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NGF Digest 006: 100 Gluten-Free Meals, Keto Diet Review, Becoming Sugar-Free Review
April 09, 2022

Issue 006 – April 2022

It’s spring! And as we lighten up our wardrobes, it’s time to lighten up our food choices too. Out with the long slow simmers and in with light salads, one pan dinners and anything that can go on the grill.

Oh and of course we have Easter Dinner coming up. Watch for a blog post on making your gluten-free holiday meal shine.

Can you believe this humble newsletter is six months old? I can't.
A huge thanks to those of you who have passed it along
and helped others to benefit from all this info on living gluten-free and the recipes too. The feedback has been so encouraging!

Featured Article

Gluten-Free Meals

The recipes section of Naturally Gluten-Free is getting a makeover and I’ve started with the three main meals of the day.

That’s right! Three new articles with more than 100 meal ideas!

There are tons of recipes, and many that don’t even need a recipe!

40+Easy Gluten-Free Breakfast Ideas
50 Gluten Free Lunch Ideas that (Mostly) Don't Need a Recipe
20 Gluten Free Dinners That You Will Actually

I know it’s a lot, so get comfortable, browse through, then get cooking.

Featured Recipe

Gluten-Free Omelet Muffins

Gluten-Free Omelet Muffins

In the interest of keeping things light and simple, I thought I’d feature this little gem. It’s so easy you’ll make it for every day, but it comes off as kind of fancy, so you can serve it to your brunch guests.

News From the Scientific Community

Celiac Disease and the Ketogenic Diet

What is the Ketogenic or “Keto” diet?
The Keto diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat diet.

When following the Keto diet you completely eliminate grains, sugars and high carbohydrate fruits and vegetables. This means no pasta, no potatoes, no rice, no bread. Instead you focus your diet on whole foods like meat, low carbohydrate vegetables and healthy fats. Sounds a little like what I talk about at naturally gluten-free doesn’t it?

Why Follow a Keto diet?
Most people who follow a Keto diet do so to lose weight. It’s very effective because the low carb, high fat ratio puts your body into a state of “ketosis” whereby you burn fat as fuel instead of carbohydrates which is what the body normally burns as fuel.

In addition to the weight loss benefit, there is some evidence that following a keto diet may reduce inflammation and help with IBS symptoms. This is likely due to the affect of this diet on the microbiome. If you’re interested in more about Keto, IBS and the microbiome check out these two articles.

Why Would a Celiac Follow a Keto Diet?
Many people with celiac disease continue to have digestive issues even after eliminating gluten. These could be caused by lactose intolerance, or other food intolerances, but sometimes the cause is just difficult to get your hands around.

The Keto diet and the gluten-free diet that you follow because of your celiac, or gluten intolerance are good partners because the Keto diet is grain free. This means that Keto is kind of gluten-free by definition. I say kind of because foods marketed as Keto friendly may contain some gluten ingredients like soy sauce in beef jerky or other food additives and will not necessarily manage gluten cross contamination. So be careful as always and read labels.

Is the Keto Diet Healthy?
That’s where the available information is a bit fuzzy. If you google “is the Keto diet healthy” you’ll get lots of articles on both sides of the fence. This article rates it as the worst diet for health, but if you read the article they base this on the high saturated fat and low fiber content. The dangers of saturated fat have been largely debunked1, and there are lots of low carb, high fiber vegetables that you can include in your keto diet.

What I take from all of this is that the Keto diet, just like the gluten-free diet can be healthy or unhealthy depending on how you approach it. If you just eat bacon and whipped cream every day that’s likely not so good. But if you focus your diet on real, whole foods, eat a good variety and choose healthy fats, I see no reason why the Keto diet can’t be healthy.

Is There Anyone Who Should Not Follow a Keto Diet?
There are some reports about Keto increasing the risk of fatty liver disease, yet others that say Keto helps reduce fatty liver disease. If you have liver issues you may want to talk to your doctor and if you decide to follow the keto diet be sure to do it in a healthy manner.

There are also some reports of Keto causing strain on the thyroid and gallbladder and some cases of kidney stones. So again, be sure you’re getting a good variety of healthy foods and if you have any medical conditions, check with your doctor.

My Experience
I’ve been following the Keto diet for 4 weeks, so I can give you my early assessment.

I started this for two reasons. First, I’ve been having some issues with bloating and sore joints that seem on the surface to be inflammation related. Additionally, I had a few stubborn pounds I’ve been trying to shed without much success. My husband also was trying to lose some weight so we decided to do this together. It’s good to have support and to hold each other accountable. It’s also good to share your successes.

Four weeks in, here’s our assessment.

- We’ve both lost weight. Him about 20lbs, me about 7.

- My bloating went away within a couple of days! So I feel much better.

- We’ve both lost inches off our waistlines. For me I think a lot of that is because the bloating and inflammation have improved.

- My joint pain has improved but is not completely gone.

- We’ve both found that the food is satisfying and we’re rarely hungry, but we’ve both had bouts of extreme “I need a family sized bag of potato chips right now” type cravings. It’s not all the time but it does come up.

- We’ve both experienced constipation. We’ve been able to manage that by including high fiber Keto friendly veggies like cabbage and kale with our meals. I’ve read that the constipation resolves after a couple of weeks.

- We’ve both had some periods of insomnia but in general have found that we’re less tired and are sleeping better.

Do I Recommend the Keto Diet?
I have actually recommended it to a few friends who are struggling with their weight.

If you do try it, look for a good meal plan that includes heart healthy fats and lots of high fiber vegetables to support your microbiome and promote regularity.

My husband and I are following the Konscious Keto 28 day plan and it does those things as well as providing delicious recipes.

Yet, I hesitate to recommend the Keto diet unreservedly just because there have been so few studies and the ones there have been, are bringing back conflicting reports.

Also, I’m not sure that the Keto diet is sustainable over the long term. So, if it is temporary, then we need to think about how to come off it and not gain back the weight or fall back into the same habits that caused the bloating and discomfort in the first place. This may take more research into what is actually the cause. Is it sugar, or refined carbohydrates, or something else?

Always be skeptical of anything that claims to be a cure-all, and the Keto diet seems to have risen to that status lately. Proponents of this diet claim a full range of benefits including: boosting metabolism, improving neurological function, blood sugar regulation, improving diabetes, improving mental clarity, mood and energy levels and resolving reproductive issues. It’s possible that the diet is all that. I’m the first one to line up behind the notion that our diets cause a lot of the problems we experience, but lets look for more studies.

In Conclusion
I’d say this is working for now but there is more exploration to do.

Watch for recipe updates. I’ll be highlighting some of the recipes that are Keto friendly and adding some Keto friendly substitutions to existing recipes.

What I’m Pondering

Cooking without recipes

You’ve heard me say how learning to cook has changed my life and that I whole heartedly agree with food author Michael Pollan when he’s says that the answer to most of the questions that occupy us are one and the same – cook.

It’s with this in mind that I continually encourage you to avoid gluten-free “products” and to instead focus your diet on whole, naturally gluten-free foods. It’s also with this in mind that I’ve resisted making a recipe site. There are lots of recipes, but I hope you’ll use them as more of a guide and then tweak and experiment and make them your own.
Watch for the website to take a turn in this direction as I start to offer more in the way of techniques and suggestions in addition to recipes.

What I’m reading

I promised you a review of Julie Daniluk’s Becoming Sugar Free, so here it is.
Review: Becoming Sugar-Free by Julie Daniluk

I took a break from reading about food this month. Well not really, I guess you could call all the Keto research I’ve done reading; as well as trying out new Keto recipes, which has taken up a fair bit of time. I’ll share some more of what I’ve learned in due course.

I've just started Dr. Robert Lustig’s Metabolical. I’m thinking his work may dovetail nicely with the Keto exploration as well as with my search for answers to ongoing digestive discomfort that celiac's often experience and how sugar might be playing into that.

A New E-Book from Naturally Gluten-Free

Some of you have been asking for advice for the newly diagnosed. A “Beginner’s Guide” so to speak. Well, I started working on it and soon realized that it is much more than just a web page. I’ve decided to create a hyperlinked e-book for you which will likely come out mid-2022. I’ll keep you posted here in the newsletter and on Facebook.

That’s all for this month.

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you’d like to see in the newsletter. Just drop me a line from my Contact Page .

Talk to you in May.

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1. MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Artery-clogging saturated fat myth debunked. Medical News Today. Retrieved April 9, 2022, from,-eating-real-food

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