Gluten & Dairy-Free Living. Info, recipes & experiences!

Posts tagged ‘Diet’

Super Foods My Patootie!!!


Any time you connect to media – Any social media, radio, TV, the spam in your junk file – you are inundated with the wonders and cures of a “SUPER FOOD”! The ad (because that is what it is folks), goes on to list the numerous cures of this miracle Super food and cites studies, which are rarely specifically named, on how this food may cure cancer, diabetes or any number of diseases. Read … May …

Blueberries, ginger, turmeric, anti-oxidants, lemons, honey, cinnamon, gogi berries … the list goes on, ad nauseum and changes constantly. There is always a new super food that will cure everything, make you happy, make you look younger, cure a disease, help you lose weight and now the miracle ingredient is available in this powder form for your convenience! WooHoo … not.

THIS IS A super food: you planted it, tended to it, picked it when ripe and ate it fresh, that day. Now THAT is super! And it’s a food! Since most of us do not have the opportunity to have our own, diverse garden (read: veggies, fruit trees, berry bushes, etc.) and even for those that do, it is generally not year round, nor is it as diverse as we would like, we become denizens of our local grocery store and must forage through what is available and we wonder if we are making the right choices.

I am so sick and tired of reading all this bullshit on all media about this cure or that cure or how to lose weight if you buy this product or what you should never do/eat and … rants about Big Pharma … we need to remember that the natural health industry is also a billion dollar industry. People are in it to make money. In the case of “Big Pharma”, once you begin on a course of medication one pill leads to another and pretty soon you are not sure what you are taking and must consult a pharmacist to show you which pill to take when and with what and whether they are all working together for the good of your body. As for the health industry they are offering this cure for that disease, that cure for this disease, pills, cleanses, teas and the list goes on for a vast array of cure alls and weight loss products which without a complete lifestyle change – ie. exercise, diet, outlook on life, don’t deliver and are seldom beneficial for anything except making money for the seller.

Do I believe in healthy diets, mind, body, soul/spirit healing … YES! Do I believe holistic medicine is a great preventative tool? YES! Do I believe following a healthy diet can effect a cure for an already established disease. unfortunately, No. I DO believe following a healthy diet, resting, exercising, having fun/laughing/loving can lessen the symptoms of a disease, help get you back to being healthy faster and perhaps keep you off of or decrease the amount of your medications. For those that have a genetic predisposition to a disease, I believe being proactive by having good living habits will help keep the disease at bay or at least mitigate the severity.

DNA, genetics accounts for a lot of unexpected diseases. These can be mitigated with a healthy body, mind and spirit but not necessarily eradicated. Why bother then? Because your chances of survival are increased. Your time spent being ill is decreased. Better quality of life … if you like to be ambulatory and free of pain …

Fresh, whole foods do provide the nutrients your body requires and is built to use. Our body is an amazing machine which given the chance, regulates itself, detoxifies itself, pH balances itself and so much more. Yep. All it requires is the proper fuel; movement; rest; love and laughter. Your body is a part of a complex system encompassing your emotions and thought processes.

A healthy lifestyle, incorporating the mind, body and soul can keep you healthy and can minimize risk. If you are healthy in ALL three areas you have a better chance of fighting the disease and recognizing that something is wrong with your body, perhaps getting early treatment …

There is no magic pill. There is no surefire, instantaneous, miracle cure.

No one is here to solve YOUR health problems with a magic pill or potion! THAT is entirely up to you, to do the best you can with what you have. Research facts, read studies, stay away from marketing promises, commit to a lifestyle change and begin slowly. Small steps in the beginning lead to bigger strides once you develop your pace. Our health is our responsibility.

What there is the age old, simple advice … sleep, eat real foods, meditate/de-stress/relax, drink lots of pure water, socialize with friends and loved ones – be a part of a social network and get some exercise.

Mix it up. A little of this, a little of that … everything in moderation.

 

 

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One Pan Chicken Dinner! With a Side of Green Beans!


Easy Chicken Dinner – one pan.
Place rinsed chicken breast or thighs in pan. Drizzle EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) all over. Add Wine (red or white) OR orange juice OR lemon into the pan. About 1/2 cup of wine or 1/4 cup juice. Chop (chunky pieces) up potatoes or cauliflower, carrots, onions (just a bit), garlic (lots!) and add to pan. Mix with the juice/wine and oil. Cover the chicken in Dijon mustard – be liberal. Sprinkle entire contents of pan with paprika (lots), cumin (just enough to have a sprinkle – more on the chicken), black pepper, thyme, if you have fresh rosemary, add a 2 or 3 sprigs for extra flavour. Add capers on top of the chicken, it’s okay if a few roll off. Add lots! They are delicious with Dijon mustard. Bake/Roast covered at 350℉ (180℃ or Gas Mark 4), for approximately half an hour (half the time). Uncover and cook until done – browned. Bone in chicken will take about one hour. Boneless will take less time. Cover for only half the time!
Enjoy with a salad or a side of green vegetables!
And here’s a green vegetable idea I made up the other day …
Green Beans, fresh or frozen, whichever you can find! As many as you need – approx. 1/2 cup per person.
Crush some cashews or used slivered/sliced almonds. About 1/3 cup per cup of green beans.
Sesame oil to generously coat pan.
Balsamic vinegar or Lemon juice or Orange juice. Tsp. of Balsamic or 1 tbsp. of Lemon or Orange juice per cup of Beans.
Coriander – crushed.
Black Pepper – a sprinkle will do.
Garlic, chopped. Doesn’t have to be diced up small. Chunky will do. As much or as little as you like.
Fresh Cilantro, Parsley or Basil, chopped up and added after other ingredients have begun to cook.
Add all ingredients into a pan, medium-low heat. Cover for 5 – 10 minutes (depending on how much you have in the pan). Remove cover, add fresh herbs, increase heat to medium-high and stir-fry until done. About another 5 minutes.
Optional: Red Pepper – diced. One Hot Pepper, fresh or dried, cut in half. Only 1 hot pepper, first time I made this, I added 3. Love heat but not THAT much!
Sun-Dried Tomato – about 1 tbsp. per cup of beans … tomatoes will dilute the flavour of the beans if you add too many.
A few fresh green/spring onions … scallions, chopped fine and sprinkled on the beans before serving.
This green vegetable dish would be great on a date night – I’ll tell you why in the book!
Which wine to serve? A crisp Sauvignon Blanc, an unoaked Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir … 🙂
Enjoy!

Sensitivities? Allergies? Auto-Immune Disease?


At times an allergy which has not yet completely manifested is labelled a “sensitivity” as it does not generate the same immunological response from your body as a “full-blown” allergy would.  A sensitivity can also be caused by many underlying factors such as: IBS, stress, candida growth, immune system overload and is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.  One of the difficulties with diagnosing food sensitivities is the possible delayed reaction time of the symptoms.  Another is the wide variety of possibilities for your symptoms.  For instance, in the case of food allergies/sensitivities – you’ve eaten a full meal and the next day wake up feeling bloated, stuffy, stiff or just plain terrible, how will you determine what in the meal, or if it even was the meal, made you ill?  It might have even been a food item, an herb or additive in the food, a mild case of food poisoning, an ulcer forming, the flu, or … so many possibilities.  One clue that it may be an allergy or sensitivity is; recurrent, similar symptoms, corresponding with the same  action.  If you sneeze/get itchy every time you pet your friends cat, if you bloat, break out in a rash/hives or feel nauseous when you eat and so on.

An allergy is an oversensitive response of  your immune system to common allergens that don’t affect most people.  The response can be mild, a bit of sneezing or it can be a life-threatening, anaphylactic shock.  My mom discovered (skin-prick test), at the age of 55 that she was allergic to household cleaning fluids (wasn’t the food, it was the clean-up!), dad at age 75 found he could no longer eat oregano (and he’s Greek!), a friends son is allergic to nightshade which includes potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, and eggplant, I, gradually, had an anaphylactic reaction to dairy.  Some friends cannot eat strawberries, for some it wasn’t an allergy/sensitivity but Colitis, Crohn’s, Celiac or Diverticulitis that was the underlying cause of their symptoms.  Some people, like my brother, have airborne allergies, the list is endless!  The most common medical test for allergies is the skin-prick test which appears to be a good indicator for airborne allergies but is not always 100% accurate in determining food allergies.

Generally speaking, food, fresh, whole food, should make you feel energetic, full but not stuffed, healthy and not bloated, constipated, nauseous, etc.  If you regularly feel ill after eating, whether it is minutes after or the next morning … what do you do?  Keep a food diary of everything you eat, write down at what time and what type of symptoms arise.  Take this diary to your medical doctor.  With this diary in hand, when you are being examined by your doctor, it will be so much easier to answer questions accurately, which will help determine what tests are needed to pinpoint what is occurring in the inner workings of your body.  Because allergies, sensitivities and auto-immune diseases can sometimes present in similar ways, keeping a record of any unusual symptoms which arise and when they arise, will help in your diagnosis.  It is difficult to accurately remember exactly when and what happened at the best of times, let alone when you are not feeling well but accuracy, in this case, is essential for your doctor to help you discover the cause of your distress.

Sometimes tests will be inconclusive, there are many reasons for this, some of them are – “wrong” test (not definitive enough for you), allergy/disease hasn’t manifested yet, drugs/vitamins you are taking skewed the results – discuss this with your doctor.  Should you both agree that the cause of your symptoms is most probably food related, and Celiac Disease has been ruled out, begin by eliminating the most common allergens in your diet – eggs, dairy, nuts, shellfish and reintroducing them, one at a time, per week, noting if and when any symptoms appear as each is introduced.  Then continue with other, not so common, allergens.  If you have experienced anaphylaxis, this elimination and re-introduction should be done under your doctor’s care.

Crohn’s, Colitis, Celiac, these are just a few in a very long list of Auto-Immune Diseases.  An auto-immune disease/disorder is caused by your body’s immune system attacking its own tissues.  Some are more severe than others but most can be treated.  Generally auto-immune diseases run in families – one of my children is currently awaiting test results for Celiac Disease, which I have.  A cousin has Lupus, another Graves and the list goes on.  If someone in your family has any auto-immune disorder, don’t immediately assume you do too but it should give you the heads up to check on it, if any “ailments” should arise!

Diagnosing Celiac Disease is usually a two step process, the IgE blood screening is commonly the first step in determining a Celiac diagnosis and you must continue to eat gluten for this test.  An endoscopy is the next step and also requires that you are ingesting gluten on a daily basis to obtain an accurate reading.  Depending on how quickly you are able to have these tests, you could be feeling bad for a while.  In my case, once the IgE results, which were not definitive but showed a high probability that I was Celiac, were returned and  since auto-immune diseases abound in my family, I immediately eliminated all gluten from my diet.  Yes, I feel much better but two other allergies have manifested since then.  Relying on past experience and knowledge, these were pinpointed and eliminated easily and quickly.

Confusing, yes!  In short:
Sensitivity – symptoms which could be arising due to a wide variety of causes.
Allergy – Over eager immune system reacting to a UFO (Unidentified, Floating Object) – even if it is common, your immune system seems to believe it needs attacking, ergo histamine levels rise, stomach reactions to eliminate the offensive particle can occur, sneezing, etc., all in a synchronized effort to get rid of the “alien”.
Auto-Immune Disorder/Disease – immune system is confused as to what should and should not be allowed to exist in your body, mistaking your own tissues as the “alien” intruders and attacking them with gusto and determination.

Misleading claims and marketing, symptoms that can be attributed to many other illnesses, tests that are inaccurate or not definitive, can all leave you frustrated and confounded … what to do?  Stick to sound, proven medical resources and your own awareness of your body or your child’s awareness of his/her body.  There are millions of claims offering help, some work, some don’t but first you must determine exactly what is wrong.  In my experience, relying on medical diagnostics and my own intuitiveness helped me to discover the cause of my distress.  Then I began to research what I could do to help ease the symptoms of my “dis-ease”.  To this day, I continue to read and research, asking questions of natural health practitioners and my doctor, discovering that the more I learn, the more I need to learn.  “Discoveries” are made every day but not all are applicable, helpful nor financially viable, for me and not all have proven results.  Hawkers and talkers of “proven cures” have been around for centuries and their claims have not always been legitimate.  Be aware and trust in your own senses.   It is a long road but with a little effort and medical help, you can have a happy ending by discovering and eliminating/treating your “dis-ease”!

🙂
De

These are my own experiences and researched findings.  I am NOT a medical doctor and strongly suggest, as a first step, you seek medical help, working together with your health practitioner, to determine the cause of your illness.

What’s happening in the kitchen today …


Having allergies and celiac disease, it is easy to blame every little DISorder on an improperly functioning immune system.

The latest:  my hands … constantly dry, splitting skin, chapped fingers … ugh!  Although I do have a dishwasher, many items used in cooking – pots, pans, crockery – are washed by hand.  My dry, chapped hands.  Finally I decided to buy gloves and place some hand cream in a prominent spot on the counter.  Foolishly thinking this would solve the problem.  I hate to admit it but the problem isn’t any immune problem or allergy, it’s me!  I like to feel things, a very tactile kind of person … always forget to wear gloves when gardening … forget or just don’t want to, not sure which.  In the kitchen I like to feel how hot the water is, if I am scrubbing every unseen bump on the pan … Whilst cooking, I am constantly washing my hands.  So, even though I bought a bright pink pair of rubber gloves and placed them right next to the sink … really, you can’t miss them … I always seem to “forget” to wear the darn things.  I do occasionally remember to apply the cream but then … I wash my hands again.  Do I have a “clean” problem?  Nope, just constantly have my hands in everything – squeezing lemons, chopping onions, washing meat … you know the drill … wipe the counter, wash the cloth, disinfect the cutting board, scrub the pan, clean the sink … If I can’t get into the habit of wearing those gloves – which just take away the “feeling” of cooking for me – I guess I will have to live with dry, chapped hands and nails!  Really … can’t wear gloves whilst chopping veggies or stirring some concoction in a pot on the stove.  Can’t wear gloves when writing down a recipe.  Can’t wear gloves when seasoning the food.  Put the gloves on, take the gloves off … it’s too much!

I know!  I need a sous chef … or a cleaner-upper … but I’d still have to wash my hands whilst cooking/creating a delicious meal, ’cause I gotta feel it in my hands!

If and when I find a solution to these dry, chapped hands of mine (and yes, I do slather them with olive oil every night, but…), I will let you know!  Enough ranting …

Meanwhile back to the kitchen …

Hmmm … what to make for dinner tonight?  Chicken?  Salmon?  Had beans yesterday, pork the day before … haven’t had Salmon in a while … Salmon it is!

Mmmm, with Saki, Sesame Oil, a drizzle of Tamari Sauce, Fresh Ginger – grated/sliced, Fresh Garlic, Black Pepper, a light sprinkle of Chili – for a little added heat.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350°, fast, simple and Yummy!

Mmmmm!

Might pop a whole, scrubbed, washed & poked, Sweet Potato in with it.  There is a bit of Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower salad leftover from yesterday … Perfect!  Dinner will be ready soon!

Little Olive Oil, a squeeze of Lemon and a sprinkle of Black Pepper.

Happy Eating!

Simple Diet Plan


Where to start on the road to a healthier lifestyle?  Do you need to pay money?  Any special supplies?  Think it’s too much work?  Here are the answers to those questions!

First determine why you would like to change your eating habits.  Is it a newly diagnosed health issue, a desire to lose a few extra pounds, or just learning to eat healthier?  Keep reading!

Next determine when you are most hungry during the day and when you are most likely to snack.  A few days of keeping a “food diary” really helps with this.  Eat normally and write down EVERYTHING you ingest, including liquids (coffee, tea, juice, pop, etc.) and the time of day.  Are you a breakfast eater or do you have a coffee and run out the door?  Do you get ravenously hungry at 10:00 a.m.?  Sleepy at 3:00 p.m.?  Starving by 5:00 p.m.?  Snacking at 8:00 p.m.?  Now you can actually see when & what you eat and feel the rises and falls in your blood sugar levels.  We usually reach for a quick carb snack when our blood sugar level has dropped because we are tired and carbs give us that needed boost.  Learned behaviour?  Genetic/natural inclination?  I don’t know.  What I do know is; protein is a better choice as it will keep you going further, longer.  As are whole foods containing natural sugars/carbs – they take longer for your body to assimilate/digest, thereby providing a steady stream of energy, instead of a quick fix and the flop that follows from eating processed foods – chips, cookies, snack bars, donuts, muffins, etc.

To balance out your eating schedule, first do a short cleanse.  This will clean out all the “stuff” stuck inside and help to regulate your blood sugar levels.  Don’t buy a box, do it yourself using natural foods.  There is a post describing an easy cleanse on my Facebook Page …  Green Tea in the morning, a shake/smoothie/juice, a light meal consisting mainly of veggies with a bit of protein.  Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tablespoon first thing in the morning or the juice of a lemon stirred into 1/2 a glass of water with a pinch of cayenne.  During a cleanse it is best not to drink any coffee or alcohol, nor eat any dairy, processed foods or glutens.  This gives your body the time it needs to clean itself of any impurities.  If you can, do a cleanse once a month, your body will love it and show the love you are giving it!  More energy, bright eyes, clear skin, weight loss and much more!

More money or less?  You decide.  If you do not buy any processed foods, snack foods (junk foods), pop, specialty coffees – you will save money.  This money you are saving can make you healthier!  How?  Spend part of it on healthy, organic food, (not all food purchased has to be organic – see list below).  Buy a juicer and make your own healthy, natural, flavour packed, nutrient rich juice.

In the beginning it will seem like extra work – after all, it is much easier to open a bag of chips than it is to make houmous, or salsa, or guacamole … but the energy boost you receive from the latter choices will very quickly outweigh the apparent ease of the former choice.  Even better … you will lose the desire for greasy, salty foods … not altogether but at least on a daily basis!  In a very short space of time, you will become so adept at making these snacks and stocking them in your refrigerator that you will wonder why you hadn’t done this sooner.

List of Foods:

FOODS WITH THE LOWEST NUMBER HAVE THE MOST PESTICIDE CONTENT/RESIDUE

1.  Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines (imported)
7. Grapes (imported)
8. Sweet Bell Peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/Collard Greens
13. Cilantro
14. Cucumbers
15. Grapes (domestic)
16. Cherries
17. Pears
18. Nectarines (domestic)
19. Hot Peppers (Chili, Jalapeño)
20. Green Beans (domestic)
21. Carrots
22. Plums (imported)
23. Blueberries (imported)
24. Raspberries
25. Green Beans (imported)
26. Summer Squash (Zucchini)
27. Oranges
28. Broccoli
29. Green Onions
30. Bananas
31. Cantaloupe
32. Honeydew Melon
33. Cauliflower
34. Tomatoes
35. Papaya
36. Cranberries
37. Plums (domestic)
38. Winter Squash
39. Mushrooms
40. Grapefruit
41. Sweet Potatoes
42. Watermelon
43. Cabbage
44. Kiwi
45. Cantaloupe (domestic)
46. Eggplant
47. Mangoes
48. Sweet Peas (frozen)
49. Asparagus
50. Avocado
51. Pineapples
52. Sweet Corn
53. Onions

From the EWG’s 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce TM

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

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