Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates

Posts tagged ‘barley’

Gluten, Gluten, Gluten


Gluten is the new “Atkins,” or “Paleo.” Seems that each year brings a new wave of diets, all promising better health, more radiance and weight loss. You’d think that by now, especially for those who have tried each one, only to discover it was either unsustainable or ineffective – of even harmful, we would collectively learn that there is no magic formula, shortcut or substitute for healthy eating and exercise.

But alas, an optimistic and perhaps lazy society we are. Most people prefer to take pills in lieu of changing their behaviors. It has been shown that those taking statins for cholesterol actually have unhealthier food choices since they feel their meds will “take care of” the problem. Diabetics relying on insulin, Metformin and the like, continue to skip meals, overindulge in or not balance their carbs, and don’t exercise – all strategies that could actually eliminate the need for these drugs in many.

The food and drug industries are partly to blame, but when push comes to shove, we must make our own choices. But I digress. This post is about gluten – the totally misunderstood element in our diets. In a quick nutshell, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale.  It is also used in many, many commercial products, and not necessarily labeled in a way the average person can identify it, making it a problem for those with Celiac Disease – a true gluten allergy or autoimmune disease, in which an affected person is unable to process gluten. This affects many systems in the body, resulting in the inability to absorb nutrients, causing nutritional deficiencies. Then there is a condition termed “gluten sensitivity” or “intolerance,” for which there is no current consensus of definition. Finally, some are allergic to wheat – of which gluten is a part.

Here are a few links to the topic of gluten: definition, where it is found and current thinking about sensitivity. In the end, the message is that no one should follow a diet based on what their friends are doing or saying. If it involves eliminating healthy components of a diet, it is probably not wise unless there is a medical necessity for it. Do your research and consult with nutrition professionals before starting any diet.

Enjoy the links. To warm you up, the first is Jimmy Kimmel’s reporter asking people who follow a gluten free diet, to explain what gluten is. It about sums up the issue!

Jimmy Kimmel Show: 

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/jimmy-kimmel-gluten-free-diet-video?cm_mmc=Fox_Health-_-3_Signs_You_Should_Get_Tested_for_Gluten_Sensitivity_or_Celiac_Disease-_-Article-_-Watch_People_Who_Say_they_Eat_a_Gluten-Free_Diet_Try_to_Explain_What_Gluten_Is

A Grain of Truth to Gluten Intolerance

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/a-grain-of-truth-to-gluten-intolerance-20140527-zrpb3.html

Sources of Gluten:

http://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/gluten-free-diet/sources-of-gluten/

HuffPost: 7 Places You ever Knew Contained Gluten

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/19/surprising-foods-with-gluten_n_3769463.html

Truth About Gluten

http://flcourier.com/2014/05/01/the-truth-about-gluten/

People with gluten sensitivity who have not had tests

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/07/us-celiac-gluten-sensitivity-idUSKBN0DN1HU20140507

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Mushroom Barley Soup


P1010325 (1)What could be better on a wintery day than a nice hearty, savory soup? I love making huge pots of soup in the winter and freezing family meal size portions to pop out of the freezer or to give to a sick friend. This one is filling enough for a meal with some bread and a salad. IF you prefer vegetarian, use vegetable broth. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of mushrooms. Chop one pound finely and slice the other pound into thin slices. You can use any kindof mushrooms you like. Mixing varieties makes it interesting.
  • 1 Cup of pearl barley
  • 2 Quarts of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh, chopped parsley
  • 1/2 bunch of chopped, fresh dill
  • 1 cup of sherry or other wine of your choice
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Oil to brown herbs

Directions:

In a stock pot, sauté onions and garlic until just beginning to caramelize. Add chopped parsley, stir and remove from heat. Add the stock and wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any sticky onions. Add dill, salt, pepper and barley. Cover pot; bring to boil then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for one hour, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot every 10 minutes. After an hour, check the barley for doneness. If it is still hard, you can continue cooking the soup until the barley is tender.

There are many types of barley. Some take as little as 40 minutes to cook and some take 2 hours If you know how long your barley will take, adjust cooking times appropriately. You want the mushroom soup to cook for at least an hour but it can cook longer. If the barley is quicker cooking, add it later in the process.

Optional additions: chopped carrots, shopped spinach or kale to add extra goodness and nutrition.

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