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August 30, 2011 at 12:11 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Gluten Intolerance at the Dinner Table

By Jessica Corwin MPH RDN More Blogs by This Author

Registered dietitian Jessica Butcher goes over what foods to watch for at dinner time if you are gluten intolerant.
Host, Gerry Barnaby - Hey, what’s happenin’, Barnaby here.  Talkin’ about gluten intolerance around the dinner table.  I’m talkin’ about the foods you can and cannot serve when it comes time to sit down with the family at six o’clock.  Joining us is Jessica Butcher, Registered Dietician.  So, it would seem that gluten intolerance spans all the meals, but man, come dinner time, especially for the meat and potatoes crowd, you got yourself into a situation here.
Health Coach, Jessica Butcher, RD – Well, actually those two that you mentioned, meat and potatoes, those are safe options.  But what you add to that meal, that’s where it gets tricky, especially if you’re trying to have a meal with pasta or even some of your rice mixes out there.  Some of those things are going to contain gluten in them.
Barnaby – Well, you know, that’s interesting because I always think of gluten as being bread, but you mentioned rice, you mentioned pasta…you really have to kinda drill down on this to understand what contains gluten and what doesn’t.
Jessica  – That’s true.  And when, well, look here.  We’re right here in the aisle with lots of different rice mixes, pastas, we have our couscous lots of different versions here.  And rice in itself, now that’s a grain that is gluten free.  But where it gets tricky is that a lot of us like to just buy these boxes of prepared rice.  They come with all those nice flavorings for us, they’re ready to go.  And that’s where some gluten can be added into that mix so that’s where you need to watch out.  But if you’re just buying your plain, you know, whole grain brown rice, just plain in a bag, that we can know is gluten free, so that’s a good, safe option.
Barnaby – who would ever know that?  So as we look at the back of boxes, with the long list of ingredients, which ones are we supposed to be aware of?  What would signal in your mind to be gluten?
Jessica  – Gluten.  Well, right away we know wheat, rye and barley, those are the grains we want to watch out for.  And some of these other flavorings in there  - we have some different spice mixtures, we have some of these different starches.  Now starch that’s a tricky one in itself.  For the most part, if it just says starch on an ingredient’s product list, it’s supposed to be made from corn starch but a lot of people still kind of question it.  But in the United States, if it’s a product made here, it’s supposed to be only made from corn starch and not wheat, so that should be a safe one.  But there’s lots of additives and flavorings that we just don’t know and they’re not required to be listed on the ingredient statement for us because the ingredient only looks at the top eight allergens, including wheat.  But wheat’s not the only thing we need to watch out for if we’re looking for a gluten free food.
Barnaby – ok.  So.  If you suspect that you’re queasy following a meal, you might want to consider the fact that you are gluten intolerant.  And let’s talk about how bad you have to feel, where you’re going to feel bad to maybe have a suspicion that you are gluten intolerant.
Jessica  – You know, even if you have just the plain gluten intolerance, you’re going to notice a lot of GI upset.  You’re going to have your abdominal pain, your gas and bloating, just kind of not great feelings going on. But at the same time, if that continues on and on and you go to see your doctor, then you’re going to find out and get those blood tests and you’re going to find out if you are truly diagnosed with celiac disease.  And that’s where the greater complications come in.
Barnaby – Alright I’m going to blow your mind right here.  It can take up to twelve years to correctly diagnose whether or not you have celiac disease.  So it is an extended journey.  One where you have to be really diligent about.  But you know what?  A lot of people probably think, ‘hey, you know what? If I go all organic, if I’m just that way, I’m going to have no problem with gluten intolerance because it’s from the earth.  I’m meant to handle it.”  True or false?
Jessica  – Right, that’s definitely false.  I mean, there’s lots of products that are straight from the earth that are gluten free, those grains are very much safe for us.  And we did talk about a few of those versions in an earlier clip, so if you take a look the breakfast clip.  But there’s so many versions out here.  And when you’re looking at a lot of these products it can be very confusing.  Like even couscous. A lot of people think that that’s just a grain in itself and it’s completely safe.  But a portion of wheat.  So that one truly does contain gluten.  And then if you’re looking at another product like buckwheat, sounds like that one would contain wheat so it would contain gluten.  But in fact it’s actually gluten free.  So it’s very tricky and you need to meet with a dietician and kinda talk through these different kind of foods and grains out there to find out which ones are gluten free and which ones are not.  So it’s a very confusing process when you’re starting out but it does get easier. 
Barnaby – Well, I tell you what.  It all starts with a baby step and you’ve taken it right here at because we’re all about matching your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  Check back for more gluten free information in extended segments.

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