This Year, Sleep Like Your Life Depends on It – Because It Does!


By Timothy Prentiss
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.



With the new year, like with every new year, there have surely been millions of resolutions made to exercise more, be more active, join a gym (or actually go to the gym you joined last year), etc. And while it’s hard to overestimate the role physical activity plays in our health, it can be easy to underestimate the importance of inactivity. Put simply: you cannot be healthy if you are not getting enough sleep.   

Overall about 40 percent of Americans are sleep deprived.1 While certain demographic groups (single mothers and high school students, for example) are especially prone to having difficulty getting enough sleep, even those without overburdened schedules may be sleep deprived for the simple reason that when they put their heads down on their pillows…they just can’t seem to fall asleep.

You may have a sleep problem without even knowing it. The Mayo Clinic claims a sleep disorder is present when someone requires thirty minutes or more to fall asleep or sleeps six hours or less three or more time in a week.2 Even if your sleep difficulties are only occasional or on the mild end of the spectrum, it is still a cause for concern, and it is likely causing you to have a lot less energy than you could have.

But, before you start popping sleeping pills, there might be a more natural approach that could help.


Melatonin occurs naturally in the body and regulates our internal clocks. It’s production increases after nightfall, leading to a relaxed stateconducive to sleep.

It is possible for this natural cycle to be thrown off, however. Some people simply have low levels of melatonin. Others expose themselves to too much light too close to bedtime, interfering with release of melatonin. (This is why a common bit of advice given to those who have trouble falling asleep is to turn off all their electronic, light-emanating screens—television, computer, smartphone—at least an hour before bedtime.)


While melatonin acts on the brain’s ability to relax, magnesium can be said to have a similar effect on the body, specifically on our skeletal muscles. Studies have found that a lack of magnesium can lead to muscle cramps,3 tics and restless leg syndrome.4 All the twitching, kicking, tossing and turning that result can guarantee a poor night’s sleep. Clinical studies have shown magnesium supplementation can lead to increases in sleeping time.5

But, like melatonin, magnesium also has an effect on the brain, though indirectly. With magnesium levels too low, the body tends to have an overabundance of cortisol.6 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. For obvious reasons, heightened alertness is not going to be very conducive to sleep. Long-term overabundance of cortisol in the brain can lead to damage to the hippocampus.7



GABA is what is known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. In fact it is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter.

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 and sleep become difficult or even impossible.

So if you find yourself even occasionally tossing and turning or staring at your ceiling for a half-an-hour before you find sleep, you might want to talk to your doctor about trying one of the above supplements offered by Kirkman®.

Have a restful 2016.



1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Insufficient sleep is a public health problem, Accessed from:

 2. Mayo Clinic, Diseases and conditions: insomnia, Accessed from:

3. Dilbey, D.L., Prabhakaran, V.M. Muscle cramps and magnesium deficiency: case reports Can Fam Physician. 1996 Jul; 42: 1348–1351. Accessed:
4. Bartel, Sharon,  Zallek, Sarah, Intravenous magnesium sulfate may relieve restless legs syndrome in pregnancy, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2006, 187-188

5.Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B., The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9.

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

7. Lupien, Sonia, de Leon, Mony, de Santi, Susan, Convit, Antonio, Tarshish, Chaim, Nair, N.P.V., Thakur, Mira, McEwen, Bruce, Hauger, Richard, Meaney, Michael, Cortisol levels during human aging predict hippocampal atrophy and memory deficits, Nature Neuroscience, 1, 69 – 73 (1998) doi:10.1038/271 

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

Take Kiddo’s Exercise Indoors


 By Nora Heston Tarte
Contributing Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.



Winter weather can make heading outdoors difficult, especially with kids. Your usual playground or favorite hiking trail may be off limits as temperatures dip, and while chilly weather may send you running for the couch, where a cup of hot cocoa and warm blanket sound like better companions for your afternoon, kids still need exercise. Weather aside, kids with sensory sensitivities sometimes shy away from the unfamiliar. Gyms can be packed with loud noises, and new play structures offer unknowns that can overwhelm. When a trip outdoors is just too much to handle—for whatever reason—set up physical activities indoors to ensure your children are getting the exercise they need.

Child doing exercise inside

Hallway Games

Sometimes large, open spaces are hard to come by inside your home, but if you have a hallway, you have the perfect facility for some fun, physical games. Red Light, Green Light requires no equipment and is suitable for any children able to move on their own. To play, simply start your child at one end of the hallway and call out, “green light!” With this command, they can run full speed ahead until you shout, “red light,” at which point they must stop. Add an element: Once your child has mastered the basics, add in a yellow light. With this command they must progress forward slowly.      


Indoor bowling sets are easy to come by and are made from either light plastic or soft materials more akin to stuffed animals. Set up this game at one end of your hallway and instruct your child to stand at the other end. Between set-ups, take turns rolling the ball and knocking the pins down. Then, repeat, repeat, repeat. Keep score the same way you would in traditional bowling. Helpful tip: plastic pins against wood or tile floors can create a loud clatter. Opt for soft pins if your hallway isn’t carpeted.   

Looking for more? Try hide-and-seek, Twister and hula hooping.


For adults and children, yoga is celebrated for its link to physical and emotional health.Not only does yoga work core muscles and build strength, the movements also develop motor skills. It’s one of the best ways to create a safe connection with your own body while building confidence in how you move. Also the breathing techniques and poses taught in yoga can be used to calm children when they feel uncomfortable, or their emotions are out of control.

Create an atmosphere in your home that mirrors a traditional yoga studio. Dim lights, soft music, smooth mats and quiet voices create a comfortable environment that can help ease sensitive nervous systems.

Make it extra fun: Take your children to the store to pick out yoga equipment. That way they can choose mats and other accessories (like yoga straps, socks and blocks) that feel comfortable to them and feature colors and designs they love.


Child exercising jumping

Sometimes a quick workout session can help kids focus. In addition to utilizing brief exercises to introduce fitness into your child’s routine, use it as preparation for homework if your child struggles with concentration. First, choose a time limit (try starting with five 20-minute sessions per week) and pick a few activities to complete. Jumping jacks, running in place and dancing to music are all good options. Always start with a quick stretch to warm-up and avoid injury.

 Helpful tip: If your child responds well to routine, craft a specific workout you can repeat daily (or even several times per day).

Martial Arts    

Just because you’re trying to stay indoors doesn’t mean you have to stay at home. Martial arts offer physical activity in a studio environment. Children can enjoy the predictability and structure that comes with learning martial arts, while also building their physical skills and self-esteem. Especially helpful may be the activity’s introduction to physical interaction with others.

Take it step-by-step: If your child isn’t 

quite ready to participate in a class setting, start with one-on-one classes. It will give students an opportunity to become familiar with the gym, the activity and the instructor without the added pressures of socializing with peers. Then, as they adapt, move into a small class.

If your child has a favorite outdoor activity, try to adapt it for indoors. Many cities have indoor swimming pools, soccer gyms and basketball courts, making it easy to move your child’s favorite sport inside. When leaving the house isn’t an option, set up small soccer or hockey nets inside, and use soft equipment to play inside without danger of breaking objects in your house.

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Workout Snacks Your Body Will Love



By Erin Lehmann
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.


The new year is officially underway. Establishing a new and improved workout routine is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions for rookies and seasoned athletes alike. Just as important as sticking to your fitness goals is making sure your diet encourages the results you want and rewards your body for its hard work. Whether you need a pre-workout energy boost or an after workout recovery punch, we’ve got some nutritious ideas that benefit metabolism and aid in muscle support. High in protein and free of allergens, these snacks are quick and convenient, so the time you save in the kitchen can be spent working toward the new you.


 Turkey Avocado Toast


  • ½ large avocado
  • 1 slice gluten free bread
  • 2-4 ounces roast turkey
  • Salt and pepper (optional)


  • Toast the gluten free bread.
  • Using a butter knife, spread the avocado along the toast covering its surface.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Layer turkey atop the avocado and enjoy.

Oatmeal with Berries

Before workout gluten free oats and berries




  • Place the oats in a bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the water or prepared Vance’s™ to a boil.
  • Slowly pour the hot liquid over the oats, cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir the oats, and add the handful of berries for a snack that provides sustaining energy.  


No Nut Trail Mix



  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Enjoy a handful or two before a workout. 
  • Keep fresh by storing in an airtight container. 


 Recovery Rice Cakes



  • 2 brown rice cakes
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tbsp. sunflower seed butter


  • Spread sunflower seed butter onto each rice cake.
  • Place thin banana slices on the buttered side of the rice cake.
  • Combine together in sandwich style or eat separately.Anchor

Chocolate Smoothie



  • Pour the prepared Vance’s™ DariFree™ Chocolate Flavor into a blender.
  • Add a banana along with two scoops of Pea Protein Powder.
  • Ice cubes may be added for a colder smoothie.
  • Blend until desired texture is achieved.

Protein Stackers


  • 2 tbsp. hummus – any flavor
  • 1 can tuna or chicken
  • ½ cup spinach
  • Handful gluten free crackers


  • In a bowl, break up the canned chicken or tuna until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Spread hummus onto the crackers. (The hummus works as a substitute for the mayonnaise and mustard commonly added to canned tuna or chicken.)
  • Lay a spinach leaf across each cracker.
  • Add the tuna or chicken to the cracker for a protein packed snack.
Posted in Gluten Free / Casein Free, recipe | Leave a comment

Resolve to Give Your Workouts a Boost

By Timothy Prentiss
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.



The bad news is another year has passed and still no one has invented a pill that can replace exercise. Those of us who want to get in better shape still have to go to the gym, lift things and (worst of all) sweat. And with a new year having arrived, many of us have resolved to do just that. The good news, however, is that there are supplements that (though they can’t replace exercise) can at least enhance its effects.  

But buyers should beware. Cocktail style athletic supplements are frequently packed with fillers and questionable ingredients. (Do we really need caffeine, for instance?) But, despite the widespread gimmickry of “performance enhancers,” there are several individual substances that have been researched and show significant benefits for those who are trying to build a stronger, leaner body.

Pea Protein

Evidence suggests a large dose of protein immediately after a workout can lead to faster recovery (less soreness) and greater muscle and strength building results.1 Whey protein powder, a favorite of strength trainers, is a very popular way to deliver that protein boost. However pea protein can be more protein dense, and can be used by those who have milk intolerance issues. 


Another favorite of strength trainers, creatine supplementation allows muscles to build up greaterquantities of phosphocreatine, providing muscular energy. While creatine can help improve performance for brief, explosive exercises2—power lifting, sprinting, jumping—it doesn’t appear to enhance aerobic performance. So those interested in endurance sports or long distance running probably won’t see much benefit from creatine.3


Fish oil

Fish oil offers a wide range of benefits—it supports cognitive function, for instance. But, specifically for those who want to improve their athletic performance, fish oil increases gains in both strength and muscle size4, aids in exercise recovery, enhances endurance and supports the development of lean body mass.5

Leucine (included in Amino Support capsules and powder)

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are common ingredients in athletic supplements. Leucine is the primary BCAA. It has been shown to reduce exercise fatigue and soreness and to increase protein synthesis. Leucine also appears to accelerate fat loss, while helping to retain muscle.6

 L-Glutamine (included in Amino Support capsules and powder

Like leucine and fish oil, Glutamine also helps reduce muscle fatigue7. Additionally, it affects insulin levels, helping to reduce belly fat8.

Vitamin D

Most of the above play a role in muscle building, but we can’t forget about our bones. Vitamin D is an important component in maintaining serum calcium levels, so it is essential for maintaining healthy bone density. A recent study found serum levels below 40 ng/mL were associated with greater prevalence of foot and leg stress fractures among highly active people.9 Maintaining high levels of vitamin D is especially important to those who practice high-impact sports, such as running.  Since vitamin D works in concert with calcium to build strong bones, it’s equally important to get a sufficient amount of calcium

These supplements can all benefit both men and women. And while most of them support the growth of muscle, women should keep in mind that neither weight training nor any of these supplements will cause excessive bulking. Generally they will help adjust the muscle to fat ratio of your body composition in a leaner direction. With exercise they can help your body become stronger and more toned (but they won’t make you look like Lou Ferrigno)

And they won’t do anything if you don’t work up a sweat.



1. Kreider, RB, Campbell. B, Protein for exercise and recovery. Phys Sportsmed. 2009 Jun;37(2):13-21. doi: 10.3810/psm.2009.06.1705.


2. Graham, AS, Hatton, RC. Creatine: a review of efficacy and safety. J Am Pharm Association. 1999 Nov-Dec;39(6):803-10, Accessed from:


3. The Mayo Clinic. Drugs and supplements: creatine. Accessed from:


4. Smith, GI, Atherton, P, Reeds, DN, Mohammed, BS, Rankin, D, Rennie, MJ, Mittendorfer, B. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augment the muscle protein anabolic response to hyperinsulinaemia-hyperaminoacidaemia in healthy young and middle-aged men and women.  Clin Sci (Lond). 2011 Sep;121(6):267-78. doi: 10.1042/CS20100597.


5. Hill, AM, Buckley, JD, Murphy, KJ, Howe, PR. Combining fish-oil supplements with regular aerobic exercise improves body composition and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1267-74. Accessed from:


6. Mero, A, Leucine supplementation and intensive training. Sports Med. 1999 Jun;27(6):347-58. Accesed from:


7. Bowtell, JL, Gelly, K, Jackman, ML, Patel, A, Simeoni, M, Rennie, MJ. Effect of oral glutamine on whole body carbohydrate storage during recovery from exhaustive exercises. J Appl Physiol.1999 Jun;86(6):1770-7. Accessed from:


8. Prado, PO, Hirabara, SM, de Souza, CT, Schenka, AA, Zecchin, HG, Vessallo, LA, Carneiro, E, Carvalheira, JB, Curi, R, Saad, MJ. L-glutamine supplementation induces insulin resistance in adipose tissue and improves insulin signalling in liver and muscle of rats with diet-induced obesity. Diabetologia. 2007 Sep;50(9):1949-59. Epub 2007 Jun 29. Accessed from:


9. Miller, Jason, Dunn, Karl, Ciliberti, Louis, Patel, Rikhil, Swanson, Brock. Association of Vitamin D With Stress Fractures: A Retrospective Cohort Study.The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery. January–February, 2016, Volume 55, Issue 1, Pages 117–120
Posted in Fitness, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

Avoid Seasonal Health Issues: Kirkman’s Specialty Supplements Can Help Support Your Immune System


By Timothy Prentiss
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.

It’s that season again! No, not the holidays—I’m referring, rather, to winter and the seasonal health issues that it can bring. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to consider giving that immune system of yours a little help.

The immune system is a complex and dynamic network of cells, membranes, organs, a circulatory system and many other components. These entities all work together to protect us from invasion by opportunistic microbes that are all around our environment.

The immune system also constantly scans our bodies for any signs of abnormal cell growth and tries to intervene and destroy those abnormalities. Strong immune systems can protect us from these entities and abnormalities, while a compromised or weak immune response may leave us vulnerable.

Our body’s first line of defense against the above intruders, know as the innate immune system, involves our skin, our body enzymes (such as those in saliva and stomach acid), our protective epithelial cells, (which line our body’s mucosal surfaces) and white blood cells.

What is known as the adaptive immune system deals with specific fragments of any potentially harmful or foreign material. These fragments are called antigens and they are dealt with in the immune system by antigen receptors. Once an antigen receptor adapts to an invading fragment, it retains antigenic memory so that it may quickly neutralize that antigen if it invades the body again.

Research continues to corroborate what your grandparents and great-grandparents already knew: that proper nutrition can help you stave off illness. And while people have for decades asserted, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” what exactly an apple (or an orange, or a banana…) contains that keeps the doctor away has remained controversial.

Anecdotal evidence about immune system boosters has abounded for centuries. It’s only been more recently that hard science has started backing up some of those claims.


Kirkman’s Top Supplements for Immune System Support

D Vitamins (0380-1200428-0900422-1200378-1200434-120)

There is still controversy regarding how vitamin D supports the immune system, but it’s becoming clear (regardless of the mechanism at play) that somehow it does. Studies have indicated D vitamins improve the performance of both the innate and adaptive immune systems.1

Vitamin D has many roles in the body. This nutrient is needed for bone growth and maintenance. Strong evidence suggests that it supports calcium absorption, modulates cell growth and supports neuromuscular and immune system function. 

Scientists are discovering that inadequate vitamin D is a widespread problem. As a result, there have been several recent increases in the recommended daily intake of vitamin D. In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated guidelines for vitamin D daily intake for infants 0-1 year old and children and adolescents from 200 IU to 400 IU. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine set new recommended daily allowances for those 1-70 years of age at 600 IUs; for those 71 years and older, 800 IUs; and for pregnant and lactating women, 600 IUs.

Inositol Hexaphosphate (0418-414)

Inositol hexaphosphate, also known as IP-6, is a natural carbohydrate found in cereal grains, brown rice, corn, sesame, wheat bran, beans and other foods high in fiber. 

Helping to maintain normal, healthy cell growth and functioning in body tissues and organs is the primary reason that IP-6 is gaining so much popularity as a dietary supplement.2

IP-6 aids in the metabolism of calcium and insulin and also supports hair growth and eye membrane development. (More research is needed to confirm all the benefits of IP-6.) IP-6 supports natural killer cell activity in vitro and when challenged due to oxidative stress in cells.

The IP-6 present in Kirkman’s products is derived from calcium magnesium phytate. This is important because other forms of IP-6 may actually chelate calcium and magnesium out of the body, causing a potential decrease in these important nutrients. The calcium magnesium phytate form that Kirkman® uses prevents this from occurring.

N-Acetyl Cysteine (0094-100)

One study found, of older adults who took 600 mg of n-acetyl cysteine twice daily for 6 months, only 25% of the subjects developed seasonal health issues, compared with 79% in the placebo group.3

N-acetyl cysteine is an amino acid that boosts immune system response and acts as a precursor to glutathione, an important component of the body’s natural detoxification system.

Kirkman® offers pure n-acetyl cysteine in capsules that can be used for most age groups under a doctor’s supervision.

Garlic (8855-100)

Long known as a folk remedy, garlic now has the force of science behind it. Studies indicate it enhances natural killer cells activity and stimulates the production of white blood cells.4

Zinc (0423-1500358-120, 0023-1000023-2500497-0160497-008) (Included in Kirkman’s Immuno-Aid™ (0426-120))

In 1984, a study reported zinc cut the duration of colds in half. Since then, the evidence has been mixed—some studies have found beneficial effects, while others have not. A recently study found zinc tended to reduce the length of colds by about a day.5

Zinc is present in every cell in the body and is also a component of over 200 enzymes and involved in more enzymatic reactions than any other mineral constituent in mammals. Zinc is essential for normal skin, vision, smell, taste, reproduction, brain development, protein synthesis and wound healing. It is also one of the most important factors in a healthy immune system. Zinc is involved in just about every aspect of the immune system, including the immune system enhancing “T” cells that are necessary for immune system response.

Beta Glucan (0050-250) (included in Kirkman’s Immuno-Aid (0426-120))

Beta glucan appears to trigger activity of natural killer cells and macrophages (a type of white blood cell).6

Kirkman’s Beta Glucan offers active and significant immune system supporting functions. Beta glucan supports white blood cells known as macrophages to stimulate immune system response.


1. Aranow, Cynthia, Vitamin D and the immune system, Journal of Investigative Medicine, 2011 Aug, 59(6), 881-886. 
2.Ebaid, Hossam, Abdel-Salam, Bahaa, Inositol hexaphosphate enhances the immune response  . . . in male albino mice, Journal of The Arab Society for Medical Research, 2006 1(2):110-124, Accessed from:  
3. De Flora S, Grassi C, Carati L.  Attenualtion . . . and improvement of cell-mediated immunity with long-term N-acetyl cysteine.  Eur Respir J. 1997 Jul;10(7):1535-41.
4. Lamm, Donald, Riggs, Dale, Enhanced immunocompetence by garlic . . . , The Journal of Nutrition, 2001 vol. 131 no. 3 1067S-1070S Accessed from:
5. Bauer, Brent, Will taking zinc for colds make my colds go away faster? Accessed from:
6. Chi-Fung Chan, Godfrey, Keung Chan, Wing, Man-Yuen Sze, Daniel, The effects of β-glucan on human immune  . . . cells Journal of Hematology & Oncology, 2009, 2:25. Accessed from:
Posted in Immune System, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

Kirkman® Offers Our Best Comfort Food Recipes For Cold, Wintry Nights

By Erin Lehmann
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.


Whether it’s a song that reminds us of a special time or place, the smell of a favorite scent or a bowl of grandma’s homemade stew, nostalgia has a way of warming our hearts. A well-known and liked dish can elicit feelings of gratitude and contentment and remind us of cherished memories. Comfort food is as much a part of the holiday season as family, shopping and last-minute preparations, though trying to navigate through the potlucks and parties with food allergies or sensitivities can leave you feeling more frustrated than comforted.

 These classically cozy recipes have been recreated to adhere to your family’s dietary sensitivities. Let the frenzy of the season lull, and escape into the moment with flavorful fare that is sure to invite new mealtime memories.



Butternut Squash Mac & “Cheese”

Gluten, Dairy and Nut Free. Vegan.

Yield: 4 servings or 1.5 cups of cheese sauce


  • 1 fresh butternut squash peeled and chopped OR 1 cup canned butternut squash puree
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoon non-dairy butter
  • ¾ cup prepared Vance’s™ DariFree™ Original Flavor (8810-021)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  •  teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 servings of your favorite gluten free macaroni


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1-2 inch consistent cubes. Line a baking pan with tin foil. Place squash evenly around pan and coat with extra virgin olive oil. Top with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes uncovered. Squash is done when tender to a fork’s touch.
  2. Prepare the vegan cheese sauce in a pot on the stove. Begin by heating the non-dairy butter over low heat. In a bowl, whisk together prepared Vance’s™ DariFree™ milk substitute (8810-021) with the arrowroot powder until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients: nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. Whisk over low heat for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Cook your pasta according to package directions. The sauce makes enough to top 4 servings of pasta.
  5. In a blender, blend the heated cheese sauce with 1 cup of roasted, slightly cooled squash. If using canned butternut squash puree you may skip this step and simply add 1 cup of the puree to the cheese sauce in the pot. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Drain and rinse your cooked gluten free pasta and add it into the pot containing the cheese sauce. Heat and serve with a cooked vegetable side such as broccoli, kale or peas.

 Vegetarian Meatloaf with Maple Glaze

Gluten, Dairy and Nut Free. Vegan.

Yield: 1 loaf or 4-6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegan bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 package ground vegan sausage
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (or brown rice)
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup gluten free panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch

    For the Maple Glaze:


  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a large loaf pan thoroughly with olive oil or vegetable spray.
  2. Pour the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, thyme and oregano and cook until onions are tender and lightly browned.
  3. Remove from heat, and add the Worcestershire, bouillon and tomato paste. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl combine the vegan sausage, drained black beans, cooked quinoa, shredded carrots, panko breadcrumbs, ground flax seeds and arrowroot or cornstarch. Use your hands to break up the sausage and work the ingredients together. When the onion mixture is cool to the touch, add it to the loaf mix and stir to combine. The ingredients should hang together.
  5. Press the vegan meatloaf mixture into your prepared pan. Place in the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes until the edges separate from the pan, and it looks crispy on the edges. It should be slightly firm in the middle as well.
  6. In the meantime prepare the glaze by combining the ketchup, Maple Syrup Flavoring (0125-008) and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the barbeque sauce as well if you elect to use it. Stir to combine.
  7. When done, remove the loaf from the oven and turn upside down onto a lined baking sheet. Increase your oven temperature to 400F. Use a spatula to generously glaze the top of the meatloaf. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.

 Creamy Potato and Kale Soup

Gluten, Dairy and Nut Free. Vegan.

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • ⅓ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (optional)
  • 4 cups diced potatoes, peeled (about 5-6 medium size)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • ¼ cup prepared Vance’s™ DariFree™ Original Flavor
  • A few dashes hot sauce (optional)


  1. Sauté your diced onion and minced garlic with 1-2 tablespoons water in a soup pot over medium heat for about 4 minutes or until onion becomes tender.
  2. Add the carrot and celery and sauté 3-4 more minutes. Add another 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed to keep vegetables from becoming dry.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, potatoes, dill, celery salt, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  5. In a blender, add only 2 cups of the soup and blend to create a thick and creamy base. Return it to the soup pot with the remaining mixture.
  6. Add the corn and kale; stir to combine and simmer 5 minutes or until heated through.
  7. Remove from heat and add ¼ cup Vance’s™ DariFree™ Original Flavor (0125-008).
  8. Serve with a few dashes hot sauce (optional).
Posted in Gluten Free / Casein Free, recipe | Leave a comment

Kirkman® Offers Our Top Gift Ideas for Special Kids

By Nora Heston Tarte
Contributing Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.
Finding gifts for everyone, especially your special needs loved ones, can be a trying task this time of year. Kirkman® has some suggestions, to assist you in your gift-giving needs, starting with our top nutritional supplement suggestions.

Kirkman® offers more than 400 nutritional supplements to address a wide range of health issues.   Favorite gift ideas from Kirkman® include:

Melatonin:  Who couldn’t use a natural, safe, sleep support?  We have chewable tablets 1 mg (0068-100), and 3 mg  (0069-150), melatonin with magnesium capsules (0037-100 and 0037-250), and slow release tablets (0321-150) forms.


Kirkman’s Chocolate Supplements:  These are especially yummy chewable wafers with a creamy, chocolate taste.  Products include:  chocolate Pro-Bio Gold™ (0458-090),  chocolate calcium wafers (0520-120) and chocolate methyl B-12 (0523-120).



 Adult Advanced Multi-Vitamin/Mineral – Hypoallergenic Capsules:  Your adult loved ones need this to maintain a good nutritional profile.


Children’s Multi-Vitamin /Mineral Supplements:  We offer many types of children’s supplements including our proprietary Super Nu-Thera®, Nu-Thera® and Children’s Chewable supplements.



Kirkman Kleen® Line:  A line of household cleaning products, especially formulated for those with sensitivities.  The line includes: Chlorine Free Oxygen Bleach (9910-032)Free & Clear Automatic Dish Powder (9909-032)Free and Clear Dishwashing Liquid (9908-016)Free & Clear Laundry Liquid (9912-032)Glass and All Purpose Cleaner and Degreaser (9915-032)Produce Wash (9914-016), Stainout (9911-016).

 Other Suggestions

Give the gift of a good night’s sleep with a tranquil soothing nightlight. Several lines of sleep aiding toys boast fun, furry animals and varying sounds. The toys typically project colored lights on the ceiling meant to soothe sleepers, while a brightness-controlled lighting system can move with the ebb and flow of the display, or provide steady light with the flick of a button. Don’t forget to keep an ear out for your favorite sounds, some toys focus on soft animal noises while others focus on soothing lullabies. Some options will turn off automatically to save batteries, while others offer uninterrupted play.

 Looking for a fun stocking stuffer? Motion bubble toys come in an array of fun colors and work like an hourglass. The visually stimulating product offers a serene display of colors and shapes as the liquid elements squeeze, slip and slide from top to bottom. And the best part is the toys are typically made of durable materials to help them withstand constant handling.  Use them as a fun display in a child’s room or as comforting handheld toys.

For a child who struggles with social skills and may have trouble making friends or handling social encounters, board games that focus on interactions may help children master the skills they need to thrive in peer situations. To teach empathy, considered the most important factor of emotional intelligence, reach for games in which players practice showing empathy while engaging in exciting discussions with others.

 For younger children, there are games about exploring emotions. These allow players to get in touch with feelings through different imaginative scenarios,  including how to recognize someone else’s feelings as well as how to appropriately handle their own. For teens, sometimes the struggle is sparking a conversation with a stranger or a new friend. For these older children, there are card games that can teach teens how to break the ice with positive conversation starters. Some sets are portable so they can be available on the go.

Some kids are naturally drawn to books, and reading material is the easiest way for them to learn new skills. For young kids, activity books sometimes hold the key to recognizing how behavior positively or negatively affects their peers. For older kids, more complex skills can be investigated such as mastering manners.

 Babies, toddlers and preschoolers can learn cause and effect through traditional peg and hammer games. While they come in many shapes and sizes, wooden materials are often the first choice of parents looking to avoid plastics. These games encourage small hands to place colorful pegs along the top and hammer them through the one or more layers. As children hammer the pegs, they learn cause and effect as they watch them fall. These games teach other concepts, such as colors, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, to encourage progressive development.

Kids with busy hands benefit from tactile toys that encourage them to touch and manipulate items. Many companies produce toys called “fidgets” that offer a variety of textures, features and colors. These small toys are perfect for quiet time or for holding in restless hands while kids attempt to listen and follow directions. They also make good calming or transitional items. Tangle toys, also produced by many brands, are a common alternative; they present many of the same benefits of the fidget toys while also helping improve fine motor skills and reduce stress through repetitive movement.

Kirkman’s Ultra Tested® products offer adults and children all the health-boosting benefits of other brand-name supplements without the added environmental contaminants often present. 

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