Everything you wanted to know about Gluten but were afraid to ask!

Everything you wanted to know about Gluten but were afraid to ask!

gluten free

Gluten allergies have been on the rise lately, or maybe people are finally getting around to getting tested for gluten due to digestive issues they have had for years.  Thanks to doctors, the media, television shows like Dr. Oz and The Doctors, people are becoming more aware of gluten allergies and gluten sensitivities.

So what the heck is gluten?  Gluten is a protein that is found in certain grains.  Wheat, Barley, rye and triticale, which is a cross between wheat and rye.

Why are gluten allergies on the rise?  Many feel it is due to our damaged gut flora, from over use of antibiotics or overuse of foods that our system simply cannot digest.  Others feel it is the introduction of GMOs 15 years ago and environmental toxins.  Just a decade ago gluten intolerance levels were just 1 in 2500. Today they are 1 in 133.  According to research posted on the Westin A. Price Foundation's website: http://www.westonaprice.org/ modern wheat varieties are much different than they used to be.  Modern wheat is simply not the same plant if used to be.  This makes so much sense.  This is why our ancestors could eat bread on a daily basis without a hint of stomach issues.

What symptoms do people experience if they have a gluten allergy or sensitivity?  Upon ingesting gluten people who have a sensitivity or a true gluten allergy like Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disease) will experience inflammation of the small intestine. This inflammation will present itself in the form of digestive issues, pain, cramping and diarrhea.  Other symptoms include;  anemia, fatigue, headaches and joint pain. It can also cause migraines, asthma, eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, ear infections, sinusitis, anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, obesity and post nasal drip.  You may experience these symptoms and wonder if it was stress, a bug or something you ate.  One thing to remember is that is takes up to 3 days for a food allergy or sensitivity to present itself.  This is why when new moms are introducing solids to a baby the pediatrician will tell the new mommy to wait 3 days in between new foods so the mother can observe if there is a reaction.

How can I be tested for Gluten allergies or sensitivities?
A simple blood test ordered by your physician will give you the answer.  We here at Destination Fitness can also order a Food Sensitivity Screening test called IGA, Immunoglobulin Blood Food Allergy Test.  The immune system produces antibodies to any substance that it views as foreign, such as bacteria or a virus.  Normally, this is a good thing, however with food allergies, the immune system becomes overactive and antibodies are produced for things we don't want them produced for, like foods or pollen.

After your blood is tested, you will receive a packet showing just which foods you are sensitive to and how sensitive you are to them.  By eliminating these foods, you give your body a chance to heal and more important keep your symptoms away.

What foods contain Gluten?  The better answer is what foods don't contain gluten.  Gluten seems to be in everything from breads, to sauces to soups and cookies.  Pizza, processed meats, seasonings, snacks, salad dressings,  medications and even supplements.  It's so important to read your labels if you truly have a gluten allergy.  The good news is that now many major food companies are creating gluten free products.

Where do I find Gluten Free Foods?  Most grocery stores, health food stores and specialty stores now carry Gluten free foods.  This is a welcome sign for people who suffer.  Years ago it was virtually impossible to find gluten free packaged foods.  Udi's http://shop.udisglutenfree.com has by far the best tasting products. They have wonderful breads, muffins, pizza, and cookies.  Amy's makes a very nice mac and cheese, http://www.amys.com/products/product-categories/gluten-free.  Tinkyada http://www.tinkyada.com/ makes wonderful pasta noodles!  For that home baked chocolate chip cookie, try Pamela's Baking Mix http://pamelasproducts.com/products/baking-mixes/.   Pamela's mix also creates wonderful cookies, muffins, pancakes and bisquits!

What are Gluten Free grains?  Gluten free grains include rice (which is typically used for noodles or pasta), cassava, corn, millet, buckwheat (used for pancakes), sorghum, amaranth and quinoa.

Our Registered Dietitian Melissa can supply you with some wonderful recipes and creative ideas in regards to gluten free cooking!  If you have any questions or concerns we are here to help!

In good health,
Jill Lindberg

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