Every day news is made regarding celiac disease and its only treatment: a gluten free diet. Whether it is information about gluten free foods, recipes, scientific research, school tips, eating out, or the basics about the disease symptoms that come with having celiac, we talk about and report on it here using reliable sources and key experts to create great content.
If you have celiac disease, a non-celiac gluten sensitivity or are eating gluten free for other reasons, our one goal is to empower you with information to live a healthy gluten free life.
A new report out looks into how children diagnosed with celiac in a mass screening think their health-related quality of life has changed with the diagnosis and gluten-free lifestyle.
The report was published on the Umea University’s website Friday, the day Katrina Nordyke was defending her thesis on the subject.
The thesis coincides with a study co-authored by Nordyke and published last February that researched a mass screening of a 6th grade/12-year-old population group. That screening found cases of unrecognized celiac and looked at how the quality of life was impacted for those celiac children.
The research published in February said adolescents with “unrecognized celiac disease experience similar health-related quality of life as their peers without celiac disease, both before and one year after diagnosis and initiation of the gluten free diet.”
Nordyke appears to be taking this research one step further in her thesis. According to Umea University, Nordyke examined the “experiences and results of screening to detect celiac in these children…[and] the results are ambiguous.” Nordyke said, “there was no consensus that the detection of [celiac] disease and treatment results in an increased health-related quality of life.”
How does she know this? The kids in the research wrote short stories describing their screening experience, before getting the test results. This showed some fear and anxiety, but most kids handled it well. There were also surveys that children also filled out about the health-related quality of life at the time of the testing and one year later. Children who were diagnosed with celiac wrote new stories one and five years after being diagnosed.
These stories, according to Nordyke, show the “threat from complications caused by the disease affected how young people experienced the diagnosis, how they coped with the gluten-free diet and what they thought of screening for celiac disease.”
Five years after diagnosis, the kids have learned how to cope with the gluten-free lifestyle. But, Nordyke says, “at the same time, some of these young people still doubt the benefits of having been diagnosed with celiac disease through screening.”
This is where the report ends. I think it still begs some questions like, how symptomatic were some of these kids? If they were really sick pre-diagnosis, I would think they would have a different perspective. On the other hand I wonder if it is a good thing that they don’t see much difference. Maybe if they feel like everyone else, they don’t feel so isolated as some have described in the past.
Finally what does this mean for mass screening? If the kids don’t really feel any different, do they think the screening wasn’t necessary?
Anyway, I still have some questions, but I think it was interesting new information to share. We’ll have to wait and find out more!
We are nine days from Thanksgiving and I don’t know about you but I am really getting into Fall cooking mode. Right now my eyes are set on stuffing –a.k.a. dressing– a.k.a. The food that can be the most challenging part of your Thanksgiving meal.
Back in the day when Emma was first diagnosed with celiac disease in 2000, there were no stuffing options out there. The best I could do was cut up some bread and try and figure out how to make it myself. A big challenge for me is failure. When it comes to the holiday meal, in my mind failure is not an option. So I never tried because it seemed so daunting. Luckily, a few years after her diagnosis, my mom came up with a great wild rice dressing recipe, and that is what we have had each Thanksgiving ever since.
But now we have some options that take the work out of making gluten free stuffing for Thanksgiving. On Monday I set out to make four different gluten free stuffing mixes that could be cooked in under an hour. So how did they fare?
Rudi’s Gluten Free Stuffing
Rudi’s Gluten Free Stuffing Mix wins the award for quickest stuffing to make. It is a new product this year. Similar to the Stove Top Stuffing from your pre-gluten free days,with this product you literally melt butter and boil water. Then you put the stuffing mix in and it is ready in 5 minutes.
It was fluffy and easy to make. Anyone could make this. However, it lacked some flavor. If you were willing to play with it a little, maybe add some spices or pre-cooked carrots, celery and onions it could be better.
I purchased this from Fresh and Natural Foods in Shoreview, Minnesota for just over $5.00. This probably could serve four large servings or six modest servings.
Grandma Ferdon’s Gluten Free Sage Dressing
Grandma Ferdon’s Dressing wins for easiest stuffing. It was already made up in the freezer section of the store. All I had to do was put it in a pan and heat it up.
It was my least favorite in terms of taste. It had flavor, but not a flavor I cared for.
This product is mostly found in the Upper Midwest. It was around $7.00 and could probably only feed 2-3 people.
Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing Mix
Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing Mix wins for best corn bread stuffing ( it was the only corn bread stuffing) and came in second overall for this taste test. This box was a free item sent to me to try by Glutino. I had never had corn bread stuffing before so I expected it to be an adventure for my taste buds.
This stuffing mix required eggs, celery, onions, butter and chicken broth ( I also added carrots). It was good. It was easy. It was also done in about 25 minutes.
I thought a corn bread stuffing would be sweeter. Am I missing something? I thought it would not be as savory. Truth be told, if I didn’t know it was a cornbread mix, I never would have guessed it come dinner time.
This mix filled a small glass pan and would feed 4-6 people in my opinion. I do not have a price on the Glutino product. Sorry, since it was sent to me, I did not think to check the store for that when I was shopping. But I think you should expect the $5-8 range.
Aleia’s Savory Gluten Free Stuffing Mix
Aleia’s Savory Stuffing was the overall winner. It was what I pictured and tasted as a good, flavorful, savory stuffing mix. It was equally as much work as the Glutino mix and included ingredients: celery, onion, carrots, olive oil, butter and chicken broth.
I think these added ingredients helped push this to the top. My celiac daughter, who really has not had a bread stuffing before also chose this as her top pick. She asked me to freeze it and serve it on Thanksgiving in addition to the wild rice stuffing (that I will incidentally slave over for an entire day).
This stuffing mix could feed 4-6 people in my opinion. The price was also in the $7.00 range.
I hope this information helps you in time for your Thanksgiving holiday. The store I went to had plenty of supply, but I wouldn’t wait too long.
For the last two years or so, we have heard a lot about athletes going gluten free. We must give serious credit to raising the level of gluten free awareness in the sports world to Novak Djokovic who is currently ranked number 2 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He went gluten free in 2010 and has had a lot of success since then winning many tournaments and grand slam titles, even being positioned in the #1 spot for a year from October 2012- October 2013.
Djokovic isn’t the only one finding the gluten free diet’s has an impact on their athletic performance. According to About.com, six athletes (including Djokovic) were gluten free for the 2012 Olympic games. Half of them ate gluten free because of a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
The Winter Olympics will be in Russia in February of 2014. Just last week the Canadian Press reported Canadian speed skater Christine Nesbitt went gluten free after a celiac diagnosis earlier this year. She told the paper since her diagnosis and gluten free diet regimen, “a lot of her symptoms have disappeared” and that she recovers better after hard training days.
Does gluten free REALLY help athletes?
Can the gluten free diet really up an athlete’s game? Well if you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity I see that it could help, especially if you were fighting debilitating symptoms before going gluten free. This is the true benefit of going gluten free for anyone who gets ill from it — you will be better at school, work, play — whatever you do — because you don’t feel awful! “I’ve learned it’s not normal to be bloated every single day of your life,” Nesbitt told the Canadian Press in that aforementioned interview. This is what many people with celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity say about their illness. They didn’t know what normal was supposed to feel like until they went gluten free.
But what about folks who don’t need the gluten free diet for health reasons? An article last month in the Washington Post had interesting answers from two experts. ”If you have nothing wrong with you as far as absorptive disorders, there there’s no benefit by cutting out gluten,” says Felicia Stoler a nutritionist and exercise psychologist in New Jersey, who is also president of the Greater New York chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Dr. Alessio Fasano of the Center for Celiac Research at Mass General in Boston, admits gluten isn’t very useful to our bodies. But in the Washington Post article he took this question to the level of the elite athlete, “When you go to the high-level performing athletes in which a fraction of a second can mean the difference between winning and losing an event or be[ing] able to complete a marathon or not within a certain time frame, that can be the small edge that helps you.”
A gluten free athlete speaks from experience
Peter Bronski is an expert in this area. He is a multi-sport athlete who competes in, among other things, ultramarathons. Bronski also has celiac disease and has co-authored a book with Melissa McLean Jory, MNT, called “The Gluten-Free Edge”. I spoke with Bronski last November for a Q and A article with Gluten-Free Living magazine which ran earlier this year. He says each athlete reacts to a gluten-free diet differently, “…[the gluten free diet] is not going to be a silver bullet for everyone and so they need to try it out and see how it works for themselves, if they are adopting it voluntarily.”
Bronski says gluten can cause problems with digestion and inflammation. On the subject of digestion, Bronski says, “If you combine GI distress from athletics and GI distress from gluten, those two things can come together to cause greater problems.” As for inflammation, Bronski added, “You may have temporary immune suppression after a hard workout….but inflammation that you experience as a result of consuming gluten can impact an athlete’s recovery time…and performance.”
So should these athletes be getting tested for celiac before going gluten free? Bronski says if you suspect celiac, getting tested before you go gluten free would be good. But ultimately “athletes [who are going gluten free] need to make an individual choice if they want to get tested first or not.”
I guess the answer to the main question of this article is….right now there is no firm answer. There is no official research out there to prove or disprove anyone’s theories, thoughts or beliefs on this topic. By hearing a variety of experts’ opinions on the matter, you can make a judgement for yourself.
Bronski’s gluten free athlete suggestions:
Good gluten free foods to add:
- Sweet Potatoes! A great carb with a lower glycemic index than white potatoes. “Whether they are baked, roasted, sweet potato fries, whatever you choose, I think those are a really excellent choice.”
- A good protein: could be red meat, bison, other non-meat sources of protein. “the iron is really an important component for athletic performance.”
Foods to eliminate:
- “Anything that would be made of highly-refined gluten-free starches and have a lot of empty calories in it.”
If you get glutened and having GI symptoms:
- Consider an L-Glutamine supplement (making sure it is gluten free) “…glutamine has been positively associated with is gut health and gut recovery.” Click here for more info on glutamine