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An Uncommon But Serious Ailment

What Is Gluten?

The only treatment

The only treatment

Gluten is the common term for a group of proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and grains derived from them or having different names like triticale, durum, kamut, semolina, and spelt. Grains are so common in our diet that gluten is second only to sugar as our most commonly consumed ingredient.

What Is Celiac Disease?

The digestive system is the set of organs that digest food and absorb the important nutrients the body needs to stay healthy and grow. One important part of the digestive system is the small intestine, which is lined with millions of microscopic, finger-like projections called villi. Nutrients are absorbed into the body through the villi.

People who have celiac disease have a disorder that makes their bodies react to gluten. When they eat gluten, an immune system reaction to the protein gradually damages the villi in the small intestine. When the villi are damaged, the body is unable to absorb the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to stay healthy. People with celiac disease are therefore at risk of malnutrition and can develop anemia or osteoporosis.

The body’s inability to absorb nutrients can also mean that young people with untreated celiac disease may not grow properly and may have weight loss and fatigue. In addition, people who have celiac disease may be prone to developing other diseases, such as thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, and gastrointestinal cancer.

What Causes It?

Experts don’t know exactly why people get celiac disease, which is also called gluten intolerance, celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy.

The disease has some genetic background, which means that it may run in families. Just like eye or hair color, people inherit the genes that make them more likely to get celiac disease from their parents and grandparents. If an immediate family member (such as a parent or a sibling) has celiac disease, there’s about a 5% to 10% chance that you could have it, too. Celiac disease affects people of all heritages and backgrounds.

It is estimated that 1 in 133 people in the United States has the condition, although many don’t know that they do.

Signs and Symptoms

It’s important to diagnose celiac disease early before it causes damage to the intestine. But because it’s easy to confuse the symptoms with other intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance, teens with celiac disease may not know they have it.

Some common symptoms of celiac disease are diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating, and weight loss. Someone with the disease may feel tired and could be irritable or depressed. Some have skin rashes and mouth sores. Teens with undiagnosed celiac disease may go through puberty late.

Someone might not show any symptoms until going through an emotionally or physically stressful event, such as going away to college, illness, or an injury or pregnancy.

How Is It Treated?

Once celiac disease is diagnosed, a doctor will help treat it. Although there is no cure, celiac disease can be managed successfully by following a gluten-free diet. People with celiac disease need to follow this diet for life. Because gluten can be found in everything from breakfast cereals to prepared luncheon meals, they need to be very aware of what’s in the foods they eat.

If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, a doctor or dietitian who specializes in celiac disease can help you develop an eating plan that works with your lifestyle.

Luckily, the small intestine can heal. Although this process may take up to a year, many people start to feel better after just a few days on a gluten-free diet. But feeling better doesn’t mean that people with celiac disease can resume eating foods containing gluten. Because the genes that cause the disease are present in the body and the immune system continues to react to gluten, the symptoms and problems will return if someone with celiac disease starts eating gluten again.

Taking Care of Yourself

The good news about celiac disease is that most of the delicious and yummy foods, including birthday cake and pizza, can be prepared without gluten. So if you have celiac disease, you can still find ways to enjoy most of your favorite foods — you just need to do some research and be aware of what’s in the foods you eat.

Here are four things you should do if you have celiac disease:

  1. Learn to read labels to find out if a food contains gluten.
  2. Learn which foods are gluten free.
  3. Find alternatives to wheat, barley, and rye flours and other gluten-containing grain ingredients for your recipes.
  4. Find a support group where you and other people with the condition can share up-to-date information.

While the law requires the labeling of wheat-free products, be aware that “wheat free” doesn’t necessarily mean “gluten free,” as wheat-free products may have barley and rye (gluten-containing grains) in them.

Finding Gluten-Free Foods and Ingredients

Most grocery stores carry few gluten-free products these days. You may be able to find gluten-free bread, cereal, baking mixes, cookies, and crackers at your local market. For a wider selection, make a trip to a health food store. Be aware that lots of natural markets and health-food stores keep foods in bulk bins. It’s not a good idea to use even gluten-free products from these bins because the risk of cross contamination is very high.

Many specialty shops online also sell a range of gluten-free products, such as bread, pizza crusts, and pastas. Many regular and online shops even sell gluten-free flour blends that you can use to make your own pancakes and waffles, pizza dough, cookies, and brownies.

Eating a gluten-free diet is a lifelong commitment. But if you have celiac disease, you are not alone. Lots of support groups, cookbooks, and websites are dedicated to living a gluten-free life. To make sure you always have the most current and accurate information, consider joining one of the national celiac organizations. There are even gluten-free summer camps and special support groups just for kids and teens.

Grab the e-book where every recipe is completely gluten-free, sugar-free (except fruit), digestion-friendly, allergy-friendly and low glycemic with meat, poultry, fish meals and tree-nut-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian options for most recipes.

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Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

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Stop Contaminating Yourself

BEWARE AND STAY AWAY FROM JUNK – An Eye Opener

Sinfully delicious

Sinfully delicious

How do you define junk food?
It’s high in calories, low in nutrition.

Junk food is everywhere. You and your family probably eat it every day. Sugar-laden breakfast cereals, snack bars, biscuits and cakes, crisps and chips, soft drinks, sweets, ready-meals, fast food like burgers – so much of what’s on offer on the supermarket shelves is produced on the cheap (but not sold cheaply), full of unhealthy ingredients – it’s not nutritious, it’s laced with addictively tasty fats, sugars and salt, it just is not worth eating.

Junk Food – it’s aptly named. Now, wise up on the junk food facts.

JUNK FOOD FACTS – CHILDREN

  • The junk food industry deliberately targets children as young as 2 in a bid to create brand preference and lifelong loyalty.
  • Advertisers question kids and tap into their play to create ads and products with guaranteed child-appeal. Fast food chains use the lure of free toys to get kids to persuade their parents to spend. A desirable toy can double or triple weekly sales of kids’ meals. And every child brings along at least one adult too.
  • Artificial flavours in foods aimed at kids can be twice as sweet as the artificial flavours used in adult food. Children are being trained to find the natural bitter or sour notes that mingle with the sweetness in natural foods unpalatable.
  • Many children now prefer man-made flavours to the taste of real food. How will they ever switch to fresh, unadulterated food?
  • Flavourings and colourings can cause asthma, rashes and hyperactivity. Many countries – but not the UK – ban them from children’s food.
  • UK companies spend £300m annually on ads aimed at kids. The average British child watches tv for 2 hrs 20 mins daily.
  • Children in the US have over $500bn a year to spend. The average American kid spends 25 hours a week watching tv, and sees around 20,000 ads a year for junk food. That’s one every 5 mins as they watch, and 3 hours of them in any one week.

JUNK FOOD FACTS – SOFT DRINKS

  • The metal can costs more than the ingredients, which are primarily water mixed with additives, sugar or sweetener, and caffeine. A can of cola contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Soft drinks are aggressively marketed by fast food chains, because they are so profitable, at around 97% profit on the price per cup. The bigger the cup, the greater the profit.
  • In the US, average adult consumption of soft drinks is around 500 cans a year.
  • Twenty per cent of American under-2s are given soft drinks – laden with sugar and additives – every day.

DISGUSTING JUNK FOOD FACTS ABOUT THE FOOD ON YOUR PLATE

  • Canned spaghetti
    A helping of carbohydrate, salt and sugar, with virtually no fibre, anyone?
  • Chicken nuggets
    Low cost nuggets are cheap because they contain as little as 16% pulped chicken, bulked out with water, chicken skin, proteins removed from bone, hide, or poultry feathers, mechanically retrieved meat; plus the ubiquitous sugar, additives and salt.
    They also contain bulking agents used to soak up the water that’s injected into chicken to increase the weight – and the profit. Minced meat can hid a multitude of revolting ‘extras’ : carcinogenic antibiotics, recycled cat food, and poultry mixed with beef proteins have all been found in chicken destined for the production line.
  • Chocolate muffin
    Ruinously high in sugar, and made with the big baddie of the junk food industry, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil which has zero nutritional value, and damages heart and arteries.
  • Fries
    Fat-packed and low in nutrients. May be coated with additives and salt.
  • Fruit yoghurts, ready-made sauces, fruit drinks, baby foods – and more.
    Modified starches, along with colourings and flavourings, mimic the texture of fresh fruit and veg, so that manufacturers’ can use less of the real thing. They also mask rancid flavours’ and smells.
  • Milkshakes
    A simple-sounding ingredient, like ‘artificial strawberry flavour’ can in itself contain around 50 chemicals. And not one single strawberry…

What’s in some of that Junk Food?

  • One teaspoon of sugar is extracted from a stalk of sugarcane one metre in length!
  • A super-sized order of McDonald’s fries contains 610 calories and 29 grams of fat.
  • A king-sized order of Burger King’s fries packs 590 calories and 30 grams of fat.
  • A king-sized Burger King meal, (Double Whopper with cheese, large fries and large drink) contains 1,800 calories (mostly derived from fat and refined sugar). To ‘burn’ these calories would take nearly 6 hours of cycling (at 20 miles per hour).

Click to know more

Click to know more

Junk Food Advertising

  • The food industry spends over $33 billion per year in the US alone to advertise food products that could be classified as junk food.
  • The majority of food advertising during children’s television programming is for sweetened cereals, soft drinks, candy, processed snacks and fast foods.
  • The average American child sees around 20,000 ads a year for junk food.
  • Over 90% of American children eat at McDonald’s at least once per month.
  • American teenagers drink an average of 760 can of soda pop per year (with boys drinking about 25% more than girls).
  • The average American of any age drinks over 500 cans of soft drinks per year.
  • Nearly 20% of children under 2 years of age are given soft drinks every day in America!
  • The average person today consumes more sugar in two weeks than a person a century ago would have eaten in a whole year. That’s a junk food fact!

Harmful Effects of Junk Food

  • The regular consumption of junk food is the leading factor in obesity and excess weight.
  • Obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of death in America.
  • 46% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese, with obesity in children increasing three-fold over the past 2 decades.
  • Consumption of soft drinks containing sugar has been linked to weight gain and an increased risk for development of type 2 diabetes.
  • Studies have revealed that obese people have twice the rate of chronic health problems as people of normal weight. This includes a 100% greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, 50% increased likelihood of developing heart disease. Obese men are nearly 90% more likely to get colon cancer.
  • Junk food diet is a major cause of heart diseases.
  • High cholesterol resulting from junk food puts undue strain on the liver, causing long-term damage to this essential organ.
  • Research has suggested that diets high in fat may also impair essential brain functions, like concentration and memory.

The junk food facts about soft drinks alone are alarming. There is compelling evidence that regular consumption of soft drinks leads to:

  • Increased rates of bone fracture
  • Increased risk for osteoporosis
  • Increased risk of weight gain and obesity
  • Increased risk for Type II Diabetes
  • Increased risk for kidney stones
  • Increased rate of tooth decay and other dental problems
  • Junk food facts are numerous, and the negative effect of junk food on health and wellbeing is undeniable.

The unhealthy facts about junk foods and fast foods make shocking reading. But at least they enable you to make informed decisions, next time you go grocery shopping, or want a quick meal out.

P.S. Sick of feeling unattractive, overweight and tired?


Desperate to find an eating plan that makes you look and feel better – for good?


Is it even possible…?


Why don’t you find out for yourself?

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Click to know more

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Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

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