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Healthy Ageing Prevents Rapid Decline in Fitness

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Good day to you.  Today I have the pleasure of offering you a great guest blogpost by an awesome Fitness and Nutrition coach, Mrs. Gillian Stephen, who I’ve recently met via Twitter.

Here is Mrs. Stephen’s biography in her own words: 

I’m a Fitness and Nutrition coach and also a mother of 2, a 1 year old and a 3 year old that keep me very busy.

The main areas that I focus on are weight loss and pre and post natal. The latter certification was brought about by my own pregnancies. I realised the importance of my own diet and fitness through pregnancy and post natal, to regain my shape and prior fitness levels.

I support individuals by helping them put together a strategy for weight loss. It incorporates making better food choices and fitting exercise into their busy schedules such that they lose the weight and keep it off, a lifestyle change.

Contact information for Mrs. Gillian Stephen:

I hope you enjoy Mrs. Gillian Stephen‘s educational thoughts on ageing, exercise, and good health.  Please read on …

Let’s face it none of us are getting any younger, so the old adage of,”Use It or Lose It” with regards to your fitness levels, becomes even more crucial as we age.  I personally don’t fear getting older but my wish is that I am healthy, so as not to be over reliant on others.  At the same time maintaining a healthy lifestyle does not guarantee no ailments but you reduce your risk and your body is more able to fight disease.  Your fitness levels are not a given and as you age if you are not actively working at maintaining your fitness levels it will decline. This is something that I have experienced at first hand after both my pregnancies, where it took time to regain my prior fitness levels having not trained as intensely or as frequently because of physical and time constraints.

A study done in 2010 at the German Sport University Cologne and published in the journal Deutsches Arzteblatt International found that a decline in fitness is less as a result of ageing but more attributed to a sedentary lifestyle.  It looked at a group of marathon and half marathon runners ranging in age from 20 – 79.  It found that, when the older athletes continued to train for the same duration and frequency as the younger athletes, there was a very gradual drop off in their performance.  Another study done last year at the University of Missouri-Columbia and published in the Journal of Applied Physiology appears to reinforce this.  It also found that an active lifestyle reduces age related risk factors whilst a sedentary lifestyle can in fact accelerate ageing, with a loss in muscle mass and a decrease in bone density and strength.

So what does this mean for you?  How regularly do you currently exercise?  You should be doing moderate amounts of aerobic physical activity for at least 150 mins a week or vigorous physical activity for 75 mins a week and at least 2 strength training sessions per week.  Try to aim for 30 mins a day, 5 days a week of physical activity.

Your workout routine should consist of cardio to get your heart rate up, burn calories and increase the efficiency of oxygen consumption e.g. walking, running, cycling, swimming.  Strength training to boost metabolism and help build muscle and tone e.g free weights, body weight, gym machine.  Flexibility and balance work e.g. yoga, pilates, stretching.

The benefits will be:

• Increased lean muscle mass to burn fat

• Maintain bone density to prevent diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis

• Weight Management

• Maintain mobility

• Maintain strength

• Prevent Cardiovascular disease

• Maintain flexibility

Don’t wait until you start to feel the effects of ageing or you need to exercise, start now laying down a good foundation to reap the many rewards.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free.  Educate yourself on the benefits of being with Fitness and Health so you may enjoy a more active lifestyle longer.

Peace be with you

How a Vegetarian Diet Can Help You Confront Cancer

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Good day to you.  Today I’m honored to introduce a special guest blogger, Ms. Jillian McKee.  Ms. McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009.  Ms. McKee spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

Read more:  http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/jillian/bio.htm#ixzz1yNG80nhv

Contact information for Ms. Jillian McKee:

I hope you enjoy Ms. McKee’s blogpost below in regard to health, nutrition, and education in regard to a vegetarian diet while surviving cancer.  Please read on …

You have a lot on your mind when you are going through cancer. Whether you have just been diagnosed, are in the middle of treatment, or are in recovery, it is difficult to keep track of everything that you need to do to survive this disease. Switching to a vegetarian diet can help you solve two problems at once. Eliminating meat from your diet will positively impact your health in several different ways while adhering to a vegetarian diet can make it easier to plan proper meals while dealing with cancer.

There is nothing magic about a vegetarian diet and doctors do not immediately recommend it for all their patients. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a doctor who advised against it. There are many positive benefits to careful vegetarianism that can help you manage treatment and recovery and also help you deal with stress. Vegetarianism aids in many ways including:

Digestion
Most vegetarian diets are naturally higher in fiber. Physicians cannot stress enough the importance of eating enough fiber. This substance’s ability to clean out your digestive tract plays an important role in keeping down your weight, lowering cholesterol levels, and maintaining your energy. When people switch to a healthy diet, they usually report lower levels of stress as well. Much of this may be an indirect result of the weight loss that typically follows such a change in habits.

Detoxification
Vegetarian diets are high in more than fiber. At the very least, when you avoid meat, you lower the amount of toxins entering your system. A properly balanced vegetarian diet plan will include many antioxidants and various herbs that help your organs cleanse your bloodstream and reduce cell damage.

Energy
When you switch to vegetarianism, you will probably experience a renewed sense of energy. This is not a magical effect but rather a natural result of a plant-based diet. Most people who avoid meat will also feel much lighter. This is a result of the intestinal tracts being cleared of so much extra weight. An average person in a developed nation may have several pounds of meat and processed foods clogging their digestive tracts because they do not eat enough fiber. While the newer, lighter state of being is positive in itself, it also makes it easier to do things such as exercise and stay focused on keeping healthy during treatment and in recovery.

There are many types of vegetarianism, so you should not quail from considering this change because you fear that you will never taste good food again. A vegan is a person who completely excludes all animal matter and any foods related to the service of animals from his or her diet. There are also lacto-vegetarians, who permit themselves to drink milk, and ovo-vegetarians that eat eggs. If you have just experienced a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis or are undergoing treatment for some variety of cancer, take a look into the vegetarian lifestyle and see if you could make it work for you and your health.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free.  Expand your mind with the information others provide on something you may not have known.

Peace be with you

Celiac and Glutenfree 101: Resources for Newly Diagnosed Celiac Survivors

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Good day to you.  I want to go back to the beginning and Day 1 of the diagnosis you received – celiac disease.  Do you remember that day?  Personally, I don’t as I was diagnosed at the age of 5 1/2.  Many celiac survivors, however, are diagnosed in their early to mid-adulthood of lifespan.  What emotions do you remember?  How did you feel physically in coming days, weeks, and months after your diagnosis?

The reason I want to go back to the beginning of celiac disease diagnosis is because many of us forget what the initial emotional and physical shock felt like when we were diagnosed.  Not to mention the anxiety of always wondering:  “Did I get glutened, or is that gas?”  Imagine the person standing next to you on the sidewalk or in the subway as being newly diagnosed with celiac disease.  It would be a rather formidable experience to repeat wouldn’t it?

For the reasons above, and many more, I decided to compile a resource of links  which should be very valuable to the newly diagnosed celiac and maybe even to more experienced celiac survivors.  Please “click” on: 

I hope you find the weblinks above helpful to you.  These links were found by me typing “celiac disease and newly diagnosed” in my favorite search engine.  If you require information specific to your celiac diagnosis, type in what you’re looking for and chances are you’ll find the information.

In closing, I would highly recommend newly diagnosed celiac survivors  join the Twitter conversation if you haven’t already.  There, you can meet like-minded Tweeps who can be a very valuable resource for you with any questions you may have.  You may follow me via @GFDougie on Twitter.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free.

Peace be with you.

Summer Time Celiac: Gluten-free Grilling and Cookout Safety

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Good day to you.  We, TR Crumbley  and GFDougie, are collaborating on a joint blog post in regard to summer grilling and cookouts with safety and health in mind for you, the gluten sensitive and celiac survivor.  We hope you find this information beneficial for your own social summer cookout event or in attending another’s as a guest.

Memorial Day has just passed a few weeks ago, ushering in the beginning of summer.  The incoming summer season brings all the fun, classic outdoor activities we all love; amongst them outdoor grilling and the equally important side dishes at these cookouts.

Those of us with gluten sensitivity or surviving with celiac may assume that grilled foods are easily gluten-free.   However, the possibilities of cross contamination  exist even when cooking on a hot grill.  For those of you who may not know, cross contamination is the instance where gluten-free food is exposed to gluten through actions such as cooking on the same surface of or using the same utensils on foods containing gluten.

Today we want to share some practical tips to help minimize the risk of cross contamination while enjoying the experience of a great summer grill and the neighborhood cookout for you, gluten-free.  Social outings such as these for those of you with gluten sensitivity and celiac survival needs will make such outings easier for all of us; that said here are some tips to live by:

(Note: Even taking these precautions does not guarantee 100% prevention of cross contamination. Always be cautious and aware when cooking in the presence of gluten.)


1.  On a day before you attend the cookout, please talk to the hosts and let them know you’ll need to eat gluten-free and let them know why.  Depending on how comfortable you are with the hosts, and how knowledgeable they are of your gluten sensitivity or celiac survival needs, be sure to have a detailed dialogue so the hosts knows of your food restrictions.  They may be even flexible enough to use a dedicated grilling surface just for you, gluten-free.

2.  Clean the grill or have the hosts clean the grill thoroughly before cooking.  By having the grill cleaned beforehand, you’ll reduce any amount of any residual gluten from the cooking surface and reduce gluten cross contamination chances.

3.  On the day of the cookout, do not assume your hosts remember everything about gluten cross contamination.  Provide your hosts with a friendly reminder to dedicate a portion of the grill for gluten-free grilling or have them cook your foods first.

4.  Wrap your food to reduce the risk of gluten contamination. For foods such as corn-on-the-cob that can be cooked while wrapped, wrap the food in aluminum foil and then cook on the grill.  You’ll get that same grilled flavor without any potential cross contamination of gluten.

5.  Keep cooking and serving utensils and serving platters separate for gluten-free.  By doing so, gluten can’t cross contaminate from one food to another.

What about the side dishes, gluten-free, at the cookout for the gluten sensitive and the celiac survivor?  Baked beans via Carol Kicinski, Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Creamy Broccoli and Carrot Slaw  via yummly, and Three Bean Salad are some of the many comforting dishes you can easily make gluten-free.  Other gluten-free suggestions are gluten-free chips and salsa or dip.  Be as creative as your wallet and mind will allow you to be.

In closing, we think education and dialogue are important tools in regard to the gluten sensitive and celiac survivor in having a positive experience at the grill and neighborhood cookout this summer.  With a little preparation and communication, a gluten-free and cross contamination free cookout can be enjoyed by you.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free this summer.

Peace be with you.

TR Crumbley and GFDougie

Survival of a Celiac in a Natural Disaster

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Good day to you.  We are coming to the end of May 2012, Celiac Awareness Month, and into the beginning of an important season – Hurricane Season.  I think this is a wonderful opportunity to meld the two events together into one blog.

As a celiac survivor, I pay close attention to the Hurricane Season as I’m a resident of Florida, USA (central, west coast).  I know I will need to rely on myself primarily should a hurricane or other natural disaster hit my locale.  Why do I state this?  I’ve reached out to American Red Cross in regard to food allergens, celiac, and shelter and they’ve informed me while they can accommodate people with food allergens, celiac, and shelter – their resources are very limited due to budget constraints.  What does this mean to you and me, celiac survivor?

What this means is this:  we, celiac survivors, have to take responsibility in regard to our diet and stockpile gluten-free, celiac foods for ourselves in case of a natural disaster.  How many of us have thought of this aspect of our lives in a day-to-day fashion?  In light of my recent dialogues on Twitter (@GFDougie), not many of us do.  While I don’t have specific quotes from Twitter, many say “OMGosh, I didn’t think of that” or “Being celiac in a shelter never occurred to me!”  It’s understated, celiac survivor, but I think we need to find our own gluten-free resources for celiac-friendly foods when facing a natural disaster.

I understand I’m blogging to many income-level earners.  Money may not be as plentiful and/ or discretionary in regard to what you can afford to stockpile gluten-free in light of an impending natural disaster.  That said every effort should be made to stockpile as much as you can, especially if you live in a vulnerable locale, like Tornado Alley, USA.  Do what you can to support you, celiac survivor.  No one can do this better than you can, celiac survivor.  Know no one but you, celiac survivor, will take care of you!

Celiac survivor, you need to augment purchasing gluten-free rations into your food budget; either from a grocer, health-food store, or an on-line website.  Please look into MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) (I’m not a paid spokesperson) items ahead of any natural disaster.  Here’s another resource for MRE.  Please know canned veggies, fish and sardines, and soups are also great resources from local grocer for a celiac stockpile in regard to a natural disaster.  Also know gluten-free crackers, rice cakes, peanut butter and packaged gluten-free bread may contribute to your natural disaster celiac survivor stockpile.  Do what you can to increase your chance of survival of an impending natural disaster, celiac survivor.

What knowledge should you take away with in regard to regard to education in regard to this blog?  Prepare, like the ants do, celiac survivor.  We, celiac survivors, have to work harder to be with health during a natural disaster.   Know you can’t depend on others for our celiac disease.  Know you can depend on you for education in regard to what foods you can eat in a natural disaster.

In closing, I hope I’ve opened a few windows in regard to tips us celiacs can use to survive a natural disaster.  I hope you will pass these tips on in regard to celiac disease and awareness.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free – and Celiac Disease Awareness for May.

Peace be with you.

Emotions in Regard to Celiac Disease

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Good day to you.  My name is Dougie and I’m a Celiac.  How many times have I made this or a variance of this greeting to people I’ve interacted with?  I wouldn’t be able to count.  The more important question I would like to ask is this – how do you feel when you make that greeting?

Celiac disease is an emotional autoimmune disease.  When I was younger, I felt like cringing when I had to announce my disease.  Why?  It alerted others I was different, not the norm, and high maintenance.  I would then have to go into my spiel of what celiac disease is and what I can eat (yes, I can eat potatoes) and cannot eat (no, I cannot eat just the cherries off of the pie crust), gluten.  It can be very frustrating, especially if my audience doesn’t get it.  Having to explain myself, and my disease, only intensifies my feelings of difference.  Now that I’m older and have a better understanding of the disease, I embrace it.  As a result of embracing celiac disease, I’ve found my emotions and self-esteem has improved for the positive.  I no longer cringe when I say “Hi, my name is Dougie and I’m a Celiac.”  Why?  Because of my attitude change and how I feel about myself and my disease.  I own who I am and what I have.  While celiac disease is not the whole of me, it is a part of me.

Besides the social element of emotion in regard to celiac disease, there is another important emotional aspect – the food itself.  Yes, for the normal diet, food brings about many emotions as a result of memories, comfort, and well-being.  For the celiac survivor, food also brings about these same emotions but I feel there’s more to it.  Negative emotions and feelings can abound if the celiac survivor focuses on what they can’t eat or make.  On the flip side, the celiac survivor can achieve the same emotions as those on a regular diet by focusing on what they can eat or make.  What can celiac survivors do to focus on what they can eat or make?  Learn how to cook gluten-free by making substitutions for gluten flour in recipes.  Focus on natural vegetables and fruits without using flour.  Get delicious recipes from other celiac survivors.  What is the celiac survivor left with?  Emotions brought on by positive memories, comfort, and well-being.

I do not have a medical background or education.  That said I feel many celiac survivors are not in touch with their emotions enough to validate themselves and what they are up against as a survivor.  Acknowledging the feelings and emotions, I feel, is one of the first steps for the celiac survivor to recover mentally and then physically and truly be gluten-free.  I feel until these first steps are understood and completed, the true celiac survivor does not exist.  What do you think?

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free – and Celiac Disease Awareness for May.

Peace be with you.

Earth Day – 22 April 2012

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Good day to you.  Today is Earth Day – 22 April, 2012.  Do you know why this day is celebrated?  Here’s one version of the history of how ‘this day’ came to be:  http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement.  Here’s another version:  http://url.ie/f6h0.

Now we are in the 21st century.  We have recycle bins and shredders for paper.  We use energy-efficient lighting.  That said, are we really recycling enough to save our planet, the Earth?  I think not and here’s one reason why:  Massive food companies are allowing the marketing of single-serving plastic containers which are then thrown into our landfills after a single use.  How much plastic is thrown into our landfills?  Here’s one marker for you:  36 Billion single-serve water bottles end up in our landfills each year (source unknown).  In my personal opinion I’ve seen a continued increase in the past ten years of single-serving food items like gelatin desserts, frozen microwave meals, fruit snacks, and the like.   Single-serve packaging continues to clog our landfills without check or legislation. 

Here’s another Earth Day shock point for you:  http://url.ie/f6jh.  Glass does not decompose in our landfills.  There are many other items which do not decompose in our landfills for various reasons.  Please reference this link for more info:  http://url.ie/f6jf.  Because these and many other items do not decompose in our landfills; we are causing a never-ending cycle of pollution, using up the finite number of resources Earth has, and affecting other Citizens of Earth, her animals.

I think we all can do our part to celebrate Earth Day everyday.

Renew-Reuse-Recycle

Renew, Reuse, and Recycle.  Peace be with you.

How do I envision living in a better gluten-free world?

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Good day to you.  My vision of living in a better gluten-free world is rather simple:  Having gluten-free food choices and being able to enjoy all of those choices in all settings.  That’s a simple enough statement isn’t it?  But where would or should those same gluten-free food choices and settings be?  That, my friend, is the more difficult question isn’t it?

Currently, food choices have greatly expanded in the main-stream Grocery store and the Health Food store for gluten-free food items.  Choices have also expanded with gluten-free menu items with National restaurant chains and with some Independent restaurants as well.  We celiacs, and gluten-free, are also making progress in regard to being able to purchase gluten-free food items more conveniently and at a cheaper cost than in the past.

However, I’m going to turn the silver-lining of the cloud of optimism upside-down.  There is a stigma of celiac, gluten-free which exists with family, friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. I only state ‘stigma’ as there is no knowledge easily accessible out there, without specifically researching “celiac, or gluten-free diet” in regard to celiac, gluten-free on the Internet.  Eating gluten-free in settings such as your family, friends, acquaintances, and co-workers without risk of cross-contamination is no small undertaking.  Education in regard to how your personal involvement with family, friends and acquaintances, and co-workers react to your gluten-free world is paramount in regard to your survival and health.  Most do not know the consequence of you even eating a crumb of gluten and how it will affect you.  It is your job to educate others.

A better gluten-free world?  People close to you will have to educate for themselves on what a gluten-free, celiac world means to you.  But others will not.  It’s up to you to figure out who is your advocate, and who is not.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free.

Peace be with you.

Cooking From Scratch with Nutrition and Health

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Good day to you.  If you follow this blog and my Twitter feed, you know me to be very conscious of health and nutrition when preparing meals.  As a celiac, I feel it is most important to eat as healthy as I can due to the damage already done to my digestive system.  With more nutrition packed into each meal, the more nutrients are absorbed and the healthier I am.

When I’m in my kitchen, I like to cook from scratch with recipes whenever possible.  This is helpful to me on a lot of levels.  Foremost, I am in control of what foods go into my dishes.  I’m also in control of the quality of those foods in regard to freshness.  Additionally, I’m able to control the amount of preservatives, sodium, and artificial dyes and flavors in my dishes.  When I cook from scratch, it enables me to have control over each ingredient in my dishes.  I like having this much control as I feel more confident I will not be “glutened” in my own kitchen.  Also, I’m not dependent on any manufacturer of pre-packaged food items in regard to the accuracy of their nutritional and allergen information.

As you probably know in your own lives, I don’t think its possible to cook from scratch every day for every meal.  Life is just not like that.  That said, I’ve seen tips from others whereas they spend the majority of one day cooking for the week ahead and freezing food items in serving size portions.  I’ve seen other tips whereas people will cook items for more than one dish – like chicken for stir-fry with vegetables one night and tacos with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese the next.  Or, make a salad with fresh greens and vegetables as a side dish for dinner, a lunch the next day, and dinner the next night – cooking from scratch is still being achieved.

As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, I do not live in your household.   You may already have ideas or practices in place to maximize cooking from scratch in the amount of time you have in your kitchen.  If so, good for you!  If not, please reference the Internet and Twitter for good ideas to maximize nutrition and health while cooking from scratch.  Live well and be healthy.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free – and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness for April.

Peace be with you.

Celiac and Nutritional Diet – The Natural Way

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Good day to you.  If you follow me on Twitter (@GFDougie via https://twitter.com/#!/GFDougie), you know me to be very Nutrition-conscious and Health-minded in regard to what a celiac diet should be.

While noting the celiac diet is not a very easy diet to follow for all the ingredient reading, ingredient interpreting, and internet research; there are easier methods in following the diet which are more stress free.  What are those methods?  I’m glad you asked.  There are many ways you can enjoy, yes I said enjoy, a celiac diet and maintain nutrition relatively stress free.  Let’s start at the local Grocer, and the Produce department.  Many vegetables and fruits await you there – and they have no ingredient list to read!  There are different squash varieties you can sauté in olive oil together with onion, herb and spice; you can cook together tomato, okra, herb and spice in a saucepan; or you can make a soup of potato, onion, herb and spice, and cream.  You can also find “stir-fry vegetables” in a bag, add chicken or tofu, gluten-free soy or tamari sauce, and call it dinner!  What about making a fruit salad, grilling pineapples, or sautéing apples with sugar and cinnamon?  Can you say “peaches & cream?”

If you are into more wholesome, organic produce choices for your celiac diet, a cheaper alternative to the grocer is the farmer’s market.  Buying from locally grown vegetable/ fruit markets supports your local economy.  The benefit to you is “natural.”  Buy in-season vegetables and fruits at these markets at “rock-bottom” prices and save yourself some money.  Corn on the cob and lima beans can be transformed into fried corn or succotash.  You can use gluten-free bread and make breaded tomatoes.  Heck, you can even use an All Purpose Gluten-free Flour blend and make … fried green tomatoes!  How about fresh-snapped green beans and mashed potatoes?  What about stuffed bell peppers with rice, beef, and gluten-free seasonings!  The choices for menu options are endless.

Let’s go back to the Grocer, and Frozen Foods, and see how easy this can be for the celiac diet.  Again, the ingredient list is not hard to comprehend:  peas, corn, onions, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.  Not much to read there, right?  How many  meals can you make with so many combinations?  Almost endless, I think.  You can make stews, soups, casseroles and many more things I’m not thinking of at a fraction of the cost of fresh produce.  Side dishes made with these items are even more unlimited!

If you are not vegan, other stress free celiac-friendly departments at the Grocer are the Meat and Seafood departments.  Obviously chicken, turkey, pork, and seafood are more healthful than beef.  But, with moderation, all can be included in a celiac diet at no risk of ingesting gluten.

The bottom line – instant, boxed, or microwaved entrées and other food items are not as nutritional.  Cook from scratch and know what you are eating.  The burden is upon you on how nutritious you are.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free – and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness in April.

Peace be with you.

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