3 Pitfalls of Gluten Free Eating

Want to try eliminating gluten from your diet? Whether it is because you suffer from celiac disease and medically need to cut it out, or are simply trying a new diet for weight loss or other health reasons, you need to consider potential pitfalls. Gluten free eating is not nearly as simple as eating a diet without restrictions. Here are key things to watch out for:

Highly Processed Alternatives

There are gluten free alternatives to most of the common products we are used to eating, like pasta, granola bars, and cereal. However, relying on these alternatives is not a healthy option and can actually cause a lot of other problems for you, including weight gain. Why? In order to replicate these products without gluten, they have to use thickening agents, sugar, and oil (that often goes rancid during the production process of this food). All of these will quickly add more sugar to your body.

Uncomfortable Transition

When you decide to start eating without gluten in your diet, you will experience a transition period, which is often characterized by feelings of withdrawal from the products you’ve come to love. This is, unfortunately, unavoidable if you really want or need to practice gluten free eating. There is no set time for this uncomfortable transition period, unfortunately. It is just something you have to work through!

Malnourishment

Unfortunately, you can actually experience malnutrition when you are trying out gluten free eating. You need to pay a lot of attention to your diet to ensure you are actually getting the vitamins and other nutrients you need for your body to function well. This is difficult because gluten free alternatives do not always have what you need (most of the time they don’t), and even some supplements can have gluten in them as well, so you still have to be careful if you need help from that angle. The only sure fire way to avoid this particular pitfall if you insist on still practicing gluten free eating is to consult a professional (e.g. a registered dietician) and to pay extra attention to your diet in the aftermath.

 

3 Benefits Of A Slow Cooker

Do you own a slow cooker? If not, you should invest in one! They are amazing when it comes to cooking your meals for you. They are great additions whether you are only cooking for yourself or for a large family. Here are three significant benefits of using a slow cooker:

Save On Time

Do you lead a busy life? A slow cooker can help with that. Many of the recipes you would make in this appliance just require you to do some simple food prep (e.g. chopping vegetables) before dumping all the ingredients into the slow cooker and just letting it cook for you throughout the course of the day. You can then run errands outside the home, go to work, do chores like laundry, or even relax with a nap! No need to be standing at the stove and slaving away.

Cooking For A Crowd

Need to feed a lot of people? Aside from ordering food, your best course of action to easily feed a crowd is to plug in your slow cooker and let it do its magic. You can buy a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker, which is enough to make food for quite a large group in a single pot. You can easily feed an average family with food to spare with one pot!

Year Round Cooking Benefits

Slow cookers provide benefits to cooking throughout the entire year, aside from what we have already discussed. In the summer, cooking meals in your slow cooker helps minimize the number of times you have to heat up your kitchen. In the winter, what could be nicer than coming home to a nice, hot, cozy bowl of something like soup or chili? Not very much when the cold is threatening to make your fingers fall off!

3 Benefits Of Organic Food

When you’re in the grocery store, you might see some produce and other food marked as “organic.” They are marketed as being better for you, but what do you actually get out of consuming organic products? How will your body improve? Your health? Let’s examine three significant (and some hidden) benefits of consuming organic produce now:

Improved Taste

Yes, you can actually have an improved taste with organic produce. Sure, if you are fond of junk food and other processed products, you might initially crave them. However, once you get into the routine of eating organic products your body will eventually crave them instead! There’s no chemical aftertaste with organic products—you might not be able to taste this at the moment, but you will be able to tell the difference once you make the switch.

Lower Cost

This one isn’t a joke! You can actually save money by consuming organic products. How, you might ask, since most organic food is marked up a little higher? It comes in the future, when you have fewer medical expenses and the like, since you are taking better care of your body and giving it more of what it needs when you eat the organic food regularly.

Boost In Nutrients

In most cases of organic food, you will be consuming more nutrients on average. Most organic products have a far denser nutritional value than their nonorganic equivalents. You could be eating the same number of apples, the same amount of lettuce, et cetera, and be getting more out of it. This is part of the reason why you tend to have fewer health issues (along with the lack of chemicals), which connects with the previously discussed benefit of a lower cost associated with organic food when you consider the long term.

3 Tips For Going Gluten Free

Whether you have to eliminate gluten from your diet because you medically need to, or simply want to try it out, going gluten free is not as easy as picking up the items marked as gluten free in your grocery store. Here are some key tips to consider and implement to make the process easier.

Avoid Packages

There are many packaged products out there for things typically containing gluten. This includes cookies, pasta, granola bars, and even bread. However, you should not rely on these packaged goods if you are going gluten free, especially if you want to manage your weight effectively. This is because companies replace gluten with other ingredients and preservatives that can actually make you gain weight. Not too mention, you might be missing out on nutrients if you rely on these products exclusively. They are a good addition to your diet, so long as it’s in moderation (how else will you have spaghetti).

Ask Questions

Whether you are in a restaurant or talking to a registered dietician, make sure you ask questions when you are going gluten free! There may be gluten free substitutions on the menu at your favourite restaurant. You may also wish to ask about their cooking methods—this is not so much a concern if you are going gluten free because you want to, but cooking gluten free options alongside traces of gluten can cause an issue if you are actually allergic to it.

Plan

Meal planning is a good idea even if you do not have any dietary restrictions, but when you do—such as if you need to go gluten free—it becomes all the more important. It will help during the transition, and help you keep track of what you are able to eat so you make fewer mistakes and do not run out of ideas.

3 Tips For Changing Your Diet

Whether you are changing your diet in order to lose weight, for medical reasons, or just because you want to, you need to ensure you do so both effectively as well as in a healthy manner. Not sure where to start? Here are three key tips for changing your diet:

Consult A Professional

If you are going to make any dramatic change, such as going vegan, gluten-free, et cetera, or even just for weight loss purposes, you should consult a registered dietician. They can help ensure your new meal plan still incorporates all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need for a healthy body.

Take It Slow

Changing your diet isn’t going to happen overnight! Of, if you really do try to do it that quickly, you are likely in for failure. Understand that weaning yourself into the new diet helps you stick to it long term. Want to go vegetarian? Start cooking without meat for a couple days each week, and slowly increase this until you are no longer eating meat! The only time where an immediate, dramatic change is necessary is in a case when you have a diagnosed food intolerance or allergy (e.g. you are allergic to gluten or are lactose intolerance).

Cut Some Slack

When you are changing your diet in any way, you should keep in mind there will likely be speed bumps along the way. You might indulge a little more than your new diet would allow for, fall off the vegetarian wagon, et cetera. Understanding that it will take a little time to make the complete change is essential. This is one of the big reasons why we want you to take it slow right away. Taking it slow allows you to cut yourself a little more slack and lessens the blow if things take a little longer or you backtrack a little.

3 Tips For Frugal Cooking

Whether you want to cook frugally or you have to do it out of necessity, frugal cooking can actually be difficult if you don’t think about it. Just walking to the grocery store and deciding to cook frugally is not going to end up the way you want it to. With that in mind, here are three tips for frugal cooking you will actually enjoy.

All About The Plan

The very first thing you need to start doing if you want to actually do some frugal cooking is to start a meal plan and accompanying grocery list. You will get nowhere without it! Plan what you want to eat for the week for each meal. Consider what ingredients you need for each dish. Which ones do you have in your kitchen? Which ones do you still need to buy? Write the latter ones down. This is your grocery list and it will guide you through the shopping process. Also be sure to note how much of an ingredient you will need. There is no reason to buy seven tomatoes if you only need two or three.

Frequent Flyers

Speaking of making a list for the ingredients you need and making a meal plan, one of the best things for you to do to help with this is get your local grocery store’s flyer every week. These flyers advertise what products are on sale for the week, and can save you a lot of money if you take the sales into account when planning your meals for the week.

Leftovers

The other thing to consider here is the power of leftovers for frugal cooking. This means two things: one, how you should safe the leftovers of the finished meal for another night, and two, that if you don’t use all of an ingredient you buy (e.g. you have leftover uncooked rice or pasta) you should incorporate it into another meal.

Tips On Spiralizing Vegetables

More and more people are creating noodles out of their vegetables as a replacement for things like spaghetti or lasagna. This offers a low carb and low calorie option for traditional noodles. Not only that, but it makes for a perfect option for people who cannot digest wheat—no gluten!

Are you considering starting to spiralize your vegetables into noodles? Here are some tips to help make these fantastic vegetable noodles:

Look For Symmetry

Start with the way your vegetables look. Regardless of the vegetable, zucchini, cucumber, or otherwise, make sure the ones you pick as a symmetrical as possible. This does a couple of things. First, it makes the process of spiralizing easier to perform. The second thing it does is make for a smoother, better end product.

Watch The Size

The size of your vegetables will influence both the quality of your noodles as well as the ease of turning the vegetable into noodles. You want a good size, but not anything too big lest you harm your spiralizer with too much weight, strain, et cetera.

Center It First

Centering your vegetables on the spiralizer is important for the best cut, both in speed as well as ease. You can turn out quality vegetable noodles this way! Thus, before you start to turn your spiralizer, make sure you take a moment to center your chosen vegetable

Dry The Spirals

Many of the vegetables have quite a bit of water in them, like zucchinis and cucumbers. With this water, you run the risk of ending up with soggy vegetable noodles. You can help avoid this by putting the vegetable noodles in a colander while you finish the other meal prep. You may also use paper towel to help dry them off, or sprinkle some salt on the vegetable noodles, as you do with sliced eggplant when making eggplant parmesan.

How To Cut Onions Without Crying

Chopping an onion and having your eyes well up with tears is a rite of passage in the cooking world. It is, as many believe, an unavoidable occurrence. Whenever you cut onions—your eyes will water. Right?

No. You do not have to suffer through watery eyes when you need to cut onions. You do not need to avoid or dislike cutting onions because of the looming possibility of tears. Here are some ways you can minimize and even prevent yourself from crying when you chop onions.

Sharpen Your Knife

The sharper your knife, the cleaner the cut. The cleaner the cut means less of the onion fumes released immediately, which buys you time before your eyes start to well up. If you are able to chop fast enough with your sharp knife, you might not well up at all.

Vent The Kitchen

Want to prevent the fumes from going directly into your eyes? Most kitchens should have a vent above the stove—use it now. While you are chopping the onions, do so close to this vent so it sucks away the majority of the fumes. No fumes means no tears. Your eyes will certainly thank you for it.

Cut Side Down

When an onion is whole, even with the outer skin peeled, there are no tears. The potential for crying begins as soon as you cut into the onion and expose the layers. Help minimize the fumes getting into your eyes by placing as much of the cut side of the onion down onto the cutting board rather than up as you can. This ensures less fumes come up to your face causing the tears. Instead, the fumes just go into your cutting board.

Give Time To Chill

Did you know that a cold onion will release less propanethial S-oxide? This is directly connected to your tears and the irritant resulting in them. There will still be some, of course, but minimizing everything you can means fewer tears in the end. Note you should never freeze the onion, since when a raw onion thaws out, it can turn mushy.

Differences Between Dinner And Supper

Some people say dinner. Some say supper. Some people even use both terms when they are talking about food. This might make you think about what each of these terms means. What is the difference between them? Is there even a difference or do they mean the same thing? Let’s examine the differences between dinner and supper (or lack thereof) now:

Timing

When people talk about a difference between dinner and supper, it often comes down to the timing of the meal. In certain instances, when people say dinner they may actually be referring to the midday meal (instead of saying lunch). When this happens, supper takes the position of the main evening meal (usually the biggest meal of the day).

Alternatively, some cultures place dinner as the main evening meal traditionally eaten around 6pm, then supper as a late light meal or snack around 10 or 11pm, prior to turning in for the night. Regardless, the difference in the term comes down to when you go to eat the meal!

Class

In history, differences between dinner and supper actually come down to class. Of course, timing comes into play. Let’s look at it closely. While the upper class might call the midday meal lunch, in many cases the working class people use the term dinner instead. Other instances have the upper class using dinner as them for their evening meal, whereas the working class call this tea. Supper does not see a lot of difference in terms of class, though some consider this term more formal than dinner.

No Difference

In modern society, people often end up using this term interchangeably. There is often no intended difference in the meaning. Some families simply say dinner instead of supper, or supper instead of dinner. You might assume this can be an indicator of their family history in upper or working class people, but this is only a guess and there is often no basis or connection to actual fact.

Why Food Is Comforting

Have you ever wondered why things seem so much nicer after you eat a good meal? Food is uniquely comforting in many different ways. It is, however, tough to put a finger on, since the food each person eats to comfort them will be different, since the exact comforting feeling might change, et cetera. With that said, here are three general reasons behind why food can be so comforting:

Warmth

Have you ever heard the old adage about giving someone a hot beverage if they are feeling upset? This is because the hot beverage introduces warmth to your body, which is immediately comforting. This is similar to how you might want to curl up under a blanket or sit by the fire for comfort—it just happens to come around in your mug instead. And if you do not want a hot beverage? A hot meal can work the same way, whether its some homemade chicken noodle soup or some macaroni and cheese cooked to perfection.

Relationships

Food can be a great reminder of and bonding component to the relationships we make. These relationships can be with family members (especially between children and their parents), friends, or even romantic relationships. When there is a loving connection involved with the food, there also comes a certain level of comfort whenever that food comes around again, whether or not the people in the relationship are both present at the time.

Memory

In many instances, the most comforting foods are associated with specific memories from our past. This might mean nice Christmas dinners with roast chicken or turkey, or it could be baking cookies on any day with a parent. It could be any memory with food involved! After the creation of the memory, what often happens is the person will be reminded of that memory every time they consume that particular food (e.g. whenever they eat cookies or roast chicken).