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gluten free diet

The Great Gluten Debate: Should You Give It Up?

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., 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.
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How to Eat Gluten Free: Dinner

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.
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How to Eat Gluten Free: Lunch

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.
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Discovering How Food Sensitivities Create Mental Health Diagnoses

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.
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How to Eat Gluten Free: Breakfast

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.
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