Juicing – Good or Bad


Juicing

This morning I was looking at Twitter and I saw a tweet that said that juicing really isn’t good for you and lead me to this article.  I know many an IBD that swear to juicing so of course I had to take a look.

Of course like most click baits these days, the article wasn’t quite what was being described.  It goes on to say that juicing as a form of detoxing the body doesn’t really work.  Of course, this isn’t news to me because if you know anything about nutrition, fruits and vegetables while good for you, can actually be harmful in large quantities.  There is the sugar contents and carbs.  I very rarely touch any juice as it also doesn’t have as much vitamins or fiber then if you eat the actual fruit since most of the nutritional elements are in the skin and the skin a lot of times doesn’t make it into the juice.

The reason behind this post is because when I first saw the whole good or bad, I thought right away to all of my IBDers that juice and to them it is a life saver.  Many people can’t tolerate or digest whole foods.  Juicing is a big way for many of us with digestive issues to get our calories and vitamins.  Of course, those needing this make their own juice and usually will have the skin as apposed to the commercial juices that don’t have them.

I actually got angry over the tweet because it should have been said differently.  To just say it isn’t good is very misleading.  The tweet didn’t mention detoxing.  If it did, I would have ignored it.  Instead, it was something just put on the surface which will somehow eventually be taken out of context.  And then, this will lead to people thinking less of those of you that juice for your health.  And also, if you look really fast at the article, which I just did, the first thing you see is Juicing is Officially Dead.  Well, not for my IBDers, I can tell you that.

The one good thing that they do say in the article is this, and it comes at the very end,

Juice still has its benefits. Juice squeezed from fresh fruits and vegetables is more nutritious than sugary, whipped-cream-topped Frappuccinos. It’s also a convenient way to consume healthy foods on-the-go: I wouldn’t gnaw on a carrot or a beet on my morning commute to work, but I’d certainly sip them through a straw.”

So how many of you juice?  What has been your experience with it?  Why do you juice and what is your favorite recipe?  I would love to hear from you and hear about your experience.

juice

 

 

Advertisements

Gluten Free Rant


I went out to eat this weekend and something jumped into my head that really got me thinking.  Many restaurants are now serving gluten-free meals.  They recognize there is a big issue out there and they are now catering to the many people out there that can’t or won’t eat gluten.  I like that.  I am happy for that.

I work in the hospitality industry.  Maybe one day I will own my own restaurant.  What I know is that when you open a restaurant and create a menu, you can’t keep that same menu forever.  You have to change it over time to keep up with trends and what the customers want.  Many restaurants do this and are now moving to keep up with the gluten-free movement.  This is a good move on their part.  There are even gluten-free restaurants which I think is great.

Now, here is my rant.  I went into a big national chain restaurant (who will remain nameless) and they had a gluten free menu.  I loved it because items I thought had gluten in them on the regular menu turned out to be gluten-free.  I placed my order (my wife ordered from the regular menu) and then they brought out the bread.  Before I went GF I loved their bread.  Now, I looked at it and drooled knowing I can’t touch it.   On another day I was in a diner and again, the bread basket comes out with delicious looking items.

With this big push to be Gluten Free sensitive the one thing that hasn’t really changed is the bread basket.  As anyone on a GF diet knows, this item is a major no-no.   Bread is a big component of gluten.  So why isn’t anyone focusing on this item.  This is one item to change very easily.  There are tons of GF breads and rolls out there.  There are GF bread sticks and crackers.  Why can’t restaurants include these items for us GF customers.  Why are we forced to either drool over the regular bread baskets or sit there alone.    Now, I am not asking these restaurants to make their own.  I know there are many places that are real small and don’t have the kitchen space.  I am fine with that.  But you can buy them and put them in their own basket for us GF dieters.

What also gets me is in the chain restaurant they at least asked if we wanted the bread.  In many places they don’t ask. I know first hand bread costs have gone up.  If they would stop bringing out the bread automatically they would probably save money which they can spend on the GF bread.

Eating out in a restaurant should be an enjoyable experience.  I used to love going out to different places.  Since going GF I enjoy it less and my selection of restaurants have decreased.  Being teased at a restaurant makes the experience even worse.

Ok, rant over.  And now I want a slice of bread.

Gluten Free Beef Stew


It’s been awhile since I said I would post recipes so, here is another gluten-free recipe which is pretty IBD friendly..or at least for some IBDers.

Being that the temperature has been in the 20’s and I have been freezing my butt off lately, I wanted something that would be satisfying and warm me up.  I was getting tired of my usual weekly menu and needed a change.  When I was online one day, I saw a recipe for beef stew for a crock pot and I thought, I don’t have a crock pot but I can still make the stew.  So, I went out shopping, got the ingredients, and made way to much stew.  But is was so worth it because it was soooo good.  And the cold will be around for a while so I have meals for another day.

Now, for the recipe, I didn’t measure out anything and it made about 8 servings.  This is a dish that exact measurements aren’t needed and you can add whatever you want.

SAMSUNG

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb cubed steak
  • 3 Carrots – peeled and rough chopped
  • 6 Celery Stalks – rough chopped
  • 1 Parsnip – peeled and rough chopped
  • 2 Large Potatoes – peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 Onion – peeled and rough chopped (pearl onions work well also and require no prep)
  • 1/2 Frozen Peas
  • 64 oz Beef Broth
  • 2 cans Diced Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Gluten Free Flour or Corn Starch SAMSUNGSAMSUNG

Take your steak and coat in either the corn starch or flour.  I decided to use flour just out of personal preference.  Heat oil in a large stock pot and sear off meat.  You don’t want to cook the meat all the way through, just brown it.  You are sear it to seal in the juices.  Also, you can do this in batches if the pot isn’t large enough.

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGAfter the meat is browned and removed from pot, add onions and more oil if needed.  Saute the onions until soft and translucent.  If you are using pearl onions, do not do this step.  They will be added at the end.

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGWhen the onions are done, add some flour to make a roux.  Cook this for a couple of minutes until the roux starts to brown.  Add carrots, celery, parsnip, potatoes, beef, and stock.  Stir well.  Add any seasoning you like.  They can be fresh or dried.  I added some basil, oregano and salt.  Again this is to your preference.   Bring the stew to a boil.

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGWhen it boils, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 1 1/2 hours.  When the stew is done, add the canned tomatoes and peas.  If you are using pearl onions, add them also.  Bring back to a boil and remove from heat.  If the stew is still thin and not to your desired thickness, make a cornstarch slurry to add to it to thicken it up.  Serve with some nice crusty bread.

SAMSUNG

The Great Experiment Part 2


Last January I was in a nasty flare.  I was going to the bathroom 30 times a day.  I was obese with high cholesterol and high blood sugar.  My body was a mess and I wasn’t treating it nicely.  So, I decided to make some changes as many of you already know.  I joined Weight Watchers to lose weight, which I was pretty good with.  For the year I lost about 30 lbs.  I also went Gluten-Free to help with my Crohn’s.  I wanted to give my intestines a rest from the harsh fiber of wheat.  Also, this was supposed to help in reducing my blood sugar levels.  Lastly, and this happened later in the year, I switched meds.  I went off Humira and started Low Dose Naltrexone.

For the most part everything was working well.  I achieved what seemed like remission.  I lost weight.  I feel good and healthier.  I was finally on the right track.  And then it all came to a crashing halt.  The Dreaded Holidays!!!   Anyone that knows me knows I like to eat.  Well, the holidays give me that opportunity.  Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate covered anything.  With New Years Eve, there is a lot of eating, then some drinking, then some more eating and yes, more drinking.

Well, it is now January 2013.  My weight has been fine and I don’t think I have gained too much weight back as my clothes still fit.  However, the past week or so I have been going to the bathroom more.  I am not feeling as healthy as I should and I know the reason.  I have been putting garbage into my body again and have completely looked away from eating right.  I am now paying for it.

So now I know that diet most definitely plays a part in IBD.  Today is Friday night.  This weekend is my last hurrah.  As of Monday I start up my experiment with nutrition and IBD and get back to eating correctly.  I am going back onto the Weight Watchers plan.  I am going to stop putting nasty chemicals into my body.  I am going to start treating my body like it should be treated.

A lot of people still say that nutrition means nothing when it comes to IBD.  I think I might have proven this past year that it does.  When I ate healthy with all natural products I was doing great.  When I started eating junk again, I felt like I was on the verge of a flare.  I have learned a lot in 2012 and I know that I need to stop NOW.  I need to practice what I preach.

So I will continue on my journey come Monday.  I won’t look back.  I won’t second guess myself and I won’t regret it for one minute.  I want to be completely healthy.  I want others to look and me and say, “If he can do it, then anyone can” because I couldn’t do it for so many years.  I denied the nutrition connection and ignored my weight. 

The holidays are done.  My denial is over.  I had my fill and now I need to continue my journey and my experiment.  Welcome to Jeff 2.0.  Time to take all I have learned and put it into practice.  And there is nothing better on a journey than some company…so Who Is With Me?

Gluten Free Mac & Cheese


I wanted to share with you another recipe I have that is gluten-free.  I started making this recipe a couple of years ago when I was on Weight Watchers for the 2nd time.  This is one of their recipes but I have modified it a little.  Originally this wasn’t a gluten-free recipe but as my lifestyle changes, so do my recipes.  For any vegans, you can also modify this using a dairy free cheese and soy or almond milk.

Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese – Serves 2

  1. 6 oz Uncooked Gluten Free Elbow Macaroni – you can use whatever brand you like
  2. 1 cup Fat Free Milk (can be lactose free, soy, almond, or regular)
  3. 1/8 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  4. 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  5. 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  6. 1/2 cup Low Fat Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Cook pasta in water according to package.  Drain and return to pot.

While pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan, whisk together milk, flour, salt and onion powder until blended.  Bring to a boil on a medium – low heat, whisking frequently.  Reduce to a low heat and simmer, stirring often, until thickened (about 2 minutes).  Remove from heat and whisk in the cheese.

Add sauce to the cooked pasta, toss to coat, and serve.
I sometimes add cooked broccoli to this.  You can also add meat to this dish like cubed ham.  If you do, I would reduce the amount of pasta to 4 oz then.

 

Feel free to play with this recipe as  there are a lot of things you can do with it.  Some people add hot sauce or red pepper flakes.  Some will add bread crumbs and bake it.  Whatever you do, enjoy it like I always do.

 

 

Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan – Gluten Free


As promised, here is the recipe for a delicious eggplant dish.  First, I want to say that I did not create this recipe.  I have changed it a little and the original can be found here http://glutenfreehappytummy.com/2012/08/15/eggplant-non-parmesan-gf-v-scd/.  I have found a bunch of good gluten free recipes on her website (sorry, I don’t know the name of the woman who writes this blog).  You can follow her recipe and it is really good.  I just wanted to tweak it a little to match my taste palate.  Also, one note…I wanted to post pictures of the cooking process but I got so wrapped up in making the dish I forgot to take pictures.  I do have one of the finished dish that I will post at the end.  So, here it is:

Serves 3

1 eggplant peeled, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 Cup Almond Milk – Unsweetened

2/3 cup Garbanzo and Fava Bean Flour (mixed with a bit of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder)

Sauce:

3 tomatoes, chopped, with their juice
1 carrot and 1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 Tsp garlic paste 
1/2 tsp dried basil, oregano, and parsley
salt and pepper
fresh basil (garnish)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. After you slice your eggplant, set up your “breading station.” You will need one bowl with your milk, a plate with your  flour mixture, and a tin-foil-lined, olive-oil sprayed baking sheet. Dunk your eggplant in the milk, coat it with the flour and place on the baking sheet. Spray all the tops with olive oil, and then bake for 40 minutes until golden brown, flipping half way through.

Meanwhile, on the stove, saute your onion in 1 tsp EVOO, with salt, pepper, dried oregano and basil. Add your carrot and celery, and let it soften, about 6 minutes. Finally, add in your tomatoes and garlic. Let them cook for about 3 minutes. Mash with a potato masher, or put in the food processor to create your desired consistency.

After you have pureed your tomatoes, place back onto the stove and put a small flame under it.  Bring to a small boil to reduce out some of the liquid.  Taste it and reseason it if you need to.

When the eggplant is done, place 3 slices on a plate, layering them over each other.  Spoon some of the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant.  Place the basil in the center for garnish and serve.

Now to make this truly a parmesan you need some cheese.  I didn’t do it this time, but you can add either shaved parmesan or romano cheese to this.  You can also add some of the pearl mozzarella balls to this.  Either would make a nice garnish and addition to the meal.

Enjoy.

Gluten Free Diet Update


It has been seven months now since I have gone gluten-free in hopes of calming my colon to help get me in remission.  I figured I would update you to show just how important diet is to treating your IBD.

Back in January I weighed around 240 lbs.  I was going to the bathroom 30 times a day with a lot of cramping and having a lot of intestinal pain.  I knew I had to change my way of life.  So I decided to go on Weight Watchers and go gluten-free.  This would be a big change for me as I love my gluten 🙂

Here it is 7 months later.  I am happy to say, it is working beautifully.  I am down 25 lbs.  Best of all, my Crohn’s is just about in remission.  I am only going to the bathroom 3-4 times a day.  Still more than normal, but I can live with that.  My blood sugar and cholesterol have also come down but still not to acceptable levels.  Overall, I have made a real impact on my health for the better.

So what have I learned from this experience.  Well, you can definitely live a gluten-free life.  There are some hurdles every now and then but nothing that I can’t handle.  The biggest challenge so far was travelling to another country to an all-inclusive resort.  The food choices were a challenge, and I didn’t eat too much..but I was able to stick to my gluten-free diet.

Now for anyone thinking about going gluten-free but is worried about taste…don’t be.  There are a lot of tasty GF products out there.  Depending on where you live,  your selection might be different from mine but I am sure that you will find some tasty treats.  Here are some of the brands I use.

Bread – I have tried a number of GF breads and have found Udi’s Whole Grain to be my favorite.  Glutino also a good whole grain but their white bread isn’t as good.  Schar’s Deli Style bread reminds me of a Jewish Rye which makes a real good sandwich.

Cereal – I have been sticking with Chex for now as they have a number of different flavors to choose from.  Nature’s Path also makes some really good cereal’s but is a little harder to find.

Pasta – I have been sticking to Schar brand pasta but they are limited in their variety.  Tinkyada makes a good brown rice pasta also.  I recently made a lasagna with their noodles and you couldn’t tell it was gluten-free.

Snacks – This one is going to vary depending on what you are looking for in sweets.  I have been sticking to Schar’s Vanilla or Chocolate Wafers.  Glutino also makes good wafers but you get more per serving size with Schar.  For crunchy snacks, I find myself ignoring potato chips which are usually greasy and have been eating Pirate Booty.  They have a number of different flavors and styles.  I also have been eating more popcorn.  Not only is popcorn GF but it is a whole grain and has recently be found to have more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables.  For my desert’s, I have been eating ZenSoy chocolate puddings.  They are dairy free and more delicious than Jell-O brand.

Frozen meals – Now of course home-made is healthier than frozen but sometimes you just have to do it.  I have found Amy’s brand has some really good meals.  I especially like their Spinach Lasagna.   Another pasta I like which is frozen is Caesar’s brand gnocchi.  I used to love gnocchi and this is one item I can still eat.  For pizza, I have been eating Glutino’s Pepperoni pizza.  Amy’s makes a good vegetable one that has no cheese.  My selection to frozen meals is limited as I can only find GF ones in Whole Foods.

As for meals, most natural foods are gluten-free.  Chicken, beef, vegetables, etc.  All you have to do is find some good recipes and use your imagination.   A simple meal like grilling a beef tenderloin, baked potato and some steamed broccoli is delicious, wholesome, and gluten-free.

So, my journey continues.  I am down 25 lbs with another 50 to go.  I have a long road ahead and my current medicine is making the journey a little harder but it is still a great learning experience.  I think as I come across them, I will post some recipes for anyone looking for some.  I recently found a great eggplant recipe that is GF and Dairy free.  I will post that real soon.  And if anyone has some they would like to share, let me know.