#Healthy, Cooking

The Gluten Free Diet

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains, including wheat, rye, spelt, and barley. Wheat is the most common form of gluten from the grains listed.

When flour mixes with water, the gluten proteins form a sticky network that has a glue-like consistency. This glue like property makes the dough elastic and gives bread the ability to rise during baking. It also provides a chewy, satisfying texture. Interestingly, the name “gluten” comes from this glue-like property of wet dough.

Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected. While wheat is the most common, there are three main gluten substances including: wheat, barley and rye.

Wheat

Wheat is a yellowish grain used to make flour.

Wheat is commonly found in:

  • breads
  • baked goods
  • soups
  • pasta
  • cereals
  • sauces
  • salad dressings

Barley

Barley, a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago.

Barley is commonly found in:

  • malt (malted barley flour, malted milk and milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar)
  • food coloring
  • soups
  • beer
  • Brewer’s Yeast

Rye

Rye is a cereal plant that tolerates poor soils and low temperatures.

Rye is commonly found in:

  • rye bread, such as pumpernickel
  • rye beer
  • cereals

Gluten Intolerance and/or Sensitivity

There has been research on gluten intolerance and/or sensitivity and Celiac Disease. Gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance has been coined to describe those individuals who cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease yet lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease. Celiac Disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.Over time, the immune reaction to eating gluten creates inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining, leading to medical complications. It also prevents absorption of some nutrients

Photo provided by Baptist Health

Let’s consider a person without Celiac Disease but an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. Research has categorized gluten intolerance and sensitivity to be less severe than Celiac disease. However, many of the symptoms are the same. People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity have a prevalence of extraintestinal or non-GI symptoms, such as headache, “foggy mind,” joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers. Symptoms typically appear hours or days after gluten has been ingested, a response typical for innate immune conditions like non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Photo provided by Very Well Health

Gluten intolerances and sensitivities are not the same as allergies. In fact, someone can experience an intolerance or sensitivity and test negative to having a gluten allergy.

#Healthy, Cooking

The Pescatarian Diet Lifestyle

From vegans to vegetarians, there seems to be many different diets with stipulations of their own. What makes Pescatarianism any different? I’m glad you asked!

Pesce means fish. Pescatarian diets resembles a vegetarian diet, however, fish is allowed. No worries, this diet is high in fruit and vegetables. Let’s explore some of the benefits of the pescatarian diet and lifestyle.

The information given are strictly facts and not medical advice. If you are looking to change your diet, please consult with your medical provider prior to doing so.


Photo courtesy of Janeris Marte from Unsplash

Benefits of The Pescatarian Diet

Pescatarianism is basically vegetarianism with fish and other seafood added. One major benefit is the high consumption of vegetables and fruits. As a result, those pursuing this diet receive the same benefits as a vegetarian.

The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of fish twice a week, minimally. Fish contains Omega 3’s, which are anti-inflammatory and fight against chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Those who consume fish are found to have lower blood pressure and fewer heart attacks. This is in addition to having a lowered blood sugar.

Photo courtesy of Travis Yewell with Unsplash

Choosing a pescatarian diet is also an avenue for people concerned about animal welfare. There aren’t as many animals killed for human consumption of fish. Some scientists have stated that fish do not feel pain when captured and prepared.

Cons of The Pescatarian Diet

There are two major cons to the pescatarian diet. The first con is the cost of fresh fish. Obviously, most grocery stores offer a frozen and fresh fish section. This comes with a price tag, as the costs of fish is generally a few dollars more expensive than its counterparts, beef and chicken. New pescatarians should be aware of a potential changes on their grocery receipt.

The other con is the higher risk of mercury consumption. Certain fish have mercury, which can have a negative effect on health, long term. Larger fish with longer lifespans tend to have higher levels of mercury. To learn more about fish with mercury, click here.


What Do Meals Look Like?

Here is a beautifully prepped recipe from Stay Snatched. Click the link to follow the entire recipe.

Baked Parmesan Salmon with Garden Greens

20 Pescatarian Dinners to Make Right Now

Photo courtesy: The Kitchn

Want to learn how to make simple pescatarian meals at home? The Kitchn has complied a complete list for reference and step-by-step guide as you navigate though your pescatarian journey. Visit their site to learn more.

The Types Of Fish To Look For At The Grocery Store

  • canned sardines
  • canned salmon
  • canned tuna
  • fish sticks
  • frozen salmon, trout, and herring
  • frozen shrimp
  • fresh fish, such as salmon, pollock, catfish, and sardines
  • fresh shellfish, such as shrimp, clams, and scallops

Other Foods To Include In Your Diet

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • cereals and whole grains, including oats, bulgar wheat, amaranth, corn, and rice
  • food containing grain products
  • pseudo grains, such as quinoa and buckwheat, which are gluten-free
  • legumes, including kidney beans, pinto beans, and peas
  • legume products, including tofu and hummus
  • nuts and nut butters
  • seeds, such as flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia
  • eggs and dairy, if lacto-ovo-vegetarian

In a Nutshell

Pescatarianism is definitely a lifestyle worth adapting to. The longterm health benefits outweigh the potential cons. Good luck to you if you decide to go this direction!