Monthly Archives: November 2013

Orange Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Orange cranberry quinoa salad

I had quite a few people ask for the recipe so I am putting on here for y’all.  :)

Orange Cranberry Quinoa Salad


1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

2 large leaves of kale

2 cups fresh cranberries

2TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp honey

2 TBS grated orange zest

6 small oranges

1/4 cup mixed nuts, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup pomegranate arils

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped


1.  Rinse with water: 1 cup quinoa

2.  Bring water to boil.

3.  When water is boiling transfer rinsed quinoa to water and return to boil.

4.  Cover: reduce heat to low and continue to cook until the water is gone and quinoa is cooked, about 12-15 minutes.

5.  Wash, remove from stems and finely chop:

2 large leaves of kale, set aside.

6.  Pulse in a food processor to coarsely chop:

2 cups fresh cranberries

2 TBS olive oil

1 tsp honey

7.  When quinoa is done, transfer to a mixing bowl and mix with chopped kale.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

8.  Stir in with quinoa:

2 TBS grated orange zest

9.  Peel and coarsely chop:

6 small oranges

10.  When quinoa is completely cooled, gently stir in the oranges and cranberry mixture.

11.  Stir in:

1/4 cup coarsely chopped mixed nuts

1/4 cup pomegranate arils

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

12.  cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Prep time:  10 min;  Cook time: 15 min;  Inactive time:  20 min. cooling time;

Difficulty:  easy;  Servings 8;  serving size 1/2 cup

It was was a hit at my in-laws house for Thanksgiving.  Nice flavors and went nicely with turkey.  Would be good with a roasted chicken as well.

Happy gluten free eating!!!



Progress pics and being Honest

Honesty.  Sometimes that is a really hard thing.

progrees pics 11-21-13

I said I would be open and honest about my experiences on this road to health and wellness.  It’s very difficult to come to terms with how I perceive myself and how I really am.  Not that it would make much sense ordinarily but just looking at the pics I am posting brings it to a head for me.  Over the last 12 weeks (this sounds better to me than three months), I have watched my progress in the mirror.  I know that I am thinner than I was 12 weeks ago.  The scale tells me so.  My clothes fit better and I have even given some away that no longer fit, which is a great feeling.  Nonetheless, I was definitely disappointed when I took the progress pics and then compared them to the beginning pics.  I didn’t see as much progress as I felt I had made during this time.  I am not posting this to get the rah-rah “cheer me ups” from you.  I am just saying it like it is for me.  I know I have made great strides, don’t get me wrong.  It’s just how I perceive myself versus the reality of the situation.  I am not discouraged in that I will abandon my goal, far from it.  This makes me all the more determined to succeed.

A friend said to me today that what I have lost is equivalent to carrying around 4 gallons of water.  Just try to carry around 4 gallons of water for any length of time.  It ain’t easy.  My energy level is much higher.  The brain fog is lifting and my patience is much better these last few weeks.  I haven’t had a migraine in over two months and the usual muscle flare-ups have not shown up in almost as long.  I would say this is the  REAL progress.  I know that I shouldn’t gauge my progress by pictures alone when I think about all of the other positives that have come about in 12 weeks.  Pictures are only one element of the whole experience.

But those pictures bring up a realization.  I MUST start exercising!!!  This is very hard for me.  I have never been athletic or one who enjoys getting exercise.  Not in my DNA.  My family never encouraged or participated in exercise or athletics of any kind.  I have to find the right fit for me.  I need to find the type of exercise that I can enjoy because if it’s not fun, I ain’t gonna do it.  I have exercised before (really, I have!) and I know that I do feel better when I get some exercise, but I am having trouble figuring out what I want to do.  The weather is steadily getting colder and I do like to walk, but I don’t like to be cold when I walk.  I know, making excuses here, but I’m all about the honesty so I am honestly saying I haven’t found anything so far I do like to do.  That’s a lie.  I do like the Wii Fit Plus.  I have done that in the past.  May try that again.   Thinking about the C25K app and start running, but not sure about it.  I have never liked running so I don’t know why I would suddenly like it now.  Maybe I should wait another 30 pounds down and then try it.  Maybe thinking interval training might work.  I will have to check into that. They have Zumba in town two days a week now.  Been thinking that over, but their space is small and I have heard they have been packing them in the room.  Not really my idea of having a good time being packed like sardines into a room and being told to move and sweat and have people see me be totally uncoordinated.

Did I mention that I’m uncoordinated?  Dance would have been a really good idea for me when I was younger, but the folks had other priorities ie. bills to pay.

So there you have it.  Not happy with the pics, but not going to let it discourage me.  Another notch in the motivation tool belt is all it is.  I ran into a friend of mine at the store last night.  She said I was looking great and I was carrying myself differently.  I had to think on that a bit.  I guess so.  I am gaining confidence.  Each step I take is another step toward my goals.  Another friend said to me that if by seeing these pics and following my journey that I can help one person along the way take that first step so they can achieve their goals, encourage them along the way and make them feel they are not alone then it will all be worth it.  How very true. I know that I cannot do this alone.  I have an awesome support system of people who love me unconditionally and encourage me on a daily basis to be a better person in all ways.  Thank you, minions.  You know who you are!

My journey is your journey.  We will walk together and be healthier & happier as a result.

Do we have a deal?


Take one step toward your goal today.  It takes only one step to begin the journey.

Until next time, have a wonderful weekend!

~Gluten Free Gena


What is Gluten and what’s the difference between Celiac disease, wheat allergy and gluten intolerance/sensitivity?

Well, I guess we should start off with the facts and basic information.  I’ve had a couple of people ask me what gluten is and where is it found.  I also wanted to go over the difference between Celiac disease, wheat allergy and gluten intolerance/sensitivity.

What is gluten anyway???
Here is the definition I found on Wikipedia:

Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue”) is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten is used in cosmetics, hair products, and other dermatological preparations.

Gluten is the composite of a gliadin and a glutenin, which is conjoined with starch in the endosperm of various grass-related grains. The prolamin and glutelin from wheat (gliadin, which is alcohol-soluble, and glutenin, which is only soluble in dilute acids or alkalis) constitute about 80% of the protein contained in wheat fruit. Being insoluble in water, they can be purified by washing away the associated starch. Worldwide, gluten is a source of protein, both in foods prepared directly from sources containing it, and as an additive to foods otherwise low in protein.

The stored proteins of maize and rice are sometimes called glutens, but their proteins differ from true gluten.

About 1 in 133 people in developed nations have intolerance to gluten, some of which can be severe enough to be life-threatening.

Buddhist monks discovered gluten in the 7th century. The monks, who were vegetarians, were trying to find a substitute for meat. They discovered that when they submerged dough in water, the starch washed off and all that was left was a meat-like, textured, gummy mass – Gluten.


What is the difference between Celiac disease, wheat allergy and gluten sensitivity or intolerance?

Celiac disease has been known by many different names in the medical literature over the years, including gluten-sensitive enteropathy and celiac sprue (to differentiate it from tropical sprue). CELIAC DISEASE can be defined as a permanent intolerance to the gliadin fraction of wheat protein and related alcohol-soluble proteins (called prolamines) found in rye and barley. CELIAC DISEASE occurs in genetically susceptible individuals who eat these proteins, leading to an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system starts attacking normal tissue. This condition continues as long as these food products are in the diet.

The resulting inflammation and atrophy of the intestinal villi (small, finger-like projections in the small intestine) results in the malabsorption of critical vitamins, minerals, and calories. Signs and symptoms of the disease classically include diarrhea, short stature, iron-deficiency anemia and lactose intolerance. However, many patients will also present with “non-classical” symptoms, such as abdominal pain, “irritable bowel”, and osteoporosis. Patients may also be screened for celiac disease because of the presence of another autoimmune disease, such as type I diabetes or thyroid disease, or a family history of celiac disease, without having any obvious symptoms. Serum antibodies can be utilized to screen for celiac disease. However, the key to confirming the diagnosis remains a small intestinal biopsy, and the patient’s subsequent clinical response to a gluten-free diet.

Wheat allergy is one of the top 8 food allergies in the United States. Allergic reactions after eating wheat may include reactions in the skin, mouth, lungs, and even the GI tract. Symptoms of wheat allergy can include rash, wheezing, lip swelling, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The branch of the immune system activated in allergic reactions is different from the branch thought to be responsible for the autoimmune reactions of celiac disease.

Research into non-celiac gluten sensitivity — also known as gluten intolerance — increasingly is proving that you can get serious symptoms from gluten ingestion without having celiac disease.

In a landmark study on gluten sensitivity released in early 2011, prominent celiac researcher Dr. Alessio Fasano concluded that “gluten sensitivity” represents a completely different condition from celiac disease, and most of the people who suffer from gluten sensitivity will never develop celiac.

Just as with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity can cause fatigue, brain fog, and other cognitive problems, including gluten-related attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, Drs. Fasano and Fine claim.

Dr. Fasano says he sees headaches (including gluten-induced migraines) and brain fog in about one-third of the people he has diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity… far more than in celiac disease. People diagnosed with gluten sensitivity also report feelings of gluten-induced depression and anxiety.

So what’s gluten in again???

The following I found on and it’s a pretty good list to keep in mind.

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and any foods made with these grains.

Avoiding wheat can be especially hard because this means you should avoid all wheat-based flours and ingredients. These include:

  • White Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Durum Wheat
  • Graham Flour
  • Triticale
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Wheat Germ
  • Wheat Bran

Common foods that are usually made with wheat include:

  • Pasta
  • Couscous
  • Bread
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Muffins
  • Pastries
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Beer
  • Oats (see the section on oats below)
  • Gravy
  • Dressings
  • Sauces

This may seem like a long list, but there are still plenty of gluten-free foods out there! Choose from many fresh, healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy, nuts and gluten-free grains like quinoa or rice. There are also gluten-free versions of many of the foods above available in most grocery stores. You just have to look for them!

Gluten Surprises

You may not expect it, but the following foods can also contain gluten:

  • broth in soups and bouillon cubes
  • breadcrumbs and croutons
  • some candies
  • fried foods
  • imitation fish
  • some lunch meats and hot dogs
  • malt
  • matzo
  • modified food starch
  • seasoned chips and other seasoned snack foods
  • salad dressings
  • self-basting turkey
  • soy sauce
  • seasoned rice and pasta mixes

There are also many additives and ingredients in packaged foods that may contain gluten. Always check labels and ingredient lists for these. For a more comprehensive list of gluten-containing additives, contact your local celiac support group.

A Few Other Points:

Don’t forget that ingredients in food products change frequently, so always check the label before buying packaged foods.

Remember that “wheat-free” does not automatically mean “gluten-free.” While a product may not contain wheat, it can still contain rye or barley in some form.

If you have any question about whether a food contains gluten, contact the manufacturer directly.

The Fuss About Oats

Oats are technically a gluten-free food but they are often contaminated with gluten during growing, harvesting or processing. In the past, many experts recommended completely avoiding oats in addition to wheat, rye and barley for those on a gluten-free diet. Now, some oats are grown and processed separately and are labeled “gluten-free.”

Many people with celiac disease are still advised to avoid oats initially. However, eating gluten-free oats can (the package should be marked gluten free) help provide fiber and other important nutrients in one’s diet. And over time, most people can reintroduce pure oats in small amounts (about 1/2 cup of dry oats per day) without any trouble.

I bet you are thinking:  Well, what CAN I eat then?  LOTS and LOTS of things!!!  I will be adding recipes and snack ideas in the future.  If you are thinking about going gluten free, it’s best to keep in mind that fruits, veggies and meats (except processed meats, always check the label on these) are always allowed as long as what they are being cooked with and served with are also gluten free.  Sauces and dressings are notorious for containing gluten.  I almost cried one day when I looked at my favorite tomato soup and in the ingredient listing it contains wheat flour.  Really?!?!?  I was bummed for a bit and then I realized I could do one of two things.  I could look for a brand of tomato soup that didn’t contain gluten or I could make my own.  The choice was mine and I could still enjoy it when I wanted to.  You can also have rice and corn.  There really are a wide variety of foods and many choices still available to us, so don’t get discouraged.  :)

Gluten Free Gena


First major GLUTEN-FREE E-SUMMIT ends on Sunday.

Hi fellow GF peeps,

My hubby Dr. Todd and I just wanted to let you know that the 1st ever GLUTEN-FREE E-SUMMIT ends on Sunday.

As you probably know if you follow us on Facebook, Todd & I have been watching The Gluten Summit this week just like so many of you. And, I just have to ask…




Are you as amazed as I am?!




Over 100,000 people registered! 29 researchers, clinicians, nutritionists and other opinion leaders all gave their time to this unique event—and shared some of the most incredible things I have EVER heard.




How does the world not know this stuff yet?




  • Dr. Alessio Fasano said, “The gut is not like Las Vegas, what happens in the gut doesn’t stay in the gut.” And, guess what folks, GLUTEN IS NOT DIGESTIBLE by humans. It causes permeability in all of us!
  • Dr. Mark Hyman told us that he is testing EVERY SINGLE patient he sees for celiac disease and is AMAZED at how many cases he discovers who lacked visible symptoms!
  • Dr. Aristo Vojdani explained why the skin prick test only measures one portion of the immune system and how VITAL it is to measure its other responses!
  • Liz Lipski told us how DIETS CAN HEAL!
  • Melinda Dennis taught us THE EXACT WORDS to use when eating out in order to avoid contamination.




If you didn’t catch ALL of the interviews, especially if you didn’t watch ANY of the interviews–there are simply TOO MANY things I learned from The Gluten Summit to write them all here–you WILL learn at least one thing from EVERY interview…




YOU MUST OWN THIS SERIES—it could save your life.






And, better yet, the digital package of downloads/streaming/PDFs is only $67!


Or, fill up your library with CDs, DVDs and the transcript book for $425!




DO THE MATH! The digital package is $2.31 per interview… where else can you go to see the “Godfather” of Celiac Disease Diagnosis speak for TWO BUCKS?! NOWHERE BUT THE GLUTEN SUMMIT, THAT’S WHERE!






Click here:


(Prices increase once the summit ends!) 

We couldn’t pass it up.  We bought our digital package

on 11-11-13 and are we ever glad we did!!!


Yours in gluten free living, 

Eugena B. Austin, L.M.T. aka “Gluten Free Gena”






Welcome to my gluten-free corner of the world. :)



I have been thinking about what I would say in my first blog entry.  There are so many ideas floating through my head, I want to eventually get to each and every one of them, but here goes with my first thoughts about what I want this page to be.

First, I have started this blog so that I will be accountable to each and every one of you reading this.  I have to walk the walk, so to speak and although I feel that I am very committed to this lifestyle change,  there may be times that I waiver.  I am only human after all and I know that this will help me stay focused on my journey – with your help, of course!

There are so many gluten free blogs & facebook pages out there and I credit them with giving me the idea to start my own.  They all have really wonderful, useful and intriguing  information and they help me find recipes and encouragement each day.  I feel that blogging my experiences will in turn help others and will bolster my dedication to staying gluten free.  I don’t look at this as a “DIET”.  It is not.  It is a way of life. One, that in order for me to reach optimal health, I must follow for the rest of my life.  It sounds simple.  I know it is not.  I will stumble.  I may fall.  But I intend to always get up, dust myself off and continue on.

I will post more in the coming days and weeks about my journey to this point.  I will blog about how I discovered that I had a problem with gluten/sugar, what challenges I have faced in the past and the challenges that present themselves along the way.  And finally, I will  share my hopes for the future living gluten free in a gluten saturated world.

I am excited because I already have several people who are willing to share their experiences on this blog as well as yummy recipes they have found and a few they have developed themselves.  It takes a village and you are my village.  I am hoping this virtual community will help bolster the journey that each and every one of us are traveling and hopefully make it just a little bit easier along the way.

So I will end this first blog post with a promise to you.  I promise to be honest and up front about my experiences.  I will share thoughts and insights about my struggles and my triumphs.  And if one of you can glean something good from that then I would say I have accomplished something very good indeed.

Until next time,