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Found 11 results

  1. Celiac.com 08/12/2018 - Receiving a celiac disease diagnosis or being told you need to be on a gluten-free diet can be an overwhelming experience, and it is certainly not for the faint of heart. Most people get frustrated with the transition, and many don't know where to begin. While eating gluten-free can improve your health, I must emphasize that it is not recommended to attempt a gluten-free diet without a doctors supervision, as there are many potential health risks involved with making drastic changes to your diet, which can be avoided with assistance of a qualified doctor and/or nutritionist. If you suspect gluten-intolerance to be the culprit for your health problems, get examined by a doctor and get tested for celiac disease before initiating a gluten-free diet. It is very important to continually consume gluten while you are undergoing testing for celiac disease because many of the tests require you to be consuming gluten to get accurate results. Prescription: A Gluten-Free Diet Now that you have your diagnosis and need to eliminate gluten, you can make the transition to a gluten-free diet with confidence. The following information is a guideline of what you will need to know to get started. I must emphasize that this is only a guideline, and you will need to do your own research and consult with your doctor for more detailed information on a gluten-free diet. It is also a great idea to get involved in local support groups. Support groups will have members that understand what you are going through and they can help direct you to beneficial resources: Celiac Disease Support Groups, Organizations & Contacts Create New Habits To begin, if you are accustomed to doing things your own way, you will have to throw out many of your old habits. To avoid gluten poisoning you must keep all gluten away from your mouth. You will need to evaluate everything you ingest very carefully. Gluten can come in a variety of unexpected ways, including a kiss from a loved one, and any gluten that comes into contact with your mouth is a potential source of contamination. Cross-contamination can occur when a meal is prepared on cooking equipment shared with gluten-containing foods. It can also come from touching anything that has come into contact with gluten. It is therefore important to gluten-proof your house and to keep everything you eat separate from gluten and gluten residue. If you eat at restaurants, it is important to only eat at places that you know are safe. To help you avoid accidental gluten ingestion, please follow your instincts and use the following guidelines and avoid potential health hazards. Please remember that these are only guidelines--if you still have questions, please consult with a medical professional. What does "Gluten-Free" Actually Mean? Since gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley, it is obvious that you will need to avoid these grains. Less obvious however, are the myriad of products that contain gluten as a hidden ingredient. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently regulated the use of "gluten-free" on a food label, and there was already an FDA regulation that requires manufacturers to declare wheat if it is used as an ingredient in a product. Products that don't use "gluten-free" on their label unfortunately don't have to disclose ingredients that are made from barley or rye, which requires you to learn to read and understand ingredient labels. Many additives, natural or artificial, can contain gluten. Sometimes companies label products as "gluten-free" or the ingredients are naturally gluten-free, but the product may have be contaminated if it was manufactured on shared equipment. You will have to decide if you want to include such products in your diet. It is also important to remember, for reasons just mentioned, that “wheat-free” does not mean “gluten-free.” Batch Testing: According to current FDA proposals, products testing at less than 20 parts per million (PPM) for gluten will likely be allowed to be labeled "gluten-free," and, according to them, are considered safe for people with gluten-intolerance or celiac disease. There are several organizations that offer gluten-free certification for companies who follow their guidelines and batch test their products. Check out the link below for more information on gluten-free certification and labeling. Gluten-Free Food Certification Program by the Gluten Intolerance Group Gluten-Free Shopping Shopping will likely take much longer for you than it used to. Don't rush. It is important to read all ingredients carefully. If you are in a hurry, you run the risk of overlooking a key ingredient that might contain gluten. I find it helpful to plan my meals in advance. There is nothing worse than coming home from work hungry and realizing that you have nothing to eat (and it isn't like you can go to the first drive-thru you find). So planning my meals on the weekend and doing my shopping in advance, cuts my stress level down considerably and keeps me from going hungry. Check your products against your gluten-free guidebooks, and contact the manufacturer if you are unsure about something. The following links will help you take the guess work out of shopping for gluten-free products: Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) As mentioned, there are also many products that are naturally gluten-free that are not labeled "gluten-free," and there are some very helpful books that can help you find these foods when you are shopping. A Gluten-Free Kitchen A gluten-free kitchen is very important. If you can have an entirely gluten-free kitchen, that is ideal, but it may not be an option for many households. Therefore it is especially important to keep your house clean and free of gluten contaminates. It is also important to dedicate special kitchen supplies for gluten-free cooking. I bought a new cutting board that is dedicated only to gluten-free cooking. You may also want to have separate kitchen utensils such as sponges, toasters (a dedicated gluten-free toaster is highly recommended), sifters, bread machines, etc. This is especially important if you use utensils that are made of wood, plastic, or other porous materials that could harbor gluten and possibly contaminate your gluten-free food. If possible use an electric dishwasher to clean your dishes. If everyone in your household is going gluten-free it is important to clean out and empty all of the gluten products from your kitchen. If you share a kitchen with gluten eating family members, it is a good idea to store their food products separately from your gluten-free products, and to clean off all surfaces before you prepare your gluten-free food. Dedicating gluten-free cupboards and refrigerator shelves is a great way to start. Here are some important links that will help you cook gluten-free meals with ease: Gluten-Free Cooking Gluten-Free Recipes Kitchen Checklist - Possible Sources of Contamination: Bread-machine Toaster Sponges & cleaning pads All kitchen supplies & utensils Colanders Cutting boards Door handles Soaps For more information on maintaining a safe kitchen environment, click the link below: What You Need If You Can't Have A Gluten-Free Kitchen Dining Out Gluten-Free Dining out presents a challenge for most people on a gluten-free diet. Depending on your level of sensitivities, you may have difficulty eating out at all. Even if the restaurant offers a gluten-free menu, it is always important to find out what safety precautions the restaurant uses to avoid cross-contamination, and to make sure all the ingredients in your food are gluten-free. This may require you to modify your order, and also may mean talking with the chef about their kitchen practices. You may also benefit from utilizing a guide to safe restaurants. Here is an additional article that may be helpful to your situation: Take Charge of Your Meal When Eating Out A Gluten-Free Bathroom Believe it or not, your bathroom is another place where you might be getting sick from gluten contamination, and not even know it. There are many products in your bathroom to watch out for as many body products contain wheat and/or hidden gluten ingredients. Most celiacs can use body products without a negative reaction, though some people experience rashes and other unsavory reactions from gluten body products. However, if you are using face or body products that contain gluten, it is very important not to ingest them. I find it difficult to avoid getting shampoo or makeup near my mouth, so I don't take any chances. I use gluten-free soap, shampoo, conditioner, face-cleaner, toner, make-up, toothpaste; basically nothing goes onto my body that contains gluten. Using gluten-free body products allows me the freedom to worry less about accidental contamination, and gives me more time to enjoy my life. Many gluten-free body products are not labeled gluten-free, so it is important to read ingredient labels carefully and check with the manufacturer if necessary. Bathroom Checklist: Toothpaste Shampoo/conditioner Make-up Lip-stick, lip-liner, lip-gloss, cosmetics, etc. Lotion Sunscreen Gluten-Free Medications (Prescriptions and Supplements) Most people with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance also suffer from malabsorption and sometimes malnutrition. Your doctor may prescribe pain, anti-inflammatory, digestive or other medications or supplements to help assist with your recovery. It is very important to note that some medications and supplements can contain gluten. Do not assume that just because your doctor knows you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance that the medications or supplements they may prescribe for you are gluten-free. Be your own advocate and read the ingredients and contact your pharmacist and/or the manufacturer and find out if your prescriptions, vitamins and supplements are gluten-free. Gluten-Free Medications List Additional Concerns Children with Celiac Disease Raising children with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance is no easy feat. Your kids will have to deal with immense peer pressure and there will be a great deal of temptation for them to eat gluten-containing foods. Talk to the staff at their school and help them to understand your child's special needs. The more support you have, the better off your child will be. There are many support groups that advocate for children with celiac disease, and it is important to get involved and learn everything you can to help support your child. Raising our Celiac Kids (R.O.C.K) Support Group Pets Your pets present another source of potential contamination, especially if you have pets like mine that love to smother you with unexpected kisses, sometimes on the mouth. What your pet eats can affect you too. Handling your pet's food, cleaning your pet's dishes and having young celiac children in a house where they may eat dog or cat food are all legitimate concerns. I decided to switch my pets to gluten-free pet food. Most pet food is not labeled gluten-free, so it is important to read ingredients carefully. I found grain-free, all natural pet food to be a great alternative to gluten-containing pet foods, that way I don't have to worry about accidental contamination or getting kisses from my pets--and it's healthier for them too! It is also important to check all other pet products that you come into contact with for hidden gluten ingredients, like shampoos and soaps. It is of course always important to talk to your veterinarian before making any dietary changes for your pet. Other Food Sensitivities Most people who begin a gluten-free diet experience almost immediate relief from their symptoms. However, many people experience gluten-like reactions to other foods, and often suspect that their food was contaminated by gluten. As it turns out, many people who experience such reactions may in fact have additional food sensitivities. Some of the most common food sensitivities include, dairy/casein, soy, corn, sugar, nuts, shell-fish and processed or fatty foods. While many people report that they are able to add these foods back into their diet after they have established a gluten-free diet for many months, and after their intestines have had time to heal, it is up to you and your doctor or nutritionist to determine which foods may be causing you trouble. The 'elimination diet' is often recommended for determining what additional food sensitivities you may have. Ask your doctor if the elimination diet is right for you. Food Diary It is important to keep a food diary, especially when first initiating a gluten-free diet. Making notes of the foods you eat and the reactions you have to the foods you eat, and how you feel that day, can give you more insight as to which foods are hurting you and which foods your body can easily digest. Final Thoughts Be Picky Having a gluten intolerance means taking pride in your body, but not being too proud to say, "no, thank you." Don't worry about appearing too picky to others, you simply can't take care of yourself and worry what others think of you at the same time. You have the right to eat what you want; if something doesn't look, smell or taste right to you, or if you just don't feel right about eating something, don't eat it! It is better to come across as too finicky, than to spend the night in the bathroom or worse yet, the emergency room. Everyone has a different level of gluten sensitivity and you will have to find out through trial and error what works best for you. Be Prepared As a former Boy-Scout, my high-school teacher used to always say, "Be prepared". I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this statement. It is important to be prepared and think ahead. Keep gluten-free snacks on hand at all times, because you never know when you are going to get hungry somewhere that doesn't offer gluten-free food. Keep shelf-stable snacks in your car, office, purse, and anywhere you spend time. It is better to have gluten-free snacks on hand, then to get hungry and make a bad decision to eat something you might later regret. Gluten-Free Quick-Check: Read all labels carefully Call the manufacturer whenever necessary Avoid cross-contamination at all times Keep your hands clean Check personal-care products for hidden gluten Check all vitamins, supplements and RX prescriptions for hidden gluten Make sure your pets are gluten-free Maintain a food diary Get involved-join a support group Rule of thumb-if you think it's possibly contaminated, don't take any chances. It's better to go hungry than to suffer later. Above all, trust your body Additional Resources: Gluten-Free Forum Celiac Disease Support Groups Gluten-Free Newsletters & Magazines
  2. Yvonne Vissing Ph.D.

    Going Gluten Free as a Human Rights Issue

    Celiac.com 07/11/2016 - People with celiac disease know that going gluten free isn't a choice—it is a health necessity. It is also a human rights issue. Food and nutrition should be seen as a citizen's human and social right. People who fail to be attentive to the health needs of people with celiac disease may be violating their rights. Like many rights issues, people may not realize they've violated someone's rights by doing, or not doing, something. But when you are the one whose rights have been violated, you know. The violation is serious for you, even when others may be oblivious to the larger context of the violation. Thinking about being gluten-free in this context may be different from the way most people view celiac disease. But it is a point of view that is well worth considering. When you've got celiac disease and people aren't attentive to making sure you can eat gluten-free foods that are safely prepared and not contaminated, you can end up very sick in the short-run. The short-term effects may include symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset, migraines, fuzzy brain, sweats, and general malaise. As a fundamental right, what one eats should ensure people's access to a healthy, dignified and full life. People who have been "glutened" do not feel dignified as they writhe in pain, wrestle with fears of embarrassment, or modify their lifestyle and social schedules to accommodate the illness. In the long-run, if someone is continually exposed to gluten in foods, a variety of serious preventable health conditions may result. Unlike a peanut allergy that can directly kill you, exposure to gluten may result in morbidity and early mortality for people in an indirect fashion. Adhering to a gluten-free diet is of paramount importance to avoid health problems such as compromising one's weight and pubertal development, fertility, bone mineral density, and deficiencies of micro and macronutrients, not to mention the increased risk of developing malignancies, especially in the gastrointestinal system. Because the health effects of ingesting gluten for someone with celiac disease are less visible to those who don't experience them, they have been easier to ignore. Thanks to vocal advocates who now know that going gluten-free can save their lives, it is obvious that the lack of attention to making sure people can eat safely is a violation of their rights. Let's put the issue of gluten into a larger rights context. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted in 1948 after World War II and it is the first global document that codified rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. It contains a wide range of rights and is regarded as the foundation upon which other rights documents have been built. Its Article 25 states that "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control" (www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/). The right to health and well-being are directly linked to food. Conditions like celiac disease, which are genetic in nature, are thus beyond one's control and necessary to be addressed through appropriate care and management. In another rights treaty document that pertains directly to the rights of children and youth, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) addresses in Article 3 that "In all actions concerning children….the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration", that individuals responsible for them are required to ensure that they receive the services and protections they need, particularly in the areas of safety (and) health…". Article 24 "recognizes the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services". It goes on to emphasize the importance of disease prevention and primary health care "through the provision of adequate nutritious foods" (http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx). This implies that nutritious foods are linked with disease prevention and well-being, and making sure children (and adults) get the proper foods is in their best interests. If a child has celiac disease and the responsible adults are inattentive to making sure they can eat safely, they are in fact violating the child's rights. There are, then, international treaties that link food and nutrition directly with human rights. Juliana Nadal at the Department of Nutrition, Food Quality and Nutrition at the Federal University of Parana in Brazil reviews in her journal article, "The principle of human right to adequate food and celiac disease" (Demetra; 2013; 8(3); 411-423), a variety of ways that people who have celiac disease have their rights violated. Because celiac disease can be considered the most common food intolerance in the world, it is one that both individuals and social structures need to address as a mainstream issue. From how laws and consumer protections are designed at the macro level, to how food is made available and prepared at the micro level, rights of people with celiac disease hang in limbo. Some places and people are very attentive to their rights protections while others are not. Nadal contextualizes food and nutrition insecurity that afflicts individuals with celiac disease with specific regard to the principle of the Human Right to Adequate Food (HRAF). Diet is the single most secure treatment form for people with celiac disease. Managing one's diet enables one to control the magnitude of the disease. Laws, standards, practices and policies are necessary to secure HRAF for people with celiac disease. It is therefore important that the public be educated regarding this. By protecting individual fundamental human right to food availability in both quantity and quality, it reflects the value of society to protect the welfare of this group of people. Ultimately, rights protections promote and improve the health of the entire population. Rights violations may also be seen through the limited availability of products intended for celiac individuals in the market. Whether looking at gluten-free food as a local, state, regional, national or global issue, there are certain countries and areas that do not have access to the same quantity and variety of gluten-free foods as in other areas. Online shopping may make it easier for some people to access foods they need, but this option is not necessarily available to everyone. If foods essential for good diets are not accessible, this forces people to make dietary compromises that may not be in their best interest. Another area of rights violations for people who have to go gluten-free is the high cost of products. Simply put, gluten-free foods tend to cost more than other foods. People who have celiac disease have to use more of their scarce dollars to pay for food. This means there is less money available to pay for other necessities. Because gluten-free foods tend to be more expensive, this creates a social class barrier, especially for poor people or financially-strapped people with celiac disease. Poorer people will have their right to safe nutrition compromised because they can't afford the same foods as more affluent people who have celiac disease. The issue of gluten contamination contributes to a constant situation of food and nutritional insecurity to holders of this special dietary need. The celiac diet must be completely gluten-free, which allows people to have a life relatively free of major pathological complications. Maintaining a totally gluten-free diet is not an easy task because the violation of the diet may occur voluntarily or involuntarily, and range from incorrect information on food labels to the gluten contamination of processed products. Difficulties in the availability and access to food without gluten violates the principle of the human right to adequate food. The condition of being a celiac individual exposes one to permanent food and nutrition insecurity, which could cause loss of quality of life, socialization, and health of the individual, both in the short and long term. The problematic situation of food and nutritional insecurity that afflicts individuals with celiac disease can productively be addressed with regard to the principle of the human right to adequate food (HRAF) from the perspective of Food and Nutrition Security (FNS). It is important to know and recognize the real need of the people who live in some way under threat of food insecurity, how it impacts their health and lifestyle. Constructing, implementing and improving health policies in order to meet their needs is imperative to provide access to adequate food of nutritional quality. and to ensure that food, biological, social and cultural needs are achieved. By understanding food as a basic human right, it is easy to understand that the absence of safe foods that address the needs of celiac individuals represents a concrete case of a group of people who often may have their rights to adequate nutrition violated. As a result, many live in a state of food and nutrition insecurity. Food must be viewed as a constitutional right of all citizens, including those with special needs which require a special diet.
  3. Celiac.com 02/25/2015 - General Mills has announced that original Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios and three other Cheerios varieties will undergo formula changes, including a switch to gluten-free oats, and will be released as a gluten-free cereal. The move by the food and cereal giant mirrors a similar recipe change that successfully boosted sales for its Chex brand, which has been gluten-free since 2010. The company will likely begin selling gluten-free versions in July, says Jim Murphy, president of Big G Cereals, General Mills' ready-to-eat cereal division. Apparently, General Mills felt that that could no longer ignore the skyrocketing sales of gluten-free foods, and the slow decline of foods that contain gluten, including breakfast cereals. "People are actually walking away from cereal because they are avoiding gluten," says Murphy, a development that, at a time when cereal sales, including Cheerios, are already weak, the company can ill afford. Meanwhile, unit sales growth of food with a gluten-free claim on its packaging grew 10.6% in 2014 compared to the previous year, and gluten-free sales, especially among breakfast cereals are expected to continue double-digit growth through at least 2018.
  4. Yvonne Vissing Ph.D.

    The Zen of Going Gluten-Free

    Celiac.com 03/23/2016 - Often when people hear that someone is "going gluten-free," they think that just means people are not eating wheat. This kind of thinking focuses on the obvious—since gluten is in foods it means watching what is eaten. They may associate this change in diet with some biological process or disease issue. In the world of the general public, they're not really sure what "gluten" is and they're not totally convinced that eliminating it will improve health. But for those of us who make a commitment to going gluten-free, it is far more than just eliminating certain food products. It is a personal transformation of self. What people don't often talk about is it being a psychological and social change as well. In many ways, making a commitment to seriously go gluten-free is an act of Zen. The Urban Dictionary defines Zen as "a state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts." What I've found is that going gluten-free requires thoughtful practice, observing the body, monitoring the mind, and seeking knowledge that one integrates into regular practice. The result is the personal expression of insight into daily life. Going gluten-free isn't just about eating. It is also about personal discipline. It has a lot to do about how we think and how we live. When we started going gluten-free we thought it was just going to entail a dietary switch. What we've learned over the last decade is that going gluten-free is an act of Zen. Our journey into becoming gluten-free started because health issues forced us down that path. We didn't willingly choose to go there. We would have been content with gorging on Texas toast, pasta, and Oreos for the rest of our lives. But if we did, we would have been chronically sick. The Universe pushed us onto the gluten-free road. At first, we did not go gracefully. We stumbled and fell and made a mess of going gluten-free. Going gluten-free seemed miserably hard and terribly inconvenient. We couldn't find products that tasted good, and those we found were expensive and weren't necessarily healthy (the amounts of eggs, butter or oil in many of them were mind-boggling). We spent too much money on poor-tasting products that were very difficult to find. We griped and complained. We felt alienated and imprisoned. Going out to eat was life-threatening because most restaurants didn't cook dishes that were safe, or if they did they cooked them in an environment in which they could be cross-contaminated. The idea of having to eat awful-tasting food and not being able to go out to eat for the rest of one's life was dreadful and depressing. Eating is one of the joys of life, and feeling like one was never going to be able to eat delicious food again felt like a fate worse than death. Going gluten-free seemed doomed to be an act of suffering. Sometimes, it is only through making a mess of our lives that we figure out how not to. Such is the case with our going gluten-free. What we didn't realize until later was that we had created this negative reality in our minds. You can go gluten-free smoothly, effortlessly, inexpensively, and easily with no disruptions in your daily lives. It need not be a big deal. This process may take a bit of time. The secret in this transformation has little to do with the gluten-free foods available. It has more to do with what is going on in our heads. Years of diligent practice, trial-and-error, patience and persistence, and learning have helped us to transform our perception of going gluten-free into an easy, inexpensive, and delicious way of eating. It has also fostered a different relationship with what we eat, why we eat, and how we eat. It has changed our relationship with food itself, how it is prepared, and how it is consumed. Thinking you can eat anything you want and not get sick is illusion for people who must go gluten-free. It requires mind-over-matter self-control when we're hungry and desire foods that may not be safe. Giving in to that longing for a certain cookie or a bite of Grandma's homemade lasagna can make a person with celiac very sick. Being mindful of why that food item creates desire in us is a useful mental exercise. Certain foods evoke memories and emotions that are more delicious than the foods themselves. We can still enjoy the memories without eating foods that aren't good for us. Food is very social and relational. Eating something served that isn't safe in order to please or not to appear rude, when it has a high likelihood of making us sick, isn't being kind to oneself. There have been times we've gotten annoyed when what-should-be-safe food has been contaminated. On the surface, it shouldn't be a big deal to redo the dish. But the symbolic message conveyed by serving someone with celiac glutened food is more problematic because it reflects that the server didn't really care about our needs. What happens to our relationships with family, friends, or certain establishments who go out of their way to make sure we can eat good foods, safely, in a no-big-deal manner? We care for them all the more. Frankly, we secretly want to see what goes on in the kitchen and read the ingredients on a product and not just take a waiter's declaration that "I'm sure it's gluten-free" to be an accurate reflection of reality until we are sure that what they say accurately reflects how actively sensitive they are to the needs of others who have dietary needs that are different from their own. Issues of trusting others, and trusting ourselves, is part of the gluten-free process. Helping to teach those who didn't understand the importance of being gluten-free in a constructive and thoughtful manner is much better than getting angry at them and refusing to eat with them again. Going gluten-free requires mindfulness. It gives us a relationship with our food as well as with others. Eating whole and healthy foods is better for us. Taking time to understand what's in our food really matters. Cooking ingredients in a thoughtful, less-hurried way creates lovelier dishes. Consuming them with gratitude and in communication with others makes them even more delicious. We want to know where the food came from, how it was cooked and what it was cooked with, and details of the dish's preparation. Were those oats grown next to a wheat field? Did these nuts get processed on machines that also processed other items that contained glutens? Were there croutons on the salad that you just picked off? Asking questions in a non-combative way is an art. Learning to read labels and knowing the list of unsafe ingredients must be transformed from being a big deal to it being just another routine step in an ordinary day. Learning how to shop, cook, clean, serve and eat are all actually complicated steps that require attention to detail. It is in the transformation of managing all these details into a smooth, seamless and calm process that going gluten-free becomes Zen. It took us a long time to realize that going gluten-free successfully has more to do with what's going on in our heads than what's going on in the kitchen. Look upon going gluten-free as a Zen experience, in which you have to change one pattern of behavior for a new, better one. You, like we, may find you have to change attitudes toward eating in general and eating gluten foods in particular—and you will be all the better for it. We'd love to help you to learn more about our approach to going gluten-free. Check out our book, Going Gluten-free, which is available from Amazon and NorLights Press, and let us know how your journey is going!
  5. Celiac.com 01/23/2015 - This Superbowl Sunday gluten-free fans can celebrate with gluten-free Pizza Hut pizza, and, in a few lucky test markets, gluten-free Coors beer. You read right. First, Pizza Hut has announced that, starting Jan. 26, it will be debuting a gluten-free pizza in about 2,400 locations in the U.S. The new pizza will be a 10-inch, six-slice pizza, which will go for $9.99. The pizza crust will be made by popular gluten-free brand Udi’s Foods, and certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group. Pizza Hut’s gluten-free pie will be one of the restaurant’s lowest-calorie pizzas, with about 100 fewer calories per serving than their current “Skinny Slice” pizza. Every Pizza Hut Gluten-Free Pizza will be baked fresh-to-order on parchment paper and delivered in a specially branded Udi’s Gluten-Free Pizza box. Also, all employees handling Pizza Hut’s Gluten-Free Pizza have been trained to wear gloves and use a designated gluten-free pizza cutter. If that’s not enough good news, beer-loving gluten-free football fans in Seattle and Portland will be able to chase their gluten-free Pizza Hut pizzas with Coors’ new gluten-free Peak Copper Lager, which will debut in those markets on Superbowl Sunday. Coors will gauge the response in its test markets as it looks to make Peak Copper Lager available in more U.S. markets. Gluten-free Pizza Hut pizza and gluten-free Coors beer on Superbowl Sunday? I’m going to call that a touchdown. Read more in USA Today, and Money.
  6. Celiac.com 03/20/2014 - No one wants a brain disease, and some recent books on the effects of gluten-free diets are suggesting that a gluten-free diet might actually protect you from brain diseases. One such book is Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar — Your Brain's Silent Killers, by David Perlmutter, M.D., a practicing neurologist. Symptoms of celiac disease are known to include intestinal difficulties associated with an adverse immunological response triggered by gluten. This response, which leads to inflammation in the gut, can happen elsewhere in the body too. According to Perlmutter, inflammation is at the root of many diseases and complications, including, brain decay. According to Perlmutter, gluten can lead to inflammation in the brain, which he believes leads to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's. Perlmutter says that gluten, by triggering the immune system, causes inflammation in the brain, which promotes the brain's glycation by circulating blood sugar. Gram for gram, wheat raises blood sugar levels more than sugar itself. Perlmutter encourages strong dietary changes that have drawn some criticism. Specifically, he has recommended an intake of 60 or fewer grams of carbohydrate per day. Some point out potential negative health consequences of a high-fat, low-carb diet, both in healthy people and for those with specific conditions, like adrenal or thyroid issues. However, Perlmutter's take on brain glycation, in which gluten triggers an immune response in certain people, contributing to inflammation, and to inflammatory disease, such as diabetes and Alzheimer's, may have some foundation. Perlmutter is a reputable neurologist, so his opinion and insight go beyond anecdotal evidence and speculation. It will be interesting to see how much of his perspective is borne out by science. Meantime, Perlmutter certainly makes for interesting, thought-provoking reading. What's your experience? Has going gluten-free made an impact on your brain function and awareness? Read more at: Celiac.com and at Medical Express.com.
  7. Can going gluten-free boost your brain power? Dr. David Perlmutter, neurologist, and author of Grain Brain, published by Little Brown and Company, thinks there's a good reason why we may want to go gluten-free a try. Dr. Perlmutter gives three basic reasons for people to avoid gluten in their diets: 1. Avoiding Gluten Reduces Brain Degredation While the majority of individuals suffering from gluten sensitivity experience intestinal discomfort, Perlmutter says an increasing number are experiencing neurological challenges including difficulty staying on task, poor memory function, brain fog and severe headaches that result from inflammation; a common reaction to gluten in those with a sensitivity to the protein. "The brain responds really badly to inflammation," says Perlmutter. Another reason for the loss of cognitive function is that some of our brain proteins look similar to gliadin, a protein found in gluten-containing foods, says Perlmutter. Anti-gliadin antibodies produced by individuals with gluten sensitivity can't tell the difference between these two proteins and eat up the brain proteins that are required for normal cognitive function. Going gluten-free likely won't make you any smarter, but Perlmutter says it may help protect your cognitive function from weakening. 2. Avoiding Gluten Strengthens the Immune system Perlmutter says gluten stimulates the cells of the intestine to secrete a protein called zonulin, which regulates the absorbency of the intestine. The increased production of zonulin erodes the walls of the intestine, allowing various proteins to leave the gut and enter our blood stream. This poses many challenges to the immune system, weakening our ability to fight off diseases. According to Perlmutter, avoiding gluten, strengthens the immune system. A healthy immune system is essential for optimal brain function. 3. Avoiding Gluten Improves Brain Fueling According to Perlmutter, a healthy brain needs generous amounts of healthy fats. Because our brains are 70 percent fat, food loaded with carbs and sugar rob them of the fuel they need to function well. In place of gluten and carb-laden breakfast food such as a bagel and orange juice, Perlmutter recommends a high-fat breakfast rich in omega 3 fatty acids that protect the brain, including eggs, nuts, seeds or avocado. The verdict is out as to whether or not people without gluten sensitivity experience the same cognitive decline as those with gluten sensitivity, However, Perlmutter urges anyone experiencing poor cognitive function, chronic headaches or inflammatory illnesses, including joint or abdominal pain, to avoid gluten for few months and see if there is any positive change. What do you think? Has going gluten-free helped improve your brain function, along with your other celiac symptoms? Share your comments below. Source: Entrepreneur
  8. Celiac.com 04/17/2013 - As the market for gluten-free foods and products continues to grow, more and more non-food products are being formulated without gluten. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and cosmetics are just a few products that are now touting their lack of gluten. That list now now appears to include children's toys. Take Hasbro's clay-like product, Play-Doh, for example. Wheat flour is a major ingredient in Play-Doh, and in several other similar products. However, as more an more kids go gluten-free, more and more parents are pushing schools to eliminate gluten from school grounds. That often starts with lunches and snacks, but has expanded to include arts and crafts supplies. Hasbro has been slow to launch a gluten-free version of Play-Doh, and that has led to a scramble to fill the void left by the elimination of gluten-containing products. A number of companies have stepped up to offer hypo-allergenic alternatives. One such company, Soy-Yer Dough, makes a gluten-free product intended to replace Play-Doh. Last year, the company says it sold 50,000 containers of Soy-Yer Dough. That's 25 to 40 times what the company sold when it first began five years ago. Another company, Great White Bottling, also makes a Play-Doh-like product, called Gluten-Free Wonder Dough. That company says that sales have increased 67% in 2012, with the majority of orders coming from schools and day-care centers. In fact, the gluten-free version of Wonder Dough was so popular, the company has stopped making the original version, which contained wheat flour. Yet another gluten-free version off sculpting clay is Max’s Mud, a gluten-free sculpting dough sold at Whole Foods and independent toy stores in the Pacific Northwest. Max's Mud is the first crafts product certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group, an organization that certifies gluten-free products. Other children's arts and crafts products that are now appearing without gluten include finger paints and stickers. With the market for gluten-free foods alone growing 18% from 2011 to hit $12 billion in 2012, it's not surprising that non-food and children's toy products are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon. Look for more companies to offer gluten-free formulations of familiar children's products as the gluten-free market continues to grow.
  9. Celiac.com 01/23/2013 - Can going gluten-free bring about a major improvement in mental health for some children? This question is addressed in recent article by Mary Lochner. In the article, Lochner talks about the challenges she faced in trying to raise her daughter who, for the first couple of years, seemed to become more and more emotionally volatile and unstable, even while her daughter's twin brother seemed just fine. Lochner details her trips to multiple pediatricians and behavioral therapists in an effort to get an answer for her daughter's behavior. Initially, the behavioral therapists pretty much dismissed her concerns and, when Lochner asked what she could do to calm her daughter down, told her to “Try distracting her…Give her a toy that makes noise. Or sit her down in front of the T.V. for a while.” Unimpressed with the advice, Lochner says she knew, as a mother often does, that something was, in fact, wrong with her child. In the mean time, her daughter's temper was becoming progressively more volatile. She began having behavioral episodes during the night, as well as during the day. The first time it happened, she woke up screaming hysterically at 2 a.m. Lochner found a new pediatrician for her daughter, one who took her concerns seriously. He ran Mary Jean through a test or screening for everything from iron deficiency to autism. At the same time, she continued to do her own research, and began to wonder if the problem might be Sensory Processing Disorder. It was during this time that Lochman stumbled onto the writings of nutritionist, Kelly Dorfman, who had co-authored an article in the Huffington Post which claimed that gluten intolerance sometimes manifests with “neurological symptoms.” The basic thrust of the article was that, for some people, gluten-sensitivity can cause neurological symptoms. While she was investigating that possibility, s came across an article from the March 2012 Huffington Post called “Is Sensory Processing Disorder the New Black?” The article described the case of a child whose extreme behavioral symptoms disappeared after her mother put her on a gluten-free diet after consulting a nutritionist. For Lochman, the article hit close to home, and led her to read Kelly Dorfman’s book concerning nutritional origins of childhood illnesses: What’s Eating Your Child? Initially, Lochman says she was skeptical of claims of major behavioral improvement in children who had gone gluten-free, and regarded much of what she'd heard about gluten-free diets with some doubt. However, she did bring up the book with her pediatrician, and, rather than dismissing her, the doctor confirmed that gluten can cause behavioral problems in some gluten-sensitive children. He suggested that her daughter go gluten-free for a month, then back on gluten for a month, then gluten-free a second month, and that she keep a journal of her daughter's behavior. By doing the gluten-free trial twice, she and the doctor would be able to confidently confirm that any improvement in my daughter’s behavior was due to the removal of gluten, and not to coincidence. During the first month on a gluten-free diet, her daughter’s episodes decreased sharply, but Lochman was still skeptical. However, when she went back to eating gluten during the second month, the emotional outbursts and episodes came back in less than a week. By the end of that second month, she found herself looking forward to returning her daughter to the gluten-free diet for month three of the trial. In the third month, her daughter’s episodes rapidly decreased during the first two weeks. By the end of the month, they were down to only two or three times a week. This is when Lochman really knew something was up. She says that she thought that her daughter was seeing a major shift, if not a miracle cure. She quick to tell people how she was wrong to think that. That's because, Lochmans says that taking gluten out of her daughter's life was, in fact, a miracle cure. She says that after just six weeks on the gluten-free diet, "her daughter's 'awful screaming and flailing episodes, the ones that would last for hours and come out of nowhere, were gone. Vanished. A thing of the past. It was like she was a completely new, and different, person." Lochman describes a daughter who now only gets upset with good reason, and who is highly responsive…a daughter who now looks her in the eyes again, who easily relaxes to snuggle, and who is ebullient, curious, affectionate, and "so thoroughly level-headed you would be hard pressed to connect her to her former self." For her part, Kelly Dorfman notes that non-celiac gluten-sensitivity has only recently been identified as a distinct medical condition, one that resists conventional tests for diagnosing celiac disease. She says that she commonly sees patients in her practice for whom behavior and mood issues are the only symptoms of gluten intolerance. Dorman's new book is due to be re-released in April under a new title, Cure Your Child With Food, and includes a new chapter with more on information on 'bizarre' gluten-related effects on behavior and more. Read Mary Lochner's full article in the Anchorage Press.
  10. Recently I have noticed a trend in articles that demonize the gluten-free diet, and imply that there is something unhealthy or even dangerous about it. Here is an example of one that I forwarded to Dr. Ron Hoggan: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11017/1118230-114.stm and below is his response to its author: Dear China Millman, Thank you for your interesting article on gluten-free dieting. I was very pleased to read that you include patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity among those who should follow a gluten free diet. I assume that you have arrived at your estimate of 20 million who are afflicted with wheat allergy, non-celiac and celiac gluten sensitivity using Dr. Fasano’s estimate that 6 to 7 percent of Americans have what you refer to as this “milder form of gluten intolerance”. There are other estimates. For instance, Dr. Kenneth Fine did random blood draws at a shopping center in Dallas, Texas and found an 11% rate of gluten sensitivity. Congruently, Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou has reported rates as high as 12% in the United Kingdom and Dr. Rodney Ford reports a prevalence estimate of 10% in New Zealand. Each investigator used different methods to arrive at their estimate, and each method is likely to underestimate the true prevalence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. For instance, they all rely on a single class of antibody reaction against a single sub-group of proteins found in gluten grains. Thus, Dr. Fasano’s estimate may be unduly conservative as it is substantially lower than others have found in similar populations and the testing used to arrive at Dr. Fasano's estimate also carries all of the other limitations mentioned above. As for the notion that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is milder than celiac disease, Anderson et al, in their study titled “Malignancy and mortality in a population-based cohort of patients with coeliac disease or ‘gluten sensitivity’ World J Gastroenterol 2007 January 7; 13(1): 146-151, report a higher rate of malignancy and early mortality among those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity than among those with celiac disease. This finding may be the result of the common recommendation that patients ignore test results that show non-celiac gluten sensitivity, as many physicians believe that such results are “non-specific” and do not warrant a gluten free diet. However, it may also reflect that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a more serious illness than celiac disease. It may also reflect something entirely different than these two interpretations, but it does make a very good case for the need for more research in this very neglected area. As for the comments by Heather Mangieri and the American Dietetics Association, they might benefit from reading studies such as the one by Dr. Cheng et al titled “Body Mass Index in Celiac Disease Beneficial Effect of a Gluten-free Diet” in the 2009 Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. They found that, after diagnosis with celiac disease, about half of the overweight and obese patients lost weight. Given the conservative data you report, suggesting that at least 90% of American cases of celiac disease go undiagnosed, there can be little doubt that a large portion of those with undiagnosed celiac disease who are overweight or obese would be likely to lose weight. The number who would lose weight should be greater among those who chose to follow a gluten free diet to lose weight, as some of those who are diagnosed with celiac disease do not comply with the diet. If one accepts the proposition that those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, IBS, and IBD often have similarly problematic reactions to gluten, the number of Americans who could lose weight and live healthier, and therefore happier, lives (eating a gluten free diet) rises exponentially. On a personal level, my mother lost 66 pounds during her first years on a gluten free diet. Now, some 15 years later, she has lost almost 100 pounds. I doubt that she would still be alive had she not undertaken the gluten free diet purely on the basis of test results suggestive of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In the current context of excessive under-diagnosis of celiac disease and limited understandings of the dynamics by which a gluten free diet causes weight loss among celiac patients, and an enormously greater number of Americans who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it is difficult to understand why anyone would be cautioned against following a gluten free diet with weight loss as their objective. Whether these individuals are undiagnosed celiac patients, have undiagnosed non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or they find that a gluten free diet is helping them to achieve their body mass objectives, there is little legitimate cause to "warn" people away from a gluten free diet. Overall, your article does raise awareness of gluten as a potential health threat, so its overall impact is positive despite the misinformation that a gluten free diet does not help with weight loss. Sincerely, Ron Hoggan, Ed. D. Royal Roads University, Continuing Studies
  11. Celiac.com 09/01/2002 - Patients with celiac disease are 20 times more likely than the general population to have epilepsy and often have associated cerebral and cerebellar calcifications imaged by CT and MRI. Depression, dementia, and schizophrenia are all also common in persons with untreated celiac disease. Cerebellar degeneration with resulting ataxia (gluten-associated ataxia) is a known entity in Europe, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently recruiting subjects with ataxia to examine them for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Focal white matter lesions in the brain recently have been reported to occur in children with celiac disease and are thought to be either ischemic in origin as a result of vasculitis or caused by inflammatory demyelination. Parents of children with celiac disease have reported behavioral changes such as irritability, separation anxiety, emotional withdrawal, and autistic-like behaviors that all seemed to improve on a GFD. Although not scientifically validated, the GFD is now also being advocated for children with autism by several groups. Whether or not children with autism are at a higher risk for celiac disease or celiac children have a higher incidence of autism remains to be proven. However, children with Down syndrome, who often have autistic-like behaviors, are at higher risk for celiac disease. It has been hypothesized that gluten may be broken down into small peptides that may cross the blood-brain barrier and interact with morphine receptors, leading to alterations in conduct and perceptions of reality. The serologic tests can be divided into 4 different types of antibodies: antigliadin (AGA), antireticulin, antiendomysium (AEA), and antitissue transglutaminase (tTG). Each antibody varies widely in its sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values (Table 2). Table 2 (from Pietzak et al, 2001, compiled data from multiple studies) Test Sensitivity Specificity PPV NPD AGA IgG 57-100 42-98 20-95 41-88 AGA IgA 53-100 65-100 28-100 65-100 AEA IgA* 75-98 96-100 98-100 80-95 Guinea pig tTG† 90.2 95 Human tTG† 98.5 98 * Patients older than 2 years of age. † IgG +IgA antibodies. The AEA IgA immunofluorecent antibody is an excellent screening test for celiac disease, with both a high sensitivity and specificity. This antibody was discovered in the early 1980s and rapidly gained use as part of a screening celiac panel by commercial laboratories in combination with AGA IgG and AGA IgA. Its major drawbacks are that it may be falsely negative in children under the age of 2 years, in patients with IgA deficiency, and in the hands of an inexperienced laboratory. Also, the substrate for this antibody was initially monkey esophagus, making it expensive and unsuitable for screening large numbers of people. Recently, the human umbilical cord has been used as an alternative to monkey esophagus. However, the subjective nature of the AEA assay may lead to false-negative values and unacceptable variability between laboratories. Because tTG had been first described as the autoantigen of celiac disease in 1997, it has been used to develop innovative diagnostic tools. The tTG IgA ELISA test is highly sensitive and specific, using either the commercially available guinea pig tTG or human recombinant tTG. The tTG assay correlates well with AEA-IgA and biopsy. However, it represents an improvement over the AEA assay because it is inexpensive and rapid (30 minutes), is not a subjective test, and can be performed on a single drop of blood using a dot-blot technique. Therefore, this test is ideally suited for mass screenings and in the future could be performed in the general practitioners office, much like the now routine finger-stick hematocrit. For the reasons outlined above, the IgA class human anti-tTg antibody, coupled with the determination of total serum IgA, currently seems to be the most cost-effective way to screen for celiac disease. AEA should be used as a confirmatory, pre-biopsy test, whereas AGA determinations should be restricted to the diagnostic work-up of younger children and patients with IgA deficiency, using the guidelines in Table 3. Table 3 Probability of celiac disease based on three antibodies in combination AEA IgA AGA IgA AGA IgG Interpretation + + + Celiac disease 99% probable + - + probable + + - Celiac disease probable + - - Celiac disease probable - + + Celiac disease less likely* - - + Celiac disease less likely* - + - Celiac disease less likely - - - Celiac disease very unlikely+ * If patient is IgA sufficient: AGA IgG > 100 warrants work-up of enteropathy. + If patient is on a gluten-containing diet. Celiac disease: AEA, antiendomysium antibodies: AGA, antigliadin antibodies.
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