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Welcome to Nutrition Balance for Life!
For All Your Special Diet Needs!

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This Nutrition Balance for Life website is dedicated to providing dietary intervention through the use of integrative nutrition and human psychology. The special needs population for whom these dietary interventions are intended, include children or adults with Celiac Disease or Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger’s syndrome, Down syndrome, Autistic Disorder) or individuals with sensory challenges such as ADD, ADHD, Ataxia, Dyspraxia, etc… to name a few.

We are dedicated to providing:
·Insight regarding gut-brain-behavior interconnections
·Client, educator, physician, and healthcare staff education
·Customized dietary and behavioral interventions based on the individual’s biochemistry

How to Start a Gluten-free Lifestyle ?
Once you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease or gluten-intolerance, you will face many important decisions that will help you transition into the new lifestyle that you are about to adopt. The first is dietary modification that needs to take place in order to feel better. Second, would be a physical activity program to speed up the recovery process. Third would be to connect the mind and the body to help quiet the nervous system.

1) Dietary modification: What is gluten, where is it, how do you remove it?
Gluten is the grain protein found in wheat, rye and barley and by way of cross contamination, oats. Therefore the changes that need to be made by a celiac or gluten-intolerant person relate to the choices of bread, cereal, pasta which contain the gluten.  The many forms of wheat that contain gluten are: spelt, farina, semolina, triticale, kamut, seitan, couscous, bulgur, and cracked wheat.  The principal gluten sources in barley are barley malt, malted barley, and dextrin.  The less obvious gluten sources are thickening agents such modified food starch (wheat starch), or soups, spices, natural flavors, or some fillers in medications, or glue on the back of lickable stamps or envelopes or the powdery coating on chewing gum.  To become more familiar with all the possible hidden sources of gluten, consult the Celiac 101 list of gluten-free foods under Celiac Sprue icon, on this website.  The great news is that usually within days of removing gluten from the diet, celiac and gluten sensitive individuals see a major improvement in the way they feel.

In addition to gluten, the lactose or whey contained in dairy products need to be avoided by some due to the fact that the villi cells of the small intestine are flattened by the ingested gluten; this causes a lactose and/or whey intolerance which usually lasts between 3-6 months, rarely longer, as the person on a strict gluten-free diet allows the villi cells to heal.

Now that you know what gluten is, where it is found and how to eliminate it, you also need to know what to replace it with.  The grains that are just as tasty as wheat, rye or barley and sometimes even more nutritious are: amaranth, rice (brown , white, or wild) buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and corn to name a few. In addition, all forms of bean flour such as garbanzo bean, kidney bean, or soy flour are allowed on a gluten-free diet.  Among the gluten free starches are all types of potato such as sweet, white, or new.  Although adjustment to this new diet seems difficult at first, gradually a taste is developed for the new gluten-free breads and cereals and flours; this along with an overall good feeling brings about a deep acceptance that in order to stay healthy and feel good, one has to maintain a strict gluten-free lifestyle.

2) Physical Activity:
On a physical level, since most celiacs or gluten-sensitive individuals have experienced a myriad of unpleasant symptoms such as severe headaches, stomach bloatedness, diarrhea, weight loss or weight gain, chronic fatigue, mental fogginess, hyperactivity, etc…it is important to start an enjoyable exercise program to speed the recovery. For example, depending on the person’s fitness level, one can start biking or walking briskly for ½ hour every other day to create and preserve bone mass. Weight lifting can also be effective as a form or strength-training exercise that prevents further bone erosion in case of bone loss. Remember that for any exercise program to be effective, it has to be consistent. A healthy mind is in a healthy body.

3) Mind-Body Connection:
The journey to complete happiness, celiac or not, gluten-intolerant or not, is through finding inner peace. The mind-body technique that we recommend is yoga or any form of meditation technique that uses stretching poses to quiet the nervous system as well as the body and the mind. Some of our celiac clients report that since they have felt very sick for a long time, it is hard sometimes to even do the most simple things such as cracking jokes with spouses or children. It is most beneficial to talk positively to oneself while following a gluten-free lifestyle to manage the difficult changes that it takes to maintain health.  We recommend light Yoga stretches since it is something most everyone can do regardless of how sick they feel. It fosters flexibility and an overall feeling of well-being. In addition to this benefit, yoga is very effective in strengthening bones since many of its postures involve supporting the body’s weight. However, before starting yoga exercises, check with your physician to make sure that your bones are not too brittle.

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The opinions expressed on this website are strictly Faye Elahi’s and are for information purposes only. As such, they are not intended to diagnose or treat any symptom or medical condition. To identify your specific condition or diagnosis, please consult your physician and a specialized nutritionist.

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