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Tag: wheat

Living Free in An Allergen World

This is a guest post by Darcie Sosa. Know of a food blogger, nutrition guru, farmer or passionate storyteller who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

Being diagnosed with a food allergy can be very overwhelming. You know that you have to avoid certain foods in order to feel better, but reading food labels and cutting out foods you’ve always eaten can be confusing. Let’s talk a bit about why and how you need to avoid certain foods in order to live a healthy lifestyle.

A food allergy is an autoimmune disorder. What does that mean? It means that your body’s immune system produces antibodies (which normally protect against infectors) in reaction to a food which is normally found and tolerated by the body. According to the FDA, each year 30,000 Americans go to the emergency room; 2,000 of those are hospitalized and 150 deaths occur each year from severe food allergies. I’m not using these numbers to scare or intimidate, but the avoidance of food allergens is the best preventative way know to curb these sometimes serious reactions. The symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from non-existent, to gastro intestinal disorders, to anaphylaxis (which can be life- threatening). Whatever the symptoms are, it’s very important to avoid your allergen and the foods that contain it.
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Opera Girl Goes Gluten Free

This is a guest post by Opera Girl Cooks. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate food writer who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

The last month has brought many changes to my life. I’ve graduated with a masters degree, moved to San Francisco, ditched my car for a bike, and met Gluten-Free Boy, a wonderful guy who happens to eat a gluten-free diet. If I’ve learned anything in this last month, it’s to take things as they come, as life is bound to throw you curve balls when you least expect them.
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A Look at Why We’re All Confused About What to Eat

Part of my job as the primary blogger for Be Food Smart is to stay up to date on what’s new in the food and nutrition world. For the most part I love it, but inevitably, there comes a point in my week where I throw my hands up in frustration. It seems that every type of food I thought I knew somehow becomes a subject of debate. Need some examples?

Sugar – The stuff that comes from the lush sugarcane plant is now suddenly associated with the “T” word. Remember when toxic was primarily used to describe a pile of nuclear waste oil drums with skull & crossbones? Robert Lustig’s YouTube video has only been viewed 1.16 million times.

Wheat – Between whole, unbleached, enriched, stone ground, and bleached, wheat is downright confusing. And all this before I even mentioned the almighty power word: gluten.

Salt – Sodium is bad, right? Or wait, is the regular stuff bad and sea salt good? What about rock, kosher, or unrefined pink Himalayan salt? Do I need the iodine (especially since the Japanese nuclear reactor is leaking)? I predict a future blog post on salt…
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Image: Andres Rueda via Flickr

Don’t think you need buy organic meat? Think again. The US FDA released an estimate on the amount of antibiotics given to farm animals in the United States. The grand total is over 29 MILLION pounds in 2009!

2009 was the first year the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine required sales and distribution data of antimicrobial drugs approved for food-producing animals (cattle, poultry, swine) including:

“…(1) the amount of each antimicrobial active ingredient by container size, strength, and dosage form; (2) quantities distributed domestically and quantities exported; and (3) a listing of the target animals, indications, and production classes that are specified on the approved label of the product…”

- 2009 Summary Report, Food & Drug Adminstration

If we take cattle as an example, we know that they are meant to forage grass and digest it through their multi-chamber stomachs. Today’s commercially raised cows are fed a diet of corn, wheat, barley, sorghum, and likely never see a fresh blade of grass in their lifetime. They are eating a diet that they were not meant to eat and this has led to a situation
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