Too often people simply follow the latest food trend without researching it (above is a video that highlights this perfectly – thanks Jimmy Kimmel).
Because I don’t want you ever looking silly and going ‘gluten free’ just because, I have compiled this Guide to Gluten for you (and for you to share with others).
So what the heck is Gluten?
***Gluten is a protein*** (actually made up of two proteins gliadin and glutenin) found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye (as well as bulgur, cous cous, durum flour, farin a, farro, graham flour, kamut, semolina, and spelt).
The proteins in gluten allows products like bread to rise and be soft and springy; the word Gluten actually means “glue” in Latin… hence why when you make gluten free products with almond meal, coconut flour, quinoa, tapioca, potato flour, chickpea flour, or buckwheat (among others), you need to add extra protein such as eggs, chia seeds, flaxseeds etc., to act as a binding agent and help the food rise and be soft and ‘fluffy’ like.
What is the difference between Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease?
Unlike celiac disease, being gluten intolerant/sensitive does not lead to damage of the intestines. Whilst the immediate symptoms are similar, with a Gluten Intolerance the protein in the gluten causes an inflammation in the small intestine which results in the symptoms listed below.
With Celiac Disease however, whilst the symptoms below are similar to a gluten sensitivity, the immune system will react to the gluten by attacking the lining of the small intestine, which can lead to inflammation and malnutrition (and often weight loss) due to a lack of nutrient absorption.
What are the symptoms of Gluten Intolerance?
Have you ever eaten a bowl of pasta and noticed a sense of discomfort, bloating, or toileting troubles afterwards (*note: if it’s a creamy pasta also keep an eye out on your body’s reaction to dairy products)? This could be a warning sign from your body that it is sensitive to gluten.
The most common symptoms are:
- Gastrointestinal (GI) related: like vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and a higher sensitivity to be lactose intolerant.
- Non GI: like migraines, headaches, bone/joint pain, trouble sleeping, ‘fuzzy’ head, trouble concentrating, mouth ulcers, mood swings/irritability, weight loss from malabsorption/malnutrition,and fatigue.
So how do you know if Gluten is a problem for you?
If you have experienced any of the symptoms above after eating any of the mentioned foods above, you may have a gluten intolerance and may benefit from removing it from your diet. If this is the case it is best to seek advice from your doctor. You will need to take a blood test, which involves you continuing to eat gluten products (as if you stop eating it, the blood tests may not reflect a correct reading, as the body stops producing the antibodies that the blood tests will check for).
There’s usually two results from going Gluten Free:
People either get excited and go crazy eating all the ‘gluten-free’ products, like cakes, biscuits, sauces, and overly processed foods… which leads to weight gain and mood swings from all the excess chemicals, sugars, and binding agents in the ‘gluten-free’ processed garbage. This is not the way you want to go.
People who go gluten-free tend to remove processed food and junk from their diet, and lose weight as a result from not cutting the gluten per se, but from removing shitty processed junk and replacing it with real whole fruits, veggies, nuts, and healthy food sources.
If you find Gluten containing foods to have an effect on you, seek further assistance from your doctor/naturopath/nutritionist to get tested for celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Sometimes gluten intolerance won’t always show up on a blood tests, however you may have all the symptoms. If this is the case, listen to your body and opt for gluten-free foods, avoid foods that contain gluten (like below) and replace them with healthier real whole food options – but always seek advice from your health care provider if you are unsure.
Common Foods that contain Gluten to avoid if Gluten is a problem for you:
- Beer (as barley, rye, and wheat products are the main ingredients)
- Cakes and pies
- Communion wafers
- Cookies and crackers
- French fries
- Grains such as wheat, barley, and rye (as well as bulgur, cous cous, durum flour, farin a, farro, graham flour, kamut, semolina, and spelt).
- Imitation meat (seitan is just the wheat gluten) or seafood (think of those “crab” sticks – that’s just ground up fish, chemicals, and a binding agent – typically a gluten derivative)
- Processed luncheon meats
- Salad dressings
- Sauces, including soy sauce (tamari is an alternative here), and “malted” vinegars.
- Seasoned rice mixes (those readymade microwaveable versions).
- Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
- Self-basting poultry
- Dried soups and soup bases often have wheat or barley in the ingredients
- Vegetables in sauce
- Oats, while naturally gluten free, can be contaminated with what from production and growing cross-contamination.
- Some medications and vitamins contain gluten as a binding agent so watch out for these
This is an extract from the module on Whole Foods and Healthy Living in the Wellness Revolution Program – Join here and get all my ebooks free (all which contain gluten , dairy, sugar, and grain free recipes). Share this round and let’s get us all educated as to what Gluten is.
Love and Light,