What is Gluten?
Gluten is the generic name for certain types of proteins found in common cereal grains – mainly wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and kamut (versions of wheat), triticale (a grain crossbred from wheat and rye), and their derivatives.
Whom It Affects
Current estimates suggest that 1 in every 133 Americans suffers a reaction to ingesting gluten, which is present in many products.
The Gluten Sensitivity Spectrum
Gluten is found in many foods otherwise considered wholesome, making the supermarket- for those who have an intolerance for gluten or those with celiac disease- a minefield.
The sensistivity to wheat and associated glutens range from mildly annoying to very serious.:
Conditions and Symptoms
- If you have a wheat allergy, you probably realize it. Allergic symptoms- itchy, watery eyes; runny nose; wheezing; skin rash; or diarrhea- appear very quickly after ingesting this grain. Eliminating wheat may be enough to relieve your symptoms. And you may still be able to eat oat or rye products.
Digestive distress, such as stomachache, bloating , diarrhea
Skin complaints like itching, eczema, hives
Joint and muscle pain
Malabsorption of nutrients
Headaches, including migraines
Antibody screenings are used to diagnose gluten intolerance
- If you have celias disease (symptoms include those listed above), which up to 3 million Americans are estimated to have, you must avoid gluten totally to avoid destroying your small intestine and possibly leading to more serious diseases, including cancer.
Living Gluten Free
You don’t have to give up all foods to live gluten-free: dietitians recommend that patients eat a variety of good things people should eat anyway, such as fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, milk, and legumes. All are naturally gluten free.
But you must become more vigilant about you diet, especially when it comes to:
- Eliminating foods that contain gluten: wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale.
- Discovering that wheat-free; a product may have some other gluten-containing grain.
- Reading labels of all bakery and packaged foods carefully.
- Knowing that gluten-containing grains are used as both basic ingredients and additives during processing or preparation.
- Being aware that ingredients may need to be clarified by the manufacturer. Example: Hydrolyzed vegetable protein on an ingredient list may be made from wheat, soy, corn, or a mix of grains.
If you or someone in your family is gulten-intolerant, read the labels of foods every time you buy them, as ingredients may change at any time. To make sure you’re clear about contents, get in touch with manufacturers and ask them questions. It’s vitally improtantn that you know for certain a good is gluten-free. Always remember: If in doubt, go without.
Allowed Foods: Rice, corn, potato, tapioca, beans, garfava, sorghum, quinoa, millet, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, Montina, nut flours, distilled vinegars, distilled alcoholic beverages, wine, brand-name packaged yeast, caramel color made from corn citric acid, pure spices or bottled spices containing silicon dioxide, vanilla and vanilla extract.
Not Allowed Foods: Wheat (durum, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt), rye, barley, triticale, or products containing these items. Malt or malt flavoring, malt vinegar, beers, ales, lagers (are made from gluten-containging grains), brewer;s yeast that is a byproduct of beer, caramel color made from barly malt, dextrin made from wheat, wheat maltodextrin or maltodextrin (wheat), and starch or modified food starch made from wheat.
For more information about gluten intolerance and living gluten-free, visit:
Celiac Disease Foundation: celiac.org
Gluten Intolerance Group: gluten.net
Source: National Digestive Disease, Celiac Disease Foundation, Gluten Intolerance
During the tour we were asked a lot of questions. Questions like “what is organic”, “why are we doing this”, “how do you incorporate organic into a lifestyle”, “where can we find organic food”, “why aren’t you charging people for this information” are just a few that we were asked to us. When it was time for us to ask the number one question “why don’t you eat organic?” You can probably guess what their answer was…..yes you guest it. For the most part of the tour the number one reason why people didn’t eat organic was because “it’s too expensive!”
Now we are not going to sit here and act as if organic isn’t expensive. Well actually we are because there are ways to offset the costs so that your overall expenses in going organic won’t be much more than what you’re paying now, and maybe even a little bit less!! So today we have 10 ways to “Be Organic” on a budget:
1. Buy directly from local farms.
Farmers’ markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) are typically less expensive than organic markets or the organic section of your local grocery store. You can always expect the freshest and greatest flavors of the season
2. Buy in bulk.
Buying in large quantities is always cheaper than buying smaller, prepared portions.
3. Coupons, coupons, coupons!!
You might not see many coupons for organic products in the weekly food section of the newspaper, but you’ll definitely see them in other places. You can look for them in health and fitness magazines and in lifestyle magazines. Here’s a website for organic coupons: www.organiccoupons.org. We would also recommend you go directly to company websites that offer organic products. A few to start with: Organic Valley, Stonyfield, Seventh Generation, Eden Organic and Knudsen Juices.
4. Buy store brand.
Supermarkets, large discounters, and wholesalers like Costco have realized good success in offering their own organic products. Private-label offerings are expanding, and they’re cheaper than name brands.
5. Learn to read your labels.
We know it can get a confusing over the terminology and lingo in the organic world, especially when you’re first starting to make the change. When you’re watching your pennies, don’t buy something that’s labeled “natural” when you’re looking for “organic.” For tips on reading labels please read our recent blog.
6. Grow your own garden.
Even the smallest balcony can usually support a pot or two. Fill those pots with a tomato plant, cilantro, garlic, or maybe a pepper and you’ve got yourself an organic garden. You can also grow wonderful herd such as thyme indoors on a sunny windowsill.
7. Make your own cleaning products.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what ingredients are in most of those cleaning products in your cabinet? Well you’ll be surprise to see that most of those ingredients can be found in your house to make your own natural cleaning products. Ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and borax are as cheap as you can find them. The cost associated with making products from them is about one-tenth that of their commercial equivalents.
8. Know what to buy organic and what not to worry about buying organic.
There are certain organic foods and food products that are worth spending the money on, and some that you can skip and save the money. Check out our previous blog on what to buy organic.
9. Prepare your own food.
Want to make sure your family is the healthiest it can be? When you prepare it yourself, you can ensure the quality of the ingredients your adding to your food and the processing as well. Nowadays people are doing more cooking at home; why not make it using organic foods? You can turn almost all of the food you eat right now into an organic recipe just by using organic ingredients.
10. Start a community garden.
Growing a community garden will need to be a major focus. We will soon experience limited access to healthy food and limited selection of whatever food is available. Growing wonderful fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs and supplying to locals in the community at a low cost year round.