Posts Tagged ‘Sensitive Children’

Here is the link to the Environmental Working Group’s guide on sunscreens for kids:


Hope it helps!


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Here is the link to the Environmental Working Group’s list of moisturizers with sunscreen – the good and not good.  As a sunscreen hater, I’m doing my best to cover up with non-rashy, non icky sunscreens myself.  I’m finding the one by the Body Shop easiest to find and not too icky.  Good luck to you!

Moisurizer with Sunscreen

And here is the link to list of sunscreens which aren’t bad according to their criteria.  I’m still using Badger for me kids and while it’s pretty icky, they’re both tolerating it.  Phew!


Hope you’re enjoying the summer!



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It’s Thanksgiving!  My kids and I made this last year so I’m reposting the recipe.  We’ll see if I get it done for dinner tonight!  This recipe is adapted from one taken from, The Perfect Pie, by Susan G. Purdy, which is one of my favourite recipe books of all time.

Here you go…

Pie crust:

2 cups flour (we used whole grain spelt flour which makes the crust a little heavy.  You can use white spelt or all-purpose spelt if you like for 1 cup and 1 cup of whole grain spelt.  Our next attempt I’ll use kamut.)

3/4 tsp salt

Optional sweetener: 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (I think the kids threw some sugar in when I wasn’t looking!)

8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter (with our next attempt I might use coconut oil instead

3 Tbsp cold vegetable shortening

1 large egg yolk (save the white part to glaze the semi baked crust)

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (the kids loved squeezing the lemon)

4-5 Tbsp ice water, as needed

(Egg glaze: 1 large egg white beaten with 1 Tbsp water)

Mix the flour, salt, sugar, into a bowl.

Cut up the butter and shortening and work them into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly, with bits the size of rice.

Add the yolk and lemon juice.  Toss lightly.  Add ice water, 1 Tbsp at a time, just until the dough begins to cling together in clumps.

Turn the dough out onto wax paper and form it into a ball, then flatten into a 6 inch disk, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Roll out the pastry to about 1/8th of an inch and grease the 10 inch pan.  Be sure the fluted edge is high so it will contain the filling.  Partially blind bake for 12 minutes with weighted liner (You can buy fancy liners at specialty stores – we used a smaller pie plate.  The liner keeps the pastry from rising and turning into a big puff ball.) Remove the liner and bake for another 5 minutes until starting to look golden.  Brush the warm crust with egg white glaze.  (In the olden days I used my fingers to “brush” on the egg white.  My husband bought me a pastry brush and, well, it’s much better.  Go figure.)  Cool on a wire rack.  Reduce the oven heat to 400 degrees F.  Place a flat baking sheet in the oven to get hot.

The filling:

2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk

2 cups cooked and mashed fresh organic sugar pumpkin

1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar to taste

1 1/2 cups coconut milk (that’s right! the full fat kind from a can (organic is better to avoid the BPA in the liner but it’s pretty hard to find) (I know, I know, genius, right?!))

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (maybe you could use coconut oil if you’re going totally dairy-free?  I haven’t tried it yet since we’re okay with butter in our household)

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp cloves

In an electric mixer or in a bowl with a whisk, beat the eggs and yolk, then add the pumpkin and beat well.  Beat in the sugar, coconut milk, melted butter, salt, and spices.  Set the pan containing the pastry shell on a flat baking sheet for ease in handling.  Pour the filling mixture into the prepared pastry shell, and set it on the preheated flat baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven for 40 – 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the custard 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.  Do not over bake.  When the knife comes clean at the custard’s edge, the pie is done even thought the center may not be set; the internal heat of the pie will complete the baking out of the oven.  Cool the pie on a wire rack.  Serve at room temperature.  (You can use whipped cream as a topping if you like and you’re not dairy-free.  We ate it on it’s own.)  Refrigerate leftovers.

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The Environmental Working Group has come out with it’s recommendations.  Click here to check their evaluated list of sunscreens.

Also check this link to read about a few more don’ts for sunscreen.

Each year my older, very fair skinned and super sensitive daughter and I do a variety of patch tests on each of our forearms and check the results.  This year, Badger did not give her a rash (me? – big rash) and ranked highly on the EWG’s list.  Sounds great, right?

Well, since she is super sensitive, she hates the feel of the sunscreen on her skin.  She hates the scent (unscented) and she hates the lumps.  I must say, I can’t really blame her.  I also eschew sunscreen and, full disclosure, avoid it as often as I can.

I wrote a couple of years ago about things I’ve tried to get the sunscreen onto her skin with no screaming (herself and myself) and in a decent amount of time.  (You can read that post by scrolling down.) Well, a few of them work now that she’s 7.  We have reason and understanding consequences on our side now.  Still, though, while the other kid slathers on any old sunscreen without rash or squirm, the elder kid, has a hard time indeed.

So, dear readers, if you have any suggestions at all, please do leave a comment.

Here’s to a safe and skin-happy summer!

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You may already know that I’m a fan of treats. I think it’s important to make good choices for ourselves in what we eat and drink, but I also think that enjoying life and the flavour and texture of food is important. And for kids, sticking to a super strict diet day in and day out often backfires when they’re on their own, making their own food choices. This is my first post about alternative treats and this one is about…

Ice Cream!

So delicious and so difficult for those of us who can’t tolerate dairy. We don’t eat cow dairy in our household but my kids (and my husband and I) love to go out for an icy treat.

Gelato can be a great dairy-free delight – some flavours are made with cream and many flavours are not. We usually go to Dolce on College street, here in Toronto. The Good Neighbour on Annette also has fabulous, diary-free gelato. Some gelato is coloured artificially, but the old fashioned gelaterias are usually pure and natural.

If you know of any other places serving non-dairy ice cream, please let me know. I’m particularly on the look out for soy-free.

If you’re having ice cream at home or at a party or BBQ or whatever, there are several alternatives to dairy. Here is what I think of them:

Coconut ice cream – soooooooooo yummy. The rich flavour and smooth texture of coconut milk make these treats delightful. There are 2 companies I’m currently enjoying… So Delicious and Coconut Bliss. These are their links:



Soy ice creams – now that there are other options, I’ve stepped back from the soy ice creams. Tofutti and So Good are the brands most readily available and both contain heaping amounts of processed corn products which are difficult to digest and can cause all kinds of health trouble. So Good also contains artificial flavour. Sadly, I have bid adieu to the Toffuti ice cream bars I enjoyed in the past. I’ve included these companies’ links too, in case you want to look at them:



Rice ice cream – Rice Dream brand is the one that’s easiest to find. It’s been around a long time. I still enjoy this type of ice cream although there is a weird aftertaste to some of the flavours. The chocolate and peanut coated ice cream stick is still my favourite. It does contain malted corn. Also, it is manufactured in a plant with dairy so there may be traces of cow products (a scandal back in the early 2000’s!) Here is the link:


Hemp ice cream – I certainly applaud their all natural product and since I haven’t eaten it in quite some time, I’ll have to give it another try. Please let me know what you and your family think about this one:


There are also almond based ice creams available these days. I haven’t tried them yet, so something to look forward to!

Now, when I say treat, I really do mean, a once in a while treat. Say, maybe, 1 time a week? Or even once every couple of weeks? Maybe once a month?
And of course, when the weather changes again, perhaps around mid-Sept, come on in to the clinic and we can organize a cleanse to, well, clean you and your family up to prepare for the colder months. In the meantime, enjoy!

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The Environmental Working Group has come out with their 2012 sunscreen guide.  Check it out at this link:


This organization has rated sunscreens with a variety of criteria and come up with the best and worst ones.

Now, keep in mind, those of us with sensitive children know that we can use the very best product on the market and it may give our kid a rash.  My daughter gets a different rash from different sunscreens each year.  What works one year, doesn’t necessarily work the next.  And what works for her, almost certainly gives me a rash!

Make sure you do a patch test on your sensitive kid to see how their body tolerates the sunscreen.  Put a little sunscreen on the inside of the arm or wrist and wait at least 24 hours to observe for reactions.  3 days is even better.

Also, remember, that sensitive kids experience the feeling of sunscreen on their bodies differently than not-so-sensitive people.  Even if you can’t see a rash or problem on the skin, the scent of the sunscreen or the texture may be awful for them.

Good luck and feel free to let me know which products were okay for your kid’s body.

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This post is about natural remedies to help with bug bites.

Now, I’m sure you have noticed that bugs love to bite some people and  just leave others alone.  I don’t know the science or research behind it but I sure do know that having tons of bites stinks.  I’m one they loooooove to bite.

Turns out, so is my elder daughter.

It also so happens that myself and my daughter are allergic, inflammatory type people and that we react pretty strongly to bug bites.

She swells up with impressive welts and itches like crazy.  I’ve been thrown into a full histamine response with rashes, swelling, fever, diarrhea – the whole bit – just from lots of bites.  Puts a damper on activities like camping, hiking, going to the cottage.

So this last time we went camping, I tried to remember every preventive and comforting remedy I could, so we wouldn’t suffer so much.

Happily, they worked well and though we were both bitten more than the people we sat next to, neither of us reacted in a huge way.  Which means that camping was actually lots of fun!

So here is a short list of cheap, easy things to do to help deal with bug bites.  Feel free to let me know if they work for you and your sensitive kid!

Apis – a homeopathic remedy that can be taken orally (which is what I do with my kids) or topically as a gel or cream.  Apis helps prevent swelling and itching if it’s given early enough.  If it’s given after the fact, it’ll help decrease the swelling and itching.  Homeopathic remedies come in different strengths and this year we went with a higher strength.  I actually watched a welt on my daughter’s leg decrease down to a little bump, right before my eyes.  I see and hear about health improvements all the time, I’m a naturopathic doctor, after all, but this was enough for me to say: whoa.  If you give the remember to give the remedy before bedtime, it’ll help the itching enough that hopefully, your kid will sleep.

Vitamin B – moderates the inflammatory response and keeps swelling and itching at a lower level.  We’ve found that it decreases the itching substantially – the bugs still bite, but the itching isn’t as intense.

Vitamin C – puts off the allergic response and helps tissues rebuild themselves (after having been scratched like crazy.)  So in practical terms, the bites are somewhat less itchy with less swelling and the traumatized skin heals faster.

Stinging nettle tea –  (you can make it as iced tea at the cottage or camping) – a natural anti-histamine it helps the body keep calm and interrupts the over-reaction that creates the swelling and crazy itching.

Aloe – you can slice open the leaves and squish out  the gel to use topically (ingesting it will cause major diarrhea so just topically, please) to calm down the itching and prevent a rash from coming up.  Do a spot test with this one as I’ve had some reports of it making the situation worse, especially if the skin is broken.

Decrease sugar – I know, I know, you’re camping, at the cottage, it’s summer fun-time, you and your kids want to eat buckets of marshmallows and banana boats.  Sugar is like throwing alcohol on fire for the immune system.  It does all kinds of things to increase inflammation and generally cause mayhem for allergies and reactions.  If you keep it to a minimum, it really makes a huge difference for decreased swelling and itching.  Sorry.

Those are a few suggestions.  Dosages for your children should be checked with your Naturopathic Doctor since what may be effective for one kid, may be inappropriate for another.

Good luck and enjoy those delightful great outdoors!

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