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ABC News-Really? The disappointing news piece and the Gluten Free Fit opinion

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Nightline, an ABC news show, aired an episode last week where they discussed the gluten free diet, celiac disease, and living with celiac disease.

Personally, I thought this particular piece was pretty terrible.

Kind of horrific, in fact.

Before I go any further into my rant, here is the piece so you can watch for yourself.  It was titled “Is Gluten Free Good?”

  • They start off with touting all the celebrities that are on a gluten free diet, and then of course, Chelsea Clinton’s gluten free wedding cake.  It’s portrayed as a fad diet right off the bat.
  • Celiac disease isn’t even mentioned until almost 2 minutes into the 6 minute clip.
  • Elisabeth Hasselbeck is pictured in front of a freezer, stating that this is where all her food comes from.  WHAT?! Are you kidding me right now?!  No mention whatsoever of ANY naturally gluten free food.  You’d think that there is no life, or even eating, without pasta.
  • She also states that she believes in “replacing” foods in a gluten free diet, not eliminating them.  I would agree with this if by saying replace, she meant replacing refined flour items with fruits, vegetables, all the naturally gluten free bounty that nature avails us.  But no.  She was talking about replacing gluten breads and pastas with gluten free substitutes.  Hence the need to stand in front of the freezer, and not in the produce section.  In my article on my top 5 choices of gluten free carbohydrate sources, not one of them is found in a freezer.
  • E.H. also encourages people to adopt a gluten free diet without any kind of medical testing.
  • Dr. Green (bless his heart) mentions that there are no benefits for those without celiac disease to go gluten free, and that there is no weight loss guarantee on a gluten free diet, as we all know.  I even did a 5 part series of posts about weight issues and the gluten free diet.  You can eat a crappy nutrition yet calorie dense gluten free diet just as easily as you can on a “regular” diet.
  • However, they also indicate that a gluten free diet can be dangerous.  WHAT?!?  Dr. Green actually says, and I quote “a gluten free diet is not entirely healthy.”  I will give him a little slack, in the sense that if someone is only eating refined and processed gluten free crap, that they will receive even less nutrition than the standard American crap diet.  This is true.  BUT (and this is a big but, people, really big, the biggest butt of them all[ intentional]) a gluten free diet can also be incredibly healthy. You have to look at the big picture!  Eat naturally gluten free real food.  Meats, fish, poultry, veggies, fruits, dairy (if you can tolerate it, another can of worms for another day,) nuts/seeds, oils, nut butters, rice, potato, etc.  There is a BOUNTY of naturally gluten free foods.   I GUARANTEE that a gluten free diet can be extremely healthy.  I GUARANTEE that you will get plenty of fiber if you just eat some damn VEGGIES!!
  • Dr. Green mentions calcium deficiency.  Many people, not just those with celiac disease or that are on a gluten free diet, have calcium deficiency.  He also doesn’t mention that many of those diagnosed with celiac disease are also intolerant to dairy, and thus must find alternative sources of calcium in their diets.  Or that the damage done to the villi often causes impaired nutrient absorption and therefore, deficiency.  I covered this in Common Nutrient Absorption Issues in Celiac Disease and What to Do About It.

Overall, I was incredibly disappointed.  There has been so many great news pieces done on celiac disease and gluten intolerance lately that this was like a kick in the teeth.  This was a wonderful opportunity for education and discussion on the beauty of naturally gluten free food, on the importance of eating “real food,” how you CAN get nutrition in your diet, how celiac disease is underdiagnosed, and it wasn’t that at all.

I understand it was only a short segment, and that editing is done to the Nth degree, and that what ended up in the final cut may not have been Dr. Green’s intention at all.  But the implication that a gluten free diet is inherently unhealthy really,really, ticks me off.

As always, it’s the choices you make in the QUALITY of your food that matter, not just the gluten or gluten free status.

OK, I’m going to jump down off my soapbox and give you guys the floor.  What did you think?

And, if you’re new here and didn’t get turned off by my little rant, go ahead and check out Gluten Free and Fit 101 for tips on how to get going on a HEALTHY gluten free diet.

See, you can tell I’m upset.  That’s a lot of caps 😉

Gluten Free Fitness in the Media: New Free Resources Available

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I recently partnered with the good folks at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to create a few more awesome resources for the gluten free and celiac community.

The NFCA is always updating their site with new and cool information and events, so make sure to check back in often.

  • The first new resource is an on-demand version of the live webinar that I presented entitled “The Gluten-Free Effect on Athletes: Improving Performance Through Diet” Click here and scroll down until you see that title, then you can choose to watch the webinar or download the PDF of the Power Point presentation.  Also on that page is a downloadable guide to the gluten free status of some commonly found sports supplements and energy/protein bars.  (As always, that was correct and current at that time, but always double check and read labels.  Things change.)  There’s also some homemade protein bar recipes and the short version of the Q&A.  I ran out of time to address all the great questions that were submitted, but will do that on an upcoming episode of the Gluten Free Fitness and Wellness Podcast.
  • The second new resource is a Media Planet insert that was in the Chicago Tribune.  It’s 8 pages and full of great info.  On page 5, athletics and celiac disease is discussed, and that’s where I come in.  Check out the whole insert, good stuff abounds, and you’ll see some familiar faces and names.  Click here for the insert.
  • The third resource is a patient handout that was developed for and published in the Advance Magazine for Physical Therapists.  It’s a one page sheet with the basics of celiac disease, how celiac disease can affect performance, and some gluten free snack ideas.  It’s a handy way to introduce people to celiac disease if they haven’t a clue, and will be useful to educate family members as well.  Click here for the handout.
All of these are excellent places to start if you have been newly diagnosed, or are looking for easy to understand information to share with family members.

If you are kicking around on here for a while, you’ll want to check out Gluten Free and Fit 101, where I’ve compiled posts that I think would be most helpful to those starting on a gluten free diet, or those who have been eating gluten free, but are ready to kick up their nutritional know how and health status to the next level.

If you have checked out any of these resources, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  What did you like, what did you feel was missing, what other information do you think would be helpful?  Myself and the NFCA are always listening and ready to provide education for the celiac and gluten free community that they want to see, hear, and learn.

Go forth and learn!  Or teach!

Labor Day Weekend Edition: Gluten Free, Celiac and Nutrition Goodies and News

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Happy Labor Day weekend to everyone here in the US!

I find it completely crazy how fast time is flying by.

First, a special announcement

I was asked by the NFCA to help out and present a webinar titled “The Gluten-Free Effect on Athletes: Improving Performance Through Diet.” This free webinar will be taking place on September 21st, at 8:30 PM EST. (Yes, Kristin at the NFCA (who has been incredibly helpful and awesome, by the way) has talked me into staying up past my normal bedtime. Ya’ll can tell me a bedtime story after the webinar.)

Click here to register.  Make sure to sign up ahead of time, because we will be accepting audience questions before the event.  I’m very excited and happy to be involved with such a great organization and event.

OK, onward!

Gluten Free and Celiac Stuff
  • Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free has designed a Labor Day Menu for you.   Total yummies.  Definitely check it out.  I bookmarked some of these to make for our “not really a wedding reception” party here at the house in October.
  • Karina, the Gluten Free Goddess, shared a recipe for Gluten Free Peach Cobbler.  The recipe looks fabulous, but my favorite part of the post is her commentary.  Check it out, I’m not giving a spoiler.
  • Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl shared a guest post from David Abed on Gluten Free Hurricane/Disaster Preparedness. This is important stuff for us all, and I am especially aware of it living in South Florida.  We are now in the busiest part of hurricane season, and although the past few years have been quiet, we cannot be complacent.  The memory of 3 weeks without power when Wilma hit here is very fresh in my mind, and of course no one can forget Katrina.  Be prepared for the worst, and then everything else is a pleasant surprise.
  • Everyday Paleo is a blog devoted to feeding a family paleo-style.  They are gluten free by choice, not necessarily for celiac disease, and share lots of tips and recipe ideas.  I especially liked this one for Paleo Pizza.
Nutrition News
  • I’ve mentioned before that I like to use coconut oil and coconut flour in recipes, and did so in my Cookies that are Almost Good for You post.  There’s lots of information out there on coconut products, but I always like to see it from a neutral (i.e. not financially involved) standpoint.  Stephan at the Whole Health Source blog is one smart gluten free cookie, and he is doing a series on tropical plant fats.  This post examines the science behind coconut oil.  If you are even a little bit a science geek like me, you’ll dig Stephan’s blog.  I made a new recipe using coconut cream that I’ll be sharing this week.
  • Dr. Stephen Wangen wrote a great post on Understanding the Healthcare Business. This is important stuff.  I’ve been working in healthcare for 14 years (holy cow) and have seen it from every angle.  As a provider, as a patient, as a case manager for insurance companies, and as a specialist appealing denials, I’ve seen it all.  It’s so important for people to understand their policy, what it covers and what it doesn’t.  Do this when you are well.  There’s lots of confu  Understand sing language, so don’t hesitate to make a call and get someone to explain it to you in plain English.  Nothing is free, ever.  If your policy covers an ambulance ride 100%, great.  But it’s not free.  Either you are paying for it in your premiums, your employer is, or the taxpayers are.  Nothing is free.  Understand your policy, and be your own healthcare advocate.  If you can’t, find someone who can.  (Steps down from my soapbox.)
  • Eat An Apple (Doctors Orders). Love this.  I hope this becomes more common.

That’s it for today!

Everyone have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday, or weekend at the very least.

And do it all gluten free!

If you’re stuck indoors, check out Gluten Free and Fit 101 for some goodies to keep you busy. 🙂