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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Tips for a Nutritional Gluten-Free Life: Healthy choices are more doable than ever.

May 31, 2017 09:10AM ● By LynnRae Ries and Alison Riddiford

Making the decision to go gluten-free, whether for medical reasons or not, can be overwhelming and stressful at first. Keep it simple with these recommendations and our body will thank us.

Eat with the eyes. Most whole foods from the perimeter of the grocery store such as fresh fruits, colorful vegetables and protein from eggs, dairy, beans and/or lean unprocessed meats or fish are naturally gluten-free. Strive for each of these items to color our plates, with an emphasis on bright, beautiful vegetables. Add fiber with whole grains like quinoa or brown rice cooked in vegetable or chicken broth. When preparing a meal, maintain as much nutritional punch from the vegetables as possible by steaming them, sautéing in ghee, organic coconut oil or roasting in olive oil. Add fresh herbs and spices; not only are they nutritionally dense, but can also aid in digestion, reduce inflammation and enhance the immune system.

Eat for taste. The better the flavor, the more satisfied we will feel. Remember that flavor is subjective and personal. Different people can taste the same item and all will have different opinions on the taste or texture. A key to tasty meals is to satisfy four key flavors: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Texture is also of importance; include cream and crunchy in each meal, along with substances that makes us chew. The more we masticate our food before swallowing, the easier it is on our digestive system.

Eat for lasting health. Whatever our diet restrictions, there is a food that exists in nature that meets those needs. Quality counts, so buy the freshest ingredients possible, make it organic and shop locally grown when possible.

The chances are that not everything we eat is going to be at the top of the nutritional scale—don’t worry—making changes to the way we eat will take some time. If we crave a sandwich, strive for the most nutritional contents. If we desire a dessert, focus on portion size, and then savor each bite.

Above all, we must take it easy on ourselves; many advances have been made in the past 10 years for those on a “living without" lifestyle. We will easily adapt and grow if we view this process as an opportunity to experience a wide variety of new foods and appreciate the health benefits that come from making the changes our body needs.

LynnRae Ries is a certified health coach, certified, plant-based chef and founder of Gluten Free Creations Bakery, in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Alison Riddiford is a licensed nutritionist and speaker. For more information, call 602-680-7258 or visit

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