Monday, February 17, 2014

Gluten-Free Survival Tips For Newly Diagnosed

Congrats on becoming 100% gluten-free committed!

As a 17+ year diagnosed Celiac, I've learned a lot in my years. This is a brief synopsis of why you're truly lucky to have a gluten-free life commitment. Mine started with a food education that I received at age 14. Now it's your chance to learn the world behind the grocery store merchandising and sale promotions. You have an opportunity to treat your entire body (brain and gut health) along with family and friend's by simply developing a "what is that" food mind. No more putting food in your mouth because it smells good or everyone is eating it. That's silly and too easy, and you know it. Now you have to read the label and if you don't understand it... which most of us don't because our food is processed and made in a lab, dont' eat it. When foods have tons of weird name ingredients, and very long shelf lives, it's time to leave them where you found them. Trust me when I say learning the truth about how food is made in our world will change your life forever. 

Is Gluten A Trend?
Absolutely not. That's just a naive person who makes jokes about gluten such as Jimmy Kimmel and Rachel Ray Tv personality. They like others take advantage of the trend and then laugh about it and get caught, so don't support them. Watch Jimmy Kimmel and Rachel Ray laugh at Celiacs here.  Gluten is a major health concern that the USA has underplayed. the grains that contain gluten are not like those from early man the world has changed and humans have, too. The focus on gluten stems from a Celiac Disease diagnosis. Multiple food allergies, GMOs and other Rx drugs are believed to play a role in obesity and other health concerns and we all seek to analyze the connection of all of them, if any in years to come. 

What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is an auto-immune disease that affects over 3 million Americans. If a Celiac were to consume gluten found in common grains such as bread, pasta, pastries, sauces, dressings, medicines, vitamins, lip balms, etc then there would be significant damage to the small intestine villi interfering with digestion and absorption. It is also believed that about 97% of Celiacs are not diagnosed, that's scary. Further, Celiac is an auto immune disease that is realized from two of three testing procedures: blood test, biopsy and DNA markers.

What Is A Food Allergy And Is Gluten Also A Food Allergy?
A food allergy is an auto immune response to a food protein. They are different from other responses to food such as a food intolerance or Celiac Disease. The body's immune system mistakenly identifies a protein as harmful. These symptoms could be mild or life threatening such as dermatitis, gastrointestinal, respiratory distress, and anaphylactic responses and there is no cure. You must avoid these food proteins 100% to live safely while preparing for the worst.  The common eight food allergens are wheat, soy, egg, peanut, milk, tree-nuts, fish and shellfish and as you can see gluten is not found in many of these proteins. Be sure to discuss your health with the appropriate doctor/s who can help you identify your symptoms and find a road to success.

Gluten Is Not An Allergy
Gluten is not a food allergy. At this point in time those with gluten as a trigger either have:

(A) Wheat Allergy - An allergy diagnosis, but not the below 
(B) Gluten Sensitivity Not Celiac Disease - Undiagnosed, but suffer from gluten is likely 
(C) Celiac Disease - Auto immune disease that is realized from two of three: blood test, biopsy and DNA markers.

What Is the Cure Or Treatment For Celiac Disease? 
Just avoid eating gluten 100% including the risk of gluten contamination found in your home kitchen silverware, pots, pans, sink and cutting boards along with the high risk from restaurant kitchens. You take these precautions and you should be living a carefree, wonderful, healthy life. There is no cure at this time and frankly, who cares?  Obtaining a complete food education and watching our world turn to gluten-free, organic and non-GMO food supply is an exciting journey to be part of physically and mentally. Your life should forever improve.

Tell Me More About What Is Gluten? 
Gluten is a amino acid (protein) found in grains such as wheat, barely, ryes and related grain family tree species. Gluten has been over manufactured, especially in USA,  by the super powers as it has properties of elasticity for cooking that other gluten-free grains do not have. Hence, why a common person would believe that gluten containing baked goods appear to the eye as having a more full, flavorful and aroma perhaps. On the contrary combining gluten-free flours and other common baking ingredients would yield a tasty, aromatic baked good as well.

What Must I Know About Celiac Disease And Gluten-Free Living? 
There are four educational tips that will help change your world and those in your life who care for you. All health benefits and nutritional living fall within these high level concepts:

     1. Learn about Celiac Disease
     2. Learn the list of Gluten-Free grains
     3. Learn the list of Gluten containing foods and hidden gluten due to bad labeling
     4. Risks of contamination at home, restaurants and packaged goods in the grocery

List of Gluten-Free Grains And Common Foods 
Quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, sorghum, corn, rice, potato, teff, flax, tapioca, oats (however oats are usually contaminated at the mill with wheat so be careful to only purchase certified gluten-free oats). In addition vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, legumes, fish and meats are all naturally gluten-free. That's basically all living food ingredients :) except the risk of some grains and contaminated foods from these foods.

List of Grains Containing Gluten And Common Foods To Avoid 
Gluten is found in common grains such as wheat, barely, barley extract, rye in addition to bran, bulgur, couscous, kamut, farino, faro, kamut, matzo meal, orzo, panko, semolina, spelt, triticale, udon and other lesser known. Avoid all breads, baked goods, pastries, ice cream, sodas, chips, dips, salsas, marinades, etc that do not have a gluten-free certification or trusted labeling. These foods 9.9 out of 10 will be gluten based. Do not ever assume a food is gluten-free without an official gluten-free certification or thorough gluten-free self certification. Be safe and call the company or search for gluten free tested and approved products before consuming. It's a little bit extra work to eat at first, but then you'll learn and be more educated. Gluten-free these days is much easier than 20 years ago. (See below)

What Is A Gluten-Free Certification? 
The Gluten-Free logo stands for the independent verification of quality, integrity and purity of gluten-free products. You can't just slab any label on a product as it must according to the FDA be tested under <20 ppm or face risks. Find a list of certified gluten-free products.  Other trusted and independent laboratories may test for gluten <10 ppm or <5 ppm for those Celiacs who believe they may react to <20 ppm gluten.

Celiac Spru Association
  • CSA is for < 5 ppm 
Gluten Free Certfication Corporation
  • GFCO is for < 10 ppm
Food & Drug Administration (USA)
  • FDA is for < 20 ppm

How Does the FDA Regulate Gluten-Free Labeling? 
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently will approve to label products that contain less than 20 ppm or .002% parts per million of gluten. It is confusing, but there likely is a contamination of gluten in almost every food we eat, even when the product is labeled. It's up to you to understand your body and adjust your risk. Canada and Europe agree on this 20 ppm labeling as well. Learn more about gluten cross contamination.

Can Gluten-Free Be Fun & Healthy? 
Absolutely Yes. It's a disconnect that the average consumer believes gluten-free is a fad or a quick way to lose weight. You can eat well, live well, run marathons, climb mountains, etc. That's because avoiding starchy foods with high calories and sugar like flour based breads, pasta, pastries are not good for anyone in excess. A gluten-free diet in essence is all natural fruits, veggies, meats and people thinks gluten-free baked goods dont' taste good so they don't buy them. On the contrary though many gluten-free packaged baked goods are tasty, albeit more expensive, and likely include the same calories, sugar, fat than it's poisonous gluten friend. So you can certainly gain weight on this diet from the food replacements that you consume. In addition, eat a balanced diet to be sure you are eating enough iron. Do your research and gather a food education, learn to cook and you'll be surprised how much fun and social cooking can be and how delicious vegetables, beans, grains,  fish, meats and some grains are without spices, gluten-free marinades all without gluten.

Should I Go On A Gluten-Free Diet If I'm Having Minor Digestive Issues?
Yes. Consider a gluten-free diet via a food education into ingredients in our food supply. There is a lot to know and it starts one day at a time with challenging yourself to learn about gluten containing grains, their history and their effects on the body. Also consider talking with a wise food practitioner to help you get started. Beware of doctors who tell you not to avoid gluten because they're not giving you complete 360 advice and likely are uneducated. Do your homework.

Should I Clean My Silverware, Pots, Pans, Glasses And Cutting Boards? 
Yes. It's important to avoid cross-contamination even in your own home if you have gluten in the house. You should be separating open ingredients in the fridge and all packaged goods into cupboards and drawers to be safe. In addition, run a anti-bacterial dishwasher often to avoid gluten pieces that get stuck to silverware, glasses and dishes often. Avoid wood based cutting boards in a mixed household as the grains and flour may absorb into the wood. Also consider using separate cleaning brushes, sponges and throwing them out often. Live safe, smart and it will all become second nature to be cleaner to avoid cross contamination.

How Do I Educate Friends And Family About Celiac Disease?
Those who care for you and your health should learn about gluten-free living. Have them read my blog and other Celiac blogs to get the quick 101 on gluten-free foods, gluten containing foods, risks of contamination and what is Celiac Disease. It's those four concepts that will open the mind to those who need to cook or purchase food for a loved one with Celiac Disease. 

What Is non-GMO Food And The Non GMO Project? 
GMO stands for genetically modified organisms that may be plants or animals that have been genetically engineered (by man) with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plant and animals to create something else. Most commercial GMO experimented products were engineered to withstand herbicide or insecticide. It may sound cool and smart, but no it's not, it's very horrifying actually.  GMOs are not safe and in fact about 60+ countries consider them dangerous and have or are starting to label products so that consumers are aware of this major issues and can make wiser purchasing decisions.  GMOs are not labeled which is even more scary so you very likely have been eating food that has been modified and chemicals have been all over it, seriously. Here in the USA both local and state efforts to help obtain GMO labeling especially via the GMO project. Growing research shows that GMO foods are causing health problems, environmental damage and are certainly abusing the rights of consumers to know what we are eating, where it's from and how it's treated in order to make an informed purchase. In the meantime, super duper wash and scrub your fruits and vegetables before cooking/eating.  Learn about nonGMO practices and educate yourself, family and friends. 

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