Gluten is a protein enzyme found in foods processed from wheat, barley and rye. Most of us unknowingly love it, because gluten gives our favorite foods that special touch: It makes pizza dough stretchy, gives bread its spongy texture, and is used to thicken sauces and soups. Most commonly you will find gluten in enriched wheat flour, which is typically the first ingredient found in most bread products. Seems like a necessary product for so many foods that we enjoy on a regular basis but for some people, gluten is a nightmare.
People with a gluten allergy are allergic to the protein and it causes all sorts of issues when ingested and sometimes when encountered topically through beauty and health products. For those that have an allergy to it, they are typically diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Gluten intolerance came about more recently because when individuals were tested for celiac disease with a blood test or intestinal biopsy and it came back negative, they were told it is OK to eat whatever they wanted. However, when they eliminated gluten from their diet, they felt better so it was determined that they were sensitive or just intolerant to gluten. For those that have celiac disease, which is a digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine thus interfering with the absorption of nutrients from food, major damage is done if they eat gluten. Typically when these individuals ingest gluten they develop gastro-intestinal issues, fatigue, headaches, migraines, joint pain, skin rashes, canker sores, depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and much more. For roughly 1% of the population that has celiac disease, to 3% that are gluten-intolerant, gluten is a toxin that affects the body in a negative way and causes long-term damage to the digestive system if it’s ingested. It can take anywhere from 3-30 days to rid the body of the toxin if ingested which is why it’s extremely important for these individuals to stay away from it and why it’s a subject matter that must be taken seriously.
Hearing about the gluten-free lifestyle is a popular topic of discussion mainly because individuals are more aware of what they are eating. Due to social media and the amount of knowledge that is out there, people now have the ability to be aware of the symptoms they have when they eat and are changing their diets to feel better. The bottom line is, celiac disease and gluten intolerance/sensitivity share one common theme and that is not to ever eat any gluten products. If you have any of those symptoms listed above when you eat, don’t wait to get tested because so much damage occurs when you eat foods you shouldn’t.
The basis of a healthy gluten-free diet, as with any diet, should be natural foods. Lean meats and fish, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products are all safe.
MOST COMMON SOURCES OF HIDDEN GLUTEN
Alcohol: Beer, malt beverages, grain alcohols
Cosmetics: Check labels on makeup, shampoos and other personal items
Dressings: Thickening flour or other additives
Fried Foods: Cross contamination with breaded items in the fryers
Medications, Immunizations, Supplements & Vitamins
Packaged and Processed Foods
Sauces, Soups and Stews
Soy, Teriyaki and Hoison Sauces
SIGNS OF GLUTEN INGESTION
Skin problems or rashes
Diarrhea or constipation
Irritability and moodiness
Lack of energy
Pain in stomach and intestinal area
Prolonged discomfort after eating
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