Archive for December, 2010

Gluten for Punishment

Gluten is becoming a more recognizable word in our everyday society, so what is it exactly?  Gluten is a special type of protein commonly found in wheat, rye and barley.  Thus, it is found in most cereals, breads and pastas.  For those with a condition called celiac disease, symptoms such as bloating, headaches, fatigue, achiness, depression, muscle cramps and much more can flare up.  The only proven cure is to have a gluten-free diet.

Incorporating a gluten-free diet may seem daunting at first.  I turned to a friend of mine to give some insight with a few questions I had.  Here are her answers:

  • Read nutritional labels- Barley malt, soy sauce (when the ingredients of the soy sauce aren’t broken down further, because most soy sauce is made with wheat), any sort of broth (unless the ingredients are broken down and you can tell there is no flour in it), some blue cheese.
  • When ordering food at restaurants-It has become much easier to eat out at nice restaurants — most have briefed their staff on Celiac Disease and gluten-free diets and are making entree from the ground up anyway, so can make substitutions, if they aren’t already printing a gluten-free menu (always ask, you’ll be surprised how many do!). If they aren’t in the know, just asking if there is any wheat, barley, or rye in a particular dish is not enough,as many people don’t even think through to the fact that flour is most often wheat flour, even if it’s not “whole wheat flour,” and that it’s hidden in many things. So ask questions like: “Is there any wheat, barley, or rye in entrée X?” “Is there any flour or soy sauce in it?” “Can you find out if the chef uses flour as a base for this entrée’s sauce?” “Does the kitchen use broth in this entrée?” “Can you ask the chef not to dust the chicken/fish/scallops (what have you) with flour?”
  • Suggested items to use as an alternative to wheat- alternatives for baking are rice, potato, and tapioca flour for baking, and arrowroot as a thickening agent.  On Thanksgiving, I make sure the host uses corn starch rather than flour to make the gravy.  I buy Food for Life’s  Brown Rice or Millet bread from the frozen food section at Whole Foods. Once in a while Trader Joe’s stocks it.  Note except for quinoa, most flours made from gluten-free grains are very high on the glycemic index and don’t have nearly as much fiber as the glutinous grains. So people on a gluten-free diet must take care to get lots of fiber. At first, some people struggle with constipation, especially if they are eating a lot of “gluten-free”
    substitute products.

In addition, these are a few other resources: “The Gluten-Free Bible”, “Let’s Eat Out! Your Passport to Living Gluten and Allergy Free.” and

be well-


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Spreading the Word

At times I find it difficult to explain everything that I do professionally.  Over the years I have explored all sorts of avenues in the health and wellness industry.  Personal training, strength and conditioning, yoga instructor, movement specialist, program coordinator, and wellness coach are to name just a few.  And now, I think I would add educator to that list.

I was recently involved in a year-long project that helped create a fitness badge for the Girl Scout of Eastern Massachusetts.  Not long ago I wrote about Tracy and I putting on the workshop for troop leaders of the Greater Boston area.  We had a great turnout and lots of enthusiasm for them to take this project back to the girls.

Well, word is beginning to spread.  The International Health, Racquet, & Sports Club Association (IHRSA) is getting the story out there.  IHRSA is the overall governing body in the health and fitness world.  What they say matters.  We were featured in their Club Business Industry magazine about the work we have done.  With childhood obesity on the rise and funding in schools and athletic programs diminishing, it is all that more important to educate kids early about health and wellness.  This program was created to hit all aspects from nutrition to exercise to meditation and relaxation, all while building self-esteem from the inside, out.

Kids look to adults for the answers.  Help pave the way to educating our youth about the importance of proper nutrition and exercise.  Lead by example.  Eat apples rather than donuts.  Take the stairs rather than the escalator.  Drink water rather than soda.

“Do your practice and all is coming.”- Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

The following is a link to the featured story:

be well-


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