Thu07242014

News

Obama visits Los Altos area

Obama visits Los Altos area

President Obama made a fundraising stop today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills, an appearance that spurred traffic disruptions, helicopters scouting overhead and protesters. In the wake of his visit, unknown persons, apparently no fans of ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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