Lifestyle Guide : "Our Journey"

A Journey to Gluten Free and Traditional Food Lifestyle

I have always believed that our body is designed to heal itself if given the proper conditions.  I use this belief even today, while working through the effects of gluten on my body.  When I first began this journey, I researched many things and sites and found several people who have helped me on my way to optimal health.  Today, I would like to introduce you to one of them in the hopes that you can find what she has to teach as helpful as it was to me.

Jenny McGruther is a food educator and the creator of the traditional food website Nourished Kitchen.  She teaches workshops on traditional foods, fermentation, and food activism.  Her philosophy on food is focusing on combining sustainability, balance, tradition, and community involvement.  She lives with her family in Colorado, where she and her husband started and managed a farmer's market for seven years.

When I first discovered her website, I thought that I lead a fairly healthy lifestyle.  Through her articles and workshops, I came to realize my diet was actually closer to the Standard American Diet.  If I continued with the way I was eating, I would not give my body the proper conditions to allow it to heal and give me optimal health.  So my walk toward a traditional and gluten free lifestyle began here.  Although I am not completely there yet, habit can be very hard to break, but her philosophy is one of many that has been crucial in helping with the change.

Her class “Get Cultured”  helped me to realize that I need cultured food to get natural probiotics to help bring my gut flora into balance again, which is integral in healing a leaky gut.  Although taking probiotic supplements can have some benefit, they will not have the same probiotics and the wild ferments found in lacto-fermented and homemade cultured products.  In this course, you will learn how to make sour kraut, lacto-fermented vegetables, salsas, and condiments.  Although I had already been making my own yogurt and sour cream, I was surprised to learn how many other cultured products can be made from milk or milk alternatives.  Who knew there were so many!  She has so much information to share.  Go to her site and check it out.

I would like to congratulate her on her recent book, The Nourished Kitchen: Farm to Table recipes for the Traditional Food Lifestyle.  I am excited that my copy cam e last week and I get to start using it.  If you are looking for a good resource to start a traditional food lifestyle, I would recommend this book.  It can be found at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Indiebound, Google Books, and iBooks. (note: I do not receive any payment for this recommendation).

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Hidden Names for MSG

After having stayed gluten free for over two years, I have come to learn the signs and signals of my body even more clearly. It's amazing how removing this ‘sticking agent' from my system has affected my entire health! I now realize that my body is also extremely sensitive to MSG as well. In fact, after having experienced a racing heart, cold sweats and shakes within 20 minutes of eating processed food (gluten free, of course!) containing MSG, this conclusion was not hard to make. Those sensitive to MSG may also have reactions to other free glutamates like gelatin and pectin.

Whether your body has a sensitivity to these products or not, they are not necessary for our bodies to be healthy, or for our food to taste good. And, they can easily be avoided – with just a few extra minutes in the grocery store aisles to read labels before adding an item to your cart. These unnecessary chemicals can also be labeled as:

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein   Autolyzed Vegetable Protein
Texturized Vegetable Protein   Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract
Plant Protein Extract   Sodium Caseinate
Calcium Caseinate   Caseinate
Textured Whey Protein   Textured Soy Protein
Carageenan   Caramel Coloring

Reflections on Gluten Free Holidays…

Is this your first time going gluten free?  Or are you a veteran of the gluten free lifestyle looking for something new or different for this holiday season? Our goal is to help everyone enjoy the benefits of BEing Gluten Free – not just those of us who “have to”.  With a simple change in how you think about the meals it becomes very easy to leave the dark (glutinous) side of the food and the holidays behind forever…

This year we helped with hosting Thanksgiving at a relative's home – which turned out to be a lot less difficult that we thought it might be.  Our relative is in that transition phase – they can eat foods containing gluten BUT (as they are our “lab experiment”) they are coming to understand that not only is gluten free good for you, but it can be good tasting an simple to accomplish.   So, we loaded our mini-van with our gluten free mixer, bowls, flours, and B.E. Gluten Free Holiday Guide, and headed ‘over the river and through the woods' to our in-laws' kitchen.
Several hugs, laughs, memories, and samples later, we spread the buffet table with a completely gluten free Thanksgiving dinner. After all had been served and seated, we revealed our secret to the family. And, everyone helped themselves to second – and third! – helpings.

After a long Minnesota winter, it is finally spring and we are just beginning to plan a family gathering for Easter. Where we will gather is still to be determined. But two things have already been decided with no room for doubt or question. We will take over the kitchen, and we will enjoy another Gluten Free holiday!