Archives for October 2014

Gluten Free

A brief history

During the past fifteen years I have been a part of an amazing journey in the gluten-free food industry.  When my mother was diagnosed with celiac disease, my sister and I delved into the largely uncharted waters of the gluten-free diet.  What was available commercially was dry and unpalatable.  We were determined to develop delicious breads and desserts that were were every bit as desirable as what the people surrounding my mother could eat.  With me as the dietitian and my sister as the creative and business expert we successfully brought gluten-free products to market (including to customers such as Disney World).

Educating industry

Very few culinarians in the food industry were aware of the need for gluten-free food items nor how to prepare them safely in their commercial kitchens.  This includes not only manufacturing facilities but also food-prep kitchens in restaurants, hospitals, school cafeterias, etc.  It was my pleasure working as a consultant to spread the word concerning the need for delicious gluten-free foods.

Educating the consumer

Fast forward to the present day.  We have entire aisles filled with gluten-free foods.   Warning!  Gluten-free does not automatically mean healthy.  While you may need to avoid gluten for medical reasons, remember good balanced nutrition should always be your foundation.  Loading your grocery cart with with mounds of gluten-free breads, crackers, pasta, granola bars,chips, cereals, etc. cannot meet your nutritional needs.   Worse, a diet dense in these types of carbohydrates can put on excess weight, cause food cravings, raise triglycerides and elevate blood-sugar levels.  Remember, your vegetables, fruit, fish and unprocessed meats or other protein sources have always been both gluten free and essential to your diet.

What I promote

Macronutrient/micronutrient balancing is the foundation of a healthy diet.  For macronutrient balancing, this rhyme may be helpful:

“Protein, carbs (carbohydrates) and healthy fat at every single meal and snack!”

Look for individual posts on these topics!

Smiling in health,

Joan the Dietitian