Some eggcellent facts about eggs


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Eggs are the perfect food.  They are full of protein, vitamins and minerals.  They are easy to make in a thousand different ways.  But eggs get a bad rap.  I am here to set you straight on some egg myths, courtesy of Eat this, not that!

I want to say here that if you can find a local farm that pasture raises their chickens, seek it out and get your eggs from them exclusively.  I realize this is not always an option.  But I can tell you from experience, once you taste the difference, you will never go back. Pasture raised eggs are lower in cholesterol saturated fat and contain higher levels of vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamins B9, C, and D.

Cage-free eggs may not be from cage-free hens

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Many consumers assume the “cage-free” label on egg cartons means the chickens laying these eggs have the ability to roam around a field. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. “Cage Free” only means hens are required to have a minimum of 120 square inches per bird, which is not even double the area of conventional battery cages. Hens often still exclusively live indoors, either in large barns known as aviaries or crammed into bigger “enriched” cages that allow for some natural habits.  

“Free-range” hens also often never step outside.  They are often provided a “small door” with limited access to the outside, and that door is often not large enough to accommodate a large flock.

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Food for thought-can cannabis help with celiac disease?


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This post is purely informational.  It is not meant to condone illegal cannabis use.

Cannabis has become a much debated and hot topic lately.  Regardless of your stance on whether cannabis should be legalized or not, it is a proven fact that there are definite health benefits.  One of those benefits is the easing of the symptoms of celiac disease.

To quote from this article on resetme.com:

A study published in the PLOS One journal in 2013 suggests that cannabis could play a key role in taming the ravages of celiac. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Teramo in Italy, took intestinal biopsies from celiac patients and looked at the cannabinoid receptors in the gut, which play a role in controlling inflammation and dysfunction. The results showed significantly more receptors in people with an active disease than those who had been treating it with at least 12 months of a gluten-free diet, leading the scientists to suggest that the data “points to the therapeutic potential of targeting [cannabinoid receptors] in patients with celiac disease.”

In conjunction with a gluten-free diet, which is mandatory for those with celiac disease, cannabis can “calm the angry gut”.

“Marijuana ‘cools the gut,’ in which it slows down the muscle contractions that move food through the stomach and intestines and reduces the secretion of liquid into the intestines associated with diarrhea (one of the most severe symptoms of the disease),” Deno writes. “Marijuana also controls the muscle spasms associated with diarrhea. It also increases appetite and can offset the inefficiency in the Celiac’s ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat.”

The issue would be obtaining the cannabis legally, as there are still some states that don’t have medical cannabis laws in place.  In some states, celiac disease is not a condition for which medical cannabis is available.

As always, in the case where medical cannabis is an option, it behooves the person with celiac disease to explore all options and keep an open mind.  It might just benefit you in the end.

Why you probably don’t need Vitamin D supplements


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Are you taking vitamin D supplements?  Have you been tested and found to be deficient in vitamin D?  You might be surprised to find out that not only is testing possibly unnecessary but taking Vitamin D might cause more harm than good.

Any supplement can cause harm.  Even a Flintstone’s vitamin.

A recent post on the Care2com website addresses the possible harm of Vitamin D supplements.

too many people are unnecessarily getting tested for vitamin D deficiency, and millions of people are taking vitamin D supplements in the belief that the vitamin can help with health issues like depression, fatigue, muscle weakness or even heart disease and cancer. 

But researchers don’t have full consensus that vitamin D can prevent or treat any of these conditions. On the other hand, there is evidence to show that taking too much vitamin D can be harmful.

I was tested by a rheumatologist a few years back and told that I was “deficient”.  But lab findings are not necessarily correct.  In fact, normal levels of Vitamin D are now being reported as a deficiency.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble nutrient required by the body for the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, and therefore to build a strong skeleton. The vitamin acts something like a bodyguard, charged with delivering calcium safely to bones and teeth. 

We do not make our own; our bodies produce vitamin D naturally when they are exposed to sunlight. That’s why it’s sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin.”

It’s also found in certain foods, such as fatty fish, cheese, mushrooms, beef liver and egg yolks. Some foods, including milk, cereal, and yogurt, may be fortified with vitamin D.

Why are so many people getting testing for Vitamin D deficiency?

In 2000, several studies published in medical journals linked vitamin D levels that are lower, but still considered normal, to multiple sclerosis and mental illness, and also to the risk of cancer

Then, in 2007, a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that vitamin D levels of 21 to 29 nanograms per milliliter of blood, now considered normal, were linked to an increased risk of cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes, schizophrenia, depression, poor lung capacity and wheezing. 

But over the next few years several research papers decried the exaggerated importance of the vitamin.

In 2016, the New England Journal of Medicine stated:

“The claim that large proportions of North American and other populations are deficient in vitamin D is based on misinterpretation and misapplication of the Institute of Medicine reference values for nutrients — misunderstandings that can adversely affect patient care.” Researchers determined that we are both overscreening for vitamin D deficiency, and unnecessarily treating people who are perfectly healthy.

Nevertheless the belief in the powers of the vitamin has become so popular that increasing numbers of people are asking to be tested for “Vitamin D deficiency,” making it the third-most ordered blood test in the U.S.

In a recent study of 800,000 patients carried out by the Maine Medical Center, around 20 percent had had at least one such test over a three-year period. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of these tests among people on Medicare increased 83-fold from 2000 to 2010. Among people with other health insurance, the testing rates went up 2.5-fold between 2009 and 2014.

“A lot of clinicians are acting like there is a pandemic of vitamin D deficiency,” said Dr. JoAnn E. Manson, a preventive medicine researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who helped write an Institute of Medicine report on vitamin D. “That gives them justification to screen everyone and get everyone well above what the Institute of Medicine recommends.”

And once they’ve had those tests, there’s another problem, as reported by Gina Kolata writing in The New York Times:

“Labs performing these tests are reporting perfectly normal levels of vitamin D – 20 to 30 nanogram per milliliter of blood – as ‘insufficient.’ As a consequence, millions of healthy people think they have a deficiency.”

Taking too much Vitamin D can be dangerous

To remedy their “deficiency”, these people may be taking supplements that are so high, they can be harmful. Vitamin D toxicity is caused by megadoses of vitamin D supplements, not by diet or sunshine: Your body regulates the amount of this vitamin that you need, and even fortified foods contain only small levels of vitamin D.

The chief consequence of these megadoses is a buildup of calcium in your blood, which can cause poor appetite, nausea and vomiting. It can also result in weakness, frequent urination and kidney problems.

So how can you get more Vitamin D withouth supplements?  Get out into the sunshine. Eat Vitamin D rich foods such as salmon and eggs.  Yes, eggs are good for you, contrary to popular belief.

When you get a routine blood test, do yourself a favor and look up what is considered a normal range.  Ranges can differ by the lab, and by the doctor.  Older doctors may not be up on the latest medical information and studies.

As I always say pertaining to gluten intolerance, be your own advocate.  No one knows your body better than you do.  Think for yourself.  You will be a happier, healthier you.

Nima-Is it a double edged sword?


I would like to wish all of you a Happy and safe Thanksgiving!

 

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I wrote about Nima, a new device that will test for gluten in foods, a few months ago.  I thought it was a great idea.  Finally, a way to test foods in a restaurant setting.  Finally, a way to be safe.  Or so we think.

The folks at Beyond Celiac just put up an article on how they put Nima through its paces.  It turns out that Nima is a double edged sword.   You can read the entire article here.

Their experience with Nima was not what they expected.  They started by testing takeout from a favorite Thai place that they frequently ordered from.  Their Pad Thai and their curry came up with gluten.  They were somewhat surprised at this.

The next encounter and test occurred at a local pizza restaurant.  Brussel sprouts were ordered, and you guessed it, they came back as having gluten.  The chef was angry at this accusation and adamant that this was impossible.  He finally admitted that the Brussel sprouts were roasted in the pizza oven.  Ummm, duh, gluten, dude!!!

This brings me to something I have said many times in my posts.  If you are dining out, especially if you are celiac, you must be prepared to be glutened.  There is no “safe” restaurant.  No matter what the chef or staff tell you, no matter what the menu says and no matter how careful they are, there is always a chance that something minuscule might be missed.   Unless a restaurant is advertised as completely gluten free-that no wheat products are used-expect cross contamination.

I have severely curbed my dining out because of this very reason.  I have complete control when I make food in my own kitchen.  It terrifies me not only to go to a restaurant but also to join friends and family for a meal.  Being sick in someone else’s bathroom is embarrassing, to say the least.  I try to bring my own food whenever possible to eliminate this possibility.  Even though well intended, people that do not have celiac or gluten intolerance really have no idea what ingredients to avoid.  Besides that, it is too much to ask for someone to change their way of preparation and cooking just for you.  Ingredients and cooking methods must sometimes be completely overhauled from what they are used to.  It is much easier just to bring your own food, but you can’t do that in a restaurant.

After reading about the Brussel sprout incident, I am even more convinced that dining out is really not as safe as we think it is.  In the article, the author states that upon further reading up on Nima’s instructions, Nima can give false positive readings.  In other words, Nima can detect gluten in samples with trace amounts of gluten; less than 20 parts per million-the legal threshold for labeling a food gluten free.  So the foods they tested could have been over, or under that amount.  In my opinion, using Nima could make you much more paranoid than you would have been without it.

Where do we draw the line?  Do we just go out, have a good time, and hope for the best?  Or do we test every morsel before we put in our mouth?   You have to find your own level of comfort.  If you have celiac disease,  even a grain of gluten could be devastating to your health.

Nima is not a perfect science.  It is a good idea but needs fine-tuning.  It can be a tool, but don’t let it run your life.  Or ruin it.

Healthy eating is the new diet


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There’s a new kid in town, and his name is health.

Companies are trending towards removing artificial colors, dyes and additives and GMO is becoming the new four letter word.  Diet soda is no longer the norm.  People are focusing less on weight loss, and more on eating healthy foods.

Yes, there are still diets out there-360, 5:2, Paleo, but Weight watchers and Atkins are taking a back seat.  People are starting to realize that dieting just doesn’t work in the long term.  Quick results are not what we are wanting anymore-long term health is becoming more important.

I heartily agree with this new outlook.  My husband and I woke up to this truth when he was diagnosed with heart disease.  It’s nice to see that the population in general is waking up also.   You can still be healthy and gluten, dairy, and allergen free.  You don’t have to rely on pre-packaged gluten free foods.  In fact, the less you eat of these, the better.

Don’t get me wrong,  I still buy some of these, but I mostly make things from scratch.  I still buy some things pre-made, but I find that they are full of too much sugar and salt.  My tastebuds have adjusted and I just can’t tolerate them anymore.

I’m happy to see that people are finally waking up and realizing that you really are what you eat.  The American diet of high carb, high salt and high sugar foods is taking a serious toll on us.  Obesity is at an all-time high.  Change is coming, but there’s still a long way to go to provide healthy foods to every American.  There is still a very wide monetary gap. That gap needs to close once and for all.  Obesity shouldn’t be a poor person’s disease.

But, the gap is slowly closing and people are changing.  Companies are finally listening.  I am hoping that this is not just another “fad” and that healthy eating is here to stay.

 

When clean eating goes too far


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With all of the attention lately on gluten free, natural, organic and whole grain foods, it’s easy to go a bit overboard and let your concern of eating “clean foods” turn into an obsession.

In recent years, a study has been done on this obsession, and it is now considered an eating disorder.

According to National eating disorders website, there are certain criteria to determine if someone has orthorexia:

Consider the following questions. The more questions you respond “yes” to, the more likely you are dealing with orthorexia.

  • Do you wish that occasionally you could just eat and not worry about food quality?
  • Do you ever wish you could spend less time on food and more time living and loving?
  • Does it seem beyond your ability to eat a meal prepared with love by someone else – one single meal – and not try to control what is served?
  • Are you constantly looking for ways foods are unhealthy for you?
  • Do love, joy, play and creativity take a back seat to following the perfect diet?
  • Do you feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?
  • Do you feel in control when you stick to the “correct” diet?
  • Have you put yourself on a nutritional pedestal and wonder how others can possibly eat the foods they eat? 

Now, some of these points occur in gluten free eating.  We have to be a bit obsessed for our own safety and comfort.  But orthorexics carry this obsession over into all food types, not just gluten free foods.  This can prove to be unhealthy, and even dangerous.

As a blogger who focuses on gluten free living, I feel I have an obligation to make sure that anyone who chooses to follow a gluten free lifestyle is doing so for the right reasons.  It seems that with all of the blogs out there, there are some that are truly misleading.  The focus on clean eating by bloggers is causing people, especially young, impressionable people to develop eating disorders.

According to the website The Mirror:

Clean eating diets can be a “catastrophe” for young people at risk of anorexia and bulimia.

Dr Mark Berelowitz, an eating disorder specialist, said 80%-90% of his patients at the Royal Free Hospital in North London followed clean eating diets.

The restrictive diets, which exclude sugar, meat, dairy products, carbohydrates and gluten, are championed by celebrity bloggers and there are hundreds of instagram accounts promoting clean eating.

Berelowitz said that while cutting out carbohydrates and fat was good advice for overweight adults, for teenagers and people who had a troubled relationship with food it could be dangerous.

 

You cannot eliminate all food groups and live a healthy lifestyle.  The dieter becomes obsessed with “dirty” foods, and before you know it, an eating disorder is born.

I have always said, and I will say again, be very careful when eliminating food groups from your diet.  Consult a nutritionist, or your doctor for advice on how to do so safely.  And for your own sake, don’t believe everything you read on the internet.  Do your research, and be your own advocate.  Your life could depend upon it.

 

 

Stop the gluten bashing


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It seems lately that wherever you turn, the media has decided that unless you have celiac disease, you should be eating wheat.

There is no in between-gluten intolerance simply does not exist in the eyes of the world. This viewpoint needs to change.

It does not help that eliminating gluten is the biggest trend since the low fat diet.  Carbs have an evil reputation; they must be avoided at all costs.

Whether it’s a celebrity, or your next door neighbor, people have got it in their heads that a gluten free diet is healthy.  Well, as someone who is gluten intolerant, I am here to tell you it isn’t.  I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would want to put themselves through the hell of trying to avoid gluten at restaurants, grocery stores, picnics, weddings, and all of life’s little celebrations.  Not to mention the expense.

Why does the media portray those of us with gluten intolerance as faddists, or worse, fanatics?  Please don’t lump me in with Gwyneth Paltrow.  Yes, I a tested negative for celiac, and yes, I am self diagnosed.  But I did my homework and my elimination diet.

If you can tolerate wheat, there is no reason to stop eating it.  Plain and simple.  Those of you who state “I can’t eat gluten” then proceed to eat a piece of chocolate cake, are in the same league as the “diet soda” people who eat a Big Mac and fries.  You are making the lives of the gluten intolerant a living nightmare.  Please stop.

I have heard stories from people that their physician told them that celiac disease does not exist, then proceeded to send them to a psychiatrist.  If a proven immune disease like celiac does not exist in the eyes of the medical establishment, what hope do the gluten intolerant have?

We do exist.  We do suffer.  And we do ok.  So please stop bashing us.