Tag Archives: eating gluten free

Top Ten Things I Learned From the Ketogenic Diet

gluten free jacksonville keto dietIn February 2018 I made the decision to try out the Ketogenic Diet based on a doctor’s recommendation. Did I need to lose weight: yes, did I have other health issues that needed to be corrected: yes. I had never even heard of this diet and honestly was quite nervous. At the time I was living a gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free life (no corn, quinoa, etc). However I was a sugar addict! So after doing some research I thought I would give it a try knowing it would be a challenge.

What is the Ketogenic diet? In my own shortened, non-medical terms it is a diet that forces your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. It is high fat, no sugar, very low carb, no fruit (except  berries), protein and certain veggies diet. Your daily intake should consist of 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs. Sounds simple. It is not. Here is what I learned on my six month trial:

  1. 70% of your diet needs to be fat; this is VERY hard. Most people start off thinking they can get their fat from protein. This will cause you to go over your 25% a day. You will need to add some sort of fat such as olive oil- think sauteed spinach or salad dressings; unsweetened full fat coconut milk- think coffee creamer, keto ice cream, curry dishes with cauliflower rice.
  2. Carb Manager App is a life saver. I used this for the first month to help me realize how much fat/protein/carbs are in the foods I was eating. This App is a must!
  3. Did you know vegetables have carbs?  Onions have carbs, even broccoli has carbs.  Crazy.  However, there are low amounts so it is ok to have them in moderation.
  4. I love pickle juice and avocados.  I have these items daily they help to replenish electrolytes and magnesium that you are missing during this diet.
  5. My brain is amazing!  I stopped having the foggy gluten-head in the afternoons and I noticed that I was becoming more alert and engaging in meetings.
  6. All of my inflammation went away. I had started noticing that I felt puffy and swollen before going on this diet.  The first week on Keto all of my inflammation went away.
  7. I am a lot less hungry.  I used to need an afternoon snack every day.  Now sometimes I can go without eating lunch.
  8. Ground grass fed beef is way better than ground turkey breast.  OMG food tastes so much better!  My diet, while always mostly protein and veggies has always been low fat high carb.   High fat and low carb tastes so much better to me!
  9. I can still have wine!  I am still able to drink wine- wine is very low in carbs.
  10. I have lost 24 pounds! Clothes I was unable to wear suddenly fit again!

So what do I eat you ask?  Here is what a normal day looks like:

  • Breakfast:

    • During the week: two hard boiled eggs, black coffee, sometimes an avocado
    • On the weekend: eggs cooked in coconut oil with bacon or sausage and sauteed spinach or avocado toast on keto bread
  • Lunch:
    • Salad with sliced turkey meat, spinach, kale coleslaw, onions, peppers, tomatoes with a keto salad dressing
    • Sliced cucumbers topped with mayo and pepperoni
    • Lettuce wrap hamburger with coleslaw
    • Cucumber wrapped sushi with a side of wasabi mayo and seaweed salad
  • Snacks:

    • Celery and low carb peanut butter
    • olives
    • pickles
    • Salami slices
    • Pork rinds and guacamole and salsa
    • avocado
    • almonds
  • Dinner

    • Grass fed beef stuffed peppers with cauliflower rice
    • Steak with mashed cauliflower and sauteed spinach and mushrooms
    • Salmon with asparagus (picture above)
    • Chicken wings (picture above)
    • Grass fed beef with low carb spaghetti sauce over shiritaki noodles and Mikey’s english muffin garlic bread (pic above)
    • Taco salad
  • Dessert
    gluten free jacksonville smart cakes

    • Peanut butter and chocolate bars
    • Ice cream
    • Coconut shavings with a spoonful of coconut milk
    • Smart Cakes (see photo above they are so good)

My overall consensus: I feel great and I am going to continue.  I plan to continue this as my lifestyle because it is easy, I am eating whole foods, it tastes so good and I am not always so worried about my next snack.  I also think it is helping my gluten-free lifestyle and my overall health.  Have you tried it?  What do you think?

 

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Native Sun Jacksonville

gluten free jacksonville native sunThis past month, I had the opportunity to meet with Native Sun Natural Foods Market to discuss their celiac safe bakery, gluten-free product vetting, and more. As background, Native Sun opened its first grocery store in Jacksonville over twenty years ago. Since then, it has grown to three neighborhood stores and is known around town for its all organic produce selection, health minded and organic deli, delicious juice and smoothie bar, and the best celiac friendly bakery in town. They are truly Jacksonville’s neighborhood grocer!

Gluten Free Jacksonville Native Sun

Whether you were recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease or are trying to prepare a gluten free meal for a friend or family member, I highly recommend making a trip to Native Sun. After meeting with their team, I really believe that they are the number one resource in the JAX community for products and tips on how to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Ginny Nehring, who is Native Sun’s Manager of Research and Education, is just one of the many resources available to you when shopping at Native Sun. Ever since her middle son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease twenty years ago, Ginny has been researching gluten-free products and spearheading Celiac Disease community education around Jacksonville. I admire Ginny for her dedication to our community and the 1:1 time she spends with newly diagnosed gluten-free families. One of the services she offers at Native Sun is hosting tours to those newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Tours can include education on Native Sun’s color coded in-store labeling, recommending some of her favorite products, and can provide much needed comfort to those who are trying to navigate a new lifestyle and diet. Ginny shared with me that people often hear, “Celiac Disease” and fear that they can never eat their favorite foods again like pizza, pasta, or cake. When she walks them through the aisles and shows them donuts, fritters, muffins, pizza crust, pasta and breads that are celiac safe, it can open a whole new world of enjoyable options!

Native Sun’s new product vetting process is also impressive. As the Manager of Research and Education, Ginny contacts every single gluten-free product manufacturer and researches their cross-contamination practices. As a result, Native Sun will not label a product gluten-free unless it has passed a rigorous process that ensures it is Celiac safe. Ginny shared that some products will be labeled by the manufacturer as “gluten-free” but after researching cross contamination practices, Native Sun will discover that they do not meet their gluten-free labeling standards.

It was Ginny’s idea to create the dedicated gluten-free bakery at Native Sun. She had perfected many of the recipes in her home for her son and wanted to share them with the community. It’s important to mention that when I say, “gluten-free bakery,” I mean 100% gluten free Celiac safe bakery—it’s dedicated gluten-free. Their bakery items include my favorite oatmeal cream pie made with purity protocol oatmeal, carrot cake, banana bread, and even a pecan pie.

In addition to what we put in our body, I had the opportunity to talk to Ginny about the cosmetics and skincare products that we often use. Ginny shared with me that we need to be concerned about the cosmetics we put on our skin and in our hair. One of her favorite products is a skincare line called Derma E—all items are gluten free. After our meeting, I tried one of the Derma-E face serums and absolutely loved it! I had to get used to the sunscreen type consistency, but it has done wonders for smoothing out my skin! Ginny assured me that not all their products share that consistency!

Gluten Free Jacksonville Native SunSome of the items Ginny shared with me that I really want to highlight are these new Udi’s bread you do not need to toast! This is a game changer!

Lastly, I compiled some of my favorite gluten-free items that are available at Native Sun! If you are looking to set up a meeting with Ginny you can contact the store by phone and request a store tour or stop by and complete a Product Knowledge Enhancement Tour form and she will contact you, usually within 24 hours to set up a time to meet with you at your convenience.

Italian night! This gluten-free pasta tastes just like the real thing and the recipe for Manicotti is already on the box! The pasta is made in Italy. I also suggest pairing the cheesy bites. You might even trick your gluten eating friends.

Gluten Free Jacksonville Native SunMexican is the easiest to eat gluten-free and you can feel safe doing it at Native Sun even this margarita mix is safe!

Have you been to Native Sun? Have you ever taken one of Ginny’s tours?

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May is Celiac Awareness Month

gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness monthIt is amazing how far Celiac Disease Awareness has come in the almost 10 years since I was diagnosed.  There are a few things I am happy about and a few things I would LOVE to see change as we try to raise awareness of Celiac Disease.

For those of you new to the Celiac world- according to The University of Chicago Medicine Celiac Disease Center, Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine. When a person who has celiac disease consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, the individual’s immune system responds by attacking the small intestine
and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients into the body. Undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and in rare cases, cancer.

Things that make me happy about where we have come with Celiac Awareness:

  1. Every grocery store has some type of gluten free offering beyond just Whole Foods and specialty stores.
    gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month
  2. Restaurants are beginning to educate their staff better to avoid cross contamination.
  3. Friends and family care and actually want to learn what “gluten-free” means- sometimes even taking steps to avoid cross contamination and make you a meal.
  4. We are seeing more and more restaurants that are dedicated gluten-free (no worries about cross contamination!!)
  5. Sooo many recipes online!!!  I have found the joy of cooking through this diagnosis.gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month
  6. Travel has gotten so much easier.  I have enjoyed trips on Cruises to the Caribbean, Ireland and Italy that were amazing and I didn’t go hungry once!gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month

Things I would LOVE to see changed about Celiac Awareness:

  1. The question: is this a serious allergy when I say I am “gluten-free” and “living with Celiac Disease.”  I dream of a day when I see “gluten-free” on the menu and I don’t have to say a word afterwards.  I hate to say it but french fries fried in the same oil as breaded chicken fingers should not be labeled gluten-free.
  2.   Stop making fun of the gluten-free diet.  Yes there is a large percent of the population who use gluten-free as a diet tactic but there is an even larger group of people- approximately 3 million- that have to follow this diet to stay alive.
    gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month
  3.  Incorporate a laws- similar to what these countries have done– to protect people living with Celiac Disease.
  4. Stop using gluten-free labeling as a marketing tactic.  There are laws in place but there is no one enforcing these laws.
  5. Provide better subsidies for those of us living with Celiac Disease.  Gluten-free goods are very expensive. When I went gluten-free my grocery bill per week was $50 more expensive and continues to be that way.  Thank goodness I live near a Trader Joes!
  6. Educate more primary care physicians on the signs and symptoms of Celiac Disease.  When I was diagnosed, almost 10 years ago, my physician was very skeptical when I asked to be tested for Celiac Disease.  I had done a ton of research online and that was the only thing I could find that matched my symptoms. She is one of the top doctors in our area and she thought it was a waste of time.  But she did it and was extremely supportive when the results came back.

What has your experience with Celiac Disease been?

Resources:

  1. University of Chicago Medicine – Celiac Disease Center
  2. Celiac Disease Foundation
  3. Beyond Celiac

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Front Porch Pickings – Veggie Delivery Service

About 3 years ago I subscribed to a veggie home delivery program called Front Porch Pickings.  Every two weeks a box of vegetables grown within Florida is delivered directly to my doorstep for only $26 a delivery.  I love vegetables and am not picky at all.  Even my husband enjoys the veggie creations I come up with.  My goal every two weeks is to use everything in the box even if I have no idea what it is.  I have grown to love turnips and kohlrabi, vegetables I never would have purchased on my own at the supermarket.  I even became hooked on my eggplant parmesan recipe because I had no idea what to do with the gorgeous eggplants I got in my delivery box.

What I really love is they send you what you will be receiving the Sunday before they deliver so you can make changes and take out items you don’t like.  For instance sometimes there an abundance of salad bunches in the box and my husband usually purchases tons of spinach for our salads so I may substitute for more of one thing or add on something different that may be available.  In addition to vegetables you can add in local coffee, bread, soaps, and more.

Because everything is from Florida the vegetables usually arrive ripe and full of nutrients.  Another nice thing is if I run out of something that is especially delicious I know it is going to be available at the local farmers market or grocery store so I can go and get more.  I feel like I am on top of whatever is in season based on what is in my box.  Here are a few of my finds from my local deliveries:

Oyster Mushrooms, sweet potatoes, green beans, eggplant, peaches, tomatoes, muscadine grapes and sweet potato greens.

gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings

Here are a few of the meals and sides I have made with items from my Front Porch Picking bin:

gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings

Locally grown black eyed peas with fresh sauted green peppers

gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings

Locally grown green peppers and mushrooms in a chicken stir fry

gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings

Locally grown arugula, peppers and cucumbers in a yummy salad

gluten free jacksonville front porch pickings

Locally grown roasted zucchini

Do you subscribe to a local veggie delivery service ? What is your favorite vegetable?

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Gluten Free Delights

Recently, Kristy Luschen the owner of Gluten Free Delights Florida reached out to me about trying some of her gluten-free desserts.  She recently started her gluten-free dessert company and wants to get the word out to those following a gluten-free diet as well as restaurants who are looking for a gluten-free option at their restaurant.

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delights Kristy brought me a strawberry cream cake, chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting, and a cheesecake topped with dark chocolate.  They sounded (and looked) delicious! Since her desserts also have dairy (I am dairy free too) I had to rely on my go-to taste tester: my husband!

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delights Kristy went gluten-free a while back when she thought she may have had gluten-sensitivity or Celiac Disease.  During that time she experimented with different gluten-free desserts and other recipes. While her kitchen is not designated gluten-free she makes every effort to clean, make sure all gluten-containing ingredients are out of sight and avoid cross contamination.

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delights Chocolate salted caramel

My husband found this one tasty- the icing had a salty taste which really balanced out the chocolate cake.  The cake could be a little bit more moist (this is always a challenge with gluten-free cakes) or just pair with a glass of milk or add a bit more icing 🙂 He loved the flavor of the icing.

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delightsStrawberry Cream Cake
This was my husband’s favorite so far and overall.  He said it was SO GOOD. My husband stated that it reminded him of the strawberry cake that they have at French Pantry that is so delicious.  It has a nice fruity creamy strawberry taste and has real strawberry chunks.  My husband said it tasted really fresh.

Chocolate cheesecake

While my husband is not typically a cheesecake fan he said the cheesecake and graham cracker flavors tasted amazing together. I know as far as gluten-free options go it is usually quite hard to find a good graham cracker crust. It was so tasty it may not even need the chocolate part or maybe a little less.

I highly recommend that you try out Gluten Free Delights. Visit her website and place an order. It is always nice to support local people trying to do good things in our community. And no matter what diet you are on you always need to allow a splurge every now and then. For more information visit her Facebook page: Gluten Free Delights on Facebook

What are your favorite desserts? So you normally order gluten-free dessert if it is available? Who has the best gluten-free dessert?

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Gluten-free and Vegan Six Course Meal at Super Food and Brew 

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewOn Saturday, August 20 I attended a Gluten-free/Vegan wine dinner at one of my favorite Downtown spots- Super Food and Brew. Over 30 people gathered to taste traditional meat dishes transformed into gluten-free/vegan deliciousness without a bit of compromise on taste.  I was lucky enough to dine with Jessica from Jax Vegan Love.  We had a great time sharing our opinions of the food and our favorite restaurants.  If you aren’t following her on Facebook you definitely should!
gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe first course was a  beet carpaccio.  The beets were sliced thin and the accompanying dressing was delightful.  It also included tempeh crumbles to add a little protein.

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe second course was a Rainbow Vegetable Pad Thai Salad.  I am a big fan of thai food and the flavors were spot on.


gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe third course was an eggplant involtini with ratatouille.  Don’t even get me to try to pronounce this dish.  It was the first of the hot dishes that were served and I could have sworn there was cheese or meat in this dish.  But it was completely gluten-free/vegan

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe fourth course was a Forest Mushroom Risotto.  This was so creamy I swear there was butter in here.

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe fifth course was a Carrot Osso Buco over Cauliflower Grits.  Traditionally this is served with some sort of beef and for those (usually the vegan’s date) that were meat eaters they graciously added a nice steak with this dish.  I am not a vegan, but I am dairy free and this was such a nice treat.  However, I was extremely full.

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe grand finale was a Coconut fig bar, fresh Berry Nut Cream bar and a chocolate Tart with salted Oat Crust. We each got our own plate of these three desserts and they easily could have been shared with my table mate.

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewI know you are thinking right now- I want to go.  When is the next one?  Well you are in luck!  Dale from Super Food and Brew is going to do another one since this one was so successful!  For all of the latest updates on events and restaurant openings please make sure you are following us on Facebook.

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Amazing Foods For Health Pancakes and Cinnamon Raisin Cookies

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes and cookies

On a lazy Sunday I decided to do some gluten-free baking. Recently Amazing Foods For Health sent me gluten-free pancakes and gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookie mix. While I try not to eat too many carbs and processed foods, after running the Gate River Run I had a few extra calories to spare and my husband absolutely loves oatmeal raisin cookies so I had a willing assistant to help with the taste testing.
gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

Gluten Free Pancakes

I started the morning with some pancakes. The ingredients were easy and things that I almost always have on hand.  Nothing is more annoying than weird ingredients that I have to make a special trip to the grocery store for. gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

We are dairy-free as well we we used So Delicious almond milk instead of regular milk and added in some extra flax seed for added fiber.gluten free jacksonville so delicous almond milk

The pancakes batter came out thicker than I usually make so I added in some water .gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

I followed the instructions on the box and they still came out pretty thick but they cooked really nicely and were delicious! I paired it with some turkey bacon and a cup of coffee and it was a nice little breakfast!

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

While I had the mixing bowl out I figured I would go ahead and make the cookies too! Again the ingredients were easy and the only real pre-planning was to leave the butter out to soften.

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods oatmeal raisin cookies

I used Earth Balance instead of regular butter. gluten free jacksonville earth balance
gluten free jacksonville amazing foods oatmeal raisin cookies

While the box stated that it made 30 cookies this batch only made 18 cookies and take note they don’t get much bigger than the size they are when you put on the cookie sheet.  Also they came out a little dry, I may substitute coconut oil instead of the Earth Balance next time so they come out a little more chewy.  But they were delicious and I can honestly say that half of the plate below was gone within 10 minutes!
gluten free jacksonville amazing foods oatmeal raisin cookies

All in all they were both delicious.  I don’t think you would even notice that they are gluten-free.  They cooked easy and tasted so yummy. Looks like the only place to purchase these items in Jacksonville is the Walmart Supercenter on San Pablo Road S.

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