Grace’s Favorite Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Products

by Grace Boyle on June 18, 2018

Lately, I’ve been eating Paleo focusing on no gluten, no dairy, very little-to-no grains, and largely removing (complex) carbs and sugar. It’s a doozy.

I’ll get more into how I’m feeling and healing in another story, but I do feel lucky that in 2018 there are a lot of brands and products out there that offer healthy, allergen friendly, and alternative foods that are good for you.

As of late, I wanted to include some of my favorite products that have been helping me reset as they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and low in sugar (this is such a feat, have you looked at sugar levels on labels lately)?

Insane.

My naturopath shared that in present day, a five-year-old will have consumed as much sugar by the time they’re five, as someone in their entire lifetime, that was born at the turn of the century.

In no particular order:

Beanfields: This is my special snack that I don’t have frequently, but if I need a crunch and don’t want to miss out on BBQ time, I bring on the Beanfields Barbecue chips. They’re plant based chips that have 4 grams of protein and fiber per serving. The best part is it’s <1 g of sugar per serving. I also think they’re the most addicting chip I’ve ever had. Not to mention they happen to be gluten-free, vegan, and are non-GMO. Buy the barbecue, seriously.

Sunshine Burgers: I grew up vegetarian and although I eat some meat today, I don’t do a lot of it (fins and feathers I like to say). It’s hard to find comforting veggie burgers that don’t have some form of gluten or soy but I like the hearty Sunshine Burgers that are gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan. There are just a few ingredients: brown rice, ground raw sunflower seeds, organic carrots, organic spices, sea salt. All organic ingredients.

Amy’s Sonoma Burgers: Another veggie burger I really love is Amy’s Sonoma Veggie Burger. It also doesn’t have gluten, dairy, or soy. I like how their ingredients are veggies like mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, quinoa, and walnuts. They crisp pretty nicely in the oven, as well. No they’re not grain-free but I really like having them handy and feel good about the veggie burger option.

Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen: Because I’m not doing much dairy, it’s too hard for me to not have coffee without half and half (the only way for me). So for a little energy in the morning but also helps with less inflammation I love the original flavor and I’ll pour one cup hot water, a scoop of matcha, and fill the rest with coconut milk or almond milk. I like to use a frother. This also works great over ice. It’s $49.00 for a container and lasts me for at least a month, but I have it everyday.

Paleonola: Grain free, gluten-free granola. This is a special treat that I might have as I run out the door since it’s filled with nuts. I missed granola or oats on the gluten-free side and these really hit the spot. I like the original flavor (least sugar).

Forager Cashew Yogurt: I’m sure to get the unsweetened plain version, because the vanilla has upwards of 15g of sugar per serving (which did you know, is around the amount of sugar you should have a day, period)? I love putting the paleonola or blueberries in this yogurt. If you aren’t avoiding sugar like me you could also drizzle a little honey in. I love the protein I get from this and that it’s easy to digest.

Out of the Breadbox: This is a gluten-free bakery in Colorado Springs, so I buy them locally at Alfalfa’s or Natural Grocer’s, however, they ship and have an online store. I’ve tried a lot of gluten-free bread and nothing has compared to the fluffiness. It’s perfect toasted. It was recommended to me by another friend who is gluten-free and I have been really happy with their products.

Bedrock Bakers – Pagels: Now, I know I’m posting some carbs on here, these are items I have maybe weekly or less but it’s still nice to have that backup. I learned about Pagels on Instagram and ordered everything bagels as they’re dairy free and gluten free.

Siete: Siete is probably one of my favorite grain-free, gluten-free brands. I love that it’s family owned and their products are incredible. I bring their chips parties and no one believes the ingredients (they’re made from cassava root and the ingredients are minimal). Although I love all things Siete like their almond flour tortillas, I think my favorite are their lime chips. I’ll never buy another brand of chips.

Wellshire Turkey Bacon: This turkey bacon is a good source of bacon but it’s actually sugar-free (and Paleo). There are just a few ingredients and it’s a breakfast staple for us.

Bulletproof  – Collagen Protein Bites: These are for when I’m traveling or running out the door and need a little something. I suggest the vanilla shortbread. They’re 2g of sugar per bar, and considering bars, is relatively low. The base is a cashew butter so it’s very filling.

Simple Mills Crackers: These are my favorite crackers. Personally, I love the fine ground sea salt. There’s just nuts, seeds, cassava, and some spices. Like Siete, they’re a crowd pleaser and no one wrinkles their nose and says in disdain: “Is this gluten-free??” Nonetheless, Simple Mills has many great products I encourage you check out.

Falafel King – Baba Ganoush: I really like condiments and dips. But focusing on lowering my sugar and also mostly staying away from legumes, it’s hard to find something I can eat. I really like Falafel King’s eggplant baba gannoush. I find it locally in Colorado in Whole Foods but they also sell to other stores which you can find here. In general, a baba gannoush is low in sugar and a Whole30 safe snack to have.

BratHans Chicken Sausage Bratwurst: I like the original as it has 0 grams of sugar and 17 g of protein in one bratwurst. It’s made from organic chicken, as well. 

These are just a few of my favorites. The list always grows and I’m grateful to these purveyors for offering something better and alternatives.

What are your favorites?

Note: This is a not a sponsored post. I just love these brands so much.

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Life Lately: Health Resources

by Grace Boyle on June 7, 2018

Recently I wrote about some recent developments in my health. It felt good to say it out loud and regenerate my voice here in a new fashion.

I’m still navigating the what and why, but I know enough that I’m rebalancing and healing from immense stress that touches many parts of our body. For me it’s manifested with thyroid disfunction, adrenal fatigue, gut health resolutions, insulin resistance, and hormonal imbalance.

Come to find, this is becoming so prevalent for women in our current world. We’re juggling more than ever, and our nervous systems have a lot of sensitivity to it that we’re all still learning.

This week I wanted to share the resources and people that have been really helpful to me in this journey. From podcasts, to blogs, to individuals – I think it’s worth giving credit where credit is due.

Whenever I’m in a challenging time I find solace when hearing from others in the same boat so-to-speak.

Disclaimer: I’m honestly just beginning my journey, so I am far from an expert. I just wanted to share the resources and links I have found helpful and comforting to-date.

Podcast(s): In many cases I’m sharing individual podcasts I really loved but I’ll also share general shows that cover this topic in general.

Who to Follow/Online Resources – from their articles, to social posts, to workshops, etc. I recommend diving in:

Note: As an aside, if any of you are in Colorado I am being treated and supported by Naturopathic Women’s Wellness. They have offices in Boulder and Evergreen and I consider them to be great healers, very thoughtful in their approach, and thorough. I was referred by a friend, and happily continue to refer them to other friends.

Finally, this is just the beginning of the amount of resources out there. Friends have sent me books, as well (just haven’t finished yet). What are your favorite resources for rebalancing women’s health and immunity?

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Just BE Kitchen: Paleo Fare Thrives in Denver

by Grace Boyle on June 4, 2018

I can’t help but love women-led businesses.

Meeting owner and founder, of Just BE Kitchen, Jennifer Peters, it’s no wonder they’ve found such success in their first year of business. She’s a power house.

Filled with positivity, a clear zest for life, and a vision to help heal others through food, Peters has recreated the once-dim space on 15th Street, to be bright and inviting with a palette of blues, green, and white. The walls are adorned with inspirational quotes from the likes of Rumi to Maya Angelou, infusing a feeling of mindfulness and peace when you enter.

I was surprised to learn Peters doesn’t have a background in food or restaurants. She is however, a smart businesswoman. She comes from corporate marketing. She worked on this idea as a class project when she was earning her MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. When her professors told her the idea had legs she realized it was a way for her to blend a lifelong love of food with her business acumen and take a leap into something new.

As Peters shared, “I’ve been on a food journey my entire life,” especially given she spent many years as a vegetarian and vegan so although she doesn’t personally have any food allergies, her work in finding the right food for her and her life, is personal.

Through her connections at Kellogg, the former CEO of Burger King, Brad Blum took her under his wing, encouraging her with the concept. When it came time to pick a city she would love, she looked at Portland, OR and Denver, finally landing on Denver to open her dream restaurant.

Just BE is a fast-casual paleo restaurant that truly focuses on 100% gluten free, grain-free, and refined sugar-free ingredients. They’re also 99% dairy-free.

The menu names remind me a little of Cafe Gratitude – names like the “Enchanted”, the “Wonder”, or the “Wholehearted” are some of their dish names.

Peters shared although they’re dairy and gluten-free focused, they still have interesting dishes that are hearty and fun like the Wowed chicken biscuit sandwich with gremolata, baconaise, arugula, and sweet potato salad or the Fulfilled, their infamous, hearty burrito with chicken, salsa verde, ‘cheddar wiz’, paleo tortilla, pork or veggie green chili, cilantro, scallion, and jalapeno. They of course have a breakfast burrito available.

Below is the Inspire Mediterranean Plate that has turmeric grain-free falafels, cauliflower hummus, gremolata, crunchy slaw, sweet potato salad, and house pickles. It’s a small touch, but I love the vibrant plates that are used at Just BE.

On the booze side of the house they have entirely gluten-free beer, grain-free tequila, vodka, and gin, a quinoa-based whiskey, and from FitVine, low-sugar wines.

They have a full coffee bar offering bullet coffees and a variety of lattes and tea drinks.

They also have a plethora of desserts like their Divine brownie trifle, a brownie with creme anglaise (pictured).

Here are some of my favorites worth highlighting:

  • The back patio is dog friendly! They also host special events out back like yoga or classes on various nutritional topics.
  • Everything on the menu – from breakfast to dinner items – is under $15. I think that’s quite a testament to providing ultimate value, for healthy, conscious food.
  • As healthy as Colorado is, Denver doesn’t have many restaurants that are as allergen-friendly as Just BE. They’re very flexible and supportive no matter your dietary preferences. They actually say on the menu, “Please ask for any modifications – we are happy to accomodate.”  They further label everyone on the menu with: vegetarian, vegetarian option, vegan, vegan option, egg free, nut free, and nut free option.
  • The free of refined sugar part is hard to do. Peters shared she worked hard on even finding alcohol or kombucha providers that were lowest in sugar and had no added sugar. There’s a lot of care and consideration that went into every menu item.
  • They have a special bone broth bar – very good for you, very laborious to make, thus hard to come by.
  • Their paleo tortillas are the best I’ve ever had. Peters shared they can’t keep them in the kitchen – people come just to buy loads of the almond-flour based delights. Just order one as a side with your dish because it’s so well done.

Find Them:

2364 15th St, Denver, CO 80202 | justbekitchen.com/ | Monday-Sunday 8 am. to 7 p.m. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Note: They recently started expanded their menu to offer dinner. Check them out at night to eat something healthy and fulfilling after work.

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Life Lately: A Health Journey

by Grace Boyle on May 7, 2018

I’ve always loved food. It’s one of the things that most excites me in life.

My world revolves around it –> making food, sharing food, trying new food, talking about food, finding new restaurants, and thinking about my next meal. It’s in my blood. Not to mention outwardly, I have this food blog, write for many food publications, and now professionally work in the industry.

Just like any woman I know, despite loving food, the relationship with my body, health, and food is a dynamic ever-changing one. And of course, I’ve had my struggles.

I’ve always been active and involved in sports. I’ve also never fit into a physical box as a short, curvy girl. It’s hard to find clothes that fit right and I always lamented I couldn’t share clothes with my friends (while they all could with each other it seemed).

It started at age 15 when I first went to Weight Watchers.

Despite daily horse back riding, basketball, track, and generally growing up playing outside in the countryside of Iowa, I felt even in high school I needed to be tracking my points. And from there on out, I probably never felt truly satisfied with how I looked and struggled with self esteem. Looking back now, I cringe at how healthy, happy, and fit I looked as a high schooler.

I’ve probably tried every diet that exists and of course, none of them last.

Then last year, I had one of the most emotionally stressful and challenging years of my life. I was commuting 2+ hours a day, working 70 hours a week in a job that was grueling in an environment that just didn’t fit me. I felt lost and like nothing I did was good enough. I was really unhappy.

I had left a job I loved in a supportive company after five years and I had no job lined up in late 2016. After a few months, I thought I had found the next best thing.  Everything on paper checked out.

It wasn’t the case.

After being laid off (ironic – universe telling you what you need and/or what you put your attention on grows) from said difficult/trying job after 10 months, I luckily had a job already lined up. It still wasn’t easy.

They made some shifts before I could quit so many would call it a blessing in disguise. I enjoyed the severance and parting ways amicably as they headed in another direction as a company. Immediately following I had an offer letter signed with a totally new industry, away from technology, with a longtime mentor and prior boss of mine.

I aimed to take off the rest of the year to unwind and get my old self back.

After some routine blood work as we headed into the 2017 holiday season, I uncovered some health issues.

I was surprised and confused.

I have adrenal fatigue, my cortisol levels are too low (effectively my stress hormones have shut down, I don’t have the right tools to even deal with stress until I repair those), am experiencing insulin resistance with way-too-high insulin (sugar) levels, I have newly uncovered thyroid issues with antibodies present, despite my total cholesterol being normal my triglyceride levels are off the charts, I have the gene mutation MTHFR, and I have a slew of hormone imbalances. All which have implications for impending diseases like pre-diabetes, heart health complications, infertility issues, and more.

Although there are no official diagnosis yet, the plan is to undergo lifestyle shifts to swing the pendulum back to a place of balance, and see if I can heal all the above mentioned through food.

The first two weeks I was baffled and even more stressed than before. I was confused, processing, and feeling like I had “done” this to my body.

Although there are some genetics at play, so much of this can be fixed through lifestyle shifts.

I was a few months into my new job and “new me” but felt harshly reminded that I wasn’t in the clear yet.

I had lost mindfulness over the last year and stress had shut down so much of my body. It has been years since I dieted, and was just living a full life but also not thinking too much either.

I always have eaten healthy and have worked out at least 3-5 times a week my whole life as an active hiker, snowboarder, yoga-goer, I cross-fitted for years, and always have had a gym membership. Nonetheless, I also love indulging and due to the food blog, eat out and try new restaurants a lot.

Being raised vegetarian, I deviate to a lot of carbs (e.g. beans, rice, grains, etc.) that are high in sugar and in moderation good for you, but less protein and more sugar-rich foods weren’t helping.

I don’t own a scale and am not into that mental mind game. Yet, from doctors visits, I also know I weigh the most I’ve ever weighed and have gained 30 pounds in the last few years. I didn’t even realize – most friends don’t even notice, but it’s something.

Ultimately, I know the stress has been the trigger and my body hasn’t been able to work as it should to take care of itself.

Here I am today, 30 days in. I’ve jumped into a journey of healing myself from the inside out.

I’m drastically reducing my sugar and carb intake to almost none. I’m not eating dairy, gluten, or grains and not drinking alcohol. I’m doing this for 12 weeks until we re-test and see how things looks.

I struggle with intense changes like this. It’s not graceful for me. It’s not quite sustainable and I travel for work too, so I’ve had to change a lot of habits and am constantly navigating the ups and downs.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that everyday is a bit of a struggle. I think: what can I eat, will I have time in between this meeting in another city to find the right type of food, saying no to drinks at client dinners, and more.

I’m still adjusting quite a bit. But despite a few planned ‘cheat days’ with weekend trips or parties, I haven’t really strayed. I’m lucky to have a partner that is joining me on the journey and being so steadfast, despite my challenges and oscillating emotions and a support system that sends me recipes and rallies for me from all corners of the country.

Although I’ve never had acne issues, just in general my face is clearer, I’m sleeping better, and I am starting to have more energy. I’m listening to myself more than ever and trying to see what feels good to eat versus mindlessly eating without thinking.

I struggled with even writing something here but realized in the last month, so many people are in similar boats. Or are adjusting something in their lifestyle to accomodate X issue. It doesn’t have to be taboo and I also recognize everyone’s journey is different. I’m not a medical professional (I’m working with a naturopath who specializes in hormone balancing with women) but I do hope to share some of the products, dishes, and tips I’ve learned along the way in hopes that someone may relate.

I’ve found solace in others that share their story so I’m doing the same.

Ultimately, I know I’m lucky. This isn’t a cancer diagnosis, and I also didn’t experience anything that’s totally life altering. It’s intense stress, a real bad year, and we all face it in many different ways.

Still, it’s a radical shift so yes, it’s scary and hard. But in learning what I have in the short amount of time on this journey, I understand so many women face hormone issues that we don’t have to live with.

This to me is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. We only get one body so I plan to heal and take care of mine.

I’ll add one thing that’s really important to me: I understand that acceptance and happiness around self image and our bodies starts within. It’s about listening to yourself, doing what you need, and finding a balance that’s fulfilling. Specifically, this is something that’s for my health and not to get to a specific size or look a certain way. This is medically something that I need to do to help regulate some issues, before it gets any worse…

Next week I plan to share some of the tips that have been best in this journey thus far. Thanks for being here.

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Peanut Butter Almond Bites

by Grace Boyle on March 6, 2018

Now that I’m in a new job and I work from home, I have been making sure more than ever to have plentiful home-cooked food in my fridge and kitchen.

One such energy snack that I love are these quick-t0-make, peanut butter, honey, almond bites. I usually have one in the afternoon when I need a pick-me-up and they’re easy to travel with when I’m on the road. 

Sometimes (like above) they don’t roll into perfect balls because they can be sticky, but despite how they might look, they’re tasty and healthy.

The ingredients are simple:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup diced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed

Put all ingredients together in a bowl, mix well.

Roll into small balls and place into refrigerator. They will harden a bit over night and can be stored in the fridge, as well.

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Stem Ciders Opens Acreage on 12 Acres in Lafayette

by Grace Boyle on February 28, 2018

Acreage, by Stem Ciders, opened on Saturday, February 24th. The 30,000 square-foot-space sits on a 12-acre hilltop behind a tech park in Lafayette. Part cider-house, part thoughtful wood-fired restaurant, part production facility and offices for the Stem Cider team.

The Space: Upon entering the space, the views are spectacular from inside the tap room, to outside on the patio as you view the mountains to the west. The interior is filled with an open kitchen, a long wooden bar filled with their cider taps, and picnic style community tables and booths in the back that invoke community and gathering as a group over food and cider.

The combination of materials from wood, to steel, to white subway tile is really warm and rustic. It doesn’t hurt that the entire space is literally warmed by the wood and smoky flavors.

In addition, when you walk to the bathrooms they majestically overlook the large production facility, which gives patrons an opportunity to be tied to the whole process and labor of love they’re supporting.

The Food: Stem Ciders pulled in local culinary superheroes, Kelly Whitaker of Id Est Hospitality and Basta and Daniel Asher of Boulder’s River and Woods, and formerly of Edible Beats Restaurants. The food is Basque-inspired and all wood-fired. Every menu item is gluten-free (except for the burger buns) which is impressive and a nice touch for a cidery.

I love how they incorporate Stem cider into some of the menu like the house aïoli made with Big B’s apple cider vinegar from Hotchkiss, and the mussel broth which has Stem’s Real Dry Apple Cider in it.

The menu ranges from the grill items – pasture party, gone fishing, and sausages – to a preserved section, a vegetable utilization plan (Asher has always been vegetable forward), to en frites, and burgers. There’s really a little something for everyone and you notice that each dish pairs well with cider.

Be sure to try the illegal poutine with Wisconsin cheddar curds, shitake gravy, and roasted anaheim peppers, the wood roasted whole market fish stuffed with citrus and herb, gluten-free cast iron cornbread with pimento cheese, apple-cider donuts, and the venison sausage with port wine served with warm cider sauerkrat. The menu elevates their food game and truly makes it a destination.

Another big benefit of this space is that Stem Ciders is able to rapidly grow their production as they can now expand to 70,000 barrels of cider a year now. On tap, they have 24 ciders which is far more than their RiNo location.

For the future, Acreage plans to plant an orchard and farm, where they can grow the food, be an apple source for their cider, and of course a wonderful place for families and even hosting private events. This is a great addition to the Lafayette area and I know it will be well loved.

Find Them:

acreageco.com

1380 Horizon Avenue, Unit A, Lafayette, CO 80026

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