Wheat Belly: My Experiment With a Drastic Change in Diet

Wheat free journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Clear skin, body free of pain, weight loss all from going gluten free.

In recent years, as I have aged, I have experienced some weight-gain as well as odd skin, joint, and intestinal issues, and I had heard that gluten sensitivities were sometimes the cause. I was fed up with my painful knees, fatigue, skin rashes, upset stomach, and other various unexplained ailments. So I finally decided to get serious about finding out if a gluten/wheat sensitivity might be true for me. I have several friends who are gluten free, both online and in real life, so I was already somewhat familiar with what the term means. However, just in case you aren’t sure, let me define it for you in my own terms.

Gluten free means eating a diet where gluten is not present. 

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. There are those in the population who have a true allergic response to gluten, those who have Celiac’s Disease. Others, through the process of elimination and experimentation usually, discover that they have a sensitivity, which will present itself in different ways depending on the person. Read this list of common gluten intolerance symptoms to help you to understand how this condition could present itself in yourself or others around you. And this article published by the Mayo Clinic offers a great list of do’s and don’t for those who are trying to avoid gluten.

I determined that I would remove all gluten from my diet in order to find out if it has been the cause of several ‘symptoms’ from which I have suffered since I was a teen, and others in more recent years. Here are just a few of the problems I had been dealing with:

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16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional yeast. #8 just might surprise you! www.alexismathews.com

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast in the vegan community is the number one vegan cheese alternative. More specifically however, nutritional yeast is a microorganism that grows on sugar cane and beet molasses. Once it is harvested, it is deactivated and crumbled into large flakes.

The uses of nutritional yeast are nearly endless.

Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins including thiamine, folate, B-6, and niacin. These important vitamins are critical in converting energy from the food you eat and in producing red blood cells. Most sources of nutritional yeast are also fortified with vitamin B-12 which is only found in animal protein. Vegans who regularly enjoy nutritional yeast need not worry about being deficient in B-12. 

Nutritional yeast is also gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and low in sodium. These delicious and creamy flakes will also not aggravate gut fungal infections, otherwise known as candidiasis.  

Additionally, nutritional yeast is a complete protein meaning it contains 9 of the 18 amino acids that your body can not produce on its own. Compounds in nutritional yeast have also been associated with cancer prevention, enhanced immunity and reduced cholesterol levels. 

Lastly, nutritional yeast contains a significant amount of iron, selenium, zinc, and fiber.

So what are you waiting for, go grab some nutritional yeast today!

16 Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

1. Popcorn There is a reason I have this use for nutritional yeast first, I absolutely love it on my stove top organic coconut oil popped popcorn. Popcorn with a creamy nutty topping is the perfect guilt free evening snack whether you are a vegan or not.

2. Beans I always have 2-3 different types of beans cooked and ready for quick easy meals. Preparing food ahead of time is a huge time and sanity saver for any busy family. My family all love a hot and fresh bowl of beans, regardless of the variety. To add some additional flavor and nutritional value I sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top of their beans and happily watch them gobble it all up.

3. Vegan cheese sauce In our home vegan cheese sauce is known as cashew cream. We always have a huge bowl of it prepared and ready to enjoy in our refrigerator. When we want an svn creamier cheese flavor to our cashew cream I add some nutritional yeast, it is simply amazing!

4. Steamed veggies Forget the butter, oil, or any other topping you add to steamed vegetables. Add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and you have not only saved yourself a ton of fat and calories but you have also added a ton of flavor and nutritional value.

5. Bread crumbs Bread crumbs can be costly when you purchase them in the store, especially if you are gluten free. Save yourself time and money, substitute nutritional yeast in place of your bread crumbs. 

6. Kale Chips When you make kale chips sprinkle a little nutritional yeast in the bowl and you will end up with an amazing flavor on your delicious chips.

7. Veggie burgers If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you already know how much my family and I love veggie and bean burgers. Although I don’t always list it as an optional ingredient in my burger recipes, nutritional yeast can always be added to the mix to add flavor and nutritional value. Nutritional yeast creates a vegan cheese burger of sorts, it is amazing!

8. Pasta No matter how you like you pasta you can always make it tastier with some nutritional yeast. It adds a creaminess just like if you had added traditional dairy cheese.

Are you catching on to the theme yet? Not only can you add nutritional yeast to everything, but adding nutritional yeast makes everything taste better.

9. Mashed potatoes If you enjoy the creamy butter taste in your mashed potatoes, fear not, nutritional yeast has come to your rescue. Add as much or as littles as you please, you will end up with a delicious creamy taste in your creamy fluffy potato goodness.

10. Thicken sauces Just like the traditional sauce thickeners you are used to, nutritional yeast will do the same thing but with more nutrition and flavor. Just add a sprinkle at a time, stir as the flakes dissolve and add more until you reach the desired thickness.

11.Soups My family adds nutritional yeast to all of their soups, even our favorite ginger and turmeric carrot soup. I will also occasionally sneak it in some of our broth based soups to add nutritional value, they love it.

12. Vegan pizza Yes, vegans can still enjoy pizza. Regardless of whether you add vegan cheese crumbles or not to your pizza, you can always add nutritional yeast on top of pizza for flavor and nutrition.

13. French fries Who doesn’t love cheese fries? You can still enjoy the cheese fry taste without the animal protein, heart disease, and cancer causing properties. Just bake your fries as usual but sprinkle some flakes on top before or after baking for a fun cheesy taste.

14. Sandwiches Be it vegetable sandwiches or wraps, I always add a sprinkle or two of nutritional yeast. I love the taste that it adds to my veggies and the nutritional benefits are to boot.

15. Salads Whether you add nutritional yeast to your favorite salad dressing or as a topping on your greens, you can’t go wrong with these delicious flakes. It is just like adding cheese to your salad but without all the nasty properties in dairy.

16. Smoothies Yes, you can even add nutritional yeast to your favorite smoothie. Of all of the options I have listed here, you will taste the nutritional yeast the least in your smoothie. In my experience, the fruits and other veggies in my smoothie mask the creamy cheese taste of the yeast more so than any other way. However, I know I am still getting all of the nutritional benefit of the yeast despite the lack of taste.

Do you have any additional uses for nutritional yeast that you would add to this list?

Vegan and Gluten Free Indian Pancakes

Incredible Indian Pancakes. Gluten free, vegan, quick and easy. My entered family loves this recipe!

I am very fortunate in that my husband and all of our children enjoy foods from a wide variety of cultures. Asian, Indian, and Mexican cuisines are by far all of our favorite. A few weeks ago I was craving Indian food but needed something quick and easy. 

I knew of the basic part of this Indian pancake recipe from a high school friend who frequently made a version of this dish and brought it to get togethers many years ago. After a few changes to the recipe I was able to create this delicious vegan and gluten free version of an old favorite.

My entire family loved this dish so much that I made it twice in one week, two days apart to be exact but who is counting. For my family of 9 healthy eaters, I at least quintuple this recipe so that we hopefully have a few leftover pancakes for lunch the following day.

If you are craving something different or want to spice up your usual vegan and gluten free recipe routine, this is a must have tonight! If you have a gluten free pantry you will surely have all of the ingredients for these incredible Indian pancakes.

Incredible Indian Pancakes
Serves 6
A quick and easy dinner for any night of the week. These gluten free and vegan Indian pancakes are sure to please even the pickiest member of your family.
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
170 calories
23 g
0 g
8 g
2 g
7 g
93 g
405 g
2 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
93g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 170
Calories from Fat 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 7g
36%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 405mg
17%
Total Carbohydrates 23g
8%
Dietary Fiber 2g
6%
Sugars 2g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
6%
Vitamin C
6%
Calcium
2%
Iron
11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. coconut oil or EVOO, use enough to shallow fry
  2. ½ cup Sorghum Flour
  3. ½ cup Tapioca Flour
  4. 1 cup Coconut Milk, canned and full fat
  5. 1 tsp salt, adjust to taste
  6. ½ tsp Chili Powder
  7. ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
  8. ½ onion, chopped
  9. 1 handful cilantro leaves, chopped
  10. 1 serrano pepper, minced (optional)
  11. 1 tsp ginger powder
Instructions
  1. Combine flours, coconut milk and spices in a large bowl.
  2. Add onions, peppers, and cilantro to the batter.
  3. Heat approx. 1T oil per pancake in a stainless steel pan.
  4. Drop pancake batter by large spoonful into hot oiled pan.
  5. Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  6. Serve with chutney, ketchup, and additional cilantro to garnish.
  7. Enjoy!
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calories
170
fat
8g
protein
2g
carbs
23g
more
Alexis Mathews http://alexismathews.com/

You can fin this recipe on the Plant Based Potluck Party

Vegan Banana Coconut Pancakes

Vegan Banana Coconut Pancakes

In a family of seven children, breakfast is a highly anticipated meal. My kids are all hungry from not eating overnight and one of the first words out of their mouths is most often “I’m hungry, what is for breakfast”. My boys also have the habit of requesting breakfast before they even hit their head on the pillow at night.

Enter the pancake.

Not just any pancake mind you, these pancakes meet every strict nutritional rule that I set forth for what is served in our home. They are vegan, gluten free, soy free, and absolutely delicious!

This recipe is a regular in our home. I most often make it on a weekend morning when our schedule is a bit more relaxed and I don’t have to rush to get everyone fed. I double or triple this recipe so that there are (hopefully) a few leftover to snack on or reheat another morning.

Pancakes are one of those childhood memory staples. Honestly, your childhood isn’t complete until you have several memories centered around hot pancakes on a lazy weekend morning full of laughter and family time together. Despite our healthier lifestyle, this recipe allows me to still provide my children, yes all seven of them, with those pancake memories.

Vegan Banana Coconut Pancakes
Serves 4
A vegan and gluten free pancake worthy of amazing childhood memories.
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Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
350 calories
58 g
0 g
11 g
6 g
6 g
159 g
10 g
6 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
159g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 350
Calories from Fat 94
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
17%
Saturated Fat 6g
30%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 10mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 58g
19%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 6g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
5%
Calcium
14%
Iron
18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  2. 1.2 cup millet flour
  3. 3T ground flax
  4. 1/4 cup coconut flour
  5. 1/4 tsp sea alt
  6. 2 tsp baking powder
  7. 2T grade B maple syrup
  8. 1 ripe banana smashed
  9. 1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
  10. 1/2 cup water
  11. 2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. (tapioca flour, millet four, coconut flour, baking powder, sea salt, flax)
  2. Add maple syrup, banana, coconut milk , water, and vanilla to dry ingredients. Stir until smooth. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat and oil a pan with coconut oil (or other oil of your choice). Depending on the pan EVOO might prevent the pancakes from sticking.
  4. Drop pancake batter by spoonfuls onto hot pan. Spread batter with a heat proof spoon into a nice circle.
  5. Cook 2-3 minutes and flip pancakes with edges start to brown or dry out. Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Top with coconut, maple syrup, fresh fruit or any other topping of your choice.
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calories
350
fat
11g
protein
6g
carbs
58g
more
Alexis Mathews http://alexismathews.com/

Amazing Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream Vegan Gluten Free

It is not an understatement when I say that discovering cashew cream revolutionized my vegan kitchen and opened up a world of tastes and textures in our vegan lifestyle.

What is even more amazing beyond the taste is the simplicity of the recipe and the ease with which cashew cram is made.

I always have a large container of cashew cream made up in my refrigerator ready to enjoy and add to dishes. Our favorite dishes to add cashew cream to are vegan tacos, baked potato slices, cream inspired soups, and so much more. Basically anywhere we want a creamy taste or texture is fair game for a dollop or two of this protein and vitamin packed creamy cashew goodness.

Cashew cream is used to replace cheese, sour cream, and cream in vegan recipes.

The health benefits of cashews include the following:

  • Unsaturated fats; proven to be beneficial to lowering cholesterol and improving heart health
  • Excellent source of copper which is necessary for numerous functions in your body
  • Good source of Vitamins K, B and E
  • Add fiber and protein to your diet
  • Beneficial in controlling blood sugar which is helpful if you are a diabetic or borderline diabetic
  • Contain antioxidants which act as anti-cancer agents

So what are you waiting for? Go grab a pound or more of raw cashews and start your first batch of this amazing, creamy, versatile cashew cream.

Amazing Cashew Cream

2 cups raw cashews
8 cups water

Cover cashews with water overnight in a large bowl. If you are in a hurry use boiling water to soak cashews. If using hot water your soak time is reduced to 2-4 hours versus overnight.

Drain cashews. Place cashews in a high speed blender, I love using my Vita-Mix for this recipe. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of water with cashews in the blender. Blend until smooth and thick like sour cream. Add more water as necessary to facilitate proper blending and cream texture.

While cashew cream is amazing in its original state, there are a few taste modifications you can make depending on your preference. You can add salt, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, curry powder, or garlic to taste.

Please let me know if you try this recipe and how you enjoy it. Also, do you have another favorite way to enjoy cashew cream in your dishes?

Grab 21 Gluten-Free Meals from Costco for $162

*This post contains affiliate links which help support this site and my family. Thank you for your support.*

If you have a Costco membership you know that it can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you can potentially save a ton of money if you shop smart but also a curse because you can walk out spending way more than you had planned. Also as you know, the quantities are huge at Costco so unless you have a large family or the storage space to keep your extras the cost savings might not be worth your time, effort, or membership costs.

21 Gluten Free Meals from Costco for $162

However, Erin over at $5 Dinners has created a meal plan and recipe book for those of you who are gluten free and enjoy shopping at Costco. In this ebook you will get 11 recipes complete with Costco shopping list, recipes, and ingredient list totals itemized. If you are gluten free like I am you know how valuable new gluten free recipe can be not to mention a complete shopping list to make your time in Costco as quick and easy as possible. I always have at least four kids with me when I shop at Costco, most times all seven so a shopping list is golden and like time in my hands.

Erin is offering her latest ebook for the amazingly low price of $1.99, what a steal! Be sure and grab your copy before it is too late!

21 Gluten-Free Meals from Costco for $162

Erin also has other meal plan books that might interest you:

31 Days of Gluten Free Meals

 

31 Days of Gluten Free Meals ebook

Costco Plan #1

Costco Plan #2

5 Must Have Vegan Cookbooks

Vegan Cookbooks

*This post contains affiliate links. These links help fund the maintenance costs associated with this website. Your help is appreciated.*

Whether you are new to the vegan lifestyle or have been a vegan for years discovering new recipes and fabulous cookbooks is fun and inspiring. Eating vegan does not mean you have to sacrifice taste or variety simply because you removed meat, dairy and other animal products from your daily diet. Vegan is delicious, it is full of flavor and variety, and it is fun to try new ingredients which you may have never eaten before.

While I enjoy perusing online sources for delicious vegan recipes there is something fun and exciting about holding a cold crisp cookbook in my hands. When I bring home a new cookbook my children all want to sit down and look through it with me, comparing ingredients, and recommending new recipes we should try first. I enjoy those special times with my kids, sitting and enjoying the process of choosing what we are going to eat as a family. These cookbooks help to instill a love of cooking, meal planning, and the vegan lifestyle in each of them. Yes there is a time and place for website recipes and ebook cookbooks but tangible cookbooks will always have their special place in my kitchen.

In my search for delectable eats for my family, I’ve searched high and low and perused a plethora of vegan cookbooks. Here are the 5 vegan cookbooks that I reference most often when cooking for my family of nine.

  1. Oh She Glows Cookbook: What’s not to love about this amazing book that grew out of an extraordinary vegan recipe and lifestyle blog? Her recipes are practical, easy, and use ingredients that can be found in the average health focused grocery store. In addition to amazing recipes, I love the pictures included in this cookbook. They inspire me to want to get in my own kitchen and whip up her delicious recipes.
  2. The China Study Cookbook: This was the first vegan cookbook I purchased and I still use it at least once a week. The recipes in this book are inspired from the book The China Study and its sequel Whole and as a result are all vegan and do not use oils. Oils according to The China Study contribute to heart disease along with non-vegan diet choices. The photos in this book are not as fancy or professional looking as food photos that you will find in other cookbooks but the quality of the recipes is wonderful. They are all delicious, easy, and quick to prepare.
  3. The China Study All-Star Collection Cookbook: This all-star collection is the follow-up to the first China Study cookbook and in addition to family favorite recipes there is also a large selection of vegan recipes from very well known vegan chefs. Unlike in the first cookbook in this series, the photos are top notch and look good enough to eat right off of the page. The date syrup is one of the recipes one of my boys chose to make from this book and it is delicious and easy, so easy I kick myself for not thinking of it personally.
  4. Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats: Being gluten-free presents its own set of challenges in living a vegan lifestyle. Most vegan cookbooks use whole wheat flours and pastas. Accordingly, I have to find my own gluten free alternatives when making these types of recipes. I was so excited when I found this book at my local bookstore. It is full of recipes that everyone in my family can eat and enjoy. This is the newest book in my vegan cookbook collection and I am most looking forward to making the gluten free vegan raviolis and my kids can not wait until I make the pizza from this book.
  5. Forks Over Knives-The Cookbook: Long ago when my family and I first began our journey to healthier eating, which you can read about here, I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives with my husband. This movie along with Food Inc. solidified our decision to eating a cleaner and healthier diet. When the facts are presented in such a way that you simply can’t ignore them, you are doing yourself an injustice every time you ignore the information you’ve been blessed to receive. This cookbook is the companion to the Forks Over Knives documentary and includes amazing clean vegan eating recipes.

You can not go wrong in adding any of these cookbooks to your home library. Having delicious vegan recipes laid out in front of you will make the adjustment to eating vegan a lot easier and less overwhelming. Everything is there in black and white with simple to follow instructions, there is nothing complicated about preparing vegan meals. What I also enjoy about cooking vegan is the simplicity of the ingredients. Many vegan recipes are five ingredients or less. This approach not only makes cooking vegan simple and fast but it also saves of your food budget. Eating organic and vegan does not have to cost an arm and a leg like most will lead you to believe. Keep it simple, keep it fast, and keep it delicious, simple as that!

Do you have another favorite vegan cookbook? If so please share in the comments, I am always on the lookout for a new vegan cookbook.

Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

 

Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad vegan gluten free alexismathews.com

Large family cooking needs to be quick and easy. However, quick and easy does not mean your large family has to eat unhealthy, grease laden foods. Quick and easy with proper planning can be healthy, delicious, and nutritious. Keep healthy and quick recipes like this one for Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad handy and at your fingertips.

Packed with raw veggies and herbs this salad is as nutritious as it is beautiful. Quinoa is a grain seed that is gluten free and packed with protein. One cup of quinoa is packed with 24g of protein which according to current recommendations is 48% of your recommended daily allowance. Wow! Couple this amazing grain with a bunch of fresh, raw, and organic veggies and your colorful raw quinoa salad is born.

My kids all LOVE this salad and I love that I can mix up a huge batch of it, keep it in the fridge all week and serve cold when my kid’s tummies are empty. I chop up a bunch of raw veggies, keep it colorful, and call it done. The possibilities of raw veggies you can include in this salad are almost limitless. This salad is a great way to use up the extra veggies you have before they spoil. There isn’t a vegetable that won’t taste great wrapped in quinoa goodness. Served cold this dish is also refreshing on those hot summer afternoons when you are hot, hungry, and don’t feel like cooking.

If you are quinoa intolerant this salad can easily be made with couscous, it will be just as delicious!

Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:
4 cups cooked quinoa
2 medium bell peppers (green, red, orange, or yellow) diced
6 radishes sliced and quartered
2 ribs celery diced
1 cup chopped black olives
Handful of basil chopped
3T organic olive oil
3T golden balsamic vinegar
2T rice vinegar
Other veggies not pictured include; carrots, onions, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, or any other veggies you like.

Directions:
Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork in a large bowl. Add in chopped veggies and mix well. In a separate bowl mix oil and vinegars well. Pour over quinoa and veggies, mix well. Enjoy immediately or chill and serve.

 

Linked at The New Mrs. Adventures

5 Gluten Free Mother’s Day Gifts

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Mother’s Day is right around the corner! Have you found the perfect gift for your Mom or other special woman in your life? Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to remind your Mom that she truly means a lot to you and to show her your appreciation. Mothers can grow weary throughout the year and Mother’s day is your chance to refresh her spirit and give her a special gift that she will treasure for years to come.

What about that hard to shop for Mom that has gluten free diet restrictions?

Today I am guest posting over at A Mama’s Story, please join me there to read the rest of this post.

Black Bean and Spinach Quinoa Burgers

 

Black Bean Burger

There is something quintessential about digging your teeth into a juicy and delicious burger. It is the stuff legends are made of and the backbone of every summer cookout memory. However, when you live a vegan lifestyle what are you supposed to enjoy during the carnivorous summer barbecues? Surely, we don’t have to be left in the dust while others around us enjoy their carnivorous ways. Have no fear, bean burgers are here.

Bean burgers of any variety are the equivalent to vegans as the hamburger is to our meat loving friends and family. The bean burger possibilities are almost limitless. Pick you favorite bean, mix it with some veggies and spices, form into patties, bake or fry and you are golden. Simple as that.

With 7 children including 2 older boys who are growing at an unbelievable rate and love their protein it was imperative when we went vegan to replace their burgers and red meat sources with another delicious and filling meal replacement.

Enter our newest favorite bean burger, the black bean and spinach quinoa burger. Packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals this burger is a home run in the game of nutrition. Serve alongside with roasted veggies and you’ve got yourself a complete meal, low on carbs and high on taste.

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Black Bean and Spinach Quinoa Burgers

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup diced yellow or red potatoes, cooked
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
2T vegetable stock
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1T chopped garlic
1tsp coriander
1tsp cumin
1tsp salt
1tsp oregano
1 cup chopped fresh spinach

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Saute onions in vegetable stock until translucent
  • To the onions add garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and oregano. Stir for 1 minute.
  • In a food processor add 1 cup of the black beans, 1 cup potatoes, and onion mixture. Process until well mixed and smooth.
  • In a sperate bowl mix quinoa, chopped spinach and black bean mixture from food processor. Form into burger sized patties.
  • Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 15-20 minutes or until firm.
  • Enjoy!