Helen Musial – Giving Up on Gluten

Guest Post by Kelley Edwards

SOUP'S ON FRONT FEATUREAs a health-care provider, Helen Musial knew about treating others, but when she was unable to find the answers she needed regarding her own health, this Nova Scotia nurse, began a quest that would eventually lead her to a gluten-free diet.

Many people today are choosing a gluten-free or gluten reduced diet. For some it is voluntary -  for others it is mandatory. Helen discovered the latter to be true in her case.

Originally from Cape Breton, Nova ScotiaHelen now lives in Nashville with her songwriting husband Gordie Sampson and their daughter Amelie.

The Sampson Family - Helen, Amelie & Gordie Sampson

As registered nurse, Helen knew about treating others, but when her own health began to suffer, she was at a loss.

“I felt tired all the time; very cranky. Many of my vitamins were low - vitamin D,  B12 and ferritin. Some people have to look into leaky gut syndrome (also called increased intestinal permeability) because we are not absorbing foods like we should because of the years of abuse with all the bad foods.”

Eventually, Helen found that her thyroid was the culprit, as she was diagnosed with Hashimoto Thyroiditis and the research began. She found that when a person is diagnosed with autoimmune issues, doctors usually advise a gluten-free diet because gluten causes inflammation. But making that switch is not an easy one - as gluten is found is so much of our foods, even the 'healthy' ones.

One of the main complaints about the gluten-free diet is the taste and texture. But many food companies and restaurants are coming up with alternatives and substitutions. Helen says that it is all about education and experimentation. This is especially true when choosing to eat out, and label reading is key.

“Foods are good if the recipes and restaurants are good. Many restaurants are offering substitutes now and they have gluten-free menus. If you want to be 100% gluten-free you have to watch sauces. There is a gluten-free soy sauce available and even though things like oats are supposed to be gluten-free... you have to make sure it reads gluten-free on the label. It seems our food today is all altered and cross-contaminated!”

There are many books and websites now dedicated to the gluten-free diet. Helen recommends a book by Dr. William Davies called “Wheat Belly”. She also has some favorite websites to which she often refers, including withstyleandgraceblog.com

Helen admits that it was not an easy transition.

“It was challenging at first, but I am a year now glute- free and it is fine! I could never go back to eating wheat. Too much sugar is the next problem. Boy I love my sugar!”

Helen has shared one of her favourite gluten-free recipes with us and we're grateful!!!

2 cups soup stock (vegetable or chicken, depending on your preference)

10 cups water

½  cup maple syrup

1 teaspoons salt

½ stick  unsalted butter (or ½ cup olive oil, if preferred)

2 buttercup or small butternut squash, sliced in half lengthwise      

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

3 celery stalks, roughly chopped

3 medium carrots, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut up squash, remove the seeds and place (cut side down) in a shallow baking dish.

Add ½ cup of water, cover with foil and bake until tender (about 1 hour).

Let cool and then remove the skins.

In a large soup pot, melt butter over medium heat and add onions, celery and carrots. Cook until onions are translucent (about 10 minutes).

Add maple syrup and spices, stirring for 5 minutes.

Add apples and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat, then add squash.

Let cool 30 minutes and then puree in the blender or food processor.

Return to the pot and heat to serve.

Garnish with pumpkin seeds and a splash of maple syrup.

A dollop of  sour cream could also be added if desired.

Jen & Aiden of Schoolhouse Gluten-Free GourmetWhile you're here and we're on the subject of gluten-free

You should check out a Nova Scotia based company who's been winning awards for their yummy work...







Kelley EdwardsFor more posts
by Kelley Edwards
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