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Gluten-Free Diet May be Diabetic Risk

Reader’s Digest recently published an article that talked about how even though our blood sugar might seem fine, if it’s at the high end of the spectrum when tested, we are still at risk for diabetes. Also, family history and obesity play a role.

How does this related to GF diets? If we are eating processed GF foods and bread products, or even typical GF flour, cake, bread and pancake mixes, they can cause weight gain. Why? Because they are loaded with sugars and carbs! And don’t let “natural” or even “organic” labels fool you. I eat almost exclusively organic, but I still read the ingredients. High-carbohydrate ingredients like potato starch, tapioca starch and corn starch (Blech!) might throw blood sugar off. And of course, you probably know that Type II Diabetics are at risk for Celiac disease. See the connection?

Solution: Check labels and make your own desserts, bread, pasta substitutes, cakes, cookies, pies, pizza, etc. with my cookbooks that give you simple recipes that take very little time with good planning. Click here for more information.

Why are People Avoiding Gluten?

Have you ever tried not eating gluten for just two weeks? When I tried it, I felt a lot better both physically and emotionally. I felt much more balanced and I had more energy. It took awhile to look back and see the emotional part.

My emotions improved even more by cutting out all grains and sugars of all kinds, except for fruit, and very little of that for me. Sound rough? It can be daunting to think about, but the actuality is food your body will love and crave over time.

For example, want spaghetti? No problem, just cut zucchini into thin slices and top with your favorite sauce. Add whatever other fun things you like, such as mushrooms, olives and grated cheese of choice. If you are a meat-eater, add that too. If vegan, add some sprouted nuts and seeds for protein and your favorite vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. For great recipes, see our home page for more about Debbie’s cookbooks.

What Would Your Ancestors Eat? Think Paleo and Primal

I feel so much healthier, and so do many people, eating closer to nature. When you are away from the city (or just imagine being in the country), look around you. What do you see most of? Green, leaves, grass, vegetation, right? Get closer to the trees. Might they be nut or fruit trees? Perhaps there are some berry bushes.

If you’re really quiet, small or large animals may appear. All of these were food sources for the ancient race of people on our planet. This would be considered primal or paleo diets, depending on your specific philosophy. Grains are rarely eaten, as you might have gathered from your mental foray. Can you imagine trying to peel open tiny grains? That would take quite some effort. Keep it simple, but note you can still enjoy yummy desserts and comfort food with my new cookbook Desserts and Comfort Foods For EVERY Body.

What to Eat on a Gluten Free Diet?

I know it’s tough, because I’ve been there. I thought rye bread was okay, and oats (which are if the label says they are gluten-free), but I had no idea! Even millet, a gluten-free grain, has now been cross-contaminated with gluten-filled grains. There is good news, though.

Simply eat in a more Paleo or Primal Diet fashion, which is to avoid grains completely. Quinoa and Amaranth are considered seeds rather than grains and are much higher in protein. This way, you get a satisfying, flavorful alternative and can make your own pancakes, cakes, cookies and breads. See my cookbook for help with all that.

What is Celiac Disease? By Scott Adams of Celiac.com

Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder that affects at least 1 in 133 Americans. Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition, to latent symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies but no gastrointestinal symptoms. The disease mostly affects people of European (especially Northern European) descent, but recent studies show that it also affects Hispanic, Black and Asian populations as well. Those affected suffer damage to the villi (shortening and villous flattening) in the lamina propria and crypt regions of their intestines when they eat specific food-grain antigens (toxic amino acid sequences) that are found in wheat, rye, and barley. Oats have traditionally been considered to be toxic to celiacs, but recent scientific studies have shown otherwise. This research is ongoing, however, and it may be too early to draw solid conclusions.

Because of the broad range of symptoms celiac disease presents, it can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms can range from mild weakness, bone pain, and aphthous stomatitis to chronic diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and progressive weight loss. If a person with the disorder continues to eat gluten, studies have shown that he or she will increase their chances of gastrointestinal cancer by a factor of 0 to 100 times that of the normal population. Further, gastrointestinal carcinoma or lymphoma develops in up to 15 percent of patients with untreated or refractory celiac disease. It is therefore imperative that the disease is quickly and properly diagnosed so it can be treated as soon as possible.

The Secret of Cooking for Food Allergies

Even though I don’t have food sensitivities, I cook and eat as if I doÖgo figure! I always wanted to eat as healthy as possible, so I simply cut out wheat, then sugars of all kinds and finally cow milk products. So I have worked for decades to come up with fun, delicious, and most important; satisfying ways to eat healthy food. I enjoy the creative process of developing recipes that thrill the palate but keep people healthy or make them healthier.

So what’s the secret? Just think of flavor, color and love! Herbs, spices, organic flavorful oils, fresh organic fruits or vegetables, organic nuts and seeds, organic protein of all kinds and most important for flavor: gourmet salt. The best I’ve found in the Himalayan, “pink salt” you can find at most stores now in the health section.

Let’s get started with some fun ideas. Do you love pasta, but don’t want the starch? Try julienne vegetables with your sauce of choice, pesto, savory tomato, or even ‘a la carbonara (bacon flavor).

What about pie crusts? You can make any crust with nuts, ground up and blended with a bit of salt and sweet (like Stevia, for low-glycemic). I love putting cinnamon in my pumpkin pie crust. What a surprise! And it’s naturally sweet. I toss in some thyme for the quiche crust. All made with various kinds of nuts. My favorite for quiche is almond flour.

What about the pie filling? Fruit and Stevia work great together if you want to fool your taste buds into thinking it’s sugar. I make a raisin sauce to combine with Stevia since I’m too sensitive to sugar to use date paste or other concentrated fruit sweeteners.

Even cakes and sweet breads, like banana bread, can be made with almond meal flour combined with quinoa or amaranth flour. I’ve tried just almond meal flour on its own in carrot cake, for example, and it comes out really moist. I like it that way, almost like a pudding cake, so I recommend experimenting to find your “sweet spot” for dessert.

For cream soups, try using soaked, germinated cashews to blend in the blender with cooked veggies of your choice. They are softer than other nuts when soaked and the flavor is wonderful. It’s also really filling and satisfying!

When a person gets the natural, healthy oils and salts their body needs, they will feel satisfied! And remember the flavor!

Staying Slim on a Gluten-Free Diet

Investigate every ingredient on gluten-free packaged foods and what do you find? Sugar, starch, corn, rice and every other high-carb, high-glycemic-index ingredient you can imagine.

Add to that potato starch and bean flour plus tapioca flour for good measure and that equals weight-gain.

So how do you avoid getting heavy on a gluten-free diet? Either eat a caveman diet, or get creative with delicious soups, main dishes, salads and desserts you love by learning to cook them yourself.

How? You can be creative with nuts and seeds in place of flour for pie crusts, cakes, brownies and bars. You don’t have to deprive yourself of these treats to stay slim. Then experiment with fruit, Stevia and other natural non-nutritive sweeteners that go well with a balance of something sweet like applesauce, or other fruit sauces you can make yourself quite easily. Replace sugar, honey or agave with fruit sauces combined with whole leaf liquid Stevia. Ask your health store about it. It’s the only natural non-nutritive sweetener I can honestly recommend, knowing what I do about processing. Avoid bottled fruit jams and such as they usually have corn syrup, even if hidden in “fruit juice concentrate.” Try frozen organic fruit (so you avoid refined, added sugars) and blend them in the blender, once thawed, to make your own yummy flavors for pancake sauce/syrup.

Yes, you can have pancakes! High-protein, low-carb pancakes consist of nuts and seeds blended with eggs, cottage or ricotta cheese (if you can eat dairy, if not, use some organic canned coconut milk, the thick part), grapeseed oil, a little salt, cinnamon, stevia and vanilla. Toss in a bit of baking soda or powder and voila! You have pancakes or crepes, if you add some water. You’ll know it will work by the texture of your mix.

With some desserts, especially pie crusts, you may want to use about º cup amaranth or quinoa flour for a firmer crust or cake. Don’t trust millet as it may be cross-contaminated with wheat these days. You can also use these flours to thicken soups or sauces and gravies, too.

Be sure to include good oils and fats to increase flavor and satisfaction. We’ve gotten away from eating oils and they are so necessary, and they do not cause weight-gain, starch and sugars do!

Even real butter or ghee (clarified butter), or virgin cold-pressed coconut oil can be very good for you, depending on what your doctor recommends.

To top it all off, add fresh herbs and spices to your diet with gourmet, healthy salt such as pink Himalayan or Celtic sea salt full of minerals. Your body will love the nutrients it’s getting, the natural flavors and textures, and it will stay slim while you feel great!

Menopause Made Easier with Food

At one Thanksgiving meal, a friend of mine from India said she didn’t have any hot flashes when she avoided sugar completely. I was all ears! I wasn’t able to sleep through the night, as I kept waking up with tortuous hot flashes every two hours, or even more often. After following her advice, my menopausal symptoms improved.

Then I wondered if eating gluten-free may help as well. I was desperate after trying every herb and potion on the market, going to every doctor, whether conventional or alternative. I still ate more fruit than might have been good for me and grains as well. But my body-type does not like grains at all, I’ve found, and very little fruit. Where did that leave me?

I love cooking for special diets, so I went back to the kitchen and started experimenting. What I came up with actually launched a restaurant and everyone else felt great! But I still had some hot flashes. I did a book-signing in Canada, and the woman who was my local contact told me she had hot flashes, as well as joint pain, whenever she ate nightshade vegetables. Those are potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant (who cares!) and any kind of pepper, including black, green, yellow and red peppers.

Then I had to make sure I got enough healthy oils and fats for optimal nervous system function. Since I tend to get stressed easily, it helped to keep me calm. And that, my friends, is the real secret. The source of most illness is stress. So whatever you can eat that will lower your stress level for your body type is a big key for you.

The following recipe is a gift for you from my cookbook, based on my gluten-free, low-glycemic, allergy-friendly, nightshade free (mostly), vegan to meat restaurant:

Golden Chalice PESTO UN-PASTA

I used to love pasta, but since eating “un-pasta” for so long, it doesn’t even appeal to me anymore! Now I love vegetables in their most flavorful outfits. Our guests at The Golden Chalice loved this dish, too. Serves: 3 – 4 people.

Ingredients:

  • One medium organic Spaghetti Squash
  • Ω cup thinly sliced organic Red Onion
  • 2 Tblsps. of Unsalted Ghee or virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup Organic Zucchini slices, julienne (cut lengthwise in thin strips)
  • 3 tablespoons Organic Classic Pesto Sauce (recipe follows this one)
  1. Cut Spaghetti Squash in half and clean out seeds. (If you don’t have a sharp enough knife to do this, simply bake whole and clean out seeds after baking.
  2. Drizzle one tablespoon of Unsalted Ghee on each half (or Grapeseed Oil, if Vegan) cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or more, depending on whether or not you like your un-pasta “al dente” — a little more chewy. Scoop out two cups of squash, which should now look somewhat like spaghetti. It’s easier to keep in strands using fork to take out.
  3. Sautee Onion and Pepper in Grapeseed Oil or organic Unsalted Ghee:
  4. Add Zucchini to above and continue to sautÈ.
  5. Add Spaghetti Squash and Pesto Sauce and Blend in well:

Success Secret: On all amounts and measurements in this or any recipe, please adjust to your personal taste.

The key to different eating needs is here:

Variations:

  1. Top with toasted or sprouted Pine Nuts (Soak for at least four hours, then rinse) and grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (from Sheep) or organic Goat Feta Cheese, if you desire, just before serving.
  2. For meat or seafood lovers you may want to add sliced grilled or sautÈed organic chicken or shrimp. Have cayenne or crushed red peppers available as condiments for certain friends who love it hot!
  3. If you are in a hurry or do not like squash, feel free to use exclusively julienne vegetables such as Zucchini, Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, Onions, etc. for base instead of spaghetti.

Vegans and Dairy-free: Add sprouted Nuts and Seeds or other protein of choice. Nutritional yeast in place of cheese, or almond -cheese, available in health stores.

Healing without Drugs is Possible, Do-able and Being Done!

Doctors are finally realizing that about 60% of the population has some degree of Celiac disease, or gluten-intolerance. Also, Diabetes is becoming more and more prevalent, especially among children. Now doctors are also diagnosing both diseases in many people, finding a link between Celiac disease and Diabetes. With the way most people eat today, it’s not surprising. It’s also not surprising if you look at the pre-packaged gluten-free foods available. They’re typically loaded with starch, which breaks down into sugars; too much for someone at risk for Diabetes.

I’ve noticed that progressive doctors are healing everything from ADD and autism to schizophrenia with combined gluten-free and sugar-free diets and sometimes also allergen-free foods plus a few specific supplements (google “natural cures for” anything and you will be astounded!). Please don’t try this without a doctor’s supervision and please stay on your medication unless you are told by your doctor you can do something different!

Can you imagine what a mostly gluten-free and low glycemic diet can do for those of us who are not at risk, but just unwell? I do not have Celiac Disease and I’m not Diabetic, but I always wanted to eat as healthy as possible, so I simply cut out wheat a long time ago as a staple in my life. I eat it almost never now. Also, I was borderline Hypoglycemic, which many of you know, through hard experience, can turn to Diabetes.

Also, can you imagine the mood improvement in everyone who watches their gluten intake more carefully? I have noticed a marked improvement in my own emotional balance, even through hormonal cycles that would normally cause me to be grumpier!

It does require some food prep. But I have worked for twenty years to make it easier on everyone. I love cooking for special diets. So here you are, my gift to you (well, there is a cost to it, but much less than the half-a-million I put into the restaurant to find out everyone loves my recipes!)