Blog Refresh

This weekend, I spent a great deal of time refreshing our Food Jules website. I am not sure if it’s the “new year, new you” feeling but ever since the holidays ended, I have been refreshing a lot around here, a little “pre-spring cleaning”. It gives me such a feeling of satisfaction and comfort when things are clean and organized, makes things seem new again. It helps bring me a step closer to the spring time.

spring sunrise

If you look around the website, you’ll find I’ve re-organized it a bit, while still keeping it simple and clean. I’ve revised our bio, added a few new recipes and updated the cooking class information. I will continue to bring you new recipes and tips as the weeks continue. I have lots to share with you, especially in the gluten free arena. I am on Day 13 of my GLUTEN CLEANSE and am feeling absolutely wonderful. I have more energy, more appetite and no digestive issues. I am still having trouble sleeping at night and the nightmares continue, but I expect that will continue for some time. It all started with Julian’s passing so I am sure my subconscious and conscious mind still has lifelong healing to do.

hydrangea

Go ahead and check out our REFRESHED website and stay tuned for more to come. Keep those comments coming too, I really enjoy reading them.

A new beginning

Well, it’s the end of the second week in January… and most of you are in the midst of a “New Year’s Resolution”. Personally, I don’t really come up with new year’s resolutions. I try my best to make each day a new day, trying my best to get up earlier, get the kids to school on time, go to my yoga class, help the kids with their homework, prepare a yummy, delicious homemade meal and get the kids and myself to bed on time. Wow, I am tired just thinking about it all already and it’s only 9am.

y

Regardless, I know many are working on eating better and exercising more. It’s a constant struggle for all of us. Our lives are so jam packed that we always put ourselves at the bottom of our “to do” list. However, it’s important to realize that we need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. So, move yourself back up to the top of that list and do things that make you feel truly happy and all those around you will be happy too.

Well, as many of you know, I am on a “gluten free” cleanse. It’s been 10 days without gluten and I feel great!!! It was hard at first but now I have made it part of my lifestyle and it’s amazing. I have so much to share with you all but first, I want to introduce you to a new smoothie that I just discovered. It is so very delicious and so good for you. I have added it to my cooking class repertoire, The Chocolate Avocado Smoothie.

choco smoothie

I know, it might sound a bit strange and not very appealing but I guarantee you that it is delicious. The avocado makes this smoothie extremely creamy without any added flavor and avocados are a super food! Avocados are rich in protein, iron, potassium, fiber and help protect against so many different diseases and illnesses. Everyone should be eating these daily.

avocado

This smoothie is dairy free too, for all of you that suffer from dairy allergies. Plus, you have the added benefits of pure natural cocoa, which is full of antioxidants and phytochemicals, protecting you from cancer and heart disease as well as helping to slow down the aging process. Plus, it’s chocolate and who doesn’t love chocolate?

Last night, I took this smoothie a step forward and turned it into a healthy dessert, Chocolate Avocado Pudding! All I did was change around a few ingredients giving it a little bit more sweetness, since it’s a pudding after all. You can enjoy this recipe too and not feel guilty about it!

Enjoy both of these delicious, chocolaty healthy treats.

Is Gluten YOUR Enemy?

Many of my friends have gone GLUTEN FREE, either due to dietary reasons or health reasons or because their children have allergies to gluten. In an effort to help them come up with some easy, nutritious and delicious, allergen free recipes, our family has expanded our gluten-free meals and snacks, which has created a more balanced approach to eating and more awareness to how many foods contain wheat. It is in everything from baked goods to soy sauce, salad dressings,  candy and gum!

wheat-field

A few years ago when my migraines were uncontrollable, I decided to change my diet, as well as going to regular visits to the chiropractor and massage therapist. I realized that all throughout my years as a young adult, I was eating foods with a lot of MSG (monosodium glutamate) and aspartame. I loved chewing gum but quickly realized 99% of gum has aspartame in it and many packaged foods I enjoyed eating were full of MSG. As soon as I cut all of it out, my migraines subsided. Well, the same thing has happened with reducing wheat in my diet and on the days when I eliminate it completely, my body thanks me. It is so important for us to really look at what we are putting into our bodies and how it is affecting us. We are all different; our personalities, our likes and dislikes, our talents and our bodies. So, we have to pay attention to how OUR bodies are reacting to the things we eat and drink, just the same as we watch for how our skin, hair and body products affect the outside of our bodies. The inside is just as important, if not more important, then the outside.

After watching an episode on Dr Oz, “Is Gluten Your Enemy?”, I discovered I have a sensitivity to wheat. I am by no means allergic to wheat, but my body reacts negatively to it when I eat too much of it. On that episode, he discussed there are three groups of people – one large group of Americans isn’t bothered by wheat at all, no matter how much they eat, another large group is sensitive to wheat, which means if they eat a lot of it, it can cause some digestive issues and possible bloating, irritability, fatigue etc, all of which make so much sense to me. Then, there is a very small group of Americans that have Celiac Disease, which is a digestive disorder and severe wheat intolerance that can cause all sorts of digestive issues and compromise nutrient absorption into the body.

dr oz

So, there it began, my experiment. Each day, I cut out more and more wheat from my diet and immediately, I started noticing a difference in the days that I ate wheat and the days that I didn’t. At first, it was hard and I didn’t know how I was going to cut out the bread, pancakes, muffins, meatballs, and even my favorite shrimp tempura sushi rolls but I quickly realized you can still eat all of this by just changing a few simple ingredients.

Don’t get me wrong here, there isn’t anything wrong with eating whole wheat bread or making muffins with whole wheat flour, as long as you keep it in balance. I am a firm believer in living life in balance. So, I have decided to be sure we don’t eat a full day of wheat products. If the kids have waffles for breakfast, then they can eat soup for lunch and chili and rice for dinner. It’s that easy. Just a healthy balance of food.

gluten foods

The doctors tell you not to eat red meat every day right? It’s the same thing here. Whether it’s meat, fish, bread, rice, pasta, cookies, muffins, it’s all about eating a variety of foods. I encourage you to read more about it and if you experience any of these symptoms above, then try cutting out some of the gluten in your diet. At least, this will make you more aware that it is in a lot of different products. Be sure to eat as many fresh ingredients as possible, fresh fruits and vegetables and when using any pre-made sauces or dressings, just check the ingredients. It’s as simple as that.

fresh-fruits-vegetables-2419

Your body will thank YOU, as long as you take good care of it, inside and out by maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle.