collards

Diets: Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!

We hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that it’s been a good new year for you so far. The beginning of the year is always full of new beginnings, fresh starts, and plenty of goals and resolutions. Did you set any New Year’s Resolutions for the upcoming year? Our team set quite a few for ourselves: from growing more greens for you to enjoy and bringing you more tasty recipes to try out in your kitchens, we’re on a mission in 2019.

What types of resolutions did you set? If you set a goal to lose weight and become healthier by finally trying out that diet your friend keeps recommending, we have a different goal for you to consider.

Let’s face it. Most people don’t stick with their diets for a number of reasons. They can be too difficult to follow, they can limit the types of foods that you enjoy eating, and they can cause you to cook multiple meals for dinner if not everyone in your house is following the same diet. Diets can be pretty inconvenient, and nobody has time for that! Plus, we think there are better ways for you to become healthier and potentially lose weight along the way—if that is indeed something you want.

Think about shifting your goal away from weight loss through dieting, and instead focus on becoming healthier by adopting positive lifestyle habits.

Here are a few habits that you can easily incorporate into your everyday life:

  1. Focus on eating a balanced diet—filled with plenty of greens, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein, and more—that will leave you feeling more energized, healthier, and fulfilled.

  2. Drink plenty of water. Not only will you stay hydrated, but you’ll potentially reduce your appetite and food intake throughout the day. Start your morning with a glass and keep it going throughout the day! Tip: you should drink half of your body weight in ounces each day.

  3. Listen to your body and don’t live in guilt. Should you eat fast food everyday? Probably not. Is it okay for you to have a cheeseburger with fries every now and then because that is what you genuinely want? Absolutely. The key is to take a moment before you eat something to ask yourself if that is really what you’d like to have? If your body is telling you that it is time for leafy greens—listen! If it is telling you that it needs some chocolate, guess what? Listen! Your body is always wanting to return to balance.

  4. Add exercise into your day. Even a thirty minute walk around your neighborhood with your kids at the end of the day or a quick yoga session during your lunch hour is really beneficial.

Diets come and go, but we believe that healthy lifestyle habits can become second nature to you. Which habit do you plan on adding to your day to day life first? Share with us on social media by tagging @naturesgreens and #FarmFreshGreens!

The Reasons Why People Are Choosing A Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Kale

If you are like us, you might be a little confused at what you can and can't eat these days. Is there a healthier way to eat and live? Are there tangible benefits to living a certain lifestyle? In 2018 we are going to explore these questions, specifically as it relates to gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian lifestyles, and provide recipes that you can use for each of them. Let's dive into our first topic: gluten-free.

(Exclusive gluten-free recipes at the bottom of the post!)

The basics

Gluten-free is one of the trendiest lifestyles and dietary changes being made currently. You cannot go into a grocery store or a restaurant now that doesn't have a gluten-free section or offering in the aisle or menu, respectively. So why is it so popular? 

First, we need to know the answer to the question: what is gluten? According to the Mayo Clinic, gluten is protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and a hybrid of wheat and rye called triticale. Essentially, gluten gives dough its elasticity and helps hold it together while it is being made. Now that we know what gluten is we can move onto the next pressing question: why is it bad for some people?

Gluten Wheat Grain.jpg

The bad

Our bodies’ immune systems function something like this: recognize the difference between what belongs and what is foreign, then attack the foreign. However, many people suffer from autoimmune diseases. One such autoimmune disease is "celiac disease" (CD), caused by consuming gluten. Advocacy group Beyond Celiac states that about 1% of the US population has celiac disease. 

"Celiac disease is a condition in which gluten triggers immune system activity that damages the lining of the small intestine. Over time this damage prevents the absorption of nutrients from food." -- Mayo Clinic Staff

Clearly, people that suffer from celiac disease need to avoid gluten. However, what about people that do not have celiac disease? Why are they opting for gluten-free?

Gluten Intolerance vs. Gluten Sensitivity vs. Wheat Allergy

The Gluten Intolerance Group explain the three most common diagnoses and what they each mean. Gluten intolerance is diagnosed as celiac disease. The only way to treat celiac disease is to practice a 100% gluten-free diet. Gluten sensitivity, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), is hard to diagnose as it shares many of the same characteristics of celiac disease and there is no true test developed yet. The only way to identify it is to rule out an autoimmune reaction and a wheat allergy. Finally, a wheat allergy is specific to a rejection of a protein found in wheat, but other gluten from non-wheat sources is okay to eat.

What foods can I eat if I am gluten intolerant or have a gluten sensitivity?

Several different organizations list the foods that you can and cannot eat. We will assemble the highlights here, but if you have a gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity, you need to do comprehensive research as well as consult with your doctor on an appropriate diet.

  1. Allowed fresh foods
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans, seeds and nuts in their natural, unprocessed forms
  • Eggs
  • Lean, nonprocessed meats, fish and poultry
  • Most low-fat dairy products
  1. Avoid all food and drinks that contain the following
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Oats (in some cases)

(From the Mayo Clinic Staff)

Gluten-free alternatives

(From Beyond Celiac)


Another great source for information and recipes is The Gluten-Free Goddess' blog. Karina Allrich writes about what she knows from her own life experience, shares practical ways to live gluten-free, and many tasty recipes.

I am not Gluten Sensitive but I think going gluten-free will improve my health

This is a hot topic right now, as an increasing rate of people who do not have a gluten intolerance are opting to go gluten-free. Among the biggest drivers is a growing suspicion on the potential adverse health affects of consuming gluten. If you do believe that you are suffering from a gluten intolerance, you should consult with a doctor and be tested. Always consult with a medical professional before making significant lifestyle changes. 

Adding fruits and veggies to your meals on a gluten-free diet

As you may know, fruits and veggies are really good for you. They have amazing nutritional properties that our body systems need daily to function. Another great thing about produce: its naturally gluten-free. Regardless of the lifestyle you choose to live, it's probably a good idea to keep fresh fruits and vegetables as a fixture in your diet.

White Bean Kale Cauliflower Casserole

White Bean Kale Cauliflower Casserole

Let's face it. It can be a challenge to get our friends or family to get on the gluten-free train with us. However, serve this delicious recipe from registered dietitian and best-selling author, Cynthia Sass, and your loved ones will be clamoring for more yummy dishes from you! Featuring fresh kale, cauliflower, lemon juice + zest, tahini, and white beans. Estimated prep + bake time is 35 minutes.

Pinto Bean and Collard Omelet

Pinto Bean and Collard Omelet

A Tex-Mex omelet recipe from Cynthia Sass, RD and best-selling author, is full of that southwest flavor you crave. The best part? When you make this for breakfast or brinner ( breakfast for dinner), you are giving your body an excellent source of protein. Also, those veggies aren't in their just for their color. The nutrients found between those veggies will add a healthy portion to your daily needs, and give your body the tools it needs to support itself.

EAT GREENS! Your Body Will Thank You Later.

A lot of my clients tell me they just don’t like green vegetables. Often it’s because they were forced to eat them as a child, or were introduced to green veggies in unappetizing ways. Unfortunately those negative early associations can last a lifetime, but there are important reasons to overcome them, and learn to love your veggies, including greens.  

(Image Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/10453749/Cant-get-children-to-eat-greens-Blame-it-on-the-survival-instinct.html)

(Image Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/10453749/Cant-get-children-to-eat-greens-Blame-it-on-the-survival-instinct.html)

You’re probably aware that greens are nutrient rich, but you might not know just how potent they are as health protectors. Leafy greens have been shown to help fight chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. They also protect your brain, and fend off aging. One study compared people who don’t eat green leafy veggies to those who consume one to two servings per day. The green eaters had cognitive abilities that were equivalent to folks 11 years younger. That’s powerful.

(Image Source: http://www.pnmag.com/baby-buzz/look-alive-its-national-eye-health-and-safety-month/)

(Image Source: http://www.pnmag.com/baby-buzz/look-alive-its-national-eye-health-and-safety-month/)

Greens also protect your eyes, and may reduce the risk of developing glaucoma by as much as 30%. Additional benefits include stronger immunity, enhanced energy and mood, and weight control. Replacing foods like pasta, rice, and bread with raw or cooked grains doesn’t just save calories and cut carbs. Research shows that higher antioxidant intakes are associated with leaner bodies, and greens are a potent antioxidant source.   

If you’re convinced that greens deserve a place in your eating routine but you’re not sure where to start take baby steps. Try whipping greens into a fruit smoothie- they blend right in and the sweetness of fruit overpowers any bitterness, so you won’t feel like you’re drinking a salad. Next add greens to staple meals, such as omelets or chili. As a next step make greens the star of meals, like entree salads and stir frys. If you’re adventurous you can even blends greens into desserts, and snack on kale chips or collard crisps. Just find a way to start, and if you don’t like one recipe, commit to trying another. It is well worth the effort, because this is one small eating change has the potential to lead to major quality of life results. So begin embracing greens today. Your body will truly thank you later!