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GF for Beginners Word

GF for Beginners Word

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Published by Melanie Weir

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Published by: Melanie Weir on Apr 13, 2012
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Starting a Gluten Free Diet
By Melanie Weir  A diagnosis of Gluten Intolerance, Celiac Disease or Food Allergy can leave you feelinglike a deer in headlights. Before doing anything else, take a few deep breaths andcount from 5 to 1. For the weeks and months ahead of you, the first and most importanttechnique to learn is breathing.The average length of time for a diagnosis of Celiac Disease is 10 years. By the timeyou’re diagnosed, you might have a large number of health problems, ailments and con-cerns. No matter how sick you are, learning to eat Gluten Free is a process, and youare likely to make mistakes along the way. The goal is to learn as much as possible, sothe mistakes you make are minimal.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is the outer casing of wheat, rye and barley. (see article: What is Gluten?)
What about Oats?
For Celiacs, all commercial oats should also be avoided and gluten-free oats shouldonly be added with the assistance of a doctor knowledgeable regarding the controversyof oats beyond just whether they are or are not contaminated with gluten. Only 4 out of 5 Celiacs, can handle oats, and most doctors recommend no more than a 1/2 cup of oats 3 times a week. (see article: The Controversy of Oats)
Taking Gluten Out of the Diet is Easy, Right?
Yes and no. In 2012, there are many gluten free products available on the market. Theproblem lies in understanding what gluten is. Gluten has many names* including:wheat, rye and barley. Additionally, gluten can be introduced during storage, shipment,manufacturing and packaging of a product. (see article: Taking Gluten Out of Your Diet‘for Reals’)
What is the Simplest Way to Start Eating Gluten Free?Eat at Home:
Eating out at restaurants and at other people’s houses will be possible in the future, butbeginners should prepare all foods at home, as much as possible. If you need to travelor visit other spaces and places, pack it up and brown bag it or take an ice chest.
Naturally Gluten Free Foods:Fresh Foods:
Fresh Foods usually come from the earth and include fruits, vegetables and oils. It ispossible for fresh foods to become contaminated with gluten, but the likelihood of con-tamination is low.
Basic Foods
:Poultry, beans and legumes, grains*, nuts* and seeds* are in and of themselves glutenfree, however grains, seeds and nuts should be purchased with caution. Gluten con-tamination can happen in seed, sprout, transportation and/ or in production. (a)Poultry contamination is usually seen when manufacturers produce seasonedmeats, sausages, lunchmeats or jerky.(b)Seeds at high risk for contamination include chia and hemp mainly because they areimported from overseas and can be contaminated in storage vats that also ship grainslike wheat, rye and barley.(c)Nuts are often contaminated when seasonings including wheat flour are used on theequipment processing the nuts.
Beans and legumes are often contaminated during the canning process, especiallywhen additives are included.
Gluten Free Labeling:
Please realize that the gluten free label is not regulated! This means that if you pur-chase a product that is labeled gluten free, you need to proceed with caution. TriciaThompson, founder of the group Gluten Free Watchdog, performed an academic re-search study with colleagues, Anne Lee and Thomas Grace. The study showed that “32% of naturally gluten-free grains and flours contained gluten in amounts greater than20 parts per million (ppm). Most doctors and researchers recommend that individualswith Celiac Disease avoid products that contain more than 5-20 ppm of gluten. At theStanford Celiac Conference in 2010, Dr. Alessio Fasano, mentioned that only about 1%of individuals are outwardly symptomatic with exposure to microscopic levels of gluten;most Celiacs are internally symptomatic to microscopic levels of gluten, which meansthat their immune system can be attacking parts of their body, and their chance of de-veloping cancer is increased.
Don’t Forget About Non-Foods:
Foods aren’t the only culprits to gluten contamination. Other problems include: play-dough, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner (when hair ends up in mouth), hand lotion(can end up on foods), vitamins and prescription drugs.
Cross Contamination in Your Home:
Wooden spoons and utensils, wooden cutting boards, strainers, cast iron skillets andtoaster ovens may not be shared with gluteneous foods (toaster bags or special com-mercial screens can be used to protect bread and pizza when toasting in a contaminat-ed oven). Additionally, condiments that involve a knife should not be shared (e.g. butter,mayonnaise, peanut butter, mustard, ect.)
Protecting Yourself From Gluten Exposure(1)Look for a Seal:
Purchase products that have seals certifying that they are free from gluten. There arecurrently 3 certification agencies that have seals for gluten free quality control. Theseseals are: CSA, GFCO and QAI. (see article: Gluten Free Labeling)
(2)FIT Check It:
Use the Gluten Free Specialty Market’s FIT analysis to decrease your chance of crosscontamination in processed foods. (see article: GFS FIT Safety Program) or shop atGFS and support the FIT model in action.
(3)Join Gluten Free Watchdog:
Keep up to date on products that are safe and products that are not safe by joining Tri-cia Thompson’s gluten free watchdog.Go to: glutenfreewatchdog.org
(4)Watch for ‘Melanies List:
Keep up to date on new GF Alerts focusing on products with gluten free labels that maynot work for some individuals on a gluten free diet.Go to: GFAlert.com
(5)Support Californias Senate Bill 1293:
Senator Bill Emmerson has initiated Bill 1293 to regulate gluten free and wheat free la-belling in California. Contact Senator Emmerson: State Capitol, Room 4082, Sacra-mento, CA 95814, 916-651-4027 (phone), 916-327-2187 (fax),senator.emmerson-@sen.ca.gov (email)
(6)Purchase a Gluten Test Kit:
The Gluten Free Specialty Market located at 2612 J Street, Sacramento, CA will beginselling at home test kits that can detect gluten at 3ppm in mid-April. Save $5 when youpre-order your kit before April 30th.

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