Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?

Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?
Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?

Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?

Yes. Yes, they are.

This weekend the Celiac Awareness Tour cancelled the day before the event, leaving me with a prepaid hotel room in Philly for the weekend.

Aaron and I decided to go to the city anyway and use it as a little getaway for us. Jennifer Fugo from Gluten Free School and I decided to meet up anyway since we weren’t speaking at the event anymore.

She told me about the cool things she does over at her website and all the research she’s done on sugar and gluten-free, which really got me thinking….

While it’s wonderful that companies are coming out with more gluten-free options and versions of foods we used to love, we still don’t need them. Gluten-free snack foods are usually higher in calories and fat along with lower in fiber. They are the ultimate empty calorie. Most of the products labeled  gluten-free are equally as bad for us as those products we loved filled with gluten.

As a fitness expert, I see this every day. Clients come to me wanting to know why they aren’t seeing results despite cutting calories and then go on to tell me they substitute regular junk food with low-calorie junk food. Snacks from Weight Watchers and Skinny Cow always seem to pop into the conversation. These products provide no nutritional value for your body. “Weight loss” snacks are FILLED with chemicals and processed junk which does nothing nutritionally for you, despite the marketing claims on their boxes.

Once you’re diagnosed with celiac disease, it is a tremendous life change. You struggle enough with just figuring it out along with all the emotional turmoil from the disease and health complications. You just want life to be easy. The problem is that easy in this area makes you gain weight. All those “easy” gluten-free foods are horrible for our waist line. Pancakes are bad for you filled with gluten and gluten-free. Just because it doesn’t make our auto-immune system go insane, it still isn’t the best option for us. Those products can be just as difficult to digest and cause other problems like inflammation aggravation.

Aren’t you sick of the high prices of this junk anyway? Don’t you want to eat for fuel and for happiness than instant gratification?

I’m getting ready to put together some awesome celiac fitness programming but please know we are going back to the basics on it!

Foods filled with nutrition should be priority for us, especially as we are trying to heal our bodies. Think about using the 80/20 rule for this. 80% of the time, eat foods that are nutritionally sound and make your body happy. Use the other 20% to indulge on something worth while like a great piece of gluten-free cake, a sundae, wine or whatever is your guilty pleasure. I recommend this to all my fitness clients at Bexa Body Fitness. That is how I lost my weight before and how I’ve started to do it again.

Twenty pounds later, I realized I consumed entirely too many snack foods throughout the week. I did a much better job tracking my food throughout the week and paying attention to when I had snack/junk foods. This helped me see eating patterns as well. One of my favorite tracking apps is My Net Diary. I use it on my iPhone to track my foods and fitness. There are a million apps out there, but I just found this one to work. I believe in moderation and enjoying your life. I’m don’t believe in fad diets or extreme weight loss programs. If you can’t have some things every once in a while, you are less likely to be successful.

If you try this and still aren’t losing weight – A few things could be happening –

1. Your hormones are off.
2. You’re not managing your vitamin deficiencies properly. (Supplements too expensive? Find an online vendor with bulk discount prices like Powdercity.com)
3. You aren’t writing down everything you eat and tracking it correctly.
4. You may have other health complications.

You are probably saying to yourself right now, so what the heck am I supposed to eat?

Well, instead of having lentil chips right now, I’m munching on some carrots. I hard boil eggs and consume them throughout the day. Nuts are a terrific snacking item. We try our best to stick with whole foods for dinner.

Here’s an example of what we eat for dinner throughout the week:

Monday: Salmon, green beans & red skin potatoes
Tuesday: Burrito bowls – rice, beans, ground beef, lettuce, avocado, peppers
Wednesday: Shrimp with rice – add veggies and use some gluten-free soy sauce in moderation
Thursday: Brisket with veggies from the slow cooker
Friday: Steak, spinach and sweet potato fries

Everything is very basic but tasty!

What’s your go to whole food meal?

 

Gluten-Free Diet Making you Fat? 5 Tips to Shed the Pounds

5-tips-to-shed-the-extra-pounds

We’ve all seen the articles recently talking about “gluten-free diets” and how the media has hyped up the gluten-free industry making others believe it is a fad diet like the Atkins or South Beach. I hear people tell me they went gluten-free and lost 20 pounds or some other amount but when they actually start explaining what they were eating, it was essentially just cutting the processed foods out of their diet. They were adding in more fruits and vegetables. Taking out the breads, pastas and other gluten filled things that are poison to those of us with celiac.

This post is not meant to be a debate with people over gluten and if it is healthy or not. It’s simply one girls opinion on the foods we consume and why a gluten-free diet won’t make you lose weight. I don’t believe you need to go on a gluten-free diet. I do believe you need to go on a “remove processed foods diet.”

My personal opinion is that gluten isn’t going to kill you if your body can tolerate it. I believe there are lots of people out there that can eat a pizza and have no problems other than weight gain and excess caloric consumption. I also believe there are many people out there that struggle with gluten but brush it off by taking medications like Prilosec or Tums to avoid the real issue. I mean these drug companies are even advocating for people to take their pills before consuming junk food and proud of it! Consuming the healthier options needs to be the right choice if you are going to eat gluten. A piece of whole grain bread is certainly better than a pop tart when it comes to gluten filled foods but an apple is even better.

I am however in the group of people who believes processed foods, chemicals and other disgusting additives are giving our kids behavioral problems, starting girls on their periods at an extremely young age and adding to the horrific number of health problems in the United States. It never ceases to amaze me that we constantly have to have discussions about why this is happening to us, why we are so obese, why we suffer from so many health conditions and yet everyone is willing to sweep the real food issue under the rug.

Eating gluten-free is not a choice for me anymore. I went through the phase in the first 5 months or so when I ate the same boxed, processed gluten-free foods every day. I pretty much sustained life off of Pop Chips and Annie’s gluten-free mac and cheese. I also started to gain weight. Gluten free foods made me gain weight. No, wait – processed gluten-free foods made me gain weight.

I started eating much more whole foods towards the end of last summer. Real, whole, non processed, from the earth foods.

But I still kept gaining weight. Turns out the estrogen from the endometriosis was causing me to gain weight but in theory I should have lost weight based on what I was eating. The frustration led me to consume more packaged gluten-free snack foods. Major fail.

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So, are you eating gluten-free and gaining weight or not able to lose weight? Let me give you my top 5 tips on how you can change the pattern.

1. Limit processed & packaged gluten-free foods. This is probably the biggest one of all time. Stop eating the gluntino oreos!! Just because these foods are gluten-free, doesn’t mean we can go gung ho and eat whatever gluten-free foods we want. Processed foods are just that… made from things that are made – not grown! Gluten free processed foods just come with different ingredients that aren’t great for us either, our bodies can actually digest them. Stick with meats, fruits and vegetables that are naturally gluten-free!

2. Moderation is always the key. Regardless of if you are eating gluten-free or not, moderation is the key. If you want to have a gluten-free cookie or brownie. Have 1 and move on with your day. But again, just because it’s gluten-free doesn’t mean that’s the green light to consume massive quantities. I’ve found myself saying “well, it’s ok because it’s gluten-free so I can have as many as I want.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

3. Watch salt intake and hidden calories from sauces and marinades. Salt makes us bloat. Salt makes us retain water. Salt affects our blood pressure. Aaron and I went on the DASH diet a while back and now we can barely handle a meal at Chipotle without looking pregnant afterwards.

4. Be cautious of empty calories. The gluten-free foods often contain a higher calorie and fat count than regular foods so when you add into that empty calories from sodas, desserts and alcohol, it can add up much faster than you would imagine.

5. Stop cheating on the gluten-free lifestyle. That seesaw effect of gluten – no gluten can really take a toll on your body and not just with your stomach. It affects your brain chemistry, hormones along with organs and digestive system.

BONUS TIP: Exercise – start moving 30 minutes a day for 4-5 days per week.

If you try all these things and the weight still isn’t coming off, I would encourage you to go and get checked by your doctor. Have a full blood count and panel done, check your thyroid, check your hormone levels (guys testosterone too!) and talk to your doctor about any other symptoms you continue to have despite eating gluten-free.

A strict gluten-free diet should take care of celiac disease. If you are still having problems, it is likely there are other things going on that need medical attention, like me with the endometriosis.

 

 

 

 

No, I am not a hypochondriac… I suffer from Celiac disease!

Happy 5 year anniversary to my loving, wonderful husband who is also my best friend. The past few years have been quite the journey and I don’t think I could have gotten through everything without his never ending support.

We had a $50 gift card to Cameron Mitchell and a $20 gift card from Open Table (which is an awesome reservation app) – so spending a bit more on dinner for our Anniversary didn’t seem that bad. Ocean Club is pricey. 2 drinks each and dinner for 2 was $120 plus tip.

Ocean Club at Easton Town Center is a celebration restaurant! Somewhere you go when you have something awesome to spend the money on like an anniversary, engagement or graduation. I just love this place. All of their menu’s can be found online. I think their gluten free menu is pretty extensive!

Ocean Club Gluten Free Menu
Ocean Club Gluten Free Menu

I don’t like that they took my absolute favorite meal off them menu – MahiMahi. It was the best I’ve found since Aruba on our Honeymoon. But they offer tons of other seafood, fish and steak items. Their regular menu is  3 pages or so – this picture is just of the gluten free options!

Filet and Bearnaise Sauce
Filet and Bearnaise Sauce

I decided on the Filet. Cooked to perfection, it melted in my mouth. Delicious!

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Blackened Snapper

Aaron went with the Blackened Snapper and said it was the best meal he’s had in a really long time.

We shared 2 sides – a loaded baked potato and corn – both were simply delightful.

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This was not gluten free on a diet. This was a celebration dinner. We didn’t even finish that potato it was so big. I think 3 people could have shared it. The corn tasted so great. A little onion but still sweet. Interesting combo we both enjoyed.

It’s been 3 hours since we ate and I still don’t have a stomach ache or bloating. My joints feel good and I haven’t had to run to the restroom yet!

Total Success!!

Obviously I liked my dinner!
Obviously I liked my dinner!
My Desert! 2 glasses of Moscato
My Desert! 2 glasses of Moscato

We finished the night off with a trip to Barnes and Noble to check out the latest books and then a hop, skip and jump over to Swarovski – where I picked up this little gem. I LOVE it!!! Thank you Aaron – I love you.

May everyone have as wonderful of an anniversary as we did tonight

 

 

 

 

No, I am not a hypochondriac… I suffer from Celiac disease!

Looking back upon my teen years, it’s no hidden fact that I hated school. I used to skip class to go to the grocery store or mow my grandparents lawn. When I turned 17, I moved in with my grandparents to take care of them and help them around the house. My grandmother suffered from severe emphysema from smoking for over 60 years and was on an oxygen tank. It’s actually a complete shock she didn’t blow up our house from smoking while on oxygen! I just despised being stuck in a classroom all day.

Part of the issue was that I despised waking up to go to school. That was a constant battle with my Mom. Maybe because I have just been a night owl my whole life so it’s really hard to wake up at 6am when you go to bed at 2am. If you ask my mother, she will tell you story, upon story, about me writing notes on my door and locking it “being too sick” from school and days when I flat our refused to go to school. But the more I look into it, the more I realize that the Celiac is the likely culprit of this!

Most of the days I didn’t feel well but I never understood why. I just knew my stomach always hurt and I constantly suffered from diarrhea. My mom thought I suffered from severe hypochondria because it always seemed like there was something wrong with me. Headaches, exhaustion, stomach pains… you name it, I felt like I had it. We frequented doctors about my various ailments and each time she got so mad! Allergy testing, heart rhythm testing. asthma testing, cysts on my ovaries, irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis. It never ended…. or so it felt that way!

Was I a hypochondriac?

Am I a hypochondriac now?

Fast forward to my mid-20’s. Just married, promoted to manager at work… I complained about everything. It seemed there was always something physically wrong with me. The sleeping patterns started to emerge again – up all night, tired all day. Restless sleep. More like laying than sleeping!

Maggie – Our Boston Terrier Snoozing on the Couch!
Maggie – Our Boston Terrier Snoozing on the Couch!

From constant battles with headaches, tension pain, joint pain and being tired, to be bigger problems of the last few years:

  • From the time I went to the urgent care center because I thought I was suffering from a heart attack (turns out the doctor said my pants were too tight causing heartburn – no joke)
  • to the emergency room visit when my ear drum exploded in the pool (from pressure due to extreme ear wax build up – seriously) – what the hell did my new husband think?
  • to my knee surgery in 2010 – Lateral Release, no cartilage left in my joint – my knee now floats… (who has a floating knee?)
  • to my miscarriage in 2011 – that was a complete nightmare
Knee Surgery
Knee Surgery
My Nurse, Coach
My Nurse, Coach

It’ wasn’t until last year that I think everyone took it seriously. My symptoms were all leading up to the greater problem of celiac. All those headaches. All the trips to the bathroom. All the weird symptoms and health problems over the years, were likely caused by a condition no one diagnosed until I turned 30.

I read an article that said it takes 6-10 years on average for someone to actually be diagnosed with celiac disease.

Since I was diagnosed, I’ve asked my mom and sister to get tested repeatedly. She asked her general practitioner about the testing and he said if she didn’t suffer from bowel distress, she doesn’t need the test. That could be further from the truth. She has plenty of the other symptoms of the disease. This shows you how misinformed doctors are about Celiac disease.

I’m convinced my uncle had celiac disease – he died from pancreatic cancer in 2005.

2 family members on my mother’s side suffer from schizophrenia. Studies show a correlation between undiagnosed celiac disease and higher incidents of schizophrenia.

All of these signs point to problems in the family. Yet the doctor tells her she doesn’t need tested. I’m not a Phd, but I think I probably know more about celiac disease than him.

I feel like I’ve gone off on a tangent but I have a point!

Growing up I had the signs. All the signals pointed towards celiac disease but it took me countless doctors and problems to actually find someone who understood the disease to make a correct diagnosis.

Don’t discount your kids if they start having them!

If your family members don’t have bowel problems but suffer from other symptoms like headache, exhaustion or the 200 other symptoms of celiac disease… continue to educate them on celiac until they get tested!

Don’t give up on people. Don’t brush of the symptoms.

1 in 133 people suffer from celiac disease and it is highly misdiagnosed. If you have confirmed celiac, it is likely your family could potentially suffer from the same – especially children or parents.

We have to do this as a community. We have to be supportive of others and unite together to understand and encourage each other in the lengthy process. We have to help those who were like us – having people question our integrity, making us feel “crazy” with our symptoms.

This is why I created Pretty Little Celiac.