What is Gluten, anyway?

 

Did you know that gluten comes from the Latin word for glue?

So, honestly – I research a lot.

I love to Google things. I am addicted to my smart phone – as I can Google anything.

For example:

of what continent is Greenland a part?

what is the population of Death Valley?

who is the real Ethan Allen?

show me all the satellites orbiting the earth

what is the average rain fall in Dublin…on September 15?

what is … Well, you get the point. I could go on.

They call me Google Sr. But, in all my Googling and researching and talking about healthy diets and nutrition, I never REALLY understood what gluten does. I even…several years ago…was tested for Celiac’s. It came back negative, but I believe that I do have a sensitivity to gluten. But why? I have no idea. I mean, of course I don’t really know why I might have a sensitivity to gluten. But, the point is – I’m not sure what makes me THINK I have a sensitivity to gluten. What reactions? don’t know. What adverse affects? don’t know.

Then I realized that maybe I was jumping on a bandwagon just because.  I had become that person. So…in complete awe of my lack of knowledge, I finally Googled it AFTER my husband asked me…

What is Gluten, anyway?

Basically, gluten is a protein in wheat (durum, emmer, spelt, farina, farro, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale. I only understand what wheat, faro, rye, and barley are for sure. The other names … I’ll get to them eventually. But for now, I’m focusing on what I already know (wheat, rye, barley, and faro. I’m afraid to go any deeper. I get lost easily). So – gluten is like a glue of sorts. It’s what holds a lot of bread-type foods together. Wheat is commonly found in:

  • breads
  • baked goods
  • soups
  • pasta
  • cereals
  • sauces
  • salad dressings
  • roux

Barley is commonly found in:

  • malt
  • food coloring
  • soups
  • malt vinegar
  • beer

Rye is commonly found in:

  • rye bread, such as pumpernickel
  • rye beer
  • cereals

Oh! and then I found it: Triticale is a newer type of grain that has been formulated to be easier to grow in different environments and conditions. Again, I’m not going to get into that TOO much…but now I’m wondering if that means it’s a GMO grain. I did discover that it’s found in cereals, pastas, and breads. I wonder if I’m looking for wheat and rye – in order to avoid those ingredients – if I would even know to look for triticale? Probably not. And gluten is in salad dressing? I didn’t know that either. So – I’m learning a lot as I go.

What all has gluten?

I’m not going to get into all the obvious things that have gluten: normal breads and pastas, pastries, cereals, and crackers…etc. Basically, anything that has flour of any type has gluten. But, something that I didn’t even really think about is all the hidden stuff that has gluten. Fortunately, these days, most things that are gluten-free are labeled.  But, that wasn’t always the case. Here are some big surprises for me: beer has gluten! rice cakes can have gluten! corn flakes can have gluten! soy sauce can have gluten! anything made with a thickener / roux has gluten! Of course this is true…but I just didn’t think about it.  I sometimes use a cornstarch to as a thickener…not flour. But – there you go!

Other possible sources of gluten:

French fries, potato chips, processed lunch meats, candy, candy bars, brown rice syrup, scrambled eggs from restaurants, sauces, milk shakes, cheesecake filling, meat substitutes (like veggie burgers and tofu). Even some medicines have gluten. Again…these MIGHT have gluten, but WOW!

What are gluten-allergy symptoms?

gluten-free, what is gluten, what is gluten-free, what are the symptoms of gluten allergy, what are the symptoms of celiac's There have been more than 250 symptoms of gluten sensitivity reported: bloating, abdominal discomfort or pain, constipation and diarrhea being the most common. Other symptoms besides the intestinal kind might also be present: muscular disturbances and bone or joint pain. Apparently, ingesting gluten – if you are allergic or sensitive – can cause major inflammation and nutritional absorption issues. These two things alone can be the cause of a multitude of other issues including migraines, depression, ADHD, moodiness, acne, fatigue, sleep disorders, congestion and mucus / coughing, aches, pains, and some believe also very serious diseases – like rheumatoid arthritis.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Celiac’s – Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin, a prolamin (gluten protein) found in wheat, and similar proteins found in the crops of the tribe Triticeae (which includes other common grains such as barley and rye).[5]Upon exposure to gliadin, and specifically to three peptides found in prolamins, the enzyme tissue transglutaminase modifies the protein, and the immune system cross-reacts with the small-bowel tissue, causing an inflammatory reaction. That leads to a truncating of the villi lining the small intestine (called villous atrophy). This interferes with the absorption of nutrients because the intestinal villi are responsible for absorption. The only known effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet.[5] While the disease is caused by a reaction to wheat proteins, it is not the same as wheat allergy.

That’s a lot of information and sciency stuff – but, now we know what Celiac’s and gluten is and why we might be sensitive. What do I take away from all of this? I think I’m going to go gluten-free for just a few weeks. I’m going to continue on with my Plexus stuff, but taking away gluten is my next big step toward health. I know that hypoglycemics shouldn’t have flours and processed carbs, anyway. So this will be super great for me! I’ll report back, but do you all have any thoughts on this? Experience with gluten-free? Connections with other diseases or disorders? Inform me! [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form] Here’s my product page, if you’d like to get started on a healthier you! Here are some links to other pages / posts about: IBS and Crohn’s Skin issues related to Candida Auto-immune Allergies and Asthma

How to quit drinking soda

 

First of all – congratulations! You are on the right track to a healthier you! It’s important that, like with all recovery situations, you acknowledge the problem.  It sounds silly, like an intervention, but by searching ways to quit drinking soda, you are admitting that there is a problem.

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Soda is Addictive

Over half of Americans drink soda every day.  That’s 7.5 billions of gallons of soda every year…just for Americans. That’s literally tons of soda. Why is it so addictive? For some people to quit, they need to understand what makes it addictive in the first place.  It’s like when my husband finally decided to quit smoking: it wasn’t the money, the stained teeth, the smelly clothes, the health implications even…it was the science behind the addiction that made him quit. Once he discovered that his addiction was a game that the tobacco companies where playing with his mind, body, health, and wallet – that’s when he had to quit.  He didn’t like being a puppet.  So, even if that’s not what motivates you to quit – maybe it will help you to understand why you are addicted.

Why is soda bad for you?

It’s a very simple mixture of extremely dangerous ingredients: extremely high levels of sugar / high fructose corn syrup, corrosive phosphoric acid, ‘natural’ caramel coloring, and a well-known drug that has a powerful effect on your brain chemistry – caffeine.

A regular Coke (I’ll talk about diet sodas later) has about 10 – 17 teaspoons of sugar. At any given time, we should only have about one teaspoon of sugar in our blood.  That means – our body is able to healthily handle just a smidge of sugar…and ideally that sugar would come from fruits and veggies, but even straight up sugar or corn syrup…one teaspoon is about all it needs to function.  What happens to that extra sugar? It makes your blood sugar crazy – causing highs and lows, mood swings, hunger binges, diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, and hormonal imbalances. You become addicted to the sugar in ways you can’t understand without a science degree.

What about diet sodas? The lack of sugar doesn’t make it any better. The aspartame or artificial sweetener can kick start kidney problems, cause metabolic syndrome, disrupt your body’s method of processing calories, damage cells, and rot your teeth. Not to mention that drinking sweet stuff promotes sweet addiction – so you’ll still crave sweets in other forms.

The phosphoric acid in soda is a 2.5 ph…battery acid is a 1 and water is a 7. The body uses other much-needed minerals to bring that acid to safe levels…minerals that are needed to keep osteoporosis and bone fractures at bay. If you are pulling those minerals out of your system to combat acid…they aren’t doing their intended job.

The ‘natural’ caramel coloring in sodas like Pepsi and Coke is made by reacting sugar with sulfites and ammonia under high temperatures – which, even though I can research how this is bad for us, I don’t need to. It just sounds wrong.

Then…there’s CAFFEINE.  Caffeine is, besides sugar, one of the most addictive things we put in our body. It’s legal and most (80%) of Americans use it daily.  Again, I can tell you all about adenosine and how its job is to slow down nerve activity…and caffeine blocks that from happening…so you speed up. But, caffeine is addictive…like sugar. So – you’re addicted to soda. Your brain is dependent on soda. It craves soda. It needs soda to function at a “normal” level. And it’s extremely difficult to break that addiction. Read here for more on addiction.

So, How Do I Quit Drinking Soda?

HYDRATE

Drink at least half your body weight in water each day. If you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink a minimum of 75 ounces of water daily.

SEEK SUPPORT

If you drink soda in social settings, tell your friends to help you stop. Sometimes, joining a Facebook or online support group is enough to hold you accountable. Or – just being verbal about your desire to quit is enough. Do lots of research about it.

OTHER CAFFEINES

There are lots of safer ways to get caffeine than a soda. The sugar, chemicals, and “refreshing” nature (carbonation) of soda also play into their appeal – but play into their dangers as well.  Green tea and cacao  – even coffee – offer safer alternatives to soda. Caffeine isn’t the only bad thing in soda. It’s a complete, awful package all rolled into one.

The Number One Way that I Kicked my Soda / Diet Soda Habit

A balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables.  Join our next Clean Eating Challenge or check out our Facebook Support Group here:  http://facebook.com/groups/fitnessandnutritionsupport

 

How to keep to 1200 calories to lose weight

 

First, most people have no idea how many calories they consume every day.  I am never honest with how many calories I eat - I usually restrict my meals, but snacking is what gets me.  At night, while fixing my kid’s sack lunches for the next day, I’d eat a spoonful of peanut butter…that’s about 200 calories right before bed.  Then I might eat a little jelly, or a little more peanut butter…it was awful for me! While I’d fix dinner, I’d snack on some tortillas or cheese, or even veggies / fruit. Then I’d eat dinner – then eat a little of what was left on my kids’ plates…then a bite or two of left-overs (that’s not enough to save for tomorrow, but not enough to throw away!) then I’d eat that peanut butter.  No exercise.  Maybe a glass of wine or a cocktail…I’d sabotage every effort that I made that day during a two or three hour time-frame at night.  That’s one of the main reasons that I decided to give Plexus Slim a try. I needed to feel fuller, stop the cravings, increase my will power, and just feel better about life and myself so I’d be less likely to emotional-binge.  And it worked! Plexus products really made a difference – so much that I did more research on what all it takes to lose that extra weight.  Here’s what I discovered:

Calorie needs

I went to a calorie needs calculator to find out about my caloric needs. I googled “calorie needs calculator” and this is what I decided to use – there are 100s of options – I just picked the first one.

http://caloriecount.about.com/tools/calories-goal

Then, I filled out the little form. I’m 5’2″ and currently weigh 120 pounds. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s 12 pounds more than I want to weigh. Keep this in mind: if you are 5’8″, you are 6 inches taller than me.  Each inch over 5 feet is about 5 pounds.  That means that I weigh the equivalent of you weighing 150 pounds.  I want to weigh 108 – so that’s the equivalent of 138.

So, the form determined the following:

Results

You should consume about 1,200 calories a day to reach your goal weight of 108 lbs . This is at a reasonable weight loss average of 0.38 lbs per week, which should be reached by February 20, 2015.

Experts recommend weight loss at the rate of 0.5-2 lbs/week. Remember that this estimate is based on your body weight, height, age, gender, and activity level. It may vary slightly depending on other factors.

Generally, women should not consume any less than 1,200 calories per day, and men should not consume less than 1,500 calories per day.

Read that again…    .38 pounds per week!  That’s such a small amount – and they recommend that I take until February to lose 12 pounds.  WOW!

Keep in mind that I’ve already lost 20 pounds since starting Plexus products in February 2014 (it’s July 2014 now)…and I’d lost 14 pounds two years ago from using a super low-calorie diet.  I had a baby in 2009 (and as with the other two pregnancies, I bubbled up to 175 pounds). Since I was almost 40 for the last baby, it was 50 times more difficult to drop that last baby weight.

How much is a pound?

Another thing I discovered is that 3500 calories equals one pound. So – overeating 3500 calories will result in gaining a pound.  Not burning 3500 calories results in gaining a pound. Restricting your calories by 3500 calories will result in losing a pound.  Burning an extra 3500 calories will result in losing a pound.

BUT…consider the fact that if you’ve been gaining a two pounds a month…you are eating 7000 calories too much every month.  If you want to maintain your current weight, you’ll need to cut out 7000 calories every month.  But if you want to lose two pounds a month – you’ll need to cut out 14,000 calories a month from what you eat right now!  Read that again.  That’s a lot of calories.  Now – what if you want to lose two pounds a week?  That’s a lot to cut out!

So – losing .38 pounds per week sounds like nothing, but it’s (as we know) harder than it sounds…it always is.

I’ve decided to count calories for a month to see what I really eat and what I really burn.  I’m supposed to eat 1200 calories a day to lose weight. They say not to consume less than 1200 calories a day (in order to stay healthy), but I also believe a day or two of fasting is good for me.  If I need consume less than 1200 calories in order to lose weight – I’m making a commitment to actually burn the extra. So – I’m going to focus on a 1200 calorie intake – with a 300 calorie burn every day.  I’ll see where that takes me.

Calorie counter

I’m going to use MyFitnessPal to count calories when I can’t use my pre-counted food.

I’ll post my pre-counted food for the week tomorrow – since I’ll be grocery shopping, juice-prepping, and bagging up everything. Also…my walking / mom-ercise will start…more on that tomorrow as well.

If you are curious about how I lost that 20 pounds, or what I’m doing to feel so much better about life, and more motivated to get healthy – browse around this blog. There is a ton of health and science information concerning my recent journey.

Follow this blog to follow my next weight-loss challenge and success (or failures) to come!

 

Candida and Anxiety

 

 

probiotics, candida, anxiety, depression, candida, detox, plexus slim, probiotics, probio5, fungus, depression, sad, depressed, yeast, mold
Depression and anxiety can be caused by Candida overgrowth. Probiotics can help.

Candida and Anxiety

I had heard of probiotics helping with skin infections and issues like eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, etc. My older daughter had been suffering from cradle cap…and she was 17 years old!  Think…big, yellow, flakey, scales like a baby gets on its scalp – but much, much worse. I had read that probiotics could help with the yeast that causes this…as we had been to the dermatologist countless times and spent countless dollars on treatment… of the symptoms.  But, I hadn’t really heard about probiotics helping people with anxiety (other than getting rid of that pesky itching).

I was hooked after I read about the spit test and Candida infection. Apparently, I scored really high on the Candida test.   One of the first things I noticed…within days…was that much of the anxiety that I was previously feeling was gone. Anxiety from having three children. Anxiety from being married…albeit I’m married to an amazing man who loves and cherishes me…marriage is stressful. Anxiety from working full time. Anxiety from money issues. Anxiety from getting old (I’m 42…which I know isn’t really old…I am getting old).

There is plenty of support out there that Candida causes anxiety

Candida is a fungus that lurks within your digestive track. It causes nutrients to not be absorbed – it causes fluctuations in blood sugar, and it causes inflammation and pain.

I would have never thought that a fungus was living in my body. This fungus is what helps the body breakdown after we die…it’s not supposed to be thriving until after we are dead.  BUT – because of our diets – full of yeast, toxins, processed junk, sugar, and chemicals – Candida is taking over our systems.  I’m not totally sure if the anxiety was caused by my sugar intake feeding the Candida, the toxins released by the Candida, or the lack of oxygen and nutrients because of the Candida blocking my intestines. Maybe the Candida was in my brain and screwing things up in there. Maybe the Candida was causing me to crave the worst possible foods – which were making me unhealthy and tired – which caused the anxiety. I really have no idea how all that works and ties together. Maybe it’s all of it.  The whole thing was just making me sick mentally and physically. I want to point out that I’ve done research. Again, you can look through all of my posts and pages and find lots of science behind the whys of sickness, craziness, moodiness, tiredness…it’s all in here somewhere.

The point is: I feel great!

I don’t really need to know the why anymore, because the cause is gone. I fixed myself without prescriptions. I actually fixed the cause instead of treating the symptoms.

There is plenty of support out there that wonky blood sugar causes anxiety, moodiness, and depression

Blood sugar regulates your body in many ways…including your hypothalamus. I’ve talked about it before…in pages and posts.  Feel free to browse around the menu to read about these issues, but the bottom line is: it is fact that your blood sugar levels going crazy will also cause you to be out of whack. Grouchy, moody, hungry, sleepy, sluggish, angry, anxious, depressed…super highs and lows emotionally.  A balanced, nutritional diet will help you regulate your blood sugar levels. That is what makes clean eating so amazing!  You can try it for yourself – HERE! I have written reviews, posted testimonies, made videos, done the research for you. It works!

 

How to change a husband’s eating habits

 

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This is true…Dennis shopping

How to get a husband to take care of himself.

I got Dennis to eat better – because I was going to live a long, long time – and he didn’t want to leave me (read: die) to live out the rest of my happy, healthy life alone.  Maybe it was when we had the last baby. He was 40ish when she was born.  Maybe it was all the science studies he was doing. He discovered a ton of information about genetics, disease, diet, and longevity. Maybe it was his commitment to quit smoking. He learned about our body’s reaction to addiction. Whatever the case may be, Dennis now juices and eats vegetables. My husband never, ever ate greens. Well, occasionally he would take a nibble of broccoli or a bite of cauliflower.  He would eat salad, but pile on the cheese and ranch dressing first.  And bacon.

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It doesn’t have to be like this…

Introduction to health -

After introducing him to Joe (Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead) and his amazing work, my husband started eating veggies, juicing at dinner (and still eating, but drinking his juice and eating his veggies first), and avoiding fast food at lunch.  Dennis has never had a weight problem – that WAS the problem.  He is fit and trim. Every time he would go to the doctor (about once every five years) he was told that he was fit as a fiddle and everything looked great. I wish the doctor would have told Dennis a lie. Something like: oh my gosh, you’re over weight, your lipids are all out of whack, your heart is screwy!  But, nope. He always got a clean bill of health – so why would he ever stop eating junk?  Once he decided to quit smoking – in 2011 – he realized how addictive things are in our lives: cigarettes, sweets, carbs, fat, etc.  So, we decided to make the change.  More organic, real food. Juicing at least 4 times a week. Very, very little processed foods.  Of course, there is no marker of improvement on his health – again, he was always given a clean bill at the doctor.  BUT, we feel great! We’ve incorporated some other lifestyle changes (other than smoking and eating) and supplemented with some probiotics and such.  My oldest daughter has started juicing – and is encouraging her younger siblings to do the same…mostly so she’s not the only one left to take care of us when we are 150 years old.

What to juice – All About Juicing

 

Juicing is pretty intense.

I put a lot into it every week:

selecting the ingredients, cutting, washing, sorting, storing, then the actual juicing. But, it doesn’t have to be all that daunting.

What I Buy

Every week, I buy:

1 bunch of kale

1 bunch of bok choy or collard greens

1 bag of brussels sprouts

5 small beets (with or without the greens)

2 bunches of celery

2 pounds of carrots

sometimes ginger

1 bag of red apples

1 bag of green apples

5 small grapefruit

Preparing to Juice

On Saturday or Sunday, I cut, wash, and separate all the ingredients except the apples and grapefruit. Those I wash and cut the night of the juicing. I have a washtub that I keep in the fridge that holds 5 bags of prepared juice veggies…

The above weekly ingredients will make about 5 bags for juicing.

There will be about 3 or 4 carrots, 4 or 5 celery stalks, one small beet, small handful of kale, bok choy, and / or collard greens, 3 to 5 brussels sprouts, very small amount of ginger in each bag.

I use as much of the stalks as possible.

I use organic as much as possible – especially the kale, celery, carrots, and apples. Those absorb the most bad stuff when not organic.

I don’t really peel anything, except the beets.

The Night of the JUICING…

So, while I’m fixing dinner…I core the apples and peel the grapefruit. I get out the bag that was prepared over the weekend, and I juice away. It makes about 20 ounces – which I split with my husband.

I drink mine with a straw -  Dennis just guzzles. He literally downs it with one big gulp!

I also add diatomaceous earth and chia seeds. Again…that is for another post – but I love these two products!

Juicing is sometimes daunting. But, it doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or challenging.

I still eat a little dinner – but not nearly as much. I try to drink the juice first…on an empty stomach. And really, after drinking 8-10 ounces of juice, I’m not that hungry. There just isn’t room for all those calories…I mean greasy meat and fatty pasta…I mean other food.

Of course juicing is just one option for a healthy diet.  For most people, just eating a well-balanced diet is enough to maintain optimum health.  Be sure to join our Clean Eating Challenge!

 

 

 

Earth Day should be every day

I’ve been seeing a lot about Earth Day…and just saying, but everyday should be about taking care of yourself and taking care of the planet. My husband, Dennis, and I juice fairly regularly. We go through bursts of every night…then, baseball, soccer, school, crying kids, late nights at the park…get in the way. So – mostly, we juice 3 – 5 times per week. I’ll post our tried and true recipe in a bit, but first:

My older daughter, 17, juices with us – especially during cross country and track season. She doesn’t mind the juice at all, it’s just a matter of getting her home to eat dinner with us so she CAN drink  the juice.

My son, 12, pretty much refuses to drink it. He’ll try occasionally. Usually, if he’s had stomach problems from sneaking too much junk or chocolate (yes, chocolate is NOT junk…it’s just chocolate).  Anyway, my daughter got so frustrated with him on night, she yelled, “Come ON!  Drink the juice! Mom and Dad are going to live to be 150 years old…and I’m not going to be the only one left to take care of them! Drink. The. Juice!”   He drank about 6 ounces. We were happy.

So, yes…take care of the Earth. Take care of yourself. We are the same matter that’s been around on this planet for 4.6 billion years. Nothing new is actually created – it just gets shuffled around.

We are the beets, rocks, stardust, and kale.

New information from NPR

 

Check out the new video posted on my blog… the Human Body and all the bacteria that lives in it.  It’s pretty amazing. Also – I am excited to be back on track with #juicing #healthyeating #low-gluten (still trying for #gluten-free….one day!)

Plus – finally, real doctors and real reports are saying that fungus does play a role in weight gain and weight loss. Very interesting find!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/28/health/studies-focus-on-gut-bacteria-in-weight-loss.html?smid=pl-share

 

This is exciting!

 

I’m really excited to be able to share my passion with people. I am even more excited that there are so many options to get that information to so many people. Today, I have been researching more about addictions and how they affect our lives. I was / am addicted to sugar. It’s like any addiction: alcohol, drugs, gambling…I think once you are addicted to “it”, you will always have that addiction. We just stop being junkies. I love sugar – and I can’t stop with just one taste.

Dennis used to smoke, and it would drive him crazy that I could stop at just one cigarette.  That’s called a chipper…and I really could do with or without a smoke. I liked to smoke when I was drinking, or relaxing on the patio – but would never smoke around my kids. The experts say that this form of smoking is different because I was addicted to smoking, not to nicotine. INTERESTING!

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20213458,00.html

So….I have dealt with hypoglycemia and the effects it had on my life: sleep cycles, mood swings, cravings, relationships, parenting behaviors, hunger, thirst, anger management…

Interesting how it’s all related: blood sugar, mood, hunger, sleep, cravings. All related to glucose, food, and over-all health.

The way Dennis stopped smoking was to research the chemical affect it had on his body and brain. His brain was tricking him. He didn’t like that. He was able to quit cold turkey on 1-11-11. He, I’m sure, will talk about it on his blog one day – and I will cross post that, but the fact is that his first time to try quitting, he did it! It was really, really hard for him (and his family) to live through that detox. But, we all have our addictions. Will I be able to eventually get sugar and processed carbs out of my life? I hope so. But, for now – I’m still taking my #plexusslim everyday. I need that boost to get me through. It has helped with cravings and my blood sugar levels. I’m hoping that one day I can say, “Hey, I’ve been a full month without chocolate and tortillas.” Day. By. Day.