INFLAMMATION and a LEAKY GUT MAY PLAY A ROLE IN AUTISM

April is Autism Awareness Month. Inflammation of the brain is a factor with Autism and the major cause of inflammation in the body is a leaky gut. Talk About Curing Autism spokesperson, Jenny McCarthy, advocates not only a gluten-free casein-free diet (GFCF), but also one free of sugar including fruit, yeast and food dyes to reduce the symptoms of autism and heal the body. Jenny McCarthy will be a special guest this Saturday at Dallas Rocks Against Autism, proudly sponsored by Hail Merry®, a GFCF, raw, vegan snack food company based in Dallas.

According to Autism Speaks™, Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex pervasive developmental brain disorders characterized by severe deficits in social interaction and communication, by an extremely limited range of activities and interests, and often by the presence of repetitive, stereotyped behavior.

One in 110 American children has an autism spectrum disorder (1 in 70 boys) and the prevalence rate is increasing 10-17% annually. Interestingly, females suffer from autoimmune diseases 3x more than males but autism is 4x common in males.

The cause of Autism is unknown. The is no medical detection and there is no cure. Each case is individual with different levels of severity and combination of symptoms. Children with Autism generally have problems in three crucial areas of development- social interaction, language, and behavior. Common signs include failure to respond to name, avoidance of eye contact with other people, lack of empathy, repetitive movements and delayed speech. Common treatments include educational and behavioral interventions, medications and other therapies including a gluten-free casein-free diet (GFCF).

Recent research found little evidence that supports the use of most medications for treating autism in children, with the exception of the anti-psychotic drugs risperidone and aripiprazole.  Risperidone is probably the most common antipsychotic in use. It helps to lessen aggression, agitation and explosive behaviors. Side effects include a sedative effect, weight gain, dizziness and muscular stiffness. Aripiprazole has shown success in controlling severely disruptive, hyperactive and repetitive behaviors. For more on the study go to http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/peds.2011-0426v1.

There is a growing interest among researchers about the role of the functions and regulation of the immune system in autism – both within the body and the brain. Piecemeal evidence over the past 30 years suggests that autism may involve inflammation in the central nervous system. There is also emerging evidence from animal studies that illustrates how the immune system can influence behaviors related to autism (http://www.autismspeaks.org/whatisit/index.php).

In past blogs, I have discussed how inflammation is the underlying cause of most chronic and autoimmune disorders. The major cause of inflammation in the body is the food we eat. Food allergies and intolerances have been implicated in a wide range of medical conditions, affecting every part of the body: from mildly uncomfortable indigestion, to severe illnesses including celiac disease and diabetes, to developmental disorders such as ADHD and Autism. The inflammatory reaction occurs when an ingested food molecule acts as an antigen, a substance that causes the immune system to produce antibodies against it.

When you ingest something your immune system does not like or perceives as undesirable, it attacks by means of inflammation. When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues in an attempt to rid the body of foreign substances. This release of toxic chemicals increases blood flow to the area and may result in irritation, redness and swelling (think arthritis). The common thread in all these conditions is an unusually permeable gut caused by inflammation in the small intestine as a response to the food we eat- and we eat mostly wheat, sugar and acid forming foods like polyunsaturated oils and beef. With a leaky gut, undigested food proteins, bacteria, viruses, and yeast (Candida is a problem for many with ASD including Jenny McCarthy’s son) can escape into our blood system thru the inflamed cell walls of the small intestine. The body recognizes these proteins as foreign invaders and our immune system attempts to fight them off causing more inflammation which sets the stage for various chronic and autoimmune disorders including IBD, lupus, allergies, asthma, even Autism.

In an interview on Oprah, Jenny McCarthy states, “I cannot express enough how IMPORTANT diet is to our kids and I mean, with or without a diagnosis I guarantee your child will benefit from eating healthy. If your child has behavior problems but does not fall on the spectrum I would still highly recommend the GFCF diet.”

On Saturday April 9, 2011 Dallas Rocks Against Autism. BUY YOUR TICKETS to see Jenny McCarthy!!!!! Proudly sponsored by Hail Merry Snacks!  http://dallasrocksagainstautism.ticketleap.com/dallas-rocks-against-autism/

Hail Merry Snacks are GFCF and contain no yeast. Go to http://www.hailmerry.com/.

For more information about inflammation go to http://www.foodphilosopher.com and The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook.

Gluten-Free Casein-Free Oat Rolls for a Leaky Gut

In the past blogs, I have discussed how inflammation is the underlying cause of most chronic and autoimmune disorders. But for many who suffer from diseases such as arthritis, colitis and fibromyalgia, the big question is “What triggers the inflammatory reaction in the body?” Simply, the food we eat.

Food allergies and intolerances have been implicated in a wide range of medical conditions, affecting every part of the body: from mildly uncomfortable indigestion, to embarrassing diarrhea, to severe illnesses such as celiac disease and affecting over 60% of the U.S. population. The inflammatory reaction occurs when an ingested food molecule acts as an antigen, a substance that causes the immune system to produce antibodies against it. When you ingest something your immune system does not like or perceives as undesirable, it attacks by means of inflammation. When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues in an attempt to rid the body of foreign substances. This release of toxic chemicals increases blood flow to the area and may result in irritation, redness and swelling (think arthritis). The common thread in all these conditions is an unusually permeable gut caused by inflammation in the small intestine as a response to the food we eat- mostly wheat, sugar and acid forming foods like polyunsaturated oils and beef. With a leaky gut, undigested food proteins, bacteria, viruses, and even yeast can escape into our blood system thru the inflamed cell walls of the small intestine. The body recognizes these proteins as foreign invaders and our immune system attempts to fight them off causing more inflammation which sets the stage for various chronic and autoimmune disorders including IBD, lupus, allergies, asthma, even eczema. For more information go to http://www.foodphilosopher.com and The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook.

What can we do to heal a leaky gut? Eat a varied seasonal diet based on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and monounsaturated fats that contain omega 3 oils. Avoid common foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body, such as wheat and sugar, which are commonly used in many processed foods. Other allergenic foods include soy, milk, eggs, and peanuts.

Below is a bread recipe free of common allergens but high in flavor. Each roll contains more than 3 grams of fiber (10% recommended daily intake) and almost 600 milligrams (50% of the minimum recommended daily intake) of anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils due to the chia seeds, oats and whole grain gluten-free flours. Chia seeds are a nutritional bonanza in a tiny package. Each tablespoon contains 65 calories, 2.5 grams protein, 4 grams of fiber and 1755 milligrams of omega-3 oils, plus they are chock full of antioxidants and alkalizing minerals such as phosphorous and manganese. Good health can be delicious and gluten-free. These rolls have a crispy crust, a delicate inside and a wonderful wholegrain flavor. I love them toasted and of course fresh from the oven. Enjoy!

GFCF Oatmeal Rolls with Chia Seeds

Makes 12 rolls

1 cup gluten free oat flour

1/2 cup teff flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 cup tapioca starch

3 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons chia seeds

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 packet (1/4 oz. each) dry yeast granules (not quick rise)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water (110 F)

Cornmeal

  1. Spray a 12-cupcake baking pan with baking spray and sprinkle with corn meal.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl of electric mixer. Pour warm water (110°F) and olive oil into mixing bowl; mix until just blended. Scrape bowl and beaters, and then beat at high speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Scoop dough for rolls into prepared cupcake pan with an ice cream scoop. Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place (about 80°F) for 40-50 minutes, until dough has slightly more than doubled in size.
  4. Place shelf in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F while bread is rising (do not use a convection oven).
  5. Bake in center of preheated oven for 15-25 minutes. Rolls should have a hollow sound when tapped on the sides and be light golden in color. Instant read thermometer should register about 200°F. You can bake them longer to make a thicker crust; the color will deepen, and the internal temperature will continue to rise. Remove rolls from pan and cool on a rack. Rolls can be stored in refrigerator for up to two days or freezer for up to three weeks; wrap well in plastic wrap and then foil. Refresh rolls with a sprinkle of water and rewarm in 350°F preheated oven; wrap in foil if you do not want a crisp crust (but open the foil for the last five minutes). Or microwave rolls for 15 seconds and then lightly toast.

A Gluten-Free Oatmeal Breakfast to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome

Autoimmune diseases are disorders in which the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system. Autoimmune diseases are on the rise. Celiac disease, a digestive autoimmune condition triggered by the consumption of gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye and barley) is 400% more prevalent today than 40 years ago. Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and deformity of joints, is on the rise among women after decades of decline. The list goes on: type-1 diabetes, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and ulcerative colitis.

As previously mentioned, a growing body of evidence suggests that virtually the same trio of factors underpins most, and perhaps all, autoimmune diseases: an environmental substance that is presented to the body (in the case of celiac disease the trigger is gluten), a genetically based tendency of the immune system to overreact to the substance, and an unusually permeable gut.

Once diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, it is important to eat a gluten-free anti-inflammatory diet, so that your gut can heal. I wasn’t a big fan of oatmeal until I came up with the recipe below:

1/2 cup dry gluten-free rolled oats  (190 calories &  5 grams fiber)

1 small banana, 5″ long, sliced thin  (75 calories & 4 grams fiber)

1 tablespoon dried cherries  (35 calories & 3 grams fiber)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup non-sweetened almond milk  (40 calories)

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (30 calories & 2 grams fiber)

In a 4 cup bowl, combine 1/2 cup of rolled oats, sliced banana, dried cherries, cinnamon and almond milk. Stir and then cook in microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. Cover and let rest 1 minute. The mixture will be creamy but have a slightly chewy texture. Sprinkle with flaxseed meal and enjoy.

This delicious breakfast weighs in at 370 calories and 14 grams of fiber and is a gut healing way to start any day. Not only do oats lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar, but they enhance our immune response to fight bacterial infection. Bananas are a good source of potassium and magnesium, plus they are full of soluble fiber and probiotics that help contribute to a healthy gut.  Cherries contain components called anthocyanins that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Flaxseed meal contains anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and beneficial fiber. Cinnamon has been used for centuries to help stop the growth of bacteria, fungi and Candida, all sources of problems for leaky gut syndrome. Almond milk helps balance acidity in the body.

For more gut healthy recipes go to http://www.foodphilosopher.com and order The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook!

Leaky Gut Syndrome May Cause Magnesium Deficiency which Correlates to ADHD in Children

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a syndrome with many contributing causes including environmental toxins, nutrition deficiencies, food sensitivities, and leaky gut syndrome (see my previous blog for more information about leaky gut syndrome). Throughout the United States, ADHD has become an alarming epidemic. About 10-15% of all school children have the disorder and the rates are doubling every 3 to 4 years. More than 3 million American children diagnosed with ADHD are treated with Ritalin®, a central nervous stimulant with properties similar to cocaine, and the amount of the drug being prescribed has more than quadrupled in the last 10 years with more than 10 tons being produced in recent years (1).

Leaky gut syndrome causes inflammation which can result in the malabsorption of many important nutrients, such as magnesium and zinc. A leaky gut also allows for the passage of environmental toxins into the body through the intestinal wall. Therefore, it is not surprising that a leaky gut plays a role in triggering most chronic diseases and ADHD hyperactivity behaviors. In fact, researchers have found lower than normal levels of magnesium in people with ADHD (2). Low magnesium results in a syndrome of abnormalities including depression, irritability, restless sleep, muscle spasms, memory loss and low physical endurance. In one study, 95% of a group of 116 children with ADHD had below normal magnesium levels. Treatment was administered to 50 children with low blood and hair magnesium with 200 mg magnesium daily for 6 months. Compared to a control group given ‘standard therapy’ without magnesium, the supplemented children showed a significant decrease in hyperactivity (3).

Magnesium is one of the necessary chemical elements in our intestinal tract and is required by every cell of the body. As an essential electrolyte, it works with calcium and phosphorus to build bones and it is needed for muscle and nerve function. Magnesium also helps to prevent and relieve constipation, regulates the heart and converts foods to energy. Consequently, magnesium deficiencies can cause hyperactivity, psychiatric disorders and convulsive seizures in children (4).

It is important for children with ADHD to eat a diet rich in magnesium. Foods rich in magnesium are green vegetables, (such as spinach and okra), nuts (almonds and peanuts) pumpkin seeds, and black beans. The recommended daily allowance for most people is between 300 and 400 milligrams per day of magnesium. A delicious child friendly way to get more magnesium in the body is to eat 1 ounce (142 seeds) of pumpkin seeds (equal to 151 milligrams magnesium) or 1 cup of okra (equal to 94 milligrams magnesium). My kids love okra roasted, and then sprinkled with sea salt. When they were small I told them it is nature’s pretzel.

ROASTED OKRA

Serves 4-6

1 pound fresh small whole okra (less than 3” in length)

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line large baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil.
  2. In mixing bowl, toss okra with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast for 10 minutes or until brown and tender. Turn okra once, after 5 minutes, while roasting. Transfer to serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

References:

(1) United Nations Nation’s Information Service Annual Report (1996). United nation’s warnings on rialin. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/medicating/backlash/un.html

(2) The Georgetown University Medical Center Office of Continuing Professional Education and The International Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, and the International Health Foundation, Jackson, Tennessee Symposium (2000). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Causes and Possible Solutions NOHA NEWS, 1: 1-3. Retrieved from http://www.nutrition4health.org/NOHAnews/NNW00ADHD.htm.

(3) Kozielec, T., Starobrar-Hermelin, B. (1997) Assessment of magnesium levels in children with ADHD. Magnesium Research, 10 (2): 143-8. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368235.

(4) Mousain-Bosc, M., Roche, M., Rapin, J., and Bali, (2004). Magnesium Vitb6 intake reduces central nervous system huperexcitability in children. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 23 (5): 5454-548. Retireved from http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/abstract/23/5/545S

Autoimmune Diseases Triggered By Leaky Gut Syndrome

AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES TRIGGERED BY LEAKY GUT SYNDROME

Chronic inflammation is the underlying cause of most autoimmune disorders. But for many who suffer from autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, the big question is “What triggers the inflammatory reaction in the body?” “A growing body of evidence suggests that virtually the same trio of factors underpins most, and perhaps all, autoimmune diseases: an environmental substance that is presented to the body, a genetically based tendency of the immune system to overreact to the substance, and an unusually permeable gut,” said Dr. Alessio Fasano, a leading researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (1).

Intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome are terms used to describe an inability of the stomach lining to absorb protein molecules. Instead of being absorbed and digested, these protein molecules circulate throughout the blood stream. Here, they stimulate the immune system, and, in turn, immune system cells react to their presence as they would to any foreign protein by initiating an inflammatory reaction that leads to autoantibody production and autoimmune disease development. Evidence for this theory includes the presence of gastrointestinal tissue damage seen in patients with a number of different autoimmune diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, thyroiditis, and dermatitis herpetiformis. In many of these conditions, a reduction of digestive inflammation correlates with a reduction or remission of autoimmune symptoms. (2)

There are many foods that trigger digestive inflammation. Among the most common foods are wheat, milk, and beef. In order to discover exactly what foods are the culprits, the best approach is an elimination diet of these foods. For more information about neutralizing inflammation in the body read The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook, available at http://www.amazon.com/Gluten-Free-Good-Health-Cookbook-Inflammation/dp/1572841052/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252425508&sr=1-1

Recent research has showed that the risk of rheumatoid arthritis is inversely associated with consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (3) and some trials have produced benefits when patients eliminate cereal grains altogether and emphasize proteins rich in polyunsaturated fat, such as fish, nuts and soy. These low-carbohydrate diets may help because they suppress growth of harmful or immune-active intestinal bacteria (4).

I wanted to share this recent research and offer another delicious recipe that contains anti-inflammatory foods rich in omega-3 oils (other than fish and nuts), antioxidants which help reduce chronic pain in the body, and fiber to balance the intestinal tract. Eat this Rhubarb Strawberry Fool for a refreshing dessert that will help reduce digestive inflammation. For more information about soy go to http://www.foodphilosopher.com/assets/docs/soyus.cfm

RHUBARB STRAWBERRY FOOL

Yields 2 cups

2 cups rhubarb* (about 2 large stalks), diced in 1–inch pieces
1 teaspoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup strawberries hulled and cut into halves (or use whole raspberries)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces soft silken tofu

  1. Combine the rhubarb, ginger, orange zest, and juice in a medium–size heavy saucepan. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, loosely cover, and simmer for 4 minutes.
  2. Add berries and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and add honey and vanilla extract. Cool for 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, purée silken tofu until smooth. Add in cooked, cooled puree and blend until smooth. Cool in refrigerator.
  4. Serve with Greek yogurt for a very healthy dessert. The fool can be made several days ahead and refrigerated.

*Rhubarb leaves are inedible. Trim the stalks and remove all leaves completely. Then cut off the flat brown part from the bottom of each stalk. String the rhubarb only if the stalks are very large and green.

References:

(1) Fasano, A. (2009). Surprises from celiac disease. Scientific American. 23:21. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=celiac-disease-insights

(2) Moore, E. (2007). Leaky gut syndrome: using probiotics and digestive enzymes in autoimmune disorders. General Medicine. Retrieved from http://autoimmunedisease.suite101.com/article.cfm/leaky_gut_syndrome#ixzz0npIBFylf.

(3) Linos, A, Kaklamani, V., Kaklamani, E., et al (2000). Dietary factors in relation to rheumatoid arthrisits: a role for olive oil and cooked vegetables. American Journal Clinical Nutrition. 70(6): 1077-82. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10584053

(4) Vanderhoof, J & Young, R. (2006). Bacterial overgrowth. University of Nebraska Medical Center, Creighton University. Retrieved from http://www.oley.org/lifeline/bacter.html

How Long Did It Take For You To Be Diagnosed With Celiac Disease? Your Body Needs Healing Foods: Gluten-Free Junk Food is Still Junk Food

Are you one of many on a gluten-free diet but still experiencing pain and discomfort due to arthritis, headaches, numbness or diabetes? Are you frustrated, rightfully so, because your doctor wants to prescribe medications that mask the symptoms but don’t cure the problem? The average length of time it takes for a symptomatic person to be diagnosed with celiac disease in the U.S. is four years. Imagine if you are asymptomatic- the time could be double, even triple. In Dr. Fasano’s landmark prevalence study on celiac disease (1), 60% of children and 41% of adults diagnosed during the study were without symptoms. A lot is happening in the body during those undiagnosed years and it takes more than replacing wheat bread with gluten-free bread to heal the damage and achieve good health.

For years your body was a war zone- literally. If you have an autoimmune disease like celiac, your immune system launches an attack on the lining of the small intestine. The small intestine is lined with tiny fingerlike projections called villi, which secrete digestive enzymes and absorb nutrients. With celiac disease, the villi are damaged or destroyed, resulting in the poor absorption of nutrients such as magnesium and zinc, which can lead to collateral damage in other systems because everything in the body is interconnected. Think of a spider’s web- if there is a kink in one area, there is tension and stress somewhere else- and then that area affects another part until the whole web is contorted and out of balance. This phenomenon explains why people who are gluten intolerant experience over 200 symptoms such as headaches, skin rashes, thyroid problems, fatigue, and fertility issues.

All this destruction takes place in the form of inflammation because the immune system battles invaders by releasing toxic chemical molecules. In the gastrointestinal tract, the release of these chemicals causes inflammation of the gut lining, and as the gut lining becomes inflamed large foreign particles, such as proteins, bacteria, viruses and yeast, are allowed to slip through the damaged intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. The body then recognizes these substances as foreign and releases further antibodies in an attempt to expel the intruders from the body, causing more inflammation, further increasing the permeability of the intestinal wall, and resulting in a leaky gut.

A growing body of evidence suggests that virtually the same trio of factors underpins most, and perhaps all, autoimmune diseases: an environmental substance that is presented to the body (in the case of celiac disease the trigger is gluten), a genetically based tendency of the immune system to overreact to the substance, and an unusually permeable gut. Going gluten-free will repair you intestinal villi, but what about the rest of your battered war torn body?  Once diagnosed it is important to eat not only gluten-free, but an anti-inflammatory diet of healing foods so your body can repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate. Restoration could take years depending on the damage done due to years of misdiagnosis.

How can you eat a healthy healing diet? Eat more plants! Focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, whole grains such as quinoa and buckwheat, and good fats such as coconut oil- not a diet filled with gluten-free processed foods made from oxidized oils. Junk food is junk food, whether made with refined gluten-free flours or wheat. Yes it takes planning, time and a little extra effort but the reward is fewer sick days and doctor visits. Once you feel better, you will have the time and energy to continue to eat healthy. The tension and stress on the spider web will begin to release and you will experience a high quality of life. Feeling good is happiness.  And luckily, there are more and more gluten-free, vegan and raw food options available to help make us happy. For more information go to  http://www.hailmerry.com/changeyouroil and http://www.foodphilosopher.com/.

(1) A. Fasano, I. Berti, T. Gerarduzzi, T. Not, R.B. Colletti, S. Drago, Y. Elitsur, P.H.R. Green, S. Guandalini, I. Hill, M. Pietzak, A. Ventura, M. Thorpe, D. Kryszak, F. Fornaroli, S.S. Wasserman, J.A. Murray, K. Horvath. Prevalence of celiac disease in at-risk and not-at-risk groups in the United States: a large multicenter study. Arch Int Med 2003;163:286-292.

GLUTEN-FREE SNACKS 100 CALORIES OR LESS

WHAT is gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is the binding agent that keeps baked goods from falling apart. It provides stability and texture.

WHERE is gluten found?

It is found in most types of breads, cereals, baked goods, pastas, pizza and as an ingredient in many processed foods. Not all foods from the grain family, however, contain gluten. Examples of grains that do not have gluten include rice, corn, oats, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, and teff.

WHEN is gluten a concern?

Gluten is the major cause of inflammation in the body because we eat so much of it! We eat more gluten in the form of wheat than any other food: 825 calories per day. Our ancestors did not eat any wheat and we have not evolved to do so. The gluten protein molecules are simply not digested completely by humans. Gliadin peptides (undigested molecules of gluten) remain in the gut and cause the epithelial cells of the small intestine to become more porous, causing increased intestinal permeability. This sequence of events results in Leaky Gut Syndrome, allowing large molecules of gliadin, bacteria, viruses, yeast and other toxins to enter the bloodstream causing chronic inflammation throughout the body.

When you first start the gluten-free diet, surviving the first two weeks can be tricky for many reasons, most of all, you are hungry! The diet is a process- substituting old favorites and traditions for new. Here are 12 gluten-free snacks 100 calories or less to ease the transition.

1 piece fresh fruit (5 grams fiber)

1/4 cup dried fruit (2 grams fiber)

15 almonds (2 grams fiber)

2-3 cups popcorn (2 grams fiber)

2 tablespoon hummus with 5 gluten free crackers (1 gram fiber)

1/2 ounce cheese with 9 gluten-free rice crackers

2 tablespoons guacamole with 1 cup Jicama slices (6 grams fiber)

1 tablespoon favorite dip with 1 cup sliced carrots, snap peas, red        peppers and/or celery

2 squares chocolate

2 gluten-free Chocolate Wafers (3 grams fiber)

2 gluten-free macaroons (2 grams fiber)

1/2 cup Greek yogurt with teaspoon honey

 

 

Gluten-Free Diet Boot Camp

The Gluten-Free Diet is not a fad to millions of people who have celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity- it is a necessity. And, as many are discovering, it is a healthy way to eat, it reduces chronic inflammation in the body, and it can help you to lose weight. But many people have a lot of questions when first starting the gluten-free diet.
The number one question is “What can I eat?” Plenty! My gluten-free bootcamp will take you through the basics of getting started, offer gluten-free menu suggestions with calorie and fiber counts, and provide delicious healthy recipes everyone will enjoy eating.
Today we start with the basics. Tomorrow I will post my top ten gluten-free foods that I use in place of wheat products, such as bread, pizza crusts, crackers and cereal. Then we will get down to the ABC’s: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Let’s get started on a delicious journey to good health.

WHAT is gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is the binding agent that keeps baked goods from falling apart. It provides stability and texture.

WHERE is gluten found?

It is found in most types of breads, cereals, baked goods, pastas, pizza and as an ingredient in many processed foods. Not all foods from the grain family, however, contain gluten. Examples of grains that do not have gluten include rice, wild rice, corn, oats, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, and teff.

WHEN is gluten a concern?

Gluten is the major cause of inflammation in the body because we eat so much of it! We eat more gluten in the form of wheat than any other food: 825 calories per day. Our ancestors did not eat any wheat and we have not evolved to do so. The gluten protein molecules found are simply not digested completely by humans. Gliadin peptides (undigested molecules of gluten) remain in the gut and cause the epithelial cells of the small intestine to become more porous, causing increased intestinal permeability. This sequence of events results in Leaky Gut Syndrome, allowing large molecules of gliadin, bacteria, viruses, yeast and other toxins to enter the bloodstream causing chronic inflammation throughout the body.

WHY is inflammation a problem?

Chronic inflammation is the root of most chronic diseases. Inflammation is part of the body’s natural defense system against infection, irritation, toxins, and other foreign molecules. A specific series of events occurs in which the body’s white blood cells and specific chemicals (cytokines) mobilize to protect us from foreign invaders. But sometimes the natural balance of the immune system, which produces just enough inflammation to keep infections, allergens, toxins, and other stresses under control, is disrupted. The immune system shifts into a constant defensive state, creating swelling, redness and tenderness throughout the body. This chronic inflammation in the heart causes heart disease, in the brain causes dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, in the joints it causes Arthritis and, as we are just discovering, in our fat cells causes obesity. Celiac Disease is chronic inflammation of the small intestine.

While on the one hand this inflammatory process is protective against infectious disease, too much inflammation is the root of most chronic diseases. In many people, chronic inflammation can cause insulin resistance resulting in diabetes. Over time chronic inflammation weakens the immune system further threatening our health.

For more information go to http://www.amazon.com/Gluten-Free-Good-Health-Cookbook-Inflammation/dp/1572841052/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252425508&sr=1-1.

HOW do you start a gluten-free diet?

The basic principles of a gluten-free diet are simple and healthy:

  • Eat whole foods
  • Go gluten-free
  • Reduce sugar intake
  • Eliminate soda (including diet)
  • Drink water and tea
  • Eat only minimally processed foods
  • Eat plenty of fiber
  • Learn to cook
  • Enjoy your food
  • Learn to read food labels