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What’s on the menu – Celiac disease or not, this gluten free item is a must

I do my best to avoid anything made with refined wheat flour. Over the past decade, I’ve heard that the overconsumption of this item can contribute to detrimental health issues like type 2 diabetes, obesity and “gastric distress” (all listeners of the podcast know what that means). BUT, I’d be lying if I said I never touched the stuff. Fortunately for me, I don’t have a pronounced sensitivity to gluten, but there are those individuals who can’t even look at fresh-baked bread without getting a stomach ache.

Individuals who suffer from celiac disease have an inflammatory response whenever they ingest the gluten protein from wheat, rye, barley and other related items. This inflammatory response can result in several side effects ranging from bloating and gas to anemia and/or osteoporosis (source).

Author and podcaster Anna Vocino described her trials and tribulations with celiac disease on a past episode of Addicted to Fitness (episode link). Living with this disease forced her develop numerous gluten free and grain free recipes which ultimately lead to the creation of her cookbook Eat Happy (link). The pantry item that Anna and other celiac sufferers seem to use as their preferred wheat flour substitute is the menu item we’ll be highlighting today.

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Almond flour is made up of exactly what you think: ground up almonds. Usually the almonds are blanched, skins removed then finely ground.

One ingredient and minimally processed.

If that’s not enticing enough, almond flour’s nutrition facts essentially mirrors that of blanched almonds. One ounce contains 14 g of fat, 6 g of protein & carbs and significant amounts of important vitamins and minerals. Enriched (nutrients added) wheat flour on the other hand contains 0 g of fat, 3 g of protein and 21 g of carbs in the same serving size.

In addition to being gluten free, a single ounce of almond flour contains over 30% of our daily value (DV) for both Vitamin E and manganese. Both nutrients can boost insulin sensitivity which is extremely important to individuals that have problems controlling their blood sugar. Almond flour is also a good source of magnesium, which studies have shown can help decrease blood pressure (source).

I feel that it is important to mention that there is also a product known as almond meal which is made from almonds that still have their skin and is not as finely ground. I mention this because many of the sources I gathered my almond info from suggested that the skin of the almond contains many of its beneficial antioxidants (source). However, the terms “flour” and “meal” are often used interchangeably. A tell-tale sign that you’re buying almond meal is the tiny pieces of brown skin in the mixture (see below).

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Whether you use almond meal or flour, the point is you are using a product that will have less of a damaging effect on your body than regular wheat flour. Both Shannon and I have a preferred use of both products: Shannon loves using blanched almond flour to make paleo “friendly” almond cookies, while I like using almond meal to coat baked chicken or fish.

If you haven’t tried almond flour or meal yet, give it a shot. Its mild flavor won’t overwhelm any dish you use it in. If this post inspired you to give it a try, we’d love to hear what you think of it. If you are already an almond flour user & lover, please feel free to send your favorite recipe our way. You can email them to elementaltampa@gmail.com or post them to our social media pages (FacebookInstagram or Twitter). I also encourage everyone to check out our friend Anna’s book Eat Happy for more healthy recipes.

What’s on the Menu

If you’ve been following this blog for an extended period of time, you are probably privy to the fact that I’m a devout omnivore. That devotion is what inspires me to order the “charcuterie board” whenever I see it on a restaurant’s menu.

Meat and cheese may seem simple, but the variety of flavors that can exist within those two food categories appears to be endless. Which is why when Shannon asked me what we should have for a mid afternoon snack on Christmas I almost involuntarily responded, “charcuterie!”

I’ll admit right now that I had no idea that my request would result in the picture you see below.

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(Vegan Cheeze Dip in the top left corner)

As you can see the board contained a variety of meats and cheeses, but it also contained Shannon’s vegan cheeze dip. I know what you’re thinking “How the hell can cheese dip be vegan?” Fortunately, the answer to that question is ridiculously simple. Check out the recipe from her blog to see why:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cup Raw Cashews
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • pinch of Cayenne Powder
  • pinch of Turmeric

DIRECTIONS:

Dump all the ingredients into a food processor and blend till creamy.

This recipe is perfect for everyone! It doesn’t contain any dairy, the cashews are full of healthy fats (source), the nutritional yeast has a surprising amount of protein (source) and the vast majority of its carbs come from fiber.

You make this dip for you next big party and I promise you’ll be having people asking you for the recipe. Just make sure you tell them you got it from elementaltampa.com!

What’s on the Menu

One of the big components of eating healthy is cooking the majority of your meals at home with whole ingredients. As a working professional I know that meal planning & grocery shopping for an entire week of meals can be time consuming. Fortunately, services like Blue Apron can have all the ingredients you need to make wholesome meals, that meet your dietary preferences, sent right to your door. Plus, if you’re a avid podcaster listener, I’m sure you’ve heard the host give out a Blue Apron promo code to get you a couple free meals. No, I’m not a paid endorser (I wish I was honestly), I just know services like these can reduce individuals reliance on ordering takeout or going out to eat. Shannon and I go into more detail about this awesome service, and meal prep in general, in a past episode of the Addicted to Fitness podcast. Give it a listen and let us know if it convinced you to give Blue Apron a try.

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