Gluten free diets have become a recent diet trend among celebrities and people alike. With the increasing popularity and availability of gluten free foods I have gotten a lot of questions about the diet like " Should I be following a gluten free diet?" and "Are gluten free foods healthier?". The answer to both if these questions is not necessarily and here is why....
People who should be following a gluten free diet have been diagnosed with Celiac disease or have a gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which you have an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in food products containing wheat, barley and rye. This immune reaction causes damage to the lining of the small intestines preventing the absorption of essential nutrients which could lead to malnutrition and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Symptoms usually include abdominal cramping, bloating, diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, and anemia. If you have any of these symptoms, I recommend seeing your primary care physician for further evaluation. Diagnosing Celiac disease includes a series of lab tests and possibly a biopsy of the intestines. If diagnosed, treatment includes strict lifelong adherence to a gluten free diet. People who have suffered symptoms related to Celiac disease often see immediate relief after starting on a gluten free diet.
Gluten free grains like rice, potatoes, corn, quinoa, sorghum, buckwheat, and amaranth are just as healthy as gluten containing grains, if incorporated into a well balanced diet. So, if you don't have an intolerance, there is no health benefit from restricting gluten from your diet.
The take home message is, if you have Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity following a gluten free diet is necessary for health, but if not you should be following a well balanced diet containing gluten and non-gluten containing grains!
For more information on Celiac Disease and Gluten Free Diet please visit www.celiac.org
For those of you who have to follow a gluten free diet, check out this recipe for delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookies!
Gluten-Free Whole Grain
Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
· 1 ½ cups Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking and Pancake Mix
· 1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter
· ½ cup brown sugar
· 1 large egg
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Line 2 large un-greased baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. Place room temperature butter, brown sugar in mixing bowl. Beat on high until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
4. Add the gluten-free flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low until combined.
5. Add chocolate chips and beat just until blended.
6. Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop cookie dough on prepared baking sheets. Space cookies 1 1/2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.