Have you been hearing more and more about gluten-free diets? You may think only people with celiac disease eat gluten-free foods, but a non-gluten diet is actually catching on among health-conscious people. Why? People are realizing the health benefits of avoiding gluten in their foods. Basic advice to avoid gluten in foods is to eat whole foods instead of processed ones. Does that sound familiar? It should; it’s something I talk about often in regards to a healthier lifestyle.

In fact, a couple of my natural health doctors have said that most people have gluten sensitivities, some worse than others. I think I have a slight gluten sensitivity; I tend to get extremely sleepy a few hours after eating bread. I am actually in the middle of a little test of my own. I decided to go two weeks gluten-free and see if I noticed anything. The two times that I forgot and ate something with gluten, I was extremely tired a few hours later. Hmmm…

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks itself when triggered by gluten, a portion of the protein present in grains. This attack by the immune system on the intestines causes damage which leads to malabsorption of nutrients, many gastrointestinal problems, and possibly many other symptoms that may be associated with other diseases.

Help! How Do I Start a Gluten-Free Diet?

Even though many health-conscious people are choosing to follow a gluten-free diet for the health benefits, for those with celiac disease it’s not just an option; following a strict gluten-free diet is the only way to manage the disease. Depending on your current dietary habits, adopting a gluten-free diet can be challenging to follow. Thankfully there is a great book that can help you.

Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide

Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition GuideThe Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide, written by Alexandra Anca, MHSc, RD and Theresa Santandrea-Cull, actually seems like four books in one: celiac information, gluten-free diet information, nutrition guide, and cookbook.

Celiac Information

The Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide provides the latest information on celiac disease including causes and symptoms, how it is diagnosed, associated conditions, and what effect the disease has on an individual’s quality of life. It also contains many helpful diagrams to help illustrate the information.

Gluten-Free Diet information

The Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide provides guidance on how to:

  • Shop for gluten-free groceries: Goes through each aisle of the grocery store and lists items that you can enjoy, items you should suspect, and items to avoid.
  • Gluten-proof the kitchen: Learn what to keep, what to toss, and considerations for appliances and baking equipment.
  • Cook and bake with a variety of gluten-free grains: The nutritional benefits, culinary profiles, and general cooking instructions for gluten-free grains and seeds are provided. Breads and others yummy foods can still be a part of your diet if you know which GF grains to use.

Nutrition Guide

The Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide provides information for managing and overcoming nutritional deficiencies, which is common for someone with celiac disease. The information about vitamins and minerals is great for everyone to know since it discusses recommended daily intake and content in certain foods.

I thought it was neat that there were three food guides mentioned: the USDA MyPyramid food guide (which I’m not too fond of), Canada’s Food Guide, and Canada’s Vegetarian Food Guide (both issued by Health Canada). I admit that I haven’t seen Canada’s food guides before; I love that they have one for vegetarians!

30 day Gluten-Free Meal Plan

The Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide provides a 30-day meal plan to help get you started. The meal plan not only provides meal and snack recipes but also a corresponding daily nutritional analysis (calories, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, fat, folate, iron, and calcium).

Over 100 Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes

Recipes include breakfasts, breads and muffins, soups, salads, pizza, pasta, meat, poultry, vegetarian, and vegan entrees and desserts. Some of the recipes included are:

  • Crepes with Fruit Filling
  • Strawberry Almond Muffins
  • Brown Sandwich Bread
  • Chicken, Cranberry, and Mango Salad
  • Turkey Sausage with Lima Bean Medley (with broccoli)
  • Egg Salad Roll-Ups
  • Pizza Crust
  • Pasta Carbonara
  • Quinoa Cashew Oven Pilaf
  • Swiss Chard and Potato Salad
  • Easy Peasy Cupcakes (and Easy Peasy Icing)
  • Chocolate Chip Brownies

I really liked that the recipes have simple, real ingredients. For example, in addition to using many vegetables and other real foods, they call for ingredients such as butter (not margarine), raw cane sugar, grapeseed oil, etc.

The only thing I would change about the book is that there are no pictures for the recipes. It’s always nice to have a few pictures to look at; it helps me choose a recipe and it helps me see what it should look like when it’s done.

My Thoughts

I was thoroughly impressed when I received the book; there is just so much good information in it! I know it will be helpful to anyone interested in following a gluten-free diet. Whether you have celiac disease and need to follow a gluten-free diet or you simply want to follow a gluten-free diet for the health benefits, the Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide would be a great book for you. You can find it in my Amazon.com store in the ‘Books for Parents’ category.

[Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher Robert Rose Inc.  With that being said, the comments and opinions above are purely my own.]

Book cover image excerpted from Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide by Alexandra Anca and Theresa Santandrea-Cull. Copyright © 2010 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Wendy – ParentingTips365.com

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