Seen on Saturday morning: June 21st

June 21, 2008 7:51:28 AM PDT

Today is the first day of summer and with that comes time for children's parties and get-togethers.

But as you're preparing your food list, you need to keep in mind, food allergies are on the rise.

Joining us this morning with tips on how to be mindful of food allergies and suggestions on some new allergy-friendly foods is Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of allergy and asthma care of New York.

It seems that the incidence of food allergies is on the rise - what are the reasons for this?
Reasons why food allergies have become so prevalent - particularly among children - are unknown. But because of the wider concern, it has become somewhat easier to live a normal life with allergies.

What do you have to do differently when caring for a child that has food allergies?
Living with food allergies is challenging, and is especially difficult for children who are constantly exposed to "forbidden" foods at birthday parties, the playground and at friends' homes. When living with food allergies, a few tips are to:
1) Plan ahead. Speak to the parents of your child's friends to make sure they are informed.
2) Have an emergency plan. Find out if you need to have emergency supplies on hand.
3) Have safe snacks on hand. I always say to be a "Label Detective." Fortunately, these days parents can find a variety of foods that are not only safe to eat, but also kid-friendly.

So how hard is it to find these foods?
In the past, it was incredibly difficult for parents to buy simple kid-friendly items like frozen pizza or snacks for the lunchbox, that are also safe to eat. You would either have to seek out natural food stores or shop at online specialty food stores.

Luckily, there's been a steady increase in the number of kid-friendly, allergen-free foods that can now be found in major supermarkets. Savvy food companies will clearly mark their allergen content for consumers. So look for versions of foods your children already love and read the label.

I've brought some examples that can be found in major supermarkets, typically in the store's "natural & organic food section":

Soy puddings & drinks by ZenSoy

-- Kids love anything that comes in a juice box or single-serve cup. It shows them that it's just for them and makes them feel special.

-- ZenSoy is a brand that has been making organic soy foods for several years which are packaged to be kid-friendly, but their soy pudding and soy milk are also great for kids with dairy allergies or are on a gluten-free diet.

-- It's also nice, though rare, when a brand will carry the same allergy-free content across all its products. All ZenSoy foods are free of dairy (no eggs, lactose or casein), free of nuts and also gluten.

Not Nuts! Nut-Free Trail Mix by Enjoy Life

-- This salty, sweet and crunchy trail mix is great for keeping energy levels up for kids - without the nuts. It makes a great snack that's safe for vacations and summer camp.

-- Bagels are a quick breakfast item that kids love. These are nut and gluten free bagels are great to stock in your freezer for sleep over parties.

Spinach Cheese Pizza with Rice Crust by Amy's Kitchen

-- Kids love pizza. If you suddenly find yourself with a house full of kids for an impromptu play date, it can be helpful to keep allergy-friendly foods in the freezer.

-- For children who can't have nuts, soy or gluten, Amy's Kitchen is another brand that makes natural & organic foods found in the freezer section of the supermarket. Their new spinach pizza comes with a gluten-free crust made from rice flour, and non-dairy soy cheese.

Any other tips to keep in mind?
There's also online shopping - but while it's convenient, you have to plan ahead to allow for shipping time. This method is probably easiest for nut allergies and celiac disease, since specialty online grocers exist for these conditions. However, you can buy nearly any allergy-safe food online. ZenSoy and Enjoy Life, for example, are available at

Be your own advocate. If you're unsure about a food's allergen content, call the food manufacturer. Many companies provide toll-free telephone numbers on their packaging for customers to call with their questions.

Dr. Clifford Bassett



Amy's Kitchen


Losing that last 10 pounds to reach your fitness goal sometimes can be the hardest part of it the whole process.

Joining us this morning with some plateau busters is fitness expert and author of "Fitness Rants of the Chronologically Enriched" Penny Hoff.

Weight-Loss Plateau Busters- How to get unstuck and lose those last ten pounds!

The key is in jump starting your metabolism by using workouts to shock your system into burning more calories by:

-Alternate high intensity bursts of activity w/ recovery time. Instead of jogging, you'd sprint/walk/sprint/walk (Intervals)
-Add Plyometric movement to your workout (Leaps, hops and jumps)
-recommend long slow distances that are 60 minutes plus: like a long walk with the dog or a bike ride. (Successful dieters typically exercise a lot...60-90 minutes a day!)
- A less vigorous way to jump start your metabolism is to use Yoga poses that compress the throat and therefore, the thyroid (the "hard drive" of your metabolism). You'll notice if you clean your computer hard drive, your computer operates faster and in the same manner, compressing your thyroid helps your metabolism work faster!
-No Eating After 8pm. Even if it feels geriatric to eat earlier, you can eat the same daily calories, but if you stop three hours before bedtime, you will lose weight.

If you are at all athletic and over the age of 30, you probably know what Penny is writing about. We all have aches and pains from our decades of active living. And she wants you to keep on doing it ALL, at least until your very last day.

Good Health is just the slowest way to die and she is all for going down slowly!

This is a book for people who want to be inspired to keep doing everything they've been doing the last few decades. If you have an active, athletic lifestyle this book is for you, filled with inspirational, comical stories about how to live vigorously in spite of bunions, arthritis, menopause or tight hamstrings; any limitations caused by age.

If you feel young in your head but one body part or another has become high maintenance, Penny, who has had two hip replacements and is back to her passion of teaching exercise classes, can inspire you to keep moving.

For more information, go to or


Safeguarding your skin, all summer long.

Joining us this morning with some sunscreen favorites is Olessa Pindak, beauty editor at Natural Health magazine.

Cover your skin

The best way to guard your skin is to shield it from the sun.

Wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing.

When you swim, wear a wetsuit. And, if possible, stay out of the midday sun.

Eat more brightly colored fruits and vegetables and drink green tea. High in antioxidants, they can help your skin repair sun damage and fight potentially cancer-causing free radicals. Apply an effective sunscreen.

Whenever your skin is exposed, slather on a lotion high in SPF.

Read labels

Not all sunscreens are alike. It helps to understand the ingredients and know which rays they'll protect you from.

Physical blockers: Minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are used in physical blocks, which provide the most comprehensive coverage. They sit on top of your skin and reflect the rays of the sun, shielding what's underneath. New formulations of physical blocks contain micro-sized particles of zinc, which are smaller than the particles in traditional formulas and won't leave your skin looking white and pasty.

Chemical blockers: Ingredients used in chemical blocks soak into your skin (instead of sitting on the surface) and help prevent damage by breaking down harmful ultraviolet rays.

WHAT SPF means: Sun Protection Factor indicates how much shelter you'll get from the sun's damaging rays. To find out how long a sunscreen will shade you, multiply its SPF by the amount of time your unprotected skin can spend in the sun without burning (for most people, this is between ten and 20 minutes, depending on skin type). If you burn after ten minutes, an SPF of 15 will shield your skin for 150 minutes.

WHAT UVA Rays CAUSE Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays can cause premature aging, such as wrinkles, and may even cause some skin cancers.

WHAT UVB Rays CAUSE Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are more potent, quicker to produce sunburn, and are a major cause of skin cancer. Because UVB rays cause sunburn, SPF always refers only to UVB protection. To defend yourself from both UVA and UVB rays, look for a physical block or a full-spectrum chemical block.

Slather all over
When applying sunscreen, don't forget your ears, neck, and the backs of your legs-places people often overlook. When you put it on your face, start at the outside and move in. Most people miss the edges of their face, so starting there will help make sure every part is covered.

Physical blocks for your body

Jason Sunbrellas Mineral Based Physical Sunblock SPF 30 ($14;
Alba Botanica Aloe Vanilla Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 18 ($10;
Dr. Hauschka Sunscreen Spray SPF 15 ($24;
Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF 70 ($11; at drugstores)
Coola Face SPF 30 ($30;
Vichy UV Activ Daily Moisturizer Cream with Sunscreen SPF 15 ($29;

Chemical blocks for your body

Chemical blockers contain ingredients that can break down in the sun. To avoid that, look for ones with stabilizers like Mexoryl (found in all L'oreal sunscreen), Helioplex (found in Neutrogena and Aveeno and AvoTriplex (found in Banana Boat)

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock SPF 70 ($10; at drugstores)
Banana Boat Ultra Mist Sport Performance Dri-Blok SPF 30 ($10; at drugstores)
Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF 70 ($11: at drugstores)
Coola Face SPF 30 ($30;
Vichy UV Activ Daily Moisturizer Cream with Sunscreen 15 ($29;

Some other options we love at Natural Health:

DDF Enhancing Sun Protection - SPF 30 ($30;
Olay Complete Defense - Daily UV moisturizer SPF 30($14; at drugstores)
Aveeno Continuous Protection - Sunblock Spray SPF 70 ($9; at drugstores)