Energy Bars

Did you know to have a complete meal you need to have a carb, protein and a fruit or veg? These energy balls are a great way to get all three into one snack. They will also keep you going until your next big meal. Try these guys out as a quick and easy snack to make!

Ingredients:

2 cup dates
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup goji berries
1/4 cup buckwheat groats
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

Directions:

  1. Boil water and place the dates and goji berries into a bowl. Once the water is boiled, pour it over the dates and goji berries then let it sit for 20 min to soften them up. Or an alternative is to soak the dates in a bowl with water over night. By doing this you will make less work on your food processor engine 🙂
  2. Then add in the sofened date and goji berries into the food processor, then blitz it around until they are blended well.
  3. Now add in all of the nuts, seeds and pumpkin spice and blitz around until it combines. If you want it blended completely smooth you will have to blend it longer, however if you want the nuts and seeds to still be a bit crunchy blend for a minute or so.
  4. You can either roll the mix into little balls or put all of the mix into a parchment paper lined tin and make bars by spreading the mix around in the tin.
  5. Cut into bars or roll into balls and enjoy!

How rolling your feet can help with hamstring tightness

Image from Anatomy Trains

Have you ever stretched your hamstrings and lower back as much as you can but still have tightness? This can sometimes be due to a connective tissue structure called fascia.

Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place. The tissue does more than provide internal structure; fascia has nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin. Therefore, it plays a major role in our musculoskeletal system.

As shown in the book, Anatomy Trains, there is a fascial line from your skull down to your toes. If the fascia is tight it can tug and pull on the muscle causing it to feel tight. One way you can correct this is by rolling the bottom of your feet to loosen up the fascia at one end.

Give this a try to see if it helps you be able to bend forward to touch your toes easier:

  1. Bend forward to touch your toes, but be sure to keep your knees straight and you bend from your hips not your knees. Measure how far you can reach and remember this length as you will be using it for reference again later.
  2. Roll the bottom of both feet, but be sure that you roll slow and controlled. Rolling fast will not help to release the fascia. Be sure to roll front to back and into the arches of the foot. Roll for 2-5 min per foot. Roll in a triangle position like the picture shows to the right.
  3. Now bend forward and try to touch you toes again. Notice the difference in how far forward you can bend.

Pretty cool eh?

This is how beneficial it can be to roll your muscles first before you stretch. So next time you have a good stretching session, roll out your muscles for a few minutes first and see how you feel!

I have a full video on how to do this on my Instagram account that can be found here.


Consistency Is Key

This is something I tell my patients all of the time, other than to be an advocate for your own health.

In order for you to get better at anything in life, you need to be working at it little by little every day.

That’s not to say there isn’t such a thing as a ‘rest day.’ But if you think of it in a way that will promote progress, consistency is key.

For instance, if you want to become stronger and more mobile, doing a yoga class or going to the gym once a month isn’t going to get you any closer to your goal of becoming the next James Bond.

You need to work at it and know that you are making a lifestyle change.

This is a concept that can be used in all aspects of our lives. If you are trying to save up for a house, car or retirement, only putting money into a savings account once will not help you in the long run. However, if you consistently put money into that account it will start to grow into a pretty nice retirement plan.

Same thing goes for if you want anything else in your life, you need to be consistent and work at it little by little everyday.

The things that are worth while waiting for, do not happen over night. Keep working at it and you will see the progress, guarenteed.

Love,

LEW xoxo


Pumpkin Pie Filling | Vegan & Gluten Free

If you already have a pie crust to use and you just need the filling for your delicious pumpkin pie, here it is!

Ingredients:

3 cups Pumpkin Puree (I used the full can of E.D. Smith, 796 mL)
1/4 – 1/2 cup Maple Syrup (depending on how sweet you like your pumpkin pie – adjust to your liking)
1/4 cup Coconut Sugar
1/3 cup Almond Milk (I used the unsweetened kind)
1 TBSP Coconut Oil
3 TBSP Arrowroot Starch
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pinch of salt

Optional:

Coconut Whipped Cream

An easy way of making it is simply by taking a can of coconut milk and chill it for a few hours. Then take out the solid coconut milk from the top and place it into a bowl and add as much maple syrup as you’d like to your sweetness levels. I used about 5-6 TBSP. Then use an electric hand mixer and mix it until small peaks form in the cream. Chill and add to the top of your pie!

Directions for the Pie Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place all of the above ingredients into a food processor, then mix the ingredients together until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides to get it all in.
  3. Put the pumpkin pie filling into your pie shell being sure to not over fill it. This recipe should fit a regular sized pie shell perfectly.
  4. Now it’s time to bake your pie! Place it in the oven for 60-65 min or until the top of the pie is golden brown.

Enjoy!


What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

If you have been recently diagnosed with Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) or Celiac Disease, you most likely have a bubbly rash on your skin.

Here is everything you need to know about this extremely itchy rash…

This is DH on my hands

What is Dermaitis Herpetiformis (DH)?

Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is an autoimmune reaction and can cause a common rash among anyone with or without celiac disease and is bumpy, bubbly, and can be very itchy. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in the small intestine that flares when a protein called gluten is consumed. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats.

DH is also known as Duhring’s disease, and it causes blisters that look very similar to herpes or warts, but this condition does not come from the herpes virus, instead it is triggered by gluten for anyone with a gluten sensitivity, or celiac disease.

Who is affected by Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

Dermatitis Herpetiformis affects 10-15% of people with celiac disease. DH can affect people of all ages but primarily will show up in people between the ages of 20-40 or in your teens. People of northern European descent are more likely than those of African or Asian heritage to develop DH. This condition is also more common in men than women.

Can you have DH if you do not have Celiac Disease?

Yes, if you have DH it does not mean that you also have celiac disease, and vice versa. People with DH are having an autoimmune reaction after consuming gluten. IgA antibodies are produced in the body and will show up on the skin through the DH rash.

Your family genetics plays a role in if you get DH and you are 5% more likely to get DH and/or celiac disease if a first-degree relative also has either conditions. The genes related to both celiac disease and DH is: HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8.

What causes a DH flare in the body?

The main culprit of a DH flare in the body is consuming gluten.

There has also been research done on if iodine can cause DH. As mentioned on the Celiac Disease Foundation website, “According to John J. Zone, MD, Professor and Dermatology Chair at the University of Utah and CDF Medical Advisory Board member, “There is little question that ingestion of large amounts of iodine dramatically worsens DH. It should be understood,” he continues, “that iodine does not cause DH. It worsens DH. Gluten causes DH.” Dr. Zone explains that through seeing hundreds of celiac disease patients over the years, he has found that some react to highly concentrated solutions of iodine in cough medicines, shellfish, and kelp, often found in sushi. He also cautions that dietary supplements may contain large amounts of kelp or iodine (usually in the form of potassium iodide or sodium iodide) which can worsen DH.”

A note about stress, dermatitis itself can be brought on by stress. It can also be brought on by hormonal changes, the environment and irritating substances. HOWEVER, there is no research that I have been able to find about stress triggering dermatitis herpetiformis on it’s own. Consuming gluten is a very stressful event in the body of someone with celiac disease. Therefore, it is the act of eating gluten that flares the DH and the stress that comes with it could potentially exacerbate the symptoms.

How long after gluten exposure does Dermatitis Herpetiformis show up on the skin?

Typically, the rash will present itself within a few hours or up to 12-72 hours after consuming gluten. But keep in mind that it all depends on your individual body and how it reacts to gluten. For some, you may get the rash or you may not. The rash will usually always show up in the same location as the time before.

For people with a wheat allergy the rash may begin within minutes or up to 2 hours after eating gluten.

How does Dermatitis Herpetiformis present itself?

Above is DH on my buttocks

Dermatitis Herpetiformis looks like a cluster of bumps that can also have blisters form on it with clear fluid. It is an extremely itchy rash and can sometimes cause a burning or stinging sensation as well. More likely than not, it will show up bilaterally but it can sometimes be unilateral as well. Before the actual dermatitis herpetiformis rash breaks out, your skin may itch in that location, or it might feel as if it’s burning. This rash is most commonly found on:

  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Buttocks
  • Back
  • Abdomen
  • Hairline
  • Hands

The locations above is not the full list, as the rash has been found on other parts of the body as well.

Not everyone with DH has celiac disease and vice versa. Inline with that fact, not everyone with DH will have the digestive symptoms that comes with having celiac disease either.

As mentioned above, it is sometimes mistaken as herpes, as it does look similar, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the herpes virus. This is however, why it is called “herpetiformis.” It is also commonly mistaken as warts if they are on the hands, acne, psoriasis, shingles, scabies, eczema, papular urticaria and other types of dermatitis. To properly know what it is, your doctor may send you for a biopsy of your skin and have some testing done on it.

How is Dermatitis Herpetiformis diagnosed?

DH is diagnosed through a skin biopsy and a blood test. A local anesthetic is used before they use a tool that looks similar to a small cookie cutter to punch a part of your skin out to be tested. It is only a 4mm sample of skin and can be stitched back up with minimal scaring.

It is important to have this test done by someone who has experience with it as the sample needs to be taken directly adjacent to the site of the rash. If the sample is taken right over the rash there may be a false negative as the rash itself is inflamed and this can destroy the Immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies they are looking for in the test.

A supplemental tissue transglutaminase (TTG) blood test can be done as well to check for the antibodies that are commonly found in people with celiac disease. If the blood test comes back positive and the biopsy has the regular findings of DH, then patients do not need to go for intestinal biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of celiac disease (this information can be found here).

What is the treatment for Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

Now that you are well rounded with the information about DH, you may be asking how is it treated?

Your dermatologist may prescribe you a drug called Dapsone. This can be prescribed as an oral tablet or as a topical gel to put directly on the lesion site. This medication is used to treat DH and helps by decreasing the swelling brought on by inflammation and helps to stop the growth of bacteria. This medication is also helpful to decrease the itching that can occur with DH and will start to take effect within 48-72 hours after starting to take the medication.

However, even with taking dapsone, you still need to follow a strict gluten free diet. Following a gluten free diet for life is what will help to put your DH rash into remission. There is an exception however, in some cases people may need to heal from DH and continue taking dapsone for up to 1-2 years to stop further outbreaks of the rash.

“Dapsone carries some significant risks, so healthcare providers generally recommend you stay on it only for long enough to bring the rash under control and to learn to eat gluten-free (Reference from Very Well Health).”

All in all, the only long-term treatment for Dermatitis Herpetiformis is following a gluten free diet for life.

A word from LEW to you

Whenever you have a new rash pop up on your body that you have not had before, ALWAYS get your rash looked at by your family doctor or a dermatologist. A rash is your bodies way of telling you that there is something wrong within your body. Even if you have had this rash before, it may look like it is presenting as something else that needs to be taken care of right away. Take it from me, listen to your body and get help right away.

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

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References

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21460-dermatitis-herpetiformis

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/what-is-dermatitis-herpetiformis

https://celiac.org/about-the-foundation/featured-news/2015/10/dermatitis-herpetiformis-and-iodine-exposure/

https://www.healthline.com/health/dermatitis#risks

https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/related-conditions/dermatitis-herpetiformis/

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6744/dapsone-oral/details

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wheat-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20378897

https://www.verywellhealth.com/dermatitis-herpetiformis-photos-562325


How Tea Can Help With Mental Health: Featuring The Genuine Tea Company

There are not enough words in the world for me to write about how much I love this tea company.

Genuine Tea is ethically sourced, free of artificial flavouring and colours, and the best part for people who may have celiac disease, they are 100% gluten free! This Toronto, Ontario based company hand packages their tea with love, care and excitement to all orders of their super flavourful tea.

Another big reason I support Genuine Tea, is for every cup of their tea that you enjoy, 1% of proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

With the uprise in mental health awareness, it is really refreshing to see a company that supports such an important cause. Recently there have been many studies showing the many major benefits of tea with overall health. Some of these benefits are listed below.

The Benefits of Tea on Mental and Physical Health:

Tea not only tastes great, but there is a lot of research backing the many health benefits found within the nutrients in tea. The bioactive compounds found in tea are called flavonoids, which are plant compounds with a variety of health benefits. Researchers have found a decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, and some cancers with a diet rich in flavonoids. If this was not reason enough to add more flavonoids into your diet, they also have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects that protect your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to disease.

The amino acid, L-theanine, which is found in tea has been found in some studies to alter the attention networks in the brain and also has clear-cut effects on brain waves. This then leads to a feeling of relaxation without having any drowsiness. A placebo-controlled study was done to show how the people who drank tea were better at doing an attention task than those who drank the placebo drink. Green tea for instance has been shown to help with concentration and relaxation without having the jittery side effects that can occur with coffee. Even more fascinatingly, there have been studies showing that theanine has some success of reducing anxiety and other symptoms in people with schizophrenia!

There are also polyphenols found in tea that can contribute to better cognition and working memory. There have been many studies on people with Alzheimer’s disease that shows drinking green tea can lead to promising results with improving a decline in memory, cognitive impairment and dementia.

Tea has also been shown to help with a decline in stressful situations. One study showed that drinking 4 cups of oolong tea everyday for a week helped to decrease the symptoms of stiffness in the shoulders and neck, fatigue of the eyes and headaches. Black tea has also been shown to decrease stress hormones if consumed regularly.

It is safe to say, when we are in and out of stressful situations we can all learn a lesson from those in England who have a cuppa close in hand!

Regardless of the type of tea you like to consume on a regular basis I can “guarantea” that it will have many positive beneficial outcomes for your overall health!

If you are considering adding tea to your daily routine or looking for another company to try and enjoy, check out Genuine Tea and support their amazing Canadian small business!

Resources:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-flavonoids#1

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jhs/49/6/49_6_436/_pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4210905/

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/98/6/1700S/4577506

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21208586/


Life Update: Celiac Disease and Strength Rehab Program

It’s been a little while since I have done a life update blog post on here. It has also been a whirlwind of a few months piecing it all together, but here it goes.

I have had a pretty big epiphany lately. One in which I have realized that the ongoing symptoms I have had over the last few years may not only have to do with me consuming gluten when going out to eat as a celiac, but it may also have to do with my relationship with food. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love food, but I think deep down I have been anxious about what I have been eating inside and outside of my own home.

Hear me out.

When I was first diagnosed 4.5 years ago with celiac disease, I started reading and researching everything I could in knowing all of the information about my newly diagnosed condition. So much so, that I started making that my number one priority. I stopped playing sports, working out and taking care of my mental health and prioritized learning about gut health to correct the damage that has been done in my small intestine. With doing this though, I lost my main stress outlet, exercise and meditation. I became antisocial, where I did not want to go out to eat with friends because I could not partake due to the fear of consuming gluten in the food I was eating.

For those of you reading this and do not know, one crumb of gluten is all it takes to cause my autoimmune disease to flare up and make me not feel well for a few weeks to months. You can find more information about celiac disease here.

There is more and more information and research being released on the connection between the gut and the brain. If either the gut or brain is not functioning optimally, they both suffer. For example, if you have ever been really nervous for something, like a presentation, you may have had the sensation of butterflies in your stomach. Usually having to go to the bathroom accompanies this feeling, but once it is over the butterflies go away and your digestion starts to go back to normal.

However, if you are in this chronic state of stress and fight or flight, your body will eventually start to signal to you to slow down through symptoms. Those symptoms can be pain, bloating, fatigue, and indigestion just to name a few.

Since I have started my daily meditation practice and I have slowly started moving my body everyday, I can feel some of the symptoms starting to subside and dissipate.

Currently right now, I have on and off fatigue and bloating with silent reflux, along with a pain in my upper right abdomen. When I palpate my gut it feels rock hard in some spots, and I don’t mean abdomen muscle tone, I mean inflamed intestinal tone. Also, due to not working out and taking care of my body through exercise, I have started getting anatomical discomfort and injuries occurring like back and neck pain, along with neurological discomfort. I even started to notice myself holding my diaphragm in when I was sitting down to eat anything put in front of me. I’ve had to consciously work at letting my abdomen go while I sit down to eat.

My goals for the next few months will be to work with my dietician to heal my gut and symptoms through diet, exercise and mindfulness. Along with this I will be working on my own strength rehab program to correct any anatomical imbalances that have occurred over the last few years.

I’ll keep you posted on instagram of my progress incase you want to follow along and I’ll be starting to write regular weekly blog posts on celiac disease and athletic therapy.

Thank you for your continued support and love 🙂

LEW xoxo


Gluten Free Stir Fry

This is a super easy recipe you can finish within 20 min! And it’s ingredients that are usually found in your kitchen already.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:
2 TBS Tamari or Coconut Aminos (make sure they are gluten free if you are celiac!)
2 TBS Maple Syrup
1 TBS Green Thai Paste
1 TBS Grainy Mustard

For the stir fry:
One medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 thumb size piece of ginger
Package of ground turkey
Mixed frozen veg – broccoli, kale, butternut squash
1 Cup of brown rice
Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the stir fry sauce in a separate bowl and set aside.
  2. Boil 2 cups water and put in 1 cup of the brown rice and follow the packet instructions for cooking.
  3. Cut up the ginger, onion and garlic cloves into small pieces. Put them in a pan with a bit of oil to cook. Once they are browning, go onto step 4.
  4. Add in the ground turkey and cook until semi-cooked. You do this so the meat is not over cooked while the veg cooks.
  5. Add in the stir fry sauce you made.
  6. Add in the frozen veg and continue to cook until they are not frozen anymore.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste

Enjoy your dinner!


Thai Coconut Mango Chicken Curry

Not to toot my own horn, but I think this curry is super delicious! Especially the next day when the flavours can really combine together. This meal is both savoury and sweet, the best of both worlds! If you are looking for a quick meal, that your taste buds will celebrate, this is the dinner for you!

Ingredients

6 Chicken Thighs
2 TBS Green Thai Paste
2 TBS Fish Sauce
2 TBS Coconut Sugar
1 Can White Beans
1 Can Coconut Milk
1/3 Cup Vegetable Broth
2 Mangos Chopped into Chunks
1 Cup Rice – Brown or white, whichever your preference

Directions

  1. Cook your rice as per the package instructions. Mine was 1 cup of brown rice per 2 cups of water for 20 min.
  2. Place some oil in a pan and heat it at medium heat for 2-3 min.
  3. Add in the cut up chicken thighs, when they touch the pan it should sizzle right away.
  4. Cook for 5 min at medium heat.
  5. Add in the green Thai paste, mix it into the chicken.
  6. Now add in the fish sauce, coconut sugar, white beans and cook for another 2-3 min.
  7. Add in the coconut milk and vegetable broth with the mango chunks, and bring it to a boil on high heat for 4-5 min. Then let it simmer for 5 min.
  8. Place your rice into a bowl and add the curry on top.
  9. Enjoy!

Let me know in the comments below if you give this recipe a try! Share it on Pinterest, IG, FB, or with friends and spread the love 🙂


Five Top Tips For Making Goals Without The Guilt

I think it is safe to say most of us have heard of the SMART goal setting strategy. This is a super reliable and successful way of setting goals, I will write a blog post all about it in the future. Today, I will not be referring to that strategy of goal setting. Today I will be giving you things to consider when you do want to set a new goal.

Set Intentions – but don’t do this out of fear or pressure from anyone else. Do the intentions as a form of self love and compassion to yourself, knowing that in the end, it will benefit you whole heartedly. Another important step of this stage is to always celebrate the small wins and your success, because this is what will ultimately drive your motivation rather than willpower alone.

Be Realistic – it is all too common that we will make big goals and not be able to keep up to them because they were too big of a step. Start small and make attainable goals, this includes not being so hard on yourself! If something in your life calls for 15 min of your time but you have 5 min, then do it for 5 min. Keep it simple, because doing it for the time you have is better than not doing it at all.

Change your Mindset and Make it Positive. Depending on what your goal is, try to not see it as you’re taking one thing away and instead you are adding another. Instead of saying I have to ‘stop doing X’ or ‘don’t do Y,’ switch it to I GET to ‘start doing X’ and ‘do more of Y.’ The way we speak to ourselves makes a huge difference.

What is Most Important to You? Think about what is most important to you in relation to your goal and keep your focus on that. Each and everyone of us are unique and have different goals and aspirations. Don’t let yourself become compared to someone else’s life on Instagram. You keep doing you, because if someone hasn’t said it to you already today, you’re doing great.

Still Not Convinced? Ask yourself these two questions:
How will I feel if I continue versus if I stop?
What will my life look like in one year if I continue versus if I stop?

I think it is safe to say that we have all looked back on a year that has just gone by and thought to ourselves, “where did the time go?” Time goes by fast, and if you really want a change and it’s important to you, start now.

Goal setting does not need to be complicated. Start small, and go from there. Remember to not be hard on yourself, if you go a day or two without working towards your goal, dust yourself off and get back to it. Our bodies have a funny way of telling us that we need a break or get back to it.

Five minutes a day is all you need to start. Ready? Go.

Love,

LEW xoxo