Tag Archives: celiac disease

For Health, Think Quality Not Quantity

Listen up, as this is a message you are going to start hearing more and more of with respect to healthful eating.  When it comes to making smart food choices, focus less on how much you are eating of a certain nutrient and focus more on the quality of the nutrient you are eating, and you will be on your way to a better and healthier you.

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Strictly Gluten Free

Strictly Gluten Free is a new specialty retail and wholesale food market scheduled to open its first store on Long Island, New York in the first quarter of 2011.  The founders, Steve and Angela Distefano, are conducting a survey to garner feedback from the gluten-free community.  By participating, you can help them better cater to the needs of the gluten-free. Please read on for a brief summary of Strictly Gluten Free and a link to the survey.

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Raising Awareness for Celiac Disease, Via a Children’s Book

Ninety-seven percent (97%) of people with Celiac Disease are walking around undiagnosed.  Left untreated, their intestines become damaged, leading to other serious condtions such as nutrition deficiencies, other autoimmune disorders and possibly even cancer.  That’s why raising awarenss is so important.  And what better group to educate than kids??  They will grow up understanding the disease, the importance of maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle and, most importantly, the symptoms and side effects for helping others.  Read on for a review of Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? by Katie Chalmers,  a delightful story about a positive conversation between a mother and daughter about what it means to have the disease.

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September 13 is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day

In honor of the birthday of Dr. Samuel Gee, a leader in celiac disease (CD) research who identified a link between the disease and diet, September 13  has been dubbed “National Celiac Disease Awareness Day.”  Read on for information about what you can do to help raise awareness for this disease that affects millions of Americans each and every day of their lives.

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Gluten-free Goes Mainstream: A Double-Edged Sword

Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

A big thumbs up to Melinda Beck of The Wall Street Journal for writing the following article that ran on Tuesday, Giving Up Gluten to Lose Weight? Not So Fast: Diet Regimen Effective in Treating Celiac Disease, But Not for Shedding Pounds.

The article is one of the best written on the gluten-free topic by a national/mainstream journalist.  I liked it so much, it made it into my hard copy files, and very few articles do.

The article is a must-read if you are interested in learning about:

  • The differences between Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy and how they each affect the body
  • New research about the potential relationship between gluten sensitivity and “leaky gut” and how this may be the cause for psychiatric and behavioral changes/symptoms
  • The relationship between autism and eating gluten-free
  • The role environment plays in the increasing prevalence of Celiac and gluten sensitivity
  • Why a gluten-free diet is not appropriate as a weight-loss plan
  • The biochemistry of Celiac and gluten sensitivity

I have to admit, though, that I like this article mostly for its indirect effect of dissuading the mainstream population from going gluten-free for weight loss purposes.  For starters, it should be known that many gluten-free alternatives on the market today consist largely of starch fillers and, therefore, are lower in fiber and nutrients than the products they are substituting.  A true weight loss plan should consist primarily of whole, unprocessed foods that are nutrient-dense. 

More importantly, though, when non-gluten-sensitive individuals share inaccurate and inconsistent information with restaurant waiters and foodservice providers, they dilute the educational and awareness efforts that the gluten-free community has worked long and hard to bring to the larger population.

For example, a person on a gluten-free diet for weight loss purposes sits down at a restaurant and tells his waiter that he can’t have any gluten in his meal.  He declines the bread, orders his chicken entrée grilled instead of fried and replaces the bottled salad dressing with oil and vinegar, yet he takes a bite of his friend’s cake for dessert as a reward for sticking to his diet all week.  What kind of message does this send to the waiter?  It says that people on gluten-free diets can eat gluten in small amounts some of the time.

And how does this affect the next customer that comes into the restaurant and truly needs to avoid gluten?  Unless the waiter has been highly trained and educated to serve gluten-free customers, it is likely that he won’t be as vigilant with serving a truly gluten-free meal to the person that really needs it.

This is just one example of the negative effects of gluten-free going mainstream.  For more insight into this, a great blog post to check out is Some Thoughts on the Recent Trendiness of the Gluten-free Diet by Triumph Dining’s The Essential Gluten-free Blog. 

Just like with most things, gluten-free going mainstream is a double-edged sword.  The level of awareness has been raised for sure, but so has the level of misinformation.

For the most part, though, gluten-free going mainstream is a good thing.  I really enjoyed drinking a (gluten-free) beer at CitiField earlier this summer!

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is not a weight loss diet.  It is a diet free of certain carbohydrates believed to play a role in intestinal damage and, therefore, helps intestinal healing for people with Chrohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, Celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, chronic diarrhea and other conditions.  I have just started it and am already feeling better. 

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Raising Awareness for Celiac Disease and the Gluten-free Lifestyle

I had the good fortune of attending a luncheon yesterday hosted by the gluten-free food manufacturer, Schar.  Its purpose:  to raise awareness for Celiac Disase/Gluten Sensitivity (CD) and the gluten-free lifestyle so that the undiagnosed millions out there can get the treatment they need and start their journey to healthier living, as the consequences for going untreated can be serious. 

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