Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Kelly Dorfman, Part Two: The Interview

January 11th, 2012 · 21 Comments · Natural Health, Science of Nutrition

Last week’s notes from a talk by Kelly Dorfman, author of What’s Eating Your Child?, seemed to resonate with many people. It’s always so clear to me that what we eat affects our health, our mood, and our children’s behavior.

It’s not so clear to the rest of the world.

I was pleased to get a chance to sit down with Dorfman after her talk last summer and have a one-on-one chat with her about nutrition. I brought questions from readers and my own curious thoughts, and here’s what we talked about:

Kitchen Stewardship: Why is it so hard to convince doctors and the general population that diet affects both behavior and health?

Kelly Dorfman: They’re just not trained. You don’t ask plumber about electricity – medical education is subsidized by medications, so that’s what they learn.

KS: What’s with gluten sensitivities being so prevalent nowadays?

KD: GMO grain combined with higher exposure because gluten is in everything.

KS note: I had found similar reasons when I researched gluten intolerances the year before. Read more HERE.

KS: Can some food allergies or sensitivities be reversed through a gut cleansing diet? Which ones? Is there a difference in probability of “healing” with gluten intolerance/sensitivity and a true allergy (celiac)?


KD: Yes, it’s definitely possible; it doesn’t always work cleanly and neatly, but it often works. You can’t just remove the trigger food, but you have to eat foods that heal too…Probiotics and enzymes, etc.

Celiac is a narrow type of reaction, an auto-immune disease – but gluten sensitivities can have just as many reactions as a true celiac.

Celiac takes 11 years on average to diagnose. [That probably won't get any better, as there's] no push to get quicker at it because there’s no cool drugs to treat it. Traditional diagnosis for gluten sensitivity is to rule out celiac, and if you still have gluten problems, you are sensitive.

[Every person has a total] gluten load, the amount of gluten in a lifetime that your body can handle. At some point you reach your load and then the colon stops functioning.

We chatted a minute about my husband, who has Crohn’s and a gluten sensitivity, but we’re not sure what the gluten does to him, really. Kelly mentions VSL-3 as the strongest probiotic on market – by prescription only and great for Crohn’s – in 21 days, many see positive changes in healing in IBD. (It’s wayyyy pricey though.) She also said Garden of Life probiotics (what we do take) is not strong enough. Nothing wrong with mixing it up and taking 2 a day of EACH one. (Ugh, more expensive yet. Food for thought for me; I haven’t done anything other than look at the website and make note of the high price.)

KS: How does white sugar harm not just those super sensitive to it, but everyone who consumes it?

KD: Nature isn’t wasteful; God didn’t create junk. Sugar is just space – taking calories of diet with no nutrients with it. Dead space. It’s not unusual for a person to eat 20% of their diet in sugar – [if you do that,] you’re operating at 80% efficiency.

Honey is a whole food and has other nutrients with it. I’m not a fan of agave. Although the sugar alcohols are non-caloric, xylitol is fermenting – yeast will gas you up with them. Erythritol is non-fermenting, but still not good. The diabetic candy [with it] makes some people have diarrhea. Unrefined cane sugar is marginally better, but still pretty concentrated.

Katie’s thought: That’s pretty much what I’ve determined through the Sweet, Sweet Summer series, which I plan to finish up for Valentine’s Day!

KS: Do legumes play a role in a healthy diet?

KD: Legumes are a hard sell for kids, but they absolutely have a role in healthy diet. Even vegetarians under-utilize legumes. Americans don’t have great bean cuisine.

“Aha!” Katie thought. I have a whole book about beans, including lots of kid-friendly recipes! Plus, dear reader, I’m even getting beans into the second edition of Healthy Snacks to Go! Now that we’re settled in, I can polish it up and send it out to all the owners of the original!

It felt like we had a much longer interview than my notes would make you think – so much more I probably could have asked her!

Be sure to check out part one of Kelly Dorfman’s talk about good nutrition for children.

Parabens in Food

On a very related note, I was testing the new Berkey with red food coloring yesterday and noticed something alarming. As bad as I know food coloring is already, I’ve often said that I use it in my own home so infrequently (birthdays and Easter eggs) that I’m just not willing to take the time to learn fancy alternatives.


I might have to figure some out.

There are PARABENS in my food coloring!

So now whenever I let my kids have candy, not only are they getting yucky sugar, excitotoxin food coloring, but also parabens, which I just told you on Monday that I wasn’t allowing in our house anymore to put on our skin?!?


I didn’t throw all my food coloring out yet, but only because I will need to test the Berkey’s efficiency every 6 months. Oh, and I’m incredibly frugal and that kills me.

I was already considering having the entire family “give up” artificial colors completely for Lent…and this kind of clinches it. I’ll have to talk to my husband, but I’m thinking I’d like to challenge you all to come along on the ride with me! Anyone interested?

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21 Comments so far ↓

  • Tina Fisher

    I’ve been reading Kelly’s book & just got results of celiac test for my 4 year old. Negative.

    Relief but…..

    Still reading and we are still going GF for 3-6 mo.

    Thanks for posting notes.

  • Kadee

    Oh how I wish the internet was around way back when – my husband had ulcerative colitis, and we only treated with meds. We didn’t try anything else because we didn’t know, and totally trusted the doctors. He ended up having surgery to remove his colon due to the severity of symptoms and no response to the meds available at the time. What if we hadn’t been so young and dumb, and had the internet to read blogs like yours? Who knows what we could have prevented with probiotics and dietary changes!!

  • Jenna

    Sheesh – parabens in food coloring?! You have to read the label on everything!! This is a naive question, but what foods do you eat that have food coloring in them? You seem to avoid processed foods . . .

    Katie Reply:

    We still have candy floating around our house, but I was actually just putting away the food coloring itself (for homemade frosting and crafts) and noticed it!
    :) Katie

  • Tiffany

    I didn’t know your husband has Crohn’s. I have it as well but have almost zero symptoms so I haven’t done any food modifications. I do take Pentasa to keep the inflammation down (and help avoid a future surgery), calcium, vitamin D and a probiotic recommended by my naturopath. I’ve had it for 15 years and so far, so good. Hopefully another 50 years of relative healthiness.

  • Tiffany

    Katie – I quickly looked on the VS3 site to see what local pharmacies were carrying it. My area showed only Costco so I called them and they told me it’s only $40. Which might just be worth renewing my membership there :)

    Katie Reply:

    Thanks, Tiffany! I’ve been pondering getting a membership at Cosco…$40 for how many days? The probiotic we’re taking is maybe $50 for 3 mos. or so… My DH isn’t on any prescriptions, but he did have surgery 8 years ago…
    :) Katie

    Tiffany Reply:

    I think it was $40 for a 1 month supply. 60 capsules at 2 per day.

  • Janelle

    My child’s iron drops have parabens in them. Ugh…

  • Emily @ Random Recycling

    I read Kelly’s book a couple of months ago when it was first released ( and I passed it along to a friend who’s daughter has severe allergies and eczema. I got a lot out of the book, especially the chapters about ear infections. We started limiting the diary for my daughter and we’ve only had once since then after 3 in a row last winter.

  • nopinkhere

    Use your food coloring to dye playsilks! That’s what I mostly use mine for: direction at Make Baby Stuff

    Emily Reply:

    and play-dough!

  • deah :)

    !!Fantastic article..thanks so much for sharing!! Very interesting to someone recovering…so slowly..from ulcerative colitis (among many other things it led to) from a gluten sensitivity! I stilll claim it was worth the trial bc it has caused our family to wake up to truly healthy eating/living and has improved quality of life for each one of us! Aaand helped reveal a gluten sensitivity in my child, which I was told was “just their makeup.” Praise God for taking something so horrible and using it for good!
    anyway…I wanted to let you know “SEELECT”
    Of sells natural food coloring (I found it at my local community natural food store. I just purchased purple for my dter (life is boring w/o color, you know)’s made from purple carrot extract. I haven’t tried it yet, but i’m pretty excited for the opportunity to present itself. Of course, I’ve heard of making your own, too…but one more thing wasn’t on my itinerary right now. ;)

  • Holly @ Faithful Womanhood

    In nursing school we were rarely educated on any natural remedies. It was all about pharmacology and medical interventions. I assume the same goes for med school. It’s all about money out in the real world and pharmaceutical companies have the power, unfortunately. Thanks for this fascinating post series!

  • Emily

    Guess I should go peruse your sourdough section again, but was wondering if anyone has heard anything about lower effects/amount added to total gluten load when eating sourdough (or sprouted or soaked wheat)?

    Katie Reply:

    Eh, some say maybe, but it’s really unproven. Lowering the gluten load is best done by eating less wheat period, or trying spelt which is slightly lower in gluten (but still not safe for celiacs or many gluten sensitive people). Gluten is a protein, and shouldn’t really be affected by the good processes of soaking/souring/sprouting, unfortunately (although I wish it did). :) Katie

  • Andrea

    Thank you for pointing me to this fantastic book! I ordered it after your post last week and am so grateful that I did. It is a gold mine of information. I hope many people will read it and benefit!

  • peggy

    Thanks for the info. Katie, did she mention a good probiotic to take. We also take Garden of Life and she said its not strong enough? Thanks.

    Katie Reply:

    She rec’d…

  • Katy

    just bought this book.. I shared on my FB and some of my friends bought the book!!! Thanks for all of your info Katie!

  • What’s Eating Your Child {Book Review}

    [...] the event and was completely sucked into a lecture that I wasn’t even attending.  She later interviewed Kelly Dorfman about her book What’s Eating Your Child? The Hidden Connection Between Food and Childhood [...]

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.