Posts filed under ‘cereals’

Goodbye Gluten!!

 Everyone is aware of food allergies and intolerances, how people develop sudden body reactions on consumption of certain foods. But the first time I heard of celiac disease from a friend, I laughed! How could someone be allergic to “Wheat”?? One of our staples…it’s not just about being allergic to rotis but also sooji, pasta,noodles, cakes, breads, biscuits, namkeens, practically everything…I actually couldn’t get myself to believe that something like wheat-protein allergy even existed.

 But now I know better, not only is the prevalence of celiac disease on a rise, it also differs from wheat protein allergy as the latter is a result of immune reaction to wheat protein. Though the symptoms are similar to those in celiac disease they persist only for a short time after wheat consumption, while in Celiac disease allergy is to the “gliadin fraction” of “gluten”, a protein present in wheat, rye (not mustard, but a cereal), barley and oats as well. Gluten sensitivity results in atrophy (or wasting) of the intestinal mucosa, flattening of the intestinal villi and hence inefficient absorption of all nutrients.

 Diarrhoea, Frequent and abnormal stools, abdominal bloating are common symptoms of celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue/ gluten enteropathy/ Non tropical sprue). Malabsorption of nutrients, steatorrhoea or fat malabsorption and at times lactose intolerance adversely as a result of celiac disease, affect a person’s nutritional status. It is specially detrimental to children where if undiagnosed, the child is unable to reach his/ her optimum growth potential.

 One has to be totally committed in this disorder, to beware of any kind of unintentional adulteration with gluten. Infact separate vessels should be used for the celiac patient when cooking for the whole family. Reading of nutritional labels is also a must, for eg: one may think that health drinks can be used to substitute for energy, but they may contain malt which is a barley product, thickeners or emulsifiers or stabilizers used in processed foods may also contain gluten! Even soya sauce contains gluten! One must be on guard when eating out. The “If in doubt, leave it out!” rule of the Celiac society of Delhi, definitely stands true.

 Life without gluten is difficult but not impossible…. There are many other substitutes like rice, corn, millets, amaranth, potato/sago/tapioca/arrowroot starch, soya, other pulses, vegetables, non-vegetarian foods, milk (unless lactose intolerant), nuts etc. Alcohols which do not contain malt, can also be consumed. It’s important to read food labels to be sure of what goes into the product. Nowadays, many brands of foods have started coming out with Gluten free products. For more information on Celiac disease and how to combat it, the site celiacsocietyindia.com will be of great help.

Oh and if you’re worried about having to give up all cakes, biscuits etc, you’ll be happy to know that Wengers at Connaught place, New Delhi makes gluten free cakes on special request, I’m sure that’ll be possible at other Bakeries too. So there you go, life always brings solutions with problems, you just have to be vigilant enough to sense the solutions and embrace them!

August 25, 2008 at 9:35 pm 3 comments

oatmeal- what is the hype about?

Oatmeal- what is the hype about?

OATS- they are rather new in the Indian market but you hear about them almost invariably these days when it comes to healthy eating. And then I cant help but wonder how are they different from rest of the cereals we have been eating for years.

During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity, diabetes and other lifestyle disorders. One of the biggest downfalls of watching your weight has been feeling hungry. And foods high in fibre go a long way in filling that void.

OBESITY

Oats as one may say are an excellent source of FIBRE. A serving of oats ( half a cup, cooked) has nearly 4 grams of souble fibre. This fibre helps lower blood LDL cholesterol, the so-called “Bad” cholesterol and generally boost cardiovascular health, lowering high blood pressure. It causes stomach emptying making you feel full longer which helps with weight loss. New research suggests that children between ages 2-18 years old who have a constant intake of oatmeal lowered their risk of obesity. The research found that the children who ate oatmeal were 50% less likely to become overweight, when compared to those children that did not eat it. Oats absorb the extra fat & flush it out of the system. That is why they cure constipation because of the high soluble fibre & assist in regulating gastro-intestinal functions.

BODY BUILDING:
Full of protein and minerals, oats help building strong bones, teeth and connective tissue and for boosting energy.

DIABETES

Oat fibre helps control blood sugar delaying gastric emptying and retarding the entry of glucose in the bloodstream.

STRESS

Buy and eat oats if you’re feeling sad. It’s a natural antidepressant – will make you feel calmer and normally used to treat depression, anxiety and nervous disorder. Unrefined oatmeal can be eaten on regular basis to reduce stress while cooked oats will relieve fatigue.

In an age of fast & processed food, mothers have to be very innovative in cooking up new dishes. Oats have the flexibility not only because of its variety, but also because it is half cooked. It can easily used to make quick pastas, muffins, crossiants. Moreover, since it substitutes for maida, it is a healthy option any day. It can act as a thickening agent for soups & gravies instead of maida & replace wheat flour in Indian cooking.

June 10, 2008 at 11:05 am 6 comments


Recent Posts

Archives