January Resolutions?

December 31st isn’t the only time to set resolutions.  I actually find it is usually the worst time for me to set resolutions, because I am putting so much pressure on starting the New Year right that I blow it and can’t mentally recover for months. So this year, I have eased into resolutions.

In early January I created a road map for my business with goals for each month, so I could focus each month of doing something better or different instead of making a list of all the things I wanted to fix instantly. Similarly, Nick and I broke our year up into quadrants for personal development, allowing each quarter of the year to be focused on something specifically, including books, learning, and actions.

So, even though I was behind in reading my various newsletters, I pulled up the December issue of Celebrate Gluten-Free Magazine and noticed an article titled Gluten-Free Resolutions. The author’s three resolutions, in summary, are 1) convert a family recipe to gluten-free at each holiday, 2) get involved with the gluten-free community, and 3) cook more.

It got me to thinking how much those resolutions jived with my goals, both personal and business. One of my BTN big picture goals is to create a community of people centered around both gluten-free education and food.  Food in-general is known to bring people together, but specifically allowing gluten-free food to do the same in our community, north of Pittsburgh… and HERE in this little virtual space I’ve created.

So maybe it’s cheating to steal other people’s resolutions, but I also really liked the first one about converting family recipes and it has inspired me. Just being honest… we don’t have very many “family recipes”, and even less family recipes that are baked goods.  One of those was the peanut butter chocolate kiss cookie… which I did end up making gluten-free for this Christmas! Then in anticipation of Valentines day and spring, I have remade the sugar cookie, and I suppose every family has some tried and true sugar cookie recipe.

So be on the look out for future holidays where I reveal some family or simply traditional recipes that we have remade, gluten-freedom style. What old family recipes can you add your own twist too this year? Comment below and share with the community! I’ll try not to steal any of your ideas!

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Have a cookie,

Lauren Marts

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Is Gluten-free Healthy?

Since my last informational post was so well received, today’s blog post is going to be half informational and half plain-fun-random. I was inspired to write this post as I considered the past year’s food choices and the effects on my body. For those a little less familiar with gluten-free and why or why not one would chose this route, I decided it might be good to discuss one common misconception … gluten-free does not always equate with “healthy”.

WHAT!? ARE YOU KIDDING!?

No.

This past week I read a research  article in GIG’s monthly e-magazine, Celebrate Gluten-Free on trends in the US population. The research had shown that between the years of 2009 and 2014, there has actually been a decrease in Celiac Disease diagnosis in the US. Also between the years of 2009 and 2014 there has been an increase in the number of people, undiagnosed with Celiac Disease, eating a gluten-free diet. The reasoning they provided was all speculative,  but included that many people were self-diagnosing gluten-sensitivities.  That’s actually the camp my husband Nick was in 5 years ago. Thier speculations also included that some research is starting to show that gluten consumption may lead to Celiac Disease later and this may be deterring people.  There is also a popular notion that living gluten-free is just healthier.  Lastly, the facts are undeniable that there are more options available today, than even 5 years ago, for people to eat gluten-free, which might be one of the biggest factors.

Nick and I have done enough research to believe that in general, living without gluten that is processed in America is healthier than living with… but I can not say that without clarifying and explaining why I titled this blog with such provocative words. I will devote a future post to how gluten is processed in America and how it affects our bodies, but that is not my point today.  My point today is: gluten-free foods are not equivalent to “healthy” foods.

This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but I have heard people say, as they grab 6 of my cookies for their plate, “you made them and they’re gluten-free, so they must be good for me!” Well… “good for you” is obviously subjective to your personal goals.

September 2015 I gave up gluten for good.  April 2016 I started my gluten-free baking company Baked True North! Between April 2016 and September 2016, the one year anniversary of my gluten-freedom, I had consumed far more gluten-free goods than ever before and honestly, far more sweets than I was used to consuming. Interesting side note… after a year of being gluten-free my body had started rejecting gluten, as if I also had a gluten-sensitivity.  I started taking a new supplement this fall and within a day was feeling uncomfortable effects that caused me to miss a good friends birthday party. Somehow I had completely overlooked the gluten extract in the ingredients section (and I’m usually so much better at checking that stuff)! But in addition to that checkpoint, I had also gained about 6 or 7 pounds over the last year, probably due to this higher intake of sugar.

As October began I decided to try something different to shake up my diet and health.  I proposed to Nick we do a 30 day sugar detox.  I want to clarify that it was my proposal, for those of you who know my husband and assumed he put me on this little journey, as he is so much more of an educated health nut than I am currently. Honestly, within the first week (today is day 7), I have lost 4 of the 7 pounds simply from cutting out sugar, stevia, all sweeteners including honey, and even fruit.

So… in conclusion, gluten-free options definitely have to be paired with other smart food choices in order to be healthy.  Sugar is one of the most addictive things in the world and must always be approached carefully. On that note… I am going to be rolling out low-sugar and no sugar added options in November! Keep an eye on the blog for more details coming soon!!!!!

Below is a picture of some brownies I did for a woman who is gluten-free and keto (eating a high fat, low sugar diet). A little experimenting, but I think they turned out pretty good, and a good start to my low-sugar baking endeavors!

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Comment or message me if you have any specific gluten-free or sugar questions, or even any special baked good requests!!

Stay delicious,

Lauren