What You Should Know About Gluten Intolerance
When did Gluten start to take over the world? “Is this gluten free?” “#GF” and other gluten related hashtags seem to be taking over social media, Pinterest, diet plans, menus, supermarket aisles and the celebrity world. Gluten intolerance affects both men and women of all ages. That’s right, gluten doesn’t care who you are! In this article we will discuss what gluten is, the side-effects of having gluten intolerance, social media and the proper diet to have when dealing with gluten.
WHAT IS GLUTEN
So what is gluten, anyway? Gluten actually refers to a “wheat allergy.” Gluten is a protein found in grains, white and whole wheat flour, semolina, some lunch meats, certain candies, croutons, soy sauce, spelt, muffins, seasoned chips, fried foods, cakes, couscous, crackers, wheat germ, pasta, oats, beer and the list goes on and on. This protein is found in wheat endosperm and consists of two different proteins glutenin and gliadin. Shockingly, gluten isn’t just arrested to food groups that you should avoid – it can also be found in cosmetics and hair products.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE ALLERGIC
Outright gluten intolerance, or “Coeliac disease” is a digestive problem wherein gluten causes the digestive tract to become inflamed. This is an allergic reaction to gluten which damages the intestines and thereby prevents the body from absorbing nutrients. This disease affects one in every thousand people. Symptoms of Coeliac Disease consist of fatigue, bloating, anemia, rashes, pain in the joints, anxiety, diarrhea or constipation, pain in the abdomen and depression. While these are the more common indications of Coeliac Disease, some sufferers show no symptoms at all.
Having Gluten sensitivity does not mean that you are all-together intolerant. This means that you may be experience all of the same symptoms of Coeliac Disease, however no damage is being done to your intestines. The only way to know for sure which you have is by contacting your doctor and arranging for testing.
GLUTEN AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Gluten seems to be taking over social media in waves. Gluten Free hashtags have infested the world of twitter, Pinterest, food blogs, Facebook and Instagram. Pinterest boards are pinned to the brim with gluten free/gluten friendly recipes for fellow sufferers. Those new to their gluten allergies will take comfort and knowledge from the abundance of gluten-free blogs touting gluten free salad dressings and freezer meals, as well as message boards and recipe suggestions found all over the Internet. There are even specific gluten-free social media websites set up with profiles and videos for you to join and share your experiences and tips with others.
The gluten free diet has reared its ugly head in the celebrity and athletic world, as well. Some celebrities with Celiac Disease or gluten allergies include Emmy Rossum, Keith Obermann, Drew Brees, Ryan Phillipe, Geri Halliwell, Zooey Deschanel, Josh Turner, Rachel Weisz, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
If you’re a bread lover, peace be with you – this will be a hard change. Unfortunately there is no “miracle cure” for gluten intolerance except for a completely gluten-free diet. While this means the loss of your beloved breads and pasta’s, it also means no more bowl problems and bloating.
Foods you should stick to when pursuing a gluten free diet are fresh meats, eggs, beans and seeds, most dairy products, and of course fruits and vegetables. There are also gluten free aisles in most local grocery stores now that offer alternatives, such as gluten free pasta’s and cereals. You can also keep certain grains in your diet such as gluten free rice, corn and soy flours, millet, quinoa and soy. Absolutely avoid all foods containing wheat, barley, rye, farina, semolina, spelt and kamut.
Other foods to avoid are French fries, gravy, cakes, salad dressings, canned soups. All beers and beverages should also be avoided unless they are specified as being gluten free.
A CHANGE IN LIFESTYLE
Be diligent when checking food labels and do your research before heading out for something to eat on which restaurants in your area offer gluten friendly food options. Those who have an outright gluten intolerance or “celiac disease” must continue their gluten-free diets for the entirety of their lives. Failing to stick to a gluten-free diet may result in damage to the small intestines and abdominal issues. While this new diet may seem like a major change in your lifestyle, it can be done, and with a little extra effort you may not feel like you’re missing anything at all.