The Benefits of Collagen | Gut Health, Skin, Hair and Joints

There has been an increase in awareness and popularity with taking collagen supplements over recent years. Claims have been made that it can help with skin’s youthful appearance, increased bone density and decreased joint pain, along with other claims such as helping to heal your gut lining. For all of these reasons, it’s no surprise that collagen has become a widely sought-after ingredient in the wellness and beauty communities. But collagen’s efficacy is still pretty up in the air. Here’s what we know.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins found in the body. “Its fiber-like structure is used to make connective tissue. Like the name implies, this type of tissue connects other tissues and is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. It helps to make tissues strong and resilient, able to withstand stretching.”1 As we age we naturally start to reduce our collagen production. This means that our bodies are not able to replace the collagen we are losing as quickly as it is breaking down. Starting in our 20s about 1 percent of our collagen production breaks down each year. External factors such as cigarette smoking (inhaling or second hand smoke), extended sun exposure, pollution, excess alcohol, lack of sleep and exercise increases the breakdown of collagen.

Collagen As A Supplement

The first appearance of collagen was as an ingredient in serums and creams. However, this topical application is not backed by science as collagen itself is not found on the skin’s surface but deep in the layers of the skin. The fibers in collagen are too large to penetrate through the skin’s layers, the same evidence goes for the shorter chains of collagen called peptides. So I wouldn’t suggest buying anything that claims the collagen in their creams will help with signs of aging.

Oral collagen on the other hand, in the form of pills, powders, and certain foods is starting to show some scientific evidence that it can be effectively absorbed by the body. As long as it is not the natural molecule of collagen. It needs to be broken down into smaller peptides as they can easily pass through our gut barrier and into our bloodstream. In theory the body can use the collagen peptides in areas that need repair the most.

Look out for collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen, as these are the two forms of broken down collagen that can be easily absorbed by the body. Collagen supplements contain amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. As additional nutrients, some supplements may also contain vitamin c, biotin or zinc. Also look out for any companies claiming their collagen as “plant based” as there is only animal based collagen to date, so this product will not contain any collagen. However, you can consume supplements that contain the primary amino acids that are involved in collagen synthesis – glycine, lycine, and proline.

What Does The Science Say? Does It Work?

The research is showing that taking collagen for many months can help with signs of aging on your skin, improve the health of your gut lining, and even increase the density in bone that are weakened naturally by age. However, most of the research being done is by companies who directly sell collagen themselves – so the information may be biased.

“Most research on collagen supplements is related to joint and skin health. Human studies are lacking but some randomized controlled trials have found that collagen supplements improve skin elasticity. [3,4] Other trials have found that the supplements can improve joint mobility and decrease joint pain such as with osteoarthritis or in athletes. [5] Collagen comprises about 60% of cartilage, a very firm tissue that surrounds bones and cushions them from the shock of high-impact movements; so a breakdown in collagen could lead to a loss of cartilage and joint problems.” 1

The scientific proof on collagen is starting to rise, and more and more research is being done to prove it’s benefits. The great news is all research that has been done has not been showing any negative side effects of taking collagen as a supplement. 1

There are more and more people starting to share their own personal experiences with taking the collagen supplement and the benefits they are experiencing from it. But do keep in mind, if you are going to give it a try, you need to take it every day for at least 1-3 months before you can really see and feel the benefits of it.

How Much Do You Need For It To Be Effective?

As of right now, health authorities have not provided any guidelines for how much collagen to take in a day. This will all depend on what type of collagen you are consuming. There are three types of collagen: hydrolyzed collagen, undenatured collagen, and gelatin.

Hydrolyzed Collagen

This type of collagen is derived from cattle, marine, poultry, pigs and other animal sources and has been broken down into a more digestible and easier to absorb peptide particle. It is the most common form of collagen supplement as it is in powder or capsule form and can be added to smoothies, hot and cold drinks, soups, baked goods and other forms of food.

A 2019 study has found that taking anywhere from 2.5-15g of collagen a day may be safe and effective.

2.5g per day: could benefit joint pain, skin health, and hydration 11, 12, 13
5g per day: can improve bone density 14, 15
15g per day: can help with muscle mass and body composition 16, 17

Undenatured Collagen

This is raw collagen derived from chicken cartilage, some human studies have suggested that taking daily doses of 10–40 mg of undenatured collagen per day may improve joint health. 18, 19

Gelatin

As all collagen is, this is derived from animal sources and is a form of cooked collagen. This type of collagen is not really sold as a supplement as it’s usually used as an ingredient in gelatinous desserts or foods. There is limited research showing daily serving sizes for gelatin, so it is best to refer to the packaging for the products recommended serving size.

Can you eat too much collagen?

It seems as of right now that collagen is a relatively safe product to consume without any side effects. However, always refer to the product packaging for recommended doses of that particular collagen as there has been reports of feeling overly full, unpleasant taste, and other stomach complaints. 20

Where Can Collagen Be Found?

Collagen is a type of protein and it can be found in your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, organs, skin, intestinal lining and other connective tissues. You can see why it is such an important component in our bodies as it helps to make tissues strong and resilient.

In food, naturally collagen is only found in animal flesh like meat and fish that contains connective tissue. However, there is a variety of both animal and plant foods that contain materials to help our bodies natural collagen production.

You can find easily digested forms of collagen in meat and seafood, supplements and even bone broth.

Lifestyle Habits That Can Help Collagen Production

Along with a well-balanced diet, here are some healthy habits that may help with protecting the collagen production in your body.

Reduce Stress: Chronically high cortisol levels in the body can decrease the production levels of collagen naturally in the body. So start mindful practices like meditation and breathing techniques to decrease the amount of stress you may have in your life.

Get A Good Amount Of Sleep: Among many other factors, sleep is extremely important for the human body. But not just any sleep, aiming for 7-9 hours a night of adequate sleep will help with many daily functions in the body.

Stop Smoking: There are many health concerns that we are aware of when it comes to a habit like smoking. But this also includes trying to avoid secondhand smoke whenever you can.

No Excessive Time In The Sun: Now this does not mean hiding from the sun. The sun provides the vital vitamin D that we need for many functions in the body including the immune system. So aim to get 10-20 min of daily direct sunlight 3-4 times a week, but the rest of the time be sure to use sunscreen or cover up with layers and hats.

Exercise Regularly: Exercise is hugely beneficial in so many ways, but some studies have found that exercise can slow down cell activity involved with aging.2

What Are The Benefits Of Collagen?

Helps with gut health

Collagen can play a key role in helping with the repair and strengthening of the gut lining in our digestive tract. This is due to the amino acids it contains, glycine and glutamine. There is research coming out showing the benefits of collagen on the gut and specifically leaky gut. However, do keep in mind all of the research as of right now is all based on animals, there has not been much if at all any human research on this subject.

Although this being said, a research paper published in 2017 has shown that among IBD patients, there was an imbalance between the formation and breakdown of collagen fibres, and this was connected to inflammation. An older study from 2003 showed that IBD patients do have a decreased amount of type 4 collagen. As we know, collagen is a part of connective tissue, and this makes up our colon and GI tract. Therefore, increasing your levels of collagen may be a supportive environment for your body to heal.

Even though there has not been much human research being done on collagen and its effects on the gut, there has been recent human research of l-glutamine on gut health! Since collagen contains glutamine, this could be a step in the right direction. It can help with inflammation, “Several lines of evidence indicate that glutamine has an anti-inflammatory property by influencing a number of inflammatory signalling pathways.”3 As promising as this is, more human research needs to be done to know its full potential.

It can help with what is naturally lost through aging

Your body starts to produce less collagen as we age starting in our twenties, and collagen peptides added to your diet may serve to replace what your body begins to lack as you age, and support your overall health.

Collagen is a good source of protein and is easily digestible

For some people digesting proteins like chicken or beef can cause digestive upset and may be hard on their body. Collagen supplements are hydrolyzed, meaning the collagen is broken down. This means that collagen supplements may potentially be a more comfortable way for your body to digest protein. The process of hydrolyzing also means that the collagen supplement can be easily dissolvable in water which then can be added to everyday foods like water or smoothies.

Collagen may help with skin’s signs of aging

This is by far the most researched when it comes to the benefits of collagen. In a 2019 systemic review, researchers analyzed 11 randomized, placebo-controlled studies of more than 800 patients who took up to 10 grams (g) per day of collagen with the goal of improving skin health. The results? “Preliminary results are promising for the short and long-term use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and skin aging. Oral collagen supplements also increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.”6

Collagen may help to decrease joint aches and pains

There is no doubt that when you have joint pain, exercise becomes a much harder habit to follow. A study from 2017 found that athletes with knee pain who took 5 g of collagen peptides daily for 12 weeks had less joint pain during exercise compared with a placebo group. Oral collagen may support cartilage repair and may also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to start taking collagen or not, don’t forget to also work on other collagen-depleting factors such as sleep, smoking, pollution, stress and exercise as mentioned in this blog post. Taking a supplement is exactly as the name suggests, you supplement with everyday lifestyle changes. Be diligent with quality control and do your research into the company you are sourcing your collagen from. Check to make sure the company is doing their part to source good quality collagen and following safe practices in how they manufacture their products. Also, be sure to follow the supplement’s recommended dietary requirements (RDA) to be sure you are not taking too much of it a day. Any supplement in high quantities over the RDA is not good for anyone, always follow the package directions when consuming supplements.

A Collagen Product I Recommend:

After my diagnosis of celiac disease I decided to try taking collagen to help the healing of my gut lining. Along with following a gluten free diet, I found taking collagen helped to improve my bowel movements, bloating, inflammation in the gut and in my joints and helped my hair and nails grow back stronger along with helping to heal the rashes I had on my skin.

Was it the gluten free diet or taking collagen that helped? I believe it was both, as I stopped taking collagen for a few years and recently just started taking it again. After a few days of taking it I’m starting to see a few improvements in my overall health again.

I am a proud affiliate with the Canadian company Organika, and I stand by their products as they are high quality, follow industry leading practices, they are backed by researched nutrition, mindful crafting and they really source out the best quality ingredients for their products.

They have won awards for Canada’s #1 collagen for a reason.

Follow this link to look through their wide selection of collagen to find the one that is right for you and be sure to use my code LEWSLIFE25 for 25% off site wide!

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.

References:

2) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/acel.12341

3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5454963/

4) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464620305028

5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28174772/

6) https://jddonline.com/articles/oral-collagen-supplementation-a-systematic-review-of-dermatological-applications-S1545961619P0009X/

7) https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/10.1139/apnm-2016-0390#.X0v7bNNKjlw

8) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/apt.14092

9) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14600124/

10) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31096622/

11) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31627309/

12) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24401291/

13) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22486722/

14) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25314004/

15) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29337906/

16) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26353786/

17) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31010031/

18) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24153020/

19) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19847319/

20) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22521757/


The Best Gluten-Free Places To Eat In Penticton | Celiac Friendly

Penticton is a fantastic small town full of outside adventure, wine touring, water sports, winter sports, mountain hiking and biking among many other amenities! It also has a few places to eat that are celiac safe within Penticton and just outside of it as well! Be sure to check the list of places below out if you are looking for gluten-free delicious eats made for someone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance!

Restaurants

Wild Scallion

Picture from my IG account of the Fiesta Bowl


The first restaurant on the list is one of my go-to restaurants as EVERYTHING in the restaurant is gluten-free. They have vegan and vegetarian options but you can also add chicken to most meals as well if you prefer, or add and subtract from plates depending on your food preferences. Everything is fresh and made with wholesome ingredients. As a celiac, I have never had any issues with cross-contamination or a flare-up of symptoms after eating at this restaurant.

My personal favourites:

Fiesta Bowl: Jam-packed with veg, beans, and flavour. I LOVE this bowl, as your mouth is exploding with different textures and flavours. You can easily add Teriyaki chicken to your bowl as well, as this is what I personally do.
Pad Thai: Another classic and great option, the peanut sauce is so good! I also add chicken to this plate as well for more protein.
Vegan Alfredo: Super creamy without the “cream.” Jam-packed with mushrooms, so if you do not like mushrooms you can substitute for chicken.
Salad Rolls: A nice easy and light meal for those who are not needing a bigger plate of food. The peanut sauce that comes with this plate is what I’m always craving from this restaurant (I’m pretty sure it’s the same sauce found on the pad thai). They are light and fresh and like everything else you can add chicken to the rolls if you find fit.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Hazelnut Square: UNREAL, so good especially if you really like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter!

I honestly feel like all of their meals are fantastic, but I have a hard time moving away from one of the 5 mentioned above as I’m always craving them. However, I have heard from friends that their curries are also wonderful.

All of the choices at Wild Scallion are super filling and can sometimes be good for 2-3 meals unless you are starving…then eat the whole plate, I’m not judging.

**I’ve just been informed that this restaurant will be under new ownership, I’m pretty sure they said they will be keeping it all gluten-free – be sure to ask when you get there :)** Notified Feb 2022.

The full menu can be found here.

Photo from my IG account of some of my favourite treats

Gratify


This restaurant is fully gluten-free and vegan. It has raw dessert options and has just started offering take and bake pizzas, wraps, cold and hot drinks, smoothies, and vegan ice cream. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough to anyone looking for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free wholesome food. Everything made with oats is made with gluten-free oats, as I went in and explained to them how celiacs cannot eat regular oats. The next day after our conversation they made the switch to gluten-free oats! Thank you for always listening and making the switch!

My personal favourites:

Peanut Butter Cups: Absolutely delicious, just the right amount of peanut butter to chocolate. The ingredients are Cocoa, Maple Syrup, Coconut Oil, Vanilla Extract, Natural Peanut Butter, Oats (certified GF), Coconut Sugar ($2.50 or 2 for $4.50).
Salted Caramel Pecan Bar: This one is like a turtle chocolate piece but in bar form and without the chocolate. The ingredients are Oat Flour, Pecans, Dates, Coconut Milk, Coconut Oil, Coconut Sugar, Pink Himalayan Salt, Vanilla Extract, Maple Syrup, Water ($3.59).
Nanaimo Bar (coffee): A lovely twist on the original Nanaimo bar as they add coffee, and I’m not a coffee fan, but it is perfect in this bar! They also have the original Nanaimo bar as well which is just as equally delicious. The ingredients are Almonds, Shredded Coconut, Cocoa, Dates, Cashews, Coconut Oil, Maple Syrup, Coconut Sugar, Ground Coffee (Seis Cielo Coffee Roaster), Pink Himalayan Salt, Vanilla Extract ($4.75).
Cheesecake by the slice: Any of their cheesecakes are divine! I have not found one yet that I did not like, you cannot go wrong with any flavour that you get.
Soft Taco: If you are looking for a flavourful and light lunch, their wrap and soup combo are just for you! I personally really like the soft taco wrap, but all of them are a great choice. The soft taco is a gluten-free wrap, black bean spread & spinach, tangy taco “meat”, queso sauce, and pico de gallo – $9.95  (Small Soup Combo: $13.00, Medium Soup Combo: $14.75).
Take and Bake Pizza’s: This is a newer product at their location and I could not be happier! There is finally a good-sized pizza with a lot of toppings to take home for the celiacs in the community. I personally love how filling each piece is and how the toppings are basically overflowing off the pizzas. My personal favourite of the pizzas so far is the Mexican.

Gratify is a fantastic location for all things gluten-free and vegan. The owners are lovely as can be and it’s a fantastic local shop to check out!

Click here for their menu. And here for their website.

Photo is from my IG account of some of my favourite treats from Blissful Belly

Blissful Belly


This is a celiac-safe, gluten, dairy, and egg-free facility! The owner is celiac herself so you know every product in her shop will for sure be safe for anyone with celiac disease. They also have some products that are made without nuts in case there may be a nut allergy. I cannot explain enough how much I love this little bakeshop! The owner, Victoria, is an absolute gem and super friendly to speak with. She has a background as a whole food nutritionist so you know the food had some thought put into it.

My personal favourites:

“Just-Add-Water” Baking Mixes:
All of the mixes are delicious and super convenient for the days that you want to bake something up but you may not have all of the ingredients or you may be short of time. There are six mixes and you cannot go wrong with either one. She has Mocha Fudge Brownie Mix, Chocolate Chip Granola Cookie Mix, Chipotle Apple Cornbread Mix, Onion & Garlic Biscuit Mix, Gingerbread Scone/Cookie Mix (Seasonal), and Buckwheat Cinnamon Pancake/Waffle Mix.
Fresh Bake Shop Items: All her treats are delicious and are baked in-house with local and organic ingredients. You can have the choice from Biscotti Bites – Maple Ginger, Maple Walnut, Maple Chocolate, Macaroons – Lemon Maple, Cherry Lavender, Mocha Nib, Trail Bars – Peanut Butter Date and Cranberry Chocolate – 2/pkg, Cherry Date Oat Bars – 2/pkg, and Fudge Brownie – Turtle Caramel Pecan and Maple Walnut 2/pkg. I personally love her fudge brownie, peanut butter bars and cherry date oat bars.

This is definitely a shop you’ll want to check out and grab snacks for on the road or in your own home baking. She even has teas & hot cocao mixes! She sells her products in her Penticton shop but also has an online store where she will ship products across Canada.

You can find her website here. And menu and shop here.

This photo is from The Kitchen’s IG account

The Kitchen


This restaurant can be found at Da Silva Winery and is open from May 1 – Mid October, as they are only open seasonally, and open for lunch and dinner service Monday to Saturday. However, when they do open up, it’s one of the happiest days as this restaurant is beyond delicious. They have Portuguese tapas with a Mexican flare. I absolutely love this restaurant when I want to have multiple plates of food and cannot make up my mind. The tapas are smaller servings but they are jam-packed with flavour, and the best part is you leave the restaurant feeling satisfied but not overfull. If you are in Penticton I cannot recommend this restaurant enough, but be sure to call ahead and make a reservation as they book up fast!

My personal favourites:

Pork Belly Slow Braised In Port And Brandy: Extremely tender meat, and unreal flavouring.
Duck Leg Confit With Amarena Cherry Gastric: I never thought I would say that duck is good, but this was my first time trying it and I have to say, it was absolutely delicious!
Roasted Cauliflower, Dusted With Parmesan Cheese: I wanted to order this twice because of how good it was.

You really cannot go wrong with anything you choose off their menu as they have meat, seafood and vegetarian sections. You will also be dining with an amazing view of the winery and surrounding Penticton landscape. The restaurant is 99% gluten-free, the only reason it’s not 100% is due to the bread served before the meals arrive. However, when I told them I was celiac they assured me the chef cleaned down the preparation areas to be sure I did not get exposed. What are you waiting for? Book a reservation and experience The Kitchen for yourself!

Their website can be found here and their menu can be found here.

Ice cream sandwich
Burger

Poplar Grove


This is another restaurant at a winery in Penticton. It is a fancier restaurant, with an epic view and great staff and honestly even better food. I have personally eaten here a handful of times and every time I have had no reactions and the food I ate, I was craving more of. They do have gluten in their kitchen but they do work hard to decrease the amount of cross-contamination. I would just mention to the server that you have celiac disease and inform the chef.

My personal favourites:

I believe they change their menu every once in a while so just know that it may be different when you go.

Beef Burger:
I had this for lunch one day and they gave me a lettuce wrap to eat it with. It seems like a simple option on a menu, but it was delicious!
Ice cream sandwich:
UNREAL. It’s made with ice cream and the “sandwich” part is chocolate and puffed rice.
Risotto: I believe they special made this for me as they didn’t have anything on the dinner menu that was for sure gluten-free at the time. But I remember this dish being absolutely delicious!

If you want to go to Poplar Grove, be sure to call ahead and make a reservation as they book up FAST.

Lunch Menu | Dinner Menu | Website

This picture is from their website of the Dolmathes Avgolemono

Theo’s

An amazing wholesome family-run Greek restaurant. This is one of my go-to restaurants in Penticton all year round. If you are craving or just want to try authentic Greek food, this is definitely the place for you! They have a specialty vegetarian menu along with a gluten-free menu as well. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure one of the owner’s family members has celiac disease so they usually take extra care. When I have gone in to eat at the restaurant I have never had any issues, however, I did have one time with take-out that I didn’t feel too great after eating their food. So I would suggest going to eat in person instead of take-out if you are celiac. I’ve never had an issue when I have gone into the restaurant itself to eat.

My personal favourites:

Mediterranean Ribs: This is my go-to meal at Theo’s. You get a decent-sized rack of ribs with delicious herbs and spices on them cooked to perfection. Charbroiled pork back ribs glazed with oregano, lemon juice and fresh garlic. There is also a side of rice, veg and the best lemon potatoes.
Rack of Lamb: This is the next plate I go for. A fantastic cut of lamb with the best flavours. New Zeland rack of lamb crusted with Greek Vlahotiri cheese and baked in the oven with fresh herbs and a little garlic. It is also paired with rice, veg and lemon potatoes.
Dolmathes Avgolemono: If you are in the mood for an appetizer, guys, you need to get these. I crave these, it is hot stuffed grape leaves filled with rice and ground beef, fresh herbs and topped with a creamy avgolemono sauce. Also available as Vegan.
Souvlaki: A delicious lighter dinner or lunch. Undoubtedly the most famous Greek dish, bite-size pieces of beef, chicken or pork are seasoned in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and oregano then skewered with onion and green peppers and grilled to suit your taste. Also paired with veg, rice and lemon potatoes.
Moussaka: A classic Greek entree and a house favourite of Theo’s guests since 1976. Alternate layers of sliced roasted eggplant, potatoes, zucchini and ground beef spiced with cinnamon and herbs.  The topping itself, created by Mary Theodosakis, features Béchamel sauce enhanced with nutmeg and other distinctive islands of Crete spices. **BE SURE TO ASK FOR THIS TO BE GLUTEN-FREE IF CELIAC**
Ice Cream: They also have the best inhouse made ice cream that can be dairy-free if needed.

The lamb shoulder is unreal, however, I ate that one before I knew I was celiac and unfortunately it is NOT gluten-free. If you cannot tell from the list of my favourites above, I’ve gone and continue to go to this restaurant a lot. It’s by far a Penticton favourite, so be sure to call ahead for take-out (as they will only do it to a certain time), and if you want any reservations.

Website and Menu

The picture is taken from my IG stories of the GF fish and chips

Ships A-Hoy

This restaurant is not in Penticton, but I had to add it to the list. If you are looking for the BEST gluten-free fish and chips, you’ll want to drive out to Peachland. The owner’s daughter has celiac disease, so she has separate fryers and sections of her kitchen for gluten-free and non-gluten-free. I have NEVER had any issues eating at this restaurant and the fish and chips are honestly unreal.

Along with fish and chips, they also have ice cream and gluten-free waffle cones to boot!

Website

The high tea closest is gluten-free and the one furthest is not
A glimpse of the atmosphere here

Neverland Tea Cottage

If you are wanting to have gluten-free high tea, head on out to Naramata! I could not explain to you how excited I was to see a gluten-free high tea. Just be sure to call ahead and inform them that you are celiac and need the food to be prepared away from gluten in the kitchen. It’s a lovely restaurant with a stunning atmosphere, great tea, and delicious treats. They also have other food choices than high tea.

Website | Menu

If you are coming into Penticton and are celiac, be sure to check out the restaurants mentioned above!


The Symptoms Of ‘Glutening’ As A Celiac | And What To Do When It Happens

When you are diagnosed with celiac disease, you typically do everything in your power to not eat gluten. Unfortunately, sometimes this is inevitable and will happen at some point in your life, especially if you eat out.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the tissues in the small intestine in response to gluten. One crumb is sometimes all it takes to flare and cause symptoms in an individual who is celiac. However, how every individual person reacts to gluten when they have celiac disease differs in severity. Some may not feel any symptoms at all, others may get all of the symptoms associated with the disease and others it depends on how much they have consumed.

In my experience with the disease, it seems to be changing as time goes by and my gut continues to heal. When I was first diagnosed, a year later I was given 2 slices of gluten bread and I had awful symptoms that lasted about 8 months. However, now 5 years into my diagnosis, a week ago I was glutened again at a restaurant but this time I had stabbing sharp pains in my gut immediately after eating along with instant bloating. The pain lasted for about 3 hours and I was fatigued with my stomach feeling a bit off and bloated for about 3-7 days after and I seem to be back to my regular self again. Was it less gluten than before? Is it because my stomach has healed more that it did not hit me as hard or last as long? Only time and experience will tell me for sure as every individual reacts differently. However, listed below are some symptoms to look out for if you have eaten out or eaten something new and seem to be having a reaction.

How do I know if I have eaten gluten?

As mentioned above, depending on your severity and how long you are into your healing journey, what you will feel when you have been glutened will vary.

For myself, when I ate the two slices of bread a year after diagnosis at a restaurant, it was within 30-40 min after eating there I started getting symptoms. I felt like I was going to be sick, the typical signs and symptoms you get just before you’re going to throw up. I did throw up and immediately after I had sharp pains in my gut which feel as if I just swallowed a bunch of razor blades. That pain happened on and off, along with distended bloating. The pain was on and off for about a week, and the bloating lasted for about 2-3 months. However, the mental and physical symptoms I got (most of which are listed below) lasted for about 8 months. This exposure shot my TTG blood levels (anti-body blood test for celiac) back up to greater than 300. For those of you who do not know, this is very high and a good indication that I definitely ate a lot of gluten that day.

However, recently I believe I had just a smaller exposure at a restaurant and I had the sharp pains instantly after eating, this was my first sign. They progressively became worse as the night went and lasted for about 3 hours if I had to guess. I bloated instantly and was left feeling very fatigued that night. The next few days I had a few sharp pains when I ate anything but not like the night before, more just a reminder to take it easy on the food that day. My appetite was lower and my stomach felt sore and inflamed for about 3 days, but the bloating lasted for about 5-7 days along with some digestion upset. I did not have as much brain fog or mental health issues pop up, but I did have a few skin conditions pop up minorly. I had a very red sore pop up on my chin and small red bumps on my arms. But no dermatits herpetiformis on my hands like I usually get. Now, 2 weeks after, I’m seeing that it may have had an effect on my digestion just a bit longer than a week and it has thrown off my menstrual cycle as well. However, all of my symptoms did not last as long as the last time which is really encouraging. I was also told by my dietician that a once in a while exposure to gluten does not reverse all of the healing you have done in your gut, that will only happen when you have multiple exposures in a row (as if you are eating it on a regular basis).

Depending on how you individually react to gluten, one or more of the symptoms below can occur. Remember that everyone reacts differently, and it also depends where you are in your healing journey to know how you will react to gluten. It seems like the more your gut heals over time, the quicker you will heal when you are exposed to gluten. Hurray for our superhuman healing powers!

What are the symptoms of gluten exposure?

Listed below are just a few of the symptoms one can experience when they have celiac disease and have eaten gluten. Keep in mind that there are more than 300 known symptoms of celiac disease. So this is the short of the long list of them all.

  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Brain Fog
  • Irritability
  • Bloating or Gas
  • Sharp Abdomen Pain
  • Depression
  • Delayed Growth in Children
  • Diarrhea
  • Discoloured Teeth
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Infertility
  • Irregular periods
  • PMS
  • Itchy Skin Rash (Dermatitis Herpetiformis)
  • Joint Pain
  • Mouth Sores
  • Poor weight gain or loss
  • Thin bones
  • Neropathy suchs as tingling and numbness into the arms and legs
  • Vomiting
  • And so much more

What do I do if I think I have been glutened?

  1. Don’t Panic: First step is to not panic. The more you stress, the more your gut will become affected through the gut-brain axis. I’ve learned to sit with my symptoms for a bit and see what pops up, because it could be gluten, but it could also very well be something else.
  2. Wait it out: Continuing my point from above, it might be something else causing your symptoms. I’ve learned over the last 6 months working with a dietician that there are a wide range of reasons why you may be experiencing symptoms. Try to not think that it is always gluten that is out to get you, believe me, I know this is a hard mindset to get to. However, if your symptoms do become worse over time or more start to pop up, then I would either make an appointment with you doctor to see if they feel you need to be tested for gluten exposure, or ride it out and try the tips listed below.
  3. Listen to your body: Our bodies have an amazing way of letting us know what we need. If you feel you need to eat more plain food after a glutening, then go for it. Eat foods that are easier to digest to help your body out when it is already working hard. However, if you feel you need more food than you can do that too.
  4. Hydrate: Keeping yourself hydrated will help to flush out the gluten but also to help keep your systems running efficiently. Your body is already working hard to get everything back to equilibrium, give it a little help in return. For the first few days after the last glutening I had I was drinking elecrolytes once a day and about 10-12 cups of water a day along with some bone broth as well for the vitamins, minerals and collagen to further help my body out. But if you don’t have the others, plain old H2O is a fantastic help.
  5. Rest: This is probably one of the most important steps when you’ve been glutened. Your body is going through a lot when this happens, a full autoimmune reaction can occur which means all of your systems in your body is working in over drive. Help your body out and don’t put any unneccessary stress on it until you start to recover and feel better. You’ll most likely recover faster if you listen to your body and give it what it needs. Grab a book, relax with a nice tea and a blanket and relax.

Final thoughts

Don’t be hard on yourself, things happen and unfortunately, it’s almost inevitable to happen when you’re not eating in your own kitchen as a celiac. Take it easy and try the tips above for hopefully what will be a faster recovery. That way you can get back to doing what you love and enjoy in life.

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.


A Book I Highly Recommend For Gut Health: Love Your Gut

I have to start off by saying if you have gut issues or even if you don’t but you are interested in learning more about gut health, this is the book for you! If you have been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I have celiac disease, you will also know that I’ve been struggling with ongoing gut and full-body symptoms even with following a strict gluten-free diet. This is the book that changed my mindset on gut health and had me start working with a registered dietician.

Dr. Megan Rossi is, “a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist with a Ph.D. in gut health from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia. Megan’s Ph.D. was recognized for its contribution to science receiving the Dean’s Award for excellence. Megan leads research at King’s College London investigating nutrition-based therapies in gut health, including pre- & probiotics, dietary fibres, the low FODMAP diet and food additives.1″

She starts the book off by explaining about her grandma who was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and how when she started working in the hospital as a dietician she had a lot of patients with kidney disease who were complaining of gut issues. She then went on to work with Olympic athletes and company CEOs who got her thinking about the link between the gut and the brain (the gut-brain axis). From here she went into research to make a difference, but she found that even with the research that was being done and that was available, there were false and dangerous fad nutritional messages being passed to the public. She educates the public that restricting diets and taking expensive supplements can destroy people’s gut health. Her mission is to now spread true information about gut health and nutrition through evidence-based research. She also talks a lot about getting enough “plant points” in your diet every day by eating a wide range of plant-based foods.

When I say this book is jam-packed with exceptional information, I mean that I have post-it notes all over this book to the information I have referenced back to time and time again. The book is full of evidence-based information from the gut microbiota to food intolerances and irritable bowel syndrome, plus so much more. She explains the information in a way that anyone would understand and in a way that really sticks with you as well. She wrote the book in a way that as you are reading about the information given, you will also have the opportunity to take her assessment quizzes to find out the state of your individual gut health. By the end of the book, you may have a better understanding of what is going on in your own gut and have a better idea of what to do to correct it. It’s like having a dietician right there in your own home!

What made me pick up this book

For a short personal story, I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2017. I went on a gluten-free diet immediately after being diagnosed. After a few months of continual symptoms even with following a strict gluten-free diet, I started reaching out for help. The walk-in doctors were of no help as they kept telling me to continue eating a gluten-free diet and I would be fine. This is when I started reaching out for help from other healthcare providers like naturopaths, acupuncturists and nutritionists, all of which were helpful in their own way but something did not add up. I was placed on extreme elimination diets like the hypoallergenic diet and I was told through a muscle food intolerance test that I was intolerant to certain foods and needed to avoid them. I was not told that I could eventually reintroduce those foods back into my diet, like what Dr. Rossi explains in her book, but instead, I was told to eat restrictively and avoid those foods for the rest of my life. This was not the lifestyle I wanted for myself and I eventually started to develop anxiety over food. This past year I started wondering if the anxiety I felt over the foods I was told to avoid was contributing to my ongoing gut health issues. It turns out, I was right.

Fast forward to last year when I started reading Dr. Rossi’s book, Love Your Gut, after listening to her speak over many podcasts and on her social media platforms. After reading her book and completing the self-assessments, I decided to give working with a dietician a try. I cannot emphasize this enough, I wish I started working with one sooner, as I have noticed more difference in my gut over 6 months of working with one than in the 4 years with other healthcare providers. This is not to say other healthcare providers do not help, but be sure you are working with the right ones for your individual needs.

I feel like I could write a book-length reason why you should read this book. Definitely pick up a copy for yourself or a friend or family member you feel may need it, I’ve bought this book for many people in my life. She even has delicious recipes to try at the end of the book, they will definitely help you get your ‘plant points.’

I personally cannot wait for her next book, Eat More Live Well, to be available in Canada, but in the meantime check this one out!

Thank you Dr. Rossi for all that you do, you’ve helped to transform my life and I’m sure many others as well!

Click here for her Instagram page. Click here for her amazing blog.

This review was in no way sponsored – more a way to spread the word on a great book and human being!

References:

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/people/megan-rossi

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.


5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Diagnosed With Celiac Disease

Today is my five-year anniversary of being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I look back on that day and think about how relieved I was to finally have an answer of why I was not feeling great and why I had the symptoms that I did. I left that doctor’s office and immediately started researching everything I could about Celiac Disease. However, now that I’m 5 years into my diagnosis, I’m going to write about 5 things I wish I was told when I was first diagnosed. This was a hard list to make, as there are hundreds of topics I wish I knew about, but that’s the simplest part of life, we need to take it one step at a time. All of the answers will come with experience and time. There is more to the disease than just going gluten-free. Celiac disease, for those who do not know, is an autoimmune disease of the small intestine, and gluten is its trigger.

First off, go gluten-free, right this second, if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease and DO NOT look back. I hate to tell you, but this is a life-long disease that will never go away, I’m just going to be straight with you. There is no cure for celiac disease as of yet, other than following a strict 100% gluten-free diet. I have met some people who “cheat” on their gluten-free diet even though they have been diagnosed with celiac disease. This is a hard no, just one crumb can cause an autoimmune reaction in your body and have you not feeling your best again. So just avoid the stuff as much as you physically can in your own home and out to eat.

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease I was told by the doctor to “just follow a gluten-free diet.” And even though he was technically correct with this statement, over the years I have learned there I so much more to healing your gut from celiac disease than ‘just going gluten-free.’ Here are 5 things I wish I was also told when I was first diagnosed.

  1. Give Yourself Time To Heal

    This is my first point for you because I did not realize just how long it takes the gut to heal from something like the damages of celiac disease. Depending on how long you have had symptoms and how long it took you to get diagnosed, there is damage in your gut that needs time to heal. Your doctor may have you do a TTG test every 3 or 6 months to see where your progress is, but do not get discouraged if it’s taking a bit longer than you thought to get your TTG levels to fully drop to a normal level. Typically it takes anywhere from 6-18 months to heal, however, if you have had the symptoms longer or had a high TTG test result (such as, greater than 300), it can take up to 5 years to get your TTG levels to fully drop. For example, when I was first diagnosed my TTG blood result was greater than 300. Now 5 years later my TTG result is now 17.5, and continues to drop with a diligent lifestyle. Nothing happens over night, so try to be patient and kind with yourself as sometimes there are things in life that we have no control over.
  2. Be Wary Of Cross-Contamination

    If you have on-going symptoms, cross contamination of gluten may be the cuplrit. I had no idea this was even a possibility when I was first diagnosed. This is an important point to make because as I have mentioned, it just takes one crumb to cause you symptoms and that one crumb can be hidden in the most sneaky places. I have written a whole blog post on cross contamination and celiac disease which you can find here, however here is the quick version of it.

    It is not just the act of eating wheat, barley, rye or oats that can cause your TTG levels to rise and cause you symptoms, but you can also get small contaminations of gluten that may not rise your TTG levels but can definitely still cause your on-going symptoms. Gluten can be hidden in ingredients, products, and kitchen equipment just to name a few. Now before I continue, this is not a fear mongering point, more one just to make you aware.

    Be sure to go through your kitchen equipment and replace what could have come into contact with gluten before your diagnosis. Equipment such as chopping boards, toasters, rolling pin and wooden spoons, pasta strainers, sifter, old plastic utensils, waffle irons, teflon pans that are heavily stratched, baking sheets, loaf pans and muffin tins are all objects that can conceal gluten in them. Even looking into your condements to be sure there is no ‘double dipping’ of a utensil from a slice of gluten bread into that condiment jar as it can leave behind gluten crumbs. Finally, products like toothpaste, lipchap, mouthwash, and dental floss should also be looked into.

    Getting little micro contamnations consistently can cause your symptoms to stick around and keep your TTG levels raised. So being sure you are reading food labels correctly and replacing what you need to in your home along with asking all of the right questions when you are out to eat can help you prevent getting glutened. This actally brings me to my next point…
  3. Start Working With The Right Healthcare Providers Right Away

    I cannot emphasis this point enough! Over the years I have worked with a list of different healthcare providers and there are two of which I would suggest to see.

    A Gastroenterologist

    I wish the doctor I saw at the walk in told me to go and see a gastroenterologist right away. I was not sent to see a gastroenterologist when I was first diagnosed as I was told it would take up to 2 years for me to even get in with one (that’s here in Canada). So I was not referred to one until I was given the wrong sandwich bread at a restaurant a year after my diagnosis and my now family doctor started the referral process to get me in with a specialist. When I did get in to see her a year later, she saw my first test results and said I should have seen her at that point, and not 2 years later. I’m also suggesting to see a gastroenterologist right away as the blood test alone is not the ‘solid’ diagnosis of celiac disease; you need to get a gastroscopy and biopsy completed to know for sure if you are 100% celiac. The reason for this is the blood test that can be a false positive or vice versa, and the only way to know for sure is testing your small intestine directly. Your specialist can also take a look at your test results and decide if any further testing needs to be done.

    A Dietician

    The second professional I highly suggest working with right away is a dietician. But not just any dietician, one that specializes in celiac disease. I started working with one that specializes in celiac disease because the first dietician I worked with did not, and she taught me the basics but did not continue to work with me to help me with my on-going symptoms. I am now working with a dietician that does specialize in celiac disease and it has made a world of a difference, so much so that I wish I had started to work with her sooner. They will be able to work with you and let you know if you are eating the correct foods, meal portion sizes, meal spacing, how to eat balanced meals, teach you how to read food labels correctly, and so much more. I personally have had on-going symptoms even with following a gluten free diet for the last 5 years, but she has taught me information I’m not sure I would have figured out without her help and guidance. And I’m happy to say I have less symptoms than I did when I first started working with her.
    This is not a promotion or plug in anyway, but if you’d like to work with the same dietician I am, she can be found here. She also has celiac disease and can relate with what you are going through.
  4. Continue To Live Your Life Without Fear And Speak Up For Yourself – Some tips on how to do this

    This doesn’t seem like a big one for most, and it didn’t seem like one for myself, but it’s a important part of the healing process. When you are first diagnosed it can be daunting to know that you have to avoid gluten for your physical and mental health, but it can be hard to avoid it when it is a main ingredient in a lot of products and foods. However, if you follow a few simple lifestyle changes, it will be smooth sailing. Here are a few examples:

    – Read labels of foods before you buy them and eat them to be sure they do not contain gluten
    – Ask the right questions when you are out to eat or at a friends place. Do not be afraid to speak up for yourself, this is afterall your health and you are the one who will suffer the consequences, so please do not feel embarassed to tell people what needs to be done to keep you safe. This is personally one I’m still working on myself but with time it will become easier and more natural.
    – Prepare for road trips and always carry a snack on you. This is something I learned the hard way, I’ve hit hangry Lauren way too many times but this can all be stopped by preparing ahead and being sure you always leave your home with a snack. Having bars, fruit or veg, nut and seed mixes, etc on you can be life changning when you cannot find somewhere safe to eat. This can also decrease the anxiety placed on yourself when you are hungry.
    – Along with the last point, travel your little heart out! Do not be afraid to travel, there are so many places you can go to eat safely now, and if there is not, bring snacks and prepare for the trip. You can also travel with health cards that are typed out in the language of the country that you are going to explaining your condition and what needs to be done to keep you safe. Go see the world!

    Just know that if you are doing your best and continuing to educate yourself, you’re already way ahead. I know it can be scary with a new condition, but take it from me, it’s livable and it can become your new adventure in life!
  5. The Mind-Gut Connection

    Okay last but certainly not least, the mind-gut connection. There is more and more research coming out showing how closely the mind and gut work together. Celiac disease does not just effect the gut, it affects every system in the body due to the fact that it damages our main organ that absorbes the nutrients from the food we eat, the small intestine. Therefore, it won’t just cause symptoms physically but also mentally. When the gut is damaged, it will cause a domino-effect throughout the rest of the body. All the same, if the brain is damaged it can do the same thing.

    The following is from the book, The Mind-Gut Connection: “We know today that 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is actually contained in specialized cells in the gut, and these serotonin-containing cells are influenced by what we eat, by chemicals released from certain species of gut microbes, and by signals that the brain sends to them, informing them about our emotional state.” Essentially, if our gut is unhappy, so will our brain be and vice versa.

    The reason I am bringing this point into view is due to my own struggles in this department over the last 5 years. I did not realize until 6 months ago just how anxious I was about my gut and just how much it was affecting my over all physical and mental state. If you are anxious, nervous, fatigued, or scared, your gut will act up. But if you make this chronic, over time more and more symptoms can occur. Those symptoms are very similar to a celiac eating gluten, in whichcase you may be thinking you are eating gluten when your stomach is upset but sometimes it might be due to your menal state causing those symptoms. Breathwork and meditation has been a saving grace for me, and thankfully in this day and age there are a lot of videos, tutorials, apps, books and people out there that can help you get started.

Those are the first 5 tips that I would give anyone who has just been diagnosed with celiac disease. All in all, know that you are a rockstar and this is an amazing opportunity for a lifestyle change that will better suit you. There are many positives to being celiac which I wrote about, and now there are so many amazing communities to be a part of as well. Know that you are never alone and there is always help out there.

As I have mentioned there is so much more that I would love to share with you, as I truly believe that experience is knowledge and knowledge is power. Stay tuned for more helpful tips coming in the near future on this blog and more!

Much love coming your way,

LEW oxox

If you are interested in reading my story here are some blog posts I wrote about my journey with celiac disease:

Part 1: The beginning of a positive lifestyle change

Part 2: The first year after diagnosis

Part 3: My first accidental exposure to gluten that lead to a gastroscopy

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.


How Tea Can Help With Mental Health: Featuring The Genuine Tea Company

There are not enough words in the world for me to write about how much I love this tea company.

Genuine Tea is ethically sourced, free of artificial flavouring and colours, and the best part for people who may have celiac disease, they are 100% gluten free! This Toronto, Ontario based company hand packages their tea with love, care and excitement to all orders of their super flavourful tea.

Another big reason I support Genuine Tea, is for every cup of their tea that you enjoy, 1% of proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

With the uprise in mental health awareness, it is really refreshing to see a company that supports such an important cause. Recently there have been many studies showing the many major benefits of tea with overall health. Some of these benefits are listed below.

The Benefits of Tea on Mental and Physical Health:

Tea not only tastes great, but there is a lot of research backing the many health benefits found within the nutrients in tea. The bioactive compounds found in tea are called flavonoids, which are plant compounds with a variety of health benefits. Researchers have found a decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, and some cancers with a diet rich in flavonoids. If this was not reason enough to add more flavonoids into your diet, they also have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects that protect your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to disease.

The amino acid, L-theanine, which is found in tea has been found in some studies to alter the attention networks in the brain and also has clear-cut effects on brain waves. This then leads to a feeling of relaxation without having any drowsiness. A placebo-controlled study was done to show how the people who drank tea were better at doing an attention task than those who drank the placebo drink. Green tea for instance has been shown to help with concentration and relaxation without having the jittery side effects that can occur with coffee. Even more fascinatingly, there have been studies showing that theanine has some success of reducing anxiety and other symptoms in people with schizophrenia!

There are also polyphenols found in tea that can contribute to better cognition and working memory. There have been many studies on people with Alzheimer’s disease that shows drinking green tea can lead to promising results with improving a decline in memory, cognitive impairment and dementia.

Tea has also been shown to help with a decline in stressful situations. One study showed that drinking 4 cups of oolong tea everyday for a week helped to decrease the symptoms of stiffness in the shoulders and neck, fatigue of the eyes and headaches. Black tea has also been shown to decrease stress hormones if consumed regularly.

It is safe to say, when we are in and out of stressful situations we can all learn a lesson from those in England who have a cuppa close in hand!

Regardless of the type of tea you like to consume on a regular basis I can “guarantea” that it will have many positive beneficial outcomes for your overall health!

If you are considering adding tea to your daily routine or looking for another company to try and enjoy, check out Genuine Tea and support their amazing Canadian small business!

Resources:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-flavonoids#1

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jhs/49/6/49_6_436/_pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4210905/

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/98/6/1700S/4577506

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21208586/


Gluten Free Stir Fry

This is a super easy recipe you can finish within 20 min! And it’s ingredients that are usually found in your kitchen already.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:
2 TBS Tamari or Coconut Aminos (make sure they are gluten free if you are celiac!)
2 TBS Maple Syrup
1 TBS Green Thai Paste
1 TBS Grainy Mustard

For the stir fry:
One medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 thumb size piece of ginger
Package of ground turkey
Mixed frozen veg – broccoli, kale, butternut squash
1 Cup of brown rice
Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the stir fry sauce in a separate bowl and set aside.
  2. Boil 2 cups water and put in 1 cup of the brown rice and follow the packet instructions for cooking.
  3. Cut up the ginger, onion and garlic cloves into small pieces. Put them in a pan with a bit of oil to cook. Once they are browning, go onto step 4.
  4. Add in the ground turkey and cook until semi-cooked. You do this so the meat is not over cooked while the veg cooks.
  5. Add in the stir fry sauce you made.
  6. Add in the frozen veg and continue to cook until they are not frozen anymore.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste

Enjoy your dinner!


Which Tea Companies Are Gluten Free?

As a continuation from last week’s post of what can make tea not gluten free, here are some companies I have contacted to find out if they are 100% gluten free or not. As a disclaimer, I was not sponsored by any of the companies in this blog post.

First, let’s start with the companies that cannot make any claims that their tea is safe for someone with celiac disease. As a disclaimer, do your own research into all of the companies listed if you need to in order to feel more comfortable. The information below is the replies I received from the individual companies. I asked if they can 100% guarantee that their tea is gluten free within the ingredients AND the facility they are made in. Every person with celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity has different comfort levels when it comes to ordering out or buying processed products.

The tea companies that potentially have gluten – Sip at your own risk

Starbucks Teavana

This company uses Teavana tea, which used to be a solo store franchise but back in 2017 Starbucks closed all locations. Since then you can still purchase certain select Teavana tea’s at Starbucks store locations and when you order a tea from the barista it is from Teavana. Starbucks cannot 100% guarantee the tea or tea lattes made in house are 100% gluten free. They also did not mention if their tea bags are sealed with wheat paste. This is the reply I received from Starbucks:

“Please note that Starbucks locations cannot guarantee a gluten-free environment due to the possibility of cross-contamination. Products made with no gluten-containing ingredients does not mean the item is gluten-free. It means the item was not made with any ingredients derived from wheat, rye, barley, or oats, but may contain gluten due to the risk of cross contact.”

As mentioned in my last post, gluten can be hidden ingredients like ‘flavourings,’ which most of the teas from Teavana have included. If it contains or may contain any gluten or wheat ingredients this has to be stated on the packaging by law. So be sure to read the labels before you consume your tasty drink and be aware that possible cross contamination can occur in house as the baristas do not typically do a deep clean of the machinery before making any of your drinks. You can also ask to read the ingredients before you order as well. I personally did this with their hot chocolate mix and the bag stated that it may contain gluten, so I personally passed on the mocha. However, if you are in dire need of a warm drink, getting a tea bag and hot water may be a safe option.

Website found here.

Tim Hortons

I was a bit disappointed with Tim Hortons customer service as the only answer I received was a link to the ‘Nutrition and Wellness’ section of their website which is not very detailed. Therefore, I am going to presume they will be similar to Starbucks where they cannot 100% guarantee their tea and drinks will be gluten free due to cross contamination in the facility it is being made. The boxes of the tea does not state anything about gluten or ‘may contain.’ However, some of the teas do have flavourings added and as mentioned above if it contains wheat or gluten it must be stated in the ingredients. As for if the tea bags are sealed with wheat paste, I did not get an answer so I cannot say ‘yay or nay’ for sure. As always, do your own due diligence and contact the companies yourself to be sure you are comfortable with consuming their tea products at the restaurants or in the individual boxes you can purchase at select stores and in Tim Hortons locations.

Website found here.

Blenz Tea

This was one of my favourite cafe’s to go into for a tea latte. Unfortunately, this will be no longer as they cannot guarantee no gluten cross contamination. Here was their response:

“Sorry for the delay in getting back to you Lauren, we just wanted to do our due diligence on this as we can understand it is a sensitive case. Our teas are gluten free however, we’re unable to guarantee that there will be no gluten traces as the production facility they are put together in may contain other gluten products. Our stores also do serve gluten products so there may be some cross contamination that can occur. I’m sorry that it seems we cannot accommodate your particular needs but we will make note of this as feedback for us to take into consideration as we move forward with new products and store openings.”

So as unfortunate as it is, at least they will be taking it into consideration for future reference.

Website found here.

David’s Tea

I have always loved the tea but also the great customer service from David’s Tea. The representative responded to my email as so:

Although most of our teas do not contain gluten, they are not produced in dedicated gluten-free facilities. There is always a risk of cross-contamination with all our teas. 

At this time we suggest that all people with severe allergies avoid consuming our products. Even though there may not be allergens in a particular tea blend, there is always a chance that somewhere along the line they may have come in contact with potential allergens as our producers do not have allergen-free facilities.

They did mention that the chances of their ‘straight teas’ coming into contact with gluten is very low, however, they do not regularly test their products for allergens. If you feel comfortable with those odds, have at ‘er!

Website found here.

Marks and Spencer Tea

I only asked about their ‘luxury gold loose leaf tea,’ so if you have any questions about any other teas or flavours, please contact M&S to find out.

Unfortunately, these products don’t have the symbol for ‘gluten free.’  Consequently,  we couldn’t  ensure that products are safe for you.

In any case I suggest to you visit our on-line shop and search for the category ‘Gluten free.'”

As mentioned in the reply, visit the online shop and look under the gluten free category to find out more about any other teas at the store.

Website found here.

Lipton Tea

Similar to other companies, Lipton cannot guarantee their products are gluten free at this time.

Many Unilever products are produced using ingredients which naturally do not contain gluten. However, at this time we have not validated that our suppliers can guarantee the elimination of any potential cross-contamination risks from other materials within their production facility which may contain gluten or from shared equipment. Unilever products labeled as gluten-free contain gluten-free ingredients and no cross-contact of ingredients during processing. We apologize we cannot be of more assistance. 

Therefore, if you are to buy a Lipton tea product, look for a ‘gluten free’ label. If this label is not on the product, make your own judgement if you are comfortable with trying the tea or not.

Website found here.

Tazo

This company unfortunately does not test for any traces of gluten and therefore cannot guarantee their products to be gluten free. As stated by the companies reply:

Unfortunately we do not test for gluten. Because Tazo products and ingredients are not tested for gluten content, we are unable to say that they are gluten-free.

Website found here.

T by Daniel

The response of this one did make me a bit sad as this is a tea company from my hometown, regardless of allergens, it is bloody good tea.

Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately I cannot guarantee that our teas are 100% Gluten Free. Although many of the teas do not contain any known traces of gluten, they are not manufactured in a 100% certified gluten free facility.

He did say that there are no ‘known’ traces of gluten, however this does not mean the tea is 100% gluten free as they do not actively test for any traces of allergens including gluten at this time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they may change their minds and start testing their products in the near future.

Website found here.

The tea companies may not have gluten

The tea companies listed below are not tested or can say that their tea is 100% gluten free, however they do have strict measures in place to decrease the likelihood of any gluten in their tea products.

Traditional Medicinals

This company does not actively test for gluten, but they do have allergen policies that they follow as stated below:

Thanks for reaching out to us. While we don’t make any gluten-free label claims and don’t actively test our products for gluten, we take precautions to prevent gluten cross-contamination. All of our ingredients – including the tea bags and packaging – are naturally gluten-free and we do not process/use gluten ingredients in our supplement manufacturing facility. In order to prevent cross-contamination before the herbs enter our facility, we actively maintain allergen policies with all of our suppliers.

As they do take precautions to prevent gluten cross contamination, you may be comfortable consuming their products. If you are not, look for teas that have gluten free written on the label or the certified gluten free symbol on the product’s box.

Website found here.

Stash Tea Company

This one is a bit of a tricky one. They can confirm that their suppliers ingredients are gluten free, but they cannot guarantee because they do not test the products themselves for any traces of gluten.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We do not test our teas for the presence of gluten, nor do we certify them as gluten free.
We have collected statements from our ingredient suppliers stating that all ingredients we purchase are gluten free. Therefore, to the best of our knowledge all of our teas are gluten free. However, we cannot guarantee that our teas are gluten free due to not testing them ourselves, at this time.
Our tea bag products do not directly come into contact with gluten-producing production equipment, but are manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat-containing products. We do have an allergen control program in place to minimize any risk of cross contamination.
Our loose leaf tea production facility is allergen-free from the eight major US allergens: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat or soybeans.

I personally, as a celiac, have never had and issue with consuming Stash tea. However, they cannot fully guarantee their products are gluten free as they do not test the products themselves. Therefore, I had to put this company in the ‘may not be’ gluten free section of this blog but if you are comfortable with the response above, their tea is delicious. I do make sure I only buy their tea that does not have any questionable ingredients such as added flavouring.

Website found here.

The Tea Haus

This one was a bit tricky, but here we are representing another Canadian company on the gluten free list. Their suppliers cannot 100% guarantee their tea’s are gluten free due to how it is handled in the facility. However! The company themselves do have specific measures in place, and has mentioned that their flavourings are even gluten free. Read the following reply for the full response:

Thanks for your message. Unfortunately, none of our suppliers offer a 100% gluten-free guarantee. They don’t want to take the risk that somebody down the line has a sandwich before handling your tea and causes cross-contamination. That being said, they have very stringent measures in place. Even the flavours that are being used, don’t contain gluten. If you really want to be on the safe side, only purchase teas and herbs that are pure, without any flavours.

As mentioned in the paragraph above, if you are concerned about any gluten contamination, you can opt for their plain teas without any flavourings. But if you are really concerned and do not want to take the risk, go for the companies on this gluten free list that can 100% guarantee that their teas are all gluten free.

Website found here.

Celestial Seasonings

They replied with a very detailed email explaining their protocols with the processing and labeling of their teas. I have shortened it a bit as follows:

We do not have lists of products that are specifically considered to be gluten free. Reading the label is the best way to check for the presence of ingredients which contain gluten. If gluten is a major ingredient, it will be specified in the ingredient list. For consumers concerned about the presence of trace amounts of gluten, we suggest avoiding products that include oats, natural flavors or spices.

Hain Celestial Group products that make a gluten-free claim are declared as such by utilizing the a triangular Gluten-Free symbol, by carrying the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) Seal, or stating “gluten free” on packaging. 

In addition to meeting the FDA’s standard for ‘Gluten Free’ of less than 20 parts per million of gluten, all of our gluten free products are formulated without the presence of any gluten containing ingredients. All manufacturing facilities for Hain Celestial’s products employ good manufacturing processes and procedures to prevent allergen cross-contact.  Each facility has established rigid allergen control programs that include staff training, segregation of allergen containing ingredients, production scheduling, and thorough cleaning and sanitation. These allergen and sanitation programs are verified by our Quality Assurance department.

Therefore, read the labels of their teas and look for ones that are labeled ‘gluten free’ or have the gluten free symbol on them.

Website found here.

The tea companies that are 100% gluten free

The tea companies listed below are 100% positively, no questions asked gluten free.

Yorkshire Tea

Their response was very short and sweet and right to the point:

We can confirm that all our Yorkshire Teas are Gluten free.

I asked if all loose leaf and bagged tea was gluten free, so I am assuming this means the tea bags, tea leaves, flavourings and the facility is all free of gluten. If you need more confirmation, please contact the company.

Website found here.

Tetley Tea

This company can 100% guarantee their tea’s are for sure gluten free.

None of our teas contain gluten.

We obtain allergen declarations for all ingredients and any factory we use them in and for any co-manufactured product. Suppliers must disclose whether the products contain any allergens and whether there is any risk of cross-contamination from other ingredients or products that our teas may come into contact with.

If the supplier answers yes to this second question and cannot guarantee that cross-contamination can be avoided, then we would include a “may contain” warning on pack.

Based on these declarations, if the product does not have a “contains” or “may contain” statement on pack, then it does not contain an allergen. Such pack warnings would also be bolded so they’re easy to see.

As always, be sure to read the labels of the products you are buying to look out for any gluten containing ingredients or ‘contain’ or ‘may contain’ statements on the package.

Website found here.

Twinings

This company does not permit any of the top allergens into their facilities. Therefore, you will know while you are sipping on your great cuppa, that your belly will be free of not just gluten but other allergens as well. As the company stated in their reply:

Twinings does not permit the presence of any of the allergens that require declaring under allergen labeling regulations.
• Gluten • Egg • Milk (except for Chai Latte & French Vanilla Chai Latte K-Cups®) • Crustacean • Fish • Mollusc • Nuts • Sesame seeds • Soy • Mustard • Celery • Sulphur dioxide • Lupin • Wheat • Coconut (Except for our Comfort blend)
Therefore all our teas and infusions are free from those components and their derivatives.

Website found here.

Genuine Tea

Representing another amazing Canadian tea company that I personally am obsessed with. They originate out of my home city of Toronto, and even though I may be biased, I can genuinely (pun intended!) can confirm that this may be some of the best tea you get your hands on. This is not a sponsored blog post at all, however I wanted to give this company a shout out on my gluten free list of teas as they are 100% gluten free! The best part about purchasing from this company as well is 1% of all proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), how amazing is that! I originally contacted this company through Instagram to find out about the possibility of cross contamination of gluten in their teas. Their response is as follows:

All of our teas are 100% gluten free, no trace of gluten or cross contamination. The taste notes listed on the packages are simply notes regarding the flavour and those ingredients are not actually in the tea.

There are ‘tasting notes’ listed on the front of their packaging, and one of the ingredients can be malt. As we learned in my last post, malt can sometimes be a sneaky ingredient for hidden gluten. But rest assured, in this case it is just what the tea ‘tastes’ like and does not actually contain those ingredients. I would highly recommend giving this tea company a try!

Website found here.

Mighty Leaf Tea

This is another fantastic gluten free tea company. The certified gluten free symbol is on their boxes so you can be assured that their teas are all 100% gluten free and celiac safe! Not to mention that their teas are absolutely delicious as well. Be sure to read the labels and look for the certified gluten free symbol on the boxes when you purchase to be sure that at the time you buy them the company has continued to certify their products.

Website found here.

Choice Organic Tea

Yet another great tea company choice (again, pun intended). Their teas are flavourful and are gluten free! Therefore, you can be assured that their teas are all 100% gluten free. Be sure to read the labels and look for the certified gluten free symbol on the boxes when you purchase as the company seems to have moved their processing facility, read the response below:

All our teas and packaging materials are still gluten free. Our East West Tea facility, where Choice Organics teas are now being produced, is a brand new LEED certified building and is gluten free. However, given that East West Tea Company has not gone through the process to obtain official gluten free certification, our products are not labeled as such.

Even though their new packaging does not have the certified symbol on it anymore, they have ensured that their teas and packaging materials are all still gluten free, as mentioned above.

Website found here.

Numi Tea

I drink this tea every single day, and it is absolutely lovely. The company has ensured that all ingredients and the facility that the tea’s are made in are all 100% gluten free.

Thank you for contacting us! Numi Tea’s, across the board, are safe from all of the most common known allergens:

milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, soybeans, gluten

Our teas do not contain these ingredients and are processed in facilities that are free from these ingredients.

Their company also gives back to the community, “Your purchase helps fight global warming, reduce plastic waste, and provide fair wages and opportunities for tea farmers around the world.” It is nice to know a portion of the proceeds of your purchase will be going to some good in the world.

This is a fantastic tea company, I would highly recommend!

Website found here.

DōMatcha

If you want an incredibly smooth and delicious matcha, this is the one! I spoke with the company over Instagram about their gluten free policies:

Yes our teas are gluten free. Only green tea is processed in our facilities.

I was never a fan of matcha before, but this company has made me fall in love with it. It is an absolute bonus that their teas are 100% gluten free. The quality of their matcha is one of the best in my opinion. As mentioned on their website, “DōMatcha® is 100% authentic Japanese stone-ground green tea, directly from Kagoshima and Uji, Kyoto where Japanese matcha originated, and most premium matcha is produced today. Our supplier is based in Uji, Kyoto and has been in the tea business for 300 years. DōMatcha® is partnered with the famous 16th-generation Japanese tea master Kazunori Handa-san, whose family’s knowledge and expertise has been handed down generation after generation for over 400 years. We are very grateful and continuously excited to work with such illustrious Japanese experts to bring superior matcha to North American and international markets.”

I would highly recommend this matcha for your gluten free enjoyment!

Website found here.

Pukka Tea

I am still waiting a response from the company at this time and will update the blog post once I do get a response. However, on the companies website they have a ‘frequently asked’ section which talks about gluten in their products:

“All Pukka teas are free from gluten containing ingredients. However, we want to point out that Night Time and Relax contain oat straw flowering tops. Although the analytical tests undertaken on these teas show that gluten is absent, consumers who are extremely sensitive may want to check the suitability of oat straw further for related gluten allergies like avenin.”

I do really like that they brought in the awareness to oat in some of their products as some individuals with celiac disease may react to the protein avenin found in oats. I’ll write a blog post more on this subject at a later time. I personally drink their teas and have never had an issue with them, but I do steer clear of the ones with oats in them.

Website found here.

Summary

If you are a lover of tea but have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, be sure to do your research into the teas you are consuming on a regular basis to see if there are any potential cross contamination risks of gluten. Whichever your comfort level of cross contamination, be sure to read the labels of the products you are buying to look for any gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ statements. Continue to sip and be happy!

If you have any other tea companies you would like me to look into regarding gluten contamination, please feel free to write them in the comments below 🙂

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References and Stores Mentioned

https://www.genuinetea.ca/

https://theteahaus.com/

https://www.tetley.ca/en

https://www.davidstea.com/ca_en/home/

http://www.celestialseasonings.com/products

https://en.yorkshiretea.ca/

https://www.marksandspencer.com/c/food-to-order

https://www.stashtea.com/

https://www.lipton.com/ca/en/home.html

https://www.starbucks.ca/

https://twinings.ca/

https://www.tazo.com/ca/en/

https://www.timhortons.com/

https://www.iamdaniel.ca/

https://www.mightyleaf.ca/

https://domatcha.ca/

https://www.pukkaherbs.com/ca/en


Grain Free “Oatmeal”

For those of you who may be sensitive to grains like oats, but miss that morning bowl of warm awesome, this one is for you! Super quick and easy.

Ingredients:
2 TBS Shredded Coconut
2 TBS Ground Flaxseeds
2 TBS Chia Seeds
1-2 TBS Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Boiling Hot Water
1/2 Cup Plant Based Milk or Regular Milk
Additives: You could also add hemp seeds, or nuts and seeds to bulk it up even more!

Directions:
1) Place the shredded coconut, flaxseeds, chia seeds and maple syrup into a bowl.
2) Add the boiling hot water and mix it around until it makes a thicker consistency.
3) Now add in the plant milk and stir around. You can add in as much or as little of the plant milk you wish, it just depends how runny you like the consistency.
4) Put your favourite fruit, nut butter or other toppings to add more flavour and nutrition.
5) As I mentioned, you can add hempseed or other nuts and seeds to the base recipe as you wish to add more flavour and nutrients!

If you give this one a try, be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can share your wonderful creations with my community!

Thank you and enjoy!

LEW xxx


Healthy Energy Bars | Paleo, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free

A bar that is free of almost everything you may be asking, what’s left? Well, there are key ingredients in these bars that are packed full of nutrients and flavour! The best part? It’s so easy to make!

Ingredients:
2 cups Dates
1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 cup Chia Seeds
1/4 cup Brazil Nuts
1/4 cup Almonds
1/2 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp All Spice

Directions:
1) If you have a high speed food processor you can skip this step. If you do not have a powerful food processor, you could try cutting up the ingredients or using a mortar and pestle. However, you may not get the consistency you need. Also, if your blender is not a high speed one, you may want to be sure you soak the dates overnight or in boiling hot water for at least 20-30 min to soften them so to take the pressure off the food processor motor.
2) Put all of the ingredients into the food processor and blend together until there is a clumpy consistency.
3) Then line a pan with parchment paper and put the nut and seed mix into the pan. Then push down on the nuts and seeds evenly until it clumps into one.
4) Put into the fridge for 20-30 min and take it out to cut it into bars in desired size. Or you can roll the ingredients into balls.
5) When you are not enjoying them, keep them in a sealed container in the fridge as once they soften they will not hold their shape.

If you give these a try, be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can share the love!

Enjoy!

LEW xxx