Gluten-Free and Me

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Happy Friday! Today’s post I initially planned for a few weeks from now. However recently a friend of mine told me she was forced to go gluten-free by her doctor and instead of bombarding her with everything I know on the subject, I promised a post so she and others can refer back to it! So here goes.

A lot of people are forced to go gluten-free by a direct order from their doctor for health reasons. Some are positively tested for celiac’s disease while others are diagnosed to have gluten intolerance. Either way, going gluten-free was one of the most daunting experiences in my life. Whether you realize it or not, food is an integral part of every person’s life no matter how much they enjoy it!

     My reasons for going gluten-free, though not so clinical, were definitely out of concern for my health. I will share my whole story at some point because it is rather long, but I wanted to share how I cope with a gluten-free lifestyle TODAY to help those who are struggling with this or are just starting!

     First and foremost, if you have been told by a doctor that you need to start eating gluten-free, I would highly suggest getting the test for Celiac’s Disease. Those who suffer from Celiac’s and Gluten Intolerance suffer from the same symptoms, however if you have Celiac’s and ingest even the littlest big of gluten from cross contamination, it can start to destroy your small intestine! Those with Celiac’s have to be extra careful going out to eat or eating at a friend’s or relatives for that reason; they have to be extra picky about the questions they ask those who are preparing their food for them!

     The first thing I did after realizing I must eat gluten-free was go through my entire kitchen and remove EVERYTHING that contained gluten: flour, condiments, bread, wraps..everything. If you have other family members who can eat gluten, you can put those products in a place together so as not to cross-contaminate anything you eat that is gluten-free. For me, I gave it all away to friends and family! Eliminating gluten-containing foods forced me to read labels. There were some obvious items, such as bread, that I knew contained gluten, but others such as soy sauce caught me by complete surprise!

I am going to give a HUGE piece of advice: A lot of products that SHOULD be gluten-free, meaning their actual ingredients do not contain gluten, really are not gluten-free. If the label reads some variation of this: “This product processed in a plant also processing wheat”, then you are at risk of cross-contamination and should not eat that item! For me, and from what I’ve read a lot of other people who have gone gluten-free, this was the most discouraging experience in the whole process! I would look at water crackers and think, “These HAVE GOT to be gluten-free!” — nope. Water crackers? Really? It didn’t make sense to me and I found myself huffing and puffing out of every Stop & Shop, Price-Rite, and Ocean State Job Lot looking for a snack that didn’t contain gluten.

    It was at this moment that I started to break down. I was hungry and all I could think about was what I couldn’t eat. I was given the book Living Gluten-Free for Dummies by Danna Korn when I first went gluten-free but I never picked it up. I decided it was time to do some SERIOUS research. The book changed my life! No really – it did! She talks a lot about the affect gluten has on our bodies but also how to deal with going gluten-free emotionally and mentally. One of the most important tips she gives is to focus on foods you CAN eat and prepare them in ways that are delicious, appealing, and able to be duplicated. You can buy her book on amazon here.

     It was after that book that I decided to eat foods that were naturally gluten-free. It simplified my options and my budget! it also kept me healthy. It’s kind of interesting – at the same time I went gluten-free, I also went meatless! I’ll share that adventure another day 🙂

     For those of you just going gluten-free, here are some not so obvious foods that you definitely want to check.

  • Soy Sauce
  • Bouillion cubes
  • Dry-roasted peanuts
  • Any and all sauces – especially cream sauces that are thickened
  • Products containing rice – rice is naturally gluten-free, however processed rice products may not be
  • Anything breaded unless labelled gluten-free
  • Veggie Burgers

Soy Sauce: every soy sauce that I checked out in the market has gluten in it. After doing a ton of research I found  a product with no calories, no gluten, tastes just like soy sauce, and is all-natural! It’s called Bragg’s Liquid Aminos – you can get it at any market in the organic foods aisle!

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Bouillion Cubes: This one shocked me and drove me nuts! Definitely check your labels! Herb Ox is the brand I use and you can get them at Stop and Shop in the soups aisle! They are a little more expensive but well worth it!

Dry-Roasted Peanuts: I have yet to find a brand of dry-roasted peanuts that are gluten-free. However, peanut butter IS gluten-free for the most part depending on the brand. Check your label! When it comes to something that I cannot find gluten-free, I tend to think I probably shouldn’t be eating it anyway and cut it out of my diet.

Those are probably the three actual products that were most surprising to me and that taught me to read every label. I feel like a broken record!!! But I cant stress how important that is. It is better to know and be frustrated than to ignore and feel like crap!

My best advice to you is to stick to naturally gluten-free foods that don’t even have labels! Now your probably thinking, that is a pretty bland diet. Well it doesn’t have to be!! Just last night I made meatless meatballs with lentil and black beans! They were delicious and had the texture of actual meatballs. Both Gluten-free and vegetarian. (recipe to come very soon). Over the last 7 months I have experimented with so many different foods and ways to combine and season them. It has actually become very fun – almost like a game. Definitely try to find the positive while going gluten-free and challenge yourself to create something nobody thought of. It can be a nice hobby and you will enjoy eating so much more!!

Please comment for any further questions and stayed tuned for my Lentil and Black Bean “Meat”balls!!

😉

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Come Fly With Me

The other night my parents and I met at a restaurant in Taunton, MA called Benjamin’s for a biweekly Tuesdays with Sinatra night of music and dinner! My father LOVES Frank Sinatra and he is turning 60 this weekend!!!

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The concert lasted 3 hours and was absolutely amazing! The gentleman singing was Mike Dutra and he was Frank Sinatra! I was intrigued at how much he sounded like Sinatra and how his aura was so similar as well. A lot of couples, young and old, got up to dance during the concert. It was nice to see that some people still actually know how to dance and enjoy doing it too!

After dinner, while my dad was in the bathroom, I told the waitress he was turning 60 and asked if she could bring over a small cake or piece of one with a candle. I also tried to find out if Frank could sing happy birthday to my dad. She confirmed that she could bring over the cake, but since Frank had already taken his break she wasn’t sure if she could get to ask him. Fair enough right?

AHH but not more than 10 minutes later, Frank took another break! My mom and I still weren’t sure whether the waitress would be able to talk to him. But then 5 minutes into his break Frank got back on the stage. As the cake was being brought to the table, Frank turned off the recorded music, walked to the front of the table and sang Happy Birthday to my dad a capella. It was awesome. My dad was so happy, my mom was bawling, and I won’t deny it – I teared up a bit as well. It was such a nice family moment. It also reminds me how much small things can bring about so much happiness!

If only my dad knew what we have in store for him this weekend 😉

30-DAY VEGETARIAN CHALLENGE!!!

Over the last couple of months I have done a lot of reading about the health benefits of a Vegetarian diet. For clarification purposes, a vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat but may occasionally consume dairy and/or fish. Different people are comfortable with different levels of consumption of dairy and fish and it is a completely personal decision. A vegan, on the other hand does not consume any animal products whatsoever.

Check out this quick video on the benefits of a vegetarian diet!

 

 

I have been consuming a vegetarian diet since this past January (almost 7 months) and I feel absolutely fantastic! Not only has my energy level skyrocketed, but being a foodie by nature it allows me to eat a ton a food every day!

Many doctors, like the gentlemen in the video above, are huge advocates for a vegetarian diet for many reasons. Some even promote being a vegetarian during the day and eating a meal with meat at dinnertime. Even that is said to increase health! The problem with switching to a vegetarian diet is most people jump into it without doing the proper research. We do get some valuable protein and iron from animal meat. These are two important nutrients that people seem to lack when they go meatless. However, they are very easy to replace with the right foods! When I first went vegetarian I had to do boatloads of research to ensure I was consuming enough calories every day, getting enough protein (which is actually a lot easier than it seems), and especially getting enough iron!

BUT  I am here to make this process a whole lot easier! I am starting a 30-day VEGETARIAN CHALLENGE! With my help, and the help of Shakeology, I challenge you to experience the health benefits of a vegetarian diet.

How does Shakeology help?

Shakeology offers a vegan option for two flavors of shakes; chocolate and tropical strawberry. They are dairy-free and soy-free! By purchasing and committing to Shakeology for one month, you are guaranteed at least one meal per day that is full of essential nutrients for a vegetarian. Shakeology also helps increase energy and aids in weight loss, if those are your goals as well.

How do I help?

Well, if this isn’t obvious already I will elaborate. I have DONE all the research and am living a much healthier vegetarian life! As your coach for this challenge I am here for support; nutrition tips, recipes, recipe ideas, along with all the encouragement needed to help you discover the benefits of eating vegetarian.

What do you need to do to join the challenge group?

  • Email me (cassimalec@beachbodycoach.com) or Facebook Message me (www.facebook.com/cassi.malec) to find out how to purchase Shakeology and join the private Facebook Group dedicated to this challenge.
  • Commit to eliminating meat for 30 days and drinking a Shakeology shake once per day.

Start Date: July 8th

Spots Available: 10

You Get:

  • One vegetarian meal per day – Shakeology
  • One – on – one guidance and support via the private Facebook Group (or via email if you do not have Facebook)
  • Group support from others also participating!
  • MONEY BACK GUARANTEE!! – if you are not satisfied with your results I will give you your money back for your purchase of Shakeology!
  • Nutrition advice, recipe ideas, my recipes, and other ideas/experiences that make the transition easier!

If you decide at the end of the 30 days that eating a vegetarian diet REALLY isn’t for you, there will be absolutely no hard feelings. I am not a preacher and am not trying to “convert” you by any means for any moral reasons whatsoever. I am only trying to give people an easy way to switch to a vegetarian diet without having to search all over the web for healthy replacements. Why reinvent the wheel? If I can help get YOU to a healthier YOU, that is all I am aiming for!

GO VEGGIES!! 🙂

email: cassimalec@beachbodycoach.com

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cassi.malec

Saturday Ramblings

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The weather in Providence has finally cleared up!!! However it has been a really weird week – raining and sunny at the same time. The only saving grace was this lovely DOUBLE rainbow I saw, and photographed while driving. As you can see there is nobody in front of me..safe and sound. My best friend was with me when we discovered the rainbow and she can attest to the level of excitement I exuded! When we got to our destination I got out of the car and you could see the WHOLE of both double rainbows!!! Never before have I seen something so amazing! I am definitely a dork, I know. However, as I get older I appreciate the little things more and more.

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How would you like to wake up this face every day? 🙂 I love it, however usually he is sitting like a gentlemen, not disturbing me, but right next to my head. Not this morning!!! He decided at 6:00am that he was going to make himself comfortable on top of my legs, and looking at me like “geeze how late are you gonna sleep?”. Clearly he has no concept of time! 😉 Oh, by the way, his name is Jackson…Jackson Liam. He has a last name that is not the same as mine..but we are going to have to get better acquainted before I can divulge that information. 

I realized this morning, at 6:00am while making an absurdly early breakfast – thanks to my little muffin..that I cannot live without hot sauce and I seem to put it on EVERYTHING! This morning is was my eggs. Heaven in my mouth! 

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I will leave you with this amazing picture/quote! I have it printed out and I look at it daily for inspiration! It gets me so motivated and feeling I can conquer the world!

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Are you addicted to any condiments? If so, what is your favorite food to put it on?

– mine is definitely hot sauce. I put it on everything but I think its my favorite on tortilla chips!

Do you have an animal/critter you wake up to every morning?

–  Jackson Liam __________. To be filled in later 🙂

What is your favorite quote that gets you out of bed in the morning?

 

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions..

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What a few weeks it has been! Between my best friends engagement party, Father’s Day, and planning my dad’s upcoming 60th birthday (shhhhh!) I have been on overdrive! 

My motivation for this post, as you can see above, is all about decisions! I think it is incredible that our lives can be changed for the better or for the worse based on one little decision we make. I am not trying to stress you out to the point that you become a hermit, I promise. I actually think it is an incredible gift to be able to make your own decisions, no matter how small or large you may think they are. Some people say fate is powerful and that our decisions are thoughtless or controlled by some higher order. I disagree. I believe in fate, yes, however I think that positive decisions have a snowball affect..in a positive direction. Also I believe the same is true for negative decisions, or ill-intentioned decisions if you will. I did not mean to make this as deep as it seems to be getting!

The reason I am talking about decisions is that I came across a picture on Facebook that one of my Beachbody team members posted on their group page. It said, “One bad meal won’t make you fat just like one healthy meal won’t make you skinny”. It brought to mind an old Special K protein shake commercial – how making one healthy choice can lead to another healthy choice and another etc. I totally believe this is true. 

The first step to a healthy lifestyle is to first make the decision that you want a healthy lifestyle. Without the commitment to yourself, you will have a hard time even making that first healthy choice for breakfast or lunch. The next step is to decide which meal (not snack) per day will be easiest to eat healthy; choosing to drink Shakeology for breakfast every day is a great example! Meal by meal, week by week, your diet will change. Each healthy decision you make will give you confidence and energy to make the next – the snowball affect 🙂 One mistake, or not healthy meal if you will, will not ruin the decisions you have made to eat healthy, or your progress!

When I was trying to lose weight a few years ago I thought of every meal like a new day – every meal you begin again just like you begin again each day..with a clean slate!

Food is FUEL!!

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Over the last week or so I have been talking to a few of my friends about struggles with food. It is amazing that 70% of maintaining a healthy weight and/or losing weight has to do with the food we put into our bodies! The most common habits are emotional and stress eating. SO I asked them, “well after you eat that snickers bar because your stressed, upset, sad, whatever the reason, how do you feel?” They all said it did not relieve the reason they reached for the snickers bar in the first place and it made them feel sluggish. So then I asked, “Do you think the snickers bar fueled your body for a decent amount of time after?” They all said no. So basically a lot of us ( I am also guilty of this behavior) are consuming wasted calories, sometimes on a daily basis, that are purely motivated by our emotions.

Some time ago I actually lost a significant amount of weight by taking the emotion out of my eating habits. Of course there are some meals that you want to simply enjoy because eating is not JUST a habitual activity. However, it is much easier to enjoy those meals when you want to if on a daily basis you practice emotionless eating. My mother, at the time, told me to stop and think about the food I was putting into my body before I ate it. “What kind of affect is this piece of broccoli, or this tortilla chip going to have on me? In an hour? In 3 hours?” I realized that most things I was eating that I asked myself this question about were going right to my hips and butt. I literally stopped and asked myself this question before putting ANYTHING in my mouth. As I started making better decisions with food, specifically snacks, I started craving the junk a lot less. After a while I didn’t even have to ask anymore. I WANTED the broccoli instead of the tortilla chip. It fueled me for a lot longer than the tortilla chip would have. As I started feeling better about myself in general and started gaining more energy on a daily basis, I found fewer reasons to turn to food for emotional support.

We all have slip ups, don’t get me wrong. However, if we teach ourselves a healthier way to view food and are fueled by our food more often than not, we will all be just a little bit healthier!!

Have a wonderful Thursday 🙂 It’s almost the weekend!!

Today is YOUR day!

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Welcome! I am so excited and proud to launch this blog -The Only Body You Have!!!! Because..well…we each only have one body and it is very important to take the best care we can of ourselves.  I look forward to sharing my journey as a Team Beachbody Coach, motivating you to jumpstart your own self-care, urging you on if you have already begun, and hopefully bringing a bit of comic relief every now and again into your life as you read! I LOVE comments, facebook friends, and emails 🙂 so feel free at any time..but as always, please keep things positive and constructive!