Tag Archives: Less Processed Food

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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We’ve Been Snacking All Wrong – Vine Vera Reviews

Woman having a snack in a park.

Snacking between  meals is incredibly common, and probably for good reason; most of us get hungry in between the three traditional meals, which tend to be spaced several hours apart, at least. A tasty, filling, small bit of food to quell your rumbling tummy can be a lifesaver if it’s chosen carefully, but what if it isn’t?

Some snacking rules of thumb, like staying far away from candy, are pretty obvious and easy to remember, but others may come as a surprise, and may not seem intuitive at all. You might be thinking that your snacks made of things like yogurt, rice cakes, or calorie-free diet soda aren’t so bad, but be careful, because you could be wrong. Thankfully, Vine Vera is here to step in and make sure you know what you’re getting into when you grab a delightful snack from the fridge or pantry shelf with these handy rules to remember every time you snack.

Woman having coffee and desserts in a cafe.

Calorie-Free Doesn’t Always Mean Good
It’s easy to understand why you might look at something that boasts “zero calories” or “calorie free,” since that means it’s not going to contribute to your total daily values of calories, and theoretically means it won’t affect your weight gain. This is technically true on both counts, but there are a couple catches. For one, while not definitively proven, research suggest that products that contain artificial sweeteners will leave you craving a lot of real sugar afterward, and most calorie-free foods do contain artificial sweeteners, even if you wouldn’t think it would. Things like diet soda are obvious, but considering almost every kind of processed food contains added sugar in our society, the calorie-free foods have to replace it with something, and while natural sugar-free sweeteners are an option (more on that in a moment), they’re more expensive, so most food companies don’t use them. Further, many artificial sweeteners have been identified as possible carcinogens. It’s uncertain for sure how much truth there is in the claim, but is it really worth risking an increased risk of cancer?

To solve these problems, avoid anything with added artificial sweeteners like sucralose, saccharine, or aspartame. Even if it has a bit of real sugar in it, it’s probably better, so long as it’s only a bit. Overdoing it on sugar is just as bad as braving the perils of artificial sweetener. Further, if you want to use a non-sugar, no-calorie sweetener, use a naturally derived one like stevia, and look for stevia or stevia leaf extract on ingredient lists of sugar-free treats.

Woman enjoying a midnight snack.

The Less Processed, the Better
It might seem like this one should go without saying, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. To get the most nutrition and the least amount of health risks out of your food, aim for whole foods like fresh fruit or veggies, or products made with all natural or organic ingredients and only minimally processed, like whole wheat bread or smoothies without artificial additives, for example.

If you can help it, just stay far, far away from snacks like processed potato or corn chips.

Women having a healthy snack.

Light is Good, But Make Sure it’s Filling!
Sure, light snacks are the goal so you don’t overeat, but if the snack doesn’t quite fill you up, and keeps you reaching for more, it risks encouraging serious overeating, especially if you’re about to have a meal on top of that. Aim for something that makes you feel full, but is nutritious and low on the calorie counts. Fresh fruits (but not fruit juice!) and vegetables are great for this, as are protein rich greek yogurts (as opposed to less filling, often more sugar-filled yogurts), real cheese (never anything like over-processed American “cheese”), and whole-wheat toast, to name just a few ideas. Basically, a good snack should make you feel like you’re stuffed so you don’t reach for more afterward, without actually adding too many calories, fat, or sugar to your diet. Bonus points if it gives some necessary vitamins and minerals.

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