Gluten Free Fitness

6 Tips for a Healthy Gluten Free Holiday Season

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Yes, here it is, the top five six tips for having a healthy gluten free holiday season. Enjoy!

1. If attending a party or gathering with food, ask the host if you can bring something.

Choose to bring something that is both healthful and gluten free so you are guaranteed an excellent eating option. My fail-safe is a veggie crudite platter
with a dip. Blend a gluten free powdered seasoning/dressing mix like an italian or ranch with fat free ricotta or greek yogurt and a bit of low fat sour cream, and you have a tasty and reasonably healthy dip. With a little more work you could throw a can of rinsed white beans, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and sea salt into the food processor and have a great bean dip. Roasted chickpeas are a also a big hit. You could go as simple or as complicated as you have time for, just make sure you make a good option for yourself and others.

2. Prior to attending said party/gathering, if it is a sit-down affair, alert the host to your intolerance to gluten/celiac disease and ask if there is anything you should avoid.

I never ask someone to alter their plans, but it’s fair enough to know ingredients to keep yourself safe. I had an experience last Thanksgiving that will keep me always mindful of this. Usually I host and cook for Thanksgiving. Last year, Jeff was working, so I went to the fire station with the rest of the
families for dinner. I violated my own rules by NOT bringing something I could eat-I took 2 glutinous Key Lime pies (which I was told were very good.)

The turkey came out on platters, sliced and looking delicious. I had turkey breast, sweet potato, roasted vegetables, and cranberry sauce. I started feeling sick while sitting at the table. I made it home before the glutening hit with full force. Glutened for sure, and it sucked. I could not figure out what it was-there was no gluten in anything! (Aha-grasshopper-I was wrong.) My Dad actually thought of it a few days later when I was feeling better. “Was the turkey stuffed when it was cooking?” Jeff asked the guy who cooked-and sure enough-that was it.
Stuffing in the bird, dangit. So always, always-if you are in doubt, ask. It’s just not worth it.

3. If you know you will be indulging, don’t be afraid to cut back calories that day.

I’m not saying don’t eat ANYTHING so you’re starving and eat the entire table including the candles. Just try to keep it to small portions of vegetables and lean proteins, like chicken breast, low fat dairy, lean red meats, tuna, etc. This will keep you from being starving, but will also keep your calories lower to allow more space to eat before you start going over your maintenance calorie intake.

4. Choose your weapon wisely.

There will be lots of higher calorie options available. It’s not necessary to eat all of them-at least not a lot of all of them. If you must have multiple higher calorie options, (And I’m not saying don’t do it -the holidays are once a year-enjoy the foods you don’t ordinarily eat) try to have smaller portions of them. Sit for a while before going back for seconds. Something I always do subconsciously is ask myself-“Is this worth it?” Meaning-is the calorie cost worth the taste. My friend Jay at the Gluten Free Post tweeted (twitted? whatever) the other day that he was eating greasy Five Guys fries. (I think I am his food confessional somehow) And I asked-“were they worth it?” His answer was no. So I thank him for that, and I will continue with my occasional calorie splurges on items that ARE worth it-like dark chocolate peanut M&M’s and chocolate ice cream.

5. Exercise.

Try to exercise regularly, but especially on the days you’ll be having a food-fest. If you train with weights, a great time to train your weakest bodypart is before the food influx. You can take advantage of some of the positive partitioning that weight training gives. Am I saying all the food will be magically converted to muscle? Nope. Maybe in the land of unicorns it might, and I want to go there. But, it can’t hurt, might help, so why not.

Why is it when I intend to make a list of 5 I end up with 6?

6. Just move.

Outside of organized exercise, move around more. Get the family out for a walk after the meal, clean with house with vim and vigor before company comes over, play tag, play catch, chase the dog out of the kitchen, fight the crowds for sales-the list is endless. I bet Black Friday shopping could burn a ton of calories if it’s full contact shopping! 😉 Allow no one to collapse on the couch instead of helping clean up.

It’s certainly not a foregone conclusion that you must be a weight-gaining machine for the next month.

Give yourself the gift of taking care of yourself-and doing it well.

Happy Holiday Eating!

Blog Award? Who me?!?

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Love_Ya_Award1

Imagine my delight and shock when I read the post on my friend Kim’s blog at Gluten Free Is Life where she presented me with this award!

Here are the rules:

  • This award is bestowed upon blogs that are exceedingly charming.
  • These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.
  • They are not interested in self-aggrandizement.
  • Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.
  • Please give more attention to these writers.
  • Deliver this award to six bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly written text into the body of their award.
  • I will pass this award to some of my bloggy friends that I find exceedingly charming…

Now I get to share the fun with six more! (It’s like a chain letter-but this is actually fun!)

Heidi at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom. Heidi had me laughing at my computer with her story of the brussel sprout adventure. Definitely check her out. I’m a firm beliver that humor makes everything just a little better-and Heidi delivers.

Cara at Cara’s Cravings. Cara is a gal after my own heart who likes lifting heavy stuff in the gym. She is also a kick butt cook and creates healthier versions of favorites, which I am all for. And we both like cottage cheese-what else needs to be said?

JC at JCD Fitness. Now-JC is neither female, nor celiac-and I have doubts that he will pass along the love with the blog awards (I know you’re a good guy JC but I can’t see you putting all this love out there-although it would be bro-love.) JC has some fabulous, no nonsense training and nutrition info-and some of it he has geared specifically for the ladies, never fear.

Leigh at Leigh Peele.com! Leigh also is very no BS, and has a lot of good info. She did the video which I used in the Calories Count Part 2 post. She blogs about music and mindset as well as diet and training.

Peter at No Gluten, No Problem. Peter was profiled as a Gluten Free Athlete here as well. He has started a guide to gluten free small towns which I love, and am adding places to my “places to see before you die” list. He and his wife also have published a very cool cookbook called Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking: More than 250 Great-tasting, From-scratch Recipes from Around the World, Perfect for Every Meal and for Anyone on a Gluten-free Diet–and Even Those Who Aren’t.

Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. As you can imagine, I’m always on the lookout for flavorful and healthy recipes-and Amy delivers. There’s A LOT of recipe options over there. She must cook all day long 🙂

Thanks to all of you for the wonderful content you provide!

Eating Healthfully and Flavorfully (is that a word?) Gluten Free

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There are many wonderful gluten free food and recipe blogs that you can take a look at for ideas, and I’m going to list a few for you at the end of this post. But barring a specific recipe-what if you just want to cook, not follow a recipe per se? Here are 6 tips (I wanted to do a top 5 list-but ended up with 6) to help make your meals flavorful, healthful, and keep them gluten free.

6 tips for flavorful, healthful, gluten free meals

1. Get the best ingredients possible.
Ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby

Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby

If you have the ability to obtain locally grown food in season-use it! It will be fresher and hold more natural flavor than a food that has had to travel, or is being produced out of season. Generally it will be less expensive as well. If that’s not an option, frozen veggies are generally more flavorful than canned.

Keep an eye out for ingredients-believe it or not. I almost fell over the other day when “sugar” was the third ingredient on a box of frozen snap peas. Exceptions to the frozen general rule would be canned beans-which are way more convienent than dried beans, and personally I like canned artichokes.

2. Don’t be afraid to use spices.

How many of the spices in your rack have you actually used? Give them a shot! Take a look in the spice aisle at the grocery store-there are so many options out there. If you choose a spice blend, make sure to check the label for hidden gluten. I tend to use these quite a bit:

  • Lemon Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Grill Seasining
  • Lime Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt
  • Sea Salt
  • Creole Seasoning
3. Citrus is your friend.

lime

Lime and lemon juices and zests can add a ton of flavor with little to no caloric impact. You can use them in a marinade, a rub, a garnish, in a sauce-however you’d like.

My favorite marinade for flank steak is fresh squeezed lime juice, grill seasoning, chopped garlic, and a bit of olive oil. Easy and very good.

I made chicken breasts the other night-the go to food in my house.

  1. Some fresh lemon zest, some chopped garlic, sea salt, and some fresh rosemary went into the Magic Bullet.
  2. Process until reasonably chopped up.
  3. Press mixture into chicken breasts, add to preheated skillet or grill pan, and cook.
  4. Add in the juice from the lemons you zested.
  5. Viola. Very flavorful, lemon herbed chicken.

Easy. (This is why I don’t post a lot of specific recipes-I cook fairly simply like this all the time.)

4. Mustards are fabulous!

There are so many different varieties of mustard out there, and mustards are naturally very low in calories and sugar, and fat free. Some of the fancy mustards may have added ingredients, so always check labels for hidden gluten or sugars.

There is a mustard called Vivi’s Carnival Mustard that I love to straight up dip veggies in. It’s a bit spicy, but it’s very good. They also provide a bunch of recipes for the mustard and different uses.

Don’t give up on the grocery though-dijon mustard is great for kicking up flavor in homemade salad dressings without adding a lot of fat, and is great mixed with tuna. (I promise-give it a try!) Straight up yellow can be useful in making a BBQ sauce of sorts, and is really good when mixed with pork rub seasoning and rubbed onto a pork tenderloin. A lot a flavor for the calorie buck.

5. Fresh herbs are always a great bet.

parsley

I wish I could grow my own herbs. I have a black thumb. My fiance is a wonderful gardener, and all of our plants owe their lives to him. I couldn’t even grow the Chia Herb Garden. No lie.

I am fortunate though, that the food market I frequent has a fairly large selection of reasonably proced fresh herbs. I get cilantro for fresh salsa, rosemary and thyme for chicken and pork, basil for tomato, and mint for mojitos.

Make sure to add your fresh herbs toward the end of cooking, or use a quicker cooking method with them. In other words-they don’t hold up too well in a crockpot, and their great fresh flavor is lost.

6. Explore the world of vinegars.

There are way more varieties of vinegar than I was aware of a few years ago. Now, I always have on hand a balsamic vinegar (I use the most), a red wine vinegar, an apple cider vinegar, and a white wine vinegar. Usually rice vinegar.

You can make an awesome salad dressing very easily with dijon mustard, balsamic or red wine vinegar, a little EVOO/Enova oil and spice you like. Shake and serve. If you have fresh herbs, add in some basil and you can’t get any fresher, you know?

Apple cider vinegar mixed with Dijonnaise, nonfat greek yogurt and celery salt makes a great lower fat coleslaw.

Heidi over at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom is going to do a balsamic reduction (which gets very sweet and awesome) over her brussel sprouts. They also make great marinades, and great sauces.

Experiment-I find that no sugar added preserves with a vinegar and some Dijon mustard make a lovely sauce, especially if you have a pan that needs deglazing.

For example-I sear a pork tenderloin in a cast iron skillet, which then goes into the oven to finish cooking. When it’s done, I remove the pork and let it rest, then add the no sugar added preserves (my favorites are cherry and apricot), deglaze the pan with vinegar (balsamic+cherry, apple cider+apricot), add dijon, let come to a bubble and keep stirring. A flavorful easy sauce.

Let me know how it goes!

I hope this helps! It’s my belief that is you have a few go-to techniques, you don’t always have to follow a recipe. But when you do want to follow a recipe, you can check out these lovely folks for ideas. These are only a few of the great gluten free food blogs that are out there.

Happy Eating!

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