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WHY IS EVERYONE GOING GLUTEN-FREE THESE DAYS?

Americans spent over $6 billion on gluten-free products last year. I knew we had reached a tipping point about gluten when my cat, who was very sick with fatty liver disease, was put on a gluten-free diet by our vet. Before she got sick, she was finicky and would only eat the dried food that had a lot of chicken by-product in it. I can't believe I let her eat that crap. It almost killed her. Now, thanks to her new grain and gluten-free food, my beloved kitty is thriving.

It's not just cat food that's hard to digest.  Many people blame our problems digesting wheat these days on the way it's processed. Today's high yield industrial GMO wheat has a much higher gluten content than before – the more gluten, the more difficult it is to break it down, creating an anti-inflammatory response in our bodies. As the inflammation becomes more chronic, we become gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive. Gluten has now been associated with over 55 diseases- everything from autoimmune diseases to psoriasis.

Also, wheat used to be slowly fermented.  Fermented foods, like kimchee or sauerkraut aid in digestion. They have “good“ bacteria that support the immune system.  Interestingly, some people with gluten sensitivities have no symptoms eating artisanal fully fermented sourdough breads. Now, since we use more fast acting yeast to quickly rise our breads, there's more of the "bad" bacteria in it. 

If you're thinking of going gluten-free because you have joint pain, brain fog, gastrointestinal issues and a host of other issues associated with gluten, it can be very helpful to your well being. If you're going gluten-free because you think it's a good way to lose weight, there are better ways to shed those pounds than buying a lot of highly processed gluten-free products.

ISN'T IT ELITIST TO TELL PEOPLE TO BUY EXPENSIVE ORGANIC FOODS?

See my cat story above.  I really believe if I had fed my cat a better quality cat food, she wouldn't have gotten so sick, and I wouldn't have been stuck with the $3800 vet bill. You'll end up saving money in the long run in doctor's bills if you buy as many organic foods as possible because organic foods are not genetically modified (GMO), they don't contain pesticides, and they don't contain hormones if they're an animal product. 

Since most of us, including myself, really can't afford to buy everything organic,  the rule of thumb is to avoid the Dirty Dozen if you can. It's also a good idea that if you eat a lot of something, then buy that organic when you have the opportunity. 

WHAT ABOUT GMO'S?

Recent studies have connected GMOs to gluten related disorders. If you're still not feeling well after giving up gluten, there's a chance that eating too many GMO foods might exacerbate your symptoms or lead to developing gluten intolerance.. GMO foods include soy, corn, cottonseed, canola, sugar from sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash.  GMO's are linked to intestinal permeability, imbalanced gut bacteria, immune activation and allergies.

WHAT'S THIS ABOUT NOT EATING FAT FREE FOODS?       

Good fats are actually good for you, believe it or not. Funny isn't it, that about 20 years ago when some marketing genius came up with the “fat free” concept and everybody thought they could have their cake and eat it, as long as it was “fat free,” we all started getting fat. Healthy fats, like those in olive oil, nuts or an avocado, are necessary to absorb the nutrients of the food you're eating. If you look at the ingredient list on most fat free foods, you'll see that they contain a lot of sugar and they limit the amount of nutrients your body will absorb. I'm a firm believer, that if you want a chocolate chip cookie, go eat the best chocolate chip cookie you can find (or bake).  I believe, that once you eat it, your craving will be satisfied and then you won't need to eat it for awhile. If you're eating a crappy processed fat free cookie, you'll end up eating a bag full because they just don't quite provide that feeling of deliciousness in your belly.

IF I WERE TO INVEST IN ONE THING FOR MY KITCHEN, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

A good knife.

IF YOU HELP ME COOK, WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?

We will use whatever you have in your kitchen, together with a few basic utensils that I bring. (You'll let me know if you have a food processor, if necessary). If you'd like, I'll take a look at your kitchen and advise you on anything that might be helpful to have in the future.