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Monday, 6 May 2013

How To Get Healthy on a Gluten-Free Diet! Plus Savoury Wild Rice Recipe With Sweet Potato

Gluten-free living is becoming quite trendy - which is great! You can go to a restaurant and ask for their gluten-freindly menu and even find gluten free packaged foods at your regular grocery store. But be warned - Just because a product is labelled gluten-free, doesn't mean it's healthy or good for you. A lot of these products are highly processed, high in fat, preservatives, sugar and other ingredients you may not be able to pronounce.

If you've just been diagnosed with celiac disease or told that you have a gluten intolerance, it may feel like there is nothing you can eat anymore... NOTHING! You're living on salads and starving all the time, realizing afterwards that even the salad dressing you love the most has gluten in it!  So there you are, feeling like all you can eat is lettuce and cardboard... (is cardboard gluten-free?) ...and then you take a trip to the health food store and discover an abundance of gluten-free packaged foods. Now you can eat bread, bagels, muffins, cookies, pizza, all the things you loved before.

BUT your body is trying to tell you something with these auto-immune responses, allergic reactions and intolerances. It's telling you to STOP putting junk into your body. And for many people they need to clean out more than just gluten to heal their body, including dairy and processed foods. Processed foods are very hard to digest, even the gluten-free ones.

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease I did pretty good at avoiding the processed gluten-free foods, but they eventually, one-by-one, creeped their way into my fridge and into my diet. I was a lazy university student and it seemed easier to grab a bagel or a muffin than to prepare a nutritious meal, and I didn't have to read labels because they had gluten free stamped on the front. YES! But I was soon addicted and gorging on these foods, eating more than I would have normally. I didn't even like breads and bagels until I couldn't have them anymore. It's funny how that affected my appetite and taste for them. I felt heavy and bloated from all the muffins, bagels, and bread that I was eating, ignoring this because I felt sorry for myself. - Little did I know back then, I could just eat fruit! It's quick and easy with little or no prep involved. How hard is it to grab and eat a few bananas for breakfast. Or pack a green smoothie for lunch?

Then I did something different, I started looking at the labels on the gluten free food and reading the other ingredients on labels, not just looking for the gluten-containing items. I wondered what BHT was and food color #4, and monosodium glutamate, which is MSG! I also found that the muffins, breads and bagels were full of fat, and more fatty than a regular gluten-containing muffin. If you put enough fat and sugar into a muffin, you COULD probably make it from cardboard and it would taste good! Sweet, fatty cardboard muffins....should I experiment with this??? Ha!

These processed foods are not only heavy on your waistline, but heavy on your wallet, usually costing more money than their gluten-containing counterparts. And you don't NEED these foods to be healthy or thrive on a gluten-free diet. 

In summary, I 100% believe in eating gluten-free and sticking to it, especially if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. We can do this in a healthy way by eating a diet of mostly fruits and veggies, some nuts and seeds, rice, beans and homemade dressings, soups, and sauces. Whole foods for the win! Take my advice and skip the junk, or save it for special occasions. It never tastes as good as the original anyways.  It may take some time for adjustment, but you will feel amazing and your body will thank you for it.

What are you waiting for...go stock up on some fresh fruit and veggies. If it's not in your fridge, how can you eat it?!

Spice up your Rice Recipe! 
Try using coconut water and spices to kick up your wild rice. I like to add flavor, not salt, to my rice and you can skip the salty soy sauce with this recipe! It's way better for you than the msg filled, high salt, preservative laden Side Kicks! 

Savoury Wild Rice and Sweet Potato 


1 cup coconut water
1 1/4 cup water
1 sweet potato
1 cup Lundberg wild rice mixture
1 TBSP  basil
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander or fresh cilantro if you have it
Dash of sea salt - optional


  1. Wash, peel and chop up the sweet potato into small cubes.
  2. Bring the coconut milk and water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  
  3. Add rice, potatoes and spices. 
  4. Stir once and cover with a lid. 
  5. Turn temp down to mid-low and simmer for 45-50 minutes.  Take off burner and fluff with a fork. Recover and let stand 10 minutes. 

*If using a different brand of wild rice, be sure to follow the cooking time on the packaging instructions. 

Thanks for reading! Try adding coconut water to your rice recipes for extra flavor tonight!

Keep it fresh, 
Naturally Ashley

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