By now almost everyone has heard about gluten but many may not understand why all the buzz. Well, I am going to break it down for you today! Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, including kamut, spelt, barley and rye. Having a diet free of gluten is the only real treatment option for those with Celiac Disease. The number of people with Celiac is fairly small, but there is a very large population that are gluten intolerant. This means that consuming foods containing gluten can cause all kinds of side effects, not all related to stomach aches. You can test for gluten sensitivity as well as for Celiac. If you feel you might be sensitive, the easiest, and cheapest way is to take all gluten out of your diet for a week and see how you feel. Most people find the results to be incredible! We do this in my 7 Day Clean Eating Program and I love hearing all the incredible success stories from my clients as they go through the program. If you are interested, click here for more information and to sign-up!
The main problem with gluten is that it causes inflammation, and if you have been following me long enough, you know that inflammation is at the heart of almost every major illness that could affect us.
So what foods are naturally gluten-free? Here's a quick list:
Anything with Wheat, Kamut, Spelt, Rye, Barley, Modified food starch, oats (generally avoided as they are almost always processed in mills that process grains containing gluten) and barley enzymes. Barley enzymes are found in almost all breakfast cereals.
Here are a few tips to avoid cross contamination:
(Makes 12 cups)
DIY Gluten-Free Flour Mix (Light)
(Makes 12 cups)
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup milk (almond, coconut, etc)
In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and then add the rest of the ingredients and blend well. Drop approximately 1/4 cup batter per pancake into an oiled, preheated griddle. Cook pancake on each side until golden brown and cooked through the center. Serve hot with maple syrup or fresh berries. Enjoy!
It happens to almost everyone... the middle of the afternoon and you get hungry for a snack. Since I work from home most of the time, there is no vending machine for me to secretly stash a dollar into and pop out a Butterfinger. This is a good thing, really!
I had a light lunch today so was looking for something a little more filling to tide me over until dinner. So I made Sweet Potato Chips and they were delicious! They are really simple to make:
Heat oven to 425 degrees
1-2 sweet potatoes, sliced thinly (I used my new spiral slicer!)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Yep, that's it! Cut up your potato and put on an oven-safe pan. Drizzle olive or coconut oil lightly over the top. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper and pop in the oven for around 15 minutes. You have to check it often so you don't burn these tasty little chips. You can really spice it up however you wish. Often I sprinkle with cinnamon as well. This recipe is 11 year old approved as well!
I wrote a quick "5 Things" for my daughter's middle school PTA newsletter and thought I would share it here as well. I might add, we are not perfect over here. Now in our 4th week of school we are finally getting the routine down and I have only had to make one trip up to school with a forgotten item. Which technically should have been avoided but I gave in to my daughter's argument that it was "just fine" to wear flip flops to school. No sooner had I dropped her off when my phone rings with her asking me to bring "closed-toe shoes" because it is required in her science class. Don't you wish our kids would just trust us sometimes???
Anyways, now onto the quick 5 things you can do to have healthy, happy kiddos:
Now that school is back in full swing, we have all hopefully settled into our new routines. This abrupt change in schedule from the relaxed weeks of summer can be stressful for the entire family and put kids at risk for getting sick. Starting a fresh year is a great time to implement healthier habits for our kids. Here are 5 things we can do as parents to keep our kids healthy and happy:
1. Plenty of sleep: For kids 12-18 years old, it is recommended they get at least 8-9 hours of sleep each night. Establish a nighttime routine and try to have lights out by 9 or 10pm to ensure they are well rested for the school day.
2. Healthy breakfast: When we sleep too late and rush out the door, it causes our kids to have anxiety and stress before getting into the classroom. Get up a bit earlier to make sure there is time for them to sit down and enjoy a healthy breakfast. Some suggested ideas are: Coconut yogurt with granola and fresh berries, apple slices with nut butter and toast, green smoothie, or even a burrito with black beans, eggs and salsa. Try to keep away from anything packaged as they are filled with preservatives and sugar.
3. Stay active: This is very important for the middle school years as our kids are developing habits they will take into high school and their adult years. Make sure as parents we are encouraging them to be involved in sports that interest them or even taking a family bike ride. If your child shows interest in something, do your best to allow them to explore new things. Team sports are a great way to stay active as well as meet new friends in the community.
4. Lay off the caffeine: Our children should not need caffeine to get through their days. Always make water the easiest and fastest drink for them when thirsty. Many kids are mildly dehydrated every day because they are consuming way more sugary drinks than water. Set the example as a parent and drink your share of water as well. If possible, don’t have
sodas and sugary juices at home. Save these as a treat when you go out or on the weekend.
5. Stay organized: I know this is difficult to do, but it takes the anxiety and stress off of everyone in the busy mornings. Have your student pick out their clothes and pack their backpacks the night before. Establishing this healthy routine will set our children up for success as adults by planning ahead. It will also mean less trips by parents to the school dropping off forgotten items.
Here’s to a great, healthy new school year!
As seen today on Mind, Body, Green:
I used to see ginger at the grocery store and wonder who would buy it and what exactly they would do with it. Now that I know the benefits, and how easy it is to incorporate into my daily life, I include it on my shopping list weekly.
Ginger has long been regarded in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for many different conditions. It can be used medicinally, as a delicacy, and as a hot, fragrant cooking spice. There are many ways to consume ginger, but my favorite is as a juice. You can also make ginger tea, which can help reduce inflammation and ward off colds, all while aiding digestion. Here are two of my favorite ginger recipes to try out if you're new to this crazy-looking root!
Simple Ginger Juice
Bring water to a full boil, then add the ginger and turn the heat down to a simmer to avoid burning. You can simmer longer if you want a stronger tea. After 10 minutes, pour the liquid in a mug and add honey and lime. This tea tastes
amazing and is so simple to make! It is great for an upset stomach or when coming down with cold/flu symptoms.
Looks like a bad word, right? Well this is actually the name of a gene called "methylenetetrahydrofolate reductas." Why do you care? Well, you might not but I find it interesting in that its a simple blood test that some insurance companies cover and could help you along your wellness path.
WARNING: Big words and medical jargon: "The MTHFR gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This enzyme plays a role in processing amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is important for a chemical reaction involving forms of the B-vitamin folate (also called folic acid or vitamin B9). Specifically, this enzyme converts 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. This reaction is required for the multistep process that converts the amino acid homocysteine to another amino acid, methionine. The body uses methionine to make proteins and other important compounds."
Makes complete sense, right? Ha, not sure I quite understand myself but am learning as much as I can. My doctor called me today to let me know that I tested positive for this genetic mutation. Okay great, now what? Get on the Google and read all I can on a Friday night!
Here's what I found: If someone has the genetic mutation, it can cause a variety of problems including neural tube defects, spina bifida, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia), glaucoma, psychiatric disorders, and certain types of cancer. AHA...that is where my interest comes in.
If you have followed me for a while, you may know that anxiety just about killed me earlier this year. Anxiety is a psychiatric disorder and is exactly why my psychiatrist recommended I get this gene test. I am happy to say that my anxiety is completely under control now but I am in constant search of additional holistic methods to help me. That's exactly why I pay $95 for a 20 minute visit with this doctor (yikes!) who is in line with my beliefs and doesn't just throw different prescriptions at me. For those of you wondering, yes, I am still on a pharmaceutical medication which is what is allowing me to function like a normal person each day. Without it, I have no idea where I would be. But my long-term goal is to manage this in a completely holistic manner.
So, our plan to deal with the mutation of this gene, is to begin taking a folate compound including folic or folinic acid. I have high hopes that this will help me, but only time will tell. I am now waiting to see if my insurance will help cover the cost of this as I understand it is around $150 for a 90 day supply.
And lastly, I heard from some of my nutrition classmates that found out they had this mutation when they were trying to conceive. A few people said they feel the folic acid helped them to finally conceive a healthy baby after years of trying.
I will keep you posted if this helps me or not. Here's hoping that it does! Go MTHFR! (and is this really the best abbreviation they could come up with???)
I threw this info-graphic in for those of you that might actually understand all of this!
Today I went to the post office to mail a package to one of my coaching clients. I used one of those "if it fits, it ships" small boxes that they provide you. Well, I put that box to the test and stuffed it as full as possible while still being able to seal the ends together...with quite a bit of tape. There was a part of the box sticking out in the middle and the post office gentleman proceeded to ask if it was perishable, liquid, hazardous, etc. I replied, "Oh, it's okay. That part sticking out is just a bath bomb." Well, he then looks at me quite alarmingly and has me repeat what I said. I quickly realized I should have called it a "bath fizzy" or something else (anything else, really) instead of "bomb." Because apparently, the post office is not in the business of shipping bombs. Which totally makes sense and I agree with that rule 100%.
So I ended up explaining what a bath bomb/fizzy was and it seemed that we were good to go. I did have to open it up and show him what I meant which then required re-packing (more like stuffing/shoving) everything back up into the teeny box. It was a bit embarrassing to say the least.
So, lesson for today: If you are shipping Bath Bombs, please refer to them as Bath Fizzies to avoid any confusion!
I have always worked full-time since my daughter was born so I haven't had the chance to be a "PTA Mom." I was always willing to send in $20 for whatever the PTA needed, but I just didn't have the time to volunteer myself. This year, my daughter started middle school (6th Grade) and I decided that I would find time to be more involved. I am realizing how fast these years are flying by and want to make sure I don't miss anything. I also want to know what is going on with her and the school that she spends 8 hours at each day.
So when I saw there was an opening for the "Healthy Lifestyles Chair" I immediately signed up. I didn't give myself time to second guess it or list all the reasons why I couldn't do it. How could I not make time for something like this?
So tonight I am sitting here trying to put together my official Plan Of Work for this position that apparently has no history or guidelines to work from. I have been reading until my eyes are crossing about what other schools in Texas have done. What I am discovering is exactly why we need more health information in our schools.
Here are a few statistics that I came across that are really alarming:
Most kids, and lots of adults, naturally reach for a Coke or energy drink when they are thirsty or feeling tired. It has become a full blown habit. And we all know that habits are hard to break.
Every time we drink a sugary soda, we are consuming a huge amount of sugar and completely empty calories. So what do we do? What can I do with this position I have volunteered for? I think the answer is education. Many kids have no idea how bad these sodas and energy drinks are for them. Did you know that one 20 ounce can of Coke has 17.6 teaspoons of sugar? Drinking just one of these a day could contribute enough extra calories to equal 27 pounds a year. Now that is just crazy!
Here is what I propose for parents out there:
I still have to finish writing my POW for the PTA. I am not even sure where to start! But I am going to do my best to fulfill this position as best I can.
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!