Gluten: What’s the fuss?

Have you noticed the sudden burst of gluten free foods on the market?  Overheard a conversation to the tune of, “Is there gluten in that?” If you aren’t already riding the gluten-free train, one can’t help but ask, “What is the fuss about? Am I gluten sensitive?”

The first question to answer is: What is gluten?  Gluten is a storage protein found in wheat that provides the elastic structure in bread and baked goods allowing them to rise or thicken (think soups and sauces).  Proteins similar to gluten are also found in rye, spelt, oats, and barley.

So, how do you know if you’re sensitive or allergic to gluten? Like all allergies, symptoms and intensity vary from person to person.  Symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, skin rashes, joint pain and fatigue.  Someone with celiac disease can suffer from debilitating symptoms and over time the inflammatory response suffered damages the small intestine and causes nutrient malabsorption.

Through an elimination diet you can catalog what affect wheat has on you. A dear friend of mine cut gluten out for a month and found her painful (and painfully obvious) rosacea cleared. I cut out gluten and found my energy levels dramatically improved. Admittedly, I occasionally indulge with pizza (Double whammy if you have dairy sensitivity, but that’s another ball game.) But now, I know what the effects are.

In the spirit of “spring cleaning,” I challenge you to clean your body too! For one week eliminate gluten from your diet and log any physical or mental changes you notice. Don’t worry, you won’t starve! To jog your cooking imagination here are some great grains that are gluten free:

  • Rice and rice flours (Brown, white, wild)
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Oats (certified gluten-free is best)

E-mail us using our CONTACT FORM with any great alternatives you come up with, for help on finding gluten free recipies, or just to tell us how your gluten free week went.

Eat Colorful!

Eat Colorful!

Break away from the gray this month by challenging yourself to add splashes of color to your diet. Think about your plate as your wardrobe, would you wear the same color all day, everyday?  With that in mind, wouldn’t your insides appreciate an outfit change?

Paint your plate with greens such as endive, asparagus, and mustard greens, all packed with vitamins to boost your immune system through winter and fiber to slim your waist for summer.  Punch up sauces with colorful bell peppers, high in vitamin C, or spicy chilies.  Sprinkle berries on morning oatmeal or cereal and dip a Fuji apple in almond butter for a snack. Don’t forget bright spices like turmeric and curry powders/pastes, which offer not only a kick for your taste buds, but also have natural anti-inflammatory properties and aid in detoxification.

The 5 for 5 challenge:

For five days this month, I challenge you to eat at least 5 different vegetables every day and keep a food log.  Get inspired to find new recipes and new favorites! Okra, anyone?   E-mail us your food log at, or drop it by the office at your next visit, with any delicious recipes you have discovered and be entered into a drawing at the end of March for a FREE MASSAGE with Helen!