Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly reacts to gluten. Glutens are proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale.
Put simply, celiac sufferers cannot properly digest gluten. Instead, the body starts to destroy part of the small intestine, making it difficult to absorb vital nutrients. If you or a loved one has celiac disease, or you simply want to be your healthiest self, consider a gluten-free diet.
About Celiac Disease and Gluten
Celiac disease affects everyone differently, and can be difficult to diagnose. There are more than 200 known symptoms of this disease, including:
Abdominal bloating and pain
Symptoms can affect the entire body, and can appear in children and adults. Celiac disease is hereditary, and affects as many as 3 million Americans. About 97 percent of celiac disease cases go undiagnosed.
The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a gluten-free diet. Gluten acts as “glue” that holds foods together, and exists in many products. It’s what gives bread a chewy and elastic texture, and is an important ingredient in making baked goods.
Beer, cereal, bread, pasta and many other foods contain gluten. Gluten is a completely indigestible protein that can slip through the lining of the intestines and cause inflammation in people with celiac disease.
Normally, the small intestine has villi that line the inside to help the body absorb nutrients. If one has celiac disease, ingesting gluten irritates this lining and causes the immune system to attack the villi.
Over time, this can lead to damage or destruction of the villi, and the inability to absorb important nutrients. This can cause malnutrition and a variety of related health problems. Adhering to a gluten-free diet can stop the symptoms of celiac disease, and allow the body to function normally.
Food Additives as Hidden Sources of Gluten
The number of hidden sources of gluten that exist in everyday products may surprise you. Identifying the more latent sources of glutinous material found in processed foods can be challenging, especially early on during your diet change.
Many people overlook one very significant source of gluten: food additives. Food additives for protein, texture, flavor or color may very well contain a source of gluten that causes a flare-up.
Companies may add ingredients to products to improve some element of it, such as the look or taste. Unfortunately, these additives can render the product inedible to people with celiac disease or gluten intolerances.
Always check labels for additives before consuming a product. Take a smartphone with you while you shop, and look up additives you aren’t familiar with. When in doubt, call the company to see if the product is gluten-free.
Celiac Disease Foods to Avoid
If you’re new to a gluten allergy or celiac disease, you’re probably wondering what foods you can and cannot eat on your new gluten-free diet. Luckily, scientists have increased their understanding of gluten intolerances in the past few years, leading to a trend of gluten-free food production. Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to find gluten-free alternatives to your favorite dishes.
The list of foods to avoid is long, but common foods that contain gluten include:
Bleached bread, cake, graham or granary flour
Soy and teriyaki sauce
Gluten-containing additives include:
Textured vegetable protein
Anything with the word “wheat”
Avoid vague descriptions such as “artificial flavoring,” “spices” or “natural flavor.” It’s unclear where these ingredients came from, and they could have a source that contains gluten.
The list of foods and additives that may contain gluten is even longer: Dried fruit, flavored coffee, ice cream, candy and many other food items can potentially contain gluten. Get in the habit of reading ingredients labels carefully if you’re adhering to a strict no-gluten diet.
What You Can Eat
Going gluten-free isn’t just about what you can’t eat. People with celiac disease can still eat some grains that are naturally gluten-free, including brown rice, wild rice, and quinoa.
Other naturally gluten-free foods include:
Unprocessed beans and nuts
Fresh meat and poultry
Fruits and vegetables
Most dairy products
Safe grains and starches include (as long as they aren’t processed with additives that contain gluten):
The Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet
Receiving a celiac disease diagnosis isn’t the only reason to consider going gluten-free. There are many other medical conditions that eating gluten can exacerbate. For example, eating gluten-free can ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Removing gluten from your diet can solve many mysterious issues you have with digestion, energy levels and other issues. You may have a non-celiac gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity if you can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong.
Going gluten-free can result in benefits such as:
Better digestive health
Weight loss from cutting out processed and unhealthy foods
Improved cardiovascular health
Less bloating and gas
Reduced risk of diabetes
Improved conditions such as IBS and arthritis
Note that if you don’t need a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, eliminating gluten completely may actually do more harm than good. You could miss out on a healthy, well-balanced diet and beneficial whole grains if you go gluten-free by choice.
Work with a dietician for a meal plan that’s suited to your individual needs, whether or not you have celiac disease. Visit your doctor for more information about celiac disease and gluten-free diets.
If you bake, you probably know there are many different types of flour. Nut flours like almond and hazelnut offer many of the nutritional benefits found in whole nuts. Oat flour has extra fiber and is gluten-free. Coconut flour is often substituted for white flour in paleo recipes.
Coffee flour is new on the scene, and it offers amazing health benefits.
Coffee Flour Improves Health and the Environment
With coffee four being touted as not only good for you, but also good for the environment, we had to dive deeper into this mysterious new ingredient. We wanted to find out for ourselves what the benefits and potential uses for coffee flour are all about.
What Is Coffee Flour?
The coffee you drink every morning comes from the Coffea plant. Coffee growers raise the plants for their fruit – little red cherries that each contain one or two seeds. These farmers harvest, dry and grind the seeds to make America’s favorite morning beverage.
Until now, growers had no use for the rest of the plant; they threw away the cherry pulp. Recently, a former coffee house employee invented a process to dry discarded cherry pulp and grind it into flour.
What Makes Coffee Flour Unique?
Coffee flour doesn’t taste like coffee. It has a smooth flavor that’s more like tea or molasses. Some blends contain light citrus notes, and others are slightly bitter.
Coffee flour works well in:
Other baked goods
But you don’t have to worry about the afternoon jitters if you use coffee flour in your favorite recipes: There’s only around 62 milligrams of caffeine per one tablespoon serving – about the same amount contained in a serving of dark chocolate.
Health Benefits of Coffee Flour
Coffee flour only has 34 calories per serving, but it packs a powerful nutritional punch. Here are some of its health benefits:
It contains 1.8 grams of soluble fiber and 3.4 grams of insoluble fiber per serving, making it a high-fiber flour.
Fiber helps your body digest food, absorb nutrients and balance blood sugar. It also helps you stay full longer. It’s low fat, too: While almond flour contains 3.5 grams of fat per tablespoon and coconut flour has 1 gram for the same amount, coffee flour only has 0.056 grams.
It’s also an excellent source of potassium, which reduces blood pressure and preserves both bone mass and lean muscle. It contains 310 milligrams of potassium per serving, almost as much as a whole banana.
Coffee Flour Uses
Coffee flour can be incorporated into most recipes. Just use it in place of 30 percent of the flour your recipe calls for. If you are worried about a different taste in your favorite food, try mixing coffee flours with other kinds of flours. Coffee flour also thickens smoothies, soups and sauces.
Coffee Flour’s Role in the Environment and Jobs
While we are all concerned with healthy eating, we also want to ensure our farming is done with the health of the planet in mind. Therefore, it’s comforting to know coffee flour has socioeconomic and environmental benefits. Instead of dumping waste in rivers or rotting in landfills, farmers turn this coffee byproduct into a sustainable source of income.
Since the plant pulp that is used was once thrown away or used for fertilizer, this new use is much better for the environment. It’s also a boon to many poor economies, too.
Coffee is grown in some of the world’s poorest countries. This new industry creates jobs, as workers are needed to harvest, dry, mill and package the pulp. A whole new industry from coffee flour is currently improving agricultural communities on three continents.
Coffee Flour in Paleo Recipes
Coffee flour is non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free. It’s the perfect ingredient in many sweet and savory paleo recipes. Try it as part of your favorite paleo recipes to boost both flavor and nutrition.
Dietary Rehab helps people understand nutrition to overcome obesity and chronic disease. We help people enjoy healthy eating and feel good while doing it.
Browse through our recipes and feel free to substitute coffee flour for an extra-healthy boost to an already nutritious and tasty recipe.
Finding healthier, easier ways to eat with enjoyment is a favorite American pastime. One of the premier diets getting a whole lot of attention is the Mediterranean diet.
In actuality, the diet itself isn’t new. In fact, it’s been in existence for centuries. Its origin comes from the name, Mediterranean, mimicking the eating patterns of people from that region of the world.
And while this eating plan may be many years old, how we view its merits brings something new to the nutrition industry. In truth, the Mediterranean diet sheds light on a term widely misused: the word diet.
Moderation Is the Meme of Mediterranean Diet Truth
People generally defer to a specific diet seeking weight loss, preferably quick weight loss. But the results, like the diet itself, are temporary. One of the many key differentiators in the Mediterranean diet is that it isn’t a diet, in the traditional sense of the word, but in truth – a lifestyle.
You may have had a friend or family member, even yourself, give the Mediterranean diet a try in the past. It isn’t just about what you eat. It’s about adding the element of moderation to your world. Moderation implies reasonable serving sizes and balance in other lifestyle choices, such as exercise, whom you spend time with and how often.
How a Mediterranean Diet Improves Health for Life
As the Mediterranean diet, followed in its entirety, creates a big picture mapping out a person’s day-to-day behaviors, committing to this program engages a more holistic lifestyle shift. Other diets, due to their temporary nature, do not support long-term use by the participant, setting up a recipe for failure.
The Mediterranean diet provides life choices that promote happiness and socialization while increasing heart health and other benefits that extend longevity. Because the transition into “living Mediterranean” is somewhat seamless, the sense of self-sacrifice in not being able to eat many of the foods one loves, common during dieting, is near nonexistent.
Instead, these dieters have a greater sense of well-being and a feeling that, with this life plan, personal goals are achievable and likely permanent.
Eat Mediterranean Like You Were Born There
It isn’t difficult to adopt a Mediterranean lifestyle. What you eat is hearty, robust and full of texture and color. The choices are vitamin-rich and full of nutrients. Try to focus on what you can eat and not what you need to do without, and the experience will be that much more rewarding.
Limit your intake of red meat and processed foods including sugars, complex carbohydrates (white rice and foods made with white flour), unhealthy fats, or preservatives. Key words to remember are fresh, whole and of the earth.
Find excitement in what you CAN eat:
Nuts (1 oz. daily)
Beans, peas, lentils, hummus (1/2 cup serving, cooked, 2 times a week or more)
Brown or wild rice, bread or pasta made with whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, popcorn and quinoa (4 small portions per day and ALWAYS eat with protein and healthy fats)
Fresh fish or seafood (4 oz., 2-3 times a week)
Grilled, baked, poached or steamed
Eggs (2-3 times a week)
Cooked in olive oil, poached or hard-boiled
Vegetables (5-10 servings a day, ½ cooked/1 cup raw)
Fresh or lightly cooked to stay slightly crunchy
Fruits (4-6 servings a day, ½ cup per serving)
Fresh or lightly cooked
Healthy fats (4-6 servings a day)
Extra virgin olive oil (1 tbsp.) or 5 olives
Avocado (1/8 of an avocado) or avocado oil
Dairy (moderate consumption), low-fat or skim (1-3 servings daily)
Fresh curd cheeses (1 oz.)
Yogurt (1 cup)
Kefir (1 cup)
Milk (1 cup)
Red Wine (5 oz. per day for women; 10 oz. per day for men)
Mediterranean Diet Truth or Consequences You Can Live With
The benefits of living a Mediterranean lifestyle are backed by science. Those who practice this diet regularly realize healthy weight loss while minimizing their risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke and early death. In addition, the risk for certain cancers, such as head, neck, prostate and colon, is reduced.
There is also evidence that Mediterranean diet followers are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
Before trying this diet plan, make sure that your body can digest raw fruits and vegetables well. If you have certain health conditions such as IBS, this diet could be cumbersome to maintain.
Ask us, the nutritionists at Dietary Rehab, if this is the right program for you.
Live Mediterranean Now
To get a taste of how the Mediterranean diet can make a difference in how you feel, try this:
Working Wake Up!
½ cup, ripe peaches chopped, skin removed ½ cup skim milk (1% is fine too) 6 ice cubes ½ cup low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt Sprinkling of cinnamon (optional)
Blend until all ingredients come together to a thick and frothy consistency. Pour into a to-go cup. Add a straw for fun. Start your day!
There have been many books on the subject of diet written in the past 30 years, and it feels like I have read them all. I am sure that you have read nearly as many as I have. Most of these books view our society’s weight problem as a problem of consumption. The various plans either try to solve the problem hormonally, through the suppression of insulin via a lowered carbohydrate intake, or through portion control of various means. These books have all met with varying degrees of success, and some are scientifically sound. But one thing keeps happening over and over again; people keep writing more diet books. Our problem with obesity has not been fixed, and as you know has only gotten worse. The First Lady of the United States has made it her personal crusade while in the White House to try to influence our society and specifically our children, to eat healthy and exercise. I applaud her for her effort, but I do not see it making much of a dent in the statistics.
All of the books, the First Lady, the celebrity weight loss shows have one thing in common; they look at our obesity problem as a defect in our behavior. They say “If you establish healthy behaviors you will defeat obesity” and “ People need to make better food choices”. All of this is predicated on the belief that people are willingly making bad choices, see an alternative, and can physically make a different choice. You do see some success stories. There is the occasional very large weight loss, or the middle-aged guy who finally rids himself of those 20 pounds he has held on to around his midsection for the last 15 years with a diet of meat and cheese. But the rarest of all the weight-loss storybook endings just happens to be the “and kept it off permanently” variety. It is truly a sad fact of our modern dietary experience that re-gaining previously lost weight is much more common than keeping the weight off. In fact, a recent study indicated that 31 percent of all dieters regain the entire amount of weight lost on any diet within 6 months of the cessation of that diet. That is simply a staggering statistic.
These facts bring up the proverbial million dollar question: If obesity is simply a behavior problem, and if we can correct that behavior problem for a significant period of time (lose our desired weight), then why do such a large percentage of people re-gain the weight that they lost? Why would an individual suffer through several months of dieting, restricting his calories or fat or carbohydrates through behavior modification just to turn around and adopt those same poor behaviors again, regain the weight and basically waste all of the effort they expended over that period of time? You and I both know that they would not willingly do this. Something more is at play here. Something that really takes the behavior choices out of the hands of the individual. That something is addiction.
It will be my objective, over the course of time, to lay out a case for food addiction as the primary reason for the increase in our society’s obesity over the past 30 years. In particular, it is addiction to sugar which is to blame. Chronic consumption of sugar causes numerous physiological changes in our brain which are synonymous with the changes caused by drugs of abuse. I will also show how sugar is metabolically different from other sources of carbohydrates, proteins, or dietary fat and how that difference makes it a physiological disaster to your long term health and well being. I will also show that, the reason for the rise in obesity over the past 30 years happens to coincide exactly with the increase in sugar and sugar additives in our food supply in the same time period. The increase being a financial boon for certain industries in our country and how the low fat craze of the late 70’s and early 80’s actually opened the door for this abuse to take place.
I will then share with you a plan to truly address the problem of sugar addiction. A program not unlike the one which has been used for years in treating patients who are victims of other substances of abuse. This program will provide an assessment of your current level of sugar consumption, a plan to easily taper down from that level, and a program to successfully transition you to the natural diet which we were intended as a species to survive and thrive on.
How I Got Here
I began to look at the problem of obesity at a very young age. I didn’t do this out of any intellectual curiosity at the time ( thanks to Indiana Jones I wanted to be an archaeologist when I was 12), but rather out of the necessities of my world. I was a fat kid. My mother was a child of the late Depression era in rural Appalachian East Tennessee. She grew up mostly hungry as a child, and even as a young adult her and my father sometimes struggled to put enough food on the table for my older two siblings. By the time my little brother and I came along in the late 1970s, my father had a good stable job on the railroad. In our little town, it was one of the best jobs to be had. So we never had to go without. Unfortunately my mother just happened to be the first sugar addict that I met in my life. Her eyes still light up like Christmas morning at the mentioning of a cake or chocolate pinwheel cookies. Needless to say, sweets were in great abundance in my childhood home.
There wasn’t a whole lot of structure to the kids acquiring them either. We didn’t have to sweep the floor or mow the grass or take out the garbage to earn a piece of candy, we simply ate one…or three. No one saw anything wrong with eating a lot of sugar. I certainly didn’t see a Saturday Morning Schoolhouse Rock telling me to avoid eating snack cakes because I would become as big as a house. There was an occasional comment that eating sugar would “give you diabetes” by my mother, but it was just a comment. My pediatrician also said nothing to my mother about my diet or obesity. She had plenty of opportunity, as I visited her quite frequently due to stomach pains and other gastrointestinal complaints that she passed off as a “nervous stomach”. ( I would later discover these ailments were diet-related) She would follow the allopathic medical script religiously; write me a prescription for the symptoms and send me home. this continued as long as I went to her.
I say all of this not to try to say that there was anything wrong or deficient with my upbringing. My mother is the greatest, kindest women I have ever known. Had she known the dangers of the diet she was feeding her children, she would have stopped it immediately. I bring up my childhood diet and its problems because it is absolutely typical in our society. Parents feed their children poorly and the pediatricians are disconnected from that part are the child’s health. Limiting dietary fat is their only general nutritional macronutrient recommendation for children older than two.
As I grew up I was an active and extremely happy child. I participated in every sport, even excelling in some, and had many friends. Despitte all of this activity, I was still very overweight. When adolescence came around and females started to be noticed, the weight around my belly became an issue. The slim among us have no idea what a deterrent a big belly is to securing a date to the school dance. After being turned down for the first couple of dances, I made the connection between the ice cream, my belly, and the rejection of the pretty girl in the corner. I decided I must do something about it. I went on a simple diet, mostly eliminating the sweets, and lost the weight I needed to lose right in time for high school. But as time went on I continually battled with sugar and weight gain.
It was in high school where I began having a real interest in the science of nutrition. It was the early 1990’s, during the height of the low fat craze that swept the world. I recall one of my good friends older sister being very overweight and frustrated to the point of tears that no matter what she did, the weight just wouldn’t come off. As she talked further she mentioned that she ate no fat and that she had even substituted her regular candy bars with fat free devil’s food snack cookies and the weight wouldn’t budge. Even as a teenager with zero scientific knowledge or training, this perked my ears up. I remember thinking that there is something more going on than just the general public consensus that dietary fat was unhealthy and made you fat. So I stored that little curiosity away in the back of my mind and moved on. Throughout high school and undergraduate training, I began developing a deep interest in nutrition while training for the sports such as weightlifting and bodybuilding that I became involved in. I read whatever popular information there was at the time about nutritional science, soaking up everything I could. But no matter what, I continued to struggle with my own weight fluctuations. It seems I would always be gaining and losing the same 20 pounds year after year. I became a master of losing weight and getting into great condition. I could get down to single digit bodyfat levels right on schedule for a competition or for summer vacation. It was tedious work, but I knew almost exactly how many weeks it would take me eating my monotonous low calorie, low fat diet and exercising before I reached my target bodyfat level. But just like clockwork, when I came off of the strenuous fat loss diet I would regain the 20 pounds. Of course this was extremely frustrating but I accepted it as just part of life. My body simply would not maintain a weight that was so low.
The most interesting part of these diet episodes was, when beginning these dieting periods, I noticed that for the first four to seven days that I would feel absolutely terrible. I would have terrible headaches, my eyes became sensitive to light, I would have a lot of trouble sleeping, and I had one thought constantly on my mind; sugar. Getting my mouth on a cake, pie, or candy bar was almost all that I thought about. The feeling was the most intense for the first week, but lingered on in the background of my mind for three or four weeks. Then, I was fine if I made it through those first few weeks. Several times I did not. I gave in and ate the sugar, and ate a lot of it. When I did, all was right with the world. The headache disappeared, I slept like a baby, and I felt calm and relaxed during the waking hours. I thought about this at length through undergraduate training and it was then that I started thinking that the sugar itself may have some addictive properties and what I was experiencing was withdrawal.
I had always been very interested in the science of addiction. My family, like many others, have had several family members who have struggled constantly with substance abuse. I have witnessed first hand the power that substances have over the life of an addict; from the personality changes during a binge, the negative effect that it has on the family structure, and the price that the addict pays to society when his addiction becomes more than he can contain inside their self. I have also witnessed the effects of withdrawal on the health of my loved ones. I have seen the discomfort, heard about the headaches, watched as nights of sleep were lost. Addiction influenced my decisions as an adult in many ways. When I became a pharmacist, I did so in large part because of the curiosity I had in pharmaceuticals and their therapeutic uses which I first took an interest in from seeing the harm that they could cause by being used inappropriately. In a way, I wanted the deepest understanding of pharmacology that I could achieve so that I might understand my personal life better. Many professionals I have heard speak on their career choices have stated a similar reasoning for their choices.
Pharmacy school was the vehicle which allowed me to really fill out the science behind addiction. The physical and chemical properties of the pharmaceutical agents became de-mystified. I was able, as a clinician, to see the ghost in the machine of addiction. After three years of didactic (classroom) training in pharmacy school, a candidate completes a a fourth year of clinical rotations. These clinical rotations are largely of your choosing and are very diverse in their scope. When it came time for me to select my elective rotations, I jumped at the chance to do a rotation in substance abuse. The setting was an outpatient substance abuse clinic in metropolitan Atlanta. There were individuals addicted to just about every substance you can think of that can be abused in that clinic; an 18 year old addicted to sniffing paint, a heroin addict in recovery, crack addicts from the inner city, and alcoholics. All were in various stages of the recovery process and for the most part they were all very physically different from one another. The one thing they had in common was their lives were dramatically affected by a substance.
It was right around this time that I began to see the connection between the pharmaceutical agents that were crippling the members of the abuse clinic and the substance was causing me and many of the people that I knew so much grief with our waistline and health. I began looking into the science behind sugar addiction and found that there is compelling evidence already in the scientific literature. I applied these scientific principles to my own diet and have completely and permanently cured myself of the affliction of the addiction to sugar. In doing so I developed a program that I believe is the easiest, quickest way for sugar-addicted individuals in our modern society to forever cast off the shackles of yo-yo dieting, weight fluctuations, and low self esteem that comes with not living up to your own expectations.
I am sure some of you are already asking yourself “what is the point of all of this? Why is this pharmacist equating a substance that we all know and love as a harmless treat with a disease as serious as addiction?” It is a difficult realization for all of us. Aside from a few forward-thinking scientists and medical doctors, there really is no one in our society who is even giving serious consideration to this subject. After all, sugar is a natural substance which we have used in one form or another for thousands of years. We received it as a reward for washing the dishes or taking out the trash as a child. We give it to our on children when they do the same. We put it in our coffee in the morning to make it taste better. The word “sugar” has a completley positive connotation in our language. Where I am from in the south, calling someone “sweet”, “sugar”, or “honey” is a positive affirmation for how you feel about that person. How can it possibly be, with all of our history and positive associations with this substance, that sugar is actually both harmful to our health and addictive by itself?
As with most problems in our modern society, the reason this natural substance has been transformed from sweet treat to dangerous substance lies with what we in our infinite wisdom and hubris have transformed the natural substance in to. Our modern processing has made it possible to extract this substance from seemingly unpalatable crops such as corn and beets, concentrate it down into its purest chemical form, and then put it in nearly every commercial product that we consume today. Nature never intended for sugar to be eaten in the form that we eat it now. And for all the thousands of years of our history on this earth our bodies were only familiar with sugar when it came packaged in a large vegetable or fruit. A fruit or vegetable, it turns out, that also contained other substances which aid in the digestion and metabolism of the sugar. We threw all of that out and kept the sugar. We kept the substance that nature created to attract us to consume the fruit, the substance that nature made addictive on purpose, and threw the rest in the nutritional trash heap. Thus, sugar’s addictive properties are free to run rampant in much the same way that other purified substances do, with the natural governor taken off by us.
I hope to make a compelling case for sugar addiction in our modern society. I will attempt to show you how it started, why it started, what it is, and most importantly what to do about it. I hope that, through this knowledge, you will be able to understand the problems and pitfalls of our modern nutritional system, how to eliminate your dependence on sugar through a safe and proven program, and how to eat for the rest of your life free of the concerns and health problems that the sugar addiciton causes. This first part of the series was admittedly a long set up. But I felt it necessary to explain the background to my thinkin gon the subject in order to fully address the issue. The next part of this series we will dive deeply into the science behind addiction, and how it ties in to our modern diet of processed foods from a biological standpoint. So put your thinking caps on and get ready!