Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tip #4 and Why Eliminate Wheat and Grains?

Igor's tip for the day is one we will make use of on day 14 in particular, but until then, make sure you have made your first measurement. If not, it is not too late. Igor is the CEO of Fitness Solutions Plus in Toronto.

Tip 4: Measure, measure, measure. If you're not assessing, you're guessing. But, measure the right things. If your diet is changing for the better and you're doing some form of resistance training, the scale and measuring tapes are just not enough. For instance, if you're measuring circumference, your hip and upper thigh measurements might actually go up, but you're losing body fat. If you can get access to someone qualified in using skinfold calipers, get that assessment every 2-4 weeks. Here's an article on the problems with different methods of assessing body fat.

Here is some feedback from Karie-Anne from Elmira on how she is doing on the challenge:
"I am doing really well on this challenge so far.  I do not miss pop or alcohol at all but I do really miss my morning coffee...especially on the weekend mornings!!  At times the green tea does do the trick but I honestly think it is all in my mind...the need for the coffee.  When I am wanting coffee I turn my attention to something else like a movie or writing a letter and I forget about the desire for the coffee.  I have not added this officially to the challenge but I have also gone 2 days with no chocolate at all.  I don’t know whether that has made any differences for me physically but mentally I feel proud of myself that I have stopped eating so much....especially this Christmas. I ate a TON of chocolate. I thought of giving up sugar, but that would be too much all at once so I picked chocolate to start with.  Thanks for doing this Mel. I am really learning a lot and I love reading your daily blog on the challenge."
Karie-Ann, Elmira, Ontario, Canada.

For a full list of participants, click here.

Why is Wheat and Grains on the elimination list?

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I would like to refer you to Robb Wolf whose book I have read. This is what he has to say about grains.

Rob Talks about this subject from the point of view of what the Paleolithic man or woman ate. He raises some good points and there are those who do not agree with him. Be warned though, Robb his a highly successful trainer and he is a straight talker. He does not beat around the bush, nor is he a sweet talker. He gives it to you straight. I like that about him, and I agree with most things he says.
Wheat is on the 30 Day Challenge list because it is one of the major allergens and irritants of the gut. Besides the concern about GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) many people experience intolerance to grains, but wheat (or at least the gluten in the wheat) seems to be the problem for some people. It is also on the list because some participants may be carbohydrate intolerant (like me) and would benefit from eliminating grains. Did you know that a bowl of white rice is equivalent to a chocolate bar when you compare the effect that the bowl of rice has on your blood sugar? Carbs are converted to sugars and starches in your body. So cutting out sugar, but eating carbs is almost counter productive. I say ALMOST, because sugar gives empty calories, but grains do have some nutrients in them including a list of B Vitamins. For a list of the vitamins found in grains, click here.

My personal opinion is that eating foods as close to their natural state is generally a good thing, there are exceptions, such as tomatoes which are better for you cooked than raw.  I am not a dietician or nutritionist and I am not suggesting we all go RAW VEGAN, but I am suggesting we keep reading, keep researching, keep up to date with what is going on in the nutritional world, and take responsibility for what we put in our bodies. My rule is that if I can't pronounce an ingredient then I should probably avoid it. If it comes in a box or package, I think about it carefully. The less chemical additives and preservatives we ingest, the better.

If you are going to have rice, have brown rice. By the way wild rice is not really a rice and it is not really a grain either as far as I know. 
Try Quinoa, Amaranth, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Chia seeds and Buckwheat. Of course Robb would not agree with this full list, he says if it looks like a duck....but he would agree with the seeds on the list I think. 

What I have done in my journey towards a healthier lifestyle I have paid attention to my digestion when I eat grains. So far I do not eat wheat and corn, for GMO reasons and because it irritates my digestive system. I have however introduced Spelt to my diet and it works for me.  I am not necessarily on a gluten-free diet, but I do try to choose gluten free, organic rolled oats. These two and the nuts and seeds are what I eat now. 

How do I know what I should eat then?

My suggestion is to eliminate all grains for a period of time, say 3 - 4 weeks, and then slowly introduce a grain, see how your body reacts to that. Wait at least a week before introducing the  next grain. Listen to your body, how is your sleep, skin, digestion, energy affected?

You may also find it helpful to watch just what you combine these grains with. For example, it is said to be easier to digest grains with vegetables and the food combination rules say that you should not combine animal protein with grains. You may, however, combine grains with fats or nut butters.  Refer to my previous food combination blog for more information on that.   

For those of us who are eating Rolled oats here is an apple crisp recipe just for you. (It is VEGAN/VEGETARIAN and SUGAR FREE TOO)


1/4 cup or so rolled Oates, gluten free
1/4 cup whole almonds
4-5 honey dates
1 tsp PURE vanilla extract (make sure it is gluten free if you have an intolerance)
2 tbsp Earth balance (or other vegan alternative)

Then at the end, pour about 2 tablespoons of melted Coconut oil over the crisp.

1 red apple
1 green apple
1 pear
Sprinkle of lemon juice
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon

Grate and slice fruit as desired and add cinnamon.

Place all the topping ingredients in food processor, and pulse until it is crumble and ALMOST forms a dough. (see below)

Sprinckle this over your apple and spices and you get this (below)

 Now one last step before tossing it in the oven. This part really makes a difference to the dish.

Bake @ 350. Till done. (Approx 25 - 35 minutes)
Serves 2-4 people depending on size of serving.

Here is the crisp fresh out the oven, I meant to prepare it in a pretty serving bowl with garnish and all that, but it was night time and the lighting in our kitchen is not good. Okay, That didn't fool you did it? To be honest, we were too hungry and it smelled too good. 

I did not add sugar at all, the sweetness of the pear and dates is good enough. My husband asked, "Did you add sugar to this?" he could not believe that it had no sugar in it.

ENJOY! And if you can wait long enough to put it in a pretty bowl and take a pic, send it to me, I'd love to see it!

You can email it to me.

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Melony Teague a freelance writer and columnist who lives in Canada with her husband and two young children.
Founder of "Secrets of Body Transformation from the Inside Out" 
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