How to eat your gluten free cake and keep your friends too

How to eat your gluten free cake and keep your friends too

Worried about going gluten free and being that person at the party or that friend at dinner who seems like they have to ask all the questions and need ALL the things!!??  How do you go gluten free in a way that serves you and doesn’t impose on your relationships with friends, family, and significant others around you?!

In the spirit of national Celiac awareness month, I wanted to take things beyond the (gluten free) food.  If you’ve ever had to go on a restrictive diet or give up any of your favorite foods you understand that going gluten free goes far beyond just the food itself.  Because food is such an integral part of our quality of life and we MUST eat to survive, changes in diet can ultimately change our social lives and the community around us. It’s easy to let yourself BECOME your diagnosis and let it own you in a way.  Say no to being jail-bound by your gluten free lifestyle and say yes to it providing the opportunity to help you feel your best and live your best life! How to do that?

 I’m here to share the scoop as someone who has gone through the ups and downs and ultimately found some of the secret sauce.  

How to go gluten free & still maintain a happy body, mind & social life!

Always come prepared

If you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac or gluten just simply doesn’t love you back in the way you wish it did-introduce yourself to your kitchen appliances.  Bringing my own gluten free dishes and/or baked goods has become a regular part of my attendance to a social gathering. This way, I always know I’ll have something to eat at that summer bbq or get together.  Never expect your friends/family to be completely on board with having food for you-especially when this is a new diagnosis or lifestyle for you. If they happen to cook things for you-hooray! That’s a huge win!

Do your dirty work behind the scenes

Whenever going to a restaurant, ALWAYS call ahead and ask that they can accommodate you-specifically asking if they can avoid cross-contamination with gluten if you have Celiac disease.  Using a script as follows has been very helpful to me: “Are you able to provide a safely gluten free meal for an allergy that will avoid any cross contamination?  Can you share with me what items on your menu would accommodate that so I can plan ahead? Do I need to ask to speak with anyone in particular like a manager?”  This way, you will get to the restaurant armed with an order in mind and you don’t have to be “that person” asking a million questions at the table in front of your friends. Always remind your server of your allergy when you get there.

Verbalize gratitude

There is no need to apologize for your allergy or food preferences-but ALWAYS be grateful for those around you who help support, accept and accommodate for you. Gratitude puts out good energy into the world and brings that positivity back your way.  Those around you will be that much more likely to support and help (and maybe even make you some gluten free treats) when you genuinely thank them for going out of their way. If family/friends aren’t supportive or don’t seem to get it, have patience and be kind to them. Stay present to this fact: Those who have never had to personally deal with a food allergy on their own will never fully understand eating gluten free like you do-and that’s ok!

Laugh it off

Some of the best advice I have ever been given was: “Stop taking yourself so seriously”.  This may seem silly and somewhat counterintuitive being that Celiac is a serious thing but sometimes we need to be reminded to laugh it off and that life is never perfect!  Remembering to laugh when the going gets tough and making fun of ourselves can be so healing! Surround yourself with those who enjoy laughing and joking around like you do and remember that mistakes and screw ups are part of what make us human.

Looking for a tasty and crowd pleasing gluten free recipe to bring to your next get together?  Try my Mediterranean Seven Layer dip here!

With Love, GFG

12 Tips for Cleaner, Greener Eating

12 Tips for Cleaner, Greener Eating

Sometimes the more we learn about eating and living healthfully, the more we can feel burdened by the “toxic” world we live in! 

Instead of resorting to spending thousands of dollars on fancy air filters or thinking you need to detox via a green juice cleanse, I’ve provided you with some simple and easy ways to make your everyday eating experience a cleaner one.  

These tips will not only help you “greenify” your lifestyle, they will also aid your body in it’s natural ability to perform detoxification.

  1. Eat a variety of brightly colored fruits/vegetables that are organic/non-GMO as much as affordable to avoid chemicals, herbicides,etc.  Not affordable? Buy mostly organic and refer to the Dirty Dozen list for those you should prioritize:
  2. Choose wild-caught fish vs. farmed; stick to lower-mercury fish such as anchovies, haddock, salmon, sardines, shrimp, trout or whitefish and avoid predatory fish like swordfish, shark or ahi/bigeye tuna
  3. Choose organic, pastured eggs and chickens free of antibiotics and hormones; the high sulfur content in eggs and amino acids in the protein of these foods are supportive of detox (specifically the second phase of detox in the liver that washes out all toxins)!
  4. Choose grass fed/grass finished beef wherever possible; animals that are grass fed have a higher omega 3 fatty acid content vs. grain fed which are higher in the more inflammatory (omega 6) fats
  5. Drink filtered water (reverse osmosis or carbon filter) and drink 8-10 glasses daily
  6. Limit/avoid use of microwave ovens to limit electromagnetic radiation exposure
  7. Encourage regular elimination by having bowel movements at least once a day; consider a gentle Magnesium supplement such as Natural Calm to improve constipation
  8. Consume plenty of detox-boosting vegetables: celery, beets, garlic and cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kale, cauliflower and collard greens
  9. Choose decaf green tea or an herbal detox tea containing dandelion root, ginger root, licorice root, sarsaparilla root, cardamom seed and/or cinnamon bark; I like Traditional Medicinals everyday detox and lemon detox teas
  10. Add plenty of herbs/spices such as cilantro, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, parsley turmeric and curry when cooking
  11. Increase chlorophyll intake by adding dark leafy greens to a smoothie or wheatgrass; you may also try a greens powder such as Amazing Grass
  12. Store leftovers in glass jars or containers to minimize ingestion of BPA and other chemicals; these are known to disrupt hormones as well increase cancer risk

Always remember to eat the rainbow:)

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With Love, GFG

5 Foods for Boosting Brain Health

5 Foods for Boosting Brain Health

Brain Fog Much?  

Many of us are looking for more ways to stave off brain decline and improve brain function and alertness on a daily basis.

The good news?

There are many therapeutic foods that naturally help heal our brains and heighten cognitive function by increasing focus and memory, helping to balance blood sugar and increasing antioxidant activity.  These five brain boosting foods provide long lasting brain benefits and should be consumed more often, if not daily!

1. Medium Chain Triglycerides

  • Medium chain triglycerides or MCT oil are a type of saturated fatty acid that is primarily derived from coconut oil. The shorter chain MCT oils (caprylic and capric acid- C8 and C10 respectively) are known to be the most effective at increasing brain energy and focus.  Coconut oil is mainly comprised of a fatty acid called lauric acid (C12) and only small amounts of C8 and C10. While coconut oil has many health benefits; the brain boosting effects of these oils are highest when the shorter chain fatty acids are extracted and consumed on their own.
  • How to best boost your intake?  Add 1 T MCT oil (I like Now Foods brand) or Brain Octane oil (Bulletproof brand) to your coffee or drizzle over warmed veggies.

2. Wild salmon (or sardines)

  • Salmon provides a good source of DHA; an omega 3 fatty acid particularly beneficial to brain health and development.  Current research is supportive of the fact that those who eat more DHA-rich fish have better brain health overall. Make sure to consume wild salmon and other low mercury fish due to mercury burden!
  • Roast salmon with brightly colored veggies in the oven for an antioxidant rich dinner or layer sardines atop gluten free avocado toast

3. Walnuts

  • Walnuts are a rich source of omega 3 DHA fats which have been shown to have neuro-protective effects as well as prevent age-related cognitive decline.  Adequate intake of omega 3 fatty acids has also been linked to preventing or treating depression.
  • Replace pine nuts with walnuts in a pesto recipe or try Meg’s clean Mediterranean dip.  Choose unsalted, raw walnuts and make sure to store in the freezer as they go rancid quickly due to the high fat content!

4. Green Tea

  • A rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols; green tea helps regulate our body’s insulin sensitivity thereby maintaining a steady supply of glucose to the brain to keep our energy from crashing. Increased green tea intake (~2 cups daily) has also been associated with boosting memory.
  • Try to switch out your morning coffee for organic green tea a few days a week or whip up an unsweetened matcha green tea latte for an even more potent boost of benefits

5. Kiwi

  • A stressful work life, cigarette smoke and alcohol can alter brain function and cause damaging oxidative stress on our brains; especially when prolonged overtime.  Heightened oxidative stress can, in turn, hinder our ability produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine-these things keep us feeling happy and energized!  Foods rich in natural antioxidants such as vitamin C help protect our brains and promote production of these happy chemicals. Just 2 kiwis a day will help fulfill this need!
  • Slice kiwi and top on hot cereal for breakfast or consume with a handful of nuts or seeds to balance out an afternoon snack.  Even though this sounds strange-the skin is edible and provides a great boost of fiber!

With Love, GFG