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Living with and getting relief from  Gluten Intolerance

Living with and getting relief from Gluten Intolerance

Many people who use alternative products that are Gluten Free, already have some understanding of how Gluten intolerance can affect their lives. I thought it might be good though to give a little real life reminder. 
I have this lovely client who came initially for another purpose altogether. When she came she was presenting with; Constipation, cramps, bloating, back pain, anxiety, foggy head, dizziness, energy fluctuations and eczema. 
As a Naturopath I could see that the causes of these symptoms were the wheat gluten and other underlying 
imbalances. She knew she had been gluten intolerant in the past but had let wheat gluten slip back into her diet. I highlighted this to my client along with addressing some of the other causative factors. Now to her credit she went away and totally eradicated wheat gluten from her diet. She used the alternatives suggested and followed my protocol. On the second visit (two weeks later) I was so glad to see that most of her symptoms had disappeared. 
If you have gluten intolerance to whatever degree you know you may always have this but the idea is to increase your bodies ability to cope with that. First avoiding it so your body can get back to its healthy balance is a great start. Naturopaths will use all sorts of methods to improve digestion and metabolism. Usually addressing your deficiencies. I have had great success using homoeopathic desensitization, which is a simple procedure. 
This must be combined with reducing wheat gluten sources in your diet and using the alternatives best does this.

Kim Samsa Naturopath 2009 

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Ten Tips when searching for Great Gluten Free Bread

Ten Tips when searching for Great Gluten Free Bread

If you’ve tested positive for gluten intolerance and have already begun your search for alternatives, chances are that you will be overwhelmed by the vast array of choices available.

In this section that follows, we’ve furnished a list of the ten top tips to guide you in your search and enable you to make the best possible choices when looking for gluten free bread.

1. Look for ingredients

Make sure the breads you choose do not have any of the undesirable ingredients. It is always better to read labels and look for ingredients such as wheat, sye and barley in particular to avoid any reactions.

2. Look for proper preparation methods

When looking for the best gluten free bread, make sure that it is has been manufactured using the right procedure. Everything from the temperature at which it is baked to the temperature at which the raw ingredients are stored makes a difference.

3. Take references

When choosing a particular type of gluten free bread, make sure you seek references from people who’ve already used the same. The best of gluten free bread brands will usually have users who’ve given their testimonials and opinions on the products.

4. Search the web

Look up the internet for suitable options. Nowadays, there are a vast number of providers selling good quality gluten free breads by the loaves both in retail and online.

5. Look for variety

If you’ve considered where I can buy gluten free bread, it is mostly better to go for brands that offer maximum variety. There are many companies that offer the likes of sweet breads, pancakes and waffles in the gluten-free category.

6. Search your area

When looking for options for eating out, look for restaurants that offer gluten-free breads and other similar options. In fact, it is better to use tools such as the Restaurant Finder on the web that helps you to locate appropriate restaurants and eateries offering gluten-free breads in your specific area.

7. Look for right ingredients

If you’ve already invested in a gluten free bread maker machine, it is important that you look for the right type of ingredients to make the breads on your own. Make sure you choose the best quality ingredients, store them in the right way and use them for cooking in the proper manner.

8. Join forums and support groups

Since experiences can vary, it is often helpful to join support groups and forums with other individuals who might be gluten intolerant. This way, you can get better tips on how to look for the best gluten free bread and also decide on which type of bread will suit you the most.

9. Take medical advice on your condition

When looking for gluten free bread, first take medical advice on your condition and know the exact problem you have. For instance, you could either have the Coeliac disease, the non-Coeliac gluten sensitivity or the wheat allergy symptoms.

10. Try different brands

With so many brands of gluten free breads available, it is often advisable to keep changing the brands you buy so that you know what suits your taste and health the most.

Search the Bread Pantries of What Can I Eat to find preferred brands.


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Feeling Fantastic now I’m Gluten Free

Feeling Fantastic now I’m Gluten Free

About 7 years ago I was told by a homeopath that I should cut wheat out of my diet.

To be honest I thought she was being a bit over the top, and I was pretty slapdash in my approach to going gluten-free. But eventually I gave it a serious go, and discovered I was feeling better. “Clearer” if you will. I wasn’t feeling so sluggish, bloated, headachey anymore, and not so many upset stomachs either! There’s an ad out there for something which says “You’ll find there’s a better kind of normal” which I definitely found to be the case.

It was a bit difficult to do in the beginning – there wasn’t as varied a range of gluten-free products available as there is now, that’s for sure. With trial and error, I found things that worked, and I learnt to read the ingredients labels of ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING! Wheat is in so many things that you don’t expect it to be in! Eg cornflour – what? It’s not always made from corn ? How crazy is that? And some icecreams have it in them?

So many discoveries. I discovered that oats and rye don’t really work that well for me either, so I work more on a gluten-free diet rather then a wheat-free diet these days. It’s still sometimes a bit of a hindrance – if everyone wants to go out for pizza then it’s a bit difficult unless I can convince them to go to a restaurant that caters for me, or if we are invited over to someone’s place for breakfast, a meal that includes wheat most of the time – but for the most part its completely manageable nowadays. I love to bake, and have really enjoyed learning to cook variations that work for me and am compiling a fantastic collection of recipes!

I’m really happy I went gluten-free. Life’s so much better without it.

Submitted by Airdrie Makim on behalf of What Can I Eat

To find more information go to the Gluten free diet support pages of What Can I Eat


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A Guide to Gluten Free Cooking

A Guide to Gluten Free Cooking

Nowadays people are becoming increasingly aware of how the foods we eat affect our bodies.  If you're having problems digesting food and absorbing nutrients due to mal absorption issues or auto immune conditions then adopting a gluten free diet is highly recommended by many industry professionals. 

Gluten is the protein part of grains such as wheat, rye, barley and others and for some people, when gluten comes in contact with the small intestine their bodies cannot tolerate it therefore causing them digestive upset, pain, weakness, rashes, muscle aches and weight loss or weight gain. Going gluten free is a great way to allow your body a break from foods that are harmful and difficult to digest and the best way to give your body the chance to recover from illness at cellular level. The simplest and healthiest way to live gluten-free is to focus on fresh, organic whole foods and give processed foods the flick for good. 

Eating gluten free does not limit itself to just avoiding grains it also includes avoiding many other products like soy sauce, meat substitutes, pasta, crackers and cereals containing malt to name a few, these products can contain gluten and sneaky gluten derivatives. 

It's frustrating when you first decide to eat gluten free as there are so many mixed messages when it comes to food shopping. It's important to read food labels carefully if you do decide to eat packaged food. Foods such as soups, seasoned rice mixes, gravies, sauces and some nuts also contain gluten in varying amounts. And labellers don't always tell the truth when it comes to what's in their products. If a food contains less than 5% of a certain ingredient they legally don't have to report that ingredient. 

Knowing what types of grains and products contain gluten is a good way to ensure you’re not going to be misled by advertising and labelling laws. The best grains to avoid if you're on a gluten free diet are wheat, rye, barley, oats, kamut, semolina, wheat germ, couscous, durum, spelt, bulgar, farina, einkorn and farro. Just because you're eating gluten free doesn't mean you have to miss out on a great variety of nutrient rich foods. You can have your gluten free cake pasta and bread and eat it too! 

If you're intending on baking gluten-free then it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with gluten friendly flour alternatives. When using alternate flours it’s beneficial to bear in mind that gluten free flours do not display the same characteristics and provide the same results as gluten flours. Breads will have a crumblier texture in some cases and will not rise as high as traditional breads, that's why it's good to use a loaf pan when cooking, in order for breads to retain their shape. You can experiment with using arrowroot and tapioca flour to improve the texture of your baked goods too. 

Some people like to add guar gum or xantham gum in small amounts to create the sticky effect which is generated when using gluten flours. These gums are traditionally used as a thickening, stabilizing, suspending and binding agent. You'll find these ingredients in many commercially made gluten-free flour mixes. I tend to avoid using guar gum in my cooking as research undertaken by the FDA advises that bulking agents such as guar gum can be harmful and can cause obstructions in the intestines, stomach, or oesophagus when it swells by coming into contact with water. Guar gum has also been reported as 
preventing nutrient absorption in the body. 

I find using gluten free baking powder and bi carb of soda works very well in delicious cakes, breads and muffins. If you’re using eggs in baked goods this also helps to add some of the protein that is lost when not using gluten. 

Some interesting and delicious gluten free flours to use when baking are buckwheat, almond meal, arrowroot, tapioca, coconut, chestnut, chickpea, quinoa and brown rice flour. They are all gluten free substitutes to wheat flour and can be mixed and matched to get your desired result. Gluten-free baking powder can also be used in baking, it's widely available in the baking sections of supermarkets and bicarbonate of soda is naturally gluten free too. 

If you’re looking for pre-packaged gluten free baking flours, although a fast, convenient way to ascertain first-hand, how working with gluten-free flours is different than working with gluten flours, it's important to check labels as some products contain cheap white rice flour and additives that are only going to defeat the purpose of eating naturally and building up your immune system. Just because it's gluten free doesn't mean that it’s particularly healthy! 

It just takes a bit of time to get used to working with gluten free flours and I have found that it's beneficial to use gluten free flours in combination with each other, that's when the best results will emerge. It's a bit like a high school science experiment when you first begin but why not start by finding some of your favourite recipes and then creating your very own gluten free version. 

Be adventurous and you will be surprised with the results, your palette will change and you'll find eating gluten filled, sugar laden processed cakes and pastries will no longer taste as good as their healthy alternatives. Plus you will feel so much better, more invigorated and revitalized with energy to spare. For main meals if you’re looking at using gluten free flours as a coating then any number of gluten free flours would work well. I like to use brown rice flour as it gives great results when creating dishes which are sautéed in olive oil. Pasta and noodles can be substituted with buckwheat soba noodles or brown rice pasta. You can also invest in a vegetable spiraliser and create your own angel hair pasta with zucchini, daikon or squash. It’s delicious teamed with a fresh tomato based basil sauce. 

Quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat can be used in place of couscous, bulgur wheat and semolina in recipes. You can create delicious salads, hearty casseroles and side dishes which are all gluten friendly. 

There's absolutely no need to feel like you are missing out when eating gluten-free. A world of scrumptious, wholesome, fresh and nutrient-rich meals awaits you and in return you will be rewarded with abundant 

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