Gluten & Gluten-Free …what does that mean ?

Gluten & Gluten-Free …what does that mean ?

Gluten-free what does that mean ? What is gluten? Before beginning a gluten-free lifestyle discuss your individual case with a Nutritionist or Dietitian. Educate yourself, with the assistance and guidance from a professional.

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is, a generic term for the storage proteins that are found in grains. The “gluten” in wheat, rye, barley, and in a much lower amount, oats, contains particular amino acid sequences that are harmful to persons with celiac disease. It is naturally found most commonly in wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale.
A gluten-free diet is primarily used to treat celiac disease. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease control their signs, symptoms and prevent complications.
Initially, following a gluten-free diet may be frustrating. But with time, patience and creativity, you’ll find there are many foods that you already eat that are gluten-free and you will find substitutes for gluten-containing foods easily.

What is the Purpose of a gluten free diet ?

The purpose of a gluten-free diet is a treatment for celiac disease. People with celiac disease must be gluten-free to prevent symptoms and disease-related complications. Some people who don’t have celiac disease also may have symptoms when they eat gluten, this is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. If an individual has any digestive difficulties, gluten may add stress to an already stressed out system.
People with a sensitivity may find they benefit from a gluten-free diet.

•Switching to a gluten-free diet is a big change! It takes some getting used to. You may initially feel restricted or deprived. Especially if you have had troubling complications for an extended period of time before your decision to remove gluten and change your diet.

Lets instead focus on all the foods you can eat instead! You may be pleasantly surprised to realize how many gluten-free products, such as bread and pasta, are now available. Not only are they readily available, most are very delicious! Many specialty grocery stores sell gluten-free foods and many restaurants now have gluten free menus.
Don’t forget to check online into celiac support groups in your area. They will have great information as to the best places to eat out or grocery shop. Along with lots of other information that will make your transition and maintaining this diet easier.
•Is this all new? When starting with a gluten-free diet, it’s not only a good idea to consult a dietitian or a nutritionist who can answer your questions and educate you. I have to advise without consulting a professional any extreme diet changes can be dangerous! Learning how to avoid gluten while still eating a healthy, balanced diet is imperative.
There are many healthy foods that are naturally gluten-free foods not only are they Allowed but they are delicious! They include….
* Beans, seeds and nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
* Fresh eggs
* Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
* Fruits and vegetables
* Most dairy products
It’s important to make sure that they are not processed or mixed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives. Many grains and starches can be part of a gluten-free diet, such as:
* Amaranth
* Arrowroot
* Buckwheat
* Corn and cornmeal
* Flax
* Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
* Hominy (corn)
* Millet
* Quinoa
* Rice
* Sorghum
* Soy
* Tapioca
* Teff
You must remembered to Always avoid all food and drinks containing:

* Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
* Rye
* Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
* Wheat
Avoiding wheat can be challenging because wheat products go by numerous names. Consider the many types of wheat flour on supermarket shelves — bromated, enriched, phosphated, plain and self-rising. Here are other wheat products to avoid:
* Durum flour
* Farina
* Graham flour
* Kamut
* Semolina
* Spelt
You must read your labels! Many companies want you to know their products are free of gluten. Avoid unless labeled ‘gluten-free’!!!
There are also many sites and Apps available today that can make this transition easier. The Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Marketplace is one source that includes listings of gluten-free and allergy-free related products, companies, and services.
Read more at…

Gluten-Free Allergy-Free Marketplace

In general,AVOID the following foods unless they’re labeled as gluten-free or made with corn, rice, soy or other gluten-free grain:
* Beer
* Breads
* Cakes and pies
* Candies
* Cereals
* Communion wafers
* Cookies and crackers
* Croutons
* French fries
* Gravies
* Imitation meat or seafood
* Matzo
* Pastas
* Processed luncheon meats
* Salad dressings
* Sauces, including soy sauce
* Seasoned rice mixes
* Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
* Self-basting poultry
* Soups and soup bases
* Vegetables in sauce

YOU MUST ALWAYS BE CAREFUL NOT TO CHOOSE FOOD THAT MIGHT BE CONTAMINATED … DURING THE GROWING AND PROCESSING STAGES OF PRODUCTION! Certain grains, such as oats, can be contaminated with wheat during growing and processing stages of production. For this reason, doctors and dietitians generally recommend avoiding oats unless they are specifically labeled gluten-free.
You should also be alert for other products that you eat or that could come in contact with your mouth that may contain gluten.

Two of the most common include:
* Food additives, such as malt flavoring, modified food starch and others
* Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent

What does cross-contamination mean ? How would that happen? Most importantly how serious is that?

Cross-contamination occurs when gluten-free foods come into contact with foods that contain gluten. It most commonly happens during the manufacturing process, for example, if the same equipment is used to make a variety of products. Being careful to only choose products that Post they are GLUTEN-Free!!! If you try a product with no such statement and do not have any gluten reaction that DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL NOT THE NEXT TIME ! You might be fine the first 100 times. I don’t say this to scare you, I want you to be informed.
Some food labels include a “may contain” statement if cross-contamination is likely. But be aware that this type of statement is VOLUNTARY!
Take your labels LITERALLY! Foods may also be labeled as “gluten-free.” If a product carries a gluten-free label, the Food and Drug Administration requires that the product contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Be aware that products labeled “wheat-free” may still contain gluten.
You still need to check the actual ingredient list. If you’re not sure whether a food contains gluten.. don’t buy it ! You can always check with the manufacturer first to ask what it contains but chances are if the product was “free” of a ingredient such as gluten, wheat, egg, diary and so on they would proudly state it in a way you would notice!
Cross-contamination can also occur at home if foods are prepared on common surfaces or with utensils that weren’t thoroughly cleaned after being used to prepare gluten-containing foods. Using a common toaster for gluten-free bread and regular bread is a major source of contamination, for example. Consider what steps you need to take to prevent cross-contamination at home, school or work.
Be careful about eating out at restaurants. Ask restaurant staff members if they have choices that are truly gluten-free, including being prepared so as to avoid cross-contamination. Don’t forget to share all of this information with your friends!! Your not bothering them. They would probably feel terrible if after dinner at their house you became ill. Also if you haven’t shared this before you arrive to the party, carefully share why you can’t partake. We don’t want people to be afraid to invite you next time. Have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance isn’t that big of a deal! It just has to be handled with care.

Now let’s talk Results… What to expect after you make your plan a reality and begin eating gluten-free.

People with celiac disease who eat a gluten-free diet experience fewer symptoms and complications associated with the disease. If you have celiac disease you must eat a strictly gluten-free diet. No cheat days !!! No small bites!!! Everyone with Celiac disease must remain on this diet for the remainder of their lives. Occasionally people with severe cases, a gluten-free diet alone can’t stop the symptoms. Although, this is not common on rare occasions the complications of celiac disease do not disappear completely with the elimination of gluten; in most cases a closely watched diet is all that is necessary.
Risks• With every diet that isn’t based on a clean food eaten in moderation there are risks…. This does MOT mean it is not necessarily at times. The largest RISK is always Not Getting Enough Vitamins and Minerals!!!
Right now we are talking about a gluten-free Diet but for the record anyone on any “DIET” needs to research and reach out to professionals. You must educate yourself how your diet will or has effected your health. As far as those who follow a gluten-free diet you may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients common in gluten-free diets diets.

imageAsk your dietitian or nutritionist to review your diet to evaluate that you’re eating enough of these key nutrients:
* Iron
* Calcium
* Fiber
* Thiamin
* Riboflavin
* Niacin
* Folate
* Among a few others
Each nutrient plays an important role in your health and wellbeing.

Not sticking to your gluten-free diet may result in debilitating side effects. It can also make it difficult to enjoy everyday activities.

If you accidentally eat a product that contains gluten, you may experience abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some people experience no signs or symptoms after eating gluten. If you have Celiacs even trace amounts of gluten in your diet may be damaging. Whether or not you notice signs or symptoms doesn’t determine if you are damaging the inner lining of your small intestine and preventing it from absorbing nutrients. Over time, not following a gluten-free diet if you have celiac disease can lead to serious complications including small intestinal cancer. If you have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity you might not be digesting your food properly when you also ingest gluten. Preventing your body from absorbing vitamins and minerals, leading to malnutrition and a variety of other complications.

Here is one of my favorite “a little special” Gluten-Free Recipes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (Gluten-Free)
I love this amazing recipe! —so easy and gluten-free … And don’t forget the honeyed whipped cream and blueberries…. because my house is always so busy in the morning I make the batter the night before… So that next morning I have Less Mess and it’s ready when I am !
P.S. I double it … My gang can eat!

4 eggs, separated
¼ cup granulated sugar
zest of 2 large meyer lemons
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
6 tablespoons whole milk
large pinch salt
½ cup sifted gluten-free flour (“Cup4Cup” brand- works well)
butter, as needed (about 4 tablespoons)
Top With-
1 cup whipping cream
3-4 tablespoons honey (whatever floats your boat)
1 pint fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
2. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and lemon zest until light in color and thickened, about 2 minutes.
3. Add vanilla, ricotta cheese, and whole milk; mix to combine.
4. Add sifted flour and mix again to combine.
5. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold stiff peaks.
6. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten the mixture, then fold in remaining egg whites being careful not to deflate them.
7. To cook the pancakes, heat a large non-stick or cast iron pan over medium heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and when melted, spoon about 1/3 of the batter into the pan making four 3-inch pancakes. Allow to cook for three minutes (or until the bottom is nicely golden), then carefully flip the pancakes and cook another three minutes on the second side (or until nicely browned on both sides and cooked through in the center).
8. Remove pancakes to a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining eight pancakes.
9. While the pancakes cook, whip the heavy cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold in the honey.
10. Serve warm pancakes with the whipped cream mixture and fresh blueberries.

Yup … Eating healthy is delicious!

XoX- Stacy