Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hello Goo, how do you do?

So when I started this blog I was all fired up and ready to go crazy with all the gruesome facts about Gluten and Dairy. Instead, I decided to take a step back and approach this in the same way I started to change my eating. Baby steps, baby steps...

First things first: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP! 

Because there's now commercials advertising HFCS and products state in bold "No High Fructose Corn Syrup" on the side of their packaging as a selling point; I think it safe to say that most of us out there are aware that HFCS isn't something you should be downing on the regular. And in my opinion, it's one of the easier changes you can make in your life. 

FACTS: What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?
High-fructose corn syrup is produced by milling corn to produce corn starch, then processing that starch to yield corn syrup, which is almost entirely glucose, and then adding enzymes that change some of the glucose into fructose. The resulting syrup (after enzyme conversion) contains approximately 42% fructose and is HFCS 42. Some of the 42% fructose is then purified to 90% fructose, HFCS 90. To make HFCS 55, the HFCS 90 is mixed with HFCS 42 in the appropriate ratios to form the desired HFCS 55.

Yeah, makes no sense to me either. Here's how I think about HFCS and honestly it breaks my heart, HFCS is like a gummy bear. (I love gummy bears) But what I do not love is thinking about how my body is working so hard to break down all that gummy goodness. The process of making HFCS is exactly that, a process. It's a processed food, not simple, not pure. That alone is enough for me to say sayonara to the goo. And don't you think gummy bears and fat and cellulite all carry a striking resemblance? hmmmm

Test the theory: eat a regular gummy bear and then an organic one and see the difference in how they break down while you chew.

HFCS is in a lot of products that people consume everyday, sometimes without even knowing it. But the reason that HFCS was invented is the same reason that people are still buying it in products today and using mass quantities of it: ITS CHEAP! Many people I'm sure understand that it's probably not the best thing for you, but they can't beat the screaming "Buy 2, get 2 Free" soda deal at the store. So to you people, more facts: 

The body processes the fructose in high fructose corn syrup differently than it does old-fashioned cane or beet sugar, which in turn alters the way metabolic-regulating hormones function. It also forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream. The end result is that our bodies are essentially tricked into wanting to eat more and at the same time, we are storing more fat.

Studies have shown a link between HFCS and diabetes, obesity, cancer, and adhd. In the current study, Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., conducted chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS. He found 'astonishingly high' levels of reactive carbonyls in those beverages. These undesirable and highly-reactive compounds associated with "unbound" fructose and glucose molecules are believed to cause tissue damage, says Ho, a professor of food science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. By contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar, whose fructose and glucose components are "bound" and chemically stable, the researcher notes.

Google this stuff, I swear you read enough of it and that soda sale will mean nothing to you. 

In closing my rant, I want to talk about my biggest beef with HFCS. It's in everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Most of us know that non diet sodas and candy contains HFCS, but what you may not know is that it is in simple things like ketchup and bread, and also in several so called "diet" foods like yoplait light and skinny cow ice cream. Kinda kills the whole diet aspect. Seriously, you might as well eat a gummy bear!

So when on your next shopping trip, I beg you, READ THE LABELS! Just because a product says "all natural" does not mean that it will not contain HFCS because the FDA is still unsure what that label entails. Research and educate yourself and remember you and your families health is priceless. 
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

We all have our excuses for not eating right 100% of the time, trust me, my trash can has seen it's fair share of empty pizza boxes in the past couple weeks! These are my top five tried and true favorite things that keep me on the gluten free/dairy free train...

1. VANS gluten free waffles
 They come in a variety of flavors and I've tried almost all of them, but my personal favorite is blueberry! In addition to being gf and df, they're only sweetened with fruit juice, only 5g of sugar per serving! I eat them with a little Smart Balance butter and Joseph's All Natural Maple sugar free syrup. They will definitely be a hit with your kids and perfect for the morning rush!

2. So Delicious Coconut Milk creamer
The flavors come in plain, french vanilla, and hazelnut. I buy a carton a french vanilla weekly and everyone I know that has tried it, loves it! While most coffee creamers are "dairy free" this has no artificial flavors/colors and only 4g of sugar. It's all you need to add to a great cup of coffee! Now if only you could get the kids to sleep in too...
I've also used this in to come!

3. Fork in the Road hot dogs
Who doesn't love a good dog?! The bummer with hot dogs is they usually are made loaded with nitrates and fillers (hey vegetarians, smart dogs contain wheat gluten!). These hot dogs are nitrate and gluten free, made only with spices and pure beefiness! They are also made in the Bay Area, buying local is another check on my list of food criteria. Their website even has a feature that will track the meat you buy back to the farm and processor! Personally kid tested and approved!

4. OrganicVille BBQ Sauce 
I've tried other "natural" bbq sauces in the past so I was a little skeptical when I picked this one up, but we fell in love! In addition to being organic, it's gluten free, vegan, and sweetened only with agave nectar. It's a good basic bbq sauce with a little spice, also comes in "Tangy" and "Hot & Spicy" varieties. I've used this with chicken, as a dipping sauce (i.e. gluten free chicken nuggets!) , or in the slow cooker over a pork tenderloin for last minute pulled pork sandwiches. 
*Majority of OrganicVille items are labeled gluten free, which is often a selling point for people with dietary restrictions like me, but a lesson I've learned with all this is to ask yourself if the item in question would naturally contain gluten. Example, mustard. I'm pretty sure a good percentage of the time mustard is always gluten free. So in this case spending the extra $ on this brand isn't worth it. Sorry OrganicVille! But trust me on the BBQ!
 (post about "gluten free" labeling to come)

5. Whole Kitchen Chicken Taquitos
It's no Albertos, but a girl's gotta live a little! In basic form, a taquito is made with a corn tortilla which should be gluten free. Whole Foods brand is labeled gluten free and made simply with chicken and some spices. Best part is, you can eat five for only 180 calories! So go ahead, eat ten! Not that I've ever done it or anything...

hot dogs, waffles, old am I?! 5?! haha :) I can honestly say that these items are so delicious you will not feel like you're eating cardboard or "hippy vegan crap." AND if you and you're family don't absolutely love these them I will come over and cook you dinner myself!  

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