Gluten free

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” We have mutant seeds, grown in synthetic soil, bathed in chemicals, then deconstructed, pulverized

to fine dust, bleached and chemically treated to create a nutritionally void industrial filler that no other creature on the planet will eat. And we wonder why it might be making us sick?” –

I’ve read a few articles that suggested that Gluten Intolerance was just a fad. I wonder if they are suggesting that we’re faking it or that we’ll be able to eat wheat again, once we’ve decided that it was just a silly fad. Maybe I just don’t know what the word fad really means. Let’s go over to and see how they define the word fad.

fad  (fæd)
— n
1. an intense but short-lived fashion; craze
2. a personal idiosyncrasy or whim

People are actually getting sick, so I can’t see how it could just be a short lived craze. We’re not just miraculously going to be able to eat wheat again, especially the over processed wheat that we’ve all been eating.

Don’t you think the fact that so many of us are getting sick, makes it worth looking into or that it’s physical proof that our food system is tainted. I mean take a look around. We all know that our modern food system is adding poisonous pesticides and preservatives to our food. So why is it so hard to believe that this food could be making some of us sick. Do you think it’s just a coincidence?  We all know someone who is Gluten Intolerant or Celiac. So why do people say things like “oh, it’s just a fad” or “She’s probably just covering up an eating disorder.”

Some people may be going gluten free just to loose weight, but at least they are trying something different. Being over weight isn’t healthy and maybe gluten is partly to blame for that. We should encourage the people around us to make positive changes in their lives, rather than trash talking their choices behind their backs. I did loose weight by cutting out the gluten but I changed what I eat completely. It’s not just a diet that I’m on for a while to try to slim down. My goal was to feel better and weight loss was just a side effect.

The wheat we eat today isn’t the same wheat that we ate years ago.

For more on this subject check out this awesome article on It makes some great points about modern wheat.

The article is titled What’s wrong with modern wheat , and goes on to say…

“How we turned an ancient food staple into toxic junk food…”

” We have mutant seeds, grown in synthetic soil, bathed in chemicals, then deconstructed, pulverized to fine dust, bleached and chemically treated to create a nutritionally void industrial filler that no other creature on the planet will eat. And we wonder why it might be making us sick?” Click here to read more of this article.


Bacteria within the human gut usually have a symbiotic relationship with the immune system. Gut bacteria, or flora, help promote the early development of the gut’s immune system, stimulate the production of antibodies and fight harmful bacteria. A healthy immune system is largely dependent on how the gut bacteria are functioning. When there is a disturbance in this relationship, the immune system may not respond appropriately, resulting in Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and even allergic reactions.

For patients with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, the gut has a damaged relationship with the immune system. When people with celiac disease eat gluten-containing foods, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine, and therefore inhibiting the body’s ability to appropriately absorb nutrients. Because of this, it is easy for these patients to become malnourished. For patients with gluten sensitivity, the symptoms are similar, but the gut is not damaged.

The gluten-free diet is necessary for patients with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity; however, emerging research shows that this diet may discourage some beneficial bacteria from populating in the gut. This can have a direct impact on immune health.

There are a variety of different counseling modifications RDs can make to accommodate for this change in gut health for patients with celiac disease. Some studies indicate that increasing intake of gluten-free whole grains can improve the amount of healthy bacteria in the gut. RDs working with these patients should also recommend a balance of prebiotics and probiotics, including:

  • Live yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Onion


A diet rich in grains, veggies and fish
that’s easily made gluten free

When you picture foods from the Mediterranean, you might imagine colorful fruits and vegetables, hearty breads, pasta, fish and, of course, red wine.  But did you know that the Mediterranean style of eating is one of the healthiest, if not the healthiest, in the world?

Incorporating more Mediterranean-style foods can improve the nutritional profile of the gluten-free diet, while providing other health benefits to manage or prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Keep in mind that physical activity is part of the Mediterranean way of life too.

Rich in history and health

Ancel Keys, Ph.D., was the first researcher to promote the Mediterranean style of eating, following the Seven Countries Study conducted shortly after World War II. The study examined the eating habits of almost 13,000 men in different areas of the world.

Keys and his colleagues found that people who lived in areas such as the Mediterranean, where it was common to eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, grains, beans, herbs, spices and healthy fats, had better cardiovascular health than those in the United States.

Since then the Mediterranean diet has been proven to offer many health benefits, particularly in the areas of heart disease and diabetes. A 2015 study from Harokopio University in Greece showed that a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 percent, an effect even more protective than exercise. There is some evidence that metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes and heart disease, can be reversed by the Mediterranean diet.

A 2015 analysis of nine studies that involved nearly 1,200 patients found that people with Type 2 diabetes who ate a Mediterranean-style diet had improved blood sugar control, better cholesterol and triglyceride levels, better control of blood pressure, and improvements in weight. A 2014 Italian study found that the Mediterranean diet can slow the progression of diabetes, and yet another study showed a reduction in the development of diabetes-related eye disease.

But the benefits don’t end there. Additional studies have shown the Mediterranean diet improves cognitive function, eye health, sleep apnea and weight-to-body-mass index. The diet also reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation in the body and helps prevent cancer.

Back to basics

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy fat, but fish and seafood are eaten frequently, with poultry, eggs and cheese allowed in smaller amounts. Red meat and sweets are meant to be treats and aren’t eaten regularly.

Red wine is allowed in moderation—one five-ounce drink for women and two for men—along with plenty of water. Daily exercises, both strenuous and light, are important additions. And the diet encourages the social experience of eating shared meals.


Health benefits for those with celiac disease

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet extend to those with celiac disease. “A Mediterranean diet is a great way to supply some of the nutrients that a standard gluten-free diet might otherwise be lacking,” says Kelly Toups, R.D., program manager for  the Whole Grains Council and Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization.

A small study published in January 2016 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those with celiac disease who followed gluten-free and Mediterranean-style diets were able to improve their nutritional status without becoming overweight or obese.

Weight gain can be an unwelcome consequence of following the gluten-free diet, but adoption of a Mediterranean diet can counter this side effect.

Med Diet Pyramid

And a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the diet reduces weight gain thought to be related to aging. Toups advises patients looking to lose weight to base their meals on the Mediterranean diet pyramid, making vegetables, whole grains and pulses including peas, lentils and chickpeas the basis for each recipe. Olive oil should be used as the primary fat, and fruits, nuts and fish added for flavor.

“There is no need to count calories or grams of different nutrients if the diet is based on filling, nutrient-dense foods,” she says.

In addition, the Mediterranean diet may have benefits for those with anemia, a common problem for those newly diagnosed with celiac disease. A 2009 study in theInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that adolescent boys who switched from a regular diet to a Mediterranean diet had increased absorption and retention of iron, even though the amount of iron in their diet did not increase.

As always, anyone who has anemia should work with their medical provider or dietitian to determine if an iron supplement is necessary. However, a Mediterranean diet can go a long way in keeping iron stores at proper levels,
even without red meat.

“The traditional recipes and food pairings of the Mediterranean diet serve as a blueprint for nutritionally balanced meals,” Toups notes. For example, not only are lentils, spinach, chickpeas and sardines all good sources of iron, but they are staples of the Mediterranean diet. They are also usually prepared with vitamin C sources, such as tomatoes or red peppers.

“Combining these foods can help increase the absorption of the non-heme iron,” according to Toups. Non-heme iron, the type of iron available in plant foods, is less absorbed than iron from animal foods. Other Mediterranean staples are even more impressive. A cup of canned white beans, for example, provides nearly half of the recommended daily value for iron.

Great grains

Whole grains play a big role in the Mediterranean diet, and though they are usually wheat based, it’s easy to substitute gluten-free choices.

In general those on the gluten-free diet have trouble getting the recommended amounts of whole grains. .

While more gluten-free products are now made with whole grains, many products still rely heavily on rice flour. And gluten-free consumers are just beginning to work whole grains into their diet plans.

Toups recommends polenta made from whole-grain cornmeal. “It was a staple in Italian and Greek Mediterranean traditions and is the perfect vessel for any assortment of legumes or seasonal vegetables,” she says.

You can also toss quinoa with tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley for a gluten-free twist on the classic tabbouleh salad. Toups also recommends using whole-grain gluten-free breads and crackers for spreads such as hummus and utilizing gluten-free whole-grain pasta for a quick weeknight meal.

“Gluten-free steel-cut oats are my favorite secret weapon for making creamy, whole-grain risotto, although parboiled brown rice makes a suitable stand-in,” Toups notes. A gluten-free label on grain products is assurance that they meet the Food and Drug Administration standard for gluten-free food.

Oil change

Olive oil is used daily in the Mediterranean diet as the primary source of fat. It is high
in monounsaturated fats, as opposed to the saturated fats that are found in animal
fats such as butter.Butter-Olive oil substitution chart

The American Heart Association says that while the Mediterranean diet may contain as much as 25 to 35 percent fat, more than half of those fat calories
come from monounsaturated fats—due largely to the extensive use of olive oil.

For a light flavor for salads or vegetables, select extra-virgin olive oil. For frying and roasting, virgin olive oil works well. When purchasing olive oil, look for the bottling date and avoid any that is more than 18 months old. Additionally look for the words “cold pressed” because cold pressing oils keeps all of the health benefits and preserves flavor. Olive oil should be stored in a dark, cool place at home.

Olive oil can be used to toss gluten-free pasta, sauté vegetables or cook scrambled eggs. Add it to popcorn in place of butter and use it to marinate poultry or fish and as a dip for gluten-free breads. Olive oil can also be used instead of butter in gluten-free baking.

 Ideas for busy people

Adding another diet on top of the gluten-free diet may seem complicated, but it’s actually quite easy. Both use naturally gluten-free foods as building blocks.

Lentils can be added to soups or stir-fry or substituted for rice in stuffed peppers. You can make your own veggie burgers with lentils, quinoa, gluten-free oats and spices. Use whole-grain gluten-free pasta to make traditional spaghetti or baked ziti. Leftovers are great for a quick lunch the next day.

Canned salmon can be made into fish cakes by combining it with onions, egg, salt and pepper. Hold the mixture together with mashed potatoes or gluten-free panko crumbs.

Avocados are a versatile Mediterranean “superfood” full of healthy fats. Spread mashed avocado on a slice of gluten-free whole-grain toast or add diced avocado to omelets, vegetable salads or fruit salad made with berries, apples and mango. You can also slice avocados and layer them on sandwiches or in wraps.

Hummus, which is made from chickpeas, makes a great substitute for mayonnaise on sandwiches and in tuna and chicken salad or deviled eggs. It also works as a dip for vegetables instead of more fattening ranch dressing. Spread hummus on a gluten-free tortilla or bagel. To make a healthier pizza, top gluten-free crust with hummus, add vegetables and olives, and top with feta before baking. Serve hummus with gluten-free whole-grain crackers for a quick snack.

Greek yogurt is a good option for those who have lactose intolerance, as it is lower in lactose than other dairy products. Use it as a topping for vegetables or a bowl of gluten-free oatmeal finished with a layer of fruit. Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream in dips or as a topping for baked potatoes. It also works in smoothies and can be topped with honey and walnuts for a delicious dessert.

If you rethink your approach to snacks, you’ll soon find that healthy nuts and seeds are as quick and portable as the packaged products you’re used to eating. And they can easily be incorporated into recipes.

Add chopped peanuts to gluten-free pasta or roasted vegetables for extra flavor and crunch. Spread peanut butter on gluten-free waffles, or combine with Dijon mustard and honey to create a dipping sauce for gluten-free chicken tenders. Add walnuts to gluten-free oatmeal or cooked buckwheat cereal, or make a morning
smoothie with Greek yogurt, peanut butter, honey and walnuts.

A happy table

One of the joys of the Mediterranean diet is its emphasis on eating as a social activity. For those who are gluten free and often feel left out when others gather around the table, this part of the Mediterranean diet can be refreshing.

“An important aspect of the Mediterranean diet is sharing food in the company of friends and family, savoring the social interaction as much as the delicious flavors,” Toups says. “The Mediterranean diet is about food from a simpler time, where unfussy mixed dishes brimming with seasonal vegetables were the norm.

“Don’t overlook a nice soup and salad combo. Soups and stews were a very resourceful way for Mediterranean families to incorporate local or leftover produce into healthy, hearty meals.” Toups also encourages people with celiac disease to select gluten-free pasta when it’s available at a restaurant. Ask to have it topped with olive oil, tomato sauce, veggies, or seafood and fresh herbs.

Small steps

Research shows making even the smallest steps toward a Mediterranean-style diet can lead to benefits.

If it seems overwhelming to make a wholesale change, try one step toward the Mediterranean diet every week. For example start by using olive oil for cooking instead of vegetable oil. Then add more beans and nuts over the next few weeks. Since these foods contain more fiber, be sure to drink more water to avoid constipation.

The Mediterranean diet can help relieve the culinary boredom some people feel on the gluten-free diet because it includes such a wide variety of foods prepared in simple but flavorful ways. Before long you’ll be enjoying your food more and feeling better than ever at the same time you are improving the nutritional quality of your diet.


Sorghum Pasta Salad with Oregano, Feta Cheese and Cucumbers



Sorghum pasta salad

• 9 cups water
• 1 tablespoon sea salt, plus a dash for boiling
• 3 cups sorghum
• ¾ cup chopped fresh oregano
• 6 scallions, white and tender green parts, chopped
• ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 9 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
• 3 cups chopped English cucumbers
• 1 cup toasted pine nuts
• 3 cups crumbled feta cheese
• ½ teaspoon ground red pepper


Bring the water and a dash of salt to a boil in a large saucepan and add the sorghum. Simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the sorghum is the consistency of cooked rice. Cool to room temperature, fluffing with a fork occasionally.

In a medium bowl, combine the oregano, the scallions, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, cucumbers, pine nuts, feta cheese, red pepper and salt. Add the cooked sorghum and mix.

Recipe courtesy of

~ Extracted from

How to Make Tater Tots
How to Make Homemade Tater Tots
To keep things easy and healthier, we bake the tots instead of frying them. A microwave and food processor makes quick work of the potatoes. Shaping the mixture is a little tricky — but with a bowl of cold water next to you, you’ll quickly get the hang of it (see our notes in the recipe).
These tots can be made in advance!
Check out our tips below for how.
Yield: 24 tater tots
You Will Need
  • 2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil, like canola
  • 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into rough 1-inch chunks (about 2 potatoes)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley, optional
  • 1 ounce sharp white cheddar cheese, finely grated (1/3 cup)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Prepare Oven and Baking Sheet: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with half of the oil.
  2. Prepare Potatoes: Place potatoes in a bowl of cold water and agitate for 10 to 15 seconds. Drain.
  3. Transfer 1/2 of the potatoes to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until broken down into rough 1/4 to 1/8th inch pieces, about twenty-five 1-second pulses. Transfer to a clean dish towel and repeat with the remaining potatoes.
  4. A+J’s Tip: Be careful not to over process potatoes or they will become gummy. If a few large chunks of potatoes remain, remove them and chop into small pieces with a knife.
  5. Wrap dish towel around processed potatoes and squeeze well to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard liquid and transfer potatoes to a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and then microwave for 1 more minute.
  6. Stir potatoes — they might be a little sticky then let cool for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the salt, onion powder, cornstarch, parsley, cheese, and black pepper to taste over the potatoes. Gently mix in to combine. (The mixture will be sticky, a rubber spatula or fork work well).
  7. Shape the tots: Shape potatoes into cylinders about 3/4-inch wide and 1-inch long. Place shaped tater tots onto oiled baking sheet.
  8. A+J’s tip: Keep a small bowl of water close by. Occasionally wetting your fingers keeps the mixture from sticking to your fingers and makes shaping easier. Pressing the potatoes into a tablespoon measure helps to portion out each tater tot.
  9. Bake Tots: Drizzle tops of tater tots with remaining oil then bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Carefully flip each tater tot — using two forks helps to wiggle any tots that are more stuck to the foil than others — then bake until the second side is golden brown, another 10 minutes.
  10. Make-Ahead: To freeze the tots, follow the recipe through shaping then continue to baking. Instead of baking until both sides are golden brown, under bake them just slightly. Transfer to a large plate in a single layer and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Transfer the frozen tots to a freezer-safe bag and store for up to 3 months. To reheat, heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake until golden brown and heated through.
Notes and Tips
Microwave Alternative: If you do not have a microwave, simply bake the potatoes in a 400 degree F oven just until tender (not mushy or soft) then let them cool. Once cooled, chop into 1-inch chunks then add them to a food processor and pulse until broken down into rough 1/4 to 1/8th inch pieces, about eight 1-second pulses. Continue with our recipe as written.Food Processor Alternative: If you do not have a food processor, simply use a box grater to grate the potatoes then continue with our recipe as written. The texture will be slightly different inside the tots, but they will still taste great!A note about salt: We use kosher salt in our recipes. It’s much easier to pick up with our fingers and gives us better control of our seasoning. Use what you have, but keep in mind that kosher salt has larger flakes compared to table or fine sea salt. If using a finer salt, you will need to reduce the amount of salt called for in our recipe by 25% to 50%.

10 Tips For A Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Many people may realise that they have a sensitivity to gluten, as whenever they eat a food containing it, they experience; aches, pains, headaches, lethargy, irritability, acne, digestive discomforts such as bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhoea and much more.

So you have to ask the questions:
“Am I prepared to put up with these health issues or quit gluten all together?”
“Do I want health and vitality, and am I really prepared to do what it takes in order to get it?”

Changing to a gluten-free lifestyle can seem overwhelming to some people. But if you’re ready to make the commitment to your health and cut gluten out of your life completely to give you clarity of mind, better health and energy so you can do the things you love, become motivated and optimistic about life again, we have come up with 10 of our top suggestions.

1. Roast, Grill or Slow Cook Meats To Have On Hand Throughout The Week

Grilled, slow-cooked or roasted meats are perfect to always have on hand in the fridge, pre-cooked and chopped up so you can quickly whip up a salad for the kids lunch and for work too.

2. Have Plenty Of Fresh Fruits And Vegetables On Hand

Go to your local markets on the weekend and stock your fridge with fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. You can pre-cut vegetables and store in containers, wrap them with a moist tea towel to extend the freshness. Or if you have excess produce, quickly blanch them in hot water and freeze for a later use. Excess fruit can be easily chopped and frozen in small zip lock bags to be added to smoothies, later on, cooked and stewed, made into puree’s, jams or added to baked goods or chia puddings.

3. Make Extras

When you’re making meals like soups, stews, stocks and broths, muffins, slices, bliss balls etc, double it and freeze them so you always have healthy options available that you can just grab out of the freezer and de-frostfor a quick, healthy, pre-made meal or snack.

4. Utilise Your Oven And Slow Cooker

Roasted meats and veggies are one of the simplest meals to do, as you only have to place everything onto a roasting tray and whack it in the oven. A slow cooker can be so handy when you have little to no time to make dinner after work as you can put your meat, veggies and stock into the slow cooker and leave it on while you’re at work and you get to come home to dinner that only needs to be plated up. The leftovers can be eaten for breakfast or taken to work the next day.

5. Use Gluten Free Flour Alternative

Keep these ingredients readily on hand so you can do an impromptu bake, such as; nut and seed flours (almond, hazelnut, sunflower seed meals etc) and store these in the freezer to extend the shelf life and deter them from going rancid. You can also use coconut, buckwheat, arrowroot, tapioca and banana flours.

6. Shop Smarter

Learn to navigate the supermarket isles and aim to shop in mainly the perimeter where all the fresh foods are kept. Also, beware of supermarket and marketing ploys by educating yourself.

7. Become A Label Reading Expert

Avoid refined and processed packaged foods and stick to whole, fresh and seasonal food. If you do purchase something in a packet, avoid anything with an ingredient lists miles long that looks like a chemical laboratory. Dubious ingredients you don’t recognise, more often than not, will contain gluten.

8. Vary Your Diet

When you first begin you may be scared to branch out and try new things. Don’t be afraid to have fun and get creative in the kitchen. We love the quote ‘Just because the ingredients change, doesn’t mean the menu has to’. There is a wide world web out there and numerous amazing healthy cookbooks for you to take your healthy gluten-free meal, snack and drink inspiration from.

9. Stock Your Kitchen Well

Make sure you have your pantry stocked with the basics, such as; turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, pepper, a quality Himalayan salt, other spices and dried herbs, coconut oil, ghee, quality olive and nut oils, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and coconut, rice, quinoa and buckwheat. Make sure you fridge is packed and ready with basics like homemade mayonnaise and pesto which can be added to plain meats, eggs and salads for extra flavour. Keep cold cuts and left overs, pre-roasted veggies and plenty of fresh eggs, fruit, vegetables, yoghurt, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut on hand to make your meal prep easier. Stock your freezer with frozen berries and other pre-chopped fruits for quick additions to smoothies and add chopped veggies to stir-fry’s, curries, soups and stews. Lastly, try growing a garden or a small patch where you can plant your own leafy greens and herbs. By having a one ingredient pantry fully stocked with real foods means you can use fewer total ingredients and reduce your work in the kitchen. That’s something we can all benefit from!

10. Become Informed

If you’re a parent, you have a very challenging, yet important job to educate your children (and perhaps those few around you who will listen) about wholesome real foods and why it is important for them not to consume food which has been manipulated, refined and overly processed. Become informed and educated about food and don’t be cajoled by advertising and marketing, it is merely there to sell a product is not necessarily the truth.

We hope our top 10 tips help you easily live a gluten free, sustainable lifestyle so you can get vibrant health and be nourished from the inside out.
What are your tips?



Gluten can inflame your gut and your brain.

What many people don’t know about their mental health is that diet and the inner landscape — or, ecosystem — of the gut are deciding factors in how good or how bad you feel.


Dr. Michael Gershon, chairman of the department of anatomy and cell biology at Columbia University, helped to reveal that the gut and the brain are an interconnected network of nerve tissue. Together, they form the gut-brain axis.

The gut contains over 100 million neurons and more nerve tissue than the brain.3 This is one reason why Gershon calls the digestive tract your “second brain.” It turns out that in emergency situations, your “second brain” can give out orders to your digestive tract, as well as the brain that belongs to your central nervous system.

There are other connections that the gut and the brain share. For example, while serotonin is mostly known as a brain chemical, cells lining the gut wall secrete large quantities of serotonin. Your digestive tract stores as much as 90 percent of your body’s total serotonin.

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of confidence, wellbeing, and a sense of belonging. Serotonin also regulates movement in the intestines: Too little serotonin can slow down transit time and lead to constipation, while too much serotonin can speed up transit time and result in loose, watery stools. This is one reason why common antidepressants are often used to treat signs of irritable bowel syndrome.

The gut-brain connection goes even deeper.

Following on the heels of Dr. Gershon’s groundbreaking discovery, Duke University researchers mapped the science of “gut feelings” in 2015. Plotting the newly understood cell-to-cell connection between the gut and the nervous system, researchers tracked in real-time the point when the brain recognizes it is full once food hits the gut. Based on this relationship, researchers from The Kavli Foundation suggested that gut microbes could be used to treat brain disorders, including anxiety, depression, and autism.Through the gut-brain axis, researchers have even linked poor microbial diversity in the digestive system to symptoms of anorexia nervosa.


You might remember the anti-drug campaign from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America that played on television years ago. It went something like this: “This is your brain,” and you see an egg. “This is your brain on drugs,” and you see an egg sizzling in a frying pan.

Maybe one day there will be a campaign that tells us, “This is your brain on gluten,” and we see an egg go up in flames. Because the reality is that gluten inflames the gut, and the inflammatory cascade doesn’t end there.For many people, inflammation in the gut translates to inflammation in the brain. This is one reason why inflammatory gut disorders are frequently accompanied by brain fog and migraine headaches.

Another sign of “fire in the brain” is behavioral and mood disorders, including depression.

In 2007, researchers in Finland published a paper looking into the relationship between dietary gluten and psychiatric disorders. While celiac disease and depression often occur together, a wide spectrum of people without celiac disease have developed an immune response to gluten. The question that researchers asked: Is this population more susceptible to things like cognitive impairment, depression, and anxiety?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. Those with celiac disease have an immune system that attacks the cells in their small intestine, destroying them. The trigger? Different proteins found in wheat and its relatives, and usually wheat gluten. There are no drugs to effectively treat celiac disease, but physicians do recommend a gluten-free diet. Further confirming how gluten can affect the gut and the brain in sequence, a 2014 study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeuticsconfirmed that a gluten-free diet could help to relieve brain fog, a common symptom in patients with celiac disease.


Those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity have not been diagnosed with celiac disease — but their immune system does mount a response in the presence of gluten or other molecules found in wheat.  Indeed, an immune response to gluten and inflammation in the small intestine has been linked to depression in previous research.

In other words, gluten can inflame your gut and your brain.

The microbes living in your digestive tract affect their local terrain. Like farmers tilling the soil, they either bring the ground to life or devastate it with toxic messages. Studies show that “good” probiotic microbes can stop inflammation in the gut, whereas “bad” pathogenic microbes can ignite inflammation, destroying tissue.

Because the gut and the brain are connected along the gut-brain axis, the effect of gastrointestinal microbes is far-reaching. Scientists at Acadia University suggest that “good” probiotic microbes may help manage signs of depression, anxiety, and other common mental health disorders.16

Zoe Hunter, lead author of the study, explains that, “There’s actual stress receptors in your gut…That’s the hypothesis; the probiotics actually change those receptors.” As far as the benefits of probiotic foods, Hunter says that, “Anxiety and depression, it goes along with so many issues. If you can give those individuals a natural product to go in place of a medication, it’s just more beneficial to take one less pill.”

In 2011, Dr. Javier Bravo and Professor John Cryan at the University College Cork, Ireland, showed in animal studies that probiotic bacteria reduce signs of depression and anxiety.17 Researchers also found that those on a probiotic diet had less of the stress hormone — corticosterone — floating around in their bloodstream.

Professor Cryan says that, “These findings highlight the important role that gut bacteria play in the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, the gut-brain axis.” He speculates that in the future, physicians may recommend probiotics to address stress-related disorders, like anxiety and depression.


Just how probiotic microbes benefit the brain is still unclear. Each year, scientists unearth new mechanisms behind the gut-brain axis. But, some things are clear:

Probiotics uplift the mood, while gluten drags it down.

If you struggle with depression, we recommend nurturing the digestive tract with a probiotic-rich diet that is gluten-free, sugar-free, and initially casein-free.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Your diet and your inner ecosystem have a direct impact on your mental health. Because of the gut-brain axis, the digestive tract is often referred to as the "second brain." It should come as no surprise that the gut contains up to 90 percent of the body's serotonin, a brain chemical that controls well-being, confidence, and feelings of belonging. Serotonin further regulates intestinal movement; serotonin imbalances can lead to constipation or loose stool.

Celiac disease has been linked to depression. Even without celiac disease, it's common to develop an immune response to gluten, which has also been linked to depression. Gluten has the potential to inflame the gut and the brain.

The silver lining is this: Since the gut and the brain are connected, research supports beneficial probiotic bacteria to manage anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Probiotics affect mood for the better, while gluten may affect mood for the worse.

Learn more:

It was once thought that fat and cholesterol were the biggest dietary contributors of heart disease. But with today’s modern research, scientists are finding that sugar and carbs may actually be playing a bigger role in heart disease than fat and cholesterol. For example, Mark Hyman, M.D., cites several studies in his book, The Blood Sugar Solution:The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!, that indicate high blood sugar is linked to heart disease.

So what foods are considered “heart healthy” these days?

Heart-healthy foods include foods on the Mediterranean diet: healthy fats like olive oil, olives, avocados, coconut oil, and nuts; salmon and other cold-water fatty fish; all vegetables and whole fruits (but not fruit juice which has a high natural sugar content); and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or oats in moderation.

Here is a delicious recipe for a heart-healthy day:

Turmeric Lentil Soup

High in fiber, lentils help regulate blood sugar which in turn helps to protect the heart from inflammation. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to lower cholesterol, while tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks.


  • 1½ cups lentils, rinsed and soaked for 2 hours
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1-inch piece of turmeric, finely grated (or 1 tablespoon ground turmeric)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 box crushed tomatoes
  • 2½ cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley


Rinse and soak lentils for 2 hours, drain.

Heat the olive oil and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft.

Add all herbs and spices except the parsley, and sauté.

Add the lentils and sauté a few minutes, until coated with the herb mixture.

Add the vegetable broth and tomatoes, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Makes 4 servings

Your heart will thank you for this cardiovascular-boosting day of lunch or dinner. Eating a diet full of heart-healthy foods will help protect your heart, and may even reverse some elements of heart disease. Note: Consult your cardiologist before changing your diet if you are currently being treated for heart disease.

~ by: Heidi Hackler


Coping with multiple diet restrictions

The gluten-free diet alone presents daily dietary challenges. The picture is even more complicated when the gluten-free diet is coupled with other dietary restrictions due to allergies, intolerances or other medical conditions.

Other diet restrictions beyond gluten free include:

  • Dairy/Casein/Lactose
  • Soy
  • Tree Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Corn
  • Sugar
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs

When someone who is gluten free also has to avoid one or more of these foods, a number of gluten-free choices are no longer options. For example, ice cream can be included in the gluten-free diet, but not a gluten-free/dairy free diet. Soy is found in broths, cheese and gluten-free soy sauce, making these foods normally allowed on the gluten-free diet off limits if you also have to avoid soy.

In general, there is no direct link between having celiac disease and another food allergy or intolerance. Since food allergies are very common and on the rise, celiac disease or gluten intolerance and another allergy sometimes just co-exist.

There is, however, a direct link between having celiac disease and lactose intolerance when first diagnosed. This usually improves after the gluten-free diet is started because the damaged villi in the intestine where the lactase enzyme is made begin to recover. This allows the enzyme production to resume and lactose, a milk sugar, is again digested in the gastrointestinal tract.

There is also a genetic link between celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. Patients with both conditions have to follow a gluten-free and diabetic diet.

When someone is allergic to a food, they have an immune system response to the protein found in that food that can range from skin rashes to gastrointestinal upset to life-threatening respiratory distress, called an anaphylactic reaction. Tests can determine if someone is allergic to a particular food.

A food intolerance does not involve the immune system but can cause a variety of symptoms that can affect the skin, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal system. There is no test for food intolerances, and they are often diagnosed through the use of a food diary that tracks foods consumed and reactions.

Parents of children with autism are using a gluten-free/casein free diet in an attempt to treat this developmental disorder. There are widespread anecdotal reports of success, though scientific studies have not yet found a direct link between diet and improvement in symptoms.

Celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive disorder, has sparked this incredible change in the way we eat. Sufferers of the disease and those with gluten sensitivity have been cutting gluten out of their diets for years, but now, it’s time for the rest of us to give it a whirl. Gluten is out, people. What’s in, you ask? Quinoa, buckwheat, gluten-free flours, fresh produce, and lots of creativity. The shelves at local markets now boast a variety of different gluten-free choices in flour, breads, and snacks for you to try.

There are some awesome benefits for going gluten-free even if you aren’t a Celiac sufferer. But most importantly, it’s the awesome advantage of cutting out more of the scary processed foods that seem to be marching their way into pantries across the country. Living cleaner, with fresher ingredients, and a conscious choice about what we’re putting in our bodies is making a huge difference.

Maybe it’s time to ditch the gluten if you haven’t already. Check out these five warning signs of gluten intolerance. If you have already made the switch, be sure to add some of your favorite benefits of going gluten-free in the comments.

1. Antioxidants and vitamins EVERYWHERE!

Look at you, hot stuff. Skipping out on traditional forms of snacks due to your gluten-free lifestyle. Instead, you’re crunching on the antioxidant, vitamin “cocktail” of fresh fruits and veggies. Replacing some snack foods with fresher produce means getting more of those essential vitamins and minerals rather than scarfing down a bag of potato chips and keeping your immune system nice and cozy.

2. Losing that winter weight becomes easier.

Gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley, and many packaged foods. Yet, another benefit for going gluten-free includes the possibility of losing some of that winter “insulation” that you’ve packed on at mom’s house. By avoiding some of these processed and not-so-nutritious foods, you’ll be able to replace them with yummy gluten-free options and opt for fresher ingredients, thus trimming the excess starch and some inches off that waist.

3. Digestion is a breeze.

Forgive me for bringing this up, but digestive issues can be aided with eliminating gluten from your diet. If you do suffer from Celiac disease, your small intestine isn’t absorbing the nutrients and those poor villi have been flattened. This makes digestion harder especially when ingesting gluten. You can reduce your upset tummies, cramping, gas, bloating, and diarrhea by getting off the gluten and onto some awesome alternatives.

4. Energy…restored!

Relating back to digestion, the vitamins and minerals you ingest could be lost to you when you are coupling healthy foods with gluten. It can also cause malnutrition and a lack of certain important vitamins that increase your energy levels. Anemia also causes people to feel tired, and in the case of Celiac disease, iron isn’t being absorbed and the lack of this important vitamin can also make you feel drained. Try going gluten-free and see if you still need that cup of coffee in the morning.

5. You’ll discover boundless alternatives!

Okay, so flour and a lot of other things are out, but do you know what’s in to replace it? Quinoa, rice, and ancient grains. The possibilities are endless if you’re going gluten-free!  You can try some of the gluten-free flour from your local market, swap recipes with friends, and even try out that Gluten-Free Vegan Lasagnayou’ve been eyeing.

One of the roles of the gastrointestinal system is to act as the “first-line of defense” for our immune systems. When the “gut” is weakened, it cannot properly perform this duty, which leads to other physiological and biochemical disturbances. By healing the gut, we begin to heal the body.

Gluten is the protein in wheat, as well as other grains including rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and commercial oats, and casein is the protein in dairy.

Foods and nutrients can impact the symptoms of autism. Autism is a whole-body disorder, the gut-brain connection is an important area for parents to understand. The foods and substances that children eat directly impact what happens in their brain—and parents’ food choices can have a direct affect. These GF basics can help you get started with this important dietary approach. With a little practice and familiarity, GF can easily become a regular part of your family’s health and healing program as these proteins have been found to be problematic for many children on the spectrum, eating foods containing them can affect their body’s physical and cognitive functions.

Eliminating those foods (and ingredients containing these food proteins) from your child’s diet can help improve many symptoms of autism. It can help children feel and learn better by reducing inattentiveness and hyperactivity, improving speech and language, decreasing digestive disturbances, and much more.

Some people may be sensitive to gluten without having celiac disease. This condition, known as “gluten intolerance,” isn’t well understood: people with gluten intolerance experience symptoms when eating gluten-containing foods and they usually feel better after removing gluten from their diet, but they don’t have the damage to their small intestines seen in celiac disease. Current research has not established if there is a clear link between gluten intolerance and celiac disease.

To treat your celiac disease, you must avoid any food containing gluten—namely, anything that contains wheat, rye or barley. You’ll have to give up a lot of grains, pastas, cereals and processed foods unless you find them in “gluten-free” versions (luckily becoming more and more available these days).

There are also a variety of foods you can eat. For example, instead of wheat flour, you can use potato, rice, soy or bean flour. There are also many gluten-free types of bread, pastas and other products in stores, and many websites that offer them. And of course, plain meat, fish, rice and fruits and vegetables don’t contain gluten.

The diet is lifelong—and cheating isn’t an option: even eating a tiny amount of gluten can damage the small intestine. But the good news is that, for most people, following this diet will stop symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage and prevent further damage. Improvements begin within days of starting the diet, and the small intestine is usually completely healed in three to six months for children and young adults and within two years for older adults.


As is the case with non-celiac gluten sensitivity/intolerance, wheat allergy is not yet fully understood by researchers, but is also recognized as a distinct clinical condition.


Similar to gluten sensitivity/intolerance, wheat allergies generally present as one of two forms: symptoms with characteristics of celiac disease and the other with symptoms of a food allergy. Some of the common symptoms of a wheat allergy are:

  • Swelling, itching or irritation of the mouth or throat
  • Hives, itchy rash or swelling of the skin
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cramps, nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anaphylaxis


A physician may use a combination of tests to diagnose a wheat allergy, including:

  • Skin test
  • Blood test
  • Food diary tracking
  • Elimination diet
  • Food challenge testing


Research has suggested people with a wheat allergy may benefit from a gluten-free diet. However, there is much disagreement among experts about whether patients are suffering symptoms due to gluten or other components of wheat, like fructans. In some cases, antihistamines may relieve the symptoms of a wheat allergy. Evidence also has shown following a gluten-free diet is an acceptable and potentially beneficial treatment for a wheat allergy.


Mayo Clinic


Many grain varieties are gluten free. Potatoes, rice, and corn are considered to be excellent foods considering they have no traces of gluten. Beans such as soybean are an excellent source of protein. So you can use these beans as a source of protein in foods that are gluten free. Even nut flours can be used to enhance the protein content of your food without the presence of gluten in it.

Wheat flour should be completely avoided as it contains high concentrations of gluten. Almond flour can be used in lieu of wheat flour. Even buckwheat flour is in this league of wheat flour alternatives. If you explore more, you’d be surprised that there are many types of flours that are gluten free. For instance, gram flour does not contain any traces of gluten. And gram flour has many applications in the food space.

To be truly gluten free, just avoiding foods that contain gluten is not enough. Some over the counter medication may have gluten in them. Even some vitamin supplements have gluten in them. You are advised to refrain from using cosmetics that contain gluten. There are certain types of lipsticks that use a high concentration of gluten.

Before buying a lip balm product check if it contains gluten. Cosmetics generally display the presence or absence of this substance on their packaging covers. Certain face creams and lotions also contain gluten on account of gluten’s thickening properties.

Gluten comes in various forms, manifestations and combinations. Initially it could be tough staying away from it. But eventually you will learn where it can be found and where it cannot be found. And this is your way to begin a lifestyle that is gluten free.

Scout Out Sources of Gluten on Labels

If you can't tolerate gluten—a protein found in wheat, rye and barley­—be vigilant about reading labels. Food manufacturers can change ingredients without notice, so double check even brands you use often to be sure that they're "gluten-free." Some prepared foods that often contain gluten include (but aren't limited to) bouillon cubes and broths, cold cuts, rice mixes, condiments and soy sauce.

Scout out sources of gluten on labels

Gluten is everywhere. It's in bread, it's in pasta, it's in cupcakes. This wheat protein even sneaks into unexpected places like canned soup, salad dressings, and oatmeal. For most people, this is no big deal. Gluten is a key factor in giving bread its chewiness and cupcakes their airy crumb. So why give it up? Here's a quick rundown of the major reasons why some people need to eliminate gluten from their diet.

There are three major reasons why someone might need to give up gluten for health reasons: if they've been diagnosed with celiac disease, if they have a gluten intolerance, or if they have an allergic reaction to wheat.

 Celiac Disease - According to the Mayo Clinic, people with celiac disease have an immune reaction to the gluten in wheat, rye, and barley that causes damage to the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of vital nutrients. Symptoms can be as mild as digestive problems and minor skin rashes or as severe as anemia, arthritis, and intense abdominal pain. It's hard to pinpoint exactly how many people have celiac disease in the United States, mostly because so many people go undiagnosed, but most health experts put it in the range of 2 to 3 million people.

 Gluten Intolerance - There are also a large number of people who have a sensitivity to gluten or are gluten intolerant. These people experience many of the same symptoms as those with celiac disease, but without the accompanying damage to the small intestine. There are also some theories and studies linking gluten intolerance to things like chronic fatigue, depression, irritability, and anxiety.

 Wheat Allergy - A wheat allergy is actually a completely separate condition from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. It's a histamine reaction to wheat, much like a peanut allergy or a shellfish allergy. People with this allergy usually show hives, rashes, or stomach pain after consuming wheat.

In all of these cases, eliminating wheat and gluten from the diet clears up all the major symptoms. The lining of the small intestine heals and intestinal discomfort fades. The trick is that it has to be total elimination of gluten, meaning no wheat, barley, or rye in any form. For many people, even ingesting a small amount of gluten by accident can bring on a recurrence of the symptoms.

And while many people think that gluten can be eliminated simply by removing breads from their diet, the truth is that gluten is in many, many processed food products, so going to a gluten-free lifestyle often means eating much less processed food and cooking from scratch more often. This is a good thing, but it's also hard to not be able to eat out in restaurants, or have the same conveniences that others do. In fact, it can be a real shock to go to a gluten-free diet overnight, and we've heard from many readers struggling with this transition.

With this brief overview of gluten-freedom, we'd love to hear your stories. If you eat gluten-free, what led you to go gluten-free? How long have you been gluten-free? What has been your experience? How have you found ways to cook and eat gluten-free?


Rule #1: Check the label! Anything containing “wheat,” “rye,” or “barley” is not gluten-free. Other, seemingly innocent additives, like food starch, caramel coloring, malt vinegar and hydrolyzed plant or vegetable protein also are not likely to be gluten-free.

Rule #2: If you’re not sure, find out! Most food manufacturers have customer service numbers and will answer any questions about products or ingredients. Until you’re sure a product is gluten-free, it’s safer not to use it. Accidentally ingesting gluten can be very harmful to people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Rule #3: Shop the perimeter of the store. Fortunately, many nutritious foods that are naturally gluten-free are found on the perimeter of the store. Fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish and chicken, nuts and seeds, low-fat unflavored dairy products are all safe bets.

Rule #4: Look for the Gluten-Free Certification Certified Gluten-Free seal. Many food manufacturers are now making healthy and delicious gluten-free products. This seal indicates that the manufacturing facility was inspected and the product contains less than 10 ppm of gluten.


Gluten Intolerance Group Toolkit

Bacteria within the human gut usually have a symbiotic relationship with the immune system. Gut bacteria, or flora, help promote the early development of the gut’s immune system, stimulate the production of antibodies and fight harmful bacteria. A healthy immune system is largely dependent on how the gut bacteria are functioning. When there is a disturbance in this relationship, the immune system may not respond appropriately, resulting in Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and even allergic reactions.

For patients with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, the gut has a damaged relationship with the immune system. When people with celiac disease eat gluten-containing foods, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine, and therefore inhibiting the body’s ability to appropriately absorb nutrients. Because of this, it is easy for these patients to become malnourished. For patients with gluten sensitivity, the symptoms are similar, but the gut is not damaged.

The gluten-free diet is necessary for patients with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity; however, emerging research shows that this diet may discourage some beneficial bacteria from populating in the gut. This can have a direct impact on immune health.

There are a variety of different counseling modifications RDs can make to accommodate for this change in gut health for patients with celiac disease. Some studies indicate that increasing intake of gluten-free whole grains can improve the amount of healthy bacteria in the gut. RDs working with these patients should also recommend a balance of prebiotics and probiotics, including:

  • Live yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Onion