A little introduction to our guest speaker this Saturday at 2pm

Siham grew up in a traditional Lebanese family where everything rotated around food. Family gatherings, Christmas dinners, Sunday lunches and everyday home cooked meals were the center of her life. Her best moments were when she would cook something and everybody would compliment her on how good it tasted and how nicely it was presented. Her dream about food and cooking became bigger and bigger and she was planning to open her own place where she could prepare simple yet delicious home-cooked meals and bake the best cakes and breads.

Suddenly everything came to a halt when she was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 1999. To most people food is a source of pleasure, sharing, entertainment, socializing, and fun. To Siham food became a source of worry, anxiety, and mainly pain.

Since then she has revolutionized her diet and passionately shares her knowledge to spread awareness about Celiac Disease. She has become a resource of knowledge in the English and Arabic world.

This Saturday she will share her story with us , show us how celiac affects the body, how to screen for it and how to live a happy and delicious gluten free life.

She will bring some gluten free goodies for you to try with some recipe cards too!

While many people think that gluten can be eliminated simply by removing breads from their diet, the truth is that gluten is in many, many processed food products, so going to a gluten-free lifestyle often means eating much less processed food and cooking from scratch more often. This is a good thing, but it’s also hard to not be able to eat out in restaurants, or have the same conveniences that others do. In fact, it can be a real shock to go to a gluten-free diet overnight. Support and resources are key and we are happy to have Siham holding this educational talk at Santosa. If you are interested in Gluten Free recipes check out Sihams Blog www.Bakefree.co

Bake Free is a bi-lingual blog (English/Arabic) that shows you how easy it is to cook allergen free. The main focus is on Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern Cuisine with gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, tips, and articles.

What is Gluten?

It is the main protein found in wheat and it’s everywhere. It’s in bread, pasta and in cupcakes. Even in things like Soya Sauce, salad dressings, canned soup and oatmeal. For most people, this is no big deal. Gluten is a key factor in giving bread its chewiness and making cupcakes airy. Here’s a quick rundown of the major reasons why some people need to eliminate gluten from their diet.
There are three major reasons why someone might need to give up gluten for health reasons: if they’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, if they have a gluten intolerance, or if they have an allergic reaction to wheat.

Wheat Allergy – A wheat allergy is actually a completely separate condition from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. It’s a histamine reaction to wheat, much like a peanut allergy or a shellfish allergy. People with this allergy usually show hives, rashes, or stomach pain after consuming wheat.

Gluten Intolerance – There are also a large number of people who have a sensitivity to gluten or are gluten intolerant. These people experience many of the same symptoms as those with celiac disease, but without the accompanying damage to the small intestine. There are also some theories and studies linking gluten intolerance to things like chronic fatigue, depression, irritability, and anxiety.

Celiac Disease – According to the Mayo Clinic, people with celiac disease have an immune reaction to the gluten in wheat, rye, and barley that causes damage to the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of vital nutrients. Symptoms can be as mild as digestive problems and minor skin rashes or as severe as anemia, arthritis, and intense abdominal pain. This disease goes undetected very very often!

In all of these cases, eliminating wheat and gluten from the diet clears up all the major symptoms. The lining of the small intestine heals and intestinal discomfort fades. The trick is that it has to be total elimination of gluten, meaning no wheat, barley, or rye in any form. For many people, even ingesting a small amount of gluten by accident can bring on a recurrence of the symptoms such as crumbs from a toaster or on a cutting board.