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Gluten-Free Grains for the Holidays

Holiday Cooking and Baking, Sans Gluten

The fall and winter months tend to bring along a whole new style of eating (well, for most of us, anyway). We’re not eating the juicy fresh fruits and fresh garden salads as much, but bring on the warm baked goods and hearty pasta dishes.

Holiday cooking is very different than during the rest of the year–it’s all about the comfort foods!

The sudden influx of gym memberships every January is no coincidence: while eating this way, we aren’t just filling up on too many carbohydrates, we’re also filling up on gluten, a protein found in wheat and a few other grains (which is a common ingredient in the foods we just named above) and difficult for many people to digest.

For those living with celiac disease (currently 1 in 133 people in Canada) or those who suffer with gluten sensitivities and allergies, many of these foods can be made with substitutions to make them gluten-free!

Here are 5 wheat alternatives commonly used for holiday cooking and baking:

Buckwheat

Although ‘wheat’ is in the name, buckwheat contains no actual wheat. It’s gluten-free! (And technically it’s a seed that we treat like a grain, like quinoa.) Its nutritional profile boasts high levels of vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate, thiamine and choline.

Buckwheat is available in roasted or unroasted, in whole grain form as well as in flour, and often used as a substitute to make gluten-free pancakes!

Corn

Corn kernels are dried and then ground into meal called cornmeal, polenta or grits, depending on the method used a how finely ground it is. Nonetheless, all three are gluten-free.

Cornmeal is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B-6. Creamy stove top polenta makes for a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes or pasta. Don’t discount on corn, but when possible, make sure to buy organic and non-GMO.

Quinoa

Technically a seed, quinoa is a fabulous replacement for grains that may contain gluten. It’s also a good source of protein, making it ideal for those who have vegetarian and/or vegan diets.

Quinoa boasts anti-inflammatory benefits and can help lower cholesterol. It can be consumed as a grain, or milled into flour to be used in gluten-free baking or to make gluten-free pasta!

Honestly? Holiday cooking is a breeze with quinoa.

Oats

Oats are gluten-free, but come with a disclaimer: many oat crops suffer from cross-pollination from neighbouring wheat fields, rendering them not gluten-free. To be sure the oats you’re eating are free of gluten, look specifically for a gluten-free label—these oats originate from fields nowhere close to wheat crops.

Brown Rice

Rice—especially sprouted brown rice—is a great grain to incorporate into any diet. It’s super versatile, and definitely gluten-free.

Of course by adding NutraCleanse™ (also technically gluten-free, though not yet formally certified as such) to your favourite dishes, you are further increasing their goodness with a healthy portion of your recommended daily fibre intake.

For more recipe ideas, or to learn where you can buy NutraCleanse™ to add to your favourite foods, visit our website.

3 Summer Recipes Using NutraCleanse™

Summer is almost here, and with it brings sun, sand, water, and generally much lighter food choices. Gone are the months full of stew and chili—bring on salads, smoothies, and fruity concoctions for all ages! To help ring in the new season, we’ve come up with 3 summer recipes you’re sure to love. Here you go:

Tart Summer Smoothie

Between the raspberries, rhubarb, and NutraCleanse™, this smoothie is absolutely packed with fibre and tastes refreshing on a sizzling summer day.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup chopped rhubarb
  • 2 spears ripe pineapple
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/3 cup NutraCleanse™

Method

Combine all ingredients into blender, and blend until smooth. Serve immediately, or pour into popsicle molds and freeze for later. If you want this summer smoothie less thick, add more coconut water.

Almond Butter Salad Dressing

This salad dressing is to die for, and is fantastic both as a dressing and as a dipping sauce for such goodies as veggie salad rolls, spring rolls, etc. It’s even great as a spread on wraps and sandwiches, if you want to omit the water. (This just makes it thicker, like a spread.)

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small thumb ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup NutraCleanse™
  • Water to thin

Method

Combine all ingredients except water into blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add water to thin dressing to desired consistency. Drizzle over salad, and store extras in refrigerator for up to one week.

Breakfast Parfait

Who doesn’t love a great breakfast parfait?! These are fabulous in the summer, because they’re light and loaded with fibre and protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, divided
  • 1 cup assorted, fresh berries
  • ½ cup granola
  • ¼ cup NutraCleanse™

Method

Stir NutraCleanse™ into granola and set aside. Using two small mason jars, layer the yogurt and berries then top with granola mixture. If you’d prefer flavoured yogurt (such as vanilla or strawberry) over plain, then make that substitution! Enjoy.

So there you have it! 3 summer recipes to try that all contain NutraCleanse™. To find or purchase our product online, visit our website at www.nutracleanse.biz. For more recipe ideas, please visit our Recipes page.

Happy summer!

 

 

How to Have a Gluten-Free Holiday Season

Happy holidays, friends!

As we head mid-way into December, many of us have already begun to celebrate. Staff Christmas parties, holiday bake exchanges, luncheons and big family gatherings are all happening in full force. The best part about the holiday season is the time spent with friends, loved ones, and all the yummy eats that come with that!

Traditionally at a holiday gathering, you would be presented with big smorgasbord of all kinds of good appetizers and treats, as well as turkey and all the trimmings. While many people get to participate in these gatherings and indulge in all the goodness without batting an eye, they usually end up going home feeling full and temporarily uncomfortable.

However, for those living with gluten sensitivities or allergies, this can be a stressful time of year because the risk of feeling uncomfortable at the end of the evening, quite simply, is not an option. It can be awkward and inconvenient to make gluten-free requests to the hosts preparing food for a crowd, and equally difficult knowing if a restaurant will be able to cater to your dietary needs.

Lately, the good news with restaurants is that they seem to be figuring it out with a large portion of the general population needing to know about their gluten-free options.

For those who are trying to have, or need to have a gluten-free holiday; we have some suggestions that might make your life easier:

Help Your Hosts

Offer to bring a side or a dessert that’s gluten-free; many people are appreciative and receptive to this sort of gesture. The other guests will understand and probably won’t even know the difference! Think about it and put yourself in your host’s shoes. Feel good about calling ahead, and giving a heads up by offering to help!

The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Veggies, Veggies, Veggies

The greatest part about a traditional turkey dinner, is all the accompanying vegetable dishes! Brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, peas and mashed potatoes are usually around during a holiday dinner. Whoever isn’t serving at least four sides of vegetables, isn’t serving a traditional turkey dinner!

When you can’t bring a dish, stick to what you know. Go ahead and load up on the vegetables…but don’t be tempted by the gravy, which usually contains wheat flour. (There are actually lots of gluten-free flour options to make gravy, so no need to worry if you’re making your own turkey dinner.)

Turkey: the Main Event!

Warm, tender, delicious turkey meat is thankfully gluten-free! Keep in mind that we’re talking about the large roast out of your own oven; not the processed deli meats at the grocery store which often do contain gluten. Again, pay attention to the gravy and the stuffing, which are gluten-filled as opposed to gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Desserts

You don’t have to have a dessert free holiday to have a gluten-free holiday! There are hundreds of recipes online for perfect holiday treats to bake. In fact, we shared a few recipes for our holiday baking here, and a couple of them are gluten-free!

Dessert is a great dish to contribute to a holiday gathering, especially when it’s homemade with love. Here is one way to please a crowd and wow them with healthier ingredients. A wrapped-up package of gluten-free treats also makes for a great hostess gift, teacher gift, or perfect for the group bake exchange.

NutraCleanse™ is a perfect, naturally gluten-free product (though not certified gluten-free; our five ingredients—flax seeds, psyllium husks, dandelion root powder, burdock root powder, and fenugreek seed powder—are naturally free of gluten) to add to many recipes out there for added source of fibre and healthy nutrients.

Don’t feel stressed or worried about having a gluten-free holiday this year! We’re here to help.

How Well Do You Know Your Gluten-Free Grains?

With more and more people committing to a gluten-free diet, the question of which grains are gluten-free comes up a lot. Here’s a non-conclusive list of popular gluten-free grains:

Quinoa

Technically a seed, quinoa is a fabulous replacement for grains that may contain gluten. It’s also a good source of protein, making it ideal for those who have vegetarian and/or vegan diets. Quinoa boasts anti-inflammatory benefits and can help lower cholesterol.

Oats

Oats are gluten-free, but come with a disclaimer: many oat crops suffer from cross-pollination from neighbouring wheat fields, rendering them not gluten-free. To be sure the oats you’re eating are free of gluten, look specifically for a gluten-free label—these oats originate from fields nowhere close to wheat crops.

Buckwheat

Although ‘wheat’ is in the name, buckwheat contains no actual wheat. It’s gluten-free! (And technically a seed, like quinoa.) Its nutritional profile boasts high levels of vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate, thiamin and choline.

Millet

Often the main ingredient in bird seed, millet is very high in minerals (copper, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus) and a healthy alternative to grains containing gluten. Couscous, a Middle Eastern dish, is traditionally made with cracked millet.

Rice

Rice—especially sprouted brown rice—is a great grain to incorporate into any diet. It’s super versatile, and definitely gluten-free.

Grains that definitely DO contain gluten include wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. If you’re consuming a completely gluten-free diet, it’s best to avoid these ones.

3 New Winter Recipes Using NutraCleanse™:

We know smoothies are hard to wrap your brain around when it’s cold and wet outside. Since mixing NutraCleanse™ into a smoothie is our customers’ preferred way of incorporating our product into their diet, we thought we’d offer more options that are more realistic for the current season.

Here are 3 new gluten-free winter recipes that use NutraCleanse™ (All 3 recipes adapted from Vegetarian Comfort Foods with permission from author Jennifer Browne.):

Quinoa and Bananas Breakfast Cereal

This is a great alternative to a hot breakfast cereal. Breakfast should not be boring! The walnuts add some healthy fat, and quinoa is a complete protein, which creates a perfect meal for plant-based, gluten-free eaters.

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

¼ cup NutraCleanse™

1 banana, sliced

¼ cup chopped walnuts

1 tbsp. cinnamon

Method

Combine quinoa and almond milk. Bring to a simmer on the stove; then turn heat down to low. Cook until all milk is absorbed, and quinoa is fairly translucent. Remove from heat, stir in NutraCleanse™, and divide into bowls. Top with banana slices, walnuts, and cinnamon. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili

It’s perfect for a cold winter day, and especially if you’re in the mood for something hearty.

Ingredients

16 oz. can red kidney beans

1 yellow onion

1 green pepper

2 carrots

2 cloves garlic

3 mushrooms

3 cups diced tomatoes

1 cup water

1 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. red pepper chili flakes

1 tsp. onion powder

¼ tsp. garlic salt

2 bay leaves

½ cup NutraCleanse™

Method

Drain and rinse beans well, then set aside. Combine onion, green pepper, carrots, and garlic in food processor. Process for about 7-8 seconds on high; then slice your mushrooms. Combine veggie mixture with mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, water, spices, and bay leaves in crock pot. Cook on high for two hours, or low for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

Just before serving, add NutraCleanse™ and stir into chili. Remove bay leaves, and serve hot.

Chunky Monkey Cookies

These cookies are soft and fabulous and entirely flourless. Be careful—they vanish quickly.

Ingredients

3 ripe bananas

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

½ cup NutraCleanse™

¼ cup almond butter

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup dark chocolate chips

¼ cup chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mash bananas in a large bowl, and then stir in remaining ingredients. Let batter stand for about 10 minutes (this is important—it’s how the batter thickens up). Drop by small spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly with a fork. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool completely, and then enjoy!

9 Common Signs of Being Gluten-Intolerant

Gluten-free’ has become a very familiar term these days, and can be found lingering on restaurant menus, processed food labels, and on the lips of anyone even remotely health savvy.

So what’s the big deal about gluten?

In the past 20 years or so, we’ve discovered that there is a huge percentage of the population that is intolerant to gluten. Not to be confused with the inability to process this protein (Celiac disease is a diagnosed condition, in which the proteins in wheat and barley can create major damage to the body), an intolerance is much more common, and basically means your body is better off without. (It might not kill you, but your body would be a happier one if it didn’t have to try and process it regularly.)

So, what are some signs and symptoms of a gluten intolerance? Here are 9:

  1. You experience chronic digestive issues, especially after eating something that contains it.
  2. You commonly feel dizzy or have trouble keeping your balance.
  3. Your skin displays signs of Keratosis Pilaris—tiny red bumps that appear on the backs of your arms and other places.
  4. You feel very tired and foggy after eating something that contains gluten (think Turkey hangover, but with gluten).
  5. You have unexplained infertility and/or display signs of hormone imbalances, such as intense PMS or adrenal fatigue.
  6. You get chronic migraine headaches.
  7. You’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
  8. Your mood swings are intense, and frequent.
  9. You have chronic joint pain and inflammation, fibromyalgia, and/or arthritis.

And this list of 9 is not exhaustive. In fact, more than 50 diseases and disorders have been linked to gluten. If you think you may be intolerant or might have Celiac disease, we strongly suggest you visit your family doctor or a naturopath.

nutracleanse

The upside? NutraCleanse™ does not use any ingredients that contain gluten (but we are not officially gluten-free certified), and there are many other great food stuffs available to the general public that are also safe to eat if you’re avoiding it. If you’re interested in incorporating NutraCleanse™ in your diet, click HERE for a list of local vendors. Also, HERE is a guide to eating without gluten.

Take care!