The pain caused by “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” is certainly real, but many experts contend that is incorrectly named and mis-diagnosed. The villain may be ‘fodmaps’, a group of indigestible sugars found in wheat plus many fruits and vegetables. Eliminating wheat reduces the intake of fodmaps and therefore the patient feels better. But, if this theory is correct, the patient would feel even better if all fodmaps were avoided.
This article sat on my computer for three days before I finally decided how to finish the article. I have both medical proof and personal certainty that the gluten free diet saved my life. But is there more? I’m thinking back to the days when cliacs were grateful for a diet of bananas and rice.The internet is a powerful tool for enabling us to the ask the right questions but it is not a total substitute for professional medical attention.
Some people live gluten free as the result of a physician’s diagnose. For others, it is a personal choice. I belong to the first group, the people who have been formally diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. I’ll call my group the traditionalists.
The human race was on a de-facto gluten free diet for 99.6% of its 2.5 million years on Earth. Food processing began about 10,000 years ago, and grains are pretty-much useless unless they are processed in some way. Click here and/or here to study the facts-and-figures supporting this statement, but I am more interested in the implication of these facts. Continue Reading
Let’s think about John, a hypothetical eighth grader, who was diagnosed with celiac disease this summer. He’s found things that he can eat, agrees that the diet is “not that bad”. But soon he will be entering high school, meeting literally hundreds of kids and — hopefully — making new friends and succeeding in high school. How can we support him? What does he need? Continue Reading
Jerry is an imaginary third grader with an altogether-too-real problem. He was diagnosed with celiac disease this spring. He’s enthusiastic about his new diet and feels better than at any time in his life. The problem is that his dad received a promotion this summer and the family moved across the country and now need to explain his situation to a new teacher and a new school and new set of potential friends. Continue Reading
I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1999. “Going gluten free” produced spectacular life-changing results — I was ecstatically happy — it never occurred to me that things could be even better if I used gluten free vitamin and mineral supplements to improve my diet. Continue Reading
I’ve heard only one major objection to the new regulations adopted (after a seven year battle) by our Food and Drug Administration: some people would prefer to be held to a stricter standard. These three organizations test foods and will affix their symbol to products that meet these standards:
The Gluten Free Certification Organization, a service of the Gluten Intolerance Group. Requires that certified foods contain less that 10 ppm of toxic gluten. The website enables people to search for products by key word, product name, or state.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness also requires less than 10 ppm for the food products it certifies as ‘gluten free’.
The Celiac Support Association has the most stringent requirements. Oats are not allowed in certified products and qualifying items must contain less than 5 ppm toxic gluten. This organization was formerly called the Celac Sprue Association.
Here’s a description of the ideal diet for all Americans, as determined by the Department of Agriculture (USDA)and Health and Human Service (HHS) and updated every five years. The newest updte is called “Choose My Plate” and
~~~> “emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
~~~>”includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and
~~~> “is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
~~~> ” is not a therapeutic diet for any specific health condition. Individuals with a chronic health condition should consult with a health care provider to determine what dietary pattern is appropriate for them.”
People who live gluten free can comply with the diet’s requirements, since the diet refers to “whole grains” rather than “whole wheat”. I wrote an article about the My Plate Diet in 2011 shortly after it was announced in 2011. Perhaps the most interesting part of this article is a video clip in which the White House chef prepares a meal featuring brown rice. First lady Michelle Obama is featured in the video.
On August 5, a week ago today, new rules governing the use of the term ‘gluten free’ on food packaging became the law of the land. What has changed? What will or will not be changing? The <20 parts-per-million figure was being used by an estimated 95% of food manufacturers in 2013, the year this debate began in earnest in Washington. That number has not changed and almost certainly will not change.
Manufacturers who can demonstrate that their products contain significantly less than 20 ppm are welcome to advertise this fact, although there may be some limits on the exact terms they use.
Manufacturers are not required to test their products to demonstrate that they contain any specific amount of gluten. Of course, they may be challenged in court to do so.
Two things have changed:
~~~> There is now an official definition of ‘gluten free’. Without specific definitions, legal action is difficult and often impossible. Compare this to the situation involving ‘natural food‘ . The Food and Drug deals with this problem regularly, but admits that its work has not been specific enough to be called definitions. Adequate definitions are necessary for legal actions.
~~~> Anyone who has followed this seven year battle for a definition of ‘gluten free’ will notice that the sole focus has been on controlling celiac disease. People who see the gluten free diet as a way to lose weight or win basketball games have not even been mentioned. I hope that some of them get the message!
Americans who live gluten free now have an official definition of ‘gluten free’. After seven years discussion, the Food and Drug Administration has finally implemented its decision last Tuesday, August 5. Here are the highlights: Continue Reading
People who live gluten free shop successfully on-line as well in conventional supermarkets and grocery stores. I recently wrote about shopping on-line and today I will talk about patronizing local stores. The costs are roughly equal, and many people who live gluten free use both systems. Continue Reading
Shopping for gluten free food on-line in easy, inexpensive, makes thousands of safe products available, can be done anywhere in the country, and welcomes anyone with the computer skills needed to use this website. Continue Reading
Omission Beer, and similar products, must be labeled “Product fermented from grains containing gluten and crafted to remove gluten. The content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten.” The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is not committing itself. It is merely saying “we don’t know. Use your own judgment.” Continue Reading
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided that food containing less that 20 parts-per-million gluten may be labelled gluten free. This is a legal definition not a medical determination, of course, but the experts seem to agree that 20 parts-per-million is appropriate. We might call it “gluten free enough”: 20 ppm is equal to 20 inches in 16 miles or ten minutes in one year.
It’s possible to reduce your gluten consumption by concentrating on foods that are “naturally gluten free” or “inherently gluten free”. All unprocessed food falls into this category. Here are some examples:
Another way to reduce gluten consumption is to look for labels indicating that a product certified to contain less than 20 ppm gluten. Obviously, these stricter requirements reduce the number of foods that can be certified and limit their availability. I suggest that you read my recently-updated article on these certification organizations, learn to recognize their certification symbols, and jump at the opportunity to purchase food items certified to contain less than 10 ppm or even 5 ppm.
Today we have talked about the front of the package. Next Friday, I will talk about the ingredients list which useful information about whether a product belongs in your kitchen. Unfortunately, I can’t link you to that article until it is actually published.
The average American, both wheat-eaters and people who live gluten free, doesn’t have enough fiber in their diet. This issue is especially important to people who live gluten free because the five grains with the most fiber are unacceptable for people on the gluten free diet. Continue Reading
People who live gluten free are able to enjoy gluten free bread, toast, pancakes, and waffles. Products are available on-line and in at least one bakery chain, and there are recipes for cooking at home. Continue Reading
Is the ‘gluten free diet’ a highly effective treatment for a serious disease or is it simply the newest fad diet and a way for food industry gurus to make a fortune? YES! This term means different things to different people. The computer search engines can’t tell the difference. The difference might not be obvious in a casual conversation. A food server might be honestly confused about how a customer was using those words. Continue Reading
In 2008, I wrote a series of articles suggesting that it was probably OK to start a gluten free diet without the “blood test and biopsy process” that led to a diagnosis of celiac disease. Was it worth the trouble, expense, and effort? Few people had heard the term celiac disease. Gluten free food was terribly expensive,and tasted like cardboard. People who adopted the gluten free lifestyle did so for very compelling reasons!
Things have changed. People use talk about “going gluten free” and do not regard it as a diet — certainly not as a strict diet that requires a lifelong commitment.
The thoughts I expressed in 2008 were not complete. People need professional help support when they make any major changes in their diet or lifestyle. It is impossible to diagnose celiac disease in people who are already living gluten free. The symptoms that might lead a person to the gluten free diet have many possible explanations.
Food manufacturers and restaurateurs have made fortunes from the so-called “Gluten Free Craze”. We are right to question their motives. However, they have improved the quality of gluten free food, decreased its cost, and made it available nation-wide. They are successful entrepreneurs.
I suggest that you read my article “Is Gluten Free the New Black?“ Yes it is! But it is also a valid and appropriate lifestyle. We can have the best of both!
I’ll write more about this. I first heard the term ‘gluten free’ in 1999 when I first was diagnosed with celiac disease, so I don’t feel concerned about being the victim of any sort of a ‘craze’. However, the craze obviously exists, and bloggers are have a responsibility to help people understand the situation. Please link here to go to the second part of the article.
Finding the ideal restaurant is never an easy task, especially for celiacs and others who live gluten free. Like everyone else, we are looking for a great meal and a wonderful experience, but we are searching for a great meal prepared very specific way. My last article dealt with the judging a restaurant chain — now we must make the most important decision — are the individuals who will be preparing and serving our gluten free meal willing and able to their task? This varies from one location and from one group of restaurant employees to another. Continue Reading
Glutino Foods has recalled their “Rosemary and Olive Oil Snack Crackers” with a use by date of October 26, 2014 because they tested positive for Salmonella.
I have added a “widget” to our sidebar provided by the Food and Drug Administration. It gives constantly-updated information about food recalls. I was surprised to notice how often foods are recalled because food manufacturers fail to list wheat in their ingredients list. I plan to read this list regularly!
“If you are following the fad [by going gluten free]… you are a marketers dream come true…”. The gluten free food industry grew by 44% between 2011 and 2013 and is certainly profitable, but that is not proof that the people who have gone gluten free during that time were duped. Continue Reading
If a celiac’s only problem was avoiding gluten, our lives would be relatively simple. Like everyone else, we must consider calories, fiber, GMO’s, sodium, sugar, as well as whole-grains. I’ve posted information about all these subjects as they apply to people who live gluten free. Continue Reading
Gluten free cooks face the same issues as their wheat-using brothers and sisters. Every cook who respects his “clients’ waist-lines faces the same three issues:
~~~> Definition. Foods with 40 calories per serving or less are defined as low in calories.
~~~> Portion Control. The statement above assumes that you are consuming only one portion (also referred to as one serving). To assure that you are not eating more than you realize, use these charts.
~~~> Gluten Free low calorie recipes. The google search engine indexes more that five million recipes and recipe books as both “gluten free” and “low calorie”. Where should we start????
I have included Amazon’s list of cookbooks and products designated low calorie and gluten free. It is a useful shopping list for shopping at Amazon and/or for finding appropriate product locally.
These 25 restaurants display gluten free menus on their website. Enter the restaurant name in the “google custom search box” that follows this paragraph to see what I have written about them. Keep in mind that the mere existence of a gluten menu does not guarantee that a restaurant is actually ‘safe’ but it is a good first step in the process. Continue Reading
Here’s your list of supermarkets that support America’s gluten free community by providing lists of ‘safe’ foods available in their stores. Some of the store names listed below are not links because some companies sell their food in more than one store chair. For example, if you see the entry ‘Fred Meyer (see Kroger)’ you must click on the Kroger link to get the list that you need. Continue Reading
Every food item manufactured in the United States is required to have a list of ingredients on its wrapper or package. People who live gluten free are cautioned to “read every ingredient label every time” in case the manufacturers have changed the ingredients, which they have every right to do. That’s excellent advice, IF the label reader know which ingredients are toxics and which are safe. Continue Reading
Include these gluten free events and expositions in your travel plansl. Experience excellent gluten free dining, learn more about your lifestyle, and enjoy the company of others who are doing the same. This list displays the event’s dates. The city name is also a link to the website that will provide all the information you need. Continue Reading
A gluten free spring has arrived. This is the season for preparing special food, registering our children for camps that provide gluten free menus, as well as eating safely on vacations and road trips.
2014 is a strange year weather-wise, but some facts about spring never change. Continue Reading
Summer camps are a wonderful experience for children who live gluten free. This is the time of year for families to think about it and make plans. Start with this article about children and their opportunities for a gluten free summer experience.
The typical American eats less than 60% of the necessary dietary fiber. This number is lower for Americans who live gluten free since we can not tolerate the grains that are richest in fiber (barley, rye, and the four types of wheat). Continue Reading
April Fools Day can be fun for people who live gluten free as well as for wheat eaters. (Check out my recent article.) But some food-related deceptions are dangerous and expensive — I’m speaking here about the trickery designed to get us to buy certain products. For example: Continue Reading
These videos increased my understanding of gluten free living but would also help people who are ‘thinking about’ going gluten free.. To view them, click here and then click the button (in the right sidebar) that says “view these videos”. Continue Reading
Can a wheat-eater prepare a gluten free meal? Sure! There are thousands of books that explain exactly what food items are needed and what to do with them. But what about cross contamination? What needs to be done? Is it realistic to expect a wheat-eater to learn new skills and totally rearrange his/her kitchen in order to cook the occasional gluten-free meal? Continue Reading
Celiacs, like all dieters, need to splurge occasionally. But people who live gluten free are unlikely to really enjoy a splurge that will (or even might) result in being ‘glutened’. Here are some suggestions involving the words color, class, and candy.