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Mmm, Mmm Good: My Favorite Gluten-Free Soup
by TriciaThompsonMS/RD

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   (237 votes)

It’s turning a wee bit chillier in the Northeast and my thoughts are starting to turn towards soup to keep me warm. Homemade gluten-free soup is easy to make and a great way to experiment with some of the gluten-free whole grains.

Amaranth is one of my favorite grains to use in soups. Actually, amaranth isn’t really a grain but an herb harvested for its seeds.

Amaranth seed is tannish-brown in color and very small — about the size of a poppy seed. It gives soups a nice thick mouth feel. From a nutritional standpoint, amaranth seed is a tasty way to increase the iron and fiber content of your soups.

Amaranth seed can be found in natural foods stores. It also can be mail ordered, including from Nu-World Amaranth (

In the Fall and Winter I like to serve soup for dinner. The recipe below is one of my favorites. It is from my book The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide (McGraw-Hill, 2008).

Gluten-free rice chips go great with this soup. I am partial to Lundberg Family Farms brand.


Tomato Vegetable Soup with Amaranth Seed

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced into ¼” crescents
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 19-ounce can dark red kidney beans
2 cups gluten-free chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup uncooked amaranth seed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Red pepper flakes, optional
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and saute 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, peas, corn and kidney beans. Add the broth, water and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Mix in the amaranth seed. Add the garlic powder, oregano, pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat for approximately 1 hour.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Tricia Thompson, M.S., RD is a nutrition consultant, author and speaker specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide (McGraw-Hill) and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Eating (Penguin Group). For more information, visit

GLUTEN-FREE IS A GOOD START! But to get a weight loss plan perfectly catered to your personal needs, click here and becomes a Premium member!

For a copy of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide click here.

September 20, 2010


Cracking The Fat-Loss Code
by JohnMc

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   (143 votes)

Are you ready for a science-backed eating plan that’ll lead to permanent weight loss... an eating plan that includes plenty of real food, lots of really tasty recipes and guilt-free cheat days?

Then you're ready for Wendy Chant, MPT, SPN -- a likeable high-energy sort who holds not just a master of personal training degree but also a specialist in performance nutrition degree.

Chant, a former marathon runner and bodybuilder from Central Florida, first learned the science behind trimming down and powering up for competition, then put pen to paper to create her hot new book, Crack The Fat-Loss Code (McGraw-Hill).

Chant, whose book is subtitled "Outsmart Your Metabolism and Conquer the Diet Plateau," claims that if you follow her "scientific way to lose fat" you'll drop up to 25 pounds in eight weeks... and keep it off!

I have to admit that a "scientific" approach to weight loss sounded like something that would be dry and difficult to follow. I was wrong on both counts.

Chant has done the homework for us and she writes in such an easy to understand style that you'll quickly embrace her formula.

Once you understand that the human body evolved to resist starvation by holding on to fat you understand why it's so darn hard to lose weight!

Chant notes, "My plan is scientifically designed to help you outsmart your body's natural cycles for storing and burning calories. The plan teaches you to boost your metabolism through 'macro-patterning' -- a simple routine of alternating carb-up, carb-down, and baseline days. There are built-in cheat days so you can enjoy the foods you love. Once you get your eating habits on schedule, you'll find that you can lose weight... for good."

So what is the fat-loss code?

According to Chant, "The body’s survival mode and adaptive response is the fat-loss code you need to crack so you can lose weight and keep it off for good. Like any code, the 'fat-loss code' solves a mystery — in this case, the mystery of why you can restrict calories, lose weight, and then hit the dreaded diet plateau.

"So cracking the fat-loss code is about understanding the body's adaptive response."

The Fat-Loss Code

• You’ve got a body whose job is to survive.

• You’ve got food coming in: intake.

• You’ve got energy being used: expenditure.

• You’ve got a “survival machine” analyzing the fuel coming in every 72 hours.

• You’ve got the same survival machine processing the energy going out every 48 hours.

• You’ve got a point of adaptation where the body analyzes the 72/48 fat-loss code and realizes how much to spend with what’s come in.

• And you? You’ve got a nasty dieter’s plateau just waiting to be conquered!

Chant notes, "As a result of these very powerful elements, cracking the fat-loss code is a scientific process of macro-patterning during a proven eight-week period specifically designed to counteract the body’s inherent adaptive response."

Macro-patterning? Chant says that's the manipulation of the energy you take in via protein, fat and carbs.

With her plan, you can eat all foods, but you need to develop an understanding of how your body uses the energy from food.

"The body uses energy logically," Chant says. "It uses carbs as its main source.

"The three sources of energy are the food you eat, the energy readily available in your muscles, and the energy stored in fat cells."

Chant says fad diets are doomed for failure because they keep you on the same eating regimen and that allows your body to adjust and stop burning fat as efficiently.

"Every 72 hours the body figures out what is coming in," she says. "You never want three days the same because it's the design of the body to keep and hold."

So while you'll enjoy carb-heavy foods one day, you'll follow up with a carb-light day. You'll end up eating all the foods you love, but in a manner more conducive to fat burning.

"Fat loss is biological and chemical," Chant says. "You are better off having 7 cookies on one day than to have one cookie a day for 7 days."

Crack The Fat-Loss Code will train you to create a science-based eating plan that works for you. Once you work your way through the first right weeks, you'll be ready to go forth with the proven eating habits that lead to weight loss and -- eventually -- weight maintenance for life.

July 10, 2008


Buff Dad: 4-Week Fitness Plan For Real Guys
by JohnMc

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   (51 votes)

Hey guys, are you ready to go from Puffy Dad to Buff Daddy? I know I am. And the man to help us get there is Mike Levinson, a trainer of professional athletes who needed to follow his own advice after gaining 50 pounds when his first son was born.

Five years have passed since Levinson began to train himself. He's since dropped the weight, gained plenty of muscle and added four more sons to Team Levinson (two sets of twins!).

And just in time for Father's Day, he's given birth to the breakthrough workout book Buff Dad: The 4-Week Fitness Game Plan For Real Guys (HCI).

"While being a dad changes your life for the better in so many ways, it can also be detrimental to your waistline… and your overall health," Levinson says.

"Your Saturday workouts at the gym have been replaced by Saturday Little League games; your morning run has become running out the door to make the daycare drop-off; and your romantic sushi night has become family pizza with a side of crayons."

Levinson is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He accepted my interview call while getting ready to enter the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to see his just-born twin sons.

It's that kind of discipline that makes Levinson such a great trainer. It's also the kind of discipline you need if you are serious about slimming down and shaping up.

"I can't give you willpower," he notes. "But I can transform your middle-age spread to six-pack abs and help many other dads lose weight, tone up, and improve their health and energy levels... usually in less than 28 days."

Buff Dad is the first program tailored with dads in mind. Levinson gives men a four-week game plan to get it done. The secret is testosterone, a key fuel that boosts your body's ability to lose weight and build muscle naturally.

The Buff Dad program shows you how to incorporate testosterone "powerfoods" into your meals to help you take the weight off. By combining this tasty and realistic nutritional plan with the Buff Dad Workout Blitz -- targeted, timesaving exercises just three times a week -- you will be on your way to being the Buff Dad you WANT to be, and your family NEEDS you to be.

"Four weeks is realistic," Levinson tells "It all depends on your level of fitness when you start.

"It's not only about weight. My clients also see great progress with their cholesterol, blood pressure and energy.

"Guys who commit to me for four weeks -- and they have to be really committed -- will drop 15-20 pounds in a month. If you stick to it, then take a break for a few days… lifestyle change… then take a break for a few days, then recommit, you will make lifestyle changes that'll help you stay in shape."

Levinson says education, willpower and discipline are the keys.

"It boils down to how bad do you want it -- are you willing to make sacrifices?" he notes.

Weight more than 200 pounds? Then you can expect to start your plan with more than 2,000 calories a day.

Sorry ladies. Levinson stresses that his testosterone-based diet plan is for men only. He firmly believes gender is a major concern when creating or following a weight loss plan.

Levinson knows the time constraints that accompany a child. He doesn't expect anyone to find two hours a day to work out at the gym. His fitness plan uses dumbbells, fitness bands, pull-ups, push-ups and a jump rope -- things you can use or do in quick bursts at home!

"Fatherhood not only changes you mentally, but it also creates an entirely new dynamic in your personal life," Levinson says. "Gone are the weekends of sleeping in, the impulsive nights out, and the freewheeling daily routine you once had. Overnight, everything shifts to accommodate someone else's schedule.

"Before you know it, you realize you haven't gone for your morning run in eight months, you've eaten more baby cookies and Goldfish crackers than you care to admit, and you vaguely remember seeing your home gym somewhere behind the stroller and portable playpen. The scary thing is, you don't really care, nor do you miss your old self."

Levinson says the inevitable happens... one morning you wake up and realize you've become the one thing you never thought you'd be: FAT.

No dwelling on the bad behaviors that led us to the extra pounds we're carrying. Thanks to Mike Levinson, a former fat dad, we now have the chance to diet like a man, lose weight and gain -- or regain -- a trim and toned body.

Mike Levinson is a former amateur bodybuilding champion and registered dietitian who holds dual degrees in sports nutrition and physical education. He has worked extensively as a nutritionist with the California Angels baseball team and with famous athletes such as Charles Oakley, JT Snow, Jim Abbott, Gary DiSarcina, and Sean Rooks of the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers. He also worked as a nutritionist with both the Chicago Bears football team and the Oakland Raiders.

For your copy of Buff Dad, click on the book image at left.

June 9, 2008


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