P Is For Pearl Necklace

P - PEARL NECKLACEIf you’re anything like me, you probably believe that whole grains are incredibly good for you.

I used to think so myself!

Yet I’ve come to realize that whole grains aren’t quite what they’re cracked up to be (pardon the pun).


Gluten-filled grains such as wheat – along with just about any food that’s part of the plant kingdom – have their own built-in defense system.

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Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Kickstart the New Year

Avocado smoothieWelcome to 2014!

Over the past few days, it occurred to me that the start of a New Year isn’t all that different from how one starts a new day.

In both cases, it often seems that the day – or the year before you – is an open slate.

Anything could happen, right?

(And often it does.)

How you begin your day sets you up for everything you will encounter by days’ end – including how you will handle the stresses that will inevitably come your way.

Hence the question:

What do you eat for breakfast?

Do you grab a bowl from the cupboard, snatch a bag of cereal, and call that a meal?

If you’ve included some fruit – such as fresh, organic berries – that’s terrific.

Truth is, you’re doing exactly what most Americans do, starting the day with a bowl of cereal and fruit.

(And while that’s OK, it’s not ideal – I’ll tell you why in a moment).

Breakfast is often one of the most challenging meals once you switch to a gluten-free diet.

At first, it might seem easy – all you need to do is trade your favorite breakfast cereal for a gluten-free substitute.

And that works just fine, until you hop on a plane and travel to a strange city.

Now what do you do?

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It’s National Cookie Month!

Did you know we’re celebrating National Cookie Month?

A few days ago, a pretty card arrived in the mail, courtesy of my chiropractor.

Which is how I learned that it’s National Cookie Month.

And who wants to miss out on that?

The card went on to say that a different cookie would be featured in their office every week for the remainder of this month!

And to think – my next appointment isn’t until November.

(I was ready to pick up the phone and make an appointment right away).

Of course, there was nothing to indicate these cookies would be gluten-free, or allergen friendly – in which case, I wouldn’t touch them anyway.

All the more reason to open my cupboards and bake some cookies of my own!

On this particular day – and for whatever reason – I was craving chocolate.

And nothing but a plump Chocolate Chip Cookie was going to satisfy those cravings.

So, I creamed together the butter and sugar, added the gluten-free flour, ground nuts and quinoa – then reached into the cupboard for a bag of chocolate chips.

Imagine my surprise, when I came up empty.

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Summer Tabbouli Salad

Last week, I wrote about some of the pitfalls associated with gluten-free travel and dining in restaurants.

And I wanted to address the flip side – which is the exhilaration one feels when you discover a restaurant that fully understands & caters to the gluten-free diet.

About a year ago, I found one such place in my own backyard, although, it took a ferry ride to get there.

Our destination was a restaurant in the small town of Vashon – on Vashon Island – with a most unusual name:  The Hardware Store.

At the time, I knew that the Gluten-Free Girl and her husband had a close connection to this restaurant – as he happened to be the chef.

That’s how I knew that dining there would be a very positive experience!

Plus, I love going to a restaurant and having my very own, gluten-free menu – it’s so much easier than having to navigate and play detective.

Sometimes I still need to do that, but at least I know everything will be gluten-free, which instantly removes a certain level of anxiety.

On this particular outing, I ordered Fish and Chips for my lunch.

Later, I was mystified by my choice.

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What 5 Favorite Foods Would You Bring To The Moon?

I came across this question the other day, and it got me thinking.

If you were indeed to take a trip to the moon – or were stranded on a deserted isle – which 5 foods would be on your list of ‘must haves’?

Of course, there’s no cheating allowed, not even on the moon.

Meaning whichever 5 foods you choose, they must also be gluten-free as well as free of any other allergens you normally avoid.

So, here’s my list:

  • Quinoa
  • Blueberries
  • Hummus
  • Avocados
  • Salmon

Yes, I know.

That almost sounds a bit too healthy.

But that’s how I live my life. No matter where I travel, I like to be well-fed in a healthy sort of way.

However, if push came to shove, I would also include a supply of Beanitos Chips (gotta have something fun, right?)

Oh wait, that makes 6 items.

Oh well, I can’t think of a single item I would leave out.

Blueberries are full of antioxidants.

Salmon provides Omega-3’s.

Quinoa is an excellent source of protein. The cooked grain is wonderful for breakfast – topped with nuts or fruit – but also fills in as the perfect side dish along with Salmon, or even a vegetarian entrée.

A lot of people have a love-hate relationship with Quinoa.

For starters, they’re not even sure of the correct pronunciation. (Try “keen-wa”)

And avocados?

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Shooting Yourself In The Foot

Last week, I accompanied a friend to a doctor’s appointment.

My role was official note taker.

As luck would have it, the discussion came around to the subject of gluten – even though this was far removed from the initial purpose of our visit.

In reviewing some of the lab work and test results, the doctor made some key observations and suddenly announced that my friend was likely highly sensitive to gluten.

When I heard the word “gluten” my ears instantly perked up.

I couldn’t help it.

I suddenly found myself glued to every word the doctor was saying, and felt incredibly grateful for this unique opportunity to hear his take on managing food allergies.

I particularly loved the following analogy.

The doctor compared the human body to a used vehicle, traveling along the Road of Life.

Along the way, he said, we encounter many potholes especially once we’ve reached a certain point in our lives. Having an autoimmune disease like Celiac Disease, or gluten sensitivity, is one of those potholes.

Which is why our bodies need to be properly maintained and require the occasional tune-ups – just like a car.

Understandably, the doctor was quite insistent that my friend completely eliminate gluten from her diet.

“Otherwise,” he said, “You are shooting yourself in the foot.”

Those words really stayed with me. It was a much-needed reminder that it was time to revisit any bad habits I might have picked up along the way.

Let’s take a closer look at how this works.

For anyone who has ever dealt with a medical issue or two, on this so-called Road of Life, how many of us have gone into denial after the initial diagnosis?

How many of us have been told not to eat certain foods, yet we eat them anyway, telling ourselves that one little bite can’t hurt?

Well, the sad truth is, you’ve just ‘shot yourself in the foot’.

When we consume a food that our body is sensitive to, our autoimmune and nervous systems are suddenly placed on high alert.

The immune system, in particular, goes into full fight mode, trying to rid itself of the intruder.

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