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Labor Day Weekend Edition: Gluten Free, Celiac and Nutrition Goodies and News

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Happy Labor Day weekend to everyone here in the US!

I find it completely crazy how fast time is flying by.

First, a special announcement

I was asked by the NFCA to help out and present a webinar titled “The Gluten-Free Effect on Athletes: Improving Performance Through Diet.” This free webinar will be taking place on September 21st, at 8:30 PM EST. (Yes, Kristin at the NFCA (who has been incredibly helpful and awesome, by the way) has talked me into staying up past my normal bedtime. Ya’ll can tell me a bedtime story after the webinar.)

Click here to register.  Make sure to sign up ahead of time, because we will be accepting audience questions before the event.  I’m very excited and happy to be involved with such a great organization and event.

OK, onward!

Gluten Free and Celiac Stuff
  • Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free has designed a Labor Day Menu for you.   Total yummies.  Definitely check it out.  I bookmarked some of these to make for our “not really a wedding reception” party here at the house in October.
  • Karina, the Gluten Free Goddess, shared a recipe for Gluten Free Peach Cobbler.  The recipe looks fabulous, but my favorite part of the post is her commentary.  Check it out, I’m not giving a spoiler.
  • Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl shared a guest post from David Abed on Gluten Free Hurricane/Disaster Preparedness. This is important stuff for us all, and I am especially aware of it living in South Florida.  We are now in the busiest part of hurricane season, and although the past few years have been quiet, we cannot be complacent.  The memory of 3 weeks without power when Wilma hit here is very fresh in my mind, and of course no one can forget Katrina.  Be prepared for the worst, and then everything else is a pleasant surprise.
  • Everyday Paleo is a blog devoted to feeding a family paleo-style.  They are gluten free by choice, not necessarily for celiac disease, and share lots of tips and recipe ideas.  I especially liked this one for Paleo Pizza.
Nutrition News
  • I’ve mentioned before that I like to use coconut oil and coconut flour in recipes, and did so in my Cookies that are Almost Good for You post.  There’s lots of information out there on coconut products, but I always like to see it from a neutral (i.e. not financially involved) standpoint.  Stephan at the Whole Health Source blog is one smart gluten free cookie, and he is doing a series on tropical plant fats.  This post examines the science behind coconut oil.  If you are even a little bit a science geek like me, you’ll dig Stephan’s blog.  I made a new recipe using coconut cream that I’ll be sharing this week.
  • Dr. Stephen Wangen wrote a great post on Understanding the Healthcare Business. This is important stuff.  I’ve been working in healthcare for 14 years (holy cow) and have seen it from every angle.  As a provider, as a patient, as a case manager for insurance companies, and as a specialist appealing denials, I’ve seen it all.  It’s so important for people to understand their policy, what it covers and what it doesn’t.  Do this when you are well.  There’s lots of confu  Understand sing language, so don’t hesitate to make a call and get someone to explain it to you in plain English.  Nothing is free, ever.  If your policy covers an ambulance ride 100%, great.  But it’s not free.  Either you are paying for it in your premiums, your employer is, or the taxpayers are.  Nothing is free.  Understand your policy, and be your own healthcare advocate.  If you can’t, find someone who can.  (Steps down from my soapbox.)
  • Eat An Apple (Doctors Orders). Love this.  I hope this becomes more common.

That’s it for today!

Everyone have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday, or weekend at the very least.

And do it all gluten free!

If you’re stuck indoors, check out Gluten Free and Fit 101 for some goodies to keep you busy. 🙂

How I Was a Cheater at the Gluten Free Diet

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How I Was a Cheater at the Gluten Free Diet

Yup, I was a cheater. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I cheated on the gluten free “test.”

How is this? What the heck do I mean?

I didn’t cheat in the sense you may be thinking. I didn’t, and don’t, eat any gluten foods. But I was cheater in the sense that my “test” of going gluten free may have been easier than it was for some people.

Here’s why:

Diet and exercise

Prior to being diagnosed with celiac disease, I had over the years been moving more and more toward a diet of primarily unprocessed whole foods. I was finding I had a love for exercise, and a desire to see where my drive and ability could take me from an athletic perspective. I was focusing more on body composition (fat vs muscle ratio-how you look and perform) and was educating myself on how food impacted how I looked and felt. So although at that point I was still ingesting gluten, I was not eating much at all of processed gluten foods like bread, pastas, etc.

Hidden gluten sources

When I was diagnosed, my biggest challenge was learning hidden gluten sources. It wasn’t hard for me to give up bread and pasta because I had already minimized them. Going gluten free was simply one more step in my nutritional journey. I stopped eating grocery store brand oatmeal, tried buckwheat and quinoa flakes (because GF oats were not widely available then) and increased my rice and potato intake, along with fruits and veggies. So yes-it was a change, but not a life-altering-OMG-this-changes-everything-and-requires-a-complete-overhaul moment.

Different starting points

So that’s how I was a cheater. I had it easier than many of you. I admit that. If you are starting from a more typical diet, which includes a good bit of bread, pasta, cereal, breaded stuff-it’s going to be a tougher transition. However, I think the fact that I cheated has given me perspective on how you can make the gluten free diet a healthier one, if you so choose. I am not saying that everyone needs to eat only naturally gluten free foods.

If you choose to eat gluten free breads/pastas/etc that’s not a bad thing. If it’s working for you-you’re happy with your health and weight, absolutely have at it. But what I keep hearing are stories of people who have gained weight either before or after their diagnosis, or those who lost weight and want to regain it-but in a healthy manner. Also, the idea that the gluten free diet is expensive or lacking in nutrients-this is not necessarily the case. Like all things-it depends. Sure, it can be-but it doesn’t have to.

Small steps

If you want to transition to a less processed and more nutrient dense (for the calories) version of the gluten free diet, don’t try to make wholesale changes. Take it one step at a time. Make the changes over time, and gradually. Give your brain and body time to get in sync, to get used to the new perspective and new food. You can totally do it. Give yourself permission to change, and start slowly.

Other options

There are many wonderful options out there now that are gluten free versions of ordinarily gluten foods. Also, there are an increasing number of health and nutrition conscious options-companies are beginning to use more whole grains and being aware of sugar content. These also weren’t widely available when I was diagnosed, so I guess I cheated there too. And my habits were built without these options. They are fabulous to have as an occasional treat though!

Weight management

From what I have observed and what you have told me, the issues of health as it relates to weight management (whether weight loss or weight gain) are big issues in the celiac/gluten intolerant community. This is the first in what will be at least a 4 part series of posts (I reserve the right to make it longer) on food, weight, celiac disease and the gluten free diet. Please leave comments below and weigh in (pun intended-really bad pun, but intended) with your thoughts.

Have you found weight to be an issue? What challenges do you face in managing your weight? Speak up!