Monday, February 16, 2015

Yes, to Yuca Flour!

My husband and I don't buy into the commercialization of Valentine's Day, but we do love an excuse to treat ourselves to some good eats. This past Friday night, we hit up our favorite Cuban restaurant in Hoboken,NJ -  The Cuban. It's a more sophisticated twist on your traditional rice and beans, and it is sooo good. More importantly they just so happen to be extremely gluten-free friendly and my husband doesn't need to sacrifice taste!

Behold - the magic of yuca flour.

Yuca Bread - They mix Yuca flour with Manchego cheese and bring out these heavenly, soft, chewy rolls to every table. When we first visited this restaurant, I couldn't believe these were gluten-free, so I didn't eat them. My husband says they are pretty much the same consistency as your standard dinner roll.

Yuca Rellena - inside these soft, crispy cones is a similar kind of ground beef or "picadillo" mixture you would find inside an empanada - except better. According to their online menu they are stuffed with "savory beef, capers, raisin, sweet plantain, truffle jalepeno cream, chimichurri"
Note: apologies for the shaky and low quality pictures - I was just so excited to dig in!

Health-wise, we shared a Churrasco for our main meal which was accompanied by a side salad and yuca fries. Overall, I could've done without the carby, yuca overload - but I made it up the following morning with a HIIT (High-intensity interval training) workout!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Journey to Gluten-free

Five years ago, I felt my weight was out of control. I had recently gotten engaged, moved up north, and had just started taking daily thyroid medicine. A couple of months living in upstate New York and I was pushing 147 lbs, and I am only 5'1! I thought I was doing everything right. I had my gym membership, used MyFitness pal and I ate home cooked meals during the week day. I switched to whole grain bread, skim milk, and loaded up on fat-free groceries. To no avail, my fiancee and I started digging around on the net. Seems there was some correlation between gluten intolerance and allergies to the Hashimoto's Disease, the immune system disease which caused my thyroid issue.

While I wasn't necessarily loosing weight from a gluten-free diet (and I'll get into that later) I did feel remarkably better. I wasn't as fatigued, or bloated. Four months into my new regimen, I traveled to Latin America and thought I could "cheat." That was my first and last time. My awful reaction to gluten offset the satisfaction of eating freshly baked bread by a long-shot and I've been gluten-free since.

As it turns out, the percentage of Americans who said they were trying to cut back or avoid gluten is about 29%. Recently, General Mills even announced that it was going to stamp it's staple product, Cheerios, as being gluten-free.

Five years ago I might have jumped in excitement about Cheerios being officially gluten-free, but I have a much different perspective today.

Cheerios is still highly processed, and high in sugar. See, when I went gluten-free, all I did was swap my processed carbs for gluten-free carbs. I was having gluten-free pasta, bread, salad dressings etc. - totally blinded to the nutrition content. And when I did look at the nutrition content I was trying to remember which one was the "bad" fat. Was it saturated, or mono or wha?

While I'm not at my optimum physical state (around 134 lbs) I'm feeling more lucid, healthy and fit.

Moral of the story is, stay away from processed foods especially carbs, and stay away from sugar! Our societies abuse of sugar deserves a whole other post...more to come on that topic.

Support your Senses

Live a healthy lifestyle. Take care of your body not because you feel an obligation to do so. Nourish your body not because your doctor told you to.  Stay fit, but not for another person's satisfaction. Eat right today not because it's a fad, or a temporary lapse in habit. Start a new habit today.

Do it so you can truly live. Fine tune the balance of your physical self, so you may be better positioned to be receptive to life. More receptive to sounds, sights, experiences, energy, and opportunities. Free of fogginess, restlessness, fatigue, discomfort, self-hate, regret. Be agile, alert and attune to life. Remove obstructions from your senses so you can life in the present, the now, to the fullest.

"Yesterday's the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present"
 - Albert Einstein.

Never mind what your mind may tell you what you can or cannot do. Start today. Live.