Tag Archive for Gluten free

Is Your GI Tract Out of Whack? How to Restore Your Gut and Your Mind

Is your GI tract out of whack? Your mental and physical health become impaired when your gut is imbalanced. Find out how to heal it here.
If your GI tract is out of whack, your mental and physical health will be too. Fatigue and fuzzy thinking, not to mention bloating and irregular bowel movements, are linked to your gut health. If your sick and tired of feeling less than your best it’s time to look at your gut health.

Your GI Tract is Your Second Brain

Scientists consider the GI tract (Gastrointestinal tract) the body’s second brain. It’s vital to your mental and physical health. The microbes in your gut are responsible for more than 80% of your immune system and can help your body fight off foreign invaders such as the cold or flu.

Your GI tract is also a key player in your brain chemistry. It breaks down amino acids in your gut turning them into neurotransmitters in the brain. If this process isn’t running smoothly (literally) your mood and health are compromised.

Is Your Gut Hurting or Helping Your Brain Chemistry?

As you know, amino acids are found in the foods you eat and the supplements you take. When your GI tract is balanced, your mood and energy levels are too. Allergies, stress, and toxins can cause severe damage to the lining of your gut; this disrupts your mood and mental health too. If your feeling down, depressed or drained testing your neurotransmitter levels can help identify if there is an imbalance; in your brain and in your gut.

Your GI tract is responsible for producing important neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA. The bacteria in your gut is in charge of making these inhibitory very important neurotransmitters that regulate your mood. In fact, more than 95 percent of the serotonin in your body made in your gut. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, your gut health is likely to blame.

Is My Gut Imbalanced?

Some of the most common symptoms and side effects of an imbalanced GI tract are:

  • IBS
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Eczema or Asthma
  • Intense Seasonal Allergies
  • Fibromyalgia or Joint Pain
  • Chronic fatigue or Fogginess
  • Hives or Rashes
  • Mood Disorders and Anxiety
  • Autoimmune Illnesses
    • Ulcerative Colitis
    • Celiac’s
    • Crohn’s Disease
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Psoriasis
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Lupus
    • Scleroderma
    • Rosacea
    • Type 1 Diabetes

What Can Cause or Contribute to a GI Tract Imbalance?

  • Refined carbohydrates, processed or fast foods
  • Processed white flour
  • Foods high in sugar: The more sugar we eat, the fewer the binding sites available for Vitamin C and therefore a dampened immune response.
  • Artificial flavors and dyes (such as Blue #1, Blue #2, Red #3 and Red #40 and Yellow #6)
  • Preservatives (BHA, BHT, sodium nitrate/nitrite, sulfur dioxide and potassium bromate) and flavor enhancers (Monosodium glutamate and Disodium Guanylate)
  • High-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats)
  • Toxins such as processed wheat, soybean and corn oil that can contribute to leaky gut
  • Gluten or dairy
  • Antibiotics
  • Birth Control
  • Alcohol
  • NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin. NSAIDs can inhibit your body from rebuilding the intestinal lining.

How to Balance Your Gut and Your Mind

There are natural ways to balance your GI tract. The most important thing to do is talk to your practitioner and look at your histamine levels (high histamine indicates a food allergen). This will help to identify if there is a trigger in your diet, and without removing it, all the supplements in the world will not heal your gut. Repairing your gut may take some time, but when you are working with a trained practitioner like those here at Neurogistics, you will have support and accountability along the way. Other ways to repair your GI tract include:

  • Taking supplements to support immune and central nervous system such as glutamine that supports immunity and digestion and Omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin D
  • Avoiding chemicals, pesticides, and other environmental toxins
  • Taking Probiotics such as kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt
  • Reducing Stress through these mindfulness exercises

Significant changes in your GI tract and your brain can take just a few weeks to start working.  For more information on testing your neurotransmitter levels and balancing your GI tract look into our programs.

481 total views, no views today

How to Improve Your Diet and Achieve Optimal Health

Want to improve your diet and achieve optimal wellness? Our clinicians share tips to improve your diet and your mind.

There are simple ways to improve your diet without disrupting your sanity. Eliminating foods can cause panic and stress for most people, but what they fail to realize is it enhances their health. Our clinicians have some helpful tips that you can implement into your life today. » Read more..

857 total views, no views today

What You Need to Know About Gluten Intolerance & Sensitivity

Have you ever wondered why gluten is getting such a bad rap these days? The prevalence of Celiac and gluten intolerance has increased significantly and the media is all over it. But do you really need to cut out gluten from your diet? Here’s what you need to know about gluten sensitivities, allergies and Celiac Disease. » Read more..

1,201 total views, no views today

Gluten-Free Valentine’s Day Sweets

Do you or someone you love have a food allergy? Valentine’s sweets are everywhere right now, but before indulging make sure you check out the ingredients to avoid a potential gluten or dairy disaster. Even if you read the ingredients, gluten could be hiding in those heart shaped boxes.  Here is what you need to know about gluten-free candy this year.  » Read more..

15,663 total views, no views today

Chia Seeds: The SUPER Seed

super seed

The month of March is National Nutrition Month (#NNM). The awareness and education campaign is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (known previously as the American Dietetic Association). Its’ purpose is to promote good nutrition by spreading awareness and education about nutritional choices, and to challenge people to make the healthiest food choices they can. This month we are blogging, posting, and tweeting about #NNM.  We will share our delicious & nutritious recipe ideas and nutrition-packed foods for you and your family to try.

The Super Seed: 10 Benefits of Chia Seeds

If you haven’t tried chia seeds you are missing out!  Chia seeds are the hottest super food and phenomenally rich in health benefits. One serving has:

  1. 5 x more calcium than milk
  2. More than 1/3 of your daily fiber intake
  3. 27% of your daily value of phosphorus
  4. 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10 percent of the daily value
  5. They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation) & contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
  6. 3x more antioxidant power than blueberries
  7. Helps to regulate insulin
  8. Cleanses the colon and absorbs harmful toxins
  9. Contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to improve mood and regulate appetite and sleep
  10. Combat diabetes by helping to control blood sugar

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant salvia hispanica, grown in Central America dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. “Chia” means strength, and serves as a perfect name for this super seed, because they are filled with nutrients, protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss, energy, and make a great healthy substitute for those with food allergies. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system – making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.

chia seedsChia Seed Pudding

This tasty treat is nutritional and remarkably simple – All you need is one bowl! (serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 3 cups nut milk, coconut or hemp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp of birch sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Place the chia seeds and dry ingredients in the bowl, add in milk (almond is my favorite) and then vanilla. Stir well, so that there are no clumps and the chia seeds are coated in milk. Let sit at room temperature for 20 – 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate. Within one hour you should have a delicious pudding (similar to tapioca). If it isn’t sweet enough feel free to add a bit of agave nectar or a handful of fruit.

Chia Seed Gel

Easy and energizing!

  • 2 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut water

Add two tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of coconut water and let sit for ten minutes. Like recently-introduced products from energy and sports drink companies, you’ll have a thick hydration and energy gel that’s great for runners’ recovery or other athletic activity

2,894 total views, no views today

Great Gluten-Free Gift Ideas

On the fourth day of Christmas, give a gift that is as thoughtful as it is tasty.   Everyone has a gluten-free person on their list this year, and with the array of holiday gluten-filled and gluttonous options, give them something they can eat! Whether you are attending a party or want to make a gluten-free  pal feel extra special, check out these great gluten-free  gift ideas. » Read more..

3,720 total views, no views today

Backpack Snacks That Boost Brain Power

kid-backpack

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Snacks can help to save your kids mood and attention span during the long days back in school. Having healthy snacks on hand that can enhance focus and prevent meltdowns is easier than you think. Making sure that the snack contains a protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat ratio is imperative for cognitive functioning and keeping moods stable. Many prepackaged and portable foods contain additives, dyes and more sugar than a can of soda. Try these for simple and effective alternatives for boosting brain power.

No Cold Pack Needed!

justins-natural-almond-butter-153218Rice Chips and Nut Butter. Gluten and dairy-free rice crackers, chips, or NutThins and a side of almond or sunflower butter keeps protein and fat contents proportional, while also adding some complex carbohydrates. Justin’s almond butter is a product that has individual packs, or you can simply separate the chips and the nut butter into different containers to keep the chips from getting soggy. Many schools are anti-peanuts these days, so alternative nutbutters are an added bonus.

Trail Mix. Make your own (link) by adding in nuts and cereals that your child likes, as well as some dried fruit or dye-free chocolate bites and you now have a portable healthy snack that is great for any time of the day. Have your kids make their own too, with this reindeer mix. My favorite gluten free and protein filled option; lentil chips, pistachios (without the shell), and dried cranberries (sugar-free). Good fats, protein, and complex carbs.

Edamame. This soy bean can be steamed and stored in any container, add some sea salt and it’s a protein powerhouse. There are roasted versions too, that are easy to snack on and nonperishable.

Jerky. Salmon jerky, soy jerky, and even turkey jerky can all be found with organic labels these days, and they are a great snack to tide hunger over in any kid. The protein content is high, and so is the sodium so watch out, but jerky has a great chewiness factor to keep kids occupied.

Keep it Cool

Cheese to-go. Babybel cheese and crackers or string cheese, grapes and corn chips or crackers.

Roll Ups.  Whole wheat or spelt tortillas (gluten free tortillas if needed), Swiss cheese, and turkey slices, and add some avocado if your kiddo is an adventurous eater or mustard. Vegetarian kiddo’s, can try hummus and extra vegetables.  Or the old-school PB&J can  be jazzed up with almond butter, banana, coconut flakes and honey in a tortilla. Cut into pinwheels and they become more fun to eat.bluediamond-nutthins

Dippers. Hummus and rice chips or baby carrots. You can actually freeze the hummus and 4 hours later its in its dipable form. Use it as an icepack and snack all at once.

Weelicous has amazing recipes for fruit and seedbars that you can make into gluten-free combos and creative fun snacks.

7,747 total views, 60 views today

What is “Clean Eating”?

Emily Roberts MA, LPC

There are so many diets and fads out; it’s difficult to know what is best for you and your family, and what is more work than it’s worth.  Paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, raw, the list goes on.  One of the lifestyle diets we hear most is “Clean Eating”. This is a great plan for many, depending on your dietary needs and restrictions; however, let’s get clean on what it really means.

Clean Eating is not just washing your produce well and keeping a close eye on labels. Simply put, clean eating is avoiding all processed food, and relying on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, rather than prepackaged or fast food. The purpose of clean eating is to make sure you are getting your nutrients and your health from whole foods, and avoiding junk food.  According to research, a clean eating lifestyle can keep you healthy, or help you regain your health if you haven’t been well. If this sounds close to impossible, to only eat clean, I hear you! However, it’s easier than you may think.  One of my favorite blogs these days, The Gracious Pantry, puts it in perspective:

  1. Eat Lots of Plants, Fruits, and Veggies – Emphasize foods that are close to nature. If you focus on foods that are off a tree, bush, plant or vine, you’ve pretty much got it covered. Stay away from foods that are processed.
  2. Include Meats, Fish, and Poultry - Eat meats that are whole and straight from the butcher, not prepackaged (which are sometimes filled with nitrates and other chemicals).
  3. Enjoy Grains - Eat grains that are still complete and haven’t been broken down into “glue”. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat, and other whole grains (For a list of foods to stock your pantry with, check out this list.)
  4. Don’t Always Trust Labels – “Whole Grain” or “natural” doesn’t always mean it is.  Look closely at the ingredients: white flour is not a whole grain, and “natural” spices and flavorings can encompass surprising ingredients – clarify with the company.
  5. The Fewer Ingredients, the Better. Try not to purchase foods that have more than 3-6 ingredients in the ingredient list, according to The Gracious Pantry. If you can’t pronounce it, and don’t recognize it, it likely shouldn’t go in your body.

You Can Have Carbohydrates

Avoid anything white or “enriched”.  Once again, if you are trying to eat clean, then you will want to purchase only those products that say 100% WHOLE grain/meal/flour.

Your Whole Family Can Benefit.

Processed foods are linked to lower IQs in children, research suggests. When we think of creating a lifestyle (depending on your child’s unique dietary needs), many parents are choosing to eat clean, most of the time.  A family I talked to recently said they do 80:20, 80% clean, 20% real life.  The book Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love (Fair Winds Press, 2012), by Michelle Dudash, R.D. can help, as well as many of the websites and blogs out there:

The Gracious Pantry

Clean Eating Magazine

Michelle Dudash

 

9,804 total views, 3 views today

Gluten-Free Products I’m Loving!

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Grocery shopping can be an overwhelming task when you or loved one has a dietary restriction.  As a gluten free shopper, on most occasions, I am constantly finding new products that promise to be “tasty”, but are often tasteless.  It’s wonderful that more and more companies more open to making gluten free products; and now almost every grocery store carries aisle that can meet any dietary needs, from sugar-free to soy-free there is something for everyone. The only problem is trying to decipher between them all, do they really taste as good as they look? Have no fear!  I have tried them out, asked my expert friends and foodies, and found some of my new favorite gluten-free, and some casein-free foods.  Check out the ones I just can’t get enough of right now.

Glow Gluten Free Cookies.  Love at first bite!  I tried these at a party and had no idea they were gluten-free until after I ate the entire cookie.  It is so difficult to find a gluten-free cookie that tastes good, and with a texture that is identical to your regular cookie, you will be doing a double take at the box.   They are trans-fat, preservative, and casein- free.  The cookies are baked in a GFCO certified gluten free kitchen, so you don’t have to worry about additives. Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray are fans, and they know good deserts!  Check out all of Glow’s flavors at http://www.glowglutenfree.com/

Daiya Cheese: A few months ago, a friend introduced me to this amazing product.   At a local pizzeria, I tried a gluten free pie; little did I know it was also dairy-free, made from Daiya cheese!  I couldn’t even tell the difference! The texture was spot on- it melted perfectly, and I couldn’t stop myself from having an extra slice. One of the best pieces of pizza I have had in NYC and it was dairy-free and gluten-free, can you believe it?  They also have a variety of other delicious flavors that please even the pickiest of pallets.

Popchips. These certified gluten free chips that are really amazing.  They are just like potato chips but honestly- they are better!  You won’t be able to resist their crunchy charm, all the while knowing that they are actually healthy!  With 100 calories and about 3 grams of fat per serving, you will feel much better about munching on these then calorie laden potato or corn chips.

Trader Joe’s Garlic Hummus Dip.  By far my favorite hummus on the planet!   It is so delicious and zesty, perking up a normal cracker or bell pepper into a delicious treat. It has a very light and airy, almost whipped, texture, which is very pleasing to my pallet.  Eat it as a snack; add to your favorite sandwich, or salad.  A great source of protein and its only $3.99 for 16 ounces, quite a deal!

Soy & Almond Dream Milk or Creamer.  On accident, I stumbled upon this amazing alternative to lactose.  Buying creamer at the store, I grabbed this one without thinking, and I am happy I did.  It is gluten and dairy- free and tastes amazing.  I actually prefer it to cream, it is much healthier with 130 calories per serving (Original flavor) and 7g of protein, I use it in my oatmeal and anything that calls for milk.  My friend who is vegan and gluten-free, uses it in her Mac and Cheese and swears it cooks as well as cow’s milk, it was just as creamy as the original.  Great for kiddos who can’t tolerate casein or lactose (and goes really well with those Glow Gluten Free Cookies).  If you cant have soy or dairy, this is a great alternative. It’s made from almonds and has a texture that is similar to milk.  I have it in my coffee, smoothies, or over cereal.  The chocolate is my favorite!  It’s actually lower in calories that cow’s milk and has a variety of nutrients.

If you are trying to make a dietary change for you or your family, research the products before you stock your fridge. Buying products that look great in the box, but taste like cardboard will only make you more inclined to go back to your old patterns.  Make sure to check with us, your friends who have dietary restrictions or blogs that are honest about their experiences with these foods.  Happy eating!

6,038 total views, no views today

Great Gluten Free Resources

 By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Karina Allrich's Gluten Free Pumpkin Stuesuel Muffins, creater of Gluten Free Goddess

“What can I eat? “ I find myself frequently thinking of what I am not allowed to eat rather then the wealth of foods I am able to enjoy these days.  Myself, and others who have sensitiveness to gluten,  often find themselves in this tiny corner of the grocery store, that can seem daunting and scarce.  It’s important to note that any food with wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats in the ingredients list, or that indicates it has been manufactured in the presence of wheat, gluten, or gluten-containing ingredients can affect you if you have these sensitivities. I didn’t know this until recently when I had some oatmeal, which was a bothersome experience. Upset, I decided to start looking at what I can enjoy instead of focusing on what I have to live without.

 For many parents and clients we talk with, the change to any diet appears very difficult at first, but after they look at all the possibilities of foods they can eat, try out recipes with success, and eat at their favorite restaurants with ease they often tell us, it’s much easier than they expected.

Here are some sites that I found extremely useful in making my transition to gluten-free and understanding what I CAN eat.  Please add your favorite sites and blogs as well! The more information we can get and share with others, the easier it will be for all of us who have food sensitivities or family members who are living without.

Gluten Free Girl: I Really like this blog, great recipes, stories, and coupons for GF foods (so simple to print and I have already saved $5.00 on my next trip to Whole Foods).  She makes living gluten free look very easy.  Love her easy-to-read style and simple, yet tasty, recipes.

Celaic. com:  When I ask myself, “So…What can I eat?” I turn to the experts on this site.  There are lists of foods to avoid and those that are tolerable.  Great information for a newbie like me.

Gluten Free Goddess: This is a fantastic blog.  She makes cooking without look better than with gluten.  I was inspired by her site and beautiful pictures.  Who knew you could have scones and muffins that actually taste delicious!

Gluten Free Cooking: For holiday recipes that seem daunting without gluten Teri Gruss has made it look simple; with anything from pie to stuffing, to creative alternatives that look and taste like the real thing follow her guide and it will be just like Thanksgiving or Christmas, but without the stomach aches.

Gluten Free Mommy: is a fantastic site for parents; she has easy recopies for gluten free and casein free kiddos (and parents too!).

Please add your favorite blogs or sites below.  Start a discussion about how living without ____(insert you or your child’s sensitivity here) has been for you and share resources.

3,666 total views, no views today

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.