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Forgoing Gluten

forgoing gluten

Information pertaining to the adverse effects of gluten appear to be increasingly popping up in various periodicals.  In fact, countless restaurants have added gluten-free selections to their list of meals, while others have devoted an entire menu to this type of fare.

What is gluten?

It’s a protein found in certain grains like barley, rye, malt, and wheat.  Regrettably, it wreaks havoc in some people.  In fact, individuals with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition typically linked to genetics, can sustain significant harm in their small intestines, although damage customarily occurs over time.  Symptoms include gassiness, bloating, diarrhea, cramping, and weight loss.  Fortunately, there are multiple ways to help identify the disease in suspected cases: family history, blood tests, intestinal biopsy, and genetic testing are among the methods.  Surprisingly, some individuals have no idea they have the problem, as it can lay dormant for years and present itself only after a trigger, like stress, surgery, a virus, an infection, pregnancy, etc., stimulates an autoimmune response.

Interestingly, even people without celiac disease can negatively react to gluten: the disorder is commonly referred to as non-celiac gluten sensitivity.  This becomes apparent when sufferers develop symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastrointestinal/stomach irregularities, brain fog, and headaches.

How is a gluten sensitivity treated?

Many experts agree that abstaining from gluten is the optimal way (as an aside, be mindful of cross contamination).  Processed foods and baked goods sometimes contain the protein, so skip these choices as much as possible.  Unexpectedly, even supplements and medications may contain gluten-based binding agents, so always check.  Naturally, follow your doctor’s dietary recommendations, but here is a list of some gluten-free options.

  • Fruits
  • Organic eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Unprocessed nuts
  • Beans
  • Flax
  • Buckwheat
  • Rice
  • Corn (organic is best)
  • Soy (organic is best)
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Potatoes

It is important to mention that beverages might also contain gluten.  For example, beer made with wheat, rye, or barley is a gluten no-no.

Some health authorities assert that cocktails made with gin, whiskey, and vodka are safe to consume, as the distilling process counteracts a gluten reaction.  Nevertheless, proceed with caution, as not all companies rigorously distill, while others add a grain ingredient at the end of distillation.

According to ones in the know, wine and champagne are usually risk-free from a gluten standpoint, as these drinks are made from fruit.  However, begin slowly at first to test the waters, as certain wine barrels are lined with flour.

Lastly, famous-named sodas are generally okay.  Yet, there are many other reasons to consider limiting the intake of these alleged thirst-quenchers, so be careful.

But you’d like more info?

For a sizable range of topics pertaining to gluten-free living, go to www.glutenfreeliving.com.

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