Tid Bits with Tina
Celiac and Gluten-Free Inaccuracies in the Media
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Celiac in the News
Gluten-Free Gets an “F”
Chelsea started it. The former First Daughter probably didn’t think twice when she ordered a gluten-free cake for her July 31st wedding (it was for a medical need, after all), but the ripples from that cake have lasted far longer than the towering tiers took to devour.
Almost instantly, gluten-free made the pop culture radar—so much so that NFCA launched a new blog to track it all. Media reports listed celebrities like Anne Hathaway and Gwyneth Paltrow among those going gluten-free, and restaurants clamored to promote menu items that meet their special needs. However, with popularity comes skepticism and, inevitably, someone murmured the dreaded word…
FAD. It’s is a word more suitable for fanny packs and stirrup pants, but it has the power to render even the most important cause inconsequential. In the case of gluten-free, it neglects medical necessity and underestimates the discipline it takes to shop carefully, read every label, talk to chefs when dining out and exercise extreme care in a home kitchen.
We know all this, but the general public doesn’t. Therein lies the opportunity.
By dismantling a few myths, we can actually use the FAD to our advantage. The celebrity spotlight could be our best tool. We just have to tweak it a little. Here are the challenges:
Misinformation: When fads first drop, they’re usually accompanied by a cloud of conflicting and inaccurate details. Information is posted before it’s confirmed, and as our article “Celiac and Gluten-Free Inaccuracies in the Media” points out, that often leads to unreliable reports.
How to Diffuse: Speak up! Comment on articles and blogs that post misleading information, and point readers to a more reliable source, like the Mayo Clinic or beyondceliac.org. In your own social network (in person or on the Web), invite friends to ask you about celiac disease and your experience with the gluten-free diet.
Choice vs. Need: Some celebrities are confirmed celiacs, like NFL running back Cedric Benson and “True Blood” star Deborah Ann Woll, but when Madonna (who has not reported an intolerance or allergy) eats a gluten-free brownie, she probably doesn’t sweat over cross-contamination risks. And, her non-celiac fans won’t be either. As the Gluten-Free RD points out, non-celiacs could abuse the gluten-free diet, and wind up confusing waiters by eating gluten-free one minute and taking a bite of traditional cake the next.
How to Diffuse:Restaurants and bake shops need to know the medical aspect of gluten-free. For those with celiac disease, gluten-free means 100% or none at all. We can use celebrities as a conversation starter: “Would you be able to serve Chelsea if she came into your shop?” But more importantly, we need to shift that focus to health: “Some celebrities may be gluten-free by choice, but millions of Americans actually need it for treatment…”
The Weight Factor: “Fad” diets usually imply weight loss, and it’s usually quick, easy or cheap – none of which apply to the gluten-free lifestyle. Bandwagoners are likely to jump ship when they discover the rigor and expense of eating gluten-free, but at the moment, eating gluten-free is considered “just following the crowd.”
How to Diffuse: If friends decide to go gluten-free in the attempt to drop pounds, bring them shopping. Note how gluten-free items can rack up their grocery bill—not to mention, their daily fat and sodium intake. Then work together to build a balanced diet using both gluten-free alternatives and naturally
There are plenty of challenges we’re bound to encounter as gluten-free goes Hollywood. How we respond could mean the difference between 15 minutes of fame and year after year of widespread awareness. So, let’s make sure Tinseltown gives celiac the real attention it deserves!
Danny the Dragon and Author Tina Turbin Share “Yummy Gluten-Free Tid Bits”
Tips for Ensuring Your Celiac Child Gets Enough Fiber in His Gluten-Free Diet
If you’re like other parents of gluten-intolerant or celiac children, adopting a gluten-free diet was
Undoubtedly, your child is on his way to enjoying a much healthier and satisfying quality of life. However, as healthy as it is eliminating gluten from the diet, you may find him experiencing the effects of insufficient fiber. It is important to realize and meet the challenge of getting enough fiber in your child’s new diet, and it’s easy, too.
Why is it that it’s more difficult to get enough fiber on a gluten-free diet? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, grains that are high in fiber. Rice flours and the starches commonly used in gluten-free diets are lower in fiber than many gluten-containing grains. Luckily, you can still get plenty of fiber from sources other than whole wheat.
One grain I highly recommend is quinoa. It is a great source of fiber and can be used in many tasty dishes your child will be sure to enjoy. Not only is quinoa high in fiber, yielding seven grams of fiber per serving, but as an added bonus, it’s also high in protein with a whopping fourteen grams per serving. Check out quinoa flour, which is great for making pizza dough and bread.
Brown rice is also a great alternative with three grams of fiber per serving. Brown rice retains the most nutrients of any variety of rice; whereas white rice loses some of the nutrients while it’s processed, brown rice holds onto its nutrients and fiber. This high-fiber substitute can be enjoyed in soups, puddings, and stir-fries, as well as on the side.
An important way to provide enough fiber in your child’s diet is to feed him lots of fruits and vegetables, which are thankfully gluten-free. A simple salad, containing spinach leaves, broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes, adds seven grams of fiber to your family’s dinner. Apples make a great high-fiber snack for your celiac child at school. For dessert or along with a meal, a fruit salad can add three to five grams of fiber. I also recommend dates, which have around four grams of fiber per serving.
So how much fiber is recommended for your child? Your child needs daily the number of his age in years plus 5 to 10 grams. For example, a 5-year-old boy would need between 10 and 15 grams of fiber (5 years plus 5 to 10 grams). To find the fiber recommendations for your child, visit the Mayo clinic website.
There are plenty of ways to add fiber to his gluten-free diet by including high-fiber gluten-free grains such as quinoa and brown rice as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables. Not only will your celiac child continue to reap the benefits of a gluten-free diet, but he’ll soon be able to enjoy the healthy advantages of a well-balanced diet high in fiber.
More about Tina and the “Danny the Dragon” children’s book series:
Tina Turbin became extremely interested and involved in the subjects of celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and gluten issues a number of years ago, after being diagnosed as celiac after many years of unresolved troubles. Since then, she has engaged in diligent research and writing about these topics, weekly radio shows, developing gluten-free recipes and reviewing companies for celiac consumer safety.
Tina is an award-winning children’s book author
By Celia Barnes
Did you know that scientists funded by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have indicated that fresh mushrooms play an important function in keeping the body’s defense mechanism healthy?
A recent article published in July 2010 on ScienceDaily.com reported that ARS-funded scientists have conducted animal-model and cell-culture research that suggests ingestion of white button mushrooms may increase the activity of critical cells in the immune system.
Agaricus bisporus, better known as the common mushroom, button mushroom or white mushroom, is an edible basidiomycete mushroom indigenous to grasslands in European countries and the United States. Agaricus bisporus is cultivated in more than 70 countries and is probably the most commonly and widely eaten mushroom worldwide.
In the U.S., white button mushrooms constitute 90% of total mushroom consumption.
The analysis was conducted at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University and led by the Center’s Director, Simin Meydani, D.V.M., Ph.D.
The outcomes suggest that white button mushrooms may increase the production of antiviral and other proteins that are released by cells while seeking to protect and repair tissue. This increased production may yield a stronger immune system.
The study’s cell-culture phase indicated that white button mushrooms increased the maturity of the immune system cells known as “dendritic cells,” which derive from our body’s bone marrow. Dendritic cells can make the essential white blood cells known as T-cells, which help identify and deactivate or destroy antigens on invading germs.
“When immune system cells are subjected to disease-causing pathogens, for example bacteria, the entire body begins to increase the number and function of immune system cells,” the article noted.
Regarding white button mushrooms, one way to include this powerhouse food in your daily diet could be to begin with simple, easy-to-make recipes. Mushrooms cooked with garam masala, a basic blend of ground spices typical in Indian and other South Asian cuisines, is an excellent example. Garam masala can be used alone or with other seasonings.
Add all the masala and cook for and additional two minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
About The Writer – Celia Barnes