Gluten Free Fitness

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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?

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

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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!

Intuitive Eating: You Eat Therefore you Think

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Intuitive Eating – Getting your Mind into your Food

What does our brain have to do with eating anyway?

Well, as it turns out, quite a bit.

If you have struggled at all with eating or weight issues, you’ve no doubt heard that people eat “mindlessly” or that eating is often used to deal with emotional issues that may have nothing to do with hunger.

Even if you have NOT struggled with eating, you’ve likely heard these terms. Food, eating, weight-they are all a huge part of our culture.  Especially now that approximately 33% of Americans are overweight, and another 34% are obese.  The implications of these numbers are staggering.

There’s always the search for the magic pill, the miracle exercise plan, the instant fix. There are thousands of diets, immense numbers of diet books, and a new weight loss guru every day showing up on the internet.

Celiacs have a special challenge with weight loss due to the absorption issues in the gut; and then there are also hormonal wackiness in some celiacs. The idea of intuitive eating is a huge subject, and one that I have wanted to discuss for quite a while.  It’s such a huge subject that I was hesitant to tackle it, as it is a very individual journey.

I listened to a podcast where Carla and Shauna discussed their views on intuitive eating.  They also expressed what a giant subject this is, and provided their own personal views on intuitive eating.  (Carla also mentioned she was gluten intolerant, which of course I found very interesting.)  The podcast gave me the kick in the butt I needed to write this.

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So what the heck is intuitive eating?

Photo credit krilm

In their podcast, Carla and Shauna renamed it “mindful eating” which I like quite a bit.

I have written in the past how awareness of what you eat can benefit you from a health and weight perspective.

Authors Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch have written a book titled Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works I read this book several years ago, and keep it handy for reference, which I still do from time to time. On their website, they give this definition:

“Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind, and body–where you ultimately become the expert of your own body.   You learn how to distinguish between physical and emotional feelings, and gain a sense of body wisdom.   It’s also a process of making peace with food—so that you no longer have constant “food worry” thoughts.  It’s knowing that your health and your worth as a person does not change because you ate a so-called “bad” or “fattening” food. “

The truth is, that intuitive or mindful eating is going to have a slightly different definition for everyone.

We attach so much emotional value to food. In its most basic form, food is fuel.  But to many of us, food also represents celebration, tradition, and family fun time.  To some of us, food also represents loneliness, comfort or escape and that’s where we start to run into problems. Not only do we eat when we’re hungry, we eat when we’re bored, lonely, upset, happy, driving, watching TV, or any other time.

Imagine if we ate only when we were low on fuel

Imagine if we didn’t let food define us, allow it to control if we see ourselves as “good” or “bad” (ie: “I was good today, I only ate lettuce” or “I was bad today, I had a chocolate cake”.) Maybe then we could start to get this obesity crisis under control.  Maybe we could separate our feelings of self from our eating pattern.

Intuitive eating is not a diet, just as eating gluten free is not a diet.

And food has no inherent control on who you are.

It’s my personal opinion and experience that a combination of intuitive eating and structured eating is the way to go for weight (fat) loss.

For maintenance eating,(staying at your “happy size” when you get there)  I think a full on intuitive approach is definitely a great way to go.  I do think that as you are actively losing weight, that there may need to be an additional component of calorie control.  You absolutely can eat too much, even if it is “clean and healthy” food and never lose the fat.  In these instances, you would have to limit your caloric intake by measuring/weighing/using portion control.  Calories do matter, I don’t care what zealots of any given diet plan say.

To lose weight (fat) there must be a higher caloric expenditure than there is intake.  That means you may feel hungry.

Feeling hungry is not fun, but it won’t kill you either, especially if you have a lot of fat to lose.  This is why I think that a more structured eating plan is necessary in a fat loss phase, especially for celiacs whose gut hormones may be a bit wacky.  If you feel hungry and you are intuitively eating, you would eat.  But that won’t help you if you’ve already eaten the maximum calories for the day which will still allow you to lose weight.  You end up spinning your wheels and getting frustrated, “I’m doing everything right but I’m still not losing weight!”  In these cases, almost always, it’s a case of too many overall calories.  Even if they are healthy calories.

Carla had a great idea on the podcast.  She suggested keeping a food diary which indicates not just what you eat, but how you feel before, during and after eating an item.  I think this is a fantastic idea.  I suggest keeping a food diary… be sure to add in the awareness component to your writings.

The key in the beginning is to keep the diary without changing anything.  No judgments on yourself, just write it down as this helps set the baseline of where you are now.  What you eat, how much you eat, and how you feel – before and after you eat.  After a week or two, you will see a large increase in your awareness of what you are putting into your mouth, how often you are putting food into your mouth, and how it makes you feel.

Now go back and review your diary.  Notice anything? If you notice that you are eating when you are already full, then stop doing that. If you notice that you are eating after a meeting, then stop doing that. (It’s like the guy who goes to the doctor – Doc, my arm hurts when I do this – the Doctor responds with “stop doing that”).  I know I know – it isn’t that simple… right? Some things aren’t that easy to just stop.  I get that! The key is “awareness”.  As you become more aware, the “just stop” will take care of itself in time.

I know I am over simplifying, but the most important thing is to do something. Today. Now.  If you are unhappy with how you look or feel, it is up to you to make a change. You can do it.  You are stronger than you think.

Over on the Gluten Free Fitness Facebook page in the discussions tab we have a “goals and accountability” section where you can post your goal and get support and a kick in the butt if needed, so swing by and join us.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please pipe up on what you think of intuitive eating, your experiences and opinions.

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