Celiac Disease and Iron Deficiency

Celiac Disease

celiac iron supplementsCeliac disease is an autoimmune disease triggered by the consumption of gluten. A Celiac patient’s reaction to gluten is much like anyone’s reaction to an allergen; the immune system immediately sends antibodies to ward off what they see as a potential threat. The antibodies target the intestinal lining, damaging the digestive system’s ability to absorb nutrients. Because of this, malnourishment is often a symptom of Celiac disease.

Celiac Disease’s Effect on Iron

Because of the difficulty that the body faces to absorb minerals and vitamins properly, celiac disease and iron deficiency are linked in many cases. In fact, abnormally low bone density and anemia are often seen as warning signs of Celiac disease. After being found anemic by a blood test, doctors proceed to perform more tests in an attempt to find the source of the anemia. This is when the patient’s celiac disease is discovered. It is much the same with osteopenia– after being diagnosed as having low bone density, doctors discover their patient’s celiac disease. There are two main causes of iron deficiency in celiac patients.

The first cause is the inability to absorb sufficient nutrients. When the antibodies that the immune system produces attack the intestinal lining, the villi are also damaged. Villi are small, thin structures erected by the body in order to increase the surface area of the intestines, and thus the absorption of many vitamins and minerals vital to proper health. Iron is one such mineral, though not the only one; as Celiac disease can lead to iron deficiency, it can also lead to many other deficiencies in different areas. Other common symptoms include headaches, fatigue, and overall malnutrition.

The other major cause is the nutritional difficulties that a gluten-free diet presents. The FDA has set certain requirements for flour pertaining to the amounts of various vitamins and minerals that it must contain per pound– that is why most flours are labeled “enriched”. In America, flour must have 20 milligrams of iron per pound. However, the gluten-free flours that celiac patients can eat have no such requirements. Not only are celiac patients unable to absorb as much iron as those without celiac disease, but chances are also that they aren’t even receiving as much iron in their diet to begin with! Because gluten is found in almost all conventional flours, (barley, wheat, oats, rye, and many more) they are made off limits by the strict gluten-free diet that Celiac patients must follow. As you can see, iron consumption and gluten-free diets don’t go together too well.

Iron deficiency is a problem for many with celiac disease. Because their bones are still developing, it is especially important for children with celiac disease to get enough iron. Though safely incorporating iron into a celiac-friendly diet can be challenging, there are certain measures that can be taken. One such effort is changing the diet to incorporate gluten-free but iron-rich foods such as spinach; however, because of the difficulty in actual absorption of iron, this may not help much. A more plausible solution is to begin gluten-free iron supplements– because many brands are designed for celiac patients, they are made to be easily absorbable. Always consult a doctor before beginning any supplements; it is possible to receive too much iron, which can make matters even worse!

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Give your digestive system a break while giving yourself a treat by choosing gluten free cookies

Consumer awareness of the negative health effects associated with white flour has grown considerably over the past several years, and for the first time in history, sales of whole wheat bread are surpassing white bread. It is true that whole wheat foods are healthier for you than white bread foods, but the smartest (and healthiest) choice is gluten free products. The reason is due to the high rating that whole wheat bread has on the glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrates based on the time it takes your body to convert them into blood sugar. Since whole wheat bread is made from pulverized grains (flour) instead of whole or cracked grains, its GI rating is equal to that of white bread.

Gluten free products have substantially lower GI ratings than whole wheat and white bread foods since they are made from whole grains in their natural state. Because of this, they take longer to digest and keep you satiated for a longer period of time, making you less likely to consume additional calories throughout the day. Furthermore, a longer digestion time means your blood sugar levels remain stable for a longer period of time rather than spiking and falling. Keep your blood sugar levels stabilized by choosing a healthier dessert like a gluten free cookie.

When your digestive system is running more efficiently, it requires far less energy. The human body was not made to consume and break down heavily processed foods, and this inability to do so becomes apparent through the development of various health issues. Choosing gluten free foods also can be an invaluable way to help you reach your weight loss goals, and finding the best gluten free cookies helps you feel you can still indulge in tasty treats without sabotaging your diet.

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Some of the Best Whoopie Pies Are Those Which Are Homemade—and Once You Try Them, You Will Definitely Agree

Classic chocolate whoopie pie from Wicked Whoopies

Classic chocolate whoopie pie from Wicked Whoopies

The classic dessert, the whoopie pie is basically nothing but a sandwich made from two mound-shaped chocolate cakes with a vanilla cream filling. These treats have been wildly popular amongst both children and adults for many generations—and though its origin remains a mystery, it is definitely a New England dessert. Making homemade whoopie pies is easy if you have the right ingredients and some patience—and the result is well worth it. Ask anyone who’s tried one and they’ll tell you: there’s nothing like a freshly baked, warm whoopie pie and a big glass of ice-cold milk.

Based on Martha Stewart’s recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients to make whoopie pie shells: all-purpose flour, salt, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, butter, sugar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract. The ingredients for the vanilla frosting are: sugar, water, light corn syrup, egg whites and vanilla extract. Start by sifting together the dry ingredients for the chocolate cake. After that, cream together the butter and sugar until they are fluffy, and then add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. As soon as they are incorporated, start adding the dry ingredients slowly and mix until fully combined. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and then you can start scooping the chocolate mix with an ice cream scoop onto your pans. Bake for around 12 minutes and then begin making the vanilla filling. After everything has cooled, assemble the whoopie pies!

Some of the best whoopie pies are easily those which are homemade—and once you try them, chances are you (and your family) will definitely agree. If you are not feeling the baking urge, then WickedWhoopies.com offers 20 different varieties of whoopie pies as well as a large variety of gourmet muffins and cookies. Wicked Whoopies makes homemade gourmet whoopie pies that you can buy online at WickedWhoopies.com.

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How Does Grade A Golden Maple Syrup Compare to Other Classes of Maple Syrup?

spoon with maple syrup

spoon with maple syrup

Beginning this year, the new grading system for maple syrup developed by the International Maple Syrup Institute will start showing up on grocery shelves. The system will make deciphering maple syrup grades easier for consumers, and it will also simplify things for both producers and distributors—especially when it comes to exporting. Rather than dividing maple syrup into Grade A and Grade B, the improved maple grading system will classify all retail varieties as Grade A (with four different classes).

The four classes under the new system will be: Grade A Light Golden syrup, Grade A Amber, Grade A Dark and Grade A Very Dark. Golden maple syrup offers the most delicate flavor of all classes and is similar to the current Grade A Light Amber. It is ideal for consumers who are looking for syrup with a subtle flavor, or for those looking to make maple candies and maple cream. Grading maple syrup is based on light transmission percentage, as measured by a device called a spectrophotometer. For Golden Delicate maple syrup, the percentage cannot fall below 75 percent. Amber maple syrup can be anywhere between 50 to 74.9 percent. Dark maple syrup has a range from 25 to 49.9 percent, and the percentage of Very Dark maple syrup must be less than 25 percent. Lighter-colored maple syrup is produced early on in the sugaring season, whereas the darker classes are produced nearer to the season’s end.

When you want just a hint of maple flavor, Golden Mild maple syrup fits the bill perfectly.

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A Healthier Cheesecake Is Possible When You Use Dairy Free Cream Cheese

dairy free cheese cake

dairy free cheese cake

It’s fair to say that cheesecake won’t ever be a health food, but there are a few ways you can make it better for you without losing flavor. The most important change you can make is to use dairy free cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese. This easy swap doesn’t just drastically reduce the saturated fat content of your cheesecake—it also eliminates the cholesterol.

The next time you’re whipping up a cheesecake, keep vegan cream cheeses in mind. Dairy-free cream cheese is a perfect alternative to use in this sinful dessert. On top of making this switch, you can also reduce more calories by minimizing the amount of sugar you add. An even healthier substitution for white sugar is maple syrup—and it adds plenty of rich flavor. Toss in some fresh berries for an easy way to add flavor, antioxidants and color. You can experiment with various fruit combinations to create a fabulous non dairy cream cheese cheesecake that everyone will love. Your body will appreciate the healthier alternatives and you will feel much better about eating that second piece.

Dairy free cream cheeses are delicious and infinitely more waistline-friendly than regular cream cheeses. Even though making a cheesecake without dairy might seem crazy, once you take that first bite you will definitely be a believer.

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