30 days to healthy living: Day 3

What to eat when. That’s the topic for today and what a loaded topic this is!!
Quiz time: What do YOU think is the best way to fuel your body through out the day?
a. one meal per day
b. 2 meals per day
c. 3 meals per day
d. snacks
e. no snacks
f. limit the number of hours you can eat during
g. no eating after 7 pm
h. something else
Well, if you look on the internet you will find someone telling you any and all of the above is the “right” way to eat. (And I’m going to kind of do that too…) So what’s the evidence? Short answer: it’s conflicting.
The governments My Plate recommendation is vague. It gives total recommendations for the day and approximate amounts you should put on your plate via an infographic. You can find calculators on the website that will help you determine your caloric needs for weight loss and maintenance based on your activity but I feel like the numbers were on the high side. Basically it looks like 75% vegetables/fruits/carbs and 25% protein with a little dish of dairy on the side. No fat recommendation on the infographic itself and I did a lot of clicking but didn’t find much that was more specific than that. At the bottom of the infographic it tells you what a serving of each food group is and how many per day you should eat based on your calories for the day. So some good, very basic information but I think it leaves too much room for error. If you are ambitious, you can read the entire 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans here. Good luck!
Paleo: meh. I think we need some good whole grains in our lives. I don’t live in a cave and don’t forage for my food. I do find a lot of good recipes here when I need a gluten free version of something. Just don’t be afraid to add a little brown rice or other whole grain. It will stretch your recipe, give you more fiber and sustain you a bit better.
Keto: So a true “keto” diet should only be undertaken under medical supervision, especially if it is for something like controlling epilepsy. There is research supporting it’s use but again, with supervision. Your blood is supposed to be a fairly neutral/slightly alkaline pH. Mess with that and you are courting a coma. In fact, that’s what happens to diabetics when their diabetes is not well controlled. I like fat and I think we should include healthy fats in our diets everyday but 70-80% fat? I am not a huge fan. Plus, if your blood is acidic it will pull calcium from your bones in order to balance it. This in turn will cause osteoporosis over time.
Alkaline: As I just noted above, your body needs just a slightly alkaline blood pH of 7.4 . Acidosis is defined as a pH of 7.35 or lower and alkalosis as 7.45 or higher. Not a lot of wiggle room there. Getting your blood MORE basic isn’t any better for you than getting it slightly acidic and it may actually be worse. Thankfully your body has natural mechanisms during digestion and absorption to balance your blood pH all on its own. When your blood pH is out of whack, you are in trouble. Blood pH isn’t something to try to change on your own. And so I will go on the record and say that although I am an Arbonne Independent Consultant and use their products for weight loss and maintenance including their healthy living materials and 30 day program, I do not support attempts at “alkalizing” your blood. Its why I also don’t agree with having to avoid coffee and vinegar. There are a lot of health benefits to be had from a couple cups of coffee per day and when you consume vinegar, which is an acid, your body turns it into an alkaline substance. Its the same with lemons. There IS an article from the Journal of Environmental and Public health discussing the alkaline diet and it”s potential benefits but mainly that’s because it is mostly plant based and eliminates processed foods. Bottom line, you can’t and shouldn’t significantly change your blood pH. You SHOULD include more vegetables and fruits and less processed foods and meat in your diet.
Detox: Do you have a liver and kidneys that work? Then you have all the “detox” you need. So while I actually love Arbonne’s Detox Tea, I really dislike the name. There are so many “detox” plans out there and really nothing can clean your blood for you any better than your liver and kidneys can (well dialysis can but we are trying to avoid that with a healthy diet, ok?). Want to “detox” for real? Drink lots of water and eat fiber. “Detox” seems to be a euphemism for pooping. Yep I said it. Pooping. You should do this at least once a day. In fact, probably after every meal since it should ideally take 24 hours for your meal to pass then entire length of your gut end to end. Our guts are generally messed up though and medications interfere with our gut function. So water + fiber= poop= “detox”  ps: the funny thing about the Detox tea? It doesn’t make you, uh, “go” but it does have some great herbs in it that support the liver’s function. So maybe the name isn’t as bad as it sounds…
Intermittant fasting (Time Restricted Feeding): Ok, if anything is going to get a gold star it’s going to be this. There is actual research showing promising results in mice(and other animals) that limiting the number of hours you consume food during the day is helpful in preventing weight gain, stabilizing blood sugar, preventing fatty liver disease, extends lifespan and supports weight loss. This is purely anecdotal but I have a friend who has been using intermittant fasting and has lost weight and has been able to get off of her diabetes medication with her medical provider’s blessing and support. (As with anything else, do not stop any medications without involving your provider!) I read the mice study this summer. Basically the best results were seen in mice who followed schedule of eating during an 8-10 hour time frame and ate a healthy diet although there was benefit even when eating a higher fat diet. Cool stuff and more research is needed.
Last, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Blue Zones diet. This is a common denominator diet found to be followed generally by the “blue zones” or places where there is the highest concentration of people living to 100 and beyond. It’s mostly plant based, 90-95%. Yes, there will always be that George Burns type who seems to live forever on cigars and whiskey but the vast majority of those who live to be centenarians follow a much healthier lifestyle. This style of eating certainly can’t hurt!
There are other diets out there as well but these are the most popular right now that I am aware of.  I personally have to follow a gluten free diet no matter what other eating pattern I choose to follow because of celiac disease. I recently read an article about the potential benefit of a low gluten diet helping with GI symptoms but it seemed to be related more to an increase in amount and type of fiber for those who had GI symptoms but not celiac disease. If you don’t have celiac, maybe try more fiber first. Gluten free dieting without medical need is not recommended.
My recommendation:
1. eliminate processed foods, soda, sweeteners and temporarily starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn as well as alcohol.
2. Make sure you are truly fasting overnight. This means at least 12 hours. Set a cut off time if you need to. I generally have black coffee until about 10 am then a protein shake to break my fast.
3. Eat 2 “lean and green” meals per day. This is 3-5 oz lean protein, 3 cups leafy greens or 1.5 cups other vegetables along with a small serving of whole grain such as 1/4-1/2 cup brown rice, 1-2tsp healthy fat such as olive oil, herbs to season and some vinegar if you are making a salad.
4. Space your meals about 4-5 hours apart if you aren’t using a really short (8 hours) time restricted eating pattern. I try to keep all eating within a 10 hour window.
5. Have a snack only if you are truly hungry and limit it to 100-150 calories. I love having a green apple and a tbsp of almond butter. 15 almonds also works. Hot tea, especially green tea, can help with cravings and is an excellent accompaniment to snacks.
6. Calculate your basic caloric needs and subtract 500 calories. This is your maximum for the day.
7. Try meal replacements. I use Arbonne protein shakes and add almond milk, fiber and sometimes peanut powder or cacao powder and a banana. There are loads of recipes on Pinterest for Shakes using Arbonne protein powder! I have one for breakfast every day and I have 2 a day when I am trying to lose weight.
8. write down what you eat. That journal you started on day 1 is for recording your daily intake. Use it! And write EVERYTHING down. what you ate, where you ate it, how you felt before and after and what was going on that day. This is helpful for identifying eating patterns and any potential food intolerances.
9. Drink 64 oz water daily at minimum. Hydration hydration hydration. Tired? drink water. Hungry? drink water. Bored? drink water. We are all walking around like shrinky dinks because we don’t drink enough. Hint: your urine should be CLEAR!
10. Be cautious with alcohol. Alcohol lowers your inhibition and this includes your ability to follow your diet. Drink too much and next thing you know you’ve eaten 2 dozen hot wings and half a pizza. When losing weight its best to avoid altogether or save it for a special occasion or the weekends and then only have 1 serving per day for women and up to 2 per day for men. (Not fair I know. Blame biology)
That’s it in a nutshell. Or a really long wandering article depending on how you look at it 😉
Questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll be happy to help!
Happy day 3!!
PS: I am here as your coach. I am not acting as your medical provider. I cannot give you medical advice. What I am suggesting is what has worked for me and is largely based on programs I have used than I know get good results. I also check for evidence based dietary recommendations and read actual medical research studies on diet. Before you change your diet or start to exercise, discuss it with your medical provider. If you are on medications changes in your diet can affect how your medication works. Weight loss can affect birth control methods. Leafy greens can interfere with “blood thinners.” Your provider is also a good person to help you set goals. Don’t put your health in jeopardy trying to get healthy (ironic I know)  talk to your medical provider first!!

30 days to healthy living: Day 2

So how did you do with Day ? Were you surprised by some of your numbers? :O Did you come up with some goals? A hint with goals is to break them up into short term (1-12 months) and long term (2 years).  Then break down the big goals into baby steps.  Also look at your list and realist them in priority order. Start with what is most important to you or you are more likely to fizzle out.
Ok, so today I want to talk about FOOD. I mean, doesn’t our whole life kind of revolve around it? And isn’t a big part of our health problems and weight issues? It seems like we have gotten this eating thing all wrong and it is so darn hard to get it right. Something is good for you one week and causes cancer the next Uuuugh!!! So where to start???
Here’s my plan/suggestion:
For the next month try a modified elimination diet to get your eating habits under control and if you suspect you have a food intolerance this is a great way to test it. This is what I did when I first suspected I had celiac disease. Thankfully I figured out within a week that I had an issue with gluten. But I recently did a 30 day run of this and got back on track with my eating and weight. I lost 9 pounds and am now within 3 pounds of the weight I’d like to hit and then maintain. It may not sound like a lot to someone who wants/needs to lose 100 pounds but my back and hips feel every extra pound of weight I put on. On that note, every pound of extra weight you carry is equivalent to and extra FOUR pounds of weight pressing on your hips and knees. People who carry around extra weight are more likely to develop osteoarthritis and need joint replacement surgery and ironically they often have to lose weight before the surgeon will do it because the replacements won’t hold if you weigh too much! So best do it now and avoid wearing out your joints!!
I digress…
So this plan is a combination of different but similar things you may have seen or heard about or even tried but this is not something you are going to fo forever and it won’t work for everyone. We will talk about modifying it or going a slower gentler route tomorrow as well as some other ideas for adjusting your eating but some basic principles will be consistent throughout. But if you are like me, you need to just put up a giant stop sign to force you to get away from the junk and eat food that will fuel my body. confession: I was drinking about 2 glasses of wine per day and eating candy on a daily basis. I would often go all day without eating and then eat without ceasing in the evening (and MORE than make up for not eating all day! I was HANGRY!!). Because I am a celiac I have gotten away from eating any kind of bread because gluten free bread? Not so great. I ate my fair share of loaded nachos and pizza though. And the thing is, if I went from eating loaded corn chip nachos to a healthy alternative I might think that the healthier version wasn’t as satisfying and not try it again. BUT if I haven’t eaten any nachos in a month and then because my eating is under control and my taste buds have adjusted, those healthy nachos taste great and now, because I don’t feel ill after eating them, I crave those instead of the old version. I promise-hold fast and your taste buds will adjust! Pinkie swear.
Here’s the basic plan:
“Yes” foods (forever)
All vegetables (except potatoes and corn)
Leafy greens (Romaine-when there isn’t ANOTHER recall on it. Spinach. Arugula. Dandelion greens. Chard, etc.)
Green apples
Lean protein-salmon, sardines, boneless/skinless chicken breast, pork tenderloin, lamb, rabbit, goat, freshwater fish, shrimp, clams, oysters, grass fed beef, etc. ALL prepared broiled, baked, poached, grillled but not fried!
Brown rice
Quinoa (if you like it. I find it annoying because it gets all over my kitchen every.single.time. )
Riced cauliflower
Beans (legumes) especially lentils, black eyed peas and chick peas.
Edamame (soybeans)
Sweet potatoes
Healthy fats: nut oils, olive oil, avocado, grapeseed, high oleic sunflower oil and coconut oil.
Water, water water-64oz per day minimum
Green tea
Black coffee
Herbal tea
Almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, rice milk
Nonfat Greek yogurt
Sparkling or mineral water (Wegmans has great flavored sparking waters that are calorie and sweetener free)
Limes and lemons
alcohol, especially beer (yes, I did it, you can too!!)
Dairy milk, creamer, half and half
Wheat/barley/rye (if you are testing a sensitivity or want to try a low gluten diet)
Fruit other than mentioned above
Peanuts/peanut butter
Things you should avoid FOREVER:
Artificial sweeteners except Stevia, monkfruit or erythritol
Processed foods such as TV dinners, boxed cereals
Sugar (the white kind)
Basically any food that comes in a box or a bag is a food “product” and not actually food and highly unlikely to be healthy for you.
I’ll give some rationale along the way but that’s the basic list. If you have a question about any of them, please let me know!
My very superty-dooper strong suggestion is to giveaway or throw away all the junk in your house. Out of sight, out of the way of your mouth. You might think about it so I can’t say out of mind but if it isn’t there to easily grab in a moment of weakness, you can’t eat it! This works really well for me.
So this is basically your shopping list but before you go shopping there is something else important to do-plan what you are going to eat and when. Tomorrow we will talk about how to go about eating this stuff and when to eat it as well as modifications as I mentioned above.
In th meantime work on the tip and start purging your pantry of junk. Get it out of the way so you can make a clean start!
PS: I am here as your coach. I am not acting as your medical provider. I cannot give you medical advice. What I am suggesting is what has worked for me and is largely based on programs I have used than I know get good results. I also check for evidence based dietary recommendations and read actual medical research studies on diet. Before you change your diet or start to exercise, discuss it with your medical provider. If you are on medications changes in your diet can affect how your medication works. Weight loss can affect birth control methods. Leafy greens can interfere with “blood thinners.” Your provider is also a good person to help you set goals. Don’t put your health in jeopardy trying to get healthy (ironic I know)  talk to your medical provider first!!
Here’s to our health!

30 Days to healthy living, Day 1: the rest of your life

Welcome! Today is day 1 of the rest of your life. It’s the day to start over and begin to incorporate healthy living habits that will lead you down the path to more vibrant health, energy and wellbeing. Will it cure everything wrong with you? No. But I know from personal experience that every little step adds up and in time makes a significant difference. It can mean the difference between taking medications or being pill free. It can mean the difference between a lifetime of being diabetic and at risk of heart attacks and stroke (cardiovascular or heart disease is the number one killer for everyone but diabetics are at an even higher risk. More on that later on) or losing a limb, your eyesight or worse. Today is the day you decide to eat better, sleep better, feel better and do better. We will do this together. It’s day 1 for me too although it’s not the first time I’ve done a 30 day challenge.

Supplies you will need:



A positive attitude


And a bit of self control (we are a work in progress though so if you go off track just get back on. No failure allowed!)

Recommended supplies:

Food scale

Measuring spoons and cups

Bullet blender (but a basic blender will work too)

MyFitness Pal app (it’s FREE!)

Activity tracker (helps keep you honest with your activity levels 😉)

So, here’s what to do today:

1. Weigh yourself. Get your naked self on the scale. Take a good hard look. Like what you see? Why or why not? If not, there’s hope! Write it down.

2. What weight do you want to be? Write that down.

3. Why do you want to weigh that weight? Have you ever weighed that weight? What do you expect when you get there?

4. Find out what your cholesterol numbers are. If you don’t know these ask next time you see your medical provider. Write them down.

5. Get a blood pressure reading and record it.

6. Measure your waist circumference. Also measure the widest part of your hips, upper arms and thighs. Chest too, especially women. Record these.

7. Record your clothing sizes.

8. List your medications and health conditions. (Can you see we are creating your own little health record journal?)

9. List your goals other than your weight goal. What do you want to accomplish this month? Is there something you are trying to give up? Or do more of? Less of? Start?

10. Write down how you are feeling. Excited? Hesitant? Not sure? Motivated? Tired? Energetic? Be real. This is for you to track. No one is judging you!

Phew! That’s enough for today. Tomorrow we will talk about the basic plan and what the rest of the 30 days will encompass. For now, here’s to our health! 🍷🥗🍏


As good as it gets: Gluten free egg rolls

I grew up on Long Island, Mecca of good Chinese food and pizza. For my birthday I always wanted Chinese: egg roll, wonton soup and maybe some chow mein. I’m sure it was authentic ethnic cuisine… But who cares? It was so GOOD!! 

As I got older I branched out. Hot and sour soup? Yes. Curry chicken and onion? Yes. Shrimp with lobster sauce? YES! It was all good. 

Then celiac disease became part of my vocabulary and life and away went my beloved Chinese food. I haven’t stepped foot in a Chinese restaurant in 5 long sad years. I have learned to make egg foo young even better than any I’ve had in a restaurant. I can make stir fry. I’ve made egg roll in a bowl. I’ve even made egg drop soup (easy!). But egg roll in a bowl aside, nothing has replaced a genuine fried egg roll or wonton soup 🙁 

So I tried these from Feel Good Foods. Not bad. They get the wrapper just right. It bubbles when you cook it. Perfect. The filling? Ok. It has flavor and it’s close but they put bell peppers in it. In my 42 years I have never heard of bell peppers in an egg roll. Never. The average shrimp or pork egg roll has the meat, finely shredded cabbage and maybe carrots and that’s it. There are no bell peppers people!!!! 

Pulling myself together…

All in all however, these are pretty good. One roll has about 130 calories and is just enough for a snack or appetizer. It’s not health food by any stretch but for that occasional craving? It’ll do the trick without making a mess of my kitchen! 

Now will someone puhlease make a genuine tasting gluten free wonton??? I’m begging here…

Get your lemon curd on ;)


Are you wondering what on earth I put on my toast? Is that egg yolk? Pudding? What is it?  It doesn’t look all that good…

Well, that’s Trader Joe’s Lemon Curd on a piece of Trader Joe’s gluten free multigrain bread and it is just fabulous. A little piece of heaven to me. See, being gluten free, I can’t waltz into Dunkin’ Donuts and pick up a lemon filled donut. I don’t bake, so making my own isn’t going to happen either. And then on vacation I discovered this lemon curd and the rest is history. A yummy history, that is 🙂

I am not an affiliate for Trader Joe’s or for lemon curd. I even hear you can make your own but I haven’t tried it yet. I just want to share the lemon curd love with anyone who is missing their lemon filled donuts. Run to Trader Joe’s (or in my case, drive an hour and fifteen minutes one way) and pick up a few jars of lemon curd. It’s even yummy right off the spoon!


The perils of school snacks

Another school year is upon us, in fact, we are a month in already. Last night was open house for my kindergarteners and tomorrow night is my daughters “Senior Night” for field hockey. Hard to believe I have one senior and TWO kindergarteners! Wow!

Before the school year began I received a welcome letter from the girls kindergarten teacher which indicated that we would have “class snack” again this year. We did this last year and because we were relying on other parents to provide a suitable snack for my celiac child, we also had to provide gluten free snacks for her to have a special stash because most parents don’t know what gluten is let alone know how to provide a gluten free snack for a whole class of little kids.  Basically, twice a month I brought in snack for the whole class then also had to provide a snack for my daughter every day. I wasn’t really thrilled about that.

So this year when I got the notice I emailed the teacher intending to opt out and just bring in a snack for my girls and forget the class snack thing. I was surprised when their teacher promptly emailed me back at 10pm to say that she was happy to change the policy and would send home a notice on the first day of school. She also wanted to meet with me to talk about my daughters needs. Well blow me down (does that phrase age me? ) I was impressed.

As it turns out we also have a child with severe peanut and tree nut allergies in the class. He was in class with the girls last year so we were used to peanut free snacks too. His mom found nut free gluten free cake mix and even made mini cupcakes for the class to try during kindergarten orientation. She apparently likes to make cupcakes so much so volunteered to make them for any parent not comfortable with making them for their child’s classroom celebration. I don’t bake. My husband made them for my girls birthday the following week. And just in case you are wondering, Pillsbury makes gluten free Funfetti cupcake mix. I ate it and didn’t get sick. It’s kind of awesome if you make the mini cupcakes…

Overall, this is working well. Unfortunately, the third child to have a class birthday brought in store bought cupcakes that were neither gluten nor peanut free despite a call from the teacher beforehand and assuring the teacher she understood. I don’t get that exactly but peanut allergy kid’s mom came to the rescue and made some Funfetti GF cookies. She rocks (and is a stay at home mom).

Then, we went to open house last night. There was a sign up for a “special snack” for their Halloween party. Included on the list were Goldfish crackers and Pretzels. <Head smack>

I don’t blame the teacher. She hasn’t dealt with this before and someone else told her that these were gluten free. So I gently corrected her and followed up with an email offering some options as well as offering to bring in truly gluten and peanut free choices to use for the special snack. I don’t bake, but I can shop. I haven’t heard back yet.

This is what parents of kids with food intolerances and allergies live with all. the. time. Ugh. It never ends. I can’t imagine what it’s like for parents of kids with life threatening allergies. Fearing a day of barfing and weeks of constipation and behavior changes as well as long term gut damage is bad enough. TYVM.

So what to do?




And educate some more.

We have to be proactive. Always. Never assume someone else knows how to handle your child’s allergy. Ask questions. Provide correct information kindly. Ask more questions. Talk to your school nurse. She may need more information also. Provide it. Be adamant that your child’s precautions are met. Even one exposure is unacceptable. We can’t afford to lose even one more kid to an allergic reaction.

So in case you are wondering about the cookies in the pic above, I had them for my snack today (they are supposed to be for the kids. Lucy’s brand in case you can’t see the whole picture). They are awesome. You’re welcome.

NOT gluten free cheerios

Heard today that General Mills is recalling some “gluten free” Cheerios. And we are supposed to be surprised? 

From the start this all sounded quite fishy to me. They removed the gluten? How exactly did you go about that? It’s proprietary, of course, so you can’t tell us? Well, then I can’t buy your product. 

We aren’t talking about a fad here folks, we are talking about peoples lives. Go make your profit elsewhere. You won’t make it on my 6 year old and you won’t make it on me. I’ll keep supporting brands I know are gluten free and not ones that magically transform their products to being gluten free. I like being healthy. I don’t like being “magically” sick. 

My advice? Don’t try them. Ever. 

Hello world!



Buon giorno!

Buenas dias!


Guten tag! (did I spell that correctly???)

Well, you get the idea, welcome to The Gluten Free NP!

As you can see, I am just getting started and right now I’m most interested in what other people want and need to know about living gluten free and autoimmune disease. I am well aware that there are LOTS of other sites out there devoted to gluten free issues and I don’t want to be just another fish in the sea. What are the issues you haven’t seen addressed?

What questions do you have about autoimmune disease?

What are you living with?

Do you have other food allergies?

Are you paleo? SCD? GPS? Dairy free? Soy free? Nut free?

Have you been diagnosed with celiac disease?

Has your healthcare provider given you any information? Do they believe you have food intolerance? Does your family?

Do you have a hard time sticking to your dietary restrictions?

How about when you travel?

How is it affecting your celebrations?

Do you take supplements? Have you had lab work to determine what supplements you might need?

Anything else I haven’t mentioned?

Please just throw it out there! No question about your diet or living with a disease is too small if it affects your well being. I’d like to help!

So let me have it. Please!!

Have a groovy day 🙂