Friday, November 27, 2015

Heart Healthy Eating—on a Gluten-Free Diet by Mary A. Berger

Last time, I wrote about eating heart-healthy foods. But let's take that lifestyle one step further and add the element of gluten-free.

What? you might spout. First she's urging no fatty meat or gravy. No heavy salad dressing. No potato chips. And certainly no calorie-loaded Danish or cream pie. Okay, that's eating heart-healthy. But now she's tossing gluten-free into the mix! What is she, a crazy lady? you might wonder.

Don't mean to sound pessimistic, but here's the status of my spouse's diet: Not only must he go easy on the above mentioned items for his cardiac well being, he also cannot ingest foods that contain gluten, a sticky substance found in wheat and other grains. He has celiac disease. That means going "gluten-free." In someone who's gluten intolerant, many normal foods cause internal distress and, if left unchecked, weight loss and weakness.

Years ago, my spouse learned there were food choices to be made—not the least of which was common bread. Back then, however, we found only one bakery that sold g/f bread. It tasted awful and had to be handled with care, it was so fragile. The only way it passed the "palatable" test was toasted. So we bought a toaster oven just for that purpose. Even though I'd gingery slide the bread slices into it, chunks would fall off, land on an element and cause flames to shoot out. But I didn't panic, even when it set off our smoke alarm.

Today there's a great selection of gluten-free products from bread to cereal to pizza—and most are quite tasty. Many restaurants also offer g/f menus. I've even switched over to a few of my husband's specialty foods myself. You just have to be flexible.

See? I'm not really a crazy lady after all! So would you please pass the jelly—the low-cal, low-fat, gluten-free, sugar-free jelly?