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.
GLUTEN-FREE IS A GOOD START! But to get a weight loss plan perfectly catered to your personal needs, click here and becomes a Diet.com Premium member!
For a copy of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide click here.
September 20, 2010
Diabetes Awareness: Know The 9 Risk Factors
EDITOR'S NOTE: November is Diabetes Awareness Month. The best defense against diabetes is knowledge. See if you are at risk... or if you're already suffering pre-diabetes.
Diabetes is on the rise - the American Diabetes Association says there are 23.6 million people in the United States, or 8% of the population, with diabetes.
The total prevalence of diabetes increased 13.5% from 2005-2007. Only 24% of diabetes is undiagnosed, down from 30% in 2005 and from 50% 10 years ago.
This blog will focus on type 2 diabetes awareness since it is most common form of diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes develops either because the body does not make enough insulin or the cells are resistant to insulin.
Insulin is necessary for the body to use sugar. Think of insulin as the key that unlocks the door and lets sugar in to be used as energy. If your body is unable to use sugar, it builds up in the blood and can lead to various complications.
Know Your Risk Factors!
Below are risk factors associated with developing Type 2 Diabetes. It is wise to discuss these with your doctor to determine if further testing is required.
-- Overweight or obesity
-- An apple shaped figure (carrying more fat around the middle)
-- Age! As you grow older, your risk for developing diabetes increases. However, it is important to note that type 2 diabetes is on the rise in children - an alarming trend.
-- Sedentary lifestyle
-- Family history
-- History of gestational diabetes
-- Ethnicity: Diabetes is more common is African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans.
-- High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease - these two conditions are prevalent in people with diabetes.
-- Pre-Diabetes: This is a condition when blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association reports that in addition to the 20.8 Americans who have type 2 diabetes, an additional 41 million have pre-diabetes. However, the Diabetes Prevention Program study showed that people with pre-diabetes can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by making dietary and physical activity changes!
-- Take a closer look at your diet - modifying your diet and including a balance of healthy foods can help prevent chronic disease such as diabetes. Managing your diet is even more important if you already have diabetes.
-- Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and get your blood sugar tested! Before you head to the doctor, remember to take your Doctor Printout located on the homepage. Sharing your program information is important!
-- Lose weight (but only if you overweight). Even a modest 5-10% weight loss can lead to improvements in blood sugar and help prevent type 2 diabetes. Share your results in the Celebration Center!
-- Make healthy food choices. Use your Diet.com meal plans, daily recipes and meal ideas as a guide to healthy food choices.
-- Be Active! Exercise helps lower blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and burns calories! And, you don't have to go to a gym to reap the benefits of exercise. Walking is an excellent activity - clip on your pedometer and start walking!
For more info go to www.diabetes.org
November 3, 2008
13 Ways To Beat Inflammation
Is inflammation the new buzz word?
The topic of inflammation has received a lot of attention recently because of a growing awareness that it underlies many of our most common diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
Inflammation is harmful because it increases oxidative stress in the body which leads to the formation of free radicals. Free radicals can alter your body’s cells in ways that set the stage for many age-related conditions.
You can find out if you have too much inflammation by asking your doctor to order a simple blood test called a C-reactive protein. This is one of the many markers in your body that increase in response to inflammation.
The causes of inflammation have a strong connection to both our food choices and to our body weight.
Foods in our Western diet that are associated with increases in inflammation are generally high in sugar and fat, particularly saturated fat, omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, and trans fats. The typical American diet is too high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, often obtained from trans fat sources – hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated sources, and too low in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats.
Our current ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is in the neighborhood of 20:1, whereas the ideal ratio is 3-4:1. In order to improve the omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio, as well as reduce dietary sugar intake, cut out junk foods, sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and processed meats, or consume them only in small amounts.
Maintaining a healthy body, and following a Mediterranean-style diet, high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil, and small amounts of red wine has been shown to be “anti-inflammatory.”
In order to decrease inflammation in your body, consider incorporating the following “anti-inflammatory” principles:
1. Lose weight if you are overweight. Excess weight = more inflammation.
2. Eat smaller portions of food. Too many calories = more inflammation.
3. Avoid refined and processed foods – often found in the center aisles of the grocery store.
4. Eat antioxidant-rich fruits and colorful or leafy green vegetables. (Don’t overdo night-shade vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes – which actually may increase inflammation in some people).
5. Avoid sources of saturated fats and trans fats (check labels for words like "hydrogenated" and "partially hydrogenated" and avoid them).
6. Increase omega-3 fatty acid intake (high amounts found in salmon, flax seed, walnuts, and tofu) or consider taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement that has a high content of EPA and DHA.
7. Include monounsaturated fats (good sources include olive oil, canola oil, and avocados).
8. Limit simple sugars (soft drinks, and anything white like bread, rice, and pasta).
9. Overcooking can also increase inflammation so be careful not to char foods on the grill or under the broiler.
10. Add anti-inflammatory herbs and spices (turmeric, ginger, cayenne, rosemary, oregano, and clove).
11. Drink white or green tea; they contain healthful antioxidants good for reducing inflammation.
12. Have 1 small block of 70% cocoa Dark Chocolate as an occasional treat.
13. Enjoy up to 1 glass of red wine daily – Pinot Noir and Cabernet make good choices.
Here’s to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and path to optimal health!
Lisa M. Davis, Ph.D., PA-C, C.N.S., L.D.N. is Director of Research and Development for Medifast. She holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University with a focus in Obesity Research, and she is currently the Director of Research and Development for the Medifast Program, a leading portion-controlled clinically proven weight loss program and co-author of the book, Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Health.
October 30, 2008