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Archive for May, 2012



The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution book giveaway

Depending on the situation, anxiety (tempered by control) can be a good thing. Many years ago while mountain biking in a somewhat remote area of Montana, my riding partner and I came across a grizzly bear. Needless to say, in that context, both of us hit the anxiety button.

YIKES! There’s a grizzly bear. Right in front of us. Just off the trail.

Luckily the bear wasn’t all that interested. He (she?) stood up, looked straight at us, took a couple of lazy sniffs in our direction, and ambled off. Although he showed no obvious signs of aggression, my anxiety level shot up significantly. And for good reason.

Normal anxiety is like normal inflammation. It’s a positive response to danger or injury and something that is built into our physiology. Without anxiety, we might do stupid things.

“Cool, there’s a grizzly bear. I’ll go stand by him (her?) while you take my picture.”

While anxiety can be innately protective, I’m convinced some of us got the fortified version of the anxiety gene(s) and some of us got the watered down version. You know the personality types. There are scaredy-cats with AVOIDANCE being a distinct personality trait and there are risk-takers without a care in the world. It takes all kinds, but somewhere in the middle might make for a healthier balance.

Sadly, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, abnormal anxiety affects some 40 million people age 18 or older. That’s a lot of Americans living life hanging by a thread of jangled nerves. Are you one of them?

Enter Trudy Scott. She can help.

Although a lifelong adventurer (climber, skier, mountain biker, world traveler), Trudy had her own mid-thirties battle with serious anxiety. Her journey back to radiant health took her on a path of discovery that led to the book, The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood & End Cravings. Trudy is a clinical nutritionist and has a private practice focused on natural solutions for anxiety and mood disorders. She’s “been there, done that” and knows the solution.

I met Trudy while attending the National Association of Nutritional Professional’s conference a few weeks ago in San Francisco. She’s a girl after my own heart. How often do you meet other nutritionists who telemark ski, backpack, mountain bike, and ice climb—and do it all gluten-free? I knew I had to include Trudy’s book in my “May is Celiac Awareness Month” book giveaway. She’s awesome, we hit it off right away, and there’s not a shred of abnormal anxiety in her personality. She found the cure through the right food and lifestyle choices, and she’s here to help you do the same.

If you’re interested in winning a copy of Trudy’s book, please do the following:

• Leave a comment on this post. Make sure you include your email address when prompted (it will only be visible to me) so I can notify you if you win.

• The giveaway closes Thursday, May 31st at 6 PM. It doesn’t matter if you’ve entered the other May giveaways.

I’ll announce all the winners next month in one “wrap-up” blog post. Stay tuned.

Peace, love, and a calm mind.
Melissa

Gluten-free pesto pizza recipe

Gluten-free pesto pizza

This whole Domino’s pizza controversy got me thinking. And experimenting in the kitchen. And baking. And eating.

I won’t weigh in on the Domino’s debate as it’s been hashed-out, bantered around, discussed, argued about, and solved at this point. If you’re interested in a rundown, there have been plenty of gluten-free bloggers dishing up the details.

If you stopped by hoping to see who won the two cookbooks I featured last week (cookbook #1, cookbook #2), the winners haven’t been chosen yet. I plan to give away a few more books over the next two weeks to promote May as Celiac Awareness Month, so stay tuned. I’ll do a final post to wrap things up and announce the winners soon (hopefully the first week in June).

In the meantime, let’s celebrate with gluten-free pizza.

Gluten-free pesto pizza
what you need
prepared gluten-free pizza crust (I used Udi’s)
1/3 cup macadamia nuts (plain, not seasoned)
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt
fresh tomatoes, juiced
kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (just a few, they can be overpowering)

what you do
1. Preheat oven to desired temperature (according to pizza crust directions). Udi’s directions call for a 375 degree oven. Place macadamia nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Don’t over do it, or you’ll end up with nut butter.
2. Add basil and garlic to processor and pulse a few more time to mix the ingredients.
3. Slowly add the lemon juice and olive oil and continue pulsing. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl with a spatula to insure even mixing.
4. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse again. Season with salt.
5. Lightly spread a light, but even layer of pesto on a prepared gluten-free pizza crust.
6. Top with tomatoes and olives. Sprinkled with a small amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or according to crust directions. Pizza should be lightly browned with cheese melted.
8. Remove from oven, let pizza rest for a couple of minutes, slice, and enjoy!

Note: store the remaining pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s delicious on gluten-free pasta, roasted chicken, or crackers.

If you’d like to try making your own crust, Alta at Tasty Eats at Home has a fantastic quinoa pizza crust recipe. I’ve also been experimenting with oat flour to make pizza crusts. I haven’t quite perfected my recipe yet, but there’s a lot of potential with oat flour. Check Gluten-Free Prairie for product details. These are the same wonderful oats I’ve always been in love with.

Next up for the bookapalooza giveaway:

The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution, by Trudy Scott, CN
Go Dairy Free, by Alisa Marie Fleming
Drop the Fat Act & Live Lean, by Ryan D. Andrews, MS, MA, RD, CSCS
Plus some other surprises. Stay tuned.

Peace, love, and homemade gluten-free pizza!
Melissa

Celiac awareness book giveaway (part 2)

Up next in my “May is Celiac Awareness Month” bookapalooza giveaway is organic chef, Leslie Cerier’s cookbook, Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook. Another vegetarian favorite of mine, this book is filled with delicious, nutrient-dense recipes that are not only easy to make, they come with added health benefits as well. Leslie specializes in gluten-free, organic, whole foods cooking and creates her recipes with healing and thriving in mind. Not only does this cookbook have traditional recipe sections (breakfasts, main courses, sides, desserts), Leslie also treats us with savory sauces, sushi party ideas, basic grain cookery, and instructions on how to make nut/seed butters and milks. She covers it all—and does it with style!

Check here for more on Leslie, her cooking classes, recipes, and other cookbooks.

If you’d like a shot at winning a copy of Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook, please do the following:

• Leave a comment on this post listing your favorite gluten-free grain and what you like to do with it. Example—Teff pancakes with goji berries and maca. By the way, this recipe is in the cookbook.

• Make sure to include your email address when prompted (it will only be visible to me) so I can notify you if you win.

• The contest closes Friday, May 18th at 6 PM. It doesn’t matter if you also entered Monday’s giveaway. Who knows, you might win twice! Go for it.

Peace, love, and gourmet food!
Melissa

Celiac awareness book giveaway

This post kicks off a series of book giveaways to celebrate May as Celiac Awareness Month.

May is also my favorite month of the year, green is my favorite color, emeralds are my favorite gemstones, Gemini is my preferred zodiac sign, and people with quirky personalities (Geminis) are appealing to me. These are all signs and symbols of May. As green is my favorite color and plants are my “go-to” food source, I thought I’d kick off this series of book giveaways with a vegetarian cookbook. I’m technically an omnivore, but I lean heavily into herbivore territory. If you’re remotely interested in my take on the human genetics of food preferences, check here. To me, the whole “eat like a caveman” thing is up for debate. At least as far as the meat-heavy focus is concerned. Plants form the foundation of my diet, just as they form the foundation of the food web, or the nutritional ecosystem.

In a nutshell: the sun shines. Plants (grasses) grow. Animals graze, converting the green stuff into protein (meat). Predators eat the animals that ate the green stuff that the sun magically converted into food.

In most cases, and for a variety of reasons, I prefer to be part of step #3 and skip step #4 altogether. I’m a plant grazer. I’m not much of a predator.

There are several reasons I’m kicking off this book give-away with Carol Fenster’s book, 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes, plant grazing is just one of them.

May (celiac awareness month), gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and green are the most obvious reasons, but there’s more to the story. When my daughter was diagnosed in 1999 with a severe wheat allergy (which later was upgraded to celiac disease) and told to avoid all products containing wheat, one of the few resources we found to help us navigate our new wheat-free world was Carol’s book, Wheat-Free Recipes & Menus, first published in 1995. She wrote that book seventeen years ago!

Needless to say, Carol was ahead of her time, although that was more out of medical necessity than anything else. She discovered she was gluten intolerant a few years before she tackled writing her first cookbook. Ironically, her journey to internationally known, gluten-free cookbook author (10 cookbooks) started on a wheat farm in eastern Nebraska where she grew up. To add a touch more irony to the story, she married a wheat farmer. Don’t you love life’s twists and turns? But, all’s well that ends well. Carol’s family hasn’t abandoned her for making a successful career out of avoiding wheat and the gluten-free community has benefitted greatly by her efforts.

I’m especially thankful to Carol as that early cookbook of hers gave our family a place to start. So, to celebrate celiac awareness month, green veggies, and gluten-free cookbooks, I’ll be giving away a copy of Carol’s newest cookbook,  125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes. (As a disclosure: I purchased the giveaway book myself. Carol had nothing to do with this blog post.)

All you have to do to be entered to win is the following:

• Leave a comment on this post listing your top 3 favorite green vegetables. Green veggies only and you must list 3 choices.

• Make sure you include your email address when prompted to do so (it will only be visible to me) so I can notify you if you win.

• The contest closes on Friday, May 18th at 6 PM. My 5 year old neighbor next door and I will choose our favorite answer (remember 3 green veggies).

That’s it! Good luck. You’ll love this cookbook.
Peace, love, and green veggies!
Melissa

The athlete’s recovery cocktail (sportini)

My last post focused on hydration and featured a power-packed smoothie recipe. I’m still on my hydration and recovery kick, but this time I’ll serve you up a nice ”end of the day, I’m absolutely exhausted” recovery cocktail. I’m calling these evening, post-workout drinks sportinis. No alcohol needed. At least not most of the time. And, in my case, certainly not after an energy-draining, dust-collecting, 20 mile, single-track mountain bike ride. I’ll explain the alcohol piece shortly.

As some of you may know, I’m on a mission to get in shape and lose the extra pounds I gained over the winter co-writing a book on sports nutrition with friend, colleague, and ultra-endurance athlete, Pete Bronski of No Gluten No Problem. The Gluten-Free Edge: A Nutrition and Training Guide for Peak Athletic Performance and an Active Gluten-Free Life will be released in June. If you’re interested (semi-shameless plug), you can pre-order it here.

Aahh, the irony of sitting on my bum for long hours writing about nutrition, sports, and wellness—a downgrade in fitness and health, an uptick in weight and low energy. Life is a roller coaster ride at times, wouldn’t you agree?

Regardless of the ups and downs of life, it’s never too late to jump back on the healthy-living bandwagon. Never give up. Check here if you need some serious motivation – Arthur went from disabled, depressed, overweight vet to headstand-crow-chaturanga. Wow.

As Arthur demonstrates, it’s possible to have major gains in strength, aerobic capacity, energy, and over-all radiance if you put your mind and body into it – no matter where you are on the health spectrum. But, as you can see from the video, it takes foot-stomping commitment.

Now, back to the alcohol piece. Studies show that alcohol disrupts sleep patterns, even in low doses. Yes, as little as one glass of wine can impact sleep. You might fall asleep okay, but as your body starts metabolizing the alcohol, sleep becomes progressively more erratic and disturbed. Here’s what happens in a nutshell (or, in this case, a shot glass). You have your glass of red wine. You feel warm and mellow, relaxed and sleepy. An hour or two later you go to bed and fall asleep easily. The first half of the night goes well.

Zzzzzz.

And then, out of nowhere, you wake up at 1:12 AM. That’s a measly four hours after you fell asleep. And no matter what you do, you can’t seem to find na-na land again.

Toss. Turn. Pillow flip. Check the clock. Worry about lost sleep. Start fretting about bizarre things.

Oh my gosh, what if the refrigerator stops working? Did I pay my phone bill? Maybe I should get a puppy. What’s the deal with putting hot dogs in pizza crusts? Disgusting. I hate it that people get Parkinson’s disease. Did I shut the garage door? I’ll probably get another Alaskan Malamute if I get a puppy. Yikes! What was that noise? Is someone in the house? I’m hungry. And tired. Wish I could go to sleep.

Repeat frustrating cycle while incorporating new random worries. Kick covers. Curse crickets.

You get the idea. I don’t have time for that. I need eight hours of sleep. Straight. So, if I want to feel my best and reach my summer sports goals, I have to skip the wine (most of the time anyway, there are exceptions). Here’s where the sportini comes in. After a long day of work topped off with an evening mountain bike ride, I want to feel like I’m having something special like a glass of wine, but without the 2 AM pillow tossing. My post-exercise, recovery cocktails (mocktails/sportinis) replenish lost electrolytes and glycogen stores, provide antioxidants and phytochemicals, and boost hydration. Plus, they feel kind of special like I’m celebrating.

Lemon-lime-mint recovery cocktail (sportini)
Makes 1 large or 2 small servings

what you need
8 ounces S. Pellegrino sparkling mineral water
8 ounces Recharge organic lemon sports drink
1 organic lime (the fresh-squeezed juice and a little zest)
1 organic orange (the fresh-squeezed juice and zest)
1-2 fresh organic mint leaves

what you do
Place mineral water, Recharge, lime juice, orange juice, and zest in a shaker (I use a mason jar). Shake well. Add ice if desired (I don’t like ice, ever). Pour into a fancy glass, top with crushed mint leaves, stir gently, and enjoy.

PER SERVING: 182 calories; 0 g fat; 48 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 7 g fiber
SPORTS NUTRITION BONUS: excellent source of vitamin C; contains iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin A (see details below, click table to enlarge)

Cheers!
Melissa
P.S. Stay tuned for upcoming book give-aways to highlight May as Celiac Disease Awareness Month.

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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my book
(co-written with Pete Bronski)



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