VHM-2014-2015-lores - page 57

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SHUTTERSTOCK
CELIAC DISEASE
When the body doesn’t absorb nutrients, it can lead to
serious health problems such as osteoporosis, anemia
and vitamin D deficiency. Celiac disease and gluten in-
tolerance often have the same symptoms. A person with
either often knows there is an issue because consuming
something containing gluten — bread, pasta, beer, many
kinds of sauces and even vitamins, pills and cosmetics
— causes one or many of a variety of symptoms: bloat-
ing and stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue,
joint pain or vomiting, to name a few. The cause of celiac
disease, which can only be confirmed by blood tests and
screening, is unknown, but is believed to be hereditary
and more prevalent in females and Caucasians. The
treatment is a strict, gluten-free diet. For individuals
who are sensitive to gluten but who don’t have Celiac
disease, choosing to go without it is more a matter
of their own comfort (preventing symptoms) rather
than to sidestep or mitigate a major health concern.
“If you have some symptoms of gluten intolerance,
seek the advice of your doctor first, then possibly see
a gastrointestinal specialist for diagnosis of celiac
disease,” says VVMC Dietitian Melaine Hendershott.
“After properly educating yourself on gluten-free eat-
ing, you can adopt a gluten-free diet to see if this helps
your symptoms. You will need to trial the diet for at
least two weeks to see if your symptoms improve,
but it’s a good idea to try it for a whole 30 days.”
LIVING WITHOUT GLUTEN
Rachel Zehms, a 36-year-old Vail local, was never
diagnosed with celiac disease but 11 years ago, when
she realized that drinking beer and eating pizza, bread
and pasta was causing severe joint pain, she cut gluten
out of her diet. “Within 24 hours after eating a sand-
wich or anything with gluten, I’d notice swelling in
my finger joints, then it moved to my shoulders and
legs. There were times I was in so much pain I could
barely walk at night," she says. “I decided to avoid
gluten and I felt 80 percent better within two weeks.”
By now, avoiding gluten is second nature to Zehms,
but she says it takes a bit of effort and research for any-
one newly discovering a gluten intolerance. “The most
challenging thing is when you’re looking for something
affordable and quick,” she says. “You need to educate
yourself on all the things that have gluten. Some-
times it’s in things you wouldn’t expect, like sauces.”
When shopping, it’s comforting for GF (gluten-
free) eaters to know that all fresh fruits, vegetables,
nuts and meats are naturally gluten free, as are
many other foods. As evidenced by the $12.4 bil-
lion in annual gluten-free product sales, you can
find a GF version of just about anything.
Keep in mind, gluten-free products are not neces-
sarily healthier. In many cases, they may actually
be less healthy. “Gluten-free packaged foods can be
higher in fat and calories and lower in B vitamins
and iron,” Mazzia points out. “When you take out
that gluten, you have to add different mixed flours
or potato starch. I always recommend reading the
nutrition labels and buying gluten-free products
with at least three grams of fiber per serving.”
For someone who has no issues with gluten, Maz-
zia says it’s always healthier to choose whole wheat
over white breads and pastas. She cites quinoa, faro,
bulgur, brown rice and wild rice as high-fiber grains.
Of these, only quinoa and rice are gluten-free. Other
healthy GF grains include millet, corn and buckwheat.
“Gluten-free diets are not for everyone,” Hendershott
says. “It’s never a bad idea to add more variety to your
diet using popular gluten-free grains, so feel free to
purchase some GF pastas, cereals or cook with more
quinoa or rice as sides rather than breads or wheat
products. You’ll always find something GF nearly every-
where, even if it means a burger or chicken sandwich
with no bun or a salad. Most important is educating
yourself on how sensitive you are — can you handle a
little cross-contamination or none at all? What foods
contain gluten? And find a good balance of other foods
to substitute for the gluten favorites in your life.”
“Gluten-free packaged
foods can be higher in fat
and calories and lower in
B vitamins and iron.”
Favorite
Local
Restaurants
FOR GF
DIETS
AGAVE
JUNIPER
KELLY LIKEN
LARKBURGER
LARKSPUR
LA TOUR
MARKO’S PIZZERIA
OLD FORGE PIZZA
SWEET BASIL
TERRA BISTRO
TIMBER HEARTH GRILL
VIN 48
YAMA SUSHI
YELLOWBELLY
Fruits,
vegetables and
nuts are gluten
free, as are some
whole grains
such as quinoa,
millet and
buckwheat.
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