My New Gluten Free Adventure

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Dear Gluten Free Readers and Supporters:

I wanted to let you all know what I have been up to. Our family is still whole-heartedly involved in gluten free living. It is so refreshing to see all the manufactures and many restaurants making a conscious effort to satisfy their gluten intolerant, gluten sensitive and celiac audiences. In my efforts to sustain a healthy, more vibrant life, I ran across a company that specializes in healthy alternatives to many consumable products. I now work for a company, LiveLifeWell, that represents these products and they have changed our lives.
If you have been a follower of my blogsite in the past, you obviously care about your health and the health of your family and have looked into the possibility that the foods you eat have an effect on the way your body performs.  Have you ever thought about the other products that we expose ourselves to every day?  The products that we use to clean our teeth, our hair, our bodies and even our clothes and dishes.  What are in those products?

Well, our company knows that people not only want to put better foods in their body, they want to put better products in their home and that is why I love what I do.  It allows me to be an advocate for overall health for our family and the environment.

At LiveLifeWell, we are a community of like-minded shoppers who want a better alternative to the products found in the grocery store. Products that are safer for our homes, safer for our children and better for the environment.

The products we represent  are better than Whole Foods Quality at Walmart pricing and they are products you use every day.  Products ranging from laundry detergent, cleaning agents, cosmetics and bath & body products are a sample of the over 350 items we have to offer, products that are less expensive yet a better value than its competitors.  As America’s first consumer direct marketing company, these products are delivered right to your doorstep.

Our goal is educating people about the harsh chemicals found in everyday grocery store products used in the home and how they can be replaced with safer and healthier versions of these products without the added expense to your budget.

The products that we represent are GMO free, sulfate free, formaldehyde free, ammonia free, bleach free, paraben free and over 80 products are even gluten free and do not require child safety caps and more importantly, they come from nature and are all made in the USA.

For those of you who are in town, and for more information on how you can convert your home to a toxin free environment, please come to our Educational Seminars on Tuesday, February 26th or March 26th at 6:30 pm at the classroom next door to Boulder Nurse Midwives at 4800 Riverbend Road, Suite 100.

To register for this class or for more information contact me at 303-859-9908 or llwvelick@gmail.com

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Is Gluten Free Living Killing You?

I know that it seems rather odd of me to ask this question of you, in this, my last article of the season. But is it? It is bad enough that the cost of most gluten free items is often three times the cost of the gluten filled version, as I like to call them. On top of that, numerous articles are out there stating that although the original hype was that gluten free living helps you lose weight, most find patients actually gain weight on a gluten free diet. Many gluten free breads and baked goods contain twice or three times as much carbohydrates, sugars and fats.
In another study that I reported on earlier this year, there was a question as to whether celiac and gluten sensitive patients getting enough fiber in their diet. After all, how many grams of fiber does plain old brown rice bread pack? A whopping 1 gram! So now we are fat and constipated!
In a 2009 study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, it showed that some celiac patients have less than optimal levels of certain B vitamins. Great, what does that mean? Well, since folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are required to keep homocysteine levels in a safe range, a deficiency sets our bodies up for an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and other vascular complications. The B vitamin deficiency is most likely due to the inability of the absorptive lining of the intestinal tract to absorb many vitamins due to damage. Luckily a B complex supplement alleviated these symptoms.
My advice to you, now and in the future as you journey through your gluten free life is to pay attention to what you eat. There is no need to buy the $7 box of gluten free cookies. If you really crave a cookie, you can probably make a batch of mine for under $2. And back off a little on all the baked goods. Again, breads and desserts should be eaten at a minimal quantity whether they have gluten in them or not. You know what I do if I have a sweet tooth; take a rice cake and drizzle some peanut butter and maple syrup on top…yummy, sweet, filling and satisfying.
Lastly, eat plenty, and I mean plenty of whole foods, fruits and vegetables. Not only will this bulk up your fiber intake, it will also make you feel full longer, and not put as big a dent in your pocket book and at the same time your body will thank you for it. So don’t make any excuses as to why you are not eating gluten free. If you have any of the multiple symptoms I have talked about in my articles, do something about it. Remember, you need to be gluten free for at least 6 months to notice any results. Just do it…..
See you soon,
Lisa Velick
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Ingredients:
1 large eggplant, sliced into ½ inch slices
1 egg + 1 egg white, beat well
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 T Italian spices
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp tarragon
Directions:
Dip each eggplant slice into egg to coat both sides.
Mix last 4 ingredients in a bowl.
Coat eggplant slices into the parmesan mixture.
Place slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes per side.
Serve as a side dish.

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A Gluten Free Diet Could Decrease the Symptoms of ADHD and Anxiety

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Children with ADHD have been shown to do poorly on a diet including gluten. Therefore, today there has been much hype about patients with ADHD to follow a gluten (and often caisin free) free diet. This could just be a coincidence in that now as many as 1 in 100 Americans are either diagnosed or yet to be diagnosed with celiac disease. They could also simply have a sensitivity to gluten, in which patients experience symptoms similar to the celiac disease patients: headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, gas, bloating and many more. Unfortunately, many cases of celiac remain undiagnosed, partially because the patience symptoms are silent despite small bowel mucosal lesions.

Interestingly, the psychological and behavioral symptoms of ADHD are now coinciding with those of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. It is now recommended that celiac disease be included in the ADHD symptoms list. This was decided after a study that revealed that people with ADHD who tested positive for celiac disease reported an improvement in their behavior and functioning after 6 months on a gluten free diet.

I have accounted many times in my writing the association between your gut and brain, and here is just another example of what you put into your stomach affecting how you behave and respond to the environment. Grains are inherently pro-inflammatory and will worsen any condition that has chronic inflammation at its root. It is very common for people to experience a variety of mental health and emotional improvements upon eliminating gluten from their diet.

One of the keep culprits in this allergic reaction that occurs in the body is all due to a protein found in wheat called gliadin molecules. Gliadin molecules react with a protein in the gut that cause the lining to leak and results in the influx of undigested wheat proteins and stomach bacteria. Wheat also contains high amounts of wheat germ agglutinin, a type of lectin that also reaks havoc in the body. Rice, spelt and rye also have these lectins. Lectins are very small molecules and hard to digest, so they have a tendency to accumulate in the body and disrupt bodily functions.

Since there is a very real connection between the health of your gut and the health of your brain, by putting good foods into your body, you can avoid and take care of your mental health while at the same time taking care of your digestive health. In fact there are many studies that point to gastrointestinal disease being a culprit in neurological diseases. In fact, during fetal development, your brain and gut were once the same tissue. And then one part turns into the central nervous system and the other develops into your enteric nervous system. When your gut is unhealthy, inflamed and overworked, chemicals made by the body can affect the brain and result in a multitude of neurological disorders. Thus, by adhering to a gluten free diet, those patients with ADHD might notice a significant change in their behavior and functioning due to an increase in overall gut health.

Peanut Butter French Toast Waffles*
Ingredients:
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 T sugar
16 slices gluten free brown rice bread
4 large eggs
¾ cup rice or almond milk
½ t vanilla
8 T smooth peanut butter

Directions:
The night before put out bread to let get hard overnight.
Combine the fruit and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil, stir occasionally for 10 minutes
Cool to room temperature
Whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
Spread 1 T peanut butter on 4 slices of bread. Top with remaining 4 slices of bread.
Soak sandwiches in egg mixture for 4 minutes per side.
Heat a waffle iron coated with olive oil.
Place sandwich in the waffle iron, pressing firmly until closed. Cook until golden brown.
Remove ‘waffle’ onto a plate. Drizzle berry syrup on top. Enjoy!

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Should Adults be Screened for Celiac Disease?

There are certain criteria for screening patients for certain diseases. For example, in Italy, children are screened for celiac disease by the time they are 6 years old. The World Health Organization says that a disease should meet these criteria for mass screening: early clinical detection is difficult, the condition is common, screening tests are highly sensitive and specific effective treatment is available. Also, if left untreated the disease can lead to complications.
Celiac disease does meet this criteria in that celiac does affect 1 in 100 people. Patients, however remain undetected or there is a delay in diagnosis. And of course treatment is available: A gluten free diet. Although there has been much research to prove that in fact there should be a mass screening for celiac disease, it still is not implemented in this country.
Personally I would love for there to be a required screening, maybe during a 10 year old or 15 year old doctor check up, just so that my girls could know that they are not the only ones out there who are allergic or sensitive to gluten or even celiac as the case may be, they just know they are and the rest of their friends don’t know. Again, statistics show that in the U.S. we currently are diagnosing only 5% of our celiac patients, and so providing a mass screening procedure could only help to elevate these low numbers.
In addition to poor screening for celiac, research has shown that during a 15 year period in the United States, celiac disease prevalence has increased two fold and has increase 5 fold since 1974. That means that the incidence of celiac disease in the US doubles every 15 years. This trend has been observed in other countries as well, including Finland.
This might suggest to us that celiac disease is on the rise and that it increases with age. Since you are not necessarily born with celiac disease, the rise in occurrence may be correlated with an increase in age of the patients. This may sound contradictory to the idea that disease is inherited. But many autoimmune diseases are triggered by a particular tragic or significant event during their lives. Which makes sense in that patients frequently report that they have been very tolerant of gluten until a particular event occurred in their life. That event could have been giving birth to a child, a surgery, or a bad infection.
Unfortunately, autoimmune disease is the third most common disease category in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer. It would make sense that we would find some way to screen for it in order to prevent complications from the disease. And while we know that heredity does play a factor in autoimmune disease, we also know that the environment does as well. It turns out that the health of the small intestine often plays a role in the health of the patient. In fact, where there’s one autoimmune disease, there is often more. We now know that celiac disease is associated with type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, just to name a few.
So by screening patients later on in life for celiac disease and applying a valid treatment plan, by eliminating gluten from the diet, you are essentially preventing the patient from developing other autoimmune diseases later in life. Although reasons for screening are valid, it is not our choice as to whether a mass screening will take place. In the meantime, we need to be proactive in our health, and ask to be screened. This can be done through your doctor or nurse practitioner, or you can simple go on line to enterolabs.com, and order tests for yourself. If you suspect YOU might be celiac, because out of 100 subscribers of my articles, ONE of you is, and it is not me!
I chose this article for this week, as I was featuring the adults. I always write about kid issues and follow with kid recipes. This recipe is for the adult palate. It is pretty labor intensive. I double the recipe and freeze for an easy meal on a cold fall evening.
Vegetarian Moussaka
Ingredients:
1 eggplant sliced
1 zucchini sliced
2 potatoes sliced
1 onion sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
7 oz lentils with juices
1 tsp oregano
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs gluten free flour
1 ¼ cup lowfat milk
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Simmer lentils in 4 cups of water for 40 minutes. Set aside.
Sprinkle eggplant with salt and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a pan brown eggplant and zucchini. Remove from pan. Repeat with potatoes.
Saute garlic and onions until browned. Add tomatoes, lentils and oregano.
Cover and simmer on medium low heat for 15 minutes.
In a 9 X 13 baking dish place a layer of eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, onions and feta cheese.
Pour some tomato and lentil mixture over vegetable slices.
Add another layer of vegetables, then sauce. Top with layer of vegetables.
Bake for 25 minutes.
To make the topping, mix olive oil, milk and flour and bring to a boil while whisking.
When it thickens, add nutmeg.
Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes. Mix in the egg.
Remove casserole out of oven and add topping.
Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for another 30 minutes.
Take out of oven and cool for 15 minutes
Slice and serve. Makes 12 servings.

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Rosh Hashanah: A New Year for New Beginnings

Happy New Year! During the fall sometime, Jewish people all over the world celebrate their New Years on a holiday called Rosh Hashanah. On the Jewish Calendar, Rosh Hashanah is on the first and second days of Tishrei. Tishrei is the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. On the lunar calendar, this year, it falls on the evening of September 16th, 2012.
This period, the Days of Awe, is so important that preparations for it begin in the preceding month of Elul, when it is customary to blow the shofar during weekly services in synagogue. The shofar is designed to stir the heart of every Jew to repentance and toward a closer relationship with God. It is considered a great honor to blow the shofar. As the month of Elul draws to an end, there is a special Selichot (forgiveness) service on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah when the congregation recites a series of important prayers.
Here is a list of important items you need for Rosh Hashanah: Candlesticks and candles, wine and decanter, wine cups, 2 round challahs, challah cover, a holiday bread knife, cut apples, a dish of honey and flowers. Rosh Hashanah is welcomed by the lighting of two candles, for which the mother recites two special blessings. Then the father says the kiddush and a special blessing over the wine. Then the motzi is made on the 2 round challah. During the meal apples are dipped in honey to symbolize having a sweet new year.

New Years is a time for new beginnings. During Rosh Hashanah six years ago, I began the process of conversion to Judaism. Four years ago this season, I began the process to become a Bat Mitzvah..a women of the Torah. And four years ago during this season, our whole family went gluten free. Oh and don’t forget almost 2 years ago, thanks to my gluten free lifestyle, I regained my fertility and was blessed with a little Charli.  I don’t think I would have begun this process if it was not for giving up gluten. Gluten acted like a drug in my body, did not allow me to have the kind of relationship I wanted to have with God. I was in a brain fog. I am grateful every day for the clarity I feel on a gluten free diet. Make this your year for new beginnings. Do something for yourself, for your body that will allow you to become a better you.
Here is what I am doing for me this year. I am putting my blogsite on hold. My last article will be sent out on Yom Kipper. I have decided that I need to focus my energies on other things. I have a 22 month old that needs my attention. I have a 12 year old that is having her Bat Mitzvah this Jewish calendar year. And I have a High Schooler…need I say more. I also got a part time job teaching Hebrew at our Temple. I also hope that in a couple of years you will find my cookbook in your local bookstore! And my body, because I do listen to it, is telling me that I need to focus more on me. It is giving me little indications that I have been neglecting taking care of myself, and that is not a good thing. I need to be healthy to care for my husband and beautiful girls. So I am saying good-bye for now….La’Shana Tova
Apple Crisp*
Ingredients:
6 medium or 4 large gala apples, cut and peeled
1/3 cup gluten free oats
1/3 cup cranberries
2 T lemon juice
2 T agave
2 T arrowroot
2 T butter
4 gluten free graham crackers, crumbled
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cut apples into thin slices and lay in a pie dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
In a small bowl combined oats, cranberries, lemon juice, butter, agave, arrowroot and crumbled graham crackers.
Sprinkle on top of apples.
Bake covered for 30 minutes.
Bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.
Serve with frozen yogurt.

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Packing Gluten Free Lunches on a Budget

Lunches can be a challenge on a gluten free diet. Especially when you are having to pack them to go. I pack three lunches every morning, although I am reconsidering after I read the this blog. It was created by Ali and Tom of Whole Life Nutrition in Bellingham, Washington. They offer the latest information on Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease along with healthy gluten-free recipes using whole foods. http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2010/09/recipe-round-up-ideas-for-packing.html
Their children, who are 10 and 8 years old, make their own lunches! What a concept! I can’t even imagine. I think that just might be a summer project. Anyway, they posted this great ‘Packing a Healthy Lunchbox’ chart that I wanted to share with you. It is easy to follow and ensures that your kids are getting healthy foods that keep their brains thriving and their energy levels high so they can perform well in school and at home. What is nice about this list is that most of the foods listed are naturally gluten free and very affordable. And by grabbing a food from each category, your kids are sure to get a very colorful and appetizing lunch spread.

What it boils down to is: a fruit, a vegetable, a grain, a protein and a treat. I usually do my shopping on Mondays, but if you were to say, shop on Sunday’s you could do a little food prep and prepare containers with sliced fruits or whole fruit that has been washed and cut up some veggies, hard boil some eggs, make a batch of homemade soup and some healthy, homemade cookies and a pot of brown rice or quinoa and you are set for the week. Then the kids just have to decide what they want to eat from each category and put it in their lunch that morning or the night before if they know that they are pressed for time in the mornings.
Here is a great cookie that I love to make and don’t feel guilty about them eating. It is perfect for lunches. In fact lately, my husband has been getting one in his lunch every day. If you are not a big fan of figs, dates work well too.
Gluten Free and Vegan Fig Newtons*
Ingredients:
Filling
1 cup dried figs
½ cup water
½ cup organic sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Dough
1 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ t xanthan gum
½ cup agave nectar
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Directions:
Place figs in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds until they are well chopped
Add hot water and vanilla; process until a smooth paste results- soak for 1 hour.
In a large bowl, combine almond, brown rice, tapioca flour and xanthan gum.
In a smaller bowl, combine agave, molasses, grapeseed oil and vanilla.
Mix wet ingredients into dry, then refrigerate dough for 1 hour
Divide chilled dough into 4 parts
Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll out 1 part of the dough into a 10 x 4 inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick
Spread ¼ of the filling evenly down the right side (lengthwise) of the rectangle
Fold the dough in half down the long side –resulting in a 10 x 2 inch bar
“Mend” the seam so the bar is symmetrical
Repeat with 3 remaining parts of dough and filling
Transfer each bar to a parchment lined baking sheet; bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes
Allow to cool slightly; cut bar every 2 inches to form the fig newtons
Serve. Makes 20 cookies.

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Are you getting your DHA’s?

In a society where we have learned to be afraid of fat, it is hard to switch your brain mentality that fat is essential for human development and function. In fact, fat has a number of significant contributions to our bodily functions, including brain development and function, hormonal synthesis, and proper neurological functioning in the brain and spinal cord. Fat also helps you stay full longer so you are not looking for food an hour after a meal. It also helps keep your nails strong, your hair shiny and your skin looking healthy.
We all have heard that Omega-3 fatty acids are good for us. After all, it is advertised on many of the foods we buy in the grocery store today…from breads, to butters to eggs. Omega 3 fatty acid is an essential fatty acid (EFA) in that we can only get it through a dietary source. In fact every cell membrane in our body is made up of essential fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish and fish oils consist of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) plus eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA is required in high levels in the brain and retina to provide for optimal neuronal functioning and visual acuity.
Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with inflammation, one of my favorite topics, that lead to so many diseases in our society today. Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to help with hot flashes, osteoporosis, moods swings, memory, cardiovascular wellness and lower heart rate. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids have been linked with the prevention and treatment of a host of diseases including heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, asthma and many cancers.
There are many great, easy and gluten free sources of DHA’s in our diet. Remember my article last August on ‘How do Eggs get those Vitamins in There?’ My favorite is wild salmon (see my recipe below), but I do realize that salmon is not for everyone. It took my husband 40 years to eat salmon and if I can get my kids to eat two bits it is a miracle. Other sources include flaxseed, which if you follow my recipes, I sneak in all the time, hempseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, eggs, pumpkin seeds and algae. However, you might wonder, ‘well, how much do I need?’ Male adult and children need 1.6 grams per day, while female adults and children need 1.1 grams and 1.3 grams if you are breast feeding.

I have a routine…I know it is shocking…that every three weeks I make this delicious Salmon Salad for my husband for his lunches for the week. We then add variations of it, such as piled high on a tortilla with melted mozzarella, or on a half of a gluten free bagel toasted, or with thin slices of avocado on top. If you do not have these ingredients, come up with your own. Use mayonnaise, sour cream or Greek yogurt instead of the dressing. Add Dijon or honey mustard. Throw in a tablespoon of salsa. The important thing is that you are getting a great source of DHA’s in a healthy and delicious meal. Bon Appetite!
Salmon Salad*
Ingredients:
1- 6oz can wild Alaskan salmon
2 T Litehouse light Ranch dressing
1 T Spicy mustard
2 tsp horseradish
½ tsp crushed garlic
Directions:
Mix above ingredients until well blended.
Serve on an open face slice of gluten free bread or a bed of lettuce.
Makes 2 servings.

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