Gluten Free Living and your Health (Greek Salad Recipe Inside)

Written and compiled by Lori Jo and published on the Advantage Wellness Management Inc. blog, websites, and all their social medias but the company has since closed due to new health reform laws so I am publishing the work here as an example of my published work.

 

Gluten free diets seem to be all the rage now and for several reasons.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley and can cause digestive and immune problems for those who have trouble digesting it.  Sometimes this sensitivity can cause an immune system response that can lead to impaired thyroid function, which in turn leads to a condition called hypothyroidism.  A gluten free diet may resolve this problem in some people.

If you have a genetic predisposition to gluten sensitivity, you could in turn develop an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks your intestines and this is Celiac disease.  If you have this disease and continue to eat gluten, it can lead to problems that are more serious.  These problems can lead to permanent damage to the small intestines, or even cancer.

I wanted to mention something about celiac disease.  Out of the 2.5 million people who may have celiac disease, only about 150,000 are diagnosed and treated.  Another reason this disease often goes untreated is that it can overlap with others, which makes it harder to detect.  Furthermore, if you stop eating gluten before being screened your rest results will not be accurate.  Here are some common symptoms of Celiac disease:

  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Bruising easily
  • Fatigue or general weakness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pallor (unhealthy pale appearance)
  • Obesity

Important note: This list is not complete so if you feel you may have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity consult with your medical doctor.

Some of the wellness benefits of a non-gluten diet are increased energy, thinner thighs, and reduced belly bloat.  This is why so many celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Weisz, and Victoria Beckham are hopping on the gluten free bandwagon.   It is also possible to have a non- celiac sensitivity to gluten, which means you have negative side effects when you eat it but no permanent damage.  Even more reason for non-gluten containing foods to be in the spotlight.

Gluten gives food a nice spongy or stretchy texture and as a thickening agent but that does not mean the gluten free counterparts are not delicious.  One just has to be a little creative and pick delicious gluten free counterparts.

Some think gluten free diet is a magic bullet to losing weight but what really happens is your choices of foods become somewhat narrowed so you tend to eat less.  Gluten free diets still can contain fats and calories so one still has to be careful with their choices.  Be sure and check the ingredients to make sure that the manufacturer has not added extra fat and sugar to make it tastier.   This is not always that case but it can be, so just be aware.  If you do decide to go gluten free for whatever reason, you still have to consider the nutritional value of everything you are eating and make healthy food choices.  Gluten free does not guarantee nutrition.  They even make gluten free junk food and sweets.   There are many nutritious and healthy gluten free foods so be aware of what they are and try to use them.  Some examples are fruits, proteins, vegetables and gluten free grains like amaranth and quinoa.  I found some delicious penne rice noodles made with whole grain rice that are delicious, and just as delicious as the wheat flour variety.

Of course with any wellness program or exercise program  diet alone will not bring you the washboard beach abs you may desire, looking great and feeling great is always a lifestyle choice, which includes plenty of water, rest, aerobics, weight bearing exercise, nutritious diet and a positive attitude.

Healthy Gluten Free Greek Salad

I spent some time in the Mediterranean and fell in love with the salads.  This recipe is gluten free, vegetarian and nearly all raw which makes it very nutritious and a wonderful part of a healthy diet.  Feel free to add other ingredients such as tuna or steamed veggies.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1 / 2 cups raw quinoa
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or whatever vinegar you prefer
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 / 2 cup Greek olives, remove seeds
  • 1 / 2cup fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 / 2 cup artichoke hearts
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 / 2 cup goat cheese, the soft kind
  • ¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds

Method

  • In a medium sized saucepan cook the quinoa together with the broth for 15-20 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally
  • In a small bowl mix vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil
  • In a large bowl add the quinoa and slowly mix in the remaining ingredients except the cheese and sunflower seeds.
  • Add a little salt and pepper to taste and finally softly stir in the cheese and top with the sunflower seeds

Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

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