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Are You in a Celiac Menu Food Rut?

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Good day to you.  Many of us live fast-paced lives which causes us to put an important part of our lives, eating, on the back burner of priorities.  This causes a lot of us to purchase the same food items week-to-week and not exploit the many nutritional food choices out there.  For celiac disease survivors this can be especially problematic as nutrition is more important due to eating gluten prior to diagnosis causing malabsorption issues

So how do you raise the priority of creating nutritional meals with variety without compromising any other aspect of your life?  In my experience, I think you can accomplish this in many ways.  Initially, however, I feel you should outline a plan for yourself on paper by answering these questions:

  • How often do I want or need to go to the various food markets I shop at?
  • Do I shop for food items based upon sales advertisements?
  • Do I shop for food items based upon coupons I’ve collected?
  • How many specialized diets (i.e. gluten-free, non-dairy, vegetarian, etc.) am I shopping for?
  • Do I have specific food item cravings often?
  • How much time can I dedicate to cooking each meal?

There may be additional questions you may need to ask yourself depending on your personal and family  lifestyle.  Feel free to write those down with corresponding responses as well.

Now, what do you do with this information?  The information you gathered may be used in several ways.  I would start by setting up your grocery shopping to be the same day every week or however often you need to go to the markets.  Pick the day when your grocer has published new sales advertisements, for example.  By going the same day you are establishing a routine.  This routine will ultimately allow you to “schedule” yourself time to create the grocery lists of food items you need the day before.

Why do I mention scheduling time for yourself to create your grocery lists on the day before you do your food shopping?  So you can make a food plan, or create a menu, for the coming week or other time duration until the next grocery shopping day.  Remember the questions you answered above?  Based upon those responses, you can make outlines of what you’ll need to purchase on grocery shopping day.

Now here’s the bonus, positive part of creating a menu for yourself and your family.  This is the part where you can pull yourself out of your “menu food rut!”  Remember I recommended you “schedule” the day before grocery shopping to create your grocery lists?  Well, if you are creating a menu, then you can find new and interesting foods and recipes to try so you are not purchasing the same foods over and over!  If you are a celiac survivor, you can also take this time to confirm “new to you” food items needed are gluten-free.  When you have planned your menu, guess what?  You now have a stress-free grocery list with no forgotten items!

By creating menu plans and then grocery lists, you are guaranteeing yourself and your family variety, nutrition, and health. 

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

Peace be with you.

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

What Causes a Celiac to Mimic A Gluten Diet?

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Good day to you.  We all know surviving Celiac Disease is no easy task.  Despite that, I’ve decided to raise a very thought-provoking question to my fellow celiac survivors:  “What causes a Celiac to mimic a gluten diet?”  What caused me to raise this question?  The short answer is the feed I receive daily from celiac survivors on Twitter.  I see all kinds of gluten-free cookie, bread, scone, french-toast, dessert and other glutenesque recipes.  I keep asking myself – why are these tweets so popular and/ or so well-responded to?  How are celiac survivors leading a nutrition-filled Life devouring tweets like these as if they are candy?

To educate myself, I went to the Stuffed Pepper website to ask that very question:  What Causes Celiac to Mimic A Gluten Diet?.  To say the least, the responses I received were stark in contrast in regard to what I expected to receive.  Glutenesque recipes are very popular on the internet.  That said the reasons behind them are as diverse as the originating celiac survivor tweep.  Many celiac survivors, I’ve found, are new in their celiac journey and find gluten-free pasta familiar to substitute with what they already knew in regard to gluten pasta recipes.  Other celiac survivors, now gluten-free, use their education with different wheat flours and gluten recipes and transpose them with gluten-free flours and create great gluten-free recipes for us on that end.  Additionally, many celiac survivors create recipes for us solely based upon the celiac survivor need at large.

In that research, I’ve found one common denominator.  Celiacs want to help themselves and each other.  While celiacs like to mimic gluten ingredients, they don’t always depend on those same ingredients to be gluten-free.  Familiar ingredients do create familiar or similar dishes whether with or without gluten.  In general,  I feel celiac survivors want to educate others with gluten-free options which may be similar to the gluten diet, but with their own twist or touch.  Celiac survivors want their cake and eat it and want nutrition as well.

Anecdotally, I do observe savory recipe education is on the rise with the celiac survivor on Twitter.  This is a trend I hope will continue to expand in coming months and years.  Nutrition is of up most importance for the celiac survivor as a result of absorption issues and damage previous gluten ingestion has caused us.  Nutritious, meal-time recipes for celiac survivors are a needed educational resource which all should share.  If you have such ideas, please don’t be afraid to tweet on Twitter or blog on.

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

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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