Navigating the wheat free, gluten free diet

Archive for May, 2011

Gluten-free Tennis Pro Attributes Success to Diet

The Wall Street Journal called him “the world’s best athlete of 2011.”  He’s beaten Nadal four times straight.  His first name sounds like a last name.

His name is Novak Djokovic and if you’ve heard of him you’re at least one of the following:

1. A dude.

2. A dude who watches ESPN exclusively even when the “good” sports are off-season.

3. Rich.

4. Over 40.

If you haven’t, you’ll hear of him soon because he’s unstoppable on the tennis court. And I’m thinking his nutritionist got a big raise

See, Djokovic’s nutritionist discovered last year that he has a gluten allergy, and since he dropped it from his diet, his life on and off court has taken a turn. Says the journal,

Djokovic’s serve, sloppy as recently as last season, is now precise, fluid and, at times, devastating. His forehand used to break down in tense moments; now he hits winners that seem to subscribe to undiscovered laws of physics. His backhand, always solid, is now impenetrable, even with Nadal’s famously high-bouncing forehand.

The one change in his life? Deleting the wheat.

Even if Djokovic’s newfound confidence stems from going gluten-free only because he told himself it’s the cause (as the WSJ article suggests), one can’t deny the results.  Or the good press for GF dieters and undiagnosed celiacs everywhere–especially the dudes.  The more men who hear the words “gluten-free” and “gluten intolerance” and see the positive effects the diet can have, the more likely they’ll be to get diagnosed, instead of toughing it out in favor of “appearing weak.”

Results may vary.  Going gluten-free may not make you Superman, or the best tennis player the world has ever seen, but it will make you feel better.

-Taylor

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Gluten-free Advantage: Not Being Tempted by Lazy Cakes

People always tell me I’m lucky to be gluten-free because I’m perpetually on a no-carb diet, or because I’m not tempted to consume high-calorie snacks when I’m out running errands.  For the most part that’s true, although I think people tend to forget the calorie-content of sugary coffee drinks, a GF guilty pleasure of mine.

But I’ve been hearing a lot recently about a glutenful snack that contains more than just calories – it contains melatonin, a supplement popular in the 90s for its supposed calming power.  Most popularly called Lazy Cakes, these OTC pot-brownie substitutes have been popping up here in Gainesville and, apparently, everywhere else.

The danger lies in the fact that melatonin, if taken at all, should be taken in small doses and, like any drug, not when you plan to operate heavy machinery – like a car.  But by being encased in chocolate and marketed as a snack, people are all but being encouraged to gobble the stuff up just for the opportunity to relax in our fast-paced world.

That’s one product I can walk by at Walgreen’s without one little pang of jealousy.

-Taylor

Frontier Soups Makes Weeknights Easy

Finding a full-time job is tough and a little bit soul-sucking.  I apologize for my continued lack of tri-weekly updating.  I plan to get back into at least bi-weekly posts next week. I’ve also been spending a lot of my time on my second project.  Click it. Click it!

Onward…

About six months ago, my mom picked up and presented me with two packages of “soup mix” she’d found at one of those specialty shops in small historic  towns.  I was skeptical.  It just looked like dried herbs and corn, and the packaging was a little cheesy.

Then one Sunday night I was super lazy and tried one of them.  I added a pound of ground beef and some soup stock (as well as a couple of other required ingredients) and like 30 minutes later – Goulash.  The brand was Frontier Soups and it was delicious. And simple.

So even though they run at about $6 a pop, I tracked them down at my local Fresh Market and picked up some more.  This time I added bay scallops, shrimp and cream to the “Florida Sunshine” Red Pepper and Corn Chowder and we gobbled it down, briefly pondering how excellent the addition of BACON would have been.

And if you think $6 is a lot for a soup mix, think about the fact that it serves 4-6, which lasts me about a solid week when I don’t feel like sharing.  Plus if it’s not available in your area you can order directly from the site.  Win.

-Taylor

Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month

It’s May 1, which means your rent is due.

But more importantly, it’s Celiac Disease Awareness month, and in just three days, 1 in 133 will stand up to the FDA about their laziness in setting the standard for gluten-free labels.

Wish I was going to be there to snag a slice of that enormous gluten-free cake.

This WaPo article lays out why exactly this month and this event is so important. The main reason? You could be buying “gluten-free” goods that contain more than just untraceable amounts of gluten.  Canada, Brazil and Australia are already way ahead of us on this – having set the standard at 20 parts per million, meaning a food can be labeled gluten-free if it contains less than 0.0007 of an ounce of gluten for every 2.2 pounds of food. That’s the minimum amount of gluten that can be reliably detected.

And as much as I’m the kind of person who believes people will do the right thing, there’s always someone out there trying to prove me wrong.

In North Carolina two weeks ago, a man was sentenced to 11 years in prison after he was found guilty of buying regular breads and rolls and repackaging them as gluten-free under the name Great Specialty Products. Dozens of people complained of illness after eating the baked goods, including a woman who gave birth to a 31 / 2 pound baby prematurely, a complication that can result from celiac disease.

“We thought it was fantastic because it tasted just like real bread,” said Rebecca Fernandez of Raleigh, who gave it to her son, Malachy, who has celiac disease.

Within days, an angry rash covered the then-2-year-old’s body. “We thought maybe it was chickenpox,” Fernandez said. He ate the bread for two weeks, as the rash intensified and turned bloody, until Fernandez realized the problem and stopped giving him the bread. Malachy suffered from diarrhea for four more weeks.

And that’s why it’s time to make a decision.

-Taylor

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