For any celiacs and gluten intolerants out there who do not know this site yet, you have to check out MyGlutenFreeNJ.com. As the largest gluten free database in New Jersey, this site offers plenty of places to eat without having to worry about maintaining your gluten free lifestyle. The site also offers product reviews, recipes, a forum, and more!
At MyGlutenFreeNJ, we are nearing our 100,000 viewers number! At this very exciting time (and by popular demand), we will be turning our site into MyGlutenFreeUSA, covering every state in the nation!
So if you haven't checkout out this gluten free website yet, then take a look and let us know what you think in the comments section.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Guest Post by Author Jeanne Donnelly (aimlesswriter.blogspot.com)
When first going gluten free due to a diagnosis of celiac disease, you have to wade through a lot of information (and not all of it will be correct). People will tell you things they heard about celiac disease from their cousin’s uncle’s brother’s mother and swear it’s true. You’ll hear their denials about the importance of cross contamination and how they swear they knew someone who out-grew it. The most dangerous thing to your health at this point is not knowing what is true. Let’s cover a few of the myths right now.
Myth: I used to have celiac disease, but I out grew it!
Nobody out-grows celiac disease. Ever. It’s a hereditary, autoimmune disease and if you have a definite diagnosis, you have it for life. You may not have symptoms, but that doesn’t mean gluten is not damaging your body in some way. Symptoms can resurface at any time and cause other problems such as cancer, infertility and other autoimmune problems. If you’re a celiac, you must maintain a gluten free diet to stay healthy.
Myth: I haven't been tested yet, but I must have it. It's best if I just go gluten free!
Do not go off gluten until you have a diagnosis. Once you have stopped eating gluten, the antibodies they look for during diagnosis will begin to go down and your intestines will start to heal. This will cause a false negative, and you will never know for sure if you have celiac disease or not. To get an accurate diagnosis you would have to go back on gluten for at least 12 weeks. If you do have celiac disease, this could make you very sick. Because Celiac Disease is hereditary, an accurate diagnosis is important for your family history and other members of your blood line. Gene testing is available now, but the presence of the gene does not mean that you have celiac disease, you may just be a carrier.
Myth: A little gluten won’t hurt me.
Even one small amount of gluten will trigger an inflammatory immune reaction. Some celiacs do not feel this or present symptoms, but the attack on your immune system can cause damage. Repeated ingestion of gluten can cause long term problems, such as vitamin deficiencies, respiratory allergies, and more.
Myth: Spelt is gluten free.
No, spelt is not gluten free. Spelt is sometimes suggested to a new celiac by health store employees because they believe it to be gluten free. It is not. Spelt is wheat and therefore has gluten.
Truth: Celiac Disease is Manageable
With a little creativity you can find good, gluten free substitutes for all your favorite foods. Experiment with different brands or making things from scratch. When on the go, pack some food to take along so you’re not starving. Read as much as you can about living the gluten free way of life. Not all advice will fit your lifestyle, so it may take a while to sift through it all. Eventually, you’ll figure out how to be gluten free, healthy, and happy.
Guest Post by Author Jeanne Donnelly (aimlesswriter.blogspot.com)
Creating a delicious gluten free dinner is easy if you use a little imagination. Start with your basics such as lean meats, vegetables, and gluten free whole grains, and build on them by combining gluten free condiments, dressings and spices.
Ladies, got a meat and potatoes man?
Good news! Meat and potatoes are gluten free. Marinate steaks, London broil, or ribs in salad dressing that is certified gluten free. The brand Wishbone has several that say gluten free on the label, while Kraft says that they will list all gluten in their ingredients. If you are not sure, most products have a toll free number or website you can visit. Do not hesitate to call and inquire.
Gluten Free Recipe Idea!
Scrub and slice golden or red potatoes. Next, arrange them in a casserole dish with sliced onions and peppers. Add gluten free spices and a little water or broth (gluten free) in the bottom of the pan, cover and bake 30 minutes. This also works well if you drizzle a little Italian salad dressing over the top of the potatoes before baking.
Add a vegetable and your meal is complete and completely gluten free.
Try going Italian with eggplant rolatini. There are several gluten free sauces on the market such as Francesco Rinaldi or Classico that you can combine with eggplant, mozzarella and ricotta cheese to make a gluten free Italian dish. Add a Caesar salad without croutons (with gluten free Caesar dressing) for a side dish and cook up some gluten free corn or quinoa pasta to complete your meal.
Tip! Time the pasta to cook exactly as directed on the package for best results, and rinse with cold water after draining to prevent the pasta from cooking further.
When was the last time you had a submarine/hoagie sandwich? The Grainless Baker and Sharr’s now have long, sub shaped sandwich breads that can be used to recreate this favorite food. Slice tomatoes, onions and lettuce and set aside. Next, slice the bread length-wise. Mix 50/50 olive oil and red wine vinegar in a squeeze bottle. Soak both halves of the bread with the oil/vinegar mixture and sprinkle with oregano. Lay out slices of gluten free ham, salami and provolone on your bread, top with tomatoes, lettuce and onions. Enjoy!
Remember to leave room for dessert! Betty Crocker now has a line of easy gluten free cookie, brownie and cake mixes. You can whip up the brownies, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream (check the ingredients to make sure it’s GF. Breyers offers many gluten free options) and top with Hersey’s chocolate syrup. Birthday cake just got easier with the gluten free chocolate or yellow cake mixes that are now put out by a few companies. Choose a gluten free icing and dessert is ready in a snap.
Remember to always double check that the product you’re using is still gluten free, as companies can change ingredients at any time. If you find a product you like, write the company and let them know. This will encourage them to create more gluten free delights.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Guest Post by Author Jeanne Donnelly
When first going gluten free, most people who have suffered for years with diarrhea, irritable bowel, headaches or other complaints, feel much better. Recovery can be slower for some, but if you’re not improving you may still be ingesting gluten.
Gluten can be hidden in some of the things you consume everyday or you may be getting it from cross contamination. Double check the ingredients in all prescription medications, vitamins, and any other supplements you may be taking. Wheat is sometimes used as a filler in pills. Glutenfreedrugs.com has lists of all medications that are deemed to be gluten free.
Make sure anything you use to prepare your food is clean. Tephlon coated pans and plastic ware will hold the gluten molecule and contaminate the next thing cooked in it no matter how well you scrub it. The same is true for wooden cutting boards. The best thing to do it have cutting boards or plastic ware (including plastic spatulas and spoons) designated especially for food without gluten. Use stainless steel pots to insure the food you cook is free from cross contamination. If your toaster has ever had gluten in it, it will now contaminate anything else you toast in it. It’s best to purchase a new toaster and only use it for gluten free bread.
Avoid double dipping. If a serving utensil touches gluten, it is now contaminated until it has been thoroughly washed. If you use a knife to spread jelly, peanut butter, or butter on a piece of bread with gluten, and then put the knife back into the jar to retrieve more, the jar is now contaminated and should not be used by someone who must maintain a gluten free diet. If you do live with people who are not gluten free, it may be best to have separate jars.
Be aware of the words gluten can hide in every day foods. Malt, spelt, couscous, semolina, and triticale should all be avoided by people following a gluten free diet. Terms such as “modified food starch” or “flavors” could contain gluten as the label may not state what it’s been modified with, or what “flavors” includes. In this case calling the manufacturer is your best bet.
Jeanne Donnelly has been gluten free since 2003. She is a regular contributer for several magazines, as well as eHow.com, Livestrong.com, and more.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Eating gluten free can help you feel better and healthier than ever, but there can be some negative side effects as well. Most of these side effects take place in your wallet. Gluten free foods can be more costly than the average bread, cake, cookie or cracker. If you've been feeling financially run down, follow these simple steps to healthier and more cost efficient eating.
1.) Stick to the Basics. Your body is programmed to process fruits and vegetables, and they cost less than most junk foods or specialty gluten free foods. Try dishes that have these, plus lean meats, low to non-fat dairy, beans, nuts and seeds. You can also pick up whole grain gluten free flour from a company called Bob's Red Mill, which tastes something like pumpernickel bread. Gluten free whole grains are a great way to add fiber and B vitamins to your diet. Also, the calories you are taking in by eating whole grains are put to good use in your body, unlike the highly processed, sugar-filled and calorie dense competitors on the market. When you go shopping, try sticking to the perimeter of the store. Visit the produce section, then meat, then dairy, and check out. Frozen vegetables, honey, beans and brown rice are the few foods that are nutritious in the inner isles of the supermarket. Remember not to get caught up in what you cannot eat, think about all that you can.
2.) Think International. Take a trip to your local Asian food market. You can find plenty of flours that are not in the traditional Euro-diet, but can be found internationally. For instance, rice flour sells for about 89c per pound, varying in different locations. You can also find Tapioca flour, bean flour and others. Another good thing about these stores is that you can pick up other gluten free treats like sushi, seaweed, rice crackers and bean threads. A big bag of bean threads costs less than the average brown rice pasta, and can be used in soups. You can also find some of these items in the international isles of your local supermarket.
3.) Tax Breaks for Celiacs. Are you a diagnosed Celiac? You have to check with your state's regulations, but if you buy enough gluten free foods for the family (Celiac's Disease is genetic, so remember to check everyone), then you may qualify for a tax write off. Celiac’s Disease falls under the Americans With Disabilities Act. For New Jersey, this is the difference between the average product and its gluten free counterpart. Look up your local laws, but money is money.
4.) Regular Brands That Don’t Advertise. Take the time to look up brands that may be gluten free. Foods that advertise themselves as "gluten free" are not the only ones out there. For example, La Choy soy sauce is gluten free, but does not advertise as such. You can also substitute foods, like putting plain Rice Chex in the food processor, add some seasonings, and you have bread crumbs for other recipes. All you have to do is get creative. You can usually call the information number on a product’s box and ask the manufacturer directly if the product is gluten free.
5.) Buy in Bulk or Online. Chances are that your local health food store raises its prices quite a bit. You can eliminate this problem by buying certain products online. Buying in bulk will also save on the shipping cost. Check out websites like Amazon.com to see if you can find your favorite products at a discount. Many times the manufacturer will also have savings on their own website.
These simple strategies can help you lead a more nutritious, delicious and cost effective gluten free lifestyle. Remember, keep it simple and get back to the basics. Your body craves more natural, healthy foods. Don’t be afraid to branch out and learn new things, new cultures and new ways of eating. Good luck in all of your gluten free endeavors.
Imagine not having to begin your day with a cup of coffee, tea, or anything with caffeine. If you feel run down in the middle of the day, and don't feel like buying five hour energy shots, then you may want to consider some dietary changes. Don't worry, there is no carb counting or starvation required. In fact, this is not really a diet at all, but rather a healthy eating plan for your lifestyle. Follow these simple rules and you will soon be more energetic, thinking more clearly, have healthier looking skin and hair, and put an end to fluctuating waist lines.
The first rule is to clear your foods of all chemicals, including sweeteners, food colorings, preservatives, anti-caking agents and anything else that is man-made. Go into your pantry and pull out the first thing you see. How many items in the ingredients list are one of these? Food colorings have been shown to be neuro-toxic, and can cause hyperactivity, ADD or ADHD symptoms in children. Certain food colorings have also been banned in parts of Europe for this very reason (check out news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7340426.stm). Sweeteners can be equally as dangerous. When Aspartame is broken down in the body, its chemical formula turns into formaldehyde. Another popular sweetener, Splenda, is made from taking away parts of the sugar molecule and adding chlorine (the hydroxyl-OH groups, for you fellow chem geeks, are replaced with Cl atoms). Now imagine what these things are doing to your body, and how they are affecting your everyday life. When you are eating healthy foods everyday, these foods don't even taste good anymore, they taste artificial.
The next rule is that you try to eat six small meals a day, or every 2-3 hours. You want to include a complex carbohydrate (more about those later) and a lean protein with each meal. You are probably thinking, "Hey, won't I gain weight?" The truth is that you will actually lose weight if you need to lose it, and gain if you need to gain it. Basically, your body will find its natural balance, and you will look amazing. Watch your portion sizes, if they are too large then you really will gain weight. For example, breakfast can be 3-4 egg whites and a cup (cooked) of oatmeal with cinnamon, honey, flax seed, and berries. Three hours after that you could have a fruit smoothie with peanut butter, then chicken breast and vegetables for lunch, and so on. You don't have to eat these specific foods, but they serve as good examples. You should never be hungry on this eating plan. In fact, you will feel like you are eating all the time!
The third rule covers what foods should be eaten. Let's start with fruits and vegetables. Your body needs these. They should be incorporated into every meal you eat, and will add a tremendous amount of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other great things to your diet. Many people are afraid of fruits, under the misconception that the sugar in fruits will make you gain weight. Actually, the whole fruit (not juice) contains enough fiber and enzymes to slow the digestion of the fruit, and help digest it properly. Of course you want to eat these in moderation, but you should not be afraid of eating them altogether, as they offer substantial health benefits. Particularly berries, which are packed with nutrients your body needs.
Another food to try is whole grains. Most people think of whole wheat, but remember not to limit yourself. Try quinoa, millet, amaranth, brown rice and other nutritious (and great tasting) grains. Adding variety to your diet is very important. Whole grains provide B vitamins, fiber, iron, magnesium, selenium, and other essential nutrients. They also help prevent cardiovascular disease and promote weight loss.
Dairy should be used in moderation, around two to three servings per day. Dairy can also be high in calories and saturated fats, so try to stick with the low or fat free variety. Yogurt with honey, oatmeal and berries is a nutritious breakfast choice, and will give you a great energy boost to start the day. Cottage cheese is another good dairy choice.
You should have some form of protein every time you eat. Lean meats and fish are good sources. Salmon is packed with omega-3's, which help in weight loss, joint health and even keep your hair shiny. Lean chicken is one of the best sources of B12, which helps keep your nervous system healthy. For vegetarians, soybeans (tofu) are a complete source of protein. Other good options are beans and nuts, which are also great sources of minerals and other nutrients.
What is a complex carbohydrate? What makes a carbohydrate simple or complex has to do with its chemical breakdown. Basically, a complex carbohydrate takes longer to digest than a simple carbohydrate. Your body breaks either carbohydrate down into sugars. The longer a natural carbohydrate takes to digest, the better it is for weight loss and to keep your blood sugar regular. Complex carbohydrates are foods like whole grains, starchy vegetables and some fruits. These foods also have the enzymes and fiber it takes to digest more slowly.
Try to incorporate some of these healthy eating habits into your daily lifestyle. Soon you will be bursting with energy all day. When you sleep, you will wake up feeling rested instead of exhausted. Your skin will be clearer, and your waist line will be smaller (or bigger, if you need to gain weight). You will be stronger, healthier and more alive than ever. Treat your body right and you will soon see the benefits.
Many people take vitamin C assuming that it is healthy, without knowing the correct dosage amount. The dosage levels vary for different people, depending on some one's age, gender and habits from day to day. According to the American Dietetics Association, Institute of Medicine and the Food and Nutrition Board, the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) of Vitamin C is 90mg for an adult male, and 75mg for an adult female. If you are a smoker, you must add 35mg to this DRI. The reasoning for this is that smoking fills your body with what is known as "free radicals". These work in the body by destroying any cells they hit, and sometimes alter the DNA within the cell (hence cancer-causing free radicals). Vitamin C works as an antioxidant, which helps in the elimination of these free radicals. There are studies being conducted on using vitamin C to treat cancer, but there is no evidence yet.
Vitamin C has a very low toxicity level, which allows it to be taken in mega-doses (anything excessive, such as 1000-2000mg/dose). This can cause gastrointestinal symptoms in some people, which happens when your body does not absorb the high levels properly. Some studies even suggest that 1000mg or more may produce kidney stones, but there are conflicting finding on this matter. Some studies have shown that taking mega-doses for long periods of time cause a vitamin C resistance in the body, actually leading to a deficiency.
So how much is too much? As a rule, you want to do what your body is programmed for. If you are eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, then you will get the amount of Vitamin C you need. Taking supplements (such as Emergen-C) should be used when you have a cold, but not on a daily bases. Some people take mega doses due to the antihistamine affects on allergies, but this should be done under a doctor's supervision only.
Oranges are Highest in Vitamin C, Right?
Wrong! Oranges seem to be very accessible to many people, especially fortified juices. However, the highest fruit is actually the guava, followed by the red pepper, then kiwi, then oranges. Vitamin C is not stored in the human body, so we must take it in every day through our diets. It is also water-soluble, which means that you need enough water to effectively use the vitamin, and that it is not stored in the body. Also, too much may leave the body through urine, which is not very cost-effective in supplement taking.
Vitamin C is Used to Treat Colds
Actually, vitamin C is necessary in the body to do many different things. It helps the body form collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. It also is required for your body to absorb iron properly. Back when swash-buckling pirates roamed the seas, a common problem was scurvy, which causes gum disease, hemorrhages, weakness and other symptoms. Eventually it was realized that this was caused by a simple vitamin C deficiency. After this, sea-faring men and women started taking citrus fruits along with them on their voyages.
As for colds, studies have shown no benefits for prevention of getting one (unless you are a military personnel or an extreme athlete, or basically work out constantly). There is a small amount of evidence that supports vitamin C shortening the duration of a cold. The studies conducted so far also show that vitamin C has no effect on how severe a cold symptom may be.
There has also been some evidence that vitamin C increases side effects from Tylenol, Aspirin (and Aspirin decreases your vitamin C level), Warfarin and any medicine that effects the kidneys. You should always consult your doctor when taking any medication and vitamin or herbal supplement.
St. John's wart is one of many herbal remedies commonly used to treat symptoms of depression, sleeping disorders, and anxiety. Like most herbal remedies or western medicines, there are advantages and disadvantages to taking this supplement. Often, you can purchase St. Johns wart in your local supermarket or health food store. This herb may also be labeled under the name hypericum perforatum, and is available in tablets, tea bags, tinctures, and capsules. Although St. John's wart is generally considered to be safe, some side effects may occur in certain people. These can vary from dizziness and gastrointestinal symptoms to dry mouth, tiredness, and photosensitivity.
Technically considered a weed, the herb has yellow flowers, a long life span, and was first documented being used as far back as ancient Greece. Today, St. John's wart is a regularly prescribed herb in some parts of Europe, while it is sold over the counter and widely available in the United States. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), St. John's wart may have some effect on mild depression, but does not help with more severe cases. It is also shown to have fewer side effects than standard antidepressant medications.
Although there is no confirmed list of medications that St. Johns wart may conflict with, research has shown that it will most likely limit the effectiveness of some. This includes some antidepressants, and may require the supervision of a doctor if taken with the herb. Other medications that may be affected are birth control pills, Cyclosporine, Digoxin, Indinavir, Irinotecan, Warfarin, or other anticoagulants.
It is important to remember that supplements such as herbs and vitamins do not fall under United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation standards. This includes any filler items that are used, how much of a dose you are getting per serving, or even what dosage is safe to take. The lack of regulation on these products makes not only the quality of the product but also the strength you are taking unpredictable, even if you consistently stick with one brand or dosage amount. Information found on the label of a supplement can also be inaccurate or misleading, which is why herbal manufacturing companies cannot legally claim to cure any ailments or produce certain results that are not scientifically proven. For this reason, it is better to go with a reputable brand when choosing these products, and always follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Additionally, it is significant to note that herbal remedies - when taken incorrectly - can be just as dangerous as any other medication. When a product is derived from a plant source or is labeled "natural", it can still conflict with other herbs or medications you are taking. While some adverse effects may occur, taking herbal supplements can be beneficial when taken correctly. Be sure to speak to a trained professional, such as a registered dietitian or doctor, before treating yourself for certain conditions.
When you are in need of a quick energy boost, what do you reach for? Sugary treats, coffee or energy drinks? Do you love the initial burst you get, but regret the decision two hours later? Keep in mind that energy drinks, turbo-shakes and other foods that advertise high energy results are often misleading.
These foods quickly end in an inconvenient energy crash, and can lead to more serious effects on your body, such as insomnia, irritability, nervousness, headaches and even heart problems. High amounts of caffeine also help your body produce cortisol, a stress hormone that can increase hunger and cause unwanted weight gain. Here are some more natural foods that are sure to have a nutritious, energizing effect that both you and your body will enjoy.
Apples give you a quick boost of energy from fructose, a simple sugar found in fruits. The skin of the apple also contains fiber, which is a complex carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest than other foods, so the energy they provide is released over time. This helps keep your blood sugar level and is a useful tool in avoiding that mid-afternoon crash. Apples also contain essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes that help your body use energy efficiently. The next time you feel like reaching for a cup of coffee, try eating an apple instead. If you don’t like apples, other fruits can have the same effect and be a nutritious alternative to processed and highly caffeinated energy drinks or coffee. Fruit juice can give you a quick boost of energy, but lacks fiber. Too much can just add calories and excess sugar to your day, so stick with eating whole fruits.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which help your brain stay in peak condition by fighting free radicals and relieving oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals, which can do damage to cells in the body. Free radicals are normal, but can be increased by habits such as smoking, eating junk food and drinking alcohol. Chocolate also contains a small amount of caffeine, which in moderation can improve focus and alertness. An ounce of dark chocolate a day is all that is needed to get these nutritional benefits. The higher the cocoa percentage in the chocolate, the stronger those benefits will be, so aim for seventy percent or higher.
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to brain development and performance. The myth that your brain cells do not regenerate or “grow back” is just not true. Your brain is constantly growing and developing, and giving it the nutrients it needs can help it do so properly. Including salmon in your diet at least twice per week can help improve your memory and concentration, keeping you focused throughout your day. Other fish such as albacore tuna, mackerel and herring also contain high amounts of omega-3’s, but salmon has significantly lower mercury levels. If you don’t like fish or have an allergy, try getting your healthy fats from sources like nuts, olive oil and avocados.
Blueberries have high levels of antioxidants, which can help protect your brain from oxidative stress. Blueberries also provide fructose and fiber, that quick and long lasting energy boost. A cup of blueberries a day can be added to cereals, shakes, oatmeal or just eaten the way they are.
Water is a highly underrated drink. Not only does dehydration make you fatigued, it also slows down other important processes in your body. Your brain is seventy percent water, so it makes sense that not having enough water throughout your day can have a negative effect on its function, including your ability to feel your best and be more efficient at your everyday tasks. Try to drink at least three liters of water throughout your day. Keep in mind that if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
Eating these foods can help you feel healthier, more energetic and more focused throughout your day. Remember next time you are reaching for that mid-day sugar and caffeine filled energy drink or cup of coffee that there are better alternatives. Not only will these foods work, but they will work better and longer than expensive quick-fixes. Incorporate these foods into your daily routine and get ready to feel better than ever.