Friday, January 24, 2014

Gluten Free?

Okay, I'm about to embark on some tricky territory here. I feel like this whole gluten free thing has just really gotten out of hand and it's time to give you guys some food for thought.

I want to start off by saying two things: 1) If you have celiac or an intolerance diagnosed by your doctor and it's medically necessary for you to avoid gluten, then you can pretty much disregard this post. Keep avoiding the gluten like your doctor has instructed you and 2) celiac disease and gluten intolerances are definitely NOT the same thing. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where your intestines literally start to attack themselves every time you eat gluten. It's not fun, and even using a knife that has touched gluten can cause someone with this disease to get sick. If you think you have celiac it's not okay to self diagnose. You need to go to a doctor and get checked out. It's not smart to go gluten free before getting tested for celiac because your doctor needs to see if your body produces antibodies from the gluten you eat and look for intestinal damage. So, please… go get checked out if you think you have this BEFORE you start avoiding gluten. Even if you think you have an intolerance, you really should talk to your doctor. Don't try to self diagnose. 

So, I knew the second Miley Cyrus showed up on social media 10-15 pounds thinner claiming giving up gluten was the secret that we were going to see a huge surplus in the gluten free trend. Of course this wrecking ball licking son of a gun knows what she's talking about, right?! Kidding. But seriously, avoiding gluten has become SO trendy and cool. I know, I know… you suffer from gas, bloat, and other intestinal issues, right? I'm no doctor, but I will say that in my profession when people have gas, bloat and intestinal issues it is by far the HARDEST thing to try to pinpoint the cause. I would love to tell you that gluten is to blame, it would make my life so much easier… but the truth is even stress and things completely unrelated to your diet can cause intestinal issues. 

I was in the avoiding gluten boat once. I was sure that it was the cause of all my gut problems. No way was it the miscarriage I suffered, the stress of my demanding internship, balancing out being a wife and a student, studying for the most important exam of my life… nope, definitely the gluten. Wellp, I'll be the first to admit it, I was wrong. Since then I'm happy to say that I figured out how to take better care of my body (gluten included) and my intestinal issues have become a thing of the past. Now, I'm not saying that every intestinal issue isn't gluten… I'm just saying maybe you should dig a little deeper before you start blaming it all on gluten and cutting it out of your life like a scorned lover. 

In my opinion, gluten has gotten a bad wrap. It's become known as "that one thing that makes you fat" and people think by avoiding gluten they'll lose weight. Yes, there is gluten in cake, pasta, bread and cookies so if you cut those out you may see some weight loss… but you could get the same effect just by cutting down on them. However, those gluten free brownies and cookies you've been eating…. hate to break it to you, but they're probably packing more sugar and fat in them than the real things. Gluten acts like glue and helps hold your food together. When gluten is removed they add fat and sugar to help the food maintain its shape. Is your mind blown?! Mine was. 

Now let me persuade you with some science. There have been multiple studies going on looking at gluten free diets and it's affects on gut bacteria. A 2012 review in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) showed that a gluten free diet has no benefit and can even harm gut health in people without celiac disease or an intolerance. They're not the only ones to say that either. There was a 2009 study done in which the British Journal of Nutrition reported the same thing. There's other studies showing yet again, the same thing. On top of that, missing out on gluten can mean that you're also missing out on fiber, B Vitamins, and even iron. There's still research that needs to be done before there's really anything set in stone on this issue… but I'm just pointing out that just because Dr. Oz says something is great, doesn't mean you have to believe him. Other doctors are disagreeing with him… it's okay for you to do the same. 

Lets recap. I'm not saying gluten free is bad for everyone… but I'm definitely saying it's not necessary for everyone either. I guess really what I'm saying is that if you want to lose weight there's a healthy way to do it, with gluten included (providing you don't have to avoid gluten for medical reasons). I'm also saying that if you're having gut issues maybe you need to take a look at your stress levels, your sleeping patterns, supplements you're taking, and overall lifestyle. Start there, don't start with the gluten. If you have questions or you think you might truly have an intolerance, email me! I'll be happy to help you through the next steps on figuring all of that out. 

Don't be mad at me guys. I don't want to crush your gluten free dreams… I just want to give you some things to think about. 

Until next time!


2014 Health Food Trends - Freekeh

Okay, last trendy blog post. Also, sorry that I have been so inconsistent with writing. I would like to say that I'll get better about it… but by the time I'm better about it I have a feeling the baby will be born and I'll be back to being bad at it. So, bear with me readers! Thanks for your support and your loyalty. 

So, we've talked about cauliflower and teff and now we are going to add freekeh to the list. Freekeh is a grain that goes through a roasting process in order to be made. It basically was discovered on accident thousands of years ago. There was a fire in a crop of green wheat and someone got creative and decided to rub the chaff off, cooked it and decided that it tasted pretty dang good. This is the point in the story where I wonder why I can never come up with great ideas like this and make a fortune. 

Unlike our little friend teff, freekeh is made from wheat… so sorry gluten free buddies, this grain isn't for you. The gluten gets a little denatured through the whole roasting and rubbing process so some people with sensitivities don't notice side effects, but if you have celiac this isn't a grain you'll want to add to your diet. I haven't had the pleasure of trying freekeh myself, but it's said to have a smokey flavor and nutty, chewy texture… when it's cooked it looks like rice or oatmeal. 

Here's the real great news with this stuff… it has up to three times the amount of protein and fiber as your regular ol' brown rice and has less calories than quinoa. It's cooking time is really similar to rice, so it would be an easy substitute in your cooking. It also has a low glycemic index, which probably doesn't mean much to you unless you have diabetes… but that basically means that it doesn't cause crazy spikes and drops in your blood sugar when you eat it, and if you're not sure… that's a good thing. 

Because it's similar to quinoa and rice you can use it in all the same dishes you would use either of those in. Soups, salads, chili, stuffed peppers, in tacos, as a simple side dish… the possibilities are pretty endless. You might not see this stuff at your regular grocery store… yet, but in the mean time I know that you can find it at Whole Foods and Sprouts. Try it out and email us and let us know what you think! 

Happy reading, and happy eating!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 Health Food Trends - Teff

I was watching television the other day and on the talk show I was watching they mentioned teff and freekah… guess these people that decided these were going to be a big thing were on to something. 

Teff. I'm guessing only a handful of you have heard of it prior to reading my little blog here. Honestly, the first time I read about it I had to google it too. So what the heck is it?! It's a little, tiny whole grain that's a staple in North Africa. Ethiopians have been cooking with it for thousands of years, I think it's safe to say that us Americans are a little late to the game. 

Teff is the smallest grain in the world. I haven't tried it myself yet, but it's said to have a mild, nutty flavor. I can't confirm or deny that. I do know that with the rising popularity it will be a little on the expensive side… keeping up with the Jones' nutrition style, if you will. 

Here's some good ol' nutrition facts for those of you wondering why you might want to try this out: 1/4 cup has around 180 calories, 1 gram of fat, 37 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of fiber. Here's where things get interesting though, teff has more calcium than any other grain. A cup of cooked teff offers around 123mg of calcium… which is about the same as in a half cup of cooked spinach. Not only will you find calcium in this little guy, but you'll also find that it's full of vitamin C, something that's not usually found in grains. 

Paying attention? Good. Teff is high in resistant starch. I won't bore you with a scientific explanation on that, but I'll tell you that it means that it can help in blood sugar management, weight control, and colon health. That's good news for those of you with diabetes or colon issues. Diagnosed with Celiac? well here's some good news for you too… teff is gluten free. 

Now for the important part, how do you make and eat teff? This tiny grain is extremely versatile. You can add it to stews, prepare it as a hot breakfast type cereal, polenta, add it to veggie burgers, cakes, cookies, breads, and other baked goods. What I'm saying is, there's not much you can't do with it. 

Next post I'll talk about freekah. Really, I just like saying the name freekah. Until then, happy reading! 


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Health Food Trends - Cauliflower

As promised, I'm going to do a couple of posts on some upcoming trends that have been named as the next up and coming things for 2014. You'll totally be able to impress your friends with your nerdy nutrition knowledge when they bring up things like teff and freekah. I don't really know who decides these things are going to be cool every year… but they're pretty spot on. Last year it was quinoa and kale, which have become a staple in a lot of households, but honestly before last year how many people really cooked with quinoa on a regular basis or had even heard of it for that matter?! Anyways, now you'll be ahead of the game, you're welcome.

They're saying cauliflower is going to be the hot new "it" item in the veggie world. Sure, cauliflower isn't new to most, but I think people honestly have no idea just how good this little guy is for you. I remember having to eat it at the dinner table when I was little. It was one of those veggies that I had to choke down or else I wouldn't get dessert. Now, I love the stuff. Hopefully by the end of this post you will too.

It's kind of an ugly looking vegetable, isn't it?! Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable…. that always makes me think of crucifix which then makes me think of the word horcrux for some weird reason (shout out to my HP nerds!). Anyways, it's the same family as broccoli and cabbage, it's a great source of vitamin C and full of lots of other antioxidants, another little tid-bit you might not have known. These things are all great, but one of the coolest parts (yes, i realize that even using cauliflower and cool in the same sentence makes me a total nerd) I think about cauliflower are it's anti-inflammatory properties. This little veggie has high amounts of vitamin K and Omega 3s - these aid in decreasing inflammation. That's good news for those of you that suffer from things like arthritis and diabetes. Regular consumption of this bad boy just might aid in relieving some of your symptoms. Pretty neat, huh?!

Cauliflower also is a great source of your B vitamins, manganese, and phosphorous. B vitamins are essential for growth, development and a ton of other bodily functions. Manganese is another antioxidant and phosphorous is important in the creation of RNA, DNA, and ATP (ATP is the energy your body uses to do anything). Last but not least, cauliflower is a good source of fiber… which means it cleans our your digestive system and gets rid of unnecessary substances (aka it will make you poop).

So… now you know why should eat it, but what about how? I mean, you could go the boring route and just steam it and eat it, but I can almost guarantee that means you won't be eating much of it. The good news is people have gotten really creative with their cauliflower game. I've seen it roasted, curried, made into soup, added to pasta dishes, and a personal favorite… mashed and used in place of mashed potatoes. If you google cauliflower recipes right now I guarantee you'll find a whole bunch that you'll want to try. Cauliflower is no longer boring. So, get ahead of the trend and impress your friends with your cauliflower skills at your next dinner party.

Next post we'll talk about teff... I wish I could track how many of you are going to google what that is now haha.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Blog Nip and Tuck.

Hey guys! Just a super quick post to point out that we've made some changes around here. As our business takes off we have decided to change the name and the link to our blog. Once our website is up and running we will have it linked with that too! All this technology is way to fancy for me.

Not only is our blog getting a little work done, but we are working on some pretty awesome events and seminars for you guys too! We will be sure to keep you posted on the details as they unfold. We love our individual clients, but we are also working on getting some things together for your businesses. If you have questions about this feel free to email Michelle or I!

Lets see… I'm trying to think of what else I can tell you without giving everything away. I'm really excited if you can't tell :). I think that's it for now. I'll take this time to point out the lovely links I put on the left side here to all of our social media. If you haven't taken the time to follow and like us, please do!

Look for next weeks post on food trends in 2014! Until then keep it up with those New Years resolutions everyone!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Shopping Organic

Hi Everyone! Sorry for being so absent lately. I hope everyone had a great holiday! I am so excited for 2014. I love the fresh start that comes every January. This year I'm resolving to be kinder to my body, more present with my loved ones, and working my booty off with our new business. I feel like I'm having two babies this year… my business baby and my real baby.

Before I jump into the post I just want to give a little update on our business, Creating a New Norm. I am beyond excited for everything that we are rolling out. Already we have had some great clients and opportunities present themselves for 2014. Our website is taking a little longer than planned to get up… but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day, right?! Hopefully, we will have it up in the next week or two, until then you can follow our business page on Facebook for updates.

So, with the new year comes resolutions. While I was grocery shopping today I noticed waaaaaaaay more people in the produce section than normal, I'm guessing those resolutions had something to do with it. When people find out I'm a dietitian I get asked some pretty common questions. One of them is about buying organic. I decided to do a little post on just that.

 Obviously, organic everything would be ideal… but holy crap is it expensive. Is there a solution? Well, I suppose you could grow your own produce. I personally can't do this option, I've killed seriously almost every plant I've ever owned. Probably a more practical solution (at least for those of us who are green thumb challenged) is knowing what the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen are.
Some of you may have heard of these things before, but on the chance that it might be something that some of you have no idea about I decided it would be a good secret to let you in on.

The Clean Fifteen are items that have little to no pesticide residue and are safe to consume in the non organic form. Meaning you don't really need to buy the organic versions, meaning cash in your pocket. The Dirty Dozen are pretty much the opposite. The conventionally grown (read: non organic) items in this group test for AT LEAST 47 different chemicals. Ewwww, that seriously grosses me out. These are the items that you need to be buying organic. Here's the lists below:

If you want more information on the produce you're consuming feel free to visit There you'll find tons of info about all the produce you consume. There's also information on what produce may be GMO, something some of you also might be interested in. 

This is obviously a shorter post. I really just wanted to take some time really quick to encourage you guys to stick with the goals you made for the year and maybe try to add some more fruits and veggies to your diet… the kind without the pesticides. Going organic is definitely beneficial, but can be painful to your bank account. Hopefully this list helps you find some sort of balance. 

Just to give you a little preview of my next post, I plan on talking about some foods that experts are saying are going to be hot health food items in 2014 (I don't really know who these experts are and how they decide what foods are going to be a hot commodity every year, but good for them). 

Until next time, happy reading!