Helpful Gluten Free Resources
If you're living with celiac disease or are living with gluten intolerance it can be daunting, especially if you or your family are new to this lifestyle. We've compiled a few local resources from the greater Maryland area. It is by no means an exhaustive list and we'll be adding new ones as we find them.
If you've got a Gluten Free resource to share, please let us know!
Making Sense of Eating Gluten Free
In today's world, there's a dizzying array of products labeled Gluten Free. And I do mean dizzying; enough to make one HATE shopping or relegate it to an arduous task, undertaken begrudgingly when one absolutely must.
I mean, I read labels. All labels. I read labels because I want to know just what kinds of additives, preservatives and fillers are in foods these days. I look quizzically at products like Orange Juice and Eggs and Potato Chips that suddenly are riding the branding wave by adding, 'Gluten Free' to their packaging. As if we didn't know that oranges don't contain gluten. But I digress, it's amusing and enraging at the same time. First, lets talk about Gluten, what it is and why some of us are intolerant to it.
Gluten. It's a sticky subject indeed. Actually the word comes from the French word for glue, you know that binding product that sticks things together? Okay, so we know the root, how does that help? Well, gluten is the protein that is responsible for the elasticity in dough and gives baked bread it's structure. It's also responsible for holding pasta together. The problem? A LOT of people are allergic to it! In fact as many as 18 MILLION people have some form of non-celiac gluten intolerance.
Stomach maladies and IBS type symptoms are the two most common effects of gluten intolerance, but did you know that there are a lot of surprising symptoms that you might not be aware of?
Here are a few more symptoms of gluten intolerance:
1. Depression and Anxiety - Studies now show that Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are linked to depression, anxiety and mood disorders.
2. Brain Fog - Being able to think clearly is important. Research has shown that in sensitive individuals, there can be significant intolerance of IgG Antibodies that can result in feeling 'spaced or foggy'.
3. Autoimmune Disease - Gluten Intolerance has been linked to several Autoimmune diseases, including Thyroid, Hashimoto's & Grave's disease.
4. Migraine Headaches and Skin Problems - Due to the ability of gluten to significantly increase inflammation in the body. Tissues become swollen, restricting blood flow to various areas. The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research says that eating gluten free can relieve many symptoms of Chronic Migraine sufferers.
5. Achy Joints and Muscles - The Arthritis Foundation has found a significant link between gluten intake and flare up episodes of muscular aches and joint pain. This is due to gluten causing inflammation If you suffer from arthritis, achy joints or swelling, chance are that you can relieve at least part of your symptoms by cutting back on gluten or eliminating foods that contain it altogether. Another way to help stiff and achy joints is to add a Joint Pain Relief and Anti-Inflammatory Supplement that contains a few key essential ingredients: Chondroitin, Glucosamine, MSM and Tumeric. Tumeric is a major anti-inflamatory and strong antioxidant.
Zoodles - The Pasta Impersonator! How to Crush Carbs and Calories the Easy Way!
Zoodles are Zucchini Noodles. Because we started with Zucchini noodles, we nick-named them 'Zoodles' and it's sorta stuck. It's cute and customers like it. We now make 'Zoodles' from all sorts of vegetables to include in Pasta dishes and especially Asian Stir Frys. By using nutrient dense veggie zoodles instead of pasta, we add extra vitamins, minerals and fiber to our dishes. And they're *much* lower in calories and carbs too!
We suggest getting a Professional Vegetable Spiralizer to make them at home. It's easy and it's fun and it makes masses of noodles or zoodles! Just watch the kids enjoy making them, the process is addictive!
What does 'Eating the Paleo Diet' mean?
Paleo is a way of eating that is simple, natural and healthy. Think of it as eating in a style before processed foods, the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors did! Think of it as the way Nature intended us to eat.
The Paleo Diet eliminates:
Breads and Bagels
Cakes, Doughnuts and Pastry
One way to keep it straight is this: If you could forage it on a camping trip and not have to process it, you can eat it. This is one of the reasons Paleo followers don't eat grains - a Cave dweller of 11,000 years ago wouldn't know to pick wheat, pound it into a powder, add water and yeast to it and then bake it. Let alone cultivate it. Think of simple foods, eaten naturally as nature made them.
What You Can Eat on the Paleo Diet:
Organic Vegetables and Salads
Grass Fed and Finished Beef and Pork
Pasture Raised Poultry without Hormones
Cold Water Fish from the Ocean.
Nuts and Berries, dried without Sulfur
Breads made with Almond or Coconut Flour
Coconut Amino Acids Instead of Soy?
We made the switch from Soy products to Non-Soy Amino Acids in all of our cooking because we didn't want the extra Estrogens in our diet and we couldn't be happier. From soups to sauces, to roasts and baked goods.
We found an ethical, family based company that really believes in what they're doing to help people and has great products across the board.. They make a great selection of coconut based condiments, vinegar, baking supplies, snack bars and low-glycemic products too. We especially love their garlic and teriyaki sauces to use for Stir Fry!
Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free, Non-GMO, Low Glycemic, Low Sodium and are made by a very ethical, family based company. What's not to love? We recommend them highly.
You can find our favorite Coconut Secret Sampler here.
Former Tampa Lightning Chef serves
Rocco Antonelli and His First hand
Healthy Lifestyle Videos
HITTING THE TRIFECTA:
Losing 50+ Pounds and Kicking the Meds
Over the 30 years I've been cooking professionally, time in the kitchen has taught me one very important lesson - to make the very best food products, you have to start with the very best ingredients. Similarly, if you want to look, feel, and perform at your very best, you must feed your body accordingly. These days, I start with what I now know are the very best ingredients; simple, honest, fresh foods, free from chemicals, additives, and preservatives. I source organic produce and use only the best beef, pork, chicken, and fish available to me. Of course, I didn't always do this this.
Rewind back to about six months ago. Picture this - a somewhat flabby, late 40-something chef, munching on everything I made in my commercial kitchen with wreckless abandon. (emphasis on 'wreck' and the mis-spelling is mine, purposely) If I made it for clients, I ate it. And cooking gourmet food on a daily basis had me using some of the best of the worst ingredients one can eat. And I was eating this stuff every day- full fat milk and creams, cheeses, processed meats, lots of grains, pasta, and more. These were ingredients that I thought were actually high 'quality'. But what is quality anyway? I mean, it tasted good, but afterwards I always felt tired. Or sick. Or both. And I was stuck in what seemed like an endless loop of sick and tired. This was most definitely not a 'quality' feeling I was experiencing.
Then one day in the kitchen, I met Dave from Paleo On the Go, who was living the Paleo lifestyle and had chefs cooking it on a daily basis and I was intrigued. Over the next few weeks I watched, listened, and learned. Call it my own personal culinary osmosis. They were using costly, expensive, and amazing ingredients - organic produce, grass fed and finished beef and pork, antibiotic-free, pasture raised chicken and wild-caught cold-water seafood of the utmost quality. They left out the additives, the preservatives, the thickeners, the oils and the sugars. They left out the grains too! What sort of 'kitchen-sorcery' was this? So I did my own research. I checked out the Paleo diet on the web and found Sarah Ballentyne's excellent website, www.thePaleoMom.com and found answers to some of my tough questions.
Once I had explored enough quality information, I decided that eating a Paleo based diet was for me a great option. You see, what I haven't mentioned yet is that medically I was a mess. I had hit what my doctor had jokingly referred to as the medical 'trifecta'. I had the big three maladies that plague good health - Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol. And I felt that getting Paleo would help me so decided to give it a try. And guess what? I'm a new person now.
Five months later I'm down 35+ pounds*. I've also absolutely astounded my doctor, who is ready to take me OFF my Diabetes meds that I've been on for almost ten years. My blood pressure has normalized enough that I may soon come off of that medicine too! I'm awaiting my cholesterol test results, but I'm willing to bet that my high cholesterol has come way down as well!
Now I smile, knowing that by making some life-adjustments, including a eating Paleo based diet, that I've actually won the REAL 'trifecta' and that's the one of improved health. I feel good, I look good, and I have more energy.
And that's something money can't buy.... A winning Trifecta indeed!
From the Kitchen,
* UPDATE - I've now lost a total of 57 pounds and maintain my healthy lifestyle by continuing my Paleo-based, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free diet.
Above is a reprint of the blog that I originally wrote for http://www.paleoonthego.com/hitting-the-trifecta on 8/27/13
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