gluten-free http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11799/all en-US 7 Diet Trends That Can Hurt You http://www.wisebread.com/7-diet-trends-that-can-hurt-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-diet-trends-that-can-hurt-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_eating_carrot_000012077170.jpg" alt="Woman following diet trend that can hurt her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're surrounded by friends, coworkers, and celebrities who swear by Paleo, juice cleanses, &quot;nothing white,&quot; and gluten-free diets. Do they work? Maybe. But are they safe? Maybe not.</p> <p>Below are descriptions of some popular <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-track-your-diet-and-fitness-for-free">eating trends</a>, and what experts have to say about them.</p> <h2>1. Gluten-Free</h2> <p>Gluten-free has become so popular that most grocery stores now have entire sections devoted to the products, and avoiding gluten is a must if you have celiac disease or some version of sensitivity to gluten. But how many people actually have <a href="http://www.celiaccentral.org/celiac-disease/facts-and-figures/">celiac disease</a>? Only about one in 133.</p> <p>And there are dangers associated with eating a gluten-free diet. If you have self-diagnosed as needing a gluten-free diet absent a medical diagnosis, you may be assuming you have celiac disease where there may be another medical cause. Secondly, by eating gluten-free, you may be missing out on important vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Think you have gluten sensitivity? This <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/gluten-sensitivity-and-study-replication-2014-5">study</a> may be eye-opening. Unconvinced? See your doctor.</p> <h2>2. Paleo</h2> <p>Paleolithic man existed before agriculture, when we assume they survived as hunter-gatherers. They probably would have eaten berries, tubers, mammals, and fish. They would not have had access to dairy or processed foods. Proponents of this diet claim that we would be healthier if we had stuck to this menu, rather than eating grains, legumes, dairy, and processed foods. By following a Paleo diet, it is claimed, we would not be obese, have diabetes, or heart disease.</p> <p>Maybe. I think we can all agree that cutting down on processed foods is a good idea. I know I have concerns about refined foods, sodium, and preservatives. However, consider that humans have greatly evolved since Paleo man.</p> <p>According to William Leonard of Northwestern University, &quot;We now know that humans have evolved not to subsist on a single, Paleolithic diet but to be flexible eaters, an insight that has important implications for the current debate over what people today should eat in order to be healthy.&quot;</p> <p>Areas of concern? The amount of red meat the Paleo diet recommends (which may lead to bowel cancer) and eliminating whole grains and legumes, which have proven health value.</p> <p>Also, as the Mayo Clinic reports, &quot;There is <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/paleo-diet/art-20111182?pg=2">little clinical research</a> on the benefits of paleo diets.... Researchers have argued that the underlying hypothesis of the paleo diet may oversimplify the story of how humans adapted to changes in diet.&quot;</p> <p>James Hamblin, in his March 24, 2014 article for <em>The Atlantic, </em>writes about a study conducted by Dr. David Katz of Yale University's Prevention Research Center:</p> <p>&quot;If Paleolithic eating is loosely interpreted to mean a diet based mostly on meat, no meaningful interpretation of health effects is possible.... The composition of most meat in today's food supply is not similar to that of mammoth meat, and that most plants available during the Stone Age are today extinct.&quot;</p> <h2>3. &quot;Nothing White&quot;</h2> <p>Pretty much just the way it sounds, the &quot;nothing white&quot; diet has you avoid refined white flour, white sugar, potatoes, pasta, bread, white beans, etc. Carbohydrates are not eliminated, but rather, replaced with healthier alternatives. This is a method of lowering your glycemic index (a measurement of carbohydrates and their impact on blood sugar).</p> <p>It may indeed help you lose weight, and eating more of the colorful fruits and vegetables recommended may help you decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.</p> <p>So what are its issues? It's pretty difficult for Joe Regular Person to eliminate all white bread, pasta, potatoes, and white sugar from your diet. Secondly, you need to be mindful of this information from WebMd:</p> <p>&quot;Keep in mind that <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/truth-about-white-foods?page=2">not all whole grains</a> are a good source of fiber. For example, brown rice is more nutritious than white rice because it contains the whole kernel of rice, but it's not necessarily a good source of fiber.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Juice Cleanse</h2> <p>Another popular trend, the juice cleanse, purports to help you lose weight, detox, and have more energy. You can concoct your own, or purchase from a (staggering) number of sources.</p> <p>Sure, you will probably lose weight, but it will mostly be water weight. Also, fruit sugar is still sugar, so you might actually <em>gain</em> weight if you're drinking lots of fruity cleanses.</p> <h2>5. The Alkaline Diet</h2> <p>Avoidance of high-fat animal products, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, plus eating lots of nuts, some soy, avocados, and produce are the hallmarks of the alkaline diet. Like the &quot;no-white&quot; diet, it has been popularized by great-looking celebrities. As the theory goes, avoiding acid-promoting foods and beverages promote a &quot;neutral&quot; blood pH, promoting health and weight loss. A list of specific foods supposedly helps keep your body more &quot;alkaline.&quot;</p> <p>But the thing is: your body is already taking care of this for you, unless you have kidney problems. Our stomachs are acidic, so that they can break down food; your urine changes depending upon what you eat. So, your body is already taking on this job. Nothing you eat is going to substantially change the pH in your blood.</p> <p>However, unless you overdo the avocados, nuts, and seeds, which are full of calories, the diet is pretty good for you, although I personally think the list is pretty restrictive. As an experiment, I tried it for a while. I missed dairy, coffee, and alcohol. It did get me eating more fruits and vegetables, although the recommended choices were sort of expensive. While there is some promising data, a study from the National Institute of Health concludes, &quot;At this time, there are limited studies...&quot;</p> <h2>6. Vegan</h2> <p>Vegans do not eat meat, fish, poultry, or animal products such as eggs, dairy, or honey. Being a vegan, though, is not just about weight loss. People often choose to become vegans for ethical reasons, their health, or environmental reasons.</p> <p>A vegan diet may help with weight loss, heart health, and diabetes prevention and control. But there are also some things you'll need to watch for:</p> <p>&quot;As a vegan, you need to spend a large part of your life planning what to eat,&quot; warns Dr. Michael D. Gershon, chairman of the department of anatomy and cell biology at New York's Columbia University. &quot;While it is possible to get the nutrients you need, it's difficult.... Vegans are more vulnerable to <a href="http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/the-vegan-myth?page=2">certain nutritional deficiencies</a>,&quot; he says, referring to vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin D &mdash; all critical for energy and mood.</p> <h2>7. The Raw Diet</h2> <p>Proponents of a raw diet claim that cooking food destroys nutrients and natural enzymes. Some even believe cooking makes the food toxic. Food is either uncooked or unprocessed. You can eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains; some eat unpasteurized dairy, meat, or fish. I love to cook, so this isn't at all appealing to me, but the list of foods to use is very nutritious, high in vitamins, minerals, etc.</p> <p>So, any big red flags on the raw food diet? Much like other diets listed above, you need to make sure you are getting enough protein, iron, and calcium. In tropical areas, eating raw foods can be dangerous due to the presence of rat-lungworm disease.</p> <p><em>Have you tried any of these trendy diets? How'd they work for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diet-trends-that-can-hurt-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-on-budget-while-eating-paleo">How to Stay on Budget While Eating Paleo</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-gluten-free-lunch-ideas">20 Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-gluten-free-trail-mix-bars-for-about-30-cents-each">Homemade Gluten-Free Trail Mix Bars for About 30 Cents Each</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheap-girl-s-guide-to-lowering-cholesterol-without-suffering">The Cheap Girl’s Guide to Lowering Cholesterol Without Suffering</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gluten-free-carb-free-noodles">Gluten-Free, Carb-Free Noodles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty carbs diets gluten-free juice cleanses paleo trends unhealthy vegan Tue, 25 Aug 2015 11:00:33 +0000 Marla Walters 1530609 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/20-gluten-free-lunch-ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-gluten-free-lunch-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6265879733_96362f1284_z.jpg" alt="family lunch" title="family lunch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Taking your lunch to work saves you money, but it's such a hassle when you're living with a gluten allergy. Something as simple as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich becomes a nightmare of buying expensive bread or making your own. Although you can make your own gluten-free bread ahead of time for days you want a sandwich, here's a list of 20 non-sandwich lunches for a frugal gluten-free lifestyle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas" title="25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a>)</p> <ol> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-easy-pizza-crust">Gluten-free pizza</a></li> <li>Cream cheese wraps with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-flour-tortillas-that-taste-great">homemade gluten-free tortillas</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.deviledeggs.com/classic_deviled_eggs.html">Deviled eggs</a></li> <li>Chef's salad</li> <li>Gluten-free pasta salad (quinoa pasta is best)</li> <li><a href="http://thaifood.about.com/od/oodlesofnoodles/r/basilcasnoodles.htm">Thai food (rice noodles)</a></li> <li>Chili</li> <li>Nachos</li> <li><a href="http://recipes.kaboose.com/brown-bag-bean-burritos.html">Burritos with gluten-free tortillas</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.cookingquinoa.net/greek-quinoa-salad/">Greek quinoa salad</a></li> <li>Veggies with hummus and cottage cheese</li> <li><a href="http://www.recipe4living.com/recipes/moroccan_lentil_salad_2.htm">Moroccan lentil salad</a></li> <li>Hard tacos</li> <li>Soft tacos with corn tortillas</li> <li><a href="http://chinesefood.about.com/od/fusionrecipes/r/lettucewraps.htm">Lettuce wraps (use gluten-free soy sauce)</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.recipe4living.com/recipes/peanut_butter_and_jelly_roll_ups.htm">Peanut butter and jelly roll-ups </a>with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-flour-tortillas-that-taste-great">gluten-free tortillas</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.recipe4living.com/recipes/pepperoni_pizza_wraps.htm">Pepperoni pizza wraps</a> with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-flour-tortillas-that-taste-great">gluten-free tortillas</a></li> <li>Taco salad with crunchy tortilla chips on top</li> <li>Fried rice</li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/crustless-quiche-an-easy-gluten-free-breakfast-lunch-or-snack">Quiche muffins</a>&nbsp;(recipe below)</li> </ol> <p><strong>Quiche Muffin Recipe</strong></p> <p><em>Makes 12</em></p> <p>Ingredients:</p> <ul> <li>8-10 eggs</li> <li>&frac14; cup frozen, chopped spinach (thawed)</li> <li>&frac14; cup green onions diced</li> <li>2 wedges Happy Cow swiss cheese (or 2 tablespoons cream cheese)</li> <li>3 slices lunchmeat ham, diced</li> <li>&frac14; cup mushrooms, diced</li> <li>3 cloves crushed garlic</li> <li>seasoning to taste</li> </ul> <p>Preheat your oven to 325&deg;F. Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor, or just beat very well with a whisk. Pour them into a greased cupcake pan, about 2/3 full. Place them in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool before putting them into plastic storage bags. Freeze or refrigerate. After thawing, place them in microwave on high for about 30 seconds before serving.</p> <h2>Packing Gluten-Free Lunches</h2> <p>Some of these lunches would do well if you have access to a microwave at work. Also, it pays to invest in a small cooler to keep the meats chilled before lunch.</p> <p>If you're packing lunch for your kids, here are ideas to <a href="http://parentingsquad.com/gluten-free-back-to-school-survival-guide-in-three-easy-steps">prepare your gluten-free kids to go to school</a>, with age-appropriate lunch ideas.</p> <h2>Gluten-Free Snacks</h2> <p>Snacks on the side are relatively easy. There are a lot of very gluten-free friendly snacks out there if you read the labels. Some of our family favorites are:</p> <ul> <li>Baby carrots</li> <li>Celery and peanut butter</li> <li>Kettle chips</li> <li>Tortilla chips</li> <li>Popcorn</li> <li>Pop Chips</li> <li>Apples</li> <li>Oranges</li> <li>Almonds</li> <li>Peanuts</li> <li>Honey Nut Chex (Buy them on sale and use coupons.&nbsp; We live by these snacks.)</li> </ul> <p>Also, if you really want a no-brainer and are craving sandwiches in your lunch, just bake double a batch of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-french-bread-in-under-an-hour">gluten-free french bread</a> on Sunday, cut each loaf in half, (you should have four) and freeze the loaves. Microwave a half of one the night before work and you have yourself enough bread to make a six inch sub. This makes for an easy lunch that doesn't need a microwave at work (unless you do something really tasty like a tuna melt or a meatball sub).</p> <p>Making life as simple as possible for the gluten-challenged is what I&nbsp;spend my days doing. I'm always looking for ways to keep it cheap and simple. If you have any gluten-free lunch ideas, I'd love to hear them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sonja-stewart">Sonja Stewart</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-gluten-free-lunch-ideas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-delicious-homemade-gluten-free-bread">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Delicious Homemade Gluten-Free Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gluten-free-carb-free-noodles">Gluten-Free, Carb-Free Noodles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-budget-friendly-gluten-free-grocery-staples">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Budget Friendly, Gluten-Free Grocery Staples</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-gluten-free-desserts">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Gluten-Free Desserts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diet-trends-that-can-hurt-you">7 Diet Trends That Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty allergy frugal gluten-free gluten-free lunch recipe Mon, 17 Jan 2011 15:00:10 +0000 Sonja Stewart 455893 at http://www.wisebread.com Homemade Gluten-Free Trail Mix Bars for About 30 Cents Each http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-gluten-free-trail-mix-bars-for-about-30-cents-each <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/homemade-gluten-free-trail-mix-bars-for-about-30-cents-each" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gluten free trail mix bar.JPG" alt=" gluten free trail mix bar" title="satisfying and easy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An on-the-go lifestyle means you don't have time to make everything from scratch.Y our gluten allergy can get very expensive if you're constantly buying &quot;gluten-free&quot; snacks when you're out and about. These bars broke down to about 30 cents a piece when I weighed in my final product. Make a batch a week and you'll be good to go. I adapted this recipe from <a href="http://onlysometimesclever.wordpress.com/2007/11/17/allergen-free-sweet-n-salty-trail-mix-bars-recipe/">Allergen-Free Sweet 'n' Salty Trail Mix Bar</a> so that it had nuts and other things I liked...like butter.</p> <h3>Gluten-Free Trail Mix Bars</h3> <p>Makes 36 bars</p> <p>1 cup honey (or corn syrup)<br /> 1 cup granulated sugar<br /> 1 tsp vanilla extract<br /> 1/2 tsp salt<br /> A total of 12 cups mix, using <strong>3 or more</strong> of the following ingredients:</p> <ul> <li>4 cups of puffed rice (NOT rice crispies)</li> <li>4 cups gluten-free cereal (like Chex)</li> <li>raisins</li> <li>dried cranberries</li> <li>other dried berries</li> <li>other dried fruit</li> <li>sunflower seeds</li> <li>peanuts</li> <li>almonds</li> <li>M&amp;M's</li> </ul> <ol> <li>Line an 11&quot; x 17&quot; pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil surfaces with spray-oil, or coat with butter.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the cereal, fruit, seeds and salt.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the honey (or corn syrup) and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil. Using a candy thermometer and making certain it isn't touching the bottom of the pan.<strong> If using corn syrup,</strong> cook without stirring until the thermometer reaches 238 degrees F.<strong> If using honey,</strong> cook without stirring until thermometer reaches 250 degrees F.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Quickly remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and pour the hot mixture over the cereal mixture. With a wooden or heat-proof plastic spoon, mix and stir until the syrup mixture coats the cereal mixture. Immediately turn out onto the prepared, lined pan. With oiled hands (or just slip a plastic sandwich bag over your hand), press the mixture firmly down until it fills the pan.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set the pan aside to cool (approximately 15 to 45 minutes, depending on weather). This is the only really tricky part of this recipe: If the bars are too warm, they'll be too gooey to cut. If you wait too long, they'll have hardened and it will be very difficult to cut through. So, when the bars are mostly-cool, and somewhat firm, using an oiled knife or pizza cutter, cut into 36 rectangular bars.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Store bars in one of those handy, snack sized, ziplock bags. You can wrap them in plastic wrap if you'd prefer, but it takes forever.</li> </ol> <p>I bought most items from a local dollar discount store and then got the raisins, and cranberries from Costco. Keep an eye out for what's on sale and mix up the ingredients each week.</p> <p>Stock these bars in the car, in your desk at work, and in your gym bag. They're packed with energy and very satisfying. Plus, you won't have digestion drama later.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sonja-stewart">Sonja Stewart</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-gluten-free-trail-mix-bars-for-about-30-cents-each">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-gluten-free-lunch-ideas">20 Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gluten-free-carb-free-noodles">Gluten-Free, Carb-Free Noodles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-with-kale-easy-recipes-for-real-people">Cooking With Kale: Easy Recipes for Real People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diet-trends-that-can-hurt-you">7 Diet Trends That Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-develop-the-breakfast-habit">9 Ways to Develop the Breakfast Habit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty affordable recipes gluten-free trail mix bars Sat, 18 Sep 2010 17:00:08 +0000 Sonja Stewart 237409 at http://www.wisebread.com Gluten-Free, Carb-Free Noodles http://www.wisebread.com/gluten-free-carb-free-noodles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/gluten-free-carb-free-noodles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/noodle.jpg" alt="Korean-style glass noodles" title="You know you want it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Lowering my intake of carbohydrates has been one of the biggest struggles of my life. I don't have a particularly sweet tooth &mdash; if you told me I could never have cake or pie again, I'd be bummed, but I'd get over it. But giving up bread? Pasta? Rice noodles? Now THAT makes me want to weep.</p> <p>There are lots of reasons why someone may want to cut carbs from their diet. Whether you're diabetic, trying to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">lower your blood sugar</a>, or simply trying to lose a few pounds, limiting the number of carbohydrates that you take in on a daily basis can be a smart move.</p> <p>However, it's really hard to cut back on carbohydrates, because carbohydrates power your brain. Eliminating carbs completely* (à la Atkins Diet) can leave you feeling foggy and dull, because your brain is struggling to find fuel to run on. Carbs make up the bulk of calories consumed the world over, but because most Westerners don't get much exercise, we turn those carbs into fat. And we get fatter and fatter.</p> <p>Enter the low-carb diet craze of a few years back. Now, I'm not really fond of popular diets as prescribed by charismatic actors and sales people &mdash; I don't find that they work, and the particulars are so crazy and detailed that sticking to a published diet plan can be incredibly difficult. It's not to say that you can't draw inspiration from The South Beach Diet; it's just that I've never met anyone who has successfully lost and kept weight off while using it.</p> <p>For me, losing weight will be a life-long struggle, and as a diabetic, finding low-carb foods to eat has been difficult from day one (a word to the wise: &quot;wraps,&quot; or any food involving a tortilla, are not low in carbohydrates. Tortillas, especially flour tortillas, have as many carbs as a slice or two of bread). Particularly tough has been eliminating rice and rice noodles from my diet, because rice noodles are a very purified form of complex carbohydrate. They contain almost no fiber, no fat: just carbs. And they absorb into your blood stream very quickly, causing sudden and uncomfortable spikes in blood sugar.</p> <p>But noodles taste so good! Or at least, the way they are prepared in Asian cuisine, cooked with chilies and lemongrass, or chicken and garlic, or made with spinach and soy sauce...(wipes drool from keyboard)...rice noodles are something that I truly missed.</p> <p>Until now. Because about five months ago, I discovered something that seemed like a <a href="http://www.reallyrawfood.com/fruity-subjects-and-some-veggies/kelp-noodles-exposed/">raw foodist diet secret</a>: kelp noodles.</p> <p>Now, some of you are saying to yourselves, &quot;Kelp? But I don't LIKE seaweed.&quot; Fear not, my wussy paletted friends! Kelp noodles don't really taste like kelp. OK, if you take them straight out of the bag and eat them without rinsing or flavoring, you might get a hint of sea-flavor. But if rinsed thoroughly, then seasoned and cooked with your favorite flavors, kelp noodles, like rice noodles, simply absorb the flavor around them. The only difference is the kelp noodles retain a bit of a crunch instead of going completely limp and mushy after cooking.</p> <p>I found my brand of <a href="http://www.kelpnoodles.com/products_seatangle_noodles.html">kelp noodles</a>, Sea Tangle, through a raw food vegan web site, and then was delighted to see that I could find them at my local co-op in the tofu and salsa section. At $2.75 a pack, they definitely aren't as cheap as rice noodles, but given that they (1) are filling and (2) contain a total of 18 calories per pack and (3) are incredibly versatile, I'm not complaining. They're also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/frugal-gluten-free">gluten-free</a>, which means that people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance now have more options when facing down dinner (or lunch...or breakfast, I suppose). They are clear in color, crunchy (a water-filled crunch as opposed to a dry one), and soften with cooking. I would liken their texture, but not taste, to that of jellyfish. Don't let that gross you out! It's a really nice texture.</p> <p>Discovering that there was such a thing as carb-free noodles opened my eyes to a world of awesome noodly goodness for diabetics. One of my favorite Korean dishes, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japchae">chapchae </a>(or japchae) involves yam noodles that are delicious, but total poison to a diabetic due to their high-carb, low-fiber content. However, just a couple aisles over in my Korean supermart are <a href="http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2570025/shirataki_noodles_no_calories_no_carbs.html">carb-free shirataki noodles</a>, made from a tuber that is very similar to yams. Shirataki are more delicate than kelp noodles, but have a wonderful, soft mouthfeel. I love eating shirataki noodles in miso soup, or topped with my favorite peanut sauce at room temperature.</p> <p>Slightly higher in calories (20 calories per serving) are <a href="http://www.house-foods.com/tofu/tofu_shirataki.aspx">tofu shirataki noodles</a>, which cost less than $2 per pack at my Korean market, and are made with tofu and yam flour. Tofu shirataki noodles also come in a variety of shapes, so you can still have <a href="http://www.asianfoodgrocer.com/category/tofu-shirataki-noodles">fettuccine with (almost) no carbs</a> if that's what you're craving. I find that tofu shirataki noodles do well with the kinds of toppings you might traditionally associate with Italian cooking: pesto, marinara, Alfredo. They're not going to replace actual wheat pasta anytime soon, in the same way that a veggie burger doesn't really approximate the experience of a freshly grilled Angus burger - but if gluten (or carbs) are on your no-no list, I do recommend giving these a try.</p> <p>Sea Tangle has an <a href="http://www.kelpnoodles.com/recipes_archives.html">archive of kelp noodles recipes</a>, but you can really treat any of these noodles the way you would any other kind of noodle. In fact, <a href="http://www.seattlepi.com/food/296790_eat22.html">Seattle ramen restaurants</a> offer shirataki noodles as a substitute for their ramen. Hey, nothing will match the awesomeness of fresh ramen noodles, but a diabetic's gotta eat, you know?</p> <p>If you've never tried any of these low-carb options, I hightly recommend giving them a spin. If you HAVE tried them and have some recipes to share, please feel free to post or link to them in the comments!</p> <p>===============================================</p> <p><em>I have received no money, free samples, or payment of any kind to write this article.</em></p> <p>** Several people who demand &quot;accuracy&quot; in their writing have pointed out that the Atkins Diet does not &quot;entirely&quot; eliminate carbohydrates from the diet, it just cuts them back to between 2-7 grams per serving.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gluten-free-carb-free-noodles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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