Monday, April 4, 2011

Clean Eating

It's no secret I am a low-carb eater. I avoid sugar. I do not eat processed grains. I do not eat processed foods, and I prefer "slow food" to the alternative . I prefer raw over pasteurized, and "whole" over "low-fat". 

Part of the reason was a diagnosis many years ago that I have celiac's disease.  Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People, like me, who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, make-up and lip balms. In simple terms, it means I am allergic to wheat gluten. The truth is, I stayed away from the gluten-heavy foods regardless, but they have a way of sneaking into even the healthiest lifestyle and diet.

Celiac disease affects people in all parts of the worlds, all genders, all races. Originally it was thought to be a rare childhood symptom, but now celiac disease is known to be a common disorder. More than two million people in the United States have the allergy, or about 1 in 133 people. People who have a relative - a parent, sibling or child - diagnosed with celiac disease (brace yourself) - the stats are about 1 in 22 that it may affect you or a family member in your/their lifetime. (I suppose I should warn my kids..)

It is a common myth that while having Celiacs, you are unable to eat "regular food". Typically the "regular" referred to, is pure over-processed junk. Breads, pasta, cookies, crackers, etc... When I have a nutrition client who needs to lose weight - even before my celiac diagnosis, I pulled them off these foods. (And sugar. But I am very vocal on my dislike for sugar-filled diets.)
If you are wondering why you are carrying extra weight around your middle, yes -your belly, your thighs and butt - why don't you refer back to what you are eating? 
Are they the items I just mentioned? Do you feel sluggish a few hours after you eat? It's certain WHAT you are eating, not how much, or what time you've eaten. (Another myth to chat about in a later blog.)

Despite restrictions, I can still eat a well balanced diet with a variety of foods. Typically, I eat a diet HIGH in vegetables, lean organic meats, fruits, and nuts. 

The problem with a gluten-free diet is the amount of gluten-free JUNK FOOD out there! You can find gluten free foods in almost any mainstream store - pasta, cookies, pretzels, etc.  Mainly made with rice or soy - but all processed junk, in my humble opinion. Great in a pinch, but processed junk overall. High in chemicals and preservatives, and also high in sugars. Acceptable grains would include quinoa, amaranth and brown rice. Still that jumps the carbs way up, so it's essentially a choice. 
Remember, the higher the carbohydrate value, the easier that food is converted to sugar to fat. Sort of like trading one evil for another, isn't it?

I use the term "eating clean". This means as simple as nature intended. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats. Caveman-like. If it comes in a box... well, it really isn't food, is it? Did the box grow from the ground with food already in it? How silly is that notion?

At certain periods in my life, I ruminate fondly on certain foods and that I may actually "miss" them.  (I'm laughing again.) For example, freshly baked bread. I LOVE that smell. I realized, over time, I adore the smell of freshly baked bread more than the actual bread itself. I call bread a "filler food". Is it really packed with nutrients? No. 
Does the waiter in a restaurant bring you a basket of bread because he wants to give you a nutrient-dense food that is healthy for you?  (HAHA). Um, no. He wants to fill your belly with bread so they can scale down the portion size of the food he will be bringing you after you order from the restaurant menu.

The food I have missed is... PIZZA.  Pizza. 
True, gluten-free pizza crust is out in the mainstream market, but is it healthy? (No. Not so much.) 
I found, on a gluten-free website, a crust that is made from CAULIFLOWER. I've made this pizza crust on about 6 or 7 occasions now. It is FABULOUS. 

After I make the crust, I add a low-sugar sauce, spinach, mushrooms, red peppers, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and yes, even cheese. Take a look at the pic of my last pizza? YOU know you would eat that!  Would you miss the "bready" crust? No! You receive a healthy burst of flavor and one of the healthiest low-carb pizzas on the planet.

Here is the recipe:

Eat healthy today! Think before you snack. Fuel your body.   :)

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