The Worst Food For Aging

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GlutenfreelemonbarsOn Saturday afternoon I made the most luscious, gluten-free lemon bars that are actually easier to make than regular wheat-flour lemon bars. (I shared the lemon bars with a “foodie” neighbor, who praised them, and I’m sharing the recipe with you below.) Then on Sunday morning in my email inbox were two emails dealing with the subject of gluten.

The first email was sent by Jesse Cannone of the Healthy Back Institute and the subject line read: “This is THE #1 WORST Food for Your Joints, Blood Sugar and Skin.” I was curious what this food was because I’m currently following a nutrition protocol that will improve my joints, connective tissue and skin and I’m actually tracking the results in this magazine (see this article for the details including photos of my hands, my left hand being diagnosed with Dupuytren’s Syndrome).

Cannone’s email contained a link where I could discover what this food was. The link took me to an article written by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist and Catherine Ebeling, RN, BSN, titled “The #1 WORST Food That CAUSES Faster Aging.” I correctly guessed the culprit is wheat-based foods. (It might not be absolutely the worst food for aging, deep-fried foods and their oxidative potential come to mind here, but we eat so much of it that it’s right up there because of sheer volume.)

The authors claim that among other undesirable substances such as gluten, wheat-based foods such as bagels, whole wheat bread and pizza dough contain a carbohydrate called amylopectin-A, which spikes your blood sugar more than any other food. Geary and Ebeling write,

“In fact, amylopectin-A (from wheat) raises your blood sugar MORE than almost any other carbohydrate source on earth based on blood sugar response testing that’s documented in studies.”

This is not news to me. I’ve been dealing with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) issues most of my life, which have pretty much disappeared after I went gluten-free. (Wheat-based products spike your blood sugar, then make it crash.) Furthermore, over the course of several years I have discovered some interesting things about my hypoglycemia. For example, I could eat a banana or two for breakfast and not be bothered by low blood sugar problems, even two or three hours later. However, eating a piece of toast, a muffin or a bagel (even buttered toast or bagel without any jam or added sugar) would almost always within two hours cause low blood sugar issues such as unpleasant sensations of shakiness, a feeling of weakness in my body, irritability, as well as cravings for more toast or bagels or cookies.

Am I gluten sensitive? The last diagnostic test I had (about 3 years ago) came back negative; I am not officially gluten intolerant. So why am I feeling better without it, and why do I get headaches that last about 24 hours and feel yucky after I ingest even small amounts of it (such as in a bit of soy sauce)? I believe everyone would benefit by eliminating gluten from their diet, and Dr. Glidden (the medical nutritionist whose protocol I’m following) advises everyone (he, you, me, the man in the moon) to eliminate it completely. Which brings me to the second email I received, this one from the “Wellness Mama.”

In her post, Wellness Mama Katie (who has a background in nutrition, journalism and communications) debunks the claim made by some nutritionists that, “Unless you have Celiac disease, it is dangerous to avoid an entire food group and this puts you at risk for nutrient deficiencies.”

The reason given by conventional nutritionists is, whole grains that contain gluten are a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, while gluten-free products are often made with refined grains and are low in nutrients.

Do they really think people are so dense that they would switch from a slice of whole grain bread to gluten-free cookies and think they’re making canada pharmacy online healthier choices?

The point is, grains in general are relatively low in essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and amino acids) when compared to fruits, vegetables, legumes, dairy and meats. They may be loaded with carbs but they’re not dense in essential nutrients. There aren’t any essential nutrients in grains that can’t be found in higher amounts in other common foods and I don’t rely on them as a source of essential nutrients. I also prefer the fiber in fruits and vegetables to the insoluble fiber in whole wheat and other grains.

Furthermore, the gluten molecule is difficult to break down and causes damage to the delicate microvilli in the small intestine as it’s being absorbed into the bloodstream. (Celiac disease is an advanced stage of this damage.)

By the way, in last week’s article Marianne writes about how she and her children benefited a great deal by going gluten-free, including eliminating ADHD symptoms and nasty mood swings (and they did not have celiac disease). If you haven’t read Marianne’s article yet, here’s the link: Going Gluten-free. Now for the recipe:

Best Gluten-Free Lemon Bar Recipe

(makes a 9 inch by 13 inch pan)

Easy gluten-free “cookie” crust:

2 cups almond flour (I used 1 c. each almond and cashew flour, both from Trader Joe’s)

¼ c. sugar

6 Tablespoons melted butter

Using a spoon mix ingredients in a bowl until uniformly combined, then press into a buttered 9” by 12” or 9” by 13” pan. I use a drinking glass as a rolling pin to carefully compress and even out the “cookie” layer. Bake at 350 F for about 8 minutes. While crust is baking make the lemon topping.

Lemon topping:

5 large eggs

1-1/4 cups sugar

2 Tablespoons brown rice flour

2 Tablespoons tapioca flour (tapioca starch)

lemon zest from 2-3 large lemons (at least a rounded Tablespoon)

¾ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup whole milk

pinch of sea salt

On low speed beat together the eggs, sugar and flours. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, milk and salt and pour mixture over the warm baked crust. Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes until done (until top is lightly brown). Let cool for about 30 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with confectioner’s (powdered sugar) when completely cool.

I have found that I don’t crave cookies and cakes like I used to before I went gluten-free and nutrified my body with supplements, but I bake gluten-free treats about twice a month now and it’s fine (and fun) to have them every so often




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