Many people believe that gluten is a grain or a protein. However, it is a several peptides composite from the prolamin family of proteins. It can be found normally in a lot of foods, so it is quite a challenge to follow a gluten-free diet. That is why especially lately, a whole industry has developed to serve the needs of those who suffer from sensitivity and disease.
What Is Gluten Sensitivity?
To be honest, it is quite widely spread condition, with different degrees of intensity. In United States it is estimated that approximately one in ten people suffers from some form of gluten sensitivity. In principle those with sensitivity experience:
- Either an allergic reaction (a histamine response)
- Or intolerance (an autoimmune effect).
Allergy has symptoms that are similar to other forms of allergy: watery eyes, sneezing, sniffing and so on. The best approach is to contact a doctor in order to confirm what are you allergic at.
In intolerance, antibodies attack small intestine, killing the intestine wall microvilli. As a result digestion becomes harder and toxins can pass into the bloodstream easier, while vital nutrients less and less.
Celiac disease is the toughest form of intolerance. Its incidence in United States is estimated at one in 133 people, although a lot of them don’t realize they have the disease.
What Are The Symptoms Of Intolerance?
Most symptoms are gastrointestinal:
- Diarrhea alternating with
However, the most serious impact is malnutrition, as a result of microvilli extinction and of small intestine inflammation. There are a lot of different malnutrition symptoms that make intolerance sometimes hard to identify as the root cause.
You might want to read: The Top 7 Most Effective Weight Loss Tips That Will Help You Shed Some Pounds
Intolerance Vs. Celiac Disease
Most people believe that gluten intolerance and Celiac disease are the same thing. However, that is far from the truth.
In terms of similarities, the symptoms are fairly similar and so is the response to this diet. Doctors will take a biopsy of the wall of the small intestine before and after about six weeks of this kind of eating regimen. In both intolerance and Celiac disease, microvilli are damaged and in both cases, they start to recover with this eating regimen.
There are two differences between them. The first one is that in case of Celiac disease, patient will present raised levels of certain antibodies: AGA, EMA and Anti-tTG. This does not hold true in the other case. The other difference is on the genes side. If in addition to presenting intolerance symptoms you also have the genes HLA-DQ8 or HLA-DQ2, then you have celiac disease. If not, you don’t.
It is important to keep in mind that if you test negative for Celiac disease, it does not mean that you don’t have intolerance. If you present symptoms you can go on diet for a while and monitor effects. If you start feeling better, then you will probably start to follow such a diet permanently.
Approved Foods And The Foods You Need To Avoid
Fruits And Veggies
In general fresh fruits and veggies, including the frozen ones, are OK. However, you need to pay special attention if you buy ready prepared veggies. They may contain starches and should be avoided.
These are some of the veggies you are allowed to enjoy:
- Spinach and so on.
Among the fruits that can be included, we can mention:
Meat And Poultry
Good news! Meats are allowed!! However, you need to take care with processed or cooked meat, not to contain wheat.
Meatballs, frozen meats, sausages contain in general gluten. Poultry products are also OK to be included in your diet.
Here is a list of meat and poultry products that you can have:
All regular breads and pasta must be avoided, as they contain flour, wheat flour or barley. Cereals for breakfast also need to be avoid, so no muesli and no cereals with oats. “Pure oats” are actually OK food, but in most cases they are processed in a way by which they come into contact with wheat. Rye and couscous are out. You can have rice, especially the brown one, quinoa and beans though.
Many people really enjoy bread, so fortunately producers found a solution for those affected by Celiac disease: special kind of bread. You have a choice between frozen and un-frozen bread. If you go for frozen, then Grainless Baker Brand and Rudi’s may have just what you need. Both brands offer several types of bread, and not only. For unfrozen bread, Udi’s has good products. You can also indulge with Schar bread and their ciabata rolls, dinner rolls, long rolls and hamburger rolls. All these will alleviate a bit the craving for the forbidden foods.
You might really enjoy: Top 7 Foods That Contain Most Fiber in Them
Besides bread, a lot of the people that need to avoid gluten, would still like to eat baked food. The problem is that the wheat flour normally used in such foods does contain gluten. So wheat flour alternatives are needed in this case. Coconut flour and almond flour are such options. Using such a flour greatly expands the menu that is available to you. Forbidden dishes will be enjoyed once again, just by replacing the wheat flour with an alternative.
Wait! Can I Still Enjoy My Beer?
Beer is such a common pleasure for most people. Barley is one of the key beer ingredients and this makes beer unsuitable for gluten sensitivity sufferers. Producers tried to make beer with grains such as rice, maize and sorghum, together with just a small quantity of barley malt.
Apparently these are safe to drink. Moreover, during the brewing process, it seems that gluten protein is broken down into amino acids and it is thus not harmful anymore. This is arguable though and in the end you will need to try it yourself, in order to see how your body reacts to it.
Awesome And Tasty Recipes For You
There are a lot of awesome recipes out there. You don’t need to worry that you won’t be able to enjoy tasty dishes in order to avoid that nasty stuff.
So where can you find them? The online world is your friend. The site all recipes.com for example offers not only a lot of awesome recipes, but also full consumer reviews. These are very helpful when you need to chose a recipe. You could start by taking a look at the top rated recipes and then read a few reviews as well.
There are also other recipe websites available. Your best bet is to go for the ones that don’t try to sell you something, as these are less authentic. You can join forums and get in-touch with other people that need to follow this type of diet. They will be happy to share recipes with you. Moreover you can develop valuable relationships and exchange many other tips regarding this condition.
With some creativity, you can enjoy even dishes you may believe they are out of your menu for good. For example, pizza! Yes, we all love pizza, but normally, this is a major no-no food if you have Celiac disease. Regular pizza dough is full of it. But for example, you can prepare a pizza you are allowed to eat by combining acceptable dough, veggies and rice cheese.
What about mustard for example, do you need to give-up the pleasure of using it? It depends. Mustard seeds are OK, so you are allowed to use the mustard in raw form. Most products you can buy in the store do have ingredients which make those products not suitable. There are exceptions though. Check the label and if there is no flour, vinegar, beer or malt among the ingredients, then you can use that product.
Make sure to check out these awesome recipes in here:
- Top Ten Gluten-Free Recipes on Gluten-Free Goddess®
- 10 Delicious Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes
- 15 Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes – Health.com
And desserts? If you don’t have any idea what to eat, you can just prepare a fresh fruit salad in a few minutes. Compatible ice cream is also not very hard to make. However, you don’t need to worry about options. Just take a look on the recipes website mentioned above and you will be amazed at how creative people are.
Organic Food, Anyone?
If you need to follow a this type of diet, you need to pay much more attention to food selection than regular people. You could then take this opportunity to make a significant progress in how healthy your diet is overall.
In this context, why not include mostly organic food into your menu? This will probably prolong your life with a few years, as it brings significant benefits to your body.
The Benefits of Fiber
We all know the importance of a high fiber intake in a healthy diet. For the digestive system to work well, fibers play an key role. They help:
- To avoid constipation, but the range of their benefits is much wider.
- Apparently they also reduce the risk of ischaemic heart disease and
- Of certain types of cancer.
The challenge is that when thinking about fibers, people usually have in mind wholegrain bread and wheat bran. However, we need to take a broader view and recognize that there are many other good sources of fiber. For example, you can take your fibers from leaves, seeds, roots, pods and stems. Soy bran and rice bran can substitute wheat bran. Moreover, you can also take your dose of fiber from beans, peas, dried fruit, nuts, fresh fruits and veggies.
The Healthy Weight Loss
Going on a gluten-free diet can help with weight loss, especially in combination with exercise. The explanation is that a lot of the foods that you need to give-up are high calorie content carbs for example.
This diet is by default better for weight loss purposes than a regular diet. If you are interested in this benefit, you can take advantage of it via combining the diet with regular exercising in order to maximize the effect.
Is Exercising Recommended In Celiac Disease?
Exercising in general is recommended in the cases of Celiac disease, for a number of reasons. First, it can be a tool to better control weight, as mentioned above. This is not the only reason though.
Osteopenia and osteoporosis have quite a high incidence among Celiac disease patients. Exercising can help strengthen bones, especially weight bearing exercises like walking and running. Moreover, exercising contributes to having better circulation and also better mood.
Further resources on this eating regimen:
Sensitivity, Psoriasis and Eczema
Several studies confirmed a correlation between psoriasis and eczema and celiac disease or gluten sensitivity patients.
Due to the fact that our body functions as a whole system, any food sensitivities or allergies have a certain impact on the whole system and may generate different kinds of disorders. In this specific cases, i.e. psoriasis and eczema, cutting out this stuff proved useful. Patients following the diets showed significant improvements in skin lesions after a few months of being on the diet.
To conclude, if you suffer from any form of gluten sensitivity, you should be on a this diet. However, keeping a such a diet should definitely not be limiting. While there are rules to be followed, certain foods to be avoided, there are also a lot of options available. The foods industry has developed a lot in the past years and they offer to their customers quite a wide range of products.
Moreover, you can prepare yourself a lot of otherwise forbidden dishes, by replacing the traditional ingredient containing gluten with alternatives. In order to be successful, you need to develop a bit of knowledge on what foods you are allowed to eat. This is not a hard task though and there are plenty of gluten-free delicious recipes you can enjoy.