This weekend was fabulous! We went out on the town! We actually went across the river to Vancouver – our old stomping grounds. It was so fun! I love going to our old favorite places. We ate dinner at one of my all time favorite restaurants. They have Thai/Laotian cuisine and it is heavenly! It’s called Wild Tiger. They were so sweet and more than willing to accommodate me and my healthy, crunchy people ways 🙂
It’s also hatch chili pepper season…finally! I LOVE these things! They are basically amazing. I love adding them into almost everything. My newest snack obsession is hatch chili chips with hatch chili salsa. Overkill on the hatch? Umm…I think no. If you tried this, you would understand.
So, now for the scoop of the day. What is gluten? I love this clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Don’t be like these poor people. Know your stuff. Now, let’s explore why gluten is such a hot topic these days.
As Jimmy mentioned, gluten is a protein found in wheat. The problem with this is that a lot of people are sensitive and some are even allergic to it. The wheat we eat now isn’t the same as the wheat our ancestors ate. It has been modified in labs which has made it difficult for our bodies to process and digest. Symptoms of gluten issues (sensitivities, intolerance, or celiac) range from: gas, bloating, constipation, fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, migraines, inflammation, mood swings, depression, even ADD to Fibromyalgia, hormone imbalances and infertility.
There are some people who are sensitive to it and some are straight up allergic to it (Celiac Disease). A person with Celiac Disease has to be sure to avoid gluten at all costs. Their body attacks itself every time they eat gluten. Ouch! This damages their small intestine so they can’t absorb nutrients which brings about a whole host of other issues.
We know that things like bread and pastries have gluten in them, but what else? Some of the common grains that contain gluten are: wheat (obviously), barley, bulgur, couscous, kamut, rye and spelt. Oats should be avoided. They don’t have gluten, but often are processed in a factory where they can be cross contaminated.
How do you know if you have an issue with gluten? It’s simple really. Go on an elimination diet. Remove gluten completely (like 100%) from your diet for 3 weeks, then re-introduce it. If you feel amazing without it, or if you feel worse when you re-introduce it, chances are gluten isn’t for you.
Now that we’ve talked about that, I must say that I am a HUGE fan of whole grains. There are a ton of whole grains that are gluten-free and are full of amazing nutrients that our bodies will love. These include: brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, cornmeal, millet, quinoa and farro (low gluten, avoid if Celiac).
These whole grains are full of complex carbs that help keep our blood sugar stable, our tummies full, our energy up and our willpower as strong as ever. They are packed with B vitamins, fiber, iron and other nutrients. They all have protein (quinoa is a protein power-house with 8g per cup!)
Whole grains are simple to make, cheap and most don’t have a lot of flavor which means you get to be creative and can pretty much add anything that looks good to you. Curried quinoa…why not? BBQ brown rice…sure! South of the border amaranth…go for it!
I love looking in my fridge and whipping up some random creation with anything I can find. This recipe was born out of randomness and has been a huge hit! You can definitely use regular whole wheat spaghetti noodles if you don’t have an issue with gluten, but if you’re giving the elimination diet a shot, try this using buckwheat soba noodles. They’re delicious! Click here for this incredibly simple, nutrient packed, drool worthy, delicious recipe.