A HUGE thank you and shout out to Vitacost.com for featuring the NewSouthMama “Fastest Way to De-Seed a Pomegranate” video in their blog. Help spread the word about the health benefits of pomegranates by sharing!
Who’s missing pasta!?
Not me. Earlier, I was in the mood for pasta, but being gluten-free and not liking a lot of the junk carb “gluten-free” products out there, I decided on some Explore Asian Organic Mung Bean Fettuccine from the pantry today. I found it at a local co-op, but have seen it at Whole Foods, too.
Green. Mung Bean. Didn’t sound too appetizing…
So into the boiling water it went with a good amount of Real Salt and a pat of butter. I pulled some baby kale out of the fridge and tossed in a handful for the last 2 minutes.
Hum… what next? I drained it and topped with about a tsp of grass-fed butter. Next, a sprinkle of black pepper, a dash of Real Salt and a good amount of organic garlic granules. Finally, I grabbed a half of a fresh, organic lemon and squeezed over it with a final sprinkle of raw pumpkin seeds. Wow, it looked great!
My lunch today was a delectable delight. The flavors were beautiful and the mung bean pasta had a fabulous texture. Not to mention I got over 22.5 grams of protein! I will make this one again.
Mung Bean Pasta with Kale and Lemon Butter Recipe
2 quarts boiling water
1 handful of dry mung bean pasta
Real Salt or unrefined Himalayan Salt
grass-fed or organic real butter
1 handful of raw kale
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1 tbsp of raw pumpkin seeds (or sunflower, seeds, etc.)
Put a small amount of butter into the boiling water and add pasta. Boil for 7-8 minutes. At the 5 minute mark, toss in the handful of kale. Once cooked then drain. Pour all onto plate and top with about a tbsp of butter, stirring in. Sprinkle with a dash of Real Salt and garlic granules to taste, squeeze lemon juice over and stir. Top with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. Then enjoy this deliciously healthy lunch! Eat creatively, Y’all!
I just had to share this one with you. Thanks to our favorite local store “The Grain Loft” (1987 Highway 101 South, Greer, SC 29651) for sharing this yummy recipe… Warm your belly and your soul with this delicious, hearty breakfast– with eggs or egg-free!
Add this one to “How to Quickly and Easily Impress!
1 cup Plain Whole Fat Organic Yogurt
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
Mix well and serve as a salad dressing or a dip with fresh veggies, kettle chips, or rice crackers!
This is by far one of our favorite breakfasts or snacks to go… Easy, delicious, MOIST, protein-packed and wheat-free. An all around delicious option for Grandma’s recipe. We find that one or two muffins is ideal for a protein-filled breakfast. No spike in blood sugar here…just good, simple nourishment. Serve with a side of fruit and your favorite tea or coffee.
Paleo Banana Nut Muffin Recipe
5 ripe bananas
6 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp honey OR 3-4 dried unsweetened dates
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups almond flour
½ cup coconut flour
2 tbsp ground golden flax seeds
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans to mix in
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans to top muffins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put the bananas, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla extract, applesauce and honey into a blender or food processor and puree.
Sift all dry ingredients into large bowl. Slowly mix in the liquid ingredient puree into the dry ingredients, stirring with a large whisk. Mix thoroughly. Unlike recipes with flour, you can’t over mix this recipe.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper and top with muffin cups. Pour batter into muffin cups; fill to top. Top each muffin with a small amount of nuts. Bake 35 min., or until toothpick stuck in center comes out clean.
Enjoy while warm or reheat for a fast, on-the-go, high-protein breakfast!
Makes 12-15 muffins depending on banana size.
- Buy organic whenever possible to avoid pesticides, herbicides, artificial ingredients, dyes, preservatives and more.
- Trader Joes has bags of almond meal reasonably priced or, if you have a very good blender like a Blendtec, you can purchase a pound of whole, raw almonds and grind them into almond meal. The same applies to flax seeds.
- Reheat your muffins each day in the toaster oven. Serve with a pat of coconut oil or grass-fed butter for a delicious variation.
- Store in airtight containers refrigerated or unrefrigerated for up to one week.
- I LOVE Le Creuset Silicone Baking Cups. I found them at Charleston Cooks in Greenville, SC–12 for $11.95. I’ve read reviews of other brands online and most people hate how they stick. The Le Creuset brand performs beautifully.
Let’s do brunch, Y’all!
This is not just another Thanksgiving in our household… It’s our first Thanksgiving…without BREAD! Gravy! Pies! Oh My!
This time last year, the idea of our most thankful holiday without our daily bread and giblet gravy might have caused us to pause… I’m pretty sure we thanked God especially for the crackers that topped the broccoli casserole and the delectable cinnamon rolls we ate that morning.
And the thought of any day without wheat-infused products like cereal, sourdough bread and chocolate cake may be one many of you just don’t want to think of because you still eat wheat.
But for our family, it’s a welcome thought this holiday. In my recent post, Thinking of Going Gluten-Free?, I shared our story with you about our decision to hit the delete button on wheat from our food intake. And literally, we have taken back our health. At more that 52 pounds lighter between my husband, 54, and myself, 43, we are in the best shape of our lives.
But it’s not just about weight, although that is a welcome benefit.
It’s about the overall improvement–the actual disappearance of sore, inflamed joints and arthritic symptoms. It’s about our daughter’s allergy “rash” under her nose going away and her hyperglycemia tendencies stabilizing. It’s about our lowering our cholesterol and regulating blood sugar. It’s about the brain fog lifting, extreme hunger between meals becoming a thing of the past, energy levels boosting, sleep improving and more. It’s about our body shape returning, revealing the true body that was under all the inflammation caused by wheat.
Did you know that over 55 ailments are attributed to wheat? Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, wrote an excellent article for the Huffington Post giving more detail and great information.
Did You Have a Gluten-Intolerance?
You may wonder if we had symptoms of gluten-intolerance, allergies or Celiac Disease. And the answer is no–sort of. I had symptoms I didn’t know were caused by wheat, until I eliminated it from my diet. I didn’t choose to stop eating wheat because I was tested or diagnosed with Celiac disease. I chose to stop eating wheat after I learned what it does to my body… OUR bodies. The fact is, wheat punctures holes in the gut. And I prefer my gut to remain whole, thank you very much. No one is immune to the effects. I chose to not eat wheat much like choosing not to smoke cigarettes.
Cigarettes and Wheat
What in the world does wheat have in common with cigarettes? Dr. Davis compares the modern food industry to the tobacco industry of years ago… He suggests being told that wheat is healthy by the media, doctors and the government is much like cigarette smoking years ago, when we didn’t know better, when cigarettes were promoted by the media and doctors as safe (even Santa!), healthy and beneficial. Today, we would think it absurd. Perhaps one day, when we “know better,” modern day wheat will be viewed the same.
Where Did We Start?
Where Do I Start?
Many of you have asked me this question. And I say, just do it.
- Start by eating less wheat this Thanksgiving and holiday season. Less bread, dressing, stuffing, casseroles, pasta, gravy, pies and cakes. Add in more veggies, fruits, a little more turkey, cranberry sauce and water. After the holidays, make up your mind to omit wheat completely from your diet. You CAN do it. There are no nutrients in wheat that humans need to function or survive.
- Read the Wheat Belly book today. There another book supporting and even going further than just wheat that is worth reading: Grain Brain.
- Educate yourself and others about wheat. Look for resources on the web, google “wheat belly” and learn all you can. Knowledge really is power.
- Cook and eat more often at home. There are multiple benefits to cooking and eating at home versus eating out.
- Get creative with food. When you have to eat out, get creative. Order a burger with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun. Forego the gravy on the buffet and get an extra helping of carrots. Try different foods you may never have tried before. Your tastebuds and cravings will change as a result.
- Eat more veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. Adding in other foods will keep you full and satisfied, helping you reduce cravings for bread, pastas and other wheat foods.
- Get determined. Decide now to give up wheat FOR GOOD. This cannot be a half-way decision. Even small “doses” of wheat will continue to wreak havoc on your body. Eating small amounts of wheat still damages your gut, increases inflammation and foils your attempt to get healthier.
- Steer clear of processed foods and added sugar. These foods will inhibit your progress, too, and will continue to thwart weight loss progress. Eating healthy, whole foods is your best solution. To quote Dr. Hyman, if it has a label, don’t buy it. But if you have to buy food “with a label,” look for those with 5 ingredients or less.
The real you is there. Your job is to find her or him. This isn’t about being skinny… It’s all about being healthy. Thriving instead of surviving. Living a life full of happiness, health and hope. And yes, eliminating wheat can be your biggest first step.
Let’s do this, Y’all.
Mushrooms help fight cancer and make a great pizza crust!
Portobello Personal Pizza Recipe
Um, did I say Warm and Smoothie in the same sentence?
Yep. I had this crazy idea after working out this morning for a post-workout smoothie– a warm, post-workout smoothie.. It’s FRIGID here for us spoiled to mostly-mild-weather Southerners… It’s the middle of a beautiful day and still only 45 degrees. So after returning from an awesome group fitness class at the YMCA, I really wanted to drink a protein drink to rebuild my muscles. Usually, I would make a typical green smoothie.
But today, the cold inspired me.
So I embarked on a smoothie of a different kind. This one is warm. It’s immunity- and energy-boosting. It’s packed with protein to rebuild post-workout muscles. It fights cancer, colds and triples the antioxidants.
Here are some facts about some of the ingredients:
- Camu Camu: A powerful, antioxidant berry from the Amazon rainforest known for its mega vitamin C content. It contains 30 to 60 times more vitamin C than an orange! The Recommended Dietary Allowance of Vitamin C from the U.S. government is only about 100 mg per day, on average. A serving of Camu Camu powder contains almost 2000 mg! During cold and flu season, it’s your immunity buddy and easy on the stomach.
- Cacao Powder: Yes, raw chocolate powder! It’s packed with magnesium for heart and bones, fiber for digestion, calcium for strong bones and iron for blood. According to David Wolfe, “the rock star of the superfoods and longevity world,” scientists in New Zealand found that when cacao is combined with berries (like camu camu), the antioxidant effect is tripled.
- Maca Powder: From the Maca root harvested from the Peruvian Andes, Maca powder promotes stress reduction, healthy energy and increased libido.
- Raw, Local Honey: Used in Ayurvedic medicine for at least 4000 years, honey is one of the most powerful superfoods every body needs. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, blood-sugar regulating, throat-soothing, digestion-supporting and much more. For more benefits about honey, read here. (Did you know we need to save the bees?!)
- Raw Protein: Provides raw organic sprouted protein and live probiotics and enzymes. Good for those on low carbohydrate diets and for those with gastrointestinal sensitivities to milk, whey, soy and other protein sources. Supports digestive health and function with live probiotics and protein-digesting enzymes.
- Chia Seeds: This is one of my favorite superfoods EVER. Their demulcent, or gelatinous, property causes them to produce a number of benefits like reducing cravings, helping you feel full faster, providing the perfect protein for your body, hydrating the body and many more!
- Warm Water: Aids in digestion and hydrates.
Winter Post-workout (aka Warm, Winter) Smoothie
1 scoop of Garden of Life Raw Vanilla Protein Powder
1 tsp Maca Powder
1 heaping tbsp Cacao Powder
1 tsp Raw Camu Camu Powder
1 pinch of sea salt
1 heaping tbsp of Raw, Local Honey
1-2 tbsp of Chia Seeds
16 oz. of Warm or Hot Water
Place all ingredients in your blender and blend until fully mixed (about 1 minute). Cuddle up with a warm mug and enjoy on a cold day. (**Great idea from a fellow health coach: add coconut oil!)
Let’s warm our souls, Y’all.
The Reasons We Don’t Eat Wheat
It was just back in January 2013 that I decided to go wheat-free. My husband didn’t like the idea one bit; after all, we ate cereal and toast for breakfast, crackers, sandwich bread and macaroni for lunch, crackers or cookies for snacks and tortillas, pasta or sourdough rolls for supper on most days with some soy sauce in between… (Yes, soy sauce contains wheat. Weird, right?)
How would we live WITHOUT wheat!? It seemed as though we were addicted.
He deemed it impossible. Seems like I remember the words, “Have fun” being muttered.
In early January, I read the book Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis. Remember, this is just after I started this blog and one of my first posts was about a delectable grilled cheese sandwich on organic, 12-grain bread. Uh oh…
After reading Wheat Belly I determined I would stop eating wheat. I also discovered that a rash my daughter had under her nose for over four years was a wheat allergy. According Dr. Davis, Seborrhea, a red, scaly rash under the nose is actually a wheat allergy. So for four years, I had been told by my dermatologist to “put cream on” the rash…and cross my fingers? To quote Dr. Davis’ book, “Most physicians, including dermatologists, have next to no appreciation of its astounding potential for triggering multiple health conditions, including dozens, perhaps hundreds, of varieties of skin disorders.”
Our first few weeks were amazing. My daughter’s rash disappeared within a week of no wheat. She could eat wheat and it would reappear within 12 hours. WOW! Admittedly, it was hard at first… after all there were so many warm and fuzzy moments related to wheat. Comfort food casseroles–a staple in the South, PIZZA night–a staple in America, those Chipotle burritos, ice cream cones, S’mores!?
A couple of weeks into our gluten-free, wheat-free journey, my husband sat down in his comfy chair, opened the Wheat Belly book, read it, closed it and said, “I’m never eating wheat again.”
Whoa. I really didn’t know if it would happen, but it did. Since then, we’ve never looked back.
Here’s why, in short: the wheat we eat today is not even closely related to wheat of our ancestors. Wheat is actually one crop we don’t genetically engineer in a lab–yet– nor is it a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO). It’s even worse, if you can imagine. “Modern wheat represents the technological capabilities of the agricultural geneticist that predate the age of genetic engineering,” Dr. Davis writes.
The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. –Gloria Steinem
This quote is at the beginning of the Wheat Belly Cookbook. And it’s so true. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s, geneticists started manipulating wheat by whatever crude means possible. The goal was to increase yield with smaller plant and more per acre. Whatever means possible meant x-ray, gamma ray and chemical mutagenesis, forced repetitive hybridization–thousands of hybridizations– until the plant bore no resemblance to the original mother plant, repetitive backcrossing and other techniques. Davis says, “Modern wheat is many thousands of years and many genes apart from the 14-chromosome einkorn, 28-chromosome emmer, and even the 42-chomosome wheat of the 19th century.” “…Soon, [countries] began realizing the production advantages of this super-yielding strain [of wheat]” and he says essentially this strain of high yield-per-acre wheat was embraced widely by the early 1980’s.
But what does this mean to us?
It gets even more twisted. Davis implies that the modern food industry is as guilty as the tobacco industry of years past. Just as more and more chemicals were added to cigarettes to increase the known addictive effects of tobacco, he says so the food industry is doing to processed foods by adding wheat to everything from tomato soup to “whole grain” cereals to licorice. He believes the “smart food scientists” knew about the appetite-stimulating effect of the gliadin protein found in wheat 25 years ago. He says the transformation of gliadin protein in this new wheat is accompanied by an extra 440 calories per day and an opiate-like addiction response. Just by eating wheat. And by putting wheat in everything, the “Big Food” industry ensures that you’ll come back for more. There’s the hook…
What is Gliadin?
Gliadin is a protein found in modern day wheat and has been called the “universal human poison.” Three quick facts about gliadin:
- Gliadin, a member of the gluten family of proteins, is the most abundant protein found in wheat.
- Gliadin is an opiate, with “its own form of euphoria and its very own opiate withdrawal syndrome” when wheat consumption is halted. All opiates stimulate appetite.
- Gliadin helps gluten bind to HLA DQ proteins along the insides of the intestinal tract which results in celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
So now you know wheat is addictive, thanks to gliadin. But what about gluten? What does it do?
What is Gluten?
Here are three quick facts about gluten:
- Gluten adds lightness to doughnuts and biscuits, chewiness to wraps and pizza crust.
- Gluten is among the “most destructive of proteins” in the human diet because of number 3 above, thanks to many genetic manipulations.
- Geneticists bred wheat with non-wheat grasses, according to Dr. Davis, and used chemicals and radiation to produce new, more desirable gluten characteristics for baking and food purposes.
But wait! There’s more!
Not only do you get the freaky effects of gliadin and gluten that need each other to do the most harm, but also you get the lectin of wheat, Wheat Germ Agglutinin, absolutely free! Unlike the first two bonus proteins, wheat germ agglutinin can do damage completely on its own.
What is Wheat Germ Agglutinin?
Wheat Germ Agglutinin, a lectin–a protective protein found only in plants to protect against mold, insects and other predators, actually binds to the intestinal tract lining. Here are three quick facts about Wheat Germ Agglutinin:
- Wheat Germ Agglutinin causes abnormal cell growth or hyperplasia of the small intestinal lining.
- Wheat Germ Agglutinin increases intestinal permeability, or”leaky gut syndrome,” which allows foreign substances to leak into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall.
- Wheat Germ Agglutinin is resistant to digestion in the gastrointestinal tract which makes it possible for IT to leak into the bloodstream as well, amplifying the effects of insulin on fat cells (increasing fat storage) and triggering inflammatory responses in the body thus worsening celiac disease, arthritis and many other inflammatory diseases.
Dr. Mark Hyman (The Blood Sugar Solution) says in his article Three Hidden Ways Wheat Makes You Fat that one slice of whole wheat bread now raises your blood sugar more than a teaspoon of white sugar, thanks the super starch amylopectin A found in modern day wheat. There are even more facts about wheat, gluten, patient results and other terms not yet discussed here, in Dr. Davis’ Wheat Belly book and blog. I highly recommend reading the Wheat Belly book for a full understanding of why you should stop eating wheat.
Our Wheat-Free Results
If you’ll notice, I’ve never said the word “diet” in this post. Dr. Davis never calls his information a “diet.” That’s because it’s not a diet. We chose simply to give up a substance causing our bodies more harm than good. Yes, it affected a lot of processed food items, whether store-bought or homemade, but it’s one basic substance. Like Dr. Davis points out in his book, humans do not need wheat. No one has ever died from lack of wheat. And we have lived. No, we have THRIVED.
Besides my daughter’s rash, other changes didn’t happen suddenly for my husband and me. It was about thirty days in and my husband started noticing a few pounds dropping. Me, nothing much really. I didn’t feel like I really needed to lose much weight, but when I look back now, the changes would be drastic. The real results started happening more quickly after month one. By March, we were feeling much better. Most notably, I had more energy and was not as tired or “foggy.” By June, I no longer noticed any cravings for anything wheat. Truthfully, I had not missed bread, which had seemed impossible just 5 short months earlier. I figured out how to make pizza crusts from almond meal, substitute organic baby spinach for spaghetti noodles, and enjoy lots of fruits, veggies, organic meats and optimal health.
All of us had issues with low blood sugar and extreme hunger pangs between meals, which caused us to snack often, get light-headed or sugar crash. I’m happy to report this “symptom” is corrected in all of us.
By June and my 43rd birthday, I weighed 10 pounds less, but had dropped 3 clothing sizes. I realized that the weight was only a part of what we had lost; the inflammation was the most significant loss.
By June, and my husband’s 54th birthday, he had lost over 30 pounds! We had been working out, so he was building some muscle which weighs more than fat and inflammation. But again, his loss of inflammation was the most dramatic.
Now, only nine months after beginning the wheat-free journey, he has lost a total of 40+ pounds. He has abs. :) He is in the best shape of his life. For me, I lost about 12 lbs. total which is as much as I could lose and still be healthy, and I have redefined my muscles hidden by inflammation. We follow Dr. Davis’ guidelines in that we reduced the amount of sugar we eat, we don’t buy a lot of “gluten-free” processed foods that are full of empty, high calorie substitutes, we eat mostly whole, real, unprocessed foods and we exercise as often as we can, whether walking, running, yoga or cycling. We all eat sensibly what we want, as much as we want. We’ve increased our veggies and fruits and love the creativity of a wheat-free household. And our daughter? Well, she is a happy, healthy thriving teenager who is well-nourished, fit and content.
Friends will attest that we do not desire nor miss birthday cake, bread, biscuits and gravy, or pasta. I do often get the “pained look of terror” when they ask me, “What do you eat?” Which is why I’m here, writing on this blog. It’s why I’m in school to become a health coach and counselor. It’s why I want to see my friends and family realize their full potential by not letting unknown facts and food ingredients hinder their health and happiness.
Let’s face it, just a few short years ago, I didn’t even know what the term “gluten” meant. I lived as most do–in blissful ignorance, battling weight gain as it seemed to come with age, arthritic-like symptoms, and other factors I believed to be out of my control.
“What you don’t know CAN hurt you” but it can motivate you to do something about it today.
Practical Steps: Listen to your Mama!
We know listening to Mama is the smart choice. I hope you’ve learned some things today and I hope it’s your call to action. Your first step may be to order the Wheat Belly book. And follow Dr. Davis’ advice. Start by getting rid of all wheat in your diet for 30 days. You can do it! Know that at first, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. But you’ll soon start feeling better and realizing a wheat-free life is not only doable, but also wonderful. One of my favorite excerpts from Wheat Belly Cookbook: “Lose the wheat, lose the weight…and the acid reflux, and the edema and the mental fog…”
Your next step may be looking to expert advice and help. Thanks to Wellness Mama for informing me of The Gluten Summit, I’ll be tuning in to learn even more about the gluten-free, wheat-free lifestyle (It starts today! 11-11-13). And you may want to listen in as well. Investigate, inquire and imagine yourself healthier than you are right now. It’s possible and IN your control.
Let’s Break (the) Bread (habit), Y’all!
For Those Cold, “Chili” days!
Snuggling up with a homecooked mug of chili while sitting by the fire on a cold, crisp evening warms the body and the soul. With healing ingredients like turmeric and garlic, cancer-fighting ones like beans, onions and mushrooms, the World’s Best Chili recipe is one that’s fills your belly and keeps you healthy, too.
World’s Best Chili Recipe
3 pieces organic bacon, diced
2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef (80/20)
1 medium onion, diced
1 small organic green pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
4-5 white or Crimini mushrooms, chopped
In a heavy bottomed pot, sauté above ingredients in order until meat is fully browned and veggies are translucent. Drain off excess fat into bowl and discard. Return mixture to pan. Add the following and mix well.
1 large box (26.46 oz) of Pomi chopped tomatoes
1 cup of cooked kidney beans
1 cup dry lentils, soaked and rinsed
3 cups of water
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp chili powder
**Use organic ingredients if possible.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover with lid and simmer at least 2 hours. Serve with toppings like sour cream, jalapeños, freshly grated cheese. Enjoy! #supper #onepotmeals
You can easily make this a vegetarian dish… just remove the meat and add more beans and veggies.
Let’s eat healthy comfort food, Y’all!