Today is focused on options we can eat on the road or while traveling. Yesterday, while driving back from visiting family, I was extremely thankful that I was able to grab a quick Larabar from a rest stop. Our options can be limited at rest stops along the highways. It's difficult and unhealthy to rely on fast food and the junk food that abounds at the gas station will not sustain you for a long period of time. Luckily, Larabars are becoming available at more and more places and are made from completely natural ingredients. They also have a balanced blend of protein and fruits to keep you satisfied for hours after to come. They are even labeled gluten free for peace of mind, rather than the usual guessing game we are forced to play on the road. So next time you see one, pick up a Larabar, there are many great flavors to try!
Simpli gluten free oatmeal is sold in separate bags you can tuck in your purse and in boxes with individually packaged bags inside. This is helpful because you have the option to just grab one in a pinch without having to buy the entire box. This came in handy when we were away on vacation and just needed to grab two bags to hold us over for breakfast in the hotel. They have different flavors and they are all made from completely natural real dried fruit. My favorite is the Raspberry. Simpli can be found in natural foods stores and on Amazon.
Glutenfreeda oatmeal has the largest assortment of flavors of any other gluten free oatmeal. It is also the most readily available oatmeal and can be found right in Walmart or on Amazon. Both Glutenfreeda and Simpli taste great and give gluten free people back the right to a warm and tasty breakfast! Even on the road.
Like something sweet in the morning occasionally? Or just looking for another option for pancakes? Cherrybrook Kitchen offers many gluten free products that range from frostings for baked goods to pancake mixes. I had the chocolate chip pancake mix for a change this morning and was pleasantly surprised. I don't think I'd had chocolate chip pancakes since college and it definitely scratched an itch and satisfied me for another few years or so :) The texture was great and I'd definitely be interested in trying their other less sweet flavors sometime soon. You can find Cherrybrook Kitchen products online or in Natural Foods stores.
My sister is in a school for Oriental Medicine. So acupuncture, massage, herbs and all around balancing of health. She's really gotten into nutrition and cleansing the body. She got me this book for Christmas and I really have to say it's becoming my favorite Christmas present this year. My husband would even say I'm becoming obsessed...lol. But seriously, this book is an amazing look at how to repair your body and target certain problem areas in your health by changing your diet. As gluten free individuals, we do have to substitute slightly with the grain section, but they even offer a variety of options that we can eat as well. In fact, it may even help us vary the normal choices we tend to gravitate towards.
I've suffered from insomnia and restless nights for as long as I can remember, just by trying a few of the suggestions they've offered for the past couple of days, I've already noticed a difference and am waking more rested. They also offer suggestions for helping depression, PMS and all kinds of other ailments that we just accept as a normal part of life. Overall, I'm really looking forward to trying to integrate more of the "Feel Good diet" into my normal routines and habits and seeing how I feel. I'll keep you all updated, but if you're interested, check out getting a copy of your own.
Sometimes we just need an easy frozen meal option. Last night we went to another holiday party and I wasn't sure if there would be any gluten free options for me to eat. So I tucked an Amy's gluten free lasagna in my purse. Sure enough when we got there I found my options to be quite limited. Luckily, I'd planned ahead. I just stuck my lasagna in the microwave and I was fine. The good thing about the Amy's meals is that not only are they delicious, they're also healthy. Amy's makes their meals with organic ingredients and are low in fat. They cost a little extra, but they're definitely worth it. Check out Amy's frozen meals in the frozen food aisle of your local grocery store!
Many of us travel for the holidays and are now out of area. I just got a call from my aunt last night who is hosting Christmas Eve asking me to bring my own dessert since she'll have nothing for me. I was at least able to google and find a gluten free bakery in the area, but I know not everyone will be that lucky. So what are some other naturally gluten free desserts you can ask for at the local bakery in a pinch?
1) Macaroons- They're flourless, have coconut and are carried at most bakeries. Some are even dyed like the picture above, so they can even be a nice festive treat.
2) Flourless Chocolate cake
3) Fudge- Does not contain flour. You just have to be careful what has been added to the fudge, aka any cookie type treats. But most fudges with peanut butter, caramel, marshmallow and regular milk chocolate are all naturally gluten free.
4) Chocolate covered Strawberries- or any kind of chocolate covered fruit for that matter. You're also being healthy ;)
5) Rice pudding, or most kinds of pudding for that matter. Just obviously stay clear of bread pudding:) But tapioca, chocolate etc are some great options and are carried even at the grocery store.
6) Meringue cookies
7) Ice cream and sorbets- Again, just check for ingredients that are added to the ice cream, aka no cookies and cream choices.
Hope this helps you out of a pinch. Merry Christmas everyone!
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I travel for the holidays. So I'm actually up visiting my parents in NY right now. For as long as I can remember my father always makes pancakes on Sunday mornings. The idea of forgoing this tradition very much saddened me. Luckily, I have found the answer. Pamela's pancake mix is a delicious alternative to traditional buttermilk pancakes. My husband and I traveled to a bed and breakfast in Amish country not long ago and I brought along Pamela's mix for the owner to make for me in the morning. I was honestly shocked that this was a gluten free mix. Pamela's mix can easily be found in the gluten free section of Giant and definitely should be a staple in any gluten free pantry. Take back Sunday morning pancakes everyone!
I have had a few people talk to me recently about the benefits of going on a gluten free diet. So I decided to actually do some research on the topic.
1) It has been linked to helping people with other kinds of health problems. For instance, a gluten free diet has been shown to help people with thyroid disorders. I actually fall into this category. Almost two years ago I was diagnosed with extreme hyperthyroid or Grave's Disease. They actually treated me as if I had thyroid cancer, so I had the radiation treatment that completely destroyed my thyroid. Since then they have been playing with my doses of synthetic hormones. After about a year of coming back with irregular results, I was put on a gluten free diet. I was told that Grave's Disease (or Hashimoto's, which is extreme hypothyroid) are considered auto-immune disorders. So many people develop gluten allergies when they have an auto-immune disorder. Sure enough, since I have gone gluten free my hormone levels have also completely balanced out and I have now been on the same dose of synthetic hormones for the last nine months.
Studies have also shown that gluten free diets have helped people with heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels. It also improves energy levels and overall digestive health. Most of this can be easily explained. By going on a gluten free diet you're eliminating many food items with high sugar content. You're also eliminating processed foods and fried food. You're also eating many more fruits and vegetables because they are the only food items that are naturally gluten free.
2) It can help people lose weight. This is not a proven fact. If anything I would say, it is still what you as an individual make of it. You still need to possess the same discipline you would with any other diet and decide to make good choices. For instance, as you are examining labels for gluten and wheat content, you can also make yourself aware of the calorie content. You then can choose to eat that item or not. As I also said above, if you are choosing to increase your fruit and vegetable intake a decrease in weight would be a natural by-product.
However, if you're substituting processed foods with gluten free products like gluten free cookies and pretzels etc, you actually might be gaining weight. Many of the gluten free packaged products in the grocery store actually have higher caloric contents to provide the same flavor and texture as non gluten free products. Hey, we complained about the stuff tasting like cardboard before, there had to be some way for them to better that taste. So to say that a gluten free diet can make you lose weight is only verifiable by how you choose to follow a gluten free diet.
So to sum up here, is a gluten free diet for everyone? The answer is not necessarily. If you think that by just going gluten free you'll lose weight, you'll be disappointed. If you choose to go gluten free and also make other decisions in life to better your health- aka increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, drinking more water, exercising more (all the things we all know we should be doing anyway) you will definitely see an improvement in your overall health.
However, do not treat it as the new fad or trend diet. Although going gluten free is not going to harm you, it is a commitment you need to make and one that does change your dietary life. Once you eliminate gluten you heighten your sensitivity permanently. Before I went gluten free I could at least tolerate gluten in small doses, that is definitely no longer the case. If I have even the smallest bit of cross contamination now, I have a strong reaction. My best recommendation to anyone that asks is speak to a health care professional first. If you have other health problems that could be bettered by a gluten free diet, try it and see if you see results. But if you have no reason for going gluten free other than that you think it sounds like it's a healthy, better way to live, I'd caution you to really do your research first and carefully think about it if is a long term commitment you're willing to make. Those are my thoughts on the topic. Anyone else want to weigh in? I'd love to hear what other people think on this topic.
When one thinks of a gluten free option, Pizzeria UNO is not a place that springs to mind. Yet, I found out today it actually has quite the menu with an abundance of choices. I was able to get a goat cheese salad with caramelized walnuts and a veggie thin crust pizza. Although, it wasn't the best pizza I've ever had, it was also far from cardboard. The staff was considerate and attentive to handling an allergy efficiently. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised to have another reasonable option to add to my list.