By Layne Lieberman, RD, Culinary Nutritionist and author of “Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy”
A small percentage of the population that greatly benefit from following a gluten-free: These are the estimated 1 to 2 percent of people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease and the 0.2 to 0.4 percent who suffers from wheat allergy.
So what about the rest of us, the 98% of the population that hasn’t been diagnosed with celiac disease or a wheat allergy?
Some of the biggest diet buzzwords right now are gluten-intolerance or gluten-sensitivity but there’s no test to determine if an individual actually has this. The truth is, the gluten-free movement has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Despite what’s written in fear-mongering books like “Grain Brain” and “Wheat Belly”, for most of the population there is no reason to go 100% gluten-free. (I do, however, strongly support eliminating processed foods like white bread, cookies, chips, pretzels, and cakes.)
Here’s why most of us should NOT be on a gluten-free diet:
- Gluten-free diets recommend substituting rice for wheat. This may not be a good idea in the long-term. Rice absorbs arsenic (and cadmium) from the ground. Small quantities in the diet are of no concern. But when rice (or rice flour) is a staple, as recommended in some gluten-free diets, it can be troublesome and may even result in poisoning.
- Restaurant and supermarket gluten-free offerings can be highly processed and packed with calories, sugar, salt and fat. One half of an Uno Chicago Grill Gluten-Free Pepperoni Pizza has 500 calories, 21 grams of fat, 1040 milligrams of sodium and 6 grams of sugar. Yikes!
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Want to know which foods were hot this past year and what to expect for 2014? Foodily, the world’s largest social recipe network, keeps tabs on what visitors have been searching for over the years. Since 2011 the site has seen “the decline of red meat and the increase of healthy eating related searches,” says Foodily co-founder Hilary Mickell.
What else is on tap for 2014? Here are the top 10 trendiest, most searched for foods in 2013. BONUS: We’ve included our favorite recipes so you can be sure to fit them in this year!
Top 10 in 2013:
1. Chicken. This standard red meat alternative can get a little plain sometimes, but not with this Apple and Herb Dutch Oven-Roasted Chicken! Check out our tips to use the leftovers for equally as awesome meals for the rest of the week.
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Looking for a new favorite recipe? If you don’t already know the best secret in recipe searching, let me fill you in: Pinterest is the way to go.
The visual search function makes it easier to determine which recipe is the right one for you, and the diversity of recipes Pinterest displays is pretty amazing. I personally enjoy using the site, mostly because my cooking experiments don’t always turn out the way they should, and it’s nice to see what the end result was supposed to be.
Pinterest has made their search function even better with the addition of new search filters: Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten free, Paleo, and Indulge Me.
Here’s how it works:
- By typing in something as simple as “dinner recipes,” and selecting the Vegetarian filter, you find recipes like vegetarian chili, baked ziti, and mushroom burgers.
- Indulge Me appears to be a filter designed for extra indulgent desserts that include chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, and the like. (Count us in!)
- To use the filters, you type in a name of a dish or ingredients you have and simply select which works for you.
- Pinterest also says their recipe pins will include cook times, ingredients, and servings.
- Though only available online, the new search features should be available on its mobile site soon.
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Sticky Red Wine Chicken and Veggies Stir Fry is Way Better Than Carryout!
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the thought of what to feed your brood or found yourself schlepping to the grocery store three times a week because you didn’t have the organizational skills to plan for more than one or two meals in advance, let Kelly Seaton and the staff of Once A Month Meals lend a hand.
The site offers a low cost membership program that provides: Access to serving size customizable recipe cards, freezer directions, organized grocery lists, step by step cooking day instructions, and printable labels. Everything you need to cook a month worth of meals in one day. A video on the site explains the membership process.
Not sure if you want to commit to a membership but still want to peruse a variety of healthy recipes for free? You can do that too. Kelly tells us about a few of her favorite recipes below, but I’m jotting this one down for breakfast next week: Whole Grain Banana Pecan Muffins. Nom-nom!
More from Kelly at Once a Month Meals -
Why did you start your food blog? Once A Month Meals started back in 2009 as a way to share information on how freezer cooking can help people get back into the kitchen creating meals they’ll love for better health and to ease their budgets.
How would you describe your approach to eating/health? Once A Month Meals helps you to stay on track toward healthy eating. With seven different menu types, we focus on getting quality and diverse meals into your plan. We like to focus on seasonal ingredients when they are at their peak. Our Paleo and Diet menus help those on more strict eating paths to stay on track and not feel the need to indulge during a time-crunch.
Have you always had an interest in healthy food or did it come later in life? Our writers have always had an interest in food. Over the years, our attention has grown more focused on getting the right foods for our needs. And by healing with food instead of drugs.
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I believe cupcakes deserve their own food group and seafood gives me the heebie jeebies.
I can get behind that kind of food philosophy! Her strong feelings about seafood aside, the thing that drew me to Rachel’s blog, Little Chef Big Appetite, was the fact that she likes to cook a little bit of everything. Even though she’s a tee-tiny little thing that I want to keep on top of my flour canister like a non-creepy Elf-on-a-Shelf, and could probably eat whatever she wants, her recipes are healthy and flavorful.
Rachel talks about why she started her blog and shares a few of her favorite recipes -
Why did you start your food blog? I started my blog in college at the University of Pennsylvania as a way to share my love of healthy food and cooking with my friends and family.
How would you describe your approach to eating/health? I try to eat healthy most of the time so that I can “indulge” worry-free occasionally. I make sure all of my meals have lots of protein and fiber, so that way I am less likely to snack on unhealthy things throughout the day. When I do treat myself, I love wine and anything that has the words “cookie” or “cake” in its name.
Have you always had an interest in healthy food or did it come later in life? My interest in healthy food came in college. Before then my diet consisted of fried chicken fingers, pizza, and Easy Mac. Once I got to college, I began to realize I wouldn’t be able to keep that up without packing on the pounds. I started researching healthy foods and learned my way around the kitchen by watching my dad (who is still the best cook I know).
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