Tack­ling food sen­si­tiv­i­ties: lac­tose and gluten

The Amherst News - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - Kerri Ro­bichaud

You’ve prob­a­bly heard about gluten and lac­tose, but what ex­actly are they? Why are peo­ple sen­si­tive to them? If you have just de­vel­oped an in­tol­er­ance, what’s next?

To­day I’m go­ing to break down these things so that you un­der­stand what they are and what to do about them – and so you’ll be able to shop, cook and eat with­out get­ting your tummy in a rum­ble.

What is gluten? Gluten is a type of pro­tein found pri­mar­ily in wheat, rye, and bar­ley that helps give foods like pasta, bread, and baked goods their shape; it acts like glue that holds them to­gether. When peo­ple with a gluten sen­si­tiv­ity eat some­thing con­tain­ing gluten their im­mune sys­tem ends up at­tack­ing their own di­ges­tive sys­tem and causes them to feel ill.

Lac­tose is a type of sugar found in dairy prod­ucts which needs an enzyme – lac­tase - to break it down. For some peo­ple, their bod­ies don’t pro­duce this enzyme and as a re­sult they can’t break down the milk sugar, which leads to di­ges­tive is­sues.

For those with a sen­si­tiv­ity to these foods, you may need to start look­ing for prod­ucts that say gluten- or lac­tose-free. It is also im­por­tant to check the prod­uct pack­ag­ing for word­ing such as “May con­tain…” or “Pro­cessed in the same fa­cil­ity as…” as you run the risk of cross con­tam­i­na­tion, es­pe­cially for those with a gluten sen­si­tiv­ity.

For some peo­ple with a food sen­si­tiv­ity, go­ing out to eat can be a chal­lenge. Be mind­ful about what you’re order­ing at a restau­rant and let your server know in ad­vance about any sen­si­tiv­i­ties you have so that the kitchen can take ex­tra spe­cial care in pre­par­ing your meal.

The good news is, food com­pa­nies and restau­rants are adapt­ing to food al­ler­gies and sen­si­tiv­i­ties more than ever, as they know how im­por­tant it is to keep their cus­tomers healthy. When it comes to pur­chas­ing prod­ucts for those with a lac­tose sen­si­tiv­ity, there are many al­ter­na­tive prod­ucts on the mar­ket that are dairy free, such as co­conut yo­gurt, co­conut milk or other milk al­ter­na­tives. There are also some dairy prod­ucts on the mar­ket which are lac­tose-free, like the PC lac­tose-free cheeses, milk and mar­garine. PC Skyr yo­gurts are dairy prod­ucts, but they are all nat­u­rally lac­tose­free and come in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent flavours! As for gluten-free prod­ucts, you can eas­ily find gluten-free pizza crusts, breads, and pas­tas now. There are also great sub­sti­tutes for flour on the mar­ket if you en­joy bak­ing, such as the PC Or­gan­ics Chick­pea flour, or PC Or­gan­ics Quinoa flour which has a nut­tier taste and is good for mak­ing foods like pan­cakes and waf­fles. There are many recipes to cre­ate your own de­li­cious glutenfree flour blend.

Gluten and lac­tose sen­si­tiv­i­ties are be­com­ing quite com­mon and com­pa­nies are be­com­ing more ac­com­mo­dat­ing be­cause of it. Cook­ing for some­one with any food sen­si­tiv­ity can feel like a chal­lenge, but as long as you un­der­stand how to check your la­bels, avoid cross-con­tam­i­na­tion and know what prod­ucts con­tain those trou­ble­some foods, you will be in the clear! If you’re still ques­tion­ing some food prod­ucts or recipes, you can al­ways visit me in-store for a per­son­al­ized shop­ping ses­sion, or just to ask me a few ques­tions!

This Choco­late Cherry Chia Pud­ding is nu­tri­tious, de­li­cious and. be­cause of the use of al­mond milk, it makes a great lac­tose-free op­tion. This pud­ding could fit in nicely as a health­ier dessert over the hol­i­days or even pre­pared as a break­fast or snack.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Choco­late Cherry Chia Pud­ding

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