Gluten Free Fitness

Gluten Free

Gluten Free Lectin Free

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Gluten Free Lectin Free

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 will.  I 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. And so do you.

There are always new ideas being explored, new bits of information being discovered, and with each one of those things there are individuals that put their own spin on them. Let the confusion commence. Wouldn’t you agree?  I am sure you have experienced the same… right?

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 in all of the information, then make your own informed decision.

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 as the focus of discussion on this site. 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.

What are lectins?

Lectins are proteins that bind to carbohydrates or glycoproteins (proteins that contain carbohydrate chains). These proteins termed lectins (from the Latin legere, “to select”) have the ability to bind to specific carbohydrate molecules. Lectins allow cells to bind or communicate with each other and are found in every living organism, including viruses and bacteria, with most of them being harmless. This stems from research as far back as the 1880’s.

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 are 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. If you find additional information, please feel free to school me. 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 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; the discussion was about the Paleo way of eating, and the thing that Matt said that struck me so strongly was this:  (paraphrasing as I didn’t pull over)

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 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 as it is produced from mother nature.

Where to start

Eat real food?  Yes… eat real food grown naturally and eaten naturally.  Food that will rot if it’s left too long, that doesn’t necessarily come in a package with all of the preservatives. 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) 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.  (yes, quinoa has saponins, which are anti-nutrients)

And you can always check out Gluten Free and Fit 101.  Which I think I need to add to again after learning more and more.

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

Parting (with Gluten) is Such Sweet Sorrow…Or Is It?

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Parting (with Gluten) is Such Sweet Sorrow…Or Is It?

Imagine this…

You’re in the doctor’s office.  You’ve been through a battery of tests, you feel like doo-doo on a stick.  Your hair is falling out, your body aches, and you have no energy.  You’re scared to death, because so many of your friends and acquaintances have either been diagnosed with cancer lately, or know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer.  You sit, on the hard chair, and you wait for the doctor to enter the room.  It seems like an eternity that you are waiting (and depending on the doctor it might be.)  You really want to try to read your chart, but they’re slick and have it on the other side of the door.

So you wait…  And you wonder…

Am I sick?  Is this going to be bad?  I know I’m sick, but exactly how sick am I?

And you wait some more, and the worst case scenario in your head keeps getting worse.

Finally the doctor enters the room and shakes your hand.  “How’re you feeling?”  Just dandy, doc, that’s why I spent 2 hours of my life in your waiting room, and my hair is falling out. But what you really say is “OK.  What did the tests say?”

He flips open your chart and rummages through the papers at the front.

“Let’s see here…negative, negative, normal, good, oh wait.”

An eternity passes.  Maybe 5 seconds.

“You tested positive for celiac disease.”

What the $%*& is celiac disease?

If you have a good doctor, this is where they give you solid information, and maybe a referral to a dietitian.  If not so good, or just poorly educated, you might just be told to not eat gluten.  Here’s another option if you require a “2nd opinion” –

I have seen/heard people who are just furious that they are no longer supposed to eat gluten, and have to give up (gasp!) “regular” food.

Seriously?

No, really.  Seriously?!?!

Think back.  When you were scared straight in the doctor’s office, and you thought you may be dying – is (insert glutinous favorite food of your choice here-pasta, cereal, bagels, etc) really that big of a deal?

No, really.  Think about it.

  • Do you have to go through chemo?
  • Take lots of toxic medications?
  • Be on medicine for the rest of your life?
  • Be separated from family and friends?
  • Do you have to have surgery?
  • Do you have to go through physical rehabilitation?
  • Are you sentenced to a life of chronic pain?
  • Will you be able to ever eat anything again?

No?  Didn’t think so.

All we have to do is not eat gluten.  We have the choice, and the ability, to heal ourselves.  A diagnosis of celiac disease can be a blessing in disguise.

It’s all in how you choose to approach it.  And yes, it is a choice.

You choose.  In the immortal words of Bruce Springsteen, “you gotta learn to live with what you can’t rise above.”

Why just live with it when you can rise above, and let living gluten free enrich your health and your life.

It really is a beautiful “burden”. You choose.  Your perspective on celiac will color every bite of food you take.

You choose.

Choose to see the huge, wonderful, varied world of naturally gluten free foods.  The bounty of meats, poultry, fish, eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, oils, etc and so on and so on!  Look at what you CAN eat, not what you can’t.

For more reading about my philosophy on living gluten free:

The Easiest Gluten Free Diet

And if you want more, Gluten Free and Fit 101 has a lot more in store, including more ideas for dairy and gluten free protein powders.

And that should give you enough reading for a while.

If you STILL want more, or you just want a step by step, simple, checklist  approach to cleaning up your diet, check out 7 Quick Start Tips to Living a Healthy Gluten Free Fit Life

So what will you choose?

Gluten Free Grilling is Easy

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It’s Summer… Gluten Free Grillin’ is Easy

It’s hot here in Oregon.  Dry hot… Stupid hot… Way too hot at times!  Days like this, you don’t want to heat up the oven and by extension, the kitchen.  And so we grill.

Grilling is an incredibly easy way to get a whole bunch of flavorful and healthful food prepared at the same time.

I’m a huge believer in preparing ahead for healthy gluten free eating success. If you are cooking, you might as well cook big.  By cooking big, I mean so that you have lots of food leftover, and ready to package into your own takeaway meals.

Case in point—I made a reduced fat version of scalloped potatoes last weekend.  It was awesome, very flavorful, and by using smaller amounts of flavorful cheese and a lower fat cheese all the cheesy goodness was maintained.  I also used about 3 pounds of potatoes.  That’s a lot of potatoes.  However, we had plenty of food for a few days.

Grilling imparts that wonderful smoky flavor to food.

Probably I could eat a shoe if it was marinated and grilled.  Or not, I don’t know for sure, and let’s not test that out.  Anyway; everything tastes better on the grill… right?  Think you don’t like a particular vegetable?  Betcha you’d like it grilled.  This weekend I experimented with jicama on the grill.  In all fairness, I like jicama raw, but grilling it brought out even more sweetness and yumminess.

Generally, we grill a bunch of meat.  If there’s room on the grill, I’ll add on some veggies.  Summer squash, mushroom, onion, and bell pepper are my favorite veggie kabob.  Stone fruits, like peaches, are incredible grilled.  I’ve heard you can grill romaine lettuce, although I admit I’ve not yet tried it.  How about placing a block of cheese on the grill and smoking it?  We’ll saving smoking for another time but until then, think about how that might taste.

The grilling process starts a few hours before the actual onset of grilling.

In the morning I’ll trim and clean whatever meat will be grilled.  In this case, it was several pounds of chicken breast and a flank steak.  I then use zip top bags to hold my marinade until it’s time to grill.

Marinades:

Happily, most marinades you make at home are naturally gluten free.  However, if you are trying a store bought marinade, be sure to read your labels very carefully.  Also check your spice mixes.

  • Steak: garlic, steak seasoning spice mix (I use Montreal Steak), fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 TBSP of coconut oil
  • Chicken: garlic, lemon pepper seasoning, fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • Veggies: fresh chopped basil or thyme, sea salt, cracked pepper, minced garlic (or use a garlic press), dash of coconut oil
  • Put the ingredients of the marinade in the bag, shake to combine.  Add your meat/poultry/veggies but use separate bags for each.  Fish generally doesn’t need to marinade as long, so you could get away with marinating the fish just before grilling.

Grilling guide:

  • Stick these babies back in the fridge and go have fun doing something active.  Or cleaning your house and doing laundry, which seems to happen so often on weekends.
  • When grill time comes, pull your food out of the fridge and it’s ready to go.  Let your meat come to room temperature before grilling, and also pat it dry.  Drying the surface will help it sear.
  • Grill for appropriate time. This is based on the suggested internal temperature found in your cookbook
  • Enjoy cold gluten free adult beverage of choice while food is cooking.  Or water or iced tea.  But it’s the weekend, kick back and have an adult beverage if you’d like.

Love the grill marks.  Don’t they look great! Awesomeness.  Here is one of recipes for Grilled Corn

Char Broil Classic 360 3-Burner Gas Grill with Side Burner (Lawn & Patio)


List Price:$144.91 USD
New From:$144.91 USD In Stock
Used from:$100.74 USD In Stock

You’ve now created not just a great meal for the night, but great food for a couple days.

Package it up in some portable containers, make lunch for work, have it ready for grab and go.

You’ve now made it easier to make more healthful choices.

When you have easily accessible real food, you will be much less tempted to grab a convenient but less nutritious snack.

A resource for more grilling ideas is Eating Well.  I read the magazine and visit the site often.  Many of their dishes are naturally gluten free – score!

For more tips on eating gluten free and healthfully, check out Gluten Free and Fit 101. If you’re looking for a system for living more healthfully (ie: gluten free), check out our other articles here on Gluten Free Fitness.

I’d love to hear your tips and experiences with grilling!  What’s your favorite thing to grill?  Share it below in the comments!