Gluten-Free Strawberry Bread With A Hint of Cinnamon

Strawberries are one of the most delicious fruits. However, they can be one of the most finicky ones, too. perfectly fresh one day and then spoiled the next. So, the next time you’re in the strawberry hot-zone, try this tasty treat.

This Gluten-Free Strawberry Bread recipe is super moist, quick to make and the hints of cinnamon are so refreshing.


  • 1 cup fresh chopped strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour (or any other GF flour substitutes)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Xanthan gum (Click here for the brand I always use)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease 5×9 pan.
    -For extra moisture, put aluminum foil at the base of the pan then grease.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and xanthan gum in large mixing bowl.
  4. Beat eggs; add butter.
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  6. Fold in strawberries
  7. Pour batter into pan.
  8. Bake for 35-55 mins.
    -Toothpick should come out clean.



Want A Calmer Mind? Check Your Gut! 4 Foods To Limit In Your Diet

You always hear, “you are what you eat” but this could really ring true when it comes to anxiety.

Sweaty palms, a racing heart and a hyper-active mind are all symptoms people with anxiety often suffer with. However, certain foods we eat can give us these same sensations. Which in turn, can make our anxiety worse.

Here are 4 foods to limit if you’re battling the anxious mind and things try instead:

Drink Coffee Espresso Caffeine

1. Caffeine

Did you know that caffeine-induced anxiety is a thing? Studies have shown that people who take in high amounts of caffeine, 200 mg or more a day, can increase their anxiety and even induce panic attacks.

By the way, 200 mg of caffeine is just two cups of coffee!

According to American MedTech, caffeine-induced anxiety can look different for different people. Along with panic attacks, people can also see obsessive-compulsive symptoms or phobic symptoms.

05-hands-sweaty-palmsSome of the physical signs you see with too much caffeine are sweaty palms, restlessness, and a racing heart. All of which people with anxiety can experience.

Being mindful is the key to really knowing how our bodies respond to anything.

“Take a moment and really reflect,” says Dietitian, Brenda Fikry. “How are we feeling before we have the caffeinated beverage? Are we feeling calm? How does our heart rate feel?”

Try Instead: If you’re used to having hot coffee every morning, Brenda suggests trying decaffeinated tea or all-natural fruit/veggie juice (that is low in sugar content).

“The really high amounts of nutrient-dense foods really give us a good boost of energy.”

2. Refined and Artificial Sugars

sugar_spoon_cutlery_sweeteners_sweet-1331928.jpg!dThe thought of sugar being taken out of our diet can already be a depressing thought. However, for those already dealing with anxiety, reducing your sugar intake could be the medicine you need.

Sugar does not cause anxiety, but it can worsen your symptoms.

Side effects from sugar include blurry vision, difficulty thinking and fatigue. When someone who has anxiety is feeling these symptoms, they could interpreted these as signs of a panic attack. All the while, this is making their worry, fear and anxiety worse.

Also, it’s not just a sugar rush but the crash that has it’s own side effects similar to anxiety. Symptoms include pounding heart, racing pulse, shakiness, dizziness, confusion and irritability.

Try Instead: Brenda suggests natural sugars. Examples being pre-chopped fruit, all-natural frozen fruit bars and in moderation, chocolate covered almonds and raisins.

3. Alcohol 

When you have a glass of wine… or two… or three, in the immediate, it feels great! You finally relax, stress leaves and anxiety decreases. However, that quickly changes.

wineIn fact, your anxiety can increase within just a few hours of consuming alcohol; and the effects on anxiety can be felt the next day.

A study done by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found heavy drinking rewires our brains and can increase our chances of anxiety issues.

The CDC defines heavy drinking as:

“For men, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming 15 drinks or more per week. For women, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming 8 drinks or more per week.”

Try Instead: Brenda suggests doing some inward reflection to learn healthy things you love which make you feel calm. Examples being: playing guitar, reading, or working out. She also suggests trying the App Calm which has free 5 minute meditations, breathing techniques and bed time stories.

bread4. Gluten/Processed Food

You might be saying…. “I’m not allergic to gluten” and you may be right!

However, if you suffer with an anxiety disorder, you could be a part of the 1 percent general population who has a gluten-intolerance. If you are, you’re not alone. I was diagnosed with a gluten-intolerance 8 years ago. 

One of my favorite local grocery stores: Earth Fare

Most people with gluten issues have physical symptoms like digestive problems and anemia. However, there are “non-classic” symptoms of gluten which include brain atrophy, epilepsy, depression and anxiety.

“Gluten is mostly found in highly proceeded food,” says Fikry. “There was a specific study done that has proven that anxiety increases by 25-29 percent with consumption of the Western foods – which is known to be highly processed.”

Brenda also points out that our gut plays a huge role in our mental health.

“95 percent of serotonin receptors are in our gut,” says Fikry. “And serotonin is the hormone that makes us feel happy and helps ward off depression symptoms and anxiety symptoms.”

Try Instead: Gluten is found in a lot of our comfort foods like, bread, cake, cookies and pizza. You can replace those carbs with naturally gluten-free options like rice, potatoes, quinoa and beans.

Get To Know The Face Behind The Knowledge: 
Brenda Fikry MS, RD, LD, EP-C

Brenda is a dog loving, yoga-practicing, health guru who is also my go-to dietitian in Tampa Bay! She’s always willing and ready to answer any of my nutrition questions and is ready to do the same for you.
Connect with her on Instagram!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Brownie Recipe

img_6064I love these brownies because they are quick, easy and do not taste gluten-free!

Prep time takes about 15 minutes and baking time takes about 22 minutes.

Why am I still talking? Let’s bake!


  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • (1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (more info on what xanthan gum is)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • mini chocolate chips




1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix eggs, vanilla, butter and sugar together in large bowl.

3. Add flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt into wet mix.

4. Pour mixture into greased 7×11 pan.

5. Bake for roughly 17 minutes.

6. Take out of oven, sprinkle chocolate chips on top, put back in oven for additional 5 minutes – or until fork comes out clean (chocolate chips will still be gooey).


Add some whipped cream or eat it plain and share your creations with me on Instagram!





Gluten-Free Strawberry Banana Muffins

img_5214As you can see, I had an abundance of strawberries and before they went bad, I needed to think of recipes quick!

Here is one of several recipes that I made gluten-free. It’s quick, easy and so delicious!

Also, after researching certain ingredients that I could incorporate to make this recipe healthier…. I learned what oils to avoid. I was shocked because some oils I thought were healthy, can actually be harmful when heated.

After the recipe, keep scrolling to learn what oils I’m talking about and what to use instead.



What You Need

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (read below on why I chose butter over oil)
  • 2 medium size ripe bananas (blended)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cinnamon (depends on how much you love it)
  • 1  2/3 gluten free flour (I use rice flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (more info on what xanthan gum is)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/4 cup strawberries (chop in small pieces)



1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 muffin pan with paper or spray/grease cups.
(I still do a light spray on the muffin papers.)

2. Stir flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon and salt in bowl.

3. In separate bowl blend oil, eggs, vanilla, sugar and already mashed bananas.

4. Combine dry and wet ingredients.

5. Fold strawberries into mix.

6. Put batter in muffin pan (makes roughly 12).

7. Bake 15-25 minutes – dependent on size of muffins.
– Make sure toothpick or fork comes out clean.


Picking The Right Oil To Cook With 

Certain oils have been proven to not be suitable to cook with. Those oils include vegetable oils like sunflower and corn.


Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 11.39.12 AM
Courtesy: The Telegraph

These oils when fried or cooked with (roughly 356F), will undergo what’s called oxidation – which produces what’s called aldehydes. Consuming or inhaling aldehydes, even in small amounts, has been linked to increased risk of heart disease and cancer.

Instead, scientists recommend cooking or frying food with coconut oil, olive oil, butter or even LARD!

I hope this food for thought helps.

Happy Baking 🙂
Take a picture and tag me in your finished products on instagram


Disclaimer: I am not a licensed health professional and this blog is for entertainment purposes only. Always talk to your doctor about health concerns and changes that are best for you 🙂 

Why So Many People Choose the “If It Fits Your Macros” Lifestyle

Fat Free… Sugar Free….Zero Carbs… Low Sodium. I think it’s safe to say at some point, we’ve all relied on advertising labels to help us reach our fitness goals. How did those diet choices work out for you? For me, they didn’t. However, “macro counting” did.

To understand more about what macro counting is, I reached out to the person who taught me several years ago – IFBB Pro Bodybuilder and Certified Nutritionist, Lloyd Herford.


What Is Macro Counting?

Counting macros, also known as flexible dieting, requires that you daily count the macronutrients you eat – which are carbohydrates, protein and fat.

“Those are what are commonly found in normal foods people eat,” says Lloyd. “Based on your macro intake, you can also calculate caloric intake.”

How Do You Count?

In order to count all the fats, protein and carbs you eat, you need to become best friends with nutrition facts labels and a food scale.

img_5078Sound overwhelming? Without technology, it probably would be. Fortunately, there are apps like MyFitnessPal that will do all the tallying for you.

Macros numbers are for example only

As you add more food, it will compound on the previous food and you can find your macro count in the “nutrient” tab of the app.

So say you add 4 oz of chicken into MyFitnessPal. In order to know how much 4 oz is, you will need to weigh it. Do this for all your food and ladies and gents, you’re counting macros.

How Do I Know How Many Macros To Eat? 

This is where it gets fun because everyone’s macro numbers will be different. Even your macro numbers will change as your body starts changing (or not changing).

measuringtape“Basically, if they have stopped making progress at the correct rate, we will make slight adjustments to get things moving again,” says Lloyd. “That doesn’t always mean less food though.”

Those small adjustments to your macros can take several weeks – so be patient through the process!

Will Macro Counting Help Me Lose Weight?

It absolutely can!

However, if you don’t know how to manipulate macro numbers specifically for your body, you probably won’t see the results you want.

“Without manipulation of those numbers, nothing will happen,” says Lloyd.

That’s where a coach comes in.

A coach like Lloyd will look at a variety of factors like your weight, digestion, changes to your strength, energy and your progress pictures to determine your macros.

“Have a coach you can trust to adjust everything for you initially until you learn to do it yourself,” says Lloyd.

What Macro Counting Isn’t

The expression, “if it fits your macros” (IIFYM) isn’t a free for all to constantly eat garbage while being a lean, mean, fighting machine.

Can you make some indulgent foods fit into your macro numbers? Yes. However, once you’re on the macro diet, you will realize in order to hit your numbers daily, you may need to skip the cookie and go for the protein shake sometimes.

Plus, if your number one desire is to eat healthy, you are 100% in control of that with the macro diet.

chocolatecakeFor instance, if someone wanting to eat healthy needs 35 more grams of carbs and 15 more grams of fat to hit their daily macros, eating a piece of chocolate cake would be counterproductive.

Would they hit their numbers? Probably. However, they would also be adding at least 15 grams of sugar to their diet. Plus, half the fat in that piece of cake is most likely saturated fats.

Saturated fats are known to raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Why Should I Try The Macro Diet?

Unlike a lot of other diets, there are no specific food restrictions.Fried_chicken_thighs_with_rice This is a diet that gives you the flexibility to no longer be a slave to rice and chicken.

“With macros, the athlete understands we can easily replace that meal with any other food source that has the same breakdown,” says Lloyd.

It also helps you learn your body. For example, some people are more sensitive to carbs than others. This type of diet could help reveal those sensitivities.

Train Your Brain 

To keep things 100 – counting macros can be extremely time consuming. However, learning it, I believe, is worth the time commitment. After I started counting macros, it never left me.

Do I count macros religiously anymore? No. However, learning to count macros has given me a broader understanding of how much macronutrients I need in order to maintain or change what I see in the mirror.

So, rather than letting a deceiving marketing tool determine what you put in your body, you will have the tools to make the best judgement for yourself.

Here are some transformation pictures from a few of Lloyd’s clients who were put on the macro counting diet. 

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Get To Know The Face Behind The Knowledge:
Lloyd Herford, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, AFPA Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant

Lloyd Herford lives in Metro Atlanta with his wife, Annemarie. They both are coaches for RISE Athletic Performance – which Lloyd founded in 2015. He and his team of six coaches have train hundreds of people in lifestyle transformation as well those wanting to compete. RISE is an online and in-person training & nutrition company. If you’re ever in the area, stop by Rise Athletic Club in Oakwood, GA and say hello to the team!

DISCLAIMERLloyd Herford is not a doctor or registered dietitian. The contents of this document should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. All advice is hypothetical and for entertainment purposes only. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.