Eating Gluten Free in Restaurants

When choosing to eat a gluten free diet, it IS possible to have a fabulous meal in a restaurant. It takes a little knowledge and patience but it is easily doable.

Here’s how to keep yourself from accidentally eating gluten…

Know exactly what it is you’re looking out for-

Avoid wheat, barley, rye, & oats (oats can be cross contaminated with wheat unless it specifically says, gluten free). Be familiar with the gluten free diet so you know how to modify your meal. Don’t assume that anything is gluten free! Sometimes restaurants even coat French fries/potatoes in flour before frying to give them that extra crisp. You would never know until your onset of symptoms occurs!

Don’t go to a restaurant extremely hungry-

This is good advice for anyone eating out. When you’re starving, you’re likely to overeat or let your guard down when choosing your meal. A good tip is to keep raw almonds on hand at all times and have a few before you go out to eat. It’ll make it much easier to sacrifice as much as needed to eat right. It will also help you resist the sugary soda and other unhealthy options.

Choose restaurants that have a gluten free menu-

Look online before you dine. These days it’s much easier to eat gluten free everywhere you go. They may even advertise their gluten free menus online. If they don’t, at least you can take a look at their menu to see what you can have. Be prepared to be flexible with your choices. What you order may not have been your first choice, but it may definitely be the healthier choice. Unfortunately, most restaurants won’t allow you to bring in your own food (it’s a health safety issue,) but it’s always easy to make do with they have. Going to an italian restaurant? Ask them to prepare the dish over steamed veggies instead of past. You’ll get the great flavor of the sauce (make sure it’s gluten free sauce of course,) but none of the heaviness that pasta brings. Want a sandwich? Have them serve it lettuce wrapped with tomatoes instead of bread. Opt for the grilled chicken, lean meat, or fish and ask that it be prepared with no sauce and preferably, no butter or oil. Something seemingly healthy can quickly become unhealthy when drowning in a pool of butter and oil. Try asking for a side of lemons, salsa, or balsamic vinegar for some added flavor.

Ask questions-

Tell your server about your needs and if they don’t understand, ask to speak to the manager or chef himself. Ask if the dressing or sauce is made from scratch. Ask if the soup comes from a can. Has the food been dusted with flour before cooking? Has the food been marinated in anything containing gluten? Are there croutons on the salad? Are the bacon bits artificial ? Are your mashed potatoes from a mix or are they made from real potatoes? Do you add anything to your eggs? Does your green tea have barley in it? Kindly ask questions.

Some other things to watch out for:

Chili/soups

pizza

pasta

sauces/ gravy/marinades

salad dressings

sandwiches

Soy Sauce

jambalaya

sausage/crab cakes

breaded/crusted meats & fishes

seasoned ground beef/chicken

tortillas

pancakes

desserts

croutons

veggie/ turkey burgers

 

While finding out if your food contains gluten, you’ll get a better idea of what is in your food and how it’s being prepared. Usually, when you cut out things containing gluten, you’re also getting rid of ingredients that you’re body has a hard time digesting anyway. Ask your server as many questions as it takes to find out how your food is prepared. These days, chef’s are extremely conscious of wheat allergies and are happy to meet your needs. When in doubt, go for clean natural foods. Also, know that although restaurants post calorie facts it can sometimes been underestimated.

It definitely gets easier with experience. Don’t be overwhelmed. It’s doable. Just know how much better you’ll feel when you leave!

Substituting Gluten Free Flours

Brown Rice Flour
This flour comes from unpolished brown rice. It has more food value because it contains bran. Use it in breads, muffins, and cookies.

Cornstarch
GlutenFreeDaily only recommends the use of corn in moderation.  This is a refined starch that comes from corn. It is mostly used as a clear thickening agent for puddings, fruit sauces and Asian cooking. It is also used in combination with other flours for baking.

Corn Flour
GlutenFreeDaily only recommends the use of corn in moderation.  This flour is milled from corn and can be blended with cornmeal to make cornbread or muffins. It is excellent for waffles or pancakes.

Cornmeal
GlutenFreeDaily only recommends the use of corn in moderation.  This is ground corn that comes from either yellow or white meal. This is often combined with flours for baking. It imparts a strong corn flavor that is delicious in pancakes, waffles, or simple white cakes.

Potato Starch Flour
This is a gluten-free thickening agent that goes great in cream-based soups and sauces. Mix a little with water first, then substitute potato starch flour for flour in your recipe, but cut the amount in half.

Soy Flour
For that special occasion, this nutty tasting flour has a high protein and fat content. It is best when used in combination with other flours and for baking brownies, or any baked goods with nuts or fruit.

Tapioca Flour
This is a light, white, very smooth flour that comes from the cassava root. It’s great for giving baked goods a nice chewy taste. Use it in recipes where a chewy texture would be desirable. It would work nicely in bread recipes such as white bread or French bread. It is also easily combined with cornstarch.

White Rice Flour
This is an excellent basic flour for gluten-free baking. It is milled from polished white rice. Because it has such a bland flavor, it is perfect for baking, as it doesn’t impart any flavors. It works well with other flours. White rice flour is available in health food stores and Asian markets.  Fine textured white rice flour works the best.

Substituting Gluten
Wheat flour contains gluten, which keeps cookies, cakes and pies from getting crumbly and falling apart. It is what makes baked goods have a good texture because it traps pockets of air. This creates a lovely airy quality that most baked goods possess when baked with traditional wheat flour. In order to help retain this structure when using non-wheat flours, gluten substitutes must be added to a gluten-free flour mixture. For each cup of gluten-free flour mix, add at least 1 teaspoon of gluten substitute. Here are three very good substitutes for gluten.

  • Xanthum Gum
    This comes from the dried cell coat of a microorganism called Zanthomonas campestris. It is formulated in a laboratory setting. This works well as a gluten substitution in yeast breads along with other baked goods.
  • Guar Gum
    This is a powder that comes from the seed of the plant Cyamopsis tetragonolobus. It is an excellent gluten substitute.
  • Pre-gel Starch
    This is an acceptable gluten substitute. It helps keep baked goods from being too crumbly.


Substitution is the key
If you are ready to try some recipes, start with recipes that use relatively small amounts of wheat flour like brownies or pancakes. These turn out great and taste almost identical. Here are two gluten-free flour mixtures that are suitable for substituting wheat flour in the same measurements.

  • Gluten-Free Flour Mixture I
    1/4 cup soy flour
    1/4 cup tapioca flour
    1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • Gluten-Free Flour Mixture II
    6 cups white rice flour
    2 cups potato starch
    1 cup tapioca flour

Keep these flour mixtures stored in containers at room temperature and keep them on hand to simplify your baking routine.

Foods that Cause Stress

Stress is a highly subjective and can differ for each of us. Things that are distressful for some individuals can be pleasurable for others. We also respond to stress differently.  It often begins by having more to do than you can handle. When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger and makes hormones that speed up your heart.  You then breathe faster, and experience a burst of energy. This is called the fight-or-flight.  Stress is often nothing to worry about, but if it happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects on your health.  Foods can also contribute to your stress by over stimulating liver and increasing blood sugar levels.

 

Here is a list of foods that can stress you out:

1.  Alcohol  – stimulates the secretion of adrenaline

2.  Caffeine  – stimulates the secretion of adrenaline

3.  Refined and processed foods –  depletes vitamins (breads and flours)

4.  Dairy products  – contains casein, bad for digestion

5.  Fatty foods  – bad fats stress the cardiovascular system

6.  Sweets  – can exhaust adrenal glands

7.  Salty foods  – increases blood pressure

8.  Red Meat  – elevates dopamine and norepinephrine

9.  Margarines  – increase cholesterol

10.  Additives  – bad chemicals and preservatives

11.  Spicy foods  – irritants to stomach lining

 

20 symptoms that you may be stressed:

1.  Jaw clenching

2.  Headaches

3.  Tremors, hands

4.  Cold or sweaty hands, feet

5.  Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms

6.  Rashes

7.  Allergy attacks

8.  Stomach pain, heartburn

9.  Nausea

10.  Panic attacks

11.  Ringing, buzzing

12.  Flatulence

13.  Constipation, Diarrhea

14.  Chest pain

15.  Difficulty breathing

16.  Poor sexual performance

17.  Frequent urination

18.  Increased anger

19.  Change in appetite

20.  Depression

 

9 ways to reduce stress:

1.  Find the cause

2.  Manage your time

3.  Find easier ways of doing things

4.  Get plenty of rest

5.  Eat healthy

6.  Don’t worry about things you can’t change

7.  Don’t smoke

8.  Talk to family and friends about your problems

9.  Ask for help from others

Which fats are in your food?

1. Saturated

Saturated fats have a chemical makeup in which the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms.  Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature.  Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood.  High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats you eat to less than 7 percent of total daily calories.  Can be found in:

Beef

Burgers

Butter

Cakes

Cheese

Chocolate

Coconut

Cookies

Cream

Eggs

Hydrogenated Oil

Ice Cream

Lamb

Lard

Margarine

Milk

Palm Oil

Pork

Poultry

Sausages

 

2. Monounsaturated

From a chemical standpoint, monounsaturated fats are simply fats that have one double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule.  Monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.  Olive oil is an example of a type of oil that contains monounsaturated fats.  Monounsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on your health… when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fats or trans fats.  Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.  They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.  Monounsaturated fats are also typically high in vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.  Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can have a positive effect on your health, when eaten in moderation.  They can lower bad cholesterol and increase the levels of good cholesterol.  The fats in the foods you eat should not total more than 25–35 percent of the calories you eat in a given day. Can be found in:

Almond Oil

Almonds

Avocado

Fish

Hazelnuts

Low-Fat Spreads

Meats

Olive Oils

Olives

Peanuts

 

3. Polyunsaturated

From a chemical standpoint, polyunsaturated fats are simply fats that have more than one double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule.  Polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature and when chilled.  Polyunsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on your health when consumed in moderation and when used to replace saturated fats or trans fats.  Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce the cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease.  They also include essential fats that your body needs, Omega-6 and Omega-3.  These essential fats play a crucial role in brain function and in the normal growth and development of your body. Can be found in:

Brazil Nuts

Cereal

Corn Oil

Fish

Grouse

Safflower Oil

Sesame Oil

Sesame Seeds

Soft Vegetable Margarine

Soy Beans

Soy Oils

Soy Products

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower Seeds

Vegetables

Walnut Oil

Walnuts

Getting the Family Gluten Free

Getting the Family Gluten Free

family eating gluten free

Are you having a hard time convincing your family members to get tested for gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease?

If you suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, chances are someone in your family may also. It can be very difficult to convince someone close to us to get tested, especially when we see them suffering symptoms that we believe might be curable.

Most people won’t get tested because they’re scared they will have to give up their favorite foods. They have a misconception of what you can and can’t eat on a gluten free diet and how good gluten free meals can actually taste.

Here is how to show them the way:

1. At the next family function or dinner, bring a gluten free dish. The less obvious it’s gluten free, the better. Don’t talk about your dish being healthy or gluten free. Just place it among the other dishes and allow everyone to enjoy it. When they’re telling you how much they love it, then tell them it’s gluten free and explain the benefits of eating your dish versus the traditional style of your dish.

2. Just like bringing a dinner dish, try bringing a dessert also. This always opens people’s eyes. Nobody will believe the delicious cookies, brownies, or chocolate cake you brought was sugarless, flourless, and practically healthy compared to the usual versions.

3. Give them time and don’t pressure them. As they watch you eat tasty foods and feel great while doing so, they will eventually begin to ask you more and more questions regarding your lifestyle.

4. Invite them to a dinner party at your house. This is your big chance to give them a gluten free meal from start to finish. After they’ve enjoyed their delicious dinner, ask them how they feel. Ask them if they feel bloated or sleepy. They will be pleasantly surprised to feel great and energized.

5. As they begin to seem more interested, remind them the benefits again. Show them the long list of diseases and symptoms related to Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Help them make the connection between the symptoms listed and the symptoms they are experiencing.

6. Finally, tell them you will support them and you will go through it together. Reassure them that the lifestyle will be easier than they think and they will experience results quickly. It might just save their life!

Can Eating Gluten Lead to Infertility?

In the United States, roughly 10% of the population is affected by infertility.  Shockingly, 20% of these infertility suffers are given an unexplained diagnosis.  Many simply state they’re unable to get pregnant even having no underlying medical conditions apparent.

At this point in time, the severity of gluten intolerance in relation to infertility cannot be quantified, but recent studies have detected that people with celiac disease have fewer children.  These studies have researchers believing celiac disease may be a cause of infertility in both men and women.

Men with gluten intolerance report reduced sperm count, reduced hormones, and even reduced sex drive.  Needless to say, a reduced sex drive leads to a reduced rate of intercourse.  Nutritional deficiencies resulting from a malabsorption of essential vitamins may also play a role.

Studies find women have a higher prevalence of unexplained fertility than men. In women, adrenal fatigue may be a large contributing factor.  The adrenals regulate the hormones responsible for fertility, blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, hydration, etc.  Like men, malnutrition resulting from malabsorption of nutrients may also be a large contributor.

Considering men and women, gluten intolerance has been associated with the following:

 

  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Reduced male fertility
  • Delayed onset of menstruation
  • Smaller babies
  • Early menopause
  • Spontaneous miscarriages
  • Higher perinatal mortality
  • Reduced duration of breast-feeding

 

Now for the good news, many studies over the last few years have shown that a gluten free diet helps with fertility in both men and women.  One study compared the rate of children born to gluten intolerance suffers to the rate of a control group.  The gluten intolerance sufferers had less children.  Moving forward, appropriate women were properly diagnoses with celiac and placed on a gluten free diet.  The rate began to even out.  It was concluded that gluten intolerance was the cause of infertility and the gluten free diet corrected the problem.

Many researchers now believe you should be screened for celiac disease if you have unexplained fertility.  It is certainly worth discussing with your OB-GYN.