Gluten-Free n’ Vegan Tips For Fueling Your Body

Here is a useful guide to help those of you who are Gluten-Free and/or Vegan.  As we all know, I am Gluten-Intolerant, therefore I enjoy consuming all of these foods in my meals and snacks throughout the day.

I hope this guide is helpful for those of you new to the gluten-free world and hope this helps you navigate through your farmers markets and produce aisles of your food store.

Go ahead and dive into these delicious, fresh, ‘clean’ foods knowing that they are safe and good for you and your body…

Carbohydrates- Essential for energy. Reach for complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbs such as sugars, white flours and processed grains that are void of vitamins and minerals.

  • Gluten-Free Pasta (Corn or Gluten-Free Flour Based)
  • Gluten-Free Cereals
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Gluten-Free Oats
  • Gluten-Free Breads
  • Whole Grain Gluten-Free Rice

Fiber- Vital for health: keeps bowels healthy, lowers cholesterol and regulates appetite.

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Gluten-Free Whole Grains

Fats– Essential for brain and nerve functions.  Look to get Omega 3 fatty acids as often as possible.  Olive oil is best used for cooking.  Be sure to avoid hydrogenated fats and trans fats.  Keep your oils fresh by storing them in a dark, cool place and never re-use oil.

  • Flaxseed oil
  • Hempseed oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts (especially hazelnuts and almonds)

Protein-Used for repair of body tissues and growth for enzymes and hormones.  Protein needs are met by a varied, balanced diet so be sure to get proteins from many different sources.

  • Tofu
  • Beansprouts
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Nut/Seed Milk (almond, hemp, etc.)
  • Soy Milk
  • Gluten-Free Whole Grains (Quinoa, Buckwheat, Brown Rice)
  • Nuts
  • Hummus

Vitamins

Vitamin A– Also known as beta carotene, is a powerful anti-oxidant that supports sight, bone and teeth growth and tissue repair.  Be sure to reach for the brightly colored fruits and veggies!

  • Carrots
  • Red and Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Watercress
  • Spinach
  • Mango
  • Dried Apricots
  • Tomatoes
  • Green Leafy Vegetables

B Vitamins– Important for using fats and protein as well as energy.  Also key for cell grown and your nervous system. This group is made up of B1-Thiamin, B2-Riboflavin, B3-Niacin, B6-Pyridoxin and B-12 (see below)

  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts
  • Gluten-Free Whole Grains (Quinoa, Buckwheat, Brown or Wild Rice)
  • Avocado
  • Beansprouts
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Green Leafy Veggies (I love Kale)

B12-Used in nerve formation and cell production.  Anemia can result in B12 deficiency.

  • Yeast Extract
  • Gluten-Free Fortified Cereals
  • Gluten-Free Fortified Nut Milks

Vitamin C-Fights infections and heals wounds. An important antioxidant in your everyday lifestyle.  It is important to note that Vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat, light and storage.

  • Broccoli
  • Parsley
  • Potatoes
  • Green Leafy Veggies
  • Oranges
  • Orange Juice
  • Blackcurrants
  • Kiwi
  • Mango

Vitamin D- Our Sunshine…Needed for calcium use.  Helps form healthy bones and teeth.  Met through a few minutes of sunshine on your skin. D2 is animal free.

  • Fortified Gluten-Free Cereals
  • Fortified Nut/Seed Milks
  • Soy Milk

Vitamin E-Antioxidant used to protect against disease.  Helps with tissue healing and skin health.

  • Gluten-Free Whole Grains (Buckwheat, Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Quinoa)
  • Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Avocados
  • Carrots
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Apples

Vitamin K– Fights infection Used for energy usage.  Helps with blood clotting and healthy bones.

  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Lettuce
  • Kombu Sea Vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Green Leafy Vegetables

Minerals

Iron– Used in production of red blood cells and transportation of oxygen.

  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Tofu
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Figs
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Cabbage
  • Pumpkin Seeds

Calcium- Supports teeth, bones and muscles.  Also supports hormones and blood clotting.

  • Almonds
  • Soy Milk
  • Tofu
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • broccoli
  • Turnips

Zinc-Important for a strong, healthy immune system and wound healing.

  • Gluten-Free Whole Grains (Buckwheat, Rice, Quinoa)
  • Almonds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Green Leafy Vegetables

Iodine-Important for metabolism and healthy functioning of thyroid gland.  iodine in vegetables depends on the soil.  Seaweeds are the best sources of iodine, especially kelp, which is also known as kombu.

  • Kombu/Kelp Sea Vegetables
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Asparagus

Magnesium– Needed for bone strength, nerve and muscle function.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Soya Beans
  • Gluten-Free Whole Grains (Quinoa, Rice, Buckwheat)
  • Green Leafy Vegetables

Selenium, Potassium and Phosphorous– Selenium is an antioxidant that fights diseases.  Potassium helps with blood pressure and calcium helps with balance.

  • Tomatoes
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Gluten-Free Whole Grains (Rice, Buckwheat, Quinoa)
  • Chick Peas
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Many other fruits and vegetables

Trace Elements- Fluorine, Copper, Chromium, Molybdenum and Manganese support bones, teeth, skin, hair and red blood cells. Vital for fighting against diseases.

  • Seaweeds
  • Potatoes
  • Almonds
  • Bananas
  • Gluten-Free Whole Grains (Quinoa, Buckwheat, Brown Rice)
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Green Leafy Vegetables

And, be sure to check out my Shop…I just added many new gluten-free and vegan products as well as fabulous kitchen tools for all your healthy cooking and baking needs.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Lucious Leafy Greens

greens

Many of my clients considered ‘leafy green veggies’ unappetizing before they came to me for counseling.  The first thing that came to their minds when I mentioned ‘leafy green veggies’ was “Well, I eat Iceberg Lettuce”! O boy, I thought…we’ve got some work to do and this is going to be fun.  This is what I love about being a Nutritionist.  I truly love making a difference in the way my clients eat and make them realize that this pale lettuce, once so ubiquitous in restaurant salads, does not have the power-packed goodness of other delicious greens.

Before my clients came to me for counseling, they either forgot about these nutrient-rich, flavorful foods or got scared off by the idea of preparing them.

Learning to cook and eat greens is essential for creating lasting health.  It is a simple, easy way to boost your daily diet.  The next time you are at the farmers market or in your local food store, be sure to add some of the following greens to your shopping list: Arugula, Bok Choy, Broccoli Rabe, Cabbage, Collards, Chicory, Dandelion, Escarole, Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Watercress and many other varieties of lettuce.

Leafy green veggies help strengthen our respiratory and circulatory systems.  They are high in magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K.

Leafy green veggies are packed with folic acid, chlorophyll, fiber and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.  Moreover, they help with blood purification, cancer prevention, improving circulation, strengthening your immune system and improving gall bladder, kidney and live function.  They are also a great ally in the Fall when cold season begins because greens can help clear congestion and reduce mucus.

Surprisingly, greens are not as complicated as they may appear  Try a variety of cooking methods such as boiling, sauteing in olive oil, steaming, blanching, roasting or chopping up for salads and snacks.  Chopping raw veggies for salads and snacks takes only a few minutes to rinse and prepare.  Cooking greens takes a couple of minutes of prep time and about two minutes of cooking time.  You can experiment with cooking your greens with seeds, nuts, beans, butter, tofu, seital, tempeh, chicken, turkey, fish, ground meat, eggs, etc.  Green veggies are easy to add to homemade or prepared soups or stews right before serving.

Try to get into the habit of adding these green veggies to your diet as often as possible.  While veggies are the scarcest food in the American diet, leafy green veggies area is lacking most of all.

Give some of these green leafy veggies a try and see how you feel!  Let me know what you think about the different flavors and textures of these delicious greens…I’m interested to hear!

Uproot from the Green Basics

While everyday veggies such as broccoli and spinach are great for your health, be adventurous and try these other dark greens that pack a flavorful and nutrient-dense punch.

  • Kale- This leafy green is easy to grow and thrives in cold temps.  The beautiful leaves provide an earthy flavor and excellent nutritional value.  I love making ‘kale wraps’ where I wrap kale leaves around my fish and chicken for a fun finger food!
  • Collard Greens- A staple of traditional Southern cooking, this nutritional powerhouse provides vitamins A, C, calcium, iron and magnesium.  Collard greens are delicious to bake with and I love adding collards to my baked fish recipes.
  • Bok Choy- This veggie has a light, sweet flavor and a crisp texture.  Toss some bok choy into stir-fries, Asian dishes or soups.
  • Escarole- This curly Italian green has a bitter taste.  As you remove the leaves, you will experience different degrees of flavor! As the leaves are peeled back, they continue to lighten in shade and bitterness.

Sweet Potato Muffins

weett

These muffins surely are scrumptious!  I’m sure many of you pair sweet potatoes with Thanksgiving, however, my tasty ‘Sweet Potato Muffins’ are the perfect snack all year round.  Sweet potatoes can be found in your local markets year-round, however, they are in season in November and December.  They are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, a good source of vitamin B6, copper, dietary fiber, iron and potassium.  Due to their excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), sweet potatoes have healing properties as an antioxidant food.  Both vitamin C and beta-carotene are powerful antioxidants that work in the body to eliminate free radicals.  Since these nutrients are also anti-inflammatory, they can aid in reducing inflammation.

Enjoy these muffins with your breakfast, as a mid-afternoon snack or as a treat for dessert.  I enjoy these muffins toasted with a nice spread of almond butter.  My clients and I love eating these muffins crumbled into morning oatmeal or lunchtime salads for an extra flavor boost!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp. stevia
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of chili powder
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut sweet potatoes into chunks and steam for 25 minutes or until soft
  • Transfer to a blender and puree.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Mix well.
  • Add sweet potatoes, agave nectar and stevia.  Continue to mix well.
  • Add water as needed to combine ingredients.
  • Fold in dark chocolate chips.
  • Pour into muffin tins and bake for 25-35 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Nifty Nut Butter Wrap

This is one of my clients’ favorite Go-To Snacks!  Bananas are not just a good source of B vitamins, they are low in sodium and contain Vitamin C and A as well as high levels of Iron and Potassium.  The natural fiber in bananas also contributes to numerous health benefits.  For instance, bananas contain Trypophan, a type of protein that the body converts to Seratonin, a hormone known for making you feel happy and improving your mood!

Aside from the bananas, these tasty wraps include other nutritional powerhouse ingredients such as the proteins in Greek yogurt and Nut Butter, the energy boosters in Honey and the blood sugar stabilizer of Cinnamon.  Each of these ingredients make my Nut Butter Wraps a healthy and delicious snack anytime of the day!

ntutt

Ingredients

(Makes 1 Serving)

  • 1 Ripe Banana, sliced
  • 1/3 cup Nut Butter (Almond, Peanut, Cashew, etc.)
  • 1 Whole Wheat Tortilla
  • 1 tsp. Orange Juice
  • 1 tsp. Lime Zest
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 tsp. Agave Nectar (or Honey)
  • 1 Tbsp. Wheat Germ
  • Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt and nut butter; mix well.
  • Pour lime juice and orange juice over sliced bananas; gently toss.
  • Top tortilla with nut butter mixture; spreading evenly over the tortilla surface, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
  • Arrange banana slices in a single layer on top of the nut butter.
  • Sprinkle evenly with wheat germ and cinnamon.
  • Drizzle with honey.
  • Roll up and enjoy!

You can also enjoy this snack warmed up in the oven for a few minutes for an extra special treat!

Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win my Big S Farms Give-A-Way.  Send me a comment for your change at 1 of 4 great prizes.  The deadline is Monday, July the 6th.

Good Luck!

TLT (Tofu, Lettuce n’ Tomato) Sandwich

I just made this divine TLT sandwich for my lunch today and I cannot stop raving over it! I will definitely be making this my lunch staple a few times each week!

6acfef714fcd9208

Ingredients

  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2 pieces Kale (or your green “a.k.a. lettuce” of choice)
  • 14 ounces water packed extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Reduced Sodium Tamari (Wheat Free Soy Sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon Veganaise (Vegan Mayonnaise)
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Scallions
  • Toasted Bread of choice (Pita, Bread, Bagel, Naan)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Combine Tamari and Dijon mustard in a small bowl.
  • Pat tofu with a paper towel to soak up excess water and slice tofu crosswise into 8 pieces
  • Using a spoon, spread the mustard mixture on the tofu slices (both sides)
  • Bake tofu for 20 minutes
  • Spread Veganaise onto toasted bread and place the tofu, lettuce, tomato, cilantro and scallions on top.
  • Enjoy!

I love Tofu, not only is it delicious, it’s healthy and packed with a beneficial amount of iron and has no saturated fat or cholesterol.   Tofu is also high in calcium and magnesium as well as a great source of soy protein.  Moreover, the FDA claims, “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Although I am Not a vegetarian, I do love my tofu.  Do you enjoy Tofu?  Share with us some of your favorite ways to prepare and incorporate Tofu into your meals.

Super Foods on a Budget

eb71da0d96d86566

In this day n’ age…the economy isn’t looking too shabby.  We all have to learn to cut back on certain things, however, we should not be cutting back on our nutritious foods as we must continue to feed our bodies with healthy super foods everyday.  Here are a few of my favorite super foods that will keep you on (or hopefully under) your budget!

Swiss Chard

  • An excellent source of beta carotene (an antioxidant and pre-cursor for vitamin A), vitamin C, and a good source of potassium and magnesium.  Research has shown that vitamin C and beta carotene may prevent the oxidation of LDL “Bad” cholesterol and therefore may decrease risk of heart disease.  Moreover, research has also shown that magnesium and potassium may lower blood pressure levels.  Swiss Chard is reasonably priced- a bit more expensive then some of your other greens, but still about $2/bunch.

0a59afcfbe18d43e

Kale

  • This dark, leafy green is loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium.  Not to mention a good source of potassium and magnesium.   Like most greens it is usually fairly cheep at $1.50/ bunch.

13c34b56f8c32ebc

Spinach

  • One of the best green leafies out there- it’s an excellent source of folate, antioxidant vitamins A (formed from beta-carotene) and C, and a good source of potassium and magnesium.  Studies show that folate can help prevent heart disease by lowering levels of the amino acid homocysteine.  Plus, you can usually find it year round for less than a $1/bunch.

250px-broccoli_and_cross_section_edit

Broccoli

  • An excellent source of folate and vitamin C, a good source of fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, potassium and vitamin B6.   If that isn’t enough broccoli is also packed with phytonutrients, compounds that may help prevent heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.  Plus, it’s low in cost and calories.

Tomatoes

  • An excellent source of vitamins  A and C, a good source of potassium and contain the antioxidant lycopene.  Depending on the type of tomato, they can be pricey, however, review your choices in the food store and purchase the cheapest, best quality tomatoes.

daf5cea0cae82762

Parsnips

  • A good source of vitamin C, fiber and folate.  Fiber helps promote heart health by reducing levels of LDL “Bad” cholesterol and that vitamin C decreases risk for heart disease by preventing the oxidation of LDL “Bad” cholesterol.  These fun veggies are close in price to carrots, perhaps a few cents more, but still fairly cheep.

68c1b174189d6794

Avocados

  • Rich in monounsaturated “GOOD” fats and contain potassium and folate.  Research shows that monounsaturated fats can lower LDL “Bad” cholesterol.   Avocados add the perfect touch to any meal and for the inexpensive price, you can’t beat it!

e058c6874645fa901

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

  • Omega 3’s are known to lower heart disease risk, help arthritis, and may help with depression, memory loss and Alzheimer’s.  Most prevalent in fatty, cold water fish such as WILD (not farmed) salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring.  Also found in fortified eggs, flax seeds and walnuts.  All of these super foods are high in monounsaturated fats, which is a huge benefit since this can lower cholesterol.  Fresh fish can be quite pricey, however, for the nutritional punch these Omega 3’s provide–it’s worth the extra cash–treat yourself!

Bananas

  • Loaded with Potassium and fiber, these yellow treats are not just a monkey’s favorite.  Not to mention they are about 20 cents a piece–a dollar can get you a banana for every day of the workweek!

be790eeb8381b9bc

Steel Cut Oats

  • High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats have been known to lower cholesterol-and boy are they cheap! A dollar can buy you more than a week’s worth of warm, satisfying steel cut oats!

Sardines

  • These relatively cheap little fish come with big benefits such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.  And, because they are low on the food chain, they do not accumulate mercury.

68adf4e6e5e273b0

Whole Grain Pasta

  • A delicious complex carbohydrate that is high in protein and B vitamins-not to mention it’s one of the cheapest staples you can buy!

6aa7e947a1053bd6

Tofu

  • This inexpensive protein source is not just for vegetarians and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes.  It’s high in B vitamins and Iron, but low in fat and sodium, making it a healthful addition to many dishes.

bb08c5ed1a866264

Beets

  • These purple guys are sweet to the palate while their rich flavor and color make them nutritious for our bodies; they are powerhouses of folate, iron, and antioxidants.  Look for fresh beets in your food store, most beets are reasonably priced and found near the root veggies.

Nuts

  • Packed with good-for-you fats, both unsaturated and monounsaturated, these are a good source of essential fatty acids, protein, and vitamin E.  Because they are so nutrient-dense, you only need a handful or two to reap the nutritional benefits.  Although macadamias and pecans can be costly, nuts such as walnuts, peanuts and almonds are low in cost.

8dc74b6d5bfb50b21

Wild Rice

  • This gluten-free complex carbohydrate is a whole lot better for you than “white” rice and it’s low in fat, and high in protein and fiber.  This rice is loaded with B vitamins and potassium, not to mention the delicious, nutty, robust flavor.

Garbanzo Beans

  • No only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but they are high in iron, folate, manganese and fiber, and may help reduce cholesterol levels.  If you don’t like Garbanzo beans–try another-lentils, lima, black-the varieties are endless.  Additionally, with beans, you’re getting your money’s worth because they are much cheaper to purchase than animal proteins.

f624463242a3620c1

Blueberries

  • Packed with phytoflavinoids and antioxidants, these berries are also high in vitamin C and potassium, which are anti-inflammatory and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.  The darker the berry, the more antioxidants they have.  And remember, frozen fruits are just as good as fresh.  Fresh berries get a bad rep for being pricey, however, their frozen friends are just as delish and good for you, not to mention cheaper! Head to the freezer isle if the fresh berries are too pricey.

What do you consider your Super Foods? How do their prices fair against the ones I have listed above?  Have you had to cut back at the food store due to our current economic times?

Hummus…

265e51731a788d78

I love hummus. There are so many different ways to incorporate this delicious spread into your everyday meals and snacks.  Not only does hummus add great flavor- but it packs a nutritional punch, as well. 

Hummus contains protein, complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats, which are all essential to fuel us throughout our day.   Moreover, hummus is often made with olive oil, which contains oleic acid (a fat that helps fight the gene responsible for 20-30% of breast cancers, according to Northwestern University researchers).

Hummus is high in Iron and Vitamin C with significant amounts of vitamin B6 and Folate.  Not to mention, the chickpeas make it a great source of protein and dietary fiber.   Hummus is quite useful in vegetarian and vegan diets because when eaten in combination with grains (such as bread), it serves as a complete protein.

Although hummus is a great, healthy food, be sure to check the nutrition labels on commercial products, as they may contain added sugar, sodium, or fat.  My favorite healthyhummus brands are Tribe and Abraham’s …pick them up in your local food store if you don’t have time to prepare your homemade version.

I encourage all of you experiment with the ideas below and discover the great taste of hummus.  Here are a few suggestions sent to me from my friends over at Tribe hummus (thanks for the amazing coupons):

  • Serve with pita wedges (toasted or fresh), tortilla chips, carrot sticks, sesame crackers, or veggies
  • Open a baked sweet potato and top with humus instead of sour cream
  • Spread hummus on a warm, fresh bagel instead of cream cheese
  • Use on any sandwich instead of mayonnaise
  • Add to a burger with sliced tomato and red onion
  • Spread over chicken, turkey, or grilled fish
  • Make a traditional Mediterranean hummus meza plate: Spread hummus around a shallow round plate, sprinkle with paprika, drizzle with olive oil in the center, serve with olives, red onion slices, tomato slices, and warm pita bread
  • Fettuccine Alfredo with Hummus: Cook fettuccine al Dente and drain. Empty one can of roasted garlic hummus in a saucepan.  Add 4 Tbsp. water and heat slowly.  Toss with fettuccine, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
  • Tuna n’ Hummus Sandwich: Mix one can of drained tuna with 2 Tbsp. hummus. Spread on whole wheat bread and add lettuce, tomato and pickles.
  • Carrot Hummus Pita Pizza: Spread hummus on one side of a pita loaf. Top with shredded carrot, and bake on a pan in a 400 degree oven until pita is crispy and hummus starts to brown.
  • Hummus Caesar Salad: Add 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1Tsp. olive oil to 4 ounces of hummus.  Whip until smooth.  Toss with cut romaine lettuce and add toasted pita croutons (toast a pita loaf and cut into 1/4 inch squares).
  • Hummus Snacker: Use pita bread, fresh veggie sticks and hummus for a school or work snack
  • Smoked Salmon and Dill Pizza: Spread hummus on top side of a pita pocket.  Cover with diced red onion, dill and finely chopped smoked salmon and bake at 400 degrees until pita is crispy and hummus starts to brown.

Enjoy!

e8745b4233a14c321

What is your favorite way to incorporate hummus into your meals and snacks?  Do you have a favorite hummus brand or do you prefer homemade?