What You Need to Know About Eating Gluten Free

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January 6, 2013
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January 6, 2013

Gluten free. It’s popping up everywhere: on cereal boxes, advertised in grocery stores and restaurants, tweeted by celebrities. The gluten-free industry has become the fastest growing segment in the food industry for health reasons beyond fads or weight loss.
by Sarah Kinzbach

Taylor Made Gluten Free Bakery TruckGluten, a complex protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt, triggers an immune response in individuals with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity. Different from an allergy, this immune response can cause a wide array of symptoms, often seemingly unrelated, but which can lead to severe health problems.

It’s been eight years since Denise Fries, owner of Taylor Made Gluten Free Bakery, was diagnosed with gluten intolerance and her husband and daughter were diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease. During that time, she has been at the forefront of increasing awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. For the last two years, she’s also been making the gluten free world a tastier place

Gluten free. It’s popping up everywhere: on cereal boxes, advertised in grocery stores and restaurants, tweeted by celebrities. The gluten-free industry has become the fastest growing segment in the food industry for health reasons beyond fads or weight loss.
by Sarah Kinzbach

Taylor Made Gluten Free Bakery TruckGluten, a complex protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt, triggers an immune response in individuals with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity. Different from an allergy, this immune response can cause a wide array of symptoms, often seemingly unrelated, but which can lead to severe health problems.

It’s been eight years since Denise Fries, owner of Taylor Made Gluten Free Bakery, was diagnosed with gluten intolerance and her husband and daughter were diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease. During that time, she has been at the forefront of increasing awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. For the last two years, she’s also been making the gluten free world a tastier place with the launch of the only dedicated gluten free bakery in the region.

After watching her daughter Taylor suffer for many years with multiple symptoms from an unknown illness, Fries came across a magazine article about celiac disease and was able to diagnose Taylor from the listed symptoms. “The doctor asked me how to spell celiac,” recalls Fries. “They had no idea what it was or how to test for it. We spent tens of thousands of dollars and enormous amounts of pain and suffering because of what we were eating for breakfast.”

Celiac and gluten-intolerance were virtually unknown 50 years ago. Then Dr. Norman Borlaug, working with other scientists, helped develop high-yield, disease-resistant, semi-dwarf wheat. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal for the wheat strains, which helped fight starvation, reduce de-forestation and increase crop profits.

While the wheat went on to save billions from starvation, it also led the world to consume an enormous amount of gluten, starch, and gluteomorphines. Many current researchers believe that increased consumption has triggered the rise of severe inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. According to articles by Dr. Mark Hyman, author, practicing physician and chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, severe inflammation in the body has been linked to celiac disease, autism, schizophrenia, dementia, digestive disorders, nutritional deficiencies, diabetes, cancer and more.

Most recently, studies have begun testing the effectiveness of a gluten-free and casein-free diet in autistic children. The studies suggest that consuming gluten leads to high-levels of gluteomorphines, which are addicting, drug-like, protein byproducts. Studies have shown these protein byproducts affect behavior in a way similarl to some drugs and can cause a reduced desire for social interaction, block pain messages and increase confusion.

As the research continues into the effects of gluten on both healthy immune systems and those who have an intolerance for gluten, anyone curious about the possible health benefits of a gluten free diet can benefit from people like Fries who have been living gluten free for years.

“My goal is to educate and spread awareness in the community,” remarks Fries. “When you start seeing major manufacturers change one ingredient to make it gluten-free, you know this is not just a fad.”

Restaurants are catching on, as well. While a gluten-free meal is slightly more expensive, it pays to offer it on the menu. “Eating is a very social ritual,” says Fries. “If friends get together and one is gluten free, that one person dictates where the group dines.”

That’s where the impetus for Taylor Made Gluten Free Bakery originated and the local response has mirrored national trends. In 2010, the wholesale bakery had one customer, Village Foods. Two years later, they have 17 wholesale customers across the Brazos Valley and are open to retail customers one day a week for Fresh Bread Tuesdays.

The bakery only has positive growth potential as the public becomes more aware of these diseases. “Eight years ago, there was one loaf of bread we could eat in the Brazos Valley,” says Fries. Now, with publicity and awareness, there are multiple restaurants and grocery stores that cater to the gluten free community.

While celiac, gluten intolerance and sensitivity can be debilitating, the good news is the cure simply requires a change in diet. Fries’ daughter had a towering stack of medical records prior to being diagnosed with celiac eight years ago. “She’s only had two sports physicals since going on the gluten free diet,” notes Fries. 

Taylor Made Gluten Free Bakery Sponsors Baking Contest

Taylor Made Gluten Free Bakery celebrated their second anniversary by hosting the Gluten Free Kitchen Showdown to benefit the Gluten Intolerance Group. The event highlighted gluten free food in Bryan/College Station by inviting 24 restaurants and home chefs to show off their best gluten free recipe. Many gluten free families came out to the Gluten Free Kitchen Showdown to sample the foods and nobody left hungry.

Grub Burger Bar won the Professional Savory category with their Turkey Burger on a Taylor Made gluten free hamburger bun. The Lemon Wedge and C&J BBQ took 2nd and 3rd place. Freddy’s Peanut Butter
Ice Cream Sandwich stole the Professional Sweet category with the Chocolate Gallery and 
Lemon Wedge in a close 2nd and 3rd place. The top two restaurants took home prizes worth $1,800 each including a full-page ad in Insite Magazine.

Amanda Eisele’s Monster Cookies took first place in the Home Chef Sweet category and also won the People’s Choice Award. Dr. David Bailey of Bailey’s Health and Wellness Center won the Home Chef Savory category with his Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut Milk and Taylor Made croutons. Joy Patranella made Coconut Shrimp that won first place in the Kid’s Savory category while Grayson McGee took first place in the Kid’s Sweet category with his Double Chocolate Chip Cake.

For more information about local gluten free products and restaurants, visit taylormadeglutenfreebakery.com

The gluten free industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Gluten-free sales reached more than $2.6 billion by the end of 2010 and are now expected to exceed more than $5 billion by 2015. About 1% of the population has Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged upon contact with even small particles of gluten. Another 15% of the population is suspected to have some level
of gluten intolerance where the symptoms are generally not as severe as Celiac Disease and therefore the diagnosis rates for gluten intolerance are not as high as it should be. Symptoms include stomach problems, nutrient deficiencies, migraines, and bone pain.

The Brazos Valley Gluten Intolerance Group meets the 2nd Friday of every month at 6:30pm. Visit www. bvgig.com for meeting locations or call (979) 217-1335 for more information.