the study entitled “Maternal Cortisol Levels and Behavior Problems in Adolescents and Adults with ASD,” “mothers experience both acute and chronic stress associated with the behavior problems of their adolescent or adult children and that the degree of their cortisol dysregulation is linked with their child’s behavioral profile.”1

 This is the physiological residue of daily stress,’ Marsha Mailick Seltzer, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who authored the studies, explained. According to Seltzer, the mothers of children with high levels of behavior problems have the most pronounced physiological profile of chronic stress, but the long-term effect on their physical health is not yet known.  The effects of abnormal hormone levels that have been associated with chronic stress may affect glucose regulation, immune functioning and mental activity, researchers say.2

 And what happens to Dad? Dads like to be fix-it men and problem-solvers. How frustrated must Dad feel when trying to unravel the intricacies of a special needs diagnosis? And while Mom is running around to the extra therapies and chores inherent in life with special needs, where does that leave her energy level for giving TLC to Dad?

 In a special needs family, Mom and Dad need to remain especially healthy and connected for their marriage and their children.


Probiotics Can Help

 Probiotic supplements are gaining attention as an alternative treatment in decreasing depression. An April 2015, Huffington Post article said, “an increasingly robust body of evidence suggests that gut bacteria may exert a significant effect on brain function and mental health.” The article added that “a growing number of scientists have become interested in probiotics and prebiotics as potential treatments for anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.

 And in a new study conducted at Leiden University, researchers found additional support for probiotics to treat mental conditions. They report that among 40 healthy subjects, those who underwent four weeks of probiotic treatment showed a decrease in negative thoughts and feelings and that participants who took the probiotics were significantly less reactive to sad moods. Improving the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut seemed to also have a protective effect against rumination, the type of obsessive negative thinking that often predicts depression.”3

 Leiden Institute scientist Lorenza Colzato stated, “Even if preliminary, these results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. As such, our findings shed an interesting new light on the potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for depression.”4

 The scientific paper concluded: “These results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with a sad mood.”5

 A 2013 study from UCLA titled “Consumption of Fermented Milk Product with Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity,” which was published in the journal Gastroenterology, reported that, “Researchers have known that the brain sends signals to the gut, which is why stress and other emotions can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms. This study shows what has been suspected but until now had been proved only in animal studies: that signals travel the opposite way as well.” It continued: “’Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut,’” [lead author Dr. Kirsten] Tillisch said. ‘Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street.’”6, 7


Vitamin D-3 is Essential

 Another crucial dietary component is vitamin D-3. The article “Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Depression in Young Women” in Psychiatric Advisor reported on a study published in Psychiatry Research and said this: “Oregon State University (OSU) researchers found that young women with lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to have clinically significant depressive symptoms over the course of a five-week study…. The results were consistent even when other possible explanations, such as time of year, exercise, and time spent outside were considered, [said] lead author David Kerr, PhD.”8 The May 2015 Psychiatry Research article concluded, “Findings are consistent with a temporal association between low levels of vitamin D and clinically meaningful depressive symptoms.”9

 A 2010 paper by Penckofer, et al. reported on the work of many researchers and said that “It has been estimated that over one billion people have either vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency … vitamin D deficiency may play a role in depression and possibly other mental disorders…. Another recent report summarized studies on vitamin D and mood disorders in women, suggesting that vitamin D may be an important nutrient for women’s physical and mental well-being.” The 2010 paper continued, “For many persons, sunshine or diet alone will not be sufficient in providing adequate amounts of vitamin D. There is evidence to suggest that supplementation may be necessary.” The conclusion informed readers: “If exercising outdoors in the sunshine, eating foods rich in vitamin D, and/or taking dietary supplements to improve vitamin D deficiency could improve one’s mental well-being, it would be a simple and cost-effective solution for many who are at risk for depression and possibly other mental disorders.”10


Calcium, of Course!

 Calcium is the major constituent of bones and teeth. More than 98% of the body’s calcium is found in those structures. In the rest of the body, calcium supports heart function, circulation, nerve function and muscle tone. If insufficient calcium results from poor dietary intake, the body can take calcium from the bones to make up for the shortage. 

 Low peak bone mass can be a contributing factor to the development of a potentially crippling disease of weak, thin, fragile bones called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis makes bones weak and brittle — even to the point that a fall or mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture, which most commonly occurs in the hip, wrist, or spine.

 Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. In order to prevent osteoporosis, the creation of new bone must keep up with the removal of old bone. Building and maintaining good bone health through adequate calcium intake throughout life is linked to a reduced risk of osteoporosis by optimizing bone mass. It is important to note that women are more prone to osteoporosis than men. Alarmingly, one in every two women over the age of 50 years will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. Therefore, ensuring adequate calcium intake is essential.


Zinc for Dad!

 In his book, Dr. Dittmann points out that cadmium, such as is found in tobacco smoke, tires, and the dust on the outside of cars, displaces zinc in the body. Since cadmium competes with and displaces zinc in the body, and since zinc deficiencies are directly linked to infertility, dads and dads-to-be would be wise to supplement with zinc. However, Dr. Dittmann continues by informing us that “some men have too much zinc relative to copper, which means that zinc supplementation can throw off your copper-to-zinc ratio. In this instance, taking extra zinc can actually make [the] prostate worse. On the other hand, if you have more copper relative to zinc, zinc supplementation is a definite must for sperm health.” Your physician will offer you the best guidance on which form you would benefit from supplementing in this case.


Making a Kirkman® basket for Mom or Dad!

From tip to toe, Kirkman® offers moms, dads, moms-to-be, dads-to-be, and grandmas and grandpas ways to be healthy for this generation and the next! Begin the journey in confidence with Ultra Tested® products from the Before BabyTM line by Kirkman®. Before BabyTM options include Before BabyTM Natural Cleanse, which is a special blend of natural ingredients specially formulated for parents and parents-to-be that helps detoxify and cleanse the system; Before BabyTM Women’s Vitamin & Mineral Formulation, which is a complete vitamin and mineral blend especially for mothers and mothers-to-be; Before BabyTM hypoallergenic Probiotic 7-Strain; and more. There are many multistrain probiotic options from Kirkman®, including the hypoallergenic Pro-Bio Gold™ with Vitamin D-3. In addition to the individual supplement items of vitamin D-3 and calcium, Kirkman® offers Bone Health, which provides vitamin D-3, calcium, and additional nutrients! And Kirkman’s 60 to 90 product line has supplements to support the bones, heart, eyes, memory, and immune system. So, make this Father’s Day memorable with the happiness that comes from good health – with the help of Kirkman®!



 1 Seltzer, M. M., Greenberg, J. S., Hong, J., Smith, L. E., Almeida, D. M., Coe, C., & Stawski, R. S.  Maternal Cortisol Levels and Behavior Problems in Adolescents and Adults with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2010;40(4), 457–469. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0887-0.  

 2 Diament, M. (2009). Autism Moms Have Stress Similar to Combat Soldiers. Disability Scoop. Last accessed May 1, 2015.

 3 Gregoire, C. (2015). Probiotics May One Day Be Used to Treat Depression. Huffington Post. Last accessed May 1, 2015.

 4 Alpha Galileo. (April 14, 2015). Last accessed May 2, 2015.

 5 Steenbergen L., Sellaro R., van Hemert S., Bosch J.A., & Colzato L.S. (2015). A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

 6 Champeau, R. (2013). Changing gut bacteria through diet affects brain function, UCLA study shows. UCLA Newsroom. Last accessed May 1, 2015.

 7 Tillisch K., Labus J., Kilpatrick L., Jiang Z., Stains J., Ebrat B., Guyonnet D., Legrain–Raspaud S., Trotin B., Naliboff B., & Mayer E. A. “Consumption of Fermented Milk Product With Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity.” Gastroenterology. 2013;144:1394–1401.

 8 Psychiatry Advisor. (March 23, 2015). Last accessed May 2, 2015.

 9 Kerr D., Zava D., Piper W., Saturn S., Frei B., & Gombart A. Associations between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in healthy young adult women. Psychiatry Research. 2015;227(1):46-51. Last accessed May 2, 2015.

 10 Penckofer S., Kouba J., Byrn M., & Ferrans C. E.  Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine? Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 2010;31(6), 385–393. doi:10.3109/01612840903437657.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Best Gift For Dad: Give Him the Gift of Health

  By Nora Heston Tarte
Contributing Writer

Roaming the aisles at your local home improvement or electronics store may leave you uninspired as you attempt to dream up the perfect gift for your husband or dad this Father’s Day. Kirkman® can offer you the best gift to give to Dad – it’s the gift of health! 

 Parenthood is stressful. Many studies seem to look at the effects of motherhood on women, but it’s less common to study how fatherhood can affect stress levels in men. Stress can lead to more severe issues, especially as men become older. High blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol can all affect cardiovascular health. Diabetes, prostate cancer and mental health are also of concern.

 The Mayo Clinic recognizes that fatherhood comes with a lot of stressors.,as men often feel like the providers of their families, concerns about money and family budget can strike. Add in poor sleep and an unhealthy diet, (hey – sometimes when you’re too tired to cook a take-out hamburger becomes your best option), and you’re setting yourself up for a health catastrophe. Younger fathers may be able to sneak by with these bad habits for a few years, but older fathers have less wiggle-room.

 Some research suggests that stress affects men’s health more than women’s due to the fight or flight response stress tends to trigger in men. Tension and anxiety top the list of men-specific results of stress; and it’s not news that stress is a risk factor for heart disease, as well as depression.

  The Mayo Clinic reports that men, like women, can experience depression after a child’s birth. While research suggests that heart disease and depression both have some level of inheritability, they can affect anyone. According to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital’s Department of Behavioral Health, men who develop heart disease early may be genetically predisposed to become stressed.

 However, stress doesn’t only affect dad. Research completed using animals suggests that stress affects sperm, as well. We’re not talking about low sperm counts (though that’s a concern, too), but rather an actual gene expression change that can cause offspring to react differently to stress later in life.

 An estimated one in seven American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, which is the second most common type of cancer found in men. Approximately 1 in 38 men will die of the disease, which has been linked to high levels of stress. Additionally, proper stress management can help with men already diagnosed.

  So how can Kirkman® supplements improve men’s health? With a wide-range of products available (more than 400), there’s something for just about any health concern that ails him.

Kirkman’s chief product formulator, Larry Newman provided the following recommendations of important supplements for men’s’ special health needs.  Newman, Kirkman’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Technical and Regulatory Affairs said that these supplements been not only linked to reducing stress and managing cardiovascular disease, but they can also be taken as part of a full daily vitamin regimen to maintain good health.


Fight Stress.

 To help stave off stress, pick a good multi-vitamin and mineral product that supports overall health. Thera Response, an alternative comprehensive vitamin and mineral supplement without high vitamin B-6 and magnesium, may help fathers reduce stress. Not sure if Thera Response is the right product for you? Advanced Adult Multi-Vitamin/Mineral is a hypoallergenic multivitamin that offers many of the same stress-fighting benefits.


Lower Blood Pressure.

 Maintaining your weight and limiting salt intake are necessary steps to help any man lower his blood pressure. Introduce fish oil supplements to take it one step further. Cod liver oils and omega 3 supplements have been linked to lower blood pressure levels in men.


Lower Cholesterol.

 Those same products that help keep blood pressure at healthy levels are designed to do the same for your cholesterol. EFA Powder is another option that supplements omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids along with protein and fiber. The powder form makes it easy to mix into a smoothie or sprinkle on other foods without affecting their taste.


Support the Prostate

 For men who have a familial history of prostate cancer, have been diagnosed themselves or who experience chronic stress, research has shown a connection between vitamin E, zinc and selenium to help protect the prostate.


Manage Diabetes.

 Diabetes is best maintained through a healthy diet. Keeping a healthy weight is also very important. Kirkman’s chromium, however, may be used for additional support to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.


Seek Help with Mental Health.

 When it comes to mental health, may it be depression experienced after the birth of a new baby or anxiety that accompanies the many trials of parenthood, men should always contact their doctor.



Posted in Uncategorized, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

In the Kitchen with Kirkman®: Grill-up a Gluten-free Summer Feast

By Nora Heston Tarte
Contributing Writer

 It’s time to fire up the BBQ! Summer is a great excuse to get together with friends and family and cook up a delectable meal with all of the fixings. From the drink menu to the dessert menu, every course at your backyard barbecue should be better than the last. However, when kids and adults with food allergies or sensitivities are in attendance, the rules aren’t “anything goes.” Learn how to create a healthful meal from top to bottom without sacrificing taste or upsetting guests’ tummies.

 Greet your guests with lemonade they can guzzle without the guilt. Keep things easy with this recipe from Real Simple:

 Beverage: This classic lemonade recipe has only three ingredients, but one small swap can make it guilt- and allergen-free for those trying to skimp on sugar. Kirkman’s No Sugar – Sugar Substitute can be used in exact proportions as regular sugar making it an easy trade-up from regular cane sugar.

 Classic Lemonade: (recipe adapted from Real Simple)

 Ingredients – (serves 4)

 3-3½ cups water

½ cup No Sugar – Sugar Substitute

1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about six lemons)

 Directions –

 In a small saucepan, combine the sugar substitute and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar substitute is dissolved; let cool. In a pitcher, combine the syrup with the lemon juice and 2½ to 3 cups water. Serve over ice.

 Main Course: Barbecued meats may be a crowd pleaser but some sauces and spices can cause intestinal worries for those with food sensitivities. Take the worry out of cooking with a BBQ sauce recipe that is free of gluten, soy, dairy and grains. Start by cooking your chicken, ribs, burgers or steak however you please and end with a glaze of raw, homemade BBQ sauce that is sure to support everyone’s diet.

 Raw Blender BBQ Sauce  (adapted from

 Ingredients – (serves 12-16)

 12 oz. organic diced tomatoes, undrained

⅓ cup molasses

¼ cup honey

¼ cup olive oil

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

¼. tsp. chili powder

8 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

½ tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. sea salt

 Directions –

 Place ingredients in blender and then puree them. Slather on food either before or after grilling. Feel free to store leftovers (if there are any) in the fridge. It should keep for about a month.

 Side Dish: Getting your child to eat their vegetables will be a little easier if you whip up a side of sweet and savory maple glazed carrots. This 5-ingredient dish will make any backyard get together a little sweeter.

 Maple Glazed Carrots: (adapted from

 Ingredients – (makes 8 servings)

 1 ½ lb. baby carrots

¼ cup butter or butter substitute

1/3 cup Maple Syrup Flavoring

Salt and black pepper to taste

 Directions –

 Place carrots into a pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain and transfer carrots to a serving bowl. Then, melt butter or butter substitute in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir maple syrup into melted butter and cook until warmed, 1 to 2 more minutes. Pour butter-maple syrup over carrots and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper.

 Dessert: It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate chip cookies – that is unless the milk-heavy, chocolate-boasting, sugary, nuts-optional treat does a number on your body. With thousands of recipe variations out there it’s hard to know what direction to go, but this recipe that substitutes coconut oil for butter and Kirkman’s No Sugar Sugar Substitute for regular table sugar may just be the best route to take for a gathering full of people with food preferences and sensitivities you know nothing about.

 Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies: (adapted from

 Ingredients – (makes 12 cookies)

 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened but not melted

1 tsp. molasses

2/5 cup No Sugar – Sugar Substitute

1 egg (use egg substitutes when necessary)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour [editor's note: make sure you're using a gluten-free flour such as almond flour, or one of the gluten-free brands that are currently available. We apologize for any confusion.]

2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup Paskesz Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

 Directions –

 In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream together the softened coconut oil, sugars, egg and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Fold in (stir in) the chocolate chips by hand until just combined.

 Use a large cookie scoop (equivalent to 3 tablespoons) or a spoon to shape the dough into balls, and place them on a large plate. Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough balls for at least 2 hours.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chilled dough balls at least 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Or a baking sheet that has been covered with a Silpat, or greased with cooking spray.)

 Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are just set. The centers may look slightly undercooked. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for up to 1 week. You can also freeze the cookies for up to 3-4 months.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What You Need to Know About Celiac Disease from a Kid that Has Celiac Disease

By Tanner Hillison
Special Correspondent to Kirkman®
Tanner, the child mentioned in the article, ‘Family Affair’, in this newsletter, wrote the following report for his 6th grade finals.  He was 11 at the time.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder (white blood cells attack at the body’s own healthy tissues) that affects about 1 in 140 people in the U.S and 1 in 250 people worldwide [editor's note: this statistic was current at the time the report was written, that figure has now increased to 1 in 100 people worldwide]. 

I decided to learn more about celiac because I have celiac disease. 

Consequences of untreated celiac disease
While researching about celiac disease I have learned about the severe consequences of the condition if left untreated, which include:  cancer, osteoporosis, nerve system disease, pancreatic disease, mental functions, and other serious conditions.  Ninety percent of people who have celiac disease go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because neither they nor their doctors know about it, putting them at risk of all the conditions listed above.  My research is to help inform you about this evolving epidemic.

 What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is defined as an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to have an abnormal reaction to a substance in certain cereal grains, called gluten.   Gluten is the combination of two proteins called glutenin and gliadin.  When someone with celiac eats gluten their immune system creates antibodies (that  damage the villi in the small intestine rather than destroying bacteria and viruses.  The villi are an important part of the body located in the small intestine. They absorb nutrients from the digested food into the bloodstream. 

When the villi lay flat, as a result of the damage from the antibodies improperly created by the immune system, the body is not able to absorb the nutrients it needs to function properly, causing a variety of symptoms.  Damaged villi typically will heal in kids between three to six months, but adults may take up to two years for full recovery.

 Celiac disease is a genetic predisposition that 30 percent of all people carry.  The genes are called HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8.  Ninety-five percent of people with celiac disease have the gene HLA-DQ2, and the other 5 percent have the gene HLA-DQ8.  For people who do possess these genes, the disease can be triggered for the first time after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection or severe emotional stress.

 What are the symptoms of celiac disease?
Celiac disease has more than 300 known symptoms that can vary in each person.  While one person might show symptoms of diarrhea and stomach pain, someone else may have joint pain and anemia.  Anemia is a deficiency of healthy red blood cells to transport enough oxygen to the tissues, which in turn, can make the person feel tired. 

Some people may develop symptoms early on, while others may feel fine far through out adulthood.  Some people might show no signs at all.  These differences and variations  in symptoms can and have made celiac disease an extremely difficult condition to diagnose.  Because of this inconsistency, roughly 90 percent of people with celiac disease go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed with another disease. 

The most common symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • bloating or gas,
  • diarrhea,
  • anemia,
  • constipation,
  • fatigue,
  • joint pain,
  • depression,
  • infertility,
  • discolored teeth,
  • pale mouth sores,
  • itchy skin rash,
  • headaches,
  • tingling/numbness,
  • irritability,
  • projectile vomiting ,
  • thin bones,
  • poor weight gain, and
  • delayed growth.

Delayed growth and poor weight gain are signs of malnutrition.  Malnutrition is a serious problem for anyone, but especially kids because they need proper nutrition for their bodies to develop normally. 

Some people with celiac disease show no signs or symptoms at all because the non-damaged part of their small intestine is able to absorb enough nutrients to keep the body healthy and properly functional.  Although, if you have celiac and your body shows no symptoms, the villi still lays flat as a reaction to gluten, which if left untreated runs the risk of developing cancer, osteoporosis, nerve system disease etc.

 How do you diagnose celiac disease?
The gold standard for a celiac diagnosis is an endoscopy with a biopsy of the small intestine and a serological test.  In addition, a blood test that confirms the presence of either the HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 gene can be helpful.  These two diagnostic tests have been used for diagnosing celiac and proven most effective.  Although, a simple blood test is also available from your doctor to search for celiac disease antibodies.

 What is the treatment for celiac disease?
There is only one treatment for celiac disease right now, and that is a gluten free diet.  There is no cure.  The most common exclusions of the diet include:  wheat, barley, and rye.  Potential future cures for celiac are being worked on including:  enzyme therapy, engineered grains, immunomodulatory strategies, correction of the intestinal barrier defect and  pharmaceuticals.  Various methods are still in process of development, but currently the only treatment for celiac disease remains a strict gluten free diet.

 What’s the history of celiac disease?
Studies show that the evolution of celiac disease took place in the Eastern Mediterranean In Europe the currency of celiac disease is from 0.3 percent to 1.2 percent. These numbers are the same in the U.S. due to the many European immigrants to the U.S. over a period of time from what is now known as the Fertile Crescent.  It occurred between eight and twelve thousand years ago, when man began to domesticate plants and animals such as wheat, barley, goat, cattle, and sheep.  As humans evolved from hunting and gathering to a more agricultural lifestyle, there were changes in the food supply.  Man no longer roamed in search of food, but instead bred what was needed to survive.  The crops and animals were chosen for their uses and edibility: more milk, meat, and grains.  As they used the wilderness’s resources the resources pushed farther away, and the plants and animals shared shelter with the agrarian communities.

 We chose crops that our bodies were not designed to digest.  Until then, milk was only consumed during infancy.  Now milk products are consumed from infancy through adulthood and the digestion requires the enzyme lactase.  Similarly to milk, the protein in wheat that is desired for making bread contains amino acids called gliadin and glutenin, which are poorly digested by humans.  In this way celiac disease met mankind and began to spread.

 Likely, our ancestors suffered stomach aches from a variety of causes since the first days of recorded history.  No doubt food intolerance was a cause to their aching, but humans for whatever reason, did not change their eating habits and continued to suffer symptoms.

 Medicine back then was unaware of the digestive process and its flaws, but the medicine they did use was well recorded.  Greeks, ancient Egyptians, and the Romans all wore medical amulets to cure many conditions.  It wasn’t until 1888 when a man named Samuel Gee discovered the first treatment breakthrough for celiac disease.  He said, “If the patient can be cured at all, it must be by means of diet.”  This was the first time diet was associated with celiac disease as a treatment. 

 In the 1940’s, Dutch physician Willem Karel Dicke specified the diet for celiac disease excluding certain flours, especially wheat and rye. Dicke learned about the role of bread in the kids’ eating habits prior to World War II (there were food shortages during the war).  The children’s symptoms when bread was reintroduced into their diets after the war supported Dicke’s theory and shortly after barley was added to the celiac disease exclusion diet.  Dicke’s studies helped bring celiac disease from life-threatening to treatable.

 My personal story
I was diagnosed with celiac when I was three and a half- years-old.  I showed severe symptoms including diarrhea, projectile vomiting, anemia, mood swings, extreme fatigue, swollen lymph nodes. I was also below the 5th percentile in both height and weight.  All of these symptoms started at the age of 2-years-old.

 My parents, Bleu and Ted, reached out to many medical practitioners locally, nationally and internationally.  After a significant amount of research by my parents and grandparents, they determined we had two choices available to us.  The first choice was to take me to Boston to see a world renowned gastroenterologist from Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital. The other option was to travel to a world-renowned hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.  Thailand offered me many practitioners from many disciplines of study including, a pediatric gastroenterologist, immunologist, endocrinologist, naturopath, neurologist, nutritionist, and allergist.  All of the doctors we saw were trained in the U.S. at some of the top medical institutions and also spoke English.  Boston offered one test (endoscopy and colonoscopy) while Thailand offered a much more comprehensive look at one-third of the cost.

 My parents made the decision for my mom and I to travel to Bangkok, Thailand to pursue my diagnosis.  When we got there we spent three weeks visiting doctors and taking tests.  One of these tests included having an endoscopy and colonoscopy.  Prior to taking these tests, my gastroenterologist told me to eat gluten and to take a sample of the by-product.  It was important to have gluten in my immune system prior to the endoscopy and colonoscopy for proper results.

 The pediatric gastroenterologist told my mom that I would be in the operating room for about 30 minutes.  It ended up taking an hour and a half.  When the procedure ended, the doctor came out to talk to my mom and told her that the fecal matter was encrusted on the wall of the colon, which was like a colon of an 80-year-old person.  He told my mom he was amazed and said he had never seen another patient like this.

 After the three weeks of tests, my mom and I returned home with a binder full of information regarding the test results.  It was confirmed that I had celiac disease.  We brought the results of the tests to my pediatric specialist.  He put together a list of nutritional supplements around my gluten-free diet that would allow me to maintain proper health.  This meant adjusting how and where we shopped, cooked and ate.  We had to make some of our own foods including:  bread, pancakes, and granola.  We had to read food labels very carefully, and when ordering at restaurants my parents had to go through every ingredient in the food they would order for me.  These simple things that many families take for granted was a day to day struggle my parents went through to keep me healthy. 

 In conclusion:  what I think you should know
The most important thing about celiac disease is to know about it.  With it affecting about 3 million people just in the U.S.A., it is a concern you should take seriously.  Many people helped to control the negative effects of celiac disease by adjusting their diet but if left untreated celiac disease can be very dangerous.  It is important that individuals with celiac disease and their families understand the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and the history of the disease to better manage the disease so that it is not a day-to-day struggle in their lives.


Bower, Sylvia, Celiac Disease: A Guide to Living with Gluten Intolerance.  New, York: Demos Medical Publishing, 2007, Book.                                                                 

 Author Unknown, Celiac Disease Symptoms Can Be Elusive.  May 7, 2014, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Internet.

 Green, Peter & Jones, Rory, Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic.  New, York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2010, Book.

Keyashian, Kian, M.D., Personal Interview, June 9, 2014

 Knigge, Kandace, M.D., Personal Phone Interview, May 6, 2014.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Grandparent’s Story of Celiac Disease: Treatment is a Family Affair


By Kulani Mahikoa
Vice-President Marketing
Kirkman Group, Inc.

David Humphrey and Kulani Mahikoa are the owners of Kirkman®.  This is a personal story.

It can be a long and winding road that families take when their child has a chronic illness.  Our family traveled that road in getting treatment for my grandsons, who both have celiac disease.

 Tyler is 14, and Tanner is 12.  They are healthy, strong, thriving in school and sports, have lots of friends, are good citizens and are mostly normal – - now.  We’ve featured our family, our daughter Bleu, our son-in-law Ted and our grandsons on our masthead since we created the Kirkman Family Newsletter.   Their story is typical of many of our customers’ stories who have children with chronic illnesses about which still too little is known.

 Tyler was about 5 when Bleu told us that she thought he had celiac disease.  Tyler’s pre-school classmate had been diagnosed with it.  His mom noticed that Tyler had many of the same symptoms and gave Bleu a lot of information to read about the condition. 

 We knew something was wrong with Tyler from the time he was born.  He had abnormal bowel movements; daily bouts of projectile vomiting and eating gave him red cheeks and ears, which were often accompanied by a rash. In spite of his health issues, he was a happy baby and, much like he is now, didn’t complain.  Even though we didn’t know exactly what was wrong with Tyler we started giving him supplements to boost his immune system.

In spite of our work at Kirkman® with chronically ill kids and adults, we knew little about celiac disease.  It became a mission to learn everything we could about it.  We learned that celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can cause damage to the small intestine when gluten from wheat, barley or rye is eaten.

 We were fortunate that our job afforded us good contacts in the medical field, however, at the time the diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease was a relatively new area of medical science.  We took a trip to L.A. to talk to the director of the Celiac Disease Foundation, who generously shared her time and told us about the latest developments in the field.  We learned that the first step in diagnosing Tyler would be a simple blood test but that the confirming procedure is an endoscopy.

The best pediatrician we knew in our area specialized in treating children with autism.  He saw Tyler and Tanner and ran a lot of non-invasive blood chemistry tests, including the tTG-IgA test, which is a screening test for celiac disease.  Both children tested sky-high in metals and were allergic to just about everything.  Although they tested positive on the screening test, a conclusive diagnosis is arrived at by endoscopic biopsy, according to their doctor.

 After the screening test, which indicated that both Tyler and Tanner were susceptible to celiac disease, Bleu started to cut out gluten from the children’s diet.  She admits that eating gluten free was a huge challenge. At that time, she noted, foods that were gluten free weren’t as available as they are now. 

 In our area, the number of pediatric gastroenterologists was limited.  Bleu made an appointment with one of them.  Proud that her parents worked with children with autism, she mentioned that to the doctor who, after hearing this cancelled the appointment.  Really.  After that, Bleu could not get an appointment with any pediatric gastro doc in our city.  Really!

 About that time, a medical expert we knew well was in town to visit Kirkman®.  We asked him to take a look at the boys’ lab tests.  We were shocked to hear from him that Tanner had more serious health issues than Tyler.  He urged us to seek treatment for Tanner right away.

Tanner never had the obvious symptoms of illness that Tyler had.  Unlike Tyler, whose symptoms occurred after almost every meal, Tanner only had occasional diarrhea and vomiting. Tanner’s problems, we thought at the time, were behavioral.  When he was a toddler he had frequent temper tantrums.  Sometimes these would result in complete meltdowns where he uncontrollably punched and hit the parent closest to him – usually his mom.  Scariest for Ted and Bleu was that when his tantrum escalated he wasn’t aware of his surroundings and sometimes would start running, often running out of the house and several times into the street. When my husband and I witnessed these meltdowns we would attempt to discipline him with stern words – we thought it helped – what did we know?

 Unable to get the boys scoped in the area we lived, we decided to take Tanner to a medical center in Thailand that my husband and I went to for our own health issues.  We liked the hospital because it practiced integrative medicine. Even without a prior appointment you could get a full physical, see a heart specialist, dentist, anti-aging doc, gastroenterologist and a plastic surgeon, if you wanted to, all in one day.

 Tanner received both an endoscopy and a colonoscopy.  The pediatric gastroenterologist that treated him said he had the worst case of impacted fecal matter that he had ever seen.  They cleaned out his colon and confirmed that Tanner had celiac disease.  Shortly after that, we took Tyler there to get his confirming diagnosis.  Bleu and I also took the screening test and we both tested positive.

 Tanner was a changed kid when he returned from Thailand.  Bleu said that the most striking difference was that he was happy and smiling most of the time, something she had never seen with him before.

 After the boys were diagnosed, Bleu became a “warrior mom” about taking gluten out of their diet.  She learned from autism moms that only 100% compliance with a gluten free diet works – 99% doesn’t because its that one infraction that can send your child to the hospital.  She also became a fanatic about building up their immune systems with supplements from Kirkman®.  Individuals with celiac disease often have difficulty absorbing nutrients, so the daily vitamin regimen has become a ritual that the boys never miss. 

Ted, the cook in the family, learned to make gluten free bread, cookies, cake and the all important gluten-free pizza.  Their family has learned to plan around birthdays and holidays when sweet, wheat treats are plentiful at the boys’ school and social events. When classmates have a birthday, Ted often bakes a gluten free cake or cupcakes that the boys can take with them to eat so they won’t feel left out.  Every Halloween, Bleu and Ted plan a route for the kids that includes neighbors they know who will hand out gluten free treats to the boys, provided by Bleu and Ted.  An important activity for the family is grocery shopping, a time where they discover new gluten free foods and spend the time to read every label carefully to determine which foods fit their diet.   Ted and Bleu also joined the boys in eating gluten free, so it has now become a family affair.

 Now that the boys are older, Bleu said their challenge for the future is to have the kids “own” their diet.  “They still want to eat what their friends eat but they know they can’t,” Bleu said.  She believes the strongest motivation for them is knowledge about their disease so that they know why they need to be gluten free and why they take vitamins and probiotics.  She added that another important motivator is that they know they get sick when they eat gluten and they don’t like it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment