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6 Ways to Make Gluten-Free Sandwiches

Food
6 Ways to Make Gluten-Free Sandwiches

Here are some simple tricks to making your gluten-free lifestyle approachable, enjoyable and reliable.

These are my top six health hacks for the gluten- and grain-free eaters:

  1. Think outside the bun. When you think about it, a good sandwich has layers of flavor that make a dynamic combination. You don’t need bread to bring the flavor! Instead of bread, take all the delicious components of your favorite sandwich and pile them on a bed of leafy greens. The fiber and folate from your salad will satisfy you and actually energize you. Bread, on the other hand, usually leads to more cravings and sunken energy because of its effect on your blood sugar.

Once you start experimenting with gluten-free sandwiching, you will realize the magnitude of possibilities.

  1. Stuff it. What’s the number one ingredient most people find to be a luxury item when ordering a sandwich? If you guessed avocado, you are correct! Why keep avocado as a scant add-on when you can actually make it the star of your sandwich? Cut an avocado in half and scoop out about 2 tablespoons of avocado meat from each half and set aside. Stuff the two halves with your favorite chicken or egg salad.  Place both halves on a bed of leafy greens. Garnish with scooped avocado and any other veggies you love.  Drizzle with your favorite dressing and dig in.

  1. Reverse it! Make an inside-out sandwich by taking your favorite meat such as roast turkey and use your sliced meat as the bread. Spread your favorite homemade mayo or mustard on each 2-ounce slice of meat, top with crispy fresh greens, your favorite crunchy vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and your favorite toppings. Maybe you like tapenade or perhaps roasted red peppers. There are no rules when creating your own gluten-free feast!

  1. Just Roll with it. Once you start experimenting with gluten-free sandwiching, you will realize the magnitude of possibilities. To make a wrap, consider using Nori instead of tortilla. Simply take a sheet of Nori, smooth your favorite spread across it, then wrap your favorite fillings and roll it up. You can easily pack this for a quick on-the-go lunch.

  1. Lettuce love our veggies! My all-time favorite hack is using simple lettuce such as Bibb in place of bread. The right lettuce will be juicy and moist so as you bite into it, you get a little crunch that screams fresh and healthy. A sturdy lettuce will hold your favorite protein such as my Cherry Tomato and Tofu Salad. In fact, I love this health hack so much I use it in several recipes in my new book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook!

  1. Best thing since sliced bread? For those of you are actually looking for a piece of sliced bread, swap blood sugar-elevating, inflammatory, waist-thickening gluten flours for fiber- and nutrient-rich coconut flour. This low-carb, high-fiber flour can be used to make bread! Check out my favorite online market go-to Thrive Market to get amazing deals on coconut flour and other detox-friendly foods.  

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A net-casting ogre-faced spider. CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics / CC BY-SA 3.0

Just in time for Halloween, scientists at Cornell University have published some frightening research, especially if you're an insect!

The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.

"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."

The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.

They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.

They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.

But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.

"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.

What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.

It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.

To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.

First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.

Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.

University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.

"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."

Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.

Hoy agreed.

"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.

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