Health Trends & Predictions 🔮

We’ve been approached by a couple of companies this week to consult about health trends and the future of nutrition and wellness. Would you like to take a peek into the now and what’s to come? No crystal ball nor clairvoyance needed.

#1 – Personalized medicine and nutrition. We’re all so used to customizing our license plates, shoes, clothes and the like…and when it comes to health and dietary advice we know there’s no-one-size-fits-all. What works for a celebrity, your best friend, or even cousin may not work for you. We all want to know what we should be eating to best fuel our bodies for performance, heal our guts, and be genetically appropriate to help prevent cardiovascular disease or even improve our memory and brain health. Enter food sensitivity testing and DNA testing to fill a gap in the market that helps figure out the best foods to avoid, and incorporate, for your unique body.

#2 – CBD products. Many of us are interested to see what CBD can do for our pain, our poor sleep, and even to help with anxiety. From gummies to tinctures and pain patches, there’s a lot of research and people experimenting on themselves with these substances to alleviate health issues.

#3 – Herbs & Botanical Medicine. Plants have been used to help our species deal with all sorts of maladies since time immemorial. During the Middle Ages, folk healers were called upon to help people in the community with their health issues. However, sharing generations of herbal knowledge was parti-cu-larly dangerous during this time as a church in power not only had strict roles for women, but also condemned the pagan practice of herbalism. This sent herbalism underground and it nearly died out. Fortunately some pioneers in the 1960’s and 70’s brought this ancient knowledge back into ‘mainstream’ attention. Depending on the plants used, and the knowledge of the herbalist, this can be an effective, low-cost option, and generally one without so many of the dangerous side effects mentioned in pharmaceutal drug ads.

#4 – Plant-based diets and Intuitive Eating. There are many specialty diets floating around these days: keto, gluten-free, low FODMAP, vegan, paleo…and interest in plant-based eating is growing. Whether for health, animal or environmental reasons, many people are looking to incorporate more plant-based meals. Meatless Mondays are a good start, if that’s something of interest to you. Intuitive eating, or mindful eating, really is different than just letting your inner two-year-old run your diet. It’s about paying attention to your thoughts and feelings around your meals and after. How do you feel physically after your meal? How full or stuffed are you and what does that feel like? Part of Intuitive Eating is about slowing down, which creates a little bit of tension in a world that seems to demand that we eat quickly while we do any other number of activities – including driving, working, or watching TV.

#5 – In, out, and all-around Health & Wellness Changes. A typical progression when making healthy changes is starting by changing what one is putting into their bodies – mainly their food and drink. After having spent time reading through ingredients lists on food, the next common change is that people will take a look at their personal care products and/or cosmetics – the ingredients put on the body (which, of course, get absorbed through the body’s largest organ, the skin). The next progression tends to look more at changing the environment closest to one’s individual bubble – such as the home – and then thinking more globally. This could initially look like changing the cleaning products used in the house and adjusting laundry detergents, fragrance sticks and plug-ins, or water quality. Thinking globally, one might start looking the company practices behind their favorite coffee, chocolate, and more to see if they value fair trade practices, organic or sustainable farming practices.

While some of these are certainly not new, they were definitely more fringe ideas back a decade or so ago. Which ones do you think will trend into the future? What are some other changes you anticipate seeing in health and wellness?

When Food is Foe 😈

It certainly is a frustration and a struggle when you suspect that the food you’ve been eating is somehow contributing to the trouble you’re having with your gut, brain, muscles and joints, or skin.

A short list of common symptoms related to food-induced inflammation can range from heartburn and stomach pain to bloating and diarrhea. It could manifest as headaches or migraines, loss of focus, anxiety and/or depression. The symptoms could show in your achy points or in your skin as rashes or breakouts.

Your Personalized Diet

Everyone needs to eat according to their own needs, preferences, and lifestyle. A diet that works for a celebrity, your best friend, and even your cousin may not be what creates health for YOU.

Truly personalized nutrition doesn’t just take into account your height and weight, age, ancestry, activity level, or food preferences and lifestyle, it also means finding out which foods are causing an inflammatory response in your body.

Gut Permeability aka “Leaky Gut”

Having a “leaky gut” was a condition once unbelieved but is now well-documented in scientific literature. When there’s a compromise or breach of the cells lining the gut, there is a potential for all sorts of maladies, including poor nutrient absorption, food sensitivities, and many symptoms throughout the body.

Inflammation: the Good AND Bad

Just like stress, inflammation isn’t all bad. When you get a cut, the area of the trauma will start to swell and redden as the immune and circulatory system rush to the scene to stop the bleeding, prevent infection, and start laying new skin structures. The problem is when stress, or in this case, inflammation becomes chronic. This situation can ignite a host of disorders including arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes and, quite possibly, autism and mental issues.

How do you heal the painful symptoms associated with stepping on a nail? Sure, you could try covering it up, wrapping the area with pillowy gauze and taking aspirin, but you haven’t removed the root cause. So the first step to true, actual healing is to have the nail removed.

How might diet-induced inflammation show up for you? We’re all different so while soybean might cause one person a headache or migraine, for another it could cause joint pain or heartburn. Same with gluten, blueberries, or even green peppers.

Just because a food or diet is labeled as anti-inflammatory doesn’t mean it’s acting that way for you. In fact, surprisingly enough, we’ve had two clients in the past year for whom tumeric, a known anti-inflammatory, was actually INFLAMING them. One of the clients had been taking it everyday (!) in attempts to quell her joint pain.

The Multiple Problems with Elimination Diets

One of the keys in reducing diet-induced inflammation in the body is first identifying the foods that are causing the ‘fire’ in the body. Why not start with an elimination diet to try to improve migraines, autoimmune conditions or gut health? Why not try eliminating the most common allergens (e.g. wheat, gluten, soy, eggs, dairy, corn, and soy) or trying FODMAPs? While a particular food may relate to certain symptoms, it’s not necessarily the best course of action to subject clients to an elimination diet because they are difficult to sustain , are often inconclusive (do you have a mirgraine or heartburn because of the gluten or because you’ve been under stress or because of barometric pressure change in the weather?) and they don’t usually give the full relief clients need and desire.

1. They could miss a genetic component important for you to know and to share with your family. A good example of this would be a person who eliminates gluten from their diet and feels better. Unless they were tested for celiac disease, they wouldn’t know how stringently they might need to follow the gluten-free diet. Their relatives might also be unaware of how their expression of ‘silent celiac’ disease could be infertility, skin rashes, mouth sores, osteoporosis, and even lymphoma. 

2. Extra stress is another problem of elimination diets. They are frustrating and mentally demanding (trying to figure out a symptom’s cause might feel like a scene from A Beautiful Mind or this It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meme), time-consuming and perhaps most importantly – they are not as successful as testing. The reason for this is that as you eliminate or add in foods, you may not do so slowly or completely enough AND since the immune system is in a heightened state of alert still responding to the foods you haven’t eliminated, you’re likely not going to feel 100% or even 80% better. Instead of spending 6 or more months removing foods from your diet – not feeling sure that you’re even getting better, or not getting a 100% resolution- you may want to consider another process. With our protocol, we guide clients through step-by-step, starting with 10 days of their ‘safe’ foods and then systematically expanding their diet in a way that allows us to determine other food reactions and intolerances.

3. Elimination diets don’t necessarily ‘put out the fire.’ Because our genetics and environment can play a role and impact our abilities to deal with inflammation, you can’t just avoid foods that cause you problems. Our body’s response to stress plays a role too. The great part of knowing your food – and food chemical – sensitivities is that they give a wider, more accurate picture …when it comes to discovering that molds, yeast,  FD&C Blue #2, or benzoic acid are also causing issues, perhaps in your household environment or products. Once we remove the ‘known offenders’ in your diet (including supplements and hygiene products), the immune system starts to calm down and then we can safely start food reintroduction and see more clearly what causes your problematic symptoms. Otherwise, with elimination diets, you’re mainly just guessing about the foods, supplements, and hygiene/household products you’re using and whether or not they are ‘safe’ for you.

Supplements aren’t the Answer

“Can’t I just take extra probiotics, collagen, turmeric, or fiber to help my gut?” You could play the guessing game and potentially waste time and money in trying to find the perfect supplement (or twenty). Here’s the problem: you’ll likely not see a great benefit from them if you’re still eating foods that irritate your gut’s lining and that cause inflammation in the body. As mentioned before, you could be reactive to turmeric and therefore adding that supplement could be your personal kryptonite.  

Want a faster, better way to help your gut AND body heal?

Consider comprehensive food sensitivity testing. Why comprehensive? Because, for example, just looking at IgG levels doesn’t mean that the food is the problem necessarily; IgG can be elevated for a number of reasons. It’s more important to look at multiple markers of inflammation being released by a cell in response to a food – including cytokines, prostaglandins, histamine, leukotrienes, interleukins and more.

If you’re tired of feeling “gross”, being so bloated you look 5 months pregnant, and have stomach pains that distract you from fully participating in the life you want to live, or have other ‘unexplained’ symptoms that could be related to the foods you eat regularly, consider a comprehensive program that includes your test results and implementing the proper protocol with expert guidance and support.

Food sensitivity testing is one of the most powerful tools we have to help clients finally improve life-long symptoms and get back to engaging in life more fully. Interested to see if the testing is a good option for you? Schedule your complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call and let’s get your healthy journey started!

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Chocolate Maca Smoothie

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Caffeine and chocolate fiends, unite! This smoothie is the perfect wake-me-up for summer. Here’s the recipe we made today along with ideas for modifications:

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Yields: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 banana
1 pint blackberries (or blueberries)
3 tbsp cacao nibs
5 tbsp cacao powder
3 tbsp shredded coconut
2 cups swiss chard leaves
2 cups non-dairy milk (we used hazelnut milk from Elmhurst)
2 cups water
1 cup coffee
1 tsp maca powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ashwagandha powder (optional)

This recipe is meant to be healthy and full of veg! If it’s not sweet enough for you, consider adding your favorite form of sweetness (e.g. more fruit, stevia, dates, etc). Looking for more greens-based smoothies that are lower in sugar? Check out the Green Smoothie Challenge eBook! It has recipes, grocery lists, along with tips and tricks for making smoothies part of your life.

Instructions
You know what to do here – load all ingredients into the high-speed blender, cover, and blend to desired consistency. Enjoy!

Halfway to 2020: Finish Strong, Achieve your Goals

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Does it flabbergast anyone else that it’s already early July and we are officially more than halfway through 2019? Remember back in January when we had plans for changing everything: improving our diets, exercising more, and experiencing weight loss? We were determined to arrive on December 31st of 2019 feeling better and looking great. 

Having done this work long enough, we know that it’s typical to feel disappointed or frustrated with your progress and worried about the future. The common question: “will I ever be able to achieve this goal of _______ (i.e. balance, a healthier relationship with food, better digestion/skin/energy)?” We beat ourselves up with the thought: “what’s wrong with me that I can’t seem to start and STICK WITH an exercise regimen/ put down the pint of ice cream when I’m emotionally out-of-sorts/ follow an eating plan that would benefit my health?”

You may find yourself wondering:

  • do I start now or wait until summer is over?
  • why haven’t I been able to make the changes I set out for myself?
  • should I follow the diet my neighbor/best friend/favorite celebrity is doing?
  • is this how I’m supposed to feel at my age? Is it possible to have more energy and be at a comfortable weight?
  • how do I actually create better balance in my life and see results?

It can feel like there are 900 skills you need in order to reach your goals. Some include meal-planning, combating emotional eating & self-sabotage, changing your mindset, monitoring your progress, establishing effective systems and routines, and engaging your mind and body in making the transition so that your process produces the transformation you desire. So how do you know where to start or what’s next?

On the way to 2020, take a minute to reflect on a few things:

  • how badly do I want to see my goal achieved?
  • do I have the time and resources to make it happen?
  • with all these articles/books/courses on different diets, how do I know what is best for me and my body? Is there a better way?

Be honest with yourself. If you’re going through a tumultuous divorce, maybe now is not the time to focus your attention on lowering your cholesterol. If the kids are keeping you on the go during summer vacation, fall might be a better time to check in and see what reasonable changes you can make during the last quarter of the year. Or maybe the 10 extra pounds on your body are killing your confidence and making your clothes uncomfortable to wear; you know it’s time to make a change.

You still have 175 days left of 2019. Are you ready to achieve your desired results and finish strong? It all starts with a chance to connect with your personal nutritionist and lifestyle coach during a complimentary 20-minute discovery call. Schedule it this week and uncover your skill gap so that you can make the BEST choice for beginning your sustainable lifestyle transformation!

Recipe: Spicy Gazpacho Shooters

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Gazpacho is a quick, raw, and delicious soup that hails from southern Spain. It typically includes tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic but unique versions include pickles, avocados, cucumbers and watermelon.

Did you know that gazpacho can also be used as a salad dressing or with pasta as a sauce?

This gazpacho recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and good for the body. It’s a healthy snack that can also be served at lunch or dinner. Watch the video segment here.

Spicy Gazpacho

Ingredients

4 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, sliced into chunks
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
Blend and serve chilled. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!

Fiesta Egg Frittata

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Aaah, the freshness and promise of the back-to-school season. Even those of us not in school still seem to embody the spirit of excitement of learning and accomplishing goals. As every probably knows by now, a healthy breakfast is a key part in providing us with proper energy and focus. Enter the Fiesta Egg Frittata – these little muffins are colorful, easy to make, nutritious AND delicious. So many wins in such a small package!

Fiesta Egg Frittatas
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients
10 organic eggs
1 cups chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped spinach (or baby kale)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped onion
I cup diced mushrooms
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat (12-compartment) muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use baking cups. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pan and add onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers; sauté for about 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook an additional 2 minutes. Place about 2 Tbsp of veggies into each muffin cup. Whisk eggs in medium-size bowl with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over veggies in the muffin tin until about 80% full. Cook for about 25 minutes, until inserted butter knife comes out clean. If not using baking cups, take knife around the edges of the muffin tin to remove egg frittatas.

These breakfast treats are best enjoyed hot but can be kept in air-tight container in fridge for up to 5 days. Grab 1 or 2 on your way to school or work!

5 Tips to Spark Creativity!

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Early on in our sessions, every client fills out a circle of life handout. This assessment looks a bit like a wheel with a bunch of spokes, some of which are labeled “home environment” and “relationships;” then there’s a spot with the word “creativity.” As clients complete this exercise, there’s an awareness brought to the areas of life that aren’t working for them or aspects they’d like to enhance. Creativity is typically one of those areas. Even those who profess themselves to be the antithesis of artistic can find that creativity exists in so many forms. Increase your happiness and productivity by boosting your creativity:

1. Find an absorbing, slightly challenging pastime that allows you to feel some mastery – could be singing, a conversation, rock-climbing, creating a story, piano playing, or wood-working. In the state of flow, psychologists say, you forget yourself as you merge yourself with the task; this can also lead to higher self-esteem.

2. Let your ideas FLOW before you try to filter them. Not everything we dream up will be a smashing idea. The purpose and process of brainstorming can lead to several great sparks; however, if we censor them on the outset, we are less likely to find a successful solution or experience a stroke of brilliance.

3. Silence!? While too much noise can distract from your creative process, ambient noise (think coffeehouse-level at 65-70 decibels) can be beneficial. Consider listening to some theta brain wave music to get into a flow.

4. Daydreaming & following your thoughts. Contradictory to the idea that day-dreaming is something we are supposed to outgrow, it has been hailed as important to creative thinking (by none other than Sigmund Freud, for example). No matter where they wander, playing follow-the-leader with your thoughts can improve your mental performance according to a Psychological Science study. The perfect anti-dote to willful focus on a task is daydreaming. Think of it as a brain HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout!

5. Body movement = brainstorms! Exercise gets blood flowing to your brain and even 20-30 minutes can be enough to give your brain a boost for more innovative thoughts. Bonus: playing with a child often involves physical activity and creating stories to go along with the toys.

My 30 Min. Morning Routine

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Good morning, Adrienne here. We’ve had quite a few clients and friends relay both a desire to exercise and a frustration that it just never seems to get done, with their plan to walk or get to the gym being usurped by other duties or unforeseen issues.

I wish I had the willpower of my neighbor/best friend/former President who got up every morning to exercise.”

“The problem is that I don’t have time, with all of the work and running around in the evenings, my best intentions to exercise fall apart. I’m just too tired in the evenings.”

I don’t like to exercise, but I know I should do it.”

What does obstacles with exercise have to do with a morning routine? Glad you asked – everything. Particularly as a solution for all of the obstacles listed above. A hot yoga studio instructor once shared this maxim: “at 6 A.M., the only obstacle standing between me and my workout is ME; by 6 P.M. all sorts of obstacles exist to prevent me from working out.” We’ve taken this to heart and pushed our perfectionist tendency out of the way in order to create a personalized morning routine that works.

How we Started

You may remember our Experiment in Early Rising & Exercise during which I, and a couple of associates, woke up early in order to get our 6am boxing class in. Even with the tremendous benefits of better energy and feeling accomplished with having knocked out our exercise, it wasn’t sustainable for us. Why? Well, the day doesn’t often end to where being in bed and sleeping by 9pm is very feasible. Waking up at 5am and not being able to eat much before a strenuous workout and driving to and from the gym, especially in the cold weather, make it oh-so-unappealing. Sure, we got past it a few times, with the help of short-lived WILLPOWER, but it didn’t last and it wasn’t long before staying in bed longer won out. At the same time, I set up all sorts of good intentions to exercise in the evenings. Riiiight.

Typical story, right? We’re all human. We rationalize and make promises and tell ourselves “the diet/exercise starts on Monday, for real this time.”

What’s the Solution?

Well we learned about all sorts of fancy morning routines from CEOs of companies like Virgin to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins…and some of these were 2-3 hours long(!!) – definitely not reasonable for most of us. So I created my own ‘perfect,’ flexible morning routine. Here’s what I’ve been doing for over the past month in the 30 minutes between waking up and being ready to go:

At 7am – alarm goes off, do morning hygiene routine
7:05am – without allowing myself to think about this for long (and find excuses), I begin with my strength-training routine. On this day it was the following:

  • 25 squats
  • 12 full push-ups
  • 35 sit-up combo -as seen in this video

I did 2 sets of these. It took less than 6 minutes; I no longer have any excuses not to do this.

On this day, my hair was an easy fix and so I washed my face, did a hot towel scrub, and applied my favorite face cream. (4 minutes)

7:15am – let face cream soak in as I meditate for 5 minutes
7:20am – gather water bottle, purse, work bag, and breakfast and/or lunch
7:30am – ready to go

Variations

Though I’m generally now an early riser, I frequently adjust my wake time to 30 minutes before I need to leave the house.  So if I get to ‘sleep in’ until 7:30am or even 8am, I’ll adjust waking time accordingly.

I have my basic skincare routine & hair routine down to a science. Skincare routine is 3 minutes (washing face and applying my favorite face cream); my current haircut works with my hair and so a basic combing may be all that is needed. I seldom wear makeup anymore but this would add another 3-5 minutes.

Hot towel scrub versus a shower; determine which you need on any given day. For me, a shower is a 10-minute affair. To ensure still leaving on time, I’d have breakfast prepared the night before.

Breakfast; if I have time to eat at home, I will. Otherwise I typically make a smoothie or prep muesli the night before to bring with me. For when I have an extra glorious 5-10 minutes and the ingredients on hand, I might have avocado toast….or even moka pot coffee.

Weekdays vs. weekends. This is generally my weekday routine; my weekend one can stretch to about 2 hours, especially with some reading involved and freshly-made breakfast.

Conclusion

Now that I’ve created a customized morning routine, I’m sad I didn’t begin it earlier in life (oh, to have missed out on the frantic running around looking for keys, skipping breakfast and/or lunch, and road aggravation at the drivers in front of me who were ‘blocking my way’ to getting to somewhere on time). Peace, my dear friends and clients, is a gift we can give ourselves with a morning routine.

The key is making your morning routine work for YOU. If you need 45 minutes or an hour to incorporate a leisurely breakfast, straightening your hair, or reading an inspiring text, do it.

Have you started your own morning routine? How does yours run?

Curious and want to capitalize on your mornings? We’ll help you build your own morning routine, whether in a future session or upcoming blog, so stay tuned!

Beware the Ides of Starch!

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Source: Pexels.com

In William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar is warned by a soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.” During the middle of this month, we’d also like to warn about the ides of starch.

In the past decade, gluten has become somewhat of a buzzword, inspiring inquisitions and concerns from the public such as, “Do I have gluten-sensitivity? Is a gluten-free diet right for me?”

Let’s start with the basics; what is gluten? It is a general term for the storage protein in certain grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and more. Gluten may be rather innocuous in the bodies of most of the population; however, if ingested by those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, there will be a rather antagonistic bodily reaction with uncomfortable symptoms to follow.

There is a difference between celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. The former is a genetic, auto-immune disorder in which the body attacks itself and damages the small intestine when gluten in consumed (or in the case of Hashimoto’s, the thyroid). When people with celiac disease ingest a product containing gluten, their small intestines rebel and, within an hour or two, they may suffer sharp abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting. Those who are sensitive to gluten report a variety of symptoms (stomachaches, reflux, even poor memory) which are typically similar, but less severe symptoms than people with celiac disease.

When it comes to symptoms of celiac disease, there are some classic signs: weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, nutritional deficiencies, and short stature. The so called “silent” signs of celiac disease include constipation, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), weight gain, osteopenia, and anemia.

Although only about 1 in 5000 people are diagnosed with celiac disease , recent research indicates that as many as 1 in 133 people may actually have celiac disease. The average time period between experiencing symptoms and getting a diagnosis is 11 years. Most often, the determination of celiac disease is made from blood samples and a biopsy of the small intestine.

If you think you may have celiac disease, talk to your physician about getting the blood-work and endoscopy needed to confirm diagnosis. Alternatively, if you are seeking a less invasive way to determine how your body reacts to gluten, you could try an elimination diet and, upon re-introduction of the offending substance, document any undesired symptoms.

Treatment for celiac disease involves following the gluten-free diet for life. This may seem stringent, but the complications associated with non-compliance (i.e. infertility, osteoporosis/osteopenia, cancers of the bowel, lymphoma) are serious. Remember that following the treatment diet will also help reduce and possibly eliminate your symptoms.

People diagnosed with celiac must not eat products containing wheat, rye, barely, malt, bran (except corn bran), spelt, and kamut. Oats are problematic not because they inherently contain gluten (they do not) but because they may contain a small amount of other grains from milling sources.

Typical hidden sources of gluten include: medications or vitamin/mineral supplements, broth, cheese slices, beer, licorice candy, salad dressing, soy sauce, modified food starch, cake icing, lipstick, marinades, sauces, breakfast cereals, tortillas, chicken nuggets and hydrolyzed vegetable or plant protein. Because of gluten’s ubiquity, it is best to employ a trained professional when determining the risk for cross-contamination at home, assessing foods in the grocery store to ensure they are gluten-free, and minimizing the exposure to gluten from other unsuspected sources.

Since flour and grain products are often used in cooking, it is important to ask how foods have been prepared, especially when dining out. Cross-contamination with gluten is another concern, both in restaurants and at home.

Talk with a qualified healthcare professional regarding your risk for celiac and consult with a registered dietitian to learn how to follow a gluten-free diet safely and nutriously. Remember, if you are diagnosed with celiac disease, following a gluten-free diet is of utmost importance in preserving your health and preventing lymphomas, colon cancer, or other malignancies.

Side-note: gliadin is a protein found within wheat gluten and is thought to be the real culprit; but because gluten is the term most people are familiar with, we’ve used it in the article to avoid confusion.

Article originally featured in UWeekly March 2nd, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Konmari Method

It’s difficult to label recent Midwestern weather as “spring” but so it is. Time to switch out the flannel sheets and warm, comfy throws for t-shirts and flip-flops. This is also the perfect opportunity for a bit of spring cleaning. We’ve chosen to utilize the Marie Kondo, also known as Konmari, method to see how using the metric of ‘sparking joy’ helps to decide what stay and what goes. As per her recommendation, we started with creating a pile of all clothing:

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It’s always a bit shocking to see the sheer volume of one’s garments…and this is the second round since last year!

 

Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, describes how she helps her clients sort through categories of household items. If an item brings joy, they keep it; if not, it is removed from the residence. She says the focus is not so much on decluttering as much as it is creating a curated closet and home environment wherein everything there brings a sense of lightness and peace. It’s a simple but transformative idea. For those who’ve struggled, wanting to use pure data (i.e. “how many pairs of jeans does the average person have?”), in their decluttering attempts, this is a different style and it just may work for you too.

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Notice the employment of two techniques – Marie Kondo’s and the forward-facing hanger technique to see which clothes are not worn during the next 6 months.

Keeping items “just because” or out of guilt hampers your ability to enjoy your possessions. The gifts, family heirlooms, the pants you spent way too much money on (but still have the store tag)….consider letting them go if they aren’t bringing a smile to your face.

The main points in Kondo’s book are:

1. Declutter and then organize (no need to buy more “smart storage” strategies)
2. Tidying is meant to be a one-and-done marathon – go through everything in your house once and then maintain (you’re not meant to be tidying for the rest of your life)
3. The question to ask as you encounter each object: “does this spark joy?”
4. Tidy by category, not location (i.e. go through all the clothes in your house at once, not waiting to get to the downstairs hall closet to remove unwanted coats, etc)
5. Store your items in an appealing way (she has a method of folding designed for this)

As for order of categories to tidy, Kondo suggests starting with clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellany), and sentimental items. The reason for this is clothes have relatively low sentimental value and you can exercise your decision-making muscle before getting to the harder categories. See what it can do for you!