About Leslie Hinton

Create Wellness, llc was founded by Leslie Hinton, an experienced therapist with a vision of creating a therapy practice with a well rounded approach. Searching for the deeper causes for the health issues people struggles with is challenging and interesting. Leslie is honored to work with a variety of cases, and continues to look for the most natural and non invasive means to promote healing. She feels the most fulfilled when clients begin to take charge of their own healing process.

10 ideas for gluten free snack ready to go

10 Ideas for gluten free snacks ready to go

  • Raw nuts, they travel well and need to refrigeration
  • baby carrots
  • celery sticks
  • packets of almond butter or peanut butter for dipping
  • apple or other fruit slices
  • dried fruit
  • pat of grass fed butter to add to coffee or tea, kept in a lunch box with an ice pack
  • boiled eggs, kept with a ice pack
  • small jar of coconut oil to add to coffee or tea – great for calories to keep you on the go.
  • kale chips alone or with a small container of hummus – yum.

Helpful Resources

No one wants to feel like they are on their own when trying to understand and deal on a day to day basis with a challenging health issue.  There is a growing resource for those of us dealing with Gluten sensitivity and or Celiac diesease.  This blog post was created with the intention of providing helpful, informative information.

I have spent hundreds of hours pouring over information to bring you what I feel is the most up to date and relevant information that is helpful for you.  Please continue to search through the blog pages, I think you will find something helpful.

Are you looking for a support group?  The Gluten Intolerance Group of North Texas is a support group with regular meetings.  You might check out the information on finding a restaurant, recipes and special events.  gluten.net






Gluten Free Snacks and eating on the run

Travel Snacks Gluten Free



Snacks – don’t leave home without them.  There is nothing worse than getting stuck in a situation where you are hungry,  your will power is waning, and there is nothing to eat but fast food.  You think to yourself; “Oh, how I wish I had put some snacks in my bag”.  Below is a helpful list of ideas for packing snacks as well as eating on the run ideas, put together from reading on line different fast food restaurants about their ingredients in the food, and trying to make the best decision for gluten free that I could.  Of course ingredients may change, restaurants may change their recipe at any moment, and therefore I encourage you to ask questions (as you are use to doing already) about the specific item you choose.

First off, its easier and cheaper to carry snacks with you.  Load up your back pack with Raw nuts – they last a long time and of course need no refrigeration.  A small handful of raw nuts could make the difference in assisting your will power.  Apples, baby carrots, Celery sticks, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, zucchini sticks, kale chips all travel well enough for a day or so.  Peanut butter and almond butter are sold in little packs similar to ketchup packs,  thereby making them a very easy for dipping  carrots, apples, or celery into on the go.

Chick-fil-A: will sell you a grilled chicken breast without the bun, or a salad with grilled chicken.  Last checked, their chicken was gluten free.

Boston Market has many options for gluten free, rotisserie chicken, fruit salad, green beans, corn, cinnamon apples, and they state that non of their gravies, or dressings contain gluten.

Chipotle Mexican Grill: order the bowl with any meat, veggies and sides – just no tortillas.

Chili’s bar and grill:  they have a gluten free menu here.  Last I checked their ribs were on this menu.

Red Lobster has a gluten free menu.

Jasons Deli caries gluten free bread for their sandwiches, and has a delicious salad bar.  I can’t help myself sometimes to a sandwich, but I always remind them about the allergies, and to please keep it from touching the prep board.  Actually I say, “I understand that you guys know what to do with gluten allergies, and are good about changing the gloves and keeping my sandwich free of gluten crumbs.  I appreciate that.”

On the subject of salad bars, I am often dissatisfied in the placement of the crouton bowl. As it goes with people reaching for things with little plastic tongs, bits get dropped on to other things and no one would think this is problematic.  Crumbs from croutons seem to hide and stick to anything.  As you know it’s not just a crumb.  It has already been studied that 1/8 of a thumbnail size of gluten is enough to set off the inflammatory response.  It does matter!

As far as eating steak, chicken or any other protein source for that matter, you need to ask about marinades, and seasonings.  Often they may use soy sauce for instance in their marinades, and or use a dusting of flour prior to grilling, as if often the case with fish.  The chef knows the answer to these questions.  I have been surprised lately to see things that I would have assumed were naturally gluten free; such as grilled Asparagus listed as not gluten free.  It just depends on what they have put on it, and or where it was cooked.  Many restaurants do not have a separate kitchen, and therefore cross contamination with certain foods may be the reason it’s listed as not gluten free, when you think it should be.

Enjoy the healthy benefits of cooking at home as much as possible, and when out and about, be prepared, and always ask questions before consuming.  Chefs and ingredients may vary, be aware.   




G.I. Health or all about our “guts”

The small intestine cross section

So what is the big deal with our “guts”.  Our Gastrointestinal system is getting a lot of press lately.  I have seen more commercials lately about pro-biotics and immune system health.  Wow!  What use to be considered “fringe” medicine (such as pro-biotic supplementation) is now so recognized its on commercials.

Have you ever wondered such questions as:  do I need to buy pro-biotics, what are pro-biotics,  do I get them in my diet, or why are they good for me?  Perhaps you have wondered are there things I do that affect the populations of bacteria in my guts, and should I care?  What other things does the intestinal system affect?  These are some good questions many people are asking, so let’s address them.  

What everyone seems to at least know about our guts is that we eat the food, we process the food, and remove the waste.  Beyond that; we might have not given it a second thought.  The more we know about how our body works, the more we can plan an active role in the preservation, and enhancement of our health.

The “guts” are everything.  Simply put, we can’t have a healthy body with a sick gut.  We can not be fully functioning healthfully with out an optimally healthy GI system.  Do your guts make you feel like the walking dead?  When I see commercials these days for the latest Zombie movie, I think to myself “walking dead from too much processed food”.   Food plays such an integral part of health, much more than to fill our hunger and calorie needs.

Food plays such an integral part, for instance it can enhance or inhibit our Neurological – (our nerves), endocrine – (our hormones), and immune system – (our ability to fight off disease).  Can food create disease, you bet.  Food is a translational message.  What does that mean?  Food is positive information or disinformation-creating disturbances of physiology and therefore dis-ease, or health.  Food can also affect our mood.  If we can enhance our health, and our mood with food choices, wouldn’t you want to know how?

One of my favorite educators on health matters Dr. Jeff Bland, whom recently explained in his Functional Medicine Update; our GI system goes beyond it’s functions in processing our food.  It is pleiotropic in nature, from the Greek word meaning more.  It plays a major role in our immune system among other things.  It makes up 50% of our total immune system.  It secretes 70% of our antibodies, which creates our defense mechanism, and is high in density of neurological compounds.  For many people this is a new thought to them; that there are neurological effects in our GI system.  What does that mean?

Dr. Gershon in his book, The Second Brain, informs us that neurotransmitters (chemicals in the body that send messages in the body), in the brain have an effect on gut function, hormones, and gut modulators, all of which influence the nervous system.   Dr. Gershon likes to say that our gut should be referred to as our first brain, because of it’s influences on the nervous system.

Can we make the leap to say that what we eat can directly influence our mood?  Yes we can.  This takes us back to my statement earlier – should I care?  If I can influence my mood, positively or negatively just from what I eat, that makes my choices very powerful indeed!  Should I choose the “put me in a slump, with a side of irritability”, or the “brain fog, with a side of depression for lunch”?

How does this all work?  The gut mucosa (the lining of our intestines on the inside), samples our environment with food.  Food is a factor that affects our guts micro biota (the bacteria living inside us).  Bacteria – good and bad – have dietary preferences as well.  they may flourish in certain dietary environments.  We generally have 4 to 5 pounds of bacteria connected to the body GI mucosa.  There is no magic barrier that keeps good bacteria in and bad bacteria out.  They flourish as a result of the food environment that is created.  The balance can be shifted from good to bad as a result of our choices.  It’s like a crowded movie theater – if all of the seats are taken up by the good bacteria – there will be no room, or environment that the bad guys will want to take up.

There are different types of bacteria; some good, some bad – such as parasites, and some just in co-habitation.  As the parasites increase at the cost of the friendly bacteria, they release pro-inflammatory chemicals.  These messages influence our immune system.

We can modify or modulate our populations of bacteria by our food preferences.  Foods such as alcohol, drugs, high sugar, and low fiber influences the population, as you can imagine in a negative way.  Don’t forget these bacteria are living things.  They eat, they poop, they die.  They have a dietary preference as well, or rather they thrive or die off in certain dietary environments.  Our  bodies thrive or get sick in our inner environment as well.

It has been studied that a healthy environment of the GI system can lead to proper weight control.  It doesn’t stop there however.  The GI environment can help to stabilize blood sugar, blood lipids, and brain health.

Cheap pro-biotics from the corner drug store will likely give you what you paid for.  Consider making the choice for quality products that have a good track record, have been kept cold, and fresh – never on the shelf for long.  I have my preferences after years of using and promoting pro-biotics.  Don’t forget as well that good quality Kefir, Sauerkraut, and other fermented products are good ways to obtain beneficial bacteria.  Once established in the gut, feed them fiber from good quality fruits and veggies, avoid the foods mentioned above that kills them, and you should have a healthy flourishing gastro intestinal system. 

Set a realistic goal to begin to make good choices in your diet to influence your overall health for the better.  Now you know specifically, another reason why good food is good for you.  Sometimes the more we know the better we stick to our good health goals.  At least begin and end every day with something nourishing, instead of processed dead food.  Your guts will thank you in more ways that you might imagine.


The Pizza experience

gluten free pizza

Gluten free pizza and Red Bridge Beer

The Pizza Pub experience

Sometimes you are just in the mood for a great pizza.  Sometimes you are in the mood for that whole neighborhood quaint pizza pub environment as well.  There is something about the smell of garlic, fresh bread, melting cheese, exposed red brick walls, high top pub tables and stools, and a cold beer.  Okay, so I’m a bit of a romantic looking for more than the big chain pizza store experience.

Once gluten free you may think these environments and foods are a thing of the past.  However, we happened upon just such a place one evening, or at least close to it, at Palio’s Pizza cafe at Preston and Park.  They claim to have put in the hours of research and development choosing just the right gluten free crust, and not just choosing the “typical” gluten free crust,  the one size only version that  every one else serves – that we are so tired of by now.  We decided to give it a try.
There were several options including vegetarian, as well as more of the gourmet toppings that are more to my liking, and what I try to create at home.  I recommend the Cade & Blake Pesto.  BYOB if you wish, and enjoy.
Let’s talk beer, since it seems to be the beverage of choice alongside pizza.   For those of you wondering if there is a beer that is gluten free, there are a few.  Often Red Bridge is available where they sell gluten free pizza, and serve beer, and in a very cold frosty mug – it passes. If you can get more options or can bring your own, I prefer Green’s dubbel dark ale, as I was formerly in love with dark ale beers before giving up gluten.  There is a beer on the market that uses low-protein barley that has enzematicly broken down the gluten and proteins.  In my opinion, I feel that the immune system will still create an immune/inflammatory response in many.  
When I create a pizza at home, I use Udi’s frozen pizza crust, a homemade pesto, goat cheese, roasted garlic, such as mushroom, and olives, artichokes etc.  The trick to using the frozen crusts is to push it off of the baking sheet in the last few minutes to the wire rack of the oven to really crisp up the crust.   
It should be noted that Palio’s does not have a separate kitchen for their gluten free pizza cooking, and though they make every effort to keep it safe for us (such as using clean gloves, and clean utensils) cross contamination is always possible in this kind of situation.  

Arsenic in our food


Rice Fields Gunma, Japan.

When I first heard the news that they have discovered Arsenic in our food, most recently rice and rice products I was in shock, and disbelief.  More disturbing however, is the fact that choosing gluten free options for food products often results in consuming foods made from rice.  Depending on the individual and family this could amount to a lot of rice consumption.

Consumer Reports investigated 200 samples of rice products.  They included iconic labels and store brands, organic and conventional ones.  In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms.  We found significant levels of inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen, in almost every product category, along with organic arsenic, which is less toxic but still of concern.

Is there a “safe level” for arsenic exposure?  The Environmental Protection Agency assumes there is actually no “safe” levels of exposure.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recognizes arsenic and arsenic compounds as group 1 carcinogens.  Excretion of arsenic occurs in the urine and long-term exposure to arsenic has been linked to bladder and kidney cancer in addition to cancer of the liver, prostate, skin, lungs, and nasal cavity. (The Tox Guide for Arsenic  2007).

Other countries such as Bangladesh have had widespread arsenic contamination of groundwater leading to arsenic poisoning.  In the U.S., arsenic is most commonly found in the ground waters of the southwest.  Knowing that rice is grown in water-flooded conditions, it therefore makes since that arsenic would  be easily taken up.

Arsenic has many uses, including surprisingly agricultural uses as an insecticidal.  Consumer Reports stated the U.S. is the worlds leading user of arsenic, and since 1910 about 1.6 million tons have been used for agricultural and industrial purposes.  Residues from the decades of use of lead-arsenic insecticides linger in agricultural soil today, even though their use was banned in the 1980’s.

In the U.S. as of 2010, about 15 percent of rice acreage was in California, 49 percent in Arkansas, and the remainder in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.  That south-central region of the country has a long history of producing cotton, a crop that was heavily treated with arsenical pesticides for decades in part to combat the boll weevil beetle.  (Consumer Reports)

I was surprised to learn that  arsenical ingredients in animal feed to prevent disease and promote growth are still permitted.  I thought that organic rice will be the savior here, but alas, even products with organic rice when tested did not fare well.  

Generally babies first solid food is rice cereal.  Several baby food products tested contained worrisome arsenic levels.  

How to protect yourself and your family 

suggestions listed here in italics from Consumer Reports:

Certainly test your water if you are have a well.  There is a federal Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.  Personally I think it makes since to filter any water consumed.

Change the way you cook rice.  You may be able to cut your exposure to inorganic arsenic in rice by rinsing raw rice thoroughly before cooking, using a ratio of 6 cups water to 1 cup rice for cooking and draining excess water afterward.  Research has shown that rinsing and using more water removes about 30 percent of the rice’s inorganic arsenic content.  This seems like a simple reasonable suggestion that I think I will try.  

Eat a varied diet.  Some vegetables can accumulate arsenic when grown in contaminated soil.  The FDA’s Total diet Study, provides more complete information about arsenic content in a variety of foods.  Go to fda.gov and search for “total diet study analytical results.”

Experiment with other grains.  Though not arsenic-free, wheat and oat tend to have lower levels.  

Other gluten grains such as quinoa, millet, and amaranth unfortunately have not been studied as much.  These are the go to gluten free grains when rice is not an option.

I plan to check out the total diet study analytical results.  I also plan to make attempts at varying my diet to include a wide variety of leafy veggies and different gluten free grains.  Cooking rice on the occasion I want it, with significantly more water seems to be an easy option.  Cutting out my rice protein powder and my rice milk, once a significant part of my diet, will be easy enough.  I am assuming that the more changes I make, will cut down on the levels of arsenic that my body must process.

The community of people that have chosen to remain gluten free for health and allergy concerns is a resourceful group. We as a group are use to thinking outside the box, and choosing “alternative” food choices.  I refuse to go negative, thinking such things as, it is already hard enough to be gluten free, without worrying about toxins.   I am convinced that as we emerge a more aware, choosy consumer, companies will begin to deliver cleaner healthier products.

A closing interesting side note to all of this is how the human body clears toxins such as arsenic.  Inorganic arsenic and it’s compounds upon entering the food chain are progressively metabolized to a less toxic form of arsenic through a process of Methylation. (Life Sciences 7: 165-229)

 This subject of the Methylation pathway catches my attention, as it continues to come up in areas of interest I have been focusing on.  Methylation denotes the addition of a methyl group to a substrate.  In short it is one of the ways we detoxify.  Without adequate ability to methylate we have impaired detoxification systems, immune system mal-function, our ability to repair cells and and fight against oxidative stress is hampered.  

Dr. Kendal Stewart has discovered in clinical practice that a large majority of Autistic Spectrum disorders, he feels are in part a results of impaired Methylation.

What does this mean for all of us?  We live in a toxic environment   We can try to make alterations when possible, and the rest is left up to our body systems to handle.  Some body systems work really well at this, others not so much.  You will most likely know if you are one of those that seems to have more bad days than good lately.  You will most likely know if you are one of the ones that needs to be more vigilant at making clean choices more than others.  

If you are interested in discussing this further, such as testing choices, activated vitamins, and detoxification help; feel free to make a Naturopathic appointment on my web site www.CreateWellnessDallas.com and chose the link to Schedule Now.


What is Gluten Sensitivity?


Picture insert is an enlarged view of the cross section of small intestine micro villi.

The term gluten sensitivity has been used to refer to a variety of clinical complaints caused by the ingestion of gluten.  What is gluten?  Gluten is defined as a cohesive elastic protein left behind after the starch is washed away from the grain of the wheat plant.  Gluten is found in the grain of the wheat, barley and rye plants, and possibly oats.  It is a fairly long protein molecule, that is for some, is difficult to digest, or ignites a cascade of reactions.

The most commonly known gluten sensitivity is celiac disease or gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE).  GSE is a genetic auto immune disease of the small intestines whereby the ingestion of gluten results in inflammation and loss of villous structure.

Some terms defined

  1. Auto immune; comes from the root word auto meaning self, relating to the the immune response of the body against substance normally present in the body.  Or in other words the body attacks itself, as it would any other foreign invader.
  2. Enteropathy is defined as a disease of the intestinal tract.
  3. Villous structure refers to the area of the small intestine that is responsible for the digestion and assimilation of our food and nutrients.  Without the micro villi (Villous structure), we will lose our ability to absorb nutrients.  Damage of the Villous structure can continue for years, accumulating until near total loss of the micro villi.

How much surface area is the small intestine?  Healthy micro villi gives us an area of about two tennis courts in absorption area.  Therefore you can imagine that if we lost any of that surface area, our ability to absorb nutrients would decrease substantially.

“Diagnosis (of Celiac Disease) is based on the finding of villous atrophy in the small bowel”, states the British Medical Journal Vol. 330.  Atrophy is a weakening or degeneration, in the size of an organ caused by disease or disuse.

Gluten sensitivity without enteropathy:

A second type of gluten sensitivity is known as gluten sensitivity without enteropathy.  This type of sensitivity also involves an inappropriate immune response to gluten.

Gluten sensitivity without enteropathy is typically induced by intestinal barrier distress and enhandced by intestinal permeability.

What is intestinal permeability?  Intestinal permeability of the intestinal barrier refers to substances crossing from inside our intestines to outside our intestines.  This is commonly referred to as leaky gut.  The American Journal of Pathology vol. 169 reports that “an intact intestinal barrier is therefore, critical to normal physiological function and prevention of disease.”

leaky gut anime

Explaining leaky gut.  Picture a soaker hose in your flower bed.  This soaker hose as you know is made to drip out very small amounts of water along its length, however if it becomes damages in some way, large amounts of water escape.  “Intestinal permeability is increased in patients with food allergy, thus uptake of food antigens is elevated in food allergic patients.” States the Gastroenterology journal from 2005.  

The medical journal just quoted (Gastroenterology journal) is linking intestinal permeabliity with food allergies.  An antigen is any subtance that stimulates an immune response in the body, expecially the productions of antiboides.

In both types of gluten sensitivity, the immune system overreacts to the presence of gluten, resulting in the production of antibodies to gliadin and tissue transglutaminase.  Are there blood tests to measure this response?  Blood tests for gluten will be discussed.