Before I share this week’s menu plan, I have quite a bit of catching up to do! It’s been a busy week trying to finish up my “little” house painting project but somehow I managed to steal some time on Facebook and have a few things to share with you.
Gluten Free Samoas
First up is Brittany’s brilliant re-creation of Samoas (the popular Girl Scout cookie), to not only be gluten-free, but grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free as well (get the full recipe here). Aren’t they gorgeous?
Photo courtesy of Real Sustenance
Interesting articles that came out last week:
In the Wall Street Journal: A Gut Check for Many Ailments
In the Huffington Post: Why Women Should Stop their Cholesterol-Lowering Medication (Dad: PLEASE print this out and give it to mom).
Did you see the episode last week on the Today Show featuring Paula Deen? I won’t go into the issues surrounding the fact that Paula hid her Type 2 Diabetes from the public for 3 years (yes, I can empathize with her choice to do so). Nor will I go into the fact that she has decided to come forward now as a paid spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, because she’s already been hung out to dry on these facts. See ABCnews.com, The Washington Post, Huffington Post and Snack Girl for more in-depth information).
I will however, point out this: At the 2:56 mark, Bobby Deen states that the pasta they’re using is “Low Gluten.” At the 3:08 mark, Jaime Deen states that the pasta is “gluten free.” And at the 3:46 mark, Paula states that she used a wheat pasta but “for people who have that problem” you can use a gluten-free pasta.” I must admit, that tickled me and I had to wonder why they even bothered mentioning anything about the gluten status of the pasta in the first place.
Why I Avoid Grains
People often ask me why I avoid gluten free grains and if they should be doing the same as well.
The plain and simple truth to the matter is that I just feel better when I don’t eat gluten-free grains. A year ago, I had no intention of ever giving up my rice, corn, quinoa, and so on. I’m a mid-western girl who grew up having bread and potatoes, rice and/or corn with every meal. What launched me on the path of grain freedom was a blood test I took for gluten associated cross-reactive foods last February. The results of which left me curled up in a ball on the floor for no less than a week. Straight.
A meal without grains seemed almost un-American to me at the time. It had to be unhealthy at the very least, right?
Imagine my surprise when, after barely surviving (okay, physically I did fine, but I was struggling emotionally) 3 months on a grain-free diet, I would choose to stay that way (99.7% of the time anyway, I do steal a nibble here and there). While I don’t eat like Gary (I love my fruits and veggies too much), I’ve been fascinated by what I’ve been learning about grains over the past year. Being a celiac, I obviously know a lot about the deleterious effects of the noxious glutonium but there are other components of grains you might be curious to learn about: lectins and phytates.
Interestingly, since going grain-free, my cholesterol numbers have dropped from back when I was still consuming grains and sugar (while my healthy fat content has gone waaaayyyy up). However, my fasting blood glucose was much higher than I would have expected…I may need to cut down on the fruit in my smoothies or perhaps latent autoimmune diabetes is in my near future (more on this later):
As a comparison, here are my numbers from 2010: Triglycerides: 420 (normal: <150). Total Cholesterol: 229 (normal: <200). HDL: 35 (good: >40) LDL: COULD NOT BE CALCULATED DUE TO HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES!
I also ponder if the reason I feel better on a grain-free diet could be due to that fact that in addition to having celiac disease, I also have IgE wheat and corn allergies (which are both in the grass family), as well as environmental allergies to 26 additional varieties of “lawn” grass, including Timothy grass which is now being used more in gluten free baking. I have no idea, but would love to see some research in this area.
For the record, I do not advocate one way of eating over another. I do not have any medical credentials that would allow me to do so with any sort of clear conscious. We are all different people with different immune systems and different genes so it doesn’t make sense to me that there can be a “one size fits all” diet. I’m grain-free but my husband and children are not (although Mike is seriously considering giving it a try). My friend Melissa wrote about why she doesn’t favor the Paleo/Primal way of eating in her article, Confessions of an HLA DQ2 Cavewoman over at Gluten Free For Good and I recommend you check it out.
That all being said, I don’t believe eliminating the toxic gluten grains from one’s diet is unhealthy, even for people who don’t have celiac disease (or non-celiac gluten sensitivity). Quite the contrary actually, and I recommend reading Dr. Loren Cordain’s article, Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double-Edged Sword to understand some of the reasons why. Besides, I agree wholeheartedly with Mark Sisson when he said:
“You show me a serving of “healthy whole grains” that can compete – nutrient, vitamin, and mineral-wise – with a Big Ass Salad. What’s that? Can’t do it? Thought so.”
The trick is…you have to be willing to eat the big a$$ salad!
The following salad dressing recipes are all Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, MSG-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free and Refined Sugar-Free for your hypoallergenic dining pleasure:
Creamy Greek (okay, so this recipe does contain nuts, but I’ll be sharing a nut-free Caesar dressing later this week).
If grains are your comfort food though, do yourself a favor and go with labeled gluten free grains. I also think it’s a wise idea to go with non-GMO foods whenever possible but finding them can be about as challenging as a Where’s Waldo hunt since they don’t have to be labeled.
I had been under the impression that genetically modified foods had 5-digit PLU codes that began with the number 8, but alas, it ain’t so. Wanna know why? Because consumers won’t buy the products! The good news? Yep, you guessed it…there’s a FREE app for that!
Weekly Menu Plan: Naturally Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free and Soy-Free
Thursday: Turkey Fajita Hash rolled in lettuce wraps and roasted veggies with coconut oil, salt and cumin
Friday: Heidi’s Chicken Salad and fresh fruit (I realize this chicken salad recipe might seem weird, but truly consider giving it a try…everyone I’ve had taste it for me thus far (including dozens of my beloved readers), have enjoyed it quite a bit!
Saturday: Chicken and Roasted Green Chile Soup (we will omit the potatoes and bump up the amount of chicken since Mike is on the Modified Elimination Diet),
Sunday: Basque Lamb Stew (I will use extra chicken stock instead of the white wine) and fruit salad
“Just” Gluten Free Recipes
Celiac Disease and Eating Disorders
In America 1 in 133 are diagnosed with celiac disease while over 11 million are diagnosed with an eating disorder. It therefore seems plausible that an overlap could occur between the two conditions. Heather Vargo is researching this possible overlap and wants to know the best way to help people who have (or have had) these potentially co-occurring diseases.
If you have celiac disease and an eating disorder, Heather would really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you for a one hour interview via phone or Skype. If you participate, you will be eligible to receive a gluten free care package and a $10 gift card to Target.
If you are interested, please contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 440.382.4445. This research is being done for a Master of Social Work degree in Minnesota.
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