Mmm, Mmm Good: My Favorite Gluten-Free Soup
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 (www.nuworldamaranth.com).
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 www.glutenfreedietitian.com.
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For a copy of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide click here.
September 20, 2010
7 Scary Things In Your Food
By one estimate, there are over 3,000 food additives being used with the approval of our government. Knowing which additives are safe and which ones may be toxic or carcinogenic can be a tricky proposition – even for the most seasoned label reader!
Here’s what we’ve done to make this matter easier to digest. We’ve compiled a list of the 7 worst and most commonly used junk ingredients that are found in leading brand name foods (even in many foods portrayed as healthy).
Make it a point to avoid these deadly 7 additives and you and your family will be well ahead of the health and weight loss curve!
7 Worst Junk Ingredients to Avoid
1. Sodium nitrate (also called sodium nitrite)
This is a preservative, coloring, and flavoring commonly found in processed meats like bacon, ham, hot dogs, cold cuts and smoked fish. Studies have shown that it reacts with the body’s digestive acids to form a cancer-causing agent called nitrosamines. So double-check that “healthy” turkey for carcinogens before you gobble down your sandwich!
2. Aspartame (aka NutraSweet/Equal)
In scientific terms, this is a chemical combination of two amino acids and methanol. It’s better known by the brand names NutraSweet and Equal, which are sweeteners found in countless “diet” desserts, drink mixes and soft drinks. Aspartame was once thought to be a safe artificial sweetener, but it is now believed to cause cancer and neurological problems such as dizziness and hallucinations.
This artificial sweetener is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is often found in chewing gum and soft drinks. When tested in the laboratory, it caused cancer in rats. And that makes this additive a lot less sweet in our opinion!
4. Artificial food colorings
There are food colorings being used that are linked with cancer in animal testing as well as behavioral disorders in children. These include Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3 and Yellow 6. Amazingly, these colors have been banned in the United Kingdom yet remain in many American foods. They can easily be avoided by choosing natural foods that aren’t chemically or colorfully enhanced.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in many soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees and restaurant food. This nasty additive can tinker with the nervous system causing side effects like migraines and overeating in some individuals. MSG appears on labels under several aliases, including yeast extract and calcium caseinate. It’s even been found on the labels of organic products! Here’s a list of the common aliases for MSG.
6. Trans fats
Trans fats cause heart disease. It’s a proven fact. Before purchasing any packaged food, check the ingredients list. Even if the label boasts “0g trans fats” BEWARE… the product may still contain up to a 0.5g of trans fats per serving, if you see the words partially hydrogenated oils on the ingredients list. It’s important to avoid even the smallest amount because it can raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol, making you susceptible to all kinds of health problems!
7. Sodium benzoate
Sodium benzoate is a preservative used in many foods and beverages. This ingredient is known to cause hives, asthma and other allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. New research shows that it may also cause behavioral disorders in children. One more reason to avoid this harmful ingredient: When used in beverages that also contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C) it forms benzene, a known carcinogen. Some drink manufacturers are still using this toxic duo, so you may have benzene lurking in your favorite drink!
Kerry McLeod is the founder and Chief Brand Doctor of eBrandAid.com, a bi-weekly e-newsletter that educates shoppers on how to find the healthiest and best-tasting foods at the local grocery store. McLeod has recently been featured on CBS 46 News, Martha Stewart Living Radio, Forbes.com, Diet.com, and the Vancouver Sun. She has been a contributing writer for eDiets.com, Diet-Blog.com, Atlanta Sports and Fitness and Jezebel magazines. She has also authored the popular diet and nutrition book The Last Diet Book Standing. For more information visit www.ebrandaid.com.
January 15, 2009
Super Healer: Garlic
Recently, one of my family members was diagnosed with cancer. As devastating as it is for our family, we have taken this normally tragic situation and have come together to find ways to support his journey and learn some cancer-prevention tips along the way. In addition to his regular medical treatment, my family member is taking things into his own hands and is trying a few natural therapies. One suggestion another family member made was to try garlic. I've always known that garlic was a wonderful herb for building and maintaining optimum health, but I never really connected the dots when it came to cancer.
Garlic is known as one of nature’s most potent antibiotics; and studies suggest that it has the ability to stimulate cell growth and has a super rejuvenative effect on the entire body. Garlic has been know to help open up the blood vessels, stimulate circulation and helps reduce blood pressure - especially when Cayenne Pepper is added to the diet. Garlic can help dissolve cholesterol in the blood stream, and is effective against bacteria while protecting the body’s normal intestinal flora. Overall, this wonderful food contains many vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
Garlic has been reported to have aided in some of the afflictions and condition of, asthma, bronchitis, cancer, candida, circulation, colds, digestion, fungus, heart conditions, high blood pressure, infections, intestinal issues, liver, lungs, prostte and yeast infections. Additionally, garlic has helped improve sinus problems, strep infections, respiratory ailments, immune function and disentery.
Cooking with Garlic also helps in the above mentioned conditions, however the active ingredient or parts can easily be destroyed by heat. There are 50 compounds in Garlic and some studies suggest that 10 of them are active in reducing cancer, so, it is best taken RAW, however this can lead to objectionable odor or bad breath.
Try taking Garlic with Aloe and/or Chlorophyll (naturally found in green plants); this will aid in its digestion and removes much of the Garlic breath, in turn it will contribute largely to the success of its use.
Whether any or all of the alternative therapies work or not, one thing is for sure, using garlic will surely improve our overall health and wellness.
The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism, edited by Malcom Stuart
The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine by Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D.
September 20, 2008