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Why Go Gluten-Free?
Jennifer Morganti, ND, Director of Education for NEEDS

Without the foundation of a whole foods diet, it would be impossible to achieve optimal health. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what whole foods are, let alone how to plan a meal with them. That's why I was so excited when I picked up The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. Anyone who wants to improve their health by changing their diet should keep this book in their kitchen as both a reference guide and a meal planner.

The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook is written by Tom Maltere, MS, CN , and co-authored by his wife, Alissa Segersten. It is full of nutritious, gluten-free (and some dairy and egg free) recipes with a busy family in mind. Some recipes are adaptations of traditional favorites that we know and love, and some are new and interesting combinations that please the palate. Tom and Alissa make it easy to try new recipes by taking the time to explain unusual ingredients or processes.

Gluten sensitivity is becoming more common, partially due to the fact that it has become ubiquitous in our food choices. It is known to be present in wheat, spelt, kamut, barley, rye, and sometimes oats are contaminated with it.

There are various degrees of gluten sensitivity, from mild intolerance to full-blown celiac disease. Exposure to gluten when sensitive can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract, and ultimately cause health problems and nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorption. Some of the many symptoms caused by sensitivities include recurring abdominal bloating and pain, acid reflux, fatigue, muscle cramps, infertility, and joint pain.

Even if you aren't certified gluten sensitive, it's always good to take a break from it to prevent future problems. This cookbook makes it simple to create a gluten-free meal, with meat or without. One of the recipes I really loved was the Mexican–inspired Quinoa and Black Bean Salad. Lime, cilantro, and jalapeno come together to make an unbelievably tasty salad!