We hear so much about gluten (and other food sensitivities) but although it is a common allergen most people don't know what it is. Gluten is a wheat protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Gluten or Gliadin in the grain causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with sensitivity. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with known gluten reactions to control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications. Some people, like me, do not show symptoms of gluten intolerance (at least that's what I thought) but the damage is being done none the less. I am slowly learning that some of the symptoms that I blamed on eating too quickly or eating too much or just eating a certain combination of foods were actually signs of gluten sensitivity. It is quite easy to change your eating habits once you get familiar with what is required. I will go over that in the next post in more detail.

When I was told that I should follow a gluten-free lifestyle I thought "No way, that would be too limiting and difficult.  No more pizza, pasta, bread, desserts.  That would be an inconvenience."  That is true to some degree but not at all in the ways I anticipated.  There are many food options that can be made gluten free.  Below I have a list of some awesome local pizzarias that have gluten-free pizza.  Dennett's makes great breads and other desserts as well as flour mixes to use in your family favorites.  There are rice pastas on the market that work well with any pasta recipe and gluten-free pastas are available at many Italian restaurants including Olive Garden.  I have been able to make many of our favorite desserts with the gluten-free flour mixes or by finding gluten free crackers to use as crusts.  

In the process of find the best way to support my thyroid and the health of my body I have had to rethink how I viewed my eating habits, food choices and lifestyle.  Sadly most people will not reach the level of concern that I have or change their habits until their health is in jeopardy and they are given an ultimatum.  As a society we put so much stress on the foods we eat and the occassions that we celebrate that emphasize food.  The foods that we see as impossible to do without many times are the allergens that continue to make us sick.  

Gluten turns out to be more than a food sensitivity to me and many other people.  It was part of the equation that was causing my thyroid to overact and my body systems to be out of balance.  Removing it from my diet has made a huge difference in my health.  I feel much better and no longer suffer from the symptoms that led to my Hyperthyroid diagnosis.  (The vitamins and supplements were essential here as well.)  I don't suffer from indigestion and bloating after eating or have that stuffed feeling that I had while eating gluten.

Note –

We offer GlutenFlam, a product of Apex Energetics, at our clinic.  It is used as a digestive aid or to reduce the inflammatory response to hidden sources of gluten or when known gluten exposure has occurred.  It is a one-of-a-kind gluten digestive aid with two formulas in one. It is designed not only to provide powerful gluten digestive enzymes, but also to support intestinal health during gluten exposure, using specially targeted bioflavonoids.  It is NOT intended to be used in place of a Gluten-free diet. Since doing our detox-cleanse I can better tell when I have eaten gluten in some form. GlutenFlam seems to work very fast for me.  Within 20 minutes or less I am able to get some relief.  

Gluten Free Dining in Traverse City -

There are many restaurants in Traverse City that offer Gluten (Wheat) Free options.  These are some of the restaurants that I am aware of or have eaten at.

The Cottage (Formerly Cottage Café and located in Mabel’s previous location) has many gluten free options.  Ask your server and they are very knowledgeable about wheat allergies. 

Dennetts Gluten Free Creations is not a restaurant but rather a small local bakery that makes bakery items, mixes, flours and more and sells them by mail or at several stores locally including Oleson's East and West, Oryana and Edison Farms.  They are also at the Traverse City Farmers Market most weekends.  For a complete list of their products and locations visit their website at www.dennetsglutenfree.com.  

LaSenorita has limited offerings, ask your server.

Mancino's Pizza has a delicious gluten-free pizza.

Olive Garden offers many of their Italian dishes with gluten free pasta.  They also have many meat dishes including grilled salmon, chicken and steak.

Outback Steak House has a gluten free kitchen and have many steak and burger options that are gluten free as well as a couple of desserts.  Their menu is far more extensive than many of the national chains.

Pangea’s Pizza in Downtown offers a delicious gluten free pizza. 

Qdoba Mexican Grill has two locations in TC.  They offer many items that are gluten free that can be ordered individually since the shells/tortillas are not gluten free. These include their meat items, beans and rice.  Naked burritos are the best choice.  I have heard differing stories about the chips and quesso so ask at the location you visit.  (Ask the server when you arrive; they should change their gloves when starting your order.)

Red Lobster has limited offerings and most of their seafood seasonings contain gluten but they were very willing to make any changes and use separate utinsels and pans to accomodate.

Red Mesa Grill is a great place to go for Latin American affaire.  They offer sandwiches, enchiladas, fajitas and desserts among their vast Celiac safe menu.

Slab Town Burgers offers Dennetts Gluten Free Sandwich buns on their gluten free burgers.

Taco House offers homemade Mexican food with a large variety of gluten free items.  Even their chips and tortillas are gluten-free.

Tuscan Bistro has a gluten free menu.

Written by Ryan Frusti — August 14, 2012