Gluten sensitivity symptoms

Have you been experiencing chronic bloating, constipation, flatulence, diarrhea, lack of energy, stomach ache, lactose intolerance, anemia, arthritis or other pains?

If so, you are not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from gluten sensitivity. Gluten is a protein duo found naturally in wheat, rye, and barley. Women of European descent are at highest risk. Although many people have the symptoms, for some reason they remain undiagnosed.

If you suffer from any of the gluten-sensitivity symptoms, ask your doctor for a blood test. You can also see a Dietitian who may be better trained to diagnose and treat this food-related illness. There is no known cure but to eliminate gluten from your diet.

The good news is a gluten-free diet will contribute to reduction in your symptoms.

Image: Wheat, almost done | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

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Not all gluten-free grains are created equal

Not all gluten-free grains are created equal. Whole grains are a better choice. Gluten-free or not. Remember whole grains are not the same as multigrains. “Multigrain” means that the food labeled as such is made from many different types of grains. It does not necessarily mean these grains are whole. Grains are considered whole only when the entire grain has been preserved, including the outside shell (the bran), the inner seed (the germ), and the starchy part (the endosperm). Refined grain products, like white rice, contain mostly the starchy part. Most of the fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals are removed from the grain.

The USDA provides a list of whole versus refined grains on its website. Gluten-free whole grains include:

Amaranth, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, teff, quinoa, brown rice, certified gluten-free oatmeal and rolled oats, popcorn, whole-grain cornmeal, and wild rice. These are the grains that should be found in the ingredient list of gluten-free whole-grain products.

Keep this in mind when shopping for gluten-free whole-grain products. And always read food labels.

Source: choosemyplate.gov. Image: udisglutenfree.com.

Can a gluten-free diet be harmful?

Every day more people learn about the benefits of eating gluten-free for weight loss or general health. But is a diet devoid of gluten really beneficial to those who do not have to follow it for health reasons? The jury is still out on that one, as gluten-related research is still relatively new. But can a gluten-free diet be downright detrimental to your health?

It is not a lack of gluten, which is simply a combination of two proteins, in your diet that gives cause for concern. It is a lack of fortification of certain gluten-free products with folic acid (folate). In 1996, the FDA made it mandatory for many grain products to be fortified with this vitamin B to prevent serious birth defects caused by folate deficiency in pregnancy. The same requirement does not apply to gluten-free foods at this time.

Whether you have to or want to be gluten-free, I recommend asking your doctor to test your vitamin levels at least annually. I am a strong believer in getting all your nutrients from a varied and balanced diet. Good food sources of folic acid are leafy green vegetables, black-eyed and green peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, avocado, broccoli, kidney beans, and peanuts. However, if you are clinically deficient in this or any other nutrient or you are a woman of a child-bearing age, consult your doctor about taking the necessary supplements.

For more information on folate, visit: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/.

Image: Gluten Free tag at New World | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

On a quest for the best gluten-free brownie

The W9 Market

One of my favorite places to eat and just simply hang out at is the Market on Route 9W in Palisades, NY. If you live in North New Jersey or NYC, you can take the scenic route along the Hudson River. If the drive doesn’t work up your appetite, there is an easy hiking trail right next to the Market. Go for a walk in the woods, and then finish the day off with a wide selection of Mediterranean-inspired gourmet food made of locally sourced ingredients and delicious home-baked goods, including gluten-free! I recommend their gluten-free brownie. It’s fluffy and big enough to share. For a complete menu, visit the9wmarket.com.

The Market and its sister grill bar, the Filling Station, are both located at the site of an old-time gas station. At the market, you can share a large table with other patrons or retreat to one of the smaller tables strategically tucked away around this cozy little shack. Whenever the weather permits, you are welcome to take your food outside. The outdoors dining is comprised of three distinct areas. There are picnic tables behind the Filling Station, where I spotted Scarlett Johansson in a sleeveless flannel shirt wolfing down a mean burger one summer. The rumor has it that Baryshnikov, the Russian ballet dancer, and the actor, Aidan Quinn, live in the neighborhood and frequent the place. There is also an outdoor café-style area. And my favorite, a relaxing space with comfy beach chairs looking out on the surrounding woods. There you can find me with a good book, enjoying a gluten-free meal always followed by a dessert. So next time you are driving down Route 9W, check out this little gastronomic gem. And who knows? You may get lucky and share a table with a celebrity.

Image: the9wmarket.com.

A gluten-free diet for the general population?

A gluten-free diet for the general population?

Strom (2014) wrote on NYTimes.com:

Never mind that a Mayo Clinic survey in 2012 concluded that only 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack the small intestine when gluten is ingested and can lead to other debilitating medical problems if not diagnosed.

An additional 18 million people, or about 6 percent of the population, is believed to have gluten sensitivity, a less severe problem with the protein in wheat, barley and rye and their relatives that gives elasticity to dough and stability to the shape of baked goods.

According to Hajarnavis, the chief executive of Popcorn Indiana (as cited in Strom, 2014): 

But there is a growing population of people who have somehow heard that gluten-free is healthier or think of it as fashionable, and when they remove gluten from their diet, they’re inadvertently taking out a lot of [unhealthy] processed foods and are really feeling the benefits of eating healthier foods.

Via: A Big Bet on Gluten-Free – NYTimes.com. Image: Gluten free Gasoline | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.