Gluten-Free. These two words are all around us yet so many of us have no idea what it means, where it is found and why we should or shouldn’t avoid it. Gluten-Free foods are showing up in grocery stores, restaurants and even ball-parks.
Let’s start with the basics:
- Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. (Oats do not have any gluten in them but are often cross contaminated with wheat so are not always safe unless they are certified gluten-free.)
- People who have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease cannot digest gluten which causes many digestive ailments and can even dmage the villi of the intestines after time.
- There is no “cure” or pill for Celiac Disease – a gluten-free diet for life is the only current course of healing. Unfortunately many people with Celiac Disease are undiagnosed although 1 out of 100 are affected.
- How do you know if you have a gluten intolerance? You need to have your blood tested by your Doctor. Symptoms can be found here.
- Is gluten bad for us? No, if you do not have an intolerance or Celiac Disease, gluten does not cause your body any harm.
- Are gluten-free foods healthy? There are some great gluten-free products that utlize whole-grains like quinoa, teff, amaranth, millet, etc. – there are also a lot of products that are full of refined gluten-free flours and sugars – so gluten-free on the label doesn’t always equal healthy.
- So I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance, now what? The resources that are now available are abundant – my favorite is the “Gluten-Free Diet A Comprehensive Resource Guide” by Shelley Case. This book has great information on Celiac Disease, recipes and recommended gluten-free products – considered the Gluten-Free Bible!
- There are also many online resources: Celiac Disease Foundation, Gluten Intolerance Group, Celiac Sprue Association that are very informative and a great starting point for more information.
I hope I’ve answered some of your questions about gluten and gluten intolerance’s – let me know if you have any others!
Have you tried or do you eat any gluten-free foods?