Nourishing Your Body for Better Health
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Are you getting the nutrients you need on a GF diet?


Classes:
Nutrients on a GF diet
Local news and events

Living and Loving a GF Diet

Saturday, Sept 26th 11:00-12:30

  • Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and the importance of testing
  • All you ever wanted to know about label reading
  • Foods to avoid, cross contamination and hidden gluten
  • Sorting out the facts from common myths
  • Where to get support-local and online groups, websites, books

To register, see http://www.harriswholehealth.com/services The class cost is $20 per person, or bring a friend for 2 people for $35.

Are you getting the nutrients you need on a gluten free diet?

When people start off on a gluten free diet, step one is figuring a way to take out all the gluten, and get adjusted to this new way of living and eating.  But as life starts to ease back to normal, it’s important to take the second step and eat a diet with all of the nutrients you need to feel better, allow your intestines to heal, and live well.

Years ago, studies showed that many people weren’t getting enough iron and B vitamins, so the US government decided to fortify our breads, cereals, etc.  However, GF foods are considered specialty foods, and there are no laws about enrichment. Many GF foods are not fortified, so it’s not surprising that researchers have found that many people on a gluten free diet are eating less of these key nutrients than general population.   People on a gluten free diet also seem to be eating less calcium, fiber and grains than recommended, especially among women.

Calcium:

Calcium is particularly important to people with Celiac disease, since osteoporosis often occurs due to intestinal damage from CD, which can cause malabsorption of calcium and Vitamin D.  Also, many people with Celiac disease avoid dairy due to lactose intolerance.   In a study of people on a GF diet, less than a third of the women ate the recommended amounts of calcium, although most men did get the amounts recommended. When people start off on a gluten free diet, step one is figuring a way to take out all the gluten, and get adjusted to this new way of living and eating.  But as life starts to ease back to normal, it’s important to take the second step and eat a diet with all of the nutrients you need to feel better, allow your intestines to heal, and live well.

Iron:

A survey of people on a gluten free diet found that less than half of women are getting recommended amounts of iron.  This is particularly important, since many people with Celiac disease are anemic before going gluten free due to the constant intestinal damage and irritation.  Anemia often causes fatigue, weakness and poor concentration.   Liver and organ meats are great sources of iron, but there are a variety of foods and ways of combining foods with vitamin C that can help raise iron levels, too.

Fiber:

Most Americans are getting less fiber than recommended, and getting enough fiber can be even more challenging on a gluten free diet, since many high fiber cereals, breads and bars are off limits.   Fiber is best known for its help keeping people regular, but it is important in helping lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, too.

So what’s a gluten free gal (or guy) to do?

  • Take a (gluten free!) multivitamin
  • Choose fortified gluten free products
  • If you avoid dairy products, find other calcium fortified beverages and other high calcium foods
  • If you are feeling tired, talk to your doctor about getting your iron level tested.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough fiber!  Beans, flaxseed, and whole grain GF foods are a great source of fiber.
  • Consider speaking to a dietitian to make sure you’re getting what you need!

News:

The Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland is hosting its annual 2009 Celiac Walk/Run on May 3rd, 2009.  You can sign up or donate here.  If you’d like to donate to the DC Celiacs group, click on sponsor a participant on the left sidebar, type Susan Flinn in the search box, click search, and then select Susan Flinn.

The Center for Celiac Awareness is hosting the annual Gluten Free Cooking Spree on May 1st.  It’s always a good time, good food and tons of samples.  It’s $50 if you register by April 15th.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please email cheryl@harriswholehealth.com or call 571-271-8742.