Probiotics and the Human Microbiome

By Timothy Prentiss
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc

We are far less human than we might think. Though that statement may sound like pseudo-philosophy, it’s actually a biological fact. As odd as it might sound, the human body is made up of a large number of microorganisms that are not considered human cells. In fact most of the human body is non-human, the most reliable estimate currently being that human cells are outnumbered by non-human cells at a rate of about three to one (though some have estimated rates as high as ten to one). The sum of all of this non-human life in us and on us is known as the “ human microbiome.”

Most research on the microbiome has focused on gut flora–the portion of the microbiome that resides in our digestive tract. Correlations have been made between gut flora and a number of other conditions, both temporary and chronic—mental health issues,immune system strength2 and a variety of special needs conditions.3, 4  

It is not yet clear, however, what (if any) causal relationship exists. Does gut flora influence or even cause these conditions? Are the gut conditions and the mental (or other) conditions simply co-occurring, possibly both triggered by an unknown third variable? But whatever the relationship is exactly, research has shown repopulation of depleted gut flora can reduce the symptoms of certain chronic conditions, at least in mice.5

Gut flora both acts upon and is acted upon by the foods we consume. Certain diets, especially those lacking “live” foods like yogurt and other fermented products will lead to a depletion of healthy bacteria. Depletion of healthy gut bacteria can also lead to unhealthy bacteria flourishing. Eating live foods can help to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria; one can also take a probiotic supplement.

Most probiotics sold commercially are members of one of two genera: lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Of the two, lactobacillus is the more commonly available commercially. It occurs naturally in yogurt and various fermented foods such as sauerkraut. There are more than 50 known species of lactobacillus. Lactobacilli predominantly reside in the small intestine.

Bifidobacterium, though also important to adult gastrointestinal health, is particularly important in children. Like lactobacillus, it also naturally occurs in certain dairy products—several species having been found in various raw milk cheeses. So far, there are more than 30 species that have been discovered. Bifidobacteria predominantly reside in the large intestine.

In probiotic products offered by Kirkman®, there are ten species of probiotics included—either in combinations or as single-strain products.

Lactobacillus acidophilus

L. acidophilus is probably the most commonly used probiotic. It sets up residence in the mucosal membrane of the mouth, in the small intestine and in the genitourinary tract. It inhibits the growth of undesirable flora, aids in digestion and produces lactase enzymes (which help break down lactose). (Included in Kirkman’s Lactobacillus Acidophilus – Hypoallergenic product.)

Lactobacillus casei

L. casei resides in the mouth and in the membrane of the small intestine. It enhances the number of immunoglobulin A (IgA) producing cells,6 which play an important role in the mucosal immune system response. It has also been found to provide peptido-glycan,7 which stimulates phagocytosis by macrophages8—another important immune system process. (Included in Multi-Flora Spectrum™ and our entire Pro-Bio Gold™ line.)

Lactobacillus plantarum

L. plantarum is a lactic acid producing bacteria that has been shown to be particularly effective against certain hard-to-eradicate bacteria.10 (Included in Lactobacillus DuoMulti-Flora Spectrum and our entire Pro-Bio Gold™ line.)

Lactobacillus rhamnosus

L. rhamnosus resides in the small intestine, helping to crowd out undesirable flora. It also has been shown to increase production of IgA cells.11 (Included in Lactobacillus DuoPro-Culture Gold™Multi-Flora Spectrum and our entire Pro-Bio Gold™ line.)

Bifidobacterium bifidum

B. bifidum produces acetic and lactic acids in the digestive system. The resulting increase in acidity creates an environment that is inhospitable to undesirable flora. Like l. casei and l. rhamnosus, it also supports the immune system through an increase in IgA cells.12 (Included in Bifido Complex™ Advanced FormulaMulti-Flora Spectrum, and our entire Pro-Bio™ Gold line.)

Bifidobacterium breve

B. breve has been shown to be effective in colonizing the bowels of infants, resulting in fewer abnormal symptoms and improved weight gain.13 It also has a positive effect on the immune system.14 (Included in Bifido Complex™  Advanced Formula.)

 Bifidobacterium lactis

B. lactis aids in the crowding out of undesirable flora. It also enhances the immune system response of the intestinal mucosa.15 It has also been shown to be helpful to infants with diarrhea.16 (Included in Bifido Complex™  Advanced Formula and Super Pro-Bio™  75 Billion.

 Streptococcus thermophilus

While bifidobacterium and lactobacillus are “resident” bacteria, meaning they colonize and reproduce inside the body, s. thermophilus is “transient,” meaning it passes through the body.  S. thermophiles produces the lactase enzyme, which is necessary for the digestion of lactose. It also produces lactic acid, which helps create an environment inhospitable to undesirable flora.17 (Included in Multi-Flora Spectrum and our entire Pro-Bio™ Gold line.)

Kirkman’s probiotic products include our proprietary and best-selling probiotic, Pro-Bio Gold™. Click here for a complete list of Kirkman’s probiotic products.


1. Venosa, A. Depression not just a mental illness; it’s a systemic disease that affects the entire body, Medical Daily. Mar 10, 2016

 2. Purchiaroni F, Tortora A, Gabrielli M, Bertucci F, Gigante G, Ianiro G, Ojetti V, Scarpellini E, Gasbarrini A. The role of intestinal microbiota and the immune system. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Feb;17(3):323-33.

 3. Krajmalnik-Brown R, Lozupone C, Kang D-W, Adams JB. doi:10.3402/mehd.v26.26914.

 4. Eat more yogurt! Low levels of healthy gut bacteria could be the cause of mental health issues such as ‘anxiety and schizophrenia’, Daily Mail, 12 Sept. 2013

 5. Hsiao, E. Y. et alCell (2013). 

Posted in Gastrointestinal Health, Immune System, Microbiome, Probiotics | Tagged , | 1 Comment

It’s in Soup, It’s in Cans And It May Be Putting You and Your Family at Risk

 By Timothy Prentiss
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc


In 2012 the FDA banned Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups but  studies continue to mount that show the potential health dangers of BPA.  

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most common man-made compounds. It is a plasticizer used to create water bottles, line metal cans, and coat store receipts. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study that found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of the people tested.BPA is so widespread, it has become virtually impossible to avoid it.

The potential effects of BPA are well documented. It is an endocrine disrupter (a class of toxins Kirkman® tests for) that has been studied in both humans and animals and has been linked to alteration of glucose metabolism, early pubescence, declined spermatogenesis and obesity. Studies of animals confirm that even exposure in utero can lead to endocrinal changes that are correlated with obesity later in life.2

In a recent experiment, a family in Austria attempted to entirely eliminate plastic from their lives. The presence of BPAs in their bodies was measured shortly after banishing all offending items from their home. After two months, most of the family members registered only a slight drop in bodily BPA. The researchers attributed the absence of a significant drop to the family’s inability to entirely eliminate exposure to plastics outside of their home. (Additionally there were some methodological problems with the experiment: the family started the experiment with relatively low urinary concentrations of BPA, since they had limited their use of plastics prior to the experiment, and their initial levels weren’t checked until four days after ridding their home of plastics.)3

Though BPA may be impossible to avoid entirely, there is still good reason to at least try to limit your exposure to it. For years, research has unearthed links between this chemical and a wide range of health consequences. Studies of both humans and animals have shown BPA exposure leads to reproductive and cardiovascular problems as well as changes in metabolism.

A recent study indicates bodily concentrations can vary greatly depending on where the exposures originate. One of the most common uses for BPA is in the lining of cans for food, as a plastic lining on the interior that is intended to prevent the foods from developing a metallic flavor. The study found that individuals who consumed one can of food had a 24 percent higher urinary concentration than those who consumed no canned food. Those that consumed two or more cans had a concentration 54 percent higher.

The surprise in the finding, however, was that urinary concentration varied widely depending on the type of food: one or more can of fruits or vegetables led to a 41 percent increase, while one or more cans of pasta led to a 70 percent increase. Canned soups led to a shocking 229 percent increase. Almost as surprising as that staggering number, the study found that drinking canned beverages did not correlate with any increase in urinary BPA concentration.4

The publicity that BPA has received has led many companies to remove BPA from their cans. Though this may sound like good news, in many cases food producers have just switched to other plasticizers that, while not as infamous as BPA, may be just as bad. In their desire to label their cans “BPA Free” they may have switched to PVC, for instance, which is a known carcinogen.

The government stopped short of banning the chemical altogether as other countries have done, however, citing the inconclusive evidence linking the compound to health problems. Recent indications that BPA may be passed to fetuses in utero indicate that children are susceptible to the dangers of BPA before they are even old enough to hold a sippy cup.




1. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Bisphenol A (BPA). Accessed 7/25/16 from:

2. Choi BI, Harvey A, Green M. Bisphenol A affects early bovine embryo development and metabolism that is negated by an oestrogen receptor inhibitor. Scientific Reports. 6, Article number: 29318 (2016), doi:10.1038/srep29318

3. Hutter HP, Kundi M, Hohenblum P, Scharf S, Shelton JF, Piegler K, Wallner P.,Life without plastic: A family experiment and biomonitoring study, Environmental Research. 2016 May 24. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.05.028.

4. Hartlea J, Navas-Acienb A, Lawrence R. The consumption of canned food and beverages and urinary Bisphenol A concentrations in NHANES 2003–2008. Environmental Research. Volume 150, October 2016, Pages 375–382. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.008

Posted in Environmental Health & Toxicity, Preconception, Ultra Tested | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Kirkman® Welcomes New VP of Sales for Purity Nutraceuticals Division

Michael Schaeffer

Michael Schaeffer, former CEO and President of Pacific Nutritional (PacNut), has joined Kirkman® to head our newly formed Purity Nutraceuticals division.

Purity Nutraceuticals is dedicated to helping our customers develop effective nutraceutical products that meet their market’s health needs. 

It offers innovative product concepts, a team of expert formulators, cGMP manufacturing facilities and a network of reliable raw ingredient suppliers, packaging expertise and regulatory compliance support.

Schaeffer has spent more than 27 years as a nutritional supplement company executive in the Pacific Northwest. He worked as CEO and President of PacNut from 2001-2016. Before that he was Vice President of Operations for NF Formulas in Wilsonville, Oregon.

“Schaeffer’s nutritional supplement manufacturing expertise will help Kirkman® broaden our services to include contract manufacturing and private label packaging,” David Humphrey, president of Kirkman®said. “We are very fortunate to have someone with Michael’s deep experience in the nutraceutical industry,” he added.

Schaeffer is a member of the National Affiliate–American Chemical Society, the Association of Analytical Communities International and the American Herbal Products Association Board of Trustees.

Posted in Purity Nutraceuticals, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Tagged | 2 Comments

Detoxify for a Healthier Pregnancy


By Timothy Prentiss
Staff Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc

A few months ago Kirkman® announced the launch of the P2i™ program, an ambitious new project intended to study the roles nutrition, genetics and toxic exposures play prior to and during pregnancy. Initiated by the non-profit organization the Forum, the P2i™ program will track pregnancy outcomes of women who follow the P2i™ protocol, which includes consuming high levels of nutrients and avoiding toxins. The researchers involved in the P2i™ program hope to find that by following this protocol women will be more likely to bear healthy babies who are born free of chronic conditions.

(Click here to learn more about the P2i™ program.)

Kirkman® has created an entire line of supplementsfor the P2i™ program, and is currently the only nutraceutical manufacturer whose supplements meet the exacting standards of the P2i™ program. Central to these standards is an emphasis on avoiding toxic substances. Kirkman’s P2i Baby™ products are Ultra Pure™, meaning they are screened for more than 950 potential contaminants. 

Of course, toxins can come from virtually anywhere (not just from tainted supplements). Environmental toxins can invade our bodies through the air, water, the food we eat and through our skin. Our bodies even produce toxins during certain normal bodily processes.

Whether toxins originate inside or outside our bodies, they need to be converted into compounds that can be safely excreted. This complex detoxification process involves multiple chemical reactions, requiring numerous organic compounds. P2i Baby™ Toxicity Control – Hypoallergenic supports this process by supplying nutrients that are used during the body’s naturally occurring detoxification activities. 

It is offered in vegetarian capsules and includes the following active ingredients:

Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Selenium

Vitamin C, Vitamin E and selenium all enhance the body’s detoxification pathways.

Taurine and N-Acetyl Cysteine

Sulphur-containing amino acids such as taurine and cysteine are required by the liver cells in order for detoxification to occur effectively.


Also known as turmeric, curcumin is a spice that has been shown to induce the body’s production of detoxifying enzymes.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is a flowering plant that detoxifies the body’s organs. Silymarin, the active component in milk thistle supports the liver and kidney cells from the toxic effects of certain drugs.


Glutathione is the body’s most powerful immune system supporter. It is also required for the detoxification of methylglyoxal, a toxin produced during metabolism.

Calcium D-Glucarate 

Calcium d-glucarate is required for glucuronidation, a process in which toxins are converted into water-soluble forms that the body can easily excrete.

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

In the Kitchen with Kirkman®: Cool Down with These Allergen-free Warm Weather Treats


By Nora Heston Tarte
Contributing Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.


In most corners of the world, families are enjoying hot days in the peak of summer. But those warm weather treats that keep kids cool in the summer heat are often loaded with dairy, sugar, gluten and other allergens. Kids with sensitivities may not be able to run out to the ice cream truck when its song starts playing down the street or order up a scoop (or two) of their favorite flavor at the local ice cream shop.

 With a little work, however, there’s no reason every kid can’t still enjoy these summer staples. Whip up some dairy-, gluten-, sugar-, nut- and casein-free chilled choices for your brood. If you’re trying to keep them busy while school is out, make it a family project and get the kids in the kitchen too! (And if it’s cold where you are, store these recipes away for later use.)


Strawberry Ice Cream

Not only is strawberry a refreshing summer flavor, the bright pink color makes it especially appealing to kids! Mix together these alternative ingredients to create an ice cream treat kids with sensitivities can enjoy.

Ingredients –

  • 2 cups, unsweetened, organic frozen strawberries
  • 13 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1¼ cups unsweetened vanilla hemp milk
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon guar gum (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Kirkman® No Sugar – Sugar Substitute (optional)

Expert Tip: Mix in a serving of Pea Protein Powder to up the nutritional value.

Directions –

Place strawberries and coconut milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and run again. Place mixture in the freezer for one hour, then remove and pour into an ice cream machine and process according to instructions.

Ice cream can be served immediately. For better presentation, put ice cream into the freezer until it hardens. Allow it to thaw on the counter until slightly softened before serving.

Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Ingredients -

Directions –

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately and store leftovers in the refrigerator, or freeze them in popsicle molds for a sweet treat for later.

Expert Tip: If your child wants a more liquefied smoothie, add additional water and match ratio to the chocolate powder to avoid diluting flavor.

Gimme Green Popsicles

Use a fruit-based popsicle as a refreshing outdoor treat that forgoes common allergens such as dairy, casein and more.

Ingredients –

  • ½ cup spinach
  • ¼ cup kale leaves, chopped
  • 1 ½ bananas
  • ½ of a pineapple
  • ¾ cup water

Directions -

Prepare the ingredients by cutting the tough stems off of the kale and chopping it into small pieces. Peel and chop the pineapple and banana. Next, puree spinach, kale, bananas and pineapple in a blender. Add water and process again. Pour mixture into molds and freeze until completely hardened – about three hours.

Expert Tip: Buy exciting ice pop molds to add another level of fun!

Frozen Banana Pops

Create a variety of flavors by mixing up the toppings on these banana-based, frozen sweets! The best part is there’s plenty of room to get creative so you can truly customize these pops to meet both your diet and your taste buds!

Ingredients –

  • 4 ripe bananas cut in half
  • Spread of choice
  • Toppings of choice

Directions -

Spread coconut oil, hemp butter, soy yogurt, honey or another item of your choice onto the bananas. Next, roll it over or dip it in the toppings of your choice. Think seeds, sugar-free candy, dried fruit, granola, coconut shavings, raisins or anything else that fits your family’s dietary restrictions.

Expert Tip: All of these recipes make it easy to add a dash of supplements to boost your child’s immune system, or give them a daily dose of medicine they won’t notice. Use flavor-free products when possible and always double-check to make sure the product can be safely mixed and blended. In some cases, applying heat is a supplement no-no, but that isn’t an issue here!

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

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