Wheat and Fructose – Trimming by Two’s in 2013

by Raquel Richardson

It’s this time of year I hear many people talk about those healthy resolutions they’re embarking for the next 12 months. For most people, they’re asking of themselves major tasks that set them up to fail.

I’m luckily already pretty healthy, at my ideal weight, I don’t drink soda or juices, I cut wheat years ago and I already work out regularly. That being said, I have two things that I always have to focus on to make sure I keep myself as I exist today:  Wheat and fructose.

Neither wheat nor sugar is our friend. Wheat has been proven to do a number of things to our body, from inflammation to stomach problems that can both lead to major medical issues. Fructose, likewise, causes more damage than we probably know. If you’re constantly sick or have a lower immune system, sugar is possibly propelling your illness. Fructose also may be making you crave more food in general and more sugary items, neither of which can lead to much good.

Wheat Replacements

Let’s take wheat first and look at how I’ll be trimming that from my diet. I’ve been gluten-free for the majority of the past three years. I do fall off the wagon, and I do just get back on the next day. Beer has historically been my wheat weakness – agghh.

How I trim wheat from my diet:

  • I eat (and love!) Ezekiel bread. It’s healthy, a sprouted grain, and so filling one slice of this bread with a bit of almond butter is my typical breakfast.
  • Sweet potato chips are also one of my staples instead of potato chips. In keeping with the blood type diet, sweet potatoes are friendly for my system vs. potato; so I also love to eat sweet potato chips. My favorite brand for those is Food Should Taste Good.
  • Rice chips are also preferred over corn chips. I don’t do well with a lot of corn in my diet, so switching to rice chips has been a good friend for when I need tortilla chips for my salsa treats.
  • Rice pasta is also a new staple instead of pasta derived with wheat. There are lots of good brands for this alternative.
  • Quinoa is one of my favorite side dishes. You can do so many things with this whole grain it’s simple and easy to find something you’ll enjoy.
  • Sorghum-based beer is what I do when I have a beer craving. I have tested a few varieties and surprisingly, the version from Anheuser-Busch is so far my winner. 
Sugar Replacements

Trimming sugar, for me, is more about eating natural foods and staying away from anything processed, like things that come in boxes and pre packaged. Ways I plan to make sure less sugar is coming into my world for 2013 is to stick to some of these stapes:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables and mainly either raw or roasted. Yes, I know fruit is full of sugar, but I’m viewing this as natural and not the processed kind, so I’m going with it. Bananas and apples are my raw staples here; sweet potatoes, zucchini and carrots are my roasted favorites. 
  • When I have a chocolate crave a nice spot of dark chocolate typically works. Dark chocolate has less sugar and is better for you than other versions of chocolate. 
  • Making sure I drink lots of water is actually one way I’m trimming sugar. This probably sounds odd, but for me, when I crave something sugary I’m finding I’m really just dehydrated or thirsty and it’s not really for want of candy. 
Staying focused on keeping these two items out of my life will set my 2013 in a good motion and keep me healthy and well for another new year to begin again. I’m not going to be perfect, and when I decide I have to have my aunt Reva’s homemade fudge, I’ll keep it in moderation. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2013 to you.

Bucket List

The Barn at Blackberry Farm

Recently a dear friend of mine lost her husband suddenly. It was such a shocking loss to all who knew this loving couple that it served as a wake-up call that life is indeed fleeting and incredibly precious. While such euphemisms are oft-repeated but not routinely felt, this loss has forced me to refine my perspectives on many things. I was inspired to create a bucket list of the culinary sort. I'm sure it will be an evolution, but here is my first crack.

Pike Place Market, Seattl
DRINK CHAMPAGNE. Getting specific, I would preferably sip with Carol Duval-Leroy, the power woman in charge of one of the top champagne houses in the world. Of course I would want to taste bubbly with her at her family's historic winery in Vertus, located in the Côte de Blancs subregion of Champagne. Vertus is one of the highest rated Premier Cru villages of Champagne. Champagne Duval-Leroy is also my favorite, so this is all a no-brainer.

DESTINATION RELAXATION. Blackberry Farm, located in Walland Tennessee in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains, is a posh bed & breakfast renowned for world class cuisine. On-property bakery, there is a butchery, a salumaria, and acreamery. Their 8,000-square-foot wine cellar compliments the efforts of Executive Chef Joseph Lenn in The Barn, the farm's chief dining nevue. Chef Lenn prides himself on providing the region's best "Foothills Cuisine." Did I mention that Blackerry Farm frequently has visiting chefs for one-of-a-kind culinary experiences?

EAT LOTS OF CARBS. You know where this is going: Italia! While I've had some delicious Italian food stateside, I want the real McCoy. Authentic Neopolitan pizzas, Venetian risotto and polenta, and tortellini and lasagne from Bologna is at the top of my list... Fantastico! (Of course, periodic gelato and affogato to break up the straight-up carbohydrate fest will be necessary).

Ruth Rechl
SHOP. COOK. REPEAT. While I love my Broad Ripple Farmer's Market (and I do!), I want a full week of the world's best fresh seafood, vegetables, and artisan goods at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. Ideally, I would rent a little place in walking distance to the market and just knock myself out cooking and enjoying all of the local fare.

DINE WITH RUTH REICHL. The queen of all food critics, Ruth Reichl's career has been incredibly rich and varied. An accomplished cook, author, and critic, her book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of Critic in Disguise, is an inspiration for any person who thinks about food as a way of life. Meeting her would be mind-blowing, but sharing a meal would just be over the top.