Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Gluten-Free Diet - Is It Right For You?

It seems that gluten-free dieting is all the rage nowadays. Everywhere you look there's signs and advertisements from food manufacturers proudly displaying their gluten-free products. Health food stores actually have entire sections dedicated to gluten-free items. So what's going on? What's all the hoopla about and is it pertinent to you?

Gluten-Related Disorders

Gluten is the main structural protein found in wheat and other cereal grains such as rye and barley[1]. It can cause serious health related complications for some when consumed in the diet. Oats have also been debated to be in this category of potentially harmful foods although there is still much controversy surrounding this in the scientific community[2]. I'll have more information on this later on.

Currently there are three known types of gluten-related disorders—wheat allergy, celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity[3]. They are all distinctly different yet share some of the same characteristics of one another. None of them are as highly prevalent in the general population as the manufacturers of gluten-free food products would like you to believe. As a result, many people are likely adhering to a gluten-free diet without any specific medical or scientific reason to do so. While gluten may be toxic for some it can be part of a healthy diet for a majority of the population.

Here's a closer look at the three different gluten-related disorders[3]:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Plant-Based Pharmacist's Favorite Recipe Sites

For approximately three years I've been writing on the science and health benefits of plant-based diets. This kind of information is very important for understanding why you should follow a plant-based diet. However, many people (especially newcomers to the plant-based world) are left wondering how to "do" a plant-based diet. They need ideas for meals and recipes to make it happen. To help with this, I've compiled my list (in no particular order) of favorite whole foods, plant-based recipe sites for you to check out. I hope you find them useful. Go ahead, indulge a little!

Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipe Sites

1) Straight Up Food - Cathy Fisher is a certified nutritionist who works closely with Dr. John McDougall providing cooking classes at the McDougall Program. She also currently teaches cooking classes at the True North Health clinic in Santa Rosa, CA. Her recipes avoid all animal products as well as oil, salt, and refined flours and sugars.

2) Happy Herbivore - Lindsay Nixon is the author of 3 books including The Happy Herbivore Cookbook. Her site includes fabulous whole food recipes with no added fats (including oil), refined flours, or sugars. She has a number of easy to make plant-based recipes to choose from.