The Great Gluten-Free Debate: II

Hello People!

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Foodie Friday: More Gluten-Free Thoughts

So, gluten! It is such a touchy subject.  I must admit that when a friend of mine got diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and her Naturopath Doctor told her to get off of the yeasty stuff, I gagged in relief that this wasn’t my diagnosis.  I even said to her (and this was only a few months ago) “I will NEVER give up my bread even if I’m told I would die if I ate it!”  I like talking dramatically.  It makes life interesting.

Well, for reasons pondered in THIS POST, I decided that maybe gluten was causing me major issues, and possibly leading me down the road to death eventually.  I don’t think it would have killed me, but all food issues will slowly and surely over a long period of time break down the body’s ability to fight disease, stay healthy and work optimally. If you don’t believe me have a view of the movie Supersize Me.  It convinced me that a diet of foods that don’t help the body function properly will lead to sickness sooner than later.

Fast-forward to now, maybe 3 months into being gluten-free, and I feel better.  Well, I feel the same, but my eczema is gone, and my psoriasis cleared up by 90%.  I feel better in the sense that I don’t scratch my scalp in public and then create a haze of white skin fluff around me afterwards.  That was gross. Also, eczema hurts because the cracks in the skin feel like cuts.  I’m happy to be rid of that as well.  But the real reward is digestion!  I can eat a whole cup of beans and not have one gas bubble.  Whereas before I would not have been able to sleep due to the pain of constant flatulence which could go on for hours.  This is my biggest conquest.

The video that got me interested in this subject was the one posted below by my newest favorite trainer/clean eating/health guru Brenda Leigh Turner.  She got me thinking about those villi she talks about (Reason #5).  If the villi are coated in glue, the body can’t absorb nutrients through the gut walls properly.  I had what is known as “Leaky Gut Syndrome.” That sounds great, doesn’t it? It means nutrients were not being absorbed properly and in some ways I was malnourished from my meals.  This is not the same as a person who has Celiac Disease which is a horrible reaction to gluten and can lead to death.  I didn’t feel awful eating gluten, but I could see and feel the results of it on my skin.  What started as an experiment lead to a lifetime choice.  I’m happy I did it and am doing quite well.  Sometimes I indulge in gluten, but more often than not I don’t have it.

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5 Things

Think It Through Thursday: 5 Things

Hello People!

It has been a few months….6, to be exact, that I have been a blogger.  My weight hasn’t really gone down a whole lot during this process, but I have been discussing the reasons why here periodically.  Particularly, I think most of my issues relate to blood sugar problems, and I’m currently working those out.

So I wanted to do a post that was upbeat and positive today because there isn’t enough positivity in the world, in my opinion.  Therefore, I want to discuss 5 things I have learned during these 6 months of blogging that I will continue to implement for the rest of my life regardless of weight-loss or not.  They are healthy habits that I wish to pass on to you, dear reader.

5 Things

1. What You Eat Matters

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This means that it doesn’t matter if a “calorie is a calorie.” The quality of the food is utmost important.  Forget the counting calories bit.  Look to the nutrition of the food/meal/snack first.  Calories matter too, no doubt about it, but there is a hell of a big difference between the nutritional makeup of two foods with the same amount of calories: a snickers bar vs. a  a few pieces of fruit.  Those nutritional qualities differ in that one of those items your body will store most of it’s calories as fat because of the high sugar content, and the other will be used by the body for re-building, supporting, digesting, etc.  Now which one do you want?

2. Vegetables & Fruit Are Your FRIENDS!!!

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You’re hungry?  You want to binge out? Have a tangerine.  Still hungry? Have a cucumber.  Still hungry? Have a bowl of cherry tomatoes.  Still hungry? No?…..Well even if you were, the calories in these foods are so small in comparison to junk foods that even if you binged on them, the worst case scenario would give you gas and bloating.  Junk Foods? You will be seen wearing them on your thighs the next day for sure.

3.  All Exercise is Not Created Equal

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The older you get, the more muscle you lose (up to a pound a year!!!).  This is key to understanding why your treadmill antics ain’t working like they were at 20.  Don’t do tons of cardio.  Do tons of weights/strength training/bodybuilding workouts.  Then do some cardio – but no more than 20 minutes (HIIT would be optimal).  You can start burning your muscles right off if it’s any more than that.  EEEKK!

4.  The G-Free Life is For Me

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Gluten was giving me blood sugar spikes. Why? Mostly the gluten was in the form of bread which has flour.  Flour, in any form, 100% whole wheat or otherwise, digests fast.  Gluten was also coating the villi in my intestine causing me to have skin irritation problems.  Going gluten free is not easy, but it is doable and I am not starving like I feared I would be.  It definitely has cut down on the carb consumption in my life.  I am not a no-carb preacher, but I would advocate low-carb (220 grams or less a day) eating. I am eating approximately 120 – 100 grams a day now.

5. Plan Meals For the Week

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Not planning what to eat is planning to FAIL! If it is 12:00 noon and you don’t know what you are eating for lunch…you are doomed friend.  Your hunger will override any will you had to stick to a calorie regime.  Don’t fool around, designate 1 day a week to prepare, cook, and portion out your meals for the week.  No second guessing, no last minute drive-thru runs, no excuses. (Video on this subject to come!)

The Great Gluten-Free Debate: 1

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Foodie Friday: Gluten-Free Thoughts

Hello People!

It is I, Heather, asking if any of you have ever wondered about the so-called benefits of being G-free?  I’m not speaking to those who have celiac disease and couldn’t eat wheat if their life depended on it (actually, their life depends on them not to eat it, but whatever).  Of course these types of individuals have a perfect right to not eat the bready stuff.  But what about those who choose to live this lifestyle because, gasp, they think it is healthier? And they have personal proof to prove it.

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“How can that be?”, one may ask.  “100% Whole Wheat Bread is supposed to be full of fiber and great nutrition.  It is also in everything – nearly, and would completely mess up my life to stop eating it!!!  AAAHHHH, NOOOOO”  These are perhaps the thoughts of one who is contemplating this issue for the first time. And I’m not even talking about the white stuff.  I’m speaking of the supposed lower-glycemic versions; even sprouted wheat bread.

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Well, in case you haven’t already guessed it, this person, that is – me, is contemplating this issue.  Why in the hell would I ever want to give up forever: bread/pasta/cookies/pizza/crackers/croutons/etc/etc/etc…?  Because of my blood sugar problems/skin problems/sleep problems/energy problems.  Fixing these things has become more important to me than having pancakes on Saturday mornings.  I think it is the root of all of those problems listed (still researching, so no ultimate conclusions yet); though I may not be a celiac disease candidate, the gluten in wheat/barley/rye may just be making my life difficult and I am fed up with it; especially in the losing weight department.

It is interesting to note that there are virtually no absolute concrete scientific studies on this subject. Gluten free has been promoted by the Paleo Diet crowd mostly, but is catching on in other groups due to the effects that people are feeling when they go off of it.  This is called “broscience.” Taking the word of those who live it and believe in it’s effects, versus trusting science despite the fact that it may prove the opposite.

To be continued…

Snackage: Roasted Chickpeas

Today’s Foodie Friday Post:

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Superfoods are great, but snacks are even better!!! (IMO) So to take a break from the same-old same-old, let’s talk about what to snack on that tastes good and is nutritious for the most part.  I should say up front that while I do understand that there are health folks who bark “NO SALT!” wherever they go, I am not one of them.  I don’t think EXCESS salt is a good idea, but 1,500 mg. is hard for me and that’s all I’m going to say about it.

Now the good part…have you tried these nummy little nuggets of happiness? I got them, I think, at my local Fresh & Easy (soooooo sad they are leaving! 😦 Boo!) the other day and they are the bee’s knees of yumminess. the Good bean Roasted Chickpeas are: “Lightly dusted with Course Salt” it claims on the front.  They are nicely packed with fiber as they are a bean at their heart (6 grams), and filling due to that bonus. You know they must be good if there is a pix of someone standing on their head about them on the package (jk). I think you should try them with your morning coffee/tea break like I do.

P.S. This IS a Superfood! No really, it is!