Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Clean Eats: Fast Food Edition

  Everyone by now, knows I'm a firm believer in putting only clean healthy foods into your body. For me its easy. I'm organized and make all my meals on Sunday and have them in tupperware and ready to go for each day. But there are times I forget to grab my meals in the morning or on the weekends I'm running errands and need to eat and do not have my snacks with me. On such occasions I usually have been grabbing a low carb, no sugar(made with honey) protein shake from Smoothie King. To which I have been addicted to since I was in middle school in Texas. Having them in Tennessee has been a God sent especially when I'm sick and can't get food down or keep it down. These are perfect and get my body the fuel and nutrition it needs. That being said you do need to be aware that they do have smoothies that are not as healthy for you and are more for indulgence. There are days I want something other than a smoothie to fuel me up, my solution, Panera. That's right! Panera Breads!!!! They have come out with a new line of foods geared towards us health nuts and clean eating freaks. Finally! Someone is getting the bigger picture and jumping on that band wagon in the food industry. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably have seen my post of these "bowls". I'm obsessed with them and all their goodness.
    I came across these bowls around Christmas time when I ran in to get something for breakfast as a "treat" meal. I saw this little sign by the register advertising for breakfast Power Bowls, I was hooked! I haven't seen any advertising for these items until I came across an article about their secret menu. Why the hell is it a secret? I have no clue. I believe if they advertised it more and made it known, more and more people would order them. Hence, why I'm dedicating a whole blog post to it! In the hopes that you, my friends and consumers will start eating them. Also, to start a  frenzy so they will actually have these on the menu full time and visible, no less. These bowls are created with out carbs in the form of bread aka. GLUTEN! They are packed full of nutrition and protein and on top of that taste freaking amazing, unlike anything I've ever had at Panera. Here is a link to the article from their website along with the menu. I have also posted pictures of the menu and my pictures of the items I've ordered off the menu. Enjoy! And hey go try one, you will be amazed at how good they really are.

     I personally have had both breakfast bowls and they are both amazing! I favor the turkey one with roasted turkey, spinach, egg whites, roasted red pepper and basil pesto to top it off. YUM! The other breakfast option is a take on a southwest omelet with steak, over easy eggs, tomatoes, avocado and topped with salsa.

    The third bowl I have tried is off their Lunch/Dinner menu, The Power Chicken Hummus Bowl. I have yet to try the other three but I love this one!!!!! Its is made with spinach, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, roasted Antibiotic-free chicken and topped with cilantro jalapeno hummus and a lemon. I love hummus, no I'm obsessed with it! So I lean towards this one but the other bowls look amazing too.These recipes are pretty simple to recreate at home and I have on many occasions. The ingredient list is on the website in the link above and for the bowls they just top them with fresh squeezed lemon juice. So simple!

    Be sure to stop by your local Panera and give these a try, eating healthy and fast has never looked or tasted sooooo good! And be sure to check out all the links!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Clean Eating Pet

Gunner and Shelby
    You are probably asking your self, "What the hell?" Well as I have been researching dog food and the harmful effects it has on my pets I wanted to be sure that I'm feeding the most natural thing they can eat. Having lost two dogs to cancer over the years there is a direct link with feeding them table scraps (in the form of processed foods and candy) and processed dog food. After listening to a few fellow schutzhund goers in my group that they feed their dog a raw diet I was intrigued! Most high end breeders and showers feed their dogs this and for a reason. It the closest thing to them eating in the wild and it provides raw enzymes along with other important nutrients that are left out or cooked out in regular dog food. So I decided to do some digging on the benefits and reasons for feeding your dog raw. Be sure you weigh your options but I thoroughly enjoy cooking so this was up my alley plus I'm controlling what is in.
The Reasons:
1. The fist and most important reason for me was their teeth!!! I can't afford to pay to get all three of my dogs teeth cleaned twice a year at $300.00 per dog! I do brush and us an enzyme plaque busting gel on them every week. Feeding raw helps their teeth stay white and rid them of plaque, most of the plaque build up is from dry dog food and the products they use to keep the food together during drying, aka. preservatives. I have a rule if you wouldn't eat it or feed it to your kids why give it to the dog?

2. The second most important to me, their breath becomes odorless. This is because of their digestion becoming more normal and easier to digest the food and to process it quickly. Most of the products I put in it help aid in digestion, breath and other stomach issues. They systems are way more delicate than ours.

3. Brilliant and shiny fur/hair and skin. ever notice some dogs just stink, like German Shepherds? Gunner no longer has that weird oily smell, as I can describe it best. It also helps keep shedding to a minimum.

4. Better digestion and passing. A huge benefit is that you don't need to have their anal glands cleaned out cause when they eat this way it bulks their poop up and the result is a suppressed gland in exit.

5. Weight control!!!!!! This is the most biological identical appropriate diet for your dog and they use all the calories that are in it so there is no waste, and you will also notice their poop is smaller too because of this.

6. They are sick less, this is due to a lot of things aka, CARBS: corn, wheat, grain and other byproducts and fillers that they can not digest and can't process these foods so it passes through them or they throw up. Feeding them raw eliminates this.

7. Cost, this can be more expensive or cheaper depending upon where and what you put into it. I is half of what I was paying a month for premium organic dry dog food and they love it even more.

    As with everything do the research for your self because what works for one doesn't always work for them all and usually the results take a month or two to see a noticeable difference. I purchase my grind at Nashville Pet Product, they place a monthly order of 40 lbs. for me. A grind is a mixture of meat, organ meat and bones all things your pet needs and would have ate in the wild and it's all organic of course.

10 - Tubes of Blue Ridge Beef Grind - 2lb. each
1 - whole Salmon Filet (I usually find this at Costco, it's a pretty huge piece not the typical small filet. It's about 16 inches in length)
2 - bunches of kale
16 - carrots
4 - green apples or any apples
2 - 12 oz package of fresh blueberries (I also get these at Costco due to them being the same price as one small pint at the regular grocery store)
2 - bunches of parsley
4 - cans of organic unsweetened pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
4 - roasted sweet potatoes
12 - whole eggs, boiled (shell and all)
1/2 cup - Coconut Oil
1/2 cup  - Flax Seed Oil

    I run all the ingredients through a food process in batches except for the beef, this insures that everything will be in a small edible bites for the dogs and will get mixed evenly into the mix. I dump all the ingredients into a large bowl and add the beef and oil. Make sure you mix and incorporate all the ingredients well. I portion out the food into plastic bags for each meal. My German Shepherd will eat two cups for each meal so he will eat a total of four cups per day. My Yorkie girls will eat 1/4 cup for each meal so 1/2 cup per day. This will last me 2 to 3 weeks. Be sure you freeze them all after packaging and be sure to take some out the night before for the day of serving. Please if you have any questions let me know. You can mix this up and add papaya, broccoli, spinach, strawberries or raspberries. I just compiled my ingredients from a few websites I searched and if you dog gets really constipated or even has the runs give them a scoop of pumpkin, this is a miracle saver for poop issues in dogs and it settles their stomachs. You can also add in some vitamins and supplements too. My favorites are: coconut oil, flax seed oil, fish oil, probiotic for dog, Bragg's Nutritional Yeast, Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, Solid Gold Sea Meal, Solid Gold D-Zyme.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gluten/Celiac Disease


    I'm getting a lot of questions about gluten and noticing that a lot of you are trying to cut it out. Well if your on the fence about gluten let me lay out some reason to cut it out on a trial basis. I challenge you to cut it out for 30 days to see if you notice a difference even though you  might not see the full difference, which means cutting it out for 6 months! Yes, 6 months! This is due to how gluten breaks down in the body and how we store it.  Like most of you who are lactose intolerant you will find you are also gluten intolerant and its only a matter of time before your body completely rejects gluten all together due to the over storage of it your body. That rejection is know as Celiac's Disease. Celiac's Disease affects 1 in 133 people, that's a lot and I'm sure a lot of them don't even know. Not sure if you have Celiac's or even a Gluten Intolerance, here is a list of symptoms to keep a look for and to see if any of these go away after giving up Gluten for those 30 days or 6 months if your a warrior! As with everything please do your own research on this too and ask your doctor! The test for Celiac's is a simple blood test.

Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance:
Skin Issues, including rashes, breakouts and more
Brain fog
Joint Pain (gluten is a known inflammatory!)
Numbness in your extremities
Constant Bloating and Gas
Asthma - gluten has been linked to this a along with Celiac's Disease

Symptoms of Celiac's Disease:
Attacks your immune system (specifically your small intestine, this results in intestinal damage, Celiac disease is also associated with other autoimmune conditions, including autoimmune thyroid disease and type 1 diabetes. ) 
Smelly Diarrhea
Constant Abdominal Pain
Abdominal Bloating with Gas
Can Develop: pancreatitis or gallbladder disease 
Endocrine System Issues (Fertility) _ it's linked to thyroid and infertility issues
Joint and Bone Pain: Linked with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis 

See the Website Link below for six signs you might have a gluten intolerance.

Six common symptoms of gluten intolerance

(1) Obviously, there are gastrointestinal (GI), stomach, and digestive problems. These can include one or some of the following: Gas, bloating, queasiness, abdominal cramping, constipation, diarrhea, or an alternating combination of both - IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

(2) Headaches and/or migraines.

(3) Fibromyalgia is not a disease, it's a syndrome. Getting a medical diagnosis is bogus. You don't need to be told you have muscular and connecting tissue aches and pains. That's what fibromyalgia means. Fibro= Connective Tissue; Myo= Muscle; Algia= Pain. Thus fibromyalgia.

(4) Emotional issues involving chronic irritability and sudden, irrational mood shifts.

(5) Neurological issues, including dizziness, difficulty balancing, and peripheral neuropathy affecting nerves outside the central nervous system and resulting in pain, weakness, tingling or numbness in the extremities.

(6) Fatigue, whether chronic or almost after every meal. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is, like fibromyalgia, a syndrome, not a disease. If that's what you're diagnosed with, it means your doctor can't locate the cause of your fatigue.

Yes, all of these symptoms are common to other health issues and diseases. That's why symptoms alone as a diagnosis is perplexing.
    Fixing this is so easy! But most of you are shuttering at the thought of giving up carbs in the form of bread, pastas, cookies, cakes and other flour based products. Trust me, I know how hard this is. Being a daughter of a Czech/Polish/Russian mother who grew up in a Italian community we ate pastas all the time! There are solutions to these problems. First don't tell your self its going to be hard because then your setting your self up for failure, your mind is a very powerful thing and you can over come anything as long as you put your mind to it. Second, is it worth it? Seriously sit down and ask yourself this question. Is it worth stuffing your face with a poison or ridding your body of it and loosing a crap ton of weight at the same time? I'll take the latter! I have given up gluten and it was easy, but I had tools and did a ton of research to find out what I can replace in my house. I will save you the trouble and actually list and link the products to help make the switch easy and delicious. Now I know some of these products are going to cost more but it's worth it. I will tell you every once in a while and that is like once a month, I will have a slice of baguette with some really good brie on it or make a pasta dish with whole wheat pasta. But after I consume it I feel horrible and my whole body breaks out. I seriously look like a 12 year old going through puberty again! Yuck! Ask my friends they have seen and heard me complain about it. There are some times I miss it but all in all its so worth it and in this day and age its so easy to find replacement products!

What to AVOID:
Barley (including Malt flavoring and Malt Vinegar)
Durum Flour
Graham Flour
    And any foods made with these products, unless they are marked gluten-free, including: Beer (if you want an adult beverage drink wine or hard alcohol not made with rye or barley), breads, cakes and pies, candies, cereals, cookies and crackers, croutons, french fries (yes, a lot of places batter them in flour before frying! so ask!), gravies (thickening agent), matzo, pastas, processed lunch meats (this is what helps make the meat stay together and slimy, yummy right!), salad dressings, seasoned rice mixes, seasoned snack foods, self basting poultry, frozen vegetables in sauce.

Some great alternatives for food swaps:
Flours for baking, sauces and more:
Oat Flour, Quinoa Flour, Cup 4 Cup (my personal favorite cause it cooks like flour and it can be used in anything!), Buckwheat Flour, Flax Flour, Almond Flour, Millet Flour, Rice Flour. I buy most of these on Vitacost and purchase Bob's Red Mill brand. This brand makes a ton of Gluten- Free Mixes, like for bread, pizza crust and even pancakes. I use the pancake/waffle one a lot!

Udi's is one of the only few Gluten-Free products I have been able to find outside of the Whole Foods Market in major grocery stores like Kroger. Food for Life, aka Ezekiel Bread also makes Gluten-Free but you will have to ask your grocery store to order some, if they already carry the brand it's easier for them to order it. I love love love their products.
If making your own, use Cup 4 Cup or oat flour, if you need to add some elasticity to it add some xanthan flour. I have tried a ton of Gluten-Free pastas and my favorites are the Quinoa and Rice versions. They are very similar to the wheat pasta textures and wont disintegrate on you after cooking.

Believe it or not there is Gluten-Free beers and here is a list: The Alchemist, Celia Saison; Green's Gluten Free Beer, Endeavor; Sprecher Brewing Co., Shakparo Ale; Estrella Damm, Daura; Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, Tweason'Ale; Omission Beer, Lager; Harvester Fresh Hop, IPA; Epic Brewing Company, Glutenator; New Planet Gluten Free Beer, Raspberry Ale; Lakefront Brewery, New Grist; Brad's Craft, Sorghum Beer

    If you have any questions always consult your doctor and get tested! You never know if you could have Celiac's and its a simple fix. Try the challenge and leave me feed back on your results.