Tag Archives: Eat Healthy

What Happens When You Go Gluten-Free

Woman eating a healthy salad

Going gluten-free.  Some need to do it, some prefer to do it, and some swear that they wouldn’t do it if gluten disappeared from every food product on this earth.  Late Night comedian Jimmy Fallon quipped, “It’s been discovered that 10% of the population is allergic to gluten and 90% of the population is sick of hearing about it.” Whatever your take on gluten, there is little doubt that its certainly controversial.  So let’s clear some of the dust out about the g-word.

Those who need to avoid gluten
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Celiac is an intestinal disease that can be triggered by eating gluten. Wheat allergy is a negative immune reaction to  wheat proteins that can also be triggered by eating gluten. It affects the skin, respiratory or gastrointestinal tract.  Sufferers of celiac and wheat allergy are diagnosed as gluten sensitive along with anyone who may experience distress when eating gluten.  People with gluten sensitivity need to avoid gluten.

Those who prefer to avoid gluten
You may have heard of the gluten-free diet being tossed around.  Many of the followers are people who have self diagnosed a digestive problem as gluten sensitivity while others claim that cutting gluten out of their diet has made them feel less bloated and depressed and has even helped them lose weight.

What’s wrong with the gluten-free diet?
It seems that studies find that gluten-free diets can be very low in fiber, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, zinc, phosphorous and vitamin B12.  This is because unenriched starches and grains are used in “gluten-free'” products and tend to have lots of calories, but not many vitamins.  The result is that gluten-free diets can actually lead to weight gain.  Experts find that in the case many of those who report weight loss as a result of going gluten-free, the shedding of pounds is due more to cutting out excess calories found in flour based food. Registered dietitian Cynthia Sass says ditching carbs, like pasta and bagels, “automatically cuts excess carbs… ups fiber and nutrients and results in soaring energy.”  On the other hand, if you replace products with gluten in them with gluten-free versions, you will probably get more fat and sugar.

How to check if you need to go gluten-free?

  • Have your family physician perform a checkup.
  • Consult an allergist if you have a wheat allergy and a gastroenterologist for celiac and other gastrointestinal disease.
  • If you are not diagnosed with celiac disease or a wheat allergy, see a dietician to determine whether or not you are getting a balanced diet with nutrients, foods rich in fiber and are staying physically active.

If you need to go gluten-free
If you are diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, you are best advised to see a dietitian.  Sheila Crowe, of Celiac Disease’s Medical Advisory Board says, “The average doctor a) does not have the time and b) the knowledge to counsel them (the gluten sensitive) on the nutrients they’ll need, the addition of fiber and, what grains are naturally gluten-free.”  Make sure that you have substitutions for anything vital that may be lacking from your diet as a result of giving up gluten.

Feel free to let us know if you’ve gone the gluten-free route out of necessity or otherwise and what your take on it is.

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Why Eating At Home Is A Healthier Option

Young women cooking at home.

You go to your favorite vegetarian restaurant, Veggies R Us. You like this place. The food is delicious and its really healthy. The restaurant advertises itself as offering clean, meatless, protein sources. They shun saturated animal fats, cholesterol and trans fats in favor of monosaturated fats like rice bran oil, canola, and seeds oil. You feel comfortable at this restaurant and have the impression that you really can do no wrong here. Anything you choose from the menu will be a healthy and relatively low calorie. You decide to order the Crispy Veggies for starters. How bad can veggies be? Would it shock you to learn that those veggies have 22 grams of fat and 4 grams of saturated fat, not to mention 84 grams of carbs and 880 milligrams of sodium.

It seems that as we look for healthier and healthier food choices the foxier these restaurants and food sellers become. They make the claims that lure a health conscious clientele and cleverly omit some of the less appealing facts. Face it, the only way you know what goes in your food is to make it yourself. Here are some other reasons why eating at home is becoming more and more popular.

Know Your Food
When you cook your own food, you get to know which foods are high and low in minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. You get to know which foods work best for your body and provide your body with the particular nutrients you may be lacking or just want to get more of. It will also allow you to experiments with healthy recipe combinations.

Portion Control
Although many high-end restaurants are known for their small portions, many chain restaurants offer quite the opposite. Face it, Americans like to get more for their money and food is no exception. When you make food at home, you can be the judge of the serving size and avoid overeating.

Food Safety
According to the CDC, food poisoning affects 1 in 6 Americans every year. Although some tainted foods may come from the grocer’s, at least you know your food is fresh and stored and cooked at the correct temperature.

Cleanliness
Really, who knows what goes on behind the scenes at some restaurants. It doesn’t bear thinking about. When you cook at home, you know exactly what’s going on in the kitchen and how clean your silver wear and dishes are.

Allergies
Cooking your own foods lets you avoid intake of food allergens which may harm you or your family members. Restaurant prepared food may include nuts, gluten or shellfish which are known to commonly irritate sensitive eaters.

Save Money
Cooking your own food is not only healthier for you it’s healthier for your wallet. So eat at home and watch your bank account grow while your waistline shrinks.

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Health Benefits Of Organic Clothing

Women in an organic cotten offit

“Whole Foods” on the catwalk? Could it be that the place we rely on for our healthy lunches could also be major player in the organic  fashion industry?  If you are familiar with organic clothing, perhaps your picturing a few walking hemp sacks in biodegradable shoes or an earth colored muumuu with a straw hat? But would you ever picture a knee length dove grey dress with a sculpted jacket?  Mini and maxi off the shoulder sheath dresses?

In order to cater to a demand for organically made clothing, Whole Foods sponsored a fashion show in the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, featuring clothes from Maggie’s Organics, Satva and Threads for Thought. Themes ranged from Modern Femme, Street to Studio, Haute Hippie, and Global Chic. It seems that organic clothing is not just for the music festival crowd.

In fact, Jessica Chastain,  “Jane the Virgin’s” Gina Rodriguez, “American Sniper”s” Jake McDorman and “The Office’s”  Steve Carrell all wore organic clothing to the 87th annual Oscar Awards and Emma Watson and will.i.am are just two of the many celebs who have put their names behind sustainable goods.

Consumer Health
We all want the best for our little ones!  Organic cotton is exactly what the doctor ordered for that tender developing baby skin.  How could we not put our little princes and princesses in anything but the softest, most comfy fabric?

Also since organic cotton is not made with chemicals, it causes fewer allergies and reduces respiratory problems in people of all ages.

Environmental Health
Beware!  You may want to throw out your 501s after reading this.  Even though cotton crops are only grown a 3% of the land, it is responsible for nearly 25% of the insecticides and 10% of the pesticides in the world.  In fact, there is a laundry list of diseases that have plagued cotton crops over the year including anthracnose, southern blight, charcoal rot and tropical cotton rust.  In other words, you may not want this stuff in your clothes.

Cotton is also fourth on the list of most heavily fertilized crops, which is responsible for a lot of environmental pollution.  So, if a greener world is important to you, you might want to invest in some organic cotton.

Farmer’s Health
If the insecticides and pesticides are bad for the environment, just think of what they must be doing to the poor farmers who have to use them!  Poisoning due to toxic chemicals are a leading cause of death for farmers in developing countries.

Like organic foods, organic clothing costs a bit more to manufacture, and, as a result, consumer cost is affected.  But for those of you who have given up on organic clothing as a luxury item, do not fret.  Manufacturers like Basics, Alternative Apparel and Threads for Thought are just some of the companies featuring reasonably priced green duds.  We’re talking $15-50 for  tops and jumpsuits and dresses for under $100, and this stuff is CUTE.  Check it out for yourself and see if you don’t fall in love, oh, and next time you go for a tofu burger, you can pick up a top to eat it in. How’s that for one stop shopping?

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Reversing Wrinkles and Sagging Skin

middle aged women examining her wrinkles in mirror.

Has anyone seen “Snow White and the Huntsman,” or even the trailer? In the movie Charlize Theron plays Ravenna, the Evil Queen,  who learns that her stepdaughter, Snow White, is destined to surpass her stepmom as the “Fairest One of All” and it is little wonder that Ravenna will do everything in her power to prevent this from happening.  Thing is, Ravenna has a lot in her power.  Because of a spell her witch mother cast on her when she was young, Ravanna can drain the youth from the kingdom’s young women that allows her to keep her youth and beauty.

 Now if you have seen the movie, you will know that in some amazing camera work and makeup stunt, the audience gets to witness this process, watching a wizened, old Charlize return to her perfect youth. Although Ravenna is the confirmed “bad guy” or girl, In some way, at that moment the audience roots for her.  The audience wants that spell to work, to believe that aging can be reversed and with some magic elixir, we will all be returned to our youth.  That Charlize will always be beautiful and never succumb to the inevitable affects of aging.

  Of course, we don’t all have access to the youth of all the kingdom’s young women, but perhaps there  are some things that can give us the powers of Queen Ravenna.

We know how saggy skin and wrinkle happens.  This is a good thing, because once we understand the causes of something, we can work toward preventing it.  Saggy skin happens because skin stops producing elastin and collagen which holds your skin up.  Without the connective tissue, skin will loosen and droop. Free radical damage occurs, robbing electrons from healthy cells., resulting in wrinkles, thickening, and discoloration of the skin.

Drink Water
Now this has to be the cheapest, easiest form of a facelift.  Water helps your body get rid of toxins and allows nutrients into your cells making them plump and full. The recommended requirement for daily water intake is 1/2 oz per pound of your body’s weight. (A 130 lb woman should drink 65 oz of water.)

Get your Vitamins and Minerals
How many times do you have to be told?  Antioxidants can actually repair damage from factors like UV exposure, smoking and illness. The best ones for your skin are:

  • Vitamin C  oranges, strawberries, kiwi and brussel sprouts
  • Vitamin E peanuts, pine nuts, olive oil, avocado, broccoli and mangoes
  • Beta Carotene – carrots, sweet potatoes, red and yellow peppers, butternut squash, spinach and kale
  • Selenium – Brazil nuts, turkey, and tuna

Eat Healthy Fats 
Our bodies need omega-3 fatty acids to maintain cell membranes, keeping water and nutrients in and locking toxins out.  They are also anti-inflammatories and protect against sun damage.  Our bodies don’t produce these acids naturally, so where are we supposed to get them? Try 2-3 servings of fish a week and try to get in some flax and chia seeds.

Women stretching for workout

Exercise
Twenty minutes of cardio a day and strength training 2-3 times a week does not seem like too much to ask to reverse wrinkles and sagging skin.  It increases blood flow that carries nutrients to the skin cells and helps create muscle.

Sleep
Snow White never skimped on her beauty sleep.  You know losing sleep can wreak havoc on your skin.  Seven to nine hours per night allows your skin to heal and build collagen, plus no more puffy eyes and dark circles.

Quit Smoking
If not for your lung health, then for your skin. Cigarettes contain damaging free radicals and impairs blood flow to the skin, depriving cells of nutrition.  It also damages elastin and collagen, interfering with skin renewal.

So exercise, eat well, stop smoking and get plenty of sleep and in no time the mirror will tell you that  you are “TheFairest of Them All.”

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