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How to be Gluten Free

There are many reason’s people are going gluten free including many health related reasons.

What is gluten free?

A gluten-free diet is one that excludes gluten.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in grains and grain products including wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). If you have Celiac’s disease, eating gluten causes the small intestines to become inflamed thus eating a gluten-free diet will help with symptoms associated with inflammation of the small intestine.

How do I eat gluten free?

When you start eating gluten free it can be difficult but the more you follow the diet, read food labels, and learn the foods you can eat the easier the diet will be. A gluten free diet should include:

  • All fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh meat and protein including beef, poultry, fresh eggs, fish, and nuts in their natural unprocessed form
  • Most low fat dairy products
  •  Beans, and seeds
  • Grains: There are many grains that are allowed on a gluten free diet including: Amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn and cornmeal, flax, gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean), hominy (corn), millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soy, tapioca, and teff.

Tips for eating gluten free:

  • Make sure to get enough vitamins and minerals, particularly iron, calcium, fiber, and B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate) you will want to eat a variety of different foods
  • Start to read food labels, and ingredient lists to make sure those foods are not processed or mixed with gluten containing grains, additives, or preservatives
  • Start trying and comparing products to see which ones you like and will fit into your diet the best!
  • Take this new diet as a way to find new foods you never would have tried, get creative!
  • When cooking, baking, or ordering out do not bread foods or order breaded items as these may have gluten in them
  • Look for gluten free foods in your supermarket, and talk to your grocer about which gluten-free grains they offer
  • Most of the grain cereals and containers have recipes on them- try to incorporate a new recipe into your meal planning!

How do I avoid gluten?

To avoid gluten, avoid eating:

  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Wheat
  • Bulgur
  • Durum flour
  • Semolina

Unless the following products are labeled “gluten-free” and you verify this by checking the ingredient label you will want to avoid:

  • Beer
  • Bread
  • Cakes and pies
  • Candy
  • Certain cereals
  • Cookies
  • Crackers, and croutons
  • Gravy, soy sauce, and food cooked in sauces
  • Pasta
  • Seasoned snack foods including potato and tortilla chips
  • Oats: You can eat oats however they are often times contaminated with wheat during growing and processing and for this reason it is safest to avoid oats

Maintaining a healthy weight

Many people struggle to maintain a healthy weight when on a gluten free diet. To help promote a healthy weight:

  • Eat regular meals and snacks
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Watch portion sizes
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Stay within your calorie goal
  • Stay hydrated

The bottom line with weight gain is that if you are eating more calories than you need/ use, you will gain weight.

Following a gluten-free diet should not cause you to gain weight; you just can’t eat a lot of the high fiber foods that are typically recommended for weight management. Fruits and vegetables are gluten free and low calorie so enjoy these often!  Focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet and living an active lifestyle!

How can I get help or learn more?

If you have recently been diagnosed with Celiac’s disease, gluten intolerance, or have been told to follow a gluten free diet, contact us today! We will give you the nutrition education needed to follow this diet, meal plans, and make recommendations specific to your individual needs. Contact us today: info@restorativenutritionri.com

image via harvard school of public health

Eat More to Weigh Less

Weight loss occurs when we consume fewer calories than our body is using, but eating too few calories can weight gain and/or an inability to lose weight. Deny your body the fuel it needs, and it will turn to your muscles instead of stored fat to find energy. This causes weight loss but it is loss of muscle, not fat.

If you are not eating enough calories to fuel your body, it will switch into “starvation mode” where it is trying to preserve everything you are eating. You may notice an increased appetite and an inability to feel full or you may experience intense sugar cravings and uncontrollable eating.

Your body needs approximately 1200 calories per day just to stay alive. Consuming fewer than 1200 calories will inhibit weight loss, and is considered unsafe. This level of calorie consumption can lead to serious health risks and complications.
To lose weight and keep it off, it is best to talk with a nutritionist who can advise you how many calories you should consume for weight loss. (I have found that for most women to lose weight they typically need to consume at least 1400-1600 calories, more if they are exercising. Men need about 1800 calories and more if they are exercising). Once you know how many calories you need, you should plan your meals and snacks so that you are eating every 3 hours.  Start every day with a healthy breakfast and then eat small frequent meals every 3 hours.  You also want to drink plenty of water during the day to stay hydrated and prevent sugar cravings.

Tip: If you are consuming too few calories, gradually increase your caloric intake until you are at a healthy level. Ideally every snack and meal should be composed of a protein and carbohydrate source. This combination will help you feel full longer as your body absorbs the food at a slower rate. This translates to you eating less calories and losing weight!