What Does it Take to Be Gluten Free?

April 22, 2018

Going gluten free is so much more than switching from one processed food high in gluten grains to a processed food full of soy, rice flour and bad fats. Listen in as we teach you how to eat gluten free with real food versus eating gluten free with processed food. Anyone can benefit from going gluten free, even if you don’t have celiac disease, since gluten is known to be inflammatory and can cause problems with digestion and bloating.

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CASSIE:   Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm Cassie Weness, registered and licensed dietitian and I believe I am very well versed, whether I want to be or not, in how to go gluten free, the real food way. And so this morning I want to share tips, advice, and some delicious recipes that I've gathered from years of experience and it might surprise some of you that I don't shop the gluten-free product aisle very often. Instead, I shop the perimeter of the grocery store, so think about what you find on the perimeter of the grocery store. It's the delicious vegetables, the meats, the fish, the fresh fruit, and I do always venture down the aisle that has the olive oil and the coconut oil so I can buy my healthy fats, too. Today, my colleague and I want to help you understand that going gluten free is so much more than switching from one processed food high in gluten grains to a gluten-free processed food full of rice flour and sugar. My family, some of you know my story, my family has been gluten free for the past eight years for medical reasons and boy, have I ever learned a lot about eating gluten free with real food versus processed food and all the benefits that provides the health of my children and the benefits that provides to my own health as well. Now, joining me this morning as my co-host is JoAnn Ridout. JoAnn is also a registered and licensed dietitian and she's been gluten free for her own health reasons for the past five years and JoAnn really has a great story about how going gluten free has helped her health. So I really want her to start off the show by sharing that story, but first I just need to say welcome JoAnn. I'm so glad to be back on the air with you.

JOANN:  Yes, thank you. Good morning, Cassie. Yes, it is good to be on the air with you again. So I'd like to share with you what a difference going gluten free has made for me. About 25 years ago, I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome right after my daughter was born and as Cassie said, I'm a registered dietitian and while working in the medical world, I was told by my doctor to increase dietary fiber and take metamucil. And quite honestly I was thinking I already do the dietary fiber as much as I can, but it actually didn't help and I continued to struggle. So several years later at another doctor appointment I was told about a new medication to try for IBS. I was told it was OK to live on Miralax and that was suggested for me also. Unfortunately, neither of those solutions worked, either. They might work for a day or two, but they weren't working long-term, so I continued to suffer from the constipation and digestive issues for years. Five years ago, after starting my work at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, I decided to go gluten free. In the past, I had always believed the medical opinion that celiac disease was the only reason to go gluten free, but I was starting to see the research showing that going gluten free would help my irritable bowel.

CASSIE:   And I just want to jump in here, JoAnn, before we continue with your story, because this just backs up what you're saying. So years ago you thought it was only celiac disease that needed a gluten-free diet, but you started to open up your mind to some new research. I have an article here in front of me published in the Journal of Gastroenterology. This was published back in 2015 and the title is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. It was written by Dr. Alessio Fasano, and if you do have celiac and you tend to read the research a lot, you know who Fasano is. I've heard him speak. He's wonderful. I've read a lot of his research, but if you're not familiar, Dr. Fasano is a leading expert on gluten sensitivity and celiac disease and he sees patients and does his research at Mass General Hospital in Boston. And in this particular article he reports that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a real ailment and he bases this on years of research, but what I find a little bit more interesting in this article is that he states that anybody, even if you don't have a gluten sensitivity and you don't have celiac, he states based on his research that anybody who eats gluten is doing at least a little bit of damage to their intestinal lining and then inflammation usually follows. And Dr. Fasano goes on to say that over time, eating the gluten, creating that little bit of damage every time you eat it, this could lead to irritable bowel syndrome for some people, it could lead to an autoimmune disease like celiac disease or lupus or Crohn's disease, or it could lead to chronic fatigue, so not good, right?

JOANN:  Right. Lots of health problems there.

CASSIE:   Right, now I myself have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but the long-time listeners know that both my son and my daughter have celiac disease, so all three of us basically have the same prescription. At the end of the day, we all three avoid gluten, 100 percent for our health. And you know, Dr. Fasano’s research really supports this that not just my kids need to avoid gluten, but I do too because of the non-celiac gluten sensitivity. And JoAnn, you've figured out that you obviously are sensitive to gluten as well.

JOANN:  Absolutely. As dietitians and nutritionists, we understand that many people believe that going gluten free is a fad. I've heard that so many times. I've heard in classes when I'm teaching, somebody who's always raising their hand now, c'mon, is this real?

CASSIE:   Or how about that one or two family members at the holiday gathering that corner you?

JOANN:  Always. Or there will be a family in a class together, two or three people, and one of them is like the holdout, "You know, I really just don't believe this." But according to a recent survey, 100 million Americans will consume gluten-free products within the next year. Wow. And personally, I know it's not a fad or trend for me to eat gluten free.  Within five to six weeks, I experienced a complete turnaround with my constipation, digestive issues and irritable bowel syndrome.

CASSIE:   I think we need to repeat that because as I was telling you in the break room, JoAnn, I cannot even count using my hands and my toes can't even count all of my friends and acquaintances and mom's on the basketball team of my son who have stopped to tell me about their IBS or their constipation and their doctors are not coming up with a solution. So let's say that again, it was going gluten free.

JOANN:  Right. Going gluten free is something I decided to try once I was learning about the Nutritional Weight & Wellness program and I heard enough about it and I also had experienced enough in the past to know, you know, nothing was working before so I'm going gluten free. Within five or six weeks, I experienced a complete turnaround with my constipation and irritable bowel.  Now the other piece of that is, it doesn't have to be constipation. For a lot of people, that could be diarrhea. But the other benefits I experienced from going gluten free were less joint pain, no more sore knees or back pain or aching hips and the bloating was done. You know, that was huge when the bloating was done and the other thing that happens to me is itchy skin and I still notice that interestingly enough, sometimes when I eat a gluten-free product even.

CASSIE:   So maybe the sugar in the gluten-free products is creating the inflammation.

JOANN:  Or the rice flour. I know I am sensitive to rice. How do you determine if you have a gluten sensitivity? I do recommend that you do it the old fashioned way like I did if you take it out. I just stopped eating all gluten grains and waited about a month to see how I felt. I felt so much better going gluten free. So I stuck with my plan.

CASSIE:   So I love your story because in telling your story, it shares so many body signs that could potentially mean you need to go gluten free. And, honestly, your body signs are fairly common ones, the constipation, irritable bowel, the joint pain. So next I'd like to delve into my area of expertise a little bit by talking about the ins and outs of living and shopping gluten free.

JOANN:  Should we wait until after the break for that?

CASSIE:   You know, maybe we should because you know me, I can really get on a roll talking.

JOANN:  And that's a big topic.

CASSIE:   Yes, let's do that. Let's come back and talk about some tips and tricks of living the gluten-free lifestyle.

JOANN:  OK, sounds great. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Today we're discussing what it takes to be gluten free and according to a recent survey, 100 million Americans will consume those gluten-free products this year. But rather than shopping the gluten free aisle, we recommend you shop the produce aisle, the meat counter, and also by those healthy fats that Cassie was talking about, the coconut oil, butter, olive oil for cooking your meals.

CASSIE:   Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you're just joining us, we're discussing celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity and we're going to delve into how to navigate the gluten-free lifestyle. But before we jump back into our topic, on a related note, I want to talk briefly about the importance of vitamin D. So first and foremost, I recommend that you check your vitamin D level. If you have kids, get their vitamin D levels checked as well, rather than just starting a supplement and not knowing where you're at. So get your vitamin D level checked if you haven't already. The ideal place to be with that blood level is between 50 and 80 just so you know what you're looking for when the results come back. Probably most of you are going to need to supplement to get yourself up to that range. Now, many of you already realize that we can get a lot of our vitamins from food if we have a healthy real food diet, but vitamin D is a little different. As humans, we actually make vitamin D ourselves. What happens is light from the sun interfaces with a form of cholesterol in our body and then we make vitamin D, activated vitamin D. And once we have this activated form of vitamin D, it's so important for almost every tissue in our body. We need this activated vitamin D for our brain function. We need it for cardiovascular health. We need activated vitamin D for strong bones and for a strong immune function, and it also helps to downplay or to manage inflammation. Now, this all relates to today's show because vitamin D deficiency is common in celiac disease. And I think most people are familiar with celiac disease, but to give you just a short definition, it is a full blown reaction to gluten. It's an autoimmune genetic disease where you cannot eat even a speck of gluten or you're going to get sick. And they have found that vitamin D deficiency is common in these people. Not only that, but research is starting to show that vitamin D deficiency can lead to a breakdown of the lining of the intestines and this is sometimes called leaky gut and leaky gut can cause additional food allergies and it can eventually lead to other health problems as well. So for all of these reasons, I give my kids a liquid vitamin D3 supplement and I did have them tested before I started supplementing them. They were both low and if anybody is interested in this liquid vitamin D3, it's great for kids because if they're like mine, I have one that can swallow pills in one that can't, so I just give them both the liquid. We have this liquid vitamin D3 available at all of our seven Nutritional Weight & Wellness offices. You can also read more about it or purchase it online at weightandwellness.com and then just click on products. I think we had a caller, didn't we?

JOANN:  Yes, we do. We have a caller waiting. Cindy, you have a question about the study?

CALLER:  Yeah. You know, I love this topic because I've been gluten free for a while. Quite a while, 10 to 12 years at least. And I feel like I have the same benefits that JoAnn had. I think I had leaky gut is what I'm thinking because I had terrible digestive problems, but also joint pain. I mean I don't experience joint pain like I had.

CASSIE:   I hear that so often. Give up the gluten and the joint pain goes away. That's great.

CALLER:  Yeah. So what my question is, well number one, I'm so grateful that you have this study because I have my family members and they think I'm crazy. And one is in the medical field and her husband is too and they have two babies and they feed their kids a lot of gluten it seems like. But I really would like to show them the study, because I think this study is great. I think they both could benefit from it, so not just the babies, but my daughter and her husband. I think they could benefit, too. So where can I get my hands on that study?

CASSIE:   If you just Google Alessio Fasano and I can spell that name out for you, but it sounds like you might be driving. I don't know if you can write it down?

CALLER:  I can remember.

CASSIE:   Ok if you just Google Alessio Fasano and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you'll come up with it. Absolutely. His first name is A, L, E, S like Sam, S like Sam, I, O. And his last name, he's Italian, Fasano is F, A, S like Sam, A, N, O. I think it was only one S. Yeah. And then like I said, also Google with his name non-celiac gluten sensitivity because he's the one that coined that term. You'll come up with research and articles and more stuff than you have time to read probably.

CALLER:  Good, good.  Well thanks so much. This is a great topic.

CASSIE:   Wonderful. Thank you for listening. Great question. All right. He also, she might be interested, I should have thought to say that to her, he's got a book  out there and the name escapes me. It's fairly recent, it came out a couple years ago. I'm sure you know, on the heels of this research, so if she were to get the book and hand it or give it as a gift to her family members, especially the one in the medical field, that would be awesome. I think that will be a real eye opener.

OK. So we're going to delve into my area of expertise a bit, which is the ins and outs of living and shopping gluten free. So I guess the first thing that I would say, especially if you're new to this lifestyle, is remember that the real food in the grocery store should be your first choice. So again, thinking of the perimeter of the grocery store, the fresh meats, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, there aren't hidden ingredients in real food. But realistically most people who shop for groceries are going to need at least a few items from the middle aisles of the store to put a meal together. So I want to stress the importance of carefully reading food labels. Whether you're new to eating gluten free or whether you're a veteran, you just can't let your guard down. And the first reason for that is because ingredients can change without warning, companies can change an ingredient or an ingredient source, and they're not required to send you an email, they're not required to announce it or have a commercial about it, or they can just change ingredient and that's it. And the label of the product might look exactly the same, but the ingredient list can have something different in it. So even on products you've bought 100 times before, always look at the label. The other thing that I like to tell people who are just starting out gluten free is don't rely on common sense when you're grocery shopping. And really this goes for anybody with food allergies, could be a peanut allergy or a shellfish allergy, because some of these ingredients can be hidden. A great example, soy sauce. I did not know until I found out my kids had celiac disease and I had to learn all these details, I did not know that most soy sauces contain wheat. I knew they had soy, but who knew they had wheat? Another one that really surprised me is licorice, which none of us should be eating any way, but licorice has wheat and I think it has to do with them dusting it with wheat so it doesn't stick to the package, but that is off limits if you're gluten free. So things like this are not common knowledge, they don't even really make sense, but just so that you know, there are some details that you probably need to learn when you're going gluten free.

JOANN:  Right. And I don't think people realize that going gluten free might help their autoimmune disease. So of course, Cassie was talking about celiac disease, which is an autoimmune, but many people may have something like lupus or Parkinson's disease or type 1 diabetes, asthma, migraines, eczema, those are all autoimmune diseases.

CASSIE:   And another one, how about hyperthyroid? Sometimes hypothyroid is linked to a gluten sensitivity.

JOANN:  Exactly. So there are a lot of people out there who can be helped by going gluten free, but sadly most people don't know that.

CASSIE:   Right. And you know, I have a great little article here in a magazine I get called Allergic Living. It's in the latest publication. And again, I'm a talker, it's going to take me a little bit to explain this article, but I think the listeners will enjoy hearing about it. So why don't we go to break and I'll talk about it when we come back.

JOANN:  All right, that's a great plan. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, and if you're looking for simple real food recipes that are gluten free, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of our Weight & Wellness Cookbook and Nutrition Guide at one of our seven offices or online at weightandwellness.com. I use that Weight & Wellness Cookbook several times each week. Every single recipe tells you how to be gluten free, and most of them are already.

CASSIE:   I would say 98 percent of them are.

JOANN:  I was going to say 98-99 percent of them are already if they're not, they give you an easy to make, quick substitution. And so I use it several times each week. My entire family is a fan of these recipes.

CASSIE:   Before we get back into our topic. We are so excited to be offering you a great class next week for a really great price. The class is called Prevent Osteoporosis with Bone Building Food. We're offering it at two locations. It's at our Mendota Heights location and at our Wayzata location, both coming up this next week. Get this only $10 to take the class and we're doing that low, low price because we want people to come in, pack the room because more women die each year from a broken bone than from uterine or breast cancer combined. So it is so important to keep your bones strong and food makes a huge difference. And we have great information in this class to share with you, so if you'd like to reserve a spot, you can call the St Paul Office at 651-699-3438. Again, this class will be offered at Mendota Heights and in Wayzata. All right. I think before we get to that study, I was saying I wanted to share with the listeners we should take our caller.

JOANN:  We have Pam on the line and she a question about autoimmune. Are you there, Pam? Hello.

CALLER:  Hi. My husband has an autoimmune disease called scleroderma and I tried to tell him about his diet and that he could probably control some of his pain and different things, but I was wondering if the gluten would be something I could eliminate easier. Do you think it would help him?

JOANN:  Yes, I definitely do. I have very sensitive skin along with my gluten sensitivity and, scleroderma is an autoimmune condition. Every autoimmune condition does require going gluten free as one part of dietary recommendations. So that is a very good first step. Absolutely. And to get rid of the gluten and the sugar.

CASSIE:   Yes, yeah definitely would be helpful.

CALLER:  So could I, it's going to be hard to do it, but I'd like to maybe make an appointment and have him come in.

JOANN:  Yes, I'm in Maple Grove. This is JoAnn, and I'm in Maple Grove on Tuesdays and Thursdays and some Saturdays I'm in Wayzata on Fridays.

CALLER:  Anything in Mendota?

JOANN:  No, I'm not there, but Lea and Melanie are both great nutritionists, and you would definitely find your help there.

CASSIE:   Either location would be great.

JOANN:  If they are more convenient, definitely make an appointment.

CASSIE:   That sounds great. That's a great plan.

CALLER:  Is this something that is covered by your medical insurance or not? 

JOANN:  Some Blue Cross insurance is. Yes Blue Cross does work with us. It depends on your plan. So you would need to just call our office and then they will give you the guidelines to check with your insurance.

CALLER:  I would do it anyway. I just thought if it would cover it, people might like to know that, too.

JOANN:  Yes, for some. Wonderful. Great question. Thank you for calling.

CASSIE:   You know, and I love that she's wanting to bring her husband in because I think that will be so helpful because once they get through the appointment and the man learns, OK, I can still eat a hamburger and I can have butter and bacon and the guys usually leave happier than when they walked in. And if it can clear up his scleroderma or help calm it down all the more better. So JoAnn, you were talking before break about how, really related to this question that the caller had, how going gluten free can help many autoimmune diseases and other conditions as well. And I had come across this article a couple of weeks ago, so I saved it knowing I was going to be on the radio with you. It's in my Allergic Living magazine that I get regularly and it's a little article called Symptoms Missed for Celiac Diagnosis and it summarizes a study that was published recently in the American Journal of Medicine and I thought having kids with celiac especially, I thought this was so interesting. And so they took this group of patients that had a biopsy confirmed celiac diagnosis and they found that about half of this group got their diagnosis within a period of two months because they had digestive issues - stomach aches or constipation or gastric reflux. So the doctor thought to test them for celiac. The other half of this group of celiac patients, it took on average three and a half years to diagnose and this is why. These are the things that they were presenting with before they finally found celiac disease. Forty-three percent of this chunk of patients had abnormal thyroid hormone, so either hypothyroid or hyper, and that was the symptom of their celiac disease. Sixty-nine percent had anemia, so please, if you have low iron, ask your doctor to check you for celiac disease. That is common, but not enough doctors realize that. And 68 percent had abnormal bone density scans, so they either had osteoporosis or osteopenia at too young of an age. So that can be another red flag that you should be tested for celiac disease. So I just wanted to read that because it's not just Nutritional Weight & Wellness saying that some of these odd diseases or osteoporosis can be a sign of a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. It's the research saying it too.

JOANN:  That's right. And before break we were talking about people starting to go gluten free. And so many people mistakenly think that going gluten free means shopping in the gluten-free aisle in the grocery store, so that gluten-free processed food has rice flour in it. So just about all of them do have rice flour that turns to quick sugar. So that causes an increase in pain and inflammation in your body. And I have learned to stay out of the gluten-free aisle and I've found so many foods like meat, vegetables, healthy fats that I can eat. So now cooking has become simple.

CASSIE:   I'll tell you, you feel so much better when you're eating real food instead of the processed gluten free food.

JOANN:  That's right.

CASSIE:   And I think most of those gluten-free real foods that you just listed, JoAnn, can be found around the perimeter. So again, shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That's where you want to do the majority of your shopping. You mentioned the Weight & Wellness Cookbook, I think going to break you talked about it, I didn't show you during break or in the break room, but look at my copy. Can you tell that I use this a lot?

JOANN:  Mine looks about equally bad.

CASSIE:   So I brought my cookbook in, it is wearing out. The cover is falling off, it's tattered. I have pages mark. There's a few food stains on it, but the point is I use it every week and I just wanted to share a couple of our family favorites. The first is probably my most favorite. Maybe not the kids' most favorite because it does have onions in it, but the Wild Rice Meatballs.  Do you ever make those? Oh my goodness.

JOANN:  One of the mainstays at my house.

CASSIE:   And I wonder if you do this, too. I do a double batch so I can have meatballs for breakfast during the week. For me that's a delicious breakfast.

JOANN:  I double or triple it every time I make it.

CASSIE:   Awesome. And then the other one that is a true family favorite at our house that my kids especially like is the Chili. And here, too, I always make a double batch because my kids like to have this in their thermos for school lunch, so I definitely need those leftovers.

JOANN:  That's great. So more real food. Gluten ideas.

CASSIE:   Gluten free.

JOANN:  Gluten-free ideas, it is an early morning. I usually make a package of raw chicken tenders and then saute them in coconut or olive oil. And then I add salt, pepper and garlic powder. Simple, not really needing a recipe. If my grandkids are over, they disappear so fast. So I usually make two packages at a time. And they also love deviled eggs. They love sausages, they love the sweet potato wedges for a meal or snack. And when they're over, we eat about every two to three hours. I need to have a lot of this on hand. One of the other big favorites is our Blueberry Muffin recipe and that's in the Weight and Wellness Cookbook as well. I also make that recipe with either apples or banana or pumpkin. So that just gives it a variety and it's not always the same.

CASSIE:   That recipe is really good. And we're not saying any muffin recipe. It's the muffin recipe from the Weight and Wellness Cookbook because it has protein powder and almond flour so it doesn't spike your blood sugar it. And kids do love it. And you were saying Joanne, when the grandkids are over, you eat every two to three hours. I can so relate with a son that's in middle school and has a big appetite. And a very active 10-year-old daughter. I need to have a lot of healthy snacks on hand too and I think it's so important to make the easy snack, the healthy snack.

JOANN:  Absolutely.

CASSIE:   So that when they open up the fridge, there are the grapes that are washed and ready to grab or the leftover sweet potato wedges or whatever. You know, a little tip, and I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this, but JoAnn and I are both gluten free and yet we live a little bit differently because I have kids with celiac disease. I have to be a little more vigilant even though we both are 100 percent gluten free. I need to take it to the next level. And so for any people out there listening with celiac disease or if you have kids with celiac disease, here's a tip for you. Hopefully you've already given your kitchen a makeover, but if you haven't, you probably need to because Teflon pots and pans that are chipping or cracking, gluten can get stuck in there and that can be enough to make someone with celiac disease sick. Same with cutting boards, especially if you have a wooden cutting board or a plastic cutting board that's getting those crevices or grooves, throw them away and buy new ones. I would also suggest that you consider investing in a new cookie sheet and new spoons and spatulas and I'll say one more thing and we have to go to break. Absolutely have to have a brand new clean toaster for gluten-free bread only if you have celiac disease and more tips and tricks when we come back.

JOANN:  More when we come back, that's right. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. You want to know more about Going Gluten Free, The Healthy Way? We have an amazing class about gluten available to you online, so go to our website weightandwellness.com and you can enroll. The cost is only $24.95 and the class is full of information that you can use starting today. Cassie is the teacher, so you know you're watching an expert who reads the research and practices what she teaches. It really is an excellent class. Also to let you know, next Saturday show is titled Tired All the Time? Cassie and Kara are presenting that show next week, so if you or someone you know is tired all the time, be sure to tune in.

CASSIE:   Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you or your child has a gluten sensitivity or has celiac disease, especially if you're newly diagnosed, I highly recommend that you sit down with a nutritionist or a registered dietitian at Nutritional Weight and Wellness to learn the ins and outs of going gluten free. I still remember very vividly eight years ago when I first got my son's diagnosis of celiac disease. I was so overwhelmed and I was a registered dietitian. I had studied celiac disease in college. I was seeing clients with food allergies and counseling them, but then when it's your child's diagnosis or your diagnosis, you really don't know the fine details and all that it takes until you get that diagnosis. And again, I was overwhelmed and I had already been a dietitian for about 15 years at that point. So you likely are overwhelmed too if you've just gotten the diagnosis and you could use some guidance and somebody to sort of hold your hand during these first couple months until it becomes second nature to eat and shop gluten free so you can call 651-699-3438 today to set up an appointment. And don't worry if you are listening out of the area via a podcast or maybe you're even out of state or out of the country. I just want to remind all of you that we do phone consultations and I think we still do Skype consultations, so phone or Skype if you're out of the area, works just as well.  So we were talking about giving your kitchen a make-over if you have celiac disease because again, with celiac you kind of need to take things to the next level.

JOANN:  I don't need to worry as closely about things like the toaster and my utensils in my kitchen.

CASSIE:   But still you can't take a bite of a piece of bread and think that just one little bite isn't gonna hurt. One little bite, right? It causes inflammation.

JOANN:  I always have some kind of itching or some kind of knee pain is my my end result. So you know, it's just easier to stay away. So I'd also like to share another favorite real-food recipe. So this hardy meal is our Hamburger Soup and that is a recipe that's available online on our website. It is so easy to make. I actually make mine with two pounds of grass fed beef and this recipe not only tastes great, but it makes a lot. You've got a good portion for those hungry, hungry men and grandkids. Yes. And you'll find it on our website weightandwellness.com under the recipes.

CASSIE:   So I think those that have been listening since the top of the hour, kind of get how we've broken up our information today. JoAnn is sharing a lot of delicious recipes and I'm giving more of the everyday living things that I've learned over the years. And again, remember that I have two kids with celiac, so another thing I want to share that works, especially for people with celiac disease or any type of severe allergy, maybe it's a peanut allergy, maybe it's a shellfish allergy, if you're going to go out to eat, I strongly recommend that you do your research ahead of time. Now, personally, we do not eat out much at all, but to be realistic, it does happen sometimes and likely it's going to happen for you, too. So if you can call ahead of time, during off-peak hours and ask to speak to the manager, that is a really smart thing to do. Or sometimes if the restaurant is close, I have actually just popped in at a time when it's not busy and asked to speak to the manager. You want to do that off peak times so you get their full attention and then ask them, do you have gluten free? Do you have a separate area in the kitchen where you prepare your gluten-free items? You'll get a feel for whether or not they take this seriously and can provide you with a safe meal or not. And another thing that we do is I carry this little three and a half by five laminated card, I call it my restaurant card. And on there it basically says that we have a severe gluten allergy and we need to strictly be on a gluten free diet or we will get sick. And I've listed a few common and a few hidden sources of gluten on this card. And I always ask the wait staff to give this to the cook. I used to be a server. I know how hectic it can get in the back of the house and I don't want the server forgetting to communicate our dietary needs and I don't want the cook overlooking the importance of our gluten-free request. So I typed this up myself, this restaurant card, but I know you can actually order a pack of them. There's different websites, but one that I know of is triumphdining.com and you can actually order these restaurant cards for a small cost.

JOANN:  That's a great suggestion. So I just want to share this tip also that I find if I want to be gluten free and eat real food, I do need to cook. I also rarely eat in a restaurant. I do sometimes, but rarely. I always make three or four recipes in a large batch each week to get me through the entire week, so that means there's a little repetition in my week because we eat leftovers quite often from those three or four recipes, but I don't mind that.

CASSIE:   I don't mind repetition when it is a good recipe.

JOANN:  The other thing, it helps you be ready. It helps you be prepared ahead so it helps keep you on track. Some of the family favorites that we enjoy are shepherd's pie, egg bake.

CASSIE:   These are from the Weight and Wellness Cookbook!

JOANN:  They are all. Mexican chicken wraps and either turkey meatloaf or beef meatloaf. Sometimes I make spaghetti sauce and serve it with ground beef and serve it over those zucchini noodles. And they're sold as zoodles in the groceries store.

CASSIE:   I like those too, I think really good. So much more flavor and texture than a rice noodle. And I just bought the ingredients for that Mexican chicken wrap recipe, so I'm glad to hear you say that that's a good one because I'm going to make that this week.

JOANN:  It definitely is. So one more thing I want to share is if we look at a current research, it would seem that our bodies don't know what to do with gluten. Isn't that an interesting concept?

CASSIE:   We don't digest it.

JOANN:  Right, gluten often confuses the immune system. It sets off a cascade of health issues and I have found for myself and also for many of my clients, it's best to avoid gluten as much as possible. So think about what we've said this morning. Perhaps you may be a person who should avoid all grains. According to Dr. Mark Hyman's new book, Food, What the Heck Should I Eat? That is a great title that is what most people say about this. He says grains are entirely off limits, so if you have type two diabetes, no gluten. If you want to lose weight?

CASSIE:   No gluten.

JOANN:  That's right. And if you struggle with cravings.

CASSIE:   They usually go away overnight if you give up the gluten. I know that from experience.

JOANN:  That's right. And if you have digestive issues such as IBS or acid reflux, even heartburn also no gluten.  If you have an autoimmune disease.

CASSIE:   Like that caller and her husband.

JOANN:  That's right. And so give that a try for four to six weeks, then check in with your body. Are you feeling better? Do you have more energy? Maybe less brain fog, fewer migraines, fewer aches and pains, less gas, bloating or constipation?

CASSIE:   Less joint pain. I remember one of my clients saying, I have no problem staying away from the gluten because when I look at bread or muffins, I see pain. Because for her it was the joint pain. So it's not just us at Nutritional Weight & Wellness saying go gluten free if you have unresolved health issues, it's Dr. Mark Hyman saying it, too.

JOANN:  That's right. So in closing, I'd like to say our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you so much for listening today. And have a wonderful day.

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