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More in News
'Living gluten free' seminar being held Oct. 19
ON THE SHELVES — Suzanne Dunham, owner of Dunham Farm in Greenwood, holds up her gluten-free pizza crust mix and gluten-free pancake mix that is now being sold at Fare Share Market on Main Street in Norway.
NORWAY — A seminar on the complexities of going gluten-free is scheduled for October 19 at Fare Share Commons on Main Street Norway from 5:30-7:30 p.m. It is open to the public.
At the seminar, "Living Gluten Free ... the continuing story," Suzanne Dunham of Greenwood will discuss cross contamination and hidden sources of gluten. Dunham has been offering cooking classes, seminars, workshops and individual consultations on living gluten-free since 2005.
The session will also include the latest news, a tour of the Fare Share Market and, time permitting, attendees will have a chance to convert their favorite recipes to gluten-free versions.
A fee of $8 includes refreshments and hand-outs.
"I was getting concerned about the cross-contamination issue," says Dunham, explaining the reason for leading the seminars.
"If there's a hidden source of gluten, it could be cross-contaminated through the process of cooking or using the [same] utensils."
From the farm
Dunham and her husband own Dunham Farm and Velvet Hollow Sugar Works in Greenwood.
Three weeks ago they got approval from the state to operate a commercial kitchen at their farm that is entirely gluten-free, she said. For a year, they've also been operating a sugar house, built with the plan of adding the kitchen.
With growing awareness about gluten intolerance, celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis there's been an increase of gluten-free products and menu selections, Dunham said.
According to Dunham, gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye. In order to remedy celiac or other diseases it's as simple as eliminating these three things from your diet.
She said she's currently introducing her products to area restaurants and health food stores and hopes they will eventually carry her line of gluten-free products.
Products include baked goods, pizza crust mixes, pancake mixes and tempura batter mix – according to Dunham, the mixes can be purchased at both Fare Share and Pie Tree Orchard in Sweden, ME.
Dunham discovered she was gluten intolerant in the mid-1980s and began her journey into learning and teaching others about going gluten-free, which she admits can be a "confusing, frustrating and sometimes scary process."
Her seminars are aimed at helping people understand the underlying complexities with gluten, she said.
Typically, they include basic facts about gluten intolerance, celiac disease and hidden sources, as well as the latest news, research and gluten-free recipes.
According to Dunham, going gluten-free can help improve other health issues like diabetes or even autism.
"Every single seminar given has a parent who has an autistic child," she said.
"They [physicians] discovered that going gluten-free, for autistic children, helps. The rule of thumb is, if you feel better, than stick with that diet; and it's been found in autistic children they definitely feel better."
If you have been recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance, celiac disease or other food sensitivities, Dunham suggests improving your health or well-being by going-gluten free.
Dunham said some people have gone through years of testing to find out why they feel ill before finally being diagnosed. She said it's mostly because of the wide spectrum of associated symptoms including gastrointestinal cramping or bloating, which happens in at least 60 percent of people diagnosed.
"It's confusing," says Dunham. "Even today, physicians are confused and people who have sensitivities to gluten are confused because there are so many symptoms that sometimes mimic other conditions."
Dunham said there's a term now called "wheat belly," which causes bloating.
"Part of the reason is that wheat, barley and rye ... does not completely digest," she explains.
With celiac disease, versus gluten intolerance, says Dunham, signs of damage present in the small intestine. If it's left untreated, malabsorption of nutrients can result and more serious health issues, like diabetes or osteoporosis, can arise.
Dunham said throughout giving seminars she's learned that about 90 percent of people with celiac disease have other food sensitivities.
"It's very common," she said. "Some people can't have soy, and some people can't have chocolate, or they can only have a little bit."
According to Dunham, there is a variety of whole foods, like beans and rice, that don't carry gluten and make great alternatives to breads, pastas and croutons that are made with grains.
She said many people who are gluten-intolerant are wary of trying gluten-free dishes they did not prepare themselves for fear of cross-contamination and ingesting an ingredient that's not so obvious.
Not to mention she's learned that, wheat grown today is genetically modified. "It's just not the wheat of decades ago and people are becoming more sensitive – and it's not just people who are gluten-intolerant," she says.
To register for the seminar, contact Suzanne Dunham at 665-2967 or email@example.com.