Last week (or was it last month – yikes, what happened to April) I had some fun with a post featuring my top 10 super foods for men. My intention was to follow up with a top 10 super foods for women post, but I got behind and now I need to make a programming change. Women’s nutrition and more fun with the differences between males and females will air next week. Stay tuned because (gasp!) we really are different!
Here’s why I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled program. I have a good reason.
May is Celiac Awareness Month and Diane from The W.H.O.L.E. Gang has cooked up a blogging event called 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living. You’ve probably heard people (even some top celiac docs) talk about the difficulties of life without gluten. And how awful it is. And woe is me. And blah, blah, blah. Like gluten was chocolate or something.
Well, 30 different food bloggers are here to say otherwise. Check out this wonderful list of daily contributions. While there’s definitely a learning curve to living gluten-free and it’s not always easy, with knowledge and support, it can be the gateway to a whole new healthy and radiant lifestyle.
Here we sit at the top of the food chain and many of us (gluten-free or not) have no idea what to eat. Factor in conflicting health advice and a diagnosis of gluten intolerance and suddenly eating becomes very complicated. It doesn’t have to be. In 2009 food guru Michael Pollan came out with a handbook of simple and straightforward food rules. Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual became an instant best seller. I’m going to borrow his easy-to-follow format and tweak it a bit to focus on gluten-free eating. Some of these “rules” are my own creations and some are adapted from Michael’s book.
The point is to heal, renew, rev your engine, turn on your brights and thrive. But first, you need high grade, gluten-free fuel. Adopting these food rules will help you do that. Plus, you’ll lessen your chances of being zapped by gluten cooties.
Gluten-Free Food Rules (in no particular order)
1. Choose fresh, organic, whole foods. They’re gluten-free by default. No labels to read.
2. Make plant sources, especially vegetables, your foundation.
3. If it’s made in a plant, don’t eat it – if it is a plant, do eat it.
4. For the most part, choose foods you can hold in your hands and wash. Can you wash a box of Kraft mac and cheese, oreo cookies or a Hostess ding dong? You can wash cabbage, apples, tomatoes and you can rinse brown rice and quinoa.
5. If animals, insects and bacteria won’t eat it, we shouldn’t either. Food that has been sprayed with chemicals to repel critters isn’t a good choice for people either.
6. Don’t eat food that never spoils. If it doesn’t rot, it’s not food.
7. Stop eating when you’re no longer hungry, not when you’re full. No longer hungry is different from full.
8. Choose products (gluten-free flours, grains, etc.) that have been tested and are certified gluten-free. The Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) and the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) currently have certification programs. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is in the process of creating a similar certification program.
9. Ingredients are listed by weight on labels. Any product that has more sugar than other ingredients has too much sugar. Avoid HFCS (high fructose corn syrup).
10. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t eat them.
11. Avoid impostors (foods pretending to be something else). Think, “I can’t believe it’s not butter.” Eat real butter, not fake butter.
12. Eat a good portion of your veggies raw. Organic is best. Click here for a pocket version of the Environmental Working Group’s guide to organic produce (the dirty dozen and the clean 15).
13. Buy oils packaged in dark bottles and store away from heat. This prevents the oil from going rancid (very unhealthy).
14. Use the water you’ve steamed or cooked veggies in. Save it for smoothies or soups. It’s packed with good plant nutrients.
15. Pay more, eat less (see photo above).
16. “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.” I don’t know who originally said that, but it’s true.
17. Don’t eat food that has been tossed to you through your car window. Don’t eat and drive.
18. Prepare your own food, don’t get it from a vending machine or a gas station.
19. Eat all your meals at a table.
20. Be wary of supplement claims. If you want to increase your antioxidant amounts, eat beets, asparagus, blueberries, chard and cherries. Eat colorful fruits and veggies. Choose real food in its natural form. Don’t count on supplements unless you REALLY need them (verifiable deficiencies).
Roasted salmon and asparagus
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a piece of tin foil on a cookie sheet and lightly grease with olive oil.
2. Carefully rinse and pat dry the salmon filet (any size). Pour a little olive oil in your hands and rub it on the entire fish.
3. Place fish skin side down on the baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
4. Wash and trim asparagus. Pat dry and place in baking dish. Toss in a small amount of olive oil and place on prepared cookie sheet (see photo above) next to the salmon. Sprinkle with diced fresh garlic, sea salt and ground pepper.
5. Bake fish and asparagus together in oven for 10 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon. Remove when the fish flakes easily with a fork.
6. Serve with lemon slices and a fresh green salad.
For more information on salmon, a detailed breakdown of EFAs (essential fatty acids – omega 3 and omega 6) and a tamari salmon recipe, check here.
Peace, love and easy gluten-free living!