Q. Lennifer Loper: Since we last spoke, I’ve tried to make some of the dietary changes you suggested, including eliminating dairy products and eating more organic fruits and vegetables. I would like to try cutting out wheat as well, but I can’t imagine a meal that doesn’t include wheat. Do you have any suggestions for healthy wheat-free foods for me and my family?
Also, my allergy symptoms tend to be worse in the fall, so I’m thinking that the end of summer would be a good time to begin taking some of the supplements you recommended, particularly the fish oil, vitamin C, and quercetin. Are there any adverse side effects associated with these supplements that I should know about?
A. Shari Lieberman, PhD, CNS, FACN: Many types of grains are available to people who can’t or don’t want to eat wheat. Good choices include rice, millet, and quinoa, a high-protein grain found in most natural foods stores. If you like pasta, on occasion try noodles made from rice, spelt, or buckwheat. Because wheat can be found in many processed products, be sure to read the labels.
You may be allergic only to wheat, or it could be that you have a problem with gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. To find out, you should try eliminating wheat for two weeks. If your allergy symptoms disappear, you should continue keeping wheat out of your diet. If going off wheat makes things better but does not completely take care of your allergy symptoms, try eliminating all gluten from your diet for two weeks. This will require removing all foods containing wheat, barley, and rye. If you go off gluten, you can eat rice, millet, corn, and buckwheat. Spelt contains a trace of gluten, but it can be tolerated by many people who are allergic to gluten. Oats do not contain gluten, according to several studies, but they are sometimes processed in the same bins that previously contained wheat and can thus become contaminated with gluten.
As for the supplements I suggested, you should begin taking them immediately. They are all safe and good for your body. The fish oil in particular will make your skin and hair gorgeous.