All posts in Going Gluten-Free

Refreshing Minty Green Smoothie

Refreshing Minty Green Smoothie

This smoothie is refreshing and light, and a great way to start the day!

Ingredients:

  • handful of spinach
  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • 3 tbsp raw whole flax seed
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2-3 strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cup water (for creamier version, replace 1/2 cup of water with milk of choice)
  • couple ice cubes

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender or NutriBullet, blend until smooth.

What’s your favorite green smoothie recipe? Share it by sending me a tweet or posting it on my Facebook page!

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Gluten-free & lovin’ It! Why my life is better (and yours will be too) without gluten

Gluten-free & lovin’ It! Why my life is better (and yours will be too) without gluten

As a health coach, I help clients get rid of gluten. But we never talk about it as a “sacrifice” or “giving something up.” So please repeat after me:

“It’s not about what I can’t eat.  It’s about what I can eat! And my options are endless!”

I know…sounds cheesy, right? But go ahead, say it out loud (you know you want to!). Then check out this list of naturally gluten-free foods, which proves that your options on a gluten-free diet really are endless. (And note that my list doesn’t even begin to cover all the foods in the world that are naturally gluten-free!)

If you’re reading this, you or a family member probably is gluten-free or at least considering it. And if you’re like most GF people, it’s because you’re looking to improve your health.

You’re not alone! The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness says 21 million Americans have gluten-related disorders. Or, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you don’t have a medical condition, but still find the diet appealing because you’ve gotten wind of how great it’s made others feel. Just recently, the New York Times published the article “Gluten-Free Eating Appears to Be Here to Stay” which features a top New York chef who has even embraced it in his Italian restaurant.

But back to “sacrifice.” You know from your own experience that going gluten-free sounds like giving up something you really, really love to eat. That’s how it made me feel in the beginning. And it’s true, at first, a life without gluten seems like a tremendous loss. For starters, who doesn’t love baguettes and homemade pasta?!

But who enjoys feeling sick?! If, like me, you’ve struggled with issues like irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or eczema, or even received a definitive diagnosis of Celiac Disease, you’re the first to trade those awful symptoms for your beloved bread or beer.

I remember the day I was talking with my healthcare practitioner, glumly listing all the stuff I couldn’t eat, and he said to me, “Why not look at it from a different point of view? Focus on what you can eat.” From that day on, I did exactly as he advised, and my relationship with food changed forever.

Before, I was an unhealthy vegetarian eating a diet full of processed foods, fake meats, and gluten-containing grains. On that great day I began to open myself up to a world of variety and flavor! Today I’m a fearless eater and I’m more open to trying new foods than I ever imagined I could be. My food life is simply grand, and it all started when I committed to a gluten-free diet and adopted my personal mantra, “It’s about what I can eat!”

What made adopting this mantra possible? A commitment to what really matters – my health. Not only did I have to reprogram my attitude toward food, but also ask myself the question “Why does my health matter?” and now I want you to do the same.

Your answer to this question will be a personal one, and undoubtedly linked to what matters to you in your own life. This could be your children, your spouse, your pet, your work…again, it’s personal. And when you have figured it out, you’ll find it much easier to prioritize your health, which includes a gluten-free diet.

Having trouble making the connection? Think about your life with gluten and without gluten. The former works against your health, while the latter works in favor. And when you don’t have your health, you can’t live your life to the fullest.

For example – going gluten-free helped me regain energy and healthy digestion, and diminished my joint pain. But for me personally, these health benefits meant so much more – I literally gained my life back. I could go to work without the fear of falling asleep at my desk or in a meeting (gluten made me extremely tired). I could enjoy dinner with friends and family and not worry that my stomach would become upset (I suffered from severe IBS for nearly 15 years).

Best of all, my husband and I began enjoying the outdoors with vacations out west. Before going gluten-free, I had agonizing knee pain and a lack of energy, which limited my interest in an active lifestyle. Today, outdoor activities like biking, hiking (and even surfing!) are mainstays in all of our travels. Last year alone we traveled to Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona.

My clients have also experienced positive life changes after adopting their new mantras. Take my client Kate, for instance. Going gluten-free meant relief from excruciating eczema that she’d been suffering from for years. Once off the gluten, not only did her skin begin to improve, but she also started down a path of paying attention to the foods she put into her body with the goal of eating for her health. Today she is at her ideal weight, frequently working out and a member of a soccer league. To her, a Celiac diagnosis and a gluten-free diet helped her create the active and healthy lifestyle she’d always dreamed about.

What I’m getting at here is that going gluten-free can literally give someone his or her life back. It did for me and it has done the same for many of my clients. And for someone with Celiac Disease or a non-Celiac gluten-sensitivity, there is so much to gain with a gluten-free lifestyle.

So, if you’ve convinced yourself that a gluten-free lifestyle is too hard, or not worth the pain, or something to feel bad about, think again. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Why does my health matter?” This will lead you down a more positive path, and empower you to embrace a gluten-free lifestyle. What’s more, you’ll be taking control of your health and in turn, your life.

Enjoy your gluten-free life – it’s going to be AMAZING!

 Need support going or staying gluten-free? Check out my Gluten-Free Coaching program.

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Crispy Baked Chicken Legs

Crispy Baked Chicken Legs

This month I welcome guest author, Tiffany Hinton, whose blog Gluten Free Mom Certified inspires moms everywhere to make delicious and nutritious gluten-free meals for their families. Today, Tiffany shares her most recent kitchen creation – crispy baked chicken legs!

Ingredients:
3-4 lbs chicken drumsticks or wings
1 tbs marjoram
2 tbs oregano
1 1/4 tsp smoked salt
1 1/2 tbs garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp dried chipotle ground
1 GF chicken boulin cube, crushed
2 tbs oil

Instructions:
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken in a large bowl, with all the spices, and then drizzle with 2 tbsp oil. Cover chicken completely with paste. Line a baking pan with foil; top with a wire rack. Arrange chicken legs out in a single layer. While the chicken legs are baking, oil will slowly drip to the bottom of the baking pan. Bake chicken legs until cooked through and skin is crispy, about 45-50 minutes. Rotate wings half way through – roughly 20 minutes. Rotate drumsticks and cook additional 30 minutes. Remove and serve with yogurt sauce or African pepper sauce.

About Tiffany Hinton
Tiffany started blogging in June of 2010, while going through treatments for fertility. Like many others, she struggled to talk about her experience, leading to an online journal for sharing emotions and heart. Following the birth of her first child she began to share gluten-free substitutes for her favorite family recipes on her blog, GFmomcertified.com. After three children in just three years, gluten free coking has become a necessity. Discovering she was not alone in the challenge to feed a gluten-free family opened the path to writing Gluten Free Mom Certified. She creates and shares recipes each week on her blog to help GF mothers meet the challenge of GF cooking.

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Jon Stewart Gets Personal About Celiac Disease – The Shmooze

Jon Stewart Gets Personal About Celiac Disease – The Shmooze

This video features an informative conversation that Jon Stewart recently had with Jennifer Esposito, author of Jennifer’s Way, a book about the health challenges she faced as a person with Celiac Disease. Jon Stewart’s son happens to also suffer from this disease.

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that is caused by gluten damaging the small intestine. The small intestine is vital for one’s health, as it is responsible for food and nutrient absorption in our bodies. Those with Celiac Disease should not ingest gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley and any foods or ingredients derived from these grains. Gluten can also show up in medicines and other products like cosmetics.

What’s great about the interview is Jennifer’s emphasis on her journey to being properly diagnosed, and the struggles she faced along the way when doctors did not believe her symptoms were real. This is the case for so many individuals who unknowingly have Celiac Disease but are suffering from a range of debilitating symptoms like chronic fatigue, bowel disorders, insomnia, depression and more. As Jennifer points out, the search for an accurate medical diagnosis can be long and difficult. Jon Stewart lists a few his son experienced and as Jennifer states, there are approximately 300 associated with the disease.

It’s great to see a serious and sensible conversation about Celiac Disease  (and gluten in general) being held in the mainstream on a program like the Daily Show. Often the dialogue occurs without caution or sensitivity towards those who suffer from gluten-related disorders. The more conversations we can create like these, the better off the entire gluten-free community will be.

Jon Stewart Gets Personal About Celiac Disease – The Shmooze.

 

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Gluten-Free Labeling in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Mariano’s

Gluten-Free Labeling in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Mariano’s

 

Whole Foods Market
I recently submitted questions to each of the mainstream grocery stores in my area (north side of Chicago – Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Mariano’s) where I frequently do my grocery shopping to determine what their in-store Gluten-Free labeling really means. As you may or may not know, currently there are no FDA regulations in place that require a food manufacturer to prove a food is really gluten free (i.e., contains less than 20 PPM) even if it is labeled as such. There’s good news though – the FDA passed a new rule in 2013 that will go into place in August 2014 that will make this a requirement. (You can learn more about the labeling law on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness website). In the meantime, we should all know what these stores’ policies are in relation to the foods they label as gluten-free in their stores.

Here’s the question I submitted to each store:

I’m gluten-free (by medical necessity) and I’m curious how your gluten-free labeling works. I’ve noticed some of your packaged foods are labeled with a “gluten-free” sign. As you probably are aware, right now there are no FDA regulations in place that require a food manufacturer to prove a food is really gluten free (i.e., contains less than 20 PPM). The FDA passed a new rule that will go into place in August 2014 that makes this a requirement. Can you tell me if the foods in your stores marked with the signs fit within the “less than 20 PPM” category” (therefore most likely certified by an accredited agency like GIG) or if they just mirror what’s on the label, which wouldn’t necessarily mean it was GF at this point in time.

Here are the responses I received:

Whole Foods Market

From Whole Foods:

Thank you for contacting us about in-store “gluten free” labeling. Our policy is to only make in-store “gluten free” claims via shelf tags, signage, etc. for products that have been reviewed and approved by the Global Quality Standards Team. Our position is that a Gluten Free claim should mean that the gluten level in the product is below 20 ppm, and that any Gluten Free product claims should be substantiated by quality assurance and testing protocols that verify the gluten level.

We also have a store specific Gluten Free Shopping list that is continuously updated and only contains products that have been approved and are available in our store. For your convenience I’ve inserted the link that will take you to the online Halsted Gluten Free Shopping list. If you like we can gladly print out a copy for you the next time you’re in the store.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/service/gluten-free-products-list?store=6563

Please feel free to contact us directly if you have any other questions or concerns

From Trader Joe’s:

Hi Joy,

Thanks for the inquiry. All of our products labeled with the words “Gluten-Free” have been laboratory tested to meet the required 20ppm or less per serving. The “No Gluten Ingredients Used” List is for products that are made WITHOUT gluten, but have not been tested for ppm.

You may call us at 626.599.3817 with any questions you have.

From Mariano’s: Note – I have not received a definitive response from Mariano’s yet but did receive a phone call within 24 hours of my request letting me know they are looking into it. I will update this post when once I receive their response. 

 

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Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Chia Seed Pancakes

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Chia Seed Pancakes

My gluten-free lemon blueberry chia seed pancakes are a great weekend treat for your pancake-loving family. In addition to being gluten-free, the batter is dairy and sugar/sweetener-free too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.
  2. Separate the egg whites into a small bowl, then combine the egg yolks, 3/4 cup coconut milk and olive oil into another bowl.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they begin to foam, then fold them into the other liquid ingredients and continue whisking until well combined.
  4. Stir in the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth. The batter should be slightly runny. If too thick, add remaining 1/4 c coconut milk.
  5. Stir in berries, chia seeds and lemon zest.
  6. Spoon out 1/4 c measurements of batter and pour onto hot non-stick griddle or pan (medium heat is sufficient). Flip when sides start to brown.
  7. Enjoy with a little pure maple syrup.

 

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Top 3 Easiest Grow-It-Yourself Vegetables For Any Size Space – No Yard Needed

Top 3 Easiest Grow-It-Yourself Vegetables For Any Size Space – No Yard Needed

Joy to Wellness welcomes guest blogger Karen Orlich, CEO of k.o. kidz, with tips on how easy Grow-It-Yourself (GIY) veggies can be this season! Not only is gardening easy on your pocket-book, it’s a great way to stock your fridge with delicious and healthy gluten-free foods. 

Kick off your spring with easy Grow-It-Yourself (GIY) vegetable plants!  GIY allows better taste, nutrition, and quality of your food while also providing control of what goes in the soil and on the plants.  With little effort, you can guarantee organic, healthy food for yourself and your family without the costly price tag!

k.o. kidz picked out the easiest and most common vegetables to grow in any space large or small — no yard needed.  Plant these now to enjoy a hearty harvest this summer and fall.  You won’t believe the difference in taste from the store bought varieties!

(Sweet) Potatoes

potatoes sweet-potatoesA startling fact — conventionally grown potatoes are one of the most toxic crops produced; showing 10 times the amount of pesticides vs organic, when tested by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  Why?  Because potatoes are saturated with pesticides and grown so close to the soil surface that they’re routinely exposed to fungicides and pesticides that are absorbed through the thin skin into the meat of the potato.  This means that “simply washing or peeling the potato isn’t enough to get rid of the potentially toxic chemicals”, according to Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene.

All potatoes are remarkably protein rich. The plants are high yield producers and strong performers in poor soil and cool weather.  Home-grown varieties taste much better and come in a rainbow of colors.  The greens of sweet potatoes resemble ivy, outcompete many weeds, and are edible raw or cooked!   So easy to grow in pots or small garden spaces.  Don’t forget one of the most important steps, sweet potatoes must be cured after harvest. This will help them to develop their flavor (they won’t have much immediately after being dug up).  Place the sweet potatoes in an area with a temperature of 85-95 degrees Fahrenheit with 80-90% humidity for 5-10 days.  After this, they should be ready to eat!

All varieties of plants can be ordered on-line too.  We’ve had great success with plants from Streambank Gardens.  All vegetable plants are grown from USDA certified organic seed stock without using synthetic fertilizers and chemicals.

Peppers

peppersMultiple varieties of peppers including bell and hot peppers have been tested by EWG and are also considered toxic from pesticide residue that is easily absorbed through the pepper’s thin skin.  EWG recommends buying only organic peppers to avoid the toxin intake.  Of course, growing them yourself is even better!  Peppers contain Vitamin C, carotenoids (includes alpha-carotene and beta-carotene for fighting cancer), and antioxidants.

There are dozens of varieties from small Cherry peppers (1.75” in diameter) to large Sweet Bell peppers (4” wide and 7” long) with varying degrees of ‘heat’ to provide many options for home growers.  Chile, Cherry, and Banana peppers can be contained in pots and grown indoors in the winter and moved outside after the final frost.  The variety of bright colors (yellow, red, orange, green, and purple) make a fun addition to any patio or outdoor space too!  These can be planted in easy grow bags to move in and out of sun or inside during the winter.  We love the colorful bags frompepper grow bag Gardener’s Supply Company (reg. $12.95/bag).  These are a great option for those with limited space.  They’re made from a felt-like fabric that lets roots breath so plants won’t suffer from heat build-up, overwatering, or poor aeration.  And, they fold flat for off-season storage.

 

Tomatoes

Home grown tomatoes burst with flavor and are delicious right off the vine after baking in the sun.  An experience you just can’t get in a grocery store!  Widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, tomatoes are also a good source of Vitamin C, help lower LDL cholesterol and are now linked to bone health.

Smaller plant varieties such as Tiny Tim, Pixie, Small Fry, and Patio can also be grown easily inside.  Inside or out, you’ll need strong supports to keep the tomatoes off the ground to have maximum sun exposure and if outside, avoid pests.

tomato herb topsy turvyYou can’t go wrong with a hanging ‘bag’ planter like the Topsy Turvy from  Clean Air Gardening (reg. $9.99) for easy care (no weeds and fewer pests!) and space savings.  These can hang on a fence to create a vertical wall garden as well as provide privacy on decks and porches.  Be careful not to keep in a shaded spot though as tomato plants require 6+ hours of sunlight each day.  Some varieties are drought resistant but always keep the base of plants mulched to retain water.  They make the perfect addition to those full sun, hot spots in your yard or patio where everything else dries up!

 

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Mariano’s Market is Gluten-Free and Organic-friendly!

Mariano’s Market is Gluten-Free and Organic-friendly!

Large mainstream grocery stores can be overwhelming to those of us who need to shop for allgery-friendly products like gluten-free or dairy-free foods. And, if you’re focused on organics, it’s often difficult to find a range of options to keep you satisfied. Today my neighborhood – Ravenswood – celebrated the grand opening of the new Mariano’s, located at Lawrence Ave. and Ravenswood, conveniently located right next to the Ravenswood Metra stop. Being that I fit into all three of the above food categories – gluten-free, dairy-free and organic – and help my clients transform their diets to include healthier foods and allergy-free options, I wanted to check out this new store to see what it has to offer. I especially wanted to see if I could rely on this store for my gluten-free and dairy-free staples.

My verdict?  This store is a great addition to the neighborhood, even for those of us who have special dietary requirements. The proof? See my finds below. And what’s more – the employees were friendly, willing to help and well-informed – all great things for those of us with specific grocery needs.

Here are my top Mariano’s Finds!

Lots of Organic Produce!

Organic Kale

Organic Produce

Organic Produce

A Dedicated Wheat & Gluten-Free Section

GF Grocery

Dairy-Free Yogurt 

Diary Free Yogurt

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

Gluten-Free, Organic and Vegan Food Markers (These are part of Mariano’s Wellness program, Health KeyTM)

Organic Olive Oil

Gluten Free and Vegan Food

 Organic Coffee!

Organic Coffee

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Keep your spring break gluten-free

Keep your spring break gluten-free

If you’re gluten-free then you know how stressful traveling can be. On a recent trip to Yellowstone with my husband’s family, I found myself with few options as we picked up a picnic lunch at a small grocery store. My lunch was a bag of chips and piece of fruit. Luckily the chips were a healthier version of chips by Way Better, which are gluten-free, non-GMO and contain sprouted seeds, grains and veggies (delicious!). Yet it was annoying to be surrounded by nothing but processed and gluten-filled food options in a place filled with lots and lots of food!

Maintaining a gluten-free diet is much easier in the comfort of your home. From airports to highway exits to family’s homes, it’s always a guess what gluten-free food options will be available when we’re away from our own kitchens.

So, as you embark on your spring break travels, here are some simple tips for keeping your vacation gluten-free:

  1. Eat before you go to the airport. Make sure to fill up on a healthy, gluten-free meal prior to arriving at the airport so that you’re not left with less than ideal options like fast-food. The airport is full of bad-for-you food and cross-contact can be a huge concern even for foods that are naturally gluten-free. Bring some healthy GF snacks in your carry on bag to tide you over during the flight.
  2. Make the grocery store your first vacation destination. Before you leave home, go online to locate a grocery store close to your hotel. (I always google Whole Foods, which is packed with GF foods!) Once you arrive, stop by the store to pick up your favorite GF snacks for the week – nuts, fruit, and even your favorite healthy ingredients for GF cocktails (fresh juices, GF vodka and beer, etc.)
  3. Check out glutenfreetravelsite.comThis site allows you to search for GF food spots and hotels by city or zip code, plus you can read travelers’ reviews of these places. They also have apps you can download for both iPhone or Android devices.
  4. Call restaurants ahead of time. It’s never safe to assume that a restaurant is equipped to serve a gluten-free meal. Even if its menu has gluten-free options, call ahead and ask if they can safely handle preparing a meal for a gluten-free customer. If you don’t feel confident, make a reservation elsewhere.
  5. Chat with locals! Seek out a food spot – like a juice bar or Whole Foods – where you know folks who know gluten-free will be hanging out. Chat it up with employees and customers. Ask for restaraunt recommendations for spots where the servers and kitchen staff are equipped (and can be trusted) to prepare a gluten-free dish.

 

 

 

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Veggie-Loaded Gluten-Free Meatloaf Muffins

Veggie-Loaded Gluten-Free Meatloaf Muffins

Who doesn’t LOVE meatloaf, especially when it’s gluten-free and loaded with veggies? This gluten-free meatloaf recipe is great for a family dinners or a night in with friends.  Serve it with a side of mixed greens and sautéed mushrooms. No one will ever know it’s gluten-free, so don’t be worried about serving it to your gluten-loving friends!

Ingredients:

1 Lb 85% or 90% lean ground beef (I prefer grass-fed)
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup fresh broccoli, chopped finely
1/2 pepper, diced  (any color is fine)
2 tbsp gluten-free worcester sauce (Lee & Perrins is great option)
2 eggs
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 cup spicy catsup, plus a little extra to top off muffins (you can use regular catsup if you don’t want these spicy)
Salt and pepper to taste

Note: If you’d like a sugar-free version, leave out the worcester sauce and replace the catsup with unsweetened catsup or tomato paste. 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients  in a large bowl – make sure to mix them well together. Grease muffins cups with oil (I use coconut oil) and then fill each cup to the top with the meatloaf mixture. Use your extra catsup to top off each muffin.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until muffins reach a temperature of at least 160 degree.

Serve and enjoy to your gluten-free dinner guests!

 Photo by Adamphoto and found at http://freerangestock.com/details.php?gid=&sgid=&pid=2891

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