Saturday, December 21, 2013

Considering a Gluten Free Diet?

Considering a Gluten Free Diet?
 What You Should Know
By Emily Fiorella Mulvehill 12/10/2013

            “Going gluten-free” is a very popular mantra lately. No differently than dietary fads of the past, the phrase “gluten free” commonly appears in health magazines, cooking shows, and on the shelves in our supermarkets. However, the difference between the present gluten-free dietary craze and fad diets of the past is that losing weight is not the end goal.  Instead, preventing and warding off disease and illness is. Perhaps for this reason, going gluten-free has gained global popularity and unparalleled support from the medical community. There are a number of unhealthy side effects that come from consuming gluten which is most commonly consumed in the form of wheat. While research on the issue is still inconclusive, we know there is something in the wheat plant that is making many of us sick. The purpose of this report is to examine the impact of gluten and the wheat grain on human health, the possible causes of a sudden manifestation of gluten-related disorders, and what, if anything, can be done to prevent gluten-related ailments.
            Gluten is the main structural protein found in wheat and other grains such as rye, barley, and oats. Wheat accounts for approximately seventy-five percent (75%) of all calories consumed from carbohydrates in the American diet. The gluten protein  found in wheat is what gives dough its elasticity and the ability to rise when combined with yeast. Traditional breads, baked goods, pasta, and pizza crust would have never been invented without gluten. It is used to thicken soups, sauces, and gravies. Gluten is also used as a valuable binding agent in processed food manufacturing. The more gluten used in baking, the more desirable the characteristics of that food becomes: fluffy, chewy, and springy. Could this be the reason that the amount of gluten contained in wheat has been increasing year after year? (Davis MD, 2011)
            Gluten is used, and is perhaps essential, in creating many delicious foods. Unfortunately, gluten related illnesses are becoming more common, and the only known treatment is to avoid the gluten containing foods altogether. Currently, experts know of at least three conditions that are related to the consumption of gluten. These are: celiac disease (CD), wheat allergy (WA), and gluten sensitivity (GS) ,which is also referred to as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). In addition, recent research has found that a gluten-free diet is linked to reversing various chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.(Soares, 2013), (Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification, 2012)

            Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disease that damages the finger-like villi of the small intestines, disabling the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, leading to malnutrition. The only known treatment is to follow a gluten-free diet. Further complications can develop when celiac disease is left untreated, including: neurological disorders, osteoporosis, infertility, thyroid disease, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases. Notably, the prevalence of celiac disease effects an estimated 1% of the population. It has increased dramatically in both the United States and in Europe over the past fifty (50) years, and as populations in the Middle East and Asia move towards a more Western style diet, cases of celiac disease are expected to increase in those locations as well. (Hischenhuber, et al., 2006)
            Wheat allergy, also known as baker’s asthma, is an allergic reaction caused by an antibody’s reaction to the proteins or other plant tissues found in wheat. Wheat allergy related reactions to consuming wheat range from sneezing, hives, and wheezing to diarrhea, and anaphylaxis.  Wheat allergy appears more frequently in Europe than the US. In parts of Europe, it has been found to represent 20% of food allergy cases; where as an American study found that wheat allergy represented only 2.5% of food allergy cases. The American figure may be underestimated as it accounts for only the most severe cases that ended up in hospitalization.(Hischenhuber, et al., 2006)
            Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a more recent phenomenon. Gluten sensitivity is neither a disease nor an allergy,  and as of today’s date, there is no diagnostic way to test for it. That said, it shares the same extra-intestinal symptoms and treatment of celiac disease; thus, making the two disorders almost indistinguishable. The symptoms include and are not limited to: stomach pain, bloating, heartburn, joint pain, headache, behavioral changes, fatigue, insomnia, and brain fog. The appropriate treatment is to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet, and the symptoms will subside. However, gluten sensitivity is not an auto-immune disorder,  and it does not directly lead to damage in the small intestine.  Little is known about what causes gluten sensitivity and the idea that gluten can cause reactions outside of celiac disease or a wheat allergy is still new to most health care professionals.  Since there is no diagnosis for non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the immense growth in gluten related disorders is perhaps best evidenced by the increased demand for gluten free-foods. Global sales of gluten-free products reached a remarkable $2.5 billion in 2010, skyrocketed to more than $4 billion in 2012, and is expected to exceed more than $6 billion by year 2017.These numbers are perplexing when compared to the mere one percent 1% of Americans and Europeans that reportedly have celiac disease. This suggests that the effects of gluten are so obvious and disruptive that people are able to self-diagnose, adhere to a gluten free diet, and realize the health benefits. (Hischenhuber, et al., 2006), (Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification, 2012), (HUFFPOST Healthy Living, 2012)
            Gluten may also contribute to the rise of obesity. Yet, many proponents of gluten argue that the relationship between the elimination of gluten and weight loss has been created by food manufacturers in order to capitalize on the “gluten-free diet” craze; which may have some merit.  Although, a recent study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found supporting evidence that a gluten-free diet restricts the expansion of fat tissue, reduces inflammation, and curbs insulin resistance. It suggested that a gluten free diet is effective in preventing obesity and metabolic disorders.  Yet, despite the study, many gluten-free, pre-packaged foods are loaded with extra sugar and fat calories.  These processed, gluten-free food alternatives are a recipe for eight gain and would counteract any weight loss benefits from going gluten-free.(Soares, 2013)
            In response to the growing sphere of gluten-related disorders, a panel of fifteen(15) experts convened in London in February of 2011 to research and develop new classifications and terminology, such as gluten sensitivity. No classifications and/or medical terminology were approved until the panelists reached complete consensus. The panel reported their results in one of the most widely cited articles on gluten disorders, entitled “Spectrum of Gluten-Related Disorders: Consensus on New Nomenclature and Classification.” The conclusion of their research suggested that all individuals are susceptible to some form of gluten reaction, and that there is presently an “epidemic” of celiac disease as well as “gluten sensitivity.” (Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification, 2012)
            How can a dietary protein, so widely consumed all over the world, be so toxic? As discussed below, celiac disease researchers have been exploring the possibilities by studying the evolution of wheat.
            Specifically, ancient varieties of wheat had twenty-eight chromosomes and stood four and a half feet tall compared to today’s forty-two chromosome, two (2) foot tall plant(that we still for some reason call wheat). Similar to the difference in genetic structure, celiac researchers found that the gluten content in the ancient varieties was much less, and it has been steadily increasing over the last 10,000 years. In the past, evidence indicates that wheat, while constantly changing, did so gradually. However, there has been a significant modification to wheat in the past century. The recent dramatic change in structure can be attributed to farmers who started, more than 100 years ago, cross breeding varieties of wheat to increase yields, tolerate drought, resist disease, and improve the wheat’s characteristics (by increasing the gluten content) which allows for better bread-making (Kasarda, 2013). In addition to the recent one-hundred plus years of genetic modification, advancements in fertilizers and pesticides have also influenced the plant. One can begin to understand what has led to the differences between wheat grown today and the wheat of  the past. Dr. William Davis, cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly so eloquently states:
Modern wheat no more resembles the wheat of Moses than a chimpanzee resembles a human - in fact, a chimpanzee is closer to a human than modern wheat is to ancient wheat. I would argue that the wheat we are being sold shouldn't even be called wheat. It is a geneticist-created artificial plant that is a far genetic and biochemical distance away from any wheat that ever existed in nature.(Davis MD, 2011)
            Dr. Davis agrees with other celiac researchers that the gluten proteins found in wheat have contributed to the rise of celiac disease, although he is not convinced that our “non-celiac gluten-sensitive” health issues are solely related to gluten.  Instead, he believes they are also affected by other modified, non-gluten proteins found in wheat. For example, in May of 2013, a field in Eastern Oregon was found growing genetically modified, (glyphosate-resistant) “Roundup Ready” wheat.  Roundup Ready crops are genetically bred to resist the poison in weed killer. The wheat was developed by Monsanto, the world's largest producer of genetically modified seeds and supplier of weed killer. The mysterious discovery caused Japan and South Korea to temporarily suspend imports of western white wheat and leads one to the question, “How many more fields of this genetically modified organism (GMO) wheat are out there?” Furthermore, could cross pollination have contaminated neighboring fields? Roundup Ready is approved and used in growing soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, alfalfa, and sugar beets. However, it is not yet approved for growing wheat.  According to Nebraska’s Public Broadcasting Station, the US has not approved Roundup Ready wheat due to the fear of losing its overseas customers, at which point it wouldn’t be worth growing at all. But, this raises a few questions, “Why would Japan and South Korea be so quick to halt importing wheat from the US for the chance it contained the GMO?”  and “What do our overseas customers know about “Round Up Ready wheat that we do not know?”  As far as safety, there are not many studies published on the topic. However,  a 2008 article titled, “Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Crops for Nutrition and Health,” shed some light on the issue in concluding that animals who were fed glyphosate-resistant soybeans versus conventional soybeans developed abnormalities in their organ tissue.(Magaña-Gómez JA, 2009), (Barnard, 2013), (Gerlock, 2013)
            Wheat has been evolving since the beginning of agriculture. One would think that humans would have adapted to this evolution and be able to tolerate this modified wheat by now, since it has long been a staple in our diet. However, over the last 50 years, wheat has endured more changes than ever from selective breeding and experimenting with GMO’s.  And, this coincides with the same time period whereby cases of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have increased by 400%. (Gannon, 2012)
            Research is still underway to better understand how wheat affects people.  Scientists are attempting to discover a minimum threshold for gluten and wheat consumption that can safely be consumed by those who are affected by it. (Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification, 2012)

Works Cited

Barnard, J. (2013, August 30). Source of GMO Wheat In Oregon Remains Mystery. Retrieved from Associated Press:
Davis MD, W. (2011). Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back To Health (p.213). Rodale.
Gannon, P. (2012, July 13). Gluten-Intolerant: Myth, Meme or Epidemic? Retrieved from
Gerlock, G. (2013, June 28). Farmers Ready To Grow Biotech Wheat Face Consumer Scrutiny. Retrieved from
Hischenhuber, C., Crevel, R., Jarry, B., MÄki, M., Moneret-Vautrin, D. A., Romano, A., . . . Ward, R. (2006, March). Review article: safe amounts of gluten for patients with wheat allergy or coeliac disease. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, pp. 23(5), 559-575. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.02768.x.
HUFFPOST Healthy Living. (2012, October 22). Gluten-Free Foods Market To Hit $4.2 Billion This Year: Report. Retrieved from
Kasarda, D. D. (2013). Can an Increase in Celiac Disease Be Attributed to an Increase in the Gluten Content of Wheat as a Consequence of Wheat Breeding? Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 61 (6), 1155-1159.
Magaña-Gómez JA, d. l. (2009). Risk assessment of genetically modified crops for nutrition and health. PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE.
Soares, F. d.-L. (2013). Gluten-free diet reduces adiposity, inflammation and insulin resistance associated with the induction of PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma expression. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 24(6), 1105-1111.
Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification. (2012). BMC Medicine, 10(1), 13-24. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-13.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Reflections on the Ancestral Health Symposium 2013 in Atlanta - Ida Fiorella

Reflections on the Ancestral Health Symposium 2013 in Atlanta
                Joe and I had the good fortune to attend AHS 2013 in Atlanta from August 15th to 17th.  The conference is dedicated to looking at the lifestyles of our ancestors in order to discover ways to avoid the diseases of modern man, such as obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.  At the symposium, doctors, scientists, and health specialists lectured on topics such as nutrition, physical activity, posture, and our internal clock (circadian rhythms.)  In this article, I offer my take-aways.
                Many of the AHS workshops that I attended cited research studies which support the basic Paleo diet prescription.  Here is the summary of what is generally accepted.  Avoid wheat, sugar, legumes, as well as all GMO and processed foods.  Eat high quality protein (grass fed beef, poultry and eggs from pasture-fed animals, and wild caught fish), all free of hormones and antibiotics.  Eat plenty of non-starchy, non-GMO, pesticide-free organic vegetables, and as much high quality fat as possible.   Fats should comprise the largest percentage of calories in our diet, with limited protein, and less carbohydrates.  Limit omega 6 fatty acids and eat plenty of omega 3 fatty acids, supplementing with high quality fish oil as needed.  The need for physical exercise and the importance of optimizing the gut micro-biome are also emphasized across the board.  Significant advantages to both physical and mental health were clearly defined throughout the three-day conference. 
                Beyond this, there were many differing opinions, mostly regarding the ratio of protein to carbohydrate consumption.  Most agree that protein and carbohydrates should be limited, while people are encouraged to eat as much healthy fat as needed.  Protein recommendations were as low as 40 grams for small women and up to 80 grams for an average size man, with some higher recommendations when one is body building, physically active, or participating in strenuous exercise.  Carbohydrate recommendations, at the conference,  ranged from a limit of 20 or 30 grams of carbs, mainly from non-starchy vegetables to a diet consisting of 150 grams of carbs with more liberal carbohydrate choices.  Some believe fruits are fine, while others see fructose as the most destructive form of all sugars. Some argue that gluten-free grains and tubers are fine, while others believe all grains are detrimental to health.    As in AHS 2012, debate continues as to whether or not safe starches such as potatoes and rice should be included in a healthy diet.  Debate also revolves around the use of supplements, such as whether or not calcium supplementation is worthwhile. Videos of each lecture will be available for viewing on the Ancestral Health website.
                One of the most important lectures for me, personally, was given by Paul Jaminet on circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle.  Paul Jaminet spoke about the importance of preventing disruption to our own circadian rhythms.  One example of these rhythms  is in the body’s production of melatonin (the hormone which regulates sleep and wake cycles) and cortisol (the hormone that, among other things, provides  quick bursts of energy for survival).  Melatonin peaks at 3 AM, whereas cortisol peaks at 9 AM.  He estimates that disruptions to circadian rhythms over time could result in the loss of six years of life. 
                Adequate quality sleep is vital in maintaining our body’s circadian rhythms.  Disruption in sleep may lead to any of the following:
cardiovascular disease
musculoskeletal problems
neurological disorders
immune dysfunction
premature aging
metabolic disease
diminished mental performance

                To sleep well and optimize circadian rhythms, the following lifestyle factors should be considered.

Sleep:  Sleep should occur at night on a regular schedule in a dark room.

Exercise:  Exercise should be done during the afternoon.  We should refrain from exercising in the evening.  Night time workouts might actually worsen health.

Social Interaction:  Social interaction is important in the morning.  When living alone, even the practice of viewing faces on television during the day enhances mood and leads to improved sleep the following night.  Viewing human faces and social interaction at night impairs mood and hinders sleep.

Interestingly, it was noted that every one hour of television viewing takes 22 minutes off of one’s life expectancy.  But, viewing a computer screen in the office was found to have no impact on life expectancy.

Light Exposure:  Light exposure is important.  During the day, seek bright sunlight.  Natural light fluorescent bulbs are best daytime stimulators.  Red, yellow, and amber lights are excellent for use in evenings to shift towards melatonin production.

Food Intake/Timing:  Meals should only be eaten during daylight hours.  It was noted that nighttime eating is especially disruptive to anyone on a diet.  Intermittent fasting was mentioned as an optimal timing strategy for meals, where all food consumption would occur within an 8 hour window.  For example, the first meal of the day might be at 10 AM and the final meal ending at 6 PM.  [I have been researching this for the past few months and have read suggestions that this intermittent fasting strategy is more effective for men.]  The idea of abstaining from eating in the evening is the main message here for both genders.

Vitamin D should never be taken near bedtime.  It is associated with sunlight and will disrupt sleep.

Room temperature:  Room temperature has a great impact on sleep and wakefulness.  Warmer temperatures (at least 72 degrees F) are optimal for daytime activities.  Cooler temperatures (no more than 65 degrees F) promote drowsiness. 

                Dr. Ron Rosedale has promoted a low-carb lifestyle for 25 years.  He spoke about the hormones that regulate appetite and curb obesity:  insulin, leptin, and mTOR.  In order to optimize the function of these hormones, it is necessary to restrict carbohydrates to non-starchy vegetables, and to limit protein consumption.  The diet should be rich in healthy sources of fat:  avocados, nuts, coconut, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, and butter.  Protein should consist of grass fed beef, lamb, and pork, wild caught fish, along with eggs and poultry from pasture fed chickens.

                According to Dr. Rosedale, as a 5 foot, 4 inch female, I require  40 to 45 grams of protein per day, divided evenly among meals.  The recommendation is to eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables, with the majority of daily calories from good quality fats, as mentioned above.  In this way, the body will continue to burn fat for fuel, avoiding blood sugar spikes.

                The formula for figuring out your protein needs is as follows:  Start with your ideal weight.  Divide that number by 2.2 (in order to convert pounds to kilograms).  Subtract 10 %.  That is the number of grams of protein that you should consume in a day.

                Dr. Rosedale has an excellent website, and his recommendations are backed up with an impressive array of scientific studies, 25 years of practice with his own patients, as well as his own experience.    I am tweaking my food and supplement program to reflect what I have learned from him and others at this conference.

                 Jeff Leighton discussed the role of omega 3 fish oil (EPA 2235/DHA 990) in the treatment of chronic inflammation.  Research showed that timing of the supplement does not impact effectiveness. Fish oil could be taken with or without food.  A low carb diet without nuts (which contain omega 6 fatty acids) facilitates absorption of the omega 3s. 

                I have only included here my own perceptions, addressing a small fraction of the information that was shared at the conference.  Please visit the Ancestral Health site in the coming days to view the videos for yourself:

                But, I would like to end with a reflection from a very dynamic speaker at the conference, Kyle Maynard, who reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro without any limbs.  Kyle shared a motto that has enabled him to achieve his dreams.  It is from the navy seals:  “...not dead, can’t quit.”  I only hope that I can follow this mantra in my own life.

My Current Diet and Supplements
(August  2013)
            Over the course of this year, I have refined my diet to reflect knowledge gained from the Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 and 2013, as well as recommendations from my new MD/nutritionist.  I have learned that we, as individuals, are unique, and that no two people will need exactly the same regimen to achieve optimal health.  But, I am offering here what seems to be working for me.  I have noticed resolution of my brain fog with this regimen, but some components are too recent to see other results.  I will continue to update as I discover more and see significant outcomes. 
breakfast cereal:
            Mix together the following and chill for a few minutes:
            - ½  serving of whey protein powder (1 scoop of Biochem’s Greens and Whey Vanila)
            - 2 ½ tablespoons of ground chia seeds (Anutra)
            - 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (Nutiva)
            - ½ tsp. of high vitamin butter oil (Green Pasture)
            - ¼ cup of coconut milk (Native Forest)
1 cup (8 ounces) of regular coffee with 1/2 cup of warm coconut milk
½  ounces of beef, poultry, or seafood (grass/pasture fed or wild caught as much as possible), cooked in healthy fats
½ cup of green non-starchy cooked organic vegetables or 1 cup of salad greens with plenty of fats

½  ounces of beef, poultry, or wild caught seafood (grass/pasture fed or wild caught as much as possible) cooked in healthy fats
½ cup of green non-starchy organic vegetables cooked in healthy fats

¼ cup or 2 ounces of raw or cooked carrots, cooked butternut squash, or cooked white rice with butter

salad with romaine, olives, onions and 2 tbsp. Italian dressing

2 tablespoons of fermented vegetables 2 times per week on salad (Wildbrine)

[Note:  A little blanched almond flour or hard cheese are used in some of my recipes.  Also, I have food sensitivities, determined by blood testing, to eggs and tomato products.  I will try adding these highly nutritious foods back into my diet as my “leaky gut” heals.]

1 hour before breakfast:
- 5 mcg of Cytomel (thyroid medication)
With Breakfast:
- 3 high quality fish oil pills (EPA-DHA 720 Metagenics)
- 1 high quality probiotic (Ultra Flora Balance by Metagenics)
- 1 enzyme tablet (Spectrazyme by Metagenics)

With first bite of Lunch:
- 1000 mg calcium/500 mg magnesium
- 1000 mg Vitamin C
- 2 enzyme tablets (Spectrazyme)
- 2 Betaine capsules of HCL with Pepsin (Solaray HCL with Pepsin)

With first bite of Dinner:

- 3 high quality fish oil pills (EPA-DHA 720 Metagenics)
- 1 high quality probiotic (Ultra Flora Balance Metagenics)
- 2 enzyme tablets (Spectrazyme)
- 2 Betaine HCL with Pepsin (Solaray HCL with Pepsin)

Near Bedtime:

- 1000 mg calcium/500 mg magnesium

Other factors besides diet:

I am trying to get 8 hours of sleep per night. 

I began this week incorporating weight bearing exercises for my upper body, 3 to 4 times per week, as well as taking a 20 minute walk 4 times per week for my lower body.

Reasons for certain foods and supplements:

leaky gut (Once healed, I will likely be able to reduce the amount of fish oil, probiotics, enzymes, and HCL.)
brain fog
absorption of vitamins and minerals
dry eye
eye sight/health
thyroid function (hypo)
resistance to infection
allergies and food intolerances

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thin and Thinner Bread

Thin and Thinner Bread

Makes 14 slices of delicious low carb paleo bread!  Time for a sandwich!

Dry Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups of almond flour
¼ cup of coconut flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. xylitol (or other sweetener of choice)

Wet ingredients:
4 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter
½ cup of cauliflower rice or ½ cup zucchini (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Wisk together the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, wisk together the wet ingredients.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Spread dough into the loaf pan.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes. 
Remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Directions for cauliflower rice:
Grate ½ of a head of cauliflower, using only the florets, not the stems.
Microwave for 8 minutes.
Use only ½ cup of cooked cauliflower in the recipe.

If using zucchini instead of cauliflower:
Shred 3 peeled zucchini.
Microwave or (heat on the stove) for 8 minutes.
Strain, squeezing out as much liquid as possible.
Use ½ cup of strained zucchini in the recipe

Nutritional Facts per slice (1/14th) :

Fat:                        11 g       
Protein                 5 g
Carbs                     5 g (3 net carbs)
Fiber                      2 g

Monday, April 15, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This is one of our very favorite vegetable recipes.    Simple to make and delicious! 

14 oz. bag of shaved brussels sprouts (or thinly sliced)
¼ cup olive oil (or coconut oil)
½ cup chopped onion
3 tbsp. butter (Try Kerry Gold!)
sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, and onion powder


Wash and dry brussels sprouts.
In a bowl, mix the shaved (or thinly sliced) brussels sprouts with ½ cup of chopped onion and ¼ cup of oil.
In a large (12 X 18” approx.) pan, spread the brussels sprouts/onion mixture in a single layer.
Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and onion powder.
Dot with slivers of butter.
Roast in oven for 15 minutes on the bottom shelf.
Transfer to top shelf and roast an additional 5 minutes.

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Strawberry Walnut Zucchini Smoothie - Low carb and Paleo Friendly

Strawberry Walnut Zucchini Smoothie
Who said baby food is only for babies? As a mommy-to-be I was practicing making baby food with my new food processor (thanks Mom!); I thought I’d throw in a few extra ingredients in order to make “pureed zucchini" taste somewhat edible... It turned out to be a super tasty and ridiculously healthy treat!

5 strawberries
½ of a large zucchini
¼ cup of walnuts
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
2 packets of Truvia (or your sweetener of choice)

Trim leaves off strawberries
Chop zucchini into 1” cubes
Place all ingredients into food processor or blender and puree

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Almond Chicken Casserole - Low Carb

This recipe is light, yet filling and bursting with flavor all at the same time! Very easy to make and perfect for preparing in advance and baking later.

Almond Chicken Casserole – Low Carb


1 Head cauliflower
½ Medium size yellow onion  
1 Sweet Red Pepper
8 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms
1 lb Fresh Ground Chicken
4 oz. White Cheddar Cheese (grated)
1 cup Almond flour
2 Eggs
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
1 tbsp. Olive oil 


Brown ground chicken over medium heat then set aside.

Chop onion, red pepper, mushrooms, and cauliflower (if cauliflower is too difficult to chop then steam first for 5 minutes).  Mix vegetables together in large bowl. Add 1 tsp of salt and pepper.

Transfer vegetable mixture to large pot coated with olive oil and sauté over medium heat for ten minutes.

Let vegetable mixture cool then mix in the ground chicken, almond flour and cheese.

In small bowl whisk together the eggs and Greek yogurt (creates a batter like consistency). Then blend the batter into the veggie/chicken mixture. Add additional salt/pepper to taste and be sure to mix well.

Pour mixture into glass baking dish and top with additional grated cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Low Carb Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

While having coffee with my friend Cynthia she told me about this Paleo, low carb pancake recipe she made, but was not overly excited about. When she told me what the ingredients were I knew it was missing something; and thereafter, I was determined to master the taste and texture.  So I started experimenting by mixing various ingredients with Pumpkin, Almond flour, and Coconut Oil; and that is how I ended up discovering these crowd pleasing, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins. Not only does my husband approve and love them but my father does too! One batch of these muffins will not be enough. I have made them at least five times with the intention of giving them to Cynthia but they never last more than a couple hours in my kitchen…

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins:
In large mixing bowl blend the following ingredients:
1 cup Sugar Free Chocolate Chips (see recipe below)
1 cup Almond Flour
1/3 cup Splenda
16 packets or 1/3 cup Truvia
1 tbs Sugar Free French Vanilla Coffee Mate Powder
1 tspn Cinnamon
¼ tspn All Spice
Dash of Ginger
½ tspn Salt

In separate mixing bowl whisk the following ingredients:
2 eggs (or 3 eggs for more cakey)
½ Cup Pumpkin (canned no sugar added)
1 tbspn Coconut Oil

Pour pumpkin mixture into the almond flour bowl and mix well. Add chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin pan (makes 18 mini muffins or 6 large muffins).

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Sugar Free Chocolate Chips

4oz. 100% Bakers Chocolate
¼  cup ½ n ½ or coconut cream
14 packets of Truvia
1/3 cup Splenda

Directions: Place chocolate and creamer in a microwave bowl. Heat in microwave for 60 seconds. Stir in sweeteners then place in microwave for 30-60 more seconds. Stir well. Spread chocolate onto wax paper, cover with another sheet of wax paper, then press down to make chocolate as flat/thin as possible. Place flattened chocolate on wax paper in freezer. After ten minutes take chocolate out of freezer and break down into chips.     

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Low Carb Paleo Bread

We have been researching greatly, and have never seen anything like this.  This bread is delicious without butter.  It is moist and has a wonderful taste and texture.  We have had it for dinner with family and everyone loves it--including the kids!  We are so thrilled to share it with you.  All we ask is that you put a comment on our site to let us know what you think!  Enjoy!

With love,
Thin and Thinner

Thin and Thinner Bread Recipe:

Makes 14 slices of delicious low carb paleo bread!  Time for a sandwich!

Dry Ingredients:
1 ¼  cups of almond flour
¼ cup of coconut flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. xylitol (or other sweetener of choice)

Wet ingredients:
4 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter
½ cup of cauliflower rice (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Wisk together the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, wisk together the wet ingredients.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Spread dough into the loaf pan.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes. 
Remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Directions for cauliflower rice:
Grate  ½ of a head of cauliflower, using only the florets, not the stems.
Microwave for 8 minutes.
Use only ½ cup of cooked cauliflower in the recipe.

Nutritional Facts per slice (1/14th) :

Fat:                    11 g       
Protein                 5 g
Carbs                   5 g (3 net carbs)
Fiber                    2 g
Calories              132