Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gluten Intolerance - How to Be Gluten Free

What is it to be gluten free and have celiac disease?

Are you allergic to gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and triticale. They are prolamins (proteins) that cause damage to the digestive system. Tiny hairlike structures called villi are in the lining of the small intestine. It helps to digest the nutrients in your food. For people who have gluten intolerance or celiac disease, gluten attacks the villi and makes it flat. Then you cannot absorb the nutrients in your food. It is actually an autoimmune disorder. You can also become intolerant to dairy, sugar and possibly other food sensitivities. The only way to reverse the process is to stay away from gluten and the villi will grow back so that you can absorb the nutrients in your food again. Many people can have gluten intolerance or celiac disease and not know it. It is always best to get tested to make sure. I suggest you talk with your primary care physician/G.I. physician to get tested for celiac disease or go to see a nature path to test for food allergens.

What foods contain gluten?

All these foods contain gluten:

Mostly your grains like Wheat, Barley, Barley Malt, Rye, Spelt, Semolina, Graham Flour, Wheat Starch, Wheat Germ, Couscous, Bran, Kamut, Bulgur, Durum, Triticale, Oats (Oats are not guaranteed from cross contamination, make sure it is gluten free oats)and allot of Alcohol has gluten in it.

So what can you eat in place of gluten?

Non Gluten Flours: Almond Meal Flour, Amaranth Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Garbanzo Bean Flour, Millet Flour, Potato Starch, Quinoa Flour, Sorghum Flour, Soy Flour, Tapioca Flour/Starch, Arrowroot Flour, and Teff Flour.

Binding Agents:

Arrowroot, Cornstarch, Guar Gum Potato Starch, Tapioca Flour or Starch and Xanthan Gum

Gluten Intolerance Symptoms

These are some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance: Abdominal pain and distension, bloating, diarrhea, greasy foul smelling floating stools, vomiting, acid reflux, constipation, gas and flatulence, nausea, weight loss or weight gain, loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness, headaches and migraines, depression, irritability and mood disorders, fuzzy brain or inability to concentrate, dental enamel deficiencies and irregularities, nerve damage(peripheral neuropathy), respiratory problems, lactose intolerance, rosacea, hashimoto's disease, hair loss, bruising easily, muscle cramping and muscle weakness, swelling and inflammation, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, joint and bone pain, infertility, abnormal menstrual cycles, seizures, ataxia(bad balance), canker sores, eczema and psoriasis, Acne, early onset osteoporosis, night blindness, hypoglycemia(low blood sugar), nose bleeds, elevated liver function tests(AST, ALT), lack of motivation, hashimoto's disease, sjogren's syndrome, lupus erythematosus and other autoimmune disorders, irritable bowel syndrome or spastic colon, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, lupus (an autoimmune disease),unexplained anemia, psychological issues(hypochondria, depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, neurosis and mood disorders), food allergies, parasites or other infection, gallbladder disease, thyroid disease, cystic fibrosis(respiratory disorder), diverticulosis, diabetes, thyroid Disease, dermatitis herpetiformis(skin rash related to celiac disease), peripheral neuropathy(tingling or numbness in arms and legs), and many more conditions.

Symptoms in children:

Inability to concentrate, irritability, ADD/ADHD or autism and down syndrome, failure to thrive (infants and toddlers), nose bleeds, short stature or delayed growth, delayed onset of puberty, weak bones or bone pain, abdominal pain and distension. If these symptoms are not put under control like being on a gluten free diet, they can turn into more serious conditions. Like heart disease, lung disease, addison's disease, the list goes on and on. Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder.

I am gluten intolerant, now what do I do?

1. See a Doctor, Nutritionist or a Nature Path that, understands what is to be on a gluten free diet.

2. Join a support group like Gluten Intolerance Group. Look up your state and city to find your local support group. You are not in this alone.

3. Find a gluten free blog you really like for tips, recipes and resources.

4. Learn to read food labels. Make sure to look for the gluten free label on grocery products. Learn what what is in your food.

5. Learn how to eat healthy and gluten free, is better for you.

6. Join a gluten free cooking class or find an instructor. Many nature stores have cooking classes.

7. Find your local grocery stores that sells gluten free products. For example, Lingonberries Market, Whole Foods, New Season's, Trader Joe's, Fred Meyer Nutrition Center. Winco, Safeway and Wal-Mart Superstores. There are websites that sell these products. For example, Amazon and The Gluten Free Mall.

8. Find your local Restaurants that are gluten free friendly.

9. Get yourself a couple of Gluten Free Books and a magazine.

10. Search for gluten free coupons online and in the newspaper.

11. Here is a fact you should know, People with Celiac Disease can Declare their "Gluten Free Food" as Tax Deduction.

12. Try different recipes and food products and find out what you like the best. Most of all, have fun with it.

Be sure and avoid cross contamination, you don't want to get gluten mixed up with your non gluten food.

For more information check out my gluten free and healthy living website.

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