The EALM Blog Shelf

While Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team work on some new and exciting projects, you may notice less posts on the Eating and Living Moderately Blog. We have created a “blog shelf” below to keep you entertained and educated. Get caught up on the latest nutrition education by clicking on each year below. We will send you nutrition updates, but we will not be inundating your mailboxes on a weekly basis. If you want weekly “love” and inspiration, subscribe to our Mom Dishes It Out blog for weekly posts and recipes. Mom Dishes It Out provides expert advice from mom Registered Dietitians and mom Speech Pathologists on the “how to” of health promotion!

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The EALM Blog Shelf

Please feel free to peruse our posts organized by year below. Or take a look at the categories listed at the bottom of the page to find a post in the desired.

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

EALM Product Review: Garden Lites Muffins

EALM Product Review:

Garden Lites Carrot Berry Muffins

These muffins are so tasty, even my picky eater approves of them!

Photo Courtesy of Garden Lites
Photo Courtesy of Garden Lites

With the most delicious taste accented by blueberries, everyone will love these adorable little muffins. The first ingredient is carrots so that is an obvious thumbs up. The second is egg whites so another thumbs up. And the third, a gluten free flour blend that contains brown rice, and flaxseed meal. Screen shot 2014-12-15 at 2.00.46 PMThis is a great snack option for kids. Especially those who need to consume more veggies. Plus, they’re allergy-friendly and make a great snack for parents!

FODMAPS: A Look at their Role in Managing IBS

FODMAPS: A Look at their Role in Managing IBS
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

Can you recall the last time you felt bloated, gassy, abdominal cramping, diarrhea or constipation? For most people, these symptoms are mild and once in a blue moon, but for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), there is no cure for this gut disorder and these symptoms are chronic issues that can disrupt the quality of life. The great news is that you can help manage your symptoms through nutrition!

Photo Credit: visualpanic via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: visualpanic via Compfight cc

When people think of gut symptoms like those mentioned above, one of the most common suggestions is limiting irritating food triggers like caffeine, alcohol, and fatty foods, as well as increasing fiber intake and fluid intake. However, when dealing with IBS, since these gut symptoms are broad and can vary from person to person, managing them with a one-size-fits all approach is not ideal. While there are various treatment suggestions for those suffering from IBS, following a low-FODMAP diet is the new nutrition therapy approach in town that has the potential to manage symptoms in most people with IBS.

 

Last month, we were fortunate enough to attend the Nutrition Grand Rounds at New York-Presbyterian Hospital to learn more about FODMAPs and their potential benefits in the treatment of IBS. The presentation featured two speakers Dr. Julie Khlevner, M.D., an expert in pediatric gastroenterology who oversees the new Pediatric Gastrointestinal Motility Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and Patsy Catsos, MS, RD, LD, author of the book IBS – Free at Last!. While Dr. Khlevner and Patsy both discussed treatment options for people with IBS, each speaker touched on very different areas and treatment options. Dr. Khlevner explained the process of testing, diagnosing and treatment in children and young adults. In terms of treatment options, Dr. Khlevner suggested keeping a food log, keeping an eye on trigger foods, taking probiotics, as well as IBS hypnotherapy. Patsy educated the audience on a food-based approach to treating IBS and the potential benefits of this dietary therapy.

 

Patsy Catsos explained dietitians play a starring role in the management of IBS. A high fiber intake has been a common recommendation for treating IBS symptom management, however, research has found that few people find the increased fiber to be helpful. Thankfully the use of FODMAPs has been becoming increasingly popular in the management of IBS symptoms and with a relief in symptoms. In fact, evidence has shown a FODMAP-elimination diet to reduce symptoms in 3 out of 4 people with IBS1.

 

 

What is IBS?

To start, lets give a background on Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS is classified as a Functional Gastrointestinal (bowel) Disorder and can consist of a variety of symptoms. Dr. Khlevner explained the symptoms as the “ABCs of IBS” –

 

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Bloating, flatulence
  • Change in bowel habit
    • Stool urgency or straining
    • Incomplete evacuation

 

These symptoms often greatly impact a patient’s quality of life, especially in children and adolescents. Treatment for IBS can vary greatly per patient; however, common treatment options can include the use of probiotics, increased fiber intake, pharmacological interventions, psychological therapy, and lifestyle and dietary modifications.

 

 

What is a FODMAP?

FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that tend to be malabsorbed in people with IBS and can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for:

Fermentable (Produce Gas)
Oligosaccharides (Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides)
Disaccharides (Lactose)
Monosaccharides (Fructose)
And
Polyols (Sorbitol and Mannitol)

 

How do FODMAPs affect IBS?

The origination of IBS symptoms can, too, be caused by a number of factors, some including, chemicals found in packaged foods, such as nitrates or sulfites, as well as FODMAPs. The ingestion of FODMAPs are not the cause of IBS, rather what can trigger the troublesome symptoms like abdominal pain or bloating. Patsy spoke about the use of FODMAP elimination trials in patients with IBS. This idea behind FODMAPs is that when people with IBS consume sugars that their body can’t properly breakdown, it contributes to their symptoms. The FODMAP approach includes a 1-2 week elimination of all FODMAPs, which Patsy called the Elimination Phase. The FODMAPs are then reintroduced into the diet one at a time to allow for proper monitoring of the patient’s tolerance. It can help you determine which sugars you may be sensitive to, and what foods to limit in quantity or what foods to avoid altogether.

 

Photo Credit: La Grande Farmers' Market via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: La Grande Farmers’ Market via Compfight cc

Where are FODMAPs Found?1

Oligosaccharides

  • Fructans, galactooligosaccharides (GOS), and inulin
  • Found in foods like:
    • Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic
    • Grains: wheat and rye
    • Fruits: watermelon

Disaccharides

  • Lactose
  • Found in:
    • Milk, yogurt, ice cream

Monosaccharides

  • Fructose
  • Found in:
    • Fruits: apples, pears, peaches, mangoes, watermelon, dried fruit, and fruit juices
    • Sweeteners: honey, agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup
    • Alcohol: sherry and port wine

Polyols

  • Found in:
    • Fruits: apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums, prunes, and watermelon
    • Vegetables: cauliflower, button mushrooms, and snow peas
    • Sweeteners: sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, and isomalt (often found in sugar-free products like gum, mints, cough drops, and medications)

 

Important to Note:

Many foods contain FODMAPs and they may be very hard to avoid. You’ll likely find hundreds of food lists and suggestions of foods to avoid, which can lead to both confusion and restriction. Because of this, it’s very important to understand that the FODMAPs approach is not recommended for everyone to follow and is certainly not a weight loss diet or a cleanse, but a nutrition therapy that has the potential to help people with IBS figure out what foods trigger symptoms (…because let’s face it, constant bloating and gas isn’t fun for anyone or anyone around you!). If you’re still unsure about how to treat or manage your IBS symptoms, speak with your doctor, your dietitian, and/or check out the resources below:

 

 

 

  • And yes, there is an app for that! The research team at Monash recently launched a smartphone application: The Low FODMAP Diet. The app provides a list of hundreds of foods using traffic light signals i.e., (Red = Avoid and Green = Eat without fear) and according to serving sizes since smaller portions may be better tolerated.

 

 

 

References:

1. Scarlata K. The FODMAPS Approach – minimize consumption of fermentable carbs to manage functional gut disorder symptoms. Today’s Dietitian Website. Available at: http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/072710p30.shtml. Published August, 2010. Accessed April 16, 2014. 

Navigating the Gluten-Free Aisle: A Guide to GF Shopping

Navigating the Gluten-Free Aisle: A Guide to Gluten-Free Shopping
By Lindsay Marr and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Photo Credit: Whatsername? via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Whatsername? via Compfight cc

The gluten-free world can be daunting, especially for a newly diagnosed celiac or gluten-intolerant. Navigating the aisles of the grocery store can seem even scarier. Thankfully, there are more gluten-free options in stores and the labeling laws are becoming stricter, making gluten-free shopping less of a matter of chance. We took to the grocery stores to try and help ease the confusion and offer you a list of some healthful gluten-free tips.

 

You may remember we wrote about the new gluten-free labels this past summer and touched on the different aspects of the gluten-free diet in the fall. To touch base, the FDA has decided to consider foods with no more than 20ppm (parts per million) of gluten as gluten-free. But, what does 20ppm mean, you ask?  20ppm is the least amount of gluten that can be found in foods via reliable scientific analysis testing. It is also the level that meets many other countries’ standards for safety.

 

Can you trust a gluten-free label?

With the new FDA rulings, you can expect food companies to be more cautious in their labeling. In fact, we may even see a few gluten-free products come off the shelves, as some manufacturers may not want to go through the trouble of abiding by the FDA’s gluten-free rulings. If you feel uneasy before the August 2014 deadline, you can look for two seals on packages to assure the products you’re buying are gluten-free.

Screen shot 2014-04-06 at 10.34.22 AM
This image was used with the permission of The Gluten Intolerance Group.

Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO): The GFCO is currently the leading gluten-free certification program in the world. It is an independent organization that verifies the “quality, integrity, and purity of products” and certifies gluten-free products to no more than 10 PPM.
Click here for the label.
CSA (Celiac Sprue Association): The CSA seal is given to products that have undergone a review and testing of ingredients to ensure the product is free of wheat, rye, barley and oats.

 

Which gluten-free products should I choose? 

Gluten free food companies are making efforts to make their food products more healthy by adding fiber, using brown rice flour instead of white rice flour and some are even using gluten free grains like buckwheat for this first ingredient. EALM was quite impressed to see these changes. However, some food labels noted the addition of added fibers like inulin, which is a non-digestible form of fiber that can cause gas.

 

Photo Credit: Caden Crawford via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Caden Crawford via Compfight cc

Let’s Go Shopping!

When searching for the gluten-free foods with the most nutrition, we recommend using the following tips:

 

  1. Always double check!
    • Be sure to read the ingredients list for potential gluten, even if the product boasts a GF label or seal of approval from the organizations mentioned above. Food products and manufacturing practices change often and some companies even use the GF seals fraudulently. So, be aware and read those ingredients!
  2. Read the ingredients to educate yourself on which product is more nutrient dense!
    • When searching for healthier GF packaged goods look for nutrient-dense flours like quinoa, garbanzo bean, and brown rice. Also watch where these items are listed within the ingredient lists – ideally they are listed in ingredients one through five.
  3. Look for natural fiber!
    • As mentioned before, many high-fiber GF foods contain added carbohydrates like inulin or psyllium husk. While these carbs add fiber without affecting the texture or taste of the food, they can result in gas production (not so comfy for sensitive stomachs). Look for products that are naturally gluten-free, like corn meal or certified gluten-free oats. When in doubt, you can increase your fruit and vegetable intake for a boost of fiber, too.
  4. When in doubt…
    • Tap into some resources! There are a number of apps, subscription services, and organizations that keep consumers updated on all news relating to gluten-free. Take a look at our list below that will help you be a GF detective.

 

GF DETECTIVE Resources:

Celiac Disease Foundation

  • The CDF offers numerous resources for those affected by Celiac Disease, including a list of GF medications and supplements, tips for managing the holidays, as well as the latest research and gluten-free news.

 

Celiac Sprue Association

  • The CSA’s website offers a host of resources for those with Celiac and gluten intolerance. With lists of restaurants, recipes, and information on GF labeling, you are sure to find great information on all things gluten-free.

 

Gluten Free Watchdog

  • This handy monthly subscription is run by registered dietitian, Tricia Thompson, and for only $4.99 per month, you can have access to the latest in gluten free news and product testing results.

 

Gluten Intolerance Group

  • The GIG offers an annual membership with perks including access to food and medical information, educational programs, events, and even summer camps for children with gluten-sensitivities.

 

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (Celiac Central)

  • The NFCA offers a list of GF manufacturers, keeps readers updated on GF news, and provides free webinars for readers. This is a great site when looking for GF news and information.

A Look Back at 2013

We covered a number of topics this past year, from hangover remedies, hydration, gluten, and positive body image. 2013 was a great year and we can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for EALM and our readers. To take a trip down memory lane, we compiled a Table Of Contents of our 2013 blog posts. We hope you enjoy this blast from the past and we wish you all a healthy and happy 2014!

Screen shot 2013-09-25 at 4.33.12 PMJANUARY

Hangover Remedies

The Pros and Cons of Being a Vegetarian Fitness Enthusiast

6 Nutrition Trends of 2013

What a Difference a Title Makes: Nutritionist vs. Dietitian

4 Smart Superbowl Swaps

Photo Credit: prideandvegudice via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: prideandvegudice via Compfight cc

FEBRUARY

The Feast on Fat Tuesday for those Who Don’t Cook

Boosting Positive Body Image

Love Your Heart with 8 Heart-Healthy Foods

Power Up with Phytochemicals!

MARCH

My Exercise Allergy

Protein, Fiber, and a Booty Barre Class? Sign Me Up!

All About Gluten: Your Questions Answered

Calcium and Vitamin D

Photo Credit: Alex E. Proimos via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Alex E. Proimos via Compfight cc

APRIL

Spring Training…Let’s Head to the Races!

Genetically Modified Foods

Healthy in the Mind and the Body

Super Foods Super Expensive

Olive Oil, Extra Virgin, or Cold-Pressed…What’s the Difference?

Photo Credit: mischiru via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: mischiru via Compfight cc

MAY

How to Eat Your Water and Stay Hydrated

To Prevent Kidney Stones

Is Your Favorite Organic Restaurant Actually Organic?

JUNE

How To Choose Safer, Sustainable Seafood

Fun and Easy Outdoor Activities for Father’s Day

Sprouted Grain Bread vs Whole Wheat Bread

3 New Moves

Photo Credit: Admanchester via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Admanchester via Compfight cc

JULY

Wheatgrass

Vitamins: The Basics

Fish Oil Linked to Prostate Cancer?

A Day at the Beach: So What’s for Lunch?

Join the Challenge on Food Waste

AUGUST

Nuts

Breakfast, the Most Important Meal of the Day

Is Greek Frozen Yogurt Everyone’s Answer to Dessert?

10 Foods to Help You Fuel Your Day

SEPTEMBER

Workout from Within

New FDA Ruling Making Waves in Gluten-Free Community

How to Feed a Fast!

National Celiac Awareness Day

Contrary to Popular Belief – Men, Also Suffer From Eating Disorders

OCTOBER

What’s the Story with GMOs?

“Shattered Image”: An Interview with Brian Cuban

The Latest Diet Recommendations for Breast Cancer

Healthy Snack Options for Diabetics

Prostate Cancer: News and Recommendations

Canola Oil: Is It Healthy?

NOVEMBER

Should Your Oil be Cold-Pressed?

What Exactly is Diabulimia?

5 Simple Tips for a Simply Healthier You This Holiday Season

The Art of the Bliss Point

DECEMBER

Out with ORAC

Eating in “Peace”

Eating Healthfully When Gluten-Free

Happy and Healthy Diabetes-Friendly Holiday Meals with Dessert!

Nutrition Trends: 2014 Edition

Nutrition Trends: 2014 Edition

Photo Credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks, 2 Million Views, Thanks via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks, 2 Million Views, Thanks via Compfight cc

Nutrition Trends: 2014 Edition
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

We took to the blogosphere earlier this year to highlight the food trends of 2013. We focused on chia seeds, natural sugar “alternatives”, self-monitoring, gluten-free foods, juicing, and leading a simpler life. And we have to say that those trends were pretty accurate. In honor of the New Year quickly approaching we wanted to share some of our predicted food trends of 2014.

Alternative Sugars

There’s no question that alternative sugars have become increasingly popular these past few years. With products like Stevia and coconut sugar leading the way last year, we have a hunch that Pyure will take the lead this coming year. It’s organic, non-GMO, and has a decent amount of fiber in a serving. According to their website, Pyure is an organic stevia blended with agave inulin fiber, which can act as a probiotic and digestive aids. With claims like that, we foresee a surge in popularity for this stevia sweetener. This does not mean we are fans rather we are just letting you know!

Beans, Beans, They’re Good for your Heart…

The editors at Eatocracy predict that beans will be a big trend among the culinary scene come 2014. We’d have to agree with them. Chefs have been featuring more protein-rich beans on their menus. We love it! Beans are a great source of fiber, protein, not to mention vitamins and minerals. Plus, they hold up well and can serve as the protein source in a main dish. It’s quite the win-win situation for restaurants, as beans are typically less expensive than meat and they draw in the vegetarian and vegan crowds. Just remember, you need 1.5 cups of beans to equal 3 oz of animal protein.

Photo Credit: Admanchester via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Admanchester via Compfight cc

Cauliflower

Who didn’t know someone who tried cauliflower pizza this past year, are we right? Cauliflower has been making headway in the online foodie scene recently. With recipes like cauliflower pizza, fritters, and mashed “potatoes,” cauliflower is quickly becoming the “hidden” vegetable. Don’t let the white color fool you, cauliflower is packed with vitamins and minerals, and we just can’t wait to see the new recipes to come next year! Check out one of our favorite recipes here.

Allergy-Friendly Foods

While we predicted gluten-free foods to be a trend in 2013, we have a feeling they’ll continue to rise in popularity come 2014. We, also, think that allergy-friendly foods, brands like Enjoy Life Foods, will become popular this year. With more and more food brands toting the gluten-free, peanut-free, and casein-free logos, we predict they’ll continue to grow. Food allergies seem to be on the rise, especially among school-aged children, so keep an eye out for kid and allergy-friendly foods.

Photo Credit: prideandvegudice via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: prideandvegudice via Compfight cc

Healthier Fast Food

Fast food continues to stay popular among Americans. We predict a surge of newer fast food options this year. Not only do we think (hope) that the main fast food companies, like McDonalds and Burger King will work to provide healthier food options for consumers, but we also think that some new options will emerge. In NYC alone, there are a number of healthy “fast food” joints popping up all over the place. With options like Hu Kitchen, Mulberry & Vine, and Fresh & Co the idea of grabbing a quick bite to eat may mean going to buy a quinoa-kale salad rather than a double cheeseburger.

Food Apps/Health Trackers

There’s no question that the app business has been drastically growing these past few years. We predict that it will continue to grow, especially in terms of food and health tracking apps. Apps like Fooducate, MyFitnessPal, and Lift have become quite trendy. We also think that their health tracker program counterparts will follow suit. Programs like fitbit, the Jawbone UP band, and Nike+ Fuel Band all track certain aspects of your health and allow you to sync with your computer (or phone) and track your health.

Probiotics

Who knew the word bacteria would be so trendy? 2013 was a big year for probiotics, and we don’t think that they will be going anywhere in 2014. With benefits ranging from improved digestion and preventing constipation, it’s no wonder these little bacteria get so much attention. It’s important to note that the research is still out on all their health effects, however, when on antibiotics or prescribed by a doctor, these microorganisms have been shown to balance the bacteria in your intestines. We’re looking forward to seeing more news and research on probiotics and any additional benefits they may have. Learn more by watching our video here.

 

New FDA Ruling Making Waves in Gluten-Free Community

glutenThe American Journal of Gastroenterology recently found that the prevalence of Celiac Disease in America affects every 1 in 141 people[1]. This past spring we featured a blog post explaining the ins and outs of the gluten-free diet. We touched on Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, and the false idea that gluten-free automatically means weight loss. Now that we all have a better understanding of the gluten-free world, we have some great news to share! Earlier this month, the FDA made great strides in the gluten-free community by officially defining a standard that will apply to foods bearing the gluten-free label.

What Will This Mean? Let’s Get To The Good Stuff!

Gluten-free labeling has been a bit of a free-for-all over the past few decades. Meaning there was little to no regulation on what classified a product as gluten-free. According to a study featured in BMC Medicine, the gluten-free food industry has expanded to over $2 billion in global sales, as of 2010[2]. With the rapid expansion and lack of regulatory standards, choosing gluten free products could be a rather big risk for those with Celiac Disease and gluten-sensitivities.

As we mentioned in our previous gluten-free feature, Celiac Disease has no cure. The only known way to manage the disease is through a strict, gluten-free diet. Andrea Levario, the executive director of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, stated, “not having a legal definition of ‘gluten-free,’ consumers could never be positive that their body would tolerate a food with the gluten-free label.[3]” Therefore, this new ruling is causing many people with Celiac Disease and the gluten-intolerant to rejoice in the safety of the universal standard.

The rule will apply to the following labels:

  • “Gluten-free”
  • “No gluten”
  • “Free of gluten”
  • “Without gluten”

We now know that gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, as well as some contaminated oats and that even the smallest amount can cause symptoms in those with Celiac and gluten-intolerance. The FDA has decided to consider foods with no more than 20ppm (parts per million) of gluten as gluten-free. But, what does the 20ppm mean, you ask?  20ppm is the least amount of gluten that can be found in foods via reliable scientific analysis testing. It is also the level that meets many other countries’ standards for safety.

Manufacturers will have until August 5th, 2014 to abide by the ruling. Michael R. Taylor, J.D., the Deputy FDA Food Commissioner, states that while the FDA believes the majority of gluten-free companies already fall under compliance, they urge companies to closely examine their practices, before the one-year mark from the ruling3.

While the FDA will not be testing these products before they hit the market, if a food item is found to violate the ruling, the item will be subject to an official FDA investigation, and possible suspension.

What a month for the gluten-free community!  We are pleased that this ruling will allow for a safer shopping experience for gluten-free folks!

 

For more detailed information on the FDA’s ruling, please visit the FDA’s website.


[1] Rubio-Tapia, Alberto, Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Tricia L. Brantner, Joseph A. Murray, and James E. Everhart. “The Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States.”Nature.com. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2013. <http://www.nature.com/ajg/journal/v107/n10/full/ajg2012219a.html>.

[2] Sapone, Anna, Julio C. Bai, Carolina Ciacci, Jernej Dolinsek, Peter HR Green, and Marios Hadjivassiliou. “Spectrum of Gluten-related Disorders: Consensus on New Nomenclature and Classification.” BMC Medicine. BioMed Central Medicine, 7 Feb. 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2013. <http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/10/13>.

[3] “For Consumers.” What Is Gluten-Free? FDA Has an Answer. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 02 Aug. 2013. Web. 26 Aug. 2013. <http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm363069.htm>.

 

 

All About Gluten: Your Questions Answered

Over the past few years, gluten-free diets have become extremely popular, but do you know what the benefits and purpose of following a gluten-free lifestyle are?

What is the purpose of a gluten-free diet?

A gluten-free diet is used to treat celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. Following a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications.  Some of the most common symptoms of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance are weight loss or weight gain, nutritional deficiencies, fat in stools, cramps and numbness, gastro-intestinal problems, and overall decline in dental health.

What does it mean to be gluten-free?

The diet must exclude all gluten proteins.  One of the easiest ways to keep this in mind is to think of B-R-O-W when reading labels.  If the product contains barley, rye, oats or wheat, it contains gluten.  This also means avoiding a majority of processed foods in the market as well since most include binding agents containing gluten as well.

While it may seem challenging and frustrating at first, with a little patience and creativity, you can help remake your favorite meals into gluten-free versions that everyone can enjoy!

What can you eat if you follow a gluten-free diet?

The great news is that a lot of foods are naturally gluten-free.  Fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, most dairy products and meats are gluten-free.  In addition to this cornmeal, quinoa, tapioca, rice, soy, and flax are also gluten-free.  There are a variety of gluten-free flours available and it simply depends on preference, so don’t be afraid to try out a few before you find one you like!  There are also a lot of gluten-free mixes and products in the supermarket, just make sure to look for the gluten-free label.

Are there any health concerns of following a gluten-free diet?

Since a majority of the pastas and flours on the shelves are enriched with essential vitamins and minerals, it is important to make sure that you are getting adequate amounts of iron, Niacin, Thiamin, and Folate in your diet.

Will a gluten-free diet help you lose weight?

Recent research studies published in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics report that there is no evidence to support a gluten-free diet will promote weight loss in a healthy individual.  In normal individuals who do not have Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, consuming products containing gluten in moderation actually help support heart, intestinal, and immune system functions.  A majority of the gluten-free products on the shelves actually contain more fats and sugars than the original gluten versions, so those individuals who rely on a gluten-free diet without any exercise, actually end up gaining weight as a result.

What is the difference between gluten intolerance, wheat allergy and Celiac Disease?

Gluten intolerance is less severe than Celiac Disease as it is not immune mediated.  The symptoms are not as severe and do not cause permanent damage like those in Celiac patients do.  Abdominal pain, distress, and diarrhea are common.  Wheat allergies are one of the top 8 allergies in the country at the moment.  Like any other food allergy, traditional symptoms are swelling and inflammation of the skin, lungs, and mouth.  Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body starts attacking its own tissue as a response to consuming gluten.  Celiac patients are at a higher risk for malnutrition due to this and usually have a more intensive treatment than those who suffer from wheat allergy or gluten intolerance.  Unlike wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, Celiac Disease is inherited.

Does Gluten Have An Impact On Children?

As mentioned earlier, gluten is beneficial to those who are healthy and do not suffer from a gluten allergy or Celiac Disease.  Unfortunately, the only way to know if your child has developed an allergy or has Celiac Disease is to give them gluten products and pay close attention to how their body reacts after.  Since gluten is known to be a hormone disruptor, recent studies have now linked gluten sensitivity to abnormalities in the endocrine system, especially the thyroid.  The growth hormone is essential to help assist in the development and growth in children.  Studies have shown that once children adopted a gluten-free diet, their growth started to progress normally again.  One of the latest research efforts is in relation to the impact a gluten-free diet has on children with Autism.  A new study has shown that the lack of nutrient absorption from Celiac Disease can have a significant impact on the symptoms of Autism.  Their malabsorption syndrome, which is associated with central nervous system dysfunction, has suggested that in some contexts, nutritional deficiency may be a determinant of developmental delay. It is recommended that all children with neurodevelopmental problems be checked for nutritional deficiencies and malabsorption syndromes.

Where Can I Learn More About Gluten-Free Living?

The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Living is an amazing resource that provides more in depth information on all of the topics we discussed.

Adams Gluten Free Surprise: Helping Others Understand Gluten Free by Debbie Simpson is a great book that helps share information about Gluten-Free living from a child’s perspective to help them better understand.

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is a comprehensive site that not only discusses the latest developments and research pertaining to gluten, but it also has an abundance of recipes and cooking tips as well as a message board to help others suffering from a gluten allergy or Celiac Disease so that they can share their stories.

Cooking for Isaiah is a great Gluten-Free cookbook created by a mother whose son was diagnosed with gluten and dairy intolerances.  The recipes are not only delicious but also easy to make!

Gloriously Gluten-Free is a cookbook that takes you around the world, so if you are looking for a gluten free guide to all cuisines from Asian, Italian, and Spanish, then this is the cookbook for you!

  1. Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Gluten-free Diet: What’s Allowed, What’s Not.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 Dec. 2011. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.
  2. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Volume 112, Issue 9 , Pages 1330-1333, September 2012
  3. “What Is Celiac Disease?” American Celiac Disease Alliance Celiac Disease Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  4. Clin Med Res. 2006 Sep;4(3):180-3.
  5. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010 Oct;51(4):418-24.

Energy Bars: The On-the-Go Nosh

In today’s society, we are constantly on the run. If we’re not students rushing to class, parents rushing to pick up their kids or dropping them off, then we’re probably rushing to meet our friends or medical appointments. Sometimes, we are so busy and exhausted that many of us just do not have the time to sit down for a bite. So what happens to those of us who finally sit down but are crunched for time? Whether consumed as a snack or meal replacement, many of us opt for an energy bar. With so many options, which bars give a healthier boost? Here are 5 of our favorite energy bars for an on-the-go nosh:

1. Zing

This gluten and soy-free bar is so tasty, we almost forget it’s an energy bar. With about 20 grams of carbohydrates per bar, Zing may be ideal for those who have diabetes, have celiac disease or food intolerances.

2. LaraBar

These bars generally contain less than 8 ingredients and are made of fruits, nuts and spices. Flavorful, but some varieties can contain up to 14-17 grams of sugar so beware. However, we do love the sweet and saltiness of the Roasted Nut Roll, which at 7 grams of sugar per bar, contains half the amount of sugar than the others. The raw nuts make this bar a tasty choice for those following a raw food lifestyle.

3. Kind Bars

These bars are generally made with about 10 rather simple ingredients, many which include nuts, honey, puffed rice and dried fruits. The use of whole, not ground nuts, contribute to the texture and “homemade” feel.

5. Health Warrior Chia Bars

Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids! When we discovered that these vegan bars were made with chia, we were glad to see them successfully added to more foods! Every bar is 100 calories and contains 4 grams of sugar. With 15 grams of carbohydrates, these chia bars may be ideal for someone who has diabetes.

In spite of a hectic schedule, the busy individual should never feel like they need to rely on energy bars to meet calorie or nutritional needs. Although energy bars can be incorporated as a healthy part of a meal structure, there’s nothing quite like fresh or wholesome foods.  Moreover, many of these bars appear nutritious but can have hidden levels of high sugar, additives, carbohydrates and calories. Keep in mind that many of these energy bars were created for athletes, and not for those who do minimal to no exercise.  If given the option between an energy bar or meal when crunched for time, it is best to grab a quick meal. However, if there’s absolutely no way around to grabbing a quick meal (let’s face it, sometimes that’s just not practical) follow this bar code when searching for an on-the-go chew:

  1. Keep it simple – Don’t be tricked by the word “energy bar.” When it comes to figuring out the nutritional value of an energy bar, a consumer’s best bet may be to first scan the back for a list of ingredients, then look at the nutrition label. If there is a long, running list of unfamiliar ingredients that you are unable to pronounce, another bar may be a better option.
  2. Consider your energy and activity needs – Think about your activity for the day. If you will be going on a long run, you may chose a bar with a different nutritional content than an individual who will be doing minimal activity.
  3. Create your own, healthy & homemade energy bars – If you have time, consider making a large batch of bars ahead of time. Not only are they easy to make, but you will also know exactly what ingredients went into them. You can even make them ahead of time and store them for an easy, on-the-go chew! For an even easier and quicker recipe, try packing a homemade trail mix.
  4. Think outside of the box – If you’re looking for energy bars to be your meal replacer, consider grabbing a Greek yogurt and enjoy it with a banana or top it with fresh berries.

 

Substitutes for the Cheeselover

Pizzas, sandwiches, quesadillas, what do all of these foods have in common? That’s right—cheese! Let’s face it, who doesn’t love the rich, creamy mouthfeel and gooey texture of melted cheese?  As a popular accompaniment to many entrées and snacks, one might just consider cheese to be a staple food. Yet whether due to food allergies or other dietary reasons, some individuals may not eat cheese and would prefer a dairy-free alternative.

Who Would Want “Fake” Cheese?

Cheese substitutes are enjoyed by individuals who do not tolerate dairy products very well or who are following a dairy-free diet such as a vegan, vegetarian, or paleo diet. Fortunately, for those who just cannot fathom saying ‘good-bye’ to grilled cheese sandwiches and ‘hello’ to cheese-free pizzas, there are an abundance of dairy-free cheese substitutes on the market. Since cheese made from cow or goat milk are usually higher in saturated fat and cholesterol, cheese substitutes can be a healthier alternative.

Always Read The Label

With a rise in allergies to milk and soy products, the market for cheese substitutes has grown as well, providing us with dozens of options to choose from. Common cheese substitutes are made from soy, rice, tofu and almond based. There are a lot of cheese substitutes out there but to check if it is really dairy-free, check the ingredient list. Many soy cheeses contain casein, a protein derived from milk. Casein is what helps hold cheese together and gives it its texture. People who are lactose intolerant can usually tolerate casein. But for those with severe milk allergies or are strict vegans, I recommend finding a vegan cheese product that is almond-based or rice-based. However, when picking out a cheese substitute, one should avoid what they are allergic to, ie. those who are allergic to soy should avoid tofu-based cheeses and soy cheeses.

Not All Cheese Substitutes Are Created Equal

From color to flavor, people want and expect a cheese substitute to be almost identical to the melt, spread and cream of regular cheese. While cheese substitutes can be bland, some products are close to the real thing. But how to pick a cheese and what to look for?

  • Low sodium
  • Close-to-cheese taste
  • Ability to melt
  • Non-rubbery or plastic texture
  • Casein protein (depending on your preference)

If you need a little direction, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve narrowed it down to my top favorites:

Vegan Pick: Daiya 

As one of the most popular vegan cheese, Daiya is known for its ability to melt like real cheese. I have found it served in delicious restaurants dishes I have ordered too. It’s shredded style makes it perfect for making pizzas and sprinking over salads and pastas. It also comes in cheddar, mozzerella, and pepperjack.

Vegan Pick: Vegan Gourmet by Follow Your Heart

Winner of VegNews’ award for best vegan cheese in 2005, in my opinion it is one of the best vegan cheeses on the market. It may not melt as well as Daiya but the cheddar has a sharpness to it that makes it almost irresistible to eat by the slice.

Nutritional Yeast

The name may throw you off but this easy to sprinkle substitute is another rather popular option in the vegan community.  When sprinkled over pasta dishes, the nutty and cheesy flavor makes a quick Parmesan substitute. When added to liquids it can help thicken sauces for a creamier texture.

Soy-Based Pick: Veggie Slices Cheddar Flavor by Galaxy National Foods

Orange colored and individually wrapped, this soy-based cheese resembles Kraft singles. With a good melt and taste, this is a good substitute for making grilled cheese.

Cut The Cheese

Deservedly or not, non-dairy cheeses often get a bad rap for lacking taste, flavor and texture. But next time you try a cheese substitute, go in with an open-mind! Without comparing it to regular cheese, try to give it an un-biased taste test. Each brand has a different texture and flavor. Which holds better for sandwiches or which melts better on pizzas? You may end up trying many before you find the one you like!

Ultimately, cheese substitutes are just substitutes. There is never going to be a product that can replicate the authentic taste, texture, or melt of cheese, except cheese. Due to the health and dietary restrictions people have these days–and some unavoidable like food allergies–when one’s body simply won’t cooperate with dairy products cheese substitutes can make life a bit tastier, a little healthier, and a whole lot happier. After all, who doesn’t love cheese?