Know Your Status: Are You Gluten Sensitive?

food-allergies

A good number of people already know that gluten is found in various starchy carbohydrate sources. Here in the Philippines, we take pride in our carbohydrate-rich menus which are customary in every meal. However, since gluten intolerance is still not a familiar concept to many of us, we discount having gluten sensitivity when experiencing discomforts after certain meals, allergy or intolerance specifically to gluten is hardly even thought about.

Pandesal, typical Filipino gluten laden bread.
Pandesal, typical Filipino gluten laden bread.

Studies on the prevalence of gluten sensitivity or gluten allergy in the Philippines have yet to be published, though we have to be aware of the possibility that anyone of us might be part of the statistic, especially if the source of discomfort is not top-of-mind.

It is important also to differentiate between gluten intolerance and gluten allergy. Allergic reactions tend to be immediate and often severe, as opposed to intolerance, the symptoms of which are not immediately felt, could be from days to weeks, the cause of which are subtle and not readily detectable. Both are abnormal reactions to certain foods manifesting in your body in different ways. Gluten adverse reactions include skin conditions like eczema, digestive conditions like bloating, constipation, pain and diarrhea, even others seemingly unrelated to digestion, like fatigue, migraines and severe ones like seizures.

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When adverse symptoms continue to bog you down, allergy testing and food intolerance testing would definitely help shed some light on your concerns.

Allergy Testing

A trip to the allergist would help you determine if you are susceptible to allergic reactions to specific components of a particular food, such as gluten. Some other common food allergies are caused by milk, eggs, nuts, fish or shellfish. Gluten and other food allergies can also be identified by undergoing a series of brief tests and interviews. Here in the Metro, we have quite a number of hospitals and centers that conduct tests know which food items you have to watch out for.

Quezon City

St. Luke’s Medical CenterQuezon City, ranked as one of the top hospitals in the country, offers a variety of services from asthma, drug allergies, insect allergies, and of course food allergies, to determine which substance you have an allergy to, through its St. Luke’s Allergy and Immunology Department.

It is located at 279 E Rodriguez Sr. Ave, Quezon City. They also have a branch in Bonifacio Global City: St Luke’s-Global is located at Rizal Drive cor. 32nd St. and 5th Ave., Taguig.

Makati and BGC (Bonifacio Global City)

Another center you can visit in BGC is LifeScience Center for Wellness and Preventive Medicine. Through a simple blood sampling that is analyzed using their in-house Food Detective Kit, which uses Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) technology, which is a plate-based assay technique designed for detecting and quantifying substances including antibodies, assisting in determining your food intolerances.

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Healthway, the mall based clinic also  offers what they term as “FIT”, short for Food Intolerance Test, which already includes a consultation with nutritionist for briefing on their FIT service and to explain the findings of the test. You can find them in Greenbelt 5, as well as other malls in Alabang, Bonificio Global City, and Quezon City.

Manila

Manila Doctors Hospital, through its Pediatric Allergology and Immunology Department also conducts tests to determine your food allergies and food intolerances. Among its Allergology Services are allergy screening, and allergy management.

MDH is located at UN Ave., Ermita Manila City

Alabang

With 30 branches nationwide, including Alabang, High Precision Diagnostics offering Food Intolerance Testing is also an option for you. The food intolerance test is simple, done through blood sampling. You can get the results of the test in two weeks.

Asian Hospital And Medical Center in Alabang also offers food intolerance and allergy testing. As with its tertiary hospital counterparts in the North, AHMC provides services for immunologic/allergic disorders, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, sinusitis, insect allergy, unusual vasculitis syndromes, and penicillin and other drug allergies.

AHMC is at r, 2205 Civic Drive, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

With the variety of healthcare providers around, tests in determining whether you have some food intolerances is now very accessible. If you maybe suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned or you have an inkling that you could be adversely reacting to food but not completely sure, visiting your doctor and taking a food intolerance test could be well worth it. It can help improve your health and might even save your life in the long run.

Sources:

“Philippines.” Welcome to Ranking Web of Hospitals. Centro De Información Y Documentación (CINDOC), n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

Raneses, Katherince Grace. “Getting Tested for Food Intolerance at LifeScience.”Mucking Around Manila. N.p., 14 Nov. 2014. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

Aventajado, Michelle. “My Food Intolerance Test – Momma ‘N Manila.” Momma N Manila. N.p., 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

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Can You Develop Celiac Disease As You Grow Older?

happy asian Family enjoy their dinner

Being that it’s nearing Father’s Day, let me just share something that is about my old man that might also be relevant to other fathers out there, as well. My dad, now in his 60s, had a check up with his doctor, and came home with a whole new diet plan. Not so unusual, he had to cut out fatty, salty food and watch his calorie intake to keep his heart’s health in check. But along with the food that he was advised to stay away from were those containing gluten. He’s never had symptoms of adverse reaction to gluten and so I had to take a second look at his not-to-eat list as. I had to wonder, can celiac disease develop later in life?

Celiac disease is an inherited case of autoimmune disorder where gluten, a protein found in some food like wheat, barley and rye, adversely affects a person’s digestive process. Some symptoms that can occur are skin conditions like eczema, digestive conditions like bloating, constipation, pain and diarrhea, even others seemingly unrelated to digestion, like fatigue, migraines and severe ones like seizures. Though in the US, according to an article published in celiac.org, only 1 out of a 100 people actually have this condition.

However, if you do not have the condition today, does that mean you are forever in the clear? According to a research published in 2010 in the Annals of Medicine, we have reason to believe that that might not be the case.

Celiac-Disease-Cvr

One of the research’s goal was to investigate if there would be any changes in prevalence of celiac disease in people over time. The research involved studying matching blood samples taken from 3,511 participants  in 1974 and then again in 1989, 15 years after. Among the subjects, the prevalence ratio rose from 1 : 501 to 1 : 219 before and after. In other words, the prevalence increased 2-fold in the test subjects over this time. The study concludes that this is due to test subjects’ loss of immunological tolerance towards adulthood.

However, adopting a new lifestyle that involves cutting anything out of your diet should be studied closely. It is always a smart thing to consult a doctor before going on a gluten-free diet.

And so my dad, not actually confirmed yet to have celiac disease still has to check his symptoms and have regular check ups with his doctor, to see if his well being will improve after following a gluten-free diet.

And just to be on the safe side, it would be best now  to look for gluten-free food to support this new diet. 

Morgan – Team GERALD.ph

References:

Klein, S. (2014, February 12). 9 Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-Free – Celiac Disease Foundation. Retrieved June 17, 2016, from https://celiac.org/blog/2014/02/9-things-you-should-know-before-going-gluten-free/

Catassi, C. (2010, October). Natural history of celiac disease autoimmunity in a USA cohort followed since 1974. Retrieved June 17, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20868314

Wheeler, R. (n.d.). Celiac Later in Life: Can You Become Gluten Intolerant? Retrieved June 16, 2016, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/developing-celiac-later-life-can-you-become-gluten-intolerant/

 

 

Gluten-Free Sausages by The Butchery

 

Avail of The Butchery’s organic sausages on the shop. All lean organic meat & herbs, no preservatives, no MSG, no chemicals or mysterious ingredients.
No extenders in the sausages means no breadcrumbs, which also means no gluten! That’s right, all of The Butchery’s artisanal, organic, lean sausages are gluten-free.
The Butchery is known for using organic meat and making sausages in unique flavors that you can’t find anywhere else.
Click on the images to start shopping!

 

 

Gluten-Free Recipe: Brazilian Cheese Bread (Gluten-Free Cheese Pandesal)

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tokadopaodequeijo.com.br

Brazilian cheese bread, or pao de queijo, is naturally gluten-free as it uses an ingredient commonly found in Philippine supermarkets–cassava flour! Think of them as cheesy gluten-free pandesal!

It uses a few ingredients, although there is some effort involved in beating the dough, the smell of cheese bread baking in your oven makes the effort worthwhile. They are crunchy on the outside, and soft and airy on the inside.

If you can wait long enough to let them cool, these are best served freshly baked and piping hot. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, and heated in the oven toaster, and they are as good as new. Serve them as snacks, appetizers, or even as sandwich bread.

Recipe adapted from Eat Retreat

18 oz/ 500 grams cassava flour
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons salt * (use 1/2 tsp if using queso de bola)
8 whole eggs
4 cups finely grated cheese (preferably a hard cheese like parmesan, but any cheese will do)

Put milk, water, extra virgin olive oil and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Add in the cassava flour and mix it best you can with a wooden spoon. Remove mixture from the heat. At this point, the dough will not look incorporated.

You can use a stand mixer or beat by hand by this point (do not use a hand mixer!). Once the dough has cooled for 10 minutes or so mix in the eight eggs one by one, with the mixer, or by hand. Mix in the grated cheese. Add the salt, preferably partially so you can adjust by tasting the dough.

Use a 2-inch cookie dough scoop, or roll by hand into 2-inch balls onto a greased or non-stick baking sheet.

Bake them in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown on top.

Gluten-Free Special Meal on Philippine Airlines

I ordered a special meal on Philippine Airlines, and I chose the gluten-free meal on my flight from Los Angeles to Manila. For a long-haul flight on Philippine Airlines, this consists of 2 full meals and a snack. Here’s what I got for my gluten-free meal.

For dinner, I had beef cooked in tomato sauce with squash and rice. I also had an asparagus and tomato salad, and fresh fruit for dessert. The regular meals were a choice of fish or chicken, and blueberry cheesecake from Goldilocks for dessert. My gluten-free dessert was fresh watermelon and pineapple.

Gluten-free dinner meal on Philippine Airlines

For my snacks, I was given more fresh fruit. A LOT of fresh fruit, like grapes the size of ping pong balls, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, and pineapple. The rest of the passengers got Goldilocks cake slices.

For breakfast, I got bacon, an omelet, more squash, and garlic rice. The others got a choice of chicken tocino with rice or veal sausage and bacon. I was happy that my gluten-free meal had a light amount of meat, compared to the regular meal…I can’t eat too much meat in the morning. And then they gave me even more fresh fruit, including this giant banana.

Gluten-free breakfast meal on Philippine Airlines

I was happy with my gluten-free meal on Philippine Airlines. Not only was it gluten-free, but in fact, it seemed that the selection was healthier over all. It helped that the pre-made cakes were replaced by fresh fruit. Special meals are also served first, before the service for the rest of the passengers, so there’s also an advantage in ordering a gluten-free meal on a flight.

If you want to order a gluten-free meal on Philippine Airlines, contact them no less than 24 hours before your flight.

A Gluten-Free Valentine’s Celebration!

Visit GERALD.ph to get your Cocolatto Ice Cream and make it a special Gluten-Free Valentine’s celebration!

Get to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” or “I Love You” in personalized Cocolatto ice cream cups when you order 3 cups!

Get your orders in by February 12 on GERALD.ph, to have it delivered this February 14!

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You can also visit http://shop.gerald.ph/gluten-free for more gluten-free treats!

How do you travel Gluten-Free?

travel

Ah… the joy of travel. But only until your cravings kick in and your stomach rumbles.

If you are visiting a place for vacation, things commonly enjoyed are the sights, the fun activities,  and of course, the endless array of new delicious things to try. Even if you’re just taking a business trip, eating local food would be one of the ways you can savor the experience.

But with having celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance, or just having food allergies of any kind, you already know how frustrating it is to try to relax when you don’t know where your next safe food will be coming from.

So, what to do?

Preparation is key. Take the attitude that with just a bit of time and effort, maximizing your vacation is in  your hands, and it will be well worth the effort.

happy thoughts

1 – Visit online forums, especially for gluten-free dining,  and find out which local places serve food that fits your gluten-free diet. Luckily, you’re not alone in your quest for a hassle-free vacation. You’ll be surprised at just how many people are willing to make suggestions and give useful information on where to eat and which food items to avoid at your destination. Post your questions in forums at least 2 weeks in advance so that you have time get substantial replies from fellow planners like yourself. Your trusty Facebook account is a portal to dozens of gluten-free philippines tagged groups. You may also find dedicated forums on Celiac.com.

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2 –  However, if you would like to give the planning to someone else, there are resources that organize vacations and travel around the world that are especially gluten free. They reduce the worrying about the nitty gritties to a minimum. Since they specialize in gluten-free travel, they will have more options for you to choose from, and can make travel a treat, and especially if you’re travelling with your friends or family. One such company is, The Gluten Free Travel Site.

3 – Have a list of things you know are absolutely gluten-free, including food items and brands. If you are unsure of fastfood places, restaurants or even the food available at your hotel, visiting your nearest grocery store will be the next best thing. Especially, where the language barrier poses additional challenge, googling which familiar gluten-free brands are available locally will save you a lot of worry.

 

lists

 

4 – Be armed from the moment you walk out your door. Pack your own airport food.  It would make things so much easier if every bit of food with allergens is correctly labeled, but especially in the Philippines, this not the case. Airport dining is limited to only a few restaurants and gluten-free dining is not a priority. No frills flights like Cebu Pacific, only have snacks that typically contain gluten, and so it is best to come prepared. However, some flights, like international flights of Philippine Airlines do offer some comfort. PAL provides gluten-free meals in all classes, and gluten-free snacks may also be available. All special meals on airplanes must be ordered no less than 24 hours in advance. Take time to call.

 Want a first hand account of the experience? Checkout our review on an inflight gluten-free meal we have tried, on this blogpost.

airport

 

5- When you can, pack some food items that will last a few days. Order gluten-free in advance from your go-to gluten-free shops. Online shops like Gerald.ph will deliver to your home so you don’t have to go out to buy these things especially. Crackers, cookies that can last a few days in your travel pack may just save you a day of staying indoors dealing with unpleasant symptoms. Dry gluten-free pasta that is convenient enough to cook in a hotel suite or a BnB will come handy, and will save you a few bucks, as well.

lunch

6- Take gluten inhibiting supplements in your luggage. Let us rejoice as there are multiple supplements available in the market now that may protect you from the effects of accidentally ingested gluten. Though gluten-free labels in food packaging and restaurants, the experience may still feel like a game of Russian roulette.  Brands such as GlutenEase, GluteGuard and GutenDigest can be your new best friends. Though none of these are available yet in Manila, you can have these shipped via HealthPost site and get them in under 10 days. Most of these are meant to be taken with a strict adherence to a gluten-free diet, and take care of those thoughts of  pizza and pasta splurge. Take caution though as some destinations have stricter rules for supplements than others.

So? Do you think you can hack your next gluten-free vacation? We’re here with you. With these handy tips, you’ll soon find each trip less focused on where and what you can eat, and more on enjoying the experience.