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LiveWell: Nutrition LiveWell: Health


From grocery stores and bakeries to ballparks and restaurants, gluten-free food products are becoming more popular. In 2010, the market for gluten-free items reached $2.6 billion, a 30 percent increase since 2006.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in barley, wheat and rye. It’s a natural ingredient in items like bread, beer and cereal. It’s also in hundreds of processed foods as an artifcial ingredient.

Gluten-free diets are often promoted as a way to boost energy, lose weight, relieve headaches and prevent many diseases. But is gluten really bad for you? Or are gluten-free diets just another food fad?

“Gluten doesn’t afect the vast majority of people,” says Carl Lauter, M.D., director of adult allergy and immunology at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. “However, some people are allergic to gluten as others are to nuts, shrimp or pollen. There are also people who are gluten-sensitive. That can lead to celiac disease, which afects about three million Americans.”


2 cups cooked brown rice ½ cup diced zucchini 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup chopped celery ½ cup corn

½ cup chopped onion 2 garlic cloves, minced

¾ cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese

1 ¾ cups no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder ¼ teaspoon salt Cayenne pepper to taste

4 bell peppers, tops cut of, seeds and pulps removed

Is Gluten-Free the Way to Be?

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an infammatory disorder that afects the small intestine. It occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts in response to gluten. Some of the symptoms include bloating, intermittent diarrhea and abdominal pain. It can afect anyone at any age, but frequently occurs in mid-life.

“This disease can make you very uncomfortable,” Dr. Lauter says. “Many people self-diagnose and start a gluten-free diet. But ideally, you need to see a doctor for a frm diagnosis. Blood tests can confrm celiac disease, but changing your diet beforehand can afect the test results. We can also perform a biopsy of the intestine wall to make a diagnosis.”

Doctors treat celiac disease by changing their patients’ diet. “People with the disease need to avoid eating gluten for the rest of their lives,” Dr. Lauter says. “The irritated and infamed membranes will heal, and the symptoms will improve.”

Consult your doctor if you think you may be sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease symptoms. For more information, visit the Gluten Intolerance Group website at and the Celiac Disease Foundation at . In the last issue we reviewed MyPlate – did you notice that most of the plate is reserved for plant-based foods? Eating more vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains is a great way to improve your nutrition.

Why plant based?

Many studies show that a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts can reduce the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Plant-based foods generally have very little saturated fat and cholesterol and help you increase intake of artery clearing, colon cleaning fber and disease-fghting antioxidants.

Some healthy, plant-based protein sources besides beans include peas, lentils, unsalted nuts, whole grains and seeds. These items are cholesterol-free and they provide essential nutrients and can keep you from feeling hungry.

Simple ways to step into a more plant-based lifestyle:

1. Enjoy spaghetti with lots of sautéed peppers, mushrooms, onions and broccoli in tomato sauce. Add a little parmesan cheese and up the yum factor!

2. Scale back the meat in chili; bump up the beans until it is all veggie.

3. Get friendly with lentils. They require no soaking and cook in less than an hour.

4. Enjoy black and pinto bean burritos with slices of avocado and a great fresh salsa.

5. Sauté broccoli, zucchini, shredded cabbage, garlic and tofu together for a delicious stir-fry. Or use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Serve over brown rice or quinoa.

6. If completely plant-based isn’t your style, learn to become a fsh cooking expert! (Without frying!)


Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine rice, zucchini, black beans, celery, corn, onion, garlic, ½ cup of cheddar cheese, ½ cup of tomato sauce, chili powder, salt and cayenne

pepper and mix together thoroughly. Spoon mixture into peppers.

In a small casserole dish, spread ¼ cup of the tomato sauce. Place stufed peppers, standing, in casserole dish. Pour remaining 1 cup tomato sauce on top of stufed peppers and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheddar cheese. Bake for 45 minutes, covered loosely, until cheese is melted.

Make-ahead tip: The uncooked stufed peppers will keep, chilled and covered, for up to 24 hours before baking.

Serves 4. Nutrition information for one serving:

Calories: 287 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 1g Fiber: 10g Cholesterol: 6mg Sodium: 575mg Carbohydrates: 55g Protein: 15g

Find this and many more recipes at .

Veggie Stufed Peppers

If you’re looking for a vegetarian recipe that will keep you satisfed, try these veggie stufed peppers. They’re super easy to make and less than 300 calories each.

Try Mixing Up Your Menu

Carl Lauter, M.D.



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