Fri12192014

News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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The gluten-free diet: What it is and how to adopt it


Photo By: Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Photo Photos By Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier

Flourchylde Bakery. pictured at the June 13 Los Altos Farmers’ Market, offers food selections for those who have adopted a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, as well as some crossbred grains. For those with celiac disease, gluten destroys the absorbing surface of the small intestine, causing abdominal distress.

Gluten-free products are everywhere. Customers who walk into any health-food store, or even a regular supermarket, will see an abundance of gluten-free items to choose from, perhaps even an entire aisle of choices.

More and more people are discussing a gluten-free diet and following its guidelines. But why? What exactly is the draw? What does it really mean, and should they be concerned about any nutritional issues?

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and crossbred varieties of the grains. When the flours of these grains are mixed with water to make baked goods, it’s the gluten that becomes elastic during mixing and kneading, allowing bread products to develop their characteristic light, airy texture.

Wheat is among the top three field crops in the U.S. and as such is a major source of grain, therefore of gluten, in the American diet. When we search for whole-grain products to improve our diets, it’s easy to reach for whole-wheat breads, pastas and cereals as potential sources. An avoidance of gluten necessitates that these foods be eliminated from our plate.

For those with celiac disease, following a gluten-free diet is essential. This condition is characterized by an abnormal immune response to gluten. When a person with celiac disease ingests gluten, absorptive surfaces of the small intestine become damaged as their immune system destroys intestinal villi, causing malabsorption and symptoms including diarrhea and abdominal pain or discomfort.

For a diagnosis of celiac disease, you must still be consuming gluten and see your doctor for a series of screening blood tests and a biopsy of the intestine.

Many of us know people who have claimed that they are gluten-sensitive but who do not have celiac disease. They have chosen to follow the gluten-free diet for personal health reasons; they simply feel better on this type of diet. Some believe that a gluten-free diet helps them to improve blood sugars, or it simply leads to avoiding calories from tempting, gluten-rich carbohydrates like cakes and cookies. Whatever the reason for going gluten-free, individuals should be clear about their rationale – this is not an easy diet to follow.

Becoming a label-reader

Reading labels is a critical component to adopting a gluten-free diet. As anyone who has gone grocery shopping can attest, there are many types of wheat flour on the shelves – bromated, enriched, phosphated, plain and self-rising. All of them should be avoided, along with barley, rye, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), bulgur, durum flour, farina, graham flour, kamut, semolina and smelt.

Grain and plant foods that are gluten-free include:

• Rice• Corn

• Amaranth• Quinoa

• Teff• Millet

• Sorghum• Arrowroot

• Buckwheat• Flax

• Job’s tears• Sago

• Potato• Soy

• Legumes• Mesquite

• Tapioca• Wild rice

• Cassava• Yucca

• Nuts• Seeds

Today, many products from pastas to flours are made from these sources. Keep in mind that it is important to make sure that the approved grains are not processed or mixed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives, as many of them often are.

Wheat-free does not always mean gluten-free. To qualify as gluten-free, the final product must contain less than 20-ppm gluten. Many organic and health-food stores will help you decipher the labels, and organizations like the Celiac Disease Foundation (www.celiac.org) can provide tools to make your journey easier, such as a list of ingredients to be aware of when purchasing groceries.

There is always an accompanying risk that overall nutrition could suffer unless those following a gluten-free diet educate themselves about the best choices to make within the allowed foods.

Eliminating a commonly eaten group of grains from your diet might create a significant nutritional hole. Gluten-free diets have been known to fall short in fiber, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Some gluten-free products are left unenriched and are quite processed. That’s why it is important to check gluten-free product labels for enrichment with nutrients like B vitamins and iron, then make sure that you are replacing naturally – or with supplements – the vitamins that might be missing. This is especially true for women who are pregnant or nursing.

If done correctly, a gluten-free diet has the potential benefit of shifting your diet to a greater focus on plant foods that are naturally free from gluten and more “whole,” such as fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts. If you are nonvegetarian, be sure to choose unprocessed protein foods like fresh eggs, lean meats, fish and poultry to avoid potential sources of gluten. If lactose in foods is not a problem for you, most nonfat and low-fat dairy products can also be included.

One last important consideration: Cross-contamination can occur in your kitchen at home or in restaurants. All food preparation for those with celiac disease must be done in a dedicated area with pans used exclusively for the gluten-free diet.

You can make a variety of tasty gluten-free recipes at home easily, without paying a premium for special products. Consider spaghetti squash, for example, as a substitute for pasta. To prepare a gluten-free alternative, see the recipe in the sidebar above.

Jodi Bjurman, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, is outpatient dietitian at El Camino Hospital.

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