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Gluten-free? Top swaps for eating deliciously on-the-go

By Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D., Associate Nutrition Editor atEatingWell Magazine
You may have noticed gluten-free labels on more foods—everything from breads to brownies—at the supermarket in the past few years as the number of gluten-free products has rapidly increased. This is great for people diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity who can't tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. As a registered dietitian and associate nutrition editor of EatingWell Magazine, I know how important it is for people with celiac disease to avoid gluten (which can cause their immune system to damage the lining of the small intestine, decreasing the absorption of nutrients and, if not treated, lead to severe nutritional deficiencies).
Must-Read: Should You Go Gluten-Free?
I also know that eliminating gluten from your diet doesn't have to mean sacrificing taste—there are lots of options for whole grains and carbohydrates that are gluten-free, including brown rice, quinoa, gluten-free oats, potatoes and corn.
It's easy enough to stock your kitchen with gluten-free breads, pastas and whole grains and starchy vegetables (check out our 7-Day Gluten-Free Meal Plan to get a week's worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas). But when you're away from home, it can be challenging to figure out what to eat. Here are some easy-to-find gluten-free options for 3 meals and a snack when you're on the go*:
*Remember, when you're ordering out and trying to avoid gluten, it's important to notify your server that you can't eat gluten, so that the kitchen can take care to avoid cross-contaminating your food with gluten.
Instead of: Grabbing a breakfast sandwich on an English muffin
Try this gluten-free breakfast: Breakfast burrito on corn tortilla or yogurt and banana with a handful of nuts
Instead of: Buying a turkey sandwich
Try this gluten-free lunch: Salad with the works (including some sort of protein, such as chicken, salmon, eggs or beans), dressing on the side, a small bag of tortilla chips and a piece of fruit
Gluten-Free Lunch Recipes to Make at Home: Chicken & White Bean Salad and More Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas
Instead of: Packing pretzels  
Try this gluten-free snack: Nut-based trail mix and an apple
Gluten-Free Snack Recipes to Make at Home: Cheesy Popcorn plus More Easy Gluten-Free Snacks
Instead of: Ordering pasta
Try this gluten-free dinner: Grilled chicken or fish with mashed potatoes or rice
Instead of: Choosing breaded fish and chips
Try this gluten-free dinner: Baked or sauteed fish and rice or potatoes with vegetables
Instead of: Going for a burger on a bun
Try this gluten-free dinner: Stuffed baked potato
Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes to Make at Home: 19 Delicious, Healthy Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes
What is your favorite gluten-free meal or snack?
By Kerri-Ann Jennings

Should you cut back on coffee?

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Rob van Dam, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health

• For most of us, java isn't harmful.
It's true that caffeine may raise blood pressure, so if you have hypertension, it's smart to switch to decaf. Caffeine can also interfere with sleep; if you suspect it's causing you to toss and turn, cut back. Otherwise, there is no health reason to stop drinking it. 12 surprising sources of caffeine

• It may lower your risk of becoming diabetic.
Every cup of coffee you drink seems to reduce your risk of the disease. In fact, a review of research in Archives of Internal Medicine found that after three or four cups a day, you see a 25 % lower risk. Other research shows that decaf may also cut your risk of diabetes, which suggests that it's not the caffeine but something else in coffee, possibly an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, that's responsible. Coffee drinkers may also be less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

• Caffeine may have its own benefits.
It could reduce your risk of Parkinson's disease and possibly even Alzheimer's. That's not a reason to start consuming it, but it's good news if you already enjoy a cup of joe. Big health benefits of coffee

James D. Lane, PhD, director of the Duke University Medical Center Psychophysiology Laboratory

• The research on coffee's perks is weak.
The main problem is that many studies compare coffee drinkers with people who don't drink coffee. Coffee drinkers may have something else in common that's the true cause of these benefits. Just because two things are correlated doesn't mean that one causes the other. 25 diet-busting foods you should never eat

• It can make health conditions worse.
The caffeine in coffee does have negative effects, especially for people with high blood pressure or diabetes. In one study, hypertensives' blood pressure came down a bit after they quit coffee for a week. In another study, we found that giving diabetic patients caffeine before giving them a glucose tolerance test made their blood sugar rise higher than when they didn't have caffeine. In other words, for people who already have diabetes, it appears to make the condition worse. Decaf, however, is fine.

• Your brew can aggravate stress.
My studies have shown that adrenaline responses to stress are higher if you've had caffeine than if you haven't—it may make you more tense, anxious, and jittery, in addition to giving you sleep problems. Coffee may affect joint pain

Our advice:
If you don't have diabetes or high blood pressure, a coffee habit probably doesn't hurt—and may even help your health. While research suggests that some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, there's no need to cut back unless you suffer from anxiety or insomnia, in which case you may want to switch to decaf.

If you don't drink coffee, there's no reason to start: Adding fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet is a surer way to reduce disease risk.

Best Yoga Mats for Every Type of Yogi

By: Colleen Moody

Looking for a new pad to practice your sun salutations? We've
got the latest yoga mats to have you doing downward dog in style.

Related: QUIZ: Are You a Mind, Body, or Spirit Girl?

Downward Dog Diva

Be the envy of your fellow yogis with the Plank Shag Luxe Yoga Mat. Not only will you avoid a mat mixup at the end of class, you'll have a fun visual to look at while you tone.


Related: Mind Over Manners: Yoga Class Etiquette

Get Personal(ized)

Create your own Zen by printing your favorite nature scene or artwork on this customized yoga mat. But don't stress out too much if you can't pick a design -- the site's already got tons of pre-printed styles for you to snag.


Related: See Which Yoga Style You Should Try

Power Yoga Pad

Perfect for hot, power, and flow yoga classes, Lululemon The Mat Lightweight is super-grippy with four different layers of rubber to provide cushion for your limbs. Another bonus? All mats are treated with an additive that prevents the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew so you can sweat safely without fear of fungi.


Related: QUIZ: Which Yoga Pose Are You?

Beginner Basics

If you're new to yoga, wait to splurge on a class-specific mat and try this general, all-purpose one instead. The Reebok Fitness Mat provides cushioning and traction for any mat-based sweat session so you can tone your abs, practice your poses, and more with comfort.


Related: Yoga 101: Poses for Beginners

On-the-Go Ohms

Save space in your bag with this light, foldable mat that fits easily in small travel spaces. The Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel Mat grips well on both carpet and hard surfaces and only weighs two pounds, so you can squeeze another pair of heels into your suitcase for a girls' weekend without TSA being on your case!


Related: How to Get Out of the Most Awkward Exercise Situations

Do-Gooder Digs

Hone a more harmonic you and support a good cause at the same time with the Jade Teal Yoga Mat, available in 68 and 74 inches. For every Jade Teal Yoga Mat purchased, Jade will donate $5 to the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation.


Related: 7 Ways to Find a Fitness Buddy

Planks for the Planet

For the eco yogi, the Manduka eKO Lite Mat is toxin-free and uses a Tri Layer Technology with sea grass texture, biodegradable cotton, and natural tree rubber for optimal grip, durability, and slip-resistance.


Related:20-Minute Yoga Workout for Stress Relief

Turn Off The AC To Boost Weight Loss

Hard to believe, I know, but climate control can make us fatter. In a study published in the June 2006 edition of theInternational Journal of Obesity, University of Alabama at Birmingham, biostatistician Dr. David Allison suggested that air conditioning is one of 10 factors that may play an important role in today's weight crisis. Dr. Allison showed a fascinating link between the huge proliferation of air conditioning in the southern U.S. and the higher prevalence of obesity in this region.
Changes in temperature, either up or down, can be perceived by your body as a stressor to which it must respond. This response requires energy and also influences our hormonal balance. For instance, when our body temperature drops, our sympathetic nervous system releases adrenalin, our blood vessels constrict to prevent heat loss (good for keeping us warm, not great for a glowing complexion in the long run) and we may also start to shiver. When we are hot, more blood flow is directed towards our skin to allow heat to radiate into our surroundings. Sympathetic stimulation causes us to start sweating, which also requires calories. In fact, I found one source noting a study showing that women who lived in a constant 80 degree climate burned almost 250 more calories per day at rest than women in a 70 degree environment.Improve Your Digestion To Boost Your Mood, Metabolism, and Even Reduce Cellulite

Beyond the caloric expenditure involved in maintaining a constant core temperature, heat can help to control our weight by suppressing our appetite. An all-you-can-eat buffet certainly loses its appeal when we're hot. But people living with constant climate control often fail to feel the heat. Now, don't go cranking up your thermostat just yet. Heat does not work for long-term weight control because it tends to decrease our basal metabolic rate. When we're constantly warm, less thyroid hormone is required to generate heat via our metabolism.
As we age, our natural ability to maintain and control our body temperature becomes less reliable. Our temperature also closely affects our sleep quality because we need to cool down slightly in order to properly activate the release of sleep-enhancing melatonin. We also know that sleep quality directly influences our body composition. Could poor temperature control be yet another reason for weight gain and hormonal imbalance as we age? I think so.
When it comes to sleep, the vast majority of my patients report experiencing far more restful nights after implementing the sleep rules from The Supercharged Hormone Diet. I have always thought these improvements were brought about by consistently balancing blood sugar, which helps to stabilize stress hormones (skipped and unbalanced meals raise cortisol). I am still certain that blood sugar balance plays a role, but I have also found a study in the Journal of Biorhythms (2002) that links melatonin production to the carbohydrate content of evening meals. After only three days of consuming carbohydrate-rich meals in the evening, salivary melatonin levels were reduced in otherwise healthy men. Less melatonin release, as we know, can cause sleep disruption and sleep disruption means more cravings for carbs.How To Flatten Your Abs With High-Fiber Foods

Without realizing it, I was encouraging better melatonin release in my patients by recommending that they avoid high-carb dinners. What's the link? Body temperature rises when we eat carbohydrates and stays elevated for about eight hours after consumption. The warmer we are, the less melatonin is released during sleep.
Alcohol also increases our night-time temperature, which could be another reason for its sleep-disrupting effects, besides its impact on our blood sugar and stress hormones. Researchers from France suggest this may also explain some clinical signs observed in alcoholic patients, including sleep and mood disorders. They go on to say that the negative effects of jet lag, shift work and aging—all of which are known to alter our body temperature by influencing our hormones—can be aggravated by alcohol. These factors can, therefore, affect our waistline too.
How can you use temperature to your hormonal advantage?
1.) Keep your house slightly cool in the winter and a little on the warmer side in the summer. These adjustments will increase the number of calories your body burns daily just to maintain its constant thermostat set point. They can also help stimulate thyroid hormone, so be sure your environment is not cold enough to boost your appetite.
During hotter months, avoid cranking up the air conditioning at night, so your body has to work just a bit harder to remain cool while you sleep.Losing Our Cool: Is Air-Conditioning Bad For You?

2.) When our temperature increases, our appetite usually decreases. That said, activities that boost your body temp can be a nifty way to beat a craving. So instead of reaching for a fattening snack, have a hot shower, sit in the sunshine or do a quick set of push-ups to get your heat generators pumping.
3.) Supplements of chromium and 5 HTP can support the production of serotonin, which influences our body temperature, manages our mood and controls our cravings for carbohydrates or sweets.
4.) Finally, exercise in a room set at a comfortable temperature, around 68-75 degrees F (20–24 C). A workout environment that is too cold will interfere with your hormonal balance and could potentially reduce the fat-burning effects of your exercise sessions.

Losing Your Identity

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Imagine being chased by loan sharks for money you never borrowed. How about applying for a mortgage, only to be turned down because of debt on credit cards you know nothing about? For millions of people, this nightmare is a reality. Identity theft rose 32% over the past year, with fraudsters stealing an average 1,100 pounds from every victim - and some as much as 60,000 pound. But there are ways to protect your money and keep your credit rating squeaky clean...

1.      Check your credit report.
It takes most people over a year to realize they've been a victim of identity fraud, and by then, it's too late: bad debts in your name can make even simple loans impossible. Ordering a copy of your credit report is an easy, quick way to check there are no mystery applications for credit cards and loans - just contact an agency like Experian for your full financial rating.

2.      Set your privacy settings.
Facebook and Google mean your personal information is just a click away - but that info can be used to create fake applications
and even false ID in your name. Some online banks will let you bypass a 'forgotten' password with details like your date of birth and mother's maiden name, so make sure your settings keep personal info secret, and think twice about picking those easy security questions.

3.      Get a private mailbox.
Research from CPP shows most identity theft starts with mail tampering: either intercepting post, or setting up a forward so the Post Office sends your mail to them. People in rented flats with communal halls are most at risk, so have mail sent to a private PO box, or even just have post-boxes fitted in the hall.

4.      Shred everything.
It's easy for thieves to get all the information they need, just by rummaging in your rubbish for old bank statements and junk mail. A mini-shredder is cheap and easy to use, so there's no excuse for binning your post intact.

5.      Be
It's not just criminals: almost half of identity fraud is carried out by friends, family and neighbors. Don't leave bank statements laying around the house, and be sure to keep all important ID like passports and birth certificates locked securely away. You never know who might take advantage!