Tag Archive | gluten

Gluten Sensitivity

gluten-sensitivityIt’s been 8 months since I went “Wheat Free.”  I gave up wheat to see if I could resolve my stomach pain issues. Giving up wheat also included giving up Gluten because Gluten is wheat’s natural protein. I read the book Wheat Belly, and although I didn’t agree with everything in the book, I had nothing to lose going wheat free, In fact, there were many benefits. ( I didn’t go out of my way to avoid things that contain trace amounts of wheat, soy sauce, or other sauces thickened with flour).  Since that day I have had NO digestive problems, got rid of my tummy, all menopausal symptoms are gone, no cravings for sweets, I sleep better, and I lost 10lbs. My diet is better, but boy do I miss some foods.

Chatting with my brother one day on Facebook, I found out that he changed his diet a few years ago. I remember him in his 30’s “popping Tums”  I always knew that our family had digestive problems, it was the initial cause of my Dad dying at 62! My brother said he didn’t give up wheat, but he just didn’t eat bread anymore, but he still eats cakes, and cookies.That has stuck with me for the past few months, and I started really thinking about the foods that used to upset my digestive system. They were foods like pizza, crusty breads, home-made pasta. Foods like biscuits, cookies, cakes, and fried foods never bothered me (although they are foods that are  not good for you anyway).

I am beginning to believe that my body is sensitive to gluten. I read a great article Gluten – 5 Things you need to know and I realized that I don’t necessarily need to have a completely gluten-free or completely wheat free lifestyle. I just need to stay away from those foods that effect my digestive system. Be careful of Gluten free products. Gluten free foods are generally made with ingredients such as rice, corn, potatoes, sorghum, tapioca and millet, which are higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein and other nutrients than wheat flour. The typical gluten-free ingredients that are used in place of wheat are less nutritious than wheat itself.

So based on all this information, and my food intolerance history, I started to do some research on Gluten, and the types of flours used in certain foods. Wheat flour is the most common flour used in baking. There are different types of wheat flour, and they’re distinguished by the amount of gluten they contain.

Gluten is the wheat’s natural protein, and it’s what gives baked goods their structure. When dough is kneaded, these glutens develop and become firm. Flours made from hard, high-protein varieties of wheat are called strong flours. They have a higher gluten content. Flours made from softer, low-protein wheats are called weak flours, and are lower in gluten. Those breads that effect my stomach are high in gluten. Stretchy dough used to make pizza, rolls, bagels, crusty breads like, Italian and french breads. These are the breads I need to avoid. Listed below are several types of flours and their baking uses. This information helped me to understand the gluten content in baked goods. I’ve finally learned where I fit into the gluten sensitivity spectrum! I will continue to stay away from high gluten content foods like breads, and pastas. I won’t feel so bad justifying a cookie once in a while.
All-Purpose Flour:
All-purpose flour is formulated to have a medium gluten content of around 12 percent or so. This makes it a good middle-of-the-road flour that can be used for a whole range of baking, from crusty breads to fine cakes and pastries. Even so, most professional bakers don’t use all-purpose flour but instead use either bread flour, cake flour or pastry flour, depending on what they are baking.
Bread Flour:
Bread flour is a strong flour, meaning that it has a relatively high gluten content — usually around 13 to 14 percent. A handful of bread flour will feel coarse and will look slightly off-white. Bread flour is used for making crusty breads and rolls, pizza doughs and similar products.
Cake Flour:
Cake flour is made from soft wheat and has a lower gluten content — around 7½ to 9 percent. Its grains are visibly finer than bread flour, and it is much whiter in color. Its fine, soft texture makes it preferable for tender cakes and pastries.
Pastry Flour:
Pastry flour is slightly stronger than cake flour, at around 9 to 10 percent gluten. It can be used for biscuits, muffins, cookies, pie doughs and softer yeast doughs. It has a slightly more off-white color than cake flour.

(Courtesy of  About.com   Photo courtesy of  Going Against the Grain by Melissa Smith)

Inflammatory Foods to avoid

inflammatory-foods-list-372x410I haven’t given up all of the foods listed here, but giving up wheat and bread has made a huge difference in the inflammatory responses in my gut! Some of these items are ordinary foods that we eat everyday, but eliminating one for a week or two would probably have positive effects on your body. Try it!

1. Avoid Sugar and Refined Starch

Anytime you eat foods containing sugar and refined starch your blood sugar immediately spikes. This includes eating sugar, white bread (really anything that is a white food), lactose, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup and more. You should also avoid agave. Most people think that agave is a “healthy” sugar, but in actuality agave is packed with fructose.

When you continuously eat foods high in sugar and refined starch your blood sugar responses by spiking and this can lead to blood sugar instability and inflammatory responses like headache, fatigue, crankiness, pain etc.

2. Trans Fat

Trans fat is found in any processed foods such as fast foods, fried foods, really anything that comes in a box. Avoid trans fat foods instead eat foods that are fresh, high in vitamins, nutrients and minerals like vegetables.

3. Dairy

Milk is a common allergen that can cause acne, stomach aches, diarrhea, constipation and other inflammatory responses. If you’re looking to get more calcium in your daily consumption then choose kale. Kale has more calcium than milk (90 grams serving) and is better absorbed by the body.

4. Gluten

Many people have sensitivity issues to gluten. Now a days there are many products that are “gluten-free.” I now eat Udi’s bread.

Three Reasons Wheat Makes You Fat, Raises Risk of Diseases

no wheatI have found most of the information that I’ve read about wheat to be very informative. Funny how wheat is becoming food that is having an effect on quite a few people all of a sudden. I truly believe that wheat has been genetically manipulated and hybridized, and the ill effects are starting to show on the guinea pigs!  And I do believe that it is the cause of much of our obesity and diabetes today. I had developed over the past 4 years an intolerance to wheat. I have not been tested, but I gave up wheat 5 months ago, just to see what would happen. I was not an overweight person, but the pain was terrible. In a week, I had no more pain, I lost 10lbs so far, I have no more “Wheat belly”, I have no more menopausal symptoms, and I recover unusually quick from illness (colds, flu, etc.). There is something to be said about my metamorphosis!

(courtesy of Indian Country February 27, 2012)
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/mobile/article/three-reasons-wheat-makes-you-fat,-raises-risk-of-diseases-99957

Today’s golden wheat fields differ from those cultivated by our ancestors. In the Huffington Post, Dr. Mark Hyman calls the modern grain “FrankenWheat,” a crop scientifically engineered over the past 50 years to contain what Hyman labels a Super Starch, a Super Gluten and a Super Drug.

Super Starch

Genetic manipulation and hybridization have led to the creation of “dwarf wheat,” Hyman explains. Designed to curb world hunger, these shorter, stubbier and higher yielding wheat plants are loaded with starch and gluten. The man who engineered the crop even won a Nobel Prize. But the invention was a double-edged sword. While it put food in the mouths of millions starving around the world, it also triggered obesity and a host of other diseases.

Now, eating two slices of whole wheat bread will spike your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of sugar, Hyman says.

One reason: dwarf wheat contains excessive levels of the super starch amylopectin A. “This is how we get big fluffy Wonder Bread and Cinnabons,” Hyman writes.

Whole wheat and white flour are now health-wise equivalents. “The biggest scam perpetrated on the unsuspecting public is the inclusion of ‘whole grains’ in many processed foods full of sugar and wheat, giving the food a virtuous glow.”

Eating this sugar-heavy wheat causes inflammation and the storage of belly fat—health risks for obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes, Hyman warns.

The Super Gluten

Dwarf wheat also contains super gluten—a chemical likely to set off body-wide inflammation. Eating too much can also lead to obesity and diabetes. (And eating too many wheat-based products is easy to do—read on about the addictive Super Drug.)

Is there any rationale behind the gluten-free movement for those who do not suffer from the autoimmune disorder celiac disease (an intolerance to gluten)? According to Hyman there is.

Gluten, he says, is the “sticky protein in wheat that holds bread together and makes it rise.” With double the chromosomes (28) of pre-genetically modified wheat, it is increasingly likely to trigger inflammation and celiac disease, which incites insulin resistance. Thus, it can cause weight gain and diabetes, in addition to more than 55 conditions including autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, reflux, cancer, depression, osteoporosis and more.

According to the blog FitSugar.com, a gluten-free diet is famously responsible for helping supermodel Heidi Klum slim down post-baby. Celebrity trainer David Kirsch also calls the substance “awfully bloating.”

Read about numerous other patients who shed weight by adopting a wheat- and gluten-free lifestyle.

The Super Drug

Eating wheat sparks hunger and causes addiction, Hyman says. This is because the food product is formulated with a “Super Drug” or proteins that, when digested in the body, create a drug-induced high.

“National Institutes of Health researchers showed that gluten-derived polypeptides can cross into the brain and bind to the brain’s opiate receptors,” Dr. William Davis, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based preventive cardiologist and author of the book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health, told the Canadian weekly Maclean’s. “So you get this mild euphoria after eating a product made with whole wheat.”

According to Hyman, these super drugs solicit an addictive response, often including cravings and binge-eating. “No one binges on broccoli, but they binge on cookies or cake.”

Hyman validates his point by noting that naloxone, the drug administered in the emergency room to block a heroin or morphine overdose, can also reduce food addiction. “Binge eaters ate nearly 30 percent less food when given this drug,” he said.

So what are you waiting for? Stop being a guinea pig!

Gluten Free Winners

It’s been four months since I went Wheat free. I continue steady at my weight loss of 7lbs. Not one issue with my digestive system.

I frequently run into people who are wheat or Gluten free. It’s great to share our successes, as well as the many products now on the market that make our commitment to be free of these products easier.

Thanks to a fellow Gluten free friend I can now have a decent chocolate chip cookie! Betty Crocker sells Gluten/Wheat free baking mixes for Chocolate Chip cookies, brownies, yellow and chocolate cake mix. I tasted a chocolate chip cookie, and it was delicious! I wouldn’t have known the difference! Thank you Betty!

I discovered a website called The Best of Gluten-Free Awards™ . It’s a website designed to select the best gluten-free (and some wheat free) products available and to give recognition and thanks to the companies that provide them. Go to the website to nominate your favorite products!

Avoiding Wheat and Gluten

Well, it has been 2 months since my non-wheat quest began! I have lost 8 pounds, and I definitely have a new digestive system. I have not had any digestive problems since giving up wheat! It’s still hard sometimes passing by a deli, but I’ve accomplished alot. Here is some more information on avoiding wheat and gluten. I must admit that there are some items that I have not given up that contain wheat. I am not picky about sauces that contain flour (Teryaki sauce, some gravies on Chinese food etc.), but they never bothered me. Otherwise, not much cheatin’.

Wheat (and its associate gluten) is a staple component in many Western foods and it can be hiding everywhere, even in your favorite meals. Here is a concise list of some of the most common sources of wheat and how to avoid or substitute them if you are avoiding wheat due to a medical condition or for personal reasons.

Breads

Yes, this includes whole-wheat and “white” bread since both are made of wheat flour, and anything else made of a flour dough. If it says “Wheat Flour” or “Enriched Flour” on the ingredients label, it has wheat in it. This automatically rules out potato bread, sourdough, pastries, and pie crust unless otherwise noted. Flour tortillas clearly contain flour.
Substitute for breads:

Almond flour is a popular low-carb substitute for wheat flour. I also found Mestemacher brand Pumpernickel and Rye breads made with 100% Rye at Wholefoods Market. In general, breads should be avoided. Corn meal and corn flours are excellent and widely available in Latin American cuisines. Some up-and-coming pizza places offer pizzas with gluten free dough.

Oats, Bran, Granola, Cereals

The majority of breakfast cereals, granolas and oats may contain gluten, so a quick glance at an ingredients label should tell you whether or not it’s safe to eat. In general, these should be avoided.

Substitute for Oats, Bran, Granola, Cereals:

Cornflakes, rice-based cereals (double-check the ingredients to make sure it has no wheat or wheat flour)

Pasta and noodles

This includes spaghetti noodles, all varieties of pasta and macaroni, egg noodles (yes, egg noodles are made of wheat flour), ramen noodles (both instant and Japanese varieties).

Substitute for Pasta and Noodles:

There are pasta and noodle substitutes made of rice or brown rice that are as good, if not better than the wheat kind. Rice noodles are a staple in many types of Asian cuisine. I found Heartland pasta at Walmart! Surprisingly Walmart has quite a few wheat free and gluten free products on the shelf. In fact, Walmart Neighborhood Market has a whole Gluten Free section.

Sneaky foods containing flour additive

Sauces, soups, stews, broths and gravies may or may not contain wheat flour as a thickener. Seasoning blends, marinade rubs and condiments may contain flour. Box-brands of dinner rice like risotto or jambalaya may contain flour. Soy Sauce of all brands most likely contains flour unless noted as Gluten Free. Teriyaki may also contain soy sauce with gluten. Breaded and fried foods often contain flour. For these, always check the ingredients label or ask the chef!

Substitute for sneaky foods:

There are a wide variety of certified gluten-free condiments available at grocery and health food stores, including gluten-free soy sauce and teriyaki as well as gravies, soups and stews. If in doubt, the most obvious ones you need to stay away from are gravies, dark, saucy and creamy soups, and teriyaki and soy sauce.

Sneaky beverages

It’s mostly alcoholic beverages you need to look out for. Avoid beer containing barley, rye and/or oats, as well as malt liquor or malt drinks of any variety unless otherwise specified as gluten-free. Liquors, while distilled and may not contain any gluten or wheat traces, are questionable as to their effect on people who have Celiac or are allergic. Don’t take any chances.

Substitute for sneaky beverages:

There are beers available which are made from sorghum or other grain varieties. These often have Gluten Free on the label. Apple ciders and pear ciders are most likely gluten free. Wines of all varieties are more often than not wheat-free. If there is concern for distilled alcohol, there are liquors made from a variety of non-wheat starches or grains.There is potato vodka, for example.

Some quick tips

  • ALWAYS double check the ingredients label for wheat or flour! Or look for GLUTEN FREE on the label.
  • When in doubt, ask the chef, or cook.
  • Research restaurants in advance with gluten-free options.