Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Eating Gluten & Allergen Free … and Watching Your Weight!

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

This weekend a friend asked if I wanted to join her in a “Six Weeks to Fourth of July” group tone up and get-in-shape plan. Thinking of the bathing suit season ahead, I decided that maybe I should jump aboard, partner with my good friend and the rest of the group, and embrace this challenge.

When I asked her what the group’s game-plan was she told me they planned on eating more whole and pure foods, start making more of their meals from scratch, plus start reading ingredient and nutritional labels on all the food they ate – no exceptions. In addition, they hoped to save money on their food bill during the process.

As she told me the game-plan I shook my head in agreement… again, and again and again.  I mean let’s face it… I have never in my life read so many food labels since getting diagnosed with celiac disease!

It then occurred to me that what she was describing as the healthy and more conscience method of eating in order to get-in-shape described the way those on a gluten or allergen free diet eat… and live.

The prerequisites of eating gluten and allergen free are to eat more real “whole” foods, preparing most meals at home and also reading every single ingredient label of any food you eat – basically a cleaner, healthier and more aware way of eating.

When my friend asked if I had any other ideas, tools or guidelines to add to the groups six-week tone-up and get-in-shape plan, I thought about ways my gluten-free lifestyle and know-how could help with this healthier and more mindful way of eating. These are the points that I shared:

Eat more fruits & vegetables: My motto is you can never eat enough. After you’ve had your recommended daily servings, eat more! If you fill up on vegetables and fruit, you will be less likely to reach for pre-packaged fattening foods.

Don’t eat it just because you can: After going gluten-free I find myself eating a lot of foods just because I become so over joyous at finding new gluten-free products. Could it be that every gluten-free cookie I see is calling out my name? I’ve learned to limit the amounts of sweets I eat, and when I do eat them to be very mindful of the taste and flavor, while savoring every bite.

Eat grains that are high in fiber: Some nutritious and healthy gluten-free grains that everyone should try are: Teff, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, flax, indian ricegrass (Montina), legume flours (bean, chickpea/garbanzo bean, pea, lentil), mesquite, millet, and nut flours.  

Get creative: Just as a gluten or allergen free diet does not need to be boring neither does a diet for getting in shape. Sometime just the “restriction” of not being able to eat something opens up a window of new food discoveries!  Get courageous and make it a goal to try one new healthy food every week.

Use herbs, spices and vinegars: Using fresh or dried herbs and spices can liven up the taste of foods without adding calories and fat. Plus, using spices and herbs assists in using less salt, helping to keep blood pressure low. Vinegars are also great to splash on salad greens, fish, chicken, or steamed vegetables – while adding no calories.  

Do you have any tips to share on how to eat gluten/allergen free while staying in shape? If so, please share!

Friday Favorite: Mary Gone Crackers

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

I can’t believe that I haven’t recognized Mary Gone Cracker’s Organic Gluten-free crackers as BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite before now.

This just goes to prove that sometimes you take the things you love the most for granted!

Everyone I know, both gluten free and gluten eating, folks love these crackers. With just the right amount of quinoa, brown rice, flax seed and sesame seeds these crackers are unique. There’s nothing else like them out there. And with the name “Mary Gone Crackers” you know that they are just a little quirky and atypical of all other gluten free crackers on the market.

An extra bonus is that these organic, gluten free crackers are also vegan, dairy free and contain no hydrogenated oils or trans-fats.

My favorite is the Black Pepper flavor, since it is a slightly peppery-hot and has a mild kick.

How do I enjoy these yummy crispy disks of gluten-free joy? First thing in the morning, I love them with a hard boiled egg; at lunch they pair perfect with soup; and at snack time they are great spread with fresh butter or with a big chunk of extra sharp cheddar.

The unique delicious one-of-a-kind taste is why this week’s Friday Favorite honors are bestowed to Mary Gone Crackers!

Friday Favorite: Nature’s Path Whole O’s Cereal

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

O Boy! Many newly diagnosed celiacs find themselves craving the “standard” breakfast cereals. That is why Nature’s Path Organic Whole O’s are a must-have for any gluten-free cupboard.

Made by Nature’s Path, the Whole O’s cereal taste just like Cherrios… only they are gluten free and good for you too. Made with organic corn and whole grain rice, Whole O’s are crunchy & delicious.  

This all-time favorite breakfast cereal (or right-out-of-the-box by-the-handful snack) is healthy and gluten-free, which is why Nature’s Path Organic Whole O’s gets this week’s BeFreeForMe Friday Favorite nomination… and a standing O-vation!

Cheers!

Favorite Friday: Better ‘n Peanut Butter

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I love peanut butter. But when I need to watch the calories and fat in my diet, I really do have to limit myself on how much peanut butter I can enjoy. 

That is why I was thrilled when I found Better n Peanut Butter, a natural peanut butter spread that is gluten and dairy free. With only 2.5 grams of fat (85% less fat then regular peanut butter) and 100 calories (40% less than regular peanut butter) per serving, I can enjoy peanut butter more often, even when watching my calories! 

I love this peanut butter spread on sliced pears or smeared on gluten-free toast. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or snack time.

Also, check out the recipes that are on the Better n Peanut Butter website and enjoy!

Friday Favorite: V-8 100% Vegetable Juice

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Starting off the New Year eating healthy and keeping to resolutions can be tough. Sometimes it’s challenging to know exactly what to reach for that will keep your hunger at bay and your stomach from rumbling away.

This is when I reach for a bottle of V-8 100% Vegetable Juice. A 12-ounce bottle has only 70 calories, no fat, 3 grams of dietary fiber, plus 3 servings of dietary fiber. I often will buy the Low Sodium version too, which has 70% less sodium than regular V-8.

The Regular and Low Sodium V-8 Juices are marked “Gluten Free”. Regarding other allergens, their website says to check the label for allergens since they periodically may change.

I like to have to have a V-8 in the morning, after my breakfast, as a mid-morning snack.

Next time you reach for a snack that doesn’t really hit the spot… remember you “coulda had a V-8!”

Natural Product Expo East – The Best-of-the-Best: Kid’s Products (Part II)

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

This blog is Part II of the gluten and allergen-free kid’s products I found at the Natural Product Expo East that took place in Boston from September 23 – 26th. While there I discovered hundreds and hundreds of fantastic products. This year however, I noticed more gluten and allergen-free products that cater to kids – which is great news!

Once again the marketing and the packaging of these great tasting products are outstanding and help make gluten and allergen-free products for kid more mainstream.  Following is the second wave of the phenomenal kid’s products I found at the show:

Froose: This is a super innovative product! It is a healthy drink for kids that combines healthy organic whole grains and natural fruity flavors. It comes in three flavors; cheerful cherry, perfect pear and playful peach. Gluten and dairy free, this product is also high in fiber and nutritional value.

Snikiddy Baked Cheese Puffs: Free of gluten, trans fat, preservatives and corn syrup, these snacks are fun little snacks that are a healthier version of a cheese twist. Fun to eat, and tasty too!

 

Allergaroo’s Pasta: Need a quick meal on the go? The Allergaroo’s all natural pasta is gluten, milk and soy free – all in convenient microwavable pouches. They come in three varieties; spaghetti, chili mac and spyglass noodles. These are perfect for kids on the go – and are a great meal choices for play dates, sleepovers, vacations and more!

 

Funky Monkey Fruit Crunches: Gluten free, vegan, with “nothing added” (all that they contain are fruit and juice) these allergen-free snacks are a crunchy way to get your kids to eat their fruit. A perfect lunchbox snack.

Friday Favorite: Soups On! Pacific Natural Foods

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

The days are getting shorter, temperatures getting cooler and lunches are being well planned and thought out.

This is when I reach for Pacific Natural Foods soups.

Quick, easy and convenient, having a soup I can reach for that is gluten and allergen free is a comfort. The 16-ounce package makes this soup a grab-and-go alternative for any busy lunch hour.

Out of all of the many varieties of gluten and (most) allergen free soups … Organic Creamy Tomato & Organic Creamy Butternut Soup are two of my favorites.

Pacific Natural Foods Soups are my Go-To-On-The-Go quick lunch options and this weeks Favorite Friday.  

Soups on. Grab a spoon and dig in!

My Job as a “Lobster Flight Attendant”

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

While eating a lobster dinner on vacation last week, my friends were in awe and amazement of my lobster eating aptitude while they wrestled with claws, and legs and tails.

Bib in place, wet-nap by my side and nut-crackers in hand, I broke through my lobster’s shell and had the meat removed and ready to be eaten with the skill and grace of a surgeon performing intricate surgery. Not an ounce of lobster meat was left behind, hidden in some crevice, knuckle or leg. Like a true professional I jumped in and assisted my dining companions step-by-step, while reciting the story on how I developed the status of a professional lobster eater.

The tale starts during a job I had in high school at a lobster shack on a pier in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was there that I learned my lobster eating skills and became the unofficial Lobster Attendant that showed tourists from around the globe how to eat a lobster.

We’ve all had odd jobs in our lives, but by far this has been the most memorable, crazy and maybe even the most challenging job I have ever had. Standing in front of a hundred tourists, many non-English speaking, I ended up depending on very animated and charade-like actions to demonstrate what words sometimes could not.

Dressed in crisp khaki shorts and the official lobster shack polo, each day I grabbed the largest boiled lobster I could find to assist me with the instructional demonstration.  I was like the flight attendant for lobster eaters. I gave directions and was there to guide during the tourists crazy ride of eating their very first lobster.

My spiel, said in the most animated sing-song stewardess-like voice I could muster, went something along these lines:

Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentleman. My name is Kathleen and I will be your Lobster Attendant this afternoon. It’s a pleasure to have you eating with us today.

Shortly I will be giving a safety & eating demonstration highlighting the features of this 1 and ¼ pound lobster. On the table in front of you there are instructions printed on the placemat showing graphics and instructions on how to eat a lobster. Please remove the placemat from the setting in front of you, and follow-along to further understand the instructions on eating this 1 and ¼ pound lobster.

Please note if you are sitting in a picnic seat row and next to someone also eating a lobster, you may be subject to splattering. If you are unable or unwilling to have this splattering, please contact me at the conclusion of this announcement.  

Before eating, please fasten your lobster bib, high and tight around your neck. Remove the two plastic straps from the bib, by pulling the loose end of the strap. Tie the straps tightly around your neck. To remove the bib, pull on the straps firmly to release. Please leave your bib on at all times to protect yourself from unexpected splatters.

There are four shell pails located on each picnic table, two on each side of the table. Please look around you at this time and locate the two closest shell pails nearest to your seat, keeping in mind that the closest shell pail may be located behind you.  

Each seat is provided with wet-nap cleaning devices in the event of needing a quick and easy water-free cleansing. To use the wet-nap pull the cloth from the packaging, and wipe to the face and hands, as shown on the placemat instructions. For sanitary reasons, please use your own wet-nap before helping clean others.

Thank you for your attention, ladies and gentleman. I will now be coming through the dining room to make my final lobster eating check before dining. If you have any further questions regarding lobster eating, please ask your questions at this time.

And lastly, and most importantly… thank you for eating from the friendly seas.

Friday Favorite: Cabot Cheese

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Cheese, Cheese, I LOVE Cabot Cheese!

Like some people love chocolate – my thing is cheese. I love cheese.

I would never even think about eating a plain ‘ole hamburger, especially since a lot of times, I forgo the roll. Plus, to me most foods are meant to be smothered, melted or complemented by cheese.

And if I’m going to eat cheese – I want good stuff, but at a good price.

That is why one of my favorite cheeses is Cabot Cheese. Made right here in the USA, in New England, in the state of Vermont. Local yum. My favorites are the 50% Reduced Fat Pepperjack (great for recipes) and the Seriously Sharp Cheddar (my favorite snacking cheese). 

All Cabot products are lactose and gluten free too. Check out: http://www.cabotcheese.com

That’s a reason to smile. Say “Cheese”!

The Boston Marathon: It All Starts Here… Right at Home

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009


One day a year, on the third Monday in April, my tiny world, my universe, becomes larger than life.

Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the tiny town in which I live and work, is the start of the Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon, and one of the world’s most well-known road racing events.

The BeFreeForMe offices are located in downtown Hopkinton right at the starting line, and my home is right down the street, the one that is lined with runners anxiously waiting in corrals; apprehensively waiting to begin a challenge that they have been training for months, or even years.

The weather this year was chilly, and windy. The runners were lined up, looking athletic, lean and muscular; obviously ready physically for the task ahead. But what surprised me was the looks of doubt that some of the runners had. I couldn’t help but think: Maybe they had missed a training? Maybe they were sporting a slight cold? Maybe they were not use to the New England temperamental weather? Did they now fear Heartbreak Hill? But why the doubt…visually these people were obviously physically ready for the 26.2 mile task ahead.

The deer-in-the-headlights look of these doubters reminded me of the expression many newly-diagnosed celiacs and food allergic have – including, I am sure, the look I had myself. The task we all face seems overwhelming, yet we are all physically ready to tackle it, one step at a time. Our obstacles may not be a missed training, sniffles, or rainy weather; yet we have obstacles of our own to undertake one incident, and, one day, at a time.

Staying focused, using self-encouragement, remembering our mission of health and rising to the challenge ahead are things we all must remember when that doubt sneaks in.

And remember those crowds. Those that are cheering us all on. They are the positive energy that will get us through the Heartbreak Hills of life.  

And lastly, remember it “All Starts Here”… right here at home – where your biggest supporters and fans will be cheering you on, every day in the marathon of life as a celiac or food allergic.

*Note: The cute puppy in the photo with me is my incredibly sweet Boxer, Sadie. =) She is very excited about the thousands of visitors she saw on her daily “run” on Marathon Day; Hence, she was having a hard time posing for the camera. Maybe the next photo shoot.


Be Free For Me Blog is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).