Ten Steps

Ten Easy Steps to Get Off Gluten

It really is quite easy to go gluten free. You will be most successful once you clearly decide for yourself that this is what you are doing, and give up any feelings of remorse or self-pity. Really you should consider yourself lucky -- the vast majority of people who are being harmed by gluten don't even have a clue that gluten is causing them problems -- you at least know. That gives you a choice. You are extremely fortunate. Remember that.

The best way to make the change, is to focus mostly upon what you should be eating, rather then what you are trying to avoid. Here are my recommendations in ten easy steps.

1. Load up on fresh fruit

2. Cut the fat.

3. Eat salad twice a day.

4. Make your own GF low -fat dressings.

5. Round out your day with baked, steamed, stir-fried or

roasted vegetables.

6. Have a stash of recipes for special occasions.

7. Educate Yourself on health issues (Read).

8. Follow the 'Little House on the Prairie' model.

9. Teach yourself one new healthy gluten-free recipe each week.

10. Keep your pantry well stocked.

Now in more detail:
1. Load up on fresh fruit. Keep your home, car, briefcase and purse well stocked with your favorite FRESH fruit. running out the door? Grab an apple and wash it. Dried fruit does not count, neither does canned, jarred, nor frozen with sugar. When you are hungry turn first to fruit. Fruit is the most perfect food for our species. For special treats on hot days, we keep a bag of frozen wild blueberries (with nothing added) in our freezer. The kids think a bowlful of these is like candy!

2. Cut the fat. This is important for many reasons. My own experience is that fat is a huge addiction. For about the first 4-6 days after I shift to eating super low fat, I feel very unsatisfied and hungry almost constantly -- but then this magical thing happens -- the unsatiated feelings disappear and I find low-fat eating very comfortable. One of the really important reasons for doing this, is that when you start eating a high fruit diet (which I believe is really the diet we are designed to eat) if you have a lot of fat lingering in your blood stream from foods you have eaten in the past 24 hours, you will be more inclined to have a variety of symptoms that may leave you "not feeling well." So cut the fat as you increase the fruit and shortly you will feel much better.

3. Eat Salad Twice a Day - Fruit is quite wonderful, but it doesn't provide all the minerals and wide variety of phytochemicals that we require for optimum health. We also need leafy greens. Raw leafy greens are best. Go for the dark colors, (romaine, arugula, mizuna for example) forget that anemic looking iceberg lettuce. Include a variety of other vegetables to make it more colorful and delicious. Dr Joel Furhman in his book, Eat to Live, suggests that we eat about a pound of leafy greens each day. Now here is how to make this easy -- Have large quantities of washed, cut and ready to eat salad sitting and waiting for you in the refrigerator. Make it easy to eat salad. Make it something you can quickly grab and eat when you are hungry and you will! We come home from the store with our produce and immediately wash and spin dry the greens, shred them into a large bowl, add grated carrots, red cabbage and store the whole thing in Ziploc bags in the fridge. The second most important thing here -- Use only a healthy salad dressing -- one made without oil, sugar, dairy, or artificial colors. Balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, a little lemon juice are all fine I also have a number of wonderful salad dressing recipes in Get Off Gluten.

4. Make Your Own GF Low-Fat Dressings --Yes you can use flavorful vinegars or lemon juice as a salad dressing -- but you will find salads much more appealing and interesting (and easier to eat in large quantities) if you have a selection of high-quality, reduced fat or no-fat dressings on hand to choose from. In Get Off Gluten, I provide some that are entirely fat free (Raspberry Dressing, and Adobe Dressing, and some that are significantly lower in fat then their traditional counterparts (French Dressing, Great Garlic Dressing, Goddess Dressing, Caesar Dressing, and creamy tofu dressing that is like blue cheese that is used in the Mushroom Meadow recipe. You can use the fat free ones liberally, and the reduced fat one's sparingly and not everyday. Since writing my book, I have created a new dressing that is not only very low fat, but also vinegar free and I have it posted at the bottom of my website on this page: It is called Lemon-Chive Dressing and it is really delicious! (You will find it at the bottom of this page )

5. Round Out Your Day with baked, steamed, stir-fried or roasted vegetables -- Going completely raw is fine --and probably optimum, but often, especially in the cooler seasons, I want hot cooked food. While my book does have many recipes that use gluten-free grains, I find that it is actually easier, quicker and safer to not use grains much. For our family of four, we commonly have a dinner that consists of a giant salad, and 2 pounds of steamed broccoli florets, or a salad and several baked potatoes topped with soy sauce or salsa, or a huge pan of mixed vegetables made using only a tsp of oil, some vegetable broth, garlic and ginger, and stir-frying them. (And these we usually serve over a bed of brown rice.) Or we make up a huge pan of my baked french fries and sugarless ketchup (both recipes can be found in Get Off Gluten) or else we cut a few squashes in half, remove seeds and rub exposed surface with olive oil, sprinkle with lemon pepper and salt and bake in the oven at 425. The great thing about eating this way is you don't need to count calories -- just eat until satisfied. I have been overweight since childhood, and I'm in my upper forties -- but when I cut the fat in this way. (And I don't eat super low fat everyday) I have found my weight effortlessly moving in the downward direction.

6. Have a Stash of Recipes for Special Occasions -- This is the reason I created Get Off Gluten. I wanted to be able to enjoy and share foods that reminded me of my lifelong comfort foods, but without compromising and eating ingredients that I really consider damaging to health. Birthdays, social events, or friends coming to dinner, are times when we are willing to spend a little more time preparing food, in order to have something special. And now with my book, Get Off Gluten, it is possible to do this and make them from wholesome gluten-free ingredients. Just keep in mind -- the optimum diet (for our health and EASE of preparation) is one that relies mostly upon fresh raw fruits and leafy greens with very little fat. But if being able to throw in some raw almond ice cream, or a whole grain GF bread, a shepherd's pie, mini pizzas, or nachos occasionally will make it more likely that you will NOT stray from eating a whole-foods GF diet, then Get Off Gluten is a book that you will want to have sitting in your kitchen.

7. Educate Yourself on Health Issues -- One of the reasons that I encourage people to read the China Study by T. Colin Campbell, is so that they can begin to appreciate how much politics influences governmental dietary recommendations, and how often industry money perverts scientific research. But just reading the words I wrote in my previous sentence will not give you a decent foundation upon which to evaluate the overwhelming amount of health information that we encounter through the media. Frequently I am asked by people whose sole source of health information is the TV, Radio and newspapers, how I am able to know which point of view is more accurate. One day the paper says, "Eating meat increases the risk of colon cancer", And the next day on TV they mention a study that refutes that. Well the way I can sort it out is that I don't rely on the media for unbiased information. After reading books like, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander, and Tainted Truth, by Cynthia Crosen, you will start to appreciate where media bias comes from. I think the issue of global warming provides a great illustration of one way this bias operates. For many years now, the bulk of scientific data strongly suggested that the earth was getting warmer -- but every time the media reported on it, they always gave equal space to the opposing (and much better financed) point of view from industry. Which argued that the climate was not getting warmer. It is only just now, after about two decades of the majority of scientists saying so, that the media is finally NOT adding to the public's confusion on this issue. Now, the naysayers do finally concede that well yes the climate is changing -- now they argue that it is due to very long climatic cycles and not human activity. (If you are trying to get to the truth of this one, I think it is pretty insightful to recognize that the folks now arguing humans are NOT a cause of global warming, WERE the folks arguing climate was not getting warmer -- until overwhelming evidence to the contrary forced them to give up claiming it was not getting warmer.) It is just the same way with health. So you must educate yourself. Check out my must read list of books and start educating yourself today.

8. Follow the Little House on the Prairie Model -- Think back to what you know of the pioneer days. Were there fast food restaurants along the wagon trail? No. When people set out to go somewhere, they did not expect to find food ready to eat along the way. They always brought food and beverages with them, and smart people today do too. It means you never have to look for an appropriate place to eat. If the kids get hungry in the car, you don't need to stop. You can always count on high quality food being accessible. If your car breaks down or you get delayed somewhere -- you always have food and water. You will spend less on food, because you will only be purchasing it when you can do so thoughtfully and never because you are desperate and need it quick. We bought ourselves a soft sided cooler about the size of a milk crate. Small enough to carry easily, large enough to pack a lot of food. When we set out for the day here are some of the things we throw in ours: Fresh whole fruit --washed and ready to eat, carrot sticks and celery sticks with our favorite dip or dressing, glass bottles of water for drinking, dried raw nuts, dried sheets of nori for snacking, last night's dinner leftovers in individual serving containers, a bag of washed greens and a few wooden salad bowls. If I have no dinner leftovers I make up burritos (recipe is in my book) and wrap each in a cloth napkin -- these make great travel food. Spring rolls (also in my book) are another great grab and eat food. Be sure to keep some silverware and cloth napkins in the cooler too.

9. Teach Yourself One New Healthy Gluten Free Recipe Each Week. This is doable -- just once each week, maybe on the weekend when you have more time, learn one new recipe. Once you have made Mushroom Meadow, or Spring rolls or my fabulous chocolate-chip flax cookies, they will become part of your repertoire, and before long, cooking healthy gluten-free meals will be as easy for you as cooking the old way.

10. Keep Your Pantry Well Stocked. This is important -- nothing stifles the urge to create a fabulous meal as quickly as not having some critical ingredient. Use the list of ingredients at the beginning of my book to guide you as to what specialty ingredients to add to your pantry, then add to this a variety of whole grains, flours, beans and fresh produce and you will be able to prepare most anything without a special trip to the store.

About 60% of Americans have the genes that predispose them to becoming gluten sensitive.

Recent research (By Dr. Kenneth Fine) suggests that about half of these people have detectable immunological reactions to gluten, and the majority will NEVER meet the classic definition of celiac disease -- even though gluten IS triggering an autoimmune reaction in their body which may affect many organs or tissues other then the small intestine.

Recipe for these GFCF Penguins is in my book!

Are You Educated on Genetic Engineering?

Biotechnology is the new frontier. Yet, few people in our country right now, have any idea, just how dramatically Genetic Engineering is poised to change our lives. Proponents believe biotech holds the possibility of doing some great things, and I believe it might have some great applications, but there is also evidence that this technology if misapplied or allowed out of the lab/hospital setting, could have significant and even disasterous consequences for our health, and well being. The problem is, there is so much money to be made right now in biotech, and so little required in terms of safety testing, and no requirement for product labeling, that human hubris and capitalism being what they are, I think we are headed for some difficult lessons -- before appropriate safeguards are put in place. I believe at the very least, people should have the option of taking the risk of exposure or avoiding this risk if they so choose. (But that is currently NOT the case.) Please watch the video below (it is less then 20 minutes long) of how one mother (who just happened to be a wall street food analyst) woke up to this issue. Then go explore this site: Seeds of Deception to learn the facts so that you can protect yourself and your family.

Should you avoid Genetically Engineered Foods?

Check this out -- Vitamin D

Many of us probably have suboptimal levels of vitamin D, which can be a contributing factor to the development of many of the related conditions and symptoms more common in those who are gluten sensitive. Watch this video -- It's worth the investment of thirty minutes of your time. I should mention however, that while some authorities consider D3 superior to D2, there is good data that if D2 is taken in reasonable amounts (like 1000-2000 iu daily -- not the huge megadoses that some doctors recommend taking on a weekly basis) that D2 is very effective. (And for someone like me who prefers to minimize any possible exposure to prions which may contaminate animal derrived substances -- of which D3 is one -- this is very good news.)

Dietition Jack Norris has great info on Vitamin D here. Be sure also to read Vitamin D Researcher/MD Michael Hollick's book, The UV Advantage.

Recurrent Abdominal Pain (R.A.P.)

Pre Celiac Disease?

As soon as my daughter could talk she began to report to me that her tummy almost always hurt. Although it didn't become really bad until she was about 8 years old -- this I believe was due to long term exclusive breastfeeding. Throughout her early years, I raised the issue of her chronic abdominal pain with our family doctor on many occaisions, and he would assure me that nothing was wrong, that RAP was very common in children and usually due to emotional issues. When it increased in severity we went to see another doctor -- he thought she might have ulcers -- but that test came back negative and the other tests he ran showed that she was in good health. He thought she was fine too. Eventually I learned about gluten from a friend and well you can read the rest of this story by clicking on the links to articles at the top of this page. However the main point I wish to make here is this: In looking back, it is clear to me now that my daughter -- probably from birth was reacting to gluten. Her fussiness, her greenish stools, her starting to nurse and then pulling off and crying, and then years of tummy aches -- all suggest that gluten was causing her issues from the very beginning. On many occaisions I suspected that wheat might be affecting her -- but its withdrawal never entirely resolved her issues. Now of course I know that gluten is not just in wheat, but also barley, spelt, rye, oats and lots of things made from these. RAP is very common and most the time, it's cause is never found. I would urge anyone who's child is suffering, to explore the possibility that gluten might be the cause of their distress.

Why is Gluten so Problematic?

August of 2009 Scientific American published this very in-depth article on Celiac Disease:


With this quote in it:

"Gluten, however, has a peculiar structure: it is unusually rich in the amino acids glutamine and proline. This property renders part of the molecule impervious to our protein-chopping machinery, leaving small protein fragments, or peptides, intact."

However one thing the article left unanswered. I want to know what is the scientific basis for so many doctors believing that antigliadin antibodies are non-specific and are not (by themselves) indicitive of a problem? The article said that anti-gliadin antibodies are NOT considered specific to celiac disease because they are often found in people who do not have celiac disease. But given that it has only been about 65 years that the medical profession has even made the connection between celiac disease and gluten, and only SIX years since the medical profession realized the incidence was at least TEN TIMES more common then they previously thought....why are they still assuming that anti-gliadin antibodies are nonspecific?

Could it be that all those people who do have antigliadin antibodies in their systems, but don't show damage to the villi are still having a dangerous reaction to gluten? Should the definition of celiac disease be altered...or else dropped altogether and simply be part of a condition called gluten sensitivity which may or may not create visible damage to the villi of the small intestine?

Taxonomic Relationship Amongst Grains

Taxonomic Relationship Amongst Grains
Only the Hordeae tribe make their own gluten -- but oats can absorb gluten if they are grown or stored near gluten containing grains.