gluten free

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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One of my favorite things to do is to re-make traditional recipes into "health coach approved" recipes.  Lately, I've been wanting to make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, but wanted to stay away from 1. the sugar 2. added gluten and 3. unnecessary dairy especially when it came to something sweet so I made up this recipe that got the approval of my kids and everyone else who tries them!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

3/4 cup Lakanto sweetener

1/2 tbsp. unsulphured blackstrap molasses 

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 tbsp. pumpkin puree

1 cup gluten free flour

1/2 cup oat flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/2 cup Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper. 

1.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk the coconut oil, Lakanto, molasses, vanilla and pumpkin together until smooth.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips. 

3.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix.  Then add in the chocolate chips.

4.  Once mixed, spoon out dough in small balls (about 2 tbsp in size) and place on parchment paper.  Slightly flatten the dough because the cookies will only slightly spread in the oven.  

5.  Bake for about 10 minutes and allow to rest on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  

6.  Enjoy! 

If you love this recipe, head on over to my Healthy Holiday Eats page to be notified when my new holiday cookbook is released!  

Cheers!

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

 

3 Mistakes People Make Going Gluten Free

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Unless you've been living under a rock, you've noticed the gluten free craze taking hold of America by storm.  And there's a reason for this.  So many people, myself included, have sensitivities or an allergic reaction to gluten, the protein found in many grains including wheat, rye, barley and kamut.  

Going gluten free the proper way can cause someone to lose weight, regain their energy and start to heal their gut.  However, some people don't feel much of a difference going gluten free because there are some really common and easy mistakes to make when transitioning from gluten to bar none. 

Mistake #1

Gluten free = healthy.

Overall, going gluten free is a great choice for so many simply because our bodies were never meant to consume that amount of gluten in the first place (3 meals a day, 365 days a year).  Also, since the 1940's wheat plants have been altered to contain 3x as much gluten than its ancestors to help with crop production and larger yields.  Eating this modified wheat has contributed to a host of chronic issues and illnesses so just by removing it would make someone healthier.  The problem is that the gluten free aisles now in grocery stores are riddled with products void of gluten, but full of sugar.  So my point is...not all gluten free products are healthy and you must read the label to determine if there is added sugar.  Personally, I would not buy any product that has more than 4grams of sugar per serving listed on the nutritional label or else you're just swapping out one inflammatory food with another. 

Mistake #2

Gluten free = magical cure for whatever ails you.

Removing gluten from your diet is absolutely a smart move.  However, if you've removed gluten from your diet and seem to plateau with your results, chances are a few things are happening.  These are the most common things I've noticed with my clients:  1) You allow yourself some "cheat" meals that contain gluten.  Now, there is a time and place for a gluten "cheat meal" if you desire, but not during the initial phase of removing gluten.  Your body might take 3-6 months or longer to heal from decades of abuse. 2) You haven't removed all your trigger foods.  Everyone is different, so if you've hit a plateau with your progress, you may have other inflammatory foods in your system outside of gluten.  3) There are other underlying conditions going on that need an integrative approach.  Eating gluten free can be a good start, but an individual process must continue for progress to take place. 

Mistake #3

Gluten free = deprivation.

Many people assume that going gluten free will deprive them of amazing foods and yes, options will need to shift, but I can assure you that you won't feel deprived for long.  Honestly, the number one complain I get from people going gluten free is that they won't be able to have pizza anymore.  However, so many pizzarias and grocery stores are now carrying gluten free crusts that taste amazing!  I personally love the cauliflower crust in the freezer section from Trader Joe's. Did you see my meal plan post last week where I linked to a mouth watering homemade cauliflower crust?  As long as you are consuming a nutrient-dense diet full of anti-inflammatory food choices, your body will shift to crave the foods it needs to heal and to feel vibrant. 

Have you gone gluten free for any amount of time?  What was your experience like?  Please share with me!  At the same time, if you have plateaued and you would like to discuss your options moving forward, set up a time to chat with me! 

Dinner & Dessert Menu for Valentine's Day

Are you looking for a fun, healthy meal to have Valentine's Day?  This would be a great dinner to have with your special love, with your family, or with a group of special friends!  Both recipes below are gluten-free, dairy-free and good for you and they are a cinch to make so you have less time in the kitchen and more time with those you care about.  

Traveling? Eat Out Guilt Free!

I want to share with you my anytime top tips for surviving restaurant pit stops and getaways so that you can feel your best!  So many of us have dietary restrictions on some level so thinking about the following suggestions will help you feel prepared and in charge of your diet while traveling.  If you have a suggestion that's not listed, please add it for others in the comments below!  

Tip #1: Plan ahead - Research your route and the towns/cities in which you are traveling through and make note of healthy options such as restaurants, natural health food stores, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc.  You can easily pick up a lunch or dinner at one of the stores I mentioned instead of relying on a restaurant.  I’ve even found cafe´s and locally owned coffee shops to carry gluten-free, sugar-free, whole-foods options, but I needed to call ahead or go online to do the research first as it is not always apparent from a roadside sign. 

Tip #2: Call ahead - If you are staying at a hotel that has an inclusive restaurant, call the concierge desk to make sure they give the staff a heads up that you are staying with them and that you have dietary restrictions.  If a menu is not posted online, ask about your specific concerns.  Most restaurants are used to accommodating food allergies and sensitivities so don’t think you’re asking them something they haven’t been asked before. 

Tip #3: Ask to Read Labels - As I stated before, restaurants are becoming more and more accommodating to food allergies, so they are sensitive to those requesting certain food preferences.  Having said that, don’t be afraid to ask them to bring a label out to you so you can read the ingredients in something you are about to order.  I do this ALL the time because my son has reactions to artificial food coloring, additives and preservatives.  Also, most restaurant foods will contain hidden sugars, MSGs, processed soy and hidden wheat so it’s worth a few minutes of questioning.

Tip #4: Avoid Trans Fats - 

  • Ask that your meat and/or vegetables be cooked in butter or olive oil to avoid highly inflammatory and often trans fat based vegetable or canola oils.  If you have a dairy sensitivity, ask for olive oil preparation.
  • Sub out fried sides (french fries) with steamed vegetables or rice side dishes as a healthier alternative. 

Tip #5: Pack your own sweetener - Carry your sweetener with you or ask for honey.  I will carry a few packets of Stevia in my bag so I don’t have to even consider using the white sugar or even the raw sugars at most establishments.  And don’t even think about grabbing an artificial sweetener.  Opt for the real raw or white sugar instead if you’re not prepared with your own.  

Tip #6: Scrutinize your "healthy" salad - Ask for olive oil and vinegar and pass on the in-house made dressings, unless you ask for a list of ingredients.  This is a great place to avoid sugars and extra calories. Also, ask them to hold the croutons and extra cheese on top.  You can ask them if they can sub in some walnuts or almonds instead.

Tip #7: Hold the Bread - Many restaurants are holding their bread baskets now unless otherwise requested.  You can also let them know upon being seated that you would like your bread basket to be held.  This is crucial if you have a gluten intolerance on any level as your body will start the inflammation process and you will probably end your meal feeling bloated and uncomfortable.

Tip #8: Know your meat - Only order meat that is organic and/or grass-fed to avoid feed-lot quality meat, which has been pumped full of hormones, additives, and toxins.  If you don’t have any options there, then order fish, as long as its not farmed salmon, which are loaded with antibiotics, corn and soy products and other toxic chemicals.  

Tip #9: Water is key - Drink a glass of water BEFORE you head out to the restaurant (or about 20 minutes before eating) and then limit water consumption during your meal.  I know this sounds counter intuitive, but many people are not digesting their foods properly and an overload of water to the stomach while eating will raise the pH of its acids and not allow it to do its job as effectively had the acids not been diluted.  This will also curb your appetite and keep you from overindulging.

Tip 10: Take a digestive enzyme -  I like Digestive Enzymes Ultra by Pure Encapsulation.  You will see this enzyme listed under the supplements category on my Amazon storefront. This enzyme will help you break down and digest your food more easily,  which is very helpful while eating at any restaurant to help you avoid gas, bloating and other digestive upset from either eating too much or from eating some funky ingredients that you weren’t counting on.  Like my packets of Stevia, I carry this with me at all times to avoid feeling uncomfortable. 

Have you already tried some of these ideas?  How have they worked for you?