I'm sure you’ve heard numerous health experts preach about going gluten free, but do you have the slightest idea what gluten is? Gluten is a protein found in wheat. You likely grew up with wheat products around your home, such as bread and pastries, flour and snacks, and grew up just fine, right? Well… let’s just say things could have been even better.
The fact is, going gluten free is beneficial to our health, and more people should put thought into adopting this lifestyle.
This also means adapting your cooking style to the new ingredients; however, before we delve into some great gluten-free meal ideas, let’s have a quick look at the dangers of gluten in our diet.
This is a serious disease resulting from the immune system responding to gluten as a foreign body. The result is a breakdown in the lining of the intestinal system, making for bloody stools, poor nutrient absorption and excruciating pain in the abdominal region.
This is also related to the immune system developing a response to gluten and causing inflammation of surrounding organs. This can predispose the individual to serious neurological conditions like epilepsy.
Again, related to sensitizing autoimmune system. The result is damage to the cells of the skin and inflammatory rashes.
The pattern developing is that most of the effects of gluten are related to having a sensitive immune reaction to its consumption. Though originally thought of as rare to encounter this sensitivity, it is now known that more than a third of all people are sensitive to gluten.
Removing gluten from the diet may be beneficial to anyone, as it is not considered an essential source protein.
Ready to make delicious gluten free meals? Try these out as soon as you can!
Almond Flour Pancakes
These pancakes are the go to substitute for standard pancakes, as they are extremely filling and completely gluten free. They are also low in carbs, perfect for losing weight of if following a low carb lifestyle. Best of all? They take just 20 minutes to make!
What you need:
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 teaspoon coconut oil
A sprinkle of salt
How to make it:
1. Mix all ingredients except coconut oil in a medium-sized bowl, and whisk until fluffy and smooth.
2. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, then drop a large spoon of batter into the pan.
3. Let cook on each side for 3-5 minutes, being sure to flip once one side is browned.
4. Repeat for other pancakes, then enjoy!
Satisfying Egg And Cheese Breakfast Quiche
Quiches have been, and will always remain, a classic. This one is unique as it does not require any flour at all. It is a high protein, high fat breakfast choice that is extremely filling.
What you need:
3/4 cup chopped, cooked ham
5 ounces Swiss cheese
3 ounces Parmesan cheese
1 cup Half and Half
1/2 cup chopped onions
How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Mix dry ingredients and pour into a 9-inch pie dish.
3. Mix eggs and cream, then pour over the dry ingredients.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for another 35 minutes.
5. Enjoy for breakfast or a snack.
Avocado Chicken Salad
A filling, healthy lunch option that is quick to make and delicious to boot. Not all fats are bad for you, as evidenced by the benefits avocado has on health.
What you need:
8 ounces chicken breast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Half of an avocado, diced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
How to make it:
1. Rub one tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken breast and grill over medium heat until lightly browned.
2. Mix remaining ingredients, then chop chicken breast or strip and mix into salad.
3. Consume immediately.
This is a great recipe when running late for lunch, as it takes just 20 minutes from start to finish!
Goat Cheese And Turkey Patties
Incorporating the unique flavor of goat cheese and the leanness of ground turkey, this makes a perfect complement to sweet potatoes or on a bed of veggies.
What you need:
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
1 cup chopped spinach
How to make it:
1. Preheat a griddle or skillet to medium-high heat. If using a skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil.
2. Combine all ingredients and form into 4 patties.
3. Cook on griddle for 15 minutes until golden brown or in skillet until done in the middle.
Gluten-free meal ideas are everywhere. The few outlines here are merely the tip of the iceberg. You can modify recipes you always make, by educating yourself to what foods contain gluten and excluding them.
Your health will thank you!
Pilates is a type of anaerobic exercise that is designed to increase the strength and flexibility of your core muscles. The beauty of Pilates is that it can be done by just about anyone at any fitness level. It involves very little in the way of exercise equipment and can be done anywhere.
Pilates isn’t just for the young, athletic person. Because it doesn’t put undue strain on the heart, it can safely be done by older people, including women over the age of 50 years. It can improve the health of woman over 50 and doesn’t take a heavy toll on the body.
Why Pilates is Good for You
There are many reasons why Pilates can be a good exercise for women over the age of 50 years of age. Some of these benefits include the following:
• Pilates involves an invigorating mind-body workout. Pilates places a heavy emphasis on using proper breathing techniques, aligning your spine correctly, and keeping your pelvic aligned. It involves concentrating on flowing, smooth movements that help you become more in tune to your mind and body. When you do Pilates, you learn to control your movements by practicing quality exercises that focus on the core. There is a focus on breathing to the tune of your movements so that you can use your power to efficiently move your body. By being a mind-body workout, Pilates teaches you how to breathe better, which can be great for women who are under a great deal of stress.
• Pilates helps you develop strong core muscles. Much of the focus in Pilates is the strengthening of the core of your body. The core of your body is the central part of your body—both the abdominal muscles and the back muscles. Pilates helps you strengthen these muscles so that you can move with ease as you go about your day with complete control over these essential core muscles. Pilates can help you find integration between your pelvis, trunk, and shoulder muscles so that they function as a strong unit.
• Pilates helps increase flexibility and allows your muscles to lengthen. Many anaerobic workouts, such as weight lifting or using weight machines will only lead to muscles that are bulky and short. These muscles tend to be more likely to be injured and aren’t the kind of muscles you want to have. Instead of bulky “body-building muscles”, Pilates helps you elongate your muscles, strengthening them at the same time. Your muscles will become more elastic and you will have increased flexibility of your joints. When you achieve these kinds of muscles, you are less likely to become injured.
• Pilates can help you prevent muscle injuries and can improve your performance in other sports. Most other anaerobic workouts work the same muscles over and over again, such as the biceps muscles or quadriceps muscles. Sometimes these muscles are exercised to the exclusion of other muscles. You can easily over-strengthen certain muscles, while other muscles are under-strengthened. In Pilates, all the core muscles are strengthened at the same time so that you have a decreased chance of becoming injured while working out or by doing your ordinary activities of daily living.
• Pilates conditions the entire body. In doing Pilates, you strengthen not only your core muscles but also strengthen the muscles of your extremities. Pilates doesn’t emphasize one set of muscles to the exclusion of other muscles. When you do Pilates, you can function better in daily living and will be better at sports with a decreased chance of becoming injured while doing other types of sports.
• Pilates helps you move with better efficiency. When you do Pilates, you train many different muscles at the same time. Pilates involves doing smooth and continuous motions so that you can train your body to move with more safety, decreasing your risk of falls and the fractures that can come with falling.
As you can see, Pilates is an activity with many benefits for women over 50. If you are interested in doing Pilates as a form of anaerobic exercise, take a Pilates class or purchase a DVD that will teach you how to safely do the exercises. You can practice Pilates every day with a low risk of suffering from any kind of overuse injury to your muscles.
I usually try to steer clear of spouting my personal opinions on health and wellness products that are distributed by direct sales companies, but I am beginning to make exceptions to this personal rule. I know there are many people out there who are interested in promoting health and wellness that do not have a certification of any sort in the field that use direct sales as a way to help others. Helping others AND bringing in a paycheck is a wonderful thing, but what bothers me the most is the majority of these people truly do not educate themselves thoroughly on the products they are pushing.
I'm beginning to see more and more posts regarding a product called Shakeology that is distributed by a company known as Beachbody. I'm sure you have heard of Beachbody by now. You know, the Santa Monica-based multinational corporation that uses multi-level marketing and direct response infomercials to sell weight loss, fitness and home exercise DVDs? That's the one.
The following review is based solely on Shakeology, and not the exercise program. I am a huge advocate of any home-based fitness routine that produces results, and the ones produced by Beachbody featuring Sean T definitely produce results. No, I do not use this program myself, nor am I affiliated with Beachbody in any way. I do not sell their products, I do not work for the company directly, and what I have to say is completely unbiased.
The product I am discussing is the chocolate version of Shakeology. Looking at the ingredient label, I noticed that there are a LOT of ingredients. Aside from the standard list of vitamins and nutrients, there is also a list of probiotic, super-fruit and enzyme blends. Each of these blends contains a word I cannot stand: proprietary. 'Proprietary Blend' means that there is no set amount of each ingredient in a particular blend. There can be any amount of the individual ingredient in the world in there, as long as the total amount equals the overall amount. For example, the super-fruit blend contains 2075 mg of super-fruit extracts. There is no standard as to how many exact milligrams of each ingredient there are in this blend.
This is quite irritating to me as this blend contains ginkgo. Pregnant or lactating women should not use ginkgo as in vitro evidence suggests that it can inhibit the cytochrome P450 1A2 activity by up to 13% and 2D6 activity by up to 9%. Is this dangerous? Probably not in the amounts that are in this product, but with a proprietary blend, you never really know how much you are consuming. You should also know that ginkgo can interfere with the potency of medications used to treat depression, cholesterol, diabetes and seizures.
*Just a quick note here- this super-fruit blend contains citrus bioflavonoids, which isn't a fruit. It is a phytonutrient.* Moving on.
This product also contains a probiotic blend that contains no dairy. Probiotics are great for regulating the digestive system, but should not be used by people who suffer from a compromised immune system (such as those affected by HIV). Probiotics can disrupt the flora in the intestinal tract, and should only be used under the watchful eye of a physician if you are being treated for HIV, lupus, or any other immune-compromised condition. This product only contains 150 mg, but err on the side of caution here.
Another ingredient that concerns me is ashwagandha. This herb has been known to cause premature birth, so again, I would avoid this product if you're pregnant. Following this concern is the use of holy basil. Holy basil can interfere with blood thinners, as well as diabetic medications. There is only 50 mg per serving of Shakeology, but this all depends on how much one person consumes. Being such a small amount, there should be no issues, but the concern is still there.
Is Shakeology Gluten-Free?
Shakeology claims to be gluten-free, yet I see barley grass and wheat grass listed. These two ingredients are generally considered gluten-free, but ONLY if the plants are harvested BEFORE they sprout and set seed. Can we be guaranteed 100% that the plants are harvested before then? No. Would I recommend this product to someone who suffers from Celiac disease? No.
Protein vs Carbs
In order to use a liquid supplement to increase muscle mass and burn fat, you need the protein levels to outweigh the carbohydrate levels. Chocolate Shakeology contains 17 grams of protein and 17 grams of carbohydrates. Add into this 9 grams of sugars, and I really don't see that this product has the ability to increase mass.
This product does contain a natural sweetener (stevia), but also contains fructose. What can I say here.... fructose negatively affects insulin levels, places an excess metabolic load on the liver, and is known as the most lipophilic carbohydrate available. In short: it's not good for you. A healthy individual should aim to consume less than 25 grams of fructose per day. Diabetics, even less. I have no idea why fructose is added to this product, except to make it taste better. I would hope that overall health would be more important to them than taste, but I suppose not.
I see lots of Beachbody coaches speak about how well Shakeology performed in clinical trials. Well, guess what? There are no such trials published by the US National Library of Medicine. Beachbody did, however, commission a study from Medicus Research to determine the product's effects.
This trial was extremely small (only 50 people), and lasted for a mere 90 days where the participants consumed a shake for breakfast and lunch. These individuals reported an average weight loss of 9 pounds, a 7% reduction in overall cholesterol levels, and a 5% reduction in A1C levels. Drinking these shakes reduced the participants' overall daily caloric intake, so of course weight loss was expected. In general, reducing your body fat percentage will stabilize A1C levels and reduce cholesterol, so the weight loss (not the shakes) was most likely the key factor.
Should You Use It?
If you want to shell out roughly $130 a month for a bag of shake mix, then go ahead. I'm not saying that you should or shouldn't. I personally don't use supplements and shakes promoted by multi-level companies, but that is my own choice. I simply decided to take a look at the ingredients and see if this product is really worth all the hype. Is Shakeology worth the price?
I don't think it is.