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Can Gluten Cause Depression?

If you are depressed, gluten intolerance or celiac disease can be one of the culprits. Yes, gluten can cause depression!

I conducted some of my own research on the subject, and here is what I found:

  • The intestinal damage wrought by celiac disease prevents absorption of essential nutrients that keep the brain healthy, especially zinc, tryptophan, and the B vitamins. These nutrients are necessary for the production of essential chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, a deficiency of which has been linked to depression.
    Is Gluten Making You Depressed? by James M. Greenblatt, M.D.
  • How gluten causes depression anxiety is by producing inflammation in the gastrointestinal Can Gluten Cause Depressiontract, triggering an autoimmune response to the gluten protein which releases cytokines, which then enter the brain and produce inflammation in the brain, leading to depression anxiety.
    How Gluten Causes Depression Anxiety
  • …. Dr. Rodney Ford, author of The Gluten Syndrome — have hypothesized that gluten exerts a direct depressive influence on your brain chemistry, independent of malabsorption resulting from intestinal damage. Dr. Ford believes gluten is responsible for depression both in people with celiac and in people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In fact, his hypothesis of a direct effect would explain why so many people — both celiac and gluten-sensitive — experience short, predictable bouts of depression whenever they’ve been glutened, even if they didn’t ingest enough gluten to cause lasting intestinal damage.
    Are Gluten and Depression Related? by Jane Anderson

So what can you do to deal with depression?  First, of course, is to stop eating gluten and if you are already on a gluten free diet, stop ‘cheating’ on your diet.

–Dr.Greenblatt suggested checking your zinc levels and make sure you take B12 supplements (especially good if you are vegan).

–Jane Anderson suggested adding the vitamins folic acid and B-6 to your vitamin regiment.

And of course, eating a good diet and exercising regularly is a universal ‘cure’ for depression.

Personally, when I was being treated for Alzheimers (before discovering I was gluten intolerant), I was prescribed anti-depressants.   Now, nearly 5 years later, I am still on them, but need to take them only 2-3 times a week rather than the 7 days a week per the original dosage.


How Long will it Take to Recover from Gluten?

Your recovery from gluten, along with anyone else, can be different for everyone. I am told that a large percentage of folks feel better just a few days after removing gluten from their diets.

In my case, there was no doubt that I had a problem with gluten all my life. I can remember being sick from eating when I was quite young. Food made me sick and I was too little to explain it to my mother.

How Long will it Take to Recover from Gluten?Yet, on the other hand, as sick as I was when I was finally diagnosed (for those who don’t know my story, I was being treated for early stages of Alzheimer disease), only three weeks or so passed before I started feeling better! But it didn’t end there. Now, nearly 5 years later, I can still feel improvement in my health.

I suffer from a mild form of ataxia. According to Jane Anderson, the About.com Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity Expert:

Gluten ataxia, an autoimmune neurological condition involving your body’s reaction to the gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye, can irreversibly damage the part of your brain called the cerebellum, according to practitioners who first identified the condition about a decade ago.

This damage potentially can cause problems with your gait and with your gross motor skills, resulting in loss of coordination and possibly leading to significant, progressive disability in some cases.

So how long will it take to recover from gluten?  Someone with a recent problem with gluten or with milder symptoms than my own, may recover much quicker and feel better within days.

Jane goes on to share:

You may feel constantly hungry during the first several weeks you’re gluten-free, and you may want to eat all the time. This is completely normal — it’s your body’s way of trying to make up for not being able to absorb food. Your ravenous appetite should calm down eventually….

In addition, to feel better sooner, you may need to address any celiac-caused malnutrition. Lots of celiacs find they have vitamin and mineral deficiencies at diagnosis that can interfere with their well-being. Talk to your doctor about what supplements you should consider, and make sure to use only gluten-free vitamins.

Although you should start to feel a little better quickly, it takes most people who were very sick prior to diagnosis a long time — months, usually — to feel completely “normal” again. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t bounce back immediately; if you continue to see gradual improvement, you’re going in the right direction. However, if you don’t feel as if you’re making enough progress, talk to your doctor about your ongoing symptoms.



Are You Getting Enough Protein?

I don’t know about you, but I have heard this question numerous times when I tell people I am vegan.  The meat industry has inundated the public with so much false information about the need for meat for protein, that the average person has no idea what or where to find plant based protein.  Unfortunately, most don’t even know that you can get protein outside of meat or dairy products!

Are you getting enough protein. Happily for us gluten free vegans, there are numerous sources to find good protein — but one needs to be careful as many of the typical vegan protein sources contain gluten … and often, LOTS of gluten!

My go-to expert on the subject is Jane Anderson of About.com:  Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity expert.

Here is her list of good, safe vegan protein sources:

So What Protein Sources Fit My Gluten-Free Vegetarian or Vegan Diet?

• Whole grains. You obviously can’t eat wheat, barley or rye if you’re gluten-free, but there are tons of alternative grains out there. Amaranth and quinoa — at about 8 to 9 grams of protein per cup of cooked grain — are among your best bets for packing in the protein.

• Legumes. Beans are another obvious source of protein on your diet, and there are literally hundreds of great recipes for bean-based gluten-free vegetarian dishes out there.  … a cup of boiled lentils gives you 18 grams of protein, while kidney beans come in just below that, at 16 grams per cup.

• Nuts and seeds. Half a cup of pecans can provide you with 5 grams of protein, while 1 ounce of chunky peanut butter nets you 7 grams. You might also consider using almond flour to replace some of your regular gluten-free flour in baked goods to boost your protein consumption — half a cup contains about 12 grams.

• Tofu and soy products. Soy (a common component of vegetarian and vegan dishes) can provide you with plenty of protein. For example, you can add tofu to your dishes (one-fourth of a typical box nets you about 6 grams of protein) and snack on edamame (a cup of edamame in a Japanese restaurant — or at home in your own kitchen — will provide a whopping 22 grams).

• Meat substitute products. There’s a multitude of meat substitute products on the market these days, both in the produce department of the supermarket and in the freezer section — it seems like you can choose anything from a plain burger to exotic meat-free “sausages.”

• Green vegetables (and those in other colors). Don’t forget that basic vegetables — the foundation of your vegetarian or vegan diet — also can contribute some protein. Asparagus, for example, contains 3 grams per cup … and when it’s in season each spring.  Cauliflower also offers some protein: about 2 grams per cup, chopped. And cauliflower’s cruciferous relatives, broccoli and brussel sprouts, can kick in about 3 grams per cup. Even fruit contains a bit of protein — usually about 1 gram per piece, give or take.


Personally, I don’t eat soy products, mostly because I have thyroid issues.  I also don’t eat meat substitute products for the same reason.  Also, many meat substitutes contain gluten, so be diligent about reading labels before you buy any meat substitutes!

I am happiest with a taco salad or any Mexican style dish that includes beans!

How about you?  What do you eat to make sure you get enough protein?


Recovering from Gluten Poisoning

Have you ever accidentally poisoned yourself by eating gluten?  Thankfully, I have only done that once.  I was at a church potluck and tried a dish that had gluten in it …. and, of course, I didn’t know it until I started getting stomach cramps, diarrhea and all those other nasty symptoms!

So what can we do to recover from gluten poisoning?  At the time, I took several digestive enzyme pills (that I have on hand all the time) and just waited it out.  But there are some things that are Sick 2helpful.

Jane Anderson, one of my favorite ‘go-to’ resource for gluten issues offers some helpful tips:

Recovering From an Accidental Glutening

1. Get Plenty of Rest:  Gluten exposure leads to a dreary combination of fatigue and insomnia in many people. It’s tough to feel normal when you can’t sleep at night, and want only to sleep during the day.  The solution? Get as much rest as you possibly can, whenever you can grab it.

2. Avoid Difficult Tasks:  Many of us suffer from brain fog when we are exposed to gluten, leading to fuzzy-headedness, absent-mindedness and sometimes outright confusion.  Needless to say, that’s not a good recipe for tasks that involve heavy lifting, quick thinking or deep analysis.

3. Skip Lactose-Containing Foods: If you’ve been heavily exposed, you may temporarily become lactose intolerant. That’s because we digest dairy proteins with the very tips of our intestinal villi, and gluten ingestion can damage those villi.

4. Revert To Whole Foods:  Now is not the time to try a new type of “gluten-free”-labeled product or to challenge your digestion with something radical. Your best bet to a speedy recovery is to revert to eating a whole foods diet made up of foods you know don’t bother you.

5. Don’t Take Chances:  That means skipping restaurant meals, bringing your own food to friends’ houses, and sidelining any temptations you feel to indulge in something you know may be questionable.


Sometimes, it is good to remember that the symptoms are only temporary.  Seems to me, the stomach/intestine issues were over in about 30 hours.  The brain fog took a bit longer, but I recovered from the worst of that as well.

What do you do when you are gluten poisoned?  Did it work well for you?  Please share with us!!


Identifying Gluten

Identifying gluten in your foods can be very challenging.  Gluten comes in so many different forms and under so many different names that the average person can easily become confused.

We all know to avoid wheat, barley and rye, but are these the only places to find gluten?

Following is a list of food containing gluten that you may not be aware of:

  • Spelt, kamut, triticale (a combination of wheat and rye), durum,  farina, cake flour, matzo (or matzah), bran, couscous,  semolina — all are forms of wheat or gluten!
  • More forms of wheat:  Orzo, couscous, einkorn, farro, seitan, and freekahGrains 2
  • Wheat starch, modified wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein and pre–gelatinized wheat
  • Barley malt syrup, malt extract, malt flavoring and malt vinegar.
  • Licorice, imitation crab meat, beer, most is fermented from barley.
  • Any breaded food or vegetables
  • Processed foods containing soy sauces or teriyaki sauces

Also, gluten MAY BE found in some of the following:

  • Dextrin, flavorings, modified food starch and caramel coloring
  • Oats (unless specifically marked gluten free)
  • Processed cheeses
  • Seasoning, seasoning mixes and soy sauces
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) and Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
  • Artificial or natural flavorings

Gluten can also be found in the following non-food items:

  • Pharmaceuticals, including some vitamins
  • Lotions, Soaps, Face washes, Shampoo, Hair Products, Hair Spray, Makeup and other cosmetics, Play dough and other clay modeling toys, Dental pastes and creams

Do not become overwhelmed at the lists above.  With a little work, you can quickly become familiar with these “hidden” names.  Personally, I avoid processed foods — especially those with ingredients I am unfamiliar with.

As a substitute, try some of the following gluten free grains:

  • Amaranth, Buckwheat, Cornmeal, Job’s Tears, Millet, Montina Ryegrass, Gluten Free Oats, Quinoa, Rice, Sorghum, and Teff
  • See my mini-website:  Gluten Free Grains for more info and recipes

NOTE:  For more information, check out:


Treatments for Celiac Disease

What would be your perimeters on embracing a treatment for Celiac disease?  Would you be willing to try anything?  Or is there a limit to what you would do as a treatment for Celiac disease.

In case you had not heard, Alvine Pharmaceuticals, who is in the process of developing a possible drug for celiac disease.  (Check out the  information in my post:  Celiac Drug in Trial Test)  Since publishing my original post in May, the list of drugs in testing has increased:

Alvine Pharmaceuticals’ ALV003 — making great progress

ImmusanT’s Nexvax2 — potential vaccine

Alba Therapeutics Corp.’s AT-1001 — suffered lots of setbacks in trials

BioLineRx’s BL-7010 — testing and expecting to release results early 2014

Although, most of these treatments may only help in the case of cross-contamination, any, all or none of these may turCan of Worms 4n out to be the next step in treatment for celiac disease.

But what about non-conventionally treatments?

According to Jane Anderson, About.com Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance expert, Hookworms may be another treatment for Celiac Disease:

Can Hookworm Infection Cure Celiac?

In a paper published earlier this week in the International Journal for Parasitology, the group reported on trials in which they purposely infected celiac disease patients with the hookworm Necator americanus. The results were intriguing, to say the least.

The experiment, conducted in Australia, involved volunteers with celiac disease who agreed to be infected with the hookworms and then undergo a gluten challenge to measure their responses. Half of the people were infected with hookworms, and the remainder served as the control group.

The researchers found that hookworm infection did alter the volunteers’ responses to gluten: part of the inflammatory response in the small intestine was suppressed during the gluten challenge, but other measures of an inflammatory response appeared to rise following the challenge.

Having a treatment for celiac disease would be wonderful, but a hookworm?  Would you consider such a treatment?

Here is the response to date to Jane’s question:  Would you consider playing host to a hookworm to treat your celiac disease?

23% — In a heartbeat – bring on my worms!

42% — Maybe – I’d have to look at the research

34% — Ewwww, no!

What are your thoughts?  Personally, I would rather just not eat gluten, but then I am one of the lucky people who is not super sensitive!

Time will tell if the drug trials come up with something that will work with little to no side effects!



Gluten Free Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes & Tips

Thanksgiving can be a real challenge for Gluten Free Vegans — especially if you are looking for a ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving style meal.  But after scouring the internet I have found a few good options for you.

About.com Celiac & Gluten Free expert, Jane Anderson, suggests some of the following tips for a Gluten Free Thanksgiving.

Traditional Gluten-Free Thanksgiving MenuTurkey Bouquet

• Stuffing. You don’t need to mourn your favorite stuffing — it’s actually pretty easy to make gluten-free stuffing, and once you add spices and other ingredients, it’s likely to taste almost exactly the way you remember it. You can use a mix or simply use gluten-free bread crumbs (either packaged or from your own stale bread) in your own traditional recipe — you shouldn’t even need to alter the recipe … Gluten-Free Stuffing for Thanksgiving.

• Cranberry sauce. There’s no reason for cranberry sauce to contain gluten, so this should be an easy item to check off your list — there are multiple options available.

• Mashed potatoes. Like cranberry sauce, there’s no reason for mashed potatoes to contain gluten. (NOTE:  We mix our mash potatoes with Earth Balance and thin with our favorite milk alternative.

• Sweet potatoes. You might find a recipe for candied sweet potatoes that includes flour as an ingredient, but I think it would be more the exception than the rule — the vast majority I’ve seen are naturally gluten-free. Therefore, you can use your old family recipe, or try something new. This recipe from About.com’s Expert on Southern Cooking should be simple to make and elegant to serve.

• Dinner rolls. If you’re trying to make your gluten-free Thanksgiving meal indistinguishable from a traditional, gluten-filled meal, dinner rolls are the one item that may trip you up. However, gluten-free bread products definitely have gotten much better over the past few years, and now there are dinner rolls your guests might mistake for gluten-filled — my guide to gluten-free dinner rolls explains what’s possible. Also, instead of rolls, you might consider deviating a little from the traditional menu and trying a gluten-free cornbread recipe — I like this recipe for gluten-free skillet cornbread.

In addition to her list above, I would add Cashew Mushroom Gravy — our personal favorite!

For a main dish, you might want to try one of the following (will tastes great with the cashew mushroom gravy listed above!):

If you are looking for a good recipe for the traditional pumpkin pie minus the gluten and dairy, check out the following links for Pumpkin Pies:

Or, if you have your own filling and just need a Gluten Free crust, you might want to try one of thesePie Crusts:

We also have lots of different Gluten Free Vegan pies recipes on this website that you might want to check out.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!!





Gluten Free Ketchup, Mustard and Vinegar

Last post we talked about Gluten Free Vegan salad dressings.  Today, I would like to share on Gluten Free Ketchup and Mustard.   Probably the most beloved condiments for meat eaters, ketchup and mustard can be a challenge for Gluten Free Vegans!

Ketchup made with certain vinegars ARE NOT Gluten Free.  If you are very sensitive, you may react to distilled vinegar that’s made from gluten grains. The following vinegars may cause a problem:Ketchup 1

  • Malt vinegar — which is made from barley — should always be avoided
  • Distilled white vinegar — CAN be made using gluten grains, so be cautious
  • Flavored vinegars — can also be made using gluten grains

(NOTE:  More info on vinegars here:  Is Vinegar Gluten-Free?

Jane Anderson, from About.com has done a thorough listing of major ketchups, listing the possibility of offending vinegars and cross contamination issues in her article:  Gluten-Free Ketchup.  Using her research, sensitive Gluten Free Vegans should probably avoid the following ketchups:

  • Hunt’s Ketchup
  • Muir Glen Ketchup

If you would like to make your own ketchup, here is a good and easy recipe from Food.com

Homemade Gluten-Free and Corn-Free Ketchup


  • 2 (8 ounce) cans of organic tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup honey or 1/4 cup maple syrup


  1. Bring ingredients to boil on the stove. Simmer 15 minutes, then take ketchup off heat for 10 minutes. Pour into a condiment jar and refrigerate. Makes a little over 4 cups of ketchup.
  2. Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-gluten-free-and-corn-free-ketchup-257108?oc=linkback

Mustards can contain the same offending vinegars as ketchup.  Unfortunately, companies who make mustards (and ketchups) are not required to list the source of vinegar in condiments, even if that source is wheat!

Once again, Jane Anderson from About.com has written an article summarizing her research on the Mustard 1major mustard brands available in the marketplace.  Based on her research listed in her article, Gluten-Free Mustards, sensitive Gluten Free Vegans should avoid he following mustards:

  • French’s
  • Grey Poupon
  • Gulden’s

If you would like to make your own Gluten Free Mustard, following is a recipe from My Healthy Green Family

Homemade Gluten-Free Yellow Mustard Recipe


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons dry ground mustard
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. arrowroot powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Pinch of paprika


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Whisk to combine.
  2. Heat until boiling. Simmer on low for 10 minutes or until sauce has reduced to the thickness you would like it. Stir frequently.
  3. Store in jar in fridge for up to a month. For a more mellow mustard, allow to sit for a few days to become less hot.
  4. Mustard is hot when first made. Let is sit for a few days and it will lose much of its heat.
  5. Makes about 1 cup.


Celiac Drug in Trial Tests

If you have been listening to the news around the celiac issue, you may already know scientists are developing a celiac drug that is currently in Phase 2 testing!

Alvine Pharmaceuticals, who is in the process of developing a possible drug for celiac disease, said yesterday that it has teamed with global biopharmaceutical company AbbVie to continue work on that drug, known as ALV003.

Pills & Test TubeAccording to Jane Anderson, About.com Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity expert, the drug in in Phase two trials:

Dr. Green: Celiac Drug Treatment Shows ‘Tremendous’ Potential

ALV003 is an enzyme-based drug designed to degrade gluten molecules “in vitro” — i.e., in your stomach — into smaller pieces that will not cause symptoms.

The drug isn’t designed to allow people with celiac disease to eat all the gluten they want; instead, it potentially would allow celiacs to avoid ongoing damage and symptoms from the tiny amounts of gluten we already consume on a daily basis. As such, it’s considered an adjunct to the gluten-free diet, not a replacement of the diet…..

According to Dr. Adelman, a total of 41 patients enrolled in the ALV003 trial, which was held in Finland. About half the group received ALV003 and half received a placebo. Everyone, meanwhile, ate gluten during the six-week trial — a total of two grams a day, or about half a slice of bread.

Virtually everyone in the trial entered with signs of ongoing inflammation due to accidental gluten consumption. At the end of the trial, however, the patients taking ALV003 while eating gluten weren’t any worse, while the patients taking the placebo while eating gluten had significantly worse inflammation.

Although the trial wasn’t designed to consider improvement in symptoms, those taking ALV003 seemed to have less indigestion and abdominal pain than those taking the placebo. However, patients taking the experimental drug didn’t report any significant changes in diarrhea, constipation or reflux.

Read More here:

Dr. Green: Celiac Drug Treatment Shows ‘Tremendous’ Potential

Alvine Pharma Teams with AbbVie on Potential Celiac Drug

Having a drug to deal with the problems of gluten sensitivity and celiac seems like a godsend to many folks.  Jane Anderson conducted a (on-going) survey on her readers response to the question:  Would you take a drug that would enable you to be less careful on your gluten-free diet?

Here are the responses to date:

8% — Never – I think the diet is far healthier and my symptoms are controlled just fine.

21% — I’d take it very rarely to protect myself in specific social situations. (which is what I voted).

33% — I might take it on a regular basis, but I’d want more information on the drug first.

36% — I’d use it in a heartbeat – I’m tired of being so careful all the time.

Vote in the survey

So how about you?  Would you take a drug to protect you from gluten poisoning?


Is GMO Wheat Causing Gluten Problems?

One of the questions I have been pondering for a long time:  Is GMO Wheat Causing Our Gluten Problems?  I did some research and found this wonderful article by Jane Anderson, the About.com Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity expert. 

According to Jane, the short answer is NO!  You cannot blame GMO wheat for the rising gluten problems. But she does say ….

Hybridized Wheat May Be To Blame, Though

That doesn’t mean wheat hasn’t changed over the last half-dozen decades, though — it has, as the result of a process called hybridization. And some scientists (although not all) say those changes could be one cause of an increased inability to tolerate gluten.

In hybridization, scientists don’t tinker directly with the plant’s genome. Instead, they choose particular strains of a plant with desirable characteristics, and breed them to reinforce those characteristics. When this is done repeatedly, successive generations of a particular plant can look very different from the plant’s ancestors.

That’s what’s happened with modern wheat, which is shorter, browner and far higher-yielding than wheat crops were 100 years ago. Dwarf wheat and semi-dwarf wheat crops have replaced their taller cousins, and these wheat strains require less time and less fertilizer to produce a robust crop of wheat berries.

Jane continues her article by talking about Dr William Davis’s book,  Wheat Belly:

“Small changes in wheat protein structure can spell the difference between a devastating immune response to wheat protein versus no immune response at all,” Davis writes. Modern wheat has been bred to contain more gluten, he says.

What is interesting, and something most people don’t think about, is realizing how much wheat products most Americans consume.  Bread, buns, pastries etc. have become the staples of diet over the last years.  According to Donald D. Kasarda, the U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist who authored the 2013 study on wheat also points out that so many of our processed foods are filled with extra gluten!

You can read his reports:

You can find Dr William Davis’s book on Wheat Belly (plus a few more on the subject here: