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.

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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.

Welcome to my gluten-free blog:)

I was in college, majoring in Nutrition, when it became apparent that I had all the textbook symptoms of celiac disease. The next time I saw my doctor, I asked for a celiac blood test. “You shouldn’t eat wheat,” was all he said once the test came back positive.

But there is so much more to a gluten-free lifestyle. Even though I had some knowledge of celiac disease and its only cure – a diet devoid of gluten, there was so much more to learn.

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The purpose of this blog is to help other celiacs, people with gluten intolerance, and everyone else have a loving relationship with food. I was a foodie before, and I still am now. And so can you. Visit my blog for everything gluten free and then some by Miss Dietitian.

Image: welcome fish | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.