blog · health

Tips To Avoid Gluten & Why Wheat Is Bad

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On restaurant menus all across the nation and in virtually every grocery store that you walk into, gluten-free foods are readily accessible, but ever since the groundbreaking New England Journal of Medicine review was published in 2002, the dangers of celiac disease and how to avoid gluten have rapidly become household concerns.

According to Mark Hyman, MD, the widespread effects of eating gluten are essentially without end, and most of the following diseases have been linked to eating wheat and gluten-containing foods:

  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Canker sores
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Fatigue
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Most autoimmune diseases
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Schizophrenia

It would be difficult to find any medical doctor or naturopath who doesn’t advise limiting gluten consumption, let alone leaving it out altogether from your meal plan. Gluten-awareness has been so successful that even people without gluten sensitivity avoid gluten as a preventative measure.

This is really interesting because humans have existed on wheat and gluten-containing grains since the beginning of recorded history, but these grains have all been but vilified by our nation today! Is gluten really bad for everyone even if you don’t suffer from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease?

Why Wheat Really Is Bad

Desiccating is a common farming technique when wheat farmers literally drench their fields with the chemical Roundup several days before harvesting their crop. The reason this is so effective for wheat farmers is because it causes the wheat to go to seed before it dies, which boosts the crop unnaturally. At the same time this kills the competing rye grass, which takes care of a major weed problem that wheat farmers’ battle.

This practice is not licensed. Consumers eating products made from wheat flour are undoubtedly consuming minute amounts of Roundup. An interesting side note, malt barley which is made into beer, is not acceptable in the marketplace if it has been sprayed with pre-harvest Roundup. Lentils and peas are not accepted in the market place if it was sprayed with pre-harvest Roundup…but wheat is ok. This farming practice greatly concerns me and it should further concern consumers of wheat products.

Contrary to popular belief, wheat and gluten-containing products may not be bad in-and-of themselves. There is actually a growing body of evidence that suggests gluten isn’t unhealthy at all, and the reason people have reactions after consuming it is because of the dangerous chemicals used in conventional farming practices; namely, the use of Roundup. Some doctors believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the glyphosate (Roundup), not the GMO’s or gluten, that annihilates the gut flora and leads to chronic inflammation that has characterized gluten-related autoimmune diseases and other ailments.

There’s an extremely strong correlation between the use of Roundup on corn and soy over time and the increase in all these different diseases, and celiac disease is one of them. We certainly have seen an explosive appearance of celiac disease almost overnight in the last five to 10 years. Now you have a growing section of gluten-free choices of various food products. Lots of people are intolerant to gluten, of course. But people aren’t thinking, ‘Why is this now true? This didn’t use to be true’.

 

How To Avoid Gluten

So why avoid gluten? The bottom line is that even if gluten isn’t bad for us, we should stay away from most conventional grains because of the dangerous conventional farming techniques that use Roundup. With that said, it may seem overwhelming to do this because gluten is everywhere. In reality, it’s a lot of work at first, but after a while living gluten-free is quite easy.

1. Break Up With Wheat and All Her Cousins

First and foremost on your list is to stop eating all non-organic flours. This is one of the best steps you can take. When doing so, avoid these gluten-containing products:

  • Barley
  • Bulgar
  • Flour
  • Durum Flour
  • Triticale
  • Kamut
  • Oats (unless labeled as “gluten-free”)
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Wheat Bran
  • Wheat Germ
  • Wheat Graham
  • White Flour
  • Whole Wheat

2. Stop Eating The Foods That Commonly Use Wheat

Next on your to-do list is to avoid these food items that regularly contain wheat:

  • Beer
  • Bread
  • Cakes
  • Cereal
  • Cookies
  • Couscous
  • Crackers
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Muffins
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Pastries

3. Avoid Hidden Sources of Gluten

After you have tackled all obvious signs of wheat and gluten, it’s time to take it one step further and give all the hidden gluten sources the boot!

  • Broth and bouillon cubes
  • Bread crumbs and croutons
  • Candy
  • Fried foods
  • Imitation fish
  • Lunch meats  and hot dogs
  • Malt
  • Matzo
  • Modified food starch
  • Seasoned chips and other seasoned snack foods
  • Salad dressings
  • Self-basting turkey
  • Soy sauce
  • Seasoned rice and pasta mixes

4. Be Cautious When Eating Out

Keeping a gluten-free diet on the road isn’t as challenging as you may think. If you’re traveling or want to give yourself a break from making your meals, you can safely eat at many chain restaurants all across the nation because many have gluten-free menus. These restaurants are some of the best:

Chipotle – Chipotle is #1 because of their commitment to go GMO-free. You can eat in confidence knowing that your food is just as healthy as it is tasty! Simply stay away from the burritos and you can pretty much eat anything at Chipotle.

Panera Bread – It sounds crazy that a bakery has gluten-free options, but Panera has done a fantastic job catering to ALL of their customers. About 5 years ago, Panera was one of the first chain restaurants to offer their “Hidden Menu,” which is mostly gluten-free and includes some tasty options like:

  • Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey
  • Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak
  • Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad
  • Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad
  • Power Chicken Hummus Bowl
  • Power Steak Lettuce Wraps

Ruby Tuesday – Preparing one of the best, most affordable salad bars in the nation, Ruby Tuesday offers a nice selection of gluten-free options. They have put together the most extensive “Gluten Free Menu” on the market and includes a detailed list of every item on their menu for people allergic to eggs, fish, milk, MSG, peanut/tree nuts, shell fish, soy, and wheat/gluten.

5. Ways To Enjoy Great Gluten-Free Alternatives

At the end of the day, the safest food to eat is the food that YOU make, so include more homemade recipes into your daily health regimen.

On your quest to go gluten-free, the easiest step of all is to enjoy a great variety of tasty, healthy gluten-free recipes that you find on the Internet, and you can make them in the comfort of your own home. A little bit of planning goes a long way towards healthy meals.

health

6 Tips For A Healthy Autumn

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One thing we can always be guaranteed of in life is change. Nature reminds us of this in the ever-changing rhythm of the seasons.

The temperatures are becoming cooler and the days are shorter. The morning air is brisk, and it’s time to start thinking about winter coats and wool hats.

Those long, summer days of bright berries, crisp salads and succulent fresh fruit are almost behind us. While you might be disappointed to see the last of the summer salads, there are a plethora of yummy foods for you to choose from in Autumn.

Here are 6 tips to help you eat healthy and live a vibrant, healthy life this Autumn season.

1. Always buy food in season.

With the arrival of the new season, now is the time to change your diet! Embrace the yummy foods that Autumn offers. Enjoy fresh pumpkins, parsnips, yams, winter squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, apples, pears, figs, elderberries and even cranberries!

Some of my favorite fresh seasonal dishes are creamy pumpkin soups, roasted root vegetables, baked sweet potatoes, caramelized pears and crisp apple pies.

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2. Eat your autumn colors!

Autumn is the season of warm, earthy colors; think deep greens, dark yellows and brilliant oranges. The more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the better it is for your health and your immune system.

3. Boost your immune system.

With the changing season, now is the perfect time to boost your immune system.

Whenever you feel the need for a boost to your immune system, first look to nature. Some of my favorite natural immune-boosters are: to drink plenty of fresh water, eat plenty of alive (living) raw foods, garlic, lysine, probiotics, Vitamins B, C and D, reishi mushrooms, zinc, propolis and Manuka honey.

Another powerful way to boost your immune system and keep strong is to use the power of gentle exercise. This brings me to my next point, tip number 4.

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4. Embrace gentle movements.

In summertime, it’s so lovely to spend time outside. For many, this sunny weather allows them to move their body naturally, using gentle movements such as walking on the beach.

But, don’t let cooler temperatures stop you from moving your body! Far too many people stop exercising and spend more time doing sedentary activities indoors.

One way you can keep moving during the cooler season is to bring your activity inside: bounce on a rebounder, do yoga at home, or go to the gym or find a dancing class!

Find an enjoyable way to gently move your body, so that this year you keep yourself fit and healthy.

autumn-spices

5. Eat more seasonal spices.

Cinnamon, pumpkin spice, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves are quintessential scents of fall, and they offer plenty of health benefits to boot. Cinnamon, for example, may help reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.

Enjoying fall spices in some of your favorite recipes can even help you shed some fat. One recent study from Penn State University found that people who consumed two tablespoons of spices (like cinnamon and cloves) in their meals had 30 percent lower levels of blood fats than those who skipped the spices. Sprinkle some cinnamon or nutmeg on your coffee or bake some into your favorite dish to make the most of these seasonal spices.

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6. Live aligned with the season.

As the season shifts, give yourself permission to make different choices and changes in your lifestyle.

The shorter days and longer nights are the perfect excuse to take the time to really look after yourself. Use this Autumn as an ideal time to hibernate, giving yourself time for you.

Spend time relaxing at home, wrapped up with a hot water bottle, wearing your favorite pajamas and enjoying early nights. Watch movies, drink chai tea, or start writing that book you’ve always dreamt about writing.

Autumn is a nice time to slow down and enjoy some internal reflection. Allow this season to be a chance to nurture yourself by eating fresh seasonal foods and living in alignment with nature. I hope that these tips help you to stay strong and healthy!

recipes

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

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The season of pumpkin spice everything is upon us, and I am so excited. Sometimes our favorite coffee joints, restaurants, bakeries and recipes go overboard on adding sugar and not-so-healthy ingredients into their pumpkin concoctions. I am here to give you all of that pumpkin-y, flavorful deliciousness you crave, but in a diet-friendly manner. What more could you ask for?

With the perfect ingredients of pumpkin puree, mixed with the sweetness of banana and maple syrup, combined with the creaminess of Greek yogurt, milk and vanilla, and topped with the decadent flavor of pumpkin pie spice, this Pumpkin Smoothie is sure to leave you in complete pumpkin bliss. The best part about this creamy treat? It can be made in mere minutes, which makes it absolutely perfect for those days when you need a pick-me-up on your way out the door!

Ingredients:

  •  2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ banana, peeled, sliced and frozen
  • ½ cup nonfat milk
  • ¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract OR maple extract
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

And that’s it! It’s easily adjusted to fit any special dietary needs. For those sensitive to dairy, just replace the milk and yogurt with plant-based milk and yogurt. For those on a sugar free diet, just replace the maple syrup with stevia or any of your favorite sugar free options.

recipes

Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice Latte

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted here and I want to apologize for the long absence! Things have been a little busy for me lately between doctor appointments and work but I’ll get to that in another post for another day.

It’s almost my favorite time of year and I wanted to share with you a delicious drink you can enjoy when the weather starts to get chilly.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte – the harbinger of fall. For many, this is the drink that makes an entire season. But even as an occasional fall treat, there’s a couple of issues with the traditional pumpkin spice latte that you can get at a coffee shop.

A typical pumpkin spice latte can contain up to 64 grams of sugar (in a 20 oz. cup)! That’s about 12 teaspoons. No wonder these things are so addictive. But sugar is not part of a healthy diet. While it’s ok to indulge sometimes, you can replace the sugar in your diet with alternatives that support healthy hormones and battle unwanted weight gain.

Did you know most of those drinks you can buy don’t even contain real pumpkin? Why is that a big deal? Because pumpkin is packed with nutrients that feed your brain and support your vision. The rich color translates to high beta-carotene content, a potent antioxidant and a precursor for the essential fat-soluble vitamin A. Just one cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which is crucial for keeping your eyes young and your bones, skin, and other connective tissue strong. Pumpkin also contains decent levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that support eye and brain health.

So drink on up!

Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice Latte

Makes: 4-6 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups plain brewed coffee (decaf works for this too)
  • 1 ¼ cup full fat, unsweetened coconut milk (or any non dairy milk)
  • 3 tbsp. organic pumpkin puree (canned is ok!)
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • Optional:  1-2 tsp. xylitol or stevia (to taste)
  • Optional: 2 tbsp. raw whipped cream or whipped coconut cream on top

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Over medium heat, simmer for approximately five minutes.  Stir well to evenly blend it all together.
  2. In a high-speed blender, blend on high for 30 seconds until creamy and frothy.
  3. Optional: add xylitol, monk fruit, stevia, or other natural sweetener.
  4. Optional: add raw cream/whipped cream on top for a special treat, if you can find it!

It’s important to feel like you can have a treat now and then without spiraling into a blood sugar mayhem. Stick to this recipe for a quick energy boost along with some added nutrients from the pumpkin.

For those of us who may not want coffee, you can still drink it as it is, just leave out the coffee. It makes a great hot drink to sip on before bedtime.

And don’t forget to use a cute mug, cause it’s all about presentation, right?

recipes

The Secret Ingredient For Smooth, Sweet, Banana-Free Smoothies + Recipes

 

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We all love to throw a banana in our smoothies for that creamy, sweet texture, but sometimes it’s good to take a break. If you’re eating a smoothie every day (or you’re simply intolerant to bananas), there’s a secret ingredient you can use to make sure your smoothies not only taste amazing but also pack a nutritional punch.

Meet Medjool dates!

Medjool dates are a rising star in the produce department thanks to their delicious flavor and powerful nutritional composition. One serving (2 Medjool dates) has 33 grams of carbs and 281 mg of potassium. (That’s 50 percent more potassium by weight than bananas.)

The potassium, fiber, and mineral-filled Medjool dates have a caramel-like flavor that perfectly sweetens smoothies.

If you have a high-powered blender, simply drop Medjool dates in with whatever else you’re blending. If you don’t, blend your Medjool dates with the water first (with greens and any other high-fiber ingredients), then add the frozen components and any other bonus ingredients.

Here are a few recipes to get you started!

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Strawberry and Beet Superfood Smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • ½ cup sliced beets (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup dark leafy greens like spinach or kale
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 scoop protein powder

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients together for 60 seconds in a high-powered blender.
  2. Enjoy in a glass or bowl! Add toppings like nuts, seeds or carob chips!

 

Blueberry-Muffin-Smoothie

Blueberry Superfood Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 3 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup chopped raw or frozen kale
  • ¼ cup frozen riced cauliflower
  • 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ tablespoon all natural almond butter (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons oats or oat bran
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients together for 60 seconds in a high-powered blender.
  2. Enjoy in a glass or bowl, and top with toppings of choice!

 

 

 

 

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