By Chrissa Hardy for HelloGiggles.com
Dana Vollmer spent her summer training for London Olympic Games, competing in London and celebrating her gold-medal-winning, record-breaking time in London. Would any of these things have happened, had she not discovered her gluten allergy in the spring of 2011? She’s not so sure. After years of daily stomach aches brought on by her food choices, Dana feels better than ever before and could not imagine returning to a life with gluten.
Gluten-free has become a trend, a buzz word that has taken up prime real estate on food labels everywhere. What does it mean exactly? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Those who are intolerant of it, allergic or sensitive to it, need to adopt a lifestyle of paying close attention to food labels. I sat down with Dana at the Gluten-Free Pizza Event, put on by The Venice Bakery in Los Angeles, CA, to discuss her new life and how going gluten-free changed everything.
Chrissa Hardy: First of all, congrats on your gold medal win! Has your life returned to normal or is it still pretty hectic?
Dana Vollmer: It’s still pretty hectic. I’m enjoying it a lot. Initially, I was planning to go back to my hometown in Texas to visit with my family and sort of relax, but I’ve just been traveling non stop and I love it. It’s been really great. It’s one thing to have the excitement of the Olympics but, now it’s so great to see the kids and how their faces light up when they get to wear the gold medal. I remember when I was 12 and I saw my first gold medal, that’s when I decided that I wanted to become an Olympian. (more…)
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., TheBestLife.com lead nutritionist
I’m throwing a small dinner party for a friend this weekend. On the menu: pasta. That’s a big deal, because pasta has been food non grata for more than a year. It’s not an Atkins anti-carb thing—this time, it’s the anti-gluten movement.
It seems like everyone I know is foregoing wheat and other grains containing this protein. So why are so many people going gluten-free? None of them have celiac, a serious condition in which the immune system attacks the intestines after gluten is consumed (about one percent of Americans suffer from this condition). A few might have “gluten sensitivity,” a less harmful, but still uncomfortable condition that affects about five percent of the population. (For details on these conditions, check out What Everyone Needs to Know About Gluten.)
In fact, most people who tell me they’ve cut out gluten have no obvious problem with it. Some are going along for the ride because their spouse or child is off gluten, others think it might help them lose weight—simply cutting out bread can be quite effective for some people—and still others are convinced it’s simply healthier. (more…)
Welcome to the third installment of my “How to Eat Gluten Free” series. Today we’re looking at perhaps the most complicated and time-consuming meal of all: Dinner.
Most of us are so exhausted by the time we get home from work that we want nothing more than to plop down on the couch and have dinner magically appear before us – myself included. But that’s a reality most of us don’t know. Couple that with trying to find ideas for healthy, gluten free dishes and you have a recipe for dinner disaster.
If this describes your current scenario, fret not, as we’ve compiled a list of five simple and healthy recipes that will have you looking forward to your nightly meal instead of dreading it by the noon hour.
Curried Rice with Shrimp – This gorgeous and healthy dish from Real Simple takes your weeknight dinner from ‘blah’ to ‘ta-da’ in a flash. Let the exotic flavors of curry and basil win you over, and the shrimp and rice keep you satisfied for hours.
Lentil Soup – The weather may still be a little warm for soup just yet, but fall and winter are right around the corner. We say warm up and fill up with this healthy dish that features tomato, kale, carrots, and, of course, fresh green lentils. (more…)
If you missed my introduction to gluten-free eating in which I shared how to eat gluten free for breakfast, consider this my second installment covering all-things gluten-free lunch.
I wanted to create a gluten-free breakfast, lunch and dinner menu because I have plenty of friends who are gluten free and I never know what to prepare them when I’m hosting. I figured the best solution was to do some research and then share what I found here so I can come back as a reference and pick a dish depending on what type of meal I’m serving.
Today we’re looking at how to eat gluten free for lunch, because if you’re like me, all I ever want for lunch is a big sandwich – something gluten-free dieters typically can’t have. But the good news is, there are so many delicious gluten-free options that are easy to throw together for lunch that there’s no reason to come up short on ideas. Here are just a few of my favorite newly-discovered gluten-free dishes. (more…)
I cheated on my gluten-free diet (again). Now I can share with my clients in my adoption nutrition class the symptoms of gluten sensitivity from experience, not just research. I chose to be gluten and wheat free based on research upon hearing that all wheat in the United States was genetically modified. I prefer to avoid genetically modified foods. When I read Wheat Belly, it was clear that gluten certainly had other impacts on the brain and body, and some people’s behavioral and mental health diagnoses could be a result a gluten sensitivity of which they were unaware.
After giving up wheat and gluten for several months but not being very cautious, I had been much more strict in the last several weeks. If I do not naturally have a tendency toward gluten sensitivity, I had now created a situation in which my body would be sensitive to this new item in the diet. It is said to determine if you have a sensitivity or allergy to any food you should eliminate it from your diet for at least three weeks and then cautiously introduce it back into your diet to notice any symptoms.
Sunday night, I cheated on the gluten-free diet. My dreams were a bit chaotic, but Monday morning I noticed plenty of energy. After my run, I noticed a bit of a rash on my neck but I assumed it was just heat. I also noticed some very minor asthmatic symptoms which I thought were odd since I had finished the run and usually breath better after running. When I realized the rash had not gone away even after I had cooled down several hours later, I consulted my friend and allergy advisor Heather who was gracious enough not to say “I told you so,” even after my rash had spread on Tuesday. (more…)
By no means am I a gluten-free expert, but I am an enthusiast learner. And as more and more people in my life begin to consider gluten-free as a new way of life, my natural tendency is to want to do the same. Call me a follower, I prefer extremely health curious.
As we highlighted earlier this week, a new study from the Mayo Clinic reported that nearly 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, but around 1.4 million don’t even realize it.
This statistic made me wonder if I had a sensitivity to gluten myself as I often experience such symptoms as bloating and fatigue after eating an especially high-carbohydrate meal. As a result, my curiosity led me to where it usually does – the kitchen, to see if I actually could make this type of major diet change work after all.
It turns out, I have hardly a clue about what eating gluten free looks like. But that’s where a little research and trial and error come into play. So in my quest to know what gluten-free eating is all about, I’ve decided to do a three-part mini series on how to eat gluten free without missing out on taste. The first of which is breakfast; lunch and dinner are soon to follow, naturally. (more…)
In having two friends over for dinner last night who are both gluten free, I realized two things: One, it can be extremely difficult to accommodate a gluten-free diet. And two, perhaps I’m slightly gluten intolerant myself as I’ve had similar symptoms to the ones they were listing off before changing their diet.
And after seeing a report this morning from RTT News that most Americans have celiac disease but are unaware of it, I’m starting to wonder if I’m among the gluten intolerant after all.
A new survey from the Mayo Clinic found that about 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, but approximately 1.4 million are unaware they have it. Or, 1 in 141 Americans is living with the condition without knowing it.
Researchers ran blood tests on 7,798 people over the age of six who’d previously participated in a nationwide survey from the CDC between 2009 and 2010. Findings revealed that 35 participants had celiac disease – 20 were women, 29 were Caucasian, and 29 were entirely unaware of their condition. (more…)
U.S. swimmer Dana Vollmer made history this week when she won Olympic gold in the 100-meter butterfly and set a new world record with a time of 55.98 seconds. While this achievement was a huge breakthrough for the swimmer, it wouldn’t have been possible without a major diet modification she made just last year: Going gluten free.
As reported by CNN, Vollmer always had something holding her back from her goals, be it a heart condition, ACL or shoulder injury, or chronic back pain. But another obstacle the swimmer was facing was frequent debilitating stomach aches, which, coupled with her other conditions, inevitably led to her failed effort to qualify for the Olympic trials four years ago.
Vollmer and her doctors weren’t able to identify the cause of the stomach aches as they continued to grow worse and even resulted in multiple trips to the emergency room. And because Vollmer had already received so much care for her other conditions, she tried to ignore the symptoms and rarely shared how much pain she was actually enduring. “I’d always had either knee or shoulder problems,” she said, “so I didn’t want to say ‘Oh, I have a tummy ache today.'” (more…)
Waking to the news about the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, this morning reminded me a lot of September 11, 2001.
My responses were somewhat different, but prior to both tragedies, I had received sad news about death and loss impacting me and those close to me in quick succession. Just this week, two families I know lost babies and other friends experienced other losses. With social media, I was also exposed to the losses of friends of friends. In 2001, I had been to four funerals in just the few months prior to 9/11. Today, the sky is gray and it matches how I think many people are feeling.
When we are stressed, we tend to reach for sugary or fatty foods. It is kind of a natural craving, but it doesn’t mean that it will help you manage your stress. While we may be most tempted to cheat on our diet plans when we are stressed or grieving, it might be the worst time to do it. (more…)
Summer is in full swing, meaning baseball stadiums around the country are packed with fans, especially this week at the All Star Game. It wouldn’t be an all-American baseball game without chowing down on some ballpark food, like stadium staples hot dogs, nachos, and peanuts. But what about those who want to enjoy a night at the old ball game without feeling bloated from the grease and sodium afterward?
Don’t fret my friends! Ballparks around the country are adding healthier choices to their menus! Some baseball stadiums added pistachios as an alternative to peanuts. Pistachios have more fiber and less saturated fat than peanuts, are a good source of vitamin B6 (15% DV), and you get almost 50 pieces for a single serving. That’s good stuff.
“There aren’t many healthy options at ballparks, so it’s exciting that consumers will be able to get in the game with pistachios this summer,” said Patricia Bannan, registered dietitian for Wonderful Pistachios. “Nutrient-packed pistachios have a lot to offer without sacrificing taste, so you can snack on them guilt-free as you enjoy watching your favorite teams.”
There is no doubt that the tasty healthy snacks are giving peanuts a run for their money. (more…)