We have all heard about gluten lately and some may wonder why all the hype. Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, barley, rye, kamut, triticale and spelt. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of those with Celiac disease. There are many people that don't have Celiac but are sensitive to gluten. I am in this category.
So how do you know if you are sensitive to gluten? The easiest way to find out if you have a sensitivity is to cut out all gluten from your diet for at least a week. Then add it back in very slowly and see how you feel. If you become bloated, gassy or end up rushing to the bathroom, then you can pretty much assume you are sensitive. There are also others signs of gluten intolerance that are not directly felt in your stomach like fatigue, headaches, tingling/numbness and brain fog. If you have any of these regularly, cutting out gluten is a great idea. It's incredible how much better I feel now that I am gluten free.
The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to leave you satisfied and not feeling deprived! Here are a few grains and starches that are gluten-free:
Having already watched my parents both die from cancer, my life has been altered drastically. It has been 10 years since my dad died and 4 for my mom. Every now and then my phone will ring and I will find myself thinking its her calling. I think of them every single day and am so thankful to have had them in my life for the time that I did. I learned a lot from these losses and wrote about it to hopefully help others that have been in my shoes. Life is fragile, make the most of it!
When my mom realized her cancer was terminal, she told me she wanted to have her funeral before she died. She didn't want everyone to show up after it was over, she wanted to see them while she still could. This photo to the left was taken that day. What an amazing time she had, even though she was very sick. I threw her the best pre-funeral in less than 10 days that I could and over 100 of our family and friends came to join us. What a blessing!
This article originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green July 31, 2013:
Death. It's a word many people don’t like to discuss. However, death is inevitable for each and every one of us, and it's something that should be discussed openly with loved ones. Unfortunately, I've had to witness quite a few deaths over the past decade, which has taught me many life lessons.
Here are some of them:
1. Life is not long enough to justify staying in situations that make you
After watching my dad die at the age of 61, it put my life into perspective. I was 29 at the time and a new mother. My dad had been the definition of health and somehow ended up with cancer that took his life within six months of diagnosis. Immediately after his death, I evaluated my own life and realized that my marriage wasn’t healthy for me. If he had not died, I probably would have stayed, miserable, for many more years.
2. Put family first.
My mom had breast cancer at age 54 and, after treatment, was considered cancer-free for five years. At the five-year mark, she found out that it had come back in her bones, lungs and other areas. The doctors told me that she was
terminal and had maybe a few months to live. Being an only child and not having my father for help, I had to make huge decisions about what to do. I was fortunate to be able to afford to quit my job and devote myself to my mother fully and help her through the process of dying. She ended up living for 13 months and those are months that I cherish and am so thankful to have had with her.
3. You must give yourself time and space to grieve.
I learned this the hard way. When my dad died, I had a one-year-old and was going through a divorce. In addition, my mom had extreme depression, and I had her move into an apartment with me and my daughter, so I could keep an eye on her. I was still in the caregiving role and wasn’t able to begin to process the magnitude of losing my dad. He had always been the strong one in our family, and without him there to guide me through the toughest time in my life, my solution was to not deal with it.
Fast forward ten years. My body forced me to deal with it and wouldn’t allow me to go another day without resolution. What I've learned is that the best thing is to deal with grief as quickly as possible, but also remember that everyone grieves in a different way and in different time frames. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t just “get over it” in what you feel is the right timeframe. You really don’t ever forget, but it does get easier as time passes. In order to deal with grief, you have to find what works best for you. There are lots of avenues including counseling and support groups.
4. Lean on friends and family for support, even if you think they won't understand.
I am blessed to have a few amazing close friends that I could have turned to after my parent’s death. In hindsight, I should have reached out more to my friends for help through such a difficult time. However, I didn’t want to bother anyone with my sadness, and I really felt as if they wouldn’t understand. I now know that even though they had not experienced such loss, they could have helped me cope during the hard days. Your close friends are there for
a reason: because they love you and care about you. Let them help you through times of grief and loss.
5. Tell your loved ones how you feel about them as much as possible.
I never thought in a million years that my dad would actually die. I knew he was sick with cancer, but I assumed he would beat it since he was so strong. So when the call came from my mom that he was being life-flighted to Houston and
might not live, it was a huge shock to me. By the time I saw them wheel him into the ICU, I realized that he was not going to make it much longer. I held his hand and told him that I loved him. That was all I had to say because I had told
him how much l loved and appreciated him my entire life. I didn’t need to tell him anything more, he already knew.
6. Even if your loved one isn’t responding, he is still there until the last breath.
My mom was at an in-patient hospice facility for 11 days. For eleven full days, I sat by her side and waited for her to die. I counted her breaths, I felt her feet, I watched for all the signs that she was in the final hours. But they never came. It was about Day 9 when the Hospice Chaplain came to me and told me that she was going to pass away on her own time. He said she wasn’t ready yet. He instructed me to go in and tell her that it was okay for her to let go. This was the hardest thing I have ever done. I held her hand, and touched her cheeks as I told her that she could go and that I was going to be
all right. After I said what I needed to say, a tear ran down her cheeks. I know she heard me. Even though she hadn’t been able to speak for almost two weeks, she was still with me and knew that she had my permission to get go. She took
her last breath the following day with me by her side.
7. The cliche is true: live each day like it were your last.
My dad was always saving money for retirement. He had huge plans for the golden years and saved accordingly. I remember he and my mom struggling financially and not taking the best trips because he was so busy saving for the
future. Well, the future never came for them, and neither one of them got to enjoy retirement. I've learned to find a balance between saving for retirement, but still taking that vacation you've been putting off. We have all heard that
saying about live each day like it were your last. You don’t have to go that extreme, but be aware that life is fragile and is a wonderful gift.
Choose to live life to the fullest!
This article I wrote originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green July 27, 2013.
I had an article run on Mind, Body, Green a few weeks ago and had great response from readers. They changed my title to "10 Signs You're Eating Right for Your Body" but I still like mine better: "10 Side Effects of Eating Healthy."
In case you missed it, here is the full article:
Two years ago, I made it my mission to eat a healthy diet filled with whole foods and fresh vegetables. This wasn't just a personal decision, I did it for my family as well. (Back then, my idea of a veggie was fried okra or a red pepper slipping into my chicken fajita). Needless to say, it took me a while and lots of experimenting, but it was the best decision I've ever made (besides marrying my husband, of course)! Now that I know what foods work for me, I wanted to let you know what you can expect when you start to make fresh vegetables a staple of your diet.
1. You poop regularly.
Let's just get this one out of the way. So many people don’t talk about it, but going #2 is vital and you should be doing this every day. I know people for whom “normal” is once a week. That is so far from normal and I cannot even imagine
how uncomfortable that must be. Eating healthy means pooping regularly.
2. You maintain a healthy weight without stressing or obsessing.
Perhaps obvious, this is an amazing side effect! So many people struggle to reach and maintain a healthy weight. If you makeover your diet to real, whole foods, your weight will go down and stay down. No need to count calories, fat grams, weigh your food on a scale, or count points.
3. After dinner, you actually have the energy to go see a movie.
So often, my husband and I would go out for Mexican food planning to see a movie or get a drink afterward. But once we
walked out of the restaurant, we were both so bloated and full that all we wanted to do was go home and get on the couch. If you have a sensible dinner, you'll have all the energy in the world to dance til midnight if you choose.
4. Your clothes fit better.
This is true until they start to fall off. You'll find the first few weeks that your favorite jeans are a little baggy. And then one day you have to go buy a belt. Then you'll have to go buy a new pair of jeans. (I don’t know about you, but going into the Gap and picking out a smaller size was for me, a very good day.)
5. Your sex drive goes up.
Yep, this is true! When people feel and look better, they are more open with their bodies, which leads to you-know-what.
I've read quite a few stories from men who go meat-free for a month and have had amazing results in the bedroom.
6. You sleep better.
When I used to make a habit of eating things that were bad for me, I'd sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a horrible stomach ache. I used to assume I had a stomach virus, because I had no idea it because I was eating the wrong foods for my body. I now lay my head down, turn on my meditation app, and am in dream land in no time.
7. You're happier.
This is a pretty broad and bold statement, but when you feel better, you're generally happier. You will find yourself talking to strangers and maybe even giving advice to people at the grocery store. I find myself holding doors for people, letting a rushed driver cut in front of me and not even minding. Feeling healthy makes you happy, happy, happy.
8. Your friends think you're a little weird.
Expect this side effect at the beginning. When you go out and they order the usual high-calorie, fatty and greasy food, while you order an amazing salad, they're going to think you've lost your mind. Don’t worry, after time, they'll get used to it, but you'll have to listen to their justifications about how crazy you are for a while. Even better is going to a coffee shop and ordering hot tea or making a yummy smoothie in the break room at the office. This will make their head spin.
9. You stop taking over-the-counter meds.
I used to have major allergies that would turn into full blown sinus infections several times a year. I cringe when I think of how many rounds of antibiotics I used to take, or how I'd get ticked off if they didn’t give me a Z-Pak. I have not had any of these infections in well over a year now. Others completely reversed, (yes, reversed!) their Type 2 diabetes by doing
nothing other than changing what they eat. Could food be the miracle drug we're all looking for?
10. You want to tell the world your story.
This will happen as you slowly change your thinking and your habits. Once it's been a few months and you've experienced all the side effects above, you'll want to shout it to the world!
Go ahead, you might just save someone’s life.
Did you know that avocados have many health benefits? I hear people say they don't eat them because they are fattening. But there are different kinds of fat and avocados have the "good" kind. The average avocado has 300 calories and 30 grams of HEALTHY polyunsaturated and monosaturated fat. These little nuggets of goodness also have the highest protein content of any fruit. Yes, they are considered a fruit! And if that weren't enough, they contain more potassium than bananas.
Once an avocado is picked, it takes about 7-10 days to ripen. For best results, don't store in the refrigerator as it will slow down the ripening process. If you have one that is still hard and you can't wait to eat it, put it in a paper bag along with a ripe apple, banana or tomato. The ethylene gas in the other fruit will cause your avocado to ripen in 24 hours. How cool is that?
Here are a few health benefits of avocados:
Guacamole (of course!)
On my salad
On any kind of taco, sandwich or lettuce wrap
With eggs...It might sound strange, but it's a great combination
Cut it in half, put a little seasoning or Sriracha sauce on it and dig in!
Add to a smoothie to make it silky smooth and creamy
So stop worrying about the fat in avocados...they are good for you so enjoy them often!
We eat these often at our house and everyone loves them. They almost taste like popcorn when you pull them out of the oven. Try these out and let me know what you think in the comment section!
1 15.5 ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
**You can experiment with different seasonings for your chickpeas. I sometimes add garlic powder as well.
What to Do:
Heat oven to 450 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Drain and rinse chickpeas thoroughly and put them in a bowl.
Add in oil, salt, pepper and onion powder (or your choice of seasonings) and mix well. Place chickpeas on the baking sheet in a single layer.
Cook for 15 minutes and then remove. Mix them around to make sure they cook evenly. Return to oven for another 15 minutes, or until brown and crunchy. Be careful not to burn them! I like them to be almost, but not quite, burnt.
Serve warm for a yummy snack. Enjoy!
My mission as a Certified Health Coach is to make the world a happier, healthier place, one person, one meal at a time, with love and gratitude. I work to inspire others to live a life of prevention and overall wellness!