The Truth About Gluten Part II

gluten word 

Why Is Gluten Sensitivity So Common These Days?

This is a question I get asked A LOT, Everywhere you turn someone is either talking about going gluten-free or telling you about the new gluten-free product they found. So let’s delve into some of the reasons gluten intolerance seems to be on the rise.

1. Gluten is found in many foods these days, the number of processed foods and fast food restaurants have risen so much over the past few years and gluten is a main component in foods found at both of these so people are eating it more regularly than past generations leading to health issues.

2. People are also becoming more aware of their symptoms and realising that it isn’t normal to feel bad every day and that maybe the gluten they have been consuming is actually contributing to the negative way they feel.

3. Wheat is not the same product that our great-grandparents used to eat. It has been genetically modified to produce larger crops that are resistant to pesticides, herbicides and the environment. The issue with this is that genetically modified foods are not real food and they are highly toxic to our bodies causing an immune reaction leading to sensitivities and allergies.

4. Due to the way that wheat has changed over the past century, the gluten content is much higher than before 

Why Should You Remove Gluten From Your Diet?

Many people don’t realise the effect that gluten is having on their body until they remove it from their diet. I always recommend that you should remove an offending food for 3-4 weeks to allow your body to cleanse and start feeling the benefits, some of which are:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce gas/bloating/puffiness
  • Reduce cravings
  • Stabilize blood sugar
  • Make body more alkaline
  • Weight management

Should You Stop Eating Gluten?

This is a very personal question, if you are healthy and are not suffering from any of the symptoms I listed in Part I of the blog last week then maybe not. If you are suffering from one or many of the symptoms then it could be worth doing a trial elimination diet to see if these symptoms improve. I am only talking about a few weeks and it could be a game changer.

How To Be Healthy & Gluten-Free!

If you do want to eliminate gluten then removing it is the first step, replacing it with fresh, healthy, nutrient dense whole foods is the next very important step towards a healthy life. There are a lot of gluten-free foods that are highly processed and contain ingredients that have negative impacts on your health.

When you remove gluten from your diet you may experience some symptoms (also known as withdrawal symptoms) such as irritability, agitation, headaches, fuzzy head, bloating, gas, nausea and fatigue, these are signs that the toxins are leaving your body and you are on the road to recovery, so please keep faith, they won’t last long. To reduce the symptoms, try a sauna or hot bath, take some vitamin C and drink lots of water.

If you would like to speak to me in more detail about removing gluten from your diet or are interested in finding out more information on my gluten-free program which includes 2 consultations and a 2 week meal plan, please hit reply or email me at melaniegrimerhn@gmail.com. I will give you 10% of the program price if you book your initial consult by the end of this week and quote the code GF10.

You would be surprised at the number of products that contain gluten, condiments included so why not try and make your own. Check out the gluten-free barbecue sauce recipe courtesy of Meghan Telpner Culinary Nutrition School.

Barbecue Sauce – Gluten Free

3 tsp olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced

2 garlic cloves minced

1 500ml jar tomato sauce

1 tbsp or more sambal olek or organic hot sauce

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup organic dijon or honey mustard

1/4 cup  maple syrup (or honey)

1/4 cup blackstrap molasses

½ tsp sea salt or more to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat and then add the onions. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another two minutes.

Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and let it gurgle with love for 25-30 minutes, stirring often.

Taste test your sauce and decide if you want more heat or sweetness to it.

Remove from the heat and let sit to cool.

Run the whole mix through your food processor or blender and mix until smooth. Transfer to jars, allow to cool completely, seal and store in fridge or freezer.

If left unopened, it will last a few months. Once opened, consume within 3-4 weeks.

The Truth About Gluten – Part I

gluten word

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found naturally in many grains such as wheat, barley, kamut, spelt and rye, It’s the protein that holds the ingredients in breads and baked goods together and is used as a binder in many processed foods. It makes the fluffy or chewy texture of baked goods.

Why is Gluten Given a Bad Name?

Gluten is very difficult for our bodies to break down. It sits in our digestive tract, rotting and fermenting away causing bloating, cramps and gas. It also blocks the ability of nutrients to be absorbed and causes protective mucus to be formed in the digestive tract (this adds another barrier the nutrients need to get through).

Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine for people who are allergic to the protein. Many go untreated, assuming the symptoms are normal occurrences with food in their life.

Symptoms caused by gluten intolerance:

·         Runny nose ·         Irritable Bowel Syndrome
·         Bloating ·         Cramping
·         Watery eyes ·         Inflammatory Bowel Disease
·         Excess mucus ·         Multiple Sclerosis
·         Acne ·         Autism
·         Headaches/Migraines ·         Depression
·         Anaemia ·         Skin Irritations
·         Osteoporosis ·         Mental Fog
·         Arthritis ·         Fatigue and many more….

Gluten is very addictive because wheat is high in sugar causing the rapid insulin rise in your bloodstream followed by the crash. This means that the more gluten you eat the more you will want leading to the addiction!

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a genetic disorder that makes the body intolerant to gluten. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten-containing foods, immune cells attack the gut lining, Short term, this can cause symptoms like bloating, gas and diarrhea; in the long term, it can lead to malnutrition as the nutrients in the digested food are not being absorbed.

Research suggests that at least 1% of North Americans have celiac disease, with the majority going undiagnosed. It’s likely that an even greater number have gluten intolerance, a condition where gluten exposure produces similar short term symptoms but no intestinal damage.

Gluten allergies are caused when large, undigested pieces of gluten push their way through the gut into the bloodstream. This is when the immune system goes into action causing inflammation, which can spread all over your body. This can also cause the immune defence in the body to be lowered contributing to further food sensitivities

Gluten is used as a binder in many processed foods so it can hide in products you wouldn’t normally consider, so if you are trying to avoid gluten, you really need to become a food detective. Contact me to arrange a 90 minute grocery tour where I can  help you navigate the aisles and teach you the tricks to being gluten-free.

Stay tuned for part II of my blog next week, where I will be explaining why gluten sensitivity is so common, why you should consider removing it from your diet. I will also discuss how to be healthy & gluten-free because saying a product is gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. Gluten-free cookies, chips and cakes are still not something that should be consuming a large part of your diet 🙂

Check out my friend Dee’s recipe below for gluten free cookies, it’s one of the awesome recipes in our new free Healthy Treats & Snacks Ebook.

Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

1 cup Butter, softened ( I used 1/2 coconut butter and 1/2 coconut oil or any nut butter)
3/4 cup raw cane sugar or coconut sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coconut flour or more
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is a gluten free brand)

Cream the butter and sugar together, then fold in the other ingredients and mix well.
If it is too wet you can add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of coconut flour.
Roll in to balls and then flatten a bit. They will not spread.
Bake at 365°for about 12 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet, as they will be quite crumbly till they cool.

Stressed Out & Tired All The Time? That Was Me

Stress Mother Running Late With Kids

I can’t tell you exactly when it started, the stress I mean. I have always been a worrier and a thinker but the excessive stress and worry probably began when I went back to school to study nutrition when Ben was just 7 months old.

From that moment I didn’t stop and I mean quite literally, every waking second was either thinking about school, or Ben, or work or the other 99 things I had on my to do list. I’m sure most of you can relate. It wasn’t so much the physical aspect, instead it was my mind. I couldn’t shut off. I remember reading a bedtime story to Ben one night and not being present with him at all, instead I was thinking about the next 3 hours of study that I could fit in before I collapsed into bed and that was the normal routine for us.

The problem was I would go to bed and then couldn’t sleep because I felt wired. When I did fall asleep it wouldn’t be for long, I would wake most nights and then struggle to get back to sleep because I would be thinking about all the things I had to do the next day. Then if I did fall asleep again I would have to drag myself out of bed in the morning and I mean literally drag myself, sometimes I felt like I needed a forklift and this feeling did not go away, I spent the whole day like that.

Does this sound familiar to any of you? Believe me, I know I am not alone. As a Nutritionist, I see many clients who are struggling with the same issues. As women, we tend to put such high expectations on ourselves to be Super Mum, Super Wife, Super Employee, Super Cleaner or Super Chef, but in doing this, we push our self-care further and further down the list.

I knew I was in a stressful situation, working, studying, and I thought a lot of the stress was just part and parcel with being a Mum. I thought a lot would go away when I finished school. School ended, exams done, passed with flying colours and a Certificate of Merit. I gave things a few months to calm down but nothing changed, I was still wired and tired all at the same time.

I remember always telling my husband I was exhausted. Tired was my new favourite word. I didn’t have the energy to do anything. Anytime I stopped and sat I would just want to sleep. I felt like I was dragging my feet every day.

Now, let’s talk about the other, not so nice side of me that came out. This is the hardest part to write about as I am not proud of it, in fact I feel quite ashamed of my behaviour. Due to the stress that I felt, the irritability got worse, my patience got less, most days I just wanted to hide away from everyone including my own son and husband. I would pick on Ben for the smallest of things and the worst part was that I would shout, there were a couple of occasions I shouted so loud I was shaking afterwards and just curled up in a ball so ashamed of myself.

I felt like I had lost control of everything in my life and things continued this way for the next couple of years. I suffered a miscarriage and then we struggled to conceive and the stress and sadness of this just pushed me deeper and deeper into my hole. I didn’t know how to ask for help, I was Miss Independent, asking for help was like admitting failure. I just had to push through this and things would get better but I’m sure as you can guess, they didn’t.

We finally got pregnant with Sam and I thought that once he was born things would get better and I would be healed. Things were better for a while, I put the tiredness down to a new baby and no sleep but I knew deep down that wasn’t the case.

I made changes to my diet to help support my adrenals and stress levels. I saw my Naturopath who took blood to check my cortisol levels. I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. I was quite literally running on empty. That was BIG, it felt great to finally have a diagnosis, I wasn’t going crazy, there really was something happening inside of me that I couldn’t control. I began taking the supplements, being even stricter with my diet and going on the adrenal fatigue protocol and things improved but there was still a part of me that didn’t feel like me, I still felt lost.

I knew what I had to do to for my body but I also needed help to heal my mind and spirit and as a Holistic Nutritionist I believe that they all have to be in balance for optimal health. I began having angel readings which I can tell you was amazing for me. I know, what some of you may be thinking….believe me, if you had told me 2 or 3 years ago that I would be having angel readings I would have laughed in your face but I would have said the same about quitting sugar and now I’ve done both!

After each session I began to feel lighter, happier and excited again, my relationship with my husband and boys is better than ever before and I am a better person and Nutritionist as a result of my journey. I call it a journey as it takes work every day to keep on the right path, there is no easy fix for a lifetime of health and happiness.

I am opening up and telling you my story as I want you to know that I am far from perfect and that everyone needs help along the way. Many people judge us or make assumptions based on our outer shell but none of us really know or understand what journey the other is on.

Do you need help? Could you be suffering from adrenal fatigue? Listed below are some of the symptoms:

  • You feel like you have to drag yourself out of bed every morning
  • You need caffeine or sugar to get through the day and wine to de-stress in the evening
  • You are still blaming your poor memory on baby brain, even though your child is 5 or 15 years old!
  • You are so tired you can’t wait to get into bed every night but then can’t sleep because your mind won’t stop.
  • You wake between 2-4am most nights
  • You are getting more and more irritable and your patience is non-existent
  • If you’re not mad you’re sad
  • Your cravings for sugar and salt are through the roof!
  • When your husband whispers sweet nothings in your ear you just want to run as far away as possible
  • You get dizzy and lightheaded and no, not just when you’ve been drinking.

Stop putting your symptoms down to being a Mom or Wife or employee, stop pushing your self-care down the list. I am here to help you. I didn’t get through it alone and I will be right by your side if you need me.

If you want to talk about this topic further, email me at melaniegrimerhn@gmail.com to set up an appointment. You are not alone.

5 Reasons Why Chocolate Is NOT A Superfood

Beautiful Woman Red Lips Eating Chocolate

After eating Easter chocolate all weekend you may be sick of the sight of it so what better time than to dispel all of the chocolate health myths we hear all the time.

Let’s start with the difference between chocolate and cocoa/cacao. If you’ve ever mixed powdered cocoa into milk, or thought it would be a fun idea to take a taste of the powder while baking, then you know that it tastes nothing like chocolate.

Cocoa and chocolate are by-products coming from the cacao tree and its beans. The beans are fermented, roasted, shelled, ground and turned into a paste before it can be made into either cocoa or chocolate.

Removing the cocoa butter decreases the amount of sugar and fat, leaving mostly the high-level of antioxidants chocolate is known for. Cocoa looks the same but is not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures. This sadly changes the molecular structure of the cocoa bean reducing the overall nutritional value. The reported health benefits are found in the raw cocao powder or cacao nibs (bean).

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that chocolate companies take advantage of the health benefits coming from raw cacao. They want to pull one over on you, convincing you of chocolate’s health benefits and charging a premium for ‘quality’ dark chocolate.

Sorry to burst your bubble… most chocolate in bar form is junk food. It doesn’t matter if it’s organic, dark chocolate or made from the cacao bean or not. Read the ingredients. If sugar is listed then it’s junk food that will raise blood sugar levels and contribute to fat storage.

1. The research studies that claim chocolate is full of antioxidants are actually referring to raw cacao not your average store-bought chocolate.

2. 70% dark chocolate can contain up to 250 calories for just 1.5 ounces or 4 squares. If you ‘treat’ yourself a couple times a week you will rack up an additional 2000 calories in one month.

3. Chocolate can be just as addictive as drugs. Cocoa products also contain pharmacological substances such as n-acylethanolamines. They contain stimulants such as phenylethylamine, which have an anti-depressant and amphetamine-like effect; and they contain compounds that stimulate the brain to release an opiate-like substance.
When drugs are used to block the brain’s opiate receptors, the desire for chocolate (and other sweet and fatty foods) disappears — confirming the addictive nature of these types of foods.

4. Cocoa is very high in copper. The high sugar content in chocolate increases chromium requirements (chromium is an associated trace mineral to copper).  The resulting high-copper / low-chromium ratio creates an increased risk for bone loss, and it can trigger or worsen blood sugar-related, and/or inflammatory conditions that may raise the risk or incidence of chronic tonsil infections, recurring bladder infections, some forms of arthritis, or similar problems of the immune system in prone individuals.

5. Dark chocolate is marketed as being high in antioxidants. This may be true but it also contains high amounts of copper, which unfortunately inhibits the action of certain antioxidants. This can lead to a greater incidence of vascular degeneration, such as varicose veins, hemorrhoids, aneurysms, bruising, heart disease, and stroke in those with elevated copper levels.

Want the real health benefits of chocolate then ditch the sugar and fat laden chocolate bars. Even if you can just eat one bit, the sweet buttery taste entices you to keep on eating. Try eating it in the raw form such as Giddy YoYo chocolate bars. They are hand crafted and contain the world’s most nutrient dense highly mineralized cacao and unrefined sun dried cane juice and believe me, you won’t need much to be satisfied.

Adding raw cacao powder to smoothies, chomping on raw cacoa nibs or making my chocolate avocado pudding below is the best way to incorporate the high-level of antioxidants and get the real health benefits found in the bean.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

1 avocado, diced
¼ cup raw honey
¼ cup cocoa powder or raw cacao
¼ cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt

Place avocado, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and sea salt in a blender or food processor.

Gradually add 1 tablespoon of water at a time to achieve a creamy consistency.