Looking at the Big Picture – Easy, Healthy Gluten Free Eating

I read too much.  I study this stuff too much, I listen to every bit of information I can find on celiac disease, gluten intolerance, nutrition, exercise, and all of it.

Sometimes I think my head may explode.  One thing I am unflinching on is my right and ability to change my mind.  I have ideas and positions on things, but if I learn something that makes me change my mind, I willI reserve my right to flip-flop should the evidence point me in that direction.  I reserve the right to be wrong, and to change my position.

There are always new ideas being explored, new bits of information being discovered, and with each one of those things there are individuals to put their own spin on them.

Let the confusion commence.

My friend Kim at Gluten Free is Life posted up about her distress on hearing news outlets reporting that calcium supplementation caused heart attack.

Isn’t it confusing enough without the news outlets adding to and feeding on the confusion?

For every hypothesis or idea that is put forth, there is almost certainly a bit of research somewhere that can support it.  Almost as certainly, there is also a bit of research that will refute it.

It’s all about the spin.

I’m not implying a huge conspiracy theory, but I am saying that data can be twisted and skewed to support almost anything.  It doesn’t always happen, but it can.  Simply keep your eyes open and take everything with a grain of salt.

One of the confusing issues I’ve been learning more about lately is lectins.  More specifically, the role of lectins in autoimmune disorders, specifically celiac disease. There is some evidence that it could be beneficial for those with autoimmune disorders to avoid all lectins.  Lectins may be implicated in dysfunction with the hormones that make us feel full.  There are some who feel very strongly that the evidence points in this direction, and there are others who think it’s a load of hooey.

So I continue to learn in an attempt to make an informed decision.

This particular branch of my own personal nutritional education came from some of the research I was doing when I posted the original “Paleo Diet for Celiac Disease” post.  Lectins are in many carbohydrate sources, both gluten and non gluten containing.  They generally found in tubers, grains, and legumes.  The argument is that lectins can cause or exacerbate autoimmune disorders (and possibly contribute to leptin resistance, which deals with weight regulation.)  This paper was fairly neutral on the subject, but did raise the idea that lectins could affect the intestinal flora (gut bacteria,) which as we’ve learned recently could have a significant impact on celiac disease and gluten intolerance, along with other gut disorders.

It’s really interesting stuff, and as far as I’m concerned it needs more study.   Am I going to give up my rice?  Not yet, although I am reserving my right to flip flop.

I was in the car, listening to a podcast (because satellite radio was only free for 6 months, and I’m pleased as punch to have a jack I can plug my Ipod into) with Matt Stone of 180 Degree Health.  I dig Matt’s perspective, because he is always learning and questioning things.  He said one thing that really hit home with me, to the point where I pulled out my Post It pad from my purse (I’m a nerd, what can I tell you) and jotted it down.  The discussion was about the Paleo way of eating, and the thing that Matt said that struck me so strongly was this:  (paraphrasing, I didn’t pull over so I only wrote the highlights)

-They’re focusing on the wrong bad guy.  Instead of worrying so much about Neolithic foods, we should be more concerned about the food that has come about in the 20th century.

Well hell yes.

Now that makes sense.

It’s less about the corn, and more about the Corn Pops.

I’m all for maximizing our nutrition, for making it healthy and tasty and awesome.  But maybe it’s just baby steps we need to take for now.  It’s not Paleo, or Atkins, or South Beach, or calling Jenny today.

Just eat real food.

Start there.  Eat real food.  Food that will rot if it’s left too long, that doesn’t necessarily come in a package.

This is what I’ve said all along, but sometimes it’s easy to start getting caught up in the minutiae of lectins.

It’s easy to start looking at the differences in eating methods and approaches to food, but it’s much more effective to look at the similarities, and incorporate those into your life.

There will always be differences, but focus on the commonalities.

The biggest one-eat real food.  Eat naturally gluten free real food.  Meats, fish, poultry, veggies, fruits, dairy (if you can tolerate it, another can of worms for another day,) nuts/seeds, oils, nut butters, rice, potato, etc.  There is a BOUNTY of naturally gluten free foods.  Here’s my top 5 favorite gluten free carbohydrates sources too.  (Again, yes, quinoa has saponins, which are anti-nutrients, and again-another day.)

For some inspiration, you can check out the 30 Days to a Food Revolution over at the Whole Gang

Or Carrie’s 30 Days of Easy Gluten Free Dinners

And you can always check out Gluten Free and Fit 101.  Which I think I need to add to again at this point.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! What’s the easiest way for you to live gluten free and well?

How to Get Your Husband to Eat More Veggies (also, the story of the Blendtec)

I have waxed philosophic about how awesome my husband is on multiple occasions.

He is truly an incredible individual and the perfect partner for me.  Now, neither of us are perfect, but we are perfect partners.

Having said that, he does not eat nearly enough vegetables.  Recently, a colleague of his was telling him that he started juicing.  He offered Jeff a glass of juice, which he actually drank.  When I heard about this, I jumped on it.

“You mean you’ll actually drink that?!?!”  Never in a million years had I thought he would consider drinking a green smoothie or juice.  Bingo, I thought.  I can fit a whole day’s worth of veggies in a smoothie.  Plus, I’d been itching for an excuse to buy a Blendtec for a year.

I had been looking over the high powered blenders, the Vitamixes, the Blendtec, OmniBlend etc, and had decided a while back that I wanted a Blendtec.  (Lexie’s Kitchen has posted a great overview and comparison, if you need a place to start.)  The online shopping fest began, and I was actually very fortunate to find a new one for a very reasonable price on ebay.

We’re doing a green smoothie every weekday now.  Sometimes on weekends, but not nearly as consistently.  I’ve also used the Blendtec to make cookie, muffin, and quick bread batters, protein shakes, all kinds of stuff.  It really is versatile and super easy to clean.  I’m happy with the purchase for sure.  More happy, though, that I am finally able to get the nutrition from veggies into my husband on a regular basis.  I like him and I’d like to keep him around for a while.

Can you see all the nutrients in there?

I could have tried to make the smoothie look all nice, in a glass, with a garnish or something but let’s be honest.  You’re not here for the food photography.  This is how we roll in the GFF household.  BlenderBottle for the win. Those things are genius.

This is not a revolutionary green smoothie recipe, it’s pretty basic.  However, it packs in a lot of nutrition, a lot of greens, and it’s tasty. It’s a winner in our house.  I’ve pinned a bunch of green smoothie recipes on my cleverly named “Green Smoothie/Juice stuff” board on Pinterest, so feel free to take a look and see what tickles your fancy.  There are a ton of great ideas out there.

The players:
  • 8 oz cold filtered water
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach (maybe 3)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • one apple, cored
  • half a medium cucumber
  • 2 medium carrots (peels on)
  • if needed, 3-5 drops of Now Foods Liquid Stevia
  • ice
The game:
  • Chop your apple and veg into big chunks.  Add to blender.  Blend. Serve (this is 2 servings for us-one for each of us).  Drink.  Feel virtuous and healthy.  Be happy that there’s several servings of veggies in that one glass (or shaker bottle.)
All in all, I’m really happy with the Blendtec.  It fits well under my cabinets on the countertop, is super easy to clean, is no louder than my cheap blender was, and gets my husband to ingest vegetable matter.  Truly a win.