Monday, March 24, 2014

Drs. Oz & Roizen: Gluten-free foods have benefits for everyone

Americans spend a whopping $10.5 billion a year on gluten-free foods, including calorie bombs like zero-gluten cakes, pizza, fast-food fries and, new this year, gluten-free, chocolate-chip Girl Scout cookies.
But even as food marketers cater to the craze with so many unhealthful products, you should tune in to the fact there are real benefits from reading the labels and going gluten-free or easy on gluten. (Hint: You're going to want to dump all that processed, refined flour that shows up in cereals, breads and frozen meals in favor of tasty, nutrition-packed alternative grains and grain-like foods.)
What started this trend was the realization that at least 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease (it was underdiagnosed for a long time) - an autoimmune disorder triggered by a mistaken immune system reaction to gluten proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. If gluten is eaten, the reaction causes damage to the small intestine and malabsorption of nutrients, and can lead to osteoporosis, brain fog and other complications.
Another 18 million of you may have a gluten or wheat sensitivity that triggers headaches, tiredness, inflammation, joint pain and digestive discomfort. There's no test for this kind of intolerance. But if you've given up gluten and feel better, then stick with it. And the rest of you? Whether gluten makes you feel bad or not, you can benefit from trying these amazing gluten-free strategies.
Replace some grains with veggies. Long before gluten-free foods hit the mainstream, people who avoided G-packed grains hit on a smart move: They ate sandwiches on slabs of lettuce instead of bread, served an extra veggie with dinner instead of rolls, and ladled pasta sauce over spaghetti squash or other veggies instead of noodles. Replacing refined grains (white bread, rolls, pasta, cereals) with veggies is a great way to get more fiber, vitamins, minerals and cell-protecting phytochemicals - and cut calories at the same time. (We think this is one reason why people who go G-free feel great and lose weight.)
Munch a new grain. You can hit your whole-grain quota (we recommend three to four servings a day) with delicious alternatives that deliver unique nutrition profiles. Tasty alternatives include:
Safe for people with celiac disease, this delicious side dish actually comes from the same vegetable family as beets and spinach. But it looks and eats like a grain, thanks to its tiny seeds packed with protein, fiber, B vitamins and iron. Quinoa has a mild, nut-like flavor, cooks up in 15 minutes, and is delicious with stir-fries, paired with chicken or fish, or as a base for your famous, secret-recipe spaghetti sauce.
In Chinese, the words for millet and mouth together make the word "harmony," a nod to this grain's popularity. Rich in polyphenols and in magnesium, millet cooks in 25 minutes. Its fluffy texture makes it a natural in pilafs or as a hot breakfast cereal. Toss it in soups and stews, or bake into bread.
Like quinoa, buckwheat (also known as kasha) isn't a true grain. It has long been prized in great cuisines around the world - as kasha in Eastern Europe, soba noodles in Asia, even in French pancakes. It contains blood-sugar-friendly soluble fiber, plus slow-digesting starches that help protect against colon cancer.
These tiny, protein-packed seeds cook in 15-20 minutes and never lose their crunch. They "pop" in your mouth, revealing a creamy texture within. Rich in protein, amaranth helps control cholesterol, too. Amaranth releases lots of starch as it cooks, creating a porridge-like consistency. Depend on this grain for breakfast, or add it to baked goods or soups.
Yup, you can eat it. Sorghum is packed with protein, iron and fiber. Widely eaten in India and Africa, you're most likely to find it here as flour. Its starches digest slowly, which helps keep blood sugar lower and steadier - a good deal if you add it to healthy muffin or bread recipes.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Courtesy of Idaho Statesman

Courtesy of Idaho Stateaman
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Friday, March 21, 2014

BIG $ALE over at SensitiviTees

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Don't forget to sign-up for our eNewsletter for all kinds of information like industry news, recipes and much much more!

Giveaway-->Enter for your chance to WIN a copy of Carol Fenster's new gluten free cookbook, Gluten-Free 101

Enter for your chance to WIN a copy of Carol’s new cookbook,
Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt January 14, 2014)
Enter this giveaway by following one or more of these steps
(the more times you enter, the greater your chances of winning):

Like Carol’s Facebook page
2-Follow Carol on Twitter
3-Follow Carol on Pinterest
Contest Closes on March 31, 2014 (midnight, EST).
For more information about Carol Fenster and her cookbooks, visit
Click here to read an interesting interview with the author:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What you need to know about gluten and celiac disease by Erica Marcus

Why all the fuss about gluten?
Over the past decade, gluten has surpassed fat, and is now making gains on refined sugar as Public Health Enemy Number 1. We asked Dr. Peter H.R. Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, to explain what exactly is going on.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in the cereal grains wheat, barley and rye.
What is celiac?
Celiac disease is an inflammatory condition in the small intestine, the result of the body's immune reaction to gluten, in genetically predisposed individuals. The inflammation can lead to malabsorption of nutrients. Moreover, common complications of celiac disease in adults include reduced bone density, anemia, increased risk of other autoimmune disorders and malignancies, infertility and neurological problems. Overall, 0.7 percent of the population has celiac. About one in a hundred Caucasians have it, it's less common in other ethnic groups.
What is gluten sensitivity?
This is a term for people who don't test positive for celiac antibodies but whose symptoms (usually gastrointestinal or neurological) resolve when they go on a gluten-free diet. Gluten sensitivity is often self-diagnosed and also is called gluten intolerance.
Is everyone better off avoiding gluten?
No. There is no evidence that people without gluten sensitivity will benefit from abstaining from gluten. In fact, it can be more difficult to eat healthfully when you eliminate gluten from your diet. Wheat flour is fortified with vitamins and minerals, but the flours they use as wheat substitutes -- rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour -- are not fortified. There's also less fiber in gluten-free grains than there is in whole-wheat flour.
The gluten-free market is more than $4 billion annually. Who is buying all these gluten-free products?
Of the 0.7 percent of the population that has celiac, only 17 percent are aware of it. That means 80 percent of celiac sufferers don't know they have celiac. Meanwhile, about 0.5 to 0.6 percent of the population that doesn't have celiac is following a gluten-free diet. It's ironic: There are many people who should be on a gluten-free diet who aren't, and many people who are on such a diet and don't need to be.
There also are many people who buy gluten-free products because they like them or think they're healthier but who also buy "regular" food.
Why would a healthy person choose to be on a gluten-free diet?
Currently, gluten is the big bogey man, and the gluten-free diet is trendy. People are getting a lot of press saying that gluten sensitivity is very common; individuals are claiming it causes brain issues, that it's evil. But there's no evidence for that.
Is wheat different than it used to be?
Wheat has no more gluten in it than it used to have. Nor is there any genetically modified wheat consumed in the United States. It's possible there's more gluten being added to food now but, again, only a small fraction of the population is affected by that.
What could be causing the rise in celiac?
We don't yet understand why celiac and other autoimmune conditions are on the rise, but the evidence suggests environmental factors that have nothing to do with gluten. For example the widespread use of antibiotics, what's being added to food, the tremendous distances food has to travel from the farm to the plate. That's what people should be concerned about.
Courtesy of Newsday

Before You Buy Gluten-Free Products by Gerri Willis

You can’t go anywhere these days without running into gluten-free products. Whether you’re at the grocery store or in a restaurant, the gluten-free option is everywhere. Heck, even the Girl Scouts this year are offering gluten-free cookies. The question is do you need to buy them?

Gluten-free, according to the Federal Government means getting rid of the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. People with severe gluten allergies, a condition called celiac disease, try to stay away from gluten. But those folks make up only one percent of the population. What’s going on now is the food manufacturers are promoting these foods to everyone as healthier.

And, it’s working. The business of gluten-free products is expected to grow 50 percent in the next few years to $15 billion in sales by 2016. Today’s gluten-free products are purchased by 11 percent of customers – more than ten times the number with celiac. At the same time, wheat flour consumption has fallen to a 22-year low, according to the U.S.D.A. So these non-wheat products are popular with loads of health-conscious consumers who believe in its benefits. Experts say as many as 18 million people or 6 percent of the population may have sensitivity to gluten.

But here’s the rub: These products are more expensive than their more common counterparts – way more. Consumer Reports estimate that gluten-free products can cost two to three times more than regular non-gluten free products. What’s more, you don’t have to pay the premium price to stay away from wheat in some categories. Plenty of foods are naturally gluten-free, like polenta, rice-crackers and nuts. 

Even so, food makers are on the bandwagon. General Mills, whose brands include Bisquick and Pillsbury, have begun reformulating products to remove gluten. It’s already reformulated Chex and plans to introduce gluten-free brownies, cookies and cakes next year. Likewise, the grocery store chain, Wegman’s, is now the country’s largest seller of gluten-free products. New brands, like Udi’s and Glutino, are taking advantage of the trend.

Just keep in mind as you shop the supermarket aisles that cheaper options may be available.

Courtesy of Fox Business

Shouldn’t Your Dog Be Gluten-Free, Too? by Colleen DeBaise

Midwestern beef mixed with papaya and dandelion greens. Line-caught whitefish with sweet potatoes and parsley. These are the meals that Taro and Willow, two Rhodesian Ridgebacks owned by Lucy Postins of San Diego, wolf down on a regular basis.
Ms. Postins is the entrepreneur behind the Honest Kitchen, a 26-employee company that prepares and dehydrates a range of delectable-sounding dishes for dogs and cats. Recipes are made with organic, non-genetically modified, gluten-free ingredients — the same ingredients that can be found in artisanal human meals. Pet owners who buy the dried dishes just need to add water. They could even grab a spoon themselves, if so moved.
“We’ve had a few customers over the years threatening to feed the food to their husbands,” she said. “I don’t know if anybody has, but there’s nothing in there that you can’t eat.”
Ms. Postins can market her pet food as “human grade” because, she says, she can prove that every ingredient in it is fit for human consumption and the food is prepared according to Food and Drug Administration standards for people. She was inspired to start the line in 2002, when her Rhodesian Ridgeback at the time — Mosi, who has since died — battled ear infections and a skin condition. He responded well to a raw-food diet that Ms. Postins concocted. (The Times has just published an article with more on how the pet product industry is evolving.)
Of course, a product that can be fed to both your dog and your spouse does not come cheap. A 10-pound box of the Honest Kitchen food, which yields about 40 pounds of food when water is added, can run as high as $109.99. By contrast, 40 pounds or so of Pedigree or Purina — popular brands with crunchy kibble — generally costs about $20 at big-box stores.
Some might question whether anybody would (or should) pay such a premium for pet food. But Ms. Postins has proved that the demand is there: Last year, the Honest Kitchen took in $17 million in revenue. The company sells about three million pounds of food a year, through 3,000 specialty pet shops in the United States and Canada, some Whole Foods locations and its online site. In recent years, she has taken on investors, including Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, the owners of Clif Bar, and Alliance Consumer Growth, a private equity firm in New York. She and her husband, Charlie, are still majority owners.
According to Ms. Postins, the company has pretty much grown on its own. When she first decided to turn her dehydrated blends into a business, friends helped her set up a website and PayPal account. When she logged into PayPal to see if her test order had gone through, she said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes. Somebody from Virginia had actually beaten me to it and somehow tracked down our website and placed an order. I was just absolutely flabbergasted.”
Within months, mostly through word of mouth, she was shipping enough that “the FedEx guy came to us” every evening rather than her having to drop off its boxes. “We hadn’t got a business plan in the beginning, and we really didn’t realize what we had created,” she said. “And it turned out we sort of got a tiger by the tail.”
Ms. Postins, who has a degree in equine studies from Warwickshire College in her native England, said her blends were formulated to meet a pet’s daily nutritional requirements of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Early on, she said, it was difficult for her to find a human-food facility that would make her products.
“I’ve been to a pet food rendering plant and that horrific stench where you literally have to breathe through your mouth — it’s just too awful,” she said. Ms. Postins said she also declined to use ingredients from China, which have been implicated in a number of tainted pet food cases since 2007.
In 2004, the Department of Agriculture objected to her use of the term “human grade” on her labels. “It was a really painful time,” she said. “All these battles I’d gone though, to make the product just the way I want, and have this line in the sand about quality. What was the point of even doing it if I couldn’t explain it to people?”
Ms. Postins reached out to the F.D.A.’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. She said she provided affidavits from all of her suppliers, attesting that the ingredient supplied (be it celery or cranberries) was for human food products. And the plants that manufactured her products testified that they made the Honest Kitchen food on the same equipment being used to make breakfast cereal and other human food. The F.D.A. dropped its objections, she said. (The F.D.A. confirmed that it had worked with Ms. Postins, but the agency does not maintain a public list of pet food manufacturers that have sought to include the term “human grade” on labels.)
Today, Ms. Postins works out of an old Wonder Bread factory in San Diego. Many of her employees have dog beds next to their desks, so they can take their pets to work. (Ms. Postins said she had a third dog, a blind pug named Johnson, who “mostly telecommutes.”)
She is currently working on new recipes, including swapping in chard for dandelion greens — the dogs in her office, and sometimes cats, give final approval to new offerings. She recently introduced new packaging at the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, Calif., and the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla.
Ms. Postins said customers often tell her that Honest Kitchen products have cured their pets’ chronic health problems or allowed them to stop taking steroids or antibiotics. “Not that there’s something magic in our food,” she said. “It’s literally just sensible whole food.”
And now, with the organic food movement trickling down to pet food, Ms. Postins said, “there’s definitely a sense of being in the right place, at the right time.”
Courtesy of the New York Times

Gluten free 101: What you need to know by BPT

(BPT) - You’ve probably been hearing a lot about gluten. Maybe a friend has gone gluten-free or a family member has been diagnosed with celiac disease or been advised to avoid gluten. So, what exactly is gluten? Is it something you should give up too?
Gluten is a protein that is most commonly found in wheat, barley and rye. It comes in several forms, like flour, and exists in many foods including pizza, pasta, breads and baked goods. For those who have sensitivity to gluten, it can be hard to avoid. The Center for Celiac Research estimates that 18 million people (or 6 percent of the population) may suffer from gluten intolerance. The severity of a person’s gluten sensitivity is measured by the Sensitive Enteropathy scale, and can range from slight allergic reactions to more serious conditions, like Celiac disease, that require a person to eliminate gluten all together.
How do you know if you should avoid gluten? If you don’t have gluten sensitivity, it isn’t necessary to remove gluten from your diet. Keep in mind a gluten-free diet is not a weight-loss diet. But if you experience symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, digestive issues or Keratosis Pilaris (better known as “chicken skin” on the back of your arms) after eating certain foods, you may have sensitivity to gluten and could potentially benefit from reducing or removing it from your diet. However, you should first consult a doctor or registered dietician before making any changes to your diet.
However you eat – gluten free or not – a healthy diet starts by considering quantity, quality, nutritional balance (carbohydrates, protein and fat) and variety, with the goal of making sure your body gets all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs. For those who are avoiding gluten, the good news is that with the rise in people avoiding gluten, availability of gluten-free products has also increased, making it easier to avoid gluten.  However, many food companies are adding ingredients or adjusting the formulation to make the gluten-free food offerings taste more appealing and losing important nutrients along the way, so it is important to look at the types of gluten-free foods you are eating.
"If you are reducing or removing gluten from your diet, you should consider that the quality of the gluten-free ingredients in the foods you choose to eat plays as much of a role in your results as what you choose not to eat (like gluten),” says celebrity dietician Ashley Koff. “For optimal health, I recommend eating foods that are organic, which are produced without toxic chemicals and genetically modified ingredients (or GMOs), and to avoid ingredients that are ‘chemistry lab projects’, such as artificial colors and sweeteners.”
What can you do to avoid gluten in your diet?
 * Learn to read labels. Common forms of gluten, such as wheat, barley and rye, are easy to spot but avoiding these products can be challenging since wheat is often labeled by other names. Avoid anything with bulgar, durum flour, farina, graham flour, kamut, semolina and spelt. Do your research so you know exactly what to avoid when reading labels or a menu. If you have questions, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is a credible resource and can help guide you through the process of going gluten free.
* Beware of hidden gluten. Gluten is in many products that you might not expect like condiments, sauces and drinks. For example, raw meat is gluten free, however, processed meats – hot dogs, sausages and deli meats – often add flour (which contains gluten) as filler or to change the texture of the product.
* Eat organic. By choosing gluten-free foods that are also organic, you can avoid consuming pesticides and chemicals. This is important for everyone but especially those with an auto-immune disorder like Celiac disease. Companies like Nature’s Path offer organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and certified gluten free easy breakfast and snack options like cereals and granola bars.
* Get creative. Giving up your favorite foods can be a frustrating, but with a little time and creativity, you won’t even notice a difference – except in the way you feel. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations and new recipes.
It’s OK to have questions about gluten-free diets and making the right food choices for you and your family. The first step is speaking to a registered dietician or doctor if you think you or a family member has a gluten intolerance. There are many products to choose from, but do your research and choose products like Nature’s Path, that are organic and Non-GMO.

Courtesy of Journal Sentinel