Category: Health & Fitness

Happy Grain-Free New Year

How is your new year going so far? Are you still trying to keep a resolution to lose weight? Is it working? Unfortunatley, no matter what kind of diet or plan you’re on, it always comes down to how many calories you’re eating.

There’s just no way around it. Eating is a numbers game. If you’re a little high for one meal, you better come out a little low in another. If you’re low all the time, you’ll lose weight. If you’re too high, you’ll gain weight.

The time has come to get ahead in this numbers game. No one likes to sit and spend all day counting. but maybe just a little keeping track here and there is all your need to finally conquer the calories.

Pick a Number
To start with, you probably have no concept of how many calories to eat in a day. There’s no one number for everyone. No one can tell you if you eat this many calories every day, you’ll lose weight. Your calorie intake depends on your height, weight, and activity level. You can get a general idea by plugging your info into websites like Free Dieting.

When you see what goes into determining how many calories to eat in a day, you see where you can make changes. Obviously you can’t change your height! But you CAN change things like activity level.

Make Calories Count
Have you ever wondered if some calories make you gain weight more than others? No, a calorie is a calorie.

But some calories are going to maximize your numbers more. If the food you eat contains fiber, it’s going to fill you up more. You’ll feel full longer than if you used the same amount of calories to eat something that didn’t fill you up as much, such as potato chips.

Ideally, you want to eat low-calorie foods that fill you up such as:
-grains like brown rice and oatmeal
-black rice (the lowest calorie rice there is)
-greens: broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, etc.
-watermelon
-beans: chickpeas, fava beans, edamame, etc.
-broth-based soups
-fat-free dairy products

Losing Count
Are you up for the challenge of counting calories? One reason why some people give up counting calories is because it’s just plain hard. Say you make yourself a casserole. How many calories is that? There’s just too many ingredients to keep track of to figure out how many calories you’ve consumed.

Don’t let this deter you. You can handle this situation in a few ways. First you could estimate the calories based on something else you’ve eaten that you do know the calorie count of. Or you can go to a calorie count website like Calorie Count where you list the ingredients and the website calculates the ingredients for you. This is great for recipes you make all the time. With help like this, you have no excuses!

Don’t Count on it Forever
Counting calories a good thing to do for a few weeks to kick of a new lifestyle. But, it’s not something that you should do long term. Different things affect our body every day: hormones, metabolic rate, exercise habits. Counting calories for a little while helps you realize how many calories you’re taking in every day. But there’s no need to do it long term once you see a pattern in your numbers.

When you see how things add up, meals, snacks, drinks; you’ll see where changes can be made. Foods that you thought were low in calories, might be thing making your numbers go up too high. Once you get the idea of where your calories are coming from, you’ll be able to establish better eating habits.

Now that you know it’s all about about the numbers, get out a pencil and paper and start counting!

How to Keep Gluten Out of Your Rice

Lately things haven’t been going well with my “operating system”, which is a polite way of saying I’ve been having gut issues. The doctor told me flat out to avoid gluten.

The first thing I did after hearing this was to take a look at what I eat. I’m one of those weird people who love to eat dry cereal as a snack. My two favorites are Rice Crispies and Cheerios. I thought I was safe with those – a rice cereal and an oat cereal. But on a hunch, I googled both of them to see if they contained gluten.

What an eye opener. Both cereals have gluten in them!

I was stunned. Gluten in a rice cereal? How could this be? But, barley malt is an ingredient in Rice Crispies. And what about my Cheerios? They contain wheat starch. It turns out nothing is safe, even Frosted Flakes contain gluten, Tony the Tiger, say it isn’t so!

I started to panic. If these two food that I thought were “safe” contain gluten, where else is gluten hiding?

If you’re trying to avoid gluten, these are some food that seem safe, but aren’t:

-multi-grain or “artisan” tortilla chips or tortillas
-cheescake filling (may contain wheat flour)
-eggs served at restaurants (some restaurants put pancake batter in scrambled eggs and omelets)
-pre-seasoned meats
-salad dressings and marinades (could contain malt vinegar or flour)
-soup (cream based soups are often thickened with flour)
-french fries (batter may contain wheat flour)
-gum (some companies use flour to coat the gum so it doesn’t stick to the wrapper)
-soy sauce
-mustard (some contain wheat flour)
-instant coffee (gluten is used as a bulking ingredient)
-pickles (some are made with malt vinegar)
-flavored potato chips (wheat flour is used to distribute the flavor on the chips)
-anything with carmel color (it’s usually made from corn, but sometimes it’s made from malt syrup)

Reading labels is a must when looking for gluten at the grocery store. Obviously you’ll look for words like barley, brewer’s yeast, rye and wheat. But gluten also goes by aliases like malt (made from barley) and hydrolyzed vegetable protein.

Keep in mind that when a product is labeled “Gluten-Free” that may not mean it’s 100% gluten-free. There may still be traces of gluten in it. As long as those traces are very small, it can be labeled “Gluten-Free.” Remember gluten is gluten. Wheat-free doesn’t mean gluten-free. Gluten is also found in rye and barley.

Eating a gluten-free diet takes a little time, but once you know what to look for, it’s a easy as making a sandwich with lettuce instead of bread. Now that’s gluten-free!