diet

Say Cheese! I bet you didn’t know…

Many will immediately have warm comfort food feelings. Cheese is said to have been around for around 8,000 years. Cheese is even mentioned in the bible and is thought to likely have started with sheep and goats. A cheese’s nutritional content is largely determined by the animal it came from and what foods it ate. This week we talk all things cheese! Is it good? Is it bad? Is it healthy? What do you think?

Good or Bad?

If you’re not lactose intolerant, cheese can be a good source of calcium, fat, and protein. It also contains high amounts of vitamins A and B-12, along with zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin. On the flip side, cheese is typically high in saturated fat and calories, so eating too much can pose health problems in addition to weight gain.

TIP: to “have your cheese and eat it too”, opt for using higher flavor cheeses (Havarti, aged white cheddar, etc) as more of a garnish or topping vs a main component in a dish.

Is All Cheese Made Equal?

Some of the healthiest cheeses include feta, blue cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese and mozzarella.

TIP: Try a new healthier dessert (it sounds weird, but we promise, it’s great!)!
– ½ Cup fat free ricotta
– 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
– sweetener of choice (stevia, honey, maple syrup, etc)
– add nuts, fruit, etc to add other flavors and textures

Lactose Intolerant?

Whether cheese is deemed a “good” or “bad” food, not everyone can tolerate milk products, more specifically lactose, equally. Lactose intolerance includes symptoms of abdominal cramping, bloating, and/or diarrhea after consuming lactose.

Cheeses lower in lactose are: aged cheddar, parmesan, and swiss cheeses. Higher lactose cheeses include: cheese spreads, soft cheeses like Brie, cottage cheese, and mozzarella.

Did You Know?

90% of Wisconsin milk is made into cheese! Cheddar cheese was first manufactured in England and is hands down the most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the entire world!

Wisconsin is known as the dairy state for good reason. Over 25%, and over 600 varieties, of the country’s cheese comes from Wisconsin!

TIP: Grating a softer cheese? Try sticking the cheese in the freezer for 20 minutes before grating to keep the mess at bay.

Get even more cheesy info here!

Do YOU Drink Enough Water?

Sunday, March 22nd is World Water Day, which is a dedication to explaining how water and climate change are linked (worldwaterday.org). This week we’ll talk about water and how it’s important for our bodies and life. But first, we can’t consume water if we don’t have the resources!

Conserve!

Conserve water by taking shorter showers, turning off the water while brushing your teeth, buy a high efficiency dishwasher and laundry machine, use a rain barrel to gather water for watering plants, and stop throwing pesticides on your yard that will ultimately end up in the ground water.

There are SO many reasons to consume water regularly, it affects your health, your skin, lowers your risk of many diseases, and can even help you lose weight!

Weight Loss

Water is one of the best tools for weight loss, because it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that has ZERO calories. But it’s also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, and no sugar. Drink plenty to keep your goals in check.

TIP:
Not sure how much water you drink each day? Keep a little log and keep it simple.

Better Performance

Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Kickboxing and other forms of exercise can help make you WANT to drink water more.

TIP: Be sure to drink water a couple hours before your workout, so that it works through your system in time, and drink during and after exercise as well.

Healthy Skin

Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.

TIP: Carry a reusable bottle. Not only is it good for the environment. It’s good for you! When it’s empty, refill and keep drinking.

Reduced Risk of Diseases

Drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack.

TIP: Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder, so that you don’t forget to drink water.

Organic Food: The Key to Good Health

This week we have another guest blog that is accompanied by an AWESOME infographic on organic foods! Check it out here!

Organic Food:

The Key to Good Health

For every person, the quality of the food is of paramount importance, even more so for those who work out regularly. In recent years, there have been many talks about the detrimental effect of conventional food on our wellbeing. Many have begun to wonder whether organic food presents a healthier alternative.

The popularity of packaged organic food has skyrocketed in recent years. Fitness instructors and personal trainers around the world nowadays recommend fitness and healthy diet to anyone who wants to lose weight, get healthy, and see serious results, even if they have never worked out before.

Considering the tremendous benefits of organic food for the environment and our bodies, we think that it is time we learned more about organic products and their positive effect on our health.

Organic Food for Proper Baby Development

Babies are affected the most by poor nutrition. In the early stages of our lives, our immune system is still fragile and susceptible to many diseases. A poor diet can impair the immune system. For this reason, 40% of people opt to buy organic products for their young ones. Unlike conventional food, organic food does not contain any chemicals or additives that can permanently damage your baby’s health.

What Does This Have to Do with Fitness?

Most people’s eating habits and food preferences are established early in life. It is vital to encourage a healthy diet in your household to prevent a variety of diet-related diseases. If you have bad eating habits during childhood, the chances are higher that you will have weight problems later on. That means that you may have to work out twice as hard in the gym to get back on track.

What Diseases Are Lurking in Conventional Food?

According to the Environmental Working Group report, conventional food contains over 2,000 different chemicals. Eating food packed with chemicals, such as additives and pesticides, puts us at risk for developing a range of diseases, including digestive disorders (food intolerance), brain damage, gout, kidney stones, hormone disbalance, inflammation, and even cancer.

Is Organic Food Expensive?

On average, organic food is more expensive than non-organic food by $0.24. However, many who choose to consume organic products, purchase them at reasonable prices by buying directly from farmers (i.e CSAs and farmers’ markets). Find and connect with your local farmer’s produce by searching www.localharvest.org.

Organic Food Tastes Better

32% of people think that organic food tastes better than conventional food. Sometimes it may not look as appealing, but it is much more delicious. Conventional food generally does not contain all the necessary nutrients and vitamins necessary for keeping our body healthy.

Live Healthier with Organic Food

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that clearly shows organic food is healthier than non-organic. Organic products contain more vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. These are all significant food ingredients, and if you work out regularly and try to lead a healthy lifestyle, eating organic products may be the better choice when considering the higher nutritional value of organic food. Higher nutrients = more energy for physical activity.

You CAN Be A Hero. Donate Life!

We do not always have the luxury of choosing our challenges in life. As part of learning about our bodies and the miracle they are, we wanted to provide a service by sharing some interesting and helpful tips about organ donation this week. We can’t predict the future, but having a plan in place is so important. Share your donation wishes with your family! You can choose to donate specific organs or all/any of your choosing.

22 people die everyday waiting for an organ transplant.

You Can Help! Register Today!

Conveniently register at either of these two locations:

https://www.midamericatransplant.org/register

https://www.donatelife.net/register

75 lives can be saved by one person

Just 1 person that registers to donate their organs can have this huge impact. Organ donation can include the heart, liver, etc. but the ones we don’t think about as commonly include the eyes, skin and tendons. ACL and other tendons and tissue come from donors not cadavers! Those cadavers are people. Those people are heroes!

Only babies can save babies with organ transplants

For patients and families awaiting transplant, organ and tissue donation can mean the difference between life and death.

Illness doesn’t mean you can’t donate

Did you know? Illnesses such as cancer, MS, or kidney disease will not necessarily prevent safe donation. Register, and if/when the time comes, the medical experts will determine if your organs are safe and viable.

Every 10 minutes another person is added to the list

Of those needing an organ transplant. Did you know that bone and skin grafts come from donors too? AND eye donation can restore sight in up to two people and eye tissue can restore hearing as well!

Religious and/or funeral concerns?

Despite common misconception, an open casket is an option still after donating organ(s), eye(s), and/or tissue. The donation won’t be visible. And in case you had concerns, all major religions support organ, eye, and tissue donation.

Celebrate Mardi Gras and Lent With These Recipes!

This week kicks off Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday, the start of the Christian Lenten season. Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday dating back thousands of years to pagan times. Around the world, Mardi Gras is also known as Carnival and is largely celebrated by Roman Catholic populations on the day before Lent begins. But let’s break it down…

Fat Tuesday

Today many celebrate Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday”. “Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would binge on all the rich, fatty foods—meat, eggs, milk, lard, cheese—that remained in their homes, in anticipation of several weeks of eating only fish and different types of fasting.”
Source: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mardi-gras

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday kicks off the Lenten season which consists of the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Did you know the ashes used in the Christian celebration are palm leaves burned up from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration? For many, this is a day of an abstinence from all meat and foods made with meat, along with each Friday during lent.

Meatless Days

Wednesday started the Lenten season and so we’re talking fish and meatless meals! Many meals that are complete and tasty that don’t include meat! From a non-religious standpoint, many people choose to practice Meatless Mondays, or just choose one day a week to abstain from meat consumption for health or environmental reasons.

Fish Fry Alternative

Keep your fitness goals in check by skipping the fried fish and opting for the terms grilled, baked, poached, steamed or broiled when searching for recipes or eating out.

Want to try something new? Try grilling your fish on different types of planks for a new flavor! https://www.allrecipes.com/article/plank-grilling/

Meatless Chili

Meatless doesn’t have to mean you are confined to fish, if you don’t want to. Quinoa, lentils and sweet potatoes offer great meat alternatives without sacrificing taste. It’s still cold outside, so warm up with a Quinoa Chili recipe that combines your basics of various beans plus corn and quinoa for a nutrient packed dish.

Tacos!

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos with Cream Chipotle Sauce combines roasted cauliflower with familiar taco seasonings and lentils for a nutrient and protein packed dish! Want to skip the tortilla? Serve warm over lettuce greens!
https://cookieandkate.com/roasted-cauliflower-and-lentil-tacos/

Different Fish

Try a simple Tuna Burger! Combine a can of drained tuna, 2 T chopped onions, 2 egg whites, ½ C panko and ½ t pepper. Form 2 patties and pan fry for about 4 minutes per side. Eat as is or serve on sprouted grain bun. Looking for something even lighter? Have you tried Smart Baking Company Smart Buns? Smart buns are gluten-free, 63 calories, high in fiber and have 10 grams of protein! Check them out here!

Wait…Chocolate is Good For Your Heart??

Ok, we kind of made you look…even though it is true! But that’s not really what this post is ALL about. We want to talk about heart health this week, and rightfully so! It is STILL the leading cause of death here in the United States and has been for almost 100 years!

What You Need to Know

What happens after your first heart attack?

Within FIVE YEARS of your first heart attack, the mortality rate for men is 36% in 5 years and 47% for women. During heart month, and all year long, love your heart by taking a look at the foods you eat, moving more/being more active, increasing your “good” cholesterol (HDL), reducing your “bad” cholesterol (LDL), and stop smoking if you do!

What role does my diet play?

Trans fats (deep fried foods and baked goods), processed meats, and added sugar and significantly increase our changes for cardiovascular disease. And although not a “food”, limiting alcohol intake will make your heart happier by limiting the weight gain that can accompany it and reduce its effect on blood pressure. Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day and women no more than one according to the American Heart Association and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Feed your heart some of these heart healthy foods – leafy greens (hey vitamin k!), fatty fish (hello omega-3’s!), berries (hi antioxidants!), beans/legumes (yo resistant starch!), seeds and nuts (thanks healthy fat!) and yes, you were waiting for it…DARK CHOCOLATE (thank you flavonoids, we love you too.)

What about exercise?

Moving more is good for the heart. Do you have an exercise tracker? Take a look to see what your average number of steps per day is. See if you can take on a challenge to increase those steps by 1000 per day. As you find success, try to build up to 10,000 or more steps a day. Find a heart-healthy workout right here!

Well I just have a little high blood pressure…

High blood pressure is a controllable factor and one, without intervention, that can lead to heart disease. Stress can lead to a slew of health conditions, but also affect our heart with hypertension. Although the link between stress and heart disease aren’t fully clear yet, we do know stress affects more than just the heart and we DO have clarity in strategies for controlling stress in a healthy way (AKA not with alcohol). A healthy diet, exercising, yoga, meditation, laughing, connecting with a friend and deep breathing are all proven techniques/tips to lower stress. Try to find the strategy that work best for you and IMPLEMENT it! Your heart will thank you.

PSA

Take care of your heart! Although it takes some effort to eat well, exercise and keep stress under control, it will also increase the duration of your life! A life that someone else may not have had the chance to have…

22 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant and 75 lives can be saved by ONE donor. We do not always have the luxury of choosing our challenges in life. Some of us may never have a great heart no matter how much we exercise. What would you give for one more day with someone you love that has passed? What would you do for someone you love that is waiting?

Don’t wait until you are in need or someone asks you.

Sign up today!

https://www.midamericatransplant.org/register
or
https://www.donatelife.net/register

How To Stay Well When Everyone Else is Sick!

Sickness is running rampant this time of year. Colds and multiple strains of the flu are just the most well-known. Take your health into your own hands by taking preventative measures.

Step 1: Keep Your Hands Clean!

Washing your hands with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, is the most effective in reducing the spread of germs and bacteria.

Keep hand sanitizer with you for when soap and water aren’t available. Make sure to find sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. If your hands tend to get dried out, be sure to get sanitizer with vitamin E added.

Try this DIY spray: In a 2 ounce spray bottle, combine 2 Tablespoons of witch hazel with aloe or Vodka (!), a few drops of Vitamin E to keep hands from drying out, 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil blends, and top off with distilled water.

Prefer a gel sanitizer? Try ½ c Aloe, 1 tsp witch hazel, 1 tsp vitamin E, and ½ tsp glycerin along with your favorite essential oils.

Step 2: Get Your Beauty Rest!

Who got 7-9 hours of sleep last night? When you fail to get enough sleep, the number of infection-fighting antibodies (called cytokines)
are reduced AND if you do get sick, a lack of sleep can prolong your illness!

If life prevents you from getting adequate sleep, take up to two 30-minute-or-less naps to try to “catch up” and help ward off illness and reduce stress.

Step 3: Eat well!

During these times of sickness floating around, make sure your diet is loaded with vegetables and fruits. Loading up on foods that contain vitamin B, vitamin C, and B6 will help ward off viruses.

Vitamin C is readily found in bell peppers and citrus fruit. Poultry is a great source of B6. Other immune boosting foods include garlic, yogurt, broccoli, and green tea. Build your immune system with a smoothie with these immune-boosting foods: berries, oranges, spinach, honey, and yogurt.

Step 4: What If It’s Too Late?

If you already feel symptoms coming on, all is not lost! Elderberry has been used for centuries to increase the immune system and fight upper respiratory tract symptoms. Sambucol is one brand that has been directly studied and been proven to reduce the duration of symptoms from 6 days down to 2 in many cases! Sambucol is not preventative, but if you’re not feeling great, it may be worth a shot. As always, check with your doctor first!

Use Nature’s Bounty to Fuel Good Health

This week we proud to present another guest blog from MedAlertHelp.Org. They are providing excellent information in helpful, easy-to-read infographics! Follow the link to see the infographic for this post!

It is strange to think of our bodies as finely tuned machines, but that is what they are. They require the right fuel and a fair amount of maintenance to keep them running. Fortunately for us, we live on a planet where the right fuel exists in abundance.

In this post, we will take a closer look at the main vitamins that our bodies need to function optimally. We will go over some interesting facts you have not heard of before.

BASICS

There are two broad classifications of vitamins.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. If you consume too many of those, your body will flush them out. You will notice that your urine is different. Beta carotene, for example, can change the color of your urine to a dark yellow or even light orange. You would have to take large quantities to overdose on it.

The vitamins in this category are:

● Vitamin B1: Is necessary for proper nerve and muscle function and energy production. It will help you recover from a workout. So, make sunflower seeds or macadamia nuts part of your post-workout snack to get your share of B1.

● Vitamin B2: This vitamin powers the muscles. Make sure to get your dose half an hour before a workout. Eggs, salmon, and almonds are all excellent sources.

● Vitamin B3: This vitamin helps clear out bad cholesterol. Without it, the body cannot metabolize fat or glucose. You will feel sluggish and be more prone to so-called lifestyle diseases. Get it from peanuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, or peas.

● Vitamin B5: Feeling stressed out, and you cannot relax? You might be short of vitamin B5. It regulates the adrenal glands. It is also necessary for the formation of new red blood cells and metabolizing fatty acids. Get if from sunflower seeds, mushrooms, eggs, and avocado.

● Vitamin B6: Is essential for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Get it from tuna, sunflower seeds, pistachios, and dried prunes.

● Vitamin B7: Without B7, your body would not be able to metabolize any of the macronutrients. Get it from sweet potato, broccoli, salmon, and eggs.

● Vitamin B9: If you have a weak immune system, and feel fatigued often, you are probably low on B9. Find it in spinach, black-eyed peas, lentils, and asparagus.

● Vitamin B12: B12 helps us metabolize macronutrients and produce new blood cells. You can find it in mackerel, trout, eggs, and tofu.

● Vitamin C: Helps boost immunity and fight infections. Find it in kale, citrus fruits, guavas, and bell peppers. If you feel exhausted and have a weak immune system, or need to recover from a workout, do include more vitamin Bs and vitamin C.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are a different matter altogether. The body will store them in its fatty tissues. If you take more than the body needs, they build up to toxic levels, which can lead to a fatal outcome.

The vitamins in this category are:

● Vitamin A: Is essential for healthy teeth, skin, and skeletal system. Get it from carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, or cod liver oil.

● Vitamin D: Helps boost the immune system and combat fatigue. It is also necessary for healthy bones. Get it from eggs, tofu, mushrooms, and salmon. Your very best source, though, is the sun. Try to get at least 15 minutes of exposure when the sun is at its peak. Expose as much skin as possible and ditch the sunscreen for this session.

● Vitamin E: Is essential for good immunity and regulating cholesterol. Find it in sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ oil.

● Vitamin K: Helps the blood clot and keeps your bones strong. Find it in cooked kale and broccoli or raw spinach.

Do We Need to Take Supplements?

Ideally speaking, no. However, if we want to get the right mix of vitamins, we have to eat a well-rounded diet that includes fresh ingredients. We can chemically recreate the compounds, but if it were that simple, all we would have to do for good health is to pop the right pill.

In reality, the foods that we eat contain hundreds of compounds that work together. We are nowhere near the point of recreating the full nutrient profile of even a simple apple.

Still, if there is no alternative, choosing a high-quality supplement can fill in the gaps. However, always try to get the vitamins you need from food sources first.

As you can see from the list above, some food sources are superfoods in their own right. The lowly sunflower seed, for example, has nutrients that help boost the immune system, fight fatigue, repair muscles, and provide energy. Now that is the kind of supplement we all need.

Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD, is a practicing physician who is the Co-Founder and Project Manager of MedAlertHelp.org, a site dedicated to improving your knowledge about health, nutrition, fitness, aging, retirement, and much more. He leads a remarkable team of medical writers, medical alert reviewers, and experts in the realms of life insurance, retirement, and marketing devoted to saving your time and simplifying the process of finding the perfect solutions for everyone.

Post-Workout Nutrition 101

CONGRATULATIONS! You worked out! If you haven’t, click the “Categories” drop-down list and select “Workouts” and you’ll find some great at-home workouts!

But now it’s time to replenish your energy stores and start repairing/rebuilding your muscles. So let’s get the basics!

Window of Opportunity

There is a “window of opportunity” that you’ll hear varying durations for, but most will agree somewhere between 30-90 minutes post-workout is ideal. This will maximize digestion/absorption of key nutrients to help your body make the most of your workout!

What are My Priorities?

A post workout meal of some carbs and protein will help refill your glycogen stores (from the carbs) and help build muscle (from the protein). Try to get in the habit of approaching your post-workout nutrition as a MEAL – as opposed to a snack. At mealtime we are more likely to make better choices, and avoid “snacky”, high-fat foods that don’t serve out body as well post-workout.

It could be said that your post-workout meal is the most important meal of the day. Your body needs help to replenish its energy stores, increase our muscle quality/size and repair damaged muscle tissue. We want to break down muscle tissue DURING the workout so it rebuilds stronger, but we need to help it recover too.

In the end, although other factors do come into play, calories out still needs match or to exceed calories in to assist in weight maintenance and loss. Make sure your post workout meal matches your goals.

Recipes    

Oatmeal: Are you an early morning fitness fan? Your post workout meal could be oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder, berries, and sliced almonds. Easy peasy!

Tuna and Veggies: Do you work out over the lunch hour and need a fast go-to post workout lunch? Toss a packet of flavored tuna in a cooked steamer bag of vegetables! Have an apple to round out the carbs and replenish the glycogen stores.

Salad: Try salad with chickpeas (the chickpeas have protein and carbs) topped with an oil and vinegar dressing for something quick and light. Or… Have you tried Mason Jar Salads?

Power Shake: In a hurry? Bring a shake with you. Try this Precision Nutrition Tropical Power Shake: Blend 6 ounces of water, scoop of vanilla protein powder, ½ banana, ¼ c pineapple, 1-2 TBSP of flax seed, 1-2 TBSP. unsweetened coconut, ¼ c plain Greek yogurt. Add a fist of fresh spinach and blend until smooth. Add ice as desired.

Salmon and Veggies: Salmon is a “fatty fish” that has the added bonus of omega-3s to help with inflammation and heart health. Serve up your favorite salmon recipe with some veggies and sweet potato for that perfect post workout meal.

Tilapia with Cilantro Lime Quinoa: Although not a source of omega-3s, tilapia will serve up good quality protein too. Try this: cook up some quinoa and toss with corn, lime juice, garlic/onion powder and cilantro. Pan fry tilapia with smoked paprika and serve over the quinoa mixture. Get the full recipe here!

Is Gluten Really The Bad Guy??

Hi Ellipse Family! This week we have a special guest blog post from MedAlertHelp.org, and they have a fantastic infographic you can find here! https://medalerthelp.org/gluten-free-life-infographic/

When we were children, we all worried about the boogeyman under the bed. As adults, that boogeyman has moved into our kitchens. Today the monster that everyone fears sits in the food aisles of supermarkets—gluten.

If you want to get a roomful of health-conscious people to run off screaming, there is no better way than to pull out food with gluten in it! Over the last few years, gluten has become public enemy number one.

But is that really fair? Is gluten the bad guy? In this post, we will answer that question.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a serious illness. The body is unable to process gluten in food. The body, in this case, has a strong reaction to even small amounts of gluten. People with this condition have no choice but to avoid it.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

This disease is less common than you think. Only 1% of the American population has celiac disease. We will go through the symptoms you might experience in a short while.

For now, though, we must stress—there is no room here for self-diagnosis. If you believe that you have celiac disease, go to your doctor for a proper diagnosis. As you will see, the symptoms listed can be caused by a wide range of ailments. Do not just rely on Dr. Google for this one—see a professional.

Symptoms include:

● Diarrhea: Expect stools to come out loose and very watery. That naturally happens after eating and is one of the most common symptoms. What distinguishes this diarrhea from other forms is that it is ongoing. So, the occasional bout is not a big deal. If you are
battling diarrhea daily, seek help.

● Bloating: Bloating is another common symptom. Do not take this as a definitive symptom. Gluten can cause bloating in healthy people as well.

● Gas: Again, this is another common symptom. With celiac disease, the body cannot process gluten. As it moves through the digestive tract, it starts to ferment. That, in turn, produces gas.

● Fatigue: Because your body is unable to digest a large portion of the food you are eating, you are bound to feel fatigued. Your body needs to digest the food so it can absorb the right vitamins and minerals and produce energy.

● Weight Loss: By this we mean a sudden drop in weight when you have done nothing to cause it. If that is coupled with the inability to gain weight, see a doctor. That is a sign that something is wrong. It could be celiac disease or even diabetes.

● Anemia: Celiac disease interferes with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, resulting in vitamin deficiencies, particularly iron deficiencies. It is best to see your doctor before taking a supplement. Iron overload can be as dangerous as iron deficiency.

● Constipation: Remember how we said that the disease affects the digestive tract? It is not as common as diarrhea, but constipation may be another warning sign. That is because the disease damages the villi in the digestive tract. It is also possible for the body to absorb more moisture to make up for the lack of nutrients. That leads to a stool that is hard and dry, which further leads to constipation.

● Depression: Depression is another common symptom. It makes sense—if you feel sick for a long time, with no clearly defined cause, it can be frustrating. Another factor is that a diagnosis means no more gluten, and it is easy for people to become disheartened.

● A Rash: This rash is characterized by extremely itchy blisters that typically form on the buttocks, knees, or elbows. Fortunately, it is not a common symptom. However, it is a symptom that usually screams, “celiac disease.” Sufferers with the rash are usually diagnosed faster.

Gluten Intolerance

There is a small percentage of the population with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Up to 6% of the global population might have this form of intolerance. The symptoms are similar to those listed above but in a much milder form. Gluten does not make people feel sick, but rather uncomfortable.

Should I Cut Out Gluten from My Diet?

This is where we start to cross over into dodgy health advice. We have seen many gurus promoting a gluten-free lifestyle as the way forward. And, after all, why not? Gluten-free is the flavor of the day, and they need to sell their books and products.

What concerns us is that healthy people are cutting out gluten completely. Before we go into the health implications, consider how difficult this is. Wheat is one of the big five to avoid because of
gluten.

Now, do yourself a favor and check out various items on the shelves at the grocery store. How many contain wheat or flour? Unless the type of flour is specified, it is going to be wheat-based.

You will find it in just about every kind of processed food out there. It is an excellent thickening and bulking agent.

In this day and age, we are all for cutting out processed foods. In fact, if going gluten-free gives you the determination to do that, then it is not a bad thing. Unfortunately, big business has found
a winner in the gluten-free market, and that is where the problem lies.

It is time for another trip to the grocery store. Check out the other ingredients in those gluten-free products. Food manufacturers have to bulk them up and make them taste good. So, what do they add? Sugar and fat.

Now, here is another question. A glass of water with three teaspoons of sugar and a dollop of lard in it is gluten-free. Would you drink it? But, make a biscuit out of it, and you would probably eat it.

Even if you completely avoid processed gluten-free products, you can harm your health by cutting out gluten. If you are not sensitive to it, it provides essential protein and nutrients for your body. Oats, for example, are highly nutritious. How many of us grew up eating Weetabix every morning?

Final Notes

We are concerned when big business gets in on a health fad. Before you buy into the hype, ask yourself: is this person or company trying to sell me something?

Now think of something else.

As a child, did you eat oats, wheat, and so on? Did it kill you or make you sick? If you are like most of us, the answer is no.

Our advice is to keep a food diary and monitor your symptoms. Then, if you feel that something is amiss, see your doctor. A health professional will be able to confirm or deny your suspicions.

Until then, chow down on your oatmeal and bread.

DR. NIKOLA DJORDJEVIC, MD

Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD, is a practicing physician who is the Co-Founder and Project Manager of MedAlertHelp.org, a site dedicated to improving your knowledge about health, nutrition, fitness, aging, retirement, and much more. He leads a remarkable team of medical writers, medical alert reviewers, and experts in the realms of life insurance, retirement, and marketing devoted to saving your time and simplifying the process of finding the perfect solutions for everyone.