my favorite gluten-free cornbread recipe

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Cooking at Home, Gluten Free, Healthier Choices | 4 comments

Gluten-Fee CornbreadIf you’re considering going gluten free (GF) for holistic pain relief, what would be the hardest food item to give up? My guess is that at least 50% of you would say bread!

Tasty gluten-free bread is the Holy Grail of the GF eater. Either the bread crumbles before it reaches your mouth, or it’s just too bland to swallow.

My strategy has been to find non-bread items to replace the outsides of my sandwiches with – for example, a leaf of romaine lettuce or GF tortilla. It keeps my disappointment level to a minimum.

But there are some days when nothing but a bite or three of bread will satisfy! A client of mine shared this terrific recipe with me. She’s vegan and also eats mostly gluten free. I have to say this is probably the best gluten free bread I’ve tasted.

Of course, you can’t make a sandwich with it … but it tastes and feels EXACTLY like cornbread made with white flour. The recipe is modified from one in Jane Brody’s Good Food Gourmet.

Gluten-free Cornbread

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup millet flour (or 1/2 cup millet flour and 1/2 cup sorghum flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 tablespoons oil (can replace with 3 tablespoons apple sauce)
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 cup buttermilk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
1 egg (for vegan, replace with 2 tablespoons ground flax and 2 tablespoons water)

Mix dry ingredients gently. Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan.

If using oil: Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.
If using apple sauce: Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.

Can be used to make corn muffins (makes about 11). Bake muffins at same temperatures for a few minutes less or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.

Let me know what you think!

 

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the number one trap to going
gluten-free or fat-free or sugar-free!

Posted by on Jun 2, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Cooking at Home, Gluten Free, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

Have you decided to clean up your food choices hoping it will give you some pain relief in a more holistic way? If you have, you may fall into this typical, unhealthy trap!

First you decide to start eating gluten free. You think to yourself, “Well shoot, that’s easy—there are so many GF products on the grocery store shelves today.” Don’t you just have to switch bread for GF bread, pretzels for GF pretzels, pancakes for GF pancakes, cookies for GF cookies?

Won’t a few simple substitutions help your pain levels and improve your health? At the risk of disappointing you, the short answer is NO. The longer answer is not necessarily or it depends on your body.

All processed food products (whether GF or not) have many ingredients within them. You know I’m right if you’ve ever looked at an ingredient list, and realized that you can’t pronounce at least half of the ingredients. Why is that?

Gluten-Free Cereal

When one key ingredient (like wheat, saturated fat or refined sugar) is removed, the food’s manufacturer typically uses a variety of other ingredients to approximate taste, texture, or another characteristic. These ingredients can be harmless for many of us, but may also wreck just as much havoc in our body as the original offender.

Eliminating wheat and gluten from my diet gave me a HUGE boost in holistic pain relief of my inflammatory autoimmune arthritis. And about a month later, I had an amazing and disabling quantity of vertigo attacks. At the time, I attributed the vertigo to gluten withdrawal although I had experienced many vertigo attacks in years prior. About a year into my new gluten-free lifestyle, the vertigo started again and ramped up into some additional horrific symptoms. It turns out they were all connected to migraine activity.

It turns out that one of my main migraine triggers is MSG (monosodium glutamate), which hides in many ingredient lists with a lot of different names. On top of that, MSG is derived from “natural” ingredients so it’s even in the healthier  (but still processed) food choices.

But what does all this have to do with the many kinds of food additives? As a holistic health coach, it’s not easy for me to admit that I was regularly consuming some gluten-free foods with had a lot of additives. And I also was making assumptions that food I thought was “whole” wouldn’t have harmful ingredients—I had gotten lazy about checking ingredient lists!

Here’s an example: Head into the dairy section of your nearest supermarket and look at cottage cheese ingredient lists. Shouldn’t they have just a few ingredients – milk, cream, etc.? (Or as I like to joke—cottage and cheese, right?) The organic, hormone and antibiotic-free cottage cheese brands have just as many additives as the conventional brands. If you see eight brands on the shelf, you may find only one with the “old-fashioned” ingredient list. By that I mean less than seven ingredients that only include items your great-grandmother would recognize. Whether you eat dairy or not is a whole separate topic, but if you do then choose the type that has the “old-fashioned” ingredient list!

More importantly, look for ways to incorporate foods WITHOUT ingredient lists and labels. These are the truly whole foods in our lives—food that IS a plant (not food made in plants). These are things like vegetables and fruit, especially those currently in at the peak of their growing season. They are also minimally processed whole grains like quinoa and brown rice. Sustainably produced animal protein is a whole food—if you choose to eat meat.

Anything from a box, especially if it has health claims printed on the front, is suspect. Even though the label says natural and organic, you may find that food additives in that box are NOT helping you stay well.

Please be your own advocate and learn to read the labels. Choose whole foods if you’re going gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free—that’s the real secret to staying pain-free and healthy!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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anti-inflammatory diet for holistic pain relief

Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Cooking at Home, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

Anti-Inflammatory DietInflammation, in its ideal form, is the body’s response to infection and injury. When it works properly, it’s a solution addressing pain and invading organisms. But when inflammation is systemic (throughout our body), low-level and persistent, we are neither healed nor protected. Long-term inflammation can be a factor in chronic pain, as well as many illnesses including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, allergies, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s.

Inflammation is more common today because our bodies are out of balance. Our bodies produce chemicals called prostaglandins, using nutrients from the food we eat as a raw material. The major nutrients that our bodies use to create prostaglandins are fatty acids from our foods. These are the omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids produce an anti-inflammatory response in our bodies. Omega-6 fatty acids produce an inflammatory response.

Our bodies need an equal amount of each of these fatty acids to maintain a balanced inflammatory status. However, today’s “standard American diet” provides us with up to 20 times as much omega-6 fatty acid as omega-3 fatty acid.

The goal is to balance your food choices so that the sum of all foods eaten over the course of the day is in the positive, anti-inflammatory range.

What are the main sources of the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids?

Sweets, starches (especially grains), and highly processed foods are the main culprits. We consume more cereal grains (and the oils produced from them) than ever before.

In addition, the animals we eat are also consuming increasing quantities of these grains (primarily corn). Even fish are being corn-fed in farms that raise seafood to meet our growing demands!

Does this mean I have to follow a highly restrictive diet?

No—it simply means you need to be aware of the balance of nutrients your body is receiving! Learn to make nutritional choices that support your body’s natural desire to create a balanced equilibrium of anti- and pro-inflammatory responses.

How do I know if a food is inflammatory?

Foods affect inflammation in complex and unpredictable ways. The IF Rating™ System is a new tool that takes the guesswork out of an anti-inflammatory diet by showing how different foods fuel or fight inflammation. Using the IF Ratings, you can create your own healing, inflammation-reducing diet.

The formula used to calculate the IF Ratings measures the effects of more than 20 different factors that determine a food’s inflammatory or anti-inflammatory potential, including:

  • amount and type of fat
  • essential fatty acids
  • vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • glycemic index
  • anti-inflammatory compounds

Components of an anti-inflammatory diet

Focus on meats, fish, eggs and leafy vegetables!

Low starch and other simple sugars: Insulin and high blood glucose are inflammatory. Have starch only in small portions (½ banana or one side of a hamburger bun) and preferably in unprocessed forms. Aim for less than 30 grams in any meal—less is healthier.

No high fructose corn syrup: High free fructose (in contrast to sucrose—table/white sugar) is inflammatory and contributes to cross linking of collagen fibers, which means prematurely aged skin. This doesn’t mean it’s better to switch to artificial sweeteners! Sucrose is much less inflammatory than alternative sweeteners.

High ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats: Most vegetable oils (olive oil is the exception) are very high in omega-6 fats and are inflammatory and should be avoided. Omega-3 fats from fish oil cannot have their full anti-inflammatory impact in the presence of vegetable oils, so consider how you cook them. Omega-3 supplements are often needed to overcome existing inflammation. For maximum absorption, be sure to take them at a meal where you also eat saturated fats.

No trans fats: All are inflammatory. Read ingredient lists and look for the words “partially hydrogenated.” Don’t believe “no trans fats” claims without reading the ingredient list!

Probiotics and prebiotics: The bacteria in your gut are vitally important in reducing inflammation. Most of the bacteria that initially colonize breastfed babies and are also present in fermented products seem to be helpful. A high-quality probiotic supplement can also be quite helpful.

Saturated fats are healthy and reduce the peroxidation of omega-3 fatty acids at sites of local inflammation, e.g. fatty liver. Saturated fats should be a significant source of dietary calories to balance you towards anti-inflammatory. Vegetable oils (corn, soy, cottonseed, safflower) are rich in omega-6 fatty acids and are dangerously inflammatory. These polyunsaturated oils are less healthy than saturated fats. Olive oil is the most healthy.

Vegetable antioxidants: Vegetables and fruits, along with coffee and chocolate supply very useful, anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants.

How can I balance inflammatory factors?

Here are some simple suggestions to add anti-inflammatory choices into your daily routine:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Minimize stress
  • Get a full night’s sleep
  • Eat whole foods, especially organic
  • Consider taking a high quality fish oil
  • Cook with aromatic spices – garlic, ginger, cayenne, turmeric are anti-inflammatory
  • Add avocado, kale, spinach, anchovies, wild Atlantic or sockeye salmon, Brazil nuts, and other anti-inflammatory foods

Mindful choices that add in more omega-3 fatty acids or develop relaxing behavior is the place to start! Making anti-inflammatory choices doesn’t have to feel like deprivation. Remember, everything is a balance.

Further Resources:

The Everything Anti-Inflammation Diet Book, by Karlyn Grimes

The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan, by Monica Reinagel (http://www.inflammationfactor.com)

Foods that Fight Fibromyalgia, by Deirdre Rawlings

Meals that Heal Inflammation, by Julie Daniluk

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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investing in new cookware for holistic pain relief

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Cooking at Home, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 10 comments

oos350-614470-847__1Several months ago, Barbara and I decided to replace our non-stick cookware with stainless steel. Why? Very simply, another step in our path of holistic pain relief. Plus, there’s mounting evidence that the chemicals used in non-stick cookware, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), may contribute to the alteration of natural hormones that influence inflammation, cartilage repair, and other criteria associated with arthritis. As Barbara has rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it was a no-brainer for us to move forward with this endeavor.

Understand this…Barbara thinks I’m cheap; I think I’m frugal, thrifty, and practical—great attributes for a COO! Nonetheless, since I am the primary “chef” in the family, we decided I would be in charge of researching and selecting which cookware set to purchase. No problem. They’re all the same, right?

On our next trip to the local warehouse store, I was excited to find a 14-piece stainless steel cookware set for $99.00. It included all the pieces that I needed for preparing my culinary masterpieces. What a deal! I promptly looked up reviews on my iPhone while at the store and was chagrinned that the set was poorly rated. Hmm, I guess they aren’t all the same. Phooey.

For the next week or so, I endeavored to learn what I needed to know about buying safe cookware. I digested a dizzying number of articles that covered types, manufacturers, and cookware SKUs along with many reviews, both user and expert, from varying sources—Amazon to Consumer’s Reports.

Well folks, this is what I found out:

First, I wanted to find support for the negative health affects from PFOA and PFOS, particularly as it pertains to arthritis. I’m a very logical person and soon realized that finding non-biased information about health-related topics was like trying to get neutral political opinion from both FOX and MSNBC. This is one of the articles that I read—“Teflon component linked to arthritis” based on a study featured in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Obviously, this ruled out non-stick cookware.

Next, I wanted to find a synopsis of what’s available. I viewed this slide show on the Huffington Post about the different types of cookware. Yeah, I know. It’s a liberal site…but this is a very non-political blog post!

  • Copper
  • Non-stick
  • Aluminum – we ruled out aluminum because of the possible correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anodized aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Cast iron
  • Enameled cast iron
  • Carbon steel
  • Enamel on steel
  • Green pan (a ceramic-based non-stick material)

Wow, that’s a lot of choices. After considering the above materials, we decided upon stainless steel. But, what’s the difference from one stainless steel set to another? After reading around a hundred reviews on Amazon and other sites, I learned that it was the thickness of the steel and whether or not it’s “multiclad/tri-play” or aluminum layered in the stainless steel both on the bottom and sides of the pot/pan. This is important since stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat.

Now, what brand? There were basically three manufacturers with models that rated well, 1) All-Clad, 2) Cuisinart, and 3) Tramontina. They all have multiclad styles.

I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap, but $1500.00 for a 14-piece All-Clad set was a bit too rich for our blood. The Tramontina set I considered was only available through Sam’s Club and we’re not members. Therefore, we decided upon a multiclad Cusinart set.

But wait! Where to buy it? The Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set available at Amazon was priced at $299.00. Now, this is where my cheapness, frugality, practicality comes to play.

Drum roll please. While looking at the Costco website, I noted they had a Cuisinart® 12-piece Professional Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware. It was Cusinart. Check! There were no discernible differences. Check! It was “tri-ply”. Check! It also had glass lids that the Multi-Clad Pro set did not have. Yay! The set at Costco cost $199.99 or a hundred bucks less than the set at Amazon.

Hallelujah!!

P.S. Since then, we bought a stainless steel steamer set for steaming vegetables and we also determined that we needed to make one concession for using non-stick cookware—frying eggs. However, once the non-stick surface starts to show signs of wear, we’ll trash it. Oh well. Not perfect, but pretty close to it.

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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autumn smoothie recipe

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in Cooking at Home, Gluten Free, Healthier Choices | 12 comments

Autumn Smoothie Ingredients

Fruit, Squash, and a few Extras!

If smoothies make you think of summer berries and fruits, here’s a seasonal option for your autumn breakfast or snacking pleasure. Do you like pumpkin pie? Or sweet potatoes? Does fall inspire you to fill up on squash? Then this is the smoothie for you — it’s one part dessert, one part healthy and three parts delicious!

Put the following ingredients in your blender.

1 ripe banana, sliced or in sections (use frozen banana slices for a thicker smoothie)

1 apple, cored and sliced

1/2–3/4 cup roasted squash or baked sweet potato (completely cooled & chilled)

2 tablespoons uncooked whole oats

2 tablespoons plain greek-style yogurt

2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds (also called hemp hearts)

Ground cinnamon to taste (at least 1/2 teaspoon)

1/2 tablespoon salmon or flaxseed oil

8–12 ounces of almond milk (can substitute another type of milk or non-dairy beverage)

Blend thoroughly. (The best way to judge is when the apple pieces are completely incorporated.)

Autumn Smoothie

Can be kept in a glass jar for up to 12 hours

Let me know what you think and if you have ideas or suggestions for enhancing the recipe!

More smoothie tips

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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