Gluten-Free

By Lisa Cantkier

There is a growing body of research and evidence indicating that non-celiac gluten sensitivity may be affecting more than 15% of the population in North America. Over 1% of North Americans have Celiac Disease (CD), of which a gluten-free diet is the only known treatment to date, and over 80% of those who have CD don’t know it yet. All of these numbers continue to grow steadily. The number of symptoms that a person with CD or non-celiac gluten sensitivity can experience (if not gluten-free) is endless, as virtually any system of the body can be affected.

Anxiety and depression are very common symptoms (and some would argue classic symptoms) of untreated CD and gluten sensitivity due to nutrient malabsorption. According to the Canadian Celiac Association, “Depression is another well-documented presentation of untreated or undiagnosed CD. Psychological improvement is usually noted after placement on a gluten-free diet and vitamin B6 treatments. Anemia, deficiency of iron, folic acid and/or Vitamin B12 is another common symptom of CD, and can be expected to improve on a gluten-free diet.” 

If you are suspicious that you may have Celiac Disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it is important to seek advice from your health provider, and inquire about checking your blood levels for B12, folic acid and iron before taking the gluten-free path. 

If you are gluten-free, or find out you need to become gluten-free, here is a recipe I created for easy, delicious and nutritious, gluten-free fruit and nut bars. If needed, you can omit or reduce the brown sugar, and reduce the maple syrup to reduce the overall sugar content. These bars can be made nut-free by using soy butter and omitting the walnuts. Try adding various seeds for extra texture and nutrients. If you can tolerate nuts, walnuts are a good source of those important B vitamins. A 28g serving of walnuts can give you 6% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for thiamin, 2% for riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, 8% for vitamin B-6, and 7% for folate. If you use nut butter in this recipe, you will get additional B vitamins as well. Nuts also offer healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

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As featured in the LA Times:  http://www.latimes.com/features/food/dailydish/la-dd-glutenfree-oatmeal-bars-20130808,0,1173878.story#tugs_story_display

Lisa Cantkier is a lifelong celiac, nutrition coach and founder of GlutenFreeFind.com. You can follow Lisa on Twitter at @LisaCantkier

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