Is it possible to be pro-pizza and anti-gluten?

OK, so not everyone knows exactly what they are talking about when they claim a gluten-free diet…But if we are going to be so critical about details, Jimmy Kimmel should know it’s inaccurate to say that you can’t be be pro-pizza AND anti-gluten! In fact, it is more possible now than ever before. Without people like the four highlighted in his video…grocery shopping for glutards like me would so limited!

Eating is a very personal ritual, and you don’t have to justify why you do or do not put certain things in your body. But you would certainly come across better if you had some good answers to some very common questions. Gluten-Free followers–Don’t let Jimmy catch you with your pants down! Familiarize yourself with some novice vocabulary:

Gluten: is comprised of two types of PROTEINS (gliadin and glutenin) found in CERTAIN GRAINS (wheat, barley, and rye). In general it is hard to digest and has been found to be pro-inflammatory. Note: Oats do not contain gluten but are often processed/grown in areas where they have a high likelihood of contamination. BuckWHEAT is actually gluten-free. GLUTINOUS rice is a sticky rice that doesn’t actually contain gluten. Soy sauce usually contain small amounts of gluten.

Celiac Disease: an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that causes inflammation to the absorptive lining, in the context of a gluten-laced diet. Definitive test is a small intestine biopsy, but blood tests can help identify people who might be Celiac. Tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTG IgA) and Endomysial antibody (EMA IgA) tests are more reliable than the Antigliadin antibody tests (IgA and IgG).

Food Allergy: a reaction to allergens, usually mediated by IgE and mast cells. The severity of the reaction to wheat products can be variable just as it is with other food products (such as peanuts, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy)…some people could die from severe anaphylaxis and airway obstruction  or just have a minor skin reaction where hives crop up. Skin prick or RAST testing are laboratory measures…or you could try a clinical food challenge/diet elimination trial while keeping a food diary.

Gluten sensitivity: this is a catch-all term that doesn’t pigeon hole you to a specific diagnosis, and most people fall under this category. We don’t know why exactly people react to gluten the way that they do, but symptoms and adverse effects that you may experience are: bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, acne, fatigue, etc.

Music for Monday

I don’t always use background music when I work or study. But when I do, it’s usually instrumental so that I can still hear my own thoughts.  Hope these tunes help keep your spirits high as you reflect on your weekend and plan for a productive week!

1. Never Mess With Sunday Yppah

2. Intro The xx

3. Forest Gump (Feather Theme)

4. Life/Universe Detektivbrian

5. Struggle for Pleasure Wim Mertens

6. Primavera Ludovico Einaudi

7. For Mom Buckethead

8. Angry Birds London Philharmonic Orchestra

9. Sunshine Adagio in D Minor The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

10. Long Life (Instrumental Remix) Bonobo

11. Minor Swing Django Reinhardt

12. Eskimo Kiss Years of Rice and Salt

13. The Letter that Never Came Thomas Newman

14. The Creative Part Kate Simko

15. Happiness (Instrumental) The Foreign Exchange

Listen to Music for Monday on Spotify!

Listful Tuesday: 5 senses and the Gluten Free Life


20120522-110323.jpgBeing Gluten Free…
Feels: much better. I feel much better without gluten. Although I can’t say that omitting gluten on day one changed me drastically, I noticed that the opposite was true. Sneaking in a “cheat” very noticeably transforms me back into…what my sister used to call…“the fart-master 2000” and a grumpy frump.

20120522-110340.jpgGluten Free Foods….
Taste: the same as gluten-rich foods as long as you stick to a fresh food regimen. But I’ll admit that not everything tastes better. Store-bought gluten free breads can be downright awful. I refuse to buy another loaf of that stuff. It tastes like -gross- with the consistency of Styrofoam. On top of that, an average loaf does not expire for about 9 months! NINE MONTHS…um…that’s enough time to grow a baby? I know gluten may not be in that loaf…but whatever magic is preserving that bread has made some sort of pact with the devil. So, no thank you.

20120522-110346.jpgGluten Free Meals…
Smell: wonderful because I’m cooking at home more often. Test-baking gluten free recipes is not only fun, but can smell oh so good. I’ve found that the key to successful gluten free baking is: if a recipe calls for oil, use butter instead (GF foods does not equal less calories, eating less and eating smart equals less calories)…another admission: some gluten-free substitutes can have a distinct smell that really makes me cringe…but that’s the nature of the game: sometimes you hit, sometimes you miss. The best description I can come up with: bad smelling gluten-free products have a similar odor to less-pungent playdoh.

20120522-110351.jpgA Gluten Free Body…
Looks: like better skin. Zit-like bumps called dermatitis herpetiformis and generalized rashes like psoriasis have been linked to gluten intolerance. Staving off the offender can improve skin quality enormously. Many wonder how being gluten free can affect their weight or figure…well the answer is: it depends…if for medical reasons related to gluten intolerance, going gluten free could make you look slimmer if your problem was bloating. On the other hand, super skinny individuals can finally begin gaining some healthy weight! When the intestines finally heal, the body no longer needs to starve because of malabsorption.

20120522-110358.jpgA Gluten Free Vow…
Sounds: like a fad. There are several reasons why it seems like the gluten free life style is gaining so much attention. It could be that a few Hollyweird celebrities and Hollywood starlettes are working the media. It could be that more doctors are doing a better job of recognizing symptoms and making quicker diagnosis more frequently. It could be that our foods contain more gluten than our bodies could tolerate—not a far-fetched idea considering that genetically modified foods are so commonplace. It could be that something triggered an autoimmune reaction in our bodies unknowingly—such as a virus that we brushed off as the common cold a while ago. For whatever reason you decided to take the vow, I am wishing you all the best!