Saturday, June 9, 2012

Busy Morning Breakfasts

Breakfast = Break the fast. As long as you aren’t participating in ‘Fourth Meal’ (I’m hoping you don’t even know what this is), breakfast should be the first opportunity of the day for a healthy meal (well even if you did have Fourth Meal, this still holds true). Breakfast can be quick, easy, and good for you. You’ve heard before it’s the most important meal of the day (studies have shown improved cognitive function and maintenance of a healthy body weight), so here are some ideas to help you get off to a greeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaat start!

If you don’t have time in the morning…
Make sure you have some staples on hand that won’t take more than a few seconds to serve up. Eat at home or you can put cold cereals in pyrex/gladware, grab a spoon and single-serve milk and enjoy while you get settled into work (or during carpool). 

Cold Cereals:
  • Select a breakfast cereal with roughly 5g fiber per serving and at least 5g of protein to keep you satiated and power through until lunch. Options include- Barbaras High Fiber Cranberry, Quaker Squares, Cascadian Farm Organic Hearty Morning Fiber, Yogi Products Walnut Spice Crunch, Peace Cereal Blueberry Pomegranate Crisp, Kashi Go Lean Crunch, and Smart Start Healthy Heart.
  • Or try a low-sugar cereal such as Cheerios or Rice Chex and add nuts or berries to boost the nutritional punch in your breakfast bowl. Sorry, Tony the Tigers’ Frosted Flakes didn’t make the cut.

If you can prepare the night before:  
  • Hard-boil eggs in a batch and keep in the fridge for several days.
  • Yogurt parfait- Select a low-fat or soy yogurt (with no added sugars) and top with fresh berries, sliced nuts or seeds, and even a high fiber cereal (see cold cereal suggestions above).
  • Seasonal fruit bowl tossed with shredded coconut, lime juice, dried berries, seeds and nuts.
  • Trail Mix: Create your own using nuts (soy, tree), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin), dried fruit, and high-fiber and high-protein breakfast cereals.
  • Warm cereals can be made the night before and reheated in the am. Experiment with various grains such as millet, rice, buckwheat, oats, amaranth or quinoa. You can simmer in water or milk (cow, rice, almond, soy, hemp) and once cooked sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, raisins, currants, plum, dates, apple, pear, nuts/seeds as desired.
  • Quinoa Cereal

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8-1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup berries (blueberry, raspberry, blackberry or strawberry)
1 tablespoon hempseeds

Place water, quinoa and spices in saucepan and stir gently. Turn heat to high until just bubbling, then cover and reduce to simmer for approximately 15 minutes. After cooking time is complete and water has been absorbed, remove lid and fluff lightly with a fork. Add honey, berries and hempseeds and stir gently to combine. May be enjoyed warm or cold. Serve over yogurt if desired.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes total
Yield: 4, 1 ¼ cup servings. 
Original recipe by Tarynne L. Mingione, 2012.

If you have a minute in the morning…
  • Berry and soaked nut smoothie.
  • Toasted rice or whole wheat bread with nut butter and fruit spread. Add a glass of real OJ to the meal.
  • Rice crackers and hummus. Hey, nobody is going to judge your breakfast if you have it at home.
  • Munch on rice cakes, sliced apples, bananas, carrots or celery dipped with almond/cashew/sunflower/macadamia/soy nut butter as you prepare for the day.
  • Warm applesauce sprinkled with toasted nuts, cinnamon and touch of nutmeg.

If you have 2 minutes but want more of the “feels like Sunday” effect ……

  • Baked mochi with jam, nut butter, honey, hummus, or avocado, etc.
  • Quesadilla: Whole wheat tortilla filled with low-fat cheese, chicken and tomatoes topped with salsa and shredded cheese.
  •   Breakfast Burrito: Leftover meat/beans/gluten-free grains with onion, spinach, and scrambled eggs wrapped in a whole grain tortilla and topped with salsa and cheese
  • Scrambled eggs with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cheese, seasoned with salt and pepper.  Add a slice of whole wheat toast and real juice.
  • Crepes: Sweet rice or wheat flour crepes folded over fresh berries and sprinkled with honey, nuts and a pinch of powdered sugar.
  • Pancakes/Waffles: Batter can be mixed the night before and stored in the refrigerator. Add mashed banana or ground flaxseed/almond meal into the mix. Once cooked, top with berries, real maple syrup and honey.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Gluten-Free in a Gluten-Filled World

For this French/Italian girl that grew up on bagels and loaves of bread, it wasn’t easy to read the lab results telling me gluten was the source of all my problems (digestive anyway). Thank goodness I was on the path to pursue my degree in nutrition, this ought to be pretty easy to figure out, right? I’m here to break the news that it’s far from easy, not just for me, but the unfortunate waiter, the distressed party hostess, or the sibling that doesn’t quite understand why you are no helping devour the Oreos.
 This blog is for anyone with a new diagnosis, those just coming to terms with an old diagnosis, and those that think thatgluten intolerance might be a possibility. It’s also for the friends and family of those affected by celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and for those that just want to learn more about it.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

Celiac Disease

What is it: Not an allergy, but a genetic autoimmune disorder (onset can be triggered by severe stress, surgery, trauma, pregnancy, or viral infection) that causes damage to the small intestine. We all have tons of little fingerlike-projections lining our small intestine that convene to significantly increase the intestinal surface area, therefore assisting in absorption of nutrients. Normally as nutrients are passing through the small intestine, they are absorbed through the walls of the villi and into the bloodstream. However, when a person with celiac disease is exposed to gluten, their immune system responds by attacking and destroying their own villi. The result is malabsorption of nutrients.

Symptoms: Vary by individual (and can actually be “silent” and present with nothing at all), but classic symptoms may include:

Diagnosis: If you or your doctor suspects Celiac disease, the first step is blood tests (TTG-IgA/IgG and EMA-IgA/IgG). If these come back positive, then a definitive diagnosis is to complete a biopsy of the small intestine. 

Treatment: The only treatment is complete lifelong elimination of gluten. 


Gluten Intolerance

What is it: An inability to tolerate gluten, however not an autoimmune disorder or an allergy.

Symptoms: Similar to celiac disease (constipation, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting).

Diagnosis: You likely will complete a blood test for celiac disease  (it would be negative). The next step to confirm gluten intolerance would be to complete an elimination diet, where all gluten is avoided and symptoms are recorded. If there is improvement in symptoms, then intolerance to gluten can be assumed

Treatment: Avoidance of gluten. There is likely no damage to the small intestine if gluten is ingested, however the presentation of undesirable symptoms can be expected shortly following exposure. Is that bagel really worth it?



What to Avoid (if you have Celiacs or gluten intolerance)

Wheat (einkorn, durum, faro, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt), rye, barley and triticale.
Beers, ales, lagers and malt vinegars that are made from gluten-containing grains that are not distilled.
Frequently overlooked foods that may contain gluten and need to be verified:
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Breading & coating mixes
  • Croutons
  • Energy Bars
  • Flour or cereal products
  • Glucose syrups
  • Imitation bacon
  • Imitation seafood
  • Marinades
  • Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • Pastas
  • Processed luncheon meats
  • Sauces, gravies
  • Self-basting poultry
  • Soy sauce or soy sauce solids
  • Soup bases
  • Stuffings, dressing
  • Thickeners (Roux)
  • Communion wafers
  • Herbal supplements
  • Drugs & over-the-counter medications
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Vitamins & mineral supplements
  • Play-dough (I hope you aren’t eating it, but if kids are playing with it and then put their hands in their mouth then you might have a problem). 


What to Include (if you have Celiacs or gluten intolerance)

Rice, corn (maize), soy, potato, tapioca, beans, fava, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, Montina®, flax, and nut flours.
Distilled alcoholic beverages (wine/hard liquor) and vinegars are gluten-free.


What to Ask your Doctor or Dietitian About

Oats- These are controversial and you may or may not react to oats. Some research has shown that pure, uncontaminated oats up to ½ cup daily may be tolerated.



The list of foods to avoid can be overwhelmingly long. Remember that consuming whole foods that have been minimally processed may be one approach. Whole fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, nuts and seeds should be safe, but always check (sometimes even plain salted nuts may have flour on them). 
Do you need to go out and buy only gluten-free cookbooks? No! If you know how to make appropriate substitutions for gluten-containing recipes, then go ahead and adapt any recipes you like. From my own experience, it’s not really intuitive how to substitute flours. The elasticity and rising actiongiven from gluten is hard to replicate and usually requires a number of ingredients in place of one (example of a current substitution for whole wheat flour is a combination of: white rice, brown rice, tapioca, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, and potato starch). Therefore,  I would encourage gluten-free baking cookbooks to start as baking tends to be a bit of a challenge!


So… you’re allergic to wheat?

No!!!! Gluten intolerance, celiac disease and wheat allergy are three separate things. For people with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease, in addition to wheat, both rye and barley (and sometimes oats) must be avoided. 


Where to Get More Information

I absolutely love this group, and this page will direct you towards valuable information.
o        Celiac Disease Foundation