Proteins are major component of all diets, including the ‘My Plate Diet’ which has replaced the Food Pyramid as America’s official diet. Meats are the most common source of proteins, but in this article I will talk about less expensive sources of protein. Here is anoverview on the subject of high-protein gluten free foods.
Here are several suggested articles — choose the titles that may met your needs: “Ridiculously High Protein High Fiber Gluten Free Muffin Recipe“, “Everyday High Protein Gluten Free Breakfast“, “Power Bars“, and Gluten Free Dairy Free, High Protein French Toast.
This is the last in my series on the ‘My Plate Diet’, a relatively simple but healthy balanced diet. With very minor adjustments, this diet is appropriate for people who live gluten free. When we are first diagnosed with celiac disease of gluten intolerance, our only goal is to fill our stomachs with ‘safe’ food. But soon our horizons broaden, and we can begin to think about following a balanced diet. The ‘My Plate Diet’ is an appropriate option. Click here if you wish to review or reread my series of articles.
Living gluten free does not require that we avoid all grains. By avoiding wheat, barley, and rye, we can participate fully in the ‘My Plate’, the modern replacement for the traditional ‘Food Pyramid’.
Gluten free bread will provide most of the grains in your ‘gluten free / my plate’ diet. I have written many articles on this subject. To look at them, type the term “gluten free bread” in the search box in the upper right corner of the page.
This is my fifth article in a series about the gluten free version of the ‘My Place’ diet. This diet replaces the ‘My Pyramid’ diet which has provided guidance to millions of Americans in past years. Click here to read the introduction, here to read about fiber in the diet, click here to read about the vegetable group, and here to read about the fruit group. The final post in this series will be an article about ‘proteins’,the last of the food groups involved in the diet.
Fruit is an important component of the healthy diet, whether that diet is wheat-based or gluten free. Fruits can be included in desserts and in salads which makes the homemaker’s task a bit easier, but it is still essential to serve a large variety of fruits in an an attractive manner.
Check out this article “Healthy Fifteen-minute Fruit Desserts“ and/or this one called “35 Sumptuous Dessert Recipes“. You may also want to try this very-well collection of “Summer Fruit Dessert Recipes“.
This article is titled “Healthy Kids Snacks” and includes 90 suggestions, not all of them ‘safe’.
When choosing commercially prepared fruit snacks for children, consider the cautions described in this article. As you can imagine, a picture of a fruit on package does not guarantee that the contents are either gluten free or healthy in any other respect.
This is the third in a series of articles describing the essential elements of a healthy diet and providing suggestions about how to follow this diet without compromising our gluten free life style. I used ‘My Plate’, the program designed by the Department of Agriculture, to enable all American’s to eat a healthy diet. You may wish to reread my introductory article or my articles on high-fiber and vegetables. My next article will be on ‘grains’ and the final article will be on ‘proteins’.
Experts recommend that about of each of our meals consist of vegetables. That’s great news for people who live gluten free — vegetables are ‘safe’ unless they have been contaminated by gluten-toxic ingredients. It’s good news for anyone living on a budget — vegetables are relatively inexpensive. The troubling news is that vegetables have a really bad reputation — many people find many vegetables very unappetizing. Fortunately, this problem can be corrected by using great and ‘presenting’ the vegetable dishes in an appetizing manner. One expert sums up the situation by advising us to provide “Lots of different vegetables served in lots of different ways.” Here are some suggestions for doing that:
Check out this article called “Twenty Kid Friendly Veggies“. I’m not sure if these twenty items should be called ‘recipes’ or ‘ways of presenting’ vegetables. Many of these items would appeal to me just as much as they would to children.
Here are more ideas for attractive and unusual ways to prepare vegetables — “Vegetable Quiche with Gluten Free Almond Crust, “Top Ten Grilled Vegetable Recipes“, “Asparagus Fritata“, and “Zucinni Fritata“. To round out this list, consider “My Top Seven Recipes for Kids“.
This is the third article in my series on the My Plate diet, the regimen designed to be the basic diet for all Americans. In addition to my introductory article, I have written about the importance of fiber as well as this article about the vegetable group. Tomorrow’s article will deal with fruits. The last two articles will deal with proteins and grains. There will be links to these as soon as I actually publish them.
An adequate intake of high-fiber foods is important for everyone, including people who have chosen to live gluten free. A good place to start is by watching this short (2:45) video “Common High Fiber Gluten Free Foods” and studying the transcript that is included on the site. Then click on the Betty Crocker website (you may need to enter the terms “gluten free” and “high fiber”) and you will see dozens of well-photographed and clearly-explained recipes.
Is our gluten free diet truly healthy in all respects? Each of us should be asking that question. Very few people need (celiacs or otherwise) need an athlete-in-training diet, but all of us can follow the “My Plate” diet without consuming gluten-toxic food.
The “My Plate Symbol” was designed to replace the “Food Pyramid” program which was the Department of the Army’s recommendation for several years. “My Plate” is not designed for athletes-in-training but it is OK for most of us. I suggest you read this article if you need a quick introduction. I wrote this article to provide
more details. This article talks about the ‘My Plate’ diagram and what it symbolizes.
As you can see, the ‘My Plate’ diet divides the diet into four sections — protein, fruit, vegetables, and grains, and I am planning articles containing recipes for each section. The diet emphasizes high fiber, and high fiber gluten free recipes will be tomorrow’s topic. That will be followed by an article on fruit and an article on vegetables. The last two articles will cover ‘grains’ and ‘proteins’. No links yet since I have not yet actually published the articles.
Since rice has a significant place in our gluten free diet, we are concerned about reports that rice may be contaminated with arsenic. What should we do? First of all, I will suggest several articles to provide information, then I will tell what I intend to do.
First of all, be aware that The Food and Drug Administration is looking into the matter but that it “… does not have an adequate scientific basis to recommend changes by consumers regarding their consumption of rice and rice products.”
This article “Gluten Free Options for those Concerned About Arsenic in Rice“. It’s beautifully researched. The author contacted dozens of companies and summarized their responses and their suggestions for minimizing problems with arsenic”.
This post from US News takes a different, approach stressing the idea of ‘not making perfect the enemy of the good’ and ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. This is particularly important for people who live gluten free. We already have major restrictions on our diet. Do we need to add more? If it is necessary, we can add new restrictions to our diet. We’ve done it in the past and we can do it again.
This current concern over arsenic in rice was generated by a report from “Consumer Reports”. Click here to read the whole thing.
What do I intend to do about this? Well, I just went to my pantry and was pleased to find out that my favorite pancake mix does not contain rice flour. I’ll choose non-rice alternatives when it is convenient, and await further word from the FDA.
Yesterday, September 18, Lady Gaga and her handlers announced that the entertainer had ‘switched’ to a gluten free diet. Click here to read the full text of the press release followed by one writer’s reaction to the announcement.
Here is part of his reaction: “… I can’t stand the fact that gluten free has become a fad. I feel part of some lame pack of sheep. … when gluten was pretty much unknown outside the celiac world I never felt stupid or awkward.” The blogger includes several relevant comments and criticisms in his post. I disagree with blogger in one regard. We had *&%(./ we’d better ‘stand what is happening’ and do something to correct the situation. Problems like this are not going to go away. This is particularly important to me as a celiac and a journalist who writes about gluten free topics. Also, we need to consider the possibility that Lady Gaga is one of the millions of undiagnosed celiacs that are suffering needlessly in our society. I have a few questions:
There are approximately 200,000 diagnosed celiacs in the United States today. Let’s multiply that number by five to accommodate the undiagnosed celiacs and others who have made a lifetime commitment to the gluten free diet for medically valid reasons. That’s a million people! But we also know that roughly sixty million people in America purchase gluten free food annually for reasons that I can’t begin to understand.
Summer is here, and most gluten free children are eating lunch at home rather than at school. The emphasis has shifted. There’s less need for lunches that can be packed and carried to school. A hot lunch is more easily available. The brown bag lunch usually involves bread — both parents and kids may enjoy a greater variety of hot and cold foods while avoiding the added cost of gluten free bread.
Here are five websites that may help with this transition. Check them out!
A frequently heard comment: “…I guess a little cheating on my gluten free diet can’t hurt …”
The Gluten Free Guy’s Response: Sorry about that! Cheating can and does hurt. The damage depends in part on your personal approach to the gluten free diet:
The traditional view of the gluten free diet is that it is a prescription for controlling celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten free foods are both nutritional items and medical necessities. From this point-of-view, gluten-toxic food is damaging and gluten free food is beneficial. It’s a bit like smoking cigarettes — smoking is harmful, even when the smoker is not exhibiting signs of lung cancer. I understand that this analogy is not scientifically correct, but I think that it helps celiacs understand the situation.
In the past few years, many people have adopted the gluten free diet for reasons that have nothing to do with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. When these folks “cheat”, they are breaking rules that they have set for themselves. The damage here is less obvious. There may be problems for the individual who instinctively realizes that gluten toxic food is inappropriate for him but have not intellectually acknowledged their gluten sensitivity.
One reader’s request: “please advise me on how to lose weight while remaining gluten free.”
The Gluten Free Guy’s response: All people (gluten free or otherwise) lose weight in exactly the same ways — they either reduce the number of calories that enter their body or increase their exercise level so that their body burns more calories than it takes in. Books on dieting frequently recommend whole grains, but there is no requirement, but it is not essential that those whole grains be wheat, barley, or rye.
Weight loss takes time and self-discipline, and things become rather difficult when one is attempting to follow two separate diets (gluten free and low calorie) at the same time. Don’t attempt to start both diets at once. Beginning a diet requires requires changing thought patterns and habits. Check out my article “The Gluten Free Weight Loss Diet” for ideas on this subject.
Since everything that we deal with on this website has something to do with our gluten free diet, writing a power page called “The Gluten Free Diet” is a monumental undertaking which I am now ready to begin. The page will be divided into six chapters and I plan to add a new chapter each week. Here are the chapter titles:
Committing to the Gluten Free Diet
Going Gluten Free (published on February 9. 2012)
Understanding the Gluten Free diet
Thriving Gluten Free at Home
Thriving Gluten Free Away from Home
Thriving Gluten Free in Special Situations
This week we are surveying to determine which gluten free breakfast cereals are most popular with the people who visit this website. If you have not already done so, please take ten minutes to enter your input. Be sure to scroll down so that you will see all the questions. You will be able to enter your response without ever leaving this page.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.
Here are links to several low calorie gluten free recipes. The experts seem to agree that people who live gluten free lose weight for the same two reasons that everyone else — we consume fewer calories and/or we burn more calories than we take in take in. We may disagree on whether the gluten free diet helps or hinders our weight control efforts. My personal opinion is that it makes no important difference. If the gluten free diet is helpful to you, then food that is both low-calorie and gluten free will help you in all your endeavors, including weight control.
Be prepared for a challenge this Christmas, particularly if this is your first gluten free holiday season. You’ll be surrounded by family and friends that you have not seen since prior to your decision to go gluten free. Here are a few ideas that may help:
Feel free to use the term ‘allergy’, even though it is not technically correct. I usually say that I have a reaction to wheat, barley, and rye. That covers the matter without scaring people with the word ‘disease’. Besides, I don’t feel diseased. I just feel a guy who is on a rather strict diet but has absolutely no bad effects if I am faithful to my commitment to it. Even during the Christmas season!!!!
People sometimes ask me about my symptoms. I tell them what it does to my mental processes but seldom mention what it does to my gut and particularly my bowels. Rehearse your answer carefully. You’ll need it.
People will ask me whether they should try the gluten free diet. Answer: that’s a task for a physician or a dietician and in case this is not the time or place to talk about it. I do say that the gluten free diet has made a wonderfully positive difference in my life.
You may need to mention that the gluten free diet is one of the few diets where the goal is total elimination. Most diets have a more modest goal: no one would endeavor to eliminates all calories from their diet — that would be extremely difficult and probably fatal.
Always carry “emergency rations” for use in cases where I can’t get a ‘safe’ meal. I don’t eat when I am too hungry. That is a temptation to relax your standards and eat questionable foods.
The information and inspiration in these five books will enable people to thrive gluten free. I recommend that you read these five very brief reviews and then make your choices by clicking one of the buttons that follow the article. The color that follows each title will make your choice even easier.
“My vote for the most important scientific revolution of all times would trace back 10,000 years to the Middle East, when people first noticed that new plants arise from seeds falling to ground from other plants….Once humans discovered the secret of seeds. the quickly learned to domesticate crops ultimately crossbreeding different plants to produce…wheat, rye, and barley…this advancement…came at a dear price: the emergence of an illness now known as celiac disease….” These are the opening sentences of an article from the Scientific American written by Dr. Alessio Fasano. It’s a fascinating article that covers the past, present, and future of our disease.
Celiac disease was described by Greek physicians in the 1st century A.D. They had no idea of the cause. It was not until 19th century before a British physician published his observations.
In 1888, Dr. Samuel Gee made the connection between diet and celiac disease but had no idea what dietary restrictions were needed.
In the 1920′s, Dr. Sydney Hass started treating celiac disease with a diet of bananas and rice. Click here to watch a video of an actual ‘banana baby‘ speaking to a group of medical students. FYI, when I watched this video I vowed never to complain about the 2011 version of the gluten free diet.
Dr. Wilem Karle Dickey is credited with pinning down the connection between celiac disease and the consumption of wheat protein. His observations were later confirmed by the fact that symptoms of celiac disease practically disappeared during World War II when wheat was extremely rare in the Netherlands. The symptoms reappeared after the end of the war.
In the 1960′s, doctors began using biopsies to diagnose celiac disease. Fortunately, they discovered in the 80′s that the disease could be diagnosed with a single biopsy. Before that, three biopsies were required. There is another reason for rejoicing. Since I apparently must have celiac disease, it is good to be experiencing it in the 21st century.
This example will clarify the difference between the gluten free diet and the healthy diet. MSG is gluten free. That is probably the only positive thing that can be said about it. No one (celiac or otherwise) should consume MSG. When I was diagnosed twelve years ago, we did not have the luxury of thinking thoughts like that. Everything that did not contain wheat, barley, or rye was prized,
Now, fortunately, we have more choices. We require a diet that is gluten free and we seek a gluten free diet that is healthy in every respect. I am not qualified to write about the healthy diet. I can relay information to you, but all the decisions about the healthy diet rest with you, the dieter. That’s nothing new, really, but I think it deserves emphasis at this time. Thanks for understanding.
Gluten free living is both a diet and a lifestyle. Most of our actions are somehow related to our need to live gluten free. With this in mind, my time this week has been spent preparing a new power page “The Gluten Free Diet“.
Please check it out by using the tab at the top of the page or clicking on the link. You will be taken to what computer geeks call a ‘hub page’ and almost everyone else would call an ‘outline’ or ‘index’. There is so much information about our diet that it would be impossible to consolidate everything into a single article.
You’ll notice that some of the items in the outline are links to articles that may interest you. I am not attempting to write the articles in order and I am certainly not promising not to change the outline. What I am trying to do is make a power page that gives my visitors access to all the gluten free diet information that is available.
What’s the differences among Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Gluten Sensitivity, and Wheat Allergy? I began reading on this subject because — as a gluten free writer — I felt obligated to use the terms correctly. I think I know, but my attempts to write definitions of these terms failed miserably so I decided to link you to the information. If I had medical training in this field, I might attempt written definitions. Perhaps your physician can provide a concise definition.
Here are four links. The titles I am giving you are not the same ones used in the articles. I wanted to give you the main ideas of each article
→→Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Sensitivity (a video)
Even though it is almost never technically correct, I use the term ‘gluten allergy’ frequently. When I am not working on this site, I teach English as a Second Language. Many of my students are food service employees. Terms like ‘autoimmune disease’ are difficult for most Americans, particularly those whose first language is not English. On the other hand, ‘allergy to wheat, barley, and rye’ conveys a very specific message — “Don’t feed me gluten”.
The Food and Drug Administration has requested input before define what foods can be labelled gluten free in the United States. Some of you have shared your thoughts with me to assist me in preparing a letter to the F.D.A. Here is a summary of what I believe you are saying. I’ll translate this into ‘legalese’ and submit everything before the October 2 deadline.
In reading your comments. I was most surprised by something that you did NOT say. The FDA seems to be determined to find a single number of parts-per-million of gluten that would determine what products would be allowed to be labeled ‘gluten free’. I disagree. We already have two national organizations that certify gluten free food. The Celiac Sprue Association requires < 5 parts per million and The Gluten Intolerance Group requires <10 ppm. I will recommend that these organizations be encouraged to continue their work and that the FDA set up a procedure for certifying foods containing <20 ppm. Thus, individuals have a choice.
Your comments to me suggested great concern over the problem of cross-contamination. The tests mentioned above can determine whether or not a specific sample is contaminated but can’t guarantee that the product is always safe. I will recommend to the FDA that they establish specific criteria for choosing which samples to test and how many samples must be tested.
Many of you were concerned about information (other than the labels mentioned above) should be included on a food package to make our choices easier and more accurate. This does not seem to be a major concern of the FDA, so I suggest that we approach this problem in a different way.
Many manufacturers are trying to recruit gluten free customers. Please e-mail me telling what you hope to see on packages. What information would make you more likely to purchase a gluten free product? I will organize your ideas into a survey, conduct that survey, and distribute it to manufacturers. Since I want to get this survey out as soon as possible, please send me your ideas before Thursday, October 6.
Summaries to help begin the gluten free diet appear in both Living Without magazine and Gluten Free Living magazines. Both magazines posts the quick-start guides on-line. FYI, these magazines should be in the library of every family that includes a person who lives gluten free. The celiac support group of New Haven, Connecticut, also posts a very useful guide on-line.
To learn more about the gluten free diet, please visit our power page “The Gluten Free Diet” by clicking here or by using the tab at the top of this page.
There are three different groups of people who follow the gluten free diet. The people in each group follow different versions of the gluten free diet. I created these groups in my mind to simplify my task of writing about gluten free topics.
GROUP 1: MEDICALLY DIAGNOSED CELIACS. Traditionally, the gluten free diet is a prescription for persons diagnosed with celiac disease, an auto-immune disease in which the body reacts to certain proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. Celiac disease is incurable in the strict sense of the word, but sufferers become symptom-free as soon as their system becomes gluten free. Since celiac disease is incurable, the gluten free diet is a life-long commitment to a very strict diet
GROUP 2: THE GLUTEN INTOLERANT OR GLUTEN SENSITIVE. These two terms mean pretty-much the same thing. Both refer to people who do not exhibit the meet the criteria for celiac disease but do experience unpleasant symptoms when they consume gluten. These people need to avoid all gluten but may or may not need to do so for the rest of their lives.
GROUP 3: PEOPLE WHO ELECT TO BE GLUTEN FREE. This group of people have no adverse reactions to gluten but feel that avoiding gluten makes it easier for them to lose weight, increases their strength and vitality, gives them a more positive outlook on life, or makes them members of a highly attractive group of people. These people are able to pick and chose which parts of the gluten free diet they will follow.
Thanks to your comments, I realized that there were three additional groups of people who follow the gluten free diet. Click here to read about them.
Traditionally, the gluten free diet was a prescription for treating celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and gluten sensitivity (in other words, for the people in the first two groups.) Few, if any, people went on the gluten free diet voluntarily. The food was tasteless (at best), horribly expensive, and very difficult to find. Fortunately, things are getting much better.
Many people believe that the gluten free diet should be limited to celiacs, people who are gluten intolerant, or those who are gluten sensitive. Because my purpose is to provide information and NOT to give advice or make judgments, I will provide information about the gluten free diet to everyone who seeks it.
Earlier this month, I wrote about three different types of people who practice the gluten free diet.
♦ There are people who have made a lifelong commitment to total abstinence from gluten.
♦ Others who are ‘cutting down’ on gluten, engaging in periodic ‘cleanses’ or eliminating certain foods.
♦ People who are going gluten free because it seems to be ‘trendy’
I received comments from members of all three groups, many suggesting that I have not done justice to their point-of-view. In the last paragraph, I said that “If anyone asks for advice, I’ll express my point-of-view to the best of my ability”. Until today, I have never explained how I feel or what group I belong to. I’ll try to correct that today.
FYI, I am a medically-diagnosed celiac. My diagnosis was accidental. My doctor was exploring various possibilities to explain my weight loss, chronic fatigue, and seemingly endless cycles of constipation and diarrhea. I was diagnosed in 1999 and my doctor admitted that he had had no experience with celiac disease. (I moved to Oregon about five years later, and my new family-practice stated that I was the first celiac she had ever met.)
My function as a writer is to relay information, NOT to give advice. This is important legally since I have no academic or medical credentials, but it is also my belief. A person’s diet is a matter of personal choice!
One of the few ‘facts’ in the gluten free world is that it is extremely difficult to medically diagnose celiac disease if a person is already living gluten free. How important is this? That is a personal decision.
If someone asked me if I had read any scientific evidence to suggest that living gluten free makes it easier to lose weight, I would tell them ‘no’. Of course, people who are very conscientious about what they eat do better in every way than people who eat everything they can get their hands on.
Is cross-contamination an issue in the gluten free world? Of course! My intention is to be very careful at home where I have virtually-total control, to do my best when dining out, and — after taking all reasonable precautions — to relax and enjoy my food.
“There is a sizable, but still decided minority population that can benefit in terms of feeling better by excluding gluten, entirely or mostly, from their diets. There is a population–an order of magnitude smaller — for which it is vital to do so, and potentially even a matter of life and death. For everyone else, going gluten free is at best a fashion statement.”
First of all, this author is not claiming that our diet is a fad, he is just saying that some people are using it for the wrong reasons. I agree completely. He also points out that wheat is evolved in the past million years from a wild plant with seeds so small that our ancestors probably never noticed them or considered eating them. After centuries of cultivation, wheat developed into a plant with larger seeds and more gluten. Plants evolve faster than humans. Some of us are able to digest gluten, some of us are not.
Another article begins with the sentence “A gluten free diet is as trendy as the latest purse.” I disagree with that statement, but the important thing to consider what all this means to people like us whose health and wellness depend on the gluten free diet?
People like Oprah Winfrey and Gweneth Paltrow have gone on a short-term “gluten free detox”. At least they are acknowledging that gluten is a problem. They certainly got lots of publicity for their efforts, but was the detox helpful in any way? A detox is much different from my lifetime commitment to total abstinence from gluten.
I’ve read articles about people who are ‘cutting down’ on gluten. ‘Cutting down’ is not the same thing as ‘totally eliminating’. Is ‘cutting down’ helpful?
What does all this excitement mean to us? It means that more gluten free food will appear on our store shelves and on our restaurant menus. The taste will probably improve and the price will probably drop. But will all these items be labeled correctly?
The bad news is that our hosts and personnel in restaurants may become less concerned about cross-contamination. This precautions are totally unnecessary when serving someone perceived to be on a fad diet.
Another potential problem is that people who are having problems staying gluten free may give up and justify their behavior by saying “it’s only a fad”.
There are more questions than answers in this article. The gluten free diet is grounded in scientific facts, but there are issues that are matters of personal decision. I’ll write about these issues every Monday. Have a great week.
The most important question is this — am I motivated to use this book? Again, the answer is ‘yes’. I like the tremendous variety. This book contains recipes for everything from corn muffins to an Algerian fruit bowl to lobster newburg. I appreciate the line-drawings which were obviously the work of a food-lover rather than a photography who has the skills to make almost anything look delicious. The first two chapters are a great introduction and/or review to the art of gluten free cooking.
The back cover states that this book is “not a weight loss cookbook…(it is) a life-maintenance book…your ticket to better living and better eating”. I agree, but I should point out that each recipe contains a calorie count, a carbohydrate count, exact data about sodium, fiber, and sugar and all the other numbers that anyone could need to control his or her diet.
Books make great gifts for the holidays. Click here for answers to many of your questions about Christmas and all the winter holidays.
When I was diagnosed in 1999, the gluten free diet was the prescription used to control celiac disease. Since that time, there has been a dramatic change, brought on in part by the increased availability of gluten free food and the vastly improved taste and texture. When this website started in 2002, it was inconceivable that anyone would embrace the gluten free lifestyle if they had any viable option.
Earlier this month, I posted an article titled “Two Approaches to the Gluten Free Diet“, in which I stated that there are two groups of gluten free dieters;
I have recently realized that is a third group:
These people folks argue that reducing the amount of hard-to-digest is a great idea and that doing something is better than doing nothing. It is hard to disagree with this argument, but I think there is a danger here. They may be doing just enough to mask symptoms and that is never a good idea. Obviously, that last sentence is strictly Paul’s Point-of-View and should be regarded as such. Here are some more of my thoughts:
All this makes no difference to me because I know that I am in the first group. I know that my function as the author of this website is to present information about what food is and is not gluten free. People are welcome to make any adjustments or changes that seems to fit their situations.
The thoughts expressed in this article came to me while I was working on our current survey about how we deal with persons who are considering adopting the gluten free lifestyle. I’ll be announcing the results in my newsletter this Thursday (6/23) and introducing July’s survey the following week (6/30). If you haven’t had a chance to be part of the Click here to take survey You will see nine comments that might be addressed to someone who is thinking about going gluten free and asking you to mark the comments you consider appropriate.
A “gluten free cleanse” involves abstaining completely from gluten as well as other foods that the dieter (and the ‘experts’ who guide them) consider toxic. Celebrities who have tried this procedure include Oprah Winfrey (whose ‘cleanse’ last three weeks) and Gweneth Paltrow (who ‘cleansed’ for seven days”. Click here for an article describing their experience. FYI, the article mentions that these celebrities used seatin, which is product made from wheat gluten as a meat substitute for vegetarians, and barley miso soup which is not gluten free because it contains barley.
USA Today summarizes the issue of ‘cleansing diets’ in an article titled ” ‘Cleansing Diets ‘Lure ‘Celebs’ but not Health Experts”. I recommend this article!
My research on this leads me to a OPINION, two QUESTIONS, and a CONCLUSION. The remainder of this article must be labeled PAUL’S POINT-OF-VIEW:
♦ opinion: The words ‘gluten cleanse’ and ‘gluten free diet’ are not interchangeable. I think this is confusing, particularly when are talking about a life-long commitment to abstinence from gluten toxic food.
♦ questions: Why do people decide that gluten is an item from which we need to be ‘cleansed’? Perhaps we know instinctively that gluten is a problem. Is there any reasons to believe that a ‘gluten’ free cleanse does any good unless it is a prelude to an actual gluten free diet?
♦ conclusion: Whatever good comes from a ‘gluten free cleanse’ comes from the fact that the person undergoing the cleanse is acutely aware of what he or she is eating, is being held accountable for his or her behavior, has not consumed any ‘junk food’ during the process, and is under the guidance of someone who believes that the process will succeed.
Traditionally, the gluten free diet has been considered the treatment for those with celiac disease. Now, our diet has a much broader following. The experts disagree. Where do you stand? To find out, I have prepared a survey that I urge you to complete. In my survey, I am imagining that a non-celiac friend is considering the gluten diet and is asking your opinion. I’ve listed nine possible responses and asked which ones you consider appropriate. I am attempting to find out what gluten free people actually do rather than what they say. I will tabulate the results at the end of the month. Please click here to complete the survey.
Some people need to live gluten free. Others elect to live gluten free. When I was diagnosed eleven years ago, only the first group existed. Given the quality and cost of the gluten free food that existed at that time, it makes sense that few people — other than persons diagnosed with gluten intolerance or celiac disease — embraced the gluten free lifestyle.
Times have changed! Folks go gluten free because people in their social group are doing it, because it makes them feel younger and more energetic, or because they have swallowed the myth that it will help them lose weight. There are probably other reasons.
PAUL’S POINT-OF-VIEW. When people in the second group meet their goals, it is probably because the individual is now feeling better and almost everything works better when a person feels better. These “successes” may be a sign indicating undiagnosed celiac disease. It is virtually impossible to diagnose celiac disease in a person who is currently living gluten free. No one should begin any diet without competent advice and supervision — the thoughts expressed earlier in this paragraph should be shared with anyone who considers starting the gluten free diet, regardless of the persons reasons for beginning.
Since ‘My Plate’ was announced less than 48 hours ago, reactions are tentative and vague. Most of the comments I read suggest that this is not a new diet but rather improved teaching tool. And everyone agrees that a new teaching tool was desperately needed — American’s were simply not getting the message. The newly-announced diet says a great deal about the importance of whole grains, but does not require (or even suggest) that wheat must be the grain-of-choice. Perhaps it is significant that the White House chef chose demonstrate this new approach to dieting by preparing a meal using whole grain brown rice.
I’ll be writing much more about ‘My Plate’ in the very near future. I have successfully followed the gluten free diet for a decade. Now I need a diet and a lifestyle that is both gluten free and healthy in all other respects.
I urge you to watch these two video clips. The first is a segment from Nightline suggesting that the gluten free diet is valid as a treatment for celiac disease but is “dangerous” if used for any other purpose. direct rebuttal to the first, written and presented by a medical doctor who has a very different point-of-view.
I don’t usually express personal opinions in my articles, but I’m making an exception her simply because this topic seems to be ignored on the internet. My basic premise is that all diets are unsafe unless the dieter has professional guidance, access to reference books, support groups, and internet information.
For some, including myself, the gluten free diet is a treatment for celiac disease. I have made a commitment to remove all gluten from my diet for the rest of my life. I am concerned about cross-contamination since even minute amounts of gluten are dangerous. This is the classic definition of ‘gluten free diet’ and the only one adequately covered in books, on the internet, or in most physician’s offices
Other people see the gluten free diet as something that makes them feel better, have more of a certain type of friends, or lose weight. What will these folks do after they have achieved their weight loss goal, made different friends, and discover wheat-based foods that provide them with energy and enthusiasm?
A third version of the gluten free diet is practiced by such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow. Both these stars experienced a “gluten free cleanse”. Ms. Paltrow was on a strict gluten free diet for seven days. Ms. Winfrey lasted a full three weeks. Does three weeks count as a diet? I don’t think so! But these starts are at least acknowledging that gluten free food is an issue. The people who agree with them need our help and support.
These last two groups of dieters need professional support and advice. I hope that their needs can be met.
People living gluten free are searching for “healthy eating regimens that include all aspects of diet and nutrition and are appropriate for people living gluten free”. That was the main conclusion of the survey we conducted February, 2010. I agree completely, and my wife’s recent heart attack has given me the motivation to pursue this idea I began my research by getting some background information in an article published by the Virginia Department of Health. I found nothing in this article that precludes people from following a diet that is both gluten free and heart healthy. The American Heart Association has established a set of goals which they call “The Simple Seven”. They are determine to change the ugly reality that only 1% of the population has optimal heart health. I recently took their “Life Assessment Check“, a computer-scored test that summarizes a person’s current heart health status and suggests appropriate changes. I’ll share the results with you in my next article.
Five members of America’s gluten free community commented on my recent weight loss articles. All I can say with any kind of authority is that a weight loss diet using gluten free is not essentially different from the traditional weight loss diet. I invite you to consider these comments by click here, or here, or here. (Comments were added to three different articles.)
If you can’t find this great guidebook locally, click on the graphic at the top of the article.
Last Thursday, I began a series of articles aimed at people living gluten free who need to shed a few pounds. Today, I’ll get specific about attitude — diet is not “all in your head” but that is a good place start. I need to stress a few essential facts:
→ There is no significant difference in losing weight on the gluten free diet and the conventional diet. The gluten free diet is becoming more ‘chic’ these days, but, for wheat eaters and every one else, a person loses weight when they eat fewer calories than they burn through exercise and other activities. Here’s a great article that clarifies that subject.
→ 39% of all celiacs are overweight or obese on the day they are diagnosed. We have this stereotype that celiacs are underweight which makes it seem almost embarassing for us to face the fact that we need to cut calories. I know that happened to me. I was underweight when diagnosed. I welcomed the first ten pounds, ignored the second ten pound gain, and should have started to watch my calories much sooner than I did.
→ Celiacs have many advantages when they are cutting calories and losing weight:
♦ Most junk food is gluten toxic and high in calories. If we are watching our weight, we have two reasons for avoid this type of food. One of our members commented “guess what happens when we cut out burgers, pizza, and beer”. I don’t cut those things out, but I certainly reduce my intake.
♦ If we are calorie conscious and gluten free, we can occasionally reward ourselves with a sugary (but gluten free) treat.
♦ Celiacs are already used to the idea that we are what we eat. We read ingredient labels. We are used to planning our meals.
→There are a few disadvantages. For example:
♦ The benefits of the gluten free diet are immediately obvious. I felt 100% better after a few days. A weight-loss diet takes much longer.
♦ We need to be careful about what The Savvy Celiac calls “gluten entitlement”. This is the understandable feeling that gluten free food is OK for us in any quantity. I can’t eat the cupcakes at work, so I come home and console myself by eating a full bag of gluten free doughnuts. Since I am the only person in my household who lives gluten free, I feel almost proud of myself when i “finish up the whole bag before they get stale”.
This leads me into the topic for next Friday — calories count, quantities count. We have enough to worry about staying gluten. How do we keep track of what is happening on both the calorie and the gluten ‘front”?
All the information I have about weight control for people who live gluten free is summarized on my power page “The Gluten Free Weight Loss Diet“. Click on the title to go to that page. Another option is to scroll down to the bottom of this article (past the ads) and click on the red tag that says “lose weight gluten free”. You will be taken to a page that shows the first few sentences of each of my articles on the subject. Click to read the complete article.
“The Food and Drug Association (FDA) is in the process of developing standards for foods labeled ‘gluten free’.” This sentence was copied from a post published in 2007. Most of the people reading this article literally can’t wait for them to finish that process.
I understand the government’s problem here. They are working under several constraints:
♦ The terms themselves.
→ ‘Gluten free’ should mean the total absence of gluten. The experts agree that everyone can tolerate minute quantities of gluten. The finest instruments can’t detect the total absence of gluten. To complicate matters, we’re only talking about the gluten in wheat, barley, and rye. The glutens in corn, rice, and other grains are absolutely OK.
→ The terms ‘gluten free’ and ‘wheat free’ don’t mean the same thing. For example: wheat free beer is readily available. Barley is the culprit here. Many cereals are wheat free but are contain malt flavoring which is made from barley.
→ The term ‘cross contamination’ is unfortunate. ‘Contamination” implies that something is unclean or unsanitary. In the gluten free world, it simply means that otherwise gluten free food has come into contact with food that we can’t handle. For example: potatoes are a vegetables and therefore naturally gluten free. They are unacceptable if they cooked in a deep fat fryer that has also been used for cooking breaded onion rings.
We are stuck with these terms. They are part of our vocabulary. They are the words that people will use as when we are searching the internet.
I will continue this article tomorrow. There are still more hassles involved in making our personal decisions about gluten free living and in writing an official and legally enforceable definition. I will also include my personal definition in my weekly newsletter. If you’re interested in my newsletter, check out the first box in the sidebar at the right.
Today, people who live gluten free and wheat eaters have at least one thing in common: most of us are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Most of us know that 40-45% of Americans make New Years resolutions. We also know that approximately one fourth of those resolutions do not survive the first week and only about half of those resolutions are “dead” before the middle of the year. Click here for more information on this topic.
On the other hand, we learn from the same article that people who make a firm and specific commitment (in other words, a resolution) have considerably more success that people (non-resolvers) who simply decide that something is a good idea. Half the resolutions that are made fail to last the year, but this means that 50% of them are successful.
There is nothing magic about making resolutions on January 1. On the other hand, why not? This may be a great day for you. There are many examples of gluten related resolutions on the internet. Since the titles are all basically, I’ll simply suggest that you click here, and then finish your research by clicking here.
Good luck. Happy New Year!
No!!!!! Gluten free foods contain just as many calories, carbs, sugar, and fats as wheat based food. This article from The Wall Street Journal does a great job of debunking the myth that the gluten free diet is a panacea for people who go gluten free for the sole purpose of shedding pounds. (I suggest that you read and possibly copy this article as soon as possible. My experience is that The Wall Street Journal does keep its articles posted on-line very long.)
The Wall Street Journal is not suggesting that celiacs can’t lose weight on the gluten free diet. There are certainly foods that are both gluten free and helpful in losing weight. A person living gluten free must identify those foods that are both “safe” and low in calories (or fat or carbohydrates or sugar) but there is no need for non-celiacs to place that extra burden on themselves.
My Power Page “The Gluten Free Weight Loss Diet” summarizes all the information I have about losing weight while maintaining a gluten free diet. You can also get information by scrolling down to the bottom of this page (past the advertisements) and click on the red tag that says lose weight gluten free. Clicking on that tag will take you to a page giving brief excerpts from my articles on this subject. Click to read the entire article.
The newly-diagnosed celiac is hungry. He has a million questions and wants to answer them before he eats his next meal. With good reason, he is probably wondering if he will ever be able to enjoy food again.
That was certainly true in my case. I survived on omelets for the first few days. I ate lots of grits and would certainly have added Chex cereal to my diet if that product had been gluten free at the time. I also drank lots of coffee and milk.
Things are much better now. The internet is a great asset. Here is a link to an article titled “What to Eat on the Gluten Free Diet — the First Week.” Here is a descriptions of 25 naturally gluten free snacks. This article gives the newly diagnosed celiac ten more options.
If the new celiac gets tired of eating nutritiously, he might like to know that wine without additives is gluten free and that Anheuser Busch produces Redbridge beer, which is gluten free and available nation-wide. As a last resort, here is a list of gluten free candies.
I assume that very few celiacs are aware of the existence of this site on the day of their diagnosis. But some of them may come to you, asking and perhaps begging for help. I hope this information helps you help them.
Living gluten free often results in misunderstandings and confusion. Sometimes it may lead to family conflict just as it did in the situation that led to this e-mail I recently received:
“The family members or friends who REFUSE to comply due to whatever reason (ignorance, stupidity, apathy, unloving), should be given all necessary information about Celiac Disease in writing along with a brief explanation of how sick you get if you eat gluten products. If they seem to understand, good. But if they don’t, then meet with them one-on-one to more fully describe how VERY sick you get and exactly what happens to you, plus add the possible effects of malnutrition, cancer….whatever gets their attention. If they still won’t comply, tell them you are very sorry that you cannot attend future dinners, parties, events, holidays at their home due to their non-compliance. Then just don’t go there to eat. It should only take one time before they get it. O the other hand, you could just eat first and not eat any of the food and do not enter the kitchen. My mother-in-law refuses to comply so we do not eat at her house ever and when she comes into our house with food, we just hand it back to her and ask her to leave. If she leaves food in the house that she has brought for us to eat, we throw it down the garbage disposal. Some people are only able to think of themselves no matter what you tell them.”
My personal reaction to this is the writer is responsible for his or her diet (unless there are some very special circumstances that are not mentioned in this letter). The people involved in this conflict have a double-edged problem — curing the physical wounds caused by celiac disease and the emotional wounds caused this family dispute. I pray for them in both situations. I was rather lucky: the two principle cooks our family (my wife and daughter-in-law) watched me fall apart from celiac disease and will never allow me to cheat. My symptoms are serious enough that I will never cheat intentionally. In some respects, having serious celiac symptoms is a blessing.
I’d love to publish your ideas about this subject and/or accounts where the gluten free diet has resulted in serious conflicts. E-mail me at email@example.com or leave a comment at the end of this article.
Gluten free pizza crusts are wonderful for use at home, where we have control over the entire situation. In a restaurant or pizzeria, however, a gluten free pizza crust is a positive sign but no guarantee that the the pizza is “safe”. We must consider toppings, the ovens, and various cross-contamination issues
I am aware of two companies that provide gluten free pizza crusts to restaurants — Still Riding Pizza on the East coast and The Gluten Free Bistro in Colorado. I e-mailed both firms to find out how they work with the restaurants they serve. I am quoting the information from The Gluten Free Bistro completely so that you can judge for yourself. (As soon as possible, I will provide you with the same information about Still Riding Pizza.) I am also including a link that will allow you to get in touch with the individual restaurants served by The Gluten Free Bistro.
E-MAIL DATED 11/14/09
I just read you comments about gluten free pizza not really being gluten free and I agree there are a lot of issues surrounding this. I wanted to let you know the steps we take in training the restaurant staff about preventing cross contamination to our product from The Gluten Free Bistro (www.theglutenfreebistro.com). We do an in house training to all staff, both front and back of the house, and include the handling sheet I have attached. We par-bake, freeze, and package our pizza crusts so that there is little chance for cross contamination. We have had excellent reviews on our product and we are now available in 12 different restaurants. I just wanted you to let you know we are doing the best we can on our end and we are happy that celiac and gluten intolerant folks (including ourselves) can enjoy a pizza out.
THE ATTACHMENT MENTIONED IN THE E-MAIL:
The Gluten Free Bistro’s Recommended Handling Instructions
Why: Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance are highly sensitive to cross contamination with wheat or other gluten containing flours or foods. Please do your best to keep ovens, prep areas, and stones/baking sheets where gluten free foods are prepped and cooked free of wheat flour, all purpose flour, or other gluten containing foods.
Where is gluten: Gluten is found in WHEAT, BARLEY, RYE, & OATS
• After removing frozen crust from the plastic bag, DO be sure to close the bag again.
• Please DO prep the par-baked frozen pizza in a prep area free of wheat flour other ingredients containing gluten.
• DO bake the GF pizza crust on a designated stone, baking pan, or pizza screen and, if put directly into the oven floor, be sure area is free of contaminates from wheat containing crusts.
• When removing crust, DO be sure the paddle is free of wheat flour or other contaminates from wheat containing crusts. Either have a designated GF paddle or wipe the shared paddle well with a clean damp towel.
• If rolling out raw dough balls, please DO NOT use wheat flour to prevent sticking. Please use olive oil on hands, rolling pin and on the dough to prevent sticking. Otherwise, place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to roll out, then peel plastic away.
• Please DO NOT use a pizza cutter that has been previously used on a wheat crust pizza.
The Savvy Celiac, one of my favorite celiac friendly blogs, recently coined the term Gluten Free Entitlement, thus assigning a name to a problem that I have been experiencing since my diagnosis. I can’t shake the idea that gluten free food is good for me IN ANY QUANTITY. It is OK for me to gorge on food, as long as I am pigging out on gluten free food.
That idea is wrong for at least two different reasons: If I consume too many calories, I will gain weight. The absence of gluten is essential, of course, but I need to think about calories, vitamins and minerals, roughage, and other things. If I’m feeling bad because I attended a party where I could not eat the birthday cake, it is not OK for me to go home and consume four gluten free glazed doughnuts to make myself feel better.
The second reason to banish the idea of Gluten Free Entitlement is that all food that is not gluten free contains trace amounts of gluten. One safe cupcake is great — a dozen of them might contain enough gluten to cause a reaction.
In a way, I am being too hard myself and on at least some of you. My feelings of Gluten Free Entitlement go back ten years to those dark days following my diagnosis. My prayer was for a meal that did not make me sick, was different from the last several meals that I had eaten, and didn’t taste too much like cardboard. Those days are gone, and my point-of-view needs to change with the times. I think that giving this problem a name — gluten free entitlement — will help me.
Imagine having a library of gluten free books at your fingertips when you shop gluten free or seek a “safe” restaurant meal. It’s possible, thanks to Amazon.com. This marvelous new system includes 63 books that can be downloaded electronically and read using the Kindle reader. Click here to browse the list of gluten free Kindle books. They cost about half as much as their traditional counterparts.
The Kindle Reader is a significant investment, of course. But, since 1830 books are currently available. you will use the reader a vast number of times. Click on the graphic below if you would consider making this investment.
Many of us face the challenge of living gluten free and controlling calories. Here are several links that might help meet that challenge:
The six cookbooks shown in the carousel below all include the “calorie count” for each of their recipes. This should help any cook who is attempting to meat the dual challenge of eating gluten free and counting calories. Click on the book cover for more information or to purchase them from Amazon.com.
How do we cope with the current situation? What can we say to a person who has just been told that their family must go gluten free? A challenging question to say the least.
The articles that I would like to share seem to have two themes: we must rely more on fruits, vegetables and other naturally gluten free foods, AND we must do more home cooking. These posts give specific suggestions:
We are all facing the challenge of living gluten free on a budget and I have written several articles on this subject. Much of what I have learned is summarized on my “power page” called (appropriately enough) “Gluten Free on a Budget”. Click here or use the tab at the top of this page to reach that power page. Another way to find this information is to scroll down to the the bottom of this page to find the tag “gluten free on a budget”. It will appear in red. Click on the tag to link with other posts on this important subject.
Three distinct groups of people follow the gluten free diet:
This article is different from most of what I have written in that it reflects my thoughts and observations. I have not linked you any “experts”. I’m anxious to know how you react to these ideas and will certainly publish your reactions to them. Leave a “reply” at the end of this article or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This list is designed for persons who have already made a commitment to the gluten free diet. Don’t take this caveat lightly. Keep in mind that:
I’ll write much more on this subject. The “gluten free diet” refers to food — the “gluten free lifestyle” involves much more than what we put in our mouths.
Having said all that, I believe that going gluten free ten years ago was one of the best decisions of my life!!!! More power to you. Hopefully this website and others like it will enable you to meet the challenge. Go for it. Here are some resources that will help: