Thursday, December 19, 2013

Vegetarian, Gluten Free Enchiladas

A favorite meal at my household for all is vegetarian enchiladas. They are very easy and quick to made, which is great because we have a toddler and never seem to have enough time. I sometimes use plain corn tortillas or brown rice ones I buy at the store.


Corn Tortillas
Pinto Beans, Cooked
Onions, Diced
Summer Squash, Diced
Peppers, Diced


Preheat oven to 350. Sauté the onions. When they are translucent, add the summer squash and peppers. Cook for five minutes until tender. Set aside.

Scramble the eggs and cook them in a separate pan.

You can sauté each tortilla in oil in a heated pan if you aren't watching your fat intake, or just rub a little oil on the outside. Not added any oil will mean your tortillas will be dry and crispy. Add the beans, eggs, vegetables, and cheese. Bake in the oven for ten minutes.

After removing the enchiladas from the oven, add the guacamole and salsa to taste.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Is Gluten Free Baking TOO Complicated for YOU?

One of my mother's favorite complaints is the amount of food I keep at my house, which is funny because we have a hard time keeping the food that we want on hand. For a long time, my gluten free baking was the largest section of all in my pantry. I had 30 kinds of flours and mixes, not to mention the usual items: baking soda, baking powder, flavorings, nuts, sugars, etc. I mostly try to follow her advice, though to make tasty, gluten free baked goods, you often NEED several kinds of flour and to follow the recipe exactly. Missing a cup of one type of flour means you must rush out to the store to buy it.

Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour
However, there is a solution. If you want to simplify your gluten free pantry so that you need only ONE type of flour, I recommend Bob's Red Mill's All Purpose Baking Flour. This flour is very versatile and it has the health benefit of garbanzo bean flour being its first ingredient. Note that this won't work well for breads requiring the dough to rise. You can instead buy mixes as you need them.

Some healthy, gluten free diet advocates recommend sticking only to nut flours, although I feel that is excessive for most gluten free individuals and unnecessary. It IS a good idea to include those flours in your baking. And I DO recommend going of all grains, at least temporarily, if you have Candidae or if grains seem to cause gastrointenstinal distress even after going off all gluten. Although when I had an skin allergy test, I reacted to almost every commonly used grain, by going through the elimination diet several times, I determined I'm only symptomatic with wheat, barley, rye, oats, and dairy. Most grains don't bother me, so my only concern is a healthy, gluten free/dairy free diet and eating enough to fuel my exercise habit.

I often use this flour, or a mix that I combine myself, add about a teaspoon of xanthum gum, and follow a regular, wheat flour recipe for cookies, pies, and sweet breads. For dessert-type of baked goods, it almost always turns out great! For breads that require the dough to rise, you'll need to be more careful and follow the directions as precisely as possible unless you want to experiment many times.

What type of flours do you use? Please leave a comment below:

Monday, December 16, 2013

8 Tips for Preparing for the Holiday Stress

When this time of year rolls around, I’m filled with mixed emotions – excitement over baking, decorating, and family gatherings AND anxiety over the possibility of overeating sweets, getting the wrong gifts, and conflicts with family members. If you’re like me, you need an arsenal ready for preparing for the stress to come.

1.       Prepare

First, load up on whatever you do to lower stress NOW before the holidays really kick in – yoga, running, hiking, listening to music, etc.

Also, if you know you’ll be eating nothing but cookies, pie, and ham at your great-aunt’s house next week, load up on vegetables and fruit now. It might not help with the sudden lack of fiber, but it WILL help prevent vitamin deficiencies.

2.       Diet

Try to continue eating as healthily as possible by BRINGING YOUR OWN FOOD. I'm always in favor of this. You'll feel better, your host will feel relieved, and it is better than needing to rush out to the grocery store on Christmas Eve.

Healthy snacks will give you more energy and keep you from feeling tired and cranky as you’re rushing through traffic from one holiday gathering to the next. If you’re going to a place where gluten free food is scarce, pack full meals if you must and limit your stay accordingly.

3.       Plan Ahead

If you have to drive nine hours with your ten kids, it’s especially important to plan breaks to get out and walk or play and pack healthy, gluten free snacks. All  this means planning ahead.

Also, it is important to have a back-up plan, such as what will you do if you’re stuck in a blizzard and the traffic grinds to a halt? You could stay at a hotel, of course, but if that’s outside your budget, you could just stop for a while at a museum, mall, or playground on your route. Studying your route in advance and having reliable internet service can help.

4.       Drink Water

This will curb your overeating, keep you feeling good, and prevent fatigue. Don’t underestimate the power of hydration. For long car rides, remember it’s more important to be stopping for bathroom breaks than to become tired from dehydration.


5.       Sleep

People who get a full eight hours of sleep a night are healthier AND less likely to be overweight. It also reduces stress.

6.       Meditate

If you’re trying to lose weight or keep to a healthy diet, meditating for a few minutes each morning with this in mind can help you stick to your goal.

7.       Don’t set your goals too high!

Planning not to eat any sweets or refined carbs will almost certainly result in failure. For me, it’d be impossible to say ‘no’ if a relative made a special, gluten free dessert or loaf of bread for me. The hard part might be sticking to just a small serving. You can solve this by taking one cookie and a spoonful of fruit salad or an apple, if they are available.  


8.       Relax

Lastly, remember that the holidays really only last a short time. If you fall off your diet plan, such as eating too many cookies, remember that doesn’t mean you’ve completely blown it. You can go right back to following a healthy diet as soon as everything normalizes again. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may need to run, swim, or walk a few extra miles.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ten Tips on Fueling an Active, Gluten Free Lifestyle

Do you like to run? Lift weights? Compete in triathlons? And are you trying to do this while sticking to a gluten free diet? If so, these tips are for you.

1. Protein

This is important whether you're an athlete who is on or off the GF diet plus it's important for anyone on the GF diet since protein can be skimped on easily. Make sure you get the right amount of protein for your weight - roughly half. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 75 grams of protein per day. Add extra if you're trying to build muscle.

I highly recommend PlantFusion Pea Protein for anyone who is dairy free.

2. Before Workout Snack

Eat a snack 30 - 60 minutes before a workout. This can be as simple as half a banana, but it also could be some whole grains and protein.

3. Post-Workout Snack

This should be eaten within 2 hours of a workout and should be protein-packed. There are many options available. You can do a Kind protein bar, a smoothie, eggs, meat, peanut butter on bread or with fruit, nuts, or yogurt, for example.

4. Smoothies

I use the PlantFusion Pea Protein in my smoothies, but if you eat dairy, whey protein can be good too. Adding some berries, bananas, almonds, and mild-tasting vegetables can give any protein smoothie and extra edge.

5. Sleep

If you've started a new workout regimen or are trying to move on to the next level in your fitness level, make sure you get an hour of sleep more than you would normally need. For most people, that's at least 9 hours.

If you have trouble sleeping, try sticking to the same bedtime and wake up time every night and don't go more than a day without a good workout. Your body won't be able to adjust if it's used to workouts daily and you skip. If you wake up and find you can't sleep, five to ten minutes of yoga each night can help. Also, eating a sleep-inducing snack before lying down can help, such as whole grain bread, eggs, a banana, or a glass of milk.

6. Watch the Sugar

Too much sugar can cause energy lows and will also make healthy food less palatable. Reduce or eliminate the sugar especially first thing in the morning and in the two hours before going to bed. If you have a sweet tooth that fruit won't satisfy, eating something salty probably will help.

7. Veggies

What they say is true. The vitamins and minerals in vegetables will make you healthier and a better athlete. Duh!

For tips on adding vegetables to your diet, check out my post "Five Easy Ways to Add Veggies into Your Gluten Free Diet."

8. Eat Enough

This may seem silly, but no, really. The gluten free diet is hard and if you're trying to only eat healthy foods, it's easy to skimp on something many Americans struggle with - calories. If you've hit a plateau in your performance, consider counting calories to make sure you're getting enough. Do you feel shaky after workouts? It could be that you need more calories. Note: This doesn't mean reaching your calorie demands by eating junk food. Plan ahead and bring healthy snacks along with you. Eat BEFORE you're hungry.

If you're reluctant to eat more because you're trying to lose weight, you'll likely be sacrificing your performance for weight loss - AND the weight loss may fail. You may choose to lose the weight and then become more serious about your competitions. Another option (my preferred one) is to first work on building muscle, then once they are established, cutting the calories a little. When you just start lifting weights or begin a new fitness program, sometimes it's hard to suppress the hunger. My recommendation is DON'T TRY! Just pick something healthy to eat! After a few months, you might be surprised by how much thinner you look and how much weight you lost without even dieting.

9. Hydrate

Hydration includes both water and electrolytes. Most GF people don't eat out a lot, which also cuts out a lot of sodium. If you're sweating and drinking a lot of water, that can wash the electrolytes out of your body quickly. There are plenty of sports drinks available, though I've never been a fan because they are usually very sweet. Coconut water is something many people enjoy. You can also eat salted popcorn and add salt to your meals when you otherwise might not. Salt isn't something GF athletes should be trying to avoid unless a doctor specifically recommends it or unless you know you usually consume too much.

10. Whole Grains

This is especially important for an athlete with prolonged workouts, such as long bike rides or runs of more than half an hour. You need carbohydrate reserves for these workouts. Be sure to eat more quinoa, buckwheat, teff, brown rice, or whatever your grain of choice is the day before a long race or work-out. Check out my article on Whole Grains for more gluten free whole grain ideas.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Five Easy Ways to Add Veggies Into Your Gluten Free/Dairy Free Diet

1. Eat Your Veggies First

You may use this on your kids and it's a great trick for adults too. Vegetables are filling and often take a while to chew, so get them into your body first before you're tired of eating or too full!

2. Add Spinach to a Yummy Smoothie

I do this almost daily because it's the easiest way to get leafy greens and oranges into my toddler and enough protein into me.

She LOVES them!!! She gets so excited once I turn on my blender. If you're too busy some days to turn on the blender and clean up, you can freeze smoothies in ice cube trays and then transfer them into freezer bags to get a stockpile of it ready for you to grab before leaving the house. It's also great to have it frozen for a road trip so it stays good for longer.

Here's my favorite recipe:

1/2 cup raw, unsalted almonds
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup strawberries
1 banana
1 orange
1 scoop of pea protein (vegan, gluten free)
1/2 cup of frozen spinach

3. Make Your Salad Taste Good

If I try to "watch the salad dressing" the way diet experts recommend, I just don't eat salad! The only way around not using dressing for me is to add raisons, chopped apples, peas, sunflower seeds, and other toppings in with the salad mix. And, yes, I have lost a lot of weight that way. I lost 30 pounds mostly by eating A LOT of salads starting before and after I became gluten free.

4. Replace Meat with Beans

Since I used to vegan before realizing I couldn't eat gluten, I never considered beans to be vegetables, but they are. If you are used to meat and potatoes three meals a day like many Americans, try one vegetarian day a week at first and replace the meat with tasty bean dishes, such as fried tofu, pinto bean enchiladas, a hummus, avocado, and egg sandwich, or vegan lasagna with tofu rather than meat. If you eat dairy, try not to replace meat with cheese since that can be very fattening.

5. Curb Your Sweet Tooth

If you give up sugar for a week, veggies WILL taste better. Also, if you ever feel like any food that isn't sweet bores you, giving up sugar, at least temporarily, is a MUST!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Five Tips on Balancing Your Career and a Gluten Free/Dairy Free Diet

Since I had to travel overnight for work regularly for five and a half years, all while trying to maintain a gluten free diet, I've learned a lot about WHAT NOT TO DO. This is a list of what TO DO to help other gluten free people in a demanding career that requires overnight travel.

1. Bring Your Own Food

It's better to BRING YOUR OWN FOOD and not eat it then to NOT HAVE ENOUGH.
After a rough first couple of years, I learned to bring a large cooler with healthier food, such as soy milk, salad mix, fruit, homemade bread, beans, hummus, and smoked salmon. Just relying on the "free breakfasts" in the morning and whatever I can find through the day is PLANNING TO FAIL, and it meant I fought hunger and fatigue all day long.

For travelling on an airplane, pack a bunch of food in the checked baggage. DO NOT try to rely on finding a grocery store nearby your hotel! While in an unfamiliar town, it can be stressful to rush from one meeting to the next all day, then try to find a grocery store near the hotel. It also may be more expensive at a random store than the discount products you're used to buying online or at your usual grocery store. It takes extra personal time up front to buy food and pack, but it's best if you have everything you'll need already with you.

Pack extra protein bars and be sure to pick foods without any or hardly any sugar since that will just make you hungrier. Remember not to eat sugar before going to bed and to limit it at breakfast for the same reason. I would pack some healthy foods like beans, fruit, and nuts to balance my diet out because I find most restaurants who serve gluten free meals can only do white rice or potatoes, meat, and vegetables.

2. Request a Room With a Refrigerator and a Microwave

Do this when you make your hotel/motel reservation several days or weeks before your trip. Don't make the mistake of showing up and then asking - many establishments won't have any to offer.

3. Pack a Microwaveable Bowl and Silverware

If you plan to eat a bowl of soup or cereal, using the plastic cups in the room can be annoying and they tip more easily. Plus, there aren't always plastic utensils offered in hotel rooms. Bringing your own is well worth the trouble.

4. If Possible, Find Restaurants That Can Serve Gluten Free Ahead of Time

This can be risky, depending on how sensitive you are and whether you're celiac, sensitive, or allergic. If eating out is a constant worry, you may want to try the Fearless Gluten-Free Dining Course.

I have found in most urban areas, gluten free, dairy free meals can be found at a few restaurants. It was only when I went to southwest Virginia or southern Virginia that I was in trouble. I could sometimes find an Outback Steakhouse or a sushi establishment off a major highway.

Nonetheless, if you are going to a large city, check for restaurants with a gluten free menu or gluten free options. Call ahead to check about cross-contamination and the kitchen cleaning practices.

If you're going to a conference where there will be food provided, it's best to call the conference center AHEAD OF TIME to see how GF friendly they are and give them a heads up about the times you will be eating there. I've seen a huge change over the last few years, so don't automatically assume you can't eat ANYTHING. Usually, I can get a special plate, though be sure to ask a server before you sit down for this so everyone else at the table doesn't have to wait. At a formal setting, most people will, despite all the prodding you can muster, wait for you to be served.

5. Pack Snacks!!!

This is a big one for me, since I like to eat small snacks throughout the day and it helps keep my energy up. I've found the most important time for me to snack is when I'm often not hungry - between 10 and 12 a.m. That's when I eat a high-protein Kind Bar, nuts, or a hard-boiled egg. If you eat dairy, plain yogurt, kefir, or cheese can be a great way to add calcium and protein. For other snack ideas, please see my post, "Five Gluten Free Foods to Eat When You Get the Munchies."

Please leave comments below.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Hot Cereal

Bob's Red Mill's Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal is a good gluten free hot cereal and easier on the budget than most dried cereals. It has whole grain brown rice, sorghum, and buckwheat and some corn to add some sweetness. It has 4 grams of protein serving, 4 grams of fiber, and 6% iron. It keeps the hunger down until lunchtime, especially when eaten with nuts and some of eggs.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Five Gluten Free Foods to Eat When You Get the Munchies

Snacking is something we all do and it isn't unhealthy unless you choose unhealthy foods. It can be a great way to keep your energy going all day long. My recommendation is to snack on healthy foods through the day every 2 to 3 hours. I notice when I don't do this, I usually become very tired at some point in the afternoon and hungry. I also don't seem to bounce back as well from work-outs.

One. Edamame

This is the real powerhouse. It's a great, healthy and yummy snack for on the go or at home. My daughter loves these and so do I.

Edamame, or soy beans, have 8 grams of protein, only 90 calories, 10 % of daily iron requirement, and 3 grams of fiber. This is a must have for the pantry of every gluten free home. The Cruncha Ma Me brand below is freeze dried which gives them a fresher taste than soy nuts.




Two. Snapea Crisps

Snapea Crisps are a great tasty snack plain or with hummus or salsa. They have 4 grams of protein per serving, 7% your daily iron requirement, 3 grams of fiber, and only 80 milligrams of sodium (3% daily limit). They have 6 grams of fat, which is much less than many snack foods - chocolate, potato chips, cookies, etc.

3. Beanitos

Beanitos are a creative way to get some healthy beans and protein into your diet. There are a few different styles, and they literally are beans turned into a chip. The Black Bean and Better Cheddar ones has 4 grams of protein per serving and 5 grams of fiber.

Four.  Peanut Butter and Fruit

Now if you're like me, this is a favored go-to snack. Peanut butter with a piece of fruit like a banana, apple, or pear. If you eat dairy, mozzarella cheese can be a great addition. One thing to watch for is the trans fats, or hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils, that may be lurking in your peanut butter. Trans fats can be in foods labeled on the front as having "0 Grams of Trans Fats," because the USDA decided if they had .5 grams of it, they could round down.

You may be thinking, "Who cares? It's just a small amount." Well, first of all if you eat out a lot or eat a lot of processed foods, you may be consuming a lot overall. Plus, even small amounts, over a long period of time could lead to diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, stroke, and many other diseases. There is no safe level of artificial trans fat consumption, according to New York City, who put a ban on trans fats out in restaurants. Trans fats are not found in nature and are instead made in a factory to make prevent the fats from spoiling and to cause them to hold together more. Think Crisco. Yuck!


Five. Kind Bars

The Kind Bars gluten and dairy free Almond, Walnut, Macadamia With Peanuts and Protein bar is the best gluten free power bar I've found.
It does have 7 grams of honey, but if you're not trying to cut out all sugar it's a great source of protein that goes down easily and will help you recover after a workout if you eat a little before and after your workout. It's a little pricey, but has them at discount. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

How To Tell if Your Baby Has a Food Allergy

My Beautiful Baby Claire at 8 Months Old

Babies can't talk so they can't tell you why they're irritable or whether they have a stomach ache, so how can you tell if he or she has a food allergy?

First of all, it's critical that you introduce new foods to your baby one at a time, especially if there is a history of environmental or food allergies in your family. Beware especially of the following.

TOP EIGHT Food Allergies:
  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (such as walnuts or almonds)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Wheat

  • So how do you know if your child has reacted to something? Reactions vary from mild to severe, but all reactions should be taken seriously because you can't immediately tell what's happening internally. When you introduce a new food, wait three days to see if there are any reactions, then add a new food. Once a food is determined safe, you can keep it in the child's diet.

    SEVEN Signs of a Food Allergy:
  • Hives or welts
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

  • I'd planned originally to keep my daughter off the EIGHT most common food allergens until she turned three, but that didn't end up happening. Her daycare gave her oats since that's a typical, "safe" first food. When I went in to see her in the afternoon, I asked her caregivers if she had fallen because her face was bright red and blotchy, just like mine gets thirty to sixty minutes after eating barley, oats, or rye.

    They at first thought it was dry skin from her drool, but I doubted it since that had never happened before.

    The redness grew worse over the afternoon. Here's how she looked later that day when we came home:

     Claire (8 Months Old) with a Reaction to Oats

    So, I took her off oats, rye, barley, and wheat and the rash cleared up. I'll try it all again when she's three, when she can say, "Tummy ache."
    I ended up trying most of the other common food allergens, nuts, eggs, milk, and soy, and at first she reacted to eggs (developed hives) and carrots seemed to cause a diaper rash. But, I reintroduced both and as far as I can tell, she seems fine with them now. I still haven't tried shellfish since my husband is allergic to crabs and we rarely eat shellfish. I've offered her fish, but she hardly ate any of it.
    Do you have a child with food allergies? Please share your story in the comment section below.

    Saturday, November 30, 2013

    Five Reasons NOT to Offer Sympathy for A Gluten Free Guest

    Do you ever go to a dinner party at the house of a family or friend who has known that you’re on the GF diet for years and when there’s a dish you can’t eat the host says, as though he/she just remembered, “Oh, sorry – you can’t eat this!” Then they offer you sympathy, which only makes you feel worse.

    This has happened to me a number of times. From my own experience, I believe sympathy for a person on a special diet should be downplayed or, better yet, omitted. They don’t need it, for one thing, but also it is annoying and even more annoying when the host should have remembered that they could have made the dish gluten free. 

     Five Reasons to Drop the Sympathy for a Gluten Free Guest

    1.       There are ways to make almost every dish gluten free, so although they may miss out on a certain dish at that meal, they can make it themselves later.

    2.       They may feel like you could have made the dinner gluten free so that they could eat every dish if you’d tried.

    3.       They probably already feel upset about not being able to eat everything. Offering sympathy will remind them of what they are missing, like opening an old wound.

    4.       They might be tempted to ‘cheat’ to make you feel less bad about forgetting.

    5.       They may feel embarrassed talking about their dietary restrictions if there are other guests.

    Have any of you experienced an amount of sympathy over your GF diet that you're uncomfortable with? Please leave comments below.

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    How to Host a Gluten Free Guest for the Holidays

    For the Celiac or Gluten-Sensitive Individual

    Going to a relative’s house can be nerve-racking when you must adhere to a gluten free diet. One thing I have learned over the last decade is it’s critical to communicate your dietary needs ahead of time. It’s common to feel embarrassed or worry about hurting people’s feelings, but the situation will be worse if you wait until the meal is being prepared to check and read labels. Don’t show up at a person’s house and then tell them, especially if you’re an overnight guest. Be clear about your level of sensitivity (Ex: Is cross contamination an issue?) and give them some example meals or let them know what you will do to help when you arrive to make things easier.

    For the Host/Hostess

    For those of you fixing a meal for an individual following a gluten free diet, I recommend checking for easy substitutes for your planned dishes. You can buy gluten free bread for stuffing, GF flour for gravy, and rice flour and xanthum gum as a substitute for regular flour in pies.

    It’s easier than you may think to cook and bake gluten free foods, however it does require extra research and planning. I suggest keeping it simple. If you’re preparing a typical holiday meal with a Turkey you’ll need:
    • A basic GF flour mix for the gravy (Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Flour works well and has complex carbohydrates.)
    • A GF bread mix or prepared GF bread for the stuffing and for the table
    • A GF dessert
    If you live out in the country where there is a limited gluten free section in the supermarket, you can order flours and mixes online. Vitacost is a great, discount company that I use regularly ( It’s easy to navigate and simple to find a variety of products.

    Keep in mind that it’s okay to have regular, gluten-based dishes. It will be cheaper and will most likely be preferred by those not on a GF diet. Your GF guest will understand, although she will feel hurt if there is dessert, stuffing, or gravy for everyone else, but not them (depending on dietary or culinary preferences). If time is not on your side in your preparations, ask the GF person to bring a few dishes of their own that you can’t get to or to help with the preparations in another way.

    Hosting an Overnight GF Guest

    One thing to remember is that although many GF people still can eat all the foods that are naturally gluten free, they still DO need complex carbohydrates. Just leaving out the bread and flour means that person is missing out on almost an entire food group! Make sure each meal has one of the whole grains listed in my post “Whole Grains and The Gluten Free Diet.”

    You can order a GF starter kit at Bob’s Red Mill here to keep on hand in case you realize last minute you don’t have as much GF food as you’d thought:

    A Sample Menu for an Overnight GF Guest:

    Breakfast: Bob Red Mill’s Might Tasty GF Hot Cereal and Milk or Milk Substitute and Fruit
    Lunch:  Spaghetti with a brown rice pasta (Tinkyada brand) or quinoa pasta (Ancient Harvest brand)
    Dinner:  A Main Dish, Vegetables, and Brown Rice or GF Whole Grain Bread

    Things to Be Aware Of

    If someone is bothering to adhere to a GF diet, small amounts of flour in the mixes and sauces that you normally use is most likely an issue. Ask the GF person to be sure. Also, don’t add potential gluten containing items to a dish, such as croutons to a salad, and please don’t advise the GF guest just to eat around them. Most GF people cannot do that without consequences, or, at the very least, it will make them nervous.
    Unless you check and it’s okay, don’t use a cutting board for bread and then chop up something for the GF person. Also, don’t share toasters, cookie trays, pots, or pans without cleaning them out thoroughly if that’s possible. Many GF breads aren’t as good without a toasting, but the oven can be used for that. 

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Do You Travel For Work?

    Starving at an All You Can Eat Buffet

    I wrote the exerpt below last summer, during my final trip for a job I loved but decided to leave to be home with my daughter:

    Not many people in this country know what it's like to surrounded by food but STARVING. Maybe a missed meal here or there. Well, living gluten and dairy free, and needing to travel for work, has meant I'm forced to go for periods of time underfed, all while being offered pounds and pounds of free pastries, bagels, muffins, cookies, you name it. I usually lose 5 pounds every time I travel overnight for work. This may sound great, but not when I don't want to lose weight, like right now. I'm still nursing my hungry toddler so my calorie demands are high. I'm at a 6 day long conference, it's only day 2 and I'm already starving. The only whole grain I had yesterday was a bowl of cereal in the morning - sorghum and flax. I had a salad for lunch, and chicken and corn for dinner. Is corn a whole grain?

    I realized yesterday I didn't pack enough food. There's always a balance. I want just the right amount so I don't have to bring any home. But since I don't have enough, I'm trying, struggling to ration my cereal, almond and soy milk, and protein bars. I almost started to cry today, waiting for lunch. I was so hungry, and then, when it came, I knew it wouldn't fill me up at all. It was just GF noodles and tomato sauce. Going without dairy is the hardest thing. I'm about to throw in the towel, but it's a lose-lose situation. Either I follow my diet and I'm hungry, or I cheat and eat dairy and feel better for a few hours, only to suffer a crippling stomach ache later. My only consolation is that I probably could afford to lose the few pounds I'd gained while pregnant. I'm wearing black, but for some reason they make me look huge. Yet, I'd prefer not to lose weight because I'm trying to increase my muscle mass instead.

    Before I cut out gluten and dairy, it wasn't easy for me to maintain my weight, but I could do it by eating a lot of salads. Now, it's almost too easy.

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    Millet Article

    How to Cook Brown Rice

    A rice cooker is essential to the gluten free diet. It's quick and easy to put some rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth or other grain in the cooker, add the appropriate amount of water, some salt, and oil and walk away until you're ready to eat. It automatically turns to "warm" and I've never burned anything in one before. You don't have to stir the grain during the cooking process and it's faster than cooking on the stove.

    My favorite way to eat rice is a mix of basmati, long grain, short grain, and wild rice. You can often buy it in bulk at Costco. I cook it just like brown rice with 2 - 2.5 times the amount of water. Then I add about a teaspoon of oil per cup of rice and half a teaspoon of salt.
    It goes great in omelets, stir fry, or just plain with some soy sauce or extra salt.


    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Healthy Gluten Free Breakfast Cereal!

    Crunchy Flax by Enjoy Life is the healthiest cereal I've found yet. It's tasty especially if you add nuts, berries or dried fruit. It's sure to keep your energy up until at least lunchtime.

    Whole Grains and The Gluten Free Diet

    For people who eat gluten, eating a lot of white flour products is considered unhealthy, right? Choosing whole grains is recommended by every nutritionist across the county.

    Well, guess what. One cup (455 calories) of white wheat flour has 13 grams of protein and 32% of your daily iron requirement. Approximately the same amount (440 calories) of a highly rated GF white flour mix, Jules Gluten Free, has just 4 grams of protein and 8% of your daily iron requirement. This may be fine for the occasional dessert, but to become gluten free and continue to eat in the same types of foods as before by swapping out the type of flour used, this present a serious health concern.

    Many, commonly used flours in GF recipes and products sold in stores are nutritionally poor compared to conventional, wheat products, even though many of those wheat products are considered "junk food" to begin with. Then what are the GF versions? EXTRA JUNKY JUNK FOOD? For diabetics and hypoglycemic this is especially vexing. Even for the average GF individual, this can present quite a problem.

    But fear not. There is hope for us on the gluten free diet. There is a way to be healthy and have lasting energy throughout the day. The key is to limit refined grains as much as possible and instead eat whole grains, beans, and nuts. Many can be turned into great baked goods.

    Here are a few that I recommend:
    - Brown Rice
    - Wild Rice
    - Buckwheat
    - Whole Sorghum
    - Quinoa
    - Amaranth
    - Coconut Flour
    - Beans
    - Seeds/Nuts

    Beware of the following grains and use only in moderation:
    - Tapioca Starch
    - Potato Starch
    - Corn Starch
    - White Rice

    Also, be aware that some whole grains ARE better than others. Protein and fiber content are good indicators. It's better to eat a whole grain than replace them with a piece of fruit, for example. Also, celery and carrot sticks and peanut butter cannot replace a PB&J on wheat bread. Meat cannot replace bread in a healthy way - it's too fatty and lacks enough fiber to eat more than a serving or two. It also doesn't have complex carbohydrates and the body stores and uses it differently.

    You might be thinking, "DUH!" But I know from experience that the tendency for some GF people (ahem - ME) is to just do without grains for much of the time, and therefore missing out on complex carbs for meals or days at a time. The end result is sluggishness, exhaustion, hunger, dizziness, and weight loss. This must be avoided!

    Please send me your comments. I'd love to hear from you!

    The Gluten Free Diet

    Many of you may have noticed that most of the gluten free products available on the market are high in simple carbohydrates and low in protein and fiber. This has been a concern for me for many years since I often don't have the time to cook healthy, whole grain meals at home. Even if I can eat a healthy breakfast and dinner, I find I need a whole grain lunch as well to keep my energy up until bedtime.

    While on the go, I've tried many GF snack bars, but find they lead to weight gain, hunger, and exhaustion. Some people have suggested to "just eat meat, fruit and vegetables rather than whole grains," but I find this both makes me lose weight - fast - and leads to fatigue. Others have said, "you need more fat" or "you need more protein." Although I do find extra protein helps, it doesn't help as much as complex carbs. I think with fad diets and public perception, complex carbs have been underemphasized over the last few years. I have come to see that they are extremely important for energy level and health, which means anyone who is gluten free must pay careful attention to what food groups they are eating at each meal.

    Stay tuned for product reviews and recipes