First Gluten Free Restaurant in Chicago: Bountiful Eatery

first gluten free chicago restaurant
Chicago’s  first completely gluten-free restaurant opened its doors last year.


Bountiful Eatery located at 3312 N Broadway in Lakeview offers fresh and healthy food options like seasonal salads, frozen fruit smoothies, pita wrapped sandwiches etc…
gluten free chicago


While the restaurant serves delicious and nutritious food, its main focus is to help those living with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.


For Bountiful Eatery location information and restaurant menu visit







Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

weight lossThere are many reasons we tend to gain weight during the holidays. Here are some helpful tips to keep you on course this season.

Family commitments, deadlines at work, traveling – all these factors contribute to stress, which takes attention away from exercising and eating right. When you wake up in the morning, before any obligations kick in, stretch, let your body and mind wake up.  Take a moment to remind yourself to enjoy the holidays, they will be over in a few weeks and you can go back to your routine.

Yes, I am talking about egg rolls, dips and chips, crackers and cheese, mixed nuts, quesadillas, etc…  Think for a moment:  how many nuts can you consume while socializing. Nuts are nutritious, but they are also very fattening like many other hors d’oeuvres.

Every holiday party has food. It is impossible to avoid it, and you don’t have to. Try a few bites of your favorite snacks and distract yourself with good company. Another option is to eat something healthy before leaving your home so you won’t overeat later.

During the cold season it is natural to crave comfort foods. While a big part of the country indulges in comfort food, don’t fall into the trap of “eating like everyone else”. Instead, fill up on root vegetables and leafy greens, leaving less room for the heavier fare. Just don’t forget to include protein in your meals as well.

Your days are likely packed with many responsibilities. Keep exercise as a regular part of your schedule even during holidays.  You don’t’ need to devote hours to it, 15 minutes of yoga or body flex will boost your metabolism and help control your appetite for the rest of the day.

It is easy to succumb to pressure during family gatherings. Your aunt (mother, sister etc.) might have spent all day baking, but don’t feel obligated to eat two pieces of pie. Just take a bite of each and tell yourself that having will power this holiday season will pay off for the rest of the year.

Dirty Dozen

apple#1 Apples – Eaten daily by many children, 98 percent of conventional apples had pesticides.



celery sticks#2 Celery – Highly contaminated, celery tested positive for 57 different pesticides.



In its latest dietary guidelines the U.S. Department of Agriculture says, “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.” At the same time Environmental Working Group publishes a list of 12 most pesticide-laden produce, topping the “Dirty Dozen” for 2012 are apples, celery and sweet bell peppers.

Is it safe?

Even though the amounts of pesticides are within established legal limits, the question remains – does it mean they are safe ? Analysts with the Environmental Working Group, who compiled the list, say they’re too high.

Sara Sciammacco, of the Environmental Working Group, said, citing recent studies linking childhood pesticide exposure to problems with brain development, lower IQ and increasing incidence of ADHD.

There are some other opinions on the subject : ” A person would need to eat so much of the produce on the Dirty Dozen list you can’t even imagine,” said Dr. Marion Nestle, author and professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.

Still, for those trying to limit their exposure to pesticides, I suggest choosing organic produce whenever possible.

dirty dozen

Dirty Dozen Plus

This year the Dirty Dozen was expended with a Plus category to highlight two crops — green beans and leafy greens. Kale and collard greens did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen criteria but were commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides. These insecticides are toxic to the nervous system and have been largely removed from agriculture over the past decade. But they are not banned and still show up on some food crops.

About Corn

Commodity crop corn used for animal feed and biofuels is almost all produced with genetically modified | GMO seeds. Unfortunately so is some sweet corn sold for human consumption. GMO sweet corn is not labeled in US stores, so if you have concerns about GMO – buy organic sweet corn


Beach Yoga

Body. Mind. Spirit.

For many people vacation can be a time of indulgence, leaving the calorie counter and Stairmaster far behind for a week or two.  The problem is, when you get home, you bring 5 unwanted pounds with you, and a need for a “vacation from your vacation” due to feeling sluggish.

For fitness minded people, who value health and are looking to relax, Dreams Resort and Spa is the place to go.  Staying in Dreams will give you the opportunity to nourish the mind, body, and spirit. At Dreams you always have a choice of physical activity:  snorkeling, water polo, beach soccer, badminton, water aerobics and, my favorite – yoga.

There are many health benefits to performing yoga inside of the yoga studio and even more to practicing it outdoors, especially on the beach.

My yoga journey started in Dreams Villamagna, all –inclusive resort in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. This is the place, where I took my first yoga class and since that time it was my goal to find yoga studio in my town, where I can practice every day.

If you are new to yoga, but already had an opportunity to experience its healing affects, most likely, you don’t want to give up your yoga practice while on vacation. In this case, Dreams Villamagna all –inclusive resort in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico is the perfect place for you. Yoga class usually takes place at 9:00 am by the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
If you are lucky you will see the dolphins playing in the waves of the ocean. I did…

Beach Yoga

On your next vacation, immerse yourself in yoga practice on the beach. Experience local colors, culture, and food – extras that make travel so rewarding.
Learn to surf, snorkel, or sea kayak in warm tropical waters. Ride a zip line through rainforest.
After morning yoga practice on the beach enjoy a refreshing dip in the ocean and pick papaya or sweet water of just cracked coconut or nap in a hammock.

Be open to receivingbring your yoga mat to the beach….

P.S. I want to thank Sandra Van Olmen, truly amazing yoga teacher and a beautiful person, for introducing me to yoga.

Eating Wisely

Seek Contrast

vegetablesDo you know that one of the keys to making healthy food more appealing is to include a variety of colors and textures in each dish? Next time when preparing a meal consider this old saying “We eat first with our eyes”. The bold use of color is very appetizing and easy to achieve in any season with vegetables.

When planning a meal think about balancing colors and textures as well as flavors. Top a bowl of rice and vegetables with crunchy toasted peanuts, shaved coconut, and a few torn fresh cilantro leaves. Add crisp, paper thin slices of raw fennel to a salad of roasted red and gold beets and curly spinach leaves. Accompany smooth tomato basil soup with a dollop of bright pesto and crunchy toasted croutons.

Food is a sensory pleasure – enjoy every bite.

Add a flavorful touch

A drizzle of flavored vinegar, a squeeze of lime or lemon juice – bright, acidic ingredients like these are one of the ways to bring more flavor to the dish.

To bring flavorful finishing touches to the dishes you cook, experiment with freshly squeezed citrus juice and see how just a teaspoon or two can highlight the flavor of soups, salads, vegetables and fresh fruit.

In addition to fresh lime juice, mild rice vinegar is a flavorful ingredient. Try this refreshing low calorie snack: peel cucumbers and slice them lengthwise, drizzle with mild rice vinegar.

Be in balance

Conventional wisdom says you should eat your biggest meal of the day at the midday, with a lighter meal in the evening. But warm weather and activity-filled days call for light, easily digested midday meals that leave you satisfied but not so full that you are groggy in the afternoon.

Whether your days are filled up with meetings, yoga classes, beach time or office work you can always balance your energy throughout the day by eating lightly before periods of activity and making every meal a combination of whole grains, and protein-rich plant food such as beans and legumes.

For the midday meal it’s better to focus on complex carbohydrates like wild rice, brown rice, quinoa or beans. This will give you high energy throughout the day.

Satisfy your sweet tooth naturally

Satisfy your sweet tooth retreat-style by having cubes of chilled ripe watermelon; or blend ripe mango pulp and freeze it for a smooth sorbet without added sugar. You could also try ripe strawberries, peaches or melon. The natural sweetness of fruit gives you rush of pleasure and energy with fewer  calories.

Bright flavors of fresh and simple food

organic diet



Fresh and simple food

Wouldn’t it be amazing if every meal you ate infused you with a feeling of well being? Great healthy cooking isn’t about complicated recipes or spending hours in the kitchen.

Try and celebrate seasonal produce and whole grains: fried rice or brown rice with vegetables, eggs, ginger, crisp carrots, snap peas, and fennel; kale leaves sauteed with sesame oil, garlic, and sesame seeds; roasted fresh poblano peppers filled with local cheese.

The other day I was observing shoppers at the farmers market – people are so moved by the beauty and the freshness of the food that they get inspired to cook for themselves.

Fresh is best

“Fresh” isn’t  just a buzzword known for great food. It’s a basis for healthy cuisine, which is why I encourage you to buy produce, fruits and vegetables as locally as possible. Whether your fruits and vegetables come from the local farmers’ market, a CSA program, or your own backyard, the fresher they are, the easier it will be to turn them into a spectacular meal.

Fresher is better for so many reasons: taste, texture, appearance, nutrients. Take for example carrots or spinach from a farmers market. They are so bursting with moisture and their own flavors that you don’t have to overcook them or mask or enhance their flavors with cream, butter or salt. Try minimalist cooking methods, and the reward will be a vast complexity of flavors. Try this low carb spaghetti squash.

Find a Farmers Market Near You

Find a farmers market near you

The best organic food is what’s grown closest to  you. Use this website to  find farmers’ markets,  family farms,  and  other sources of sustainably  grown food in your area, where you can buy  produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies