Tag Archive for Gluten free

Bread Basket Woes: Why Gluten Free May Be the Way to Be

By: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

I am in an abusive relationship. Not with a man or a friend, but with bread.  Yep, my old pal Gluten and I are not getting along these days, I recently found out that an intolerance or allergy may be to blame.  Food allergy testing (via blood) will give me the results soon, but the likelihood is that I won’t be able to hang out with my “friends” pasta, pizza, or pretty much any refined carbohydrate,  the way I used to.  The news was heartbreaking, considering that the bread basket brings me as much joy as a shopping does for most women, but the worst part is I also was confused. What does this mean for my diet?  Some professionals said “you may have a gluten allergy or intolerance,” Some said “you probably have celiac disease.” I thought to myself, “isn’t all the same?”  Apparently not.   I turned to Google to help me figure it out; overwhelmingly it popped out millions of results but the clear question remained, what are the difference in these intolerances and what on earth can I eat?

The American Celiac Disease Alliance was a very easy website to navigate.  They said:   “It’s important to know if you have celiac, a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance; as they are all vastly different. Celiac disease, wheat allergy and gluten-intolerance are treated similarly, in that patients with these conditions must remove wheat from their diet. It is important to note, however, that there is a difference between these three medical problems:

  • Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system starts attacking normal tissue, such as intestinal tissue, in response to eating gluten. Because of this, people with celiac disease are at risk for malabsorption of food, which cause nutritional deficiencies and may result in conditions such as iron deficiency anemia, osteopenia, and osteoporosis. 
  • Persons with a wheat or gluten-intolerance usually do not have severe intestinal damage, and therefore are not at risk for these nutritional deficiencies.  They also are not at increased risk of developing other autoimmune conditions.”

The American Celiac Association also goes on give the following distinctions between Celaic, intolerance, and allergy. “CELIAC DISEASE can be defined as a permanent intolerance to the gliadin fraction of wheat protein and related alcohol-soluble proteins (called prolamines) found in rye and barley. CELIAC DISEASE occurs in genetically susceptible individuals who eat these proteins, leading to an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system starts attacking normal tissue. This condition continues as long as these food products are in the diet.

    • The resulting inflammation and atrophy of the intestinal villi (small, finger-like projections in the small intestine) results in the malabsorption of critical vitamins, minerals, and calories. Signs and symptoms of the disease classically include diarrhea, short stature, iron-deficiency anemia and lactose intolerance. However, many patients will also present with “non-classical” symptoms, such as abdominal pain, “irritable bowel”, and osteoporosis.
    • Patients may also be screened for celiac disease because of the presence of another autoimmune disease, such as type I diabetes or thyroid disease, or a family history of celiac disease, without having any obvious symptoms. Serum antibodies can be utilized to screen for celiac disease. However, the key to confirming the diagnosis remains a small intestinal biopsy, and the patient’s subsequent clinical response to a gluten-free diet. Clinicians in the United States must maintain a high index of suspicion for this disease, as it is significantly under-diagnosed in this country. Interstingly enough, Rates of certain cancers of the gastrointestinal tract are much higher in people with celiac sprue, and there is evidence that this risk is decreased with a gluten-free diet. 
    • People with active celiac disease are at increased risk for other auto-immune conditions, (such as diabetes mellitus type 1, Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) especially those with continued gluten exposure.

Great alternative for Crackers

Wheat Allergy:

    People can also have other medical problems, besides celiac disease, when they eat wheat and related proteins. Wheat allergy is one of the top 8 food allergies in the United States. Allergic reactions after eating wheat may include reactions in the skin, mouth, lungs, and even the GI tract. Symptoms of wheat allergy can include rash, wheezing, lip swelling, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The branch of the immune system activated in allergic reactions is different from the branch thought to be responsible for the autoimmune reactions of celiac disease.

Gluten Intolerance: People can also experience ‘intolerance’ to gluten. Food intolerances are not thought to be immune mediated. GI symptoms with wheat or gluten intolerance may include gassiness, abdominal pain, abdominal distension, and diarrhea. These symptoms are usually transient, and are thought NOT cause permanent damage.

Unlike a food allergy or food intolerance, celiac disease is an inherited condition.  This means family members may have it, too.  For this reason, if someone in your family is diagnosed, it is recommended that first degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) are screened as well.  Finally, celiac disease involves the activation of a particular type of white blood cell, the T lymphocyte, as well as other parts of the immune system, which may increase the risk of developing GI cancers, in particular lymphomas, in persons with celiac disease.  Since food allergies and intolerances do not involve this particular immune system pathway, these patients are not at increased risk for these cancers.

While celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten-intolerance may be treated with similar diets, they are not the same conditions. Due to the genetic component, and risk of nutritional deficiencies, other autoimmune diseases, and GI cancers, it is very important for a person to be properly diagnosed.

So what contains gluten?  Gosh, what doesn’t but the wonderful thing is that we now have so many options for gluten-free breads, pastas, and sweets that it may not be too difficult to avoid. The website “What Contains Gluten” has simple and amazing information on living gluten-free.  Here is what they say:

Following is a list of foods containing gluten. Avoid these foods at all costs, unless you can find a gluten-free version of them:

• Bread
• Rolls
• Pretzels
• Muffins
• Biscuits
• Cookies
• Bulgar wheat
• Couscous
• Scones
• Bran
• Barley water drinks
• Cakes
• Pastries
• Pie crust
• Macaroni
• Spaghetti
• Pasta
• Durham
• Pizza
• Anything made of breadcrumbs
• Sponge puddings
• Malted drinks
• Yorkshire pudding
• Stuffing
• Pancakes
• Crispbreads
• Crumble toppings
• Semolina
• Some varieties of breakfast cereals
• Breaded meat
• Breaded vegetables
• Muesli

So here I wait for my results, with the holidays coming up and a sweet tooth that is longing for a slice of pumpkin pie.  By then I should know if I should avoid it at all costs (for my health) or give in and have some temporary discomfort.  Fingers crossed the pie and I can remain friends.  However, if the results come back in the red I am optimistic that there are other options out there or ways to indulge occasionally.  I spoke with Champane Frias at Neurogistics who said there are many enzymes  and supplements you can take to help improve digestion with Gluten sensitive’s “You can use digestive enzymes such as Bioset Chewable Digestion enhanced with gluten digestive for those times that you just can’t avoid it, like Aunt Suzie’s famous apple pie, that you only get to have once a year on Thanksgiving.”She said.  This will help with the enzymes that I am not producing.

 There are some great alternatives to gluten and many companies who are capitalizing on this.  Whole Foods and local natural health food stores have gluten-Free pie crust, pies, and deserts. Recently I have switched to Udi’s gluten free bread instead of my old favorite whole-wheat.  Rice pasta has become a staple; although it tastes a little different it is worth it by the end of the meal.  The discomfort and pain of a big bowl of ravioli or pasta primavera can only be tolerated for so long. I having been finding great blogs and webistes that have recepies that make life with out gluten feel luxurious rather than deprivation. Gluten Free Hot Products is a great blog with coupon and great recipe ideas. With this new insight I will be creating a new healthy relationship with food; restaurants that have gluten free options, as well as digestive enzymes, to support me in times of “need”. Armed with the supplements in hand, this Thanksgiving I will be visiting my old, delicious, friends Stuffing and Pumpkin Pie. I am aware that it could be a painful and possibly abusive exchange; however, I’m hopeful that the  supplements doing their job, and the new education I will embark on once I find out what is really going on with my relationship with Gluten.

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5 Great Gluten-Free Finds

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

The gluten free (GF) isle at my local health food store has gone from a shelf of tasteless cardboard that appeased my GI tract, to a full array of pallet pleasing products that actually taste, get this…Delicious.  More Americans are eliminating gluten based products due to health concerns.   The term gluten-free is generally used to indicate a supposed harmless level of gluten rather than a complete absence.  So for those with severe celiac, sometimes GF is still not enough for their systems to tolerate. With kids having a food allergy can make them feel insecure around their friends, especially at the lunch table.  No kid I talk to wants to be eating a bland chicken breast or plate of tofu, while the rest of their friends and enjoying a kid-friendly PB&J.  Thank goodness there are GF products out there that look and taste the same. 

If your a carb-lover like me, than the idea of a GF diet can be like a death sentence.  However, with the right products, it doesn’t have to be.  In fact,  I can actually enjoy meals now,  instead of agonizing about how I’m going to feel after indulging in that plate of pasta primavera.  Here are some amazing GF products, that taste like the real thing.

Udi’s Gluten Free Bread:  tastes like its full of gluten but is not!  GF breads I have tried in the past had an odd texture and had to be toasted to taste palatable, you can eat this right out of the bag!

 Blue Diamond Nut Thins: Rice Crackers I eat these everyday, the texture is crisp and the different flavors allow you to have options in the snacking world! 

Pamela’s Simplebites Ginger Snap Cookies one word: DELICIOUS. They taste exactly like Gingersnaps I ate as a kid, full of wheat.  These are great treats for kids and adults alike.                  

Tinkyada Rice Pasta: The texture is RIGHT ON, and it tastes amazing.

Glutino Pretzel Twists:  I actually thought I grabbed a bag of regular pretzels. I could not taste the difference at all- perfect snack. 

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What is Gluten and Why Shouldn’t I Eat it?

By Nikki Jackson-Drummond, CCN

Have you ever wondered what gluten intolerance is and why it has received so much attention recently?  Is this just a new fad from the health food industry or something to take notice of?  How do you find out if you or your child is gluten intolerant?

The answers to these questions might be surprising….

The Basics about Gluten

First, let’s be clear on the meaning of gluten intolerance.  It does not mean allergy.  Gluten intolerance is a physical condition in the gut.   It basically means that your body is not able to digest gluten proteins (from wheat and other grains).  Instead, the body begins to attack these undigested proteins as if they were a foreign invader, damaging the micro-villi that line the small intestine.  The lining becomes inflamed, which reduces the surface area available to absorb nutrients. 

Common symptoms of gluten intolerance:

  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Impulsivity and/or aggression in children
  • Poor Focus/ Poor Memory
  • Weight Gain or loss
  • Bloating and/or diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Joint pain
  • Eczema/Psoriasis
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Low Iron levels
  • Neurological disorders

It All Starts in the Gut

The severity of gluten intolerance may range from gluten sensitivity all the way up to full-blown celiac disease, a true “allergy” to gluten that is an inherited autoimmune disorder.  This is no fad.  In fact, many people are gluten sensitive or intolerant and have absolutely no idea.  In 2000, gluten intolerance was estimated in 1 out of 2500.  Today that statistic is an astounding 1 in 133! 

The misuse of words by the media has caused lots of confusion on this topic.   However, the differences are profound. 

Gluten Sensitivity Can be Fixed 

Put simply, if you test “sensitive” to gluten, take it out of the diet for at least 6 months.  The gut heals and gluten can gradually be re-introduced.  However, some folks may not be so lucky.  Removing the gluten and healing the gut can take care of the symptoms, but removing gluten from the diet must be permanent if there is a true intolerance. 

Why Are More People Gluten Intolerant Today?

Even over the last ten years, cases of gluten intolerance are on the rise.  There are several factors:

  • Dysbiosis:  Some people may not be able to digest gluten because they have gut dysbiosis, an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.  Dysbiosis can occur from taking antibiotics (especially if used more than once every few years), or from eating foods you can’t digest.  For example:  feeding grains to infants before they can digest them can cause dysbiosis.  The overgrowth of “bad bacteria” along with the undigested fragments of gluten can trick their immune system into thinking the undigested food particles are from the bad bacteria. 
  • Genetics:  Some people may have the gene responsible for improper digestion of gluten, although it has not yet been identified. 
  • Food Quality:  We all know that food today is much more processed and genetically modified in many cases.  We also know that breads today are not made the same as they used to be.  In fact, the gluten proteins found in grains today are structurally different from the grains our ancestors used.  Scientists have recently discovered a peptide in gluten (which triggers the intolerance) that did not exist in ancestral grains. 


How Do I Get Tested?


Click here.  Gluten intolerance is identified with a simple blood test.  As a clinical nutritionist, this is one of the first tests I order when patients do not respond well to neurotransmitter balancing.  We’ll  send you a test kit and then go over the results to devise a diet that suits your body’s needs.  The lab I like to use for this testing will also test for 19 other common food sensitivities, 10 food additives, and 10 food colorings.  You’ll receive the following:

  • Food Intolerance Test kit
  • Results identifying both food intolerances AND food sensitivities
  • 50-page Guide to living with food sensitivities
  • Half-hour consultation with Clinical Nutritionist
  • Gut restoration protocol
  • Price:  $225

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Great Gluten Free Snacks: Kid and Adult Tested

Many of the children and adults we have worked with are on specific diet. Whether they are allergic to dairy or wheat, sugar free or casein free, we know tasty snacks are sometimes hard to come by.  We are seeing more kids on gluten free diets, and parents who have a difficult time finding convenient and tasty snacks for them. Here are some of our favorites that have been kid (and adult) taste tested with scores of “Yum” across the board.

 Nut Thins.  With seven different flavors there is one to please even the pickiest palate.  Add hummus, peanut butter, or cheese for a complete protein snack.  Or just eat them straight out of the box, with 3 grams of protein per serving.  My personal favorite is Country Ranch, but the kids go crazy for Cheddar Cheese.

bluedimond.com

 LesserEvil Krinkle Sticks. Many potato chip brands have seasonings that contain gluten (take a look at your ingredients). This brand is completely gluten free. This was the perfect alternative to a potato chip with only 2.5 grams of fat, no trans or saturated fat. They are available in four fantastic flavors: Classic Sea Salt, Sour Cream & Onion, Old School Bar-B-Que, and Cajun Kaboom!

lesserevil.com

 Amy’s Kitchen Frozen Meals. If you have ever looked for a healthy alternative to microwave meals then you have seen Amy’s amazing products in your grocers freezer.  They are kid and adult friendly with a variety of products.  Kids I’ve talked to love the gluten-free baked ziti. 

Amyskitchen.com

Envirokidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars.  These bars come in 5 delicious flavors.  My favorite is the lemur Peanut Choco Drizzle.  They also have a variety of other tasty cereals and snacks that are nut, dairy, and gluten free

Envirokidz.com

Lara Bars. Great on-the-go snack.  These bars are 100 percent gluten free and have over 20 flavors.  I love the Apple Pie, and kids go crazy for the Peanut Butter Cookie flavor.

 Larabars.com

Chex:  The classic cereal you grew up with has gone Gluten-free!  They have a wide variety of flavors and recipes on their site. 

Chex.com

Applegate Farms Natural Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets.  Most breading on chicken nuggets contains gluten, MSG, and other flavor additives.  Not Applegate’s, these are by far the best chicken nuggets I have ever tasted.  Kids (and adults) prefer these over McDonlads!  They are delicious and protein packed.

Applegatefarms.com

Cherrybrook Kitchen All Natural Cookies.  This brand is amazing! The cookies are peanut free, dairy free, nut free, egg free, and vegan; best of all they taste great.  They have baking mixes for any occasion along with frosting and breakfast mixes. 

CherrybrookKitchen.com

 

Ians French Bread Pizza. The gluten and casein free French bread pizza is “awesome” a very picky 11 year old told me.  Put them in the toaster oven for added crunch, and for you adults out there with gluten and dairy sensitivities, add some chili flakes, it’s a healthy alternative to your favorite slice of pizza.

Ians.com

Add your favorites below.  We look forward to hearing from you.

In Good Health,

Emily Roberts, MA, LPC

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