Tag Archives: celiac disease

foodgroups

Diet Changes for Healthy Living

There are so many nutrition lifestyles today that it’s almost trendy to be on a diet. We see it increasingly on menus and grocery store labels every year. How many “points” is this one? “Non” this. “Free” of that. When did eating become such a procedure? It’s no wonder so many of us fail such programs.

We have enough work to sort through in our lives without having to complicate our basic survival needs. Yet, we also have the ability to optimize our health. So we choose not to completely ignore our options. Side effects may include weight loss, increased energy, and stable moods. Diet changes for healthy living are worth our attention.

Process of Elimination

The food fad of the moment is the elimination diet. If something does not serve us then let us remove it from our lives. Once it’s gone we may instantly feel better, or we may feel nothing at all.

This can be difficult to figure out. More severe conditions such as food allergies we are probably already aware of and have integrated necessary precautions into our daily routines. But what if we have sensitivity, not a full blown allergy?

There are various tests our healthcare providers offer, but these are not time and cost effective, especially since it’s not a medical necessity. So let’s pick an ingredient, prevent it from entering our bodies for a week to a month, and take notice of how we feel during this period. Let it back in and see if there’s any change. Try a different ingredient.

This experiment could drag on for a lifetime and there’s too much fun to enjoy to try everything. So let’s just focus on some of the main triggers.

breadloafGluten

Yes, this word is all the buzz. “Gluten free” is on menus and labels everywhere we go for food. What exactly is it? Gluten is a plant protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It provides the elastic quality to dough and our stomachs may find it challenging to break down. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)reports that only about one percent of the population has Celiac Disease and must avoid all gluten, but many experts argue that as much as 40 percent of us are sensitive to the protein. Because of the popularity of gluten-free diets, options are readily available, but some label reading is required to exclude it from all ingredients.

milkDairy

This is another food where few of us are lactose intolerant, but many may be sensitive. The ability to digest this milk sugar may vary depending on the dairy product. Fermented versions such as yogurt and cheese have significantly lower levels and may not need to be excluded. We may be surprised by how many foods use some form of dairy as an ingredient.

soy

Soy

Galacto-oligosaccharides. This plant carbohydrate can be as difficult to digest as it is to spell, and it is found in soy. Thankfully, fermented versions are also well-tolerated, so experiment and enjoy. Once again, versions of soy in ingredients are more common that we realize.

corn2Corn

This grain is one of the most common genetically modified organism (GMO) in the food industry and is used in various forms to produce thousands of processed products. This alone can cause several gastrointestinal issues. Compound that with corn’s ability to inhibit satiation hormones and we may not realize when we’re full of crap.

Worth the Effort?

There’s a lot to experiment with and even more to read about. These changes can also increase our eating budget. We all have to pay a price, but do we choose to pay up front with better food or on the back end with increased healthcare?

If our bodies are constantly battling the sustenance we put into it, then we are not expending the energy to absorb the nutrients we need. Elimination is used to identify the source. From there we focus on replacement, not removal. In this way we don’t suffer a loss and will gain more life in our years and more years in our life.

pep scone

Review: Gluten Free Creations

For those of us who have been ostracized from the underappreciated world of bagels, pizza, cookies and toast, the thought of a gluten-free treat that doesn’t taste like particleboard makes us as giddy as kids. The ever-growing numbers of people suffering with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity are often deprived of comfort foods, party snacks, wedding cake and appetizers. There are more and more gluten free items appearing on shelves, like Betty Crocker brownie mix and Udi’s bagels, but most are expensive and feel stale right out of the package, some crumble due to a total lack of moisture and others are thick and heavy in the stomach. The rare wheatless treat that has a fluffy texture like ‘real’ bread is cause for joy.

I recently stopped into Gluten Free Creations on Thomas, and I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was immediately offered samples of everything bagel, poppyseed muffin and cranberry-orange muffin that were perfectly moist and flavorful. Loaves of bread lined the shelves, and I was pleased to see that they were of the size and softness of wheat bread loaves, unlike the tiny, dense bricks of gluten free bread I find at the grocery store. I was greeted by a pleasant, engaging employee who empathized with my plight and pointed me toward some goodies.

The chewy chocolate chip cookies are best-sellers, and for good reason. I spotted a breakfast sandwich, consisting of an English muffin, sausage patty and egg, wrapped and ready. The woman helping me told me that she could warm it for me to take to go, which I couldn’t resist. But what I really stared at was the peppermint scones. When she saw me ogling, she laughed and explained that they are her favorite things in the store. Since gluten free foods can spoil much faster than those with wheat, most items must be frozen to stay fresh. As I picked up the hard scones, she assured me that when defrosted, they would be plush and moist. When I later let one warm, I found that she was very correct. I think that scone may have been the single most delicious gluten free treat I’ve ever tasted. The light drizzle of peppermint glaze, and the red specks scattered throughout, were just the right amount of sweet to offset the doughy, thick center. While this is a holiday treat, they are transitioning to luscious Maple Walnut Scones, and also have peppermint cookies so I can still have my peppermint fix.

Some of the other items available are cheesecakes, jalapeno cheese bagels, pizza crusts and doughnuts. Dry mixes like buckwheat pancakes, pizza crust and bread mix lined another wall, as well as order forms for custom cakes and cupcakes.

My lovely helper informed me of the Gluten Free Creations Cafétte on McDowell, which serves hot sandwiches and individual cupcakes. I made a trip there a few days later. Located in a strip mall, the Cafétte is easy to miss, just like the Bakery on Thomas, which is hidden behind a barbershop. Inside, there are several tables with classic red-and-white checked tablecloths. At the order counter, I couldn’t decide between a savory sandwich and a sweet indulgence, so I went with the Monte Cristo. I was pleased to find that the bread was not overly sweet, and the well-portioned meats as well as the jam served on the side were delicious. I also took a Cinnamon Roll Scone for later. While the filling was delicious, I felt there could have been a little more of it to level out the rich glaze on top.

Both bakeries carry some products that are also free of eggs, corn and soy, for those who are more sensitive or choose to eat vegan.

As a Celiac, I’m relieved to have found Gluten Free Creations. The food is excellent and the employees are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The breads don’t feel thick and heavy like store-bought brands, and are easily the same price or less for much higher-quality food. Even if you are not gluten-free, try it out. Taking wheat out of your diet can be a great change.

WHERE TO GO
Gluten Free Creations Bakery (retail and wholesale)
2940-b E. Thomas Rd.  (behind Mid-city Barber Shop)
602-522-0659
Hours: Mon. – Fri.: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat.: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Sun.: closed

Gluten Free Creations Bakery and Good Food Cafétte
7607 E. McDowell Rd., #108
480-990-2253
Hours: Fri.: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sat., Mon.: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Sun.: closed

pep scone

Review: Gluten Free Creations

For those of us who have been ostracized from the underappreciated world of bagels, pizza, cookies and toast, the thought of a gluten-free treat that doesn’t taste like particleboard makes us as giddy as kids. The ever-growing numbers of people suffering with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity are often deprived of comfort foods, party snacks, wedding cake and appetizers. There are more and more gluten free items appearing on shelves, like Betty Crocker brownie mix and Udi’s bagels, but most are expensive and feel stale right out of the package, some crumble due to a total lack of moisture and others are thick and heavy in the stomach. The rare wheatless treat that has a fluffy texture like ‘real’ bread is cause for joy.

I recently stopped into Gluten Free Creations on Thomas, and I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was immediately offered samples of everything bagel, poppyseed muffin and cranberry-orange muffin that were perfectly moist and flavorful. Loaves of bread lined the shelves, and I was pleased to see that they were of the size and softness of wheat bread loaves, unlike the tiny, dense bricks of gluten free bread I find at the grocery store. I was greeted by a pleasant, engaging employee who empathized with my plight and pointed me toward some goodies.

The chewy chocolate chip cookies are best-sellers, and for good reason. I spotted a breakfast sandwich, consisting of an English muffin, sausage patty and egg, wrapped and ready. The woman helping me told me that she could warm it for me to take to go, which I couldn’t resist. But what I really stared at was the peppermint scones. When she saw me ogling, she laughed and explained that they are her favorite things in the store. Since gluten free foods can spoil much faster than those with wheat, most items must be frozen to stay fresh. As I picked up the hard scones, she assured me that when defrosted, they would be plush and moist. When I later let one warm, I found that she was very correct. I think that scone may have been the single most delicious gluten free treat I’ve ever tasted. The light drizzle of peppermint glaze, and the red specks scattered throughout, were just the right amount of sweet to offset the doughy, thick center. While this is a holiday treat, they are transitioning to luscious Maple Walnut Scones, and also have peppermint cookies so I can still have my peppermint fix.

Some of the other items available are cheesecakes, jalapeno cheese bagels, pizza crusts and doughnuts. Dry mixes like buckwheat pancakes, pizza crust and bread mix lined another wall, as well as order forms for custom cakes and cupcakes.

My lovely helper informed me of the Gluten Free Creations Cafétte on McDowell, which serves hot sandwiches and individual cupcakes. I made a trip there a few days later. Located in a strip mall, the Cafétte is easy to miss, just like the Bakery on Thomas, which is hidden behind a barbershop. Inside, there are several tables with classic red-and-white checked tablecloths. At the order counter, I couldn’t decide between a savory sandwich and a sweet indulgence, so I went with the Monte Cristo. I was pleased to find that the bread was not overly sweet, and the well-portioned meats as well as the jam served on the side were delicious. I also took a Cinnamon Roll Scone for later. While the filling was delicious, I felt there could have been a little more of it to level out the rich glaze on top.

Both bakeries carry some products that are also free of eggs, corn and soy, for those who are more sensitive or choose to eat vegan.

As a Celiac, I’m relieved to have found Gluten Free Creations. The food is excellent and the employees are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The breads don’t feel thick and heavy like store-bought brands, and are easily the same price or less for much higher-quality food. Even if you are not gluten-free, try it out. Taking wheat out of your diet can be a great change.

WHERE TO GO
Gluten Free Creations Bakery (retail and wholesale)
2940-b E. Thomas Rd.  (behind Mid-city Barber Shop)
602-522-0659
Hours: Mon. – Fri.: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat.: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Sun.: closed

Gluten Free Creations Bakery and Good Food Cafétte
7607 E. McDowell Rd., #108
480-990-2253
Hours: Fri.: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sat., Mon.: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Sun.: closed

Raisin Bran Gluten-Free Muffin; Photo: Flickr, Slacker Mark

Gluten-Free Scottsdale: Gluten-Free Restaurants, Tours And More

From Lady Gaga to Miley Cyrus and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, it seems going gluten-free is the latest health trend on the celebrity circuit.

While it may seem like a fad to some, the reality is that one in 133 Americans needs to be living a gluten-free lifestyle. For those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, cutting out gluten (wheat, barley and rye) isn’t just a cool thing to try — it’s a medical necessity.

So how is Scottsdale doing when it comes to being gluten-free friendly? Is it keeping up with the new trend and, more importantly, all the new people who are being diagnosed?

Ken Scheer is a Scottsdale resident and the founder of Rock A Healthy Lifestyle, a consultancy focused on helping people live gluten-free while bringing awareness to the community and restaurant industry. Scheer has been living gluten-free for 17 years; he is also dairy and soy free.

He says there are quite a few gluten-free options here in Scottsdale for dining and shopping, but the city could use some education.

“I’ve found more options in other cities, and it seems the staff is a little bit more aware of food allergies,” Scheer says.

He is working to change that here in Scottsdale and throughout the Valley by hosting Gluten-Free Foodie Tours.

Part tweet-up, part foodie event, the monthly extravaganzas introduce those in the gluten-free community to new Valley restaurants that offer gluten-free options delicious enough to satisfy the palate of a foodie.

“The response to the tours have always been positive because I highlight restaurants that take gluten-free seriously and want to target those that are living the lifestyle,” Scheer says. “The bottom line is that the biggest fear amongst those with food allergies is dining out. When individuals attend my gluten-free foodie tours they know they can have a nice meal out without worrying about getting sick.”

When it comes to gluten-free-friendly dining in Scottsdale, Scheer has a few recommendations:

Nourish 123's gluten-free, swordfish dish.Nourish 123

Scheer says Nourish 123 is the only 100 percent gluten-free restaurant in the state. The owner Kristin Carey has Celiac Disease and numerous other food allergies.

Favorite menu picks include: The turkey club, the fish tacos and the three bean chili. Another favorite is the swordfish over a bed of brown rice and mixed veggies.

Bombay Spice

Bombay Spice's Chicken Tikka Masala“I love Indian food and the restaurant is 90 percent gluten-free,” Scheer says. “Over the last year or so, I’ve met with the general manager numerous times, and he’s committed to making sure their food is safe. He takes food allergies very seriously, and they have many options for those that are gluten-free and vegans as well.”

Favorite menu picks from Bombay Spice include: Chicken Tikka Masala, Tandoori Wings and Lentil Cake Towers.

Indulge Burgers and More

Indulge Burgers' build-your-own turkey burger.“Who doesn’t love a good burger, right? But if you top it off with a good-tasting, gluten-free bun, it makes it that much better,” Scheer says. “Again, I’ve gotten to know the owner of the restaurant, and one of his biggest keys is making the dining experience for those that suffer from food allergies comfortable. I love the fact that you can build your own burger, that they bake their gluten-fries to prevent cross-contamination and that they have so many great choices that are gluten-free.”

Favorite menu picks from Indulge Burger include: Well, Ken says he gets the same thing every time. It’s the build-your-own, turkey burger on a gluten-free bun with lettuce, pickles, cranberries and carrots.

If you’re interested in checking out Rock a Healthy Lifestyle’s Gluten-Free Foodie Tours, the next tour stop is October 18th, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Genghis Grill Paradise Valley. You can register here.

Gluten-rich bread

Watch For Signs That Gluten-Rich Foods Are Affecting Your Health

Digestive symptoms are common. Most are transitory or respond to simple changes in diet or lifestyle. However, for some people digestive symptoms can be chronic, severe and cause significant impairment to their quality of life.

One such condition is Celiac disease; also known as Celiac Sprue, Nontropical Sprue or Gluten-sensitive Enteropathy.  Celiac disease is an immune reaction to the protein gluten, which is found in foods containing grains such as wheat, barley and rye (e.g. bread, pasta, and pizza crust). When gluten is ingested, the immune reaction causes damage to the lining of the small intestine.

The cause(s) are unknown. There is a hereditary risk of 5 percent to 15 percent if an immediate family member is affected. In studies of identical twins, 70 percent-85 percent of the time, the second twin is affected if one twin has Celiac disease.  Sometimes the disease develops after some form of trauma — infection, surgery or pregnancy.  Persons with Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent) or certain thyroid diseases are more commonly impacted.

Typical symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea. However, these symptoms can mimic other gastrointestinal diseases, and infrequently some people may not have any gastrointestinal symptoms.  Other features/complications include anemia (from malabsorption of nutrients and vitamins, leading to malnutrition), joint pains, muscle cramps, skin rash, mouth sores, osteoporosis (loss of calcium and vitamin D), nerve damage, general weakness and fatigue and weight loss. Due to damage to the small intestines, some people will develop lactose intolerance. Untreated persons have a long-term increased risk of some cancers, such as intestinal lymphoma.

Diagnosis, in addition to a medical history and physical exam, involves testing the blood for specific antibodies present at high levels. These antibodies can identify people more likely to have the disease. In addition, a biopsy of the small intestine (done by a scope inserted through the mouth) is used to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment involves a gluten free diet.

If you have persistent digestive symptoms, discuss with your doctor.  Keeping a diary of foods eaten and symptoms can be very helpful. Only your doctor can make the proper diagnosis.