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!

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Lucious Leafy Greens

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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.

Sugar Blues and Open Sky Discount

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Sugar is everywhere today.  Not only is it in soda, cake and ice cream but in more unlikely foods such as ketchup, canned food and salad dressings.  Sugar is often disguised in fancy language such as corn syrup, dextrose, fructose or maltose.  Many of us unknowingly consume 30 teaspoons of sugar each day, which is 3 times the USDA recommendation.

It is only natural that we crave sugar.  It is simply the body asking for energy.  When sugar is digested, it turns to glucose which fuels the body’s cells and helps restore energy levels.  But, before you hit the vending machine for an instant energy boost, note that all sweets are not created equal.

Refined sugar creates a roller-coaster effect–imagine a child’s birthday party.  The kids are calm in the beginning, but after cake time everyone is bouncing off the walls.  The sugar from the cake quickly enters the bloodstream and causes the blood sugar level to skyrocket causing excitability, hyperactivity and nervous tension.  Because this sugar is refined and does not have any minerals or vitamins to sustain energy, the hyperactivity will only last for a short period of time before the energy plummets and the kids become cranky and tired.  Ever wonder why these kids birthday parties last only a couple of hours?

Refined sugars not only lead to major mood swings but also take a tool on the body leading to health problems such as diabetes, weight gain and hypoglycemia.  Because the table sugar in your morning donuts is such a severe dose of energy, it causes your body’s glucose levels to spike up and then crash down.  When the body senses a high level of sugar it goes into panic mode and words hard to burn it up as quickly as possible.  In order for the body to absorb sugar properly, it uses its own minerals and enzymes creating a deficiency.  Refined sugars also create more cravings for more high-calorie, sweet foods as your body tries to replace lost nutrients.

For those of you who are sugar addicts, start slowly.  Rather than quitting ‘cold turkey’, try to incorporate sweeter veggies such as carrots and sweet potatoes into your day.  You may still experience energy dips in the early afternoon and then a couple of hours post lunch, however, this is only natural.  By incorporating more foods with naturally occurring sugars, the energy dips will not be as sever as if you were to eat a candy bar.  As you add more veggies, you will eventually crave less sugar and naturally crowd out the sweet snacks.

Sometimes your cravings go beyond hunger or the need for an energy boost.  The desire for something sweet may be the need for other forms of comfort in your life. When do you crave sweets the most? Is it in the late afternoon when you are bored at work or when you are home alone? Along with replacing simple sugars with sweet veggies, whole grains and fruits, try to incorporate more self-care into your life, whether it is though relationships, exercise or hobbies.  You may be surprised to learn that your desire for that bowl of ice cream is not as strong.

Here are a few of my facts and tips to help you navigate through your Sugar Blues:

  • Sugar is addicting; once we start…we cannot stop…we continue to crave sugar and want more and more!
  • Food changes everything; we take it in with our mouths and it becomes us..’you are what you eat’, so when we are eating too much sugar, we are very different than when we are eating leafy greens and good sources of protein
  • Willpower is not the problem, it’s the uncontrollable cravings
  • Sugar is the solution, not the problem
  • Why do we go for sugar? It gives us something-energy, feeling happy, satisfied, etc. and it’s an instantaneous solution to these problems. It will shoot our energy through the roof but we will crash later. So, sugar is our solution in the moment- our body is constantly trying to achieve homeostasis (balance).  We want balance.
  • So, if we wake up tired-we want coffee, donuts or sugar, which spikes us up then we crash
  • If we are eating too many salty foods (yang) such as meaty, salty grounding foods they will make us crave sugar (yin) foods.  For instance, bartenders put out peanuts so that people will continue to drink sweet alcohol.  The same goes for dining out–the food is always heavy on the salt so that we will want to order off the dessert menus.
  • When we are craving sugar we are not hungry, we are usually thirsty.  Most Americans are dehydrated, which causes migraine headaches and exhaustion.
  • When you get a craving; take a deep breath and drink water, look at your watch and wait 20 minutes for the craving to pass.
  • There is ALWAYS something behind your underlying causes of cravings.
  • Could be our lack of primary foods in our lives? By Primary Foods, I am referring to love, friends, relationships, work, spiritual practice, career, exercise, hobbies and anything that is a non-food source that heals your soul.  Are you bored? Are you lonely? Are you running away from something or someone? Many people use food to fill a void that food CANNOT fix. The freezer (ice cream) satisfies that need, but the ice cream does not solve anything, so you are off to find another quick fix.
  • Put a list on your fridge that will list non-food options called a ‘Nourishment Menu’; use this menu to feed your soul.  Work in the garden, call a friend, take a walk, get outside in nature, practice yoga, read a book, make a human connection with friends or family members.   Food cannot help our problems or make us feel as good as these options can.
  • Ask yourself, “Am I getting the nourishment that I want from my life?”  ” Am I looking to food to fill this void in my life?”
  • Sugar is not the problem; it is the solution and our body is always trying to come into balance. When we eat too many meat-based or grounding foods we are going to crave the opposite.
  • If we are dehydrated we will crave sugar.
  • Often times, food is not the issue.  We are looking for connection with spirit in our body.  Take a step back and analyze the situation.  You may be surprised to know that food is not the problem at all.
  • What is one thing that you learned about yourself with your relationships with food?  Be sure to look at everything you do for yourself that truly nourishes you.  True nourishment comes from non-food sources; mindless snacking is something we do to keep us busy.
  • If your sweet tooth is not satisfied with sweet vegetables or fruit, here are some of my favorite ‘Sweet’ Condiments, which are more natural alternatives to sugar.

Be sure to understand and comprehend each bullet point above.  Ask yourself if these scenarios relate to your life.  Do you realize the impact of sugar on your health and well-being?

Eat for quality, not quantity and savor each bite of food.

Open Sky Discount

Shop my Open Sky store and receive 10% anything on the Open Sky website; use the coupon code REDESIGN throughout all of January.

Product Review: Dave’s Killer Bread

A big thank you to the folks over at Dave’s Killer Bread for sending me a delicious loaf of KILLER bread.

bread

I have been eager to tell each of you about the delicious breads over at Dave’s Killer Bread.

Dave offers a vast array of delicious and healthy breads:

  • 21 Whole Grains Bread
  • Powderseed Bread
  • Good Seed Bread
  • Blues Bread
  • Good Seed Flourless Sprouted Wheat
  • Good Seed Spelt Bread
  • Peace Bomb Mini-Baguette
  • Cracked Wheat Bread
  • Nuts and Grains Bread
  • Rockin’ Rye Bread

Dave is busy working on numerous new products that are currently under development:

  • Organic Cinnamon Rolls
  • Sprouted Grain Cookies
  • Whole Grain White Bread
  • Omega Sprouted Wheat bread
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Robust Raisin
  • Blues Buns
  • Surviva Complete Protein Bread
  • Good Seed Love Bombs

My clients and I were lucky enough to sample Dave’s delicious breads; we were amazed by the fresh, chewy texture and nutritional content of each slice! This was by far the best bread I have ever tasted and my clients agreed 100%.   Last week, my clients and I sampled Dave’s bread and had a great time making sandwiches, baked croutons, meatballs and vegetarian bean burgers.  There are countless ways to enjoy Dave’s Killer Bread in your recipes; simply sub Dave’s bread for your bread crumbs, processed croutons and unhealthy breads void of fiber, loaded with additives and artificial flavors.

You haven’t tasted a REAL bread until you have a slice of Dave’s.  You’ll be saying goodbye to your store bought ‘fake fiber’ and ‘fake whole grain’ breads once you bite into Dave’s loaf.  As I have mentioned before, we must be cautious when shopping for whole grain breads-just because the package advertises ‘Whole Grains’ does not necessarily mean that the product contains the entire bran, germ and endosperm in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm.  Each part of the whole grain kernel contains many essential vitamins and nutrients from fiber to antixoidants, minerals, and protein found in the endosperm and germ.  We must be sure to carefully study the ingredients on each label–but no worries here, Dave’s got you covered with his all-star ingredients.

If you are in the market for a new bread or just ready to break out of your Wonder Bread routine, take a look at Dave’s website and order yourself a loaf or two of his unique bread creations.

As you can see from the above bread variety as well as the new products in development, Dave has created a KILLER Whole Grain business.  Each of Dave’s delicious breads is made from whole grain, which as we all know is far healthier than products made with refined grains.

Moreover, Dave’s breads contain no animal products, therefore every tasty loaf is vegan.    No artificial flavors, no preservatives, no corn syrup, no high fructose corn syrup! Now, that’s hard to beat!  Each loaf is sweetened with organic molasses, natural fruit juices and organic cane juice.

Thank you again to the kind folks over at Dave’s Killer Bread for sending me samples of their whole grain breads.  I know my clients are going to be ordering Dave’s bread for their childrens lunch sandwiches–it seems we’ve finally found a healthy fiber-ful bread that has a liking to the kids taste buds!  Now there’s a way to put whole grains into your families meals.

Product Review: All One Powder

Thank you to All-One for sending me a package of samples for my clients.  All-One provides a daily nutrition regimen in powder form, that is easy to take, readily used by your body and supports optimum health.  Their nutrition supplements are in powder form, which is fun to mix into smoothies, yogurts, baked goods, oatmeal and juice.

My clients had the opportunity to try each of the following All-One powders:

Original Formulaallone
Rice Baseall
Green Phyto Baseaaaa
Fruit Antioxidantsquare4R
Totally Fiberalloneeeeee
Calcium Complexalone
Vitamin Cal

Be sure to check out the All-One website for additional products.
Thank you again to All-One for sending me samples of your All-One powders for my clients!

Wheat or Whole-Wheat: Who’s the Imposter?

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So, here’s a typical scenario for you…you walk into the food store and head over to the bread and cereal isle.  First thought: “YIKES”.   Hundreds of products line the shelves claiming Whole Grains, Wheat, Whole Wheat, Whole Grains…the list could go on forever.  So, how do you know you’re buying a minimally processed product?

Whole grain breads and cereals prevent your body from storing fat and are loaded with vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, thiamin, protein, and our good friend fiber!  Whole grains are necessary in our daily diets because they fight obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.  Now, here’s where the confusion lies: Don’t be fooled by the imposter’s such as processed white breads and doughnuts, as well as products labeled wheat instead of Whole Wheat.

We can only survive for so long on a non-carbohydrate diet.  Your body craves carbohydrates because you NEED them to survive.  However, most of us are confused about which carbs to eat—well, for starters wipe out all of the processed junk and stock your pantry with the least processed products, which are carbs that still have their heart-healthy fiber.

Grains like corn, oats, barley, wheat and rye are seeds that come from grasses, which are comprised of 3 parts: the Germ, the Bran, and the Endosperm.  

The Endosperm is the biggest part of the grain, however, nutritionally it’s pretty much a dud containing a little protein, starch, and some B vitamins.  The Germ is the smallest part of the grain, however, this little guy packs a nutritional punch containing protein, oils, and B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine.  Moreover, it has minerals such as zinc, potassium, iron and magnesium, not to mention vitamin E.  The Bran is the third part of the grain where the Fiber is stored.  This contains B vitamins, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other minerals which coat the endosperm.

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So, when food manufacturers refine and process grains, take a guess which of the 3 parts they toss? You got it; the Bran, where all of the minerals and fiber are, and the Germ, where all of the vitamins and protein lie.  So what does that leave us with? The Endosperm (ewww) which is starch that is processed into bagels, pasta, white bread, white rice, and just about every other wheat product and baked good you’ll come across.  So, these lovely manufactures are robbing you of your nutrients and leaving you with a void piece of starch! Yum.

On the other hand, whole-grain carbohydrates play an important role in our healthy lifestyles by supplying us with the energy we need to get through our day.  Whole grain bread keeps insulin levels LOW, which keeps you from storing fat.  A piece of toast with breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a side of whole grain rice for dinner—- now that’s an A+ heart-healthy day!

Now, where does the Confusion lie?  Well, first off, food manufacturers are quite sneaky and after refining away all the fiber, minerals, and vitamins from the wheat–they’ll add molasses to the bread, which turns it brown, and then place it in the food stores for people like you and I to read the label that says, “wheat” bread.  Well isn’t that just lovely?  It’s a trick and a marketing gimmick–however, it fools each of us at the food store everyday!  So, how do we know what nutritious breads and other products to choose? Reach for those that say Whole-Wheat or Whole-Grain.

What Whole Grain breads and cereals have you noticed are imposter’s?