WHY TRY A GLUTEN-FREE DIET?

Pretty irresistible, if you ask me.

Gluten-Free Waffles! Pretty irresistible, if you ask me.

WHY TRY A GLUTEN-FREE DIET? There has been a lot of talk about gluten-free diets but not many people actually know what gluten really is. To shed some light, here is some basic information about gluten that can help you decide whether or not you would like to live gluten-free.

WHAT IS GLUTEN? Gluten is the elastic protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Oats are often included in that list because mainstream oats are contaminated with gluten. Think of gluten as glue that can hold proteins together. As a matter of fact, ages ago people used it to glue wallpaper. Today gluten is used in many products and because it is often genetically modified, it can become a common irritator to the colon.

GLUTEN INTOLERANCES: Gluten intolerance is a term that is used to describe three conditions: wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and celiac disease. A majority of intolerances to gluten can cause the immune system to produce abnormal response to the presence of wheat, rye or barley. Symptoms can include hives, difficulty breathing, and digestive problems; in serious cases, a person with this allergy can experience anaphylaxis, a sudden and severe reaction that can be life-threatening.

WHY AVOID GLUTEN FOR THOSE WITH CELIAC DISEASE There are areas in the intestines known as villi, which help absorb the nutrients your food provides. However, when someone has celiac disease, the immune system reacts to gluten by damaging the villi and as a result a person can be very undernourished even when eating a lot of food. No matter how much they eat, they can’t absorb the benefits.

SHOULD YOU AVOID GLUTEN? If you don’t have a severe condition such as chron’s or celiac diseases, we advise eating well-balanced meals and watching your portions. To experiment and see if you should avoid gluten, try going gluten-free for a week. To make things easier, we are happy to offer our gluten-free plan that you can try for an extended period of time. Notice if you see any changes in the way you feel and continue accordingly. We find that if there is no threat to the body, occasional indulgences in foods that contain gluten is ok. However, you can get your protein in other ways and therefore there is no need to have gluten in your food, unless it in moderation and for pure pleasure.