Gluten-Safe Dining

So, you’ve tackled some of the most difficult transitions to gluten-free living such as keeping a well stocked pantry, navigating dinner parties and throwing your child’s birthday party. However, are you still weary about dining out and feeling 100% confident that the meal you are ordering is gluten-free and cross-contamination free? Rest assured, you are not alone in your quest to be a savvy gluten-free foodie when dining outside of your own kitchen.

Having worked in restaurants for 10 years, in everything from diner style barbecue to ultra-fine dining, I not only sympathize with the kitchen and waitstaff when dealing with a gluten-free customer, but I also empathize with the diner. Having been diagnosed a decade ago, I have been duped into countless meals that I was told were being prepared gluten-free. For a year I convinced myself that it was easier to just dine-in than dine-out. Unfortunately that paradigm doesn’t work for me, and others just like me that love the experience of restaurant dining. Just like every other step in the gluten-free transition, restaurant dining is most definitely a game of trial and error. However, we should not only keep in mind our needs as a Celiac diner, but also be respectful of our fellow diners and the restaurant we are patronizing to ensure everyone is happy at the end of the meal.  Follow these easy steps for happy dining:

Tips for Finding New Hot Spots and Dining in Your Favorite Local Spots

  • Call ahead: Call ahead to some of your favorite spots to find out if they have a gluten-free menu. Ask if their menu is ‘certified’ gluten-free or if it has been prepared by someone in house. There is a big difference here!! Your ingredients may be gluten free, but the kitchen space may not be.
  • Plan ahead: Even if your favorite spots do not have a gluten free menu, chances are they will accommodate if you give them a heads up when making a reservation. If your favorite spot does not take reservations, call before coming in to see if the hostess thinks the kitchen staff will be able to meet your needs that evening. If the kitchen is understaffed, or the head chef is out for the evening, you may want to consider another option(for your sake at the kitchen’s).
  • Go out of YOUR way: If your favorite spot is happy to accommodate you in every way then spread the word, spread the wealth and patronize their establishment often. Thank them and tell them you’ll be passing the word on to your local friends. Tip your wait person generously for helping you. And most of all, return to the restaurant often to let them know that you appreciate their food.

Tips for Dining in Restaurants without a GF Protocol

  • Go Online: Most restaurants have their menus posted online, so be prepared before you dine with a few choices from their menu.
  • Keep the allergy food cards at bay: I know these cards are popular among many Celiac diners, but they are also a slap in the face to many chefs and waitstaff people if they are used as inopportune times. If the chef asks for a list of foods to avoid in your meal, then by all means pull it out. However, ordering a meal then immediately submitting your card with your order could be seen as rude to the group preparing your meal.
  • Do not bring your own pasta to a restaurant unless you have called first: Crackers are okay. Dinner rolls are semi-okay. But, to bring your own bag of pasta unannounced and expect the establishment to double wash a pasta pot to accommodate your needs is silly. Unless the establishment you are dining in is a ‘certified’ gluten free restaurant, you will most likely NOT get fresh pasta water, even if they offer GF pasta on the menu.
  • Crackers and Dinner Rolls: These items should not disrupt anyone involved, but please be sure to tell your server that you would “love to order _____ appetizer, but you can save your crackers. I brought my own gluten-free one’s and would be happy to use them instead.” Won’t mortify your spouse–check! Ease the cross-contamination issue on the plate–check! Won’t red flag you for bringing in your own food–check! Be up front, but also be respectful.
  • Approach your server early on in the meal: When your server comes to the table to take your drink order, pull them aside and explain kindly, “I have a severe gluten allergy and am really good at finding items on your menus that are safe, but just so you know, I’ll still have a few questions for you when I order.” Most times, the server will let you know that they are happy to accommodate your needs, and will! It’s all in the delivery.
  • To be a meal creator, you’ll have to pay extra: With all this being said, try to not be a meal creator unless you’re willing to pay a little extra. Try to pick dishes that you won’t need to morph drastically. The more morphing you do, the more likely you’ll have cross contamination.
  • Go our of YOUR way: If you’ve been well accommodated, then spread the word, spread the wealth and patronize their establishment often. Thank them and tell them you’ll be passing the word on to your local friends. Tip your wait person generously for helping you. And most of all, return to the restaurant often to let them know that you appreciate their food.

Beware of These Items When Ordering!!! There’s the obvious items such as bread, pasta, couscous and desserts. Check this list for the ‘not so obvious-stay clear foods!’

  1. Soups: Most soups, cream based or not, have used a glutenous thickener, especially if the soup is NOT made in house.
  2. Smoked meats and fish: Most times, these are soaked in a soy sauce containing brine before smoking.
  3. Demi-glaces: Either thickened with gluten, or containing soy sauce, just ask for them to be omitted.
  4. Picatta Sauce: Thickened with gluten!
  5. Rice Pilaf: Could be safe, most likely not! Go for the mashers, or jasmine rice.
  6. Herb-encrusted: Most times will have some flour or panko to give it more of a crusty texture.
  7. Fried Foods: Unless the establishment has a designated GF fryer, anything coming from the multi-use fryer will be gluten containing.
  8. Diner omelets: Make sure your favorite breakfast spot uses 100% eggs in your omelet. Otherwise, most diners add pancake batter to make their egg dishes light and fluffy.
  9. Salad dressing: Ranch, other creamy dressings and ginger/soy dressings are usually a red flag to avoid. If in doubt, ask for oil and vinegar on the side.

GoGlutenFreeGracefully.com Restaurant Certification Program is a business dedicated to creating restaurant menus that are safe for the gluten free diner. Through a process of development, educating and training, we proceed with a 5-step protocol geared towards establishing a cross-contamination free kitchen. GoGlutenFreeGracefully only certifies once the establishment has gone through the entire protocol. Contact Jill at GoGlutenFreeGracefully@gmail.com or 435-962-3010 for more information on how your restaurant can get involved.

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Are You the One Getting in the Way of Your Dreams

It’s all over the national news that Demi Moore is being clinically treated for exhaustion. She realized she couldn’t do it on her own, so she had to call on professionals. Moore recently told Harper’s Bazaar she has a “love-hate” relationship with her body and fears she’s unlovable.

“What scares me is that I’m going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I’m really not loveable, that I’m not worthy of being loved,” she said in an interview for the February edition.

Sad to see anyone go through this process: to be afraid that you are “unlovable” and “not worthy of being loved”. Let’s face it, if it’s not for LOVE, then why are we here? We aren’t here for this little snippet of time to be stressed, unhappy or living in a body or life we do not feel is right for us. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. We don’t get another round after rehearsal to do the things we really wanted to do, or be the person we wanted to be.

How many times have you told yourself that you need to eat better, exercise more regularly, cut down on your stress, make more time to relax, make more time for your relationships, figure out your finances or get to the bottom of some of your aches, pains and fatigue?

These are all thoughts that many of us have on a daily basis, and there’s one underlying theme in all these thoughts: OURSELVES! We are the only one’s that can take the desire to become the people we want to be, in the life we want to live and turn that into reality. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. The root of creating the impetus for change lies in our thought! It’s that simple. Read on…

We cannot control the weather. We cannot control if someone is to cut us off in traffic. We cannot control if our car is to suddenly croak. We cannot control if the people we work with are going to call in sick and create a more hectic day for us. We cannot control a power outage that shuts down our computers. What can we control? OUR THOUGHTS!

So, follow me here…what needs to happen is a rewiring of a sort in our brains. Every time we send a message via our thoughts, every cell in our body resonates that thought. You send a positive thought, full body positive reaction. You send a negative thought, full body negative reaction. The constant stream of negative thought is called the ‘negative feedback loop’ and this type of thinking becomes habitual at the source: our brain. We CAN rewire out thinking. But how do we do it?! How do we rewire our thinking?

Our first step is to develop a new neural pathway and research shows that after as little as 7 days we can begin to start our brains on the path of having ‘habitual’ positive thoughts instead of ‘habitual’ negative thoughts.

So, what if we changed this thought, to that thought? Instead of, “Oh, man…I know I should exercise today but I just don’t feel like it and quite frankly I don’t even like it. But, it if I don’t do it, I’ll feel fat, lazy and unworthy….” And the thought goes into action.

Rewired thought, “Wow, I get to exercise today! I am healthy and able and I will feel great after exercise. I am worth it. C’mon let’s do it!!” And the thought goes into action!

We can do this with every aspect of life, but we need to use a few simple tools to get to the source of the negative feedback loop:

1. Commit to seven days: You may feel like a fraud in the beginning of this process and you can laugh at yourself while you start to rewire your thoughts if you feel completely off your rocker. It’s better to laugh at yourself then to scowl and tell yourself you’re a freak for trying this. But, seriously, commit to just seven days.

2. Recognize your negative thoughts: The second you have a negative thought. Recognize it, but don’t react to it. Replace it immediately with a louder more positive thought. Scream it if you need to in your head. Say it audibly. Whatever it takes, replace that thought immediately. Don’t let it resonate in your brain, cells and body.

3. Look for patterns: Are there places in your life, such as work/your in-laws house/certain situations with friends that habitually generate negative thoughts? Is there a certain time of day that you tend to be more negative? Why do you let your self esteem get the best of you at these times/places. Eventually, you’ll determine which of these situations/relationships are manageable by changing your thought pattern, and which of these relationships just don’t behoove you.

4. If you must spend time with negative thinkers, don’t try to change them: Just listen politely – but do not accept what they say. Mentally tell yourself that you choose to reject this type of thinking. When you stop responding to other people’s negativity and just remain quiet, but respectful they eventually start to hear the hollowness of their own words and change – at least around you anyway.

5. Start your day with a positive thought: Your alarm goes off, immediately say something positive about the day. Something as simple as, “I’m alive! Let’s do this thing!”  How dreadful to start the day as soon as the alarm goes off with this thought, “Oh, c’mon. Do I really have to do this. I’m tired and yesterday sucked. What the heck…” That first thought of the day is crucial to starting your day off right!!!

Reality: if life, love and the dreams and desires we have for ourselves depend on this one tool, why wouldn’t we give it a try for seven days? If after seven days, we’re moving in the direction of health, happiness and forward motion, haven’t we given ourselves the biggest gift of all: the chance to live this one shot at LIFE we were given to the fullest, not as a dress rehearsal!

You are worth it!

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Gluten Free Halloween Candy List

Gluten Free Halloween Candy List

Decoding what is in your kid’s trick or treat bags can be as difficult as limiting your child’s intake of candy, following the bounty hunt! The list below is an updated list for 2011. Please note that manufacturers can change their ingredients without notice. Also, the snack size may contain different ingredients than the full size. It’s always best to contact the manufacturer with any questions, however this list contains the names of products that have been deemed safe by the manufacturer.

Candy made on shared wheat facility has been noted.

  • 3 Musketeers
  • Airheads and Airhead Bars, facility with wheat
  • Almond Joy
  • Atomic Fireballs
  • Baby Ruth
  • Bazooka Bubble Gum
  • Big Red Gum
  • Bit O Honey
  • Bottlecaps
  • Bubble Gum Smarties
  • Bubble Yum Gum
  • Butterfinger, Original Only! Excluding Grande size and Crisps and Crunch
  • Caramel Apple Pops by Tootsie Roll
  • Charleston Chew
  • Circus Peanuts
  • Clark Bar
  • Dots
  • Dove Chocolate
  • Dubble Bubble Gum
  • Dum Dum Lollipops
  • Fruit Tart Chews by Wonka
  • Fun Dip
  • Gobstoppers (Chewy and Original) by Wonka
  • Gold Mine Gold Rocks Nugget Bubble Gum
  • Goobers
  • Hershey’s Kisses, Hugs and Kissables, not Nuggets
  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars, Regular and Almond
  • Hot Tamales
  • Hot Tamales Gum
  • Hubba Bubba Gum
  • Jawbreakers
  • Jelly Bellies
  • Jolly Rancher Lollipops
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Juicy Fruit Gum
  • Junior Mints
  • Kraft Caramels
  • Just Born Jelly Beans
  • Laffy Taffy Plain, Stretchy & Tangy and Rope by Wonka
  • Lemonheads
  • Lifesavers
  • Lollibeans Jelly Belly Lollipops
  • M&Ms, Plain and Peanut, Not Pretzel
  • Mallo Cups
  • Marshmallow Peeps
  • Mary Jane’s
  • Mike and Ike Bubble Gum
  • Mike and Ike’s
  • Milk Duds
  • Milky Way Midnight and Caramel
  • Mounds
  • Mr Goodbar
  • Necco Wafers
  • Now and Later
  • Nerds, facility with wheat
  • Payday
  • Peeps
  • Pez
  • Pixy Stix by Wonka
  • Pop Rocks Candy
  • Push Pops
  • Rainblow Pops
  • Raisinets (including Cherry, Cranberry, and Dark Chocolate flavors)
  • Razzles
  • Red Hots
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Ring Pops
  • Rolo
  • Runts
  • Sixlets
  • Skittles
  • Skor Bars
  • Smarties, USA not Canada
  • Spree
  • Snickers
  • SnoCaps
  • Sour Patch Soft and Chewy Candy Kids by Cadbury
  • Starburst and Starburst Jelly Beans
  • Sugar Babies
  • Sugar Daddy Lollipops
  • Sunkist Chewy Candies
  • Super Bubble Original Gum
  • Surf Sweets Gummy Candies
  • Surf Sweets Jelly Beans
  • Swedish Fish by Cadbury and Trebor Allen
  • Sweetarts by Wonka, facility with wheat
  • Tic Tacs
  • Tootsie Pop Lollipops
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Wack-O-Wax
  • Warheads
  • Wrigley’s Gum Products
  • York Peppermint Patties
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Cosmetics, Lotions, Hair Products and Gluten Intolerance

You’ve investigated all of the labels on your food to make sure you are not eating any hidden gluten. Have you, however looked at the labels of your lotions, eye make-up, sunscreen, lip products and make-up removers? With the skin being our largest organ, the potential for a systemic gluten reaction that feeds directly into our bloodstream is possible when we coat our skin or scalp in any wheat, barley, or oat ingredients. Similar to reading a food label, avoiding any products that have clearly marked wheat, triticum, barley and oat is your first step.

Follow these easy steps for keeping your skin safe:

1. Beware of These Most Common Gluten Containing Ingredients:

  • HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN
  • HYDROLYZED WHEAT STARCH
  • HYDROLYZED WHEAT GLUTEN
  • TRITICUM VULGARE EXTRACT
  • TRITICUM VUGARE LIPIDS
  • WHEAT GERM EXTRACT
  • WHEAT GERM GLYCERIDES
  • WHEAT GERM OIL
  • OAT (AVENA SATIVA) OIL
  • OAT (AVENA SATIVA) EXTRACT
  • HORDEUM VULGARE (BARLEY) EXTRACT
  • VITAMIN E- DERIVED FROM WHEAT
  • SEMINO PEPTIDE COMPLEX
  • DEXTRIN
  • HYDROLYZED VEGETABLE PROTEIN
  • FERMENTED GRAIN ALCOHOL
  • BARLEY EXTRACT
  • BARLEY LIPIDS

When reading the label, keep in mind that many different combinations of these listed exist, and are often times linked within a chemical name, such as Amp-Isostearoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein.  Any form of wheat, barley, triticum and oat signals a gluten derived ingredient. Read labels carefully and throw away any of your old products that may be contaminated.

2. Contact The Manufacturer If You Cannot Find An Ingredient List

The FDA does not require that cosmetic manufacturers provide an ingredient list on products. If you are unsure, do not use a product before contacting the manufacturer. Email communication is usually the most effective.

3. Contact The Manufacturer If Your Favorite Product Contains Allergens

As the number of celiac cases rises in America, so will the requests for companies to reconsider their ingredients. Our voices will be heard, but we need to speak up and create strength in numbers. Write to the company of your favorite products and ask them to accommodate.

4. Bring Your Own Shampoo/Conditioner/Lotion When Traveling

Don’t rely on the travel sizes that often times are left in hotel rooms. These generically labeled products could contain gluten and often times are too small to have an ingredient list. Always travel with your own supplies.

5. Consult Your Hair Dresser or Massage Therapist Before Your Treatment

A relaxing day at the salon could go south if you don’t discuss the products being used on your hair and skin. Good news is, you may find a gluten-free product that you love at the salon. Or, you could inspire your local spa to start carrying a gluten free line!

GLUTEN FREE PRODUCT LIST: Still be sure to read the labels carefully, as these are just recommendations as to gluten-friendly companies.

  • Smashbox: Mostly gluten free
  • Sephora: Mostly gluten free
  • Neutrogena: Mostly gluten free
  • Afterglow: Full gluten free line
  • 100% Pure Cosmetics and Body Care: Gluten free line of products
  • Maybelline: Gluten free lipstick
  • Clinique: Gluten free cosmetics
  • Avon: Gluten free cosmetics
  • Revlon: Gluten free lipstick
  • Jane’s Cosmetics: Mostly gluten free
  • Burt’s Bees: Gluten free line of products
  • Arbone: Gluten free line of products

Shampoos and Conditioners: Still be sure to read the labels and write the manufacturer if you have any questions.

  • Dove
  • Giovanni
  • Neutrogena
  • Hamadi
  • Burt’s Bees
  • Desert Essence
  • Sircuit


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Brown Rice Made Simple

Brown Rice GrainIs it brown rice’s delicious nutty flavor, or its nutritionally dense reputation that has made this gluten-free grain pop up everywhere lately, from sushi rolls to fine dining restaurants?

Brown rice is a less processed form of the whole grain, where only the outer hull has been removed, keeping in tact the essential nutrients and fiber to make it a more nutritionally sound choice versus white rice. Removing the outer layer negates between 50-90% of the vitamins and minerals listed below.

Per cooked cup, brown rice contains:

  • 2g essential fats
  • 4 g dietary fiber
  • 21% RDA Magnesium
  • 16% RDA Phosphorus
  • 14% RDA B6
  • 15% RDA Niacin
  • Iron, Calcium, Riboflavin, Copper, Zinc, Potassium
  • 216 calories

So, how can you prepare brown rice, so that it is as light and fluffy as white rice? This recipe below is no fail, and will cook perfect brown rice every time, even if you are living at high altitude. AND this option will take only as long to prepare as white rice.

No Fail Brown Rice Recipe

  1. Bring to a boil in a medium sauce-pan, 8 cups of cool water.
  2. While water is boiling, rinse 2 cups of brown rice under cold water for 30 seconds.
  3. Add rinsed rice to boiling water and return to a boil.
  4. Stir once and reduce to a rolling simmer.
  5. Cook uncovered for 35 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and drain excess water. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Perfect brown rice!

Please visit www.goglutenfreegraefully.com/recipe for delicious recipe options.

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Water as a Metabolic Boost

The Key of LifeThe human body contains anywhere between 55-78% water depending on body weight and size. At birth, we are approximately 90% water, then we gradually drop to between 50-70% over time due to aging. Because all of our metabolic functions require water, it could be assumed that water is the key to life and living a long and healthy life. Simple enough.

Our level of overall hydration is contingent upon many factors, environmental and biological.  Such environmental factors include humidity, dryness in your home, extreme cold or hot temperatures and circulated air on airplanes. Biological factors include fever, sweating, diarrhea, breastfeeding and crying. Eating a high fiber diet will require more water for proper digestion.

Water in the Morning for a Metabolic Boost?
Recently, we’ve heard that drinking 8-10 8oz glasses of water is the first step in creating not only a healthy body, but also creating a fat burning, nutrient delivering environment within our bodies. If you are someone concerned with optimal performance and feeling your best, this simple daily habit could be your key to taking your physiology to the next level. But, is the timing of water as important as how much we drink? This just might be the case! Drinking water in the morning and starting the hydration process upon waking helps to set the body up to perform its daily function properly and with less stress. Let’s explore some of the theories behind why this could be true.  Read on as we’ll discuss how water helps in the keeping you lean by eating more frequently, and a special section on how to stay hydrated when you just plain don’t like water.

Water in the morning:

1. Will rehydrate your body after a 6-8 hour rest of no fluids. Especially in the winter, when our environment tends to be more dry, we require a period of re-hydration before we can reach optimal hydration. TIP: Use a humidifier if you live in an arid area and keep a glass of water by your bed. Even if you do not drink the water through the night, you’ll have it there to drink in the morning.

2. Will start the digestive process before you have breakfast. Why not get ahead of the curve and lube up your digestive system in preparation for a high fiber, high protein breakfast? Your body will be more likely to deliver the nutrients from your breakfast in a well hydrated machine AND you will stay more satiated by your breakfast. Some people find that they are able to make less calorically dense choices for breakfast after being well hydrated. TIP: Make your breakfast as you normally would, but fill a 10-12oz glass of water to sip while making. When the water is gone, it’s time to eat.

3. Will kick your morning metabolism into high gear. All metabolic functions require water as a catalyst. Starting your day with a glass of H2O will set your body up to react and be energized. Think of water as your internal ‘cold shower’ in the morning for invigoration.  Cold water has been shown to further speed up your fat burning system, by requiring energy to raise the water to a temperature that your body can digest. Many of us tend to take our vitamins in the morning. Water soluble vitamins need water to work properly. TIP: For every vitamin you take in the morning, take with 6oz water. Your kidney and liver will thank you, and you’ll get more leverage out of your expensive vitamins!

4. Will jumpstart the elimination process. If you are less than regular in the morning, try this simple cleansing trick, even before you have had your coffee. Constipation is usually caused by lack of hydration, and there’s no better time than after a night’s sleep to chug-a-lug. I like to think of this as a roto-rooter type scenario. The excretory system should be at its prime in the a.m. Why not get enough water in the pipes to fuel the push and to ensure that your elimination process is complete? TIP: Water before coffee!!! Big glass. Try it, you’ll be very impressed.

5. Will get you on the right path for a long day ahead. If you’re like me, and you don’t even have time for food, never mind water for a couple hours after starting your day, drinking water in the morning will fuel your tank during the long hours ahead. TIP: Always take water with you on the road, but try to consume 1/3 of your water for the day before leaving for your travels.

And the proof:

A Clinical Research Center in Berlin found that after you drink 17 ounces of water – Your fat-burning metabolism increases by 30% within 10 minutes of drinking water.

These findings are very impressive, as it shows how we can get the kick starting early and keep it going throughout the day!

Water When Eating More Frequently: Let’s look at the normal 3-meal a day program with little water before and after the meal, and no water during the meal. What is the catalyst to get the food delivered to the rest of your body for energy in this scenario? This scenario will also tend to strip the body of any energy by creating a sluggish internal environment.

Now, let’s look at the converse scenario. 5 meals per day, in a well hydrated body, while sipping water during the meal. Food in, more frequently, keeping the body on its toes and energized. Food in, water in, food delivered, food used, excess food excreted.

5 Tips for Not Liking Water

1. Add low sugar flavor to your water: Mix 1/4 cup of juice in large 20oz glass of water. Or, squeeze lemon and an 1/8tsp stevia extract in your glass. Stevia is sold in packets now, so it’s easy to keep a few in your pocket or purse.

2. Ask for decaf version of your favorite beverage in the afternoon: Are you an ice tea/hot tea or ice coffee/hot coffee drinker during the day? You can get your caffeine kick plus some added hydration if you go 1/2 and 1/2 on your beverages.

3. Low sodium club soda is a great hydrating tool: As an afternoon treat, post lunch digestive tool, or an evening substitute to your glass of wine, try mixing low sodium club soda with a splash of 100% juice such as pomegranate, white grape or grapefruit. Satisfying and hydrating.

4. Plan 4 hour intervals in your day to just drink water: You’ve already determined that you don’t like water, FINE. But, that doesn’t mean you should use it as the be-all-end-all excuse. Drink every 4 hours. Don’t concern yourself with it all day, but make it an every 4-hour priority.

5. Drink MORE when exercising: If you’re like many others and you tend to drink most of your daily water when exercising, then try to drink MORE when doing so. You just may double your daily intake during this time period!

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Chocolate Milk for Exercise Recovery

Many of us who exercise religiously and eat well, are concerned with foods and how they play a role in performance and recovery. Eating only protein before a workout can leave you with little energy to finish your task. All carbohydrates can give you the edge, but the wrong carbohydrates can render you sluggish. Only proteins following a workout may not replenish your glycogen supplies enough to be ready for your next event. There are many theories surrounding fuel for performance and fuel for recovery, but one theory remains constant: a balance of proteins and carbohydrates are your best choice to repair a body that has withstood a solid workout. So what about all the hype lately claiming that dairy, mixed with chocolaty yumminess will help in exercise recovery? Could this be true, and if so, could life get any better?

Let’s explore a few studies that have sought to prove that chocolate milk is superior to water and other sports drinks following a workout.

Chocolatemilk.com. The name of this website may seem biased off the bat, in favor of this chocolaty beverage, however their evidence is well supported. Their support comes from looking at the ingredients of chocolate milk and using the knowledge of those specific ingredients on repairing the body. Milk, and chocolate milk specifically contain amino acids necessary to fuel fatigued muscles. It also has a well balanced combination of carbohydrates and protein, plus the added benefit of Vitamin A and D and calcium to build muscle and bone density. Milk also has a high water content for re hydration of a body that has lost an abundance of sweat, and sugar/sodium for extra hydration delivery benefits.

More supported evidence comes from out of the University of Connecticut exercise science department. Their study looked at a group of male runners. Following a 45 minute run, 4 of the participants were given a sugar only sports drink, and 4 were given chocolate milk. Muscle biopsy following recovery showed that the glycogen levels of the milk drinkers were higher plus they touted more muscle protein synthesis than the sports drink drinkers.

We can find studies that prove this fact over and over, but the ultimate question remains…is your personal workout muscle fatiguing enough, and high enough intensity to warrant a sports drink recovery in any regard? This, my friends is for you to determine. Does your workout consist of walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes, or running at an incline for intervals at a duration of 55 minutes? Do you lift weights to the point of muscle fatigue, struggling to get your last repetition in, or do you tend to gravitate towards lighter weights, never quite working to fatigue? Are you riding your bike at a pace where you can always carry on a conversation, or do you crush it up hills out of the saddle? Do you take water aerobics or do you swim 50′s on the minute or below? These are all factors to take into consideration when thinking about your post-workout meal and how substantial it needs to be. How much glycogen depletion did you do and what’s it going to take to replenish?

This does not need to be something you determine with a mathematical formula, looking at your maximum heart rate zone and maximum weight load per workout. This can simply be determined by the way you feel after your session. Was today a strong, motivated, sweat enhancing workout or would it more fall into the category of a light recovery day. You make the call, you know your body.

Yes, chocolaty yumminess is a good choice for post recovery of a solid workout. Chocolate milk does have far less sugar per 16oz serving than your typical Gatorade beverage, and balances hydration with protein and carbohydrates.

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Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Corn Bread?

Don’t mind if I do…holy Moses this looks amazing and is so easy to make! I don’t often times give highest praise shout outs to things that originate outside of my kitchen, but this is an amazing exception.

First let me give honorable mention to my favorite vegetable on the planet: SWEET POTATOES! Now, a second shout out to my favorite baked treat: CORNBREAD! And now, a final standing ovation to someone I consider the queen of GF baking who has teamed up with WedMD to help build awareness for all of us gluten-free foodies out there who thrive on healthy flavors. Two things I love about this recipe 1. olive oil instead of butter 2. you can substitute honey for the brown sugar and yield an equally wonderful flavor. Enjoy y’all!

Sweet Potato Corn Bread
By The Gluten Free Goddess
WebMD Recipe from Foodily.com

This turned out to be the best gluten-free cornbread yet- slightly sweet and moist, with a tender crumb.
Ingredients

3 large organic happy free-range eggs
1/2 cup extra light olive oil
3/4 cup sweet potato puree
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup organic stone ground cornmeal
1 cup Pamela’s Ultimate Baking Mix – or your own flour mix with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and a good pinch of sea salt added
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of sea salt

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom of a 7 or 8-inch cake pan and dust it with cornmeal. I used a spring form pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs till frothy, and add the oil; whisk to combine. Add the sweet potato puree and whisk well. Add the brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and pie spice and whisk to combine.

In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour mix, baking powder, and sea salt.

Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients into the wet; and stir by hand just enough to make a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake on a center rack in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or so, until the cornbread is firm to the touch and golden. Check with a wooden pick, if necessary; if it emerges clean, the cornbread is done. [Remember, Dear Reader, I bake at high altitude, so please use your own tried-and-true guidelines for baking times.] Cool the cornbread in the pan- on a wire rack- for ten minutes. Remove from the pan and cool. Serve slightly warm, if desired. Wrap and freeze leftover slices. Slice leftover cornbread and grill it a little light olive oil.

Total Servings: 8
Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 124.1
Carbohydrates: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Fat: 14.0 g
Saturated Fat: 1.9 g
Fiber: 0.0 g
Sodium: 135.1 mg
Protein: 0.0 g

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Gluten-free Dog Biscuits

Every year at this time, I dedicate an entire day to baking treats for all the local people in my life who have supported my business and blessed me with the opportunity to live and work for something I love. It’s so gratifying to create for people, from my heart and my oven. This year, I have added a new twist to my holiday kitchen creations and I’m excited to share the recipe I created this morning.

Park City is often times dubbed “Bark City”, because dogs dominate our town. There’s a dedicated dog park, a few pet bakeries and water dishes outside the door of most establishments. Most people have a dog. That’s standard. But, many people in town have upwards of three or four. Our dogs are our family members, and take as much priority in our daily scheduling as our kids do.

So, this year I’ve included in my baked treat gift bag a new addition: gluten-free dog treats! Bill Molchan is not a gluten-free dog and will eat most anything except for lettuce and ice. However, our oven is gluten-free and it’s about time he and his friends reaped the benefits of my cooking prowess. This recipe is so simple and so healthy for your four-legged family member. Enjoy, and as always, let me know what you think.

Gluten-Free Dog Biscuits
4c cooked carrots
1/4 c olive oil
2 eggs
2 c peanut butter, creamy
2 c pureed steel cut oats
2 c brown rice flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 T salt

Combine cooked carrots, olive oil and eggs in the food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to bowl, add peanut butter and blend. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Optional: brush tops with egg white wash for shiny top. Bake on cookie sheets for 40 minutes at 300 degrees. Yields 48 biscuits.
This recipe is great for making thin cookie cutter biscuits or a more traditional round thick cookie. Keep well covered and refrigerated. Use within 2 weeks.

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