7 Signs You Have a Gluten Allergy

Gluten has pretty much become a bad word in our society.  Once an ingredient never talked about, it seems today everyone is blaming everything on gluten.  Gluten is actually a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.  It is used to make pastas, breads and other pastries because it holds food together.  Some people have a sensitivity to gluten (not necessarily Celiac disease) and can become ill if they eat it.  Gluten intolerance has become so widely talked about in society that many people, even those who do not have  a gluten intolerance, are afraid to eat it.

(Celiac disease is  where the immune system produces an abnormal response to gluten.  This is much more serious condition than just a gluten intolerance)

Gluten itself doesn’t offer special nutritional benefits, but many foods that contain gluten, like whole grain breads, do.  So if you are on a quest to give up gluten either because of an ailment or mainstream hype, be sure to do your research so you don’t end up eliminating important nutrients from your diet. There are grains that don’t contain gluten, they are amaranth, millet, and quinoa.

Unless you have celiac or a sensitivity to gluten, you can feel comfortable having grains in your diet.  Remember, your brains NEEDS glucose for energy.  That is the brain’s preferred source of energy. If you eliminate foods that provide glucose to your brain (mainly fruits and grains),  your brain will have to resort to a different, less ideal source of energy. In most cases, the brain would tap into your protein supply.  But why would you want to waste precious protein supplies (essential for muscle and tissue development) for energy for your brain when glucose is so readily available?

So, do you or do you not have a gluten intolerance?

7 Signs You Have A Gluten Intolerance

  1. After eating gluten you experience:
  2. Diarrhea, constipation, reflux or abdominal pain after eating gluten
  3. Headaches or migraines
  4. Feelings of depression, anxiety and or irritability
  5. You often feel that sensation of pins and needs in your arms, legs and feet
  6. Itchy, scratchy rash
  7. Symptoms of ADHD

What should you do if you think you have a gluten intolerance?  Go see your doctor.

*This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or condition.  See your doctor for professional, medical advice.

Why I’m Obsessed With Black Rice

My mom knows how into health food I am and I’m always researching and digging for new ways to use food to not only fuel the body but to also help and prevent ailments, aging, aches, pains…anything.  So when she came over with a bag of black rice that she picked up from Trader Joe’s I was intrigued.  I know from my studies that most food that is very dark in color (spinach, blueberries, kale, etc) is traditionally loaded with antioxidants and health benefits.

Health Benefits Black RiceI cooked some up and the deep color of the rice magnified and the water turned a bright black/purple color.  The rice was a little sticky after it was done cooking, which I really liked.  I love sticky rice from Chinese restaurants in NYC! It also had a very good, mild flavor to it.  A bit nutty, but mild. Because it had a mild flavor I didn’t use too many seasonings.  A little olive oil, pink salt and black pepper was all it needed. I paired it with some fresh sautéed veggies.  Ok so now with the good stuff…

Health Benefits of Black Rice

I was really excited when I read on NaturalNews.com that black rice is one of the healthiest foods that can be obtained today!  As I thought, because of it’s deep, rich color, black rice is a good source of antioxidants. The color can be attributed to the same chemicals (anthocyanins) that give acai berry and blueberries their distinctive coloring.

Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid with antioxidant effects.  According to an article on About.com, they act as ‘antioxidants and fighting free radicals, anthocyanins may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.”

Also, the article states that  “In herbal medicine, anthocyanin-rich substances have long been used to treat a number of conditions (including high blood pressure, colds, and urinary tract infections). Recent research suggests that anthocyanins may also help fend off major health problems, including heart disease and cancer.”

Adding Black Rice To Your Diet

As with any other carbohydrate, we recommend eating your starches early in the day, before 3pm. And of course, measure and moderate.  Your total caloric intake from carbohydrates each day should be about 30% or less depending on if you are trying to maintain or lose excess weight.   Carbs are not your enemy.  We are our own enemy because we go overboard with the portions.

If you can’t find black rice at your local supermarket, you can order it online from Amazon.com.



Is Paleo Poisoning Your Body?

**The first thing we want to make clear is that this is not an article against Paleo.  Not in the least bit.  When you read through it, you’ll realize that.

The Paleo diet has been catapulted into mainstream media mainly by the CrossFit community that embraces this type of diet plan. Whenever any diet gets public attention- it seems that almost everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and give it a try.  If you’re not following the truest form of Paleo- it most certainly could be toxic to your body. Here’s why.

paleo-diet-njFirst- what is Paleo? Simply put- the diet advises that followers eat only food that were around during the Paleolithic era.  Nothing processed, refined, chemically treated, genetically modified, etc.  In large part, this diet consists of  grass produced meats, nitrite/nitrate free bacon, fish, fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs, healthy oils and very few acceptable forms carbohydrates (yams are ok).   Grains, sugar, dairy (butter, cheese, etc), refined pastas, white flour, etc are not on the Paleo diet.

The Problem With Paleo

The problem we see with most people that choose to follow the Paleo diet is they neglect to truly adhere to the guidelines which call for grass fed beef, natural/organic meats and produce that are free from antibiotics  and the nitrite/nitrate free bacon. Instead, you have people following Paleo eating large amounts of chicken and beef from Walmart (nothing against Walmart- but their meats are not advertised to be organic or free of antibiotics), Oscar Mayer Weiner bacon, etc.

So what’s wrong with that???  What’s the big deal if people don’t choose the organic meats like Paleo says???


If you’re eating a mostly meat based diet- you are consuming a higher amount of animal fat.  When animals consume toxins, from antibiotics, pesticides in the grass they eat, or from other environmental factors, these toxins get stored in their fat.  When you eat animal fat you are then consuming and storing  some of these toxins.    This is why Paleo recommends grass fed/hormone free meats.  As far as bacon goes- this is LOADED with animal fat and potentially full of toxins. Not to mention bacon (and cold cuts, hot dogs, etc) is loaded with nitrates and nitrites, proven causes of cancer.

Compromised Lymphatic Drainage

In the digestive system, animal foods high in fat will first be transported via your lymph system. These saturated and toxic fats can clog up your lymphatic drainage system, making it work harder and possibly overloading it and making the system less efficient at doing its general cleaning up process for the body.    Researchers have theorized that this is one possible reason why there are more incidences of cancer among meat eaters than in vegans.

If you’re not following a well-rounded Paleo diet and you are just overloading yourself on bacon and meat, you’re lymphatic system, and your health, is going to pay the price.

Too Little Activity, Too Much Protein

The Paleo diet is best suited for individuals who do enough physical activity that their bodies can utilize the large amounts of protein consumed.  An average person only needs about .5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.  An active person could consume .75-1.0 gram of protein per body weight. And a super active person could consume up to 2 grams of protein per body weight. If you are not active- your body does not need that much protein.  Eating too much protein can lead to a host of health problems and imbalances within your internal systems including kidney problems and acne. You have probably seen guys at the gym with acne on their face, back and chest.  There is a chance that this is because of too much protein.  This excerpt from LiveStrong explains it perfectly:

  …protein is essential to life and health, yet balance is a key component of optimal health. If huge quantities of protein are ingested, the body’s digestive system, from the liver to the kidneys and into the intestines and colon, will become extremely burdened trying to break down these proteins into usable material. This extreme stress on valuable cleansing organs will create adverse reactions within other parts of the body. Whenever an organ or system within the body is burdened or stressed, the body will naturally respond through elimination of toxins through the skin…

In Summary- Our View of Paleo

Our view is that the Paleo diet- when strictly followed- can be a healthy meal plan for those who are active enough to consume large amounts of protein and for those who can adhere to the organic/natural meats, fruits and veggies.  (It’s important to note that you don’t have to eat high protein just because you are on a Paleo diet, but many people do)

We also think Paleo is a great way to cleanse the body of toxins and refined foods. In fact, we even offer a 2 week Paleo cleanse program at UFZ.

If you want to follow a certain meal plan because you heard that it helps people lose weight, you have to first consider a few things:

1) Is this diet right for my lifestyle?

2) Can I fully adhere to the guidelines of the diet long-term?

And of course- always check with your doctor first!  Reading an article about the Paleo diet and deciding it is for you could be dangerous.  Your doctor knows your healthy history, your family health history and whether or not certain diets would be safe for you to follow.

What are your thoughts on the Paleo diet?

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Foods That Reduce Stress

Winter is coming here in New Jersey and we all worry about the winter blues.  Less exposure to the sun reduces our levels of Vitamin D- which reduces our immune system and can also increase our feelings of sadness.  There are other factors behind why we feel sad in the winter- a disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder- but nutrition definitely plays a part.

foods high in magnesiumCan you eat your way to less anxiety?  Well- sort of.  A healthy lifestyle complete with exercise, good nutrition  and maybe even some positive thinking/meditation can help reduce anxiety. Foods that are rich in magnesium have been shown to help combat depression.

Magnesium is actually a calming mineral that nourishes our nervous system. Research suggests that this may help prevent anxiety, fear and nervousness. This mineral is also a great protector of the heart and arteries. This is important for anxiety sufferers. Talk to your doctor if you want to consider taking a magnesium supplement for anxiety- as you may need more than the typical dose.

Foods That Are High In Magnesium

  • All forms of squash such as zucchini, yellow squash, acorn, butternut, kabocha, turban, pumpkin, and other winter squashes
  • Dark-green, leafy vegetables, like spinach, kale and chard as well as broccoli, green beans and seaweed
  • Whole, unrefined grains like millet, quinoa and buckwheat
  • Legumes
  • Beef, chicken and fish (esp halibut, cod and salmon) (choose organic meats and wild caught fish whenever possible)
  • Nuts and seeds

You can also soak up some extra magnesia by adding some espom salt to a night-time bath.  Be sure to add some calming lavender essential too!



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