Tag Archives: healthy food

Making the Holidays about More than Food



It often seems everywhere you look during the holidays there is food.  Unfortunately it is often not food that is friendly to those watching what we eat no matter the reason.  You can go through the holidays feeling depressed and angry because of what you can no longer eat or you can come to the realization that life does not stop because what you eat has changed.  Neither does the ability to celebrate.  There are things you can do this holiday season to focus on other ways of celebrating.

1.  Center your celebration on the lessons or stories of the holidays you celebrate.

2.  Center your holiday party on an activity other than eating.

3.  Go caroling.

4.  Devote your time and yourself to charity and good works.

5.  Go on a holiday light tour.

6.  Attend local festivals and pageants.

7.  Engage in your favorite outdoor activity.

8.  Decorate your house.

9.  Develop your own special holiday tradition.

No matter what holiday you celebrate or in what way, don’t forget the celebrating.  Make the holidays a time of joy — sing, dance, celebrate light and life!  Remember, it isn’t always about food!

More ideas, recipes, and ways to celebrate that do not include food may be found in my holiday book Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday, available at Espirational Books and the Kindle Store.  For those looking for gluten free recipes, all of my recipes are naturally gluten free or include gluten free options.  Remember proceeds from Espirational Books go toward keeping Espirational.com and Espirational.org up and running.


Rogene Robbins is an artist, writer, student of positive thinking and spirituality and home cook who has been living and cooking gluten free for eight years. She focuses on the positive aspects of gluten free living and using creativity to improve quality of life. Rogene is the author of Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday and The Gluten Free Good Life available at Espirational Books and the Kindle Store.

Almonds: A Healthy, Naturally Gluten Free Snack

When you live with food restrictions it doesn’t take many times being caught away from home without something you can eat to learn you need to carry at least a snack.  There are gluten free “nutrition bars” available now, but I prefer to turn to Mother Nature for my snacks. One of my favorites is almonds.

Almonds are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. These are the same type of fats found in olive oil which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. The oils in almonds can go rancid so storing them in the refrigerator or freezer is always a good idea.

Almonds are also a great source of vitamin E and a good source of magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fiber and contain more calcium than any other nut. They are high in protein (about 18%) and contain basically no carbohydrates making them a good snack for people with blood sugar issues. I have used almonds for this purpose for years.

I buy nuts and seeds raw.  Roast your own almonds in a 160 – 170 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. You don’t want to destroy those good oils, so not too high with the heat.

I repackage my almonds into single servings.   A serving of almonds is around 20-23 nuts.   A single serving of almonds in a mint tin, or a small plastic bag will fit comfortably in your pocket.

Visit the consumer website of the California Almond Board for more information and recipes using almonds.


Healthy Living A to Z: B is for Buckwheat

A Bowl of Cooked Buckwheatat Copyright R. A. Robbins 2013
A Bowl of Cooked Buckwheat
Copyright R. A. Robbins 2013

Despite its name, buckwheat is a seed from a plant related to rhubarb. Buckwheat does not contain gluten and according to the Celiac Disease Foundation may  be safely consumed by individuals with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.  Address any concerns about cross contamination with the manufacturer or distributor of specific products.

Hulled seeds of the buckwheat plant are called groats and make a nice hot cereal.   Buckwheat flour is ground buckwheat.  Light buckwheat flour is made from hulled buckwheat seeds and dark buckwheat flour includes the hulls.

Buckwheat ranks low on the glycemic index.  It is also high in fiber, protein, niacin, amino acids, vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and calcium and is a complete protein.  Research points to various health benefits including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

I use buckwheat flour as a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour in baked goods such as cakes and cookies.  Buckwheat flour does have a strong flavor. Using half buckwheat flour and half of a flour with a more neutral flavor will help with this.

Read labels of commercial products containing buckwheat flour carefully.  Soba noodles and buckwheat pancake mixes often include wheat flour as well.

I hope you will get to know buckwheat.  It can be a good way to add variety and fiber to your diet.