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October 2007 - Vol 4, Issue 10
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Welcome to our monthly e-newsletter! We hope that you will find this and future issues helpful and relevant. We are very interested in hearing from you. Please let us know about topics you would like to see covered in the future. In our last newsletter we explored the risks associated with eating foods grown with pesticides and the benefits of an organic diet. This month we will focus on another complicated topic: are foods that contain gluten dangerous to your health? Look for information on how to prevent diabetes in our November e-newsletter.

Don't forget to check out our recipe of the month. Our recipe this month is gluten-free and comes from Birgitta Hellman's cookbook 'taste this: ordinary ingredients/extraordinary flavours'.

Portland Health and Wellness is anything but your typical medical clinic. We offer health-based cooking classes, a drop-in weight control group for men and women, and group psychotherapy for individuals with eating disorders or food and body image issues. We continue to offer exceptional individual healthcare services, workshops and classes on various health topics, and our year-long comprehensive weight reduction program. Heather Rice offers small yoga classes, including yoga for larger bodies and beginner yoga. Heather is also available for individual instruction. Please call us to schedule an appointment with her.

Our clinical team is committed to providing cutting-edge healthcare services. Donald Altman, MA, in addition to being a counselor, is a former Buddhist monk and award-winning writer. He offers '12 Weeks to Mindful Eating' , a program he created to help individuals develop a healthier relationship with food, as well as workshops on stress management and mindfulness. In early 2008 he will offer 'Mindful Eating Boot Camp'. This 2-day workshop allows people who struggle with food and time to focus on developing new skills that can have a profound impact. Donald also offers individual counseling at ph&w.; Juleeanna Andreoni, MS, RD , is a clinical nutritionist with a broad range of experience. She is certified in adult, adolescent, and childhood weight management. Juleeanna has appeared on AM Northwest. Christine Howard, PsyD continues to provide individual psychotherapy and is now offering group psychotherapy for individuals with bulimia or binge eating disorder. Marcela Vinocur, MD serves as the director of PH&W;'s unique weight reduction program and maintains a psychopharmacology practice


  • Oct 13........Cooking 101: a class for women who hate to cook
  • Oct 20........Cooking 101: a class for couples
  • Nov 3.........Saucy Sauces Mama Mia
  • Dec 15.......Healthy Holiday Cooking
  • Jan 19........Mindful Eating Boot Camp part I
  • Feb 16........Mindful Eating Boot Camp part II
  • date tba......Gluten-free Cooking

  • We are now offering yoga for larger bodies on Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30pm. Please call us for additional information.

    For up-to-date information about our upcoming workshops and classes, please check our website or give us a call. Registration and payment in advance are required for all ph&w; events and space is limited to 12 (cooking classes are limited to 6). We strongly encourage early registration.

    Did you know that October is National Celiac Disease Awareness month? And with good reason. Celiac disease, or CD as it is frequently called, is hardly rare. It affects nearly 1 in 100 adults. Gluten sensitivity, a milder version of celiac disease, may affect as many as 15% of Americans. So why should you care about these conditions? Because it is estimated that as many as 3 million Americans may have CD and have not yet been diagnosed.

    Gluten is a complex protein found in many grains that are commonly consumed by Americans. If you are "gluten sensitive", then your digestive system is unable to process this type of protein properly. Common symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence. Although gluten sensitivity may be uncomfortable, it is not a disease and it does not damage your health. Celiac disease, however, is much more serious. If you have celiac disease, when gluten passes through your small intestine it actually triggers an immune response. This autoimmune response damages the lining of your small intestine. In turn, this damage can result in a variety of health problems related to nutrient deficiencies, as the damage interferes with your body's ability to properly absorb nutrients, minerals, and fat-soluble vitamins. Celiac disease is linked to malnutrition that can result in anemia, osteoporosis, depression, weight loss, and Dermatitis Herpetiformis. In children CD may affect growth.

    Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease. If you have an immediate relative (parent or sibling) with celiac disease, then you have a 5 to 15 percent chance of inheriting this disease. Oftentimes it is triggered by some major stressor, such as an illness, surgery, or emotional upheaval. In terms of gluten sensitivity, the exact definition is elusive but there are professionals in the field that believe that gluten may have a greater adverse impact on health than previously estimated.

    If you have symptoms suggestive of gluten sensitivity or intolerance, you should be thoroughly evaluated by a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about these conditions. A simple blood test can reveal if you have high levels of antibodies to gluten. If this test comes back positive, a biopsy or sample of your small intestine can be taken to determine if you have this disease. A less invasive way to determine if you are gluten intolerant is to eliminate all gluten from your diet and observe your body's reaction. Do not attempt this without first consulting your physician, as it will affect, temporarily, any further testing which may be necessary.

    The only treatment for celiac disease is to stop eating foods that contain gluten. This allows your small intestine to repair itself and begin functioning normally again. Once the small intestine is successfully absorbing nutrients, many other health related issues should resolve within a few weeks. If you are diagnosed with celiac disease, you should eliminate all foods containing gluten from your diet. Avoiding dairy for a while may be beneficial, as dairy products may cause similar symptoms due to the gut's impaired digestive ability. Once your small intestine has healed, you may be able to re-introduce dairy into your diet.

    Grains to avoid if you are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease include wheat (farina, graham flour, semolina and durum), barley, rye, bulgur, Kamut, couscous and spelt. Oats are frequently contaminated with gluten and should be avoided. Assume that prepared foods such as breads, cereals, crackers, pasta, cookies, cakes, and sauces contain gluten, unless otherwise specified. Grains that are considered safe to eat include rice, wild rice, teff, amaranth, quinoa, and millet. There are a number of foods that can be ground into flours that are also safe to consume: corn flour, rice flour and potato flour. Fortunately, there are a growing variety of gluten-free prepared foods and resources, including gluten-free recipes. A registered dietitian can help you make informed choices about which foods to avoid. While adhering to a gluten-free diet can be challenging, the health rewards are numerous.

    There is not enough data to conclude that gluten is dangerous to your health unless you have been diagnosed with celiac disease. So should you avoid gluten if you are not gluten sensitive? While professional opinions may differ, the main reason to avoid gluten would be if you feel better by eliminating this complex protein from your diet. To learn more, check out some of the links above (and below).

    quinoa pilaf

    This gluten-free recipe comes from Birgitta Hellman's cookbook 'taste this: ordinary ingredients/extraordinary flavours'. Even if you are not adhering to a gluten-free diet, this recipe is easy to prepare and offers great flavor.

    1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil; 2 tsp. crushed garlic; 4 shallots (minced); 3 stalks celery (diced); 1/2 red bell pepper (diced); 1 tsp. cumin; ? tsp. chili flakes; 4 cups cooked quinoa; salt and pepper to taste.

    In a large skillet over medium heat SAUTE garlic and shallots in oil for 2 minutes. ADD celery, red pepper, cumin and chili flakes. SAUTE another 2 minutes. ADD mixture to hot cooked quinoa. MIX well and SEASON with salt and pepper.

    Serves 4 (as a side dish).

    copyright 2007 portland health and wellness

    We are very interested in your comments and suggestions. Please let us know if you have a topic you would like to see covered in future newsletters. We look forward to hearing from you.


    the staff of
    Portland Health and Wellness