Crown Point, IN

September 28, 2023

Why You Can’t Stop Eating Junk Food

“Who ate all these chips?!” You look around and, alas, not even a dog to blame. Oops. It’s not your fault.  If you’ve had this experience—r

September 21, 2023

Harvesting the Balance of Autumn

September 23rd ushers in the autumn equinox, a time when day and night are in perfect balance. It also opens the official season of cozy sweaters, pum

September 14, 2023

More Brain-Boosting Foods

Last week I shared a list of brain-boosting foods with the promise of more to come. Here are some additional foods that you may choose to include in y

September 7, 2023

Ten Brain-Boosting Foods

Thank you for the many recommendations of farm stands with tasty corn on the cob. Mr. Non-Compliant happened to be in the vicinity of VanDerGriends Fa

August 31, 2023

Mr. Non-Compliant’s Unwavering Passion for…Corn

Mr. Non-Compliant LOVES corn on the cob. Since the corn season is rather brief, I do my best to oblige him with this indulgence. And as my dear cousin

August 24, 2023

Tips for a Sluggish Thyroid

Lately, I’ve been getting lots of questions about the little gland known as the thyroid. It seems to be underperforming for many of you. Hypothyroid

August 17, 2023

Healthy Anytime Toast

Since my encounter with bar food last week, I’ve been focused on eating more plants. I came across this idea to enjoy “toast” and get more veggi

August 10, 2023

Confessions from The Antler

What does one eat when in a bar? Bar food, of course. The bar options: The Brown Bear vs. The Antler: Horniest Bar Around (There were deer heads with

August 3, 2023

6 Ways to Enjoy a Staycation at Home

August. Already. Is summer slipping by too quickly? Feel as though you’ve not experienced enough lazy days? Can’t manage to get away for one reaso

July 26, 2023

The Wonder of Apricots

When I think about the abundant fruits of summer, apricots make the list. Although some of you may not be fans, I ask that you consider giving this da

Are You Having Fun Yet?

If you haven’t had some fun lately, it’s time to make a plan, then execute your plan.

 Your health is affected by your world as well as your food. If you’re not enjoying life, even with all of its uncontrollable ups and downs, it’s time to make a shift.

For those of you with a spouse or significant other, when did you last have a date night? I highly recommend to my client couples that they make time to have some fun and relaxed time together. 


The date doesn’t have to be anything fancy, although it can be.

Our sons were on the cross-country team in high school and had to ride to the meet on the team bus. My husband, (aka Mr. Non-Compliant), and I would drop them off, then go to breakfast.

It was the perfect date.

With the warmer weather, dates could be a bike ride to a favorite coffee or dinner spot, relaxing in your backyard with your favorite beverage, taking a walk in your neighborhood or on one of the many trails in the community.

The important part is to stay connected.

There are couples that make Friday nights their sacred date night. Depending on your schedules, it may be more conducive to meet once a week for lunch. 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

For those of you who are typically solo, you could make plans to meet up with a friend each week. While solitude can be a good thing, too much of it may lead to overworking, burnout, or loneliness. 

And for all of us, why not schedule an Artist’s Date? I learned about artist dates from Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way.

 “The Artist’s Date is a once-weekly, hour-long solo expedition to explore something festive or interesting to your creative consciousness.”—Julia Cameron

 This is a date that is planned in advance with yourself. Treat it is as you would an appointment with your dentist or doctor or someone you would never let down.

My plan is to go to a garden center and buy more flowers to plant. They make me happy.

We are all artists in some fashion, and our creativity is screaming to be let loose on the world.

Have some fun.

Speaking of fun…here are some things I have coming your way. 

I’ll be posting the recipe for my now famous gluten and dairy free coconut cake on my website this week so you can make one of your very own! AND I’m putting together a 4 or 6-week group coaching program to help those of you struggling with the gluten thing. Details coming soon.

Wishing you a week with some FUN in your life. I’d love to hear what you’re up to.

Much love,

“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.”—Frank Capra

The Gluten Thing: Fad or Fact, Final Week

Today I’m going to wrap up this topic. Not because I’ve covered everything that there is to know about gluten, but because there are other topics I’d like to cover before summer arrives.

That being the case, if you are struggling with how to manage a gluten-free lifestyle and enjoy great food, we need to talk. I’ve been practicing for several years now.

Gluten can sometimes be found in ingredients that you’d not expect. It’s tough to avoid something when you don’t know that you should—like licking envelopes. 

While this is not a complete list, here are some names that are often code for gluten:

  • Caramel color (frequently made from barley)
  • Hydrolysate
  • Hydrolyzed malt extract
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Maltodextrin
  • Modified food starch
  • Natural flavoring
  • Yeast extract
  • Soy protein
  • Vegetable protein

This is another reason why it is important to eat a diet that consists primarily of whole foods. Long lists of ingredients often lead to food that isn’t that good—taste wise and for you.

5 Tips to Help You Eat Gluten-Free Deliciously

  1. You’ve heard this one before, yet it can’t be overstated: When grocery shopping, stick primarily to the perimeter of the store, where whole, nature-made foods live. Avoid the middle aisles which are filled with processed foods.
  2. Make a shopping list and don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. Crazy things end up coming home with you when you skip this tip. Been there, done that.
  3. On those occasions when I’d like a special treat, I’ve found that Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend, as well as King Arthur GF flour, work very well. Recipes using their products can be found on their websites. 
  4. For convenience foods (like crackers, muffin mixes) made with real and healthy ingredients, look for Simple Mills. You can pronounce the ingredients and your body will recognize them as real food.
  5. These products can be found at most local groceries. I also like to shop at vitacost.com. When I’ve left products in my shopping cart for a day or so, I often get an email with a coupon and reminder to finish my shopping.

May is Celiac Awareness Month and vitacost.com is offering 15% off on select gluten-free foods.

To learn MUCH more about how gluten and grains affect us, a great book is Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter.

Enjoy the lilacs of May.

Much love,

“Food is medicine. We can actually change our gene expressions with the foods we eat.”—David Perlmutter

The Gluten Thing: Fad or Fact, Part 2

How do you know if you have a gluten issue?

It’s possible that you may eat foods containing gluten and not experience any significant digestive issues. However, if you have any of the symptoms that were listed last week, it’s possible that gluten is at the root of the problem.

To know for certain, you could do an at-home gluten sensitivity test. While there are numerous ways of getting tested, the best seems to be a combination of stool and saliva testing through a company called EnteroLab (www.enterolab.com).

I can hear you hollering “NO WAY!” about a stool test. If you feel bad enough…

The tricky part is deciphering the gene information once you have it. You can get assistance from someone at the lab, or work with a functional or integrative medical practitioner who understands that language. 

Another way to determine if gluten is the culprit is to completely avoid it and see how you feel. If your symptoms improve, then you don’t need to bother with a test unless you’d like to know exactly which gene(s) you have that may also affect your children.

What other foods contain gluten?

The obvious: breads, pastas, baked goods, crackers, and anything with the gluten grains added.

The list of foods that often contain gluten is fairly lengthy and unbelievable. Here are some of them:

  • Beer, wine coolers, various alcohols
  • Condiments, salad dressings, marinades
  • Soups, bouillons, broths (commercially prepared)
  • Gravy
  • Communion wafers
  • Energy bars
  • Cereals
  • Hot dogs, cold cuts, blue cheeses
  • Soy sauce and teriyaki sauces
  • Wheatgrass
  • Veggie burgers
  • Oats (unless certified gluten-free, since they are often contaminated from wheat products)

This is not a complete list. It gives you an idea of the extent to which gluten has taken over our food supply. It really is everywhere!

In the book Grain Brain, Dr. Perlmutter explains that although our ancestors had similar genetic makeup, modern food manufacturing has allowed us to grow structurally modified grains that contain gluten that’s less tolerable than the gluten found in grains cultivated just a few decades ago.

In simple terms, we are now eating gluten on steroids.

For Seinfeld Fans

Do you remember the episode where George’s fiancé, Susan, had to lick all the wedding invitation envelopes? They were supposedly made with low quality, poisonous glue, and she died.

Perhaps she had an extreme gluten issue. Non-adhesive stamps and envelopes may contain GLUTEN!

I’m not even kidding.

SOOOO, what CAN you eat?

These grains and starches are gluten-free: amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat (there’s no wheat in it, honest), corn, millet, potato, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soy (although I’m not a fan), tapioca, teff   

A few more ideas: eggs and other protein (wild fish, meat, poultry, pork), healthy fats (nuts and nut butters, avocados, cheeses, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil), fruits and vegetables.

Be sure to read anything with a label. Many of them now state: contains wheat.

Next week I’ll fill you in on some other ingredients that are code for gluten and share some of my tips to help you.

In the meantime, beware of those wicked stamps and envelopes.

Much love,

“Yet an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t even know it. They ascribe their ill health or symptoms to something else — not gluten sensitivity, which is 100 percent curable.” — Mark Hyman

Veggie Stuffed Turkey Burgers

(The following recipe first appeared in the September 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.)

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms or 4-ounce can of mushrooms, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cups fresh spinach
1 small tomato, diced (liquids drained) or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
16 ounces ground turkey (can substitute ground grass-fed beef or bison)
8 outer leaves of romaine lettuce

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, cook for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in mushrooms.
2. Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add spinach and tomatoes and cook for another minute. Stir in mustard and turn off heat. Season with salt and pepper. Place spinach mixture in the refrigerator and cool for 15 minutes.
4. Form turkey into 4 equally sized balls. With your fingers, make a well in the center of each ball. Stuff about 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture inside each ball. Seal the top and flatten to form a patty. Reserve any leftover spinach mixture to serve on the side.
5. Pan-fry or broil your burgers:
• To pan-fry: Heat a pan and add a little oil. Add the patties and cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until desired doneness is reached.
• To broil: Set oven broiler to “high.” Place patties on a foil–lined baking sheet on top oven rack. Broil for about 3 minutes, flip patties over, and broil for about another 2 to 3 minutes or until burgers reach desired doneness.
6. Let the burgers rest for a couple of minutes.
7. To serve, take 2 romaine leaves and sandwich burger between them.

Notes: Tomato paste is available in a tube, and is great when you only need a small amount. The tube of paste stays fresh for months in the refrigerator. If you don’t care for the vegetables used to stuff the burgers, use what you like and they’ll be delicious.