How To Ride In A Group

Group bike

Pacelines you see in pro racing are organized. They have specific rules. But in big groups like you find in centuries or charity rides, things will be disorganized. This can intimidate even experienced riders.

Sooner or later you’ll find yourself in a big group amid some riders with sketchy skills. It pays to learn how to survive (and also make yourself welcome) in a crowd.  

  • Look for Risky Riders. These are the unsteady people who wobble, appear nervous, have a tense grip on the handlebar, and frequently grab the brakes. Avoid them! Move up to keep them behind you, or slide to the other side of the road.

  • Stay at the Front. This is easy to say but hard to do in some groups. At the front you have more control over your destiny because most crashes occur in the rear two-thirds of the bunch. It may take a bit more work to reach the front and stay there, but it’s worth the effort.

  • Watch the Wind. Wind direction determines on which side the greatest draft is found. If the wind is from the right side of the road, smart riders move to the left of the wheel in front of them for greater protection. If you’re doing this, beware of overlapping wheels with inexperienced riders. They may swerve and take out your front wheel.

  • Be Wary on Climbs. A major cause of group crashes is riders who stand abruptly. They slow for a second, causing the rider behind to hit their rear wheel and spill. To avoid this danger, let the gap open a bit on hills or ride a foot to either side.To avoid being the one who causes such a crash, pull your bike forward as you leave the saddle. Don’t lunge and make a hard pedal stroke. Keep your speed steady. When sitting again, push the bike forward a bit.

Practice Safety Skills
Cycling isn’t a contact sport, but it’s not uncommon to have your arm brushed when riding near others in a group. It pays to learn how to bump into other riders without swerving or falling. It’s easy when you practice this drill used at the Carpenter-Phinney Bike Camps.

First, go with a cycling friend to a large grassy area like a soccer field. Ride side-by-side at a walking pace. Keep both hands on your bar. Start by gently touching elbows, then shoulders. As you gain confidence, lean more vigorously on the other rider. Soon, you’ll be bumping each other with abandon and throwing in a few head butts for fun, all without going down. (Of course, always wear your helmet just in case.)

Riding relaxed is the key to absorbing contact without swerving. Have slightly bent elbows, a firm-not-tight grip on the bar, and loose arm and shoulder muscles. If you’re relaxed, your body can absorb the shock before it gets to the handlebar. 

Read On Line


This article is provided courtesy of RoadBikeRider.com and was written by its co-founder Fred Matheny (left). Fred was the Training and Fitness Editor of Bicycling Magazine for a decade, has written many books on cycling including Fred Matheny’s Complete Book Of Road Bike Training; and is a world-record-holding roadie.

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10 Signs You’re Gluten Intolerant

BY DR. AMY MYERS

gluten-bread-caution

More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It’s estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or celiac disease are never diagnosed.

It is also estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant. Could you be one of them?

If you have any of the following symptoms it could be a sign that you have gluten intolerance:

1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation. I see the constipation particularly in children after eating gluten.

2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as ‘chicken skin’ on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.

3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.

4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.

5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.

6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.

7. Migraine headaches.

8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.

9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.

10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.

How to test for gluten intolerance?

I have found the single best ways to determine if you have an issue with gluten is to do an elimination diet and take it out of your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. Please note that gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better.

The best advice that I share with my patients is that if they feel significantly better off of gluten or feel worse when they reintroduce it, then gluten is likely a problem for them.  In order to get accurate results from this testing method you must elimination 100% of the gluten from your diet.

How to treat gluten intolerance?

Eliminating gluten 100% from your diet means 100%. Even trace amounts of gluten from cross contamination or medications or supplements can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body.

The 80/20 rule or “we don’t eat it in our house, just when we eat out” is a complete misconception. An article published in 2001 states that for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eating gluten just once a month increased the relative risk of death by 600%.

Still unsure?

Honey

bee
Richard Juday is an engineer, retired from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.  In 2000 he married Darcy, who was living at the time in Ft. Collins, and they settled in Longmont after she told him it was halfway between Ft. Collins and Houston.  He has continued his engineering on an occasional consulting basis, and you can read some of what he’s been up to in the April 2013 issue of Popular Science.

He began beekeeping about 40 years ago and after a break of several years he resumed it after moving to Longmont. This is an insidious hobby, since it’s so tempting to respond to a “swarm call” even if all the present hives are doing well and you don’t really need another hive.  Having a hive makes him lots happier than not having one at all, two makes him happier yet (but not quite twice as happy), three happier yet (but not thrice as happy, nor even one and a half times as happy as having two).  You see the progression; at some point it becomes more like work than play.  His present hive count of five or six seems to be optimal for him — there is the economy of scale in that the cleanup from extracting several hives is the same as cleaning up from one, and the kitchen stays gummy the same length of time, too.

As a hobbyist, Richard is not under the same pressure as some commercial beekeepers, and as a consequence he has not felt it necessary to use pesticides or other chemicals on his bees.  He uses locally bred “survivor queens” that have come from lines that are able to live well in this climate.  The three humming hives on his back porch get a good deal of attention (though no complaints) from folks walking on the neighborhood greenway, and nearby home gardeners report that their crops have been doing better since he put the hives in.  The fine flavor of his honey owes to the variety of flowers in the neighborhood.

Richard has a number of other hobbies, the most time-consuming of which are auto restoration (1957 MGA) and woodworking (there’s a 1000 square foot shop in his basement).  He and Darcy travel as much as they can and enjoy Colorado’s splendid outdoor opportunities when at home.  Having lived in Houston for 40 years, Richard has little patience for those who complain of so-called “heat” during the Colorado summers.

Top 10 Reasons To Bike Instead Of Drive

 

With gas prices at an all-time high, and likely to rise even more, you’re probably already driving less and bicycling more. But, just in case you’re having a hard time breaking the 4-wheel habit, we put our heads together and came up with our top 10 “other” reasons to ride rather than drive.
10bike
10: You get ultra-cool tan lines!
We’ll start with a fun one, and you can laugh if you want. We wear our cycling tans like a badge of honor, a sign of our healthy lifestyle choices, a tangible token of membership to an exclusive group.It says, “hey, I ride a bike,” or “I grow turnips.” Either way, or both, people are bound to be impressed at the beach. Just be sure to use sunblock so you don’t overdo it!
9. You see your city like drivers can’t!
On two wheels and moving at a comfortable pace you can enjoy your environment and see, smell and hear things you never notice in a car. Which of your neighbors has the best-landscaped yard? What bakeries smell so good you just have to stop? How many different architectural styles can you spot? On a bicycle you can take the scenic route and explore and become a tourist in your own city. Every ride is an adventure.

8. All those we-miss-you cards from your doctor!
Pedaling only 10mph, a 140-pound cyclist burns about 400 calories an hour. And studies prove that biking a few times a week reduces blood pressure and stress while increasing your energy and elevating your overall mood. Your doctor may have to wait a little longer to buy that yacht!

7. You never get stuck in traffic and always have a great parking spot!
If you ride in a city and bike during commuting hours you’ll love being able to cruise past long lines of vehicles held up at red lights (be sure to watch carefully for right-turning traffic who might not see you). While drivers breathe exhaust (studies have shown that cyclists breathe less exhaust), and honk at each other, you feel the breeze and enjoy the sights off the roadside. Not to mention that you always get a great parking spot and often even beat your coworkers who drive to work.

6. You have one less car payment and don’t pay registration or insurance fees, either!

According to our very unscientific study (read: quick Google search), the average car payment is $500 a month. On top of that, add the cost of insurance, registration, gas, maintenance, etc. By eliminating that vehicle and using your bicycle instead, just think of all the bike gear you can buy!

5. You find cool free stuff on the side of the road!
By observing the flotsam and jetsam along America’s streets and highways, you never know what you may find. Loose change, designer sunglasses, cool tools, $20 bills – heck, maybe an entire bag of money? Of course, you’ll have to come back to grab that awesome Naugahyde sofa with the “free” sign you spotted on someone’s lawn.

4. You can cancel your gym membership!
Riding outside sure beats the treadmill, elliptical machines and the three pieces of cardio equipment you still haven’t figured out. No waiting in line for those machines, either. Best, you’ll no longer have to spot for Rocko while he’s bench-pressing weights equivalent to a small car.

3. You’ll never be late for work again!
Because you can avoid traffic and cruise faster than jammed vehicles, it’s likely you’ll commute faster on 2 wheels and never be late again. Plus, if you are late sometime, it’ll probably be because you decided to take the scenic route in. We’ve done it, too. But tell your boss instead that you got a flat tire. We know you can fix a flat tire in a matter of minutes, but he doesn’t. And, he should be impressed that you’re making the effort to bike in, keeping yourself healthy in the process and saving a parking space for someone else.

2. Cyclists make better lovers!
According to a study led by Dr. Romualdo Belardinelli, director of the Lancisi Heart Institute in Ancona, Italy, the results of aerobic exercise are comparable to those of Viagra, because both widen blood vessels. Hmmm… that’s a little scary. Our point is that regular exercise like cycling, will make you feel better, increase your energy and even help you look better, too. All of which make you more interesting to and interested in the opposite sex.

1. Bicycling is a Fountain of Youth!
It’s an amazing thing. You feel younger and actually get more years out of your muscles, joints and organs simply by using your highly capable self to pedal around instead of sitting statue-like behind that steering wheel. In fact, cycling might just be the closest thing you can find to a genuine Fountain of Youth. Like few other sports it keeps you fit and young with very little risk of injury. For example, we know plenty of 55-year-old regular riders who look and move like they’re closer to age 35, and also 80-year olds who still love to ride – and can because they’re been riding for years.

53 and Gluten Free (Larry’s GF Story)

worldfoodTo detail my going gluten free, first a little background.  I have been fortunate to travel to many places around the world and in the United States for both business and pleasure.  One of my favorite things to do was to sample the local food and drink.  A croissant in Paris, spatzle in Germany, noodle dishes in Japan and China, etc.  Of course this went well with my habit of trying beers from around the world.

Once I hit age 52 I noticed having increasing brain fog and waking up feeling tired and hung over even without anything alcoholic to drink the night before.  I went to the Dr. and was told I was just getting old.  I thought wow, if I am already this worn out and have problems focusing and remembering things at 52 this does not bode well for me.

I decided to try an alternate approach and visited Sanoviv hospital for an extensive physical to try and determine if there was anything possible that could be done so I could start feeling like my old self.  There you are served gluten free dairy free meals and at the end of the 4 days I was starting to feel better.  They said I appeared to be gluten intolerant and suggested some additional blood tests.  I had the ALCAT blood test done and the results that came back seemed like a punch in the stomach.  Gluten intolerant, and highly allergic to hops and brewers yeast.  How could I possibly give up bread, noodles, and beer.

With no other obvious alternatives I gave up beer, gluten and brewers yeast.  The first few weeks were tough but then I started to be able to solve crossword puzzles quicker.  I woke up feeling rested and ready to go and my energy level went way up.  The old me often had to take afternoon naps to get through the day.  Now naps were not needed.  On the downside I was having great difficulty finding any type of bread or cookies I liked that were gluten free.  It was tough going from French baguettes to what seemed like eating cardboard.  Cookies also seemed to always taste grainy or be hard as a rock.  Pasta was ok going with rice or quinoa noodles.  But, the benefits of going gluten free far outweighed the horrible selection of gluten free foods I was finding.  The other interesting benefit of no gluten was a drop of 20 pounds.  The weight just fell off and I was still eating just as many calories as before.

One day I happened to be driving through Hygiene and noticed the sign outside of Mary’s saying gluten free.  Ok, I had tried many other GF places, why not Mary’s.  I ordered a sandwich on gluten free bread which came with a cookie.  While eating my sandwich and cookie panic set in.  Thinking they must have given me the wrong bread type I rushed back to the counter to see if they had given me an incorrect order and I would have another gluten episode.  To my surprise I talked with Mary who told me I had the correct order.  Could GF bread and cookies really taste this good? I have now found my place to shop for gluten free.

Its been 1 year since going GF and I am feeling much better.  If I happen to eat out and get some supposed GF food item that really wasn’t I feel horrible for the next 24 hours so I am much more cautious knowing what the effects would be.  Surprising to me is I do not really miss the beer after the first couple of weeks.  Bottom line is I am glad I took charge of my health and took the time and effort to dig deeper into my health issues rather than just deciding I was growing old.  GF is not that bad and I am healthier for it.

Teaching Kids To Ride

One of the great memories of childhood is your first bicycle ride without training wheels. After many miscues, probably even a few scrapes, you finally pedal away from your parent’s grasp and take flight. Holding your breath and hanging on, you wobble down the sidewalk, building confidence and picking up speed. It’s exhilarating. You can hardly believe you did it. And you can’t wait to ride farther and faster.

That first ride is one of your biggest accomplishments as a kid and something you’ll never forget. Maybe that’s why, as a parent, you can’t wait for your children to learn to ride. Here are some tips to help.

kidsonbikes

How Young Can They Start?
Typically, children learn to ride between the ages of 3 and 7. How early and how fast they learn varies considerably. Kids who’ve owned tricycles sometimes take to bicycles more quickly because they already know how to steer and pedal. Yet, this can work against them, too. They may not want to move up to a two-wheeler because they’re so comfortable on their tricycle. Usually, they’ll change their mind as their friends start to ride two-wheelers because they don’t want to be left behind.

In order to ride a bicycle, a child has to be able to sit on the seat and reach the ground comfortably with his feet. The smallest bicycles usually have 12-inch wheels and training wheels. These bikes accommodate children as young as 3 years old (of average size).

Next up in size is the 16-inch bike, which is also equipped with training wheels. It’s right for 5- to 6-year-olds of average size or smaller 7-year-olds. The next bigger bicycle has 20-inch wheels, but because these are taller and more tippy, they’re not ideal for training wheels, so it’s best for a child to learn to ride on a smaller model.

When looking for a “first bike,” keep in mind that children learn fastest on bikes they feel safe on, which are usually the smaller sizes. Of course, how fast they learn also has to do with their personality, coordination and confidence.

Safety First
The most important cycling safety rule is always wearing a helmet, and it’s the first thing about bicycling to teach your child. Get them in the habit of putting on their helmet before riding so that the act is as natural as using the seatbelt in the car. Be sure to show them how to put the helmet on so that it sits squarely and snugly on their head. And, let them know how good it looks. If you’re riding with them, put your helmet on, too, to reinforce the message that all cyclists wear helmets.

It’s best to teach kids to ride where it’s completely safe (no traffic) and where there are few distractions. A sidewalk with grass on both sides, such as you’ll often find in a park or housing development, works nicely. Go there early before the crowds arrive, though, so you’re not dealing with skaters, dogs and other hazards. The good thing about a path like this is that if your child weaves off the cement, she’ll quickly stop on the soft grass. And, if she happens to fall, there’s a good chance that it’ll be a soft landing.

Pick a section that’s fairly straight and flat. While a little downward slope can help kids learn to pedal and balance, you definitely don’t want anything too steep because it’ll cause the bike to roll on its own, which is scary.

Check The Adjustments
When you picked out the bike, you got a model that fit your child. Now it’s time to make sure that the seat and handlebars are adjusted to fit correctly.

The seat height should allow the child to rest both feet comfortably on the ground. This lets them use their feet for control and confidence. So, don’t raise the seat too far. If the bike is equipped with training wheels, the seat can be slightly higher because the trainers will hold the bike upright. But, listen to your child if they tell you that it feels too high, and lower it until they’re comfortable.

The handlebars should be close enough to the child so that they can easily be reached. Otherwise, the action of steering the bike will pull them forward and off the seat, which could cause a loss of control. On most bikes, the bars can be raised and rotated to improve the fit.

It’s important to get these adjustments right so that your child feels comfortable and safe when learning to ride. If the seat’s too high or the bars are too far away, your child could lose control and fall over, which could give them a scare and slow the learning process.  If you’re not sure how to adjust things, bring the bicycle and your child back to the shop where you purchased the bike and ask for help.

Let Them Learn At Their Pace
To ride, children need to learn how to pedal and steer the bicycle. When they’re ready to ride without training wheels, they need to know how to balance, too. Depending on coordination, some kids learn these things fairly quickly. Others find it challenging and frustrating. The important thing is for you to be patient and keep it fun and safe. By the age of 7, most kids can learn to ride without training wheels, but every child is unique and it might take longer.

When you’re practicing with them, let your child decide when he’s had enough and don’t push the issue. Ten minutes of trying at a time might be enough at first. If they don’t take to it right away, don’t worry. Just try to keep it fun and let them stop when they’ve had enough. Taking time away from the bike can help, too. Sometimes, they’ll be more determined than ever after a few days doing something else.

Keep in mind that one of the greatest motivators is peers who ride. When kids see their friends riding, it usually fires them up to figure out how it’s done so they can join the fun.

Pedaling, Steering And Balancing
If your child had a tricycle first, they’ll know how to pedal. If not, they’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. Childrens bicycles are usually equipped with “coaster brakes” (also known as “foot brakes”), which are operated by applying backward pressure on one pedal. So if the child mistakenly backpedals while trying to pedal forward, they’ll apply the brake, which feels strange at first. Just let them keep trying and they’ll figure out which way to pedal to go and to stop.

If you’re using training wheels, they must be adjusted correctly in order to get results. The wheels should be set so that the bike can lean a little before the wheels touch the ground. This helps kids get the feel of balancing the bike and leaning it to steer. It also ensures that the training wheels can’t lift the driving wheel off the ground on uneven surfaces.

As your child gets used to bicycling, you should gradually raise the training wheels so that he has the opportunity to lean and balance more. And in time, you should be able remove the training wheels.

At this point, there are different things you can try. Walking/running along behind your child holding him up can work nicely. Don’t hold onto the handlebars because you want your child to get a feel for how steering affects balancing the bike. You can grab the back of the seat instead. Or, try holding onto Junior’s shoulders.

An alternative is to get a handle that attaches to the bicycle and lets you hold the bike upright from behind. This feels the same from the rider’s perspective, but is much easier on the pusher’s back. At least two companies make these inexpensive devices and they work well.

It’s also possible to teach balancing by removing the pedals. Balancing a bicycle is basically a matter of wobbling down the road making minor steering corrections to keep the wheels beneath you. If you remove the pedals and have your child use their feet as outriggers, touching down when necessary, you might find that they get the knack for steering to balance the bike more quickly. It’s easier to learn this on a very slight downhill so that the bike will coast without pedaling. Once they can hold their feet off the ground and coast comfortably, they’ll be ready for the pedals again. Good luck!

50 Shades of Gluten (Intolerance)

By Chris Kresser

Author, Personal Paleo Code

Celiac disease (CD) was initially described in the first century A.D. by a Greek physician named Aretaeus of Cappadocia. But neither Aretaeus nor anyone else knew that CD is caused by an autoimmune reaction to gluten, a protein in wheat. That didn’t become clear until 1950 — several centuries later — when Dr. Willem Dicke, a Dutch pediatrician, conclusively proved that gluten was the culprit. Dicke’s discovery saved millions of children and adults from the perils of untreated celiac disease, including malnutrition, stunted growth, cancer, severe neurological and psychiatric illness and even death.

Since then, the mainstream view of gluten intolerance has been relatively black or white: Either you have celiac disease, in which case even a small amount of gluten will send you running to the bathroom in three seconds flat, or you don’t, and you can chug down beer and bagels without fear. This “all-or-nothing” view has led to some doctors telling patients that suspect they’re sensitive to gluten but test negative for CD that they’re simply imagining an affliction that doesn’t exist.

It turns out those doctors are wrong.

The Many Shades of Gluten Intolerance

In order to explain why, I have to give you a quick lesson in the biochemistry of wheat and wheat digestion.

Wheat contains several different classes of proteins. Gliadins and glutenins are the two main components of the gluten fraction of the wheat seed. (They’re essential for giving bread the ability to rise properly during baking.) Within the gliadin class, there are four different epitopes (i.e. types): alpha-, beta-, gamma- and omega-gliadin. Wheat also contains agglutinins (proteins that bind to sugar) and prodynorphins (proteins involved with cellular communication). Once wheat is consumed, enzymes in the digestive tract called tissue transglutaminases (tTG) help to break down the wheat compound. In this process, additional proteins are formed, including deamidated gliadin and gliadorphins (aka gluteomorphins).

Here’s the crucial thing to understand: Celiac disease is characterized by an immune response to a specific epitope of gliadin (alpha-gliadin) and a specific type of transglutaminase (tTG-2). But we now know that people can (and do) react to several other components of wheat and gluten — including other epitopes of gliadin (beta, gamma, omega), glutenin, WGA and deamidated gliadin — as well as other types of transglutaminase, including type 3 (primarily found in the skin) and type 6 (primarily found in the brain).

This is a huge problem because conventional lab testing for CD and of gluten intolerance only screens for antibodies to alpha-gliadin and transglutaminase-2. If you’re reacting to any other fractions of the wheat protein (e.g., beta-gliadin, gamma-gliadin or omega-gliadin), or any other types of transglutaminase (e.g., type 3 or type 6), you’ll test negative for CD and gluten intolerance no matter how severely you’re reacting to wheat.

Beyond Celiac: Why CD Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Official statistics suggest that Celiac disease affects between 0.7 percent and 1 percent of the U.S. population. But considering the limited scope of the testing, it’s possible that the actual incidence might be much higher.

In addition, CD is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is caused by a distinct autoimmune response to wheat proteins and transglutaminase enzymes in the gut. But CD is just one possible expression of gluten intolerance; there are many other ways that sensitivity to gluten can manifest in the body. These are collectively referred to as “Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity,” or NCGS.

There’s no consensus definition of NCGS yet, but the most common understanding is that it’s a reaction to gluten that is not autoimmune (like CD) or allergic (like wheat allergy). Another definition I’ve seen is, “a reaction to gluten that resolves when gluten is removed from the diet and CD and allergy have been ruled out.”

It’s difficult to estimate the prevalence of NCGS because there is no definitive diagnostic test for it. As I mentioned above, the currently available tests for gluten sensitivity are primitive and only screen for a small fraction of the components of wheat that people react to. Another issue is the variety of symptoms caused by CD and NCGS. While most people assume that gluten intolerance always causes digestive distress, this is not the case. Almost 50 percent of new patients diagnosed with CD do not have gastrointestinal symptoms. Moreover, for every one case of CD that is diagnosed, there are 6.4 cases that remain undiagnosed — the majority of which are atypical or silent forms without gastrointestinal symptoms.

Gluten intolerance can affect nearly every tissue in the body, including the brain, skin, endocrine system, stomach, liver, blood vessels, smooth muscles and even the nucleus of cells. CD and NCGS are associated with an astonishing variety of diseases, from schizophrenia and epilepsy, to Type 1 diabetes and osteoporosis, to dermatitis and psoriasis, to Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism to peripheral neuropathy. Because the range of symptoms associated with gluten intolerance is so broad and nonspecific (e.g., can be attributed to any number of conditions), many patients and doctors don’t suspect gluten may be the cause.

Even with these limitations, some estimates suggest NCGS may occur in as many as 1 in 20 Americans. And while some mainstream medical professionals continue to insist that NCGS doesn’t exist, several studies have validated it as a distinct clinical condition — including gold-standard, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.

The Gluten-Free Challenge: Still the Best Test for Gluten Intolerance

With all of this in mind, the obvious question that arises is, “What’s the best way to test for gluten intolerance?” Because of the limitations of current laboratory testing I described above, most experts on gluten sensitivity agree that the only reliable test is a “gluten challenge.” This involves removing gluten from the diet completely for a period of at least 30 days, and then adding it back in after that. If symptoms improve during the elimination period, and return when gluten is reintroduced, a diagnosis of NCGS can be made.

However, for many people a gluten-free diet isn’t enough. Some grains that don’t contain gluten, such as corn, oats and rice, contain proteins that are similar enough in structure to gluten to elicit an immune response in people with CD or NCGS. In addition, about 50 percent of patients with CD show signs of intolerance to casein, the protein in milk. This may explain why up to 30 percent of CD patients continue to have symptoms or clinical signs after adopting a gluten-free diet. For this reason, I recommend a completely grain- and dairy-free diet during the gluten challenge period. (A Paleo diet is an excellent choice. Visit my website to learn more.)

Finally, though the gluten challenge is still the gold standard test for gluten intolerance, there is a relatively new lab (Cyrex Laboratories) offering a comprehensive blood test which screens for all of the wheat and gluten proteins and transglutaminase enzymes I mentioned above. This can be a helpful diagnostic tool, but it should never replace a gluten/Paleo challenge. (Note: It must be ordered by a physician or health care practitioner.)