Posted in Gluten Free Recipes, Side dishes, Sweets

Ultimate Energy Bars

Since I am always on the quest to optimize my health, trying to find gluten free energy bars THAT I LIKE the taste of has been challenging.  I ran across this and think it might be the key to getting something tuned to my tastes.  Matt Frazier at www.NoMeatAthlete.com posted a recipe that is completely customizeable to your likes or allergies!  

NOTE:  Make sure all of your ingredients are GLUTEN-FREE!

The Ultimate Energy Bar Formula

  • 1-pound can of beans, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked beans)
  • ½ cup binder
  • ¼ cup sweetener
  • ¼ cup soft sweet fruit
  • 1 teaspoon of extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of dry spice (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats (you can toast them if you want but I can’t tell the difference)
  • 1 cup dry base ingredient
  • 1 cup stir-ins

In a food processor, combine beans, binder, sweetener, soft fruit, extract, spice, and salt until smooth.  Add the oats and dry base ingredients and pulse just to combine.  Add stir-ins and pulse again just to combine.

If the consistency seems spreadable, you’re good.  If it’s too dry, add 1/4 cup of water; if it’s too runny, add an additional 1/4 cup of the dry base ingredient.

Grease 13×9 pan with baking spray or rub with 1 tablespoon oil, then spread mixture into pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

Note: You’ll have the most success if you use unsalted, unsweetened versions of the ingredients, and control the sweetness and saltiness through the sweetener and added salt.

Recommended beans

  • White beans
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Adzuki beans

Recommended binders

  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter
  • ¼ cup of ground flax seed mixed with ¼ cup water
  • Pureed pumpkin
  • Mashed avocado

Recommended sweeteners

  • Maple syrup
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey (if you’re not vegan)

Recommended soft, sweet fruit

  • Applesauce
  • Mashed banana (about half of one)
  • Chopped dates (remove the pits!)
  • Crushed pineapple

Recommended optional extracts

  • Vanilla
  • Almond
  • Lemon
  • Coconut
  • Coffee

Recommended dry spices

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Cardamom
  •  Instant coffee

*For stronger spices like nutmeg and cardamom, use just a ¼-½ teaspoon and combine with less intense spices like cinnamon.

Recommended dry base ingredient (a combination is usually best)

  • Protein powder
  • Brown rice flour
  • Spelt flour
  • Cocoa (max ½ cup)
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Buckwheat flour

Recommended stir-ins

  • Shredded coconut
  • Dried cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Dried apricots
  • Chopped nuts
  • Cacao nibs
  • Dry cereal
  • Crushed pretzels
  • Chocolate chips

So that’s the basic formula! To help get you started, here are three variations.  For each of them, follow the same procedure from above for mixing and baking.

Example #1: chocolate black bean happy bars

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups)
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup agave
  • ¼ cup mashed banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa + ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup shredded coconut + ½ cup raisins

Example #2: cranberry-pistachio protein bars

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup binder: ¼ cup of ground flax seed with ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup pistachios + ½ cup dried cranberries

Example #3: maple pumpkin health bars

  • 1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup pureed pumpkin
  • ½ cup maple syrup (used more maple syrup in place of the sweet fruit here, for more maple flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup raisin bran cereal

So there you go, three examples to get you started.  But really, the point is for you to create your own, using the basic formula as the framework.

Posted in GREAT articles to check out

Gluten free a weight loss diet? NO. Check out this article for valuable info!

I saw this awesome article this morning on the Gluten Free Cooking School website.  This was one of the first websites I found when going gluten free and have gotten a wealth of information from Mary Frances and her husband John.  When I read this article, it really sums up so many things that I have wanted to tell people!  So instead of my version – check out what John has to say about gluten free diets!  I’ve left in all of the links so you can research further on your own.  When you are done, head over to their website and check out all of the fabulous information and recipes available and sign up for her cooking school!

LIVE AND LOVE THE GLUTEN FREE LIFE!  😀

Lose Weight, Improve Energy Levels, and Feel Great: Three Variations On The Standard Gluten Free Diet

July 19, 2012 By John

There’s often a lot of confusion about starting a gluten free diet. Most people, when they’re interested in eating gluten free, look up “gluten”, find out that’s it’s contained in wheat, and they figure all they need to do is avoid wheat in their diet. Then they hear that gluten might be in other grains as well, and that it can be a “hidden” ingredient in some foods, so they end up confused as to what they can and cannot eat.

Compounding the issue is the prevalence of gluten free food products that are starting to appear in grocery stores more and more frequently. Are these boxed flour mixes and frozen dinners healthier than a whole foods diet that happens to contain gluten?

So if you’ve heard about the gluten free diet in the news, or a friend mentioned that they’re trying it out, or you read that Miley Cyrus is now gluten free, where do you start? Do you just avoid wheat and eat everything else like normal? Are processed foods bad? Are there any other ingredients that you need to look out for besides wheat?

I think the answer to these questions is contained in the reason that you’re thinking about going gluten free. Let’s take a look at 4 different ways to eat gluten free, and see which one will work for you.

(Quick note: For the purposes of this article, “diet” doesn’t necessarily refer to a weight loss diet. It simply means an overall way of eating.)

SAD minus gluten – This diet doesn’t have a particular name, but it’s what most people try at first when they go gluten free. The SAD, or Standard American Diet, generally consists of 50% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 35% fat. When people decide to go gluten free, they often unconsciously stick to these amounts, and simply replace gluten-containing carbs with new gluten free carb sources.

Is this a healthy diet? Well, the answer is “It depends.” It depends on your particular situation and your health.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with celiac disease or a similar gluten intolerance, removing gluten from your diet is, hands down, the best (and first) thing that you can do is to improve your diet and overall health. In this case, eating the “SAD minus gluten” diet is not a bad choice, especially as you’re getting your feet under you on the whole GF thing.

(That’s not to say that you should try to eat tons of carbs and nothing else when you go GF. Check out our guide to your first week of eating gluten free to get some ideas of healthy, whole food meal ideas to try out.)

Once you’ve been gluten free for a while, and seen improvements in your health, you may be inspired to continue to improve your health through other dietary changes. Removing common allergens such as milk, soy, and corn are often a reasonable next step. Some of the diets mentioned below may be good choices too.

Can I Lose Weight On A Gluten Free Diet?

If you’re trying a gluten free diet to lose weight, and you keep eating the same number of calories, and the same amounts of carbs, fat, and protein that you ate before, you’re almost certainly not going to lose weight. Removing gluten from your diet is not a magical potion for weight-loss. In fact, we can attest that you can gain quite a bit of weight if you have daily access to delicious home-made gluten free biscuits, pizza, cakes, etc.

That being said, there are weight-loss diets that are gluten free. If you’re looking to increase your energy levels, lose weight, or generally improve your health, then I recommend starting with one of the three diets below.

Slow Carb Diet – Popularized by Tim Ferris in The 4-Hour Body
, the Slow Carb Diet is designed to help you lose weight. The rules of the diet are pretty simple:

Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains. If you have to ask, don’t eat it.

Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you’re just picking new default meals.

Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night is allowed.

Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit. (Fructose –> glycerol phosphate –> more bodyfat, more or less.) Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.

Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts. Eat anything that you want (except gluten, if you have a medical reason to avoid it). I choose and recommend Saturday.

Mary and I did the Slow Carb Diet for several months last year and had great results. We both lost significant amounts of weight, and actually enjoyed the diet. The thing that I love most about the SCD is that it is naturally gluten free six days of the week, and the only time you have to watch what you eat (in terms of gluten) is Cheat Day.

If you’ve been wondering why our Cooking School has so many “not good for your” recipes, Cheat Day is the explanation =)

Primal/Paleo Diet – Mary and I are currently on a 30-day trial of the Primal diet, and things are going great. I have a lot more energy when I eat low-carb, and I don’t crave more food a few hours after eating like I used to.

The rules of the Primal diet are somewhat more complicated than the SCD, as it encompasses more than just the diet. Sleep, exercise, and play are also addressed. As far as what you eat, the Primal diet focuses on meat, vegetables, moderate amounts of fruit, and nuts. All grains, dairy, legumes, and refined carbs are out. If you’re interested in reading more about this diet and why it works (which is really, really interesting), then this book
would be a good place to start.

The Warrior Diet – The Warrior Diet is similar to the Primal diet, but with one major change: You only eat once a day. You fast all day (although you can eat some fruit during the day if you’re really hungry), and then eat a huge meal at night.

Ori Hofmekler, the man behind the Warrior Diet, recommends a Paleo diet approach to the foods that you eat – i.e., meats, veggies, and fruit. He also says to focus on protein and fat for your big meal, and finish up with carbs if you’re still hungry.

I wouldn’t recommend that you go straight from the Standard American Diet to this one. Fasting for most of the day is very hard and painful if your body is used to receiving grain and sugar based meals on a regular basis. Now that we’ve been eating Slow Carb/Paleo for 20 months, we can comfortably fast long enough to do the Warrior Diet, and we do follow that plan on days where we are not terribly hungry or when it’s just not convenient to eat gluten free.

Summing It All Up

A gluten free diet, though it can improve your health if you have celiac or some other wheat/gluten allergy or intolerance, will not necessarily result in weight-loss. Some people will lose weight; others will not.

However, there are weight-loss diets that are inherently gluten free. These weight-loss diets are ideal for those who need to be gluten free and lose weight. There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that these diets will improve other aspects of your health. To make it even better, these diets are all enjoyable and do not focus on calorie restrictions. You’ll probably experience carb cravings, but you shouldn’t actually be hungry. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Posted in GREAT articles to check out

Amazing uses for coconut

I think that it follows when you become gluten free, you learn more and more about the wonderful things that NATURAL foods can do for you.  This was the case with me and coconut.  While I don’t really care to eat the stuff……….I stumbled upon a great article written by Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama that I am sharing with you explaining what this wonderful oil does and giving you 160 uses for coconut oil!!  She has other really good information on coconut oil relating to specific conditions like Alzheimers, Hashimoto’s, pregnancy etc…on her site, check it out when you have a few minutes.

I’ve been using coconut oil for SO many things in the last 6 months and have had positive results.  My quick success story – A couple years ago I had gotten a tattoo on my ankle/foot and discovered that I am allergic to the red ink.  It never healed right, everything that was red was raised and sometimes itched, this went on for almost two years.  I started using the coconut oil on my skin, rubbing it in instead of lotion (the gluten, mineral oil, paraben lotions were really giving my skin a fit too).  Within one month the raised area on the tattoo was GONE!  My skin is totally healed and smooth and does not itch.  I’m thrilled.

I should clarify this post really has nothing to do with gluten free – other than the fact that coconut oil has no gluten!  But since all of us glutenfreers are trying to take better care of ourselves, I thought you might like this info.  I’ve been told that you can buy coconut oil at Walmart, however I buy mine from my local health food store.  What I buy is solid, but it melts very quickly, in fact I just put a little in my hand and it will melt enough to rub it into my skin.  Enjoy her article:

Coconut Oil – An Overview
Offering a myriad of health benefits, coconut oil is affordable, readily available and completely natural. I use it for EVERYTHING. Literally. I buy it in 5 gallon increments and keep it all over my house. I even have some in the car. So here is a little information to inspire you to check out this amazing oil!

Coconut Oil Is: 

  • Anti-bacterial (kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum diseases, and other bacterial infections)
  • Anti-carcinogenic (coconut oil has antimicrobial properties so it effectively prevents the spread of cancer cells and enhances the immune system)
  • Anti-fungal (kills fungi and yeast that lead to infection)
  • Anti-inflammatory (appears to have a direct effect in suppressing inflammation and repairing tissue, and it may also contribute by inhibiting harmful intestinal microorganisms that cause chronic inflammation.)
  • Anti-microbial/Infection Fighting (the medium-chain fatty acids and monoglycerides found in coconut oil are the same as those in human mother’s milk, and they have extraordinary antimicrobial properties. By disrupting the lipid structures of microbes, they inactivate them. About half of coconut oil consists of lauric acid. Lauric acid, its metabolite monolaurin and other fatty acids in coconut oil are known to protect against infection from bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi and parasites. While not having any negative effect on beneficial gut bacteria, coconut oil inactivates undesirable microbes.)
  • An Antioxidant (protects against free-radical formation and damage)
  • Anti-parasitic (fights to rid the body of tapeworms, lice and other parasites)
  • Anti-protozoa (kills giardia, a common protozoan infection of the gut)
  • Anti-retroviral (kills HIV and HLTV-1)
  • Anti-viral (kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other viruses)
  • Infection fighting
  • Has no harmful for discomforting side effects
  • Known to improve nutrient absorption (easily digestible; makes vitamins and minerals more available to the body)
  • Nontoxic to humans and animals
Daily Dosage:
Here is a chart outlining the recommended daily dosage of virgin coconut oil for persons over the age of 12. Coconut oil may be consumed by children under 12 but it is advisable to check with a healthcare practitioner on the proper dosage. Any good naturopath will have the information at the ready. (Starting at 12 months of age, I gave my daughter one teaspoon per day and she weighed about 16 pounds at that time.)
Weight in pounds/kilograms
Number of tablespoons of coconut oil daily
175+/79+
4
150+ /68+
3 1/2
125+ / 57+
3
100+/ 45+
2 1/2
75+ / 34+
2
50+ / 23+
1 1/2
25+ / 11+
1

Type of Coconut Oil to Use:

  • Virgin (unrefined) coconut oil tastes and smells coconutty and is great for cooking and baking where you want that flavor. You can use it for anything but it will impart a coconut taste (mild) and odor (pleasant in my book)! Unrefined coconut oil retains the most nutritional value and is superior to refined oil.
  • Expeller pressed (refined) coconut oil can be used for anything. It does not have a coconutty smell or taste. It is still outstanding to use but does lose some of it’s health properties during the refining process.
  • Food grade should always be used.

160 Uses for Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil for Personal Hygiene/Body
1.   Age Spots (also known as liver spots) – applying coconut oil directly to the age spot will help it fade.
2.   After Shave – coconut oil will help heal your skin after shaving without clogging pores. Great for razor burn!
3.   Baldness – apply three times a day to affected area of hair loss. Coconut oil supports cell regeneration.
4.   Birth Marks – can be used after a laser removal treatment to aid in healing. Can also be applied after an apple cider vinegar treatment to help support and aid the fading process.
5.   Body Scrub – mix coconut oil and sugar together and rub all over! Rinse off and your skin will be super soft! You can add in essential oils if you would like a specific smell.
6.   Bruises – applied directly to the bruise, coconut oil enhances the healing process by reducing swelling and redness.
7.   Bug Bites – when applied directly to a bug bite, coconut oil can stop the itching and burning sensation as well as hasten the healing process.
8.   Burns – apply to burn site immediately and continue applying until healed. Will reduce the chances of permanent scarring and promotes healing.
9.   Chapstick – just rub a little into lips and it not only acts as a softening agent but it also has an SPF of about 4 so you get a little protection!
10. Cradle Cap – having issues with dry skin on your baby’s scalp? Coconut oil will not only nourish your baby’s skin, it also helps eliminate cradle cap. Just rub a teaspoon onto scalp daily.
11. Dandruff – coconut oil soaks into the scalp moisturizing dry skin and relieves symptoms of dandruff. It also helps to control oil secretion from the scalp, another leading cause of dandruff.
12. Deodorant – coconut oil alone can be used as a deodorant, but even more effective in combination with cornstarch/arrowroot powder and baking soda!
13. Diaper Salve – very comforting on a rashy bum with no harsh chemicals. Also safe for cloth diapers.
14. Exfoliator – coconut oil mixed with sugar or sea salt is a very nourishing and effective exfoliator and safe to use all over the body.
15. Eye cream – apply under the eyes to reduce puffiness, bags and wrinkles. Use on the lids in the evening.
16. Face Wash/ Soap – mix equal parts coconut oil with olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil and castor oil and use in place of soap when washing your face. Wet face, rub oil in and leave on for two minutes, rinse and pat dry. One teaspoon should be adequate.
17. Hair conditioner/ Deep Treatment – use as a leave-in hair conditioner by applying a teaspoon of coconut oil to your ends and then running your fingers through your hair to distribute the rest! For a deeper treatment, rub in a tablespoon of coconut oil onto your dry scalp and gently work through to the ends. Put a shower cap on to prevent transfer onto bed linens and leave on overnight.
18. Hair Gel/ Defrizzer – rub a little between your palms and either scrunch into hair (for curly hair) or finger comb in through from scalp to ends (for wavy/straight hair).
19. Healing – when applied on scrapes and cuts, coconut oil forms a thin, chemical layer which protects the wound from outside dust, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by repairing damaged tissues. Plus, it smells a heck-of-a-lot better than anything from the pharmacy.
20. Lubricant – it is an all-natural, perfectly safe personal lubricant. Not compatible with latex!
21. Makeup Remover – use a cotton swab and a dab of coconut oil and you would be amazed at how well it works!
22. Massage Oil – pretty simple; grab some and rub!
23. Moisturizer – simply scoop some out of the jar and apply all over your body, including neck and face.
24. Mole Remover – when applied after an apple cider vinegar compress for several weeks, moles have been known to “slide off” or just disappear.
25. Nipple Cream – works great to nourish cracked, sore or dry nipples. Apply to a cotton ball and leave on your nipples between feedings.
26. Oily Skin Fix – prone to oily skin or an oily T-zone? Use a pea sized amount underneath makeup or alone to reduce the appearance of oil.
27. Pre Shampoo Treatment for Hair – rub a little into scalp and hair before shampooing. This is especially useful for those with course or frizzy hair.
28. Pre-Shave – coconut oil will prep skin for the pending damage caused by shaving.
29. Skin Problems – coconut oil relieves skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
30. Stretch Mark Cream – coconut oil is great at nourishing damaged skin. It may not be the magic stretch mark cure but it will help.
31. Sun Burn Relief – rub liberal amounts of coconut oil into the affected area.
32. Sunscreen – see my post on natural sunscreen for more detailed information.
33. Swimmers Ear – mix garlic oil and coconut oil and put a few drops in affected ear for about 10 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a day and it usually works within one or two days.
34. Tattoo Healing and Moisturizer – continued use of coconut oil on tattoos will help keep the pigment from fading. Used on new tattoos, coconut will hasten the healing process and decrease the chance of infection.
35. Toothpaste – there are numerous recipes out there but I just mix coconut oil and baking soda and dab a little of the mix on my toothbrush.

36. Wrinkle Prevention and Wrinkle Reducer – rubbing coconut oil on winkles and sagging skin helps strengthen the connective tissues to bring back that youthful look!

Coconut Oil for General Health and Wellness
37. Breastfeeding – for breastfeeding moms, consuming 3 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil daily will enrich the milk supply.
38. Bones and Teeth – coconut oil aids in the absorption of calcium and magnesium leading to better development of bones and teeth.
39. Digestion – the saturated fats in coconut oil help control parasites and fungi that cause indigestion and other digestion related problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The fat in coconut oil also aids in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, making you healthier all around.
40. Energy Boost – coconut oil boosts energy and endurance making it a great supplement for athletes as well as those needed a quick pick me up.
41. Fitness – coconut oil has been proven to stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels, all of which help decrease your unwanted fat while increasing muscle.
42. Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose making it great for both diabetics and non-diabetic.
43. Lung Function – increases the fluidity of cell surfaces.
44. Nausea – rub some coconut oil on the inside for the wrist and forearm to calm an upset stomach.
45. Nose bleeds – coconut oil can prevent nose bleeding that is caused by sensitivity to weather such as extreme heat and extreme cold. This condition happens when the nasal passages become dry because of cold or dry air resulting to burns and cracks in the mucus membranes so bleeding happens. To prevent this just put coconut oil in you nostrils. Coat your finger with coconut oil and then lie down and coat your finger inside your nose. Doing this will strengthen and protect the capillaries in the nasal passages. A Vitamin C supplement will also help prevent nose bleeding.
46. Oil pulling with coconut oil offers a two for one health benefit!
47. Stress Relief – relieve mental fatigue by applying coconut oil to the head in a circular, massaging motion. The natural aroma of coconuts is extremely soothing thus helping to lower your stress level.
48. Vitamin and nutrient absorption

49. Weight loss – the saturated fats contribute to weight loss and controlling cravings. Also increases metabolic rate.

Coconut Oil for Health Problems (when taken internally it is known for aiding, preventing, relieving or even curing these health issues)
50. Acid reflux/indigestion aid if taken after a meal
51. Adrenal fatigue
52. Allergies (seasonal hay fever)
53. Alzheimer’s/Dementia
54. Asthma, even in children
55. Autism
56. Bowel function
57. Bronchial Infections
58. Cancer (has been shown to prevent colon and breast cancer in laboratory tests)
59. Candida Albicans
60. Cholesterol – improves HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) to LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) ratio in people with high cholesterol
61. Chronic Fatigue
62. Crohns Disease and resulting inflammation
63. Circulation/feeling cold all the time
64. Colds and Flus
65. Constipation
66. Cystic Fibrosis
67. Depression
68. Diabetes – helps keep blood sugar levels stable and/or helps with cravings
69. Dysentery
70. Eczema – in addition to taking it internally, many have success applying it externally, but some don’t
71. Edema
72. Energy boost
73. Epilepsy (known to reduce epileptic seizures)
74. Fever Support
75. Flaky, Dry Skin
76. Gallbladder disease and pain
77. Gas
78. H. pylori
79. Head Lice
80. Heart Disease (protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis)
81. Hemorrhoids (can applied externally or internally twice a day)
82. HIV
83. Hot Flashes
84. Hyperthyroidism
85. Immune System Builder
86. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
87. Jaundice
88. Kidney Disease
89. Kidney Stones (aids in dissolving them)
90. Liver Disease
91. Lung Disease
92. Malnutrition
93. Mental Clarity
94. Menstruation Relief regarding pain/cramps and heavy blood flow
95. Migraines (with regular use)
96. Mononucleosis
97. Osteoporosis
98. Pancreatitis
99. Parasites
100. Periodontal Disease and tooth decay
101. Prostate Enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia)
102. Rickets
103. Skin problems
104. Scurvy
105. Stomach Ulcers
106. Toenail fungus
107. Thrush
108. Thyroid Function (regulates an overactive or underactive thyroid)
109. Ulcerative Colitis
110. Underactive thyroid gland – results have shown subsequent thyroid
blood tests becoming normal after ingesting coconut oil daily
111. Urinary Tract Infections (Bladder Infections)
Coconut Oil and Health Problems (when applied topically it is known for aiding, relieving, or even curing these health issues)
112. Acne
113. Allergies/Hay Fever – rub a little inside the nostrils for quick relief. The pollen will cling to the oil.
114. Athletes foot
115. Back pain/sore muscles
116. Boils and cysts
117. Canker sores
118. Cellulite
119. Circumcision healing – although I am personally against circumcision, I have read that coconut oil is a really great healer for this.
120. Decongestant – rub coconut oil on the chest and under the nose when congested from a cold or allergies
121. Ear infection – place a few drops inside the ear twice daily for relief from pain. Also fights the infection itself.
122. Genital Warts (through topical application over 6 weeks, and coconut oil enemas twice a day depending on the location of the warts)
123. Gum Disease and Gingivitis (use as a toothpaste or rub directly on gums)
124.Herpes (applied topically and taken internally)
125.Hives (reduces the itch and swelling
126. Pink eye (applied around and in the eye)
127. Ringworm
128. Toothache
129. Warts
Coconut Oil and Cooking
130. Butter Substitute – use 1 cup to 1 cup ratio when replacing butter in recipes with coconut oil.
131. Nutritional Supplement – melt and add to smoothies.
132. Replacement for butter/lard/Crisco/PAM in its solid form for greasing pans, pie crusts, etc.
133. Replacement for various oils in liquid form – baking, cooking, sautéing, etc.
Coconut Oil and Pets/Animals
Check with your veterinarian but the recommended dosage for animals is 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily.
134. Aids healing of digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis
135. Aids in arthritis or ligament problems
136. Aids in elimination of hairballs and coughing
137. Applied topically, promotes the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, dry skin and hair, bites and stings
138. Clears up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis, and itchy skin
139. Disinfects cuts and promotes wound healing
140. Great for dogs and cats for general wellness. Just add a teaspoon to their water bowl daily.
141. Helps prevent or control diabetes
142. Helps sedentary dogs feel energetic
143. Helps reduce weight, increases energy
144. Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
145. Makes coats become sleek and glossy, and deodorizes doggy odor
146. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have been shown to improve brain energy metabolism and decrease the amyloid protein buildup that results in brain lesions in older dogs.
147. Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections, including candida
148. Reduces allergic reactions and improves skin health
149. Reduces or eliminates bad breath in dogs
150. Regulates and balance insulin and promotes normal thyroid function
Other Uses for Coconut Oil
151. Chewing Gum in Hair Remover – just rub some coconut oil over the stuck chewing gum, leave in for about 30 minutes, then roll the gum between your fingertip. Voila! It’s out!
152. Goo Gone – just mix equal parts coconut oil and baking soda into a paste. Apply to the “sticky” area and let it set for a minute. Then scrub off with an old toothbrush or the scrubby side of a sponge.
153. Insect repellent – mix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract and rub it all over exposed skin. Keeps insects off better than anything with DEET!  Tons safer too.
154. Moisturizing and cleaning leather products
155. Oiling wood cutting boards and wood bowls
156. Polishing Bronze – all you have to do is rub a little oil into a cotton towel and then wipe down the statue. It cleans and helps deepen the color of your bronze.
157. Polish Furniture – coconut oil with a little bit of lemon juice to polish wood furniture. However, I recommend you test it first on a very small, unobtrusive part of your furniture to make sure it works the way you’d like.
158. Seasoning animal hide drums
159. Seasoning cookware
160. Soap making – coconut oil can be used as one of the fats in soap.
Posted in Gluten Free Recipes, Side dishes

Gluten Free Onion Soup Mix

3/4 cup instant minced onion
1/3 cup Herb-Ox beef bouillon powder
4 teaspoons onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed celery seed
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Directions:
Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight container.

Approximately 5 tablespoons of mix are equal to 1 1¼-ounce package of onion soup mix.

To make onion dip: Mix 5 tablespoons with one pint of sour cream.  Great served with some Snyders gluten free pretzels!

This makes approximately 1 1/4 cups.  

Since Lipton Onion Soup Mix changed their formulation and now has barley (gluten) I found this recipe on food.com and adapted it to make your own gluten free version!  I bet this will be much more economical too!!

Herb-Ox bouillon is gluten free and you can find it at your local Walmart!  If you want to reduce your salt intake, I believe they have a reduced sodium version as well.  Your onions, onion powder and celery seed should all be gluten free…..double check your labels to be safe.

Live and LOVE Gluten free!!

Posted in The Basics

OMG! I’ve Been Glutened!! Now What?

It’s gonna happen, no matter how safe you’ve tried to be.  You have accidentally ingested something with hidden gluten or has been cross contaminated and now you are sick.  Ugggh!  Woulda, coulda, shoulda……………yeah………we know……..but it’s done…….now what?

We all have different rituals to heal and feel better and you will have to figure out what works best for you.  Also, don’t forget everyone is different as to how long it takes to get back up and running.  One time I was been better after a day of yuck, another time it took me more than a week!  Depending on what your symptoms are, here are a few ideas to help deal until you can get back to “normal”:

First off, don’t beat yourself up about this.  It happens to all of us and probably won’t be the last time.  It is important to figure out where the gluten came from and make a mental note so that you can steer clear of whatever it is in the future.

Drink lots of water.   It is important to stay hydrated.

Sooth your tummy with some tea.  Pick one or a combo of:  Ginger, peppermint, fennel or chamomile.  Fresh is great, if not dried/teabags will work too.  All of these are great for calming the tummy, relaxing you and helping to relieve spasms, aches and gas.

Ginger – I keep candied ginger around just because and just in case.  Ginger is a wonderful little root that has all sorts of benefits like relief from inflammation, heart burn, nausea, stomach spasms and aids in digestion. Of course if you have fresh ginger and want to use that for your tea or in your food that is even better! 

Eat less and be bland! Sick to foods that are easy to digest, mashed potatoes, rice, soup, smoothies…….  Your tummy is already fighting the gluten, don’t make it work harder by trying to digest dairy, spicy or high fiber foods too.  Give it a day or three of feeling good before you start your regular eating again.

Get in a little exercise.  Key word here…….a little.  Don’t go crazy, but do some stretching or yoga.  Exercise will give you a little more energy and actually helps to detoxify your body.

Activated charcoal can help to alleviate diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, abdominal pain, etc.  When ingested, the activated charcoal adsorbs toxins and takes them out of the body before they can be absorbed.  Keep in mind that charcoal will absorb EVERYTHING, including medicines and vitamins you take and move it out before it gets a chance to absorb.  So you do not want to take this for days on end because while you are eliminating the toxins you are also eliminating all of the good stuff too!

Probiotics.  If you are not taking them already, now is the time to take some.  You gut is out of balance.  The “good bacteria” will help to get things back in order.  If you are not on them regularly, then take them till you feel better and keep them on hand.  If you are already taking them, up your dose for a few days.  Personally, I use FLORAJEN which for me works much better than the other ones I’ve tried.

Bentyl.  Before I realized that I was gluten intolerant, Bentyl was prescribed to me for stomach spasms.  Since being gluten free, I keep it on hand and take it when I’ve been glutened and my tummy is not cooperating.  It does not take away spasms 100%, but makes them MUCH more tolerable.

GlutenAid – This is a product at CVS that claims “CVS/pharmacy GlutenAid is specially formulated for individuals who feel unwell after eating wheat or grain and thus may have an intolerance to gluten.”  I HAVE NOT TRIED THIS.  But if you CLICK HERE there is another gluten free blogger that tried it and you can read what she experienced.  Please know that there is no cure for celiac or gluten intolerance.  The only way you can be symptom free is to completely avoid gluten.  This pill may or may not help with symptoms if you’ve been accidentally glutened and is absolutely NOT a pill to take so that you can purposely ingest gluten.  You will need to determine for yourself if you think this is worth it.

Digestive enzymes.  These help to breakdown different foods so that they can be absorbed/processed by the body.  Different enzymes help with different foods.  Some people have found this helps when they have been glutened.  Personally I have not tried this so I cannot say yay or nay.  But I will say again – if you are celiac or even gluten intolerant, this is not something that will “allow” you to eat gluten.

Ibuprofen. This can help to reduce the inflammation.  Please be sure that your brand of ibuprofen is gluten free!

I hope something in this list will help you!  Keep in mind, this too shall pass…….

Live and LOVE Gluten Free!!

Posted in The Basics

What Does Gluten DO to me?

Well lets start with the fact that gluten has NO nutritional benefits.  So by removing gluten from your diet, you will not be missing out on something important.  There are many people who have no issues at all with gluten and this post is NOT about them.  This post is for the 15% of U.S. population who have gluten sensitivity in some form.

Those with some form of gluten sensitivity can experience many problems such as hives, difficulty breathing, and digestive issues; in serious cases, a person can experience anaphylaxis, a sudden and severe reaction that can be life-threatening.  Gluten can also cause damage and inflammation in the small intestine, bloating, weight loss, joint pain, weight gain, fatigue and headaches.

For those of you who might like a little more detailed description of what it does in your body: you have small hair-like projections on the intestinal wall which are called villi.  Their function is to absorb the nutrients and vitamins as food passes through the intestines and help break it down. Gluten attacks the villi, wearing them down so that they can no longer function as they should (no longer absorbs nutrients and vitamins) which leaves you malnourished.

Sometimes, tiny holes are created in the intestinal lining, which lets food particles leak into your bloodstream rather than being broken down and absorbed normally. Your body’s natural defense system will fight these “foreign invaders” and attack the body.  You may see symptoms like skin rashes, eczema, bloating, mouth sores, and headaches and more.

Both Celiac disease and gluten intolerance create inflammation throughout the body, with 200-300 possible effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.”

Re-read that part……….TWO to THREE HUNDRED possible symptoms!  That is crazy! No wonder why it is so often mis-diagnosed.  Different organs can be affected by different types of gluten sensitivity and it can affect more than one area, again complicating diagnosis.  

When damage takes place in the cerebellum, the balance center of the brain that controls coordination and complex movements like walking, speaking and swallowing.   This is called Gluten Ataxia and is a neurologic condition characterized by the loss of balance and coordination. However it can also affect fingers, hands, arms, legs, speech and even eye movements. Typical symptoms include difficulty walking or walking with a wide gait, frequent falls, difficulty judging distances or position, visual disturbances and tremor.

When it affects your skin it is dermatitis herpetiformis.   This is a chronic blistering skin condition, characterized by blisters filled with a watery fluid.

When gluten affects the small bowel, this is celiac disease.  

The Gluten Free Network had some interesting points on Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance:

Celiac disease is an immune reaction, a severe sudden onset allergic reaction, to the protein called gluten. While celiac disease is initially an auto-immune disorder, it is also a disease of malabsorption, because essential nutrients are not absorbed.  If you imagine a continuum of gluten intolerance symptoms, celiac disease is usually at the most extreme end with immediate autoimmune reactions.

Gluten intolerance often has a slower onset than celiac disease, and may be hard to diagnose due to the broad range of symptoms and causes.  Undiagnosed for long periods of time, food intolerance have been found to contribute to diabetes, bowel cancer, anemia and osteoporosis.

A partial list from Celiac.com shows signs and symptoms of malabsorption, malnutrition, vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies associated with Celiac Disease to be:

Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating; Anemia; Diarrhea; Easy bruising; Epistaxis (nose bleeding); Fatigue or general weakness; Flatulence; Fluid retention; Foul-smelling or grayish stools that are often fatty or oily; Gastrointestinal symptoms; Gastrointestinal hemorrhage; Infertility; Iron deficiency anemia; lymphocytic gastritis; Muscle weakness; Muscle wasting; Nausea; Panic Attacks; Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage); Stunted growth in children; Vertigo; Vitamin B12 deficiency; Vitamin D deficiency; Vitamin K deficiency; Vomiting; Voracious appetite; Weight loss or Obesity.

Celiac.com also shares a list of disorders and conditions that may have a connection to gluten intolerance:

Addison’s Disease; Anemia; Arthritis; Ataxia, Nerve Disease, Neuropathy, Brain Damage; Attention Deficit Disorder; Autism; Bacterial Overgrowth; Casein / Cows Milk Intolerance; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Cognitive Impairment; Crohn’s Disease; Depression; Diabetes; Down Syndrome; Dyspepsia, Acid Reflux; Epilepsy; Fertility, Pregnancy, Miscarriage; Fibromyalgia; Flatulence (Gas); Gall Bladder Disease; Gastrointestinal Bleeding; Infertility, Impotency; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Intestinal Permeability; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Kidney Disease; Liver Disease; Migraine Headaches; Multiple Sclerosis; Obesity, Overweight & Celiac Disease; Osteoporosis, Osteomalacia, Bone Density; Psoriasis; Refractory Celiac Disease & Collagenous Sprue; Sarcoidosis; Schizophrenia / Mental Problems; Sepsis; Sjogrens Syndrome; Skin Problems and Thyroid & Pancreatic Disorders.

THIS IS NO JOKE PEOPLE!

I would like to be clear here………….this does NOT mean that everyone with depression or an autoimmune disease or any of the above mentioned symptoms/disorders/conditions has gluten sensitivity.

What it DOES mean is that if you have any chronic illness, or one or more of the above listed issues and do not seem to experience relief from what the doctor prescribed, perhaps you should consider the cause could be gluten sensitivity.

How can you correct this?  You need to treat the cause not just the symptoms.

Eliminate gluten-from their diet – not just “cut back” on it.

This information only scratches the surface of what is available. Please check WebMd, Celiac.org, Celiac.com and many other sites for more detailed info.  I hope that this has given you a little insight as to the seriousness of gluten intolerance.

Live and LOVE gluten free!

Posted in The Basics

Gluten-free, booze and me!

OK, the reality is when I realized that I need to be gluten-free to be healthy…….one of the first things that worried me was if I could still have an occasional drink!  Silly, I know, but I really do enjoy having wine with dinner or something fun at a party.  So I did some research and here is what I found:

Almost all wines are naturally gluten-free, but watch out for wine coolers where they might add “barley malt”…..which is not gluten-free.

Traditional beers, ales and lagers are not gluten-free.  However, there is a growing number of gluten-free beers available.  In my neck of the woods, Redbridge (made by Budweiser) is readily available at liquor stores and even at my Walmart.  If you are a beer drinker, really check into this (google gluten-free beers), I found reference to almost 30 different ones.

Almost all unflavored spirits are considered gluten-free!  Yes, even those that are distilled from gluten-containing grains, like wheat-and-barley-based vodka.  So yes to vodka, gin, brandy, whisky, tequila etc……

How can it be gluten-free if some of these things are made from wheat?  Distillation removes the gluten.

Read, read, read all labels.  Sometimes they add flavors after distillation.  These additions could have gluten.  If you can’t figure it out by reading the label, check with the manufacturer.

Live, LOVE (and drink) the gluten-free life!

Posted in Gluten Free Recipes, Side dishes

Crockpot Bacon Cheese Potatoes

Serves: 6

1/4 pound bacon, diced and fried till crisp and drained
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 medium potatoes, thinly sliced (or if you use a new potato then halve)
1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
butter
Green Onions (optional)

Line crockpot with foil, leaving enough to cover the potatoes when finished – this will help them to not stick and to steam the potatoes.

Layer half each of the bacon, onions, potatoes and cheese in crockpot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and dot with butter.

Repeat layers of bacon, onions, potatoes and cheese. Dot with butter.

Cover with remaining foil.  Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours.

Note:  Make sure your bacon is gluten-free……most are, but check the label anyway!

This recipe was originally posted on CDKitchen.com.  What a great side dish to make in the summer – won’t heat up your kitchen and will go with so many different proteins!

Posted in Product Reviews, Snacks

Wellaby’s Crackers – Classic Cheese

Wellaby’s Web site

I am rating this product ♥♥ with a score of 14 out of 20.

Appearance:  These hexagonal shaped crackers are large, measuring almost 2 ½ inches at the widest point.  Good size for appetizers.  They come in a plastic tray with two sections, surrounded by a silver sleeve in a cardboard box.  Despite all this packing, there were still quite a few broken crackers.

Flavor:  This cracker has a very mild cheese flavor.  My first thought when I tasted this was – Cheese-its, which were one of my favorites before going gluten-free.  These crackers have a similar flavor, but not nearly as intense.  Much like my beloved and missed Cheese-its, these also leave an after taste if you are eating them by themselves. 😉

Texture:  Thin, crisp, lightly salted and crunchy.  This cracker is sturdy, it would easily hold up to your favorite dip.  These also do not crumble into small pieces after taking a bite.  Being large and crunchy makes it perfect to top with spreads, meats, cheeses etc.

Price:  Average for a gluten-free product.  I bought these at my local Jewel store.  They were $3.59 for a 3.9 oz box, but I caught a sale and got them for $2.99.  If you were buying these for party appetizers you would certainly need two boxes.  In quantity comparison, a box of Carr’s® Table Water® Crackers is 4.25 oz.

My thoughts:  I was surprised by the flavor of this cracker.  It was subtle, cheesy but not over done.  I checked the label and it indicates Edam cheese.  On their Web site, I see that they have mini-crackers which I would imagine would be a great substitute for my Cheese-its!  A very nice selection of flavors to choose from as well – Feta, oregano & olive oil, parmesan & sun-dried tomato and rosemary & onion.

The cost of this product would prevent me from keeping my pantry full of these; however, I would most definitely buy them for appetizer dishes when having company.  Overall, a really good cracker, I look forward to trying the other flavors and products.

Great facts:  Family run company.  No risk of cross-contamination with these as all their products are made in a dedicated facility that solely produces and develops gluten free products.

Live and LOVE gluten-free!

My disclaimer in case you are wondering:  I do not receive any money from the manufacturers for my product reviews.  Some of these products I’ve received a sample direct from them to try them out and give my opinion. Others I’ve purchased myself in local stores to satisfy my curiosity in finding good and tasty gluten-free foods.  I will try to remain neutral, informative and will always be truthful, although you may notice I tend to get a little carried away when I really like something……..

Posted in Appetizers, Gluten Free Recipes

Basil and Roasted Pepper Bites

Makes 25 Appetizers

1 package (2.5 ounces) thinly sliced ham
3 tablespoons garden vegetable cream cheese spread (from 8-ounce container)
1 package (2/3 ounce) fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup roasted red bell peppers (from 12-ounce jar), patted dry
5 pieces (5 1/2 inches long) string cheese

Stack 2 slices ham on work surface; pat dry with paper towel. Spread evenly with 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cream cheese. Top with basil leaves to within 1 inch of top edge. Cut pepper into 1-inch strips; cut to fit width of ham. Place pepper strips across bottom edge of ham. Place cheese piece above pepper on basil leaves; trim to fit.

Beginning at bottom, roll up securely. Wrap in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 5 rolls. Refrigerate 2 hours.

Unwrap rolls; place seam sides down. Cut each roll into 5 pieces with sharp serrated knife. If desired, pierce each roll with 5 evenly spaced toothpicks before cutting.

Note:  Please make sure your ham and your cheese are gluten-free. I do not use packaged ham, I get my ham from the deli, a brand that I know is gluten-free and sliced on a different slicer.

I found this gem on Glutenfreely.com.