Tag Archives: foods containing gluten
In an era when many mainstream doctors publicly denounce the health benefits of diets free of foods containing gluten except in the case of clinically diagnosed celiac disease, it’s refreshing to hear Dr. Arthur Agatston, creator of the wildly popular South Beach Diet, state publicly that many of the benefits his followers experience come from the elimination of wheat, rye, and barley from their diets.
In a recent interview, Dr. Agatston spoke about a couple of specific cases in which the elimination of gluten on the South Beach Diet led to an almost immediate reduction or elimination of symptoms related to acid reflux and psoriasis. He also spoke at length about tennis player Novak Djokovic, who attributes his recent rash of successes at least partly to a gluten-free diet.
While the South Beach diet does have some drawbacks, it’s still a good sign that major diets are cutting out foods containing gluten. The danger is that, without making gluten a focus of discussion, dieters will attribute their health improvements solely to weight loss or a generic sense of “eating healthy”, and will go back to eating gluten once their weight loss goals are achieved.
Cereal… toast… bagels… Danishes… sometimes it seems as if there are no wheat free recipes available for breakfast. Rather than pulling out your pocketbook to buy expensive gluten-free bread so you can make French toast without also making yourself sick, take a moment to re-imagine breakfast.
Do you frequently find yourself hitting a mid-morning slump? It’s 10am and you ate three hours ago, but suddenly the thought of staying awake– let alone productive– without a shot of caffeine or a candy bar seems like a herculean effort. You’re not alone; the prevalence of carbohydrates and sugar in common breakfast foods almost guarantees a blood sugar roller-coaster ride throughout the rest of the day.
Easily digestible sugars and carbs (even complex carbs like whole grains) cause an insulin spike and subsequent crash within hours. Protein and fat– yes, fat!– yield a more stable energy source for your body that allows you to cruise through to lunchtime almost effortlessly. The almost paranoid mania to avoid fat in western culture is based on faulty research and government policy built on the back of campaign contributions and political pressure groups. The truth is that naturally occurring fats from meat, fish, and minimally processed plants like coconuts, avocados, or olives are not nearly as bad for you as the processed flour and sugar that we shovel into our mouths at almost every meal.
In fact, they’re actually good for you.
So take a fresh look at breakfast and try the wheat free recipes listed below for breakfast for a week. See how you feel after seven days. If you like the results, consider cutting out the processed food from another meal as well. We think you’ll see the benefits to your health almost immediately.
Tropical Tuna Cups
- 3 large, ripe avocados
- 1 6.4oz. pouch of chunk light tuna in water
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (gluten-free, of course!)
Drain tuna in a bowl and mix with mayonnaise to make a simple tuna salad. Slice around the outside of the avocados and twist to separate the halves. Remove the pits by embedding the blade of a knife in the tops and twisting them loose. Peel the skin from the avocado halves or scoop them free with a spoon.
Heap tuna salad into the holes in the avocados, distributing it evenly among the six halves. Serve with tea or coconut water (available in the Asian section of many large supermarkets, or from specialty markets).
Serves three (two if they’re really hungry).
Smoky Deviled Eggs
- 6 hard-boiled eggs (locally raised, pastured eggs if possible)
- 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp dried dill or 1 Tbsp fresh dill
- 2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto or smoked salmon
Shell the hard-boiled eggs and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and place them in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and dill. Mash the mixture to a paste with a fork. Using scissors, cut the bottom corner off of a plastic sandwich bag to make a hole less than half an inch in diameter. Put the egg yolk mixture in the bag and squeeze it through the hole (pastry bag style) into the 12 hard-boiled egg halves.
Top each deviled egg with a paper-thin slice of prosciutto or smoked salmon and serve with tea or fresh-squeezed juice.
Serves three, or two really hungry people.
Subway may be joining the growing wave of nationwide restaurant chains offering gluten-free options, according to QSRweb.com. Starting today, Subway restaurants in Tyler and Dallas, Texas will offer a gluten-free brownie and a gluten-free roll.
The restaurants are doing things halfway, either. Foods containing gluten can cross-contaminate other foods prepared in the same are with the same utensils, so Subway will seal gluten-free items in plastic packaging. Employees will use a disposable, single-use knife to cut each gluten-free sandwich roll, and the same employee will go on to prepare the entire sandwich, instead of passing it on, assembly line style, as usually happens at Subway. Customers with gluten intolerance should watch carefully to confirm that proper precautions are taken, but Subway’s plan seems reasonable to prevent gluten contamination. In fact, the very transparency of the Subway food-making process is a boon to those with special dietary needs; instead of trusting what goes on behind the closed doors of a restaurant kitchen, customers can closely inspect the process and call a halt if they see anything that might endanger their health and well-being.
So here’s the call to action: Tyler and Dallas readers, I’d love it if you would all beat a path to Subway’s door over the next couple of days. I want the response to Subway’s experiment to be overwhelming. The only way we’ll get restaurants offering gluten-free options the right way is if we vote with our wallets, so go have yourself a gluten-free sub overflowing with healthy veggies and some nice, lean meat. I won’t even give you a hard time if you have the brownie, just this once (though you might want to take a gander at the ingredients list before you commit, to make sure it’s not loaded with unpronounceable garbage and fillers).
Kudos to Subway for making the effort, here. I think we all understand that companies make decisions like this based on the bottom line, not necessarily based on philanthropy. And that’s okay– their job is to make money for their shareholders. Sometimes, making money and doing the right thing overlap, and when that happens, it’s important to stand up, applaud, and go get a sandwich.
New research in Sweden has shown that roughly half of all celiac patients in a test group showed the same intestinal reaction to corn as to wheat gluten, though at a much lower intensity.
This extremely preliminary finding suggests that corn may also be damaging to people with celiac disease, though far more study will be needed before any official announcements are made encouraging the avoidance of corn for those on a celiac diet. In the mean time, common sense must prevail. If you know that corn bothers you, don’t eat it. If you are diagnosed with celiac disease and following a strict gluten-free diet has not eliminated all of your symptoms, cut out corn for a couple of months and see if it helps.
One thing about it, cutting out corn, while a major nuisance, may actually lead to a more healthful diet. High fructose corn syrup is a staple in many of the high fat, high salt, highly-processed convenience foods so prevalent in the American diet. Cutting out those foods and replacing them with unprocessed or minimally-processed whole foods will definitely produce positive health effects, regardless of celiac disease status.
Celiac.com has put together a resource list of wheat free recipes, free of foods containing gluten, just in time for Easter and Passover. Need a recipe for gluten-free matzoh? This is your place. Gluten and dairy-free challah? They’ve got it. Delicious desserts safe for people with wheat intolerance? Check.
Second-generation replacement of trans fats and the removal of glutens continue to dominate product development activity in the baked goods category of the food industry.
Yes, gluten free. While many observers (ourselves included) have been waiting several years for this trend to live up to expectations, it finally may be hitting stride.
Food is such a huge part of our culture that a serious problem with foods containing gluten can seem like a jail sentence. What do you say when your friends, family, or co-workers want to go out to a restaurant? True, in some major cities you can find a handful of restaurants which specifically cater to people with wheat intolerance or celiac disease, but in a lot of places, that isn’t the case.
First off, don’t be ashamed or hesitant to tell your friends and co-workers the reason for your reluctance. More and more people are becoming aware of food allergies and intolerance these days. If someone replies insensitively, just keep it light. Explain that accidental exposure makes you sick enough that it’s just not worth it to you to take the chance. Such people aren’t generally trying to be hurtful; they simply don’t understand.
When it comes to choosing restaurants, call ahead. Clearly state your problem with . Ask if they have a gluten-free menu. If not, ask if they can accommodate you with some simple gluten or wheat free recipes. If your sensitivity is very high, ask if they will clean pans and utensils before cooking your meal, to avoid cross-contamination. Most places will find it easier if you offer specific suggestions: vegetables steamed and drizzled with olive oil and herbs; a baked potato; a plain steak or chicken breast, un-marinated, with salt and pepper. Many places will have ingredients like these on hand, and will be willing to work with you, especially if you give them some warning by calling ahead.
It’s more common for large chains to have dedicated gluten-free menus, but if you can’t find such a chain and need to ask for special dishes, your best bet is usually locally owned Mom and Pop restaurants. This is because most chains get their food pre-prepared, meaning that the gluten-contaminated breading or marinade or whatever is already on the food. Mom and Pop shops are more likely to cook from scratch, giving them more flexibility for special food requests.
Take notes. If a place is rude about your requests, don’t spend your money there. If they say they’ll accommodate you and you end up getting sick because they goofed, don’t spend your money there a second time. Eventually, you will find a selection of places where you can eat safely and happily. It may not be a huge selection, but there’s something to be said for eating where you have a bit of a personal relationship with the staff because you’re a regular customer.
You’ll feel good because you’re spending money with people that you know, who value you enough to go the extra mile for your health and safety. They’ll feel good because they’ve gained a customer for life by giving exceptional customer service– and will possibly gain many more customers when word gets around that they are food-allergy friendly.
Every parent of a child with wheat intolerance or celiac disease worries about accidental exposure to gluten. Foods containing gluten seem to be everywhere. But food isn’t the only potential source of gluten exposure.
One source that you may not have thought of is– of all things– fingerpaints. Yes, fingerpaints generally contain gluten, and with children of a certain age, you can bet that fingers, and the paint on them, will end up in little mouths at some point. While it just kills us to see children excluded from normal childhood activities, their safety and health has to come first, right?
Fortunately, one company has taken steps to put the messy fun of fingerpainting back in the lives of children with gluten intolerance. Bluedominoes now produces safe, certified gluten free and lead-free fingerpaints, as well as Play Dough, another commonly gluten-contaminated childhood staple. Both use food grade ingredients, all of which are listed on the packaging. They have also been approved by the Celiac Sprue Association.
If you have children who can’t tolerate gluten, consider supporting this innovative company by visiting http://www.bluedominoes.com.
The New York Times has a very nice Q&A style article on gluten-free living and celiac disease. Much of the information will also be of interest to those with wheat intolerance and wheat allergy symptoms.
Dr. Sheila Crowe, a professor in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology in the department of medicine at the University of Virginia, recently joined the Consults blog to answer reader questions about celiac disease. Here, Dr. Crowe responds to questions about maintaining a gluten-free diet.
If you’re like me, there are still a handful of comfort foods that can cause the wheat cravings to hit full-force if you so much as think of them, and waffles are near the top of that list. Try these delicious gluten-free, dairy-free waffles on a frosty Sunday morning – I think the texture is even nicer than waffles made with wheat flour.
1 1/2 cups white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups rice milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
Heat a waffle iron.
In a large bowl, whisk together the white rice flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until thoroughly blended. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs yolks until fluffy. Add the rice milk, lemon juice, and vegetable oil, and beat until combined. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until no lumps remain. Whip the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Slide egg whites into batter and gently fold them in until smooth. Pour batter into a pitcher, and prepare waffles according to your waffle iron’s directions. Don’t panic if the first waffle sticks; it seems to be a universal rule of waffle-making that the first one is a write-off. Just dig out the pieces and eat them. The next ones will be perfect.
Slather with the topping of your choice, and devour.
Makes 6 waffles on my Belgian waffle maker. Your mileage may vary.
P.S. Don’t forget that you can spruce these up by adding blueberries, raspberries, chocolate chips, raisins, or anything else that your devious little mind can come up with. Have fun!