Tag Archive for protein

4 Snack Ideas to Fuel Your Brain and Body

When you go too long without eating you get hangry.  You get moody, lack focus, and make poor decisions.  Your blood sugar waxes and wanes making it hard to -have a stable mood or thought. Which means that the drive-through looks mighty tempting.  The best way to keep your brain fueled, stomach happy, is to keep some on-the-go snacks with you at all times. These four snack ideas are gluten-free and filled with protein.  Protein is an essential part of developing healthy brain chemistry. Grab them and go on with your day!  » Read more..

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10 Tips for a Healthy Brain

We all want optimal health, one of the best ways to achieve this is through taking care of your most valuable body part: the brain.  By making good choices to maximize your health, the brain and your overall well being benefit.

Try a few of the suggestions below.  If you can add them all, great but start slow, so these changes can be habitual, and become part of your daily routine.

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Bread Basket Woes: Why Gluten Free May Be the Way to Be

By: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

I am in an abusive relationship. Not with a man or a friend, but with bread.  Yep, my old pal Gluten and I are not getting along these days, I recently found out that an intolerance or allergy may be to blame.  Food allergy testing (via blood) will give me the results soon, but the likelihood is that I won’t be able to hang out with my “friends” pasta, pizza, or pretty much any refined carbohydrate,  the way I used to.  The news was heartbreaking, considering that the bread basket brings me as much joy as a shopping does for most women, but the worst part is I also was confused. What does this mean for my diet?  Some professionals said “you may have a gluten allergy or intolerance,” Some said “you probably have celiac disease.” I thought to myself, “isn’t all the same?”  Apparently not.   I turned to Google to help me figure it out; overwhelmingly it popped out millions of results but the clear question remained, what are the difference in these intolerances and what on earth can I eat?

The American Celiac Disease Alliance was a very easy website to navigate.  They said:   “It’s important to know if you have celiac, a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance; as they are all vastly different. Celiac disease, wheat allergy and gluten-intolerance are treated similarly, in that patients with these conditions must remove wheat from their diet. It is important to note, however, that there is a difference between these three medical problems:

  • Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system starts attacking normal tissue, such as intestinal tissue, in response to eating gluten. Because of this, people with celiac disease are at risk for malabsorption of food, which cause nutritional deficiencies and may result in conditions such as iron deficiency anemia, osteopenia, and osteoporosis. 
  • Persons with a wheat or gluten-intolerance usually do not have severe intestinal damage, and therefore are not at risk for these nutritional deficiencies.  They also are not at increased risk of developing other autoimmune conditions.”

The American Celiac Association also goes on give the following distinctions between Celaic, intolerance, and allergy. “CELIAC DISEASE can be defined as a permanent intolerance to the gliadin fraction of wheat protein and related alcohol-soluble proteins (called prolamines) found in rye and barley. CELIAC DISEASE occurs in genetically susceptible individuals who eat these proteins, leading to an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system starts attacking normal tissue. This condition continues as long as these food products are in the diet.

    • The resulting inflammation and atrophy of the intestinal villi (small, finger-like projections in the small intestine) results in the malabsorption of critical vitamins, minerals, and calories. Signs and symptoms of the disease classically include diarrhea, short stature, iron-deficiency anemia and lactose intolerance. However, many patients will also present with “non-classical” symptoms, such as abdominal pain, “irritable bowel”, and osteoporosis.
    • Patients may also be screened for celiac disease because of the presence of another autoimmune disease, such as type I diabetes or thyroid disease, or a family history of celiac disease, without having any obvious symptoms. Serum antibodies can be utilized to screen for celiac disease. However, the key to confirming the diagnosis remains a small intestinal biopsy, and the patient’s subsequent clinical response to a gluten-free diet. Clinicians in the United States must maintain a high index of suspicion for this disease, as it is significantly under-diagnosed in this country. Interstingly enough, Rates of certain cancers of the gastrointestinal tract are much higher in people with celiac sprue, and there is evidence that this risk is decreased with a gluten-free diet. 
    • People with active celiac disease are at increased risk for other auto-immune conditions, (such as diabetes mellitus type 1, Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) especially those with continued gluten exposure.

Great alternative for Crackers

Wheat Allergy:

    People can also have other medical problems, besides celiac disease, when they eat wheat and related proteins. Wheat allergy is one of the top 8 food allergies in the United States. Allergic reactions after eating wheat may include reactions in the skin, mouth, lungs, and even the GI tract. Symptoms of wheat allergy can include rash, wheezing, lip swelling, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The branch of the immune system activated in allergic reactions is different from the branch thought to be responsible for the autoimmune reactions of celiac disease.

Gluten Intolerance: People can also experience ‘intolerance’ to gluten. Food intolerances are not thought to be immune mediated. GI symptoms with wheat or gluten intolerance may include gassiness, abdominal pain, abdominal distension, and diarrhea. These symptoms are usually transient, and are thought NOT cause permanent damage.

Unlike a food allergy or food intolerance, celiac disease is an inherited condition.  This means family members may have it, too.  For this reason, if someone in your family is diagnosed, it is recommended that first degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) are screened as well.  Finally, celiac disease involves the activation of a particular type of white blood cell, the T lymphocyte, as well as other parts of the immune system, which may increase the risk of developing GI cancers, in particular lymphomas, in persons with celiac disease.  Since food allergies and intolerances do not involve this particular immune system pathway, these patients are not at increased risk for these cancers.

While celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten-intolerance may be treated with similar diets, they are not the same conditions. Due to the genetic component, and risk of nutritional deficiencies, other autoimmune diseases, and GI cancers, it is very important for a person to be properly diagnosed.

So what contains gluten?  Gosh, what doesn’t but the wonderful thing is that we now have so many options for gluten-free breads, pastas, and sweets that it may not be too difficult to avoid. The website “What Contains Gluten” has simple and amazing information on living gluten-free.  Here is what they say:

Following is a list of foods containing gluten. Avoid these foods at all costs, unless you can find a gluten-free version of them:

• Bread
• Rolls
• Pretzels
• Muffins
• Biscuits
• Cookies
• Bulgar wheat
• Couscous
• Scones
• Bran
• Barley water drinks
• Cakes
• Pastries
• Pie crust
• Macaroni
• Spaghetti
• Pasta
• Durham
• Pizza
• Anything made of breadcrumbs
• Sponge puddings
• Malted drinks
• Yorkshire pudding
• Stuffing
• Pancakes
• Crispbreads
• Crumble toppings
• Semolina
• Some varieties of breakfast cereals
• Breaded meat
• Breaded vegetables
• Muesli

So here I wait for my results, with the holidays coming up and a sweet tooth that is longing for a slice of pumpkin pie.  By then I should know if I should avoid it at all costs (for my health) or give in and have some temporary discomfort.  Fingers crossed the pie and I can remain friends.  However, if the results come back in the red I am optimistic that there are other options out there or ways to indulge occasionally.  I spoke with Champane Frias at Neurogistics who said there are many enzymes  and supplements you can take to help improve digestion with Gluten sensitive’s “You can use digestive enzymes such as Bioset Chewable Digestion enhanced with gluten digestive for those times that you just can’t avoid it, like Aunt Suzie’s famous apple pie, that you only get to have once a year on Thanksgiving.”She said.  This will help with the enzymes that I am not producing.

 There are some great alternatives to gluten and many companies who are capitalizing on this.  Whole Foods and local natural health food stores have gluten-Free pie crust, pies, and deserts. Recently I have switched to Udi’s gluten free bread instead of my old favorite whole-wheat.  Rice pasta has become a staple; although it tastes a little different it is worth it by the end of the meal.  The discomfort and pain of a big bowl of ravioli or pasta primavera can only be tolerated for so long. I having been finding great blogs and webistes that have recepies that make life with out gluten feel luxurious rather than deprivation. Gluten Free Hot Products is a great blog with coupon and great recipe ideas. With this new insight I will be creating a new healthy relationship with food; restaurants that have gluten free options, as well as digestive enzymes, to support me in times of “need”. Armed with the supplements in hand, this Thanksgiving I will be visiting my old, delicious, friends Stuffing and Pumpkin Pie. I am aware that it could be a painful and possibly abusive exchange; however, I’m hopeful that the  supplements doing their job, and the new education I will embark on once I find out what is really going on with my relationship with Gluten.

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The Power of Protein

By: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Its 3 PM. Your starving, so you reach for that 100 calorie pack of starch to curb your hunger…and your not satisfied?  Well who would be, there is no protein in it, its all carbs.  We all know protein is important for keeping us full and keeping us strong.  However, studies find that most children are not getting enough and many adults fall short on their daily intake as well.  The reason this is so important, is without the rotation of different proteins and the quantity, out bodies will not make the natural amino acids that keep  us focused, stable, and happy. 

The Facts: Amino acids are the building blocks for Neurotransmitters; amino acids are created by our genetic make-up, but also our diet.  Protein and supplementation are the main sources of changing and increasing amino acid availability in ones body. 

Are You Getting Enough?: To calculate how much protein you need on a daily basis take your body weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2, this will give you amount in grams that your body needs at a minimum (unless otherwise noted by your doctor or other health professional).  For example:  140 pound woman needs approximately 64 grams per day.

Where to Get it:Nuts, lean meats, dairy products, soy, legumes, whey protein powder, and seafood are all great sources.  For kids a serving size is approximately 2 oz, depending on their weight. For adults a serving size is 4 to 6 oz.

Protein for Kids:  even for the pickiest eaters daily protein intake can be achieved.  This especially important when school starts and focus is needed.  In the morning try almond or peanut butter and toast, instead of a pop-tart or sugar filled pastry.  For a mid morning snack, freeze a yogurt and put it in their lunch box, it will be cold by the time snack-time rolls around.  For lunch, turkey and cheese roll-ups, rather than pizza. For dinner, adding in tofu or chicken to your child’s meal will increase their amino acid availability and keep them satisfied longer.

***If your child refuses, whey protein powder is easily hidden in smoothies, milk, and oatmeal.

Why Rotate?: If we eat the same thing everyday our body is going to get used to the amino acids in that food, making it difficult to create new strains of amino acids, thus less neurotransmitter availability.  Therefore, making changes in protein increases your availability to create new strains.  Simple fixes are, chose fish instead of chicken on your salad.  Add protein powder to your morning oatmeal instead of just milk, or try adding in a mid morning snack of yogurt and nuts.

So next time your starving, think about this, will that snack fill me up?  Adding in protein keeps you fuller, longer, carbs alone will leave you feeling hungry and tired.  Instead of that bag of chips try a bag of trail mix, or cheese and crackers .  You will find yourself more focused, in a better mood, and best of all SATISFIED.

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