Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to Substitute When You Have Food Restrictions: NOW Foods Allergen Chart

Below is great information and a very helpful allergen chart courtesy of NOWFOODS ( Please direct questions and comments to

Allergies and food restrictions may sound like a bummer for eating your favorite foods, but with some smart substitutions, you can still find ways to enjoy your diet without feeling like you’re missing out. Whether you’re avoiding dairy and gluten, following the Paleo Diet, or are a vegan, there are food replacements and substitutions to help supplement your diet- you just need to get creative!

For baking, there are many substitutions for flours and baking grains if your dietary needs call for it. Almond flour can be substituted for white flour in low-carb or gluten-free diets. Brown rice flour can be directly substituted for white flour in baking allergen-free breads, pancakes, and muffins, and white rice flour is a great gluten-free substitute for wheat flour. Quinoa is another complete protein with a mild flavor that can be substituted for rice, and if you’re allergic to chocolate but have a sweet tooth, carob powder is a sweeter, less rich substitute for chocolate.

To incorporate natural sweeteners in your diet, agave nectar is a popular choice to help you avoid table sugar in your diet; its taste is similar to honey or maple syrup and it has a low glycemic index. Brown rice syrup and date sugar are great for usage in baked goods, and lactose (or “milk sugar”) can be a sweet addition to children’s milk for those who are not allergic to milk. Turbinado sugar is a healthier alternative to white and refined brown table sugars, but avoid it if you’re allergic to cane sugar.

When cooking with oils, macadamia nut oil, olive oil, rice bran oil, and virgin coconut oil are excellent for replacing corn or soybean oils in salad dressings or as cooking oils. If you need a thickening agent but are avoiding eggs, white flour, and/or wheat, agar powder, guar gum powder, and xantham gun powder can add smooth textures to foods while also thickening them.

Finally, to add more protein to your diet, use buttermilk powder and soy milk powder. Dry roasted soybeans are a great treat as a high-protein snack food, and textured soy protein nuggets and granules can be used as a meat substitute in foods such as veggie burgers, veggie chili, and more.

A dietary restriction doesn’t mean you have to eat only lettuce for the rest of your life. Use these ideas to start spring boarding creative recipe ideas, and enjoy your food!

See that chart below for a more detailed outline of grains and how they fit into restrictive diets:

Friday, August 8, 2014

Minimizing Hangovers

Due to popular request and the time of year... I am re-posting this blog on hangovers. I hope this information makes for  more energetic Saturday and Sunday mornings!

The summer is a time when people tend to drink more than they do the rest of the year....barbecue’s, Whitebrier Happy Hour, having friends over for tropical drinks, and/or enjoying a nice cold beer (or two) after a long work week. For some people, all of these events are fun at the time, but the next day proves to be a dreadful experience due to the loathed HANGOVER.

A hangover occurs after the blood alcohol has returned to zero after excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol is toxic to the body, so it makes sense that drinking large quantities would wreak havoc on the body. Symptoms of a hangover can include, but are not limited to, headache, weakness, inability to concentrate, decreased activity, fatigue, thirst, dizziness, sensitivity to light and sound, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, chills, and shaking.

There are many reasons people experience hangovers including dehydration, changes in immune and endocrine metabolite production, build up of toxins (e.g: acetylaldehyde), gastritis, decreased sleep quality and duration, fatty liver, hypoglycemia, congener content of drinks (metabolites that flavor, scent, and color alcoholic beverages), alcohol withdrawal, and due to the obvious fact that alcohol is absolutely toxic to the human body. Alcohol is poison, so it makes sense that you wouldn’t feel that great after drinking it!

If you do choose to drink more than one to two drinks in a day, there are certain measures you can take to minimize the risk of a hangover and to ameliorate the symptoms once you experience them. While there is not a ton of research on hangovers, a few studies have been done in which I draw my recommendations from.

My recommendations to minimize hangovers:

1. Abstain from alcohol!!! (duhh)
2. Drink small, non-intoxicating amounts
…or…. If you must indulge:
3. Consume alcohol that has few congeners (pure ethanol, vodka, and gin)
4. Consume water with and between drinks
5. Consume alcohol with fructose-containing foods such as fruit and fruit juice
6. Consume solid foods that contain carbohydrates with and after drinks (such as bread)
7. Be sure to get a good nights sleep
8. Eat bland cracker-type foods to help with nausea and hypoglycemia
9. Antacids may help with nausea and gastritis
10. Ibuprofen may help with headache symptoms, just be sure not to consume until the next day since your liver cannot process both the alcohol and drugs at the same time!
11. Make sure you have a folate-rich diet which is needed to metabolize ethanol. Folate is found primarily in leafy greens and whole grains.
12. Exercise!

If the thought of a hangover isn’t reason enough to discourage you from drinking, here is some approximate calorie information on some popular alcoholic beverages:
Alcohol and Calorie Content

Alcohol Name
Serving size
Estimated Calories
Blue Moon Belgian White Beer
12 fl oz
Wine- red or white
5 fl oz
Martini glass
Bloody Mary
4 fl oz
Shot of liquor (vodka, rum, gin, etc)
1.5 fl oz
Long Island Iced Tea
12 fl oz
Pina Colada
6 fl oz
Rum & Coke
10 fl oz
Old Fashioned
4 fl oz

If you get a hangover, you most likely didn’t just have one of these drinks. Do the math to see how many hundreds of calories you consume in just a short period from having “a few” drinks. If you start with a Pina Colada, but ease up and just have two light beers afterwards, you’ve already tacked on almost 550 calories to your daily totals. Visit my blog on beer and nutrition for more information: 
 If you are the type that can down a bottle of wine in a night… try to think of it as soda. Most people wouldn’t drink more than a liter of soda in one sitting, so why is alcohol any different?

So at your parties or weddings this weekend I want you to THINK before you DRINK. Think about whether the alcohol is worth the calories and the consequences. Do not drink in excess no matter how high of a tolerance you think you may have- alcohol is toxic, so too much can easily kill you. Have fun, drink responsibly, and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Chapman, LF. Experimental induction of hangover. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 5(Suppl. 5):67–86, 1970.
"Liver and Alcohol Breakdown." UBM Medica Australia, 21 Sept. 2009. Web. 26 June 2012. <>.
Pawan, GL. Alcoholic drinks and hangover effects. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 32(1):15A, 1973.
Swift R, Davidson D. Alcohol hangover: mechanisms and mediators. Alcohol Health Res World 1998; 22:54–60.
Verster, J. C. (2008). "The alcohol hangover-a puzzling phenomenon". Alcohol and Alcoholism 43 (2): 124–126